Saturday, 6 September 2014

Palak "Paneer"

This was one of my favourite Indian dishes before I went vegan, "palak" meaning spinach and "paneer" meaning cheese. Traditionally it's made with homemade Indian cottage cheese squares in a pureed spinach sauce. I got this recipe from the amazing blog Vegan Richa.


Palak "Paneer"
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

Spiced Tofu:
2 teaspoons oil
14 oz firm tofu block, pressed and cubed
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala**
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kala namak (this is also known as Indian Black Salt and really gives that sulfur/salty flavour)
1/2 tsp cayenne(to taste)

Spinach curry:
2 cups packed Spinach, washed, chopped if large
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk or coconut milk
2 Tablespoons soaked cashews, soaked for 15 minutes in hot water
4 cloves of garlic
an inch cube of ginger, sliced or grated
1 chili pepper or to taste
1 medium tomato chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste
1 teaspoon raw sugar or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon garam masala


Method
In a pan, add oil and heat on medium heat.
Chop up the tofu and add to the oil.
Mix to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add all the spices under Spiced Tofu and mix to coat.
Continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, partially covered on low-medium heat.
Meanwhile, wash the spinach and add it and all the other ingredients under spinach curry except garam masala to the blender. Blend into a smooth puree.
Add the puree to the sizzling tofu. Mix well. Add garam masala to taste.
Cook covered on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the raw garlic smell is not detectable and desired gravy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust salt and spice.
Drizzle some cashew cream and Serve hot with Naan, roti or other flat breads, or with quinoa or rice.
Add pepper flakes for added heat. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder for variation.


**Garam Masala
I have found this hard to find in the USA so you can easily make your own;

1 Tbls ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Zucchini Brownies

A great way to sneak some vegetables into your kid's (or husband's) meals without them suspecting foul play ;)
I got this recipe from My Gluten-Free Kitchen.


Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

2 cups good all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used this gluten free mix)
¾ tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using a flour blend that has xanthan gum)
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup melted unsalted butter or margarine, or canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Additional ⅓ cup to ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for topping


Method

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease a 7"x11" cake dish, I use a piece of baking paper at the bottom as well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat sugar, applesauce, butter/margarine/oil, and vanilla extract for 30 seconds.
Add flour mixture and continue beating for about 1 minute, until mixture resembles wet sand.
Add the shredded zucchini, then the cocoa powder, and mix on low until combined.
Stir in the 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Pour brownie batter into pan and smooth down.
Sprinkle extra ⅓-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over the top of brownie batter.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until brownies are set. This will have a soft center, if you want a harder brownie, leave in for an extra 5-10mins.
Allow to cool slightly and slice with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Cool on wire rack.
I had them warm with vegan vanilla ice-cream - YUM!


Monday, 1 September 2014

Beet & Ricotta Baked Shells

This is delicious comfort food! You can easy switch out the beets for spinach. YUM!


Beet & Ricotta Baked Shells

Ingredients

GF pasta shells
1 cup vegan mozzarella

Filling
2 large beets, peeled and chopped
(8oz) 1/2 cup vegan ricotta
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan
1 Tbls fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
Wrap beets in foil and bake for 40 minutes or until soft.
Boil water and cook pasta shells until they are Al Dente, then drain and rinse with cool water.
In a food processor blitz the beets, ricotta, Parmesan, truffle oil, basil, salt & pepper.
Grease a baking tray and pour in 1/2 the marinara sauce.
Spoon the ricotta filling in the shells and place back into the tray, as close together as possible.

Cover with the remaining marinara sauce, cover tray with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with vegan mozzarella and bake for another 10 minutes.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Simple Marinara Sauce

I got this recipe from the Food Network and it is a great simple recipe for when you don't have a jar of marinara sauce lying around. Excuse the lame photo - I only had my phone :)


Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3x 28oz cans chopped tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes)
1/2 cup fresh chopped garlic
2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste


Method

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-low heat.
Fry onion and garlic until onion is browning.
Add tomatoes, basil, salt & pepper.
Bring to boil and reduce heat to low and heat uncovered for 25-30 minutes until thickened.
Serve same day or freeze.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Park City, Utah

I've been to Park City several times and it changes with every season. Although I never ski and it is first and foremost a ski resort town, it is also filled with beautiful scenery, quaint shops, a gorgeous main street and adorable coloured houses. It's just a nice place to visit. Also the home of the Sundance Film Festival (don't let the name fool you, all the films are shown in Park City).



501 on Main is where I usually go to eat because I know they have a couple of vegan/gluten free options. And gluten free beer options - very important!
This is the Tomato Basil Bisque with gluten free toast (also vegan).
I've had the vegan chilli before as well...delicious!


I love Rootd home wares which always has the neatest stuff. I love that most of the stuff they have is made locally and definitely nothing made in China.
I love these stone coasters I got made by a local artist.



I love The Mountain Town Olive Oil Company - they have the most amazing flavoured and aged balsamic vinegar and flavoured olive oils. And you can taste every single one! My favourite is the 15 year aged balsamic and the Peach Balsamic.





Famous graffiti artist Banksy left his mark in a little side nook off Main Street. 




In the off season you can take a 40 minute ski lift ride :)


Simple Vegan Pesto

Pesto is ridiculously easy to make yourself because it only has 4 ingredients, and it's much nicer when it's fresh. Perfect as a spread or on hot pasta.


Simple Vegan Pesto
makes around 1 cup

Ingredients

2 cups basil (you can use any herbs but the flavour will change)
1/2 cup pine nuts (you can use any nuts you like but the flavour will change)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Sea salt, to taste
Some optional ingredients are;
1 tbls lemon juice
3 tbls nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan


Method

In a food processor add the nuts, basil and garlic and pulse until chopped and mixed well.
Add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off.
Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste.
Add in optional ingredients if desired.
Season with sea salt, to taste.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least an hour.




Vanilla Sugar

This is such a simple thing to do and yet makes the world of difference to your baking.
You can add vanilla sugar to anything, and if a recipe specifically asks for it then using regular sugar will effect the results.
A lot of people will just tell you to store the vanilla pods in the sugar but a much more effective way to get all the flavour out of the vanilla pods is to ground them up.
If you have a coffee grinder this works best but if not a food processor (or pestle and mortar) will work too. A cute mason jar full of vanilla sugar also makes a great gift!
This recipe is from Jamie Oliver.


Vanilla Sugar

Ingredients

1lb fine vegan sugar
2 vanilla pods*


Method

Using a coffee grinder or food processor grind the vanilla pods, you may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times.
Add ground vanilla pods and sugar to a food processor and pulse until mixed thoroughly - the mixture will look like an ash colour.
Store in an air tight container.

*NB A fresh vanilla pods will be soft and pungent, if it's not as fresh it will be hard.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Zest Kitchen & Bar

I only went to Zest Kitchen & Bar recently when my brother and sister in law were in town. I've always wanted to try it but you know as a vegan you tend to stick to the places you already know are good. I'm sorry I had not tried this place sooner! The food was amazing and the service was great. We sat outside because there was a band playing and it was a little bit loud inside, the weather was very pleasant though and the atmosphere in that part of SLC is very social with a bar straight across the road. I liked that they had the option of raw as well as cooked vegan food. I also liked that you could choose between processed vegan cheese or homemade nut cheeses.

Zest is a Vegetarian restaurant EVERYTHING is gluten free but almost everything can be made vegan. They also had Green's vegan gluten free beer which I haven't seen anywhere else in SLC. I definitely will be going back!




Vegan Lipstick

I've always loved Manic Panic's vegan lipstick because it's cheap and really lasts but their colour range isn't amazing.

A couple new brands I've discovered that I'm enjoying are Tarte Amazonian range and Etherealle from Etsy.


Etherealle - "Empress"


Etherealle - "Hibiscus"


Tarte Amazonian Clay - Foxy Hot Pink


Friday, 15 August 2014

DIY Laundry Detergent

So environmentally friendly vegan laundry powder does not come cheap! Well it does if you make it yourself! This recipe comes from the guru of DIY, DIY Natural. I quadrupled this recipe to make a larger amount. Borax I just found at the supermarket but the washing soda I got online from Walmart.



DIY Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) of vegan bar soap (I used my own homemade soap but any vegan plain soap will do)
1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda


Method

Grate the soap and mix into borax and washing soda well.
If you like a cold wash, add the mix in batches to a food processor and pulse until the mix is finely ground.
Store in an air tight container with a small scoop.
Use around 1 Tbls per wash, or 2-3 Tbls for a large or heavily soiled wash.