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OMG I LOVE FOOD SO MUCH!

my dear basil May 18, 2009

as the warmer weather disappears, we begin to mourn the end of the basil season. i know that we’re supposed to appreciate each season for it’s diversity of produce, and the cooking combinations this provides, BUT i really love basil! i try and use it in everything – stir fries, pasta sauces, gnocchi, salads, sandwiches, and most of all, pesto!

i was taught to make pesto by my father, whom himself is famous within our extended family for the tasty pesto he produces every year for family gatherings. the best part of pesto is the brilliant simplicity of it! just good fresh ingredients which tantalise the taste-buds. quite a simple one to vegan-ise as well.

because the recipe already contains pine nuts, it’s got a natural creaminess that’s unaided by cows cheese. in the absence of parmesan cheese, a little extra garlic will give this pesto nice “bite”, and some nutritional yeast flakes add to the “cheesy-ness”.

i am guessing about quantities of liquids, so really have a play around and get a feel for the taste that you prefer. i’m a salt fiend, so i always go a little crazy with it and need to add a little extra tahini and lemon juice to balance it out.

garden fresh ingredients (thanks anya!):

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basil pesto

ingredients

  • large bunch of fresh basil, rinsed
  • one head of garlic
  • good quality olive oil, as required
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • half a cup of pine nuts
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • juice of a medium sized lemon
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

to make:

  1. peel garlic and place in food processor. cover with olive oil and blend into a paste.
  2. add in all the basil leaves, a little more olive oil, and whizz again.
  3. place the tahini, lemon juice, pine nuts and nutritional yeast flakes into the mix, and blend until combined. it should look quite chunky, but thickly pourable. carefully add little bits of oil until you achieve the right consistency.
  4. add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. eat immediately, or transfer into an airtight container (jars are good for this) and refrigerate. if you plan to store it for a while, pour a very thin layer of oil over the top to help maintain freshness.

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ways to serve:

  1. on hot pasta or gnocchi.
  2. as a pasta salad.
  3. on yummy crusty bread – as an entree, a snack or with other toppings (e.g. garlic mushrooms or baked beans)
  4. as part of an anti-pasto platter with grilled eggplant, olives, tofetta, etc
 

tea tales. May 14, 2009

Filed under: enjoyment,love love — katrinacake @ 6:10 pm
Tags: , ,

i recently purchased an amazing tea cup and saucer for $3! so beautiful, so sleek, so much room for my tea:

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i just cannot get over the capacity of this tea cup! it’s not one of those soup bowls disguised as a tea cup (although i am quite partial to them as well), but a genuine tea cup with a depth of 8cm and a diameter measuring 10cm. so great!

this has inspired me to:

a) drink more tea and hot chocolate (perhaps the cold weather has something to do with this too);

b) organise my (pathetically small) tea collection;

c) expore a zine i acquired many moons ago at sticky in melbourne titled herbs and what they can do (made by esther for the melbourne uni food co-op).

this zine combines a few of my favourite thing: botany, cute zines and food co-operatives! what is better than people mobilising around food? de nada! i have also been having “lung issues” for quite a while, and i’m keen to explore non-medicinal means of health improvement.

some herbs this zine recommends for lung healing:

  • elderflower – aids mucous clearance, especially in the upper respiratory tract
  • angelica – strengthens and supports the lungs
  • warm concoctions including ginger, garlic and cinnamon
  • nettle – helps with convalescence (recovering from illness) and general run-down-ness. also a great source of iron and vitamin c!
  • rosehip – gives loads of vitamin c and helps prevent colds

write to me if you want some knowledge from this little book of herbs and i shall attempt to dish out the goods.

i am heading over to alfalfa house this weekend to get my hands on some of these. in the meantime my as-yet-unnamed tea cup will continue to get a workout:

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(those are ginger cookies in the pics)

 

breathless brunch beans! May 4, 2009

there is something so great about digging into a tasty bowl of beans at brunch. not those pathetic “baked beans” they sell in over priced chat cafes, but really tasty, flavour-full, melt-in-your-mouth beans.

this is also a great way to use up some slightly tired looking veggies in the fridge. for me: corn, rocket, chilies and tomatoes.

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i have a ridiculous collection of jars filled with dried beans, and i only cook with them once a week. in an endeavour to clear these jars out i soaked some tasty black eyed peas overnight. soaking overnight really does help bring down cooking time! i put the beans in a plastic container, cover with boiling water and leave to sit overnight. you can’t really put too much water in there as these babies soak it up. an equal height of water above the height of the beans is good (ie if there is 2cm of beans in the container, fill with water so there is at least 2cm of water above the beans). make sense?

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you could always just use canned beans, but i have a feeling that this is more energy intensive and carbon emitting. does drastically reduce cooking time though.

a note on onions:

please cook your onions thoroughly! be patient and wait until the bits are transparent! these are NOT translucent onions:

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brunch beans

ingredients:

  • 1 cup black eyed peas (soaked overnight and then rinsed); also great are butter beans and fava beans.
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • two green chilies (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • some chopped rocket
  • a cob of corn, shucked
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste
  • juice of one lemon (lime is good too!)
  • vegetable oil (a spoonful?)

how to:

  1. dice the onion and saute in oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. finely chop the chilies and garlic. add to the onion and saute the whole lot until the onions are see through. be patient!
  3. stir the spices into the onion mix (approx 1 teaspoon of each, except cayenne paper. just a little of that.). don’t be afraid of spices*!
  4. stir in the beans, veggie stock and can of tomatoes. bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. continue to simmer and add the remaining veggies – corn, cherry tomatoes and rocket. allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  6. when most of the liquid has evaporated off, taste a bean. is it crunchy? add more water and simmer for longer. does it melt in your mouth? proceed to step 7.
  7. take off the heat and stir in lemon juice.
  8. serve in an over-sized soup mug. these are handy devices, as you don’t burnt your little hands on the sides of a hot bowl. genius!

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variations / additions:

  • you can add any sort of veggies that take your fancy – small bits of potato or kumera would be ace, as would capsicum, and mushrooms.
  • a mix of beans can add variety, and variety is the spice of life!
  • soy cheese crumbled on top is delectible!
  • a side serving of warm bread, particularly corn bread.
  • tasty guacamole on top!

* do be wary of adding the correct spices. do these two look the same to you?

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they did to me! as a result i got a bit excited with the cayenne pepper (thinking it was paprika) and made the whole thing rather spicy! yeow! hence the breathless-ness…

 

you beaut birthday burgers! May 3, 2009

last weekend was burga’s birthday. hooray! he doesn’t like cakes, but even he dug into one of these little babies:

burgers

(apologies for lack of photos / close-ups. i didn’t have my camera…)

these were SUPER easy to make. i must admit, it’s not an original idea. i saw a picture of a similar thing somewhere on the internet a few weeks ago.

the layers:

* 1 cappuccino cupcake (sliced in half)

* half a choclate cupcake (so for 12 burgers you need 6 choc cupcakes)

* vanilla butter-cream icing (half tinted red and half green)

* sesame seeds for topping

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vegan food colourings are something i know almost nothing about. stay tuned for more experiments in brightly coloured food!

 

new leaf! April 27, 2009

hhmmm, seems i am always planning on making more regular posts! this time i shall MO DEF try my best to become a regular blogger!

i’ve recently been receiving the jura books organic food co-op box of veggies – a fabbo decision! for $10 i get pretty much all the veggies i need for the week, plus a few bits of fruit. gives me an excuse to head down to addison road markets on a sunday and indulge in the best satay burgers you will ever taste!

these veggie boxes are also giving me a greater understanding of seasonal produce and expanding my recipe repertoire. i seem to be left with random collections of veggies by about wednesday. last week i had a nice colourful bunch:

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people are constantly on at me about the health effects of a vegan diet – mostly on the negative side. i generally don’t worry too much about the ‘healthiness’ of my diet (cupcakes at 3am, anyone???) but one issue that does concern me is vitamin b12. if one become deficient in b12, irreparable damage is done to the nervous system. i think we need b12 for cell reformation, in particular blood making (so not enough leads to anemia).

i did a little research, and it seems we humans need about 2.4 micrograms of b12 each day – not too much! our bodies can store between 2 and 5 micrograms each day, so it’s possible to build up stores of the stuff. people (such as myself) generally have good stores from their meat eating days, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it.

(here is some great info from the vegan society)

some things i eat to get vit b12:

  • marmite
  • fortified soy milk
  • seaweed (especially seaweed crackers)
  • nutritional yeast flakes

something i do NOT usually eat is tempeh*. for some reason i just can’t get into it. i think it has to do with the texture. in the name of good health (and in an attempt to use the cookbook tempting tempeh which i haven’t cooked from in the 8 months i’ve had…), i decided to give it a crack!

creamy tahini tempeh and veggie leftovers

(* indicates modified according to what i had)

  • a splash of vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion*, diced
  • 1 medium yellow capsicum , diced
  • some green beans*, chopped
  • wilting week-old mushrooms*, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 packet of tempeh (300g?)
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

to make:

  1. saute onions in the oil. i really hate crunchy onions, so whenever they look ‘translucent’, i leave them for 2 minutes more to ensure mushy goodness.
  2. add capsicum and beans. cook until warmed (only a minute or two).
  3. add miso, veggie stock and cubed tempeh, then simmer for 30 minutes. if you are anything like me (greedy and impatient) this will make you very hungry.
  4. combine the tahini and soy sauce in a bowl, then mix into the pan.
  5. serve hot!

i ate mine with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), the super grain! yummo!

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quinoa is really easy to cook, kinda like rise. just make sure you rinse it first! otherwise you get all these little white bits in it – looks like maggots. gross! speaking of which, the final meal kinda looked a little off-putting. and the texture of tempeh still gave me shivers. yummy sauce though:

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* even though everyone says the only way to get b12 in an absorbable form is with fortified foods, i think it can’t hurt to eat things that have “natural” b12, eg seaweed, miso and tempeh.

 

vegan, gluten freedom black forest cake (intensity: 100%) March 30, 2009

Filed under: baking,birthday celebrations,cake,enjoyment — katrinacake @ 2:19 am
Tags: , , , ,

cake

oh whow! this is quite possibly THE greatest cake i have ever made in my life. cinta and i were in wellington for kalem and rich’s birthday weekend. and what does one do on birthdays??? eat cake!

i’ve never actually made a black forest cake before, or eaten one that i can really remember – they’re not the most common vegan item to find! but once requested, i cannot deny a birthday baking desire! from what i can recall, it’s basically oodles of cream and cherries, and cake soaked in dark cherry juice.

So we found a jar of cherries in the “new world”:

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luckily they had all the other important things, like cremalta and gluten free flour (kalem is vegan and rich can’t eat gluten).

the byrne girls took over the garrett st kitchen (ably assisted by the wonderful apron in residence):

mixing

to me, black forest cake =

+ 2 dark chocolate sponge cakes

+ cherry and jam (sandwiched between the cakes)

+ chocolate buttercream icing

+ vanilla buttercream icing

+ chocolate sprinkles and more cherries to decorate

and VOILA!

review from mike:

“this is the best cake i’ve had since last time you were here!”

 

some recent food adventures August 29, 2008

i’ve been missing nz and all that tasty vegan food SO last weekend i made┬ásome particularly delish things: fresh humous, breakfast beans, lemon drop shortbreads, and scones (ably accompanied by CWA jam). when in doubt, EAT!