Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Maple spiced nuts

I love nuts! 

Now there's a statement you don't want to be yelling out loud in public. 

One of the things I'm really grateful for is not have a nut allergy. I can't imagine life without peanut butter. But I guess just like I've adapted to life without meat and animal products, people with nut allergies probably get along just fine too.

If you haven't already been, I highly recommend the spiced nuts at Greenhouse on St George's Terrace in the Perth CBD. They are absolutely delicious. 

For a quick something new for tonight, I decided to make the Sweet and Spiced Pecans recipe from my cookbook Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.

I didn't have enough pecans, so I just added some raw cashews and hazelnuts to make up the total amount of nuts needed. The only other change that I made to the recipe was to use 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder instead of 1/2 teaspoon; and I'm glad I did because they were just the right amount of spicy. Anymore chilli powder and I'd probably be taking a mouthful of water after each nut.

These would make a great Christmas present. Just pop them in a jar and put a pretty bow around it. Try to stop yourself from eating them as you pop them into the jars though. It's tricky. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vegan hazelnut cupcakes

I've done so much baking this year that come 2014 I'll be a domestic baking goddess! :P

Today was another baking adventure in the kitchen. I absolutely love hazelnuts and so I decided to make hazelnut cupcakes from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. 

Unfortunately I didn't have any vegan friendly hazelnut liqueur so I just substituted for a dash of almond essence. Still tasty, but I would have loved a stronger hazelnut flavour. I've searched far and wide with no luck finding any of the hazelnut flavouring, but I'm determined to get my hands on some eventually. 

Vegan Hazelnut Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 1 cup & 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut meal/flour
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup rice milk or nut milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract or 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
  1. Line cupcake pan and preheat oven to 180C. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and rice milk. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. Add the maple syrup, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and hazelnut liqueur to the rice milk mixture and beat well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until mostly smooth.
  3. Pour into liners, filling them 2/3 of the way.
  4. Bake for 22 to 24 min. Give it the old toothpick test. Cool completely on racks. 
The book suggested serving these muffins with raspberry jam. I love raspberry jam and it went perfectly with the muffins :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Vegan lentil "meat"balls in tomato sauce

I had left over spaghetti in the fridge from the pasta dish that I made a few nights ago, so I decided to make some "meat"balls. To be honest, I like spaghetti bolognese more but hey, the point of my blog is try new things, and I'm always up for doing something new :)

I found a super simple recipe for lentil "meat"balls from the website Vegan Sandra. Although there were so many different recipes for lentil balls, the reason why I chose this one is because it was the only recipe that I had all the ingredients for. That's how it is when I don't have time to go grocery shopping. I just jump on Google and hope that someone somewhere has come up with a recipe using the same ingredients that I've got in my kitchen. 

I'm a huge fan of pasta, so this was a great dinner for me. Hearty and delicious. Unfortunately I had to eat it in 10 minutes because I didn't want to be late for the movie that Peter and I were going to see tonight. Even though I didn't get as much as I wanted to sit and savour the flavours, it was still yummy.

Peter and I went to watch Pacific Rim today. I really didn't have any expectation that it would be great, but I heard that the robots were awesome, and who can resist robots? Not Peter and I. 

I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that it wasn't as disappointing as I thought it would be. I didn't really think much of the dialogue and the Australian accents made me laugh, but the action scenes were truly great. Every now and then I could feel Peter jumping up with excitement during the fight scenes. Love that Kid.

I actually didn't mind paying to see this movie. Robots fighting monsters on the big screen with sound blasting from every wall. Good stuff. I give it 6.5/10. And yes, the CGI (Computer-generated imagery) was great!

Vegan Lentil Balls

Serves 6

Lentil balls:
  • 250 g green or brown lentils
  • 200g  rice (I used basmati)
  • 3 tbsp barley flour (or almost any other flour will do)
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 5 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp quality ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp vegan grill seasoning or something similar
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
Tomato sauce:
  • 350 ml tomato juice (I just used a jar of bolognese sauce)
  • 1,5 tbsp brown sugar (omit if using ready made bolognese sauce)
  • a pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • (3 tbsp vegan cream)
  • (fresh herbs for garnish)
  1. Boil the lentils and rice together until they are soft. Drain them really carefully, so there will be no liquids left. 
  2. Add flours, bread crumbs, ketchup or tomato paste and seasonings. Mix carefully. Let the dough rest for about 10-15 minutes. Cover the baking tray with a baking paper, form the little balls, put them on a baking tray and bake at 200 C until they are crispy (about 30-40 minutes).
  3. For the sauce, heat up the tomato juice with sugar, salt and pepper. Add vegan cream and fresh herbs if you want. Stir, let it boil for a couple of minutes and remove the heat.  
  4. Take about 20-25 baked lentil balls, put them in a bowl and pour the tomato sauce over the lentil balls. Serve with spaghetti, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, rice or on a sandwich.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vegan chocolate peanut butter popcorn

I had a movie night with my little brother Peter today. We're keen to go and watch The Wolverine in cinemas, but we're both a bit behind and haven't seen some of the other X-men movies. And we call ourselves comic fans? For shame!

I figured that a movie snack was definitely needed and so I decided to pull out my popcorn maker. I just had a look through my blog archives and found my old post for spiced popcorn. I can't believe that it was all the way back in February. Wow, time flies!

I didn't want to just settle for plain popcorn tonight so I Googled some recipes for chocolate popcorn. A lot of the recipes needed melted chocolate (which I didn't have in my pantry) and butter; but that didn't stop me though. 

After being inspired by a vegan recipe for chocolate popcorn, I decided to put together my own recipe for chocolate and peanut butter popcorn. I like my chocolate bitter and my popcorn crunchy. This recipe definitely delivered.

Peter and I watched X-men Origins: Wolverine. I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie. Not sure if the popcorn had anything to do with that, but all in all I was not disappointed. I give it a 7/10.

Can't wait to watch The Wolverine!....maybe I can sneak a bag of my chocolate and peanut butter popcorn into the cinema. 

Vegan Chocolate and Peanut Butter Popcorn

Serves 4 

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (or more if you like it extra chocolaty. I used dutch-processed cocoa powder because the flavour is much more intense)
  • 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  1. Pop the popcorn in a popcorn machine or place in a paper bag and pop in the microwave.
  2. Melt the coconut oil and mix in the cocoa powder, peanut butter and maple syrup.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and mix until evenly coated.
  4. Serve while it's still warm. Any left overs can be put in the fridge and devoured later :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vegan Asian style roasted carrots

I had some adorable dutch carrots in my fridge (the small ones with the stems and leaves still attached) and I wanted to do something fancy with them. 

I had a look on Google to see what I could find, but a lot of the recipes were the same old honey glazed recipes, and I thought that might be a bit boring. Plus I don't eat honey. 

I wanted to try something different but wasn't having too much luck. I eventually found a recipe on The Greedy Pepper for maple and sesame glazed dutch carrots. This gave me some inspiration to come up with my own new spin on roasted carrots. 

I pretty much just threw some of my favourite Asian flavour combinations to make a lovely glaze. When they came out of the oven, my brother was lured into the kitchen by the sweet aroma. When I asked if he wanted some, he wasn't too keen because they were carrots and he's not a huge vegetable fan, but he still had a bite anyways.

He ended up really liking them and even ate a few more carrots afterwards. I love it when kids eat their veggies. 

Asian style maple glazed carrots (vegan)

Serves 4

1 bunch dutch carrots, washed (leave a bit of the stems on the carrots for display)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon freshly minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line baking tray with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and coat carrots.
Transfer carrots onto baking tray and cook in oven for about 20 minutes. 

These carrots would go great as a side to pretty much any dish. I just threw together some red onion, tomatoes, vegan sausages and spaghetti as my dinner tonight.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Depot injection

On my last day of prac today, I gave a patient a depot injection. 

Depot injections are injections of slow release medication into a deep muscle. A major benefit of depots is that it increases medication compliance, as the patient can go in to receive their depot biweekly or monthly, depending on the type of medication. 

A lot of people receiving treatment in the community do not comply with daily medications, so depots are a good alternative. It also makes it easier for fly-in fly-out workers, as they won't have to declare medications each time they fly.

I've never given a depot before and I was scared of hurting the patient, but luckily they were so helpful and were very encouraging throughout the whole procedure. 

My biggest advice to anyone doing anything new for the first time is just to breathe and fake confidence. Kind of make sure you know what you're doing too, but if you look confident then it'll help the other person feel better too :)

So I don't have any photos to share with you guys today, but I did want to share with you one of my favourite songs from Jay Z's new album Magna Carta...Holy Grail. 

I'm a huge fan of Jay-Z and I really like this album. The song Holy Grail featuring Justin Timberlake is the first track on the album. My favourite bit is:

Enjoy :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vegan chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache icing

Tomorrow is my last day on my mental health placement and we organised to bring in a plate of food. One of the patients on the ward is vegan, so I decided to make vegan chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache icing for everyone to share. 

I have to get up super early tomorrow morning so I haven't had a chance to ice them and photograph them, but I will post up pictures of the recipe that I got from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

These babies are soft like clouds I swear. If you are a bit freaked out by the sound of vegan food, start by making these. They're crazy fluffy and so chocolaty I could die :P

I will post up my pictures after my shift tomorrow :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vegan chocolate pudding cake

I've been having gum problems lately :( I've had receding gums for a long time and they're normally OK because I do my best to keep my teeth clean and my gums healthy, but lately my gums on the bottom teeth have been inflamed and incredibly painful. 

Sadly, lots of chewing makes it worse, so I decided to make myself soft foods today. I started dinner off with a super healthy soup made of lentils, zucchini, broccoli and spinach. I got the recipe from a cookbook called Vegan Meals For One or Two by Nancy Berkoff. It looked like green mess, but it tasted lovely and I felt super healthy slurping it down. 

I'm a person who likes a bit of balance, and since I had a healthy carb free dinner, I decided to whip up a vegan chocolate pudding cake for dessert. 

I came across a few recipes, but I picked the one from the website Foodie Fiasco because it was the healthiest option I could find. I made my own variations so that it would be even more guilt-free :)

I divided the batter up into 4 ramekins and shared one with my brother after they were done in the oven. The pudding was so yummy! When I asked my brother how it tasted he said "I give it a 4 and a half....out of 4 and a half". Cheeky boy had me a bit disappointed in my own cooking skills for a second there :P

This is a seriously great winter dessert. I like sharing my food, so the ramekins were perfect for that...but I honestly could have downed a whole one all to myself. They are just that delicious. 

Vegan Chocolate Pudding Cake

Serves 8

    For cake:
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup whole wheat or almond flour (I used ½ plain flour and ½ wholemeal spelt flour)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (I just pureed an apple in my food processor)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    For sauce:
  • 1/3 cup baking sweetener
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside (or use 4 big ramekins).
  2. To make the cake, combine the agave nectar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and sea salt in a large bowl. Add in the almond milk, applesauce, and vanilla extract and stir until completely combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish or ramekins and smooth out the top with an offset spatula or a spoon. Set aside.
  3. For the sauce, combine the sweetener, brown sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the batter. Pour the hot water over the batter. Do not stir the water in! I know it looks weird, but it’s okay. It’s all going to be okay.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for about 25 minutes. It should resemble an undercooked brownie. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. When serving, spoon the sauce from the bottom of the pan over the cake.Good luck trying to share this!...I actually want another one right now.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Llama Bar, Subiaco

My friend once told me how much he enjoyed chips cooked in duck fat, and so for his birthday I did some searching for restaurants in Perth that served duck fat roasted chips. I could only find three places, and two of them had ridiculously high prices from the items on their menu. The only place within my price range was the Llama Bar in Subiaco. 

On Tuesdays and Wednesday they have steak night, where you can get a 250g sirloin steak, duck fat chips, salad and bĂ©arnaise sauce all for...get this...$15!! That's so cheap! All you non-vegans out there definitely need to get your next steak fix from the Llama Bar. 

The kitchen was very helpful with finding me a vegan friendly meal, and ended up making me a beautiful cabbage salad which had cabbage, red onion, capers, peas, radish and basil. It was such a lovely fresh salad which had a bit of a spicy tang to it. It was very filling too. I also ordered sweet potato crisps which were perfectly thin and crispy and so full of flavour. 

My friend ordered the braised lamb and from where I was sitting it looked so tender and moist. I'm guessing it was absolutely delicious too. 

The decor was very elegant. I was actually quite blown away by how lovely it was inside. The lighting is slightly dimmed, with a lovely glow from the lights. It's a very neat and tidy place, with lots of large pictures on the walls and flow arrangements. It seems too fancy to have meals at such reasonable prices. There was also live entertainment from a singer who had a very Regina Spektor voice. 

Unfortunately there wasn't anything vegan friendly on the dessert menu, so we headed across the road to Gelare where they had vegan ice cream! There was vegan dark chocolate and dairy-free naked coconut flavour. I had a scoop of each of course. Even though the weather was cold, it didn't matter because vegan ice cream makes me so happy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blogilates cheap clean eats healthy cheeseburger

Today is my 200th post for 2013! I don't know why, but reaching my 200th post makes the finish line seem so much closer. 

I had a look through my photos from the year and I was so overwhelmed by all the good memories. Even though making sure I have something new to do everyday can become quite stressful, I don't regret starting this project. 

So, for my 200th post, my good friend Nhi and I decided to make another recipe from the Cheap Clean Eats series on the Blogilates website. Today we made the Healthy Cheeseburger recipe.

The original Blogilates recipe makes beef patties, so we decided to make a vegan and non-vegan version. 

I bought some extra firm tofu to make the burger patties, but I recommend using firm silken tofu so that the ingredients can bind together. 

We kinda just winged it for this recipe, but the burgers actually turned out so delicious. We seasoned our burger patties with a store bought Middle Eastern spice blend  and it tasted great with the flavour of the mushrooms and sauce. This is definitely the most guilt-free burger I have ever eaten, and the flavour did not let us down. 

A note to all you people who are keen to try this recipe: it's very very messy. There will be sauce and juice from the mushrooms everywhere, so maybe just eat this with people who don't mind the mess.

Looking very deshellved after cooking, but we were so happy with how these burgers turned out :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013


My friends invited me out to participate in a photography shoot for a project called Walk Over October. The project aims to raise awareness of the transport, health, recreational and environmental benefits of regular walking. 

The photo shoot was recruiting people to be in the photo with their car or bike, or to be a pedestrian. My friends and I registered to be pedestrians in the photo along with about 70 other people.  The photo involved us standing in a group in the middle of High St in Fremantle alongside a bus.

I look forward to seeing how the photos all turn out. If I see the photo around Perth in the next couple of weeks, I'll post up the picture on the blog :)

The pedestrians were asked to arrive in Freo at 8am, and after we got our names ticked off we were given vouchers for a free hot drink from the cafe Moore & Moore on Henry St. This is a very indie hipster little place and from what I gathered, it was attached to an art gallery. It's a great place to check out, and very friendly staff too. Make your next coffee catch up here if you're in the area.

The photoshoot took place around 9 in the morning, and we were finished within an hour. We decided to explore Fremantle for the rest of the afternoon, and we ended up doing a lot of new things I've never done before. 

One of the lovely buildings around Freo.

We decided to have lunch in Freo, but it was still too early so we decided to check out the Round House which overlooks the coast. I never really knew about the Round House until just recently when my friend told me the story of how he proposed to this wife there, and even more recently when I found out that it was used to house people diagnosed with insanity back in the 1800s.

It was such a lovely view from the cliff that the Round House is situated. On one side was an amazing view of High St, and the other was a beautiful view of the coast. Just breath taking. 

The clouds were also beautiful today too, so it made for some lovely photos. 

The Round House.

A view of High st from The Round House.

When lunch time came around we decided to eat at a place called Breaks Fremantle. I really like the menu here! The place does an all day breakfast as well as burgers, pasta, seafood and some Asian dishes. They do freshly squeezed juices too!

I am such a burger lover and I really loved the variety in their burger menu. I had the Flaming Greeny which had a spiced lentil patty, grilled aubergine (eggplant), mushrooms, avocado, tomato, rocquet, chilli jam and chilli mayonnaise (all you vegans out there will have to hold the mayo). This amazing burger is the best I've eaten in Perth thus far since going vegan. I am such a fan of spicy burgers, and this one was just so tasty. I will have fond memories of eating that burger for months to come...until I find something better that is. 

The prices on the menu were what you'd expect for a Perth restaurant so I'm not really complaining. The cafe itself is quite nice and it's what you'd expect from Fremantle. Very indie. There is outside and inside dining, and a lovely little area out the back too. The icing on the cake however, was the live entertainment :) There was a little set up near the entrance of the cafe where a guy played his guitar. A very talented performer. 

Apple, pear, lemon and rockmelon

The cute dining area out the back.

We also had a quick look at the record store next door to Breaks Fremantle. A very cool little shop with lots of vintage records. 

I love Freo. There's so much I've yet to discover. I'm looking forward to my next trip down to this lovely town by the coast.