Vegan Easy Challenge Day 3

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I successfully managed to avoid Melbourne Cup shennanigans and did loads of stuff at home. I finally had  time to do some batch cooking. I’m a strong believer in batch cooking. It allows you to cook in bulk and freeze in smaller portions, saving money and food wastage. I cooked up a heap of brown rice, dahl and mexican beans.

polka dot rabbit 002 by you.

Chris picked a heap of produce from our garden so I sorted it out into cooking, salad and beans!Amazing stuff when it’s from your very own garden.

For breaky I had a potato (cooked in the microwave with the brown rice) with mexican beans and avocado.

I paid a visit to the rather good Radical Grocery Store in Sydney Road, Brunswick. I was pleased at the wide range of products but a little disappointed how many products aren’t available in ‘mainstream’ supermarkets.  I guess it shows how hard it is to run a ethical company and compete with all the big producers, let along get your products stocked!

Not everything was super cheap, but it would be no different to doing all your shopping at a gourmet deli or some such. Further, I’m trying to eat lots of fresh wholefoods rather than only vegan alternatives of carnivore products so it’s not like I’m relying on speciality shops for the bulk of my meals. Far from it.

I picked up some quinoa, chai tea, vegan cheese, vegan schnitzel (Chris loves these)  and a rather splendid Funky pie. Funky pies are a vegan pie making company in Sydney that sell their products all around Australia.

The pie was really yummy:

polka dot rabbit 003 by you.
I figure there’s no point going all healthy and not having any treats or alternatively using it as a 30 day detoxing which leads to really bad habits galloping back after it’s done!
Dinner was a mexican wrap, red wine and some strawberries and soy yogurt.

Natural DIY hand sanitizer

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009


I’ve seen those little bottles of hand sanitizer on every desk or front counter of most offices where I work.

I’m a bit reluctant to use them as I always was lead to believe a few germs help boost your immunity and that normal soap and water hand washing

pic from here

as needed would suffice.  Further I haven’t seen any that state the were not tested on animals.

Planet Green has a couple of recipes for making your own sanitizer which I thought I’d share:


Save water in your property : Grey Water

Monday, December 8th, 2008


Here’s the second installment of a few tips on how to save water in your rental property, adapted from a Yarra Water leaflet, but picking out the highlights relating to renters…

This time, the best ways to utilise greywater.

  • Greywater is waste water from showers, baths, spas, hand basins, washing machines, dishwashers and basically water used by another process that’s left over, which is generally most of it!
  • Buckets are the most basic and easiest method of collecting gray water :
    • Either a bucket in the shower
    • A bucket in the sink when washing vegetables
    • Scooping out water from the hand basin
  • Waste water from washing machines can also be collected into a bucket, or if you use a simple long pipe or diversion system it can be sent straight onto the lawn.

There are however, some considerations when using greywater

  • Don’t use water from the kitchen sink, it can contain fats and left over cleaning agents, unless of course you are sure the water is fine.
  • Apply grey water directly to the base of plants, it can help reduce the survival rate of microbes.
  • Always wash your hands after watering with grey water
  • Use grey water within 24 hours of collection
  • Don’t use grey water on sickly looking plants
  • Unfortunately you can’t really use grey water on vegetables
  • Try using grey water friendly detergents and cleaning agents to get the most garden friendly water you possibly can
  • Don’t apply more grey water than needed, i.e. after rain.

We’re aware that not every one in rented property has a garden and we’ve concocted a few ideas of other things to do with grey water, but we haven’t had the chance to test them yet though, so watch this space…!

Need help with leftovers?

Sunday, September 14th, 2008


Primarily UK focused, but anyway, if you want some ideas of  meal planning, food storage and what to do with excess food, take a look here :

W is for Watercress!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Today dear readers, is the 2nd day of spring! Woo! Stay tuned for recipes using spring vegetables. I hope you have enjoyed the recipes as much as I have

I’ve not tried watercress recipes extensively, as I’ve found it hard to buy, particularly if you don’t want to go to big supermarkets. If you can’t find it and would like to try these recipes, I’d substitute salad greens of your choice.

Goat’s Cheese and Watercress Quiche


  • 225g gluten-free flour , plus extra for rolling
  • 100g butter
  • 1 large egg , beaten, plus extra beaten egg for brushing


  • 1 medium onion , finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 100g watercress , roughly chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 150ml log soft rindless goat’s cheese , in rough chunks
  • freshly grated nutmeg , optional


  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg and about 1-2 tbsp water to form a soft dough. Knead well then wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Knead the pastry again and roll it out to line a 20cm loose-bottomed flan tin (the pastry won’t shrink, so no need to chill). Patch holes with spare pastry and brush the base and sides with egg.
  3. For the filling, fry the onion in the oil until just soft, add the watercress and cook until just wilted. Beat the eggs and milk and stir in the watercress mixture and goat’s cheese.
  4. Season and if you like, add a pinch of nutmeg. Put the flan tin on a bakingsheet and bake the pastry blind for 5 minutes. Add the filling and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 180C/gas 4/ fan 160C and cook for 25-30 minutes or until lightly set

Watercress and Pinenut Mayonnaise


  • 1 bunch of watercress
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • 2 tbsp of toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp of plain mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper


Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Pick all the leaves from a bunch of watercress. Together with a cup of fresh parsley leaves, throw the watercress in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain well and mix the blanched leaves with 1/4 cup of cream. Puree and pass through a sieve.

Place in a saucepan and boil gently until only about 3 tablespoons of green paste is left. Puree 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts and add to the paste. Stir in 3 tablespoons plain mayonnaise and season.

T is for turnips!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

If the thought of greyish, mushy boiled turnip makes your stomach turn, then read again and see if you can gain a greater appreciation for the tastiness of the humble turnip.

According to wikipedia you might want to consider the swede, (yellow) turnip, swedish a root which originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. Its leaves can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It looks like this:
My experience with turnips is most commonly seeing them packaged in a ’soup’ vegetable packet at the supermarket containing carrots, turnips, parsnips, onion and celery. I’ve been determined to find tastier ways to cook and consume…

Turnip and Fennel Flan


  • 400g white turnips
  • 400g fennel, trimmed weight
  • 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 120g egg whites
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 40g butter
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 baby turnips, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 tbsp chives, finely sliced


Peel the 400g of turnips and slice into 1/2 cm thick rounds. Trim outer leaves from fennel and cut into 1/2 cm slices.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and plunge in turnips, fennel and onion for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain, cool a little and roughly chop, then mix with mascarpone.

Beat egg whites and rosemary together lightly with a fork and mix with turnips, fennel and onion. Season well with salt and pepper.

Butter six 12cm diameter ramekins and fill with mixture to a depth of 2cm. Bake in a preheated 160C oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frypan and fry baby turnip slices on both sides until golden.

Drain on absorbent paper. Serve flans with turnip slices on top as well as diced tomato and finish with chopped chives.

Serves 6

Turnip and Potato Patties


  • 1/2 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 6 oz potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallion green
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Grapeseed oil, peanut oil, or canola oil (high smoke point vegetable oils)
  • Salt and pepper


1 In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the turnip and potato cubes for 15 to 17 minutes, until they are tender, and drain them. In a bowl, mash them with a fork and stir in the scallions, the egg, flour, and salt and pepper to taste.

2 Coat the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed skillet with about 1/4-inch of the oil. Heat the pan on medium high heat until the surface of the oil begins to shimmer, but not smoke. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of the turnip potato batter into the pan, flattening them into 1/2-inch thick patties with the back of a spatula. Fry the patties until they are golden, turning them once, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the patties to paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Makes six patties.

Honey-Glazed Rutabaga or Turnip

Doesn’t have a picture but it sounds good!

2 lb Rutabaga or turnips

2 tb Butter

1/4 c Liquid honey

1/4 ts Ground ginger

Salt and pepper


Peel rutabaga and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices; halve or quarter slices. In pot of boiling salted water, cook rutabaga for 15 minutes (turnips for 8 minutes) or just until tender; drain.

Stir in butter; cook over high heat, shaking pan often, for 1 minute or until coated. Stir in honey, ginger, and salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring often, for 1 minute or until glazed. Makes 4 servings

S is for Sweet Potato!

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Sweet potatoes are much loved by many people. The thing I find most fascinating about them is that they are as commonly used in sweet dishes as savory recipes. So without further ado…

Image from here

Sweet Potato Oven Fries


3 sweet potatoes- peeled, cut into narrow wedges
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
A few dashes of cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 450°F.

Gently toss potatoes, oil, salt and pepper in large bowl until potatoes are evenly coated. Divide potatoes between two large cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Sweet Potato Pie


  • 454 g sweet potato
  • 115 g butter, softened
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 120 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 g ground nutmeg
  • 1 g ground cinnamon
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.

  1. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

  1. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup soy creamer or soymilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cups chopped pecans
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray (or wipe with canola oil).

Mash the sweet potatoes with the margarine until smooth. Add the soy creamer, orange juice, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Mix the topping ingredients together until well-combined. Spread or sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 45 minutes or until hot throughout.