Mushroom Gravy

This gravy (like most gravy) doesn’t look all that appetizing but believe me you will be going back for more because it’s seriously good! This recipe is for a larger quantity but can easily be scaled back if you don’t need this much. It doesn’t matter how much we make, we never have any leftovers, it’s damn delicious! Pictured here atop “smashed”, roast veggies.

 

DSCN0976

 

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 Mushrooms (up to 100g)
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Spring of Fresh Rosemary (or 2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
  • 200-300g Soy Milk
  • 50g Water (Optional if you want to bulk up the amount of gravy you make)
  • 20g Stock
  • 30g Spelt or Wheat Flour

 

Method:

– Roughly chop mushrooms and add then to the thermomix along with the onion, garlic and rosemary.

– Turbo until blitzed and then add a splash of oil and cook on 100 degrees for 4 mins.

– Add remaining ingredients and and combine on speed 5 for 10 seconds.

– Cook on speed 2, 90 degrees for 5 mins.

Mushroom Gravy

Vegan Brownie Cake

This recipe started off more like a mud cake but we have adapted it so that it has more of a brownie consistency. People are always impressed when you can make a really good cake that is vegan. There is a misconception that eggs are needed for binding but this one will prove them wrong! We don’t have any great pics just yet but we make this so often that we’ll be sure to update this post when we take some more photos.

If you grind your own nut meal in the thermomix then feel free to make the meal for this recipe a little bit chunky – it will add a great texture to your brownie cake!

DSCN0983

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Rapadura or Sugar
  • 125g Vegan Margarine (we use nutellex), or butter or neutral oil
  • 1/2 Cacao Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Cup Soy Milk + 1 Tsp Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup Spelt or Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal (or any other nut meal)
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda

 

Method:

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (if you have a”slow” oven then turn up the temperature to 190). Grease a large cake pan or line with baking paper.

Add rapadura and margarine/oil to the thermomix bowl and combine on speed 6 for 10 seconds.

– Add the soy milk + vinegar to the thermomix and allow it to curdle while you gather the remaining ingredients (and boil the kettle for the hot water).

– Add the remaining ingredients and combine on speed 4 for 30 seconds.

– Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake until the cake feels firm and an inserted knife comes out looking like a brownie 🙂 around 35 minutes.

 

If the cake is a little undercooked it will set and have a very gooey centre and if it is a little overcooked it will have more of a cake consistency. Practice makes perfect with this one!

DSCN0784

Masterchef. What do you reckon?

I am NOT the reality TV type. I have never watched a home renovation/makeover show or gotten into the “got talent” type thing, BUT last year I sort of got stuck into Masterchef and this year it’s got me again!

It all started when I read a tweet about thermomixes being used on the show. I thought I would check out the particular episode that featured the thermo and I just got sucked in from there. And I definitely am a sucker.

At first I watched it just because of my curiosity around what can be achieved with food. I still judged it quite harshly, seeing it as an experiment about pushing people to their limits and seeing what they can do under extreme pressure then adding in some Big Brother-esque personality clashes for entertainment. I figured it was probably rigged by the 3 fat guys that ate all the food and as you might have guessed I had a few problems with the ingredients used on the show too.

BUT, the more I watched, the more I grew to appreciate what the show was offering viewers – a relationship with food. Let’s face it, the show uses ALOT of animal products, but there is complete transparency about the origins of the food and how it is processed, something which I appreciate in regard to all food but especially with animal products.

The show is not afraid to document how whole animals are divided into specific cuts and how the animals are raised and then processed. Some viewers (and even contestants) have struggled to watch this “graphic” food preparation and I think that’s a good thing. So many people mindlessly chow down on meat with very little concern or awareness for what it actually is. Awareness is a good thing, even if it’s difficult to swallow. It allows us to appreciate the journey that our food has been on to reach us, whether we choose to eat meat/dairy or not.

The other thing I think that masterchef offers its viewers is a passion for creating amazing food. Even though there’s alot of meat and dairy used in the show, there are also a stack of veggies, fruits, grains, legumes and herbs. Many of the accompaniments are vegan or could easily be converted. The plant-based components of each dish have been created with excitement and enthusiasm – AWESOME!

The other thing that I found exciting about last year’s competition is that the top pick contestants tipped to win got booted in the final rounds and the prize went to the underdog! Legendary! Maybe it isn’t rigged after all.

Even though I probably wouldn’t eat many of the dishes made on the show and I don’t necessarily agree with many of the ingredients, I am still curious about how it’s done. I am not disillusioned about animal products being a major part of a conventional diet and so I can accept it for what it is, even though I wouldn’t choose it for myself.

And I must say, I do get a kick out of seeing a bit of Thermomix fame! What about you? Are you into it?

 

Orange & Thyme Sticky Sauce

This sauce can be used in stir-fries, as a dipping sauce, atop cooked veggies or to glaze baked tofu or meat. It’s also a good way to use up excess oranges that you thought you would get around to running through the juicer (not in this wintery weather).

We have thyme growing in a pot near the kitchen so it’s easy for us to use the fresh stuff but dried thyme is fine for this recipe. In fact, if you don’t have any, swap it for rosemary or basil or just leave it out all together! Whatevs!

orangesauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 450-500g Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1-2 Clove of Garlic
  • 40g Rapadura
  • 1 tsp Salt

 

Method:

– Juice oranges and weigh. Set aside in a bowl.

– Place onion & garlic in TM bowl and turbo until chopped. Cook on 100 degrees, speed soft for 3 mins.

– Add remaining ingredients and cook on varoma temp, speed 2 for 15 mins. If the sauce has not reduce enough for you then cook for a few more minutes.

Thoughts On Soy

Soy isn’t for everyone. I think that for someone giving up dairy, soy is a great option but some people prefer to avoid it altogether. Read this for more info about the potential dangers of soy.

I went full circle with Soy. When I had dairy in my life, I thought soy milk tasted horrible but when I kicked dairy for good, soy was much easier to consume and I grew to love it. I explored other dairy free milks and struggled hugely with the gag factor! Oat milk and rice milk are good options for most milk applications like hot drinks, cereal, baking etc. Personally though, I can’t really stomach them! We occasionally make our own nut milk (recipe soon) which is great for smoothies and a few other things but doesn’t cover all bases in the same way that soy does. Also soy is a milk that my husband and I can agree on and because we don’t use much milk in our household, choosing soy reduces our waste (we used to have our own milks but there was too much wastage!).

Many of the recipes on this website use soy and if you have dairy in your life, then you can substitute dairy directly, no problem. However if you are dairy-free then please note that some of these recipes will recommend using soy for best results (Vegan White Sauce) for example, but others will allow you to choose the non-dairy milk that you prefer.

I am not an expert when it comes to dairy fee milks so if you want to share your experience or resources then please do! Basically the main reason that people like to avoid soy (milk in particular) if because it is acidifying and can cause hormonal disturbances. I don’t consume a large amount of soy milk so I am not at all worried about this, but if I was consuming large quantities then I would probably switch to rice or nut milk.

Another issue with soy is that much of it is genetically modified. Always choose organic soy to ensure you are not being exposed to GM food.

I’m not trying to staunchly defend soy but I do think that there’s alot of unnecessary scare-mongering out there about it especially when you consider meat and dairy for example are also acidifying and can cause hormonal disturbances. Moderation is key.

Apparently, fermented soy foods like tempeh and tamari have less dangers.

I eat tofu about once a week, I don’t go for processed mock meats at all. I can’t eat tempeh (because of the yeast-based flavourings that are added to it) but I would it I could. I use tamari on occasion and have about 3-4 hot drinks made with soy milk each week and the occasional cake. It’s not a whole lot really.

I’m not worried but I totally understand that some of you want to avoid it altogether. As far as our recipes are concerned, when we list soy as an ingredient, my all means try out an alternative, explore what’s possible and let us know!

Cashew-Coconut-Vanilla Cream

This dairy free cream will set you free (from dairy!) and set nice and firm too 😛  Seriously, if the prep required for this one is turning you off, please give it a shot. It’s actually really easy! With some recipes you can skip the soaking of the nuts if you wish but NOT THIS ONE. Soak your cashews for 4-12 hours. Here’s what I do, the night before I make this, I put the coconut cream in the fridge and soak the cashews. In the morning I drain and rinse the cashews, grab the can out of the fridge and I’m ready to go.

Once made, this cream will set in the fridge but it takes at least 2 hours. If you want this cream to be reliably firm then make it before you need it and chuck it in the fridge. Then you can scoop it onto desserts or even get your dairy-free kicks by squeezing it through a piping bag for some delicious icing or decoration.

Please don’t waste the coconut water/milk that will be left over from this recipe. Use it in a curry, smoothie or soup!

roastfruit4

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can of Coconut Cream (chilled)
  • 1 Cup of Cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Paste/Extract
  • 1 Tbs Agave Syrup

 

Method: 

– Open coconut cream can and using a spoon (or pouring skills), scoop off the cream down to the level where is has separated into water. Put the cream directly into the Thermomix bowl and retain the water for another recipe.

– Add remaining ingredients and slowly turn up to speed 7 for around 20 seconds.

– Scrape down lid and sides and slowly turn up to speed 8 for 30-60seconds, until smooth.

cashewcream

 

Banana-Blueberry-Spinach Green Smoothie (Beginner)

If you’re new to green smoothies or the idea of drinking spinach is gross to you, then this is the smoothie to get you started. It’s also a good one to give to kids (or unsuspecting husbands) to get them to have more raw greens in their diet. I am not into massively sweet food so I like this smoothie without any added sweetener. I suggest making it up first and having a taste, then add a sweetener if so desired.

Also, this is not just for beginners, it’s for anyone really. I LOVE this smoothie and often use it as a fall back because I always have the 3 main ingredients in the house.

bananaberrygreensmoothie1

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Spinach or Chard leaves (or a handful of baby spinach)
  • 1-2 Frozen Bananas
  • 70g Frozen Blueberries
  • 200g Water
  • Honey or sweetener of your choice (optional)

Method:

– Add all ingredients to TM bowl (or blender) and combine on speed 8 or higher for 1 minute.

bananaberrygreensmoothie

 

Easy-As Vegan Pie Filling

This pie or pasty filling is simple & delicious, even for meat eaters! You might be thinking that it doesn’t look like a pie filling, it’s essentially just lentils and veggies but believe me, it tastes great! Now that I’m a wholefoods fanatic I love eating vegetables simple & plain. I reckon that the pastry is enough of a treat (not to mention the tomato sauce that I have with it) that the veggies are good enough without any gravy. If you’re a believer that a pie is just not a pie unless it’s filled with gravy as well as the other fillings then just make up the sauce you want and stir through the filling mix before assembly.

Wondering what veggie to choose? ANYTHING! Well, anything that steams well. Mushrooms for example, would probably be better off in with the lentils. I even use things that wouldn’t traditionally go in a pie like brussel sprouts, beans and cauliflower.

Ingredients:

  • 100-200g Dry Lentils
  • 650g Water then a bit more Water
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • Veggie Stock
  • Tofu or tempeh (optional)
  • Seasonings

Method:

Add lentils to bowl and cover with first lot of water (650g). Allow to soak for up to 4 hours. (if you don’t have time for soaking then cook them on 100 degrees for 20 mins before next steps)

Choose your veggies, chop them up into small pieces and lay them in varoma.

Once lentils are sufficiently soaked (or pre-cooked), add the stock to the lentils and top up water to the 1.5 litre mark.

Attach varoma and cook on varoma temp for 25 mins (Some lentils can take longer than this. If your veggie are cooked then just take off the varoma & replace with the MC & continue cooking).

Decant veggies into a large mixing bowl and use one of the varoma trays as a sieve for the lentils. Add lentils to the veggies and combine.

– (Optional) Add crumbled tofu or tempeh.

– (Optional) Add your preferred seasonings or sauce & combine.

Wrap in pastry (the best part! Recipe coming soon!)

Pie Filling 1

Pie Filling 2