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Simple Vegan Tzatziki

Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

Another family recipe, courtesy of my Mum and Dad! Their tzatziki ‘recipe’ (it’s in their hearts and hands, not on paper) uses Greek dairy yoghurt and for a long time I held off making a vegan version because when I veganise family recipes, I prefer to use ingredients that result in an almost identical tasting match to the not-vegan version of my youth. Coconut yoghurt was immediately ruled out because, well, it ends up like a coconutty tasting thing and not at all like my family’s dish. Cashew cream ends up too sweet. Silken tofu would have the tofu after taste. Right?

Well, I think I was a bit harsh on the old silken tofu. Today I decided to go for it and see how it would taste and boy am I pleasantly surprised. I do like my tzatziki heavy on the garlic and lemon and that does help mask any soy flavour. Still, I couldn’t detect a strong soy taste like I feared and so I’ve been fist pumping around the place, waiting to see my parents so I can get them to try this.

Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

So when my parents make this, they break out the big guns and by that I mean their big huge Greek mortar and pestle. The thing that will break your toes if you drop it on your foot. Mum and Dad put peeled garlic gloves in the mortar with salt, then pound away with the pestle. The salt prevents the mashed garlic from flying out everywhere. Family events always involved the banging sounds of mortar and pestle the day before, while Mum got the tzatziki prepared. Before the days of less watery Greek yoghurt being sold in supermarkets, Mum would hang an old pillowcase of yoghurt over the sink and let it drain.

I don’t have a mortar and pestle, so I used a microplane for my garlic. You can also use a garlic press if you prefer, though it should be as close to mashed-like as possible.

For the cucumber, Mum and Dad always use Lebanese cucumbers that have been peeled, cut lengthwise and the seeds scooped out with a spoon, then excess liquid squeezed out. If they can’t find Lebanese, they use regular cucumbers. The cucumber is always grated, never chopped. Ha, they snort and shake their heads when they see TV chefs making tzatziki with massive chunks of cucumber!

For us, the flavour always comes from the garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Mum and Dad have never used herbs. Some people like dill, others use mint. Feel free to add those in if you like. I enjoy the tastes of herbs, but I enjoy my parents’ tzatziki without them because this is what I grew up with and faffing around with the flavours kinda feels wrong when it’s a much loved family recipe!Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

This is a medium-ish serving but I only say that because Mum and Dad make a huge amount, so this amount seems wee in comparison. I wanted to base my recipe on a 300g block of silken tofu.

I would recommend that you keep this in the bowl you prepared it in (in the fridge), then if you’re going to serve it give it a good stir and put it in a nice bowl. In terms of how it compares to the dairy version, you can see in the photo the colour is more yellowy than white but taste wise? This tastes exactly like what my Mum and Dad make. I watched them making tzatziki many, many times so the process is pretty automatic for me and I’m super happy there’s no big strong tofu taste. I wonder if that depends on the brand of tofu, perhaps some are more soy tasting than others. I used Earth Source Japanese style silken tofu.

 

Simple Vegan Tzatziki
Print Recipe
This vegan tzatziki uses traditional Greek flavours of garlic, lemon and olive oil. Silken tofu is used in place of dairy yoghurt. You can change the amount of garlic or lemon to suit your tastes.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Simple Vegan Tzatziki
Print Recipe
This vegan tzatziki uses traditional Greek flavours of garlic, lemon and olive oil. Silken tofu is used in place of dairy yoghurt. You can change the amount of garlic or lemon to suit your tastes.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Peeling the cucumber is optional. Cut the cucumber down its length and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds (seeds aren't needed in this recipe). Coarsely or finely grate the cucumber (your choice, I use fine but my parents prefer coarse). Squeeze out as much liquid from the grated cucumber as possible and set aside.
  2. In a small blender or food processor, whiz the silken tofu (with excess water pressed out) to make it all smooth. You don't want any lumps.
  3. In a small or medium bowl, combine the smoothed tofu, cucumber, half the lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine then add lemon juice to taste. I like mine lemony so start with half first!
  4. Before serving, give the tzatziki a good stir and put on a fancy plate or in a bowl. Drizzle with a little extra oil and garnish with some thinly slice cucumber.
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8

Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Veganopoulous Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Frozen raspberries were on sale last week so I picked up a big bag, got home and found another big bag in the freezer I’d forgotten about. Whoops. But when the freezer gives you frozen raspberries, you make raspberry baked goods.

I’m all for muffins because my kids are (so they claim) in a state of perpetual hunger. Like, the instant I sit down with a cup of tea they’re excavating the fridge. And I’m all KEEP THE FRIDGE CLOSED! from the other end of the house, because I have eyes in the back of my head and extendable ears. And then I hear all the kitchen cupboards opening and some anxiety-inducing rustling. So I figure a container of muffins on the kitchen table will at least spare me the whole “someone’s gonna drop my big jar of blackstrap molasses from up high and I’m gonna be pissed” feeling of foreboding. Veganopoulous Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Okay, so enough backstory. These muffins are oil free (as in, I don’t add oil as an ingredient) which is the way I like to bake for snacks at home. I used aquafaba, taken from canned chickpeas. I wanted something quick, oil free and tasty that my kids could eat between meal times if they were staaaarving, with a piece of fruit or smoothie. Plus we’re going out tomorrow and these will be great for the lunchboxes. They’re nice and coconutty and would be even more so if you use coconut milk as your non-dairy milk of choice. You can also do that thing where you heat one up then have it with ice cream. Instant pudding!

Veganopoulous Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins

 

 

Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins
Print Recipe
An oil free vegan muffin perfect for lunch boxes. Aquafaba is used in place of oil or melted butter, making this a healthier alternative if you're watching your oil consumption!
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Vegan Oil Free Raspberry Coconut Muffins
Print Recipe
An oil free vegan muffin perfect for lunch boxes. Aquafaba is used in place of oil or melted butter, making this a healthier alternative if you're watching your oil consumption!
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 10 minutes
Cook Time
22 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: muffins
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (about 180C). Prepare your favourite muffin cups or tray. I used both silicon cups and a metal tray (when I ran out of cups) sprayed lightly with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. My brown sugar was lumpy so for this instance I mixed the sugar with the liquids to break it all up.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients but don't overmix-- just do the bare minimum to get everything combined.
  4. Gently fold through the raspberries. Fill the muffin cups/tray (you can sprinkle on some sugar if you like).
  5. Bake for around 20-22 minutes, checking at the 18 minute mark. My oven took 22 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and enjoy!
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10

In My Kitchen July and August 2016

I’ve just realised I haven’t posted an In My Kitchen for July. I could have sworn I did but a search reveals that’s not the case and there it is in my Drafts folder. Argh! So here’s an In My Kitchen for July and August 2016.

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. Maureen is taking a break for a few months and the official In My Kitchen linkup will be back in September, but a bunch of bloggers are still doing their monthly writeups.

First up, these Field Roast vegan sausages. This is the Italian flavour which was quite nice. The Mexican sausages are way too spicy for us but the smoked apple sage were nice:

field roast italian sausages

I love the Japanese sauces by Saori. Saori makes these products in Melbourne and she’ll be back at World Vegan Day Melbourne this year. Just love all of these:Saori Japanese sauce

When someone brings you presents in the form of Melbourne vegan ice cream Zebra Dream! Two more lovely flavours to try:zebra dream ice cream

In My Kitchen are some buckwheat pasta spirals, purchased from The Source Bulk Foods in Brunswick:buckwheat pasta

My mother in law gave me a packet of this pumpkin seed meal. I often put pumpkin seeds in my smoothies so this meal has been very handy:pumpkin seed meal

Lots of fruit, mostly from the farmers markets (not the bananas though!) Since discovering the apple stalls at my local farmers market, I’m never going back to anything else. I never really liked apples all that much until I bought them super fresh directly from the growers. In the background there is a chair covered in a cheap pillowcase, thanks to the cats using the chairs as scratching posts. You can see the pillowcase has sustained some feline damage. Cat hair on the apples:lots of fruit

My daughter had a project where she must prepare a meal from scratch for her family. She chose to make pasta. This was exciting for me because back in about 2003 my sister had asked what I wanted for Christmas and I HAD to have a pasta roller.  I wanted it so much that it first got taken out of the box, like literally in July 2016. My old retro kitchen table is too thick to be able to clamp the roller down which was a nuisance! We chose to make orange pasta, using the pulp from juicing carrots. We ended up with a pretty yellow colour instead. I have pulp from kale and beetroot so we’ll use those for coloured pasta, and I want to try using black sesame seeds and some of that pumpkin meal:

homemade carrot pasta

I’ve really changed the way I spend, in the effort to budget and cut down on mindless spending. In the past if I needed something like bowls I’d look at something and go yeah that will do. Now, I do the Konmari Method thing of asking myself “does it spark joy?” I have this little vision of my home eventually being filled with stuff that makes me happy to be around. Currently, it’s more like loads of crap lying around pissing me off. There’s no sparking of the joy there. Aaaanyways, moving on, earlier in the year I bought myself a pretty bowl and plate from the Made In Japan shop at the Queen Victoria Market. I’ve gone back a few times since to look at things. I was lingering over these bowls and was told the large size were the last bowls anywhere in this design so the deal was done. I love these bowls (two large and two smaller inside) and the plate too. Do they spark joy for me? You bet! Though they shall spark fury if someone damages them. SERENITY NOW. Spot the reflection peace out sign:made in japan bowls

I enjoyed these two pasta sauces from Glencoe Farms. I bought them from Coburg Farmers Market, though Glencoe Farms are stocked in some stores and at different farmers markets. I prefer to make pasta sauces from scratch but it’s too much effort because the family don’t like tomato based sauces. So I got these to myself:

Glencoe Farms pasta sauces

My mother in law gave us all this massive grapefruit from their tree. I don’t eat it so I tend to give most of it away (because Husband says he’ll eat them but never does so I have to give them out before they spoil):

grapefruit

In My Kitchen (but not hanging up) is this picture I found in Brunswick Savers. My daughter likes anything to do with Paris and France so I thought $9 for this was a bargain as it looks hand painted. I had glanced at the picture before turning it over to check the price, then saw it was an old frame backing (you know, because of all the old tape holding it together). And a hand written (but faded) message on the back has a date of 1967. Look at the cars and the clothes! We went to Paris in 2002 and I’d love to go back (though Japan gets first dibs on our next overseas holiday):

vintage Paris 1967 picture

Finally, some July scenes around Sydney Road in Brunswick!

sydney road brunswick scenes

 

12

Lunch At Kao Thai In Brunswick

Kao Thai Brunswick vegan menu

Last month, I noticed a ‘vegan options available’ sign in the window of Kao Thai on Sydney Road in Brunswick. I went in to check out what was being offered and grabbed a regular menu. I asked the staff there if they could point out the vegan options and I was presented with a separate vegan menu with seventeen dishes to choose from. Not bad! So I made a note to go back asap for a meal. Pretty handy then that my sister chose Thai for her birthday lunch!

We spent some time working out what to get as there were lots of good looking options. The Pad Thai Tofu stood out (doesn’t Pad Thai always stand out?!). This was quite nice and not at all too-oily like some Pad Thai meals I’ve had elsewhere:

Kao Thai Brunswick vegan menu

A satay will often show up if my sister and I go to a Thai place, so here’s the stir fried tofu, vegetable and the satay sauce:

Kao Thai Brunswick vegan menu

Our third option was the red curry stir fry tofu with vegetables, coconut milk and Thai basil:Kao Thai Brunswick vegan menu

We also ordered a plain steamed rice and the fried rice with tofu, vegetables and mushroom sauce: Kao Thai Brunswick vegan menu

The serving sizes weren’t huge, but they made for a filling meal where we were nicely full, not the stuffed-sick kind of full. There were three of us, so three mains plus a rice was enough. From what we ordered, and the menu overall, it did seem to be the same vegetables but we were happy to overlook it because we enjoyed the meal and would go back. That said, I’d order a different dish next time if there were other vegetables on offer, just for a little variety.

I haven’t really had Thai food in Melbourne since becoming vegan. I know there are options out there but from memory they’re further away, so I’m stoked to have a vegan Thai restaurant closer to where I live (at least, easily accessible with the Sydney Road tram!). This part of Sydney Road in Brunswick has quite a few vegan friendly offerings and having Thai food as a new addition is fantastic.

I didn’t note the prices and forgot to ask. I also couldn’t get photos of the inside as there were lots of people and when I went to take a photo of the outside, they were having stuff delivered. So look for this signage!

Kao Thai Brunswick vegan menu

Kao Thai

347 Sydney Road

Brunswick

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kao-Thai/558090704205030

 

Kao Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

4

Return Visits To True North In Coburg

True North Coburg vegan cherry pancakes

True North in Coburg is a place I return to often– good food, friendly staff and right near where I do most of my shopping. I’ve blogged about True North before, but as I’ve gone back so many more times, I thought it was time for an update. Annoyingly there were a few times I forgot to take my camera.

True North Coburg

The True North menu offers something for everyone with lots of vegan-option icons. In the past I reviewed the Reuben sandwich with a thumbs up. On my camera-less visits, I’ve also enjoyed the black bean tacos for dinner with a side of thick cut fries with lime aioli which appears on the current dinner menu.

From the current Breakfast-Lunch menu is the vegan Chipotle Chicken sandwich (shown below). True North make some great sandwiches. I’ve also had a couple other fab sandwiches which aren’t on the menu any more. One was the Hot Poppy and another had, IIRC, a big mushroom with some tofu and Korean bbq flavours. They’ve all been really good and full of flavour.

True North Coburg vegan chipotle chicken sandwich

Another current Breakfast-Lunch meal are the cherry pancakes. Lovely and fluffy with a a coconut based cream on top:True North Coburg vegan cherry pancakes

The counter always has some sweet treats with vegan options like muffins and biscuity-cookie delights. Other times there are cakes and this is the vegan lamington cake. The serving size was pretty generous and I couldn’t finish it because I was stuffed:

True North Coburg vegan lamington cake

What I also like about True North are the events they hold. Truthfully I haven’t been able to go yet but they’re so awesome looking I just stalk all the photos on Facebook. There are Pie or Die nights, featuring pies (some vegan) from Blackberry Belle Pies. There’s Thursday night $10 curry+beer/soft drink and Royal Rumble Sundays with old school 1980s WWF wrestling action and burritos. There was also a Trash and Treasure market back in May with Nadia’s No-Dogs vegan hotdogs.

Coming up is the all vegan Death To Summer- Eternal Winter Feast on September 17th. Tickets available now.

True North is fine for kids. I’ve taken mine a couple of times and have seen parents and toddlers in there too. My kids have fun looking at all the knick knacks around the place (cats!!!) and a visit to the toilet is worth it for a Slimer statue and Mr. T poster.

True North Coburg

True North

2A Munro Street

Coburg (just about on the corner of Sydney Road)

http://www.truenortharcher.com

https://www.facebook.com/truenorth3058

 

True North Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato