24

Review: Street Vegan By Adam Sobel

Street Vegan Cover

[image source: Penguin Random House]

The Cinnamon Snail Food Truck from New York has a well deserved reputation for superamazing food. The first all-vegan all-organic food truck in the US, they’ve won awards, been featured twice on the front page of the New York Times dining section, received super accolades and moooore. Here in Melbourne, I’d be reading blogs from North America and seeing people making a point of visiting The Cinnamon Snail on their holidays. I know people from Melbourne who have gone to NYC with a visit to Cinnamon Snail at the top of their list and came back raving about it. So when I heard that chef Adam Sobel was releasing a cookbook I figured this may be the only chance I have to get close to trying the food for myself, as an NYC trip isn’t something that will be happening for me any time soon!

This is one of those books where I was turning every page and loving what I saw followed by a quick thought process of just how soon I can get over to the US and try the food myself, then doing a desperate hand wringing wail that I’m you know, on the other side of the planet. Okay enough tales of woe, on to the food!

So seitan is one of those things I don’t like to make much because it always seems too mushy. Even if I reduce liquids, I feel it’s too soft inside which always makes me feel it’s not cooked. I also have a habit of incinerating overcooking it just to be sure it is properly cooked and reduce that mushiness. I loved the photo (crispy bits!) and the description of the Seitan with Maple Mustard Glaze. The recipe calls for tofu in the seitan but I used some canned butter beans instead as well as swapping the stated raw garlic for some I’d already roasted. I also did a bit of an experiment and cooked the seitan two ways: first, pan frying in oil as stated in the recipe and second with my air fryer. I wanted to try an oil free method of cooking too, though I did lightly spray the seitan strips with some coconut oil before putting them in the air fryer. Because the seitan strips were going to be tossed in the maple mustard glaze, I didn’t mind too much about the strips being too dry from the air fryer. I made these the night before breakfast and let them sit in the glaze overnight and although the air fried strips were a little on the dry side, they were still fine enough. The best bit was these didn’t have the too-soft-too-mushy factor my previous homemade efforts have suffered.

I loved these strips and they weren’t difficult or time consuming to make. I got up early and made some bread before breakfast, chopped up some spinach and grilled red peppers and wondered if refusing to share makes me a bad parent:

Street Vegan maple mustard seitan

Another recipe from the breakfast chapter is the Cashew Oat Waffles with Caramelised Apples. These involve making some oat flour (from rolled oats) and grinding up some raw cashews in a food processor. While the waffle batter was resting for the twenty minutes specified, I made the caramelised apples. I didn’t follow the recipe 100% here with the cooking of the apples (only because I’m, you know, lazy and impatient) but it was almost exactly the same. With the waffle batter, I used aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas) in place of the oil as I try to avoid using oil wherever possible. They turned out great and I loved the sweetness of the cashew in the waffles. Here the waffles are topped with the apples and I added a little coconut yoghurt. They toasted up fine the next day as well. Here are two days of waffles:

S treet Vegan Oat Cashew Waffles with Caramelised Apples

The Cranberry Brazil Nut granola was really easy to make. And eat. I love Brazil nuts but don’t often use them and I found a stash in the freezer looking all forgotten. This granola is flavoured with cinnamon and orange. I used quinoa flour in place of amaranth flour and I baked it much longer than the recipe stated because I wanted to get as much crunch as possible. This granola is great with coconut yoghurt or on top of a smoothie bowl. Best granola I’ve made:

Street Vegan Cranberry Brazil Nut Granola

I figured I cooked enough from the breakfast chapter and that it would only be fair to make something non-breakfasty. Hmm, nah. Strike that, reverse it and get your face in to the Almond Milk French Toast with Raspberry-Grapefruit Coulis and Smoky Roasted Almonds! I had to plan for this, like tell Husband the ruby red grapefruit I bought for him ages ago, that he failed to notice in the fruit bowl in the middle of the table where we eat every day, was not to be touched after all. I made the coulis the day before, ditto for the roasted almonds, though I did mostly pecans and a little of the almonds because as usual, when I go to make a recipe I am often out or almost out of something that features in the recipe’s title. Making the coulis and nuts in advance was a big time saver when it came to assembling everything. The nuts were soooo good (maple syrup! Liquid smoke! Nutmeg! And more!) that I’ll be making a huge batch around Christmas and giving them out as gifts. The only bread in the house was a little on the heavier side, and cut unevenly *cough* so next time I’d use a regular style loaf for pretty triangles:

Street Vegan Almond French Toast

Now I confess I always skip the Soups chapter and leave it for last. I’m just not a soup person. I won’t even order a laksa or a pho if there are other chewy things available. So ah, I left the soup chapter of Street Vegan til last. But when I read it, I was all FEED ME SOUP. I had all the ingredients for the Maple Butternut Squash Soup so I went off to the kitchen and made it on the spot. This soup is full of great flavours: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, star anise, maple and more. It was awesome the next day. Let’s take this outside, soup!

Street Vegan maple butternut soup

I had to try something from the sandwiches chapter. As soon as I saw the word ‘gomasio’ I was sold. Well, it is also truthful to point out I was extra sold on seeing ‘five-spice’. Do you ever have one spice you buy with the best of intentions, but you never use it? Then when you find it in the pantry it’s two years out of date so you bin it and buy another to replace it, but then don’t use that one either? That’s my relationship with Chinese five-spice powder. So the recipe for Miso Teriyaki Seitan with Grilled Onions and Five-Spice Fried Sunflower Gomasio had me all yeahhhhhhh time to rock out that five-spice from the back of the shelf. Party time, excellent! Okay so I did change the recipe a little but only a wee bit. It calls for seitan (whether you make it yourself or buy it) but I chose to use the Gardein chickenless tenders. I didn’t chop them up and mix them with the onions and miso teriyaki sauce like the recipe says, I just spooned the sauce over the tenders. I also didn’t have the wasabi mayo which I really think would ramp this sandwich right up. Still, I’m hard pressed to choose whether I liked the gomasio or the miso teriyaki sauce more. This sandwich is full of fabulous flavours. I’m in love, even though I served it on a cheapie bread roll and not a baguette. You can shove a round roll in your mouth more easily which is what I did with this sandwich. The intro for this recipe says “this sandwich has developed a cult following”, and yep I can sure see why:

Street Vegan miso teriyaki gomasio sandwich

And because that sandwich was so good, I had to try another one. But first, let me tell you about the time I was reading various articles along the lines of “things food bloggers do that piss people off”. One of those things was referring to food as amazeballs. But I’m a rebel at heart because I deliberately go in the opposite direction to the pointy arrows at Ikea and so I’m going to say, in an all-caps show of defiance, that the Thai Barbecue Seitan Ribs with Pickled Thai Basil and Onions and Smoked Chile-Roasted Peanuts was AMAZEBALLS. There are a few things to prepare but I saved some time by making the smoked chile roasted peanuts the day before. I’m not a big lover of roast peanuts but it was so, so hard you guys to resist eating all these before I made the sandwich. I did screw up a little with seitan and following the order in how it got cooked with the barbecue sauce but it all turned out alright. I knew I HAD to make this, I love Thai basil but of course I couldn’t find any in the shops. I had to go to Bunnings (one of those giant hardware and gardening stores) and buy some Thai basil in a pot. With teeny tiny leaves, but I was desperate. I didn’t use a baguette either but the bread was fancy enough. This sandwich is full of brilliantly combined flavours and textures. The crispiness of the seitan, the nice soft pickled onions and the crunch and sweetness of the roasted peanuts (not to mention the smokiness) equals AMAZEBALLS:

StreetVegan_Thaibbqseitanribs

There are great sweet recipes in Street Vegan but I resisted them all but in the name of research, you understand, I did have to make at least one for the blog. I went for the Pine Nut Friendlies because I’ve always felt sorry for pine nuts. They seem to be relegated to being toasted and thrown on to pasta or put in pesto. At least in my house… anyway, pine nuts rule in these cookies and each bite is pine nutty deliciousness:

Street Vegan Pine Nut Friendlies

Sometimes when I review cookbook recipes, I kinda wince when I mention modifications I made in case the author reads it and is all objection! What has that criminal done to my recipe!?!? and shakes a fist at me. This is such a time. See, it was early morning, my head all stuffed up from a cold and me not learning that past experience dictates when I’m tired and sick and not thinking clearly, maaaaybe, just maybe, that’s not the best time to make substitutions. I did make a fair bit o’ subs for the Mint Matlock Takes All His Clothes Off mint chocolate cookies. Like using aquafaba in place of the coconut oil and egg replacer. And spelt flour instead of plain. Aaaand coconut sugar even when I know that’s taking a big risk. But hey! These turned out all lovely minty chocolately pillow like anyway! So while they deviate from the Matlock cookies, they’re still close enough to be in the same TV lawyer-detective category. Or maybe more along the lines of Remington Steele. No photos, as they probably look nothing like how the recipe should turn out, but we scoffed them down anyway.

Street Vegan is full of awesome. It’s rocketed straight in to my most fave cookbooks evahhhh list. IT HAS A DONUT CHAPTER. The recipes are brilliant but I especially love the stories Adam Sobel has included. He talks about starting out with the Cinnamon Snail food truck, community outreach, problems they experienced with law enforcement, challenges they faced with providing food to gazillions of people and more. I smiled and snort-laughed a lot reading this book, especially during the recipe intros (bwahaha at the intro for the granola recipe!). It’s one of those books I would be happy to leaf through over and over, even if I’m not looking for something to make.

At first glance, I can understand why some may find some of the recipes a bit too involved or a fair bit of work. However I learnt my lesson when I had written off other great cookbooks in the past, thinking they were a bit too fussy. Seriously, don’t let that deter you. If you think these recipes look great but take ‘too much time’, just give it a go when you do have that extra time (and really, sometimes it’s an extra fifteen minutes). When I read a cookbook I always make mental notes of how long I think something would take, could I make it when the kids are home (and always needing something as soon I start working!), should I make something at night and leave it for the next day, and so on. So while yes, there are recipes in this book where I feel I have to have some more free time and uninterrupted peace and quiet to blast an embarrassing CD while I cook, it’s nothing a bit of time management won’t fix. This book is definitely worth it.

Keep up to date with The Cinnamon Snail‘s locations via their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

 

82

Review and Giveaway: Plant-Powered Families By Dreena Burton

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

This is a worldwide giveaway! For details on how to enter, please read on.

official Plant-Powered Families Cover

When I first became vegan, I looked for vegan cookbooks and searched many a forum and community looking for advice on what would be good for not only a new vegan, but one with a family to cook for. Dreena Burton‘s name was always at the top of the list and so I purchased both Let Them Eat Vegan! and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. I loved these books straight away, with their easy no-fuss recipes and wholesome ingredients. From there I purchased Dreena’s older books The Everyday Vegan and Vive le Vegan! I’ve used them so much and always find something new to try every time I flip through them. Dreena also blogs over at Plant-Powered Kitchen.

BenBella Books Plant Powered Families polenta pizza crust
Polenta pizza crust: Image courtesy of BenBella Books
BenBella Books Plant Powered Families Sweetballs
Sweetballs: Image courtesy of BenBella Books

I was really happy to learn that Dreena was writing another book, this time with a big focus on plant powering your family. Dreena has been vegan for over twenty years and has three children. Her writing style is friendly and approachable and her books are great for everyone, not just people wanting recipes and information specific to families. BenBella Books kindly sent me a review copy. I’ve cooked loads from this book and will detail that below.

The book is broken in to three sections. The first section is called An Introduction to Eating With Plant Power. Dreena writes, in response to the “isn’t it hard to raise your children on a vegan diet?” question, “it’s not the vegan part of parenting that’s difficult. It’s the parenting part”– so true! As well as new recipes, there are reader favourites which have been adapted to have allergy free ingredients or more healthy ingredient alternatives. There are sample meals plans and nutritional advice contributed by Heather Nicholds, RHN , to help answer questions about getting enough protein, iron and calcium. There is helpful information on stocking your pantry, preparing food in batches, how to wash fresh produce and tips on involving your children in food prep.

The second section is made up of the recipes, of which there are over one hundred with beautiful colour photographs.

BenBella Books Plant Powered Families smoky bean chili
Smoky Bean Chili: Image courtesy of BenBella Books

The third section is called Plant Powered Challenges and Solutions. There’s good advice on dealing with the ‘picky eater’ challenge (something we know too well in our home) and Dreena provides detailed tips and food strategies to help. I found this section really helpful, even though I’ve read so many picky-eater advice over the years. There’s a section on school and lunchbox solutions as well as tips for hosting and attending kids’ parties, which is coming in handy as we have Arthur’s birthday party coming up. There are cooking guides for beans and grains and advice on preparing your own DIY staples like nut butters and milks. The included meal plans come with a nutritional break down which I really like. There are FAQs addressing the protein-iron-calcium questions, fats, supplements and soy. I particularly like the nutrient charts for a host of foods and have been consulting them frequently.

I’ve made quiet a few recipes from Plant-Powered Families and they’ve turned out great. Arthur and I are fans of the Apple Pie Smoothie:

Plant-Powered Families: apple pie smoothie

Another smoothie favourite is the Pumpkin Pie. An awesome way for my son to eat his veggies…

Plant-Powered Families: Pumpkin pie smoothie

I made the Red Lentil Hummus for a family lunch and we stood around devouring it:

Plant-Powered Families: Red lentil hummus

I’ve made coconut ‘bacon’ a few times but this is my favourite. The addition of tahini takes it up to a whole new level (and I might have eaten this bowlful with a spoon…)

Plant-Powered Families: baconut

I made the Sweet Potato Cake and my uncle loved it and had seconds. My aunt said “don’t tell him it has sweet potato in it, he hates sweet potato”. Ha!

BenBella Books Plant Powered Families sweet potato cake
Sweet Potato Cake: Image courtesy of BenBella Books

The Crazy Brownies are awesome– made with kidney beans and sweet potato. DeeW wanted hers as a tower with fruit (she didn’t eat the fruit):

Plant-Powered Families: Crazy brownies

The Creamy Fettucine was easy to prepare and really tasty. I used wholemeal noodles for mine:

Plant-Powered Families: creamy fettucine

The Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl is amazing. DeeW had decided the day before that she didn’t like peanut butter anymore. I was happy because I got this to myself and I did everything I could to get every last bit out of the blender (and in to my mouth):

Plant-Powered Families: Peanut butter berry pudding

Giveaway time! 

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

BenBella Books have kindly offered a copy of Plant-Powered Families to one lucky Veganopoulous reader. If you are the winner and live in the US or Canada, you will receive a print copy. If you’re anywhere else, you’ll receive a digital copy! To enter, leave a comment below and tell me if you have a favourite Dreena Burton book or recipe, or if there’s something you’d like to make from the photos above. Please feel free to share this on social media. The giveaway will run until the end of the month, August 31st 11:59pm AEST. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator and I’ll get in touch with you, so please use an email address where you can be contacted (this won’t be published).

Please check out BenBella’s website as they publish a number of great vegan books!

Good luck!

15

Review: Living Candida-Free By Ricki Heller

Living Candida Free grain free appleberry crumble

Ricki Heller is one of my favourite cookbook authors and food bloggers. Her previous book, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, is one I use often (the Marbled Halva is magic!). Thanks to Ricki, sweet potatoes took on a whole new purpose in my house and I frequently use her recipes for baked goods using sweet potatoes.

I was lucky to receive a copy of Ricki’s latest book Living Candida-Free via Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe. Johanna was a recipe tester for this book and you can read her review here and get the recipe for Ricki’s Asian Napa Cabbage Salad. I was so excited to receive this book and did my usual thing where I read the book from start to finish, bookmarking the recipes I want to try first, then give up because I bookmark every page.

Living Candida-Free book cover

Living Candida-Free contains 100 recipes as well as loads of information on Candida-Related Complex, with contribution from Andrea Nakayama. Although I am not dealing with any candida issues myself, I found this all really interesting and learned quite a bit about CRC. I admit there are some cookbooks where I breeze through the opening sections and go straight for recipes, but not here. I’ve since re-read these chapters and the information has been helpful to a few friends. Ricki gives you strategies and tips for successfully following an anticandida diet and her recipes are so good that you certainly do not need to be following an anticandida diet to enjoy them! This is a book I’d encourage everyone to try, regardless of any special diet you may follow.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve made. First up was the gingerbread pecan butter. I had to give this away. Why? Because it was SO GOOD. Seriously, I was eating this so fast (like, with a spoon) that I begged my sister to take it:

Living Candida Free gingerbread pecan butter

Kale chips! I love my kale chips and these are some of the nicest I’ve ever tried. This recipe is for sour cream and onion style chips. You can see I need more practice with watching them in the oven. I tend to use the dehydrator for chips but I was too impatient this time and used the oven:

Living Candida Free kale chips

I love fennel and always have edamame buried all forgotten-like in the freezer. I loved this dish, made with roasted fennel, brussels sprouts and the edamame:

Living Candida Free fennel brussels edamame

I love this eggplant parmessan and have made it a few times since (but not managed to take a better photo…)

Living Candida Free eggplant parmessan

For sweet treats, I enjoyed the crimson mousse made with boiled beets. Ricki is correct in this recipe when she says it doesn’t taste beet-y. I was psyching myself up for beetyness but there was none:

Living Candida Free crimson mousse

I made the raw apple porridge bowl for Arthur and myself. Honestly, I didn’t think he’d enjoy it because he (at the time) preferred regular oat porridge. He ate it all up and asked for more. Happy!

Living Candida Free raw apple porridge bowl

In the topmost photo is the grain-free apple berry crumble. This time I thought DeeW would say she didn’t like it but instead she asked for seconds. This is the kind of dessert I’d happily serve the kids for breakfast as the apples and berries provided all the sweetness needed. We loved it.

 

There are so many more recipes I want to try, like the Sunday night roast (follow the link above to Johanna’s page for a photo of her roast, doesn’t it look fab!). I found the recipes easy to follow and incredibly tasty– like I said I don’t need to follow an anticandida diet but these recipes are ones I happily make again.

You can find Ricki blogging at rickiheller.com (her blog was previously called Diet, Dessert and Dogs). As well as loads of recipes, Ricki’s site contains a wealth of information on candida and more info on her books.

Okay, time to go bookmark some more recipes. I’m eyeing off the super stuffed sweet potatoes with creamy greens and chickpeas, followed by S’More parfaits!

38

Giveaway, Review, Author Interview: Veganissimo! and Greenilicious

This giveaway has now closed

Veganissimo! and Greenilicious

I often read my vegan cookbooks like a novel from cover to cover, rather than looking for specific recipes. I grab some pieces of paper for bookmarks, put my feet up, lower the cone of silence then read through the recipes. One of my favourite read-it-like-a-novel cookbooks is Veganissimo! Beautiful Vegan Food by Leigh Drew. Another favourite is Leigh’s Greenilicious: 101 Ways To Love Your Greens, with Queensland based dietitian and nutritionist Amanda Benham contributing to the nutrition information sections. Leigh and Amanda were brought together to create Greenilicious and this book is also frequently consulted in my home!

Check out some of the gorgeous photos from both books (thank you to Arbon Publishing for allowing me to use these images)! Here’s the Spiced Chocolate and Zucchini Cake with Macadamia Icing from Greenilicious:

Greenlicious_SpicedChocolateZucchiniCake

Hint of Mint Cheesecake from Greenilicious:

Greenilicious_HintMintCheesecake

Soft Molasses Gingerbread Cake from Veganissimo!

Veganissimo_GIngerBreadCake

Rocket Frittata from Greenlicious:

Greenilicious_ROCKETFRITTATA

Scallion Pancakes from Veganissimo!

Greenlicious_ScallionPancake

Fennel, Asian Vegetable and Fresh Fig Salad from Veganissimo!

Veganissimo_AsianSalad

There are some fantastic cheese recipes in Veganissimo! and I love the Chive and Cashew Cream Cheese (I’ve also made it with dill instead of chives). This is one of my favourite photos from Veganissimo!

Veganissimo_DipsAndCheeses

Broccoli Fritters from Greenilicious:

Greenilicious_BROCCOLIFRITTERS

Filled with loads more beautiful photos, both Veganissimo! and Greenilicious were created here in Australia. I asked Leigh some questions about her background, future plans and the cookbook creation process. You can find my reviews and photos of dishes I’ve made from both Veganissimo! and Greenilicious further down. Check this interview out, I very much enjoyed reading Leigh’s responses!

Please tell us about your culinary background!

I started cooking for the family (of 2) when I was about 9 years old. My mother was working a lot and I perfected the muffin pizza for a quick dinner for us. It’s been all wins since then! I worked in a French restaurant and studied cheffing for a while in my early twenties, but I didn’t really hit my fall-in-love-with-cooking state until I became vegan in 2003. I suddenly had to relearn everything that I knew, and a whole new world opened up for me!

I started blogging, then managed to convince Sydney Community College to let me run vegan cooking classes, which led to my first book being published by aduki (a Melbourne vegan indy publisher), which led to me becoming involved in running naked espresso and apt in Newtown, as well as ongoing involvement as a cooking demonstrator at various vegan festivals around Australia.

I have mostly concentrated on writing cookbooks in recent years, with an occasional foray into hospitality (I helped out at Revolution Foods Café in Enmore for a while), and have been lucky enough to have great support from Arbon who have published my last two books.

What does writing a cookbook generally involve, from start to finish?

My experience with writing a cookbook (and this may differ from other experiences) is to first determine the theme of the cookbook, then do some research to see if there is much out there in the same vein (or if there is a trend coming up).

Second task is to create the shape of the book – chapter titles/concepts etc, and then build a recipe set that reflects the theme of the book and the chapter concepts. When the recipe set is finalised and a skeleton recipe is written for each of dishes, then I get my recipe testers and taste testers involved.

I cook the dishes, making changes to the recipes I’ve already written, and present them to my taste testers. I incorporate the feedback from that experience into the draft recipe, and then post it for my recipe testers to make. They’ll come back with further feedback and based on that, I’ll finalise the recipes and present them to the publisher.

After that there is editing, looking at design for the book and, if I’m really lucky, sitting in on the photoshoots for the chosen recipes. I might also be writing the introductory chapters (non-recipe chapters) at the same time as all of the above is happening. There is also the process of choosing the cover, which is always lots of fun and very difficult!

Finally, I get to hold first proofs of the final version of the book in my hands, and then the first print run. I always get overwhelmed with a combination of pride, happiness, slight confusion and a feeling of “how did I write this beautiful thing?” when I see my books.

Do you have any standout favourites from Veganissimo! and Greenilicious?

Oh wowsers. It’s always hard to choose!!

From Veganissimo…. I love the Coconut, Ginger and Lime Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis; the Lemon Self-saucing Pudding; the Soft Molasses Gingerbread Cake; Tandoori Cauliflower Cheese; Thai-style Yellow Curry with Coriander Dressing; the Cashew Cheese with Roasted Garlic and Smoked Paprika; the Vegan Meatball Subs; and the Pikelets with Whipped Maple Crème.

From Greenilicious…. I love the Raw Tex Mex Tacos (was so chuffed that they made the cover!); the Green Crepes stuffed with Chilli-spiked Cream Cheese; the Broccoli Fritters; the Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip; the Mushrooms Rockefeller; and the entire Green Smoothies chapter.

There are so many others, but today, these are my favourites 😀
When you have an idea for a recipe, do you run with it? Or do you have to make sure nobody else has done it first?

There are so many creative, prolific vegan bloggers and recipe creators out there that I definitely try and see if anyone has already created the dish I’m thinking of making! If there are lots of example of the dish out there in existing cookbooks or on the internet, I may go back to the drawing board, or I may look at ways to tweak it to make it identifiably my creation.

So if it’s a version of an already popularly veganised dish, such as the Reuben Sandwich in Veganissimo, then I’ll do some research on the different ways that people have approached the dish and adapt my recipe accordingly so that I can bring something hopefully new to it.

Always research, because firstly, there are great techniques out there that you may not have thought of, and secondly, occasionally you find that no-one else has done anything like your recipe idea in any way 😀

Do you have a meal at a restaurant (or friend’s house, festival etc) that blew your mind?

Oh, regularly! Most recently it was probably at Green Mushroom in Glebe (all veg*n Indian restaurant) – everything we had was top notch. Cannot wait to try the other half of the vegan dishes on the menu!

Brunch at Smith & Daughters made me cry with happiness – a griddle full of veges and beans and nopales topped with cheese sauce, soft corn tortillas on the side….

Oh! The vegan gorgonzola pizza at Sfizy Veg in Berlin was amazing. Actually, everything at Sfizy Veg in Berlin is amazing. Their brunch… OMG.

I’ve been getting lunches from My Little Panda Kitchen in Sydney and their cinnamon bun is mouth-wateringly good.

And my boyfriend makes the best – BEST – roast potatoes.

What are your plans for the short and long term future?

In the relative short term, I’m writing a new cookbook, which is exciting. I’m hoping to do some travel in the near-ish future, and hopefully keep writing and speaking on how to be a well fed vegan!

Mostly my plans are to be the happiest vegan I can be. And to learn to swim.
If you could have one culinary superpower, what would it be?

Hmmmm. Making the washing up magically happen without my having to do it isn’t really a *culinary* superpower, is it?  To turn slightly melty vegan cheese into bubbly, stringy, stretchy vegan cheese. Vegan cheeses are getting better and better, but sometimes I just miss the whole “hold pizza at arm’s length from face and have the cheese stretch across the chasm” experience.

 

Leigh has packed 120 recipes in to Veganissimo! which range from marinades to baked goods, from cheeses to sandwich style foods, from stews to desserts and more– it’s all there and I have no doubt you’ll find something you’ll enjoy. The Lemon Self Saucing Pudding is my family’s favourite and frequently requested!

As well as the recipes, Leigh provides some information on the vegan lifestyle and a vegan diet in Veganissimo! The chapter ‘Building Blocks of Vegan Cuisine’ covers equipment basic, pantry items, legumes, nuts and seeds (including a table for soaking and cooking times), whole grains, soy and wheat products, nondairy milks, dairy substitutes and egg substitutes.

Here are some of the fantastic recipes I’ve made from Veganissimo! and I have loads more I want to make.

I loved these Vegan Meatball Subs and I was over the moon that my fussy ten year old loved the (no)meatballs. I made my own bread rolls (using spinach, hence the green) and filled them with some greens, the meatballs, the Chunky Onion and Tomato Sauce and the Cheese Sauce which you can make using either oats (my choice) or sunflower seeds. The meatballs are made with tofu, walnuts and brown lentils. The recipe calls for green olives in the mix but I didn’t have any, though I think they worked perfectly without. These are now my go-to meatballs:

Veganissimo! Meatball Subs

The Angel-hair Pasta with Creamed Eggplant and Avocado Sauce gives you the option to use chickpeas instead of eggplant. Here I went with the eggplant (though I made too much pasta!). I think it would taste just as good with the chickpeas, which is what I will try next time. I didn’t have the ingredients to make the Gomasio recipe called for, so I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on top:

Veganissimo! Angel Hair Eggplant Pasta

The Overnight Breakfast Cups are made with quinoa flakes and apple. I often have overnight oats so this was a nice change:

Veganissimo! Overnight breakfast cups

The Aragula Salad with Cranberries, Butternut Squash and Orange is another favourite of mine and one I would make as the star salad if I was cooking for a lot of people:

Veganissimo! Aragula Orange Salad

The Pikelets with Whipped Maple Cream recipe was another good choice. The kind of good where you’re really impatient to eat them but you have to wait until you’ve taken a photo (where the jam and cream kinda plop everywhere by the time you get the dish outside):
Veganissimo! Pikelets

Another favourite recipe is the Reuben Sandwich, using a tofu bacon that’s marinated in a spiced soy. This spiced soy, with cinnamon and anise, adds a really nice flavour to the marinade. Like the meatballs, this tofu bacon is now my go-to bacon/facon recipe. This sandwich looked so good that I set up camp outside and enjoyed it all nice and peaceful like:

Veganissimo! Reuben Sandwich

I’ve previously made the Thai Style Yellow Curry with Coriander Dressing and rate it as a favourite. Loaded with coriander (cilantro), this is a definite winner for coriander-loving me. The recipe calls for tofu but I was all out so I used some chickpeas and leftover pumpkin:

Veganissimo! Thai Yellow Curry

DeeW wanted to help me make a cake for Mothers Day so we went for the Moist Beet and Chocolate Cake (in a heart shaped tin of course!). DeeW requested no glaze as she’s not a fan of icing, so we sprinkled over some icing sugar. I could barely detect any beetrooty taste in the cake (I’m not a huge fan of beets) and what I could pick up was no problem at all. As the name says, this cake is moist and chocolately. The colour was gorgeous and I will definitely make it again:

Veganissimo! Moist Chocolate Beet cake

I’ve previously made the Chocolate Mousse Tart with Raspberries which disappeared quick smart at a family Christmas lunch:

Veganissimo! Chocolate Mousse Tart with Raspberries

 

Greenilicious contains 101 recipes to ‘love your greens’ and in all honesty this is one book (along with Veganissimo!) where I want to make just about everything. There are alternatives given if you want to omit an ingredient or try different flavours. I especially love this book because I am very guilty when it comes to serving my greens in the most lazy, minimalist way possible. In other words, I throw all my greens in to a blender and drink them. Now sure, green juices and smoothies can be awesome but Greenilicious has loads of wow factor recipes (go back and look at the official book photos above! Those cakes!!!).

From Greenilicious, I’ve made the Pesto Broccolini Pizza. The polenta base is a very welcome change from your standard pizza dough:

greenilicious_pesto broccolini pizza

The Ethiopian Greens with Spiced Chickpeas recipe is another favourite of mine:

Greenilicious Ethiopian greens

I really enjoyed the Tofu Salad with Shredded Cabbage, Peanuts, Chilli, Mint and Miso Dressing. Here I’ve added some hemp seeds:

greenilicious_tofu salad cabbage

There are a load of green smoothie recipes with worthy names like Baklava, Sesame Halva and After-Dinner Mint. One of my faves (both the name and smoothie!) is Cooper’s Cherry Pie:

greenilicious_coopers cherry pie smoothie

Giveaway Time!

Arbon Publishing and Leigh are offering up a copy each of Veganissimo! and Greenilicious for one lucky Australia based reader of Veganopoulous to win. That’s right, the winner will receive these two books! To enter, please leave a comment below telling me which recipe shown here appeals to you most. The winner (remember, Australia only!) will be chosen by a random number generator. Be sure to use an email address where you can be easily contacted (this won’t be made public). This giveaway closes on Friday May 29th 2015 at 23:59. Good luck!

If you’re not the winner, you’re still in luck! Arbon are having a May special where you can purchase both books for a total of $50.00 by using the code VEGANAU. $10 will go to Vegan Australia.

 

**This giveaway has now closed**

16

Cookbook Review: Greenilicious 101 Ways To Love Your Greens

Greenilicious at cruelty free west expo

I was over the moon when I heard that Leigh Drew, author of Veganissimo!, was releasing a new cookbook heavily focused on greens. I love my greens and I love Veganissimo! so with that combination you can see why I was hopping around impatiently until I was able to buy my copy from the Cruelty Free West Expo recently (photo above), where Leigh held a cooking demo.

Greenilicious: 101 Ways To Love Your Greens is co-authored by Leigh Drew and Amanda Benham. Amanda is an Australia-based vegan nutritionist and dietician who has been helping people with plant based nutrition for over twenty years. Her articles have appeared in both scientific journals and popular magazines. Amanda can be found at http://humanherbivore.com/

Okay, the recipes! I read the book about three times from cover to cover, like a favourite novel. As always, I bookmark the recipes I want to try but found myself bookmarking every page. So I took out my markers and went through Greenilicious again, this time exercising more discipline and only bookmarking recipes where I already had most of the ingredients.

The first recipe I made was the Tofu Salad with Shredded Cabbage, Peanuts, Chilli, Mint and Miso Dressing. This was my first choice, thanks to having shredded some cabbage the day before. The cabbage was shredded along with zucchini for a dumplings experiment that displeased the family, so I had a heap leftover and no idea what to do with it. This salad featured that shredded cabbage, zucchini and a little kale. The recipe calls for Chinese cabbage but you can use the regular sort, as I did. The dressing is a simple miso-tahini with freshly squeezed orange juice and I pan fried the tofu (I used firm tofu as I didn’t have tofu puffs).. I sprinkled hemp seeds for serving (because I look for any excuse to use hemp seeds). I love this salad and will definitely make it again:

greenilicious_tofu salad cabbage

I made half the recipe of the Ethopian Greens with Spiced Chickpeas. I say half, because I only made the greens. That’s what happens when you think you have chickpeas but you’ve run out. What good vegan runs out of chickpeas?! Anyway, I’m making this again with the chickpeas, which are stirred through before serving. Look at all this green goodness!

Greenilicious Ethiopian greens

A green curry is always going to be one of the first recipes I make from any book, so here we have the Thai Style Snake Bean Green Curry. I used regular green beans and firm tofu instead of tofu puffs. I served mine on baby spinach (keeping with the Green theme!). Easy to make, easy to devour:

greenilicious_thai style snake bean curry

I admitted defeat with polenta a little while ago but I had a jar of polenta staring sadly at me when I opened the pantry. I had some broccolini and some pesto which meant there was no excuse for not making the great sounding Pesto Broccolini Pizza. Yet again I thought I had some home made pesto but only had one small portion which covered one corner of the polenta pizza. I had also made the recipe for Celery Stuffed With Walnut Cheese (minus the celery and the stuffing), so I used the walnut cheese in place of the remaining pesto. It turned out great and the polenta base was a nice change from a bread base:

greenilicious_pesto broccolini pizza

There are a bunch of awesome sounding smoothie recipes. Sesame Halva! BAKLAVA!!!  L A M I N G T O N ! ! !  Genius! I went for the superbly named Cooper’s Cherry Pie smoothie (I had to get the weird cherries in the photo). I love the smoothie recipes and I admit I sometimes get a bit bored with my usual green smoothie so I’m loving Greenilicious:

greenilicious_coopers cherry pie smoothie

Honestly, I feel like I am doing this fantastic cookbook a disservice by not having more recipes. Truthfully, I did plan on having loads more but things have been a little hectic around here and I wanted to get this blog post up asap.

As well as super recipes, one thing I love about Greenilicious is the information given about greens. The chapters each showcase a select group of greens that have features in common and there’s info at the start of each chapter. I like the nutrition content table at the back of the book (very handy!) and I got a laugh out of the foreword written by Pam Ahern, founder of Edgar’s Mission.

Greenilicious is a beautiful, useful, informative cookbook and one I am only too happy to have on my shelf. It makes a great gift too! Some of the recipes I want to try next are the raw Tex-Mex Tacos (shown on the cover), Rocket Frittata, Shaved Asparagus Hazelnut and Ruby Grapefruit Salad, Cauliflower and Fennel Pate and the Hint of Mint Cheesecake.

Ally from Made Of Stars wrote a great review of Greenilicious, so please head over to see more recipes!

 

Have you got Greenilicious? What have you made?