Carrot Cake (or Muffins)

4½ cups grated carrot
1 cup canola/sunflower oil
3 eggs / vegan egg replacers
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons mixed spices e.g. cinnamon, allspice, ginger
up to 1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 180° C. Preheat the oven to 180° C. Lightly grease a medium round cake pan and dust with flour, or line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg/replacer. Stir in the other wet ingredients and sugar. Add the flour, followed by the other dry ingredients. Give the baking powder and spices a quick stir into the flour before stirring it all together until well combined.

Pour into cake tin, or spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 40-50 minutes for a cake, or 15-20 minutes for muffins, until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool, remove from pan and top with lemon cream cheese icing, or a dusting of icing sugar.

Crepes with Berry Sauce

1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon raw sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups vanilla soy milk
2 tablespoons canola/sunflower oil

1 cup fresh/frozen berries
¼ cup raw sugar

Put the berries in a small saucepan and add water to halfway up the berries. Add the sugar. Simmer this mixture while you cook the crepes, until nicely reduced.

Sift the flour and add the baking powder, spices, sugar and salt. Stir together and add the wet ingredients. Whisk or beat until smooth.

Warm a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and grease it with a little margarine. Once hot, reduce heat a little and pour in about half a cup of crepe batter. Swirl to cover the pan base. Cook until the batter is just dry, then shuffle the pan to move crepe to one side and flip with a spatula. Cook for another half a minute or so. Remove crepe and repeat with the rest of the batter.

Roll up the crepes and place on a plate. Pour over the berry sauce, and enjoy.

Pad Thai

½ teaspoon chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
300g firm tofu, drained & pressed (optional)
250g flat rice noodles
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
4 spring onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
200g bean sprouts
1 bunch baby Asian greens or baby spinach
a handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves
a handful of roughly chopped dry roasted peanuts

Whisk together the chili paste, soy sauce, lime juice, peanut butter, veg-oyster sauce and sugar in a bowl. If using tofu, slice it into cubes or triangles and marinade in the sauce for at least half an hour.

Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of warm water for about half an hour, then drain thoroughly. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the onions and garlic, and diagonally slice the spring onions into 1cm pieces.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the oil. Take the tofu out of the sauce, stir-fry until golden brown, and set aside.

Stir-fry the onion, garlic and spring onions for two minutes. Add the noodles and sauce. Stir-fry for a few minutes, until the noodles are nearly cooked. Add the bean sprouts and greens. Once the noodles are cooked, stir in the coriander and peanuts, and serve at once with tofu pieces on top.

Peanut Rice Noodles for Lazies

quick-cook rice stick noodles (enough for one)
boiling water
half a head o’ broccoli
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon vegetarian oyster sauce
juice o’ one lime
freshly ground black pepper

Put the rice noodles in a pot with the boiling water. In another pot, steam the broccoli until just tender.

Here’s the lazy part! In your noodle serving bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until smooth.

When your noodles and broccoli are cooked, drain them and toss with the sauce. Add pepper to taste. Yum!

Roasted Garlic Bread

2 heads of garlic
butter or margarine
a few sprigs of fresh herbs (chives, oregano, thyme, parsley, etc. – optional)
baguettes or crusty bread rolls

Cut the top off the garlics, drizzle with oil, and wrap them up thoroughly in aluminium foil. Bake at 180° C for 25 minutes.

Unwrap the garlic from its foil and allow to cool for ten minutes. Squeeze the flesh into a bowl.

Meanwhile, put sliced baguette or halved rolls in the oven to grill golden-brown on both sides.

Add an equal amount of butter/margarine to the garlic and mash thoroughly with a fork until they form a smooth paste. Finely chop the herbs and stir them in.

Remove the bread from the oven and spread liberally with garlic mixture. Serve immediately.

Spinach & Potato Bake

5-6 large potatoes
500ml cream
200g baby spinach
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
a few sprigs fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
a handful of walnuts
a handful of sesame seeds

Pulse the cream, spinach, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg and marjoram in a food processor until evenly chopped – not too much or the cream will get whipped. Cut the potatoes into centimetre-thick slices.

Grease a large baking dish. Put a single layer of potato slices in the dish, then drizzle over some green sauce. Repeat until you run out of ingredients and/or you fill up the dish up to three quarters of its depth. Put a thin layer of potatoes on top – the curvy end pieces are best here. Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped walnuts over the top and in any gaps.

Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake at 200° C until the potatoes are just tender. Then uncover and continue baking until the top is nicely browned and the sauce has reduced to almost non-existence. Remove from the oven, cool for ten minutes, and eat.

Tofu-Ball Laksa

300g firm tofu, pre-frozen & thawed
2 cloves garlic
2 spring onions
½ teaspoon chili paste
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
5 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
200g rice vermicelli
1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup vegetarian laksa paste
2 cups vegetable stock
400g can coconut milk
broccoli / bok choy / spinach / zucchini
1 cup mung bean sprouts

Squeeze tofu to remove as much water as possible. Put it in a food processor. Finely slice the garlic and spring onions and add them to the tofu. Process until pasty, then scrape mixture into a bowl and stir in the chili paste, chili sauce, about 3 tablespoons of coriander leaves and cornstarch. Mix thoroughly. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls. Put these onto a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Soak the vermicelli in hot water for ten minutes or until softened, then drain well and rinse in cold water.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the laksa paste and cook until aromatic. Add the stock, coconut milk and broccoli florets, reduce the heat and simmer gently until the broccoli is just tender. Stir in the vermicelli and tofu balls.

Divide the soup into serving bowls and serve, sprinkled with mung beans sprouts and coriander leaves.

Variations: Cube and fry the tofu for a super soup in a hurry. Use bigger flat or round noodles instead of vermicelli. Try Vietnamese mint instead of coriander. Add peanuts or cashews.


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