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Archive for the ‘Dinz’ Category

A lot of the dishes I make are often inspired by something I’ve seen or eaten before at a restaurant, and this is especially true for raw dishes as I’m still quite an amateur when it comes to ‘uncooking’. I first tried this creation in the Living Food Cafe in Phuket, and only because it was recommended to us by another customer – I was quite skeptical of the sound of it. I may have mentioned before that I was never a big fan of mixing fruits with vegetables, but honestly the mix of Papaya with the savoury flavours work wonderfully! Add chopped Mango to your salsa and you’ll be in raw heaven…Trust me, this combo is delicious  & satisfying, and makes a great starter or even a light dinner. Don’t use Papaya that is too ripe, as it won’t keep its shape!

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 large Papaya, ripe but firm

Alex’s Mango Salsa (omitting Cucumber, adding 1/2 tsp. minced Garlic)

Guacamole (recipe from The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes for Everyday Cooking):

2 ripe Avocados, peeled & seeded

2 Tblsp. chopped Red Onion

sqeeze of fresh Lime juice

1 small Garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. fresh Red or Green Chile, minced (optional, depending on how spicy you want it)

dash of Chile powder or Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper

for garnish: Spring Onion (optional)

 

Method:

– Peel Papaya and cut off top and tail. Cut into thick, even sized rings and carefully scoop out seeds from the centre of the rings. Place on plate.

– Mix ingredients for Salsa in a bowl and set aside.

– For the Guacamole, place all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well, mashing the Avocado until a few chunks remain. Taste, and adjust seasonings.

– Scoop a large spoonful of Guacamole onto each Papaya ring, followed by a spoonful of Salsa. Decorate with Spring Onion if desired.

*Eat with a knife & fork, and enjoy!

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On a recent quest to detoxify my body, and lacking the willpower for another 7 day liquid cleanse, I decided to stick to a Raw menu for a few weeks. This dish is just one of the many delicious & satisfying meals I have been feasting on, which I decided to recreate after having it at one of my favourite Veggie haunts. To be honest, the idea of eating Zucchini uncooked has never really appealed to me – along with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Mushrooms…And so, despite the hype around Zucchini ‘Pasta’, I hadn’t even considered trying it – until it was the only raw choice on the menu one night, and now I’m so glad I did! Julienning the Zucchini into long, thin strips creates mock noodles with just the right texture, and they’re packed with fibre & water unlike heavy, starchy pasta. But it’s the zesty Basil Pesto and juicy Cherry Tomatoes that make this dish so heavenly – nothing can beat homemade Pesto! I like mine with lots of garlic, so if you’re not a big fan then adjust accordingly. These noodles are topped with Gomasio (a mixture of Sesame Seeds & Salt) for some crunch, but you can just as easily replace it with finely chopped Almonds or Sunflower Seeds…You’ll be surprised by how filling this dish actually is!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

2 medium sized Zucchini

handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Tblsp. Sundried Tomatoes, chopped

Gomasio to sprinkle on top (or finely chopped Almonds/Sunflower Seeds)

For the Basil Pesto: (from The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes for Everyday Cooking) – makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups fresh Basil leaves, packed

1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Pine Nuts

1/2 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

2 Tblsp. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

2-3 Garlic cloves (I used 3…)

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Nutritional Yeast (optional)

 

Method:

– After washing the Zucchini, cut the tops & tails off and, using a Mandoline, julienne into long, thin strips (make sure they are not too thick). Place in a large bowl, along with the Cherry Tomatoes and Sundried Tomatoes.

– Combine all the ingredients for the Pesto in a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend until mostly smooth.

– Mix Pesto with Zucchini Noodles (you may only need half the batch), and top with Gomasio.

*Enjoy, guilt-free!

 

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Spaghetti Bolognaise & Lasagne were my two most requested dinners when I was young – I’m sure my Mum must have gotten tired of making them! They were also the first dishes I learnt to make when I moved out of home, before that my specialty was melted Cheese on Toast…To this day I still love a good Bolognaise, except now I make it without the smelly Mince-meat (which used to make me gag when I was cooking it!). This recipe is pretty basic as I just used what I had around that night, but feel free to add some other veggies if you like – Eggplant, Courgettes or Carrots would go well too. You could also roast your veg first, rather than pan-fry, and then add them to the Tomato Sauce before blending, mmm…The ultimate comfort food – tastes just like Mum’s Bolognaise!

Ingredients: (2-4 servings)

1 pkt. Gluten-free Spaghetti Pasta

1 clove Garlic, minced

1/2 Onion, diced

1/2 each of Red Bell Pepper & Yellow Bell Pepper, diced

1 Tomato, diced

1 tin crushed Tomatoes (Fire roasted is good)

handful of Kalamata Olives, halved

3-4 Sundried Tomatoes, rehydrated & chopped

pinch each of dried Basil & Oregano

a few leaves of Fresh Basil, chopped finely

Optional: 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (if you want it to have a bit of spice…)

 

Method:

– Boil water with a dash of Olive Oil & Salt, and cook Pasta according to instructions on packet.

– In a large Saucepan heat some Oil and sauté Onions until they begin to soften. Add Garlic and sauté until it begins to release its aroma, then add Bell Peppers and pan-fry until they begin to soften.

– Add Tomato, dried Herbs, optional Red Pepper Flakes, and Sundried Tomatoes,  and stir to combine. Pour in the tin of Tomatoes, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer (add a little water if mixture looks too thick). Allow to cook on low until the vegetables are cooked & softened (about 15mins.), then add Olives & Basil and remove from heat.

– With a hand blender (or in a blender), purée the Sauce leaving about half of it chunky. Add drained Pasta, and serve in a big bowl…

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I served this dish at a Girl’s Dinner a few nights ago – it’s great to make if you’re feeding a crowd. Risotto usually has Parmesan in it, but you really don’t need it here as it’s definitely not lacking in flavour! The Sundried Tomatoes add a great taste, but you can also leave them out if you prefer. I decided to make this with Barley because I thought the firm chewiness of this wheat-free grain would work well (and it did), but if you don’t have any on hand then it can be substituted with traditional Arborio Rice, or even Short Grain Brown Rice. Switch it up by changing the veg according to your taste…This is not a difficult meal to make, but it does require a good 45 minutes stooped over the stove, so be prepared!

Ingredients: {adapted from Vegie Food (Chunky Food)}

7-8 cups Vegetable Stock

1 cup White Wine

Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 cups chopped Mushrooms (I used Brown, but you can mix and match with any you like)

2 cups Barley

2 tsp. dried Thyme

4-5 Sundried Tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (if dry, rehydrate before use)

2 cups fresh Baby Spinach

 

Method:

– Place the Stock in a large saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.

– Heat Oil in a large saucepan/frying pan, adding Onion and cook for a few minutes until soft and golden. Add Mushrooms, Garlic & Thyme, and saute a few minutes until Mushrooms begin to shrink in size and release water. Slowly add 1/3 cup White Wine, and cook until dissolved. Repeat with another 1/3 cup until dissolved again and Mushrooms are cooked but still firm. Remove half the Mushroom mixture and set aside to add later.

– Stir in the Barley, adding a litte more oil if neccessary, and cook 1-2 mins. with the Mushroom mixture in the pan. Slowly add the left over 1/3 cup White Wine & Sundried Tomatoes, and stir over medium heat until absorbed. Continue adding the stock a little at a time (about 1/2 cup), with a ladle, stirring constantly until absorbed and the Barley is cooked through and creamy. This will take about 40 minutes.

– Roughly shred the Spinach with your hands, and mix into the Risotto with the rest of the Mushroom mixture you set aside before. Cover with a lid and leave for a few minutes for the Spinach to wilt (with heat off).

– Garnish with fresh Parsley if you like.

*About 4 large servings…

 

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If my Sister sees this post, she’ll probably roll her eyes at me – when we were staying together in South Africa for a while, I  made this a bit too often for her liking (atleast twice a week…)! I just can’t help it, it’s my favourite meal when I’m craving some juicy Veggies and a light, but satisfying, dinner. I like to add some chopped up Veggie Sausage to this too, which adds to the roasted yumminess. Usually I would pop in some Yellow Pepper & Eggplant as well, for extra colour, but I didn’t have any around this time. I love that this can be put together within 30 mins or so…I still make this atleast once a week!

Ingredients: (2-4 servings)

half Red or Yellow Onion, chopped into large chunks

1-2 cloves Garlic, minced

handful Mushrooms, sliced thick

1 Red Pepper, cut into large chunks (add Yellow Pepper too, if you have)

handful Cherry Tomatoes, whole

1/2 Courgette, cut into large chunks

1 head of Broccoli, small florets separated

2-3 Veggie Sausages, cut diagonally into large chunks (optional)

juice of 1/2 fresh Lemon

Olive Oil

dried Basil, Thyme & Oregano

 

Method:

Preheat Oven to 220 C/425 F, and get a baking tray ready (line with foil if needed).

– Combine chopped Veggies, Garlic, Herbs, Sausage in a large bowl and squeeze Lemon Juice over. Add as much Olive Oil as is needed to cover everything in a light layer. Mix well. Remove Broccoli and set aside to add later.

– Pour the rest of the Veggies on to baking tray and place in oven, on top shelf, for 10 mins. Remove, add Broccoli and give Veggies a stir to promote even cooking. Roast in oven for another 10-15 mins, until Veggies have softened & begun to brown.

– Serve on a bed of Quinoa, or with a Salad for a light meal…

Mmmm...

*You might need use two trays if not all the Veggies fit on one tray – they need to lay evenly to roast properly, not too crowded. If so, swap the trays around half way through roasting.

 

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Gazpacho…

Every now and then, if I start to feel groggy, tired & bloated from a bit of neglect, I have a Raw Juice Day (or 2, or 3…) to revitalise myself. [Check out my Veggie Juice post for an idea of what I like to juice when I do a cleanse]. Usually I have no problem with drinking only liquids for the day, especially when it’s as hot as it has been lately…But in the evenings I start to crave something a bit more substantial – something that can be had on a fork or spoon, not through a straw! Enter the Gazpacho: perfect for a Raw Juice Day as half of it is blended, aiding digestion, and it doesn’t get heated so it’s full of raw energizing goodness. This is also great when you feel like something satisfying, but not too heavy due to the Summer heat, and it can be whipped up in minutes.

Ingredients: (another great recipe from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!: 200 Recipes for Simple and Delicious Animal-Free Cuisine)

Serves 6-8

5 large fresh Tomatoes, cored and diced

1 medium Red Onion, peeled and finely diced

1-2 Cucumbers, peeled and diced

1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced finely

1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded and diced finely

Juice of 2 Lemons (about 6 Tblsp.)

Juice of 2 small Limes (about 2 Tblsp.)

1/4 cup Tamari/Braggs Liquid Aminos

2 Tblsp. Hot Sauce or 1 small Chilli finely chopped

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt (taste soup first & then add if needed)

1/2 ripe Avocado, diced

handful each of finely chopped, fresh Cilantro, Basil and Parsley

 

Method:

– Combine diced Tomatoes, Onion, Cucumbers, and Bell Peppers in a large bowl.

– Add the Lemon & Lime Juice, Tamari, Hot Sauce/Chilli, and Salt (if needed).

– Put about half (or more) of the mixture into a Blender and blend for 30 seconds until finely textured.

– Combine blended mixture with diced mixture, stir in Avocado and fresh Cilantro, Basil & Parsley.

– Cover and refrigerate until chilled, or if already cold – serve.

*Make sure to cut everything into very small pieces…

 

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I just love the combination of Black Beans, Mango, Red Onion & Coriander, together they make magic – but with the addition of Avocado & Lime you have a real masterpiece! Quinoa is a staple in my kitchen, I try to eat this complete-protein grain atleast 2-3 times a week so I’m always looking to create new dishes with it. The name of this Salad comes from one they serve at my favourite Vegetarian Restaurant here in Hong Kong, but the recipe is based on the one in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. This meal is a nutrient dynamo that you can either enjoy as is, or pop in a wrap – which is how I like to have it…

Ingredients: (about 4 servings)

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups Water

1/2 can Black Beans, drained & rinsed

1/2 large Mango, peeled and cut into small dice

1/2 Red Onion, diced

1/2 Red Pepper, diced

1/4 Cucumber, diced (optional)

half an Avacodo, cut into cubes

handful of fresh Coriander, chopped

juice of 1 Lime (I use Calamansi)

dash of Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tblsp. Olive Oil

Tortillas – if desired (I use Spelt or GF)

 

Method:

Bring Water & Quinoa to a boil in a small pot, once boiling lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 mins. until water absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

– Combine Salad ingredients in a large bowl, except Avocado. Mix Lime Juice, Vinegar and Olive Oil in a jar, add to the Salad & Quinoa and stir to combine. Gently fold in the Avocado. Can be eaten at room temperature or chilled. Serve in Tortillas if desired.

 

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