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Archive for the ‘Lunch-time’ Category

I know, it’s been a while…But this was worth the wait, I promise! This recipe is founded on a dish my Mum used to make, which was a family staple in the house – Sausage Pasta Bake. She would use English Pork Sausages and crumble them into a Tomato sauce, baked with Macaroni and covered with melted Cheese. It was absolutely delicious and I’ve dreamt of it many times since I’ve become Vegan…and now I’ve finally attempted to make my own version & it came out really well! I’ve spent the last few months in LA (Vegan capital of the world!), and have therefore been taking advantage of the abundance of faux meat & dairy products. The Soy Chorizo I used in this recipe is one of my favourite finds, but you could easily use any other Vegan Sausage and just crumble it – the only difference is that this one adds a nice spice to the dish. This bake can be whipped up in about 30 minutes flat, but comes out tasting & looking like you’ve spent a good couple of hours slaving away in the kitchen

 

Ingredients:

1 large clove of Garlic, minced

1/2 small Red Onion, diced

1 cup Mushrooms, chopped

1/2 medium Red Pepper, diced

splash of Red Wine

1 cup crumbled Soy Chorizo, or other Veg Sausage/Mince (I use Trader Joes)

handful of chopped Black Olives

tin of Fire Roasted Tomatoes (optional: with green Chillies)

dash of dried Basil & Oregano

bag of Fusilli or Macaroni Pasta (I use Brown Rice Pasta)

1 cup of grated Vegan Cheddar Cheese of choice (I used Daiya)

 

Method:

– Boil a pot of water for the Pasta, and cook until al dente and rinse. Preheat oven to 430F.

– Heat Oil in a medium sized saucepan and sauté Onions until browned. Add Mushrooms, Garlic and Red Peppers and continue to sauté, adding a dash of Red Wine. Add minced Chorizo, Olives and Herbs and cook a few minutes more. Then add the tinned Tomatoes, with a little water if needed, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

– Add bolognaise sauce to cooked Pasta, mix in a handful of the grated Cheese, then pour into a square baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Cheese to cover the whole dish, and place in the oven for about 10-15 mins. or until Cheese has melted.

*Serve with a Spinach Salad and dig in…


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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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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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This creation was brought to the BBQ (along with the skewers in the previous post), and we ended up eating it out of paper cups due to the wind which really didn’t do it any justice – but it was still delicious…In case you’re wondering, those are little Apricot slices peeking out from underneath and they turn this Salad from great to amazing! The candied Walnuts are really easy to make, they literally take 5 minutes – but to keep this dish completely raw you can pop the nuts into a dehydrator instead, or just add them au naturel. This summery combination will delight your ‘buds…

Ingredients:

handful raw Walnut pieces

1-2 Tblsp. Maple Syrup

4 cups Rocket, washed & dried

1 fresh Apricot, stoned & thinly sliced

1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced

1 ripe Avocado, thinly sliced

Dressing:

2 Tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tblsp. Maple Syrup

2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

 

Method:

– For the Walnuts: Turn oven to 400F/200C, and line a baking tray. Pour Maple Syrup over Nuts & mix with hands to cover. Lay out the Nuts on baking tray and toast in Oven about 5 min. or until beginning to brown (do not take your eyes off them – they burn very quickly!). Remove, and let cool.

– Place Rocket in a large Salad bowl, and cover with Apricots, Red Onion & Avocado. Combine Dressing ingredients in a jar & shake to mix. Sprinkle Nuts over Salad, and pour Dressing over just before serving.

 

*Tastes just as good out of a paper cup…

**FYI I’ve made a second version of this Salad, adding chopped Mint which takes it to a whole ‘nother level! I also substituted Pumpkin Seeds for the Walnuts (keeping them raw), Lime Juice for the Maple Syrup in the dressing & added Cherry Tomatoes = Heavenly

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I decided to make this traditional dish gluten-free by exchanging Quinoa for the usual Bulgur Wheat, an idea I got from the book The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes. For those of you who have not discovered Quinoa yet: it’s an ancient grain who’s consumtion goes as far back as the Incas, and it has the rare property of being a complete plant protein! The Holy Grail for Vegans & Vegetarians…Make sure you rinse it first, to get rid of the bitter coating, though. This Salad is tasty & refreshing – perfect for a light Summer meal.

Ingredients: (about 4 side servings)

1 cup rinsed Quinoa

2 cups Water

1 cup chopped Cherry Tomatoes

1 cup chopped Cucumber

1/2 chopped Red Bellpepper

1/4 Red Onion, sliced thinly and chopped

handful of chopped Spring Onion

bunch of Fresh Mint, minced

bunch of Fresh Parsley, minced

juice of fresh Lime/Lemon

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper as needed

 

Method:

Boil the Water and Quinoa in a saucepan, lower heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Let cook 12-14 mins. until Water absorbed and Quinoa ‘tails’ visible. Drain & allow to cool.

– Place all Salad ingredients in a large bowl, except Lime juice & Olive Oil. Add Quinoa to bowl and toss to combine. Add Dressing, toss again. Season & chill before serving.

*Tastes of Summer….

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Summer is here, which means ridiculously hot & humid weather in HK and a craving for Salads…These Lentils are like gold to me – for some reason they are incredibly hard to come buy, but seriously worth the effort to hunt for as they are delicious! They have a wonderfully distinct flavour, almost tea-like, and they retain their shape so they’re great for Salads. My local supermarket has stopped stocking them, so I was delighted to find them in another organic shop out of town – but it was their last bag, and they won’t have again until sometime in August. I’ve used half the bag already, so I better go easy on them! No more sharing with the meat-eating boyfriend…

Ingredients:

half Red Onion, diced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 large Carrot, diced

1 medium Beetroot, diced

1 tsp. dried Herbes de Provence (or Thyme/Tarragon/Oregano)

Olive Oil

squeeze of Lemon Juice

1 cup French Puy Lentils (or other Green Lentils)

2 cups Water

1/4 Cucumber, diced

1/2 Yellow Bellpepper, diced

2 Tblsp. Parsely, chopped

Dressing:

1 1/2 Tblsp. White Wine Vinegar

1 tsp. Mustard

3 Tblsp. Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. dried Tarragon

Baby Spinach

 

Method:

Set oven to 200C/400F, and line a baking tray with foil. Mix together Onion, Garlic, Carrot, Beetroot, Herbs, Lemon Juice & Olive Oil and arrange on tray. Bake for 20-30mins. or until Beetroot & Carrot cooked through. Remove and allow to cool.

– Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and add Lentils. Cook around 30 mins, until al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain.

– Add Roast Veggies, Cucumber, Yellow Pepper & Lentils to a large bowl. Combine Dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Pour over Salad, and fold in chopped Parsley.

– Serve on a bed of fresh, baby Spinach*

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