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Well, it’s been quite a roller coaster year and a half, and there have been many changes in my life! One of them was that I veered off the Vegan track, which is something I’m not very proud of… However, I am happy to say that I am back with a vengeance and excited to start blogging my favourite animal-friendly recipes once again!

Warning: These babies are addictive!! I’ve probably made them at least once a week for the last year and just can’t get enough of their crispy deliciousness. They are not only amazing on their own as a snack (think of it as protein popcorn!), but I also love sprinkling them over salads, or popping them in wraps along with some spinach, hummus, tomato and avocado (or whatever else your veggie heart desires) – yumm yumm…The spices are a rough guide, so you can add whatever you find in your spice rack and think will taste good; but I’m a huge cumin fan and wouldn’t think about leaving out the paprika either. Sometimes I have a lemon & herb spice that I like to add too, but like I said – whatever floats your herb boat!

Ingredients:

1 can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

generous splash of Olive Oil

about 1 tsp each of Paprika, Cumin & Cajun spice (or a favourite blend of your own)

sprinkle of Sea Salt

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C/400F and prepare a tray with foil.

– Dab the drained Chickpeas with a paper towel until dry and spread onto the tray.

– Drizzle Chickpeas with Olive Oil and then sprinkle with Spices & Sea Salt, tossing until evenly distributed (it will get a bit messy if you’re using your hands).

– Place tray in the oven and roast +- 30 mins or until Chickpeas are golden and crispy. Allow to cool completely before storing, if you’re not eating them right away (like that’s gonna happen!).

*Chuck into a salad or a wrap, if you haven’t already eaten them all straight out of the oven…

 

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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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Sassy Salsas…

Guest Post by Alexandra M.

 At our last BBQ my fellow foodie friend & blogger, Alex, brought along a delicious Mango Salsa which I pretty much scoffed to myself without sharing with anyone else! After weeks of hounding her for this post, I’ve finally manged to get her to share her yummy Summer Salsas with us 🙂 Thank you, Alex! Check out her awesome photos of Hong Kong on her blog ‘From Hong Kong with Love’

Summertime spells S-A-L-S-A in my mind. With the relentless heat in Hong Kong, this cooling mix of bright flavors always hits the spot! Easily adaptable and so simple to throw together at the last minute with whatever you have on hand. Yum!
CORN SALSA


Ingredients:
1 ear Corn on the cob
1 small [Japanese] Cucumber
½ an Orange Pepper [or any, but I like the mix of colors as the salsa already has red, green and yellow]
½ a firm Tomato [or around ½ cup cherry tomatoes]
¼ Red Onion, finely minced
1 handful finely chopped Coriander
Juice of ½ to 1 Lime [I used 1 small key lime]
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: 1 small Chili, seeds removed [or left in, if you like that sort of thing!] and finely minced
 
– Peel husk off of the Corn and wash it. Thoroughly dry the corn off with a paper towel and grill on a BBQ or grill pan until slightly browned in places and fully cooked. Using a sharp knife, hold the corn over a bowl [I usually do it straight into the bowl I am serving it out of] and slice all the kernels off, scraping residual corn off the cob [carefully] with your knife. Set aside.
– Chop the Cucumber, Orange Pepper and Tomato in to small pieces [sometimes I’m lazy and just quickly chop it all in to chunks, but the more care you take in chopping everything in to very small pieces, the nicer the finished dish will look].
– Place Corn, Cucumber, Pepper, Tomato, Red onion & Coriander in a medium sized bowl. Juice your Lime, pouring the juice over and tossing to evenly mix together and coat all the vegetables. [You can use a juicer, but for a small amount I usually just stick a fork in one half and squeeze the Lime around it. Use the larger or smaller amount of Lime juice depending on your taste, but I usually add the larger amount because i love sour things!]

Delicious on its own as a salad, heaped on tortilla chips, or with grilled skewers on top!       

And two variations using the same method:
MANGO SALSA

1 Mango, peeled & de-seeded and diced in to very small cubes
1 small [Japanese] Cucumber, chopped finely
½ a firm Tomato [or around ½ cup Cherry Tomatoes]
¼ Red Onion, finely minced
1 handful finely chopped Coriander
Juice of ½ to 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: 1 small chili, seeds removed and finely minced

Chop all vegetables in to small pieces. Add Lime juice and toss well to combine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       BASIC SALSA
 

2-3 firm Tomatoes, chopped in to small pieces
I small Chili, seeded and finely minced
Juice of ½ to 1 Lime
1tsp. Cornstarch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Whisk cornstarch with lime juice. Add Lime juice to Tomatoes & Chilli, and toss well to combine.

Post by Alexandra M.

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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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It’s BBQ Time! I’ve never been very keen on cooking food over a flame, mainly because in South Africa it usually entails eating about 4 hours later and getting burnt food (especially if the ‘Braai Master’ looses track of time while enjoying his many beers..). Here in Hong Kong the process is a bit faster, as we either barbeque on a gas grill or over charcoal – as opposed to fire wood in SA. I also find the idea of succulent vegetables & fruit on a skewer more enticing than burnt meat, which is why I no longer mind going to BBQ’s that much…The marinade is so tasty you are going to want to make a double batch, so be sure to let the Veggies soak in it for a sufficient amount of time to get the most flavour. Don’t leave out the Pineapple – it’s amazing once grilled!

Ingredients:

Wooden Skewers, soaked for atleast 1 hour

Assorted Veggies, chopped roughly eg:

Portobellos

Red Pepper

Yellow Pepper

Orange Pepper

Courgettes, Green & Yellow

Red Onion

Eggplant

Cherry Tomatoes

Pineapple

Mint Marinade:

handful Fresh Mint (about 4-5 Sprigs)

3-4 Tblsp. Tamari/Soy Sauce

2-3 Tblsp. Agave

2 Tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar

2 Tblsp. Lemon Juice

1/2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

1 clove of Garlic, minced

Salt

Pepper

 

Method:

– Combine Marinade ingredients in a food processor/blender and blend until smooth.

– Alternatively thread Vegetables on Skewers and place in a shallow dish, cover with marinade and let soak for atleast a few hours.

– Once ready to barbeque, hand them over to a man so he can grill them for you…;) Make sure to rotate frequently, so Veggies grill evenly.

*Tofu would also make a great addition!

 

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Potstickers…

 

This is the kind of dish that looks really fancy, but is actually quite simple & fast to make…My boyfriend, who is of Chinese background, tells me that the authentic way to eat these Dumplings would be with Dark Rice Vinegar – but I’m not a huge fan of eating them that way, so I decided to make a Peanut Dipping Sauce (from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!: 200 Recipes for Simple and Delicious Animal-Free Cuisine), which I’ve also included. The cooking method is quite specific apparently: brown each on one side, then steam with a bit of water to cook the inside & soften the dough, and brown the other side. This produces the perfect Dumpling texture (alternatively, you could also boil these but the taste & texture will be different)… If you are not using a non-stick pan, don’t be surprised if you struggle to get them out – hence the name! Chinese tip: try popping the pan on a cold, wet towel and they should slip out nicely.

Ingredients: (makes 20-25 dumplings)

(everything cut small)

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1 Tblsp. Ginger, minced

handful Chives, chopped

1/2 cup thinly sliced Leek/Spring Onion – white part only for either

4 Shiitake mushrooms, diced

3/4  cup Carrots, shredded (about 1 small carrot)

1 cup White Cabbage (Napa), shredded

handful fresh Coriander

2 Tblsp. Soy Sauce

dash of Sesame Oil

pkt. Dumpling Sheets (can be found in most supermarkets in refrigerator or frozen section – defrost if frozen)

water

chopped Spring Onions for garnish

 

Method:

– Heat a little Oil in a large frying pan or wok on medium-high heat. Add Leeks/Spring Onions and stir-fry until beginning to soften. Add Garlic & Ginger and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir-fry about 2 minutes, until beginning to soften. Mix in Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil, and stir-fry until combined, fold in Coriander. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes.

– Prepare a small bowl with some water, and a large enough surface to put together the Dumplings. In the centre of each sheet, place a small amount of the vegetable filling and with your finger moisten the edge of the sheet with water. Fold each wrapper in half, into a triangle or half moon, and seal by pressing the edges with your fingers.

– Once they are all folded, heat oil in a large frying pan to cover the whole pan. Once very hot, add the Dumplings and let cook on high for 1 minute, or until brown on the bottom. Add about 1 Tblsp. Water and quickly cover with a lid, allowing Dumplings to steam for 2 minutes on low heat. Remove lid, flip Dumplings around and cook other side until brown, about 1 minute on high (add more oil if needed). Remove dumplings, garnish with Spring Onions and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce: (I only made half a batch…)

1/2 tsp. Tamari/Soy Sauce

1/4 tsp. Ginger, minced

3 Tblsp. Rice Vinegar

3 Tblsp. Peanut Butter

2 Tblsp. Sesame Oil

2 Tblsp. Agave Syrup

1/2 cup Water

1 tsp. White Miso

pinch of Cayenne

 

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, or put in a food processor.

 

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