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Spiralised Carrot and Chickpea Pad Thai, plus a spiraliser review

My second book (High Protein Vegan) already has a recipe for a grain-free pad Thai, but seeing as I didn’t have any cabbage on hand, didn’t have the time to make a batch of soy-free tofu and I now have a magical veggie pasta maker, I thought I would try making a different version.

This new recipe is just as delicious as the original recipe, I don’t even miss the crispy bits of fried soy-free tofu.  The raw carrot noodles add a nice crunch to the dish and go really well with the sweet, sour and spicy pad Thai sauce.

If you cook for people that prefer to eat wheat noodles instead of spiralised veggies this recipe can still be made without fuss – first bring some water for their pasta to the boil, prepare all the ingredients while waiting for the water to boil and cooking the pasta (I use wholemeal wheat spaghetti, it takes 9 minutes), then when the pasta is cooked, sauté the onions and heat up the chickpeas and sauce.

Put layers of pasta with half the chickpea/sauce mix in one bowl and roughly mix together, do the same thing with the spiralised carrot and the rest of the chickpea mixture.  Top the bowls with peanuts and coriander (add some mung bean sprouts if you have those on hand too) and enjoy.

Serves 2
soy-free*, gluten-free*, sugar-free**, grain-free*, under 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
•zest of half a lime or lemon
•juice of 1 1/2 limes or lemons
•2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or unrefined cane sugar such as rapadura or sucanat
•1 tablespoon coconut aminos, miso, tamari or naturally fermented non-GMO soy sauce
•2 tablespoons water
•1/2 a large fresh chilli, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons minced chili from a jar, or cayenne pepper, to taste)
•optional (but highly recommended if you’re using lemon instead of lime) 1 teaspoon tamarind purée (tamarind pulp/tamarind concentrate)
•optional pinch or two of salt, to taste (recommended if using coconut aminos)

•4-5 spring onions (green onions), finely chopped
•1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

•4 medium carrots per serve (400g/14oz) (or use less if you’re not as hungry than I am – most recommendations for the amount of spiralised veggies per serve are 1 or 2 carrots or zucchinis, which I find is not filling enough)
or 100-150g (3.5-5.3oz) dry wholemeal noodles such as spaghetti per serve

•1/3 cup chopped peanuts
•optional handful or two of finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
•optional 1 cup mung bean sprouts

Method:

If you’re boiling pasta for someone, start boiling the water first, and prepare the ingredients while it boils and then cooks the pasta.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, set aside until needed.

Heat some olive or sesame oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the spring onions and sauté until fragrant, a couple of minutes.  Add the chickpeas and the pad Thai sauce and bring to the boil, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the chickpeas are hot.

Put layers of spiralised carrots (or cooked noodles) in bowls, top with a layer of the chickpea mixture and roughly stir to combine, repeat until all the noodles and chickpea mix have been used.  Top with the peanuts and coriander leaves and enjoy.

*this depends on your choice out of coconut aminos, miso, tamari or soy-sauce.

**For sugar-free option use coconut sugar.

And now for the spiraliser review:
I’ve been wanting to make raw pasta for years but never got around to it until recently because there are so many spiralisers around now and I wasn’t sure what one to get.  Reading other people’s reviews of spiralisers isn’t much help because most people have only tried out one of them and are inclined to say that it works for them so must be the greatest spiraliser around.  After doing some research about which ones are available in Australia, I chose the Benriner vertical slicer from Kitchenware Direct.

This spiraliser is the same one that is known as the ‘Cook Help’ in other countries.  It’s made in Japan, it feels really sturdy and as though it’s made to last.  It is simple to use, I didn’t even need the amusing instructions.  It comes with 3 different blades for different sized spiralising (the middle one is my favourite for most veggie pastas), and it only takes around 30 seconds to change the blade, and not much longer to clean it.  The time it takes to spiralise enough veggies for a meal for 2 is less than it takes to boil spaghetti.

As you can tell from the recipe above, I’m not restricted to the most well known raw pasta of spiralised zucchini (which is only in season here for around 3 months of the year), but have found that carrot can get really good results in some recipes.  Beetroot can be spiralised and made into a delicious salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing – topping this with some cooked lentils and cultured nut cheeze makes for an easy protein-rich meal.

Since getting this spiraliser I’ve been eating even more vegetables than usual and enjoying some raw pasta meals.  A few times I’ve spiralised some daikon radish and carrot used that in place of the kelp noodles from the almond sesame noodle recipe from Practically Raw, I also added some peas for extra protein, even without the capsicum in the original recipe this was great, the sauce has so much flavour.

One concern I had about spiralisers is the amount of waste.  Some of the horizontal spiralisers leave a core in the vegetable that can’t be spiralised, so if you only have small vegetables it can waste quite a lot of them  Watching this video had convinced me that the Benriner vertical spiraliser was the one to get.

Another thing I like about this spiraliser is that it doesn’t take up much bench space or cupboard space.  I also like the green colour, which means it doesn’t stain from spiralising carrots like I imagine some of the white spiralisers might.

When I got this I had no idea I would be using it so much – pretty much every day I have been making a veggie pasta meal, side salad or garnish with the spiraliser.  I’ll post the link again, if you’re in Australia and want to buy one: here.  I’ve ordered from this shop several times and the orders always arrive quickly and in good condition.

Spanish Chard with Beans, Raisins, Sunflower Seeds and Garlic, plus a cookbook giveaway

Have you ever found a recipe for silverbeet/Swiss chard that you just want to constantly cook?  My dolmathes recipe from High Protein Vegan is one of those, but as much as I like it, it takes too much hands-on time for me to want to make it frequently these days.  The recipe I’m sharing today (also from my second book), takes minimal time and effort, and people that don’t usually appreciate leafy green veggies enjoy this one.

Silverbeet/Swiss chard is really easy to grow in the garden – I didn’t appreciate it much until I started growing it because it seems a lot more dependable where I live (compared to kale which gets eaten by aphids here).  In colder climates chard dies in the winter, but here it grows right through winter, and bursts into leaf in spring, providing a lot of leafy greens for very little effort.

chard

Giveaway time:

Before I share the recipe I would like to offer a copy of High Protein Vegan as a giveaway prize – in celebration of it being released one year ago.  This is the first ever cookbook to focus on high protein vegan recipes and it’s had some great reviews so far.

To participate in the giveaway, sign up on the right hand side of this blog for the Triumph of the Lentil blog mailing list, ‘like’ my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter and leave a comment on this post – then on the 1st of December I’ll use a random number generator to pick a comment.  If you’ve already signed up to follow this blog by email, facebook or twitter you’re also welcome to enter the giveaway.

The giveaway is now closed.  The winning comment is:

random number

About the recipe:

This is an incredibly tasty way to eat a lot of greens in one meal with a little sweetness from the raisins, crunch from the chard stems and umami flavours from the smoked paprika and miso.

I like to serve this with brown rice or other cooked wholegrains (use quinoa for a really fast meal) but bread or roasted veggies are also good choices.

Gluten-Free Option*, Soy-Free Option*, Grain-Free Option**, Nightshade-Free Option, Nut-Free, Under 45 MInutes
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water, for soaking raisins
4 tablespoons raisins or sultanas
4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 bunch swiss chard or silverbeet (around 500g/1.1lb)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked azduki, borlotti or pinto beans
1-2 teaspoons miso, tamari or coconut aminos
optional salt, to taste
optional smoked paprika, to taste

Method:

Bring the water to the boil, take off the heat and soak the raisins in it while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden.  Set aside.

Cut the chard, including the stalks into one inch (2.5cm) pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic until golden.  Add the chard and sauté for one minute.  Stir through the beans until the chard is wilted and the beans are hot.  Drain the raisins and add these, along with the sunflower seeds.  Adjust the seasonings with miso and smoked paprika.  Serve right away.

*be sure to choose a soy-free and/or gluten-free miso, or use coconut aminos instead

**use coconut aminos instead of miso

This post is a part of Wellness Weekend, Pennywise Platter, Healthy Vegan Fridays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

High Protein Gobi Manchurian

Cauliflower (gobi), when fried or baked in batter takes on a different taste and texture, one that makes cauliflower-haters enjoy it.  I made this for someone who refers to cauliflower as “broccoli’s evil cousin,” and he liked it a lot.

gobi manchurian
I’ve made other cauliflower dishes with a chickpea flour batter: pakoras from my first book, and the caesar salad with crispy cauliflower and chickpea fritters from High Protein Vegan.  The Indo Chinese dish gobi manchurian is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while – it usually consists of cauliflower fried in a flavoured wheat and corn starch batter, with a spicy tomato and chili sauce and I thought it would work brilliantly using chickpea flour instead of the other flours.  This makes it gluten-free and high enough in protein to be a satisfying and filling main dish when served alongside some rice or quinoa, and maybe a side salad with plenty of crunchy lettuce.

This recipe has been made soy-free by using coconut aminos and some extra salt where soy sauce would normally be used.  Soy-free chickpea or adzuki miso will also work, and if you have no problems with soy, then regular non-gmo soy tamari, shoyu or another kind of naturally fermented soy sauce can also be used.

This is a hearty and savoury dish that can be made really quickly (or the batter can be soaked overnight, for the best nutrition).

Gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free, low fat option, under 45 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the battered cauliflower:
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
3/4 cup water
optional 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or tamari, or naturally fermented soy sauce, or miso)
1 teaspoon finely chopped red chili
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (use only 1/2 teaspoon if using tamari, soy sauce or miso instead of coconut aminos)
1 small-medium cauliflower (around 500g)
olive oil, for frying

For the sauce:
optional 2-4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1-3 teaspoons finely chopped chili
1/2 cup tomato purée (passata) (to make it yourself, just put some tomatoes in a food processor and process until smooth)
2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos, miso, naturally fermented gmo-free soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons coconut sugar, rapadura, sucanat or jaggery
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons tapioca flour or non-gmo corn starch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Method:

For the best nutrition, combine the chickpea flour with 3/4 cup lukewarm water and the lemon juice and leave it to sit in a large bowl, covered, at room temperature overnight (it should be a thick batter).

Mix through the garlic, ginger, coconut aminos, chili and salt.

Gently divide the cauliflower into florets.  Chop the larger ones in half if you wish.  Thoroughly coat these in the batter*

The rest of this recipe comes together really quickly, so measure out and prechop all the sauce ingredients.

In a large dry saucepan, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until they taste toasted.  Remove from the pan and set aside until later.

Put around 1cm (1/2″) olive oil in a large pan.  Heat over medium-high heat.  To test the heat, add a piece of the coated cauliflower, the oil should fizz up around the cauliflower right away.  Fry the cauliflower in batches until golden-brown, flipping the pieces over halfway through frying.  It takes 2-3 batches in a 24cm chef pan.  Drain the fritters in a colander lined with a tea towel.

Alternatively, for a lower fat option, bake on greased or lined baking sheets in an oven preheated to 180c (350f) for half an hour, flipping the pieces over after 25 minutes.

When all the cauliflower has finished cooking, heat the toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan over a heat between medium-high and high.  When the oil is hot, stir through the onion for two minutes, then stir through the ginger and garlic for one minute.  Stir through the chili for thirty seconds, then add the tomato purée, coconut aminos and coconut sugar.  Stir through until bubbling then taste, and adjust the seasonings with salt and chili (it should be fairly hot, but still edible and tasty).  Keep stirring for another minute or two, to allow the sauce to reduce, then quickly stir through the tapioca flour and water mixture.  Quickly add the fried cauliflower and stir to coat.  Serve right away, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

gobi manchurian 2

*if you have extra batter left over, cut an onion into half moons (or use any other chopped, fast cooking vegetable) and coat in the batter, then fry after the cauliflower has finished.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

extract

Good quality vanilla extract can be really expensive, and the shop I usually buy it from is often out of stock.  But now that I know how easy it is to make at home, I’ll never buy it again.  This recipe is so easy, and tastes even better than shop-bought extract.

If you buy organic vanilla beans in bulk (200g (7oz) of them is around 53 beans) it works out to be less than $5 for the vanilla beans, plus the cost of the vodka.  Even using good vodka this ends up being half the price of what I used to pay for shop bought extract.  (Cheap and nasty vodka will also work in this recipe).

ingredients

Ingredients:

Around 700ml (23oz) vodka
9 vanilla beans

Method:

Pour a little of the vodka out (around 1 or 2 shots worth), save it for later or drink it.

Slice the vanilla beans lengthways in half.  Scraping out some of the pulp and adding this to the vodka will make for a stronger vanilla extract.

Carefully place the vanilla beans and the pulp in the bottle of vodka.  Put the lid on and leave it to infuse in a dark cupboard for around two months.  To speed up the process turn the bottle upside down, then right side up every so often…this means you can use your extract after a month.

When the vanilla extract is ready either remove the beans and put it into smaller bottles (it makes a nice gift), or simply keep it in the vodka bottle with the vanilla beans.

beforeandafter

Creamy Vanilla Bean Chia Custard

I seem to be working on quite a few different cookbooks at the moment, which may mean that it will be some time before this wonderful recipe is in print.  I will be nice and share it on here now.

vanilla bean custard

This is a healthy and filling snack or dessert with the delicious taste of real vanilla and a decadent creamy mouthfeel.  It takes very little actual kitchen time – just put a couple of ingredients on to soak for a while, then add some extra ingredients and blend it up.

Gluten-free, soy-free, under 45 minutes option

Kitchen time 5 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chia seeds
6 tablespoons raw cashews
1 1/2 cups vegan milk (for best results use homemade unsweetened almond, cashew or sunflower seed milk)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
pulp from one vanilla bean (or 3 teaspoons high quality real vanilla extract)
a pinch of salt
optional 1/2 teaspoon maca powder

Method:

Combine the chia seeds, cashews and vegan milk in a bowl.  Cover and leave to soak in the fridge for at least 10 minutes, preferably over 2 hours or overnight.

Add this to a blender along with the agave, vanilla bean pulp, salt and optional maca powder.

Blend until smooth and enjoy right away, or refrigerate and enjoy later (it will thicken in the fridge).

This post is a part of Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Pennywise Platter, Raw Foods Thursdays, Wheat Free Wednesdays,

Nacho Salad

I like to eat salads for meals every now and again, typically if they have plenty of protein, fat and some carbs to make it more filling.  This is a salad which has all of these things, but according to my other half it shouldn’t be called a salad, just ‘nachos’.  Whatever it’s called, this is a satisfying meal that’s fast and easy to make, and perfect for hot weather.

nacho salad

Total time 10-15 minutes

Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nightshade-Free, Onion- and Garlic-Free Option, Under 45 Minutes
Serves as many as you want

Ingredients:

Dressing of your choice (for 2 adults and 2 children I use 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon raw agave syrup, 1/2 tablespoon seeded or dijon mustard)
Leafy greens (eg. lettuce, rocket (arugula), miners lettuce, mizuna, mustard greens)
Heartier raw vegetables (eg. cabbage, kale, grated carrot, sugar snap peas, green beans)
Optional fresh herbs such as oregano and coriander leaves (cilantro)
Corn chips, or extra grated carrot
Cooked or sprouted beans
Optional extras such as avocado, vegan cheese, salsa, spring onion (green onion)

Method:

Mix the dressing in a large mixing bowl.  Add the greens, veggies and herbs and toss to thoroughly coat.  Put layers of the dressed salad, corn chips, beans and any extras on large plates and serve right away.

In the photo I’ve used lettuce, rocket (arugula), sugar snap peas, red cabbage, grated carrot, corn chips, cooked red kidney beans, and the basic cashew cheese from ‘Artisan Vegan Cheese’.

Raw Caramel Slice, and an announcement

My new book is out – the first ever high protein vegan cookbook, titled ‘High Protein Vegan: Hearty Whole Food Meals, Raw Desserts and More’.  It’s available now from the places listed on this page and I’d like to share one of my favourite recipes from it.

To give you an idea of what it looks like in the book:

Raw Caramel Slice

Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nightshade-Free, Onion- and Garlic-Free, Under 45 minutes
Kitchen time 10-15 minutes, Setting time: 30-60 minutes

A raw vegan version of an old favourite with a chewy caramel filling and thin chocolate topping, this slice is delicious and tastes a little bit like caramel nougat chocolate bars, only better.  It can be made as a slice in a square pan, or as a torte in a round springform tin.  For best results use almonds for the base, although walnuts or pecans will also make a great slice.

I recommend using refined coconut oil for this recipe.


Ingredients

For the base:
1 1/2 cups almonds, walnuts or pecans
a pinch of salt
4 medjool dates, pitted
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid

For the caramel filling:
18 medjool dates, pitted
2-3 pinches of salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid
1/4 cup nut butter (hazelnut, almond, cashew or brazil nut)

For the chocolate topping:
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid
a pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons raw agave syrup
1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder

Method

To make the base, process the almonds and salt in a food processor until crumbly, but not too fine (some will resemble almond meal, and some will be more like the nut pieces that go into pesto).  Add the dates and process until no large pieces remain.  Process through the coconut oil until evenly mixed in.  Press the mixture into a greased or lined 20cm (8”) square or round baking tray.

To make the caramel layer, process the dates and salt in a food processor until it is finely ground and forms a ball.  Add the coconut oil and nut butter and continue to process until thoroughly mixed through (you may need to stop the processor and break up the ball with a fork a couple of times).  Press this mixture into an even layer on top of the base.

Prepare the chocolate topping by combining the coconut oil, salt and agave in a bowl.  Stir through the cacao and mix until evenly combined, adding more agave if you like.  Spread this on top of the caramel layer (you may need to use your hands to spread it) and allow to set at room temperature for at least half an hour before slicing, or until the chocolate topping has set.

What to expect from ‘High Protein Vegan':

•Innovative ways to serve legumes and vegetables
•Better photos: since writing my first book I’ve learned more about working with natural light and put extra effort into composition and styling, along with upgrading my lens.  All the photos in this book are taken with natural lighting.
•Vegan sausages!  Bratwurst, Kransky, Frankfurter and more…
•Soy-free tofu, and recipes to use it in
•Raw desserts and raw meals, all without a dehydrator
•All the answers you’ll need for when people ask “where do you get your protein?”
•Recipes to impress anyone, for a variety of occasions

Similar to ‘Triumph of the Lentil’, this book also has:
•Minimal premade products – recipes totally from scratch including laksa and Thai green curry – make meals easily from fresh ingredients, with a taste that is superior to using shop-bought pastes.
•Soy-free options for all recipes.  While the book itself is not soy-free in that it doesn’t specify to use soy-free miso or soy-free vegan milks, the soy allergy of my main taste-tester means that all the recipes have been made using soy-free ingredients.
•Mostly gluten-free recipes
•Cook-friendly, frustration-free layout – I like to cook from cookbooks and designed this one with how I want a cookbook to be – easily readable recipes from a distance, with the ingredients and instructions on the same page.
•Colour photos with nearly every recipe
•Whole foods – no refined grains, margarines or ‘fake’ things in sight.
•Index by ingredient – make use of seasonal vegetables and whatever cooked legumes you have on hand
•Recipes suitable for small households – many recipes make 2 servings, while all other recipes make more servings that reheat well or can be stored uncooked in the fridge for cooking up later.
•Lots of everyday recipes – these were all tested with two young children to look after and mostly with ingredients that I can find locally though the whole year.  I don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen for every meal and have timed every recipe to show just how little hands-on kitchen time some of them take.
•Real meal recipes – This is the stuff I cook at home – not a bunch of appetisers, fancy breakfasts and complicated side dishes but mostly hearty recipes that are either meals on their own, or completed with a very simple side dish.

For more information about the book, see http://highproteinvegan.wordpress.com/

This post has been shared with Allergy-Free Wednesday, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Pennywise Platter, Wellness Weekend, Raw Foods Thursdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays

Soy-Free Tofu

When I’m working on books I never really know what recipes to share on the blog, and what can wait for the book.  This is something I knew I had to share right away.

It’s not the same as soy tofu – it doesn’t have the same texture or taste, but it is a protein-rich medium for all kinds of delicious sauces (like chermoula, pictured above), or to be fried up and used in a variety of recipes, like the grain-free pad thai from my next book, pictured below.

It can also be cut into chip shapes, shallow fried and enjoyed as a high-protein alternative to potato chips, to turn a chip sandwich into a balanced meal.


I’ve based my recipe around a combination of things – Burmese tofu has been traditionally made with chickpea flour for a long time, but typically involves a lot of prep time and tricky steps, and while this would reduce the phytic acid in the tofu, it makes the process a lot slower.  With my recipe the tofu can be ready to use in under 45 minutes.  If you’re good with planning ahead and want to make the tofu as nutritious as possible then the batter can definitely be soaked for 8 hours or more before heating it up, otherwise enjoy this cheap, fast and tasty homemade alternative to tofu.

Soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, low fat, nightshade-free, onion- and garlic-free, under 45 minutes
Makes 4-6 serves

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups cold water

Method:

Line or grease a 20x30cm (8×12″) pan.

In a heavy-bottomed chef’s pan, frying pan or saucepan place the chickpea flour and salt, and squash out any lumps.  Add water a little at a time, making sure that no lumps form.

Turn on the heat to medium and stir continuously until very thick.  I make this on an electric stove in a 9 1/2″ (24cm) chef’s pan and it takes around 7 minutes.  If you’re using a gas stove it will be quicker, if you’re using a smaller saucepan it will take longer.

As soon as the mixture is very thick, quickly spread it into the prepared pan, pressing to form a flat, even surface (it will set very quickly).  Leave to set for at least half an hour before using as tofu.

To remove from the pan first slice into whatever shape you want them to be, and gently lift up.  I find that lining the pan with a silicon baking mat or some baking paper makes it a lot easier to remove.

This will keep in the fridge for up to a week and can be used in all kinds of recipes that call for tofu.

Satay Soy-Free Tofu

This post has been shared on Pennywise Platter, Wellness Weekend, Whole Food FridaysandHealthy Vegan Fridays

One year of Triumph of the Lentil, a giveaway, and soy-free vegan omelettes

It’s been nearly a year since my first book was released.  At the time I had no idea if anyone would want to buy it and cook from it but it’s been great having good feedback on it and knowing people are cooking and appreciating my recipes.

When I started putting Triumph of the Lentil together there were no soy-free vegan cookbooks around.  As more people develop sensitivities to this often-used legume it’s been important to me to have something out there that says “yes you can be vegan and enjoy all this delicious food without using soy”.  My next book will continue this, with every recipe having a soy-free option, and plenty of recipes suitable for other allergies and diets.

I’d like to give away a copy of Triumph of the Lentil to a lucky reader.  To enter the competition, ‘like’ the Triumph of the Lentil Blog facebook page or follow me on twitter, or sign up to the mailing list on the right hand side of this page.  Leave a comment on this post with an email address I can contact you on.  On the 15th of June the winner will be selected from the comments at random and contacted.

Edit: The winner has now been selected and contacted.  Thank you to all those who entered.

To everyone that has already signed up to my facebook, twitter or mailing list – you are welcome to enter the competition, just leave a comment on this post.  Your support has been greatly appreciated.

Thank you to everyone that has enjoyed the book and blog over the past year, I hope that you will all like my next one even more.

And now for a recipe:

Soy-Free Vegan Omelettes

These are a very quick and easy dish to make.  In the photo the omelette is stuffed with kale, tomatoes and homemade cashew cheese, but all kinds of toppings are great on these omelettes, we often eat them with pickled gherkin slices and kale.  For a filling meal serve with cooked grains, bread, chips or roasted vegetables.

Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Nightshade-Free, Onion- and Garlic-Free, Low Fat, Under 45 Minutes
Total time: 20 Minutes.  Serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 cup water

Method:

Combine the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, breaking up any lumps.  Add the water a little at a time, mixing to form a batter.

Thoroughly brush or spray a frying pan with olive oil and heat on a medium-high setting.  When the pan is hot, pour in half the batter (if it is thicker in the centre and thinner on the outsides you can use the back of a metal spoon to gently spread the batter out).

Cook without disturbing until the edges are cooked through and there are bubbles in the middle.  Gently flip over and cook for a further minute or two, until the other side is completely cooked.  Place on a plate, keeping it warm in the oven if you wish.

When the first omelette is out of the pan, quickly pour the other half of the batter in and cook in the same way.

Put toppings on one half of each circle and flip the other side over the top.

This post has been a part of Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

Preparing for a Vegan Bake Sale, and a Recipe for Vanilla and Almond Crescents

This week there are bake sales happening all around the world as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. My local vegan group didn’t have as many people baking as last year and it got me thinking about a stress-free way to make lots of delicious things.

It’s helpful to figure out what keeps for the longest, what can be made at the last minute, what is best made the day beforehand and work out a rough schedule from there.

•Cakes, muffins and cupcakes are best made the day before the sale, it gives them time to cool down, but not so much time that they will lose freshness.

•Many biscuits can be made a few days in advance. The best candidates for these are ones that use plenty of oil and a minimum of water. The Vanilla and Almond Crescents that I created for a baking book (to hopefully be published in 2013 or 2014) are great for this, the recipe is in this post.

•Raw truffles will keep for a while in the fridge, and can also be a good thing to make at the last minute as I did the morning of the bake sale by making a half batch of raw brownies from My New Roots and rolling them in cacao to serve as truffles.

•Dry ingredients can be mixed together hours, days or weeks before baking.  This is especially helpful if you’re baking a lot of cakes in one day.

More observations from vegan bake sales:

•There can never be enough chocolate. I found this out at my first stall that with a selection including some of Gunter’s delicious recipes, the chocolate caramel and almond torte pictured above (from Triumph of the Lentil), plain chocolate cake, carrot cake and date cake that the most popular cakes were the ones with chocolate.

•Vegan-friendly cafés and businesses are often happy to donate cakes or ingredients.

•Having ingredients lists on hand for everything is a good idea for people with allergies, and is asked for here when council permits are required.

•Covers for the food are often expected by the council as a condition of the permit. Transparent ones are the best and plastic wrap can serve this purpose if there is nothing else around.

•It’s easy enough to get a bake sale organised, even with a minimum of people. It’s a good fundraiser and an excellent way to expose people to vegan food. Not all places require council permits, and if they are difficult to deal with then it’s easy to get around that by giving food away for free with a donation box at the stall.

And for the vanilla and almond crescent recipe…

These are an incredibly delicious biscuit with just the right amount of sweetness and lots of rich flavours from the almonds and vanilla.  My choice of coconut oil for this (and most of my cooking) is the more refined kind, which is refined by filtering it through clay to remove the coconut taste and smell, this gives a ‘buttery’ flavour and texture to the baked good with all the goodness of coconut oil, but without being overwhelmed by coconut flavours.

Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Option, under 45 minutes

Kitchen time 15 minutes, baking time 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, ground
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
2  1/3 cups barley flour (or wholemeal spelt, wholewheat pastry or gluten free)
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or a mixture of melted coconut oil and olive oil)
1/4 cup water
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

optional powdered vegan sugar, for coating

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175c (350f).  Line or grease two baking sheets.

For best results, grind the almonds and sugar together in a food processor.  In a mixing bowl, combine the almonds, sugar, flour and salt.  Stir through the coconut oil, water and vanilla extract to form a thick dough.

Take tablespoons of the dough and shape into logs that have thinner ends and a thicker centre.  Curl into crescent moon shapes and place on the baking trays.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Sprinkle with powdered vegan sugar if you want.

I suspect these will keep in a sealed container for longer than a week, although they never last that long in our house.

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