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… and back to school.

15 Feb

Can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve been back in Melbourne. In the last month, I have been in Singapore, removed 2 wisdom teeth, gone to Taipei, eat amazing vegetarian food, returned to Singapore, removed another 2 wisdom teeth, celebrated Chinese New Year with congee, and back to Melbourne with bruises on my face and neck, courtesy of the surgery. And stitches in my mouth that I have no dentist or time to remove. 😦

But I managed to find time to cook tteokbokki and some ridiculously fudgey brownies with Steph on Saturday. And watch lots and lots of Gilmore Girls. 😛 Tteokbokki is so easy to make, and stores really well. A package of rice sticks feeds 4-5, depending on your preference for dessert, which in our case, was damn high.

You will also need this sticky spicy sauce from the Asian grocer, of which I paid $4.65 for, and soon find out that I already have one in the fridge. 3 months away and so must cook tteokbokki another 10 times this year. I reckon this will make a great paste for fried rice or fuscramble too.


1/2 a package of rice sticks
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 springs of spring onion, sliced
5 dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
1 tbs chilli paste

Cover frozen rice sticks with hot water and let sit until slightly soften and separates.
Heat some oil in wok and fry garlic, then mushrooms for a minute. Add rice sticks and fry for a while, then chilli paste. Stir to coat everything, then a bowl of water to cover everything. Put lid on and let simmer until rice sticks have soften (pierce-able), add more water if necessary. When this is all ready, throw in spring onion and cook until just wilted. Sprinkle white sesame seeds and serve.

Hal’s Maple Chocolate Flax Brownies
(via La Dolche Vegan)

1/4c sugar
1/4c ground flax seeds (2 egg replacers)
1/2c maple syrup
1/4c oil
1/4c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2c flour
1/4c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4c walnuts, chopped
1/2c chocolate chips

[wet] Stir together sugar, ground flax seeds (2 “eggs”), maple syrup, oil, milk and vanilla. Let stand for 10 minutes.
[dry] Stir in flour, cocoa, salt and walnuts until “just mixed”.
Pour into 8×8″ baking pan, sprinkle top with chocolate chips, and bake for 20-25 minutes 175C, until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool before cutting into squares.

(I mixed about 1/4c chocolate chips into the batter, and baked for 25 minutes in my loaf pan. Try to eat it the next day if you can.)


Sorta Italian Dinner

10 Jan

It is hard for my family to sit down and heavy a meal together. Now that I’m home for a little while, I’ve made a conscious effort to make at least one dinner a week for all, in a bid to negate all the carcasses that they put inside their bodies for the other 13 meals per week. I make all vegan meals and sometimes that doesn’t really excite the omnis so they make extra meaty stuff. We eat out at Chinese places almost exclusively, so when I bought polenta / corn grits at the fancy supermarket one day, I decided to make it an Italian night.

Polenta was made by sauteing 1 diced onion, garlic and pepper, before adding in 2 cups of corn grit with 5 cups of broth and 1 cup of soy milk. Simmer on low-medium heat, stirring constantly (!!!!!) until it is thick and most of the water has been absorbed. Your arms should ache after 30 minutes. Transfer to a cling wrap-lined baking tray to cool for at least an hour. It will harden and taste frickin’ good even when cold. Slice and pan fry until golden brown before serving.

Red wine mushrooms was easy (and lazy). Quarter some swiss brown, portobello, etc., and toss them in a heated oiled pan with some minced garlic. I also added hojimeishi mushrooms. When they are nice and brown, pour in some red wine where it just covers the surface of the pan, or more. Let it bubble away and when most of it has evaporated, throw in a pinch of S&P and chopped parsley. Stir around until it has just wilted and serve.

And there was a try of roasted vegetables – pumpkin, potatoes, onion, carrots and beet. I tossed mine in some balsamic vinegar when they were just out of the pan. I need to find better ways to dress my roast. And ways to cook a beet because it is certainly not a Chinese vegetable that I’m familiar with!

Happy 2011!

6 Jan

HAPPY 2011!

Of all the silly resolutions that I plan to keep such as:

1. Eat right – focus on health
2. Less fluid time
3. Discipline – sleeping, waking and working

The last one seems to be the hardest. It also involves being disciplined enough to write my posts quite close to when the actual event occurred. Not weeks or month *hangs head in shame* after, when I have close to recollection of said event until flipping through pictures in the camera. 😛 Also, that is the Rilakkuma oven mitts that I got for Christmas, along with a million other Rilakkuma goodies.

I purchased the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook back in the Fall of 2009 while I was in Chicago. But I didn’t bring the book back to Melbourne with me in 2010 so had not tried many recipes. Finally got down to doing so when I selected three dishes to make for our weekly family dinner (that my parents would actually eat). I ran out of time so ended up with 2, and saved the third for lunch the next day. Easy peasy.

Roasted Cauliflower and Wilted Spinach Salad (p212) was absolutely delicious, the recommended serving of 4 was enough to feed 8 when paired with one or two sides. Leftovers was enjoyed cold the next day; I will make this for my school bentos for sure. Dad being my dad, left the raw spinach leaves untouched; he likes his veggies cooked through. I think roasted cauliflower is a bit underrated, this needs to go into future roasts more often!

Chipotle Basil Corn Chowder (p171) was also a hit! As usual, the portion was so generous that I had soup for my next two lunches. It was so hearty and was a breeze to cook. It asked for 3 cups of fresh sweet corn, and I had to take 3 breaks between slicing the kernels off the cob because it was that painful for me. I hate doing such boring crap, but it seems like the extra work paid off, the chowder required a bit more salt than stated to balance out the sweetness. But if you’re pressed for time, then dump a bag of frozen corn into the pot anyway. Perfect with some crusty homemade bread.

Sugar and Spice Snap Peas (p111) was a cinch to make, but the sweetness in the sauce was a bit odd for me. I mixed it up with both snow and snap peas, and added some sesame oil in the sauce. The addition of chilli flakes in a sort of Chinese dish with soy sauce was also strange, I might try this again with chilli sauce instead, minus the agave.

words@random recently received this book and had a positive review of the Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta. I might make this soon!

Thai Green Curry

26 Aug

What do you do when it’s so damn cold out here?

Eat curry.

It’s the one thing that I’ve been wanting and wanting and wanting… and finally got down to making it. I stumbled upon the above can of vegan green curry paste at Minh Phat, which was the cure for my lazy bones. No pounding and additional washing up.

Thai Green Curry
serves 4

1/2 medium eggplant, cut into small chunks
1 large carrot, 1cm slices
1 potato, small chunks
1 large handful of green beans, halved
200g firm tofu, small chunks
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin of green curry paste
1 can (400ml) of coconut milk
bunch of fresh Thai basil, shredded
Raw sugar, salt and pepper to taste

1. Spend a bit of time chopping up all the ingredients. If you’ve got other veggies lying around that you need to get rid off, then use them too. (I added bean sprouts)

2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in wok, fry onions until translucent. Add the garlic and green curry paste. Fry for another 2 minutes or so.

3. Toss in the carrot, eggplant and potato, and fry for a while, until slightly browned on the edges.

4. Tip in the coconut milk, and half a tin of water, and let veggies simmer for a bit until softened to your liking.

5. Add tofu and green beans, and cook this for a little while, say a minute or two. They don’t take too long to cook. If mixture gets too dry, add more water.
6. This can get pretty spicy, so taste and adjust level with sugar to suit your preference. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss in the basil just before eating, with a side of brown rice. Roti will be pretty fantastic too.

Quinoa Avocado Salad

24 Aug

This past weekend had been very exciting, doing loads and getting in the much needed fresh air and sunshine. I love myself a good citrusy and balanced salad. By balanced, I mean grain, green, savoury, sweet, tangy and nutty. I like that combination.
Let me just tell you, make this. Make this make this make this. The avocado provided that lovely creaminess unlike any other creamy (often bad fat-laden mayo) dressing, and the balance of sultanas and almonds was delightful. The lemon-cumin dressing was also light and will definitely be one that I will be using often.

Quinoa Avocado Salad (adapted from here
serves 4
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
2 large lemons
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
2 medium firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
5 sprigs coriander, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup almonds
4 tbs white sesame seeds (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside (I didn’t do this, but if yours are rock hard, then you should)

Heat saucepan and toast almonds until brown. Turn off heat and crush almonds with a mortar and pestle. Toss in sesame seeds in pan while pan is still hot, and toss it around till brown. Remove from heat.

In same saucepan, bring water, quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and leave to cool.

In a small bowl, zest and juice lemons. Whisk in olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

In a large bowl, toss vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, avocado, coriander, and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Savoury Polenta

13 Aug

I perused Tracy‘s blog for a couple of nights in a row, page after page of wonderful pictures that made me want to cook. right. then. And then I came across this party. It was no ordinary party. It was a polenta party. I felt compelled to make polenta things. and so I did, largely based on Vegandad’s recipe My arms also got a good workout from stirring the polenta. Oh god I love that word. Polenta polenta polenta.

Savoury Polenta
(serves 4)

1 cup polenta
3 cups water
1 tsp of Massel vegetable stock powder
8 sundried tomatoes, oil in jar
1/2 cup* soy milk

1. Put polenta, water and stock in a medium saucepan, and bring to boil.
2. Lower heat and let simmer for 15-20min, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon (this thing splatters!) as water is absorbed.
3. As you fish the sundried tomatoes out of the oily jar with a pair of scissors, use your fingers to hold them and cut into small pieces (there is no need to chop these up beforehand, think of the additional bowl that you’ll need to wash).
4. Keep stirring labouriously as the mixture bubbles and thickens to a consistency of porridge. When it’s a bit dry, add a splash of soy milk for a creamier texture.
5. Season with S+P.

*Amount of soy milk depends on how creamy you want it to be.

Sauteed Mushrooms
(for one)

Roughly chop up a handful of mushrooms (portobello, white, brown, etc). Heat 1 tbs of oil and 1 clove minced garlic in saucepan for 2 minutes, throw in mushrooms and brown them before adding herbs of choice (oregano and thyme). Season with S+P.

You could serve the polenta with roasted or sauteed vegetables. The leftover polenta tasted really good straight out of the fridge. You could slice them up and fry them. But why bother?