{Recipe} Thick Soy Cream


I dug this recipe out last week in the hope that it would be of use to my aunty, Christine, who is gearing up for her very first Christmas as a vegan. :)

I wish I could be there to celebrate with her. Unfortunately, we live a ten-hour drive from each other, so we won’t be sitting down to Christmas lunch together. We spent many Christmases together in our non-vegan days, so the sharing of a Christmas vegan feast would be a very enjoyable and welcome event.

I also hope that this recipe may be of use to others who are searching for a delicious non-dairy, nut-free cream.

This recipe only requires you to have 4 ingredients on hand – soy milk, cornflour, vegan margarine and caster sugar*.

My mum discovered a trifle recipe at Vegan Family House many years ago, and we adapted the cream component of the recipe to achieve a thick soy cream.

This cream can be teamed with cakes, pies and trifle (of course!).


Thick Soy Cream

(quantity: approximately 300ml or 1 1/3 cups)


2 Tbsp** organic cornflour

250ml/1 cup soy milk

90g/3oz vegan margarine

50g/1.76oz caster sugar


1. Place the cornflour in a saucepan, and add 3 Tbsp of the soy milk. Mix with a fork (or whisk) until the cornflour is incorporated.

2. Put the saucepan on a low heat, and gradually add the remaining soy milk. Stir continuously with a fork (or whisk) until the mixture thickens (about 6-7 minutes).

3. Once thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat, and set it aside for about 20 minutes to allow the mixture to cool.

4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the vegan margarine and caster sugar together with an electric beater.

5. Add the cooled soy milk mixture a spoonful at a time to the margarine-sugar mixture, and beat until it is incorporated.

6. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container until you need to use it. It will thicken further in the fridge.

7. Refrigerate left over cream in a sealed container in the fridge, and use within 48 hours. The cream remains thick for 24 hours. If it thins a little after this time, just use an electric beater to whip it into a thicker consistency.

For another non-dairy cream recipe, see Sweet Cashew Cream.


delicious with wholemeal wheat scones and strawberry fruit spread.

* A note about sugar:

Australian sugar manufacturers do not use bone char in the sugar refining process. Therefore, all Australian produced sugar is vegan. For this reason, I do not specify ‘vegan sugar’ in my recipes. Naturally, if you reside in a country that uses bone char for sugar refining, you may not be able to buy vegan caster sugar. If that is the case, just substitute the caster sugar for a vegan alternative. White caster sugar ensures that the colour of this cream remains white. However, for vegans, the colour of the cream is a secondary consideration to its vegan status.

** A note about measurements:

An Australian tablespoon is equivalent to 20ml or 4 teaspoons. When I refer to a tablespoon measurement, I am referring to the Australian standard. A US tablespoon is approximately 15ml or 3 teaspoons. So, to my US friends and readers, this recipe requires 8 teaspoons of cornflour. Clear as mud?


I am going to spend the afternoon with the tiny vegans, wrapping gifts and making (more!) Christmas decorations. We are also preparing for the imminent arrival of my sister. I can’t wait to see her. Who are you spending Christmas with this year?

Merry Christmas, dear friends. Thanks for reading my ramblings this year. May your 2014 be filled with love, laughter and peace.

Ally  :)

Each Monday, I feature a delicious recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

[Recipe} Mango, Macadamia and Tomato Curry


Yes, that says mango.

Mango in a curry?

Yes, trust me.  If you love mangoes, you will adore this recipe. In fact, if you enjoy flavoursome curries, you will be charmed by this one.

I make this curry in summer, when mangoes are plentiful and cheap in my sunny part of the world. The curry also contains another locally grown ingredient – macadamia nuts. This recipe was initially inspired by a mango and tomato curry dish in the print version of ABC Delicious magazine. The original recipe is now available online.

Mango, Macadamia and Tomato Curry is a very saucy curry. That is, the curry has a thick sauce – and lots of it! The sauce is truly delectable, and I have considered adding chickpeas or using the sauce as a base for other curry creations – but, it hasn’t happened yet! The curry doesn’t have a strong mango taste, rather the mangoes add sweetness. The combination of tomato, spices, coconut cream and a hint of basil give this curry its captivating and distinct flavour.

with jasmine rice

with jasmine rice


(Quantity: serves 2-3 people, with rice.)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 Tbsp curry powder

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground ginger

8 cardamon pods, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

a generous pinch of saffron threads (optional)

5 large basil leaves, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium-sized mangoes, peeled, cored and sliced

1 tomato, cored and cut into 8 wedges

1 can (400ml) crushed tomatoes, liquidised (I use an immersion blender)

1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts

1/4 cup organic coconut cream

extra basil leaves for garnish


1. Dry roast the macadamia nuts in a fry pan or skillet until they begin to turn golden brown.

2. To a small bowl, add the curry powder, coriander, turmeric, ginger, salt, cardamon pods and saffron threads. Mix well, then set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok, on a low heat. Then add the mustard seeds and stir regularly until they begin to pop.

4. Add the contents of the small bowl to the wok, and cook on a low heat for about 7 minutes, stirring continuously during this time. Add a splash of water (or some of the liquidised tomatoes) if the spices begin to dry out or stick to the wok.

5. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for 1 minute.

6.  Add the mango pieces and tomato wedges, mix well to ensure that they are coated with the spices. Add the liquidised tomatoes, and stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered, on a low heat.

7. Add the macadamia nuts, basil leaves and coconut cream. Mix well. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

8. Serve with jasmine rice, and garnish with small basil leaves.

What do the tiny vegans think of this recipe?

The tiny vegans are big fans of mangoes. The mention of mango in a dish is bound to win the tiny vegans over.  And, as regular readers will have ascertained by now, we eat a lot of curry in this house.

This was Little Baker’s first experience with this curry. He gave it a big nod of approval.

When I mentioned that we were having curry for dinner, 7 year old Tiny Vegan announced: ‘I don’t like curry’.


Mat diplomatically reminded him that he had in fact eaten curry just the previous evening at his grandma’s house, in the form of homemade vegetable and lentil curry pies.

I also reminded him that this curry contained mango. He ceased voicing his disapproval for curry, and happily ate his serving.

4 year-old Tiny Vegan asked where the mangoes were when I served his meal. I assured him that they were in there. The mango pieces do break up during the cooking process.

Do I really need to make a point of adding that my daughter enjoys this recipe? Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that.

Each Monday, I feature a delicious recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally  :)

{Recipe} Sweet Cashew Cream


This is a thick cashew cream suitable for teaming with trifle, apple pie and Christmas pudding.

This combination of ingredients produces a thick cream that is delightfully moreish.


(quantity: approx. 2 1/2 cups)

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 vanilla bean

3/4 cup water


1. Drain and rinse the cashew nuts. Set aside.

2. Add the 3/4 cup of water to a [high speed] blender. Then add the cashews and maple syrup.

3. Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise, and scrape the seeds into the blender.

4. Blend until smooth. I use the XL smoothie setting on my Blendtec.


The cream will thicken further during refrigeration, and should last 2-3 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge (unless you eat it first, of course!).

Try this cashew cream with Peach, Mango & Raspberry Individual Trifles.


{Recipe} Peach, Mango and Raspberry Trifles


I had intended to feature a salad recipe today, to break up the dessert theme that I have been on for the last few weeks. It all started with rocky road!

But, I realised that it may take some of you a little bit of time to source gelatine-free jelly, depending on where you live. I am unable to purchase it locally. So, I figured the earlier I posted this recipe, the sooner the search for vegan jelly could commence for readers who are considering trifle for Christmas.

Trifle was a feature of my childhood Christmases. Many years after I embraced veganism, my mum and I decided to attempt a vegan trifle. The recipe has evolved over the years, and this year I wanted to try something a little different – individual or mini trifles. They are delicious and very moreish.


You can make the cake a day or two in advance (and store it  in an airtight container). Allow the jelly to set in the fridge – and soak the cashews – overnight. Then make the cashew cream and custard on the day that you want to serve the trifles.

I used 360ml capacity glasses. This is definitely an adult-size dessert.


(for 6 individual trifles)

1 vegan sponge cake or vanilla cake*

1 1/2 – 2 cups of custard

1 packet of gelatine-free jelly (jello) crystals, strawberry or raspberry flavour**

2 cups of thick cashew cream (recipe here) OR other non-dairy cream

4 ripe peaches

1 ripe mango

18 raspberries, preferably fresh

strawberry fruit spread (refined sugar free)


1. Bake or acquire the cake that you will use for the trifle bases. Cut the cake in half, horizontally, and spread strawberry fruit spread on both sides. Sandwich the pieces back together again. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the trifles.

2. Make the jelly (jello), according to the packet directions, the day before you want to serve the trifles.  Allow the jelly to set in the fridge overnight.

3. Just prior to assembling the trifles, make the custard according to the packet directions then set it aside to cool and thicken.

4. If you are making the cashew cream, keep it in the fridge until you need it.

5. Wash all of the fruit, then dice the mango and peaches.

6. I used a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut pieces of the cake, but you can use a sharp knife to cut circles of cake that are slightly smaller in circumference than the base of your glasses.

7. Line up all of your ingredients and your glasses.

8. Place a dollop of custard in the bottom of a glass, then place the cake segment on top. Add pieces of fruit to cover the cake and to fill the gaps between the cake and the glass. Then, scoop about 3 tablespoons of jelly (jello) on top of the fruit. Cover the jelly with custard, then cover the custard with a thick layer of cashew cream. Place 3 raspberries on top of the cream. Refrigerate.

9. Repeat with the remaining glasses.

After assembling the individual trifles, I had a small amount of cashew cream and jelly (jello) left (about 1/4 cup of each). I was also left with about 1/8th of a cake.


Add a dollop of custard and a piece of cake.



Add pieces of peach and mango.



Add about 3 Tbsp of jelly (jello).



Cover with custard.



Add the cream, then top with raspberries.



Variations – 

  • You may choose to make a ‘whole’ trifle rather than individual tiny ones. In this case, use a large, flat-bottomed, glass bowl. Cut the cake into large pieces, then follow the directions as they are outlined above, using all of the jelly and cream. You may also want to increase the amount of fruit to about 6 peaches and 2 mangoes.
  • To transform this into an adults-only decadent dessert, add a dash of kahlua coffee liqueur to the cooled custard (before assembling the trifles), and mix well.
  • If you want to reduce the sugar content, omit the jelly.
  • Gluten-free option – Use macadamia nut pieces or gluten-free biscuit pieces in place of cake, or bake a gluten-free vanilla cake. Also, ensure that the custard powder is gluten-free.


The tiny vegans’ verdicts

As I mentioned, these aren’t child-size serves. It took my daughter, 9 years old, two days to eat her trifle. If you want to make the trifles for children, use smaller quantities and tinier vessels.

7-year-old Tiny Vegan and 4-year-old Tiny Vegan were not enamoured with the cashew cream, and were unable to finish their trifles in two days (luckily the parents of Tiny Vegans were on hand to assist with Operation Devour Trifle). I gave Little Baker a spoonful of my trifle – and he spat it onto the floor! I think the jelly caused this reaction. Never mind, I think he is too little for dessert anyway.

My daughter, on the other hand, was captivated by this dessert.

* Click here for a simple sponge cake recipe. This is the recipe that I used for these trifles. I recommend that you halve the recipe (as I did). Also, you don’t need to ice (frost) it.

** If you are ordering vegan jelly online, you may not have a lot of flavour options. I suggest avoiding orange flavoured jelly in this trifle. I speak from experience. :)

I order my jelly here.

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by (most members of) my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Do tell! What desserts will be making an appearance on your Christmas table this year?

Ally  :)

{Recipe} Chocolate, Coconut and Pecan ‘Ice Cream’ Cake


Yes, more chocolate. :) I make no apologies for that.

Today’s recipe is a nearly raw, gluten-free, no-bake, ice cream cake-style dessert. It is perfectly suited for an Aussie Christmas.

This recipe is inspired by a raw chocolate ‘gelato’ recipe that was distributed at a raw food preparation course I attended in Brisbane about 6 years ago.

This recipe consists of water and flesh from a young coconut. I live in a rural area, but I have no trouble sourcing young coconuts at the supermarket, in the fruit and vegetable section. They may also be labelled as drinking coconuts or Thai coconuts.


The thought of cracking open a young coconut (or an ‘old’ one for that matter!), may seem a little intimidating at first.  Just take your time, and focus on the task. Do not assign this job to a child. And if they want to watch – and they will– make sure they stand clear.

You actually only need to remove a tiny amount of the husk – just enough to release the water and accommodate a spoon. I pour the water into a jug, then I use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

Click here to watch an interesting instructional video on how to open a young coconut easily and safely (it will only take a couple of minutes of your time). If you haven’t opened a young coconut before – and want to make this recipe – I suggest that you view the video.

The opening of the coconut is the only [slightly] complicated part of this recipe. The rest is easy! The coconut flesh is delicious. I usually eat (and share) the leftover flesh as I prepare the recipe. It is very moreish.



(requires overnight freezing; Serves: 12-14 slices)

1.5 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked in water for 4 hours

1/2 cup raw cacao powder (ie. raw chocolate powder)

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

generous 1/4 cup of coconut flesh

1 cup coconut water

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or agave syrup, if you want a raw ‘cake’.)

1 – 2 Tbsp cacao nibs (or choc chips)

2-3 Tbsp chopped pecans

1/2 of a vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Drain and rinse the macadamia nuts in a colander. Set aside.

2. Safely open your coconut. Pour the water into a metric jug until you have 1 cup. Store the remaining water in a separate container in the fridge (for a smoothie) or drink it now. Scoop the flesh out, measuring out a generous 1/4 cup. Store the remainder in the fridge for a smoothie, or eat it now. :) If your young coconut has less than one cup of water (unlikely, but possible), make up the remainder with filtered water.

3. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Ensure that the paper hangs over the sides of the tin – this will assist you to remove the dessert from the tin once it is frozen. The folds of the paper may leave imprints on your dessert (as you can see in my photos) so if this concerns you, make an effort to smooth the paper.

3. To a [high-speed] blender, add the coconut water, coconut oil, maple syrup, macadamia nuts, coconut flesh, and cacao powder. Cut your vanilla bean in half, then cut open one of the halves, lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the blender.

4. Blend until smooth. [On my Blendtec, I use the XL smoothie setting.] Once the mixture is smooth, pour the cacao nibs and pecans into the blender – do not blend! Use a spatula to fold the nibs and pecans into the mixture.

5. Once the cacao nibs and pecans are incorporated, pour the chocolate mix into the loaf tin. Smooth the top with the spatula. Cover the tin, and place it in the freezer overnight (or until frozen).

6. Once frozen, remove the cake from the tin. If the paper sticks to the tin, run a knife along the edge of the tin to separate the paper from the edge. Invert the cake onto a serving plate (so that the base now becomes the top), and decorate with pecan halves and additional cacao nibs (or choc chips).

7. If the cake is too hard to slice immediately, allow it to soften a little. Slice, then serve immediately.

Store leftovers in the freezer.


The tiny vegans’ verdicts

7-year-old tiny vegan informed me that he prefers my ‘banana ice cream'(the one that involves whizzing frozen banana in a food processor). I can’t complain about that. :) He commented that he didn’t like the chocolate that I had used. The flavour of the cacao powder was too strong for him. Perhaps cocoa powder would be more suitable in this recipe for some children’s palates.

My daughter ate half of her slice and commented that it was delicious but very rich. Obviously, smaller slices are the way to go for kids. Some kids…

4-year-old tiny vegan was happy to eat his slice, and his sister’s leftover half-slice. He was the most enthusiastic fan of this recipe – apart from me, that is. I adore it!

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally  :)

{Recipe} Raspberry Chocolate Flan



An upcoming lunch with friends was my motivation for developing this decadent gluten-free dessert.

On the day of the lunch, I served the flan with fresh raspberry sauce.  It was well-received by the tiny vegans, the parents of tiny vegans and- most importantly – our friends.


The flan consists of almonds, medjool dates, frozen organic raspberries, raw cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and cashews (or macadamia nuts).

One of the positive aspects of making a no-bake treat is the ability to taste the filling prior to ‘assembling’ the recipe. Once the flan filling has been blended to a smooth consistency, a quick taste test will inform you whether there is a need to add additional sweetener, or cacao powder, or vanilla.


Not long after the lunch, 4 year-old Tiny Vegan and I made the flan again, while Little Baker slept (a baker was not required for this no-bake recipe). He enjoyed assisting with the food processor and blender operations, and he was very adept at the task of pressing the base mixture into the tin.  He was also very ‘adept’ at asking when he could lick the spatula. :)

On this occasion, we used macadamia nuts instead of cashews. Both nuts provide a creamy consistency. Use whichever you prefer.



(serves: 10 slices)

for the base:

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup pitted medjool dates

1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

for the filling:

1.5 cups macadamia nuts OR cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

3 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1/4 of a vanilla bean

1/3 cup frozen organic raspberries, chopped

for the raspberry sauce:

3/4 cup frozen organic raspberries

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Drain the macadamia nuts, and rinse them well. Set aside.

2. For the base: To a food processor, add the almonds and process for about 60 seconds. Add the cacao powder and dates, and process for a further 60 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a flan tin (I use one with a removable base). Press the mixture into the tin evenly, using your hands. Place the base in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

3. For the filling: To a [high-speed] blender, add the water, nuts, maple syrup, and cacao powder. Cut open the vanilla bean (lengthwise), and use the pointy end of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds into the blender.

4. Blend until the mixture is very smooth. I use the XL Smoothie setting on my Blendtec.

5. Add the raspberries to the blender – do not blend! Use a spatula to fold them into the mixture. Retrieve the flan tin from the fridge, and pour the chocolate and raspberry mixture into the tin. Smooth the top with a spatula.

6. Place the flan into the freezer for 2-3 hours to allow it to’set’, prior to serving. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the flan overnight, and transfer it to the freezer for 1-2 hours prior to serving.

7. For the raspberry sauce: Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat on a low heat, stirring regularly until the raspberries have softened, liquidised and formed a thick sauce. Transfer to a serving jug, and allow the sauce to cool before serving.

8. Serve the flan with raspberry sauce and/or cacao nibs. I store leftovers in the freezer.


Am I stating the obvious by telling you that the tiny vegans are enamoured with this flan? :)


Did you have a chance to check out the Virtual Vegan Potluck? If so, what were your favourite dishes? You can vote for your favourite dishes in each category, until 2 December (US time). Click here to vote.

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!


{Recipe} Rocky Road


I regard rocky road as a Christmas time indulgence.

Aargh, Christmas!

I know that some of you are preparing for Thanksgiving, while others may still be recovering from Halloween (or the Virtual Vegan Potluck 4.0!). In that case, the thought of Christmas is a little confronting. Nevertheless, it will be here before we know it!

I have been considering the recipes that my family may indulge in for Christmas lunch this year.

Well, in all honesty, I’ve mostly been thinking about the desserts. :) But, one has to start somewhere when planning a menu!


Vegan marshmallows are quite pricey in my part of the world, so rocky road only makes an appearance in our home on special occasions, like Christmas.

I use dark chocolate or ‘milk-style’ non-dairy chocolate, but you could use non-dairy white chocolate if you prefer. Many rocky road recipes contain glace cherries, but I prefer to use dried papaya. You may prefer to use another variety of dried fruit, or a vegan ‘gum- style’ lolly (candy) like ‘gummy bears’.



250g/8.5oz non-dairy chocolate

100g/3.5oz vegan marshmallows, roughly chopped

2 generous Tbsp dried papaya (paw paw) OR other dried fruit OR vegan ‘gum-style’ lollies, finely chopped

1/2 cup raw macadamia nut pieces

1/3 cup desiccated or shredded coconut


1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Add all of the ingredients, except chocolate, to a medium mixing bowl. Mix well.

3. Melt the chocolate. I use a large glass bowl, resting over a saucepan that contains a small amount of boiling water. Ensure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Do not allow water or steam to come into contact with the chocolate. Once the chocolate has completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat.

4. Add the other ingredients to the bowl of melted chocolate. Mix well with a spatula, and ensure that the ingredients are well-coated by chocolate.

5.  Scoop the rocky road mixture into the loaf tin, and press down with the spatula.

6. Refrigerate for approximately 90 minutes, or until ‘set’. Then remove rocky road from the tin, and cut into 12 pieces.



Are you wondering what the tiny vegans think of rocky road?

4- year-old Tiny Vegan doesn’t like marshmallows. That rules out rocky road for him, since I’m not going to make it without its star ingredient. And, Little Baker is too little for chocolate. The other tiny vegans enjoy it, of course. No surprises there!

But, now that I have made rocky road in order to share the recipe with you, I probably won’t be making it for Christmas day after all. I have just had my rocky road ‘fix’ for the year.

What is your favourite Christmas day dessert?

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally   :)

If you missed the recipe that I took to the Virtual Vegan Potluck, click here

{Virtual Vegan Potluck} Rainbow Salad with Chilli-Mint-Lime Dressing

rainbowsalad1Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck and a beautiful, warm spring day at my place.

The tiny vegans have set the table on the verandah, and 7-year-old Tiny Vegan is waiting to pour you a refreshing drink. Just be careful where you rest your glass – Little Baker (21 months) may snatch your ice or straw!

Sit down, relax, and enjoy the view of distant mountains while you indulge in a bowl of my potluck offering:  Rainbow Salad with Chilli, Mint and Lime Dressing.

This colourful salad is a scrumptious medley of vegetables, herbs and dry-roasted cashews. A flavoursome, mildly spicy dressing of red chilli, coconut sugar, lime, garlic, tamari, and mint leaves completes the recipe. rainbowsalad2


serves: 4-6 as a side salad

2 x medium zucchini, chopped into matchsticks (I use a julienne peeler)

2 x medium carrot, chopped into matchsticks (again, I use a julienne peeler)

1 medium red capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced

1 shallot (green or spring onion), finely chopped

1/2 cup beetroot (beet) leaves, destalked, and finely chopped

2/3 cup finely chopped coriander, stem and leaves

6 large, fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1/2 of a medium raw beetroot (beet), peeled and grated

1 cup raw cashews

for the dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red chilli (birds eye), seeds removed, and finely chopped

6 large, fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

juice and pulp of 1 freshly-squeezed lime

1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar

1/4 tsp vegan fish sauce (optional)


1. On a low-medium heat, dry roast the cashews in a fry pan or skillet until they begin to turn golden brown. Set aside.

2. Prepare the dressing: Add all of the ingredients to a small mixing bowl or glass jug, and mix well with a fork. Set aside.

3. Add the vegetables and herbs to a large mixing bowl in the order that they are listed. Mix well, but gently. Then add the dry-roasted cashews (set a few aside for garnishing). Toss the salad gently until the cashews are incorporated.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to distribute the dressing.

5. Garnish with mint or basil leaves, and cashews.

6. Serve immediately.


The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

Regular readers know that I usually mention the opinions of the tiny vegans (my children).

In this case, only 9-year-old Tiny Vegan and Little Baker were offered the Rainbow Salad. They both enjoyed their portions.

The addition of a tiny amount of chilli in the dressing makes this salad a ‘tiny vegan’- friendly recipe. If you prefer a spicier dressing, add the chilli seeds as well.


I hope you have enjoyed your time with us. Your food journey continues! To visit The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado, and indulge in Megan’s delectable recipe, click here.

rainbowsalad5If you missed the delicious offering from Janae at Bring Joy, click here.

If you want to go to the beginning of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, click here.

rainbowsalad4Thanks for stopping by! I hope to see you again soon.

I apologise for the beetroot stain on your shirt – Little Baker doesn’t usually throw food. :)

If you are new to Made of Stars, please consider signing up for email updates, following the blog through WordPress, or joining us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ally  :)

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…to The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado


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…to Bring Joy

vvpLOGOThanks to Annie and Keely for their support and assistance.

{Recipe} Corn Fritters and Tartar Sauce (gluten-free, soy-free)


Source: Arbon Publishing

Today, I feature two delicious recipes* from ‘Veganissimo! Beautiful Vegan Food’ by Leigh Drew.

Corn Fritters and Tartar Sauce are gluten-free and soy-free recipes.

Corn Fritters

serves: 12–14 fritters

preparation time: 15 minutes

cooking time: 1 hour



1 1⁄2 cups (10 oz/285 g) corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 medium capsicum (red bell pepper), finely chopped

1 bunch (approx. 4 oz/115 g) coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

1 cup (5 1⁄2 oz/155 g) masa harina or polenta

1⁄2 cup (2 oz/60 g) chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) soy-free or soy non-dairy milk

1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line a baking/cookie tray with kitchen baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the corn kernels, red onion, garlic, capsicum (bell pepper), and coriander (cilantro). Stir through the masa harina or polenta, chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour),salt, and ground black pepper. Pour in the non-dairy milk and olive oil, and mix the ingredients together well. Set the bowl aside.

3. Place a nonstick or cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. Form ½-cup portions of the mixture into patties, and pan fry the fritters in batches of three or four at a time. Cook the fritters for about 5–7 minutes or until they are golden on the underside, flip and fry them for a further 3–5 minutes, and then place the fritters onto the baking/cookie tray. Place the fritters into the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until they are fully cooked and set in the center.

Serve with tartar sauce (recipe to follow).



Source: Arbon Publishing

Tartar Sauce 

Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus overnight soaking of cashews

Cooking time: none

Yields: 2 cups



1 cup (41⁄2 oz/130 g) cashews, soaked overnight and drained

3⁄4 cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) water

1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch chives (approx. 1⁄2 oz/15 g), finely chopped

1⁄3 cup (21⁄2 oz/70 g) finely chopped gherkins (cornichons)

1⁄4 cup (11⁄2 oz/45 g) finely chopped capers


Place the cashews, water, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, white pepper, and olive oil into a food processor. Blend the ingredients until the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce into a bowl, and stir through the chives, gherkins (cornichons), and capers.

 Tartar sauce can be used on sandwiches, served with pan-fried or battered tofu, and even offered as a dip.


For my review of Veganissimo! Beautiful Vegan Food, click here.

* The recipes and specified photos are reproduced on Made of Stars with the kind permission of Arbon Publishing, Sydney.

Each Monday I feature a delicious vegan recipe – or two! 

Ally  :)

{Book Review} ‘Veganissimo! Beautiful Vegan Food’ by Leigh Drew


Today, I am delighted to feature a review of Veganissimo! Beautiful Vegan Food by Australian cook book author, Leigh Drew.

It is a dilemma faced by all individuals who eagerly open the cover of a new cook book for the first time: what should I cook first? This challenge is all the more pronounced if one is hungry at the time!

Ultimately, I chose two recipes from the Charming Cheeses, Pates, Dips, and Spreads chapter, as I had the ingredients readily available. To date, I have prepared 11 recipes from the pages of Veganissimo!, and several more are earmarked for imminent preparation.


Chive, Garlic and Walnut Spread

This spread is visually appealing and tasty. I am always interested in simple dishes that incorporate walnuts (and all of their omega-3 fatty acid goodness).

Although I used freshly-picked garlic chives from our herb garden in this recipe, I wouldn’t recommend that you do the same. The spicy garlic flavour of the chives aggressively competed with the mellow, sweet flavour of the roast garlic. Definitely use ‘regular’ chives as outlined in the recipe. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed the flavour of this dip, and I imagine that it would be a delicious substitute for pesto.

Chunky Beet Dip

This dip is scrumptious. It contains mint and oven-roasted beetroot (beets). I used freshly-picked mint from our herb garden.

The aroma of onion, garlic, vinegar, coconut sugar, salt, and white pepper bubbling on the stove is captivating. My husband, Mat, entered the kitchen at this point and proclaimed: ‘something smells alright out here’. Talk about an understatement!  I particularly enjoyed this dip teamed with avocado on toast.


Zucchini Muffins

These muffins are superb! I decided to make this recipe to force myself out of my comfort zone. I usually overlook savoury muffin recipes, giving preference to sweet muffins. I’m so glad I decided to bake them!

Once the muffins cooled, I offered them to the tiny vegans. Minutes later, my daughter returned to the kitchen, imploring: ‘Can I have another one? They are so good’. I found them to be incredibly moreish too. I plan to bake these again soon.


Spinach Hummus

I make a batch of hommus each week for school lunchboxes. I am planning to alternate between ‘regular’ hommus and spinach hummus from now on. The flavour of the baby spinach is so subtle as to be undetectable. This recipe is a great way to incorporate raw greens into the tiny vegans’ diets.

Overnight Breakfast Cups

My daughter prepared this recipe alongside me one evening while I was cooking dinner. The next morning, we forgot that it was in the fridge! When I discovered it, I devoured a bowl for an afternoon snack. I topped my serving with additional non-dairy milk and a drizzle of maple syrup. I omitted the recommended peanut butter. My daughter had a serving the following morning for breakfast.

Our breakfast cups contained quinoa flakes. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of quinoa flakes. Drew also suggests using rolled oats and – as we are not on a gluten-free diet – I will do that next time.



Thai-style Yellow Curry with Coriander Dressing is truly delectable. I served it with brown basmati rice. I omitted the fresh red chilli from the recipe, and used a pinch or two of dried chilli flakes, to ensure it was ‘kid friendly’.

The method of tofu preparation involves the following steps: freezing; defrosting; squeezing; tearing; tossing with a smidgen of olive oil and tamari; then, finally, baking.

This process results in deliciously flavoured and delightfully textured chunks of tofu. 7 year old Tiny Vegan was particularly enamoured with the baked tofu in this dish, and I have since employed this method while preparing tofu for a stir fry. The blocks of tofu that entered our kitchen this week were directed straight to the freezer for an overnight chilling. I look forward to my next bowl of yellow curry. The tofu is currently defrosting!


I prepared Lancashire Hotpot for a family dinner at my parents’ house. It was popular with the adults and children, and I envisage this warming and comforting meal being a regular winter dinner in our home.

The sliced potato topping was well-received by the members of the household who hold disdain for mashed potato toppings (I’m not mentioning any names! They know who they are). The recipe does not instruct you to remove the bay leaves, but if you don’t like biting into whole bay leaves, I suggest that you remove them from the mixture before transferring it from the saucepan to the oven-proof dish.

Pikelets with Whipped Maple Cream

I prepared the pikelets for the ravenous tiny vegans as an after-school snack. As a consequence, Mat and I were not able to indulge in as many pikelets as we would have hoped to devour. Nevertheless, they were popular with the tiny vegans, and the strawberry jam and whipped maple cream were very pleasing accompaniments.


My sister was visiting for the weekend when I made Italian Farinate. She described it as the gluten-free lovechild of frittata and pizza. :) I used fresh thyme (leftover from the hotpot recipe) rather than rosemary.

I particularly enjoyed the farinate the next day, after it was reheated in the oven. The base had crisped up further and the flavours had intensified. Next time I make it, I will use baking paper in my spring form cake tins, as I found the farinate a little difficult to remove from the cake tin bases. Farinate would be perfect as an alternative to garlic bread, served with pasta dishes.

Soft Molasses Gingerbread Cake

My cake preference rarely extends beyond chocolate, so I baked Gingerbread Cake to push myself out of my cocoa-shrouded comfort zone. Drew suggests making this cake in a bundt tin. As I do not own one, I used a springform tin instead (combined with a lower oven temperature and a longer cooking time).

I am not keen on ginger in sweet recipes. I am not enamoured with chocolate coated ginger or candied ginger. I prefer my ginger in savoury dishes, like curries and stir fries. Consequently, although I had purchased a packet of crystallised ginger for this recipe, I decided to omit it. It was a good decision. A couple of the tiny vegans tasted the crystallised ginger, and did not like it. They enjoyed the cake, however.

If you adore gingerbread cakes, you will be charmed by this one. It rose beautifully, possessed a nice texture, and each bite was flavoured with a hint of molasses. I topped the cake slices with leftover whipped maple cream, rather than the suggested icing.


Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

This recipe is my kind of indulgence! These muffins are a decadent, moreish, and tasty treat. They contain frozen raspberries, raspberry jam and chocolate chunks. I replaced some of the oil with applesauce (as suggested by Drew). These were immensely popular with my extended family members. I will definitely bake these muffins again. They possess the decadence of a cupcake, making them an ideal ‘special occasion’ muffin.

About the Book

The 208-page book contains over 120 recipes presented in 10 chapters (with an elegant use of alliteration), including:

Beguiling Breakfasts and Brunches 

Splendid Salads, Soups and Side Dishes

Pleasing Pasta and Ravishing Rice

Stunning Stews, Classy Curries, and Precious Pies

Sublime Sauces, Marinades and Dressings

Divine Desserts

The instructions are clear and unambiguous. Colourful symbols are used to highlight the soy-free, gluten-free, or low fat status of a recipe. Recipes that require 30 minutes or less cooking time are also highlighted. Ingredient measurements are specified in ounces, grams and cups ensuring that the recipes are useful and practical to readers across the globe. Furthermore, the recipes were tested by a bunch of international recipe-testers.

A couple of the recipes that I made contained all-purpose (plain wheat) flour. This type of flour isn’t a pantry staple in my kitchen. My preferred ‘gluten-loaded’ flours are wholemeal wheat and wholemeal spelt. I would like to use these flours when I next bake Zucchini Muffins and Chocolate Raspberry Muffins.

For the information of gluten-free readers, the book contains over 90 recipes that are gluten-free or contain a gluten-free option, including Gingered Cheesecake Bar Cookies, Vietnamese Savory Pancakes, and Sizzling Polenta Gnocchi with Sage.



Creative use of colour

The photos are beautiful and visually appealing. Vibrant colours, like burnt orange, sky blue, and lime green, are used effectively. Each chapter has its own colour theme, which is used consistently throughout the chapter: in the photography props (ie. tablecloths, straws, etc.) and the featured ‘tips’ sections that accompany the recipes.

The book features an introductory chapter called Building Blocks of Vegan Cuisine, which includes useful information about kitchen equipment, pantry essentials, egg substitutes, nondairy milks, and more. This section is peppered with brief recipes that highlight vegan whole foods, including Nut Milk, Refried Bean-style Dip, and Quinoa Tabbouleh.

The pages are thick and robust, which may seem like a trivial consideration. But, it becomes an important quality in a well-loved and frequently thumbed cook book.

What am I cooking next?

It’s a toss up between Satay Shiitake Mushroom and Eggplant Kebab Wraps and Tempeh, Eggplant and Sweet Potato Lasagne. Or, I may go straight for the Chocolate Mousse Tart with Raspberries.

Curious about the burger on the cover?

That’s a Portobello Burger with the Lot.

With a scrumptious collection of recipes covering a wide range of categories, my copy of the book is fast becoming well-thumbed. In my experience thus far, Veganissimo! lives up to its name. The food is truly beautiful, in both appearance and taste. And, as I have indicated, the layout of the book is visually appealing and easy to navigate.


If it would thrill you to see the colourful cover of Veganissimo! perched among your cook book collection, or if you think the book would be the perfect gift for a special vegan in your life, you can purchase a copy here or here.

About Leigh Drew

Leigh is based in Sydney, Australia, and has been vegan for over a decade. Veganissimo! is her third cook book.

Disclosure: A free copy of the book was provided to me by Arbon Publishers. All opinions expressed are my own (except those attributed to the tiny vegans, Mat, and my sister – of course!).

Tomorrow, I feature a recipe from Veganissimo!



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