{Recipe} Rocky Road

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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. ūüôā But, one has to start somewhere when planning a menu!

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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’.

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Ingredients

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

Method

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.

Indulge!

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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 ¬†ūüôā

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

{Recipe} Creamy Mushroom Sauce with Spelt Spirals

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This simple, quick and tasty recipe uses ingredients that are fridge and pantry ‘staples’ at my house.

My sons aren’t keen on mushrooms, so I don’t even attempt to serve this meal to them. This is a good lunchtime option for Mat and I when the (older) tiny vegans are at school (and pre-school).

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Ingredients

(serves 2)

2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms, white or button

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 can/400ml organic coconut cream

1 Tbsp organic cornflour

1 generous Tbsp chopped, freshly-picked parsley leaves

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

black pepper

2 tsp olive oil, divided

Spelt spirals (or your preferred pasta)

Method

1. Cook the desired amount of pasta according to the directions on the packet. Once cooked, strain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the cornflour, and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Shake the can of coconut cream before opening it. Add the coconut cream gradually, stirring continuously with a whisk, to avoid lumps. Once all the coconut cream has been added, use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce periodically as it thickens. The sauce will take several minutes to thicken. Add the salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the mustard. Mix well. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and set aside. The sauce will thicken further on standing.

4. In a separate saucepan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the garlic, stirring until fragrant. Then add the mushrooms. Cook them for 3-4 minutes, until they begin to release water.

5. Add the cooked mushrooms and garlic to the sauce and stir well, on a low heat. Bring the sauce to a warm serving temperature. Stir the parsley through just prior to serving.

6. Spoon the spirals into bowls, and top with the mushroom sauce. Decorate with a sprig of parsley, and serve immediately.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

As I mentioned, this recipe is not popular with most of the tiny vegans. My daughter is the only one who enjoys this meal. Little Baker likes spelt spirals but is not impressed with mushrooms. Yet.

I am hopeful that he will eventually succumb to the charm of mushrooms. My daughter disliked mushies until recent years. Now she is enchanted by buttons and shiitakes. ūüôā

Dr. Joel Fuhrman says this about the mighty mushroom:

‘In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (which equates to about one button mushroom per day) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer.

All types of mushrooms have anti-cancer properties.¬†Plus, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors ‚ÄĒ compounds that can block the production of estrogen.

Aromatase inhibitors are thought to be largely responsible for mushrooms’ preventive effects against breast cancer. Even the most commonly eaten mushrooms (white, cremini, and Portobello) have high anti-aromatase activity…

Keep in mind that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked: several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content’.

***

Ok, fess up! Do you eat raw mushrooms?¬†Did you realise that you were messing with agaritine? ūüôā

 Every Monday, I feature a delicious recipe that is enjoyed by [some of the members of ] my own family- I hope your family enjoys it too. 

Ally ūüôā

{Recipe} Chilli Beans

As I mentioned last week, this month marks my 17th year of veganism. Thus, I thought it appropriate to feature a recipe that has been a staple since the early days of my life as a vegan.

Following, is a veganised version of a meal my mum made regularly when I was a child – Chilli Con Carne.

The original veganised version used kidney beans, but the recipe has evolved in my household to include other beans as well. My mum still makes this dish regularly, and I now make it for my family. All of my children enjoy it.

We call it, simply, Chilli Beans.

All those years ago, when I dropped a bombshell told my mum that I wanted to become vegan, she wondered what on Earth she was going to cook. Thankfully, she did the sane thing – she started making vegan food for the whole family!

Chilli Con Carne was one of the first recipes that she veganised, back in ’96, when no-one used the term ‘veganised’! In fact, no one I knew even used the term ‘vegan’. We were few and far between! In my experience, veganism was not very well understood.

Some of you are gesticulating at your screens, hollering: What is she talking about?! We are still misunderstood! I agree.

However, these days I feel as though I am part of a community, a movement. ¬†Back then, in the early days, I felt quiet isolated. I developed a habit of not mentioning my veganism unless I really had to. Hearing others implore ‘But where will you get your iron from’? and ‘What about protein’? became tiresome quite quickly.

Thankfully, by the end of ’96, my new boyfriend (now my husband!), had embraced veganism. ¬†So, too, had my sister. In fact, some of our peers (mostly fellow uni students) began to embrace animal rights. Some of us who advocated for women’s rights – and human rights, in general- saw a logical connection with animal rights.

As a woman, and a mother, I object to the enslavement of cows for the purpose of collecting their lactation fluids for human consumption. Primarily, I object to the theft of their offspring. As a woman, mother, and feminist, I can not support an industry that rips newly born babies from their mothers. I do not make a distinction merely because these mothers are of a different species.

Today’s Recipe

This recipe is simple to prepare. You can use cooked or canned beans. I like to cook beans, like chickpeas and kidney beans,  in my pressure cooker. I freeze the leftovers, so that I have beans on hand whenever I require them. By all means, use canned beans if you want to.

In this recipe, I prefer to use a combination of beans, specifically kidney beans and chickpeas, or kidney beans and cannellini (white) beans. You can also add sweet corn kernels or chopped red capsicum (bell pepper).

This is a hearty, comforting meal.  Perfect for a weeknight, as it is quick to prepare (provided your beans are already cooked! or you are using canned beans).

We usually cook Chilli Beans at least once a fortnight. The beans can be served in a variety of ways, including:

  • with corn chips, guacamole, and salsa
  • with whole wheat or spelt wrap bread, and raw salad vegetables
  • with gluten-free savoury crepes
  • with brown rice, jasmine rice, or quinoa AND¬†a side dish of steamed broccoli or a big raw vegetable salad
  • with whole baked potatoes, halved (see photo below)
  • with salad vegies, guacamole, and chilli sauce, in tacos

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CHILLI BEANS

Quantity: Serves 4-5

Ingredients –¬†

3 cups cooked or canned* beans (kidney beans OR kidney and chickpea OR kidney and white beans, OR your favourite beans)

1 x 400g can of tomatoes 

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped red capsicum (bell pepper) OR sweet corn kernels (optional)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp is mild, and kid-friendly)

pinch of dried chilli flakes

1/8 tsp salt

Method

1.Oil free method РHeat  1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Then add chopped onion, and saute until translucent. Stir occasionally, with a wooden spoon.  Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if onion begins to stick to the saucepan. (Alternatively, saute onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil).

2. Add minced garlic, and spices. Stir well. Cook until fragrant, stirring regularly. Add 1 tbsp water. Stir.

3. Add beans, and mix until beans are coated with spices and onions (Add capsicum or corn kernels now, if using, and stir well).

4. Liquidise tomatoes with an immersion (hand held) blender or in a small food processor, until smooth. Add tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir well.

5. Bring mixture to the boil. Then, cover saucepan and turn to a low heat. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Remove lid, and simmer gently for 2 minutes.

7. Serve with preferred accompaniments.

* 3 cups of beans is roughly equivalent to 2 x 400g can of beans.

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***

I am thrilled to announce that Made of Stars is listed as a Top 12 blog for vegan and vegetarian parents in Soulness Magazine, a new online magazine.

Soulness Magazine aims to provide ‘information and practical guides on holistic healing, simplicity, yoga, ayurveda, health, ecological gardening and spirituality… [plus] delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes….’

I extend my gratitude and appreciation to Mihaly Kozak, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, for featuring Made of Stars in the first issue of Soulness. It is a lovely surprise!

This is what Soulness Magazine says about Made of Stars:

‘Made of Stars is an excellent blog dedicated to raising vegan children. Ally shares the joys of raising ‘four tiny vegans’ with her husband, Mat. Ally gives readers a unique perspective since her background is in social work and family violence. It’s not a surprise, considering her professional experience, that Ally would be so passionate about leading a compassionate vegan lifestyle. Ally shares wonderful tips on how to instill vegan values, eg. compassion, in children, how to eat out as a vegan family and mouth-watering recipes’. ¬†

I am truly moved by this positive and thoughtful description of me and Made of Stars. ūüėÄ

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The first issue of Soulness Magazine is available here. Check out pages 6-9 for descriptions of the Top 12 vegan and vegetarian blogs for parents in 2013. 

I was happy to discover that Soulness Magazine features an article by Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits, one of my favourite blogs. The article is called How to Fail at Habits.

Also, Soulness states that it is seeking submissions from writers and bloggers. If you think that this free, online magazine reflects your interests and values, you may want to consider contributing an article.

***

Tell me about one of the first recipes that you veganised. Was it successful? Please share your experiences.

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

Ally.

{Recipe} Alu Kofta with Green Pea Dhal and Cashew Sauce

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This month, I celebrate 17 years as a vegan. Yay! It truly is one of the best life decisions I have EVER made (along with marrying Mat, and having our precious children :)).

Today’s Recipe

I am featuring recipes from a cookbook that I acquired in 1996 (the year I embraced veganism). The cookbook is called Wolf and Lamb. It was written by the owner of one of my favourite vegan eateries, 20 000 Cows. A friend of mine visited Byron Bay for a holiday in ’96, and brought the book back as a gift for me. It has had a special place amongst my recipe books ever since.

A friend, Laura, and her son, Toby, visited our place on the weekend. Mat decided to cook¬†Alu (potato) Kofta with Green Pea Dhal and Cashew Sauce. I wasn’t going to disagree with that tasty proposition! He has made this dish on a couple of ‘special’ occasions over the years.

Following, are 3 separate recipes.  Combined, they make an impressive, decadent meal.

Green Pea Dhal is delicious with rice as a complete meal in itself. It is a quick and simple dhal recipe, for those occasions when you don’t have time to soak split peas or lentils!

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Mat made the Green Pea Dhal ahead of time, and we had some for dinner. He served it with leftover vegetable and chickpea curry, basmati rice, and pappadams. This recipe makes a large quantity, so there was plenty left over to accompany the Alu Kofta the next day.

The Cashew Sauce is truly delicious. Don’t scrimp on it for this recipe. It really transforms the Alu Kofta into something special ūüôā

Cashew sauce is also delicious as a dip with crackers (it thickens with refrigeration), or with steamed broccoli.

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Cashew Sauce

from: Wolf and Lamb by Marijonas Vilkelis

Quantity – approximately 2 cups

Ingredients –

100g/3.5 oz cashews (soaked for 4 hours)

100g/3.5 oz cashews, chopped into pieces (do not soak)

1/2 knob of garlic, crushed or chopped (ie. 4-5 cloves)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional, or to taste. Mat used 1/2)

1  Tbsp poppy seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 can coconut cream

1 Tbsp olive oil (or a few splashes of water) for pan frying

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Method

1. Process the soaked cashews in a food processor, with 1 Tbsp of the soak water.  Process until a creamy sauce forms. Add more soak water, a tsp at a time, if required.

2. Heat oil (or water) in a fry pan or wok, add the garlic, ginger, and chilli. Stir. Once browned, add the poppy seeds and fennel seeds. Fry for about 30 seconds.

3. Add the chopped cashew pieces and stir well. Cook  for one minute.

4. Add the processed cashew mixture, coconut cream, and salt. Bring to the boil slowly, stirring continuously.

5. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for a couple of minutes.

6. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add water or additional coconut cream.

Store leftover Cashew Sauce in the fridge.

***

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Green Pea Dhal

from: Wolf and Lamb by Marijonas Vilkelis

Quantity- Serves 4-6 as a main dish, or 8-10 as a side dish (makes 2 litres).

Ingredients –¬†

1kg/2.2 pounds of fresh or frozen peas (we use frozen)

1 knob of garlic, chopped (ie. 8-10 cloves)

1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional, or to taste. Mat used 1/2)

2 tsp hing (also known as asafoetida)

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 cup coconut cream

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp olive oil

Method

1. Pour the frozen peas into a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water to a level of 2cm above the peas. Set the bowl aside while the peas defrost.

2. Fry the garlic and chilli in the oil on a medium heat, in a large fry pan or wok. Once browned, add the garam masala and hing. Mix well. Cook for at least  one minute, stirring continuously. Remove from heat.

3. Once thawed, place the peas and half of the soak water into a food processor. Pulse until water and peas are beginning to combine.¬†Do not¬†over-process. Some of the peas should still be intact. ¬†A ‘mushy’ pea consistency is preferable.

4. Return the fry pan to a medium heat. Add the coconut cream and bring to a gentle simmer for about 1 minute.

5. Add the pea mixture and salt, and bring to a gentle simmer while stirring regularly. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

6. Serve.

***

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Alu Kofta

from: Wolf and Lamb by Marijonas Vilkelis

Quantity – 30 balls. Serves 4-6 (as a side dish, with green pea dhal)

Ingredients –¬†

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled

2 tsp olive oil or vegan margarine

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 cup chopped shallots (spring onions), dill, or coriander (Mat used shallots)

100g/3.5 oz cornflour

Olive oil for deep frying

Method

1. Cut the potatoes into quarters, and place in a saucepan. Cover the potatoes with just enough water to cook them. Add the salt. Bring the water to the boil, then simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked (they are ready when can be pierced with a fork).

 2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and drain off most of the water.

3. Add the oil (or vegan margarine), turmeric, and fennel seeds to the saucepan. Mash the mixture, with a fork or potato masher, until smooth. Allow the saucepan to stand (and cool) for about 15 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled, add the cornflour and shallots. Mix well.

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4. Heat oil in a saucepan until hot (Mat used a small saucepan to reduce the amount of oil required, and fried one or two balls at a time).

5. Form the potato mixture into small balls (about the size of a whole walnut). Place gently into the saucepan and fry until a golden crust has formed.* Place fried kofta balls on paper towels, to soak up some of the excess oil.

6. Optional step – Brown the Alu Kofta balls in a moderate oven, prior to serving. Thanks for the suggestion, Laura ūüôā

7. Serve with Green Pea Dhal, Basmati rice, and Cashew Sauce. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

* If the first ball disintegrates when placed into the oil, you will need to add more cornflour to the mixture. (Mat has never had this problem).

To Assemble

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Serve on a large dinner plate. Place Basmati rice next to Green Pea Dhal. Set the Alu Kofta balls on top of the Green Pea Dhal, evenly spaced. Drizzle Cashew Sauce over the Alu Kofta balls. Place mint leaves on top of the rice.

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The next day, Mat and I ate a few leftover Kofta balls. I baked them for 1o minutes in a moderate oven. They were scrumptious smothered in Cashew Sauce.

Each Monday, I feature a couple of delicious vegan recipes that are enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys them too!

Ally

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