{Recipe} Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry

This delectable green curry features an unexpected – but very welcome – addition. Shiitake mushrooms!

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Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry has been a much-loved recipe in our home for over a decade.

My aunty, Hazel, discovered the original recipe and passed it on to Mat and I, back in our child-free days. The recipe, by Belinda Jeffery, had been published on the web site of our local ABC radio station (but has since been removed).

The original recipe contained fish sauce.  With a couple of amendments and a few enhancements, we transformed it into a spectacular vegan recipe. These days, Mat and I eat a much milder version of this curry to accommodate our children’s palates.

However, milder does not equate to plainer. This curry is delightfully tasty, with delicious hints of lime and lemongrass. The roasted macadamia nuts add an appealing flavour and texture. The baked sweet potatoes add…surprise, surprise…a delicate sweetness.

A homemade green curry paste complements this dish, beautifully.

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Ingredients

Quantity – 4 serves

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

600g (21oz) orange sweet potato

2 Tbsp green curry paste (store-bought or homemade)

400ml (14 fl oz) coconut cream

2 sticks lemongrass, crushed to release the fragrance

4 kaffir lime leaves, crushed to release the fragrance

100g (3oz) raw macadamia nuts, halved

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Coriander leaves for garnish

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Method

1. Peel the sweet potato, and chop into large cubes. Spread the sweet potato on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove sweet potato from the oven. Set aside.

2. While the sweet potato is baking, spread macadamia nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Do not over-cook. The nuts can go from golden to burnt in a very short space of time!

2. While the sweet potato is baking, soak the shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for about 20 minutes. Retain 1/4 cup of soak water. De-stem and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.

3. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan, and add curry paste. Stir over a low heat for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, mushroom water, and mushrooms. Stir. Increase to medium heat, and bring to the boil.

5. Add sugar and lime juice. Mix well. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

6. Add sweet potato and macadamia nuts, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

7. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with jasmine rice.

Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry served with Basil-Ginger Tofu, and jasmine rice.

Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry served with Basil-Ginger Tofu, and jasmine rice.

What do the tiny vegans think of this recipe?

There haven’t been any requests from 4 year old tiny vegan to name this dish after him. Despite this, the recipe is a ‘hit’ with all of the tiny vegans.

My 6 year old son, the Least Adventurous Eater, eats this meal happily but avoids the shiitake mushrooms. He is not a fan of mushrooms. That is not a problem because the rest of us adore shiitake mushrooms, and are happy to eat his share too.

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

Ally

{Recipe} Pecan Date Nibblers | Cinnamon Date Slice

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Both of these recipes feature dates. One is raw, one is baked. Both are suitable for school lunchboxes, or an afternoon snack. Cinnamon Date Slice is gluten free and refined sugar-free, with an oil free option. My children adore this slice.

Pecan Date Nibblers are wheat free, oil free, and refined sugar-free. There is a variation to make them gluten-free. They are very popular in my household.  The recipe lists lemon or orange zest as optional. I always use orange zest. I think it should be compulsory! The orange flavour is very appealing.

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Pecan Date Nibblers

Recipe from: Let them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton (yes, another Dreena recipe!).

Quantity: 12-15

Recipe available here.

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Cinnamon Date Slice

Adapted from a recipe in Fresh Blends, the book that accompanied our Blendtec blender.

Quantity: 20 squares

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw almonds

2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts

1 cup ground flax seeds 

1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup date paste, store bought or homemade (recipe below)

1/3 cup sultanas

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

Topping: 2 Tbsp ground almonds, 2 Tbsp shredded coconut, 1-2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, 20 walnut pieces.

Method

1. Add almonds, macadamia nuts, cinnamon, and sea salt to a food processor, and process until nuts are ground.

2. Add nut mixture and ground flax seeds to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

3. Add date paste and agave (or maple) syrup to the mixing bowl, and stir until incorporated.

4. Add sultanas and walnuts. Mix well.

5. Line a large baking dish with baking paper* (parchment) and scoop the mixture into the dish. Flatten the mixture with the back of a large spoon.

6. Sprinkle the top with ground almonds, shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds.

7. Refrigerate (or place in the freezer) for a few hours before cutting into 20 squares. Place a walnut piece on each square. Store slice in fridge or freezer.

Date Paste

Quantity – approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

10 dates, pitted

2 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

2 Tbsp coconut oil (optional, but the slice is drier without it)

1/4 cup dried apricots

1 cup of water (for soaking dates)

Method

1. Soak dates in water for 1-2 hours. Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking water for step 2.

2. In a small food processor, add ingredients in the following order: soaking water, dates, agave (maple) syrup, coconut oil, and dried apricots.

3. Process until smooth.

Store the leftover date paste in the fridge. Date paste is yummy on bread or crackers, with macadamia butter.

dateslice2

* I had run out of baking paper on this occasion. It is much easier to extract the slice from the dish if you use baking paper, but it is not essential.

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

{Recipe} Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites | Lime Cheesecake (vegan).

We celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday yesterday.

My sister, my brother-in-law, and my dad’s brother arrived from Sydney to join our family and local friends for the festivities.

We enjoyed lots of delicious food, and I indulged in a couple of drinks. My brother-in-law makes a mean Espresso Martini!

We shared tonnes of laughs. As the evening progressed, we put on our dancing shoes. We sung, we reminisced. The evening will always hold a special place in my memory.

On to the food!

We all pitched in to prepare a scrumptious vegan spread. I made Uberdish’s gluten-free  savoury crepes. They are delicious smeared with non-dairy cream cheese and other dips. I also enjoy them plain.

Savoury crepes

Savoury crepes

Mat made cucumber and nut cheese bites (recipe below).

My mum baked two birthday cakes (both vegan, of course) – Chocolate Cake with Cacao Icing, and Lime Cheesecake (recipe below).

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Delicious finger food

Delicious finger food

Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites

Ingredients

1/2 continental cucumber (or 1 large Lebanese cucumber)

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered

Nut cheese (recipe below)

Alfalfa sprouts

Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

Method
1. Slice cucumber into the desired number of pieces.
2. Smear nut cheese on each piece of cucumber.
3. Top with olives, tomato and sprouts in preferred combinations.

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nut cheese

Nut Cheese

Adapted from: Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen (Mozarella Cheese).

Ingredients:

1 cup raw macadamia nuts (soaked overnight)

1 cup raw cashew nuts (soaked overnight)

1 Tbsp soy sauce/tamari OR 2 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 – 1 Tbsp water (optional)

Cashews and macadamia nuts

Cashews and macadamia nuts

Method

1. Add all ingredients, except optional water, to a blender (I use an immersion blender).
2. Blend until all ingredients are smooth. Add additional water if required (I added an additional 1/2 tbsp).

* Use leftover nut cheese on crackers, or as a dip with raw vegies. It complements beautifully this raw pasta dish.

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Lime Cheesecake with Soy Whip

My mum is the vegan cheesecake expert in our family. This Lime Cheesecake recipe is the product of two recipes, plus some trial, error and ingenuity.

Incidentally, my mum is well known (in our family at least!) for a delightful dessert known as Upside-Down Cheesecake. The secret method for Upside-Down Cheesecake is to cause the bottom of the springform pan to collapse as you are removing the baked cheesecake from the oven. This takes great skill and timing! Then, salvage the cheesecake that has fallen onto the oven door, and transfer it to a container. Refrigerate. Serve in a bowl, eat with a spoon. Delicious!

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Lime Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the base (adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook) –

125g (4 oz) vegan margarine/butter

200g (7 oz) plain, sweet vegan biscuits, finely crushed

2 tbsp brown sugar

Method
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F, and line a springform tin with baking paper.
2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, then add the biscuit crumbs. Mix well.
3. Stir in the sugar.
4. Press the biscuit mixture into the base of the springform tin. Smooth the top.
5. Refrigerate the base while you prepare the filling.

For the filling (adapted from this recipe by Michael Greger) –

450g/16 oz non-dairy cream cheese

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp lime zest

2/3 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp cornflour

Method
1. Process the cream cheese in a food processor.
2. Add the caster sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Process again until ingredients are incorporated.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add water and cornflour. Whisk until combined.
4. Add the cream cheese mixture to the mixing bowl, and combine.
5. Remove cake tin from the fridge.
6. Pour filling into cake tin, and smooth the top.
7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a golden brown skin forms on the top.
8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with homemade non-dairy cream or Soyatoo soy whip.

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Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two!) – one that is enjoyed by my family (and a few friends). I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous Salad | Cherry Cake


I am posting two recipes today. Both recipes are suitable for an Aussie Christmas lunch (or dinner). The Cherry Cake is suitable any time of year!

Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous Salad takes advantage of the Summertime abundance of delectable mangoes. Macadamia nuts, fresh herbs and spices also feature in this easy recipe. This salad is adapted from a vegetarian Weight Watchers recipe book that belonged to my mother-in-law, Maureen, many moons ago.

I also present Cherry Cake – a decadent, moreish treat that is my ‘go to’ cake for special events. I have found it to be popular with non-vegans too. The original source of the recipe is unknown, unfortunately. A non-vegan version of this recipe was passed on to my mum by a friend who had copied it out of a magazine. My mum veganized it, and I made further small amendments.

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Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous Salad

Quantity: Serves 6 people as a side dish

(For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free cous cous).

You will need:

1 1/2 cups wholewheat cous cous (I use Macro brand)

1 3/4 cups boiling water

2 small mangoes, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

50g raisins or sultanas

75g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped (I use garlic chives)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 -1 /2 cup extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Method

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1. Prepare the cous cous first. Prepare as per instructions on the pack, or use the following simple method that aims to avoid added oil.

Boil water in a kettle. Pour cous cous grains into a saucepan, then add the boiled water. Stir the grains briefly. Cover the saucepan. Do not place the saucepan on a hot plate. After 5 minutes, remove the saucepan lid and use a fork to separate the grains.

The grains should appear fluffy and light, like this:

cooked cous cous

2. Transfer the cous cous to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

3. Place a fry pan on a medium heat, add approximately two tablespoons of water, and heat. If you prefer to cook with oil, use that instead of water.

4. Add the spices and stir until fragrant, then add the onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally to ensure the onions are coated with the spices. Add the garlic, stir.

5. Add macadamia nuts and raisins, mix well, then turn off the heat.

6. Add the onion mixture to the cooked cous cous. If using olive oil, pour it in now. Mix well.

7. Add the mango and herbs. Stir gently. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and decorate with parsley sprigs and blades of chives.

Mango and Macadamia cous cous1

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Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous2

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Cherry Cake1

Cherry Cake

Quantity – 12 slices

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F

You will need:

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/4 tsp salt

175g vegan margarine, melted

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp soy or almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

 400g can/jar of Black cherries OR Morello cherries, drained and cut in half

1/4 tsp lemon juice

For the topping:

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp vegan margarine, melted

Method

Grease and line a spring form cake tin.

For the filling: Although I always buy pitted cherries, I cut each cherry in half to ensure that no pits are present. Invariably, I find one or two. In a small mixing bowl, add cherries and lemon juice. Stir, then set aside:

Morello Cherries

For the topping: In a small mixing bowl, add flour and brown sugar, mix well. Pour melted vegan margarine over the mixture, and use a fork to combine the ingredients until they form coarse breadcrumbs:

Topping

Topping

For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, raw sugar and salt. Add melted vegan margarine, soy milk and vanilla. Stir only until ingredients are incorported. Do not over stir.

To assemble the cake:

Pour mixture into the cake tin:

cake batter

Cake mixture

Sprinkle half of the topping over the cake:

Add topping

Add half the topping

Next, spread the cherries across the surface of the cake:

Add cherries

Add the cherries

Then, sprinkle the remaining topping over the cherries:

Sprinkle topping

Ready for the oven!

Bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes. I always check this cake at the 25 minute mark (I have a temperamental oven). If the top already looks very golden, I cover the cake tin with foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

Allow the cake to cool on the bench for 10-20 minutes before removing the sides of the cake tin. Carefully remove the bottom section of the cake tin, and transfer the cake to a rack to cool entirely. Or, indulge while it is still warm.

Cherry cake is delightful on its own, or you can serve it with vanilla soy ice cream or non-dairy cream.

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Cherry Cake2

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two!) that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Macadamia and Basil Pesto with Marinara Sauce and Zucchini Ribbons

The days are starting to heat up in my part of the world. It is time to farewell the comforting soups and stews of winter and early spring, and commence RAW FOOD indulgence!

This pesto is a concoction that I developed after discovering that my family’s preferred nut and herb combination (for pesto) was macadamia and basil. I added english spinach on an occasion that I was a little short of basil, and it became a regular addition to the recipe.

The marinara sauce is adapted from Alissa Cohen’s Living on Live Food. We discovered zucchini ribbons (or ‘noodles’) when we first became interested in raw food 5 years ago.

Macadamia and Basil Pesto

Macadamia nuts

Quantity -2 cups

You will need:

4 cups basil leaves, tightly packed

1 1/2 cups English (baby) spinach leaves, tightly packed

2 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts

2-5 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup plus 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

English spinach and basil leaves

Method

Wash basil leaves and baby spinach leaves, pat dry or use a salad spinner.

Place leaves in food processor with macadamia nuts and garlic. Process for 30 sec. Turn off, then remove lid. Use a spatula to scrape mixture down the sides of the jug. Replace lid, process again and add 1/3 cup of oil and salt while blades are spinning. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape ingredients down side of jug with a spatula.

Once ingredients are well incorporated, do a taste test. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil or additional salt if it is required. Process again to combine.

Pesto

We use the full amount of oil. We only use 2 cloves of garlic, as my children comment that the pesto is ‘spicy’ if we add any more. By all means, add more if that won’t be a problem in your house. I’d certainly add more garlic if it wasn’t for fact that my kids find the strong, spicy flavour of raw garlic overwhelming (when someone calls out ‘water, water’ I know I’ve gone overboard with the garlic!).

Set pesto aside.

Marinara sauce

Quantity – 1 3/4 cups

2 cups fresh tomato, chopped

15 sundried tomatoes soaked for 2 hours

5 dates, pitted and soaked for 2 hours

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

Method

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process on medium until ingredients are blended well, and desired texture is achieved. I like it to be a little chunky.

Marinara sauce

Zucchini ribbons:

You will need:

1/2 – 1 medium zucchini (courgette) PER person

Method:

Wash and dry zucchini. Use vegetable peeler (or spiraliser) to create ribbons. If using vegie peeler, peel zucchini along the entire length.  Discard skin if  preferred. I use it. Use as much of the zucchini as possible. Set ribbons aside.

Zucchini ribbons

Additional ingredients, PER person:

2 small button mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup diced red capsicum (bell pepper)

1 tbsp sliced olives

A sprinkling of savoury yeast (nutritional yeast)

4 slices of avocado

A few sprigs of fresh parsley

To assemble:

For each person:

Place ribbons in a bowl. Add desired amount of pesto. Mix with a spoon to coat the ribbons, or you can use your hands to work the pesto through the ribbons.

Add desired amount of marinara sauce, mix well.

Add vegetables, stir.

Sprinkle with savoury yeast flakes (nutritional yeast) and place avocado slices on top. Top with parsley.

Enjoy!

with nutritional yeast.

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without nutritional yeast.

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Variation: My kids aren’t keen on raw zucchini (or cooked, or any form really. But they do like zucchini cake – especially when I call it Maple Syrup and Walnut Cake 😉 ).

So, we serve their meal with wholemeal wheat spaghetti instead of ribbons.

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Leftover pesto can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge, for about a week. My daughter and I enjoy pesto on whole wheat toast for breakfast.

Leftover marinara sauce can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

What is your favourite pesto combination?

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

Ally

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