Archive | October 2014

Mustard and Bean Pies



(makes 6 half pies or 3 full sized pies)

  • 6 sheets of vegan pastry (or 1.5 batches of home made wholemeal pastry)
  • 2 tins of beans (or 4 cups of cooked beans) – e.g. kidney beans and/or mixed beans
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables – use the diced varieties, I use Coles ‘Australian Mix’ which is diced potato, peas, carrot, and broccoli.
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or diced
  • 2 stems of celery, diced
  • 2 Tbls of olive oil
  • 2 Tbl of flour
  • 2 to 3 cups soy or nut milk
  • 3 Tbl of mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 2 Tbls savoury yeast flakes (nutritional yeast)


Defrost pastry. Pre-heat oven to 180ºc (355ºf) and line and grease two cookie sheets (or three pie dishes)

Add veggie mix and drained beans to a large bowl and leave to defrost while cooking the sauce.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion and fry until browning. Add celery and cook until bright.

Add flour and mix thoroughly. Then slowly add milk (in 1/2 cup amounts) and blend slowly allowing to thicken before adding a further amount of milk. Once the sauce has a thick consistency add the mustard, yeast flakes, and pepper. Turn off the heat and continue to stir until fully mixed.

Once cooked and while still warm, add the sauce to the bowl with the beans and vegetables and stir through.

Assemble pies according to your preferred method. To assemble half pies take a single sheet of pastry and place on greased cooking sheet. Add enough filling mixture to cover half of the sheet with a 2.5 cm (1 inch) border.

Mustard and bean pie filling

Fold over the other half to cover the filling. Seal the edges firmly ensuring that top and bottom are melded into each other. Then fold the edges to create a crust and press down again. Cut three or four small vents into the top of the pie with a sharp knife.


Cook pies for 20 minutes at 180ºc until golden.



Meatless Bean and Gluten Balls (+ Creamy Med Pasta Sauce)

Meatless Bean and Gluten Balls


(makes 32 large bean balls – halve for smaller balls)


  • 2 tins (or 4 cups) cooked beans (I use kidney and borlotti or three bean mix)
  • 2 cups greens (spinach or silverbeet etc) – optional
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (around 4 or 5 stems)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (grated if your food processor isn’t very powerful)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs
  • Mixed herbs, salt and pepper – to taste
  • 2 cups gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • Breadcrumbs to coat (about 1/2 cup at most)


Blend beans, greens, onion, celery, carrot and egg replacer (and any spices or flavourings) in a food processor until smooth and paste like.

Add the paste to a large mixing bowl. Then slowly mix in the gluten flour (vital wheat gluten). This will become a very stiff dough-like mixture and will become hard to mix near the end so use a sturdy spoon or spatula.

Bean Ball Dough

Green Bean Ball Dough


Hand kneed dough lightly. Cut the dough into 32 even chunks with a knife – I usually slice it into about 4 to 6 strips/logs and then cut those into smaller chunks.

Roll into balls and coat in breadcrumbs.


Rolled Green Bean Balls

Line and grease a cookie tray or large baking dish. Cover in foil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºc then cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes to brown.


Cooked Bean Balls

Can be served with pasta and sauce (e.g. Creamy Mediterranean Pasta Sauce below) OR with mashed veggies and gravy.


Creamy Mediterranean Pasta Sauce


  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 Tbl crushed garlic
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
  • About 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, OR red wine, OR half-and-half balsamic vinegar and water or apple juice – to deglaze
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes slightly puréed in a food processor or blender)
  • 140g, one tin or pottle, of tomato paste (or 2 Tbls of tomato powder)
  • 160g, one small tin, low fat coconut milk
  • Herbs and spices (I use mountain pepper, lemon myrtle, smoked salt, mixed herbs, and a pinch of cajun spice)


Heat the oil in a heavy based sauce pan. Fry the onion and garlic until brown.

Deglaze the pan with some of the red wine vinegar. Cook until partially absorbed.

Add olives and sundried tomatoes. Mix through then add more vinegar or wine. Heat for a few minutes.


Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Mix thoroughly and heat for 2 to 5 minutes.


1 minute before serving mix through the coconut milk.


Serve with cooked spaghetti with or without added bean balls.


Vegan Dauphinoise Potatoes aux Purée Épinards et d’Olive

Vegan Potato DauphinoisePommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise aux Épinards Purée just translates to Potato Dauphinoise (baked in cream) with Spinach Purée. Potatoes Dauphinoise is a dish with a French origin – it is basically a potato bake made with cream and garlic. Veganising it was surprisingly easy. But this variation also uses a batch of spinach and olive purée to become something special in and of itself in addition to being a very good replica of the more traditional Gratin Dauphinoise.


Both the Spinach and Olive Purée and the Cheesy Cashew Cream can be made in advance. In this case I had almost a whole batch of the Spinach and Olive Purée left over from Calzone so the recipe is included but pictures will have to be coming soon (aka next time I make it).

Gratin Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise aux Purée Épinards et d’Olive (Vegan Potato Dauphinoise with Spinach and Olive Purée)


For the Cheesy Cashew Cream

  • 2.5 cups soaked and drained cashew nuts (soak in water for at least 12 hours 24 is better)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup almond, macadamia or cashew milk (for blending)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 Tbl nutritional yeast flakes (also called savoury yeast or gravy yeast)
  • 1 Tbl onion salt (OR onion stock OR 1/2 and 1/2 salt and onion powder)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cloves or 1 Tbl crushed garlic (optional)

For the Spinach and Olive Purée

  • 300g+ baby or fresh spinach (pretty much a blender full)
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/4 cup olive brine (the salt water liquid olives are stored in – if your olives don’t have this then blend the oil or juice from the container with some water)
  • 120g tomato paste (one pottle)
  • 2 Tbl plain flour (OR use rice flour for gluten free)
  • 2 Tbls crushed garlic (optional)

For the GratinFoods_313

  • Thin sliced white potatoes (look for thin skinned ‘boil and bake’ varieties) – enough for at least two layers in your backing dish. I normally cut as I layer them. Around 15 to 20 small potatoes maybe only 6 medium to large ones.
  • 1 medium brown onion, sliced into half rings.
  • 1 batch Cheesy Cashew Cream
  • 1 batch Spinach and Olive Purée


Pre-prepare Spinach and Olive Purée by blending all ingredients in a high speed blender and set aside the Spinach and Olive Purée then clean the blender.

Pre-heat oven to 190°c and oil a large lasagne dish.

Create a layer of sliced potatoes covering the whole dish – don’t be afraid to overlap. Spread half of the sliced onion on top of the potato layer.

Pour over the Spinach and Olive Purée and spread across the whole dish.


Add another layer of potato and onions.


Prepare Cheesy Cashew Cream by blending all ingredients in a high speed blender.


Pour the Cheesy Cashew Cream over the final layer and spread across the dish. I also reserve about 2 Tbl of the Spinach and Olive Purée to decorate but that is optional.


Cover the dish in tinfoil and cook at 190°c for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes uncover and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Vegan Potato Dauphinoise

Serve and enjoy! Technically makes 6 to 8 servings but it is pretty moreish and tends to result in seconds.



Easy Vegan Corn Fritters with Baby Spinach and Green Apple

Vegan Corn Fritters

Corn Fritters

Makes approximately 20 fritters


  • 2 tins of corn kernels (drained)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1.5 cups of non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tsp arrowroot powder (tapioca flour)
  • 1 tsp  baking soda
  • 1 heaped Tbls of onion salt of similar OR other salt, pepper and spices to taste


Add drained corn to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and stir thoroughly to coat the corn in flour. Slowly mix in the milk.

Whisk the arrowroot and backing soda into the 1/3 cup of water then add the water to the batter and mix it thoroughly. Add any herbs or spices (I use a tablespoon of onion salt and a pinch of mixed herbs).

Heat a pan to a medium high heat (you may need to adjust as you cook – because we’re using little to no oil it is better to start off a little too cool than too hot). I use a high quality non-stick pancake pan. If you need to then lightly oil the pan but many non-stick pans won’t need any oil for these.

Measure even fritters of around 1.5 Tbls size into the pan – leave at least a 3cm space between each fritter. I use a sauce ladle for perfectly measured fritters.

Heat the fritters until they start to thicken (going tacky) and bubble a tiny bit at the edges (about 1 to 2 minutes).


When the edges are cooked flip the fritters and cook for a similar amount of time on the other side.


Serve with salad, lemon wedges and sweeter sweet chilly sauce.

Sweeter Sweet Chilli Sauce

I use a sweet native plum sweet chilli sauce which I blend with a Tbls of maple syrup if you’re using a standard sweet chilli sauce I suggest adding the maple and also a tsp of apple sauce, kiwifruit jam or other pureed fruit to really up the sweet flavour in your sauce.

Simple Spinach, Apple, and Lemon Salad

This is the best possible salad for corn fritters. Just like the maple in the sweet chilli sauce this is what made this a popular meal on our rotation.

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 large handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 a green apple (granny smith)
  • 1/2 a lemon


Wash spinach and chop the apple. Add spinach to the plate. Sprinkle the apple slices on top. Juice the lemon and pour the juice of half a lemon over each salad. Ensure that you cover the apple slices completely to stop them browning.

Serve and enjoy!



Mild Vegan Veggie Gumbo


  • 1/2 cup of caramel roux (I use method 2 from this page – note directions are American and the heat is about 180°C)
    Caramel Roux

    Caramel Roux

    • 1/4 cup margarine or coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup plain flour (or quinoa flour for gluten free but reduce browning time and consider a stove-top method)
  • 3 whole roasted garlic bulbs
  • 2 medium carrots diced and chopped
  • 2 medium parsnips diced and chopped
  • 1 large onion roughly diced
  • 3 or 4 stems of celery finely diced
  • 6 to 10 okra sliced (if you or your guests are not familiar with the okra flavour less is more but if you know you love it add more)
  • 1 tin red kidney beans (or 1.5 cups of soaked beans)

    Diced Veggies


  • 300g button mushrooms quartered
  • 1 pottle (est 140g or 1/2 cup) of tomato paste (or 1 tin crushed roma tomatoes)
  • 1 Tbl of ginger paste
  • 200g tofu in 2 cm cubes and/or 1 cup frozen vegan ‘shrimp’
  • 1 to 2 Tbl of cajun/gumbo spice (if using a pre-made blend which doesn’t include them then add a pinch of allspice and/or mint to your gumbo – they’re the secrets to the great taste here):
    • 1 part allspice
    • 1 part dried mint
    • 1 part dried thyme
    • 1/2 part cumin
    • 2 parts salt (or 1 part salt and 1 part rice flour)
    • 2 parts paprika

      Mixed Veggies

      Mixed Veggies

    • 2 parts onion powder
    • 1 part garlic powder
    • 1 part capsicum flakes
    • 1 part black pepper
    • 1/2 to 2 part cayenne pepper – to taste (or omit for extra mild)
    • 1/2 part cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salted capers
  • 5 or 6 cups stock blend
    • 1 part ‘beef’ stock
    • 2 parts onion (or veggie) stock
    • 1 part water or white wine
    • 3 drops liquid smoke
    • 1 Tbl tamari or other dry soy sauce

Method 1 (The Sunday Method)

Assemble the roux and roast the garlic the night before and chill or cook them while you prep and cook the veggies for the first few hours.

Add all veggies (apart from the mushrooms) and drained kidney beans into slow cooker along with spices, ginger paste, and 1 cup of stock blend. Cook on high for 1 to 1 and a 1/2 an hours.


Roux being added to gumbo

Roux and veggies


Add mushrooms, roux, roasted garlic, and tomato paste (or tinned tomatoes). Mix.

Add the rest of the stock blend – about 4 more cups. Add frozen or rehydrated ‘vegan shrimp’ now if using. Mix and cook for a further 3 to 4 hours.

Reserve some stock or water to add more if it starts to dry out.


1 hour before serving add tofu.

Tofu Gumbo

Serve with wilted greens, rice and optional flat bread.

Vegan Gumbo

Method 2 (The Work Day Method)

Prepare the roux and roast the garlic the night before.

Add veggies (excluding mushrooms), spices, kidney beans, tomato paste (or tinned tomatoes), ginger paste, roast garlic, pre-prepared roux and 5 cups of stock blend to the slow cooker (crock pot) in the morning.

Cook on low for 5 to 9 hours.

When you get home add mushrooms, tofu, and ‘shrimp’ if using. Cook for a further 1 hour on high. Serve as above.


  • Add a few cubes of frozen spinach when you add the mushrooms.
  • Add 1/2 cup frozen peas and/or green beans when you add the mushrooms.
  • Add a few large handfuls of fresh greens (spinach, silverbeet, bok choy etc) about 30 minutes before serving or add chopped carrot greens at the start.
  • Add 1 cup of cubed seitan or wheat gluten chunks at the start.
  • Use tempeh instead of tofu for a nuttier result.
  • Omit tofu and soy sauce entirely for soy free version.
  • Swap kidney beans for fresh or frozen lima beans (broad beans).
  • Use a darker roux, omit parsnip, and use fresh not roasted garlic for a more traditional flavour profile.

Sunday Brunch: Red Wine Mushrooms and Spinach with Half-hearted ‘Hollandaise’


This is so easy. But it is another one of those things that seems easy once you know it but if you don’t cook much isn’t necessarily obvious.


  • 2 Tbls of crushed garlic
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 500g button mushrooms (chopped roughly)
  • Red wine or red wine vinegar to deglaze
  • 200g of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup leftover not-quite-mornay
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


If preparing the sauce from scratch do it first. In this case I was using left overs from a few nights before.

Heat pan and oil or margerine if using (I use a tiny bit of olive oil sprayed on the pan but a large tsp of margarine is also tasty or it can be done with no oil at all).

Fry garlic at medium-high heat until golden. Add rosemary leaves and heat for a few moments until bright. Add mushrooms and fry until starting to brown and pan needs to be deglazed. Deglaze with red wine or red wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Continue to cook until the red wine reduces.


Add spinach and stir through thoroughly – cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until spinach is wilted.


Heat the leftover not-quite-mornay for 1 minute in a microwave (or heat in a small pan at low heat on stove top) then whisk in extra lemon juice.


Toast a vegan bagel, toast or crumpets.


Plate and serve. Optional: consume until too full to move.



How to deglaze the pan

I’m often surprised how few people have learned to deglaze a pan. Even some experienced cooks give me a blank look when I mention it. It is an absolute must in low-fat cooking (especially if you’re sautéing without any oil). It is also super simple and you may even already do it without knowing what the word for it is.

Fry or sauté your food and/or spices until a dark residue builds up on the bottom. This is sugar and juice from the food and is full of flavour. If you’re browning or caramalising something (say an onion or mushrooms) then don’t deglaze until after the food is also starting to brown.

When the pan is ready to deglaze it should look a little bit like this:


Then you add your liquid – you can use wine, vinegar, stock, various types of juice or just plain water. In Indian cooking you will often deglaze your hot whole spices with a paste of turmeric and garam masala or similar powdered spices and water.

In this case I’m using red wine vinegar. The liquid will bubble hot and then you can spread it around the pan to pick up all of that caramelised flavour off the bottom and distribute it back into your food. Once you do this all of the sticky stuff should have lifted from the bottom of the pan ready to mix into your meal.



You can do this more than once because the liquid will evaporate and/or soak back into the food. In this case I let that happen and then browned the mushrooms further. Like so:


Remember: some foods, like mushrooms, will produce liquid if you expose them to salt. Some button and brown mushrooms will have so much stored water that if you salt them when you would have deglazed them they will actually deglaze themselves!

Bonus: the pan will also be easier to clean. You can also clean pans hot if you have the right kind of brush – effectively deglazing your pan to clean it.