Archive | November 2014

Creamy Curried Cauliflower and Kumera Soup


  •  1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced (OR 5 tsp of pre-crushed garlic)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp of olive oil for frying (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp golden mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (English style OR sub a 40ish/60ish mix of cumin and turmeric with a pinch of garam masala)
  • 3 cups diced orange sweet potato (golden kumera) – about one very large or two medium kumera
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower, small florets – about half a medium cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup diced parsnip
  • 6 cups of veggie stock
  • 1 tin (400ml) coconut milk


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion and fry until golden.
  2. Add ginger and mustard seeds and heat for a further minute until fragrant (you should be able to smell the sweet spiciness of the mustard seeds and the onion).
  3. Optional: microwave the sweet potato, cauliflower, and parsnip in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup of water for 8 minutes. This will soften them and reduce cooking time. If you skip this step simmer for at least an hour in step 5.
  4. Add sweet potato, cauliflower, and parsnip to the saucepan. Mix the curry powder into a thin paste with a few teaspoons of stock then add this to the veggies. Stir to mix through and coat the veggies with the curry powder mix.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 35 minutes.
  6. After 35 minutes check to see if the sweet potato is soft and mushy if you press it against the side of the pot with a fork. If not simmer for a further 10 minutes and repeat until the kumera is crumbly and soft.
  7. Add coconut milk.
  8. Turn the heat off and let cool for 5 minutes. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or add to a standard blender in small batches.
  9. Turn the heat back on or reheat (if required) then serve.


Sweet & Smoky Vegan BBQ Sauce


(makes just under 1.5 litres)

  • 3 green apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1 Tbl nut or tea oil for frying
  • 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes + 1/4 cup of tomato paste OR 2 tins crushed tomatoes
  • 1 stem celery, fine diced (or 1.5 Tbls pre-diced frozen celery)
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce
  • 2 tsps liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt


Add the diced apples, 1/4 cup of water and half the sugar to your slow cooker. Cook on high for 30 minutes.

While the apples start cooking caramelise the onions.

Once the onions are ready add them along with all other ingredients to the slow cooker.


Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Stir occasionally.

When fully cooked use a hand blender (immersion blender) to purée the sauce. Cook for a further 1/2 hour blending again. Then turn off the slow cooker and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before bottling. Blend again before bottling or serving if required.

Foods_558That picture is very brightly lit and taken at night under a flash. However yes it is quite orange at first so don’t be alarmed.


How to caramelise onions


Traditional Caramelised Onions

The traditional way to caramelise onions is to fry them in a small amount of butter or oil at a very low heat for at least 30 minutes. They go soft and golden and the caramel flavour is entirely made from their own natural sugars.

1) Use brown onions and slice them into thin rings or half rings. Heat the oil to a medium heat, add the onions, then lower the heat and stir occasionally. You may need to very lightly deglaze the pan a few times with a couple of teaspoons of water. This will give you the most traditional results.At the end once they are soft and golden brown you can turn up the heat again to darken the edges.

2) You can also use a cast iron skillet to heat the oil and brown the onions initially then put them in a warm oven (around 150ºc to 180ºc) for 10 to 30 minutes rather than using the stove top. You will still get a long slow sweet and soft result. This is a good option if you’re roasting garlic or cooking something else in the oven and don’t need the onions right away.

Lazy Caramel Onions

But you don’t have to do it this way. You can have caramelised onions in a few minutes if you’re willing to cut corners. You can use one or both of these tricks to cheat at caramelised onions. They’re not as good but most of the time this won’t really matter especially if you’re adding them to a cooked dish rather than serving as a topping or sandwich filling.

1) Microwave the onions first. Microwaving the onions for 1 or 2 minutes before adding them to a very hot pan will help them cook quicker once they’re in the pan.

2) Add a teaspoon of brown sugar once the onions are browning. This will both soften the onions and give you a sweet caramel texture but you only have to cook them for a few minutes to get them brown then a further 1 minute to melt the sugar.

Vegan Chilli Cheese Fries – without the chilli, cheese or fries!

In our house chilli cheese fries don’t actually involve any chilli, cheese, or fries!


Being vegan we don’t eat cheese. I’m intolerant to capsaicin (not quite allergic but close) so I make everything – even chilli beans – with little to no chilli. And finally potato wedges are marginally more healthy than the traditional fry style chips (in general the larger the thing being fried or coated in oil the less fat it absorbs).

So these are made with mild ‘chilli’ beans, a vegan cheesy sauce and oven baked wedges. They’re still delicious and certainly not a health food!


Cook wedges. If using frozen pre-prepared ones follow packet directions (normally around 20 minutes at 200ºc).

To make from scratch:

Put potatoes in a plastic or paper bag along with 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp of arrowroot powder (tapioca flour). Shake to coat.

Cook in a baking tray or lasagne dish for 35 minutes at 195ºc.

Not-chilli Beans

  • 1 tin refried black beans (or 1.5 cups homemade)
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 1 Tblsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning

Mix in a microwave safe bowl (or just use a saucepan for stove top) then microwave (or heat on stove top) for 4 minutes. Mix again and set aside.


Cheesy Sauce

I used the Angel Foods Cherub Cheesey Sauce mix made to directions with 2.5 cups of soy milk and 1/4 cup of hulled tahini.

Angel Foods Cheesey Sauce

Although if I was feeling less lazy I could have made some of my own cheesy bechamel.


Put wedges in a bowl or plate, add 2/3 cup of non-chilli beans, top with 3/4 cup of cheesey sauce. Devour.