Tag Archives: Veganism

Cooking with Cait : Two Super Salads

When my good friend and housemate Angie was travelling this summer, she picked me up a furoshiki cloth. These cloths are used to wrap up things in inventive and beautiful ways.

Since I’ve had this I’ve been on the search for the perfect Bento box, and I think I’ve found it.

This box is modern, has a stupidly strong seal, is microwave safe, and has moveable compartments meaning that I have great control over my portions and ratios.

Since buying my bento box, I’ve made two meals in it, and I would like to share them with you today.

 Sweet Potato and Avocado Quinoa Salad

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 Cups Cooked Black & Golden Quinoa
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion
  • Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and Salt to Taste
  • The Juice of One Lime
  • Minced Cilantro (or Parsley depending on what you like)
  • 1 Avocado
  • Shredded Daiya Cheese to Garnish

Let’s Get Cooking!

Bring four cups of water to a boil and add your quinoa. While this is happening take the opportunity to peel and cube your sweet potato and prepare the rest of your veggies.

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Take the diced sweet potato and pop it into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes. It’s important not to cook it all the way as you’ll be toasting it later!

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In a large bowl toss together the quinoa, bell peppers, onions and avocado.  Then mix your oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne in a smaller bowl.

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Mix your dressing in with the previously tossed ingredients and allow it to sit while you toast the sweet potato in a frying pan. This step is optional, but I think it adds a nice texture to the salad.

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This is yet another optional step, but you can then choose to garnish with a cheese of your choice. Right now I’m in absolute love with Daiya cheeses. They’re delicious, vegan and it MELTS AND STRETCHES! JUST LIKE REAL CHEESE!

Can you tell I’m excited by this prospect?

Here’s my salad! I had some leftover avocado, so I whipped up a super quick guacamole and added some tortilla chips in my second compartment.

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Pickled Vegetables and Marinated Tofu Salad on Rice

This is a much lighter salad compared to the first recipe, which is great for when you’re feeling like a light lunch. It does, however, pack a great nutritional punch by incorporating a rainbow of vegetables and the use of low sodium soya sauce.

YOU WILL NEED 

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Snowpeas, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Small Radish, Julienned
  • Red Pepper, Julienned
  • Carrots, Julienned
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Chopped “Superfood” Green Mix
  • Rice
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • Scallions, sliced on an angle.
  • 3 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soya Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  •  Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • Firm Tofu

A note, this salad is definitely a “prepare the night before” sort of deal, the prep work can seem a bit much, but if you incorporate it into your dinner prep it’s not much work at all.

Mix your soy sauce and five spice powder together in a container add your tofu and allow to marinate for at least three hours.

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When the tofu is done marinating prepare your rice and throw it in the fridge to cool.

While your rice cools, take the opportunity to julienne the vegetables. If you can’t tell, it takes a bit of practice and I’m still learning.

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In your bowl, or bento box make a bed of cooled, cooked rice. This will serve as a foundation and a small midday carbs fix.

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Add the sugar and vinegar into a small pan and boil for five minutes, allow to cool and then add to the chopped veggies and leave it to sit for 30 minutes.

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Lastly toss your ingredients together and dress with a sesame oil/soya dressing and toasted sesame seeds.

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How do you make your boxed lunches special? Whats your favourite salad these days?

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Cooking with Cait : Vegan Mocha Chocolate Raspberry Cake

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Well, I’ve come up with a name for my recipe features. It’s a little cliche, but it’s hard to beat that alliteration!

This Friday the 13th was my dear housemate Gabriela’s 21st birthday. Naturally I decided to make something to help celebrate. I decided on a cake and adapted this Martha Stewart cake with the addition of raspberries, and a few more unexpected changes along the way.

YOU WILL NEED

FOR THE CAKE
3 cups unbleached white flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups natural cane sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup water. (I used the Turkish Grind Setting to make my own)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons  apple cider vinegar

ICING

1oz bittersweet chocolate
1oz 80% or higher dark chocolate
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed, dried raspberries
2 tablespoons soy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raspberry Jam

LET’S GET STARTED

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees as you begin to prepare the cake.

Using a large mixing bowl sift your dry ingredients together.

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In a smaller bowl combine, the wet ingredients save for the vinegar and whisk in with the dry.

At this point, your cake batter should look like this

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At this point I got so into my baking that I stopped taking pictures entirely, my apologies.

Now you can add the vinegar and stir quickly, it’s important for the reaction to take place throughout the entire batter, so the cake adequately rises.

Line your 9 inch cake pans with a light layer of canola oil and pour equal amounts of batter into into them. Bake for 30 minutes.

As your cake bakes, and subsequently cools you can begin to prepare your icing.

Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool to room temperature. Combine these with your other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until it achieves the desired consistency.

Here is where your cake and mine will probably differ. I’ve retroactively adjusted the recipe because my cake turned out too wet and fell apart. This lead to my piecing together a second layer and covering said layer in icing which leads to the cake you see in the photos.

Shall we continue?

Add a thin layer of raspberry jam to one side of each cake layer, then cover the jam with a layer of icing. Place the two layers together, decorate and serve!

Enjoy!

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Simple Summer Meals : Gazpacho and Rice Salad

My sister and I are massive fans of The Simpsons, sometimes our conversations will dissolve entirely into Simpsons quotes. This little fact comes to mind because two of our favourite Simpsons references have to do with Gazpacho.

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See also

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But these little references aren’t the reason why any day I have gazpacho automatically becomes a good day, or the fact that it’s my go-to meal during the summer. Gazpacho (and the rice salad I’ve been pairing it with) are light and cool enough for hot summer days, and  filled with fresh, clean ingredients.  It’s also incredibly simple to make, doesn’t heat up the kitchen and stores well!

So let’s make a thing. Gazpacho and Rice Salad.

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First, the Rice Salad. This is an adapted recipe from Jaime Oliver for Chatelaine. The photo above is of a salad made when we were out of wild rice, so it’s regular long grain rice which is just as yummy!

This recipe will make about four servings.

Ingredients

  •  Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250 g mixed long grain and wild rice
  •  A few sprigs of fresh basil
  •  A few sprigs of fresh mint
  •  A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 a diced cucumber
  • 1/2 a fresh red chilli
  • 1 lemon

Instructions

Step One : After cooking your rice place it in a large, uncovered bowl in the fridge so it can cool as you prepare the rest of the salad.

Step Two : Remove the fresh herb leaves from their stalks and chop them finely. Chop your red pepper into medium sized bits and dice your cucumber.

Step Three : Cut the chilli in half deseed it and finely chop it up.

Step Four : Make your dressing by combining six tablespoons of a high quality extra virgin olive oil (or cooking oil of your choice) with salt and pepper. Add the juice of one lemon and shake well.

Step Five – Bring the rice out of the fridge and toss in your ingredients, dress with your freshly made dressing and add lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.

Ta Da!

The Gazpacho is another adapted recipe, this one from a longstanding favourite at my house – The Silver Palate Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 1 peeled and chopped cucumber with the seeds removed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 shallots diced
  • 1 28oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to taste OR the juice of one lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Step One – Chop up your veggies

Step Two – Throw them in a food processor or blender and blend till your desired texture is achieved. I like to keep my gazpacho a little heartier texture wise, but its all about personal preference!

Step Three – Add your oil & vinegar (or lemon) along with salt and pepper and process for just a few more seconds.

Step Four – Put the finished soup in the refrigerator to chill.

Step Five – Once chilled, garnish with finely chopped basil, dill or chives.

BONUS! Try adding a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper for an extra kick!

What’s your go to summer meal?

“Let’s Make A Thing” Inaugural Drinks Edition!

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When Emma over at A Beautiful Mess  posted this recipe for “grown up” jello shots I was incredibly excited. This summer has been filled with fun get-togethers, and few things say “summer fun” like mojitos and jello.

However, the main problem with jello is that it is made from gelatin, something that vegans and many vegetarians abstain from. Not wanting anyone to be left out I chose to adapt the recipe, veganize it and share it with you all.

So, welcome to the first edition of “Let’s Make A Thing” where I teach you how to make something either fun or useful, but hopefully both.

The first problem is finding a good gelatin alternative. Though there are a few “vegan gelatins” out there and kosher gelatins I’ve found the easiest one to get a hold of is agar agar

It’s an all natural, seaweed, flavourless powder or flakes that can make just about anything set. Don’t be fooled by it’s smell, it’s completely tasteless.

THE SHOTS

For about 20 full half lime shots, or 40 quarter lime shots you will need

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Agar Agar Powder or 1 1/4 Tablespoons Agar Agar Flakes
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 stems fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/4 cup white rum

Unlike gelatin, agar agar dissolves in boiling water, so put your water in a pot, bring it to a boil and stir in the agar. Continue to stir until mostly dissolved and then leave to simmer. Allow one to five minutes for powder, and ten to fifteen minutes for the flakes. Continue to check until it is fully dissolved.

Bring the heat down to medium and add in your sugar, stirring  until it dissolves.

Bring the pot off the heat and quickly add your lime juice, and white rum, throw in the three mint stems, cover the pot and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes.

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As the solution steeps, finely chop a few lime leaves far garnish and prepare the rimming sugar.

Now you can either pour these into disposable shot glasses and let sit in a fridge overnight and be done with it. Or you can make things both fancier and more eco friendly by making bio degradable lime “glasses”

THE LIME GLASSES

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To make the lime shot glasses, (also a great way to get fresh lime juice for the shots themselves, if like me you do not have a juicer), you’re going to need about ten medium sized limes.

Cut the limes in half and using a small but sharp knife remove the line which divides your segment in half. I don’t know what to call this “line”, but it’s sort of like a ligament.

Using the same knife, carve around the inside of the lime in a circle to loosen up the fruit.

To remove the lime fruit, I suggest putting on a pair of plastic gloves and using your hands. It’s much easier to remove the fruit, and you get a much cleaner inside.

Transfer the lime flesh into a larger bowl, squeeze and then strain for fresh lime juice.

Finally, transfer the lime halves to the freezer for about two hours so they will better hold their shape.

RIMMING SUGAR

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At the last minute, I decided to make a rimmer for the limes as we had a bit of lime juice and a few hollowed out lime shells left over. Rimmers are not incredibly common in mojitos but I like the way it looks, and the yummy taste.

The rimming sugar was kind of invented on the fly, so I don’t have any concrete measurements.

Simply mix sugar with a pinch of salt, a few drops of lime juice and lime zest.

Lightly wet the tips of your shot glasses, or limes, dip them in the sugar and pour your shot mixture and then pop those babies in the fridge.

Now you have delicious, cruelty free jello shots.

Enjoy!