Monday, 18 August 2014

Spaghetti Pie

Why have pasta on its own when you can have it encased in pastry?

One day, I inexplicably felt like making a pie with a spaghetti filling. This filling would have been a fine dinner on its own. I may have had too much time on my hands to think of putting it in a pie, not something that happens often! 

This was one of those weird ideas that worked out really well. Is spaghetti pie even a thing? I have seen it as a crust but not a filling. 

Sylvia thought this idea was hilarious and loved the end product. Peter thought I had gone completely around the bend, but also loved the end product. Lexie was too confused to even try it!

This pie is definitely comfort food, and fun to make and eat!

Vegan Spaghetti Pie

Pastry (slightly adapted from barley poppy seed crust from Vegan Lunch Box)

2 cups plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


approx half a packet of angel hair pasta (about 250g I think)
2 tbsp olive oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 zucchinis, grated
approx 2 cups passata/tomato cooking sauce
dried basil and oregano to taste
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

White sauce 
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp plain flour
approx 1 cup non-dairy milk
dash of garlic powder and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 190C.

Make the pastry: Combine flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and mix with your fingers until the flour has formed small crumbs. Add the water and vinegar and stir with your fingers until the dough holds together. Knead the dough a few times and divide into two pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface to fit your pie dish and line your pie dish with one of them. Put the other crust aside and make your filling.

Filling: Cook the pasta - this only takes two minutes - and put aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic, carrot and zucchini for about 10 minutes. Add the passata, herbs, sugar and salt and cook for a few more minutes. Add the pasta and combine. If you want it a bit more saucy add some more passata, but you don't want it too runny. 

Make the white sauce: Melt the margarine in a small saucepan. Add the flour and garlic powder and cook on low heat for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the milk, only adding enough to reach desired consistency, until it thickens but is not too gluggy. Add salt to taste.

Fill the pie with the spaghetti mixture, spread the white sauce over the top and top with piecrust. Cut a small slit in the centre of the pie. 

Bake for about 35 minutes until lightly browned. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookie Dough Balls

I have worked out that lot of the time, the major reason I want to make cookies is because I have a craving to eat the dough. 

I think it's because I have great memories of eating raw packaged cookie dough when I first moved out of home with my best friend (Nat, are you reading?!). It was heavenly. Until we made ourselves sick!

This time, I thought I'd skip the baking step and just eat the dough as a legitimate sweet. It is, right?

These are real cookie dough balls. Not imitation or healthy ones (although I love those too!). A great fast way to get your cookie dough hit. Better than packaged any day!

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookie Dough Balls

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped dark vegan chocolate

Mix together the peanut butter, margarine and brown sugar in a bowl. Combine with the flour, vanilla and salt. I found using my hands to mix easiest! Then add the choc chunks and roll into balls. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Vegan Snacks My Kids Will Actually Eat: Part 2

Picture me perched next my children and the most recently offered snack or meal, eyes wide in anticipation of their verdict (which they give so casually) - yum or yuck? Then quickly remembering to feign nonchalance (a must - they sense the desperation) and springing up like a cat!

OK, I'm not really that sad and my kids aren't really that fussy or spoilt, but it's not far from the truth!

Here are some snacks my kids have loved recently:

These samosas filled with potatoes and peas are from Vegan Lunch Box. They are a bit time consuming to make, but it was worth the effort because Sylvia ate them for two days straight!

"Cheesy" pasta is a staple for us. So quick and they always love it.

These maple syrup cupcakes were so delicious and light. I made a bit of icing with icing sugar, vanilla and rice milk to go on top. 

My kids didn't like these peaches so much, but loved the custard (I made it with soy milk). Such a nice dish for cold weather. 

I make these chocolate chip pikelets a lot. I love that they contain flaxseed. They are quick to make and great to take places. 

[This follows on from my last post on vegan snacks for kids.]

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Instant Raspberry Frozen Yoghurt

Frozen yoghurt shops seemed have popped up all over the place, but none that I've encountered offer vegan frozen yoghurt. I always feel a bit deprived as I walk past them.

Anyway, at least now I can make my own quick version at home!

This is a brilliant snack or dessert that can prepared in about two minutes. This photo (hurriedly taken - it had to be eaten!) doesn't do it justice. It really does have the same texture and taste as soft frozen yoghurt.  

And I'm sure other frozen fruit such as blueberries would work as well. 

PS: If anyone can point me in the direction of vegan frozen yoghurt in Sydney, please do!

Instant Raspberry Frozen Yoghurt (serves 1-2) (inspired by Vegie Head's Strawberry Mousse, which seems to have been removed from the website)

1/4 cup frozen raspberries (approx)
1/2 an avocado
1/2-1 tsp chia seeds
2 tsp coconut cream
2 tbsp maple syrup to taste (or other liquid sweetener)

Blend all ingredients and eat!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Bananas 'n' Cookies Cupcakes

This idea came to me when I was swimming laps. Sometimes I think the only reason I go swimming is to have uninterrupted time to think about food!

I made these mini cupcakes for a birthday party yesterday. I loved this flavour. It is a nice change from the standard chocolate or vanilla. The pieces of chocolate biscuit make these really fun and interesting.

I made these mini cupcakes using the banana split cupcake recipe (without the pineapple preserves) from the brilliant Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with half a cup of roughly chopped chocolate biscuits (cookies) folded into the batter (about 5 Arnott's Choc Ripple Biscuits - they're vegan!), then piped on some vanilla buttercream icing, threw some chocolate ganache over the top and sprinkled on some crushed biscuit crumbs.

Then, of course, Sylvia added coloured sprinkles. 

These were so much fun to make and decorate!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Vegan Almost Raw Tropical Cheesecake

Raw desserts are a bit of a passion of mine at the moment. They are magical. This (almost raw) cheesecake I whipped up yesterday is creamy, fruity and heavenly. 

Calling this cheesecake "tropical" is probably a bit of poetic license on my part (especially as I remember myself chucking random fruits into my blender whilst tasting the mixture), but I think the combination of pineapple, banana and coconut really do create a tropical taste! 

I made this based on ingredients I had on hand and wanted to use up, but you could easily play around with it to make it raw. 

Peter and Lexie loved this cake, but unfortunately Sylvia refused to try it. Must remember to call it an "ice cream cake" next time I make it, and maybe throw some coloured sprinkles in!

Vegan Almost Raw Tropical Cheesecake (adapted from Pineapple Coconut Cheesecake Bites)

1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, packed
pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp shredded coconut for "flouring"

2 cups cashews, soaked for a few hours
2/3 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup (scant) rice milk
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp rice malt syrup
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1 large banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Combine ingredients for the base except for the shredded coconut in a food processor until it clumps when squeezed together. Scatter the shredded coconut into a pie dish or round cake pan to "flour" it. Press the mixture into the dish.

Combine all filling ingredients together in a blender until really smooth (this will take a while depending on the speed of your blender). Pour the mixture onto the base and freeze for about 2 hours.

I think this cheesecake tastes best when it's a bit soft, so if it has been in the freezer for longer than two hours or so I would defrost it a bit before eating it. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Vegan Snacks for Kids... that they actually eat!

Are my kids the only ones in the world who tire of freshly baked muffins, slices, cakes and cupcakes? 

Maybe there's a little to much desperation in my eyes and my voice is just that bit too high and insecure when I offer them?

Recent exchange between Sylvia and I on the way to the park to meet some friends:

Sylvia: Mum, did you bring some food for us to eat at the park?
Me: Yep, I brought the muffins I made!
Sylvia: Oh. Did you bring any fruit or anything else?


Seriously, my kids seem so picky these days with what they eat. This seems to be confined to the food I make. From a packet? No problem! I could go on strike to make them appreciate my food more and ease off a little on my baking binges, but that would be too much of a deprivation for me! 

Anyway, I've had some success with the following items. Granted, two of them contain chocolate chips... 

These vegan goldfish crackers are really delicious, and a nice change from sweets! I use this recipe but use a bit less water than recommended, and I also add some onion powder. 

These chocolate chip muesli bars were pretty popular. Sylvia added the sprinkles because apparently everything is better with sprinkles! I used this recipe but substituted Nuttelex and rice malt syrup for the butter and honey.  

This is the only granola the kids will eat because they don't like bits of nuts and seeds. Lexie likes to eat the granola clumps on their own. We all love this one!

My mum used to make semolina for me when I was little, only instead of chocolate chips she put a mixture of cocoa and sugar on the top. To make this, I heat a cup of non-dairy milk, then add a heaped tablespoon of semolina and sugar and simmer until it thickens a bit but is still pourable (it sets as it cools).