Tag: vegan

Breakfast Banana Cream

I know I said that we were going to skip the G is for Good Health section in the A-Z of Cooking because I had already made the Cheese and Date Bread. Then I remembered that the banana cream I have been eating for breakfast for weeks came from this same section.   And for those of you who care about such things my favourite version is also vegan because guess what?  The Banana Cream contains no cream. That’s 1970’s health food for you. 

Banana Cream2

So pretty.  And it’s delicious too.  And so easy to do.  It takes all of about 30 seconds to make .

But first a little digression.  They…whomsoever they may be…say that you are what you eat.  It might be why health food often gets such a bad rap.  I mean who want to look like the burghul salad which is the first recipe featured in the G is for Good Health section of the A-Z of Cooking. 

Burghul SaladSo back to breakfast and the no-cream banana cream.  This tastes and feels rich and luscious so you can almost feel a bit decadent when eating it.  Banana CreamThe basic recipe for the banana cream is bananas, yogurt, honey, lemon and crushed nuts.  I have played with this for a number of weeks now and my favourite combination is to use coconut yogurt and maple syrup. The one highlight of that time I did Paleo was discovering coconut yogurt.  OMG that stuff is the BEST.  Shame it is so hideously expensive.  At the time I looked into making it and it can be done relatively easily. I’ll add that to the to do list!  And maple syrup is one of my favourite flavours.  Its so good.  But you can use plain yogurt or honey – whatever your favourites are. 

I have also eaten the banana cream as a topping for granola and swirled into warm oatmeal //porridge and it is good with both!

I have used walnuts as the nuts in these pictures but almonds are also good.  Sub in whatever you like. Or, if you hate nuts, use a sprinkle of granola for a lovely crunch! 

I’m not overly fond of bananas but I have eaten the banana cream a couple of times a week for a few weeks now and there is no sign of it going off high rotation.  I make the serving size below and put half in a container in the fridge for the following day – it keeps quite well overnight.  Quick, versatile, delicious so simple and healthy to boot!  So much nicer than that burghul salad!

Breakfast Banana Cream
A quick, easy and healthy breakfast dish. Vegan optional.
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  1. 1 large banana
  2. 125ml coconut or plain Greek Yogurt
  3. 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  4. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  5. 2 tbsp toasted walnuts or almonds
  1. Place the banana, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, lemon juice and half the nuts into a food processor.
  2. Blitz until just combined.
  3. Spoon into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining nuts.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 I feel that the A-Z of Cooking has given us two very simple recipes in a row.  Next time we head there it should be for the Gourmet section.  I have semi-chosen what I am going to cook and it involves a deep fryer so I am going to have to beg, borrow or steal one sometime soon.  And if gourmet food and deep frying don’t quite go together in your mind, remember it was the ’70s – all sort of things happened that made totally no sense.  Deep fried gourmet food was the least of their worries!

Have a great week!

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American Salad

I feel like I have been neglecting the The A-Z of Cooking recently and like a typical errant parent, I’m back and about to smother my booky child with a level of attention bordering on overkill.  Otherwise known as posting a few quick items to get us back up to speed. 

We’re starting off with a look at F.  Which is not neither fish nor fowl or frying or fricasseeing but Frozen Food Shortcuts.  Of course.  Because that’s the first thing that we need to know about when it comes to the letter F in cooking.  All those things I mentioned are just piffle.

American Salad2

And, we’re starting with an item immediately springs to mind when we think of frozen food –  salad.  Yep.  About as obvious as the frozen food short cuts really.   You have already seen a glimpse of the frozen food, aka American salad in the post on the Devilled Chicken Skewers.  And you know what?  It was not nearly as bad as the idea suggests.

American Salad3

The recipe uses frozen corn and green beans.  I used fresh green beans because I had them in the house, but the corn was frozen. I am also not overly fond of red pepper so I subbed in some radishes. 

I tend to think of potato salad as being the “typical” American salad.  Followed by Caesar and Waldorf.  I have no idea why this is called American Salad.  Maybe the corn?

American Salad

Overall, this salad was colourful, had lots of crunch and a good mix of tastes and textures.  Big tick from me on the American salad!  Way to go America!  And the A-Z of Cooking for turning something that sounded as if it should be revolting into something I will probably make lots more of.  This would be a great salad to take to bbq’s in summer as there is not much to go soggy. No wilting lettuce here.  The salad went very nicely with the chicken but, would be awesome with a steak.  And for those of you of a non-meat persuasion, this would be super as a filling for a baked potato, with maybe a little cheese sprinkled over the top if you are not vegan.

American Salad

American Salad


  • 100g / 8oz frozen green beans
  • 100g / 8oz frozen corn kernels
  • 1 red pepper pith and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • handful of black olives, stoned
  • For the Dressing!
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


  • Cook the beans and corn according to the directions on the packets.
  • Cool.
  • Once cook mix with all the other ingredients except the olive oil and vinegar.
  • For the dressing!
  • Mix together all the ingredients, season to taste.
  • When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine.

I would love to know from my American readers if this salad is something you are familiar with?  

Have a lovely weekend!

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Frosted Tomato Cocktail

The frosted tomato cocktail was my pick from the Adventurous Appetizers section of The A-Z of Cooking. 

Frosted Tomato Cocktail
Frosted Tomato Cocktail

But first, each section of The A-Z of Cooking comes with a sentence or two to introduce it vis a vis:

A is for… ADVENTUROUS APPETIZERS: start a dinner party or special family supper with a new and exciting idea.


How much more fun if they’d done them all in verse:

There was a young girl called Eliza

Who wanted to make appetizers

She tried the tomat-er

As an exciting new starter

And the result did really surprise her.

Yeah, I know that was hardly “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” but the A-Z of Cooking is hardly The Larousse Gastronomique either.

You know what they say, water finds its level.

I nearly chose a recipe called Sweetcorn Scallops but the only thing scallopy about them was that they were served in scalloped shaped dishes or shells, neither of which I own. 

I feel they were already drawing a slightly long bow in naming it. If I’d made it in a normal dish you guys would have left wondering if I’d lost my mind…

I can hear it now  “Errmmmm, that’s bacon, honey, not scallops”

Sweetcorn Scallops
Sweetcorn Scallops

Anyhow, I really liked the picture of the Frosted Tomato Cocktail  from The A-Z of Cooking which is why I chose this one to make. I love that glass.   And  just so you don’t think it’s me, they love a long skinny photo in The A-Z of Cooking.

Frosted Tomato Cocktail - Picture
Frosted Tomato Cocktail – Picture

 Here is the original recipe:

Frosted Tomato Cocktail - Recipe
Frosted Tomato Cocktail – Recipe

This was really nice.  So refreshing.  It would be a gorgeous starter for a hot day in mid summer when tomatoes are at their very best.  Or even as a palate cleanser between courses.   

However, I felt it was missing something.  Because you know what?  As far as I’m concerned if you’re going to call something a cocktail, it better damn well have some booze in it.  Also, you really needed to ramp up the flavourings in the original.  .

My fennelly  take on the Frosted Tomato Cocktail was inspired by this Serious Eats recipe. You could put the fennel salt around the rim of the glass as they suggest or just include it in the mix like I did.  Celery salt would also be great here, in which case, I would garnish with a celery stalk instead of the mint.

I wanted mine to be vegan so I also omitted the Worcestershire and replaced it with tabasco. It may also be the most delicious thing I have ever made that is zero fat. 

Frosted Tomato Cocktail 2
Frosted Tomato Cocktail 2

We’ll be sticking with the letter A for the next sortie into The A-Z of Cooking where we will be looking at the world of after school snacks.  And I might try a haiku. 

Have a great week!

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Frosted Tomato Cocktail
Yields 4
A lovely refreshing start to a meal with a slight kick of heat!
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  1. 1 kilo tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  2. 125 mls tequla
  3. 4 tbsp water
  4. 2 tsp sugar
  5. juice of 1 lime
  6. dash of Tabasco Sauce
  7. 1 tbsp sea salt, I used Maldon
  8. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  9. Mint Leaves to garnish
  10. Pepper
  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Place the salt and toasted fennel seeds in a mortar and grind until they are well combined and the seeds have broken down. Pass through a very fine sieve and set aside.
  2. Place the tomatoes, tequila, lime juice, and sugar into a blender and puree until smooth. Add the fennel salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste.
  3. Pour mixture into large ice cube trays and freeze. Just before serving remove from freezer, take the frozen cubes out of ice tray and place them back in the blender.
  4. Puree until smooth but still frozen.
  5. Spoon into chilled glasses, garnish with mint and serve immediately.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking / Serious Eats
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup with Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts

If there’s one food Australians love, it is pumpkin. 

Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup
Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup

Not like this.  This is just creepy….

Found on Modern Mechanix

But unlike our American pals who like to eat their pumpkins for dessert, for us it is sadly almost always served savoury as a vegetable.  Just incidentally though, Australia, why don’t we have pumpkin pie?  We get all the trashy American stuff – the Kardashians and ice bucket challenges to name but a few.  Why can’t we get some of the yummy delicious pumpkin pie action too?

According to this, you don;t even have to cook it.  It’s MAGIC…

Pumpkin Dream Pie

Sadly for us, Pumpkin Dream Pie remains just that…

We eat pumpkin as a side for a roast, in lasagné’s risottos, salads and scones.  But more than eating pumpkin,  we love to drink it.

How much do we love to drink it? Pumpkin soup is a, no probably the Australian ubiquitous menu item –  just about every cafe, restaurant, pub bistro and hole in the wall has their own version prominently displayed on the menu – I go to a cafe where it has been the soup du jour for at least five years. 

Out of curiosity  I had a little look on taste.com.au for pumpkin soup recipes. There are 79 of them.  Ok, so it’s not the 765 recipes they have for chocolate cake but 79 variations on a theme of pumpkin is still quite a number.  There are recipes for Classic Pumpkin Soup, Creamy Pumpkin Soup, Perfect Pumpkin Soup and Smashing Pumpkin Soup (I guess that’s the soup that despite all it’s rage is still just a rat in a cage). 

I did start to notice a trend though -not only do we love our pumpkin soup but we like it to be a bit of a international bright young thing.  There are  recipes for:

Thai, Moroccan, non – specific Asian, Tortellini (Italian), Japanese, Thai again, Thai again again, Curry x 3, South Indian, Australian (whatever that maybe…I didn’t look, possibly flavoured with beer and vegemite), two more Thai’s.  The Americas are represented by one paltry entry for Maine Pumpkin soup.  But you  know what?  If I was given a choice between that soup, (even though it looks and sounds divine) and this:

Inspiration Kitchen’s Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Cheesecake

I wouldn’t be eating Pumpkin soup either.

Africa too is sadly missing from that list.  Ok, yes, Morocco is there but…jeez…(eyeroll), if you must be pedantic, sub-Saharan Africa  is completely missing.  Hopefully not for much longer…because it’s time this delicious Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup adapted from Diana Henry’s Plenty  took the stage!

This is gorgeous to look at, the inclusion of tomato paste and the Berbere spices gives it a real 1970’s burnt orange colour.  It’s really tasty too – slightly sweet from the pumpkin, slightly smoky from the spices, slightly spicy from the chilli and cinnamon and ginger.  If you leave out the yoghurt garnish it is also vegan.  

Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup2
Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup 2

And, whilst I don’t want to blow my own trump….actually, no, wait, it’s my blog, I can blow whatever I damn well want! The Berbere pepitas and pinenuts which were my own invention were amazing!  They add some additional spice and salt and crunch.  The only problem with these is that they are so good you will be hard pressed to save any for the soup.  I had to make about three or four batches of them because we kept eating them before they could be used as the soup garnish.  They are seriously good!  

Berbere Roasted Pepitas and Pinenuts
Berbere Roasted Pepitas and Pinenuts

The key to this soup is the Berbere spice mix.  I bought mine but you can make your own.  There are about a thousand of these on the interwebs, each of which is slightly different. I have included the recipe for Berbere given in Diana Henry’s book below.

Berbere Spice Mix
Berbere Spice Mix

 Either way you’re going to end up with a lot more Berbere than you need to make this one recipe.  Of course you could make the soup more than once and you will surely make the Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts more than once but if you want to experiment a bit more with this spice blend you can also try these:

Doro Wat  – Ethiopian Red Chicken Stew

Berbere Lamb Chops With Lentil Cucumber Salad

Ethiopian Ful Medames

Enjoy and Have a great week!    

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup with Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts

Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup with Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts


    For the berbere:
  • 2tsp cumin seeds
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 8 small dried red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp groundpinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • For the soup:
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 750g pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp salt
  • To Serve:
  • Greek yogurt (omit or substitute soy yoghurt if vegan)
  • Fresh coriander
  • For the Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts:
  • 1 tsp Berbere spice mix
  • 1/4 cup Pepita and Pinenut mix (or other nut mix of your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt


    To make the berbere:
  • Toast the first seven spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Shake the pan often. Cool, then grind in a pestle and mortar with the rest of the spices until you have a fine powder.
  • To make the soup:
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the ginger and 2 tsp of the berbere and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and stir until well covered with the spices, then add the tomato puree, salt and 500ml water.
  • Stir, cover and bring to the boil.
  • Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. Cool and use a stick blender or potato masher to puree the mixture until smooth. You may leave some chunks of pumpkin whole - I prefer my soup to be smooth.
  • To make the Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts:
  • Mix the nuts with the spice mix, salt and olive oil. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Pour the mixture onto the tray and spread out. Roast for 10 minutes in a medium until the nuts are golden and fragrant.
  • To Serve:
  • Warm the soup if necessary. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Garnish with yoghurt, coriander and the Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts.

Daring Kitchen Challenge – Indian Dosas

One of the reasons I began this blog was to challenge myself to make new and different things – and so not only improve my skills but also my repertoire of dishes.  Whilst this has been somewhat successful,  the format I’ve chosen generally allows me to pick items that:

a) I am confident I can cook well,

b) Will look good in photos, and

c) I want to eat (mostly…I still shudder at the thought of that awful asparagus mousse)

Indian Dosas
Indian Dosas

So, what happens if you want to challenge yourself but take these safety nets away?  Well, in my instance, you join the Daring Kitchen.  Generally, each month members of this website are challenged to cook and blog about a recipe chosen by one of the members.

The only thing in my first month, which was October, in a “celebration” of past Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

And it was a real dilemma.  For most people the choice may have been Cooks or Bakers, sweet or savoury.  Not me, I’m way too shallow for that.  My big quandary was:

Do I cook something I’m pretty sure I can pull off?  Something that will look good in the pictures, and by default make me look awesome?

Or, do I stick to the spirit of the challenge and choose something that is going to test my skills and maybe fall flat on my face but learn something in the process?

The choice was therefore narrowed down to Gyozas or Croissants.  I’ve made dumplings before, home much harder can gyoza be right?  Croissants?  Une toute autre histoire!!!

I was heading right down Gyzoa alley (shallow remember?) when I mentioned the challenge to a friend at work and we started looking through the past challenges.  She chose the recipe for the Indian Dosas from September 2009.  These are both gluten-free and vegan which is great because honestly, my range in both of those areas is limited.   So, thanks Nadya, good choice!

First step was to make the pancakes:


These were not the super thin crispy dosas I have eaten in restaurants, mine turned out more the texture of crepes but they were still pretty tasty.  And the difference in texture was probably more me that an inherent flaw in the recipe!

Then the chickpea filling…look at the amazing colours of the ingredients.. they are like a little rainbow of health and deliciousness!!!

Chickpea Filling Ingredients
Chickpea Filling Ingredients
Chickpea Filling
Chickpea Filling

This was also really tasty! So, so good…

Finally, there was a coconut curry sauce and some condiments to go with it.

Dosas with Coconut Sauce and Condiments 2
Dosas with Coconut Sauce and Condiments

This was a great first challenge for me as this was probably something I would never had made otherwise. If you want the recipe…and you know you do….click below:

Daring Kitchen Indian Dosas

I really liked the filling, and if I was too lazy to make the actual dosas or the sauce again (which I probably am), the filling would be super in some warm pita bread with some of the condiments and some yoghurt dip over the top.  Hmm..that probably ruins both the vegan and gluten-free aspect of the dish but hey, I’m neither a vegan or a coeliac.  It would stay vegetarian..and pretty damn delicious!

OMG, now I want that so much…I have some of the left over mixture in my freezer…shame I’m already in my pyjamas, or I would be down at the supermarket right now snapping up flatbread and tzatziki like a mad woman…

I ‘m really looking forward to the next month’s challenge which is…it’s a secret…you’ll have to wait about a month to find out!

In the meantime, enjoy this great vintage Indian print…which I think has the Goddess of Food and the Kitchen, Annapurna,in the background…

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