Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Vegan MOFO!

I did it! I signed up for vegan MOFO 2011. This will be my first time participating. *gulp*
So what is VeganMoFO about? Well,  the idea..the to blog every day, if possible or at least 20 days in the month of  October, about vegan food. It can be recipes, cookbooks, ingredients, cafes, restaurants etc. But is ALL has to be VEGAN! My laptop has been dead for weeks and thankfully now fixed, just in time for this little excellent exercise in writing insanity. More info at VeganMoFo website. Plus, VMF is on Twitter and on Facebook.

So, in just a few days, things will get VERY busy on this blog. Watch this space!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes

This recipe is a bit fiddlier than what I am use to but really did not take that long to do. It has a Greek theme to it, and you can vary it to stuff large courgettes, capsicums or eggplant, if you prefer. I like the firmness of the almonds, the sweetness of the sultanas and I have always been a sucker for friend tomatoes.

What you need: 
5 large, ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
half a cup of blanched almonds, chopped
3/4 cup boiled/steamed rice
2 tbsp sultanas
15g fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbsp ground almonds
salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp with a teaspoon. Drain the tomatoes on kitch paper, cut side down.
Roughly chop the tomato pulp and seeds.
If using, fry the onions in oil for 5 minutes  and add garlic (if using)and fry for another minute. In a bowl, mix together the fried onion and garlic, the chopped almonds,  ground almonds, parsley, tomato pulp, rice, salt and sultanas.
Scoop the mixture into the tomatoes and place in a baking dish (I use a pyrex one). Carefully pour approx. two thirds of a cup of boiling water to the base of the dish.
Place into the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove and spray some olive oil on the top of each tomato and return to oven for another 20 minutes.

Book: "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

I had heard of this book but did nto know much about it, thinking it was just another diet book. Then I found out it was much more than that. It was a book for the vegan diet and lifestyle, so being a vegan, I read this book cover to cover, with 80 pages down in one day. The book is presented in a 'chick non-lit' kind of way, appealing to women's concerns and dare I say vanity, in a strive to be thin and gorgeous. But this is just a ploy by the authors to draw in a readership who might otherwise never thought of a vegan lifestyle as something for them.
The authors talk about the very real evils of factory farming, and pull no punches about the evils of a lot industry and govt groups that are out there to make a buck at your health's expense, the environment, and animals.
I like the way they tell it like it is. My one criticism is that the string language they sometimes use may put some readers off. I hope it didn't and if you consider reading this book, (please DO), push past the use of strong language and take in the information and the messages within.
I also like the way the authors say 'skinny' but not 'scrawny'. As someone who is a vegan, I get very very tired of listening to meat eaters complaining how they can;t lose weight and commenting on how thin I am. Cut the meat, the eggs and especially the dairy, replace it with lots of plant based food stuffs, and you will look better, feel better, do more for the environment than you could even comprehend, and TRULY call yourself an animal lover and not just a 'selective' animal lover ie cats, dogs, etc.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Recipe: Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

This one I nabbed from "Vegan with a vengeance" by Isa Chandra Moskowit. This recipe is super easy and the result is comfort food. This recipe makes a lot ans the leftovers taste just as good the next day, which you can eat cold or warmed up. 

What you will need:

3 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. (each can being about 400g)
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced (optional)
3 large carrots, grated
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets. (I also use the stem part as I think it is the tastiest part of this vegetable, but be sure to cute pieces small)
25g breadcrumbs (I use gluten free, bought in supermarkets/healthfood shops)
3 tbsp olive oil
250ml water or vegetable stock
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven on 180 degrees Celsius.
Grab a large bowl. And by large I mean LARGE! There are a lot of ingredients and you need to be able to mix them together. Pop the chickpeas in and start mashing with a potato masher. This will take a few minutes and you will get a bit of a workout doing it. 
Add the vegetables and mix it all up. Add the breadcrumbs and mix. Then add the oil and mix again. Add the water/vegetable stock and salt guessed it - mix! 
Transfer the ingredients to a glass or ceramic casserole dish (about 23 x 33 cm) and press the mixture firmly in. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Recipe: Missing Egg Salad

This is one that I found in the book "Vegan Vittles : Down home cooking for everyone" by Jo Stepaniak.
It is quick and very easy to make. It looks like it has egg in it, and has the right texture too. The good thing about it is that it has none of that stinky chickens' periods aspect to it!
You can use this as a sandwich filler or as a spread for crackers and it will keep for up to a week in the fridge. I found that the longer you left it, the better the flavours melded together.

What you will need: 
250-350g block of firm tofu
2 tbsp diced celery, the smaller the pieces, the better
2 tbsp parsley, fresh and chopped finely
2-3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (you can find this at health food shops or in supermarkets such as Coles or Woolies, often in their 'health foods' section)
2-3 tsp pickle relish
half tsp onion powder (optional)
one eighth tsp ground turmeric
salt, to taste
ground black pepper (optional), to taste


Place the tofu into a medium sized bowl and mash it either with a fork or a potato masher. I found cutting it up roughly with a knife first helped.
Add the celery, mayonnaise, parlsey, pickle relish, onion powder (if using), turmeric, salt and pepper (again, if using). Stir until thoroughly combined. Chill for at least 1 hour. If you are going to store for later, put in a covered container.

Too easy!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Event: PERTH World Event to End Animal Cruelty - 8th October

When: Saturday, October 8th ,  

Where: Fremantle Esplanade

This event is a world wide coordinated event....and is not specific to one cause. It is non political and peaceful, and aimed at creating a family event.

Speeches from Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettit, and Senator Lynn Maclaren, Senator Lisa Baker and Sandie Rawnsley from Stop Live Exports.

Dilip and the Davs will be providing some toe tapping music
The Eco Fairies will be providing a show
Stalls selling merchandise 
Stalls providing education and raising awareness on various animal and environmental (that effect animals) issues
Kiddies area

Food and drinks vendors

For more information, see the WEEAC website.

Event: Swan Animal Haven Sponsored Dog Walk - 16th October

When:  Sunday, October 16th at 9am to 1.30pm

Where: McCallum Park, South Perth

Swan Animal Haven is a voluntary organisation which cares for on average 120 unwanted dogs until suitable 
homes are found. The Swan Animal Haven relies solely on donations and fundraising activities.
Swan Animal Haven has a "no put down" policy.

The sponsored dog walk takes place on 16 October 2011 at McCallum Park in South Perth/Vic Park at 9am.

The aim is to walk your dog (or a Haven dog) 10km around the river finishing by 1.30pm.
Refreshments are available at the halfway point for both dogs and walkers.

For more details or to collect a sponsorship form call in at the Haven on Kalamunda Rd, South Guildford.
Or phone Sylvia 9293 2047, Val 044 989 6643 or Claudine 9293 1496 to have a form sent 
out or book a dog. If you borrow a Haven dog you will need to collect and return the dog to the Haven at the end of the walk.

Please help raise funds for this worthy cause! Thank you and see you there!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Book: That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things

That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things by Ruby Roth

Published 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1556437854

This is a picture book aimed at children, covering the topic of why some people choose to be vegans or vegetarians. The author manages to get her message across without horrifying and overwhelming the young reader, and just as importantly, not dumbing it  down either. She addresses the emotional lives of animals, factory farming, ocean life depletion, pollution, destruction of rainforests and other habitats of wildlife, etc. She explains how these concerns are all tied into why some people become vegans and vegetarians - or as she puts it - "That's why we don't eat animals".

The illustrations are visually stunning - from the endearing and stylized drawings of the animals, to the sadness of factory farming. The illustration on the page about cows in  factory farms is the most heartfelt of all, for me. 

I can highly recommend this book, not just for children, but also for adults too. There are so many children's picture books out there where animals are used to tell some story or 'lesson', but they are anthropomorphic to the point whereby the animal might as well be a human being. It is nice to have a picture book whereby the animals are animals and their story is told.
Most children love animals and yet we give them such conflicting messages as they grow. Love your dog, but eat the pig. Don't steal, but drink milk that should be going to a calf. Be gentle, kind and respectiful towards other people and to animals, too but eat something  that has been tortured and murdered. 
It is about time a picture book like this has come along. 

The author has a website you can visit for more information on her work, including a video on how and why she came about to writing and illustrating this book.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Event: The Cruelty Free Festival - 5th November, 2011

I can't wait for this one! Good to see that something like this is being organized for Perth folks, as it always seems the vegan friendly events seem to be happening over on the east coast.
I am told this event took place last year. I totally missed it! How did that happen??? Well, it won't happen this year. I do hope you will join me in attendance.
The people behind this event are Animal Rights Advocates Inc. If you haven't checked out their website, please do. Visually stunning and packed full of interesting and useful information.
Also make sure you check out this event's website for more info on the event itself. There is also their Facebook page you can go to. Content on the event is a bit limited at this stage, but keep an eye on these links, as I am sure more information will be put up, leading up to November.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Recipe: Greek Lemon Rice with Spinach

Seems I am on a Greek and lemony theme with vegan recipes, lately. This one is from the book: "The Everything Vegan Cookbook" by Jolinda Hackett and Lorena Novak Bull. My partner actually made this one and it turned out rather well. This recipe is enough for two people, so double it for more.

What you need:

1 small onion, chopped (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
two thirds of a cup rice, uncooked
2 cups of water
100g tomato paste
2 bunches of spinach (or more, if you prefer)
2 tbsp fresh parsley or 1 if dried
half tbsp fresh mint or dill (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice
dash of salt


Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil, if using. Otherwise, combine water, oil and rice and cook for 10-12 minutes. Add tomato paste, spinach, parsley. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until rice is cooked and spinach has wilted.  Stir in lemon juice, salt and if using, mint or dill. 

Super easy and super yummy.