Monday, 31 October 2011

So Delicious Dairy Free

Oh, wow. Here is another alternative the to dairy beverages that blows  pus ridden cows milk out of the water. So Delicious Dairy Free offer coconut milk and soy milk products like sorbet, icecreams, beverages, and even yoghurts. And - get this - they are all vegan and gluten free!

I had the great fortune of tasting their Chocolate Coconut Milk, which was simply divine! No other way to describe it!  I would love to try out more of their range, but being a specialist imported item, this may prove to be a bit of a challenge.

I found this chocolate coconut milk at Good Life health food shop in the Dogswamp Shopping Centre. I dare say some of their other branches may stock this brand. It is certainly worth asking for if they don't already.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Linda McCartney Foods

I have only just fairly recently started trying out Linda McCartney Foods and have been impressed with the quality of the products on offer, which range from meat-less sausages, pies and burgers, to lasagna, cannelloni and escalopes. Not all the products are vegan, mind you - lot of them are vegetarian - and the packaging and labeling often does not help. For example, some products are described as 'vegetarian' whilst they are actually vegan. So, time to peer at the ingredients list again.

Just recently, I tried out the Vegemince, which had a great texture and flavour. It is textured soy protein which is lightly seasoned. You can use it as you would meat mince - in lasagnas, spaghetti bolognaise, chili non-carne, etc. I especially enjoyed the chewiness of it and found it to be very filling. Visually, it also looks a lot like its meat counterpart. I really do not go in for the mock meats, but did enjoy this product.

I found some of the Linda McCartney Foods range at Fresh Stop in the Dogswamp Shopping Centre, some at PAWS and some at Fresh Provisions. It is all a bit hit and miss, shopping for vegan foods, at times but by keeping your eyes peeled and making it a point to investigate as many stores as you can, you soon learn which ones are more than likely to cater to your needs.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Recipe: Kale chips

I just tried out this super simple little snack recipe from  and I think I am on a winner. It is pretty quick to make too. Washing and cutting the kale is probably the longest part, but even that is not all that hard or laborious.

As mentioned in a previous post, kale is super packed with vitamins and minerals and tastes good, to boot.

So far, I know kale can be bought at the Wanneroo Markets, Fresh Provisions, and Fresh Stop at Dogswamp Shopping Centre. I dare say some other groceries might have it too. None of the major supermarkets seem to ever stock it though.  Hunt it down whilst it is still available. It is worth the effort.

What you will need:
a bunch of kale (about 4 cups worth)
1 tbsp olive oil (I use cold pressed extra virgin)
a dash or two of sea salt, herb salt or Cajun spice

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
wash the kale and cut out the stem. Then cut the kale into pieces. Not too little, as they will burn, but don't make them too big, as they won't cook fully. The right size will be a case of trial and error, I have found. But once you got it, you got it!
Toss the pieces in a bowl with the olive oil until coated and then arrange in a single layer on a baking tray.
Roast for 5 minutes and then turn with tongs. Roast for another 10 minutes. kale should be beginning to turn brown, crisp and brittle.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with seasoning and eat straight away.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Dairy-Free Milk - Delicious!!!

Whoah! This drink is soooooo delicious! Made by Pacific Natural Foods, whose all non-dairy beverages are  vegan friendly. It doesn't say 'vegan' on the packaging but by studying the ingredients list and then searching through their website, this has been confirmed. Their FAQ's, infact, are very informative.

I have never had hazelnut milk before. I was expecting a much nuttier taste. Instead, what you get with their Hazelnut Chocolate milk is a cream, smooth, real chocolate tasty. Chilled, this beverage is divine! And it is gluten free, contains no GMO's and is fortified with vegan friendly vitamin A and D.

This American company also produces hemp milk, which I have yet to find and try but really want to. They also do almond, rice, and oat dairy-free milks, too.

Apart from the non-dairy milks, Pacific Natural Foods also offer vegan soy drinks, iced teas, creamy soups and broths. Some of these also gluten free.

I found the Chocolate Hazelnut Milk at a health food shop, along with a few of their other products. I recommend you look in your local health food shop and if they don't stock this brand, as them to! I most certainly will be asking for the hemp milk.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Funky Pies

Finally! I have found vegan and gluten free pies! Woo hoo! Funky Pies are from Sydney but I found them here in Perth  at PAWS.  These guys do regular and gluten free pies. I tried the No Wurry Curry which had organic lentils and chickpeas in a coconut curry sauce. It was delicious, moderately spicy, and very filling. Just pop into the oven and heat up. Too easy.

Others to choose from in the gluten free range include: Mexican Magic, G'Day Satay, Mediterranean Veg, and for something sweet - their  apple pie.

Their 'regular' (ie still vegan but not gluten free) range is quite extensive and includes rolls as well as pies, and more desserts.

On top of all this, this company also uses biodegradable packaging. Oh, and did I mention that their pies are handmade, too?

Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and try these out! You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Got veggie stock?

Sometimes, when it comes to a recipe that says 'use vegetable stock', I am kinda lazy and just use water. My problem with 'stock' is that more often it isn't gluten free and it isn't vegan.

Well, the other day, the bf managed to find a product by Marigold Health Foods that is both.
In a health food shop, he found their Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder which we used in a soup, but you can also use in casseroles, stews, sauces, etc. VERY tasty. Adds an 'oomph' to the overall flavour of what you are cooking. It contains no GMO's or MSG and I love the fact that it has 'vegan' clearly visible on the container. Some products, even if they are vegan, either say 'vegetarian' or have no statement/label at all. Very frustrating!  

The directions on the container are not to be trusted, however. Halve or even use only a quarter of what they suggest in the water to powder ratio, otherwise you will end up with very salty stock! Speaking of which, this company does do a Salt Reduced variety that is also vegan and gluten free. There are other vegan products available by this company, though not all are gluten free. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Recipe: Corn and Sweet Potato Soup

The boyfriend made this one for us and it was delish. Make sure you include the lime juice, as it really goes well with this soup. As you can see from below there is a lot of 'optional's. Basially, you can make this soup as flavoursome, spicy, or mild as you like and it will still come out tasty.

What you will need:

1 tbsp oil
1.75 litres of water or veggie stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1  onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 can corn kernals (about 400g)
lime wedges to serve


If using, fry onion in heated oil, until soft and then add garlic and chilli. Fry for 2 minutes.
Add 1 and a quarter cup veggie stock and simmer for approx. 10 minutes.
Add cumin,  diced sweet potato, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add rest of stock, the corn and simmer for 10 minutes.
Using a hand blender, process the soup but not too thoroughly, so there is still some chunks.
Serve with the lime wedges to squeeze into the soup.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Recipe: Mock Tuna Salad

Found this super simple recipe from the book 'Foods that cause you to lose weight' by Neal Barnard. 

Although I was not the one to make this (the boyfriend did that), I was the one to taste it and it got a thumbs up from me.

You can use this as a dip or as a sandwich spread, with lettuce and tomatoes.

What you will need:

1 can (400g) chickpeas
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated (optional)
2 tsp Dijon mustard or vegan mayonnaise (you can get this in healthfood shops and even in some supermarkets like Coles)
1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
quarter tsp salt (optional)


Mash the chickpeas with a fork, leaving some chunks.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Passion Pasta - Gluten Free

Really, when it comes to pasta, vegans with gluten in tolerances are spoiled for choice. Here is another brand I have come across. Passion Pasta do a range of pastas that are gluten, wheat, dairy and egg free. They take about 8 minutes to cook and keep their shape.

I recently tried the very tasty Garlic and Parsely Spirals. I am not overly keen on garlic but found that it wasn't an overpowering flavour. I loved the texture of this pasta, too.

Also available in the gluten free range are the Saffron Twists, Vegetable Penne, and Brown Rice Twists.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I bought this, but it would have either been at Fresh Provisions, Fresh Stop (in the Dogswamp Shopping Centre), or at The Re-Store.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Raw Food at PAWS Cafe

I met up with some friends at the PAWS Cafe and tried, for the first time, a bit of everything from their raw food bar. This included a raw vegan pizza slice that was seriously tasty; a creamy salad that consisted of pear slices, walnuts, spinach leaves and avocado; a crunchy, mixed sprouts salad; and a delicious marinated zucchini, capers and olive concoction. There was even more on my plate than that, but these were the elements that really stood out for me.

I got a medium sized plate, that was full to the max, for just $10. Everything tasted fresh and there were plenty of different textures, colours and flavours to enjoy. No boring limp lettuce and anemic tomatoes in sight!

I do believe that I must read up on this raw foods cookery and give it a go!

Event: Sea Shepherd Fundraiser, Perth, 12th November

When: 12th November. Doors open at 7pm. Cocktails with Captain Paul Watson 7pm - 7:45pm
Main event 8pm - 10pm approx.

Where: Astor Theatre, Mt Lawley

Cost: $25 - general admission. $75 for cocktails with the captain and and entry.

What: In what is shaping up to be the most confronting whale defence campaign to date, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will return yet again to the waters off Antarctica to defend the Great Whales from the Japanese whaling fleet.

Before the Whales' Navy departs Australia in December Founder and President of Sea Shepherd, Captain Paul Watson will be visiting Perth for one night only. For over 30 years Captain Watson has been at the helm of the world's most proactive marine not-for-profit organisation. He's a man with a complete lack of fear and unrivalled commitment to protecting marine wildlife world-wide.

This year's whale defence campaign titled Operation Divine Wind will see Captain Watson and his international volunteer crew take on the whaling fleet for the 8th year running.

Come and hear Captain Watson speak at his only appearance in Perth which will will raise much needed funds in support of Sea Shepherd's campaign, Operation Divine Wind.

The night will feature live entertainment, door prizes and raffle and the opportunity to mingle with Captain Watson at a special pre-event cocktail gathering.

Friday, 21 October 2011


I didn't even know vegan 'non-cheesecakes' existed until I became a vegan. And when I found out, I just assumed that they were made from tofu. When I tried one, I was amazed at how creamy and smooth it was. And it wasn't even made of silken tofu!

A vegan friend made one and shared it with me and some friends, recently. For a lot of us, it was our first time trying a vegan non-cheesecake. ALL were blown away with the texture and the flavour!

This friend got the recipe from another vegan friend. (Vegans are caring, sharing types.) And she in turn has shared it will all on her blog.

You can find the recipe here!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Citrus fruits - the bold and the beautiful

Over this winter and spring, I have been trying out some new citrus fruit varieties. I am not a huge fan of citrus - I HATE grapefruit with a passion - but when I do find a variety I like, I try and get as much of it while the season lasts.

Tangelos are one fruit I started seeing in the supermarket but never bothered to try until one day..I thought 'Why not?'. I had no idea that it was a cross between a tangerine ( a fruit that I have never tried - got to fix that!) and a GRAPEFRUIT. *gasp* I thought it was part mandarin, actually. Despite being part... *shudder* grapefruit, tangelos are actually rather tasty! The skin is rather thick and loose, so it is easy to peel. The flesh is a lot like an orange's and the flavour is mild and sweet. Still available in the shops.

Another citrus fruit I tried out was the Afourer Mandarin. There are quite a few varieties of mandarin available during winter but some are definitely better than others. This one is by far the sweetest and juiciest I have ever had. The skin is such a vivid orange and the inner peel a light pink shade - I was suspicious that the shops were dyeing the peel to make it look more attractive! With a little investigation, I found this not to be the case. It is just a feature of this variety of mandarin. I have not seen the Afourer Mandarin in the shops for a while, so I am guessing it is out of season now.

Finally, after a coworker brought them in daily to eat during our morning break, I just had to try the Rosey Red Naval Oranges for myself. They are super juicy, with pink flesh, seedless, low acid and oh so very sweet. Hands down the BEST variety of orange I have ever had! Even better than Blood Oranges. I didn't find the Rosey Reds in the supermarket, but rather in the fruit and veg shops. They are still in stock but look to be going out of season soon, so hurry to try them before it is too late.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Chic Nuts - vegan snacks

I have to admit, I am a bit of a 'snacker' and I like my snacks savory and crunchy. I am naughty, and often opt for potato chips but sometimes I grab some Chic Nuts.
 Chic Nuts are roasted chickpeas that are great for a snack or entertaining. They come in two varieties - ' Lightly Salted' and 'Sicilian Herbs and Garlic'. They are crunchy, tasty and high in fibre and protein. Oh, and they are also gluten free. You can buy them in the larger bags or in the 25g snack pack size.

Also available are their 'Fava Nuts' which are roasted, split broad beans. Have not tried these yet but intend to!

These products are available from Woolworths supermarkets and some IGA stores.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Recipe: Lentil and spinach casserole/soup

Now, just like in the previously posted recipe, I got this one from "Livwise : easy recipes for a healthy, happy life" by Olivia Newton John.

It didn't so much turn out to be like a casserole you could serve up on rice, but rather like a soup. That may have had something to do with the amount of water I added. A bit too much. *oops*

And instead of spinach, I used steamed kale because I happened to have some on hand. I also recommend using 2 x 400g tins of brown lentils, as I found that one really wasn't enough.

This recipe marks my very first time using asafoetida. I used only half of the recommended amount in this recipe, but if you are feeling brave, go for the full amount. Until I made a new vegan friend (Hi Geoff!) who is a foodie, I had not even heard of this stuff! The great thing about it is that it added a flavour boost reminiscent of onion/chives but without the side effects I tend to suffer when trying to eat that vegetable. You can get asafoetida from Indian grocery stores and some health food shops. It is powerful stuff, so a little goes a long way.

What you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
an 8th to one quarter of a teaspoon on asafoetida powder
quarter tsp cayenne pepper or sweet paprika
4 ripe tomatoes
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
2 x 400g tin brown lentils
1 carrot, diced
2 large potatoes, diced
juice of half a small lemon
handful or two of spinach leaves or steamed kale
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put all the ingredients into a large pot and pour in just enough water to cover the vegetables. If you want it more soup-like than casserole, add more water.
Bring to boil and then reduce heat to a medium low simmer. Cover and cook for approx 30-40mins, just so the vegetables are cooked.
Remove from heat and stir in kale or spinach, and the parsley.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Recipe: Date and walnut truffles

This is a pretty simple raw vegan dessert...well, simple if you have a food processor. I do not, so had to use my blender. I think that is why I didn't get the right consistency (ie smooth enough) to be able to roll them into balls. The best I could do was to roughly shape them into 'sort-of-balls'. Me thinks a food processor would be a very good addition to my kitchen hardware.
I got this recipe from "Livwise: easy recipes for a healthy, happy life" by Olivia Newton John. This isn't a vegan or vegetarian cookbook, but there are a few recipes in there that are suitable for vegans.

A word about some of the ingredients. Coconut oil (yes OIL and not cream) was not available in the supermarkets I checked but I did find it in a health food shop. Same deal with carob powder. Everything else was super easy to find. Oh, and by the way, this recipe is gluten free.

What you will need:
2 cups of walnuts (about 200g)
1 cup pitted dates (about 185g)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp carob powder
quarter cup desiccated coconut (about 25g)

Put all the ingredients except the coconut, into a food processor and process until smooth.
Take 1 tsp of mixture at a time and roll into a ball. Roll each ball in coconut to coat all over. 

Truffles will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Pure Harvest Organic Almond Milk

I have not had almond milk before, and was rather surprised when pouring it on my cereal this morning, to find that it is an odd shade of PINK! What was I expecting? An off-white I suppose. If pink isn't your colour, don't let it put you off because as it turns out, almond milk is rather nice. It has about the same consistency as rice milk, is a bit sweet without being an over powering aspect of this sort of nutmilk.

The brand I found was by Pure Harvest who do other products, including other non-dairy milks. Got to admit, I really was not a fan of their rice milk, though. It just did not taste all that great.

You can pick up Pure Harvest Almond Milk from Woolworths. Oh, and this product is gluten free.

I have managed to hunt down some hazelnut milk and will be trying that next.

I have heard of hemp milk but have yet to find it anywhere.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Natural Alternative

By no means is Natural Alternative vegan friendly across the board, but this brand does sell some gluten free, vegan products, so they are worth investigating.
I absolutely love their Fettucine. It is quick and easy to prepare, keeps its shape and is very tasty, indeed.
No dairy, no gluten, no egg, no yeast and GMO free.
Oh, and no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.

Their spaghetti and other pasta are also vegan and gluten free. So too are their varied cold pressed oils.

Natural Alternative also do hair and skin products which are not animal tested. Check out their website for more details, such as ingredients used.

If you are wondering where I got the Fettucine, I stock up on it from Good Life Health Shops . Remember, if a store does not have a range or items within a range, ASK them to stock it. Sometime they can and will, sometimes they can't or won't, for various reasons. When I ask for something and it is something I love and use a lot of, I ask them to order multiple amounts and stock up on it. If you frequent a particular store, let the staff know that you are vegan and a regular customer. It will help with your requests and hopefully influence what they stock.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Australian Eatwell

Australian Eatwell make some of my favourite vegan sausages. I find some brands make them too much like the 'real thing'. They try very hard to replicate the smell, taste and texture of animal flesh. This may be a great alternative for those who 'miss' meat or are still in the transition mode, but for me, I prefer my sausages to be something other than 'faux meat'. Australian Eatwell makes three varieties, two of which I have tried and enjoyed. They are super tasty and gluten free, as well.
You can microwave, grill, BBQ or pan fry (my preferred method) and they are ready to eat within minutes.

There are also available organic and non-organic veggie burgers, mince and organic tofu. Although all of these are vegan not all are gluten free so check the packet information. Avoid the soy cheeses as they are NOT vegan.

By far the best product from this range, is the  vegie Tofu Cuisines - Coconut Chickpea and Lemongrass.

You just heat and serve on some rice. I am not a fan of lemongrass but find that it does not over power the other flavours. From what I can tell, this product is also gluten free, as well as being vegan. There is also a Red Lentil Curry available but I have not tried it yet. It is vegan and appears to be gluten free too.

In Perth, both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets stock this range, so it is very easy to find.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Quick dessert for an ailing vegan

So, this week I had to go to the hospital for a procedure that left me with a very sore throat. So sore, that all I could consume were liquids and soft foods. I thought this was a prime time to try out that packet of jelly powder I had in the cupboard and top it off with some soy whipped cream that I had been meaning to use for ages.
 The jelly was by Just Wholefoods, a British company that does a range of  vegan friendly foods such jellies, custards, soup mixes, fruit jellies and more.

The jelly I had was the strawberry flavoured one. It is super quick and easy to make up and sets in no time. There are other flavours available - all of which I intend to try!

I topped it of with some whipped soy cream by Soyatoo. It is light and tasty and vegan. You can buy it in a carton and whip it yourself or buy it in a cannister ans spray it on, which is what I did. They also do a version made of rice, which I would like to try but have yet to find.

I bought both the jelly and whipped cream from PAWS.

Now, note in the photo below, my lack of experience and skills in using canister whipped cream! Who cares? It tasted delicious and was just what I needed!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Abundant Earth

Abundent Earth, hands down, makes the very best tamari sauce. There are a few good ones out there, but I have found their's to be the tastiest, best quality. I use tamari, as it is gluten free, as well as being vegan, which is not always the case with regular soy sauces, which will often contain wheat. Abundant Earth also do salt reduced tamari for those who have to watch their salt intake. Their tamari contains no GM ingredients, plus no fertilizers and pesticides.
I find as a vegan, I use a fair amount of tamari - in stiry frys and also splashed on a bit of rice and steamed veggies.

Although I love their tamari, my absolute favourite Abundant Earth product is their Puffed Rice cereal. Infact, I eat is everyday, for breakfast. Teamed with non-dairy milk, and dried or (when I can get them) fresh blueberries, it makes for a yummy and light breakfast.  The whole brown rice is steam so it maintains crispness, flavour and nutrients.
For those with a gluten intolerance, like me, I find this product suitable to eat. Those that have an all out allergy need to be aware that gluten may be present due to the sharing of manufacturing equipment.
Other cereals include Puffed Millet which is very tasty, with a slight nutty flavour. Be aware though, some small husks are present and I managed to get one lodged into a gum, once! There is aslo available, puffed corn, which I have yet to try but will!

Abundant Earth products are readily available in supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, in their 'health foods' sections, and also in health food shops.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Recipe: Michelle's Cauliflower Pasta

My friend Michelle passed this recipe onto me recently. Super easy and rather tasty. It was a hit with my partner and one of my cats - Bandit. Seriously, I have never seen this kitty so keen on 'washing up the dishes' before.

Michelle describes this dish as "looking like a dog's breakfast but tasting fab".   Now, my body can't handle leeks, so I left it out. If you like, you can replace it with a pinch of asafetida instead.

This recipe can be gluten free if you use gluten free pasta. My favourite brand is Orgran.

What you will need:

1 cauliflower
1 leek (optional)
quarter cup lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
dash or two of tamari sauce
pasta of your choice
quarter cup of vegan cheese, grated (I used Cheezly brand)


Chop up the cauliflower and leek (if using) into medium sizes florets/pieces and steam in a microwave, so they are just soft but not falling apart.
While that is cooking, grab a big bowl and combine the tahini, tamari and  lemon juice to make a thick paste. Add this to your cauliflower and leek.
Boil the pasta and when done, add to the above. Then add the vegan cheese.
If you like, you can add some herb salt and pepper.