Super Red Velvet Smoothie with Raspberry and Cacao

January 16, 2017

Super Red Velvet Smoothie | A delicious goji berry, raspberry and cacao smoothie with creamy almond and cacao butters. Full of antioxidants! Dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and vegan.
This week I’m sharing the other delicious smoothie I’ve been making this summer – a Super Red Velvet Smoothie! Loaded with goji berries, raspberries and cacao, this drink is all about the antioxidants to help our bodies.

This smoothie was inspired by a naturally coloured red velvet cake that I had at my friend Jane’s wedding a few years ago. It was made by her mother and had fresh raspberries folded through the icing. It got me thinking (hoping?) that red velvet was actually a raspberry chocolate cake, but I realised later this was just Jane’s mother’s genius. Either way, raspberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

This smoothie is super creamy and luscious from the addition of almond butter and melted cacao butter, which gives a proper chocolate flavour to the smoothie, rather than just the cacao powder. If you’re unable to get cacao butter, don’t despair, it’ll still be delicious without.

Though I am only having a one day off this weekend due to taking my birthday off work later this week (!), I didn’t want to miss out on posting a recipe for you this week. It’s hard to manage blogging when your routine is out of wack, but this year is off to a good start so I wanted to make sure I got something out to you today.

Also, I’m so pleased with how much love my Lemon Meringue Pie Smoothie has received this last fortnight, you guys really love pie! Xx

Super Red Velvet Smoothie | A delicious goji berry, raspberry and cacao smoothie with creamy almond and cacao butters. Full of antioxidants! Dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and vegan.

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A Simple Tomato Salad (or: a vegan caprese-inspired salad)

January 9, 2017

A Simple Tomato Salad (vegan caprese-inspired salad) | A salad for the height of Summer with garlicky butter beans, basil and avocado. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free.

A vegan caprese salad seems a bit of an oxymoron – how can it be a caprese without one of the three key ingredients? Yes, this caprese-inspired tomato salad is unorthodoxically without mozzarella, but it is still a celebration of the height of tomato season! The garlicky butter beans and avocado add a creamy substantial element to make up for the lack of cheese, but tomatoes really are the star of the show here – just like they are in a traditional caprese salad.

The most delicious thing about caprese salad is it’s simplicity. Made from just a handful of perfectly ripe ingredients, it forms its own dressing from the tomatoes juices mixing with a delicious, peppery olive oil. I’ve treated this salad the same way, and it really is more than the sum of its (perfectly ripe) parts! Serve it over a piece of toasted sourdough or with some fresh bread to mop up the dressing, and there is little better.

I want to stress again that as this is all about the tomatoes, please don’t consider making this salad if you don’t have great tomatoes available to you right now. Just tuck this recipe away till you do! The tomatoes really are the main focus of this dish, and the salad will lack and be positively underwhelming if you have watery, floury tomatoes.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of this recipe, and if there’s any other types of recipes you’d like to see in 2017! Hearing from you always inspires me and I’d love to give you more of what you want this year xx Liberty

A Simple Tomato Salad (vegan caprese-inspired salad) | A salad for the height of Summer with garlicky butter beans, basil and avocado. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free.

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Lemon Meringue Pie Smoothie

January 2, 2017

Lemon Meringue Pie Smoothie | An easy and delicious healthy smoothie! Paleo, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free.

This lemon meringue pie smoothie has to be one of my very favourites. It’s made of such healthy ingredients but tastes like creamy decadence! I use to work at a department store specialty coffee shop a few years ago (when I was still a barista) and it was right next door to a food court that has a great vegan takeaway store. One time I branched out of my usual routine and bought a lemon smoothie there, and when I brought it back to work with me even my most (food) conservative colleague agreed that it tasted like pie. I couldn’t get over the delicious, tart creaminess! I read the ingredients, obsessed about it, and then finally got around to recreating it at home (with a few substitutions) once mangos came into season again. This is my version.

I am often sceptical about “healthy junk food” recipes, there are a lot of them out there on the world wide web, especially at this time of the year, and not all of them are quite as delicious as promised. Maybe it’s semantics, but for me, calling something a “healthy twix bar” makes them not taste quite as good, because they’re already failing to live up to expectations before they even make it to your mouth! But call the same thing a “chocolate caramel cookie bar” and I will enjoy them immensely. So! This smoothie is not trying to be a pie, but rather, reminiscent of one. That said, I believe it’s still so delicious in its own right that you even won’t care it’s missing buttery pastry, three cups of sugar and a mound of egg whites.

There’s a lot of food and body hype this time of year, designed to make us feel inadequate for the benefit of the health and wellbeing industry. All of it results in the development of a universal anxiety about what to eat, which is hardly helpful. I am far from perfect, but I believe it’s really important to enjoy what you eat – it is, after all, one of the greatest pleasures we have. I think you can enjoy a little of what you love, in moderation (or as Julia Turshen says “find an elegance in restraint”), and then eat delicious meals designed to nourish your body the other 90% of the time. Thankfully you can do both with this smoothie, and that’s a pretty good way to eat.

Happy New Year! x

Lemon Meringue Pie Smoothie | An easy and delicious healthy smoothie! Paleo, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free.

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Cardamom and Orange Dark Chocolate Truffles

December 19, 2016

Cardamom and Orange Dark Chocolate Truffles | Easy, vegan chocolate truffles for festive decadence! Gluten free.

I tested a cake recipe the other day, a simple chocolate spelt cake with a fudgy chocolate and orange icing. To be honest, the cake sucked, but the icing was delicious! It firmed up in the fridge and was super creamy and rich. It reminded me of a delicious chocolate truffle recipe that I use to make growing up – it was made with dark chocolate and sour cream and spiked with orange and cardamom (can’t remember where I got the recipe unfortunately).

I decided to rehash the icing into the truffles you see here, and I’m so glad I did. There’s not much better than a deliciousnessly rich chocolate truffle, and I’m so happy I worked out a way to make them dairy-free. I love the hint of cardamom and orange, and I imagine any number of flavourings could work here – or just plain would also be delicious. Orange and cardamom is particularly Christmassy, and I think it’s a flavour pairing made in heaven. I don’t tend to use cardamom much, but I do love just a hint of it in chocolate desserts.

This is probably my last recipe for the year, though I will probably post a round up of this year’s most popular recipes after Christmas. But till then, I hope you and your family enjoys a wonderful and delicious festive season! Be sure to tag me on Instagram @libertybrowne or #homespuncapers if you make any of my recipes, I’d love to see them! Xx Liberty

Cardamom and Orange Dark Chocolate Truffles | Easy, vegan chocolate truffles for festive decadence! Gluten free.

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Spiced Sweet Potato and Freekeh Salad with Pomegranate

December 12, 2016

Spiced Sweet Potato and Freekeh Salad with Pomegranate | A festive salad that's vegan and potluck friendly.

A few weeks ago I went to my good friend Ruth’s mother blessing (a mother-centred baby shower) and this is the salad I made to share with the guests. It was a hit, and lots of people were asking how I made it, so I figured I should work on transcribing a recipe to share with you!

I love grain salads because they’re substantial and practically a meal in themselves. They’re great for potlucks and lunch boxes, and are delicious both warm and cold. This Spiced Sweet Potato and Freekeh Salad has a lot going on in terms of texture and flavours, making it quite complex and definitely my favourite salad of the moment. 

Freekeh, a charred green wheat, has a lovely texture – a toothiness that works well with the soft roasted sweet potato I’ve matched it with here. If you are gluten intolerant, you could easily use a medium grain brown rice here instead.

I’ve paired the sweet potato and freekeh with herbaceous dill, preserved lemons, fragrant whole spices, and fresh pomegranate seeds that are like little jewels that burst with a tart sweetness. I think it’s perfectly balanced, and I hope you enjoy it too. Plus, the pomegranate gives this salad a festive charm, and what’s more, it’s perfect for both a Northern or Southern Hemisphere festive season… Such is the adaptability of the grain salad!

Spiced Sweet Potato and Freekeh Salad with Pomegranate | A festive salad that's vegan and potluck friendly.
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Satay Vermicelli Noodle Bowls (or: cheat’s gado gado)

December 5, 2016

Satay Vermicelli Noodle Bowls | An easy gado gado inspired peanut satay recipe for quick weeknight meals - vegan and gluten free.

I’ve spent the last few weeks testing and tweaking a cookie recipe, which you may have seen pop up on my Instagram a couple of times, only to still not be quite satisfied with the result. More tweaking, and more cookies needed! The good thing about blogging about food is that these recipes generally become the evening’s meal (who wants to cook again after a day of cooking?), and the bad thing about blogging is that these recipes generally become the evening’s meal..! So when you are testing sweet recipes you end up eating a lot of baked goods, which is both delicious and not quite as nutritious as those week’s you’re testing savouries. This is one of the reasons I mostly stick to savouries on this blog (the other reason is that I love cooking savouries!). So, whilst the cookies still need work, here’s the other, less decadent meal that is in high rotation in our house (though one could argue its decadence, I’m sure!). By high rotation I mean that I easily make these Satay Vermicelli Noodle Bowls once a week!

Made with peanut butter, and possibly half the ingredients of a traditional recipe, this is my cheat’s satay sauce. Totally morish and a cinch to pull together, it requires minimal stove time and is very adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand. I’ve served it here with vermicelli noodles and panfried tofu, but you could go the steamed baby potatoes, tempeh and boiled egg (if you eat them) route like a traditional Indonesian Gado Gado. I really love the vermicelli, because they cook so quickly and are both light and filling. This satay sauce is also delicious in rice paper rolls… My favourite too-hot-to-cook food.

Satay Vermicelli Noodle Bowls | An easy gado gado inspired peanut satay recipe for quick weeknight meals - vegan and gluten free.

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Spring Green Spaghetti with Sunny Dill Pesto

November 14, 2016

Spring Green Spaghetti with Sunny Dill Pesto | A delicious and easy vegan pasta dish with a fresh dill pesto and loads of seasonal greens

Like most people at this time of the year, I’m craving clean, fresh meals with loads of green produce. I’ve been loving the amazing asparagus we’ve been getting down here in Melbourne this spring, ordering multiple bunches every week through my CSA veggie box. This week’s recipe showcases all the delicious seasonal greens currently floating around the farmer’s market: asparagus, green beans, broad beans, dill and small sweet carrots.

I love eating seasonally for a variety of reasons: 1. Produce in the height of it’s season tastes better, 2. It is cheaper, 3. Less food miles, 3. You almost never eat an underwhelming watery tomato, 4. You’re in touch with nature’s calender, 5. The produce is almost always suited to the styles of cooking that you crave at that particular time of the year. 

This pasta is light and zesty, and comes together easily on the stove. The pesto is lemony and herbaceous, and any leftovers keeps well and would be wonderful in a sandwich, on avo toast or thinned out over a salad. The pasta I’ve used here is a tubular spaghetti, which is a little lighter in texture due to the hollow centre, but any pasta would work just fine.

Spring Green Spaghetti with Sunny Dill Pesto | A delicious and easy vegan pasta dish with a fresh dill pesto and loads of seasonal greens

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Spicy Roasted Carrot and Eggplant Salad with Puy Lentils and Preserved Lemon

November 8, 2016

Spicy Roasted Carrot and Eggplant Salad with Puy Lentils and Preserved Lemon | Vegan, grain free, gluten free.

I’ve noticed recently that many people both online and in my everyday life have been talking about Sunday meal prep. To be honest, I don’t tend to do heaps of it, but I am a fan of making myself work lunches in advance (to stop me from buying Vietnamese food everyday). During Winter I make a big vat of soup on Sundays, which sustains me throughout my working week, but with the arrival of (slightly) warmer weather, soups no longer seem the appropriate choice for work lunches… That’s where this roasted veg and lentil salad comes in – super tasty and morish, keeps well in the fridge, tastes great cold, and is substantial enough to fill the gap at lunch time.

I love the combination of roasted carrot, eggplant and potatoes – sweet, creamy, and savoury carby goodness is all covered! Roasted with paprika, cayenne and cumin, this salad pops with flavour with or without the preserved lemon. I do love preserved lemons though – they’re a cinch to make and turn everything they touch into fragrant lemony deliciousness (without the acid)… If that’s not enough to persuade you, a few grating of lemon zest should do the trick. I prefer homemade preserved lemons but you can pick them up from gourmet or middle eastern grocery stores.

Puy lentils keep their shape perfectly for salads, but they can also be replaced here with black beluga or red Persian lentils which also keep their shape. You could also substitute in cooked chickpeas, if preferred.

This salad is great to make ahead for picnics, potlucks or for your lunch box. Let me know what you love packing for work lunches in the comment sections below!

Spicy Roasted Carrot and Eggplant Salad with Puy Lentils and Preserved Lemon | Vegan, grain free, gluten free.

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Spring Tumble Salad with Pickled Ginger

October 24, 2016

Spring Tumble Salad with Pickled Ginger | A beautiful green salad tossed with avocado and a lemon flaxseed oil dressing. Vegan, gluten free

A beautiful spring tumble salad to bring in the sunnier days! To be honest it has been absolutely miserable down here in Melbourne, despite it already being mid-late October. We’re so patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for some warmer weather, seeing it’s only 5 weeks till summer…!

I made this salad last week on a warmer day after having visited my chiropractor who told me that my creaky joints were a sign that I should be getting more omega 3 oils in my diet. My body has been playing up a lot recently, with general tiredness really getting me down, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to heed his advice and try to up my flaxseed oil intake as well as focussing on getting a bit more iron.

In summer I tend to eat a lot of chia seeds (a great omega 3 source) but I think I may have dropped the ball a little over winter and whilst I was on holiday last month… Easy to do! Omega 3 and 6 oils are super important to monitor if you’re on a plant-based diet, as many of the sources are animal derived, but nothing to fret about if you’re eating enough flaxseeds, chia and walnuts.

After picking up a bottle of flaxseed oil on my way home this was the first salad I made – a big bowl of panfried green beans and broccoli, tossed with avocado, pickled ginger, toasted seeds and a lemon and flaxseed oil dressing… So lovely that I had to make it again to share it with you! I love the combination of pickled ginger, avocado and sesame, being a little reminiscent of sushi rolls.

This is a lovely fresh salad, perfect by itself or with a piece of toast if you’re hungry. Make sure you only buy flaxseed oil that has been kept in the fridge (in store) because it easily goes rancid and has a very short shelf life. Good oil should taste sweet and nutty, so don’t use it if it doesn’t! xx

 

Spring Tumble Salad with Pickled Ginger | A beautiful green salad tossed with avocado and a lemon flaxseed oil dressing. Vegan, gluten free

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Things I Love Sept 2016

October 1, 2016

This month has been a busy one! I tested a few recipes, and even photographed them, but didn’t manage to get them edited and online in between the craziness of familial obligations, work, and holidays… In short, September has included my brother getting married, departing on holiday to Hawaii, and spending an amazing foodie weekend at Tamsin’s Table in Poowong, South Gippsland. I’ll be back home at the end of next week, so expect a new recipe soon after that! 

Here are but a handful of shots that I took of our two days on Tamsin’s farm. We made handmade pici pasta, sourdough rye bread, rhubarb crumble, and some wonderful vegetable based dishes with baby turnips and radicchio… All from Tamsin’s garden! For a seasonal food lover, this weekend was total heaven!


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