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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Kale, Walnut and Mushroom Orecchiette

August 30, 2016

Kale, Walnut and Mushroom Orecchiette | A simple pasta for busy weeknights! Vegan, easy, delicious

This has to be our favourite weeknight meal of the moment! A delicious orecchiette pasta tossed with kale, mushrooms and walnuts, and flavoured with lots of garlic and lemon. Kirk even insisted to me last night that it is his favourite pasta… Though I’m pretty sure he said that last time I posted a pasta recipe. Either way, this fella loves pasta, so it’s high praise either way!

What makes a meal weeknight-friendly? Obviously everyone has a different prerequisite as to what they need in terms of midweek cooking – I need it to be done in under 40min, and not require more than 1 – 2 pans. Obviously the quicker the better, and extra brownie points to recipes that leave lunch box suitable leftovers for Kirk to take to work (this is one of them!).

Apart from batch cooking on the weekend (which I definitely partake in), there are a couple of tricks for evening meals I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve said this pasta is on the table in 35 min, but to be honest that is a generous estimate, due to the following…

One of my tricks for speedy pasta is to boil the water in an electric kettle first, before filling the saucepan. It is amazing how much quicker a kettle can boil water than on the stove, and it definitely gets food on the table quicker. You can even do this before you start cooking, or get a family member to do it for you. I also use this trick when making soups (boiled water and stock cube/paste, instead of cold stock). It can cut 10 min off your recipe’s cooking time.

Another trick for cooking quickly is to utilise idle time: unless I’m cooking a stirfry (in which case I would prepare/cut up most components first), I almost always cut up veg as I’m cooking. In this particular recipe I would boil the kettle, cut the mushrooms and put them on to cook, before putting on the pasta and cutting up the onion, garlic and walnuts. I’d then cut up the kale whilst the onions cooked. These types of recipes don’t require constant stirring due to their being cooked at a lower temperature (than a stirfry), so it’s a really easy way to save time during the week.

Finally, I choose ingredients for midweek recipes that don’t take much time to prepare or cook – leafy greens and herbs are a mainstay in our house, as well as pre-cooked beans, onions and garlic (always!), tinned tomatoes and easy to chop veg like broccoli or zucchini. I generally leave root veg and pumpkin for weekend cooking, unless it’s soup (which doesn’t require much standing over and therefore I don’t mind a bit of chopping time).

Hope these tips are helpful to you. I would love to know what ways you cut down on cooking time during the week! Let me know in the comments before :)

Kale, Walnut and Mushroom Orecchiette | A simple pasta for busy weeknights! Vegan, easy, delicious

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White Winter Chowder with Roasted Cauliflower

August 23, 2016

White Winter Chowder with Roasted Cauliflower | A creamy potato and cabbage soup with loads of lemon and mustard flavour! Easy, vegan and gluten free

I feel a little silly posting a recipe with “winter” in the title, when there is only a week (officially) left of winter to go for the year, but this recipe I’ve made a handful of times over the past few months and I didn’t want to miss out on sharing it! I don’t tend to eat soups for six months of the year (say, roughly, Oct – March), but I feel this year I have certainly posted my fair share of autumn and winter soup recipes! Possibly a light and brothy soup recipe might appear in spring, but for the most part, thick, rich and creamy soups will be making way for lighter fare, but until then…

I first made this soup a few months ago after green cabbage kept appearing weekly in my seasonal veggie box. As this glut of cabbage started to stockpile, I realised how completely unprepared I was… Where were all the cabbage recipes in my repertoire? I did my best though: made some okonomiyaki, slaw, stirfries, and then when yet another cabbage showed up on my doorstep I began feeling a little overwhelmed. When my friend (Phillipa again!) suggested I cook a cabbage and potato soup, blend it up and top it with parsley, I thought “why not”?

The idea of cabbage soup had only existed in my mind as a crazy diet food, but I would be willing to give it a shot if it meant being a little closer to beating the cabbage influx. I went home that night and I remembered this recipe by the wonderful Laura Wright that had appeared in my Pinterest last summer (when it’s winter up north). Inspired by her liberal use of mustard, lemon and nutritional yeast, I made a zippy little number that is both creamy (in a chowder-inspired way, due to the addition of white beans) and zesty enough to brighten up your winter blues.

Don’t despair: this is not cabbage soup as diet food (I would never do that to you!), and nor is it overly sulferous in an depressingly-over-cooked-cabbage kind of way. The cabbage retains its sweetness due to its very short cooking time, and the result is a great base to showcase all the lemon and mustard goodness. Thankfully it’s no longer the height of cabbage season, but luckily they’re still around to make this soup. x

White Winter Chowder with Roasted Cauliflower | A creamy potato and cabbage soup with loads of lemon and mustard flavour! Easy, vegan and gluten free

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Chili Con Tempeh with Lime Creme

August 16, 2016

Chili Con Tempeh with Lime Creme - Your new go-to vegan chili recipe! Perfectly spicy, comfortable filling, with an easy lime cashew cream! Gluten free and weeknight friendly.
A few months ago, my long time friend and colleague Phillipa described to me this delicious variation on vegetarian chili that her partner Jona regularly makes her. I filed it away in the “next time I make chili basket” and promptly forgot about it. She mentioned it again a few weeks ago and this time, in order not to forgot its genius, I asked her for the recipe. She texted me through a photo of a well-used photocopy. It originally came out of a book, but had obviously been used via photocopy for quite some time. For this reason I’m not sure which cookbook the recipe came from, but to be honest I’m not too concerned because the following recipe barely resembles it (!) – I used it more as an inspiration/jumping off point to make this delicious little number. I’ve made this weekly for the past month, tweaking it each time, and I am finally ready to share it with you!

It has to be my favourite chili to date – spicy and a little smokey, substantial yet comfortably filling. I like it best with a bowl of rice, a little coriander and the lime creme I’ve included the recipe for below, but the creme is by no means imperative if you can’t be bothered – it is great as is! That said, some avocado or a little zesty cabbage salad would be most welcome, as would serving it with tortillas or corn bread.

I’m a bit of a chilli wuss and this is on the spicy side for me, but you might like to add a little extra cayenne (to taste) at the end if you like it hot. I’m super excited about sharing this recipe with you today (after the weeks of testing), and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! X

(Thanks Phillipa and Jona for generously sharing the chili love! X)
Chili Con Tempeh with Lime Creme - Your new go-to vegan chili recipe! Perfectly spicy, comfortable filling, with an easy lime cashew cream! Gluten free and weeknight friendly.
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Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad with Lemon and Dill

August 1, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad with Lemon and Dill | An easy side salad that's bright and zesty - vegan, paleo, vegetarian

I made this warm salad one night when I was cooking a baked tomato and bean dish and wanted a side of roast potatoes, but was too lazy to also cook an additional side of greens (a meal isn’t complete without a few greens)! So I roasted the potatoes with some cauliflower and tossed them all with dill, kale and plenty of lemon juice. Laziness aside, it’s now turned out to be one of my favourite accompaniments to wintery baked dishes. The cauliflower is sweet and nutty, the potatoes creamy, and they both shine in a punchy dressing. I imagine it’d also be welcome alongside a potluck or picnic.

I think lemon and dill has to be one of my favourite flavour combinations… I’ve spoken about it previously in this particularly popular recipe, and it shows up in a number of my recipes on this blog. There is just something so morish about this zesty and herbaceous combination! I won’t pretend this is an authentic recipe in the slightest, but the flavours here are inspired by everything I love about Greek food. I often say Greek is my favourite cuisine (not that I like to have favourites, and being part Greek may or may not have influenced this assertion!), and I put this largely down to the liberal use of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs… What’s not to like? Hope you enjoy this simple salad as much as I do. X

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad with Lemon and Dill | An easy side salad that's bright and zesty - vegan, paleo, vegetarian

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Things I Love (July 2016)

July 16, 2016


Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a love list! Or a recipe for that matter! Sometimes life gets in the way. Creative projects often take the back burner when things come up, it’s the first commitment you drop when you’re working too much or if you have too many social engagements… I’ve had both! But instead of feeling angry and disappointed in myself for not keeping to my weekly posting schedule, I’ve decided to treat myself with kindness. You don’t produce good things when it’s fuelled by guilt. This is an online space I love to be in, and I love making recipes to share with you… So please excuse the occasional tardiness – sometimes it’s necessary if I’m to post quality, tested recipes that I feel are worth sharing!

One thing I love most is getting messages from you… So if you’ve made one of my recipes, I’d love if you could leave a comment on the blog or tag me in a photo on Instagram! (@libertybrowne or #homespuncapers) it really makes my day to hear what you think of them!

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