Vegie Bolognese

“Recently, in an attempt to have less meat in our diet, I’ve been trying to create vegetarian and vegan recipes that still satisfy me and pack a punch of flavour and texture.  My favourite would have to be mushroom parmigiana.  Right up there with the chicken version!  One dish we eat heaps of is Bolognese or Chilli con carne and I’ve started using half beef, half lentils to great effect.  I still wanted to do a vegan version, so started experimenting with this recipe.  My aim was to get a dish that felt like you were eating the original and still had heaps of complex flavours.  The fact that my carnivorous husband loves it means it must be a success. This is a good recipe for doing in bulk and freezing for later.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp star anise powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 x 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can of lentils
  • 1 x 400g can of chick peas
  • 1 x 400g can of black or red beans
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • 100g pecans, finely diced
Method
  1. Cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a large frypan until soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste, star anise, cumin and paprika and cook off for a few minutes.
  3. Add the red wine and tomatoes then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the mushrooms in a food processor until diced. You want to keep a bit of texture. Do the same with the chick peas.
  5. Put mushrooms, lentils, beans and chickpeas in a large stockpot or slow cooker.  Pour in the tomato and red wine mixture and combine.  Allow this to sit on low heat for at least an hour.  If the mixture gets too dry, add more red wine or vegetable stock.
  6. Add the kecap manis (or dark soy sauce) and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smokey flavour add the barbecue sauce.
  7. Stir in the pecans just before you serve for added texture.
  8. Serve with the pasta of your choice and parmesan cheese.

 

Vegan carrot and lemon cupcakes

“Once a month we have “Cake-day” at the QLD Symphony Orchestra.  It’s an opportunity for us all to gather for morning tea and try a lavish selection of baked delicacies by our industrious members.  I’ve taken on the role to provide cakes for the vegan members of the orchestra, so I’m always looking for new recipes that taste just as good as their non-vegan versions.  Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the recipe up to the standard I want but some are so delicious on the first attempt that I don’t need to change anything.  For this recipe I found a basic vegan cupcake recipe and changed it into this zingy little number with the addition of carrots, currents and walnuts.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • Juice and rind from 2 lemons
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 cup currents
  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • Juice and rind from 1 lemon
Method
  1. Place coconut oil, soy or almond milk, bananas and lemon juice and rind in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Mix together the grated carrot, currents, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and mixed spice.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Line 2 cupcake tins (makes about 20) with cupcake papers and fill 2/3 full with the mixture.  Sprinkle the walnuts on top.
  5. Bake in a 180 degree celsius oven for 20 minutes.
  6. While the cupcakes cool, mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice and rind until smooth.  Top each cupcake with a small wedge of lemon, then using a teaspoon drizzle with the glaze.
  7. Eat as many as you like!

Vegan Fruit and Nut Loaf

“I recently made a delicious fruit and nut loaf from one of Bill Grainger’s beautiful cookbooks.  It was light and fragrant with nice chunky pieces of dried fruit and crunchy nuts.  Because it didn’t have a lot of butter or eggs in it I decided to try and convert it to a vegan version.  After a few attempts I got the right balance that doesn’t lack any of the flavours or textures of the original.  It also works great toasted after a few days and freezes well. Of course I do have it smothered with butter, but you can always find a vegan alternative. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 50g oats
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g dried fruit, roughly chopped (Dates, raisins, apricots, figs etc)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 70g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 lemon, rind and juice
  • 30g almonds roughly chopped for topping
Method
  1. Place oats and almond milk in a bowl and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, spices, sugar and salt and mix together.
  3. Add the oats and milk, dried fruit, almonds, maple syrup, banana and lemon juice and rind and mix together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.
  6. Bake in a 180 celcius oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then remove from the tin.  Slather with butter and enjoy.