Butter Beans and Tomatoes

If you can get Spanish butter beans they are worth the price, absolutely delicious straight out of the jar. I use ‘NAVARRICO JUDIÓN, LARGE BUTTER BEANS’.

400g butter beans, cooked
400g Italian/Plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
8-10 basil leaves, or about a tablespoon of fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds etc – keep seeds & insides in a separate bowl. Cut quarters in half.

Drain butter beans, keeping 3 tablespoons of liquid in a separate bowl.

Heat the olive oil over a low heat. Add tomatoes and cook gently for a few minutes.

Add the beans and reserved liquid, squeeze juice out of reserved tomato seeds & insides into pot, add garlic and sundried tomatoes – add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

Tip into serving bowl and stir through the fresh herbs.

Serve with crusty bread to mop out the delicious juices.

[these photos show just a half quantity of the recipe]

IMG_0452 IMG_0454 IMG_0453

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

This recipe is largely from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ ‘Isa Does It’. It has the most amazing texture.

About 2kg Butternut Pumpkin
Oil for brushing or spraying the pumpkin before roasting

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 Tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper – I use white
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable stock (I use Moredough or Stock Merchant)
1 can coconut milk – light is fine
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 Tablespoons lime juice – to taste

Heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Chop pumpkin into large chunks, removing the seeds. Brush or spray with oil and put on banking sheet. Roast for 50-60 minutes until ver tender. Remove skin, and set aside.

Saute onion in the coconut oil for about 5 minutes, add a pinch of salt and sauté a further 5 minutes to caramelise. Add garlic and ginger and stir through, then add pepper, chilli flakes and remaining salt. Add white wine and scrape down the pan to combine everything well. Add the pumpkin flesh, coconut milk, maple syrup and lime juice – mix well and heat through.

Blend with hand held blender until completely smooth.

Serve with some chopped herbs or spring onions, and a swirl of coconut milk (optional).

Tomato Barley Soup

You can put whatever vegetables you like into this – onion, carrot and celery are a must though. I add half a teaspoon of chilli flakes to give it a little heat.

When I need to finely chop a whole lot of stuff, I always use my Japanese Mandolin. I put in the coarse shredding blade, and then slice 2-3mm thick. I have a Benriner – google it and you can purchase online – The Essential Ingredient in Prahran has them, but if you are anything like me, you’ll come away with a basket full of new gadgets and specialty foods when you shop there.

This soup freezes well so I always make more than I need and put meal-sized containers in the freezer.


1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 button mushrooms, sliced or diced
Any other vegetables you’d like to add – I use 1-2 little yellow squash for colour

2 Tablespoons olive oil
8 cups of vegetable stock (you can use water, or a mix of stock and water – I always use stock because it gives a richer, fuller flavour)
1 cup pearl barley
1 can beans – cannelini or borlotti for example
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato puree

2 teaspoons mixed italian herbs (thyme, oregano, basil, etc)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the vegetables in the olive oil in a large pot for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 60-80 minutes until the barley is fluffy. Serve.

Tomato Barley Soup

Tomato Barley Soup

Mushroom Pastry Puffs


~5 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry (most supermarket puff pastry is vegan, check the back of the packet)
a little milk or a beaten egg for brushing onto the pastry

50 grams margarine (I use nuttelex)
200g mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (or use 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon ground pepper (black or white)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (else use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup ground almonds

Make filling:

Gently fry the mushrooms and herbs in the margarine. When brown, add the water and salt & pepper – simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Put into blender, add almonds, and puree to a fine paste. Set aside.


Thaw pastry.

Using a cookie cutter (I use a large star, you can use another shape), cut shapes out of the pastry. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of one shape, then top with another and press the edges firmly together.

Brush with milk or beaten egg, then back for ~15 minutes at 220 Degrees Celsius until puffy and browned. Serve on their own or with a chutney of your choice (e.g. tomato or caramelised onion).

Eat straight away 🙂

Baked Buffalo Bites

This recipe is from a book I bought recently called ‘Vegan Finger Foods’ by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes. Useful book for finger foods etc. This is the first recipe I’ve made from it, and I really liked them 0 tasty, and relatively healthy given they are oven baked. Great to eat with a substantial salad as a simple meal.

2 tablespoons hot or chilli sauce
2 tablespoons tamari
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
425g extra-firm tofu, drained and presses, cut into 2cm cubes
Nonstick cooking spray (I use a can of rice bran oil)
3 tablespoons unsweetened plain vegan milk (e.g. Bonsoy)
1/2 cup arrowroot powder, more if needed
1 cup breadcrumbs, or rice crumbs

Combine hot sauce, tamari, mustard, and half the onion & garlic powder, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir together. Mix in the tofu and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (but up to 12).

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Remove cubes from the marinade, and add the milk to the remaining marinade – mix. Put the arrowroot powder on a plate. Combine the crumbs, remaining onion and garlic powder, and salt and pepper – tip onto a plate.

Dip cubes into marinade, then arrowroot, then marinade again, then the crumb mixture. They should be generously coated. Place onto the baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes. Turn over, then bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden. Serve hot or cold.

Buffalo Tofu Bites

Buffalo Tofu Bites

Homemade Baked Beans

I love beans, particularly when they are rich with tomato, onion and seasoning. You can use a range of beans for these – Navy Beans are traditional, but can be hard to find. I’ve used Butter Beans for the recipe below.

You can serve these on toast, with sides such as sliced avocado or hash browns, or vegan sausages (Linda McCartney sausages, which you can buy frozen in some small food stores and supermarkets, are the best I’ve been able to find).

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 teaspoons palm or brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable stock
400g can of tomatoes
400g can of beans – butter or navy
salt and pepper

Fry onions over high heat until soft and browned on the edges. Add mustard powder, soy sauce, tomato paste and sugar – stir well to combine. Add all the other ingredients, and simmer uncovered for about 20-30 minutes – sauce should be thick, and beans collapsing when you bite into one. Serve.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Tofu Omelette

This recipe is from a book called ‘Refresh’ by Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston, which I really like – it has simple, healthy meals and I find it particularly good for more casual meals. They have another book called ‘Fresh’ which is equally good. Both have an excellent juice recipe section as well. Ruth and Jennifer have four ‘Fresh’ restaurants in Toronto – more information http://freshrestaurants.ca/home

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
3 cloves garlic
3 1/2 cups firm tofu, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Savoury Yeast (cheesy-tasting yeast flakes – really good!)
1/2 cup gluten flour (also called Vital Wheat flour sometimes)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
flour for dusting and rolling out

Fry onions over medium heat and cook until browned. Let them cool down, and then process in blender with the carrot, spring onion and garlic until smooth. Add tofu and process, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse to mix.

Divide into 4 equal portions. Pat each portion out to a pancake about 1 cm thick on a floured board or bench. Fry each in a little oil until brown on both sides. Serve.

I serve these with homemade baked beans – a very filling breakfast or brunch dish. You could also put them in a sandwich with pickles and salad etc. If you need to reheat these, I would do it in a sandwich press because they are quite soft.

Tofu Omelette

Tofu Omelette