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Monthly Archives: September 2012

The salad dressing to trump all salad dressings.. toasted sunflower dressing

I was cooking with my friend Nicola the other day, and she put together this salad dressing from a favourite recipe of mine. Its so tasty!

Colourful salad with toasted sunflower seed dressing


1 colourful salad of your choice!

Salad dressing ingredients:

3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup dates soaked in 1 cup boiling water for at least 10 mins

juice of 2 large lemons

1 tspn paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tspn salt

1 tspn pepper

1 tspn


Soak the dates, toast the seeds in a pan over a low heat until nice and brown, and add with all ingredients (including water from soaking dates) into food processor. Process until smooth. This will make quite a thick dressing- you may need to add another 1/2 cup water depending on desired consistency.

Happy Saturday!


Beautiful black bean dip

Poppy seed polenta triangles with beautiful black bean dip

This dip is a perennial favourite of mine. There’s something about black turtle beans. They’re freaking awesome in dip, especially paired with the classic combo of smoked paprika and coriander!

Ingredients: (This made 1 and a bit litres of sauce. Maybe you might like to halve it, or maybe you would like a whole lot of dip. Seriously. You can’t go wrong with dip. There is a whole world of things to dip into dip, after all 😀 )

1 litre beans (3/4 black turtle beans, 1/4 red kidney beans)

2/3 cup lime juice

2/3 cup tahini

1 cup water

1/2 cup oil (sunflower, or another light flavoured oil. or you could leave out the oil and use soy milk for a healthier option)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves

1 tspn hing

2 tspn salt


Soak the beans overnight (or use the quick soak method) , and then cook them ’til they’re nice and tender

Add the beans with everything else to the food processor and whizz. That’s all!


As you can see, in the photo the polenta totally dominates the dip, so although the beans are the star of the show, I thought I’d better mention this guy.

I literally just made instant polenta according to the instructions on the pack, added smoked paprika, salt, poppy seeds and hing, put it in the fridge to cool for about 10mins and then cut into triangles. Then, you can either shallow fry it or deep fry it (for the naughtiest polenta ever.) But shallow frying it is definitely sufficient. In fact, I don’t personally even care if it’s fried or not. Polenta in any form is ok by me!

To die for vegan coconut cream pie

Vegan coconut pie

This is definitely a treat! And a feast for the eyes too. Pia and I (my wonderful miniature Argentinian friend) were discussing the merits of tofu cheesecake. Well, actually, I was, and she was saying that it was not an appetising thing at all. This left me determined to make a good tofu cheesecake to prove her wrong! The problem with this is, vegan cream cheese is not something you can readily buy in New Zealand- and where you can get it, its so expensive!

So, coconut cream pie was my next idea, and it turned out beautifully (if I do say so myself!)



Shortbread crust (From the joy of vegan baking, page 213)

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/4 cup icing sugar

1 cup and a couple of tablespoons white flour.


125grams soft, silken tofu

3/4 cup coconut cream

1 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup margarine (or coconut oil) melted

1/3 cup coconut, toasted

3 Tablespoons white flour

1 tspn vanilla essence

Topping (carob icing)

2 tbspn carob

1/2 cup icing sugar

hot water to make a thick paste


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c and set to bake.

Make the crust by creaming the margarine and sugar with a hand blender/ your hands/ a spoon.. whatever you like, really!

press the crust into a pie pan, preferably with fluted sides (its just so pretty!)

Now, chuck all the filling ingredients into the food processor and give her a whirl. You need to pre toast the coconut, which you can either do on the stove in a fry pan, or in the oven. However, in a fry pan is about 600 times faster. 😉 reserve some of the coconut to sprinkle over the top of your completed masterpie(ce).

Put the filling ingredients into the raw crust, and bake for around 25 mins- 30 mins, until the sides are nice and brown, and the top is going slightly golden in places.  Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top. Leave on the bench to cool for half an hour, and then refrigerate for an hour before serving. The filling should be nice and firm, kind of like cheesecake, by the time you put it in the fridge. One of the 5 I made didn’t firm up, so I put it back in the oven for another 1o mins.

Make the carob icing and drizzle over the top attractively!

Vegan coconut pie with tofu base

Pie tastic!

Easy pumpkin soup, quinoa, pesto and potatoes for lunch

You just can’t beat pumpkin soup.. velvety, smooth, super healthy, sweet without any sweetener..  I could go on.

Pumpkin soup: 

Serves 3-4 as a side dish

1/4 of a large pumpkin, cubed

2 tbspn curry powder

2 bunches coriander leaves, chopped

1/2 tspn hing

1 tspn salt

1/2 tspn black pepper.

1 tbspn sunflower oil (or other mild tasting oil), for chaunce.


Put the pumpkin into a pot and completely cover it with water. Bring the pumpkin to the boil, and simmer for about 20mins until a knife easily cuts through the pumpkin chunks.

Drain the pumpkin into a sieve.Reserve about 3/4 cup of the water. Put the pumpkin back into the pot, and using a stick mixer (or blender if you don’t have one, or masher,) puree it until it is really smooth. Using a stick mixer makes it ridiculously smooth and creamy in literally seconds.. add back about 1/2- 3/4 cup of the water that you poured off, depending on how thick or thin you like your soup. I like thick. Seriously, thick soup is amazing.

Add the oil to a fry pan and heat it up. When its nice and hot, add the curry powder, pepper and hing to the pan and stir it around. After a few seconds (it should bubble a bit) add this spice mixture to the soup. This is called a chaunce.

Add the salt and chopped coriander and hey pesto, I mean presto, soup. Which brings me to..

Quick and very easy coriander pesto. 

Fresh basil is expensive right now, and I prefer coriander or parsley pesto anyway. You can substitute coriander for parsley, or just use parsley if you prefer.

Roasted and then ground sesame seeds give a sort of parmesan flavour to everything. I know it sounds crazy, but seriously, try it! With the nutritional yeast, this makes a very “cheesy” pesto.


4 bunches coriander, stalks and all, well washed

3 tbspn nutritional yeast

1 cup mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 tbspn sesame seeds, toasted and then ground

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup water or soy milk

juice of 1 lemon

1 tspn paprika

1 tspn salt

1/2 tspn pepper.


Put everything into a blender and whizz until well combined. 😀


The secret to nice quinoa is dry roasting it first in a pan over a low heat for about 10 mins until the little seeds go almost brown, then add the water (twice as much as quinoa) , salt and cook for about 20mins until each little quinoa unfurls into a little spiral shape. Some people say you have to soak quinoa, but I don’t because I’m going to toast it, and I’ve never had any problem digesting it, or with taste either 🙂

I didn’t make the potatoes, my friend Madhu did, and they were delicious. I know she roasted them with oil, hing, salt pepper and thyme. Simple and very tasty.

From start to finish this took me 30mins to make, and it served 4 people 🙂


Carob banana cake (GF, Vegan)


Today is my friend Radha Prasad’s birthday, and we’re staying out at muriwai beach for a few days, so it was definitely a cake occasion. There was only one small glitch in my plan: Today happens to be ekadasi, a day that happens twice a month, during which practitioners of some yoga paths choose to refrain from eating grains and beans. “A cake without grains?” I hear you say. Well, lucky for us, buckwheat technically doesn’t count as a grain, and neither does quinoa.

Buckwheat flour is great. I love it so much. The only thing is that it has quite a drying quality- it tends to yield baked goods that have very little moisture. However.. bananas balance out the drying effect of the buckwheat, so buckwheat banana cakes are sure to be a winner!


1.5 cups buckwheat flour

3/4tspn baking soda

1/2 cup carob powder

1 tspn cinnamon powder

1 cup sugar

3 bananas (brown bananas are great!)+ 1 for slicing over the top

1 cup oil (I used sunflower)

1/4 cup water

1 tbspn apple cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then, using a stick mixer, a fork or your hands (I used the latter) mush the bananas into a nice gooey liquid. Add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Grease a cake pan (mine was 10 inches/ 25 cms diameter) and pour in the cake mixture which should be pourable but not too liquidy. Bake for 35-40mins until a knife comes out clean. Dust top with carob powder and slice a banana over the top. So easy! That’s all there is to it. 🙂

Heavenly thai black rice porridge.. Normal porridge’s funny looking sister

For this recipe you need thai black glutinous (meaning sticky) rice. You can get it from health food/ ethnic food/ wholefood shops, and if you get it in a nice imported thai packet it’s pretty cheap.  It’s also a wholegrain, thank god. 😛

Ok, so maybe it isn’t the prettiest porridge in the whole world, but hey, since when is porridge particularly attractive anyway?

Serves: 2 


2 cups black glutinous rice, soaked overnight in water that covers it by a few cms

3 cups water

1/2 cup soy milk

1 tbspn coconut cream

1/2 cup coconut, dessicated

1 cinnamon stick, broken into two or three pieces.

8 drops steva liquid (this is the equivalent of about 3 tspns of cane sugar)

raisins – 1/2 cup (optional)


Pour off the water that the rice has been soaking in, and add it with the water, cinnamon stick and soy milk to a pot of water. Bring this to the boil.  Let it simmer for around 40 mins, until the grains of rice are breaking up. I left it to do its thing for about 30mins and came back for the last ten.  At this point, add the optional raisins and stevia and mix through well. In the last ten mins if you don’t stir it, it will start sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, back at the farm.. toast the coconut in a fry pan. Cast iron is great, but anything will do. Toast until it goes golden, and put it in the pan with the rest of the porridge, reserving a little to sprinkle over top when you serve it.

And there you have it. Serve this with the coconut cream drizzled over the top, a little extra soy milk, and the reserved toasted coconut.


Sometimes simple is best..

I’m having some chill time out of the city this week, staying at my friend’s house in the country, which means I’m just cooking for one for a change. It definitely takes away my desire to make really complicated food. Simple is what I need this week, which brings me to.. millet with mustard seeds, roast pumpkin, toasted seeds and tahini.

Millet with mustard seeds, paprika roast pumpkin with toasted seeds and tahini

Have I mentioned that I love millet? It’s so simple, tasty and comforting.


1/3 cup various seeds, toasted (You can either do this on an oven tray or by dry roasting them in a fry pan until they go nice and brown)

1/2 cup millet, toasted

1/2 tspn salt

1/2 tbspn brown mustard seeds

6 leaves of silver beet

2 tbspn tahini

1/8 small pumpkin, roasted with 1/4 tspn hing, 1/2 tspn paprika, 1/4 tspn salt


As with my post about millet salad, toast the millet, bring water to the boil with the salt and all the millet. In the last 5 mins, add the silverbeet, washed and chopped Cook until millet is but not mush. In a seperate pan, heat up oil and when it is nice and hot, add the mustard seeds. Put a lid over the pan- they will pop and turn from redish brown to grey. This is called a chaunce. Add the chaunced seeds to the millet, and serve straight away, as millet tends to solidify into a hard lump if you leave it too long. (If that does happen, don’t worry, you can break it up with a spoon or fingers, or add a little more water and heat it again.)

Serve the millet with the roast pumpkin, toasted seeds, and a drizzle of liquidy tahini over the pumpkin.

And there you have it.. a quick, easy dinner. Actually, now I think about it, it would have been ideal with pesto. I think pesto will be on the menu soon 😉

Have a beautiful Tuesday! X


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