Vegan Eats in Australia!

I recently spent three short weeks in Australia and had so many great vegan meals that I thought I would share my experiences!

The Beet Byron Bay 

Byron bay is a picturesque beach town just outside Brisbane. Calm and chilled out, it’s a surfers paradise often described as ‘haut-boho’- whatever that is supposed to mean! With this it is also incredibly popular! Full of restaurants and boutique shops. Unsurprisingly I found it easiest to find vegan food here!

The Beet in Byron Bay has a running theme. Can you guess? Yes – beetroot! I was lucky enough to try quite a few things on their menu.

Starting with the seitan nuggets, which were delicious, meaty and deep fried, what’s not to love? They came with a huge (for a starter) salad with Nam Jim dressing and homemade vegan aioli for $16 (~£9).

I couldn’t come to this place without trying their most popular dish, beetroot gnocchi. While I couldn’t taste the beetroot within the gnocchi the colour was beautiful, and the accompanying brussel sprouts and ricotta ‘cheese’ were amazing. Yes. Brussel sprouts. Amazing. ($22 = ~£13).

The Beet Burger ($22 = ~£13) came with a beetroot infused bun and everything else you could possibly wish for on a burger; aubergine parmigiana, parmesan ‘cheese’, avocado, tomato relish, sweet potato fries…

I always have room for desert. I believe the deserts here change quite regularly. I sampled the raw espresso caramel cheesecake ($14=~£8). Absolutely delicious and served so beautifully. Even if you’re full, you should make room for this. This has to be one of my favourite vegan restaurants that I tried in OZ.

Address: 90/96 Jonson Street, Byron Bay, NSW 2481

Elixiba Byron Bay

Elixiba was the second completely vegan restaurant I visited in Byron Bay. This restaurant can also be found on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. The menu ranges from salads to burgers, with a drinks menu longer than the food! The first thing I had here was the Macro Bowl. The beauty of this bowl is that it is customisable, you choose the protein and sauce you want, as well as any extras. It is also packed with all the goodness you’d want from a bowl; rice, roast veggies, greens, pickles. I had tempeh and satay sauce and added avocado.

Despite the fact I discovered I don’t like tempeh, the bowl was great, filling, healthy and exactly what I was craving! The homemade pickles were particularly good. Again, the plant based burger came with everything you would want; facon, avocado, ‘cheese’ and a paleo bun, which I have no idea how they made but tasted amazing! Total bill came to $44 excluding drinks (~£26). Continue reading “Vegan Eats in Australia!”

Vegan Sugar Free Chocolate Hearts/Keto Fat Bombs

Ok, so these are technically fat bombs. But something about that name sounds unappealing to me. So I’ve decided to call them vegan sugar free chocolates, which they technically are too!

Made with only a few ingredients these couldn’t be simpler to do! I added a few almonds to some of them – feel free to add whatever nuts you like if you want a extra crunch!

These are great for those on a ketosis diet, low carb diet or those wanting to improve their intake of healthy fats or looking for a chocolate alternative.

 

Coconut oil has so many health benefits! We’ve been told over and over again how eating saturated fat raises cholesterol levels. This is true. But the saturated fat in coconut oil actually reduces LDL cholesterol (aka ‘bad’ cholesterol linked to heart disease) and can increase HDL cholesterol (aka ‘good’ cholesterol that reduced LDL in your blood). The medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil are easily converted into energy, putting less strain on the liver, kidneys and gall bladder.

Coconut oil has also been proven to help with weight loss by increasing the metabolism and improving thyroid function! Who knew?!

Other good fats: Olive oil, Soy, Sunflower oil, Seeds and Nuts

Fats to avoid: Butter, Cheese, Cream and Red Meat

So… maybe I’ve convinced you of the amazing benefits of coconut oil and to try out these chocolates!

Ingredients `

16 Servings

Milk Chocolate                                                                                                                    60 g Coconut Oil                                                                                                                 15 g Cocoa Powder                                                                                                             ½ tbsp Sweetener                                                                                                                ½ tbsp Tahini

White Chocolate                                                                                                                  50 g Cocoa Butter                                                                                                               50 g Coconut Oil                                                                                                                   2 Drops Vanilla Essence                                                                                                       ½ tbsp Sweetener

Method

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Melt 60g of coconut oil in the microwave or in a pan
  • Add the sweetener, cocoa powder and tahini
  • Mix well
  • Pour the mixture into the heart moulds until half full
  • Allow to cool and solidify in the fridge
  • Melt the remaining coconut oil and cocoa butter in the microwave or in a pan
  • Add the vanilla and sweetener
  • Mix well
  • Pour the mixture over the cooled milk chocolate in the mould
  • Allow to cool
  • Remove from the moulds and keep in the freezer or fridge

| Per Serving | Cals 92 | Fat 6.6 g | Protein 0.2 g | Carbs 0.3 g |

Garlic Roasted Artichoke

Sometimes the simplest things can be so delicious and special. This recipe is so easy to make but just takes a little time!

I like A LOT of garlic. You don’t have to put as much as I do – tailor it to your own taste!

How to eat: Pull off an outer petals, dip and pull the soft portion of the petal through your teeth and discard the rest. Eat and repeat until all the petals are gone! When you reach the base, spoon out the hairy bits and throw away. Then eat the ‘heart’ of the artichoke – which is the best bit!

Artichokes go so well with dips such as garlic butter or mayo. You could try a few different ones for some variation!

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 Large Whole Artichokes
  • 1-2 Garlic Bulbs
  • 1 Lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil

Method

  • Cut the stalk from the artichokes
  • Cut the tops from the artichokes
  • Peel the cloves of garlic and insert them in between the artichoke leaves
  • Squeeze half a lemon on each artichoke
  • Sprinkle with sea salt
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Individually wrap in foil or baking paper
  • Roast at 200oC for 1hr30

Mama’s Favourite Healthy Dairy-Free Carrot Cake

I call this Mama’s favourite carrot cake because literally it’s my mums favourite! I’m requested to make this every time I go home to visit. She cuts it into portions and freezes them so she can ration them until a new cake is baked! 

This healthy carrot cake is so good; you could definitely justify eating this for breakfast as well as desert! Packed with nuts, dried fruit, oats and carrots (obviously) you can’t go wrong!

Top Tip: Mixing the nuts and dried fruit with some flour before adding them to the cake batter will stop them sinking as the cake cooks. Leaving with you with an even dispersion throughout! Try this with other fillings such as chocolate chunks and fruit – just ensure you gently dry the ingredients first before mixing with flour.

If you feel like making this into a real treat, finish off with some vanilla or cream ‘cheese’ frosting. Just combine icing sugar, a drop of vanilla essence, some water and dairy free cream cheese. Jobs a good’un.

Ingredients

Serves 8

  • 200 g Dairy-Free Margarine
  • 65 g Truvia (or other sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 Medium Carrots (Grated)
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 150 g Oat Flour
  • 50 g Whole-wheat Flour
  • 125 ml Water
  • 70 ml Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 60 g Sultanas
  • 30 g Dried Cranberries
  • 40 g Almonds
  • 40 g Walnuts

Method

  • In a small bowl, mix together the chia seeds and water and set aside for 10 mins (or as long as possible)
  • Preheat the oven at 180oC
  • Chop the nuts and the dried fruit and mix with the whole-wheat flour in a separate bowl
  • Cream together the margarine and sweetener until smooth and a pale yellow colour
  • Add the almond milk and soaked chia seeds and mix well
  • In a separate bowl mix the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and ginger
  • Sieve the flour mixture into the wet mix and fold in – don’t mix heavily as this will knock any air out
  • Gently mix in the grated carrots
  • Gently mix in the nuts/dried fruit/flour mixture
  • Line two sandwich tins with greaseproof paper and add the cake mixture evenly between the two
  • Bake at 180oC for 25-30 minuets

| Per Serving | 339 Cals | 6.2 g Protein | 29.8 g Carbs | 22.6 g Fat |

Vegan Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Ahh pasta. Comforting, filling, diverse, cheap; what’s not to love? And what’s finer than shop bought? Homemade, of course! You don’t need a professional pasta machine to make this recipe – just a rolling pin and a little time!

There are a few little things you can do to ensure success making this dish. First: Thickness of the dough is key. Too thick and you’ll end up with big lumps of dough, too thin and the ravioli will split. If you can blow under the rolled dough and it flutters with no breakages it should be the right thickness – about 3-4mm.

First: Thickness of the dough is key. Too thick and you’ll end up with big lumps of dough, too thin and the ravioli will split. If you can blow under the rolled dough and it flutters with no breakages it should be the right thickness – about 3-4mm.

Second: Ensure the sheets are stuck together really well – or they will explode in the pan. Disaster.

Third: Make sure the filling isn’t too runny (if it is you need to reduce it some more) and only fill the pasta when the filling is cooled. Trust me.

Finally, keep your surfaces well floured. You don’t want to have made perfect ravioli only to destroy them picking them up because they’re stuck to the surface!

The addition of Silken Tofu adds a creaminess to the filling that mimics ricotta. I add three cloves of garlic because I love it really garlicky but if you want to cut it down to one or two go for it. Adjust to your taste! I topped the ravioli with my homemade pesto (see blog post: Fresh Basil Pesto).

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

Pasta:

  • 650 g Strong White Flour + Extra for rolling
  • 300 ml Water*
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt

Filling:

  • 1 Large Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 250 g Spinach
  • 350 g Silken Tofu
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

Filling:

  • Add the vegetable oil to a pan and gently heat on the hob
  • Chop the onion and add to the oil
  • Cook until soft
  • Mince the garlic and add to the pan
  • Allow to good for a few minutes
  • Add the spinach to the pan
  • Let the spinach completely wilt
  • Add the tofu to a blender and blend until smooth
  • Add the tofu to the spinach and onion mixture
  • Mix the cornflour and water in a small bowl
  • Add this to the mixture and mix well (this will thicken the filling)
  • Reduce and cook the mixture until thickened
  • Season to taste
  • Take off the hob and allow to cool while you make the pasta

Pasta:

  • Add the flour and salt to a large bowl
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour
  • Add the oil and 3/4 of the water (*you may not need all the water – add more if needed)
  • Mix together to form a dough
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 – 15 minuets
  • Leave the dough to rest for 10 minuets
  • Split the dough into 8-10 peices
  • Take one peice and roll into a sausage shape with your hands
  • On a floured surface roll the dough into a long thin strip with a width of approximately 15 cm (see image above) and a few millimetres thick
  • On the top half of the dough add a tsp of filling in a ball shape (see image above)
  • Add the filling with 3-4 cm between each across the dough (see image above)
  • Wet the edges of the dough and the bottom half with some cold water (this will aid sticking)
  • Take the bottom half of the dough and flip it over the top half with the filling
  • Gently press the dough around the filling, removing any air bubbles (see image)
  • Cut each ravioli from the strip, removing any excess dough
  • Using a fork, crimp around the 3 edges to ensure they don’t spilt open
  • Place on a floured baking tray and freeze
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling
  • Heat a large pan of salted boiling water
  • Add the ravioli from the freezer to the pan
  • After approximately 5 minuets the ravioli will be cooked (and floating)
  • Serve 6-8 per person immediately with a sauce of your choice

| Per Serving | 422 Cals | 15.3 g Protein | 74.2 g Carbs | 6.9 g Fat |

Fresh Basil Pesto

I love pesto. I put it on pasta, roast veggies, tofu.. yummy. However, traditional pesto contains Parmesan cheese, which created two problems for me. First, I don’t like Parmesan, and second, I am now dairy-free. There are lots of really good dairy-free pesto’s on the market but they are a bit pricey. So, I have created a quick and cheap dairy-free, fresh basil pesto. Win win.

There are a few herbs which are just so much better fresh. Basil being one. I picked up a plant for £1.50 from my local supermarket and if you give it some TLC it can last a long time!

In my opinion, my pesto is the besto! (If you don’t get that reference stop everything and watch FRIENDS immediately).

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 30 g Fresh Basil
  • 50 g Spinach
  • 30 g Pine Nuts
  • 50 g Silken Tofu
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 65 ml Olive Oil
  • 65 ml Water*
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt

Method

  • Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan
  • Add all the ingredients to a blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Add more water (or oil) if you like a thinner sauce
  • Serve immediately

| Per Serving | 138 Cals | Protein 3.9 g  | Carbs 2 g | Fat 13.2 g |

Rice Paper Vegan Bacon (or Facon!)

Pre-vegan, bacon was a favourite of mine. I’m a big fan of salty foods and would really enjoy some bacon as a weekend treat. Since turning vegan, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t missed bacon! Even though its something I get asked a lot. Despite this, I decided to challenge myself and make a fake bacon (or facon) as an extra addition to homemade burgers and hot dogs.

Generously coat the double layered rice paper strips with the marinade. I like to do each one individually because sometimes the rice paper coated in the water can get stuck to the sheet if left too long.

Make sure to keep a close eye on the facon as it can easily catch and burn! Once they bubble and go brown they’re done. If they’re undercooked they will be quite chewy. Its a fine balance.

Serve this guilt-free facon with burgers, hot dogs, pancakes, waffles and whatever else you like!

Ingredients

Serves 10

  • 10 Rice Paper Sheets
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tsp BBQ Sauce
  • ½ tbsp Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Paprika

Method

  • Cut the rice paper into equal size strips
  • Combine all the other ingredients in a small bowl to create the marinade
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • Place one strip of rice paper on the baking sheet
  • Using a pastry brush, brush with water
  • Flip over the rice paper
  • Brush with water
  • Place a dry sheet of rice paper on top of the wetted strip
  • Brush the top of the dry sheet with water
  • Press firmly so the rice paper sticks together
  • Generously brush the rice paper strip with the marinade
  • Flip over and repeat the other side with the marinade
  • Repeat with all the strips
  • Bake at 200oC for 5-10 minutes (keep an eye on them; they can burn quickly!)

| Per serving | 26 cals | 0.6 g protein | 2.7 g carbs | 1.4 g fat |

Vegan Lentil Burgers

These vegan lentil burgers are virtually fat free and packed full of protein! If you fancy a burger but don’t like meat substitutes lentils are a great option. They are a good source of fibre, potassium, calcium, zinc, vitamin k, protein, folate, iron – powerful little things!

Tinned lentils also work really well. It will mean you can whip up these burgers in no time. I always keep some in my cupboard and we should be eating more in our diets with all their benefits!

I served them in a burger bun with pickles, facon (see my blog post: Rice Paper Bacon) and ketchup – but serve with your favourite toppings. Go for it!

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 200 g Dried Green Lentils
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 50 g Vital Wheat Gluten
  • ½ tsp Basil
  • ½ tsp Sage
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 6 tbsp Water
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • Oil Spray (for frying)

Method

  • Cook lentils until soft on a low heat for 20-30 minuets
  • Finely cut the onion and fry until lightly brown
  • Blend half of the lentils with the water
  • In a large bowl combine the vital wheat gluten, basil, sage, cumin, garlic salt, pepper and salt
  • Add the lentils, the blended lentils, tomato puree and onions to the mixture and mix well
  • Split the mixture into 4 equal amounts
  • Shape into burgers
  • Brown the burgers in a griddle pan with a little oil
  • Cook at 180oC for 15 minuets to fully heat through

| Per serving | 250 cals | 22.7 g Protein | 36.8 g Carbs | 1.7 g Fat |

Healthy Cinnamon and Apple Waffles

I recently got a waffle iron and it may be the greatest gift I ever received. Now I can make waffles at home whenever I feel like it! Perfect for a weekend brunch or desert at home.

These are so quick and easy to make. Plus they are a healthier version of traditional waffles – basically just made with oats and apples! Win-win.

I served two waffles per person with lots of fresh fruit and maple syrup – but serve them with whatever you like. Chocolate sauce, peanut butter, berries, icing, ice cream… the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 100 g Oat Flour
  • 2 tsp Truvia (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 8 tbsp Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Medium Apple
  • 175 ml Water
  • Vegetable Oil Spray

Method

  • Preheat the waffle iron
  • Add the apple and the water to a blender and blend until smooth
  • Mix the oat flour, cinnamon, sweetener, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl
  • Add the apple sauce, soy milk, vanilla extract and mix well
  • Once the waffle iron is heated, spray a little oil in the waffle machine to prevent sticking
  • Add all the mixture to the waffle iron and cook
  • Serve with maple syrup and fruit

| Per Serving | 155 cals | 3.8 g protein | 30.4 g carbs | 2.3 g fat |

Vegan American Style Hot Dogs

Sometimes, a fat hot dog is all you fancy. We’ve all been there. It’s okay. Unless you want to go for a hotdog containing bits of animals you’d rather not know about – it’s time to veganify. There are a lot of different recipes out there, some using beans or veggies, which are great and taste really good. But to create the taste of a hot dog and a similar texture I’ve adapted this recipe from vegkitchen.com and fatfreevegan.com with pretty good results!

Its reeeally important that you wrap the sausages in greaseproof paper. Then you can easily remove them once they are cooked, and they don’t stick and become a huge mess. See the photo below. Not the most attractive looking thing – but it will look better. Just go with it! You must wrap them tightly so they don’t expand. The vital wheat gluten will expand if you give it the chance too.

The steaming of these sausages makes them lovely and soft. This is the difference between making a hot dog and a traditional sausage. Again I’ll mention wrapping them tightly – if you don’t they will expand and have completely different texture!

Once the dogs are steamed, all you need to do is brown them off. Grill, fry, bbq – the choice is yours! I chose to fry, purely because it was quick and I was hungry.

Once cooked, I served them in bread bun with pickles, fried onions and ketchup (and rosemary fries -because why not?!). I chose fresh french bread purely because I personally prefer it to hotdog buns, which always taste sugary to me? I think they add a lot in the processing. But choose whatever you like! Go with it. You do you.

Ingredients

Serves 8

  • 250 g Tofu
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 50 ml Water
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • ¼ tsp Worcester Sauce
  • 150 g Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 tsp Corn Flour
  • 1 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • ½ tsp Sweetener or 1 ½ tsp Caster Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¾ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried Coriander Leaves
  • ½ tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Sage

Method

  • Add the tofu, onion, garlic cloves and all the wet ingredients to a food processor
  • Blend until smooth
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  • Add blended ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well
  • Knead the mixture for 5 minuets
  • Split the mixture into 8 pieces
  • Roll each piece into hot dog shapes
  • Wrap each hotdog in a piece of baking paper or non-stick parchment
  • Then tightly wrap each hot dog in foil
  • Place all the individually double wrapped hot dogs into a steamer
  • Steam for 40 minutes
  • Remove all the wrapping from the hot dogs
  • Fry or grill until browned
  • Serve hot in a bread bun with your favourite condiments and side dishes!

| Per Serving | 160 cals | 19.1 g protein | 7.4 g carbs | 6.2 g fat |

Continue reading “Vegan American Style Hot Dogs”