Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas 2011- Moroccan Carrot & Chickpea Salad, Green Herb & Wasabi Salad, Beetroot Dip, 'Cheeze' Dip, 'Cheezy' Buckwheat Pasta Bake/Salad

Sorry for the lack of regular posts, I've been using my spare time to make a couple more pages:
Check them out, I've put up some info to explain my choices and links to heaps of great info that I can direct confused people to to answer questions and help out anyone considering a veg lifestyle. After many conversations over the holidays I thought this would be a better way of communicating the finer details. 

And on to Christmas! Yes I do realise Christmas was 3 weeks ago... but regardless I feel like I need to catch you up. In the end we had a lovely day full of food family and smiles. There were some iffy bits but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I had a ball playing with my baby cousins, kids are just perfect when you give them back at the end of the day!
We had more food than was needed (because they needed to have 'proper food'), we couldn't have eaten half of it. I made sure it went home with people and took lots to give to the other half of our family that we saw on boxing day so it wasn't wasted but the gluttony of xmas still bugs me. 

Firstly remember it's hot for christmas in Australia so it's not a traditional xmas dinner. We began the food fun with dips, they were unfortunately the one thing I forgot to take photos of... they were in the other room. Oh well- one is a lovely deep pink and the other is yellow with pretty herby flecks feel free to nurture your imagination! We served them with an assortment of veggie sticks, crackers, nuts and dried fruits. Healthy, yummy, lovely.
Beetroot Dip
1/2 can baby beets (drained)
1 x 300g packet silken tofu
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp aesofatida 
  • blend
  • refrigerate to set for 30 mins (you can skip this if you're hungry)
  • enjoy with veg sticks and crackers
This one is my favourite, I love the combination of cumin & thyme- it's not what I'd usually go for but really works! This dip is smooth, full of flavour without being too strong and filling. Plus people that 'don't like tofu' loved it. My husband on the other hand loves the 'cheeze' dip, it's a bit stronger and thicker in texture and will get him eating vegetables with a big smile. 
    'Cheeze' Dip
    1 x 300g packet silken tofu
    2 tbsp mixed herbs
    1.5 cups nutritional yeast
    1 tbsp tomato sauce
    1 tbsp dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp aesofatida
    1 tbsp vinegar
    1 tbsp arrowroot
    1 tbsp millet flour (or any flour you want)
    1/2 cup lite soy milk
    • blend all ingredients aside from the arrowroot and flour
    • heat slowly whilst stirring
    • add arrowroot and flour whilst stirring/whisking (it will get thicker!)
    • when it looks thick enough (5mins?) take it off the heat and leave to cool- it will 'set'
    • refrigerate and serve with veggies and crackers
    Now onto the salads, we had a variety (i'm just sharing mine but there were 2 more!) This is what I wish the Christmas spread looked like:
    and this is what it actually looked like:
    (btw that was an entire leg of ham and 3 chickens for 8 omnivores)
    this was my plate:
    Lots of my yummy herby green salad, Moroccan carrot and chickpea salad, Pumpkin and spinach salad, Buckwheat pasta salad.
    Green Herb and Wasabi Salad
    the second bowl from the left
    1 cup wasabi leaf- if you cant get these why not make a wasabi dressing?
    3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
    3 cups alfalfa sprouts
    1 cup fresh coriander
    3 cups baby spinach
    1 cup fresh mint
    • chop lettuce
    • chop herbs
    • combine all ingredients
    • enjoy naked with other salads or if eating alone dress with a lime/vinegar or wasabi/lime dressing.
    I loved this salad, we just threw together everything green we had in the fridge and it worked out perfectly. A little kick from the wasabi leaf, lots of crunch from the iceberg, body from the spinach and sprouts and freshness and flavour from the mint and coriander. I think in general people are afraid of using herbs as a major part of their salads but it tastes great! Just think vietnamese style and dig in!

    Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad
    the third bowl from the left

    2 cans chickpeas (drained, rinsed)
    1kg carrots (grated)
    1.5 cup tomato paste (no added salt)
    1/2 tsp aesofatida
    juice of 1 orange
    juice of 1 lemon
    1 tsp fennel seeds
    1 tsp coriander
    2 tsp cumin
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp grated ginger
    1/2 tsp chilli flakes
    1/2c soy sauce (low salt)
    2 tbsp vinegar
    1 cup fresh coriander leaves
    • fry off tomato paste and spices
    • juice and add lemon and orange juice
    • simmer until fragrant
    • wash, drain chickpeas
    • add chickpeas to pot
    • grate carrots
    • cool chickpea/spice mixture
    • add to carrots, combine well
    • add coriander
    • enjoy! (like all good food this gets more intense by the second day- personally I like it better)
    This was inspired by a Janella Purcell recipe that I can't seem to find online but I made it after seeing something similar on Good Chef Bad Chef. I changed quantities and subbed in things that don't hurt my tummy and heated the spices instead of making it raw but it tasted wonderful and I have her to thank for the inspiration. We shall be making this again for sure.
    'Cheezy' Buckwheat Pasta Bake/Salad
    the first bowl from the left
    1 packet Buckwheat Pasta Spirals (or your pasta of choice)
    2 x 300g packets silken tofu
    2 tbsp mixed herbs
    1.5 cups nutritional yeast
    1 tbsp tomato sauce
    3 tbsp dijon mustard
    1 tsp aesofatida
    2 tbsp vinegar
    1/2 cup lite soy milk
    • cook pasta al dente
    • blend all sauce ingredients
    • heat slowly whilst stirring
    • when it looks thick enough add to drained pasta
    • bake in a medium oven until the top gets crisp OR
    • refrigerate, serve cold as a salad
    This one is a staple, easy, quick, filling, healthy, no veggies for fussy eaters to pick out and tastes creamy, cheesy and delicious.

    So that was the first round of food. I just went for one plate but everyone else went round 2 and then 3 and 4 when the desserts came out. I'll do a separate post for the desserts, they deserve it, it was 2 rounds alone. 

    I can't do a Christmas re-cap without mentioning some of my more challenging moments. I think the best of which was watching the look of utter horror and fear on my aunt's face as she stepped away from me when I told her that fish was not a plant and in fact an animal!

    I got a fair bit of crap for being vegan and any possible mistakes I made (blonde moments) were put down to my lack of meat, just the usual silly comments that annoy me but I can deal with. The thing I wasn't expecting was the amount of flack my husband got for 'not keeping me in line' and choosing to reduce his animal intake. I felt awful for him, that my choices had led to him having to put up with this crap. Granted it's not the whole family but just a vocal few who can't seem to leave it alone. I just find it sad that I had to give him a crash course in how to deal with anti-veg sentiments in the kitchen on Christmas day. 

    But despite that everyone ate the food I made, most were impressed I cooked regardless of the content and were happy when they found out it was healthy. I did have some feedback I shall be incorporating when I cook for others from now on- I'm going to stop using the V word or H word with others (Vegan and Healthy) I shall just bring food and not tell people anything about it, other than it's yummy. What do you guys do? Do you think it's wrong to not disclose ingredients?

    I've been catching up on all your blogs and am quite impressed with all your new year goals and plans. I've got the other half of christmas (the desserts!) to share with you next post and I'm putting all my recipes up on RECIpage (you may have noticed the new widgets in the sidebar for it) Hopefully this will make my recipes much easier to navigate and will encourage you to use them.

    Hope you're all having a lovely weekend xxx
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    1. Wow, so many recipes! Your salad feast looks amazing. I know what you mean about sharing the counter with meat dishes - happens all the time at our family gatherings, sigh. I'm nurturing my imagination now over those dips - oh, they look so pretty and colorful! I'll have to search out wasabi leaves.

    2. What a beautiful, fresh looking Christmas meal you had! The salads all look great, thanks for all of the recipes! I'm a big fan of dips too so any holiday that starts with dips is always a good time!

      I get comments all the time about being vegan but typically just let it roll off my back. I love how they think that making fun of me will magically make me go and pick up a is so silly!

    3. It all looks so fresh and wonderful!! I want to make a big salad now!

    4. thanks for the cookbook recommendation, the previous one's you've recommended have been great so I'm sure I'll like this one. Thanks for making a resource page, I've slowly been reading through PETA's site trying to learn the ins and outs of veganism (I'm a vegetarian who tries to eat as many vegan meals as I can)and your page has some great info.

    5. oh wow! amazing spread! looking forward to see the desserts! Also, really nice widget.. I am ttly loving it..

      glad Christmas went ok all things considering.. you know ppl will always find something stupid to say about things no matter the subject, as long its something they dont understand.

      I think you are doing good handeling it, and you know what - you hubby offerd to support you with all of this :) so dont feel bad :)


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