Thursday, November 28, 2013

Spiced Poach Pears

This dessert came into being after my other half fell in love with the poached pear he had for dinner on holidays. Since I'm always on the look out for ways to get him to eat more fruit and veg I jumped at the chance to make another yummy fruity dessert he would enjoy.

It's a fairly rich dessert despite being low fat so if you're up for a large dessert go for one each otherwise it's perfect to share one between two. The sauce will vary depending on the wine- so pick a good one! Cook with wine you like to drink and you won't be disappointed. It's sweet but not too sweet, robust and mildly spiced with a flavour reminiscent of mulled wine. The pear flesh is soft and succulent, easily eaten with a spoon and stained a beautiful red.

These pears taste beautiful warm or cold. They're perfect alone but the addition of vegan custard, non-dairy ice cream or cashew/soy cream tops them off superbly!


Spiced Poach Pears
4 pears (it will work with 2, you'll just have extra syrup!)
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
2 cups red wine (vegan) *We used a Wolf Blass Red label Australian Tawny a lovely rich fruity wine
2 tsp rosewater
1 tsp whole black pepper corns
1/3 cup natvia (or sweetener of choice)
  • Combine red wine, rosewater and sweetener
  • Stir until dissolved
  • Add cinnamon, star anise and black pepper corns
  • Cut vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds then add both seeds and pot to the pot
  • Core and peel pairs
  • Add to the pot and poach for 1 hr (done when tender)
  • Enjoy warm or cold!
I hope you give this one a try, it's a great option, special enough for guests and you can easily make it ahead of time as it keeps really well in the fridge!

Love and Smiles,








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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vegetable, Apple and Walnut Stew

Apple and walnuts are a classic combination. They taste amazing in salads and this translates beautiful into this stew. Thick, rich, deep flavours, soft vegetables, sweetness from the apple and carrot, perfect comfort food. Great with a slice of bread (as my husband likes it) or with some crunchy raw veggies or brown rice. Now we all know that stews don't exactly photograph well but it's not about how it looks- it tastes awesome!

Vegetable, Apple and Walnut Stew
Makes 2-3 serves
2 tbsp olive oil (optional, I don't add it but my husband insists upon it!)
1/2 medium onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 large stalk rosemary

2 large carrots
1 large celery stalk
400g potatoes

1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
1 heaped tbsp HP sauce
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1 tbsp flour + 3 tbsp water- to make a slurry
1 cup red wine (vegan)
1 litre vegetable ‘beef’ stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 apple, cored
handful of parsley
1 tbsp Non-dairy spread (optional)

  • Chop onion, garlic, vegetables and herbs
  • Add oil to a large pot
  • Sweat onions and garlic until translucent
  • Add vegetables and rosemary
  • Cook for 10 minutes before adding the tomato past and HP sauce
  • Roughly chop and add walnuts
  • Make a slurry with the flour and water
  • Add stock, wine and slurry to thicken
  • Simmer for a total of 50 minutes
  • Chop apples and add with 20 mins cooking time left
  • When done stir through chopped parsley and non-dairy spread
  • Enjoy!
I hope you like this as much as we did, it's great for the cooler weather- thus why I held off posting it until now for all of my lovely readers in the northern hemisphere.

Love and Smiles,







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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Strawberry 'Ice Cream' with Sticky Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze

It was only a matter of time before I found a way to eat vinegar at every meal, I mean, I drink it, I have a vinegar cupboard, I add it to almost everything (seriously it makes sauces so much better) but I never actually thought I would add it to a dessert...I found a way!

The fruit 'ice cream' addict strikes again. It's yummy as is but having something delicious like this to drizzle over it just makes is extra special. It's a wonderfully simple topping, yet tastes complex - I believe people refer to it as an adult flavour? - It's sweet yet tart and bold which works perfectly with the sweet, soft strawberry 'ice cream'.

Additionally this glaze can be used as a 'ripple' as it gets fudgy and gooey when cold, just pour the fruit 'ice cream' into a tray and drizzle the glaze through it (making sure there are no large clumps) and allow to cool further before serving.

Strawberry 'Ice Cream' with Sticky Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze

Makes 2-3 serves
400g strawberries (frozen)
2/3 cup (165 ml) Non-dairy milk- I use almond milk because it's my favourite but anything will work)
Optional
Stevia to sweeten (if you get sweet ripe strawberries you don't really need it)

Glaze
1/2 cup Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar (any fruit balsamic or plain balsamic will work too)
  • If using fresh strawberries, de-stem and freeze
  • Reduce vinegar on a low heat by half and allow to cool (and thicken)
  • Combine non-dairy milk and frozen fruit in high power blender
  • (alternately add slightly thawed frozen fruit to a food processor and drizzle liquid in)
  • Blend until smooth
  • Serve drizzled with the glaze (just a little, it's strong!)
  • Enjoy!
  • If you desire a firmer consistency return to freezer before serving.

I hope you try this as an alternative to the other sugary ice cream toppings around. It tastes a whole lot better and as a bonus is much better for you!

Love and Smiles,









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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pea & Vinegar Soup

Ok before you say anything- yes it is meant to be that colour, that's what the delicious malt vinegar does to this beautiful soup. 

Now since I grew up in England this combination seems completely natural to me but I'm told it may seem strange to some... who cares! eat it anyway, it tastes awesome. Same with vinegar and pineapple with a pinch of chili by the way, especially if you're a vinegar addict like yours truly.

This quick version of pea and vinegar soup is just perfect for busy people (or people who forgot to soak their split peas!) It's sweet but tangy, thick and filling this soup isn't just for entrees, it's a filling main and packed full of plant based goodness.

Pea and Vinegar Soup
Makes 4 large serves
500g frozen peas *optional, leave some peas aside for serving whole*
1/4 cup malt vinegar
4 cups vegetable stock
1 x 425g can white beans or chickpeas
3 tbsp corn flour
1/2 cup water

  • Combine stock and vinegar
  • Boil peas and drained beans until cooked (2 mins?)
  • Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and return to a low heat
  • Make a slurry with the cornflour and water
  • Drizzle slurry into the soup while stirring (soup will thicken)
  • *optional* serve with extra whole peas
  • Enjoy!

I love my soups, especially when it's chilly and I hope you'll enjoy this one too!
Do any of you enjoy vinegar in ways other might find odd?

Love and Smiles,







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