Saturday, 28 April 2012

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Although I don't expect it, I always really appreciate it when people go out of their way to accommodate my veganism and experiment with different foods.

This recipe is based on a dish my non-vegan friend Ange created. I remember her serving it to us for dinner one night quite a few years ago and I raved on about it so much that she scrawled out the recipe for me at the end of the night.

So with a craving for mashed potato last night, I decided to make this Vegan Shepherd's Pie.

It's a lovely wintery dish and you could easily add other vegetables to the filling. You could also add sweet potato to the mash if you're feeling a little crazy!

There is something so delicious about a big spoonful of smooth mash and saucy lentils...

Vegan Shepherd's Pie a la Ange (4 big servings or 6 little ones)


1 cup dried brown or green lentils (Ange used tinned lentils which also tasted great!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
splash or so of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp sugar 

Potato mash

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (dutch cream are best)
1-2 tbsp Nuttelex
soy milk to taste
salt to taste

Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked, about half an hour. 

Put potatoes on to steam and preheat oven to 180C.

In a large saucepan, fry onion and garlic in oil over low to medium heat until browned. Add the cooked lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and red wine vinegar. Leave to simmer while you move onto the potato mash.

Mash cooked potatoes with Nuttelex, soy milk and salt.

Now to assemble: Place lentil filling into a greased ceramic dish. Smooth mash evenly over the top and sprinkle with a bit of paprika if desired (it looks nice). Cook in oven for around 30 minutes until it is bubbling on the sides!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Loving Hut

Loving Hut
Shop 3/237 Canley Vale Rd
Canley Heights

Some family and I went to Loving Hut in Canley Heights. Having been to a number of mock meat places, Loving Hut would be about average. We shared a number of meals between us. For me, the mock chicken dishes were the best. Although very nice, our waitress could not speak any English and we had some difficulty placing our order.

The desserts at Loving Hut were also average, if you were wanting desserts a trip to Vegan's Choice in Newtown (see previous blog) would be worth it.

It is fabulous that there are so many Loving Huts appearing all over Australia. I feel it is important that they are regularly patronised to ensure their longevity.


Friday, 20 April 2012

To fake cheese or not to fake cheese

I like pizza without cheese. I don't feel like anything is missing. The only time I am conscious of omitting the cheese is when I order pizza out and get strange looks from the person serving me. A waitress actually said to me once, "Well, you can get it without cheese, but, like, what's the point?"

Having said that, when I saw Notzarella on the Cruelty Free Shop website I knew I had to try it on pizza. And I'm so glad I did! The Notzarella added a delicious saltiness and flavour to an otherwise simple pizza and it melted really well.

The Notzarella itself has a mild taste, quite similar to what I remember mozzarella tasting like. I've tasted a few vegan cheeses and not been a fan, but I like this one. It is not at all rubbery like some of the others. Next I might try it melted on toast...

I was happy with way the base of this pizza turned out, especially because I had to quickly come up with a recipe using only one sachet of yeast because that's all I had in the house! It is halfway between a thin crust and a thick fluffy one. 

Vegan Pizza with Cheese (makes 2 pizzas)


1 sachet instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water, approx
3 cups plain white flour
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil


2 cups mushrooms, approx
half a red capsicum
half an onion
tomato paste, about one heaped tbs per pizza
sprinkle of dried oregano
Notzarella, grated or other vegan cheeses that melt would work too (I used about 3/4 of the packet)

To make base, stir together yeast and half a cup of warm water in a small bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes.  Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and a little less than 1 cup of warm water to the yeast mixture, and then stir it all into the flour mixture. If a little dry add a touch more water, if too wet add a bit more flour but note that the mix does look a bit dry to start with - it comes together when you knead it. Cover surface with a bit of flour and knead dough for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Rub a bit of oil around the lump of dough and set aside in a covered bowl, preferably in a warm place, for around an hour. 
Preheat oven to 220 C.

To prepare the topping, slice the veggies for the pizza - I use a mandolin slicer so they are nice and thin.

Once dough has risen, punch it down (best bit) and divide into two pieces. Roll each out into circles and place on pizza trays. Spread on the tomato paste and sprinkle on oregano. Add mushrooms, onion and capsicum. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Put pizzas in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sylvia Says #10: Favourite Recipes & Easter Cupcakes

I have a slight obsession with vegan cookbooks.

I'm constantly looking through my recipe books when I have a spare minute. I love dreaming about the recipes that I will one day have time to cook and simply getting inspiration for the evening's meal. 

Sylvia also likes to leaf though cookbooks to "decide what to make for dinner". She shakes her head and says, "I've got no idea what to cook for dinner!". 

As the final post about Sylvia's favourite foods, I thought I'd share Sylvia's most loved recipes from these books. If you're vegetarian or vegan you may have heard of some of them. 

Quinoa salad with Black Beans and Mango from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Vanessa's Lentil-Quinoa Stew from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer  

Kung Pao Tofu (without the chilli!) from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook by Cathe Olson

Spaghetti Bolognese (with red lentils) from Wild Morsels by Angela Stafford

Elegantly Simple Stuffed Bell Peppers from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

On another note, Sylvia and I made these cupcakes today to take to the Easter party at playgroup. It's our never-fail chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.