Saturday, 20 September 2014

Quick and Healthy Snacks: Tapas

Vegan Tapas make great snacking material. They're quick, easy, and packed full of veggies. Best of all, they're delicious.

If you're keen to get your day's vegetables all at once, Gazpacho is the soup for you. It's a thick, velvety cold soup bursting with ripe tomatoes and refreshing cucumber and seasoned with vinegar, garlic and olive oil. My favourite recipe is this one.

If you're looking for something comforting and a little more filling, try Pan con Tomate, thick slabs of baguette toasted and topped with grated tomato, salt and olive oil. I love to pile them up with more grated tomato and drizzle extra olive oil on top. So good!

What are your favourite Tapas? Do you know of any other Spanish dishes that adapt themselves well to vegans? I would love tips!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Polish Potato Pancakes with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Placki Kartoflane)

One of the wonderful things about living in Berlin has been being able to travel to other countries easily. Want to go to Poland? Jump on the overnight bus! I'm still getting used to the change. In New Zealand we're so far away from everything that going anywhere (except Australia) takes a long time and isn't budget-friendly.

Old Town in Warsaw, Poland

Our last Poland trip was to Krakow, a beautiful city with a castle, gorgeous old town, and, of course, delicious food! My boyfriend, who's a vegetarian, had some wonderful potato pancakes with decadent mushroom sauce on top. This is a recreation of that dish, Placki Kartoflane. This picture is of a version with blended potatoes, but it's easier to make them with grated potatoes.

Polish Potato Pancakes with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Placki Kartoflane)

Serves 4


creamy mushroom sauce
400 ml (200 g) cashews, not roasted or salted
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
150 ml water
1 onion
400 g mushrooms (1000 ml chopped)

6 potatoes (1150 ml grated)
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp rice flour
4 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt


1. Blend the cashews with the vinegar, salt and water. Chop the onion and slice the mushrooms. Fry the onion in an oiled pan over medium heat until glassy. Add the mushrooms and cook until done. Stir in the cashew cream. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

2. Peel and grate the potatoes. Mix together corn starch, rice flour and 2 tbsp water. Combine with potatoes, flour and salt. Heat an oiled pan over medium heat. When hot, add several pancakes and spread to a 1 cm thickness. Wait until the underside is a golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining potato mixture.

3. Divide the pancakes between four plates. Briefly warm the cashew sauce, adding water to thin if it's too thick. Top the pancakes with sauce and serve.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

BBQ Mushroom Burgers

These mushroom burgers are simple but delicious. The pearl barley gives them bite, while the soy sauce and pepper bring out the flavour of the mushrooms. They also satisfy fast-food cravings - the BBQ sauce and mushroom play together well, and you can add some vegan bacon if you want.

BBQ Mushroom Burgers

Makes 8 7cm wide patties


burger patties
70 ml pearl barley
250 g mushrooms (900 ml chopped)
1 potato
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper

to serve
BBQ sauce
burger buns


1. Bring barley to a boil with plenty of water and cook until tender. Peel, chop and boil the potato until soft, about 15 minutes. Mash it.

2. Finely chop the onion and mushrooms and mince the garlic. Heat an oiled pan over medium heat. Fry the onion until glassy. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the mushrooms and fry until done.

3. Combine all patty ingredients and mix well. Form into patties. Fry in an oiled pan over medium heat for a few minutes until browned on both sides, flipping once.

4. Wash the arugula. Slice the tomatoes and radishes. Chop the burger buns in half and toast both halves in a pan until lightly browned. Top with patties, vegetables and BBQ sauce.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Leeks, Carrots and Kidney Beans in Tahini Sauce

This combination of leeks, carrots and kidney beans looks unassuming, but has a deep rich flavour from the tahini. It makes a lovely Turkish meal when combined with another easy side, like capsicums in tomato sauce.

Leeks, Carrots and Kidney Beans in Tahini Sauce

Serves 2 as a side
Closely based on this recipe


2 carrots
1 leek
1 tbsp tomato paste
250 ml water
1 (400 g) can kidney beans
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice


1. Chop the carrots and leek. Heat an oiled pot over medium heat. Fry the carrots for a few minutes. Add the leeks, tomato paste and water and stir well. Put the lid on and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Drain and rinse the beans and mix them in.

2. Salt well. Mix together the tahini and lemon juice. Spoon over the top of the vegetables. Close the lid and let rest for a few minutes before serving.