Mother’s Day Buffets and Recipes!

Last Sunday was Mother’s day. I decided to treat my mother and the family to not one, but two buffets, with the idea that she would not have to step into the kitchen at all during the day – and so that we could try out ethnic food at its best – when there is a variety of flavours and dishes.

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I do enjoy the opportunity to have a themed buffet and what might seem like a challenge at first – to find traditional vegan foods or veganised versions turns out to be more of a challenge deciding what to make and what to save for another time. Indian food is close to my heart as it is the first type of food I ever began to cook for myself when I was young, even though I didn’t grow up eating a whole lot of it.

 

Lunch: Indian Buffet 

On the menu:

Sambar (Indian soup)

Mungbean Curry 

Saag Aloo (potato and spinach)

Pumpkin Masala 

Indian Spiced Cabbage 

Served with: Chapati bread, mini papadoms, mango chutney and cucumber raita!

 

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It certainly was a lot of work just making lunch – but  luckily my partner helped. Throughout the years as I was  growing up everytime there was a family gathering  where we would have a big meal together, my mother did  almost ALL the work, and I was amazed how she managed  to cook so many dishes on her own, and also amazed that  the other people who ate there didn’t help clean up (often I  was the only one). Still she does all the cooking and  cleaning for my father. Which just seems really unfair to  me.

 

 

 

 

Mung Bean Curry! 

 

The Indian buffet took quite a bit of preparation as I needed  to use many pots and pans on the stove, but we got  everything ready in time and had a delicious lunch!

All the food was tasty, but everyone’s favourite was the  Saag Aloo  which I got from Chef Chole’s book – Chloe’s   Kitchen and which I will share below.

 

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Saag Aloo (potato and spinach)

I have made this recipe a number of times and it’s always turned out beautifully – it sounds plain but making a cashew cream brings together the flavours and textures wonderfully.

The only tweaks I make is that I often use more than 1 potato (usually I use 4-5) and sometimes this means needing to thin down the cashew cream a bit more.

 

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

1/2 cup raw cashews (if you are not using a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix you will need to soak cashews overnight or boil cashews for 10 min and drain).

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon canola oil                                                                                                                                                       Saag Aloo, Chapati and Pumpkin Masala

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger                                                                                                                                   

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 

5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon tomato paste 

 

1. Place potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and let cook until fork tender. drain and set aside.

2. Combine cashews and water in a blender and process on high until very smooth, about 2 min, set aside. (It may help to dry blend them first to a fine powder before you add the water, depending on what type of blender you had. It took me a lot longer than 2 min to get the milk smooth).

3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high head and add ginger, curry powder, cumin and coriander. Let cook a few minutes until fragrant. Add spinach, garlic, cashew cream, and potatoes, and let cook a few more minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the tomato paste. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve warm.

 

Dinner: Greek Buffet

 

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Dinner: Greek Buffet

The Greek buffet was significantly easier to make as most of the food just went into the oven after the initial preparation. It was really nice to enjoy this cuisine, being so different from the Indian which relies on so many different spices, the Greek in comparison focuses mainly on tomato and heaps and heaps of garlic – but if you get it right it is just as flavourful.

On the menu was:

–        Spanakopita

–        Roasted Butter Bean Casserole

–        Classic Greek Salad with herbed “feta”

–        Greek Chickpeas and Rice

–        Roasted Brussels sprouts

All these dishes were great compliment’s too each other, so I was really pleased with the result. The “feta” was made out of tofu, a recipe I got from a VegNews magazine a while back, which basically involves boiling tofu in a salty brine with some herbs and letting it sit in it overnight then draining and adding to classic Greek salad ingredients such as tomatos, capsicums, olives etc.

I served all these dishes with some lemon wedges which really brought out the garlic, olive, tomato flavours.

My favourite dish was actually the rice, it looks so simple and basic but is very addictive, I could definitely eat it just on its own and be happy. I can’t even really explain why it’s so good, it’s just something you have to try! And it’s really easy to make too. While researching the Greek menu I found this awesome website called The Greek Vegan, and this is where I got the recipe from!

So if you would like to give it a try head over to:  The Greek Vegan – Chickpeas and Rice. The Only difference is that I didn’t have fresh dill so I used a couple of teaspoons dried dill.

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Roast Butterbean Casserole

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Wedges 

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                                                                                                                      Classic Greek Salad with “Feta” 

 

Finally, I would love to share with you our dessert – Gluten Free, Vegan Baklava Cake!

 

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I wanted a Greek style dessert but looking at the amount of sugar and fat most recipes had really took away my desire to make anything like that. Finally I found this cake, which is far lower on sugar (compared to 1.5-2 cups for the other deserts amongst other unhealthy additions), which is Gluten Free is a small cake – perfect for a group and a little something sweet at the end of a big meal.

The cake was so moist and the flavour of the rose water and almonds was just beautiful! We made our own applesauce from apples and I ended up using 1 cup instead of 1/2 because it was very thick so I’m not sure how much that would have changed the recipe, but it was delicious and you can find it here:

Baklava Cake 

http://byebyegluten.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/baklava-cake-grain-free-egg-free-dairy.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Minty Pina Fresca

 

So this year, I’m trying to eat healthier, and that mainly includes the snacks and drinks I have with my friends. The hard part is trying to find something healthy to eat when you go out to catch up with mates. This Summer we were in the habit of hanging out at Gelere and I liked their Pina Colada Smoothie with it’s refreshing flavours of coconut and pineapple, but alas that Smoothie is not as healthy as it seems for I know it’s filled with icecream and processed sugar. 

Try this recipe at home, which combines the refreshing flavours of coconut, pineapple, and lime with an added flavour of mint for an interesting twist. You can be sure all ingredients are raw, fresh and pure! 

This recipe is from Balanced Raw – Tina Leigh 

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Yes we are also treating ourselves to a small square of raw mint chocolate as well. It’s so good just one square is satisfying. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (235ml) coconut water

1 cup (165g) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks 

1/4 cup (24g) mint leaves, packed

Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons (28 ml)

4 or 5 icecubes

 

In a Vitamix or other high-speed blender, combine all ingredients, blend for 30 seconds and enjoy. (I had to blend for a bit longer to get the consistency smooth.) 

Fresca may be blended, refrigerated in glass, and enjoyed within 24 hours. Alternatively, pour into ice pop molds for a healthful frozen desert. 

Vegan Brunch

Who doesn’t love brunch?

I never thought I would see the day when my family could all be eating a vegan brunch and not one complains. When not everyone is vegan they usually feel like they are missing out if they don’t bring their meat or other animal products to the table. But there is still so much variety to vegan food and so many great vegan versions that no one is missing out and for me It is just a nice relaxing energy. For this occasion I made some banana choc chip muffins which I will post the recipe at the end. 

1st Up, Coconut Yoghurt (Coco-yo!) fruit and granola parfait served with freshly juiced pineapple, apple and orange….Image

 

Next course…

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Veggie sausages, roast smashed potato, roast tomatoes, “chicken” poppers,  with couscous and buckwheat herb salad (also photo below)

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This was followed by cups of tea and vegan cinnamon buns and chocolate chip peanut butter banana muffins!

Image for these i followed the recipe on http://vegannskitchen.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/cinnamon-irene-hurricane-buns-vegan.html but i made a traditional vanilla icing/glaze. 

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The recipes for these muffins can be found http://italltastesgreektome.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/vegan-chocolate-chip-banana-muffins.html

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Lamingtons (Vegan Style!)

For an Australia Day treat I decided to have a go and making Lamingtons (without the eggs, butter, cows milk etc that is normally involved.)

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When people come to Australia and ask what is traditional Aussie food? There are not a lot of things I can think of or a lot of things I am proud of either. But Lamingtons (named after Lord Lamington (which just sounds funny now) who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901) are one dessert everyone who has not tried should try. Lamingtons consist of a sponge cake dipped in a chocolate icing and then rolled in coconut. Sometimes they have cream or jam in the middle, and you can also find strawberry or lemon icing varieties.

But in all cases when you make them at home they are far far better than the store brought variety. They taste much fresher and moister.

The recipe was taken from Animal Australia’s Australia Day Champaign you can watch the video here http://www.everyonedeservesadayoff.com/

and find the recipe here http://whyveg.com/recipes/print-recipe.php?recipe=113&clickto=1

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Dirty Kale Salad

Dark green leafy cruciferous vegetables are perhaps the healthiest group of vegetables we can consume, rich in nutrients and antioxidants they fight against disease and boost our immunity. Every person should make sure they area eating some cruciferous vegetables everyday for ultimate health and longevity! So why not try this kale salad?

I have really been enjoying this kale salad lately. I never thought I would gush about a kale salad it did take me a while also to get into eating enough greens sadly they are virtually absent from many people’s daily diets!to get the recipe visit my recipe blog: http://veganreciperesource.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/dirty-kale-salad.html