New Vegan Cooking Classes - Auckland

Take 2 enthusiastic foodies, add 11 people keen to learn more about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of eating a plant-based diet, mix them up in a social cooking environment, garnish with an outstanding menu and simmer for 6 hours.

The result?

A show stopping chowder, divine desserts, astonishing colours and a warm vibe that belied the few hours we had spent together.

The first Plant-Powered Kitchen Cooking Workshop was underway.

It would be easy to imagine we were all already on a plant-based journey. Not so. In fact until the recent upsurge in vegan awareness most workshop comers were those who adored good food and were looking for healthy options.

There were mums looking to support their young adults navigate a new food landscape. Others in search of new vegan recipes and inspiration.

Many arrive wanting to foster a love of food that goes beyond what they already  know. For some a vegan cooking class supports and nurtures their chosen plant-based lifestyle.

And part of the fun is peppering the menu with interesting ingredients and cooking techniques.

Here’s what a few of our participants had to say:

Honestly I loved the class so much.  I have nothing negative to say.  I was actually really stressed about going (with the whole hating to cook thing lol) but seriously enjoyed myself. Oh and I should mention I absolutely want to attend another class. Amanda

Both Chris and I found it inspiring and it was a really fun thing for us to do together as mother and son.  We both came home buzzing.  I thought that there was a great mix of people and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with people who had a common interest.  I thought the format worked well – I liked the mix of cooking, information gathering and eating scattered throughout the day.  It was the perfect length, which made for a relaxing day and that is an important ingredient for a weekend! Wendy

Needless to say, the food was superb, flavour and otherwise, packed with nutrients, and left me feeling nourished and light at the same time. Kate and Aaron managed to create a space, in which everything flowed with ease, and rather than feeling exhausted by the end of the day, I felt enriched and strangely happy! Brigitte

And we had a little help, thanks to the following generous souls who helped stuff our goodie bags with delicious morsels and offerings.

Go check them out:

Sabato – fine food store – full of gourmet goodies (like dark chocolate, classy vinegars, kiwi quinoa) sabato.co.nz

Viola Organics – Organic skin care products – violaorganics.co.nz

Ola Pacifica – single origin dark chocolate – olapacifica.com

Fe Grimshaw – food grade essential oils 021608809

Photos courtesy of Amanda Reelick Photography

There was way more, but let’s not give it all away 😉

Come along to our next workshop! Register your interest here and we’ll keep you in the loop.

 

Savoury porcini tarts

It’s kinda hard to find a savoury vegan tart when you’re out and about. Pies yes, tarts not so much.

There’s something seriously comforting about a small, hot savoury tartlet bursting with flavour, paired up with a sweet chutney, a rainy day and a good book.

Luckily they’re not difficult to make or adapt to your old favourite quiche combos (spinach-tomato, pear-walnut, leek-mushroom).

If you’re as old as me and once stomped around Cuba street in Wellington then you may have eaten at the Amrita restaurant – a vegetarian refuge.

Their cookbook (now long gone) gifted me this supremely easy way to make a quick pie crust that I use to this day.

You will need:

CRUST

1 cup wholemeal flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup water

Mix the drys together. Mix the wets together. Mix both together. Press into tarts pans or lined muffin trays and pop in the fridge.

FILLING

2 leeks, white part only, sliced thinly

2 Tbl olive oil

20g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked 20 minutes

1 tsp salt

1 Tbl fresh thyme, chopped

1 block tofu

1/2 cup plant milk

3 Tbl nutritional yeast

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a heavy skillet, sauté leeks in olive oil, until tender. Drain mushrooms. Add to the sauté and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, sauté until tender about 5 minutes. Mix in the thyme and cool.

Combine the tofu, plant milk, nutritional yeast and remaining salt and process or blend. Pour the tofu mixture into the mushrooms and mix together, then spoon into prepared cases.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set and browning on top. Let the tarts stand for ten minutes before removing from the pans.

You might also like this stuffed frittata made with chickpea flour.

 

Beet and walnut lentil salad

I love a dish that gets piled onto a big plate, drizzled with an exquisite dressing and served. Dinner is done!

Pairing up protein powered lentils + omega rich walnuts + nutrient packed beetroot delivers one heck of a healthy meal.

Don’t be shy to heat up the leftovers and pile on toast for a hearty breakfast.

I use organic brown lentils as they hold their shape better and they’re tastier. The beets on the other hand have been known to come out of a can of baby beets when needs must!

You will need:

For the lentils

1 cup organic brown lentils
1 onion
1 bay leaf
Rinse the lentils and cover with water by at least an inch. Add the onion + bay leaf. Bring to the boil and reduce to simmer until soft adding more water as needed ~ 30 minutes. Once cooked remove the bay leaf and onion (I chop the onion through the salad).

The roasted beets

4 beets, quartered (peeling is optional)
1 Tbl olive oil
Salt + pepper

Heat the oven and toss the prepared beets in the oil with salt + pepper. Bake until soft ~ 30 minutes.

The dressing

1 Tbl fresh ginger, minced
1-2 garlic, minced
1 Tbl tahini
2 Tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp mustard
¼ cup water

Blend until creamy.

Garnish

1/2 cup walnuts
A heap of parsley

Toss it all together and drizzle with dressing. This salad makes a base for many delicious brown lentil dishes. Add different herbs, different roasted or steamed veges. Cook the lentils in a tomato sauce (not salad but you get my drift!).

You might also like:

Big sushi salad which uses the same dressing.

Cooking vegan recipes with a Masterchef

No one was more surprised than us.

The first ever Vegan Expo in Whangarei last October was a roaring success!

People were … ah excuse the pun, hungry for information about the vegan lifestyle and health. They wanted to learn more about vegan cooking, plant-based nutrition + fitness.

Everybody feasted on the fabulous food while soaking up the smooth vibes of Franko Heke and The Gaya Tree.

We had vegan athletes + teenagers, doctors + chefs all sharing their knowledge, experience and love of a plant-based diet.

Which is where our story begins.

Masterchef Aaron Brunet delighted a pack-out room with a layered salad. Squeezing every sort of citrus over the top, he created a textural zingy, and dare I say, seductive dish.

Next up was Vegan Cuisine’s Kate Broughton (that’s me) demonstrating an amazingly easy yet flavoursome savoury sauce made from leeks, roasted cashews and just 3 more ingredients. Kind of like cheese sauce but way better!

What happens when two foodies are in the same space?

They talk food. No, actually they gush about food!

Especially when they’re equally passionate about the life-giving nature of a plant-based diet for people and the planet.

And that’s how it happened.

Standing on the side of the road still buzzing from our day at the expo, Plant-Powered Kitchen was born.

A hands-on cooking workshop designed to delight your senses + take your food to a whole new level.

Both Aaron and I are about transformation. Because there’s no limit to how good you can feel. And when we humans feel good we have the energy to give our love and attention to what matters most in our lives.

At Plant-Powered Kitchen we are going to chop, zest and whizz our healthy vegan recipes into your heart.

Our first workshop is coming up March 18th at Social Cooking in Auckland. We have room for 20. Do join us! Check availability We’d love to see you there.

 

Tell yourself something good

Have you heard the story of the grandfather in the supermarket with the screaming toddler?

All the way around the shop he was quietly saying:

“There there William, everything will be alright” “You’re doing great” “We’re nearly finished”.

His voice was soothing and calm as he moved from aisle to aisle. His grandson wailing and flailing as he went!

When another customer complimented him on his gentle approach, the elderly man said “My name is William, not his.”

There are times in our lives when you just have tell yourself something good and write another script.

Wellness Stock Photo by Sash Photography http://wellnessstockshop.com

You may be stuck, out of sorts or falling back into old habits that don’t serve you.

You may be saying “this is just the way I’ve always eaten” or “change is so hard” or “I’m not doing so well with this”.

Regardless.

You get to choose your next move. Your next script. Your next thought. Your next meal.

Will you stop or move?

Will you stay the same or grow?

There’s one thing I know and that’s movement always helps. Even if that movement looks like curling up with a good book to rest and repair.

You owe it to yourself to find a way.

Just like William, tell yourself something good.

Because you are making progress. Even if it’s a tiny step.

It’s time to celebrate the small stuff and keep reaching for your goals.

Sensational strawberry avocado salad

This is summer celebration in a salad. Combining mellow, sweet, savoury, toasted and aromatic flavours this salad packs a full bodied visual and taste experience.

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1 punnet strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, diced
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh mint or basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Toasted sesame seeds

In a small pot bring the balsamic vinegar to boil and simmer for 6-8 minutes until reduced by half.
Prepare the strawberries, tomatoes, avocado and mint in a bowl. Gently mix through the olive oil, salt and pepper. Lastly drizzle with the balsamic reduction and garnish with more mint and toasted sesame seeds.

For more salads click here.

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Happy summering!

Crowd pleasing sushi salad

This is where you get to throw all your favourite sushi inners into one big delicious salad and drench it in a spectacular gingery sauce.img_20160826_124058012_hdr-small

A big hearty salad is a great dish to take to social events where you suspect vegan dishes might be on the low side. This salad goes a long way, is nutrient dense, and, importantly, it will fill you up.

Everysingleperson who has tried this salad has loved it.

As there are lots of components (as many as you want really) it may seem daunting, but bare with me.

Here are my top ingredients:

1 cup brown/wild rice, uncooked*
2 cups broccoli, cauliflower, finely chopped
1 splash of tamari
1 splash of mirin (optional)
2 Tbl sesame seeds, toasted
½ block of tofu, sliced lengthways
1 carrot, shredded
1 red capsicum, chopped
½ avocado, chopped
½ nori sheet, cut into small pieces
Sprouts/watercress/ripped lettuce

  1. Cook rice as per instructions. You want the grains separate, not gluggy. Fluff with a fork and leave to cool. The wild and brown varieties of rice make this easier than white rice. Do not use sushi rice as it will stick together.
  2. Heat a little sesame oil in a large pan and toss in the broccoli and cauliflower (cut small), stirring well. Splash in some tamari and mirin to prevent sticking. I like my veges crunchy so I don’t cook them for long.
  3. Sear the tofu strips in a little tamari, slice.
  4. Mix the cooked ingredients through the rice in a big bowl. Cool.
  5. Before serving add in the carrot, capsicum, nori pieces and fresh greens/sprouts. Transfer to your serving dish and garnish with avocado and toasted sesame seeds.

I like to serve the sauce separately, so you may need to double the recipe as people will reach for more!

Creamy ginger dressing
1 Tbl fresh ginger, minced
1-2 garlic, minced
1 Tbl tahini
1 Tbl tamari
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp mustard
¼ cup water

Blend until creamy.

For more big salads click here and be sure to check out more sauces and dressings here.

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Chewy chickpea cookies

I’m loving these high protein gluten-free cookies. They’re super easy to make, great for the lunch box and perfect for a mid morning cuppa. Warning: eating only one is a little tricky.

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The chia seeds act as an egg substitute bringing essential omegas and slow release energy, whilst also being another source of protein.

But it gets better. Chickpea flour also contains the coveted minerals selenium and zinc as well as iron, folate, calcium and others.

Before you start, factor in ~30 minutes for the cookie dough to sit in the fridge before baking. It helps concentrate the flavour, texture and lessen the spread of the cookie.

If you need them asap don’t worry – I’m pretty sure they’ll still be great cookies. I’ve also made these with whole chia and that works just fine too.

You will need:

1 Tbl ground chia (use your coffee grinder)
2 Tbl water
2 Tbl maple syrup
1 Tbl molasses
¼ C molasses sugar
¼ cup coconut oil (or rice bran)
1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup chickpea flour
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
½ C dark chocolate chips/raisins

Mix the chia seeds and water in a large bowl. Stir and let sit while you gather the rest of the ingredients.

Add maple syrup, molasses, sugar, oil and vanilla essence to the chia egg. You’ll have to stir in the oil.

Mix in the chickpea flour, baking soda and salt. Stir well and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 180.

Roll cookies and place on baking tray. Flatten with a fork (a damp fork will help this).

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Cool on wire rack. They will get chewier as they cool.

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Vegan Sour Cream

vegan sour cream

This creamy cashew cream is all kinds of awesome.

Use it as a base recipe and try out different flavours depending on what you’re topping.

Asparagus likes garlic, butter beans like smoked paprika … capers, mustard – you get my drift.

A high speed blender will make it smooth + velvety. If you don’t have one just soak the cashews first.

1½ cup cashews
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 C water (approx)
Pinch of salt

Put all ingredients except water in a high speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water; for a thinner sauce, use more.

Sprinkle with hot smoked paprika or fresh cut herbs.

You may also like this cashew mustard mayo, it’s delicious on everything!

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Iron-rich truffles kids will love

And mums and dads!

Here we combine iron rich foods – prunes, walnuts, raw cacao, pumpkin seed butter + dates – for a power packed nutritious snack.

SAM_1349 (Small)

Serve these with a blueberry smoothie and you’ve got the important vit C to aid the iron absorption.

Pumpkin seed butter is my new best friend. It’s full of healthy proteins, fibre and important minerals such as zinc and iron. Lathered on a piece of rye topped with fresh watercress or microgreens and I’m a happy girl. If your small people aren’t so into it, try this recipe or use it when other nut butters are called for.

But first here’s a great after school snack idea. Dry toast pumpkin SAM_1946 (Small)seeds and sprinkle in some tamari at the end. It only takes a couple of minutes before the seeds start popping so stay close!

For the truffles you will need:

1 cup pitted prunes
¼ cup pitted dates (soak in hot water if hard)
½ walnuts
3 tablespoons pumpkin seed butter
½ tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
½ cup finely grated unsweetened coconut

Process the walnuts, dates and prunes.
Add the cacao and coconut, scraping the bowl as needed.
Add the remaining ingredients and run until fully mixed. If it’s hard on your processor, take it out and mix by hand.
Roll the mixture into little balls. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Note: you can use regular cocoa powder but raw cacao will pack in more nutrients, particularly iron.

This mixture is quite moist. You can add rolled oats or buckwheat to firm it up if you need. And try rolling the truffles with gloves on – it’s much easier!

For more iron-rich ideas for you and your kids click here.

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