Archive for Savoury

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:


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.


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.


Pumpkin Satay

Apart from wrestling the skin off the pumpkin this is a very quick and easy recipe that is rich + delicious!

Be sure to squeeze some fresh lime juice over it and cover it in fresh coriander (cilantro).IMG_20160524_161028 (Small)















You will need:

4 cups chopped pumpkin
1 red onion
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbl peanut butter
2 Tbl tamari
2 Tbl root ginger, minced
½ tsp tumeric
Chilli flakes (optional)
½ salt

Bring 2 cups of water to boil with the onion and tomatoes. Add tumeric, salt, pumpkin & peanut butter. Simmer for 10 minutes. When the pumpkin is cooked add ginger, chilli and tamari.IMG_20160523_125244103 (Small)

I let it sit a while before adjusting the seasonings, reheating and serving.

Serve with fresh coriander, lime and brown rice.

If you have leftover pumpkin try this fragrant Thai pumpkin soup or creamy five-spiced version

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Quick lentil curry

For fast winter food that’s sustaining, easy and oh-so-delicious I can’t go past lentils in some form or other. From red, yellow, fancy French to plain brown, lentils are versatile, cheap and fit perfectly into my take-to-work thermos.

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This quick curry is oil free. Why? Because it works just fine without the added oil and reduces your intake of heated oils.

Dry toasting the spices is another way of releasing their aromas and makes life exciting, if not a bit dangerous!

As with many dishes the clincher is how you serve them. This curry goes beautifully with a spicy kasundi (chutney) and loads of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves.

Or take it to the next level with a dollop of coconut yoghurt or cilantro cashew cream.

1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbl fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
6 cups water/stock
2 cups yellow lentils
1 potato, halved & sliced
½ cauliflower, chopped
Fresh coriander/cilantro

  • In a heavy bottomed pot, dry toast curry powder and cumin, coriander and mustard seeds for a minute or until they release their aroma. Keep stirring and stay close!
  • Stir in garlic & ginger adding a splash of water to deglaze the pan. 
  • Add onion and a little more water to form a paste. Simmer gently adding the rest of stock/water after several minutes. Bring to the boil.
  • Rinse lentils under running water until the water comes clean.
  • Add lentils and simmer for 20 minutes. Add more water as needed.
  • Add potatoes & cauliflower and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.
  • Season with salt, pepper and/or a splash of tamari.
  • Serve with fresh coriander and coriander cream.


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You may also like:

Protein-rich lentil stew

Stuffed chick pea flour frittata

Weekends sometime call for a savoury breakfast. Especially when we’re braving wintery mornings to watch the nine-year-old-ninja play soccer.chick pea flour fritatta (Small)

The savoury option of old was an egg frittata.

I used to like the ease of throwing it together and topping with a good kasundi or other delicious home made chutney.

Luckily there are a couple of plant-based equivalents made with tofu OR a chick pea flour batter.

Today’s recipe is the latter.

You can change up the spices & fillings to suit your tastes, eg, Indian, Italian, Indonesian. Or make it plain like a crepe and serve with hot saucy veges.

Chick pea flour is a great source of protein. And an excellent gluten free option.

Once mixed it likes to sit for a while – I mix the batter before chopping veges.

If you’re super organised you can make the batter the night before.

For a richer option (and obviously higher in fat) mix the flour with a coconut cream/water combo.

Today we’re just using water and whatever I happened to have in the fridge.

chick pea flour fritatta 2 (Small)

Whisk together & rest:
1 cup chick pea flour
1 cup water
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of salt

1 red onion, chopped finely
Capsicum, chopped finely
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Tbl capers
Handful fresh herbs, parsley, thyme, rosemary
Chilli (optional)

In a heavy pan, saute onions and vegetables until soft. Add capers, chilli & fresh herbs.
Pour in the batter, cover and cook over a low heat.
Cook until the top is firming up, watching that it’s not burning underneath – it’s a delicate dance.
Brown it off under the grill.

You could sprinkle a little dairy-free mozzarella or nutritional yeast on top before grilling.

For other recipes check out the gluten free category in the side bar.

Oh and try these chick pea flour fritters.

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How To Make Raw Pasta Sauce

There have been a couple of stand out new dishes that have delighted us this summer and this is one of them. IMG_20150122_195008253 (Small)

Easy. Tasty. And full of fresh readily available nutrients.

The good thing about raw foods is they’re loaded with water, which fills you up. It never ceases to amaze me how satisfying they can be.

First up. Cover the sun dried tomatoes in water and soak for a couple of hours. Avoid the ones packaged in oil. (You can always rinse the oil off for a cleaner meal.)

You will need:

1.5 cups sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in just enough water to cover
4 cups fresh tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp apple or maple syrup
Green olives ~ half cup
Black olives (I like loads of both)
1 cup fresh basil
1 Tbl tamari


1.5 cups sun-dried tomatoes & soak waterpasta marinara (Small)
2 cups fresh tomatoes
Apple syrup

Pour into a large bowl and add:

Rest of fresh tomatoes, chopped
Green olives, sliced
Black olives whole
Basil, sliced

Gently stir in zucchini noodles.

Adapted from Brenden Brazier’s Thrive Foods cookbook.

You may also like Zucchini Noodles with Alfredo Sauce.

Vegetable steam-through

Throwing brown rice or quinoa in the rice cooker first thing can be a great basis for nutritious throw-together meals for later in the day.20150210_132415

It could turn into anything: salad, a vege steam-through or form the basis for burgers.

In any case it feels good to have the foundation of a dish on the boil. I love nothing more than having dinner (or at least part of it) sorted by the end of breakfast.

Since I was under siege by my scallopini patch, a vegetable steam-through won out.20150210_132650

By the way, a steam-through is my version of a stir fry. Only healthier. It’s infinitely flexible in a unfussy mid-week kinda way. And is delicious.

It goes something like this.

1 onion, chopped
Half vege stock cube (Rapunzel)
1 scallopini, sliced
Handful cherry tomatoes
Sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary
1 large garlic clove, pressed
Sprinkle of dried chilli flakes (optional)
Salt & pepper
Toasted pumpkin seeds

To a large pan add 1 cup of water, stock cube, onion & scallopini. Bring to the boil & simmer.
Add cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs & garlic.
Cover and cook over low heat for ten minutes until cooked. Add a splash more water if sticking.
When cooked add about half cup cooked brown rice and toss with tamari and seasonings.

Serve with fresh tomatoes & toasted pumpkin seeds.

Zucchinis, red peppers & aubergines will all work beautifully. And a dollop of cashew cream stirred in the end. Divine.

You may also like to read about why I cook without oil

Raw Zucchini Noodles with Alfredo Sauce

The simplicity of this dish suits the relaxed nature of picking your summer vegetables from the garden and throwing together something easy for lunch or dinner.

Just be sure to soak your cashews in the morning (if you forget pour boiling water over them and sit for ten mins).zucchini noodles in alfreda sauce (Small)

Adjust the combo of vegetables to suit your taste. You can pretty much go anywhere with this dish.

I like to add strips of steamed kale. Thin sliced red capsicum or steamed/raw broccoli make nice additions also. zucc noodles (Small)

2 large zucchinis
Bunch cavelo nero or other kale
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves

1 cup cashews, soaked
1 Tbl lemon juice
2 tsp tamari
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl nutritional yeast
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup filtered water, add more as needed
Pinch cayenne
Salt & pepper

  • Finely slice zucchinis into long strips using a serrated peeler, mandolin, spiraliser or knife.
  • Slice long strips of kale and steam over boiling water for a few minutes.
  • Rinse cashews well. Add to blender with other ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Assemble noodles, kale and sauce together with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and cracked pepper.

And for all those extra zucchinis in the garden, you may also like this gluten free zucchini fritter recipe.




The best kale soup. Ever.

At the mere hint of rain I go running for my soup pot. And if I have a bunch of cavelo nero (the long dark kale) this sagey, garlicky, beany soup from my old battered Sundays At Moosewood’s Restaurant cookbook is my number one choice. IMG_0196 (Small)

This is a rustic, hearty meal-in-one kinda soup. Thickened with cornmeal, full of beans and kale, it has all your nutrient groups covered.

Plus it’s got a really cool name that goes well with wild weather and red wine!

IncavolataIMG_0195 (Small)

1 bunch of de-stemed, rough chopped kale
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cans of white beans (butter or cannellini), rinsed & drained
6 cups vegetable stock or water
3 Tbl tomato paste
6 large sage leaves (½ tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
½ cup fine cornmeal (polenta)

  • Soak the leaves of the prepared kale in a bowl of cold water while you preare the soup.
  • Steam saute the garlic in ½ cup of stock
  • Blend about half the beans and stock with tomato paste and sage.
  • Stir into garlic adding the rest of the beans and stock.
  • Drain the kale and mix into soup. Simmer for ½ hour.
  • Mix the cornmeal with 2 Tbl stock from the pot or water. 
  • Pour slowly into the soup stirring. 
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Serve topped with vegan parmesan. The recipe is here.

IMG_0198 (Small)You may also like:

Summer soup

How to make miso soup

PS: You want to know how to make the fastest vege stock? Bring to the boil a pot of celery leaves, leeks leaves and water. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Done.


Gluten-free fast food that's healthy

Time stealers.

They have a habit of turning up at the end of the week. And they steal more than time.

They steal energy, motivation, and that I’m-never-eating-crap-food-again intention from earlier in the week.

It’s in these moments that something quick and delicious can divert your longing for a fast food fix.

We’re a bit of a noodle family. Our noodles of choice are buckwheat, rice, quinoa and occasionally standard wheat pasta.

Usually combined with something equally as quick. Gingery carrots with chilli; spring onions + greens; peppers and tomatoes ….

SAM_1940 (Small)Quick cooking is good. Gluten-free, quick cooking is even better. But noodles made from only beans + water, GENIUS!

Nothing else. Not even salt. Bless them.

What a simple way to add more plant-rich protein to your meal.

There’s fettuccine made from mung beans, noodles made from aduki beans, spaghetti made from black beans, and others.

For a quick dinner rough mash steamed broccoli + garlic + avocado. Mix through mung bean fettuccine and top with fresh basil and seasonings.

Check out your local health food store for the Explore Asian range of noodles and pastas. I’ll be dashing off to Putiputi Ra in Whangarei this week to beat the rush!

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You might also like:

Gluten free zucchini fritters


How to make egg-free gluten-free fritters

I have to confess. Egg-based dishes like fritters and omelettes were a favourite fall back for impromptu brunches and quick Sunday night dinners.SAM_1874 (Small)

Convenient. Tasty. Adaptable.

But fritters without eggs?

Thankfully there’s an alternative that boasts protein without the cholesterol.

Chickpea flour.

Other cultures have been on to this, like, forever. And the super big bonus is that chickpea flour is gluten free.

Zucchini Fritters

With a little preparation this gluten-free dinner will come together in a synch. 

I mix the chickpea batter in the morning, cover it and let it rest over the day. Standing the batter allows the flour to absorb the fluid.

You can let it stand it for as little as 1/2 an hour if you’re on the fly.

For a low-fat version use only water in the batter and bake the fritters on baking paper.

Close to dinnertime soak the chia seeds. Next grate the zucchini and let it drain in a sieve (not essential but works well with high-water content veges – squeeze out the water before adding to the batter).


1 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup coconut cream

1/2 cup water

1 Tbl chia seeds, soaked in 3 Tbl water

1 large zucchini, grated

2 cloves garlic, pressed

Handful parsley

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

1. Mix chickpea flour, coconut cream, and water together (I use my blender). Stand.

2. Soak chia seeds in water for about 15 mins, stir occasionally.

3. Grate zucchini, drain, squeeze.

4. Mix the chia, zucchini, garlic, parsley, chilli flakes, salt and pepper into the batter.

5. Drop spoonfuls into a hot, well oiled pan. Rice bran oil works well at this heat and the better your pan the less you need to use. Cook both sides until nicely browned, about 2-3 mins.

Serve with your favourite chutney or guacamole.

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