Vegan Scrambled Tofu: the Healthy & Cruelty-Free Alternative

For those who follow me on social media, you would have seen that I completed the Veganuary challenge in January. It was really a interesting challenge that completely opened my eyes to new possibilities in the kitchen.

One new recipe I tried was scrambled tofu. I already liked the taste of tofu and occasionally ordered it when eating out. But I never knew how to cook it properly.

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Veganuary Challenge 2017

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Some of my readers may have heard of Veganuary. For those who haven’t it’s a food challenge where you eat vegan foods for the whole month of January. So that’s no products that come from an animal – including cutting out honey and even some wines!

The purpose is to raise awareness of animal suffering, help the environment, but also showing that being vegan is not as limiting as people think. I was definitely a curious carnivore but also reluctant to give up my favourite food groups…

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

I used to love eating tabbouleh. It is fresh and a perfect side dish for summer. The only problem is that since becoming gluten intolerant, I can’t eat cous cous, which is one of the main ingredients in tabbouleh. For years I have had to say no to the delicious mix of tomato, onion and parsley. But a while ago I saw the idea of using quinoa as a substitute… Whilst I always have quinoa in my kitchen, I never tried this recipe… Until recently.

My street has a regular Christmas street party BBQ and we all bring along some meat and a side dish. I wanted to bring along a dish of something that was different, but fresh and delicious summer dish. Quinoa tabbouleh seemed like the perfect dish to bring!

It is a little time consuming to make, but I thought it was well worth the preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 4 tomatoes (I used 3 large Roma tomatoes and one medium sized Truss tomato)
  • 1/2 Spanish onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: lemon wedges and parsley leaves to garnish

Method

1. Rinse quinoa under cool water before cooking. Cook in boiling water until quinoa is light and fluffy. Rinse and set aside to cool. Stir quinoa with fork to keep fluffy and speed up cooling process.

2. Dice onion. Place onion into a small bowl. Cover onion with water and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. This will soften the onion and make it more pleasant to eat.

3. Dice tomatoes and place in large bowl. Mince garlic clove and finely chop parsley, and place in bowl. Once quinoa is cooled, add to bowl as well. Drain onion from water and also add to large bowl.

4. In another small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add oil and lemon mixture to large bowl with all other ingredients and stir thoroughly. 

5. Allow tabbouleh mixture to sit for a hour or two in the fridge. There may be some excess moisture from the oil and lemon juice – this will eventually be soaked up by the mixture.

6. After an hour or so, season with salt and pepper. Stir again before serving and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley leaves. Serve as a side for barbecued meat. This tabbouleh mixture will keep for a few days in the fridge.

You can also add a tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves to this mixture to give it an extra freshness kick! I didn’t have any mint so I decided not to use it and I think it turned out great without the mint, but other people may find that the mint gives it the little extra something it needs.

What do you think of my Quinoa Tabbouleh? Do you have a similar recipe or a recipe for Tabbouleh? Share your thoughts and links in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

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Aussie Health Products

Rustic Rocky Road

I love taking my baked goods into work to share with everyone. I love trying out new recipes at home, but sometimes I don’t want to eat the whole batch for myself. The alternative is to take the treats into work, which is always nice for my work colleagues. 🙂

I have been wanting to make rocky road for a while, so I figured that making it for my work colleagues would be a good idea. I tried out one batch but decided it didn’t work out – I used too much coconut, and no where near enough chocolate… no one should ever have to hear the words “not enough chocolate”!

I decided that this previous recipe wasn’t good enough for work. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed (although my partner and my sister seemed to enjoy it!)

So I tried the recipe again over the weekend. This time I used plenty of chocolate. I used a lot less coconut too. I also decided to mix it up a bit and use a pack of four flavour/colours of marshmallows as well as some soft jubes. Looks like it turned out well because everyone came back for a second (or third) piece of this batch of rocky road!

My recipe uses a lot of chocolate – half a kilo to be exact. And whilst this sounds like a lot at first, remember that you mix it in with other ingredients, so it’s a good idea to have a lot of chocolate so the taste chocolate isn’t lost in all the other ingredients.

When I mixed in my marshmallows, I let them sit on top of the chocolate as I was taking photos… In the meantime they melted slightly… When I mixed them into the chocolate they were a little gooey but I think this actually worked in my favour as they were mixed in just right.

The best part about this recipe (other than the chocolate and sugar hit) is that it’s super easy to make – just melt, mix, set, cut and eat! It really is that simple!

Ingredients

500g milk cooking chocolate – you could also use a mixture of milk and dark cooking chocolate

250g salted butter

2 cups of marshmallows – I chose a four flavour mix

1 cup soft jube lollies

1/2 cup glacé cherries – optional but recommended to use anyway

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts – You could also buy whole and roughly chop up

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Method

1. Cut the marshmallows in half and set aside. Roughly chop the macadamias if using whole macadamia nuts. Measure out all other ingredients and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.

3. Break up the chocolate and allow it to melt in with the melted butter. Mix butter and chocolate around with a wooden spoon (or large plastic ladell if you don’t have a wooden spoon). Ensure chocolate is fully melted.

4. Poor in the remaining ingredients. Mix around until all ingredients are completely covered in chocolate.

5. Grease a small baking tray with butter or oil and line it with baking paper – the butter or oil will help the paper stay in place. Poor in mixture. Ensure mixture is evenly distributed in tray.

6. Place in fridge for a minimum of four hours. I recommend leaving it in there overnight.

7. When mixture is set, remove from baking tray and remove baking paper. Use a sharp kitchen knife to cut strips of the mixture. Then cut the strips into bite sized pieces.

Store in a plastic container in the fridge.

Optional: you can sprinkle with icing sugar before serving

Do you have a rocky road recipe?

Don’t forget to tag me in your pics if you make this recipe!

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog

 

 

Friday Night Sharing Plates at Soju Girl

I remember when Soju Girl opened a few years ago. It was considered a hip new place to go. I went when it was still in its early days with a small group of people. Back then I enjoyed quite a few cocktails as well as the share style meals.

I was invited to go recently, and whilst there certainly were no cocktails involved, it was a lovely dining experience with a group of people from my work.

A Zucchini Flower, as well as trying a prawn and lychee from the Spicy Prawn Dish

The kind of eating at Soju Girl is described as “refined Asian sharing plates”. It’s a similar experience to going to a Chinese restaurant and each person on the table ordering a different dish to be shared with the group, alongside steamed or fried rice.

There are more choices than would usually be expected at this hipster-style restaurant. Surprisingly there are plenty of gluten free options – about 75% of the menu. I love that on the menu it says “the menu has been designed with gluten intolerance in mind” – hooray! I actually have a choice this time and not a forced choice!
The menu also caters for vegetarians and even vegan.

My table consisted of a variety of dietary requirements: gluten intolerant (me), vegetarian, vegan, and two people with shellfish allergies. With that many dietary requirements, eating out can be difficult, often with people feeling left out or feeling like they are that “annoying person”.

It’s good that there is finally a place that caters for all dietary requirements! And I love that it’s a pass-the-dish-around kind of setting. It gets people talking, breaks the ice between people that don’t know each other very well, and truly allows everyone to fill their bellies with delicious food.

The friendly staff always make sure that everyone knows how it works at Soju Girl before they let everyone properly look at the menu.

Essentially there are the large plates and the small plates. You choose a few plates to share around the table, and you can add some sides on as well. The dishes will usually be staggered throughout your time there, so you are not overloaded with too many choices at once, and so the dishes compliment one another.

Crispy Pork Belly

Food reviews

Zucchini Flowers: I’ve got two words for this dish: absolutely delicious. The fillng tasted like minced turkey or pork mince, although it was completely vegetarian (and gluten free!). It came with a ginger, soy sauce and capsicum dipping sauce. They didn’t even need the sauce though because they were so tasty! My dish of the night!

Pan Tossed Prawns with Crispy Noodle Salad: whilst this dish technically not gluten free I ate part of it anyway. The prawns had been mixed with lychees which gave it a nice sweet taste. The prawns themselves had a delicious slightly spicy taste to them. The only problem was that my prawn had not been entirely removed from its shell, causing me to have an uncomfortable chunchy bite into part of my prawn. But the meat of the prawn melted in your mouth. The sauce had a tomato-style-tang to it. It came with a crispy noodle salad, which I obviously didn’t have as it is not gluten free.

Crispy Pork Belly: Not the best pork belly I’ve ever had. It was not a melting in your mouth experience like I usually have with pork belly. The crackling was thin but not too salty. It had a pleasant taste but it isn’t something I would choose again.

Lamb Shoulder in Massaman Curry: This dish was a lot bigger than I expected! There was a very generous lamb shoulder in the middle of the curry dish. It had a medium spice to it, delicious aroma, and was well marinated. We ordered some steamed rice to have with this dish.

Sizzling Asian Mushrooms: The sizzling mushrooms came out like the sizzling lamb dish at Chinese restaurants – in the same kind of plate, with the dish still sizzling away. It was mixed with fried egg, tofu and Asian vegetables. It was another winner dish for me. It was great that this dish could be eaten by almost everyone at the table – it was gluten free and vegetarian, but not vegan. Although the it was not entirely vegan, the vegan diner at our table still ate some of the vegetables out of this dish and it seemed that she enjoyed the taste of this dish as well.

Lamb Shoulder Massaman Curry

I was totally shocked that after all that food it was only $26 per person! And that was even after everyone put in money for the person the dinner was in honour for.

I would definitely recommend going to Soju Girl and I am already thinking about planning another dinner there soon. It would be great for groups of friends or work colleagues to catch up over dinner and share delicious food.

I would say Soju Girl is one of my top restaurants in Canberra.

For the full menu please click here.

 

 

Sunday Afternoon Tea at Adore Tea

I love Adore Tea. It is nestled in the pretty Gold Creek Village and is a favourite among many Canberrans. They offer a variety of sweet and savoury treats and meals, but most importantly, a huge selection of tea to try. Their tea menu is quite expansive and sometimes it is difficult trying to pick a tea.

I have been to Adore Tea many times before, both for the regular Saturday High Tea and for a lunchtime or afternoon catchup with friends.

It was a warm autumn afternoon that we decided to do a belated combined birthday celebration for myself and a friend. It was only a small gathering of seven ladies, but we quite enjoyed the company.

There was afternoon entertainment with a Jazz and Blues singer singing some classic songs. We were seated right next to this singer so it was a tad loud. One of my friends certainly did not enjoy this Amy-Winehouse-inspired singer, especially with the speaker right in her ears.

Nonetheless, we browsed the menu to try and find the treats we desired. We had enough difficulty picking out food, let alone trying to pick a tea from over 250 teas!

Three of us decided in the Potato and Chamomile Soup. Unfortunately, after ordering, we were told we would have to fight it out amongst ourselfs as there was only one soup left. It was decided that I should have the soup. I also ordered a Trio of Dips (gluten free of course). My sister ordered the Belgium Waffles and one friend ordered the Scones with Jam and Cream.

I had a White Peach tea and my sister ordered the Creme Brûlée Tea. One friend ordered a variety of the green tea, and unfortunately I cannot remember what tea the other people ordered. All I know is that each person had a different type of tea. There really are so many types of teas it would be difficult to try every single one!

My tea was delicious and I enjoyed every drop of it. The great thing is that the teas come out in these glass-scientific-beaker-looking pots, which are placed over the tea light candles. This keeps the tea nice and warm. The pot has a strainer with the tea in it, and you can take the tea out when you desire, depending on how weak or strong you want your tea.

The food was a little disappointing this time round. The soup tasted bland and clearly lacked seasoning. It was creative of the chef to place the salt, pepper and chamomile tea buds on the side of the plate, but this made it difficult to pinch and sprinkle the seasoning onto the soup. It was only when salt was added that the soup had any particular taste. I was very disappointed with this and would not order it again.

On the other hand, the trio of dips was fantastic. There was hommus, beetroot dip and spicy capsicum. These are my three favourite dips, so I was definitely going to be happy with that selection! But Im fairly certain these were store bought and not freshly made.

My friend who bought the scones said they were quite doughy and almost sticky. The scones were quite large, which would explain the doughy feeling – more jam and cream would be needed to compensate for the size of the scones.

My sister loved her waffles. And with cream and icecream she was definitely going to be happy with that meal!

I suspect that this may have been a bad food day for Adore Tea. As usual, the service was great, and the tea was delicious. I would definitely go back again to try as many more teas as I can as well as try some other food on the menu.

For more info on Adore Tea, check out their website: www.adoretea.com.au

Typical Aussie Meal: Sausage Rolls

 

Homemade sausage rolls were always a favourite growing up. They were delicious and flakey and always filled me up.

Now that I’m older they serve a different purpose: Sausage rolls are perfect for entertaining. I made some for my housewarming party and I got many great reviews on them!

You can half cook these sausage rolls and put them in the freezer to fully cook for parties or for a quick and easy dinner.

Ingredients

  • 500g sausage mince
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry*
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs*
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds

*gouten free versions of these items can be used to make a gluten free version.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees for conventional ovens and 180 for fan forced. Take the puff pastry sheets out of the freezer and defrost.

2. Dice the onion. Grate the carrot and zucchini.

3. In a large bowl, combine the mince, vegetables, herbs, breadcrumbs and tomato paste. Mix together with hands until everything is fully combined.

4. Whisk the egg in a small bowl.

5. Cut the puff pastry sheets in half. Place a log of mince and place this in the middle of one half of the sheet of pastry. Ensure there is at least 1cm space between the sides of the pastry and the end of the mince. Roll the pastry around the mince.

6. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg. Fold edges of pastry and brush the top of the roll with egg. Cut into 5 pieces. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top and place on a lightly greased baking tray.

7. Bake for 20 mins until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with tomato sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

Introducing the first post for Foodie Fridays!

Quiche is a great meal to make. It’s relatively quick and easy, and makes for great left overs. You can easily eat it when its cold or reheat it for the next day. It is great for parties, for picnics or for a mid-week meal. You can also make so many varieties of it. I like mushroom and bacon because they are two ingredients always in my fridge and I can easily whip this up for dinner – which is just what I did earlier this week!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry*
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 8 small button mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of spring onion
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp dried corriander
  • Salt and pepper (to season)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Water

*Puff pastry is optional. I use gluten free puff pastry found in the frozen section of the supermarket. However you can also make your own pastry. As I am not yet up to that standard of cooking can’t be bothered making it, it would be best if you click here to get a good recipe for puff pastry. I also find puff pastry is great for square or rectangular oven baking dishes. If I had a round quiche pan, I would definitely recommend making your own pastry over using puff pastry.

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Recipe

1. Preheat oven to 180 (fan forced). Take the two sheets of pastry out of the freezer and thaw on counter whilst you are preparing the rest of the dish.

2. Dice the brown onion and slice the bacon into strips. Combine bacon and onion in a fry pan with the oil and cook over a medium heat. Once onion is browned, take off heat and allow the bacon and onion to cool slightly.

3. Slice spring onions and mushrooms. Grate cheese. Set aside.

4. Spray the tray with cooking spray. Take one pastry sheet and line the baking tray. Use other peice of pastry to fill the gaps. You may need to cut up the pastry before you place it in the tray. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the pastry with water.

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5. In a large bowl, break all eggs and whisk lightly. Add in herbs and season with salt and pepper. Mix in cream. Add in bacon, mushroom, spring onion, mushroom and cheese.

6. Pour egg mixture over pastry in oven baking tin/tray. Cook in oven for 25 minutes or until egg mixture is no longer liquid. Pastry should also be slightly browned. Allow quiche to cool slightly before cutting into even slices.

7.Can be served by itself or with a delicious side salad. This also makes a great lunch option as it can easily be placed in lunch boxes and eaten warm or cold.

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TIP: Be careful not to bake for too long or quiche will become dried out and pastry may become burnt. Check quiche after 15 minutes to see if it is cooked. You can poke the mixture with a sharp knife, similar to how you would check if a cake is cooked: if the knife comes out dry, then it is cooked.

 

Stuffed Capsicums

I love finding new recipes and trying them out. Although I always tend to change things and substitute, so it’s never really the same as the recipe. This is because I’m one of those annoying gluten intolerant people, so I need to carefully consider every ingredient that goes into a dish – otherwise I will be regretting it later!

I also get bored if I make things the same time and time again. And sometimes I just think on the spot about what to add, hoping for the best!

This recipe for stuffed capsicums was something that came along by accident… I had some capsicums/bell peppers that I hadn’t yet used and they were sitting in the fridge about to waste away, so I decided to make some stuffed capsicums. I read a couple of different recipes online and nothing really screamed “Cook me!” So I decided to improvise and hoped for the best!

This is a great recipe when you’re trying to use leftover incredients before your regular grocery shop. It’s so easy to change and substitute, and I’ll tell you some of my variations below. For now, here’s the recent version of the recipe:

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Ingredients 

  • 500g Turkey Mince
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 4 medium sized capsicums / bell peppers
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp dried corriander
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp Pesto
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 400g Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 5 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup tasty cheese
  • Pinch each of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of boiled white rice

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Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Begin to cook rice as per normal. Wash capsicums and cut in half. Scoop out seeds and inside flesh of capsicums until they look like hollow bowls. Wash out insides and allow capsicums to dry on a paper towel.

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2. Add mince and oil to pan and brown. Chop onions and add to pan with garlic and ginger. Once onions are cooked, add salt and pepper as well as coriander and basil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer.

3. When mince mixture is cooking, put capsicum havles in a baking tray, skin side down with hollow bowl facing upwards. Bake in oven for 20 mins on 180 degrees (150 for fan forced oven).

4. Add pesto, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes to mince mixture. Stir in until all ingredients are combined.

5. Grate carrot and thinly dice mushroom. Add carrot, mushrooms and peas to mince mixture. Once vegetables are cooked, add in the Parmesan Cheese. Allow mixture to simmer for 5-10 minutes. If mixture becomes thick, add a small amount of water to mixture until it reaches a medium to thick consistency.

6. Take capsicums out of the oven. There may be some excess moisture gathering in the bowls – this is normal and ok as the mince mixture will soak up this excess moisture. Add a spoonful of rice to the inside of the capsicum. Spread out the rice so it creates a ‘bed’ at the bottom of the capsicum bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the mince mixture until it covers the rice. Add some grated cheese over the top and place in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.

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7. Once the cheese is melted, take out and serve! A delicious meal is ready for you and will surely be a winner!

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Variations

  1. I often use Turkey mince with this recipe, but beef, chicken or lamb could also be used
  2. Cheese is not necessary – I just like to add it for that decadent taste 😉 It makes the mince mixture creamy and gives another texture to the dish. But you can certainly make the dish without it.
  3. I used flaxseed oil but olive oil is fine.
  4. You can add vegetables of your choice – eggplant, zucchini, beans, other capsicums, corn, and so on.
  5. This definitely works with brown rice rather than white rice if you’re after a healthier alternative. And there have been times when I have taken the rice right out of the dish for those days when I feel the need to cut back on carbs.
  6. I have made an Asian Stuffed Capsicum – I use pork mince instead of turkey, I use soy sauce & fish sauce instead of tomato, pesto and tomato paste, swap the basil with chilli flakes (or fresh chilli), and don’t use cheese in the mince mixture. I bake with the rice in the capsicum, then garnish the finished dish with grated carrot, cucumber and lime juice.

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The beauty of this dish is you can make it the way you like it – add or subtract what you want to make it your dish! Next time I might try a Mexican version with some kidney beans and sour cream – YUM!

 

Let me know if you tried this dish and how it turned out for you. Does anyone have some suggestions on some good variations?

 

Vintage Barbie xoxo