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28 / 06 / 2018

Ok, as you can probably tell from a string of recipes that have appeared on the HBOT blog lately - eggplant is becoming one trusty unit in my arsenal. Quick to cook, hearty, versatile - it sure does tick a lot of boxes. As I was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding I was chuffed by the encouragement to make another scrumptious flavour sensation featuring it, this time - Moussaka! Or if you're the bully of a blond girl from the film, 'Mouse Ca-Ca'.

This dish is an epic wonderfully spiced (and super-quick to throw together!) lentil-tomato layer, sandwiched between layers of hearty potato and soft melt-in-your-mouth eggplant. Then on top your given a VIP seat straight to foodie-heaven with this seriously incredible bechamel that rounds this whole dish out with 10 stars from me. I know I'll be making this a bunch this winter honeybunches. Sooo SO good!!

Serves 6-10 people, depending on serving sizes

Ingredients

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Line two baking trays and place the eggplant slices all over them. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until mostly tender (timing will depend on how thick you cut them). Flip the eggplant slices over if you see them getting a little brown. Once the eggplant is cooked, turn the oven down to 200C.
  2. In a large pot, boil your potatoes whole (skin on or off your call) until nearly fully cooked. Drain, then when cool enough to handle, slice thinly (about 1/2 cm) lengthways and set aside.
  3. In a large non-stick pot or fry-pan, saute in a little oil, the onions and garlic until lightly caramelised. Add all the spices (cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamon, nutmeg and mixed herbs) and stir until fragrant and combined (you might need another little bit of oil to do so).
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes and drained lentils to the pot and stir to combine. Add the coconut sugar, season and let simmer on a low heat until needed (or for about 20 minutes minimum). Before pouring it into the Moussaka, add the chopped parsley to the lentil mixture, and stir that through.
  5. Make the bechamel in a small non-stick pot by adding the vegan butter and waiting for it to melt and bubble slightly. Add the flour and vegetable stock powder (working without distractions so the flour doesn't burn), then mix into the butter until you form a roux paste. Add the soy milk gradually into the pot, stirring after each addition to bring it together into a smooth sauce. Once you've added all the soy milk, switch to a whisk and whisk gently until it thickens (approx. 5 minutes). Once thicked into a "white sauce" consistency, take off the heat and add the coconut cream, nutmeg and a generous pinch of salt & pepper. Stir to melt and combine the coconut cream, then set aside.
  6. Assemble the Moussaka in an oiled large lasagna-like dish, by starting with a layer of 1/2 the eggplant slices followed by all the potato slices. Top with all the lentil mixture, smoothing out to the edges, then top with the remaining eggplant slices. Finish with the white sauce, smoothing out into all the edges. Drizzle with a little olive oil and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden ontop.
  7. Wait at least 10 minutes before serving (it will stack nicely this way) - or leave it to serve the next day when the flavours have developed even more.


28 / 06 / 2018

My mum said that these were so decadent she couldn't believe they weren't cooked in duck fat or something. I wasn't sure if that was a positive or a bad thing, but after further questioning, I can report it was a major thumbs up from her.

These really are so flavourful and delicious, you won't believe they're vegan. Any non-vegan will go nuts for them I assure you and they're dead easy. It's a bit of a wacky cooking technique so yes you are reading it correctly, water goes in with the potatoes too. But what this seems to do is infuse the potatoes with so much more flavour than 99.9% of the spuds you will have had in ya' life. I'm so glad I've learnt this way of making them - no going back... except when I don't have over an hour of time to cook these wee ones.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 220C.
  2. In a dish that has at least a little rim, combine all the ingredients sans the lemon (yes, including the water), and mix around with your hands to combine.
  3. Add the lemon halves in there as well, then bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Take out of the oven and flip over a little, then return for another 10-20 minutes - or until most of the water has gone and the wedges are golden brown. Eat-up honeybunches!!


17 / 06 / 2018

Chocolate Cream Pie, what a sight. This stuff is probably what they serve at the gates of heaven. Smooth custard-like chocolate filling, surrounded (like a warm hug) by a glorious biscuit base and topped with light cloud-like wafts of coconut cream and finished with flecks of pure dark pizzaz. Ok so maybe i'm reading too much into this creation, but it really is heavenly and I'm mighty proud at how fabulously close it looks and tastes to that which I was emulating (the Julie & Julia Child pie that is). It all comes together in a way that is sure to please anyone you care for - or infact I believe it has the power to sway your enemies... or just skeptics.

I've made a few chocolate pie's in my time, ranging from FAR TOOOOooo rich, too soft to too crumbly, or honestly, just way too sad looking. So you can count that this is a well researched pie.

Agar Agar is hands down sold in every health food store so don't think it's a super foreign ingredient that's hard to source. It's around the place.

The coconut whip is always a layer that I've had hesitations about during my past pie endeavors. This topping is fail-safe. FAIL-SAFE - wahoo I hear you cry. How do I do it? Well I use a mix of coconut milk, vegan cream cheese (Tofutti for example), vanilla and icing sugar which together work wonders to form a cream like layer of ya' dreams. The recipe is forgiving when it comes to the coconut milk you purchase because I know that not everyone has access to brands that ensure success (me included). So just make sure you buy a tin that's organic if possible and full fat (none of the fat-reduced, light stuff ok? Sweet.).

Now on with the recipe honeybunches !!

Makes 1 x 21cm (8 1/2) inch pie.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C and place a bowl in the freezer (the one that you are going to whip your cream layer in).
  2. Grab a food processor, and add the biscuits and salt, pulsing until they turn into a "dirt" like consistency.
  3. Melt the vegan butter, then add it to the cookie crumbs, pulsing again until evenly dispersed.
  4. Tip into your pie dish and press into all the corners and up the sides gently to form your crust. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, then stand aside to cool and turn off your oven.
  5. While your crust is cooking, grab a small saucepan and add the coconut milk (or plant milk) and the agar agar flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until the agar agar has mostly dissolved. Take off the heat and add the chocolate, whisking until melted and smooth.
  6. In the same food processor (no need to wash it), add the silken tofu, cocoa, almond butter, maple syrup, and melted chocolate mix. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides until it comes together. Pour into the prepared crust, smooth over the top, then move to the fridge to chill.
  7. Now make your top cream layer by first removing your cream whipping bowl from the freezer. In it, add only the hard cream substance from the top of your chilled can of coconut milk (none, or minimal of the water), saving the rest for a smoothie or curry etc. Then add the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Beat, with electric beaters until smooth (alternatively you could do this step in a blender) and then transfer to the fridge until the pie is cooled.
  8. Once the pie has cooled in the fridge enough that it's not hot. Pipe or spread the "cream" on top and finish with the shaved/grated/chopped chocolate. Refridgerate until chilled and then serve. Enjoy honeybunches !!


17 / 06 / 2018

Bourguignon is something my dad decided to master when I was growing up. We had this French cookbook which was filled with un-beatable recipes and it came from that. It wasn't Julia Child's recipe but heck it tasted incredible. I've veganized the dish with oodles of success here honeybunches, and I'm telling you - if you're skeptical, you shall be surprised. It's seriously on-point flavour wise and will still make your house smell like a wintery welcoming cabin.

Plus, did I not mention it is soooo much easier and quicker than the original!!! No convoluted beef browning and braising necessary. So get excited honeybunches, it ticks all the boxes.

A few tips on the mushrooms you end up choosing,

  1. Choose larger (portobello work well) mushrooms, not button mushrooms for the best texture.
  2. Cut up your mushrooms in varying shapes and sizes for textural variety.
  3. Even if you're not the biggest fan of mushrooms they do shrink down, so don't be afraid of leaving some super chunky pieces in the mix.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Start by heating the olive oil in a large casserole type dish (or a deep pot would also work), then adding the vegan ham, onions and carrots - sauteing until the ham is golden and the veg slightly sauteed and caramelized (5-10 mins approx).
  2. Remove the ham and veg from the pan, setting it aside in a bowl until needed. Plop another glug of oil in the pan, then add half the mushrooms, sauteing until they brown and soften. Add the browned mushies to the veg when done, then repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
  3. Add all the browned mushrooms and veg back to the pan, then add the nutmeg, paprika and mixed herbs. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and garlic, stiring and cooking again for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the flour, then turn the heat to low, stirring for a couple of minutes until the flour coats everything and cooks off a little.
  6. Add the stock a cup at a time, to gently de-glaze the base of the pan. Add the red wine as well to the pot and your bay leaves to finish. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, placing the lid on your pot and leaving to do it's thing for at least an hour. If you make this in the afternoon, it can be nice to let it simmer down for a couple of hours, reduce and develop in flavour and make all the veg as soft and succulant as possible.
  7. Season with salt & pepper before serving with some mashed potato or pasta noodles and a few sprigs of rosemary. Deeelicious.


17 / 06 / 2018

Bruschetta is a phenomenon not to be sniffed at. Simplicity is often best and this concept embraces that to the hilt and definitely delivers. I've Julia and Julia-esqued this number and what you're left with is pretty darn top-notch.

I'll leave my two pence on bruschetta there because the pic kind of speaks for itself and you're here for the recipes (not my rambly intros) anyway.

Makes - as much as you want

Ingredients

Method

  1. Chop your tomatoes and plonk them in a bowl. You want them to be bite-sized, but also maybe varying in size and shape.
  2. Sprinkle generously with salt, add a drizzle each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Snip in thin strips of the basil leaves and then toss the mixture until everything is well mixed. Set aside for at least 30 minutes at room temperature for the salt to do it's magic (aka draw out some of the liquid in the tomatoes).
  3. Prepare your toast when ready to eat by getting a fry-pan and adding a glug of olive oil and a knob of butter. Melt and swirl around the pan, then add your bread. Cook until crispy on both sides, moving to mop up the oil/butter when you turn.
  4. Top your toast with the tomatoes and eat up my friend.