Noodlin’ Around: Chicken and Prawn Laksa Lemak

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

Laksa is probably in my top five favourite foods ever. I once challenged my brother on a family trip back to Singapore to eat a bowl of laksa for every main meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for seven days. He gave up after only two days and I won. My prize? Getting to eat laksa for every meal for seven days. VICTORY.

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Laksa is also my favourite go-to recipe. It looks complicated with it’s ridiculously long ingredient list, but it is actually one of the easiest meals to make! I have most of the dry ingredients on hand in my Asian pantry, so it’s just a matter of buying the fresh ingredients. Make double quantities of the paste and refrigerate it for later use.

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You can use store-bought stock (chicken is best, but vegetable or fish could also work), but you might as well make the delicious prawn stock if you’ve got the shells anyway!

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Heat levels can be adjusted by the number of chillies added to the paste (or ‘rempah’) and stock, but if you make it too hot anyway, you can always add more coconut milk. My brother likes his really coconut-ty (or ‘lemak’) because he is a massive pansy and can’t take the heat. He claims that it’s even more delicious this way (wimp), so it is really up to you! I usually top mine off with a little more sambal chilli at the end because i’m hard like that.

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Whenever i’m homesick, this is definitely the dish I crave. My mother used to make it all the time, and I think i’ve perfected it now to a standard she would be proud of. Well at least I hope so, otherwise it’s no rice for my dinner when I go back home!

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Chicken and Prawn Laksa Lemak
Serves 6

For the paste:
4 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
2cm knob of ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2cm knob of galangal, peeled
2 cm knob of fresh turmeric
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, rehydrated in warm water
10-15 dried chillies, rehydrated in warm water (reserve some liquid for blending)
3 small fresh chillies, stalks removed
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only
4 kaffir lime leaves, stem removed
4-5 coriander roots, cleaned thoroughly
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
30g belachan (shrimp paste), roasted
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
peanut oil, or other neutral oil for frying

For the stock:
Shells from 500g raw prawns
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2cm knob of ginger, cut into large chunks and bruised
2cm knob of galangal, cut into large chunks and bruised
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
2 cloves garlic, bruised
2 teaspoons chilli oil
5 dried chillies
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pandan leaf, bruised and tied in a knot
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised

For dishing up:
500g raw prawns, shells removed and set aside
250g chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized chunks
400g rice vermicelli, rehydrated in lukewarm water
400g Hokkien noodles, separated in lukewarm water
200g tofu puffs (tau pok), or firm tofu, cut into halves
600mL coconut milk
handful of bean shoots
Coriander, fresh sliced chilli, or sambal to serve

For the stock:
Combine prawn shells, peppercorns, ginger, garlic, galangal, dried chilli, chilli oil, and salt in a pot, and fry off in peanut oil until fragrant and prawn shells have changed colour. Add 1.5 litres of water, sauces and lime leaves, and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes until the stock is rich in colour and strong in taste. Strain through a fine sieve before adding to laksa paste.

For the paste:
Combine all ingredients including 2 tablespoons of water from soaking dried chillies in a food processor and whiz until a thick paste is formed.

Fry off the paste in oil until it emulsifies, then separates again.

Brown the chicken in the paste until almost cooked through, then add the prawn stock. Bring to the boil, before adding coconut milk and reducing the heat. Add prawns, tofu puffs and half of the bean shoots, and simmer further until prawns are just cooked through.

Pour soup into bowls over a mix of both noodles and the bean shoots, and garnish with  fresh coriander, chilli or sambal.

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Holey Moley! Baked Apple Donuts with Salted Caramel Glaze

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

A few weeks back, I got home from work after midnight in a delirious state, and *accidentally* went on an online shopping spree for kitchen play things. At 1am, buying a mini donut baking tray seemed like the best idea in the world.

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And boy, was it!

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I had to ponder this purchasing decision for the better part of 10 minutes whilst eating steak-for-two-for-one and watching the latest episode of reality television, and I came up with this reasoning: baked donuts are healthier than fried ones, so really i’m doing myself (and all of my lovely foodie guinea pigs friends) a favour. AMIRIGHT, GUYS?

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Apparently donut shaped baking trays are a rarity if you’re shopping online in Australia. I finally found one (and it’s normal sized big brother version) at the online store of Exclusively Food in NSW, who express posted it the next morning. There is no time to lose when you’re on a donut-making rampage.

Many of my Perth friends have an obsession with Krispy Kreme donuts. Personally, I don’t think much of their over-manufactured flavours, but I think it’s the novelty of not being able to buy them in Western Australia that really draws people to them. Classic Boomtown Perth.

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Having said that, I do recall absolutely annihilating a caramel flavoured Krispy Kreme not too long ago as we journeyed home from a big night out via a 7-eleven. Even in my inebriated state, the only thing I remember from consuming all 435923705 of those calories, is that the caramel filling tasted more like vanilla custard. Worst. Don’t you dare deceive me when I am drunk and hungry.

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I decided that I had to one-up those caramel Krispy Kremes, and this is my creation. A twist on the childhood classic toffee apple flavour. These would also make quite delicious (though dense) cupcakes in absence of a donut pan.

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Baked Apple Donuts with Salted Caramel Glaze
(Donut recipe adapted from shutterbean)

Makes 24 mini donuts

For the donuts:
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt flakes
2 eggs
1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
4 small apples, peeled and grated

For the glaze:
1 cup brown sugar
120g butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

For the donuts:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Seperately, whisk together eggs, and both sugars until smooth, before adding vanilla and oil. Gently stir in the flour mixture and apples until combined.

Spoon the batter into donut pans until mostly full and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Test using a kitchen skewer (or in my case, a satay stick – classic Asian kitchen).

Let the donuts cool on a wire rack while you make the salted caramel for dipping.

For the glaze:
In a large surface-area pan, combine all ingredients for salted caramel, stirring gently over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Do not continue to stir after this point as the caramel will seize.  

Carefully dip the donuts in the salted caramel, and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt flakes if you desire.

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Remember, these little bad boys are baked, not fried, AND they’re miniature, so in theory, you can eat twice as much. You donut have to tell me twice!

Korean Barbie: Spicy BBQ Ribs + Kimchi Potato Salad

Posted by Tiff (@tiffanyalisonha), Perth.

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If there’s something I crave all the time, it’s a Korean barbie. No, not the svelte, impossibly proportioned dancing and singing machines you see on PopAsia on a Sunday morning – the edible kind! The kind where you get together with some mates, grill some deliciously marinated bits of meat, and crack open a few beverages. The kind where the supply of food, drink and conversation seems as endless as the night itself.
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Here is my spin on two classic Aussie favourites: barbecued ribs and potato salad. Bring either of these dishes to your next summer barbie and I guarantee you’ll have everyone begging for the recipe. Even better, these are so simple and foolproof you’ll feel like you’ve done hardly any cooking at all. Oh, and the beauty about cooking outside in the summer (use your BBQ or a portable gas stove with a grill plate) is that you won’t have to turn your kitchen into a furnace! You can prepare these a day in advance to save you stressing; it’ll also give the flavours time to develop.
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Ingredients
For the ribs (serves about 6)
1.5kg pork ribs
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
5cm piece of ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbs soy sauce
4 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste or any chili-garlic paste/sauce)
5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp mirin or rice wine

For the potato salad (serves 6 as a side)
1kg potatoes, washed
2 spring onions
3/4 cup kimchi
2 tbsp kimchi juice
3 heaped tbsp mayonnaise (make it a good one! you can even use a combination of different types)
3 heaped tbsp sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste
a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Method
For the ribs
Peel the onion, garlic and ginger and chop roughly into chunks.
To make the marinade, put the onion, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, gochujang (or chili paste), brown sugar and mirin (or rice wine) into a food processor and whiz until well combined.

Slice the pork ribs between the bone so you get individual ribs. Divide the ribs evenly into two large zip-lock bags.
Pour half the marinade into each zip-lock bag. Make sure the bags are sealed securely, then massage the bags so the marinade covers the ribs thoroughly.

Let the ribs marinate in the fridge for two hours, or overnight. In the meantime, make your potato salad.
When it’s nearly time to eat, cook the ribs on the grill over medium heat until charred on both sides and just done on the inside (not too pink!).

For the potato salad
Cut your potatoes into evenly sized chunks. An easy way to do this is to cut the potato in thirds, then cut the end sections into four chunks and the middle section into six.

Put the potato in a pot and add cold water until the potatoes are just covered. Add a dash of salt to the water.
With a lid on, simmer the potatoes over medium heat until just tender (this takes around 20 minutes). Test carefully with a fork and make sure they don’t get all overcooked and mealy.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and put in the fridge to cool.
Finely slice the spring onions and finely chop the kimchi.
In a large bowl, add the spring onions, chopped kimchi, kimchi juice, mayo and sour cream. Mix until well combined.
Add the potatoes (doesn’t matter if they’re still a bit warm) and use your hands to combine all the ingredients, making sure not to break the potato chunks.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve room temperature or chilled.

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And there you have it – an easy, delicious way to kick-start any summer barbecue. You could definitely make alterations to either of these and still come up with amazing results – the rib marinade can be applied to any other meats or veggies, and feel free to add things like cooked carrot, fresh cucumber or boiled egg to the potato salad. Heck, you could even roast the potatoes if you’re feeling super diligent (but in this heat, who is?). Happy grilling everyone.

Peachy Keen: Monkfish Ceviche with Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

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After all of that Christmas feasting (I know, I know – I also discovered that there is a limit to how much pfeffernüsse you can consume in one sitting), food is probably the last thing you ever want to see.

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UNTIL YOU MEET THIS GUY.

LOOK! SO PRETTY, SO HEALTHY, AND SO DELICIOUS.

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Now most of you also probably don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen in the summer heat post-Christmas, but if you were in charge of cooking this festive season, the ease of this recipe will probably delight you. If you didn’t cook your family feast, it is probably because your friends/family/loved ones/people-you-invited-over-begrudgingly don’t actually trust you to cook for them, so you better not screw up this idiot-proof recipe (so long as you use the freshest fish possible) and give the people in your life food poisoning/a reason to regret your existence.

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I seasoned my ceviche with proscuitto crumb (made from roasting thin slices of proscuitto in a low oven at 60 degrees for 40 minutes until dried and easily crumbled) and matcha salt (made from pounding equal quantities of coarse sea salt and green tea powder), but you can just as easily substitute these for bacon crumbs and sea salt.

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This recipe is super-fresh and super-healthy, and an excellent way to introduce raw fish into your diet if you’re a little scared. The acidity of the citrus and vinegar partially cook the fish through and adds texture too. Teeeeeexture. If you’re really concerned about the rawness of the fish, just remember that the smaller you dice your fish and the longer you steep it in the lime juice, the more cooked through it will be.

Use any firm, good quality, white-fleshed fish, as long as it is super-fresh – ask your fishmonger for recommendations.

Monkfish Ceviche with Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa
Serves 4, as an Entree

2 ears corn, halved and husked
1 teaspoon butter

For the Ceviche:
500g skinless monkfish (or other white-fleshed fish) fillet, diced into 5mm cubes
1 jalapeno chilli, chopped finely
1/2 granny smith apple, peeled and diced similarly to the fish
1 shallot, sliced finely
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly torn
1/2 teaspoon Habanero hot sauce, adjusted to taste
juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon white wine (or champagne) vinegar
1 teaspoon matcha salt (or sea salt flakes)
2 teaspoons proscuitto crumb

For the Salsa:
1 peach, seed removed and diced into 1cm cubes
1 vine-ripened tomato, seeds removed and diced into 1cm cubes
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly torn
1/2 shallot, diced finely
1 tablespoon lime juice

Combine all ceviche ingredients in a bowl, reserving proscuitto crumb and 1 tablespoon of coriander leaves for garnish, and set aside in fridge.

Combine salsa ingredients in a separate bowl, and also set aside in fridge.

In a hot pan or grill, rub butter on corn and grill until brown.

Dress the ceviche with proscuitto crumb and coriander, and serve with peach salsa and grilled corn.

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Pfestive Pfeffermisu: Pfeffernüsse (Ginger Biscuit) Tiramisu

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

No, David Tennant, you are not ginger. But this decadent desert most definitely is. I give you…

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PFEFFERMISU!

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Yep, I’m still obsessed with pfeffernüsse. How about we just go ahead and make it A Tale of Two Bougies’ ingredient of the week?

*Warning: This dessert is definitely not dairy, gluten, or calorie free. Go ahead, treat yo’self.

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Pfeffernüsse? Check.

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Pfeffernüsse in place of sponge fingers? Check.

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Enough dairy to make you wish you were lactose intolerant for ever after? Check.

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Coffee AND chocolate? Obviously, let’s not be stupid now.

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You will regret not eating this. But then again, you probably will regret eating it too. Get yo’self ready, it’s food baby time.

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Pfeffermisu
Makes 2 (large, and very decadent) serves

2 shots freshly brewed espresso, cooled
125g marscapone
200g Pfeffernüsse biscuits, cut into 1cm strips
150mL thickened cream
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 pieces crystallised ginger, diced finely
1 vanilla pod

Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.

Beat egg white in a clean bowl until thick and fluffy. Beat it. Just beat it.

In a separate bowl, combine cream and marscapone, before folding in the beaten egg white, the yolk mixture, ginger, and seeds from the vanilla pod.

Soak the pfeffernüsse strips in cooled espresso, making sure they are soft but not soggy.

Make like an onion and layer it up, starting with the biscuits and alternating with the cream mix.

Top it with shaved dark chocolate, or some of the gingery rocky road you made yesterday.  I don’t blame you if you don’t have any left though. Perhaps it’s time to go make some more?

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I layered my Pfeffermisu in jam jars wrapped up all pff-pff-pffestively. Mostly to make them more portable for gifting, but also because everything tastes better in a jar. Duh.

Better chocoLATE than never! Ginger Rocky Road and Candy Cane Rocky Road

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

Day three and four of our festive madness comes in the form of a combined post. How about I give you two recipes in one that can be made in less than 20 minutes AND could also double as super tasty last minute I-really-wanted-to-get-you-somethin’-nice-but-I-ran-out-of-time-so-here-is-something-homemade-that-shows-i’ve-been-thoughtful gifts? Better chocoLATE than never, right? Ok, cool – Christmas, I got you good. Let’s dance.


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*I have to warn you at this point that I am still on a pfeffernüsse rampage. I can’t help it, I’m addicted now, and Christmas can’t stop me.

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The first of these delicious treats is an adult take on your classic Rocky Road – a gingery concoction that replaces the usual sugary-sweet cherries and marshmallows with cranberries and pfeffernüsse. It isn’t as sweet as you would expect, and it looks so Christmassy with the colours of the pistachio and cranberry.

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Ginger Rocky Road with Pistachio, Cranberries, and Pfeffernüsse

350g dark chocolate, melted
10 pfeffernüsse biscuits, quartered
100g pistachios
70g cranberries
70g crystallised ginger, chopped roughly
6 white marshmallows, torn roughly

Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler (I just use a large bowl over a pot of simmering water) or a microwave, and leave to cool slightly.

Dry toast the pistachios in a pan on low heat, and leave to cool before lightly pounding in a mortar and pestle.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl with the pistachios, and stir in melted dark chocolate until coated. Pour the mixture onto a tray lined with baking paper and set in the refrigerator overnight, or until firm.

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There is nothing that speaks of Christmas more than Candy Canes. Ok, so maybe extreme consumerism does, but let’s keep this post lighthearted please.

This is the more kid-friendly version of our Christmas twist on rocky road. You could probably even substitute the dark chocolate for milk chocolate, or even white chocolate, but I really like the bitterness combined with all of that super-sweet sugary goodness. I used an assortment of about 15 mini mint, strawberry, and apple candy canes for the colour.

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Candy Cane Rocky Road

350g dark chocolate, melted as above
candy canes
100g glace cherries
15 marshmallows, torn roughly
100g unsalted peanuts, toasted as above

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, reserving some candy canes to sprinkle on top of the rocky road.

Pour the mixture onto a tray lined with baking paper, top with reserved candy canes, and set in the refrigerator overnight or until firm.

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Divide portions of rocky road into cupcake lines, or separate with wrapping paper and wrap in cellophane or place it in a tall, narrow jar for gifting.

Edamame, is it Christmas yet? Sautéed Radishes and Edamame in Miso Butter

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

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Instead of gifting you a couple of turtle doves on day two of our festive cooking week, we are bringing you a delicious vegetarian dish that isn’t necessarily traditional in Christmas flavour, but certainly vibrant enough in colour to rekindle the festive spirit. Better yet, this guy takes less than ten minutes in total to prep and cook.

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This would make an excellent side dish over Christmas, or even served cold as a salad throughout the warmer months, especially in Spring when radishes are at their prime.

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Edamame are baby soybeans, which can be found in the frozen section of your Asian grocer. Defrost(y the snowman) them before use in this recipe. You can replace them with peas, sugar snaps, green beans, or snow peas if you wish!

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Seperate the reds on the radishes like you would your laundry (go on, make yo’ mumma proud!), before washing and chopping down the greenery. They are similar to spinach and wilt down quickly, so ensure that you make like The Nanny and chop the stems Fine!

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RADELICIOUS.

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Sautéed Radishes and Edamame with Miso Butter
Serves 4

2 cups Edamame beans
2 bunches radish, leaves separated and cut into halves or quarters
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons red miso paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt down butter in a little olive oil in a large-surfaced pan on a medium heat, before adding the miso paste and stirring to combine.

Add the radishes in a single layer, allowing them to brown slightly. This should take 1-2 minutes. Add the stems from the radish tops and cook for a further minute, stirring occasionally. Add the leaves, rice vinegar, salt and pepper, and cook until the leaves have wilted through.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve hot or cold.

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LOOK AT ALL THE PRETTY COLOURS. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE EATING CHRISTMAS. MISO HUNGRY.

Festive Pfeffernüsse Pearfection: Chocolate Pfeffernüsse dipped Poached Pears with Ricotta Honey Cream

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

Today begins the 7-day countdown to Christmas, and though you probably already have your Christmas brunch/lunch/dinner meal plans ready, and have braved the 150m lines at the supermarket to put down your deposit for the last remaining 34kg ham in the store, A Tale of Two Bougies is bringing you a set of quick and easy recipes with festive flavours. Who knows? You could still completely abandon that pig, and let someone else battle with it for hours on Christmas day. Think about it, that means you have even more time to get creepy with mistletoe at your family get-together.

LET’S GET FESTIVE UP IN HERE.

Pfeffernüsse* is probably my favourite thing about December. Forget about Santa and all the well-behaved children, ginger-spiced biscuits are the only winners this time of year.

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I remember the IGA supermarket next to my university always had a tonne of pfeffernüsse around this time of year, so every meeting I went to as a student where we were each asked to bring something to share heavily featured pfeffernüsse. Most of us overdosed, and I swore to never eat them again.

UNTIL NOW…

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I had almost forgotten about pfeffernüsse entirely, until I saw these little babies the other day while grocery shopping with a friend. We got a little excited, homesick, people-sick (I MISS YOU SO MUCH, SOPHIE) and reminisced about our time at uni, before she challenged me to create something delicious for the blog using pfeffernüsse.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

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At first, I really wanted to make a pfeffernüsse mousse, purely for the way it sounds when you say it. Go on. Say it out loud. And again. And again. Now do it really fast. Over and over.

See, I told you it was great.

Now you have your festive entertainment covered.

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Thinking of flavours that would work well with the spiced biscuits, I immediately thought of pears. Ginger and pear are a match made in heaven, and even better, poached pears are one of my favourite food groups of all time. French Earl Grey poached pears with a side of marscapone? I don’t even need a spoon, let’s just get primitive up in here and use our hands.

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Building on the pears-poached-in-tea idea, I decided to poach them in lemon and ginger tea with a touch of honey. Dipped in dark chocolate. And a crunchy pfeffernusse crumb. All served with a side of ricotta cream. With this combination, NOTHING CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG.

(Though at this point, you’ve probably peaked in life and there can’t be anything that will possibly top it. You might as well die happy now.)

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Chocolate Pfeffernüsse dipped Tea Poached Pears with Honeyed Ricotta Cream
Serves 2

2 firm pears (I used Bartlett pears), peeled
4 lemon and ginger tea bags
1 stick cinnamon
1 peel of lemon rind
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large piece of ginger, peeled and bruised
50g dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
5 pfeffernüsse biscuits, crumbled
2 tablespoon honey
100g ricotta
small knob of ginger, grated finely

Toast the pfeffernüsse crumbs in a pan until crisp, and set aside to cool.

For the poaching liquid, fill a small saucepan with enough water to cover the pears. Add pears, tea bags, cinnamon, ginger, lemon rind, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/2 of the lemon juice and simmer on a medium heat until pears are cooked through. You can test this using a skewer, but it usually takes somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine finely grated ginger, ricotta, and remaining honey in a bowl, and stir until combined. Don’t be too frivolous and over-stir the guy here. Calm down, we’re not getting THAT festive.

Let the pears cool, out of the poaching liquid, before dipping in the melted dark chocolate and the pfeffernüsse crumb. Serve with a side of ricotta cream and an extra drizzle of honey.

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* I realise that by the end of this post, I will have mentioned the word ‘pfeffernüsse’ at least 23 times more than necessary. I just really love saying it, so deal already.

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Soup’ed Up: Cold Vegetarian Apple, Carrot, and Ginger Soup with Cashew Dukkah

Posted by Dani (@dani_sunario), Melbourne.

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I may be known around these parts as a bit salt fiend, but little do most of you know that I am also a MASSIVE juice fiend. Freshly squeezed apple, carrot, and ginger juice is my kind of liquid gold. Sometimes, I even like to add a little celery juice to the combo to mix it up.

Clearly I like to live my life on the edge.*

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The idea for this soup sprang from two things: my love of the delicious juice, and the catchy soup crimp from The Mighty Boosh. That particular “carrot and cor-i-an-der” line is probably my favourite moment of the entire television series.

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The homemade yoghurt was friend-gifted and oh, so delicious. Thanks Patsy!

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This soup is cheap, easy, gluten-free, and vegan friendly (if you leave out the yoghurt, obviously). You can serve it hot in the winter and cold in the summer – either way it will become your go-to/let’s-make-something-super-delicious-from-the-leftover-bits-at-the-bottom-of-the-fridge recipe!

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The vegetable stock used was homemade from leftover veggie scraps that I stash away over time in a snap-lock bag in the freezer. When you’ve accumulated enough, make a stockpile (hahaha, iknowi’msosorry) and freeze smaller quantities for later use.

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Carrot, Apple and Ginger Soup with Cashew Dukkah and Homemade Yoghurt
(Serves 4)

For the soup:
1 Brown Onion
4 Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 stalks Celery, in large chunks
2 Apples (I used Granny Smith apples), peeled, cored, and in large chunks
1 large knob of Ginger (I like a lot of ginger, but use to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 litre Vegetable stock
250mL water
Yoghurt and Mint, to serve

For the Dukkah:
150g raw cashew nuts
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, cook onions in a little olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Add carrots, apples, ginger, and celery and mix with the onions. Cover with stock and water, and let it gently simmer until vegetables are softened. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate pan, toast the seeds and nuts for the dukkah. You may have to do the nuts separately as they take longer than the seeds, and you don’t want them to burn. Woah guy, let’s not get too crazy all up in here.

Using a mortar and pestle, pound ingredients until crushed and combined well.

Using a handheld blender, process soup until desired consistency. You could also do this using a blender by transferring the soup into the blender jug in small batches.

Serve the soup (I served mine chilled) with yoghurt, dukkah, fresh mint sprigs, and at least four episodes of The Boosh.

carrot soup-0180

* Adding celery juice to the mix only makes you almost as edgy as a satsuma.

**Disclaimer: The crimp is ridiculously catchy and can get irritating to everyone involved. Everyone will hate you if it gets stuck in your head. It is probably also best that you don’t fall asleep to The Boosh. You will have very odd dreams. It will not end well. Don’t do it.

Totally Nuts: Vegan Choc-Nut Granola

Posted by Katie (@katiem31837943), Perth.

This granola is nuts.

It’s gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, and nearly sugar-free (what’s a little maple syrup amongst friends). But that’s not what makes this granola great. It’s nutty-chocolatey- get in ma belly – tasty.

It’s so good I cut my tongue licking the mix off the blender blade (totes worth it) and is choc full of delicious and nutritious things- raw cacao, chia seeds, nuts and coconut.

As is the beauty and versatility of granola you can sub most of the ingredients to suit your own tastes. If you’re not a fan of coconut you can replace the coconut oil with a rich olive oil and leave out the shredded coconut. The maple syrup can also be swapped for any other sweetener.

I’m already envisioning my next concoction, perhaps a toasted walnut and pistachio base with golden syrup and a pinch of good salt…

Note: It has a long cooking time of roughly 4 hours so you set aside an afternoon or evening free to cook this b-fast bad boy. Grab a chair and watch them nuts bake.

Vegan Chocolate Nut Granola
Adapted from Gourmande

2 cups of nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pecans)
¼ cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

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GET NUTTY

1. Place nuts in a food processor and give it a few pulses until roughly chopped.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together the maple syrup and coconut oil.

3. Whisk in the cacao and vanilla essence until you end up with a tasty chocolate-y sauce. Test for taste- don’t consume.

4. Add the chocolate mix to the nuts and stir until well combined

5. Add the chia seeds and coconut and pulse briefly until the mix is roughly the size of oats.

6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the mix evenly.

7. Bake at 100F until the mix is dry and crispy- about 4 hours. Give it a stir or two while it cooks but leave any clumps, the nutty-chocolatey-clumps are the best bits.

8. Let cool and consume.

I served mine as a decadent-yet-good-for-you breakfast over a few spoonfuls of coconut yoghurt with chopped dates and cranberries but it’s also delicious by the handful.