Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sail away, sail away...

Helloooo! Happy New Year. This year is shaping up to be a corker - lot's of exciting stuff happening. (see newsletter). 

I know, I know - it's been such a long time between posts! As usual, I've been doing the whole 'superwoman' thing and have been spreading myself waaaay too thin :)

I'm in the process of consolidating some of my social media and communications - the best place to see what's happening and all my other news is in my newsletter below. The link below will take you to the newsletter...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bridget’s Awesome Vegan Mushroom Quiche!

So…this quiche looks a bit different to a non-vegan quiche, but that’s mainly because it is mushroom and has red wine in it, which makes it really dark in colour. But trust me, this is so freakin amazing – my son and I can’t get enough of it! Serve it with some rocket with balsamic (caramelised balsamic is amazing and you can find it in supermarkets in Australia).

Wish I had a better photo, but believe me, it is so delicious!


ú     1 olive oil pie crust (see recipe on the last post)
ú     4 tbsp olive oil
ú     1 large onion, diced
ú     1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
ú     1 zucchini – thinly sliced
ú     4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
ú     300g silken tofu (make sure it's silken ie: soft)
ú     1/2 tsp turmeric
ú     1 big handful fresh basil, chopped
ú     1 big handful fresh parsley, chopped
ú     1/2 tsp salt
ú     pepper to taste
ú     1/8 cup oat milk (or other vegan milk – rice/soy etc)
ú     2 tablespoons cornflour
ú     2 heaped tablespoons flax seed + 4  tablespoons water or rice/other milk
ú     About 1 cup mixed vegan cheese – I used Vegusto No Moo Piquant Cheese & Cheezly Soy Cheese (both available from The Green Edge)
ú     ¼ cup nutritional yeast 
ú     ½ cup red wine

Pre-heat the oven to 200 oC

Mix flaxseed & water/milk and put aside.

Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over high heat and sauté the mushrooms until starting to brown. Add other vegies and sauté for 5 minutes. Lower heat to med-high and add red wine and sauté for another 5 minutes, then take off heat.

While vegies are cooking: In a food processor, blend the silken tofu, turmeric, cheeses, nutritional yeast, cornflour, flaxseed mix, and milk until smooth. Mix the tofu mix and the vegie mix together in a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.

Before it goes in the oven
Pour into the pie crust and bake for 20 minutes. Turn down to 180 and cook for about another 20 minutes (knife should come out clean).

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Vegan Olive Oil Pie Crust

This pastry is simply amazing! One of the things I really missed when I stopped using dairy products was pastry made with butter. I didn’t think I’d ever find a suitable substitute, but I’m happy to say that this version does not disappoint! And you can easily transform this into sweet pastry by simply adding a tablespoon or so of sugar into the first step. If you’re using raw sugar, I’d recommend that you grind it into fine powder first (you can use a food processor or mortar & pestle.

You may find that you need a tiny bit more water to get the right consistency, but if you think you do, once you’ve added the recommended amount, please make sure you add only about a teaspoon at a time (literally!), because the mixture will go from too dry to too wet in a nano-second!!

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ‘light tasting’ olive oil (by far the best oil to use for this, but normal olive is ok too)
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
Mix the flour and the salt together. Pour the oil in and stir with a fork until it clumps together. Sprinkle water over the mixture and mix well until it all comes together.

Sprinkle the bench lightly with water and spread some baking paper (large enough to accommodate the pastry when rolled out the size of your quiche pan. This will stop the paper from sliding around.
At this stage you can either split the pastry in 2 for a pie with a top, or keep it whole and use as a base for a quiche (or something similar).

Roll the pastry into a ball and place on the paper. Put another piece of paper on top and begin to gentle roll the pastry out from the centre of the ball, going in different directions and trying to keep it as round as possible. You can lift the paper up from time to time and move as necessary.
When you have the size and thickness you need, use the paper to transfer the pastry into a greased tin. Press gently around the sides and cut off any excess pastry. Prick a few tiny holes in the bottom with a fork.

At this point, you can blind bake the pastry, or simply use as is.

If you are making a pie with a top, use the 2nd piece of pastry on the top and press gently around the edges to seal. Prick a few holes with a fork in the top. (for the technique see this post:   )

See my next post for an AWESOME vegan quiche, using this crust. mmmm.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Amazing woman & business...

Just wanted to share this amazing woman’s work with you – I came across her online and downloaded her free Blogging Biz Star Workbook, which is just fantastic. I've been so inspired by the work she does, that I've become an affiliate of hers - I'm that impressed with her! She’s offering up the most generous, powerful, inspired & transformational training resources - as a part of the Amazing Biz + Life Academy - for half price until the end of the month, so I really felt compelled to share it far and wide.

“Leonie Dawson is a mentor to women wanting to create + grow massively successful and heart-centered creative + soulful businesses. She is also an author, retreat leader, visual artist, mama and guide for the tens of thousands who receive her free “AMAZING BIZ + AMAZING LIFE” eZine each week. Leonie has taught alongside such luminaries as Arielle Ford, Julia Cameron, Gay Hendricks and SARK. Leonie has coached tens of thousands of women to create their own incredible lives and businesses”.

What really touched me about Leonie is her wonderful mix of humour, kindness, business savvy and honesty that she exudes with every email and interaction. If you’re a woman in business or you run a blog, I think this offer is incredible and well worth it. Hoping to be able to afford to do it myself before the price doubles! 

Let me know what you think…

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Tomato & Basil Pasta with (best ever!) Vegan Parmesan ‘Cheese’

This meal is so, so easy and quick (especially if you already have some of the vegan parmesan made and waiting in the fridge!). We are just loving this at the moment and I make it quite a lot (especially when I’m feeling lazy but want something nutritious and yummy!).

Spring is in the air here on the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland, so basil and tomato are a perfect combo right now. And it always reminds me that sometimes the simplest things are the most amazing.

Ingredients - serves 2 with 1 serve leftover for lunch :)
I      1 large punnet of grape tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes)
I      ½ bunch of basil
I      4 – 5 cloves of garlic (to your taste)
I      250 g pasta (I swap between penne & spaghetti)
I      A  couple of tablespoons of olive oil
I      Salt & pepper to taste
I      Rocket to serve

For the Vegan Parmesan Cheese 
(makes enough for several meals – store in refrigerator)

I      About a cup of walnuts
I      About half a cup of pine nuts
I      About half a cup of nutritional yeast
I      1 tablespoon of flavourless coconut oil (or olive oil)
I      Big pinch of salt


1.    Before you do anything else, dry roast the walnuts in a frying pan for a couple of minutes, then add the pine nuts. Brown slightly and put aside to cool.
2.    Chop up the tomato, basil & garlic. (in the photo, the tomatoes were left whole, but I learnt that it’s better to chop them, 'cause they pop when you mash them if they’re whole, and can splat up at you - rookie mistake!!).
3.    Put some water on to boil for the pasta (I usually boil the kettle first and add to the pan – saves time). Add the pasta and cook to packet directions.
4.    Heat the olive oil on medium and add the tomato, basil & garlic. Stir well and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5.    While the tomato mix is cooking, add the nuts and the nutritional yeast to your food processor and pulse (stirring occasionally) to a fine ‘powder’. Add the salt and oil and pulse again. The mixture will be quite salty, but that’s how it’s meant to be. Cut down on the salt if you like.
6.    When the tomato mix has been cooking for a 5-10 minutes, mash gently with a potato masher (don’t allow it to squirt up at you!) until most of the tomato is broken up. Add salt & pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and add to the tomato mixture and mix well.
Serve with some rocket (or salad) and a really good sprinkle of the ‘parma’. And a glass of red doesn’t go astray either. Enjoy!

Have a great week, and don't forget to jump onto my new website to check it out & enter my competition to win a $50 Booktopia book voucher! Competition closes on the 20th Sept. 

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Amazing Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Here is a beautiful recipe using coconut oil (as mentioned in my last post). - I’ve been playing around with puddings for a while, in an attempt to find something special that doesn’t use soy milk or tofu, as we are trying to cut down on soy in our diet. Though I’m not pretending for a moment that this is a healthy recipe, it’s by far better than a recipe that uses cow’s milk or cream, so as far as wicked desserts go, it’s not altogether bad  ; )

The coconut milk and oil combined are the perfect consistency, and the taste is incredible. You can, of course, use different vegan chocolate, but the Lindt chocolate is especially amazing. Please note however, that most other Lindt chocolate has milk in it – it’s only the 85% and up that doesn’t.

And most importantly, this recipe can be whipped up (literally!) in about 10 minutes. It’s nice to refrigerate afterwards to firm the mixture up a bit, but if you can’t wait, and you’re prepared to eat it slightly more runny, go ahead and plough in as soon as it’s made! 

I     1 can coconut milk (chilled for at least 4 hours)
I     ½ bar of Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate (uses Demerara sugar, which is suitable for vegans who don’t eat white sugar)
I     2-3 tablespoons organic raw sugar (or replace with agave – though it will come out a bit runnier)
I     1 heaped tablespoon coconut oil
I     1 teaspoon vanilla essence (use good quality essence – it makes a big difference!)
I     2 heaped tablespoons cocoa
I     Pinch of salt


1.    Melt the broken up chocolate and oil, either in a double boiler or in the microwave (low heat – stirring often - be careful not to burn the chocolate).
2.    Add sugar to the melted chocolate and oil, and stir well to mostly dissolve. Set aside to cool a bit. If you’re using agave, leave this step out, and add agave to the step below.
3.    To a medium sized mixing bowl (don’t use a large bowl – this does seem to affect the firming up process for some odd reason!), add the coconut milk, vanilla, salt and cocoa. Mix with cake mixer, first on low, then on medium for about a minute, scraping the sides a couple of times.
4.    Add the (now cooled) choc/oil/sugar mix to the bowl and continue to beat on medium speed for a few minutes, until the mix has gotten a bit thicker.
5.    You can now either refrigerate the mixture in the bowl (covered) or pour into ramekins and refrigerate, for anywhere between an hour and over night.
6.    To serve, you can add some grated chocolate to the top of the pudding. Serving with strawberries is especially divine.
This mixture will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.
Mmmmmmm. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Joy of Coconut Oil

The Joy of Coconut Oil

My latest favourite product is coconut oil. Because we don’t use any dairy products, I’ve been trying so hard to find a suitable substitute for butter – not an easy task! I’ve baked with a few different oils and found that both olive oil (‘light tasting’) and rice bran oil are good substitutes, though I can still taste a difference, and the results are never quite satisfying. And…I was really missing Vegemite!! Because anyone knows you can’t eat vegemite without butter, right? Until…I found coconut oil. Talk about amazing.

So after some experimentation, I discovered that two types of coconut oil can be used in different ways. Firstly, there is the ‘standard oil’. It tastes like coconut, but not really strongly. Although you do need to buy the ‘good stuff’ and different brands taste better, in my humble opinion. The brand that I prefer is JT’s Coconut Essence – Pure Coconut Oil. It’s cold pressed (good) and organic (very good!). It has a slight coconut taste, so is beautiful in baking.

Then there is the ‘tasteless’ option. And this is where it gets kinda exciting. Because if you spread this stuff on toast or crackers, then add vegemite, I swear it’s almost the same as using butter. The brand I’ve discovered, that is the bomb as they say, is Biomedicals Certified Organic Coconut Oil (Tasteless). I use it as a butter substitute (when I don’t want the coconut taste) and it’s beautiful in both raw and baked recipes. And just in case you haven’t come across coconut oil yet, it’s actually solid when kept cool, which is why it can be spread.

And the best thing is, that coconut oil is incredibly healthy!!! Which makes me a happy Vego Mama. Both of the links I’ve provided have lots of info. I will add a disclaimer here and say that of course, coconut oil is a fat (and it’s a saturated fat), so it needs to be used sparingly, as with any other fat. But…the health benefits are said to be in abundance, even in small amounts. And I’m a big believer that cutting healthy fats out of your diet so you can remain skinny is neither healthy nor sane. But that’s just me : )

I’ll add a couple of coconut oil recipes soon - a vegan chocolate pudding that we’ve been experimenting with, and some biscuits that my friends said are ‘to die for’.

Have a great week!