Monday, April 21, 2014

pesto, oh!

i've loved pesto my whole life but used to be entirely unimpressed by homemade versions. no idea why, but now it just works :) for a genovese-style meal, cook a medium potato and a handful of green beans and serve with pesto on top of spaghetti. if you don't have the roasted garlic (wrap a head of garlic in foil and bake at 180C for 30 mins), gently pan fry 4 cloves of minced garlic in a teaspoon of oil on low-medium heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown. raw garlic should be avoided in this recipe. 

1 oven roasted whole head of garlic
0.5c raw cashews (or pine nuts, walnuts, or soaked almonds, or a combination)
0.5c olive oil
0.25c nutritional yeast flakes (from health food store)
1Tbs apple cider (or white) vinegar 
0.25tsp salt and ground pepper, plus more to taste
3-4 bunches of fresh basil (try your local Asian grocer- usually fresher and cheaper than supermarket basil, though may taste slightly different to Italian basil)

rinse the basil and remove large stems- small stems are fine. 

blend all ingredients except the basil in a food processor until well blended but not entirely smooth. add basil a handful at a time to the processor and blend before adding another handful. adjust seasoning to taste. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

fat tony's greek veggies

this is a bit of an odd one: made for me many years ago in canada by an austrian hellenophile, i won't claim whether this dish has any greek authenticity. it is, however, incredibly delicious, and simple to make- plus the vegetables can be substituted for others (though these are my favourites). quantities are approximate- whatever fits into your dish (note: chunkier pieces will take up more room). 

cut into 1.5cm thick slices:
1 red capsicum
1 small aubergine
1 large zucchini

10 cherry tomatoes, pierce with knife 
5 cloves roasted garlic, peeled 
1-2 green spring onions, cut into 0.5cm rounds

juice of half a lemon; cut the other half into 3-4 slices 
1Tbs apple cider vinegar
1Tbs maple or agave syrup (or raw sugar)
1c olive oil
1tsp each salt and coarsely ground pepper
2Tbs dried oregano 

arrange the vegetables, garlic, onion and lemon slices into an oven proof dish at least 10-15cm deep. add the remaining ingredients and top with enough water to almost cover the vegetables and leave at least a centimetre from the top of the dish so it doesn't overflow. cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes at 200C. 

serve with plain white rice or crusty bread. 

there will be lots of sauce left- either fish out the veggies and cool a new lot in the existing juice, or use it as part of a salad dressing!

Monday, January 27, 2014

salad of rubies

a stunning salad! beautiful for a substantial summer meal, or to impress friends as a gorgeous starter (or work lunch :) )

1 large tomato
1 cucumber
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint, finely sliced (substitute fresh parsley and dried mint if not available)
0.5tsp salt
2tsp lemon juice
1 tin kidney beans
1 pomegranate
0.3c pepitas (pumpkin seeds, shelled)
0.25tsp ground black pepper
3Tbs pomegranate molasses (available from delis and nut/spice provedores)
2Tbs olive oil
100g baby spinach or baby leaf mix
chop tomato into 2-3cm chunks, and slice cucumber; add to salad bowl with salt, lemon juice and mint; toss gently to combine. 

drain and rinse kidney beans; remove pomegranate jewels from the main fruit; add both to bowl. add all the other ingredients except greens; toss gently. add greens and toss before serving.

this can be made 6 hours or so ahead of time and refrigerated if greens are added right before serving.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

the chocolate crackle gets more crack-like

here is a post for chocolate crackles that anyone with a mouth and a need for deliciousness must read. crackles contain the essentials of life: coconut in two forms, cocoa for strength and general hipness; and the crunch of a thousand rice puffs. somehow, no doubt in violation of some natural law, i have made them BETTER.

read on.

4c puffed rice cereal
0.5c icing sugar, sifted (or blitz some raw sugar in an electric spice/coffee grinder for 10 seconds)
1.5c desiccated coconut, toasted on low- medium til light golden brown in a dry frying pan
200g coconut oil
0.25c cocoa powder
1-1.5c raisins and pitted prunes, finely chopped 
150g dark chocolate, melted
0.5tsp salt
grated rind of one orange

in a large bowl, mix the rice cereal, sugar, cocoa and coconut. gently mix in the chopped fruit.

in a medium bowl, melt the coconut oil and dark chocolate in the microwave (60-90 seconds). add in the rind and salt. pour this into dry ingredients, stirring gently til well combined. spoon into a loaf or brownie tin (remember: silicone rocks!) and press firmly to level and refrigerate until firm, then slice into squares.

Monday, January 20, 2014

you NEED masala dosa. if nothing else, the potato filling.

from top: cucumber salad with mint, brown rice, masala dosa potato filling, red lentil daal

i tried to make dosa once (from a packet mix), and let me put it this way: grasshopper is in need of much patience. the potato filling is almost as satisfying without the heavenly, lacey crunch of the dosa crepe. who am i kidding- the potato filling will do me only until i can get to salaam namaste dosa hut in west footscray or maya vegetarian in surry hills!!

1kg potatoes (waxy are best, such as dutch cream)
2 small onions, finely sliced
2Tbs finely grated ginger
2 fresh chillis (red or green, mild or medium heat- up to you), finely sliced
1tsp turmeric powder
pinch of salt

4Tbs oil (coconut is the best, olive or other is fine)
2Tbs mustard seeds (i use black mustard, either should be fine)
2tsp garlic powder (though the recipe calls for asafoetida- must get me some- garlic is apparently similar)
5-6 fresh curry leaves (optional)

cut potatoes into large chunks (2-3cm); boil in salted water until cooked. drain and mash coarsely; set aside.

heat oil on medium in a large frying pan for 1 minute: add mustard seeds, cook for 1 minute, then add garlic powder, followed by sliced onions, chillis and ginger. cook on medium-low until onions are soft and becoming translucent- avoid browning. add the curry leaves, if using.

add turmeric and salt, a little more oil if needed, and the potatoes. fry for about 5 minutes, mixing gently until the spices and onions are mixed through the potato.

serve with daal, chapati, and cucumber salad.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

my body is a temple: fried brown rice with greens

at this time of year, kitchen slavery and the excess of rich foods assault the palate and brain: this is your incredibly delicious saviour. 

per person:
1tsp olive or other oil 
50g firm tofu, in 1cm cubes
1c cooked brown rice (preferably refrigerated overnight)
1 bok choy, sliced in 1cm sections (separate white and green)
6-8 snowpeas
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
soy sauce and sesame oil to taste

gently fry tofu on medium-high heat for 2 minutes before adding the rice. fry for a further 2 minutes, sautéing gently then adding garlic, bok choy white stem parts. cook for two minutes before adding bok choy greens and snowpeas. reduce to medium-low heat, cover with a lid for one minute, then add ginger, soy sauce and a  touch of sesame oil before removing from heat and serving. 

ahhhhhhhh :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

all you need is cinnamon granola

someone made this on tv last night. my mouth was half full of dinner, yet i NEEDED to make this RIGHT NOW. and since the person who told me about date syrup isn't forthcoming in reminding me what the hell i was supposed to be using it for, this is date syrup's first outing chez loulou. looks like i'll be making more later in the week- half of it's gone already! enjoy :)

2c rolled oats 
1.5c seeds and roughly chopped nuts (eg almonds, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)

1c unsweetened coconut flakes (or coarsely shredded)
2Tbs ground cinnamon 
0.25tsp sea salt 

1c raisins or other dried fruit (cherries, chopped apple or apricots)
0.75c date syrup (buy this from a Middle Eastern grocer, or substitute 0.5c maple syrup or agave and 0.3c pitted dates blended til smooth with 3Tbs warm water)
3Tbs coconut oil, melted (or grapeseed, macadamia oil)

preheat oven to 150C.

mix all the dry ingredients except for the fruit together in a large bowl. add the date syrup or maple/date mix and stir til the dry ingredients are well coated.

line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat, or lightly greased baking paper or foil. spread the mix evenly and bake for 15 minutes; carefully stir the fruit in and bake a further 15 minutes. allow to cool (not completely, just til warm) and break into clusters; cool completely and store in airtight containers.

serve with grated apple and coconut yoghurt!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

summer tacos

everybody needs tacos. much like vietnamese rice paper rolls, these are a party-in-your-mouth, nutritious, joy of a meal, and are pretty flexible as long as you have the outside wrapping and a couple of other bits. coming into summer, i'm not really into the idea of standing over the stove, and with the exception of heating the taco shells in the oven for 10-12 minutes (don't waste time and add heat to your kitchen by preheating- just whack them in and turn it on), this is a no heat recipe! i'm going to try to post a few more of these- as much as salad rocks, i will want more variety over the next few months without resorting to eating frozen mango cubes out of desperation (mmm, frozen mango...)

anyhoo, the tacos: the secret to this recipe is to not cook the beans. just mix in a medium-large bowl

a 400g tin of beans (black, kidney, or even canellini)
juice of a lime (or lemon)
good dash of olive oil
what will really kick this over the edge is a teaspoon of a spice mix which can be made ahead- either blend pre-ground spices, but if you can, grind them up fresh (with a mortar and pestle if you've got some issues to work out, or an electric spice/coffee grinder- best investment of $30, i promise!).
1Tbs coriander seeds
1Tbs cumin seeds
1tsp anise seeds
1tsp celery seeds
half a cinnamon stick (1tsp ground)
1Tbs marjoram
1tsp black peppercorns
grind to a fine powder, and store in an airtight container.
if nothing else, add just a teaspoon of ground cumin to the salad. then it's up to you and your cupboards- add any or all of these:
chopped jalapeños
fresh chopped coriander 
grated carrot 
sliced red onion 
roasted garlic, mashed 
finely chopped semi dried tomato 
toasted pepitas
baby spinach leaves

serve this bowl of salad with your taco shells, plus shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and cucumber, avocado, vegan cheese or sour cream, and salsa (or the cheat's combo- sriracha chilli sauce and tomato sauce).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

spa ritual workshop!

very excited about my upcoming spa ritual workshop- guiding people on how to create their own facial products and enjoy a spa ritual!

more info and booking here: https://weteachme.com/ceres/natural-cosmetics-spa-experience-with-louise-fischer

Thursday, October 3, 2013

black forest cake for my bday

so it was my birthday recently YIPPEE! i love birthdays- mine, and anyone else's. they are the best reason to make a cake that could possibly exist. my most singular cake love is the black forest cake (or schwarzwalder-kirschtorte) and i've now got a tasty way to make it vegan :)

using my chocolate cake recipe here, add 100g of melted dark chocolate to wet ingredients and combine gently before cooking.

you will also need:

200g sour cherries, drained well, reserving at least 2Tbs of the juice
6-8Tbs cherry jam
1-2Tbs brandy or kirsch, or 1tsp rum or brandy essence- this can be increased to taste (but the cake may not be able to hold more than 3Tbs- experiment!)
300ml carton soytatoo soy whip or other cream substitute
2tsp icing sugar
dark chocolate shavings (optional)

once the cake is completely cooled, carefully cut in half horizontally. in a small bowl, warm the jam, juice and kirsch/essence for 20 seconds in the microwave (just to make it spread more easily). carefully open the two cake halves (this may require the use of a large spatula and a plate- whatever works for you), and spread the jam mixture on the bottom half.

in a medium bowl with high sides, whip the cream and icing sugar with electric beaters or manual beaters (if you're a real gun with a whisk, go for it- i wouldn't chance it. the soyatoo seemed like it wanted to work itself into soft peaks for me, so that's a plus). spread the cream over the jam layer as thick as you'd like it, reserving enough for the top of the cake. you may want to cover the whole cake in cream, or just give it a little hat- up to you.

sit a layer of drained sour cherries on the cream; i set them 1cm apart but would have preferred more cherries, so would recommend a complete layer- cherries all touching their fellows.

carefully place the top layer of cake onto the rest, and top with cream, more cherries, a dot of jam, and dark chocolate shavings.

myaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh yum.........

the cake looks a little flat, but with care can be sliced once cooled completely. maybe if you wanted to go totally OTT you could make two, slice them both in half and stack them on top of each other. ohhhhhhhh let's go there...

i used gluten free flour, which has less backbone than gluteny flours, but i managed to slice and assemble to cake without it falling apart too much.