Death Star Cake Pops

Well, here it is: Mr. AA’s birthday “cake” – a fleet of nerdy, edible Death Stars.

Death Star Cake Pop - Vader 1
Darth Vader endorses Death Star cake pops.*

Despite them being a bit of a “craze”, I didn’t really know much about cake pops until this experiment – and although I did a bit of research and asked a friend of mine plenty of questions, I still ran into a few problems. I’ll talk you through the process with some photos below.

First up, I was horrified to learn that the inside of a standard cake pop is crumbled cake mixed with icing to bind it all together. This just seems like WAY too much sugar for my liking. Mr. AA isn’t much of a sweet tooth, so I tried to find a way around this by purchasing one of these silicone moulds that will bake your cake into spheres (hence eliminating the icing altogether). I thought this was a rather brilliant solution. The outside of a standard cake pop is made from “candy melts” – something that isn’t even remotely vegan. The next best thing? Melt some chocolate. Easy peasy.

To make the process a little quicker, easier and gluten-free-friendly, I started by using an Orgran cake mix. This back fired on me a little – the gluten free gal I shared them with thought they were great, but this was hands down one of the worst cakes I’ve ever tasted. It was rubbery in texture and fairly bland. You could tell it was made with water and the sugar and chocolate flavours just weren’t strong enough. The cake mix also didn’t rise too well, leaving my spheres a little flat and lop sided.

Death Star Cake Pop Tray
Silicone cake pop tray in action. Cakes pictured contain gluten.

So… I went ahead and made two more batches of cake batter from scratch. I used the “basic chocolate cupcakes” and “simple vanilla & agave nectar cupcakes” from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. These worked brilliantly – they rose the right amount and tasted amazing.

Tips/notes:

  • Use a cupcake recipe rather than a cake recipe for the batter.
  • Don’t be conservative – fill the pods to the top.
  • The holes in the top half of the silicone tray are for releasing steam. Don’t try and poke your sticks through there.
  • Place the silicone tray on a metal tray or it’ll flop around and you’ll make a mess with your batter.
  • After cooking, leave to cool for a couple of minutes before peeling off the top half of the silicone tray.
  • Leave to cool a little longer before removing the spheres and popping onto a cooling rack. If you’re having trouble removing the balls, poke a sharp toothpick into the sides to help loosen them.

DS Cake Pop Insert Stick

Right. Next! I was told by more than one person that the best way to get your stick to stay in there comfortably is to freeze the balls, melt some chocolate, dip the stick in melted chocolate and insert into frozen balls. The freezing probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it helps. Trust me. It means your cake won’t fall apart in your hands when you’re trying to push the stick in and the cold temperature will set the chocolate fairly quickly.

Death Star Cake Pop Cut Out

Now that the sticks are in, it’s time to cut out the “dish”. You can skip this step if you’re making regular cake pops, but who would want regular cake pops when they could have DEATH STAR CAKE POPS. Am I right?

Whether you want to freeze these for a little while again or not is totally up to you. If it’s a hot day, I’d recommend it. If not, grab your paring knife and get started. I hope this part is fairly self explanatory, as I didn’t take any photos or video of me doing it. But basically a small, sharp, pointy knife will go a long way in making this easy for you.

Time to put these back in the freezer (yes, again). At this point, you’re probably thinking I’m a little insane, so I’m just going to point out two things. 1/ I really really love Mr. AA and 2/ I worked on these 3 nights in a row after work. They didn’t come together in a few hours… So yes, they will require some love, time and effort.

DS Chocolate Coating

The next step is to melt some chocolate. You don’t need a special pot for this – I used a small pot with some water in it and a ceramic bowl on top. The golden rule is: don’t let the boiling water touch the bowl. If it does, your chocolate will over heat and be ruined to the point of no return.

You’ll need a chunk of polystyrene for this – I recommend making a series of holes in it in advance with a skewer or screw driver. Leave it in the freezer.

Cover each cake pop with melted chocolate by dipping it into the bowl and twirling it around. Tap on the edges of the bowl until all the excess chocolate drips off, then stand it in the polystyrene in the freezer. Repeat for each individual cake pop. This process is a little slow and painful, but worth it.

Tips/notes:

  • If you’re using dark chocolate, you won’t have any issues. If you use white, chocolate, however, you’ll find that it doesn’t melt down quite as thin. In fact, it’ll still be fairly thick and difficult to work with. Whisk in a little canola oil to help thin it out. If you don’t, your bowl will be full of cake that has been torn off by the thick chocolate. It might make you cry. Or swear. Or both.

You’re nearly there…

Death Star Cake Pop Fleet

I painted these guys with some cheap paint brushes, as I don’t have air brushing tools. It worked fine, but you’ll need to leave the base coat to dry for a few hours before painting on the smaller details.

Tips/notes:

  • Don’t take these out of the freezer and try to paint them on a really hot day. Condensation will keep building up on the chocolate making it near impossible to paint – especially since the paint is water soluble.

Death Star Silver Food Paint

I used this silver food paint, which claims to be both vegetarian and gluten free. As far as I could tell, it’s also vegan – however ingredient E110 states “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”. Probably not the best thing to be putting into your body, but I made an exception for this special occassion.

There wasn’t enough difference between the light & dark shades of silver paint, so I mixed some black food colouring into the dark silver which made it show up a lot better against the light silver, but it also reduced the colourfast-ness of the paint and resulted in silver lips while eating. Oh well. It’s ok to look like a space man once in a while!

So there you have it – a lengthy tutorial on a special Star Wars dessert.

Death Star Cake Pop - Vader 2

*This is not an official endorsement; I’m just being silly.

Pastisio/Pasticcio

This dish, pronounced “pastitzo” to the Greeks and “pastichio” to the Italians is something my yia yia (Greek grandmother) made often when I was a child and I loved it. Of course, her version was made with a meaty bolognese and a Greek style béchamel that has an egg whipped into it. You might have tried that type of white sauce before on moussaka.

At the age of 12 when I was trying to become vegetarian, this dish was one of my weaknesses and much to my yia yia’s dismay, I eventually started scraping out the layer of bolognese and just eating the pasta and béchamel. Thankfully, with a bit of imagination and skill, I can recreate a vegan version of this childhood memory in my very own kitchen!

Traditionally, yia yia always used tubular pasta but you could use any pasta you like – including gluten free.

Pasticcio 3
Serves 8-10, depending on the shape of your baking dish. Mine divides into 9 comfortably.

400g Dry Pasta of your choice, gluten free if required
4 C Lentil Bolognese
2 Batches Cashew Béchamel
Seedy Seasoning (optional)

    • Cook & drain the pasta. Spread it evenly across the bottom of a baking dish.

Pasticcio 1

    • Spread the lentil bolognese sauce evenly across the top of the pasta.

Pasticcio 2

  • Spread the cashew béchamel evenly across the top of the lentil bolognese, sprinkle with seedy seasoning & bake @ 180C for half an hour to heat through or 1 hour to brown on top.

Lentil Bolognese

I haven’t really divulged or discussed my heritage on this blog… What better time to tell you than now! One of my parents is Italian and the other is Greek – so as you can imagine, I was surrounded by some pretty amazing food while growing up. In addition, I was brought up in a culturally diverse suburb of Melbourne where being caucasian made you the minority – so I learned to accept and embrace different races and cultures from a very young age. I can’t thank my parents enough for bringing me up in such an environment and I have no doubt that this has heavily influenced my curiosity with international cuisine.

Although I was born and raised in Australia, because of my upbringing, I sometimes struggle with understanding Australian slang and colloquialisms and am also both baffled and humoured by Australian home style cooking. You know what I’m talking about – desserts using Kellog’s cereal or Arnott’s biscuits as the main ingredient; meals that are flavoured with tinned soup or sachets of dried soup… And of course Vegemite, which will always confuse and bewilder me. I may have had a chance with Vegemite once upon a time, however my sister convinced me that it tasted like Nutella so I shoved a heaping tablespoon of it in my mouth. To this day, the smell of Vegemite makes me want revenge.

I also have some very amusing food quirks and opinions that I don’t even realise are odd until someone laughs at me for voicing them. For example – we always used flat leaf parsley in our house and mum referred to the curly variety as “Aussie parsley”, while insisting that it had no flavour; kalamata were the only type of olive I’d eaten until I was in my twenties.. and of course: tomatoes are rubbish unless they’re home grown.

I’m sure as this blog develops, you’ll read more bits and pieces about what led me here – but for now, a recipe!

Lentil Bolognese
Yields 8.5 cups and is suitable for freezing.

1-2 TBSP EV Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed or finely diced
1 Brown Onion, diced
2 C Diced Eggplant OR Button Mushrooms
2/3 C Red Capsicum, diced
2/3 C Carrot, diced
2/3 C Celery, diced
1 C Dried Green or Brown Lentils (2.5 C cooked)
1/3 C Red Lentils
2 C Vegetable Stock
140g/4.5 TBSP Tomato Paste (no added salt)
1.5 C Tomato Puree
1.5 C Diced Tomatoes (400g tin)
1/4 C Red Wine
1/4 t Raw Sugar (optional)
4 Bay Leaves
1 t Dried Oregano
1/4 C Fresh Basil, chffonade or torn
1/2 C Fresh Parsley, chopped
S+P

    • Bring 1L (4 cups) of water to the boil. Add the dried green or brown lentils and cook with lid on for 35-40 minutes on low heat. Soak your red lentils in about a cup of cold water.

Bolognese Chopped Ingredients

    • Meanwhile, dice up all your veggies and prepare your other ingredients. By the time you’ve done this, your lentils should be cooked – drain and set aside. Also drain the red lentils that have been soaking in cold water.

Bolognese Other Ingredients

    • Add oil to a deep sauté pan on medium-high heat. Cook onion for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and all other fresh veggies, stirring every couple of minutes until the veggies are tender but not soggy. The veggies should start releasing their own juices; constant stirring will release too much heat and slow this process.

Bolognese Saute

  • Add all the lentils, diced tomato, tomato paste & puree, oregano, bay leaves and stock. Simmer on low heat with lid ON for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the sugar (if using) and leave to cook on low heat for a further 10 minutes. This will reduce and concentrate your sauce.
  • Stir in the fresh basil & parsley with some salt & pepper (if using), then serve on pasta of your choice.

Chocolate Mousse Crumble

This is a semi-raw, rich & creamy mousse that’s dairy, gluten and egg free! There’s a hint of coconut flavour from the coconut milk, but you can’t taste the avocadoes at all, I promise. The tartness of raspberries cuts through the richness of this nicely – I recommend serving with fresh or defrosted raspberries (or any other berry), or a berry coulis.

I made this on a whim tonight, with a list on ingredients but no guidance on quantities. A huge thanks goes out to my friend Jodie for the inspiration.

Choc Mousse Crumble
Serves 10

Mousse:
3 Haas Avocadoes
270ml Coconut Milk*
2 TBSP Raw Cacao Powder
1/4 C + 2 TBSP Agave Nectar

Crumble:
1/4 C Almonds
2 Pinches Cinnamon Powder

  • Blend together all mousse ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  • Divide mixture in a couple of silicone muffin trays. Your mixture will make 10 serves of mousse.
  • Pulse together crumble ingredients, sprinkle onto mousse and freeze for at least 3 hours. If you choose to freeze longer, remove individual serves from silicone tray and defrost in fridge for approx an hour before serving.

*I recommend choosing a full fat coconut milk that doesn’t contain emulsifier. In Australia, the Ayam brand is good! It has a clear definition between the milk and the solid cream layer on top.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Tangy Chive Oil

Today’s recipe is another one that will require my cashew béchamel sauce. Soup may not seem that exciting, but to get a soup this rich and creamy and vegan (and soy free!) is quite an accomplishment. Brace yourselves, chefs and other dairy enthusiasts – because this concept will knock your socks off.

Cream of Cauli Soup2
Yields approx 2.8L

1 TBSP Oil
1/2 Brown Onion, diced
1/2 C Potato, peeled & diced (not the waxy kind)
3 C / 5 Stalks Celery, roughly chopped
1kg / 1 head Cauliflower, stalks & florets, roughly chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 1/4 C Cashew Béchamel*
4 C Vegetable Stock (low sodium)
2 C Water

  • Place a large pot on medium heat with the oil in it. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the potato & celery. Sauté for a further 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up to high and add the cauliflower, stock, water & bay leaves. Bring to the boil and cook with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes to reduce the soup.
  • Remove the bay leaves and prod a piece of diced potato with a fork to make sure it’s tender. If it’s not, cook the soup a little longer. The smaller you dice your potato, the quicker it’ll cook – so try not to throw in large chunks.
  • Blend the soup with the cashew béchamel in batches, return to the pot and stir over low heat to combine and heat through.
  • Serve, or let it cool and portion it out into containers for your freezer!

*If you’ve made this in advance for the previous recipe and stored it in the fridge, it’ll be fairly thick. In this case, use 1 heaped cup with a couple of TBSP of water blended together.

 

Tangy Chive Oil

Up close
Yields more than you’ll need but will keep in the fridge for use with other dishes.

Now, for the tangy chive oil! Don’t bypass this if you can help it. The herby, lemony tang cuts through the creaminess of this soup superbly. My only caution to you is that you use a good quality (and preferrably organic) olive oil – and if you don’t like the taste of olive oil, use something more neutral like canola oil – because you’ll definitely be able to taste it.

1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic if possible!)
1/2 C / 10g Fresh Chives
2 Scant tsp Lemon Juice
Salt (a couple of pinches)

  • Blend all ingredients except oil in a small food processor. Add the oil in a thin stream until all ingredients are well blended. you may need to scrape the sides of your food processor down with a rubber spatula. If some visible pieces of chives remain, don’t panic.

*If you don’t have a small food processor, you could use a magic bullet style blender, or even have a go at doing this manually in a mortar and pestle – just be sure to chop/mince the chives as finely as possible beforehand to make your life a bit easier.

Coconut-Cashew Vanilla Ice-Cream

I’ve been in the mood for a sweet treat this week and banana soft serve simply wasn’t cutting it. I wanted something creamier, richer and fattier. Thus, I’ve come up with a coconut-cashew vanilla ice-cream recipe for you! It’s quick to throw together, but you’ll need to devote about 6 hours to being close to your freezer unless you use an ice-cream maker (don’t worry, most of it is inactive, so you can go about your business doing whatever you need to get done at home). The texture of this is smooth and creamy. Many cashew based ice-creams use water and this causes them to form icicles as they begin to freeze – you won’t have that problem here.

Coconut Ice-Cream
Yields approx 750ml

2 C Coconut Milk (use a good quality one without preservatives if possible)
1 1/2 C Raw Unsalted Cashews
1/4 – 1/2 C Agave Nectar (to your taste – 1/2 C will be VERY sweet)
2 t Vanilla Extract

  • Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender until smooth. I normally give it about a minute.
  • Pour into a 1 litre air tight, freezer friendly container and place in the freezer with lid on.
  • Stir/mix/agitate every 2 hours for 6 hours with a miniature whisk. You could also use a fork if need be.
  • Leave in the freezer overnight/8 hours, then dig in when you’re ready! Serve with some dessicated coconut if you’re feeling fancy.

Recipe Notes
If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can use a food processor – but only a top notch food processor will work. I would make the following recommendations to make sure your ice-cream isn’t grainy:

  • Soak the cashews in the coconut milk for an hour or two before doing any blending.
  • Start by grinding only the cashews in the food processor, then slowly adding in the wet ingredients. This will encourage your food processor to create a smooth paste and will avoid grainy bits.
  • Follow the remainder of the instructions as written above. You may need to process a few more times as it starts to freeze.

Chunky Tomato Fire Sauce

I’m not shy when it comes to spicy food; anything that makes my mouth tingle after eating it makes me a very happy camper indeed. If you’ve got any stomach sentivitity issues like ulcers or gall stones, I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home (though if you really want to – you should probably omit the chili and go easy on the peppercorns). The recipe below is for “regular hot”. If you want it super duper hot, by all means, dump some cayenne pepper in there too (but don’t blame me if your butthole burns the next day, k?).

I served this with some crumbed tofu, brown rice & fresh, torn basil. I’ll give you some vague directions on that, but really, this post is about the sauce.

Chunky Tomato Fire Sauce
Serves 4

1-2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Red Onion, diced
1/4 C Pitted Green Olives, sliced
1 tsp Canned Green Peppercorns, roughly crushed or chopped
2 Small Red Chilies, finely diced
2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Soft Brown Sugar
2 TBSP Tomato Paste (no added salt)
2-3 Large Vine Ripened Tomatoes, roughly diced

  • In a heavy bottomed pan, sauté the red onion in the olive oil until softened.
  • Add all other ingredients except tomato to the pan and stir until heated through and mixed well.
  • Add diced tomato, agitate pan and cook for a couple of minutes until thick and heated through.

Accompaniments:

  • I cooked 3/4 C long grain brown rice in approx 1+3/4 C water with the lid on until all the water was absorbed. (Sorry guys, I don’t always measure out the water or time how long it takes!) The rice will have a little bit of chew to it – don’t worry, that’s normal for brown rice.
  • For the tofu, I used a good quality firm, organic, 250g block of tofu. I cut it into 8 thick batons, dipped in rice milk, then dipped in crumbs and pan fried. The crumbs were panko bread crumbs (you could use rice crumbs if you need these to be gluten free), about 1 TBSP of seedy seasoning & lots of freshly cracked pepper.

For anyone who isn’t vegan but might be making this for a vegan, read your bread crumb ingredients VERY carefully, or make your own with bread that you know is vegan. Unfortuantely, most Aussie bread crumbs contain tuna oil!

Cashew Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce)

This béchamel sauce is pretty close to my heart. It developed as a result of two things: soy milk bechamel being utterly revolting and the raw food world sucking me in with delicious cashew creams and cashew based dips.

There’s a number of ways you can use this very versatile sauce, so please don’t feel limited by my suggestions. My favourite way to have it is baked on nachos (instead of cheese), but it’s also good with lasagne, enchiladas & moussaka. It’s a great creamy pasta sauce base and works well on cauliflower & broccoli. I’ve also used it in a creamy potato bake (scalloped potatoes) which turned out pretty special! You’ll probably see it referred to more than once on this blog. I don’t like to brag, but this is one of my best creations. Make it a food staple in your life; you won’t regret it.

Cashew Bechamel
Makes 3 & 1/4 cups

1 1/2 C Unsalted Cashews*
2 C Water, divided into 1 1/4 C & 3/4 C
1/2 tsp Powdered Stock
1 tsp Savoury Yeast Flakes
1 TBSP Olive Oil Spread or Margarine
Pinch of Pepper

High Speed Blender Instructions

  • Blend cashews and water together until smooth & creamy.
  • Add the cashew/water mix to a pot on low heat and whisk in the powdered stock & savoury yeast flakes. Slowly add in the extra 3/4 C of water until your desired consistency is reached. The longer you leave the sauce on the stove, the more it will thicken.
  • Stir in the olive oil spread and add a pinch or two of pepper if desired.
  • Remove from heat & serve or proceed to use in another recipe.

Food Processor Instructions

  • Grind cashews in food processor and add 1 1/4 C water in a slow, steady stream. It will be a little grainy – don’t panic.
  • Add the cashew/water mix to a pot on low heat and whisk in the powdered stock & savoury yeast flakes. Slowly add in the extra 3/4 C of water until your desired consistency is reached. The longer you leave the sauce on the stove, the more it will thicken.
  • Stir in the olive oil spread and add a pinch or two of pepper if desired.
  • Remove from heat & blend again in the food processor until smooth & creamy, then serve or proceed to use in another recipe.

Notes:

  • Keep in mind that this sauce will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  • The sauce will also thicken a little further when baked.
  • The best thing to use to get this out of a pot without making a mess is a rubber/silicone spatula; the kind you use for baking (not the egg flip sort).
  • This sauce is freezer friendly but will need to be blended again after thawing to ensure smoothness!

*You can use “raw” or dry roasted cashews, it really doesn’t matter that much. I prefer to use “raw” (which are actually steamed), but will often use roasted if that’s all I can find.

Thick & Rich Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Serves 4

2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Brown Onion, roughly diced
2 C Eggplant, cut into 1cm dice
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 of a Green Capsicum, cut into bite sized chunks
1 Red Capsicum, cut into bite sized chunks
1 Zucchini, cut into 1cm thick semi-circles
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 1/2 C Tomato Puree (no added salt)
1/8 C Red Wine (I used a Yalumba Cab Sav)
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Raw Sugar
S+P to taste
Fresh Parsley to serve

  • Heat oil in a deep saute pan on med to high heat. Add onion & eggplant. cook for 3 minutes, agitating but not stirring. You’ll want to keep in as much heat as possible.
  • Add the garlic, capsicums & oregano. Cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Turn the heat down if necessary.
  • Add the zucchini, tomato puree, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt. Stir to combine, then cook on low heat with lid on for approx 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender but not mushy.
  • Stir in salt & pepper to taste, then serve with some fresh parsley if desired.

Ratatouille is excellent served with bread; in the picture, I’ve served it with cous cous. If you’re looking for a gluten free alternative, try rice or a simple risotto, some millet or quinoa.

Book Review: The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for my absence this past week – I’ve been on a serious veggie burger bender, cooking up a storm from a new book called “The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet”.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger

Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger & Chipotle Dipping Sauce
These burgers are seriously wicked! They were the first ones I tried and it honestly made me feel like the rest of the book had a lot to live up to.

They firmed up with cooking and held together impressively. They were better baked rather than pan fried. I tried both; the fried ones are pictured above. The recipe makes 8 decent sized patties that contain both gluten and soy. You could easily use gf flour, but you may need to be a little more creative with substituting the tofu if you’re allergic to soy. On the upside, if your aversion to tofu is purely aesthetic, you can’t even tell there’s any in there.

Chipotle (smoked jalapenos) aren’t common in Australia – it was great to be eating something unusual, but keep in mind that if you’re in Australia the ingredients won’t be easy to find. I had to order canned chipotles in adobo sauce from USA Foods.

I’ll definitely be making these again but may halve or omit the sugar altogether next time. This is solely a cultural preference; I know ‘mericans love to pair up sweet potatoes with sugar but Aussies generally find them sweet enough on their own.

Other than that, my only real issue was that these take hours to make and there’s no time indication with the recipe. The sweet potato took an hour to bake. After assembling the mixture quickly I had to refrigerate for 10-20 mins, bake 20 mins on one side, then flip and bake a further 20 mins. Not ideal for a quick week night meal (unless you have some already made and frozen), but definitely worth the effort!

Oh! And the dipping sauce is nice and spicy!

Potato Samosa Burger

Potato Samosa Burgers

I was really keen to try these; sadly, they let me down. The recipe is gf but the patties didn’t hold together at all. The instructions said to fry in plenty of oil but it wasn’t working so I tried less oil and still ended up with loose peas all over the frying pan and patties that were falling apart.

Both of my attempts ended up too greasy and the raw onions, which didn’t cook with the burgers, really ruined the flavour and texture. The best part of this meal was my chickpea sakad and mint sauce!

On the whole, the idea for this burger is great but the recipe definitely needs work. I won’t be making these again.

Curried Chickpea & Broccoli Burger

Curried Chickpea & Broccoli Burgers

I thought these were my favourite burgers until I tried the super quinoa burgers (pictured below) – now I can’t decide!

The recipe makes 6 patties and comes together both quickly and easily. There’s more than one option for cooking these – I chose to bake them, then gave them some pretty grill marks in a griddle pan.

The flavour is mild and wholesome. You could add extra Thai curry paste if you wanted a stronger flavour, but it’s not necessary – especially if you dress these with a nice condiment like mint sauce or tomato chutney.

There burgers contain gluten, but you can actually purchase a gluten free gluten substitute made by Orgran.

Super Quinoa Burger

Super Quinoa Burger

I enjoyed the “Super Quinoa Burgers” over a simple bed of shredded lettuce and carrot with some vegan mayo (that somehow squeezed out looking like silly string!). These burgers are quick to throw together, have a lot of flavour and are a little crispy/crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. These ones are a serious winner; I’ll definitely be making them again!

On the whole, this book is awesome. I love the concept and the way it’s divided into areas of the world. Good veggie burger recipes are hard to come by and are a good thing for every vegan to have up their sleeve. Having scored three great burgers out of four means the book has already earned every cent that I spent on it.

There’s mention of which recipes are gf and/or soy free which I find handy – although if you have the smarts, you can generally get around these obstacles. A lot of the recipes contain wheat gluten (or as Americans call it, “vital wheat gluten”), and TVP. I avoided the TVP ones like the plague (and there are many), because I generally find the stuff too chewy and uncomfortable in my mouth. Something about it is just… wrong. That being said though, it’s good that the book includes these recipes, because it means that it appeals to all sorts of vegan palettes.

At the back of the book, there’s a token dessert section which has some tasty looking stuff in it, but it feels REALLY out of place. I think the author could have skipped the desserts altogether, or created dessert burgers, in an effort to stick with the theme. Other than that, the only thing I would change is to add suggested prep/cooking times to the recipes.

This book is an excellent buy and I highly recommend it!