Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eggplant Patties

It seems that many of my recipes lately mimic mince meat :-/ It's not something I'm aiming for.... it just seems to be happening that way. I'm just enjoying incorporating more veggies into our diet in ways that a bit different than usual. 
Did you see my recent post of broccoli bolognese?

Today's veggie presented in a different way is 
Eggplant Patties
(Makes 10-12 patties)
You'll need:
2 medium eggplants
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic

1 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 tomato paste

Chop the eggplants into pieces/cubes. Chop the onion and crush the garlic. Saute in a pan adding splashes of water if the mixture begins to stick. Cook until the eggplant is mushy and no longer white in colour.

Add the mixture to a food processor & pulse the mixture until it is sticky and slightly lumpy but not too finely chopped. 
Gently stir in the remainder of the ingredients until well combined.
Don't be worried if the mixture appears too sloppy to work. This helps the patties from drying out too much.
Shape into patties and place on a lined baking tray. You can either use wet hands, or just spoon amounts of the mixture directly onto the tray & use the back of the spoon to press them gently together.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 30-40 minutes until well browned and cooked through. Flip the patties over half way through baking.

These have been a huge hit in our household each time they've been made. There never seems to be enough leftovers for each of us to take them the next day! They reheat well to become an addition to lunches.

Question of the day:
Do you prefer to eat veggies plain or turned into something a little bit more creative?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In My Kitchen December - Vegan Eating in New Zealand

I have been meaning to post this for several months now, but this year has just escaped me wayyyyyyyyyy too quickly!
So I thought what better inspiration than to link this post up to the last In My Kitchen for this year!
Thank-you to Celia for being a wonderful host, as always. 

Link your post with bits and pieces from your kitchen at Celia's blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.


We spent 3 weeks overseas earlier this year during winter. What a cold time of year to be exploring New Zealand!
My husband and I went to New Zealand 4 years ago and loved it. We were always busting to take our daughter back, and also to re-explore ourselves. 
So this year when the opportunity arose for us to do that, off we went.
Though traveling as a vegan isn't always easy. Thankfully we found it quite ok in New Zealand, I'm sure not all travel destinations would be quite so easy! Most places had vegan options, even written on the menu without special requests.
And although we did have kitchens in each place where we stayed, we also enjoyed several meals out. 

Here's our vegan kitchen adventures in New Zealand:

When traveling our breakfast is always quite simple. We rarely ate breakfast out. Overnight soaked oats featured frequently, sometimes with the addition of cocoa powder. We bought a bag of ground flax seeds on our first day & that lasted us throughout the trip. Breakfast also was the time when we got to experiment with various non-dairy milk options that were available. I can't say I'm a fan of any of the new ones we tried in particular, and definitely still find Vitasoy to be my favourite. Mine you, we didn't really try too many as we usually soak our oats in water anyway. Other breakfast options were yogurt & various fruit bowls that were available. I noticed that most of their produce was imported from overseas. I can't imagine they can grow too much in the colder months there.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE cooking in various traveling kitchens! It's always so much fun for me to see what supplies are provided.
Here's a few meals that we had that were easy to make & also comforting favourites.
Red lentil sauce (now made with the addition of corn)- affectionately known as "gloop" in our home. 
We have this every week without fail at home, and on holidays was no different. 
Often featured over bread or baked potatoes if an oven is available. 
This is a great stove top meal that can be made with one pan & all the ingredients are items that can be bought with no leftovers needed to be stored, so great for traveling.

 Another favourite at home is a Mexican meal, and that also featured on holidays.
I made the most of having an oven in this location and chopped and roasted potatoes with mexican spice mix. The addition of microwave rice with frozen corn & salsa meant we were well and truly satisfied with this meal. A basic red kidney bean & veggie mix was served in wraps, with a very handy sealed pack of mashed avocado that we found in the grocery store. 
A truly satisfying meal that didn't take too long to create...
And thankfully we not only had a oven but also a dishwasher in this hotel ;-)

We made these cheeseless pizzas (minus the nutritional yeast but they still worked out awesome) when we had a 'microwave oven'. 
I don't know how to explain this machine - it looked like a microwave but it cooked like an oven! It was awesome! 
We had this one evening when we had a late lunch & weren't particularly hungry by dinner time. A small jar of Italian herbs was another of the basic items we purchased on our first grocery shop and it traveled with us for the duration of the trip.
We used wholemeal pita breads to create this quick & easy dinner that was so warm & comforting on a freezing cold winter night!

And now for dessert! We aren't big dessert eaters and if we have dessert at home it's usually just blended frozen fruit. However, since we also celebrated my birthday overseas that meant it was hugely important to make cake! 
Thankfully, vegan versions of cake mix are fairly easy to find - and with the addition of our 'breakfast' flax seeds turned into an egg replacer we made a marvellous birthday cake. Complete by being topped with coconut cream that was set in the fridge overnight!

Another dessert was simply a can of pie apples topped with oats, flax and cinnamon (another item that traveled with us), baked in the oven to mimic apple pie.

And now for the eating out part:

Mad Mex is a favourite of ours at home, and on holidays it was no different! Unfortunately we only found it in Auckland though, but it was our go-to lunch option for the few days we were there.

We found a fantastic health food store in Devonport where we enjoyed a treat of date balls and vegan smoothies.

Last time we travelled to New Zealand we were delighted when we found Burger Fuel. We had only come across it on the last few days of our trip. So this time, we made the most of this with their 2 vegan options for burgers. These burgers are totally delicious. It was both the first & last meal of our holiday! 
We prefer the  V-Dub burger (vegan option available), however the Tofu Combustion burger is also vegan. I remember enjoying the Tofu burger tremendously last time however this time I definitely preferred the V-Dub burger.
When we came home last time we raced out to Newtown to enjoy the only Burgerfuel restaurant in Australia. Sadly it hasn't spread too far and now there are only 2 stores in Australia. I sure hope this chain will grow in Australia in the coming years.  
If for no other reason than to again see this sign that gave me a great chuckle ;-) 

I was looking forward to our time in Wanaka, as I have very fond memories from our first trip of Red Star Burger shop.
This place honestly has the BEST VEGAN BURGERS I have EVER eaten.
Thankfully they didn't fail to impress again this time.
Firstly - they have vegan options on the menu - TICK.
Secondly - they actually taste good - TICK.
Thirdly - you aren't looked at like a freak when you actually request those items - TICK.
And the people who serve you are polite and helpful. 
Honestly I cannot speak highly enough of this place!
I thought I was in paradise when I got the lentil pattie burger, but then when we returned the next day to again indulge in a burger for lunch I ordered the felafel burger and my taste buds simply did not know what to do with themselves!!! Bliss in a burger for sure!
If you head to Queenstown - take a drive out of your way and get a burger here! You won't be disappointed.

Also in Queenstown we found a fantastic Mexican restaurant Sombreros - again with vegan options stated on their menu.
They were more than willing to cater to our dietary requirements and we enjoyed our first evening meal there so much that we returned again the next day!

 Other eating out options were Italian restaurants - cheeseless pizza with extra sauce is great, and there's always a pasta dish with a side salad with balsamic as a dressing, no oil!!! ;-) We found a range of both good and average Italian restaurants throughout both islands.

And now to mention some products that are vegan friendly that we found there, that we don't have here in Australia:

Yes we have Whittakers here in Australia. But nothing like the range they have over there. Of course with a few vegan options to choose from we had to have a treat of dark chocolate a few times.

I have never seen this 'custard' or anything like it in Australia! I thought it was so smooth & delicious. And although I wouldn't usually purchase products like this at home anyway, it was a nice treat while travelling.

A few tasty goodies that I picked up from a health food shop, again in Wanaka. 
The hazelnut and orange cookies were absolutely delicious. The chocolate cookie.... neither me nor my hubby were particularly a fan. My daughter was delighted that she got the remainder!!!

And OH MY OH MY OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I MUST share with you about Nice Cream
We were walking in Wellington when I saw a health food shop and said I wanted to pop in for a look. We each came out with a different flavour of this coconut ice-cream...... and from then on each time we saw it we bought some. Also available in large tubs in regular grocery store!!!
It is so so delicious.

And last but not least on my product list is a magazine that I enjoyed reading and some cruelty free laundry liquid that travelled with us, nice to see cruelty free household liquids like these available and easy to find in other countries.

It's funny to me to look back on my pictures from our holiday. I have a coffee in my hand in many of the photos and I happy snapped these pictures because I find jokes about coffee quite funny. I have since given up coffee, so now these provide double the laugh for me! 

So there you have it!
I finally got around to doing my travelling in New Zealand post! I hope you enjoyed this "out of my kitchen" post.

When you travel do you prefer to make your own meals, or use that time to treat yourself to meals out?