Sunday

Asparagus Sesame Salad and Cold Leftover Napolitano Penne




We’re FINALLY on holiday in Plettenberg Bay. I’m so immensely excited to be here, I can’t even describe it in words so I’ll describe my general demeanour since we got off the plane. I’ve been driving Ryan slightly nuts with my squealing, wide eyes, huge toothy grin and excessive bouncing around. Perhaps that begins to elucidate my mood. I would live here if I could. Ryan leaves soon and I will stay on to focus and finish my thesis. I’m not leaving until I do. Hopefully that will be over within the next three weeks so that I can fly back before my birthday. In the mean time, I plan to document everything I cook and eat, as well as all my adventures that don’t involve food so that you can all see what I’m up to. It will be a welcome distraction from my work. But not too much distraction because I don’t have an internet connection at home where I will be writing, nor will I be leaving home too often.

I hope that, while I am here, I can adjust my diet to what I want it to be. Free of fried foods of any sort, free of processed foods, as much raw food as possible and as few carbs as possible - although I am NOT cutting out potatoes (stamps foot and pulls face).

I am so lucky to have somewhere like this to retreat to, to finish writing a thesis that I have been unsuccessfully pursuing full time for the past few months. I’m finished three quarters of my masters course and this is the last component. I need to punt it out, and there is no greater privilege than having the opportunity to further my education in such a beautiful, serene and creatively stimulating place. I have always been stimulated here and now I form some sort of plea, akin to prayer I would guess, to the writer’s block in me to bugger off. (Laughable!) I’m making excuses and creating personified ghost scapegoats. Really all I’m hoping for is the will power to sit and type because all the information is ready. I need to stop being distracted and stop being lazy! And I need to stop making excuses not to finish.

I’m a lucky girl. What a beautiful day it is! Read on for the delicious food I got to have for my lunch – I guess it’s the reason you’re reading this entry in the first place! Ryan loved the salad – silly, but a little triumph every time he enjoys a dish as much as I do. His taste buds are quite different to mine…

Vinaigrette:

1tsp white balsamic
4tsp olive oil
zest ½ organic lemon
1/2tsp wholegrain dijon mustard
1tsp whole raw black & white sesame seeds
12 Pecan nuts (6 per person)
1tbs agave nectar syrup (or maple syrup/unrefined unbleached sugar – I’m a big believer in using whatever is on hand to replace elements in recipes. The agave is local however, and maple syrup is imported. The carbon footprint on the agave is much lower where I am.)
salt & pepper to taste
Add chopped fresh ginger or fresh chilli if you’re after some zing, although I didn’t.


Asparagus Salad:

I have a friend who is way more of a foodie than I am, and he’s very experimental with his cooking and eating. His obsession is reasonably recent however and he started off quite slowly. He’s an awesome cook now, but for the first 27 or so years of his life he had never tasted asparagus. His first taste was a canned variety and gosh, was he bitterly disappointed in the soggy piss flavoured vegetable that he encountered. That is NOT what asparagus should be like.

Asparagus Tips (pun not intended, but acknowledged):

Never buy canned asparagus! Yuck! Fresh only! And yes, I AM telling you what to do. The canned veg is totally soggy and has lost all of its beautiful colour. Disgusting. You want to put only the most delicious in your mouth and the best, freshest produce in your body. Please don’t compromise on asparagus, at least.

Remember to wash all your vegetables. Asparagus has some special prep if you want to make sure there isn’t any soil left in the head of the spear. Cut off a small slice from the ends (not the sharp spear head – the blunt end to be specific) as they’ve often hardened while waiting to be purchased and are unpleasant to eat. Place all the asparagus in a vase with water (like flowers) with the heads above water and the fresh cut stems soaking up all that goodness. This makes the heads open up so that when you wash them a couple of minutes later the soil and anything else trapped in there comes out really easily.

You want to be careful not to overcook the asparagus – you want it to be fresh, flavoursome and crunchy. I probably boiled it for three minutes. I also did this step first and transferred it directly to the plates after draining so to allow it to cool down before the salad was assembled.


I boiled the asparagus briefly in a shallow pan with some water, fresh organic lemon juice, salt and pepper. I’m trying not to fry stuff at the moment, but asparagus are delicious fried with some garlic, salt, pepper, lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil until a little golden (but still firm). Add the lemon when everything starts sticking to the pan. If you don’t mind how many kilojoules there are in your food add a little vegan margarine to it too for that nutty flavour that you get from frying stuff in vegan butter.

Ingredients:








Cooled Asparagus
1 Carrot cut in whichever way you please
Cucumber
Butter lettuce
Basil

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad just before serving so that the lettuce doesn’t wilt.

Cold Leftover Napolitano Penne


We had just arrived at my family holiday home in Plettenberg Bay on the South African Garden Route, it was too late to eat at a restaurant in town so we scavenged from what my parents had left in the house, cooking that along with the asparagus I had brought on the plane from Jo’burg. Consequently there is no garlic in this and no fresh parsley. We ate the leftovers, however, with some fresh mint and fresh flat leaf Italian parsley cut in, as we had gone food shopping the following day.

Penne (Gluten Free or Durum Wheat – whatever strikes your fancy)

Boil the penne until still slightly al dente and add to the pan that has the sauce cooking for about 30 odd seconds. Serve dressed with Olive oil

Makeshift Napolitano

Tin of whole Italian tomatoes
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce (some have fish as an ingredient, but South African brands like Colman’s don’t seem to. There is also an imported brand called Life that I’ve written a blog post about. All available in big supermarket chains around the country.)
Salt and Pepper
1tsp French Herbs Mix
Salt & Pepper

Serve with some Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs playing. Aural and Oral stimulation! Whoop!

Monday

Best Holiday Reads; Holiday Kisses



As we’re slowly creeping towards our summer holidays, I just read an article in the UK Guardian about the best holiday books, a list that I have been saving since June. A compilation of nostalgic entries from a number of different authors and playwrights’ most memorable reads, in reading this wonderful article from which I have copied a list of books that sound enticing, my mind started to wander to which of my holiday novels stood out the most. Bear with me, as this is a long post - but probably an entertaining one.

I spent my entire childhood reading anything I could get my little hands on, and when I wasn’t reading, I was writing all sorts of nonsense in my journals. We spent almost every holiday in Plettenberg Bay on the South African Garden Route Coast, in a little village just outside the main town called Keurbooms. Everything, as one can imagine when an entire childhood of holidays is spent in one setting, is a blur. A flurry of novels read, magazines scoured for information about boys, diary entries, hot sand burning my feet, getting dunked by waves, sparberry soft drinks, magnum ice creams, sand in every possible crevice, standing on crabs while swimming: resulting in my running out of the water screaming, rainy days, winter holiday log fires, Christmas trees stolen from the side of the road… so much of that sort of wonderful happy holiday blurriness.

I remember always being the last one up, reading in the lounge and eventually dragging myself to bed where I would continue reading well into the following morning, until I had finished that day’s book. I went through all the phases of Goosebumps, James Patterson, James Herriot, trashy romance novels from a best friend, Ayn Rand, Chuck Palahniuk, Hunter S. Thompson, J.D. Salinger, Roald Dahl, Tolkien (The Hobbit over and over), Dickens, all sorts of other classics, CosmoGirls, Metalhammers, Archie Comics and a pile of other comics which I read on repeat. I remember well the white bedsheets with red ladybugs all over them and the way they felt, reading on the beach, reading at restaurants (to my parents’ dismay - they always wanted us to chat to them), in the car on the trip down (with my discman on full volume blaring angry teenager nonsense like Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park), on the way to the grocery store – probably also with my discman in tow - all the while getting weird looks in the condiments aisle because of the din emitting from my headphones.

But among all those mingled memories of holiday reading, the only book that really stands out to me with its own time and place on holiday was when I was fourteen. I was about to turn fifteen, and there were several boys from Johannesburg in town that I had mad crushes on. One was a blonde surfer dude with freckles, gorgeous golden white curls on his head who offered to put sunscreen on my back every morning. Another was a darker, shorter, but strikingly handsome boy who was staying in a house on the strip where all the really wealthy people build their houses – Beachy Head Road.

I kissed both of them that holiday! The blonde one was one of the greatest disappointments imaginable, he told all his friends that I’d let him kiss me straight afterwards, about which I was terribly embarrassed. The following day on the beach I wouldn’t speak to him, couldn’t look his friends in the eye as I was mortified that they had made fun of me, and I lay there, next to him, reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (getting ahead on the following year’s school reading – terribly nerdy).

In retrospect it was such an appropriate companion to that holiday! All the drama of kissing boys and my father’s great irritation that all I wanted to do was to see my friends on the beach. I was a little more like insensible Lydia, less like Elizabeth, but imagining myself much more like the latter! I wanted a love story! The blonde not only made snarky comments about my reading at the beach while everyone else was smoking and being sociable, but he also left me to drown in the ocean (not to negate how strong a swimmer I was at that point) when three huge waves tumbled upon us consecutively. Every time I managed to come up for a breath, I’d breathe in the next tsunami-like wave instead of air. Luckily I somehow managed to save myself, only to realize that the boys I had been swimming with were tiny specks on the beach looking for me nonchalantly, flattened hands raised to their brows in a stance that says ‘we’re looking for hot girls in bikinis – any one will do!’ Part of me, at that moment, wished that I had drowned!

I was very pleased that I hadn’t though, as the day before our departure from Plett I met said dark and handsome boy. He was much more kind, sophisticated and intelligent than the previous mishap and he invited me back to his holiday home for dinner with his family after a day of friendly banter at the beach. I was thrilled, but lamentably had no time to go home and change, ineluctably I worried terribly about the way I looked and smelled. Straight from the beach in a wrap and a strappy semi-transparent pink blouse, his lovely mother leant me a cardigan, while their personal chef made dinner (like nothing I’d ever experienced!). His seemingly much older brothers amicably teased me about all sorts of things, and taunted him about me. He had a shower while I listened to music in his bedroom, Liquido – Narcotic on repeat, and I felt my entire body tingling with the anxiety of being in his room (with the possibility of seeing his freshly showered, sporty torso), at his house, about to have dinner with his folks! He eventually emerged from the shower, fully dressed (to my great but very innocent disappointment) smelling wonderfully of clean boy.

After dinner I got a grand tour of the place, a tiny architecturally placed patch of grass in the middle of the patio which overlooks the beach that the house is built practically on top of, a personal movie theater underground, a billiards room… We watched Blade, which immediately became one of my favourite movies – one my parents had never let me watch no matter how obsessed I was with vampires. We attempted to play billiards for a brief period alighting instead upon a long, romantic, moonlit walk on the beach. He held my hand, we stopped to kiss, we walked a little further, sat on some flotsam log, kissed a little while longer until we suddenly realized our phones had no signal and it was WAY past my very leniently extended curfew for that evening. We had a very brisk walk back to the house, which took immensely longer than it felt on our way out until we ran into his family whom had been searching for us with flashlights! My father had somehow got hold of his mother and he was beyond furious, and on his way to fetch me. I was in a flat panic! Needless to say I was grounded and my phone was removed from me briefly, but for long enough to be incredibly painful. In spite of the drama, however, the boy and I carried on a long distance romance for a couple of months while he was on exchange at Eton in the UK. It was a delightfully romantic and eventful December, all of it, punctuated with the adventures of the Bennet family and my misadventures with my own family.

The following holiday, a winter holiday, there was a new boy that I had a crush on. Ending my relationship with the dark and handsome boy, an absent and lackluster romance by April, I started a new romance that lasted until the following holiday, in August. Mr April to August was my first real broken heart, but I don’t think he even read his schoolbooks. He was a rugby jock that destroyed the English language every time he opened his mouth, but a wonderful kisser, so we just didn’t speak much. By the end of August, heartbreak survived; there was a new guy, an Italian who played the lead guitar in a band. Fickle? Perhaps, but nobody can accuse fifteen year old me of wasting my time!

My only love affair from those days that well and truly lasted, however, was with Jane Austen and her fictional mastery. I can always pick up an Austen and disappear into nineteenth century England, but I will never again want to immerse myself in the drama of being fourteen.

Rage for Order - Breakfast

So I haven't written lately, not because I haven't been eating, but because I've been studying! I thought I'd just pop in a quick post about what I was up to for breakfast this morning, simply because I can't believe how healthy and carb free my breakfast was, that I seemed to have chased away a Monday morning head cold with a grapefruit and that I was studying by 8AM! Things are looking up for sure! A productive weekend of studying, only three beers but some regrettably oily and carby food lead to what is looking to be a great Monday!



So yay for the most amazing combination of vanilla chai tea, dried apricots with raw almonds, a whole grapefruit and my banana that I am yet to indulge in!

Dried apricots and raw almonds together create the most spectacular flavour that I've tasted in a long time. An ex housemate used to combine the two - what a discovery! Those are complementary flavours if I've ever found any! The vanilla chai is also perfect with it, as it adds a bitter alternative to the dried apricots that can prove to be almost too sticky sweet.

I've just finished reading 'A Rationale for Collecting' by G. Thomas Tanselle sitting at our wonderful new acquisition - a beautiful Danish dining set with my blossoming white irises. You can also see how much our grass has grown outside, all the better for a happy puglet! Life is great!


Thursday

Waverley Hills Organic Vegan Wines

I was thrilled to find a new brand of Organic wines yesterday while I waited for a shop to open. (how is it that the bottle store is open at 8:30 but the appliance store isn't?) They're all priced under R200, some under R50 and they seem to have a variety of wines to choose from! They even have a sparkling wine! (a little more pricey...)

Waverley Hills farm is in Wolseley, South Africa and you can contact them on this email address for your nearest stockist.




We tried the Rosé tonight at Girls' night and it's a lovely wine! Fresh and sweet, but still dry. Totally drinkable! I'll report more once I've tasted the others. In the mean time, go to the Dunkeld West centre in JHB to get your hands on this wine!


Happy Breakfast!

Ryan has just rushed out of here, a little late for work because we overslept - so badly that I was still sleeping when he ate breakfast! So amidst a loving farewell and a dancing pug, I made myself something delicious to eat and drink.



Apple & Cinnamon Muesli with Vanilla Chai Tea
(And perhaps some grapefruit for dessert!)

I feel like breakfast this morning is a real treat, I even opened a box of Alpro Unsweetened Soya Milk, something usually saved for special occasions, like béchamel. I used to LOVE the Woolworths Organic Rice Milk, it was fantastic! It was everything I had dreamed that boxed milk alternative could be! I'm so upset that they've replaced it with the disgusting and artificial tasting Rice Drink. Chocolate cereal will never be the same again! They went together perfectly. So instead Ryan and I have started mixing milk alternative from powders, which is much better than the very expensive box alternatives, except for the grainy sediment that you can't seem to get away from. The best brand we've found so far is the Nature's Choice Rice milk, available from most 'health' stores and wholefood stockists. It is working out a lot less expensive than our box a day habit before, lamentably, Woolworths changed everything.



Cereal has somewhat lost its appeal to me since, but I have a new found love for Muesli, and I can't seem to stay away from them but Woolworths has a bunch of sugar and honey free options, for example the Apple and Cinnamon Muesli I'm eating this morning. It's delicious but I don't like buying it because there is way too much packaging involved. It's separated into little serving parcels, of which one is not enough for me by a long shot, which are convenient if you need to keep them in your desk drawer for yogurt topping. I don't have that requirement, but it isn't available in a bigger box so I end up buying it and tormenting myself about all the plastic unnecessarily used in the packaging.



The Vanilla Chai Tea is also from Woolies, and as much as this article displays my love-hate relationship with this completely overpriced convenience store, they have unbleached teabags for most of their house brand teas. Nothing warms me to a product more than when they choose not to put harmful chemicals into products, customers, or the environment. Also, the tea is highly addictive and delicious! The ingredients are black tea, spices and no strange ingredients - wonderful!



All the while, listening to the Top Ten XX Covers that awesome JHB DJ Duchess and music blogger Slightly Single posted - some super cool stuff! My favourite so far is the Gorillaz cover of Crystallized!




Wednesday

Vegan Gnocchi

I love a plain pasta dish - Olive oil, salt and Italian flat parsley are my most common ingredients with any pasta, and that's it. Maybe I add a little of Ina Paarman's Chicken Flavour Stock Powder for some variation and flavouring, but more often than not it's only three ingredients.

Woolworths has amazing Vegan Gnocchi for sale in their Fresh Pasta section. I usually skip it because everything contains egg, but I like to explore every now and then anyway, just in case!



I grew up in Italian Restaurants, especially one called Cortina in the Hyde Park shopping centre which was a little family run affair. At four years old I knew what I wanted and that was Gnocchi Napoli. No exceptions on the Gnocchi. The waiters stopped asking what I wanted and just brought it, so often my family ate there. We basically became family with the lovely owners we were there so often. Nonna used to make the most INCREDIBLE little dessert biscuits as well, dusted with icing sugar... I remember it all so well.



When I was 9 years old we went to visit Cortina in Italy, and it was ironically the only town we had been to where my parents could not find a plate of gnocchi for me. Ten hours of driving through the mountains of Italy in heavy snow without chains on our car's wheels, we arrive back at the hotel famished because my father couldn't find a satisfactory restaurant and we find out that the hotel serves Gnocchi! I was thrilled, but I think it was a real palm to forehead moment for my parents.



I made the Woolies gnocchi for us a couple of nights ago and it was soft and lovely, fluffy - just the way fresh gnocchi should be. Ryan and I both loved it, but I think that it's my new favourite dish. Apparently it freezes well and also keeps in the fridge for about a month.

Another little family owned Italian restaurant in Oaklands, Johannesburg called Tortellino D'Oro (on my JHB restaurant list) makes amazing vegan gnocchi. Just ask them to hold the cheese and the butter. Katterina, the manager and owner is very well informed about vegan requirements.

Amazing Grapefruit!

I never used to like grapefruit - the bitterness, the taste, nothing about it was appealing to me until about a year ago. I have become increasingly addicted to the wonderful pink flesh of this citrus and I absolutely crave it in the mornings!

I make myself a grapefruit salad of some sort most mornings around ten, just to have something in my tummy. I'm super grumpy if I'm hungry at any point of the day, so I'm always munching!

My grapefruit salads vary constantly depending on what is in the fridge, but the best combinations I've come across are below. I made a salad today that didn't really work for me though, so if I were to advise anyone on this, leave out the cranberries. *pulls disgusted face*



Grapefruit and Clemengold Salad

I loved this combination! It was very yummy, but Ryan isn't a huge fan of these sort of funny salads. Now I make them when he's not around to moan about grapefruit being in strange places!

Organic Mixed Lettuce
Watercress
Rocket
Grapefruit flesh
Clemengold peeled and chopped - no need to take the husks off, they're so soft and disappear when you eat them. If you can't find clemengolds, any variation of sweet citrus will be fine!
Vinaigrette  - I just used white balsamic condiment and olive oil
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds
Sesame seeds
Any other seeds that contain Omega oils are great

Grapefruit and Celery Salad

I use Grapefruit and Celery as the base for this salad almost every time, and I just add whatever else I find in the fridge or pantry that seems like it would combine well with the bitterness. Any of the following ingredients (other than the main two) can be left out and you'll still have something wonderful!

Grapefruit flesh
One stalk of chopped celery with the yummy little light green baby leaves from the centre
Watercress
Sweet black seedless grapes halved
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts
Pear or Apple slices
Vinaigrette

I love these salads, they're so quick to make, wonderfully raw and healthy - although unless you eat a big bowl, isn't enormously filling. Great snack though to take the edge off mid morning hunger.

Yum! I want another bowl now! I may just...

Tuesday

Jonny's Tricolore Fettucine

I love it when friends that aren't vegan cook for us! There are always such lovely yummy things that appear! I don't recall any gross vegan meals from friends - they rock!

So our lovely friend made us some pasta tonight - I gate crashed a designer meeting for his forthcoming independent cinema's poster, and so glad I did!

He made us a lovely tricolore fettucine with fresh veggies and loads of garlic!



Tricolore Fettucine with Cherry Tomatoes

I didn't ask about the ingredients, but I will. I'm assuming:

Cherry tomatoes, flash fried in garlic, seasoning and herbs with the cooked pasta, some chopped peppers, rosemary - definitely - and Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

I'm a little bit in love with rosemary at the moment - it's such a wonderful herb with so many different vegetables! I've been using it in all the roasts and pasta sauces I've been cooking recently. It's so flavourful, and deliciously crispy when roasted. Ryan doesn't eat the stalks so I get all of them to munch! So crunchy and full of flavour! I also read somewhere that rosemary is packed with nutrients, so why not?

It was wonderful! I love fun food like multi-coloured pasta! We also had a glass of Alto Rouge red wine with the meal, a gift from my father - mmm!



Vegan Cheese available in South Africa



Our aged macadamia nut cheese is made using the same procedures for making traditional dairy-based cheese and contains no preservatives, stabilizers, artificial ingredients or additives. It is a 100% dairy-free,
100% gluten free, 100% lactose free raw vegan cheese. It actually tastes like cheese, you will love it!

Our 100g TATAMOO macadamia nut cheeses are hand made. That means the weights of each piece are approximate.
Macadamia nuts are a high energy food and contain no cholesterol.
The natural oils in these nuts contain 78 per cent monounsaturated fats, the highest level of monounsaturated fatty acids of any natural commercial food. Monounsaturated fatty acids are the ‘good’ fats. These super-nuts contain no cholesterol and no trans fatty acids
They’re also a good source of protein, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber and are very low in sodium.
The protein component of nuts is low in lysine and high in arginine.
These super-nuts contain the sugars, sucrose, fructose, glucose and maltose.
They’re rich in: Iron Potassium Phosphorus Magnesium and Calcium.
They also contain significant levels of Zinc, Copper and Selenium.
The most significant vitamins are: 6 Vitamin E Thiamine (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and folate.


Free Food makes No-D Cheese - Local to the Johannesburg area, this is your only locally made vegan cheese that I can find. These cheeses and other Free Food products are available at Fresh Earth, Craighall Spar, and on vegan pizzas at The Greenside Cafe. Some of them are nut free, all gluten and wheat free, all sugar free, all dairy free and they all melt reasonably well over a pizza or in a toasted sandwich. It comes in a variety of flavours, such as Plain, Basil Pesto, Rocket Pesto, and there are two variations of sea vegetable cheeses. They're made from an agar agar type of mix, and my favourite is the Basil Pesto one! Nothing like real cheese, but who cares when it's this awesome! They're also the most affordable of the lot of cheeses available. Fresh Earth and The Greenside Cafe's pizzas use something akin to a blended up version of this, and it works wonderfully for some cheezyness!

Photos By Ariel Cohen of Free Food
Vegusto NoMuh - The most wonderful Swiss Vegan Cheese products! The Checkers Hypermarkets seem to stock them most of the time, Fresh Earth in Emmarentia is stocking it and the Craighall Spar also stocks NoMuh in a range of flavours. It doesn't melt superbly, and tastes a little different when heated, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The walnut one is my favourite, but they're all delish! These are very expensive, but probably worth it if you have a huge craving.


Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese - The only place I've found this WONDERFUL thing is Thrupps in Illovo. It's yummy with everything and anything!


Cheezly - So the Cape Town Waterfront Pick 'n Pay and the Emmarentia Checkers stocks this, but almost every time I buy it it's already expired. It's not meant to be watery or taste like yogurt, as a precaution. It's delicious when it's not off and it melts well!


Life Vegan Cheese Shakers - To be found at Pick 'n Pay or Dischem, often in amongst the real cheese. Definitely worth a try, but not really what I would call fantastic. Very powdery and doesn't taste exceptional. It's also gluten free, which is lovely for those of us who are looking for gluten free vegan products!



Nature's Choice Mock Parmesan - This Parmesan substitute is very tasty, made from nuts and spices it's very difficult not to just eat it out of the packet with a spoon. We love this on pasta dishes, it has a wonderful sweetness to it that I'm willing to attribute to cashew nuts!


Vegan Cheese Sauce

So we can live without cheese? I certainly do, but I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve. I now only have brie and blue cheese to find replacements for! My brother is working on it!

Photo from Oh She Glows

Oh She Glows has a wonderful sounding mac'n'cheese sauce that she makes from cashew nuts. The first time I heard of cashew nut cream, I read it in Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook and I rushed to buy raw cashews so I could try it. It is one of the most incredible things I've made in my kitchen, and by far the best cream substitute I've found. As far as creams go, Coconut Cream is obviously also wonderful, and Orly Whip actually becomes whipped cream, but the former always tastes like coconut, and the latter has a long list of funny sounding ingredients. I like food that contains maybe one or two ingredients, I try to avoid chemical or artificial ingredients most of the time so anything else feels excessive and unnecessary.

I've tried so many 'cheese sauce' recipes and I've found out that I don't like the taste of mustard and turmeric over macaroni very much. I always hold back on those ingredients as they can be overpowering if one puts even slightly too much in. Fake cheese does not have to be yellow.

Vegan Béchamel

My most successful is my Vegan Béchamel sauce that I use for veggie lasagne. It's amazing! It's my mother's recipe for normal Béchamel that I've converted. Unfortunately it's not Gluten Free, but I'm sure it would be easy to transform.

1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Vegan Butter
1 Litre Soy Milk (I like to use the Alpro Soy milk for this, the quality is unbeatable)
1 tsp Maizena mixed into a half cup of cold water (Cornflour/Egg replacer) (This isn't necessary but it helps to thicken the sauce)
1/4 tsp Marmite (Vegemite)

Mix the flour and vegan butter together to form a crumbly mix. Add slowly to the heated soy milk and marmite, stirring continuously. Only add the Maizena if it isn't thickening up - you can also add more flour and butter mix if you desire.

This Béchamel even gets a little crusty in the oven, it's great for cheese substitution.

Photo from Oh She Glows

Vegan MOFO - Peanut Butter Tofu

So I've just come across the most wonderful drive called Vegan Month Of Food - Shortened to Vegan MOFO. They've recruited Vegan bloggers from all over to participate officially in this month of posting as many posts as you can in your blog about the food you're making in October.

They also repost a lot of the awesome sounding recipes on their site - definitely something to look at! These are some that caught my attention, and sound absolutely scrumptious!

Newman Improved posted Baked Peanut Butter Tofu. (Photo from Newman Improved.)



Cupcakes and Kale posted Gluten Free, Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce. (Photo from Cupcakes and Kale.)



Ryan makes an amazing Alfredo Pasta sauce using Fry's Vegan Polony, spinach and mushrooms with a delicious Orly Whip Dairy-Free Cream sauce. I can never quite cook his dishes the way that he does, it's amazing comfort food and the vegan polony tastes pleasantly smoky, a great ham substitute! It's even a bit pink, for some polony realism.

Monday

Awesome Vegan Blog - Orange Soup

The Vegan Stoner: the most charming and lovely little vegan recipe blog!

They take mouthwatering photographs and draw all the ingredients of their wonderful looking food. All the recipes are really simple, so for the lazy vegan, or for anyone who thinks that being vegan requires a huge amount of effort, it's really helpful. No more excuses about how difficult it is to be vegan! It's amazing, go read it! Here is their Orange Soup recipe as an example of how cool they really are!


Masterchef Australia - British Food Invention Test

Embarrassingly, we are very excited about Australian Masterchef. We can't wait for the next episode to come on, and we're terribly sad when we've watched all our recorded episodes! We already know who wins the first season, so it has taken away some of the thrill, but it was inevitable, considering we watched the second season first.

On Saturday we watched an episode where they had to cook something British, so Ryan and I immediately started craving baked beans, mash and peas. This resulted in our Sunday night dinner being deliciously English.

Vegan English Dinner

Mash

Ryan taught me how to cook potatoes - I was completely useless with them before he came along. So anything that has a potato in it, a lot of credit goes to him!

2 large, peeled sweet potatoes
6 peeled carrots
2 regular potatoes, also peeled
Vegan margerine
Oat Milk (or any milk alternative)
Pinch of Salt while boiling

Pop all the root veggies and some salt into cold water and bring it to the boil. Always add root veggies into the cold water on the stove. While the water warms up, so do the root vegetables, allowing for even cooking. Leave to boil on a high flame until the potatoes are soft and crumbly. Pour out any water left over (I dunked into my boiling roots for the brown onion gravy's cup of water - so not to totally waste all that water). Add some margerine and milk substitute of your choice, even a splash of coconut cream is amazing! I just use whatever is already open. There is always an absurd amount of butter that goes into any delicious mash, so I did put a good spoonful of marge in the mash, along with a splash of oat milk. Be careful not to put too much of either in with the sweet potatoes though, unless you want it to be soggy mash. Sweet potatoes aren't quite as firm as normal potatoes when it comes to making mash.

When it comes to actually mashing vegetables, you can do it by hand with a masher thingy, with a fork if it's a small amount or with any blender. I don't like my mash to be perfectly smooth, so I often leave the potato peels on and just roughly mash with the hand held masher, but it all depends on your palette, who you're cooking for (obviously children love puréed foods) and what you're in the mood for.

Beans, Spinach and Peas

1 can Koo baked beans in tomato sauce - They really are the best you can do. And it's not just because the can says so.
a cup of peas
spinach

Microwave or boil the peas with a tiny pinch of salt, steam the spinach and warm the baked beans. I didn't warm the baked beans because by the time I got to that I didn't feel like dirtying any more pots or pans, but I think that it's even more stodgy if you warm them.

Brown Onion Gravy

1 brown onion diced into small pieces
1 tbs Ina Paarman Beef Flavour Stock Powder
Splash of white balsamic condiment
2 cloves of garlic crushed and sliced
cup of water
2 tsp sugar
margerine
splash of oil for frying
DO NOT SALT YOUR GRAVY - you'll be pulling funny faces when you're eating if you do.

Bangers

We usually throw in a Fry's braai flavoured sausage that we pan fried with this good old British combo, but we didn't have any last night. Personally I'm on an anti Fry's strike right now. Yuck for processed food! Yum for fresh veggies! This meal is perfectly filling and lovely without adding processed nonsense.



Orange, Butternut and Carrot Roast Curry

It was the most beautifully sunny weekend! We had a pool party - although the water was too cold to swim, and we had a lovely picnic at Emmarentia Dam with friends. It was idyllic! But as it seems to go, today it's a glum, cold, grey and windy monday with the looming threat of thundershowers. I love this weather as much as I do the weather yesterday, but Ryan and I haven't had any ideas yet about where we can have lunch together when it rains! We're so happy going to look at the Zoo Lake goslings that we have completely neglected to form a back-up plan!

Today's weather definitely lends itself to something warm and comforting to eat, and curry always does the trick for me! I've also decided however that it's time to say goodbye to carbohydrates as well as I possibly can, as they've snuck into way too large a percentage of my diet for me to be happy with! And my friend Alice has cut them out on weekdays, so I'm jealous. I'm not very good at denying myself anything when it comes to food, so if I find myself really feeling like something I shouldn't be eating I'll have a little bit - like a small pack of crisps - so we'll see how well this undertaking progresses.

Orange, Butternut and Carrot Roast Curry

I love having colour themes in dishes, it looks so pretty to have a dish composed of different textures and the same colours. I've been watching a lot of the Jamie Oliver cooking and gardening program 'Jamie at Home' recently and I think he and I have very similar taste buds. He loves to make vinaigrettes that he either uses on salads or roasts. I've taken his advice and have started using citrus instead of boring vinegars. Thus, an Orange juice based roasted curry is part Jamie, part my love for curry and citrus.

Juice of one orange (and some of the pulp - yum!)
Three parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the one part acid, which is an Orange in our case
One large butternut cubed into large chunky pieces
Several carrots, I just added until it looked like the amount I wanted
two small onions quartered
two cloves of garlic, chopped and crushed into the olive oil
season to taste
one teaspoon of Cape Malay curry powder from Woolies (I'm too lazy to compose my own curry mixes every time I make curry, so if you want a yummy mix, this one rocks)
one teaspoon of hot curry powder (also the woolies variety)
three sprigs of rosemary (I know that isn't something traditional to curry, but orange and rosemary are such good friends, you want to have them in a dish together).

Roast until golden brown and soft! A very slow roast often tastes the best, so roast anywhere between 100 and 200 degrees depending on how much time you have. The slower you roast the sweeter the dish becomes, and always make sure it doesn't dry out! YUM! Can't wait! I may even pick up some vegan indian breads on the way at Spiceburg, when I drop off X-Men at The Majestic video shop! hehe...

Thursday

Stellar Winery - Organic and Vegan Vino



Organic Wine has a very special place in my heart - not only because of the ladybugs and ducks that look after the grapes by eating the goggos, but because one of my father's dearest friends tried to start an organic wine farm that caused him great financial trouble, and eventually led to great struggle for him. He was so passionate about it, and I remember how nobody believed that an organic winery had any place in the industry. He was about ten years too early with his organic endeavour and lacked the finances. He was a pioneer and one of the most wonderful men I ever met! Yay for organic wine and their farming methods!

This little organic wine farm, Stellar Winery, produces a whole range of wonderful Vegan wines, and their boxes are labelled as Vegan. AMAZING! The wine also tastes pretty delicious. They're also fair trade. I'm a little bit in love with them!

Woolworths stocks a bunch of their wines, the 'insert verb' 'insert animal' wines that have ORGANIC written all over them. They also make a lovely sparkling wine AND they deliver! Don't you love them too?

For more info go to their site - but in case you're too lazy to do that right now, here's something about them nicked from their site.

"Stellar Winery, South Africa's largest producer of fine organic wines, processes organically-grown grapes for the South African and export markets. The grapes are drawn from farms in the Lower Olifants River Valley, part of the Namaqualand area of the Western Cape. This is an area famous for its spring flowers and is also the only semi-arid Biosphere hotspot in the world.
Situated in the Namaqualand hamlet of Trawal, Stellar Winery is privately owned, with the workers having a 26% shareholding in the cellar. 
Well-known for its innovative approach, Stellar has achieved a number of "firsts" in the wine industry. It was the first organic winemaking operation in the world to gain FLO Fairtrade certification and the first cellar in Africa to produce commercially viable no-sulphur-added wines. Stellar has subsequently become the largest producer of these wines in the world and is the number one organic wine brand in the UK.
The organic vineyards and winemaking process are fully certified by the internationally recognised Control Union Certifications, based in the Netherlands.
Stellar's fair trade certification has delivered positive, measurable changes in working and living conditions to the Stellar workforce through the the global sales of fairly-traded wine. The surrounding Trawal community has also benefited from fair trade through the company's support of local institutions such as the pre-school, primary school and football club."

Zoo Lake Lunch & Roast Potato Dinner

Rosebank Kauai has been without Hummus for absolute weeks now, to my partner's increasing aggravation. All he wants is a Hummus Hummer! Well he got a vegan Mexican Burrito today and they forgot to cut it in half! Poor love! I had the delicious Thai Chicken Salad without the Chicken - Fry's veg strips as the replacement. I think I should have had a veg patty instead though, I think I'm quite over Fry's. Except for the sausages and the occasional polony, the stuff all tastes the same to me! And its not particularly wholesome! Although, I have just noticed that one of my mom's employees has put two of my Fry's burgers in the oven instead of meat! Good for her!



Lunch on a park bench hands down wins as my favourite hour of the day! There are more goslings every time we go! They're too cute, and so clumsy! We love them! We sit there crooning baby talk on a park bench.

So my dearest feels like roast potatoes and I have a craving for bread and bitter salad, so I've made something of everything for dinner!

Green Herb Salad

Rocket
Wild Rocket
Mix of lettuce
Watercress
Squeeze of lemon
Dash of extra virgin olive oil (splash out on the good stuff! South Africa has some amazing and affordable olive oils! Try the Willow Creek at Woolies or their Organic olive oil.)

Oven Mielies and Roasted Potatoes

I boil the potatoes a little first, softening them up so that it doesn't take quite so long in the oven! As they're boiling, peeled or not (whichever you prefer, but I've done them the way my granny does - peeled). I halved the little organic baby potatoes I bought, but you may want to chop bigger potatoes into smaller pieces for more surface area and less cooking time.

(As I'm typing this I'm definitely getting olive oil all over my keyboard. Heehee!)

While the potatoes are boiling, I prepare the pan I'm going to put in the oven. I want to make a delicious onion gravy when the potatoes and mielies are done so I quarter and onion and douse the bottom of the pan with salt and olive oil. I tossed in some fresh lemon thyme and rosemary tonight as well for some of the best flavour you can imagine all over your dish. I put the mielies in as well, four of them because I'm sick of meat substitutes and now I'm compensating with traditional South African braai veggies for our lack of participation on national braai day... (for obvious reasons - I have an encyclopaedia of gripes when it comes to cultural celebration or manifestations).

Now you should have a wonderful oven pan with gorgeous colourful vegetables and a little personality. Be certain everything is well oiled, that there's a thin layer of oil covering the pan, and that it's got enough space for your potatoes to go in. Talking about cultural manifestations, this seems to be a traditionally South African method of preparation. I won't argue, the women in my family make some of the best potatoes I've ever tasted!

To make roast potatoes with some real personality, you drain them and toss them into a bowl. Pour a generous amount of olive oil over to coat them, a generous amount of salt, a small portion of any flour of your choice - I just used normal cake flour - a sprig of rosemary and lemon thyme to get the flavours in there from the get-go and toss it all about in the bowl. Try not to use utensils or your hands, you're going to get more mixture on yourself or the utensil than the potatoes. Pour them into the pan, separate them as well as you can and put it in the oven somewhere between 180 and 200 C. They're probably going to want to be in there for a good 45 minutes, or until golden brown!

While I wait for my love to get home, I've already started eating some delicious bread dipped in herbed olive oil and drinking a glass of Stellar Winery Organic Sauvignon Blanc. Amazing stuff - and affordable! Yay for Woolies!

Brown Onion Pan Gravy

Once everything is nicely golden, transfer to another dish and keep warm in the warming tray. I have an oven pan that I just put straight onto the gas stove, as all the flavours are encrusted after cooking. I mix some maizena (cornflour thickening agent) into a cup of cold water and chicken flavour stock, then add it to my pan. Reduce until you have a wonderful brown onion gravy! Yum! (Alternatively, refer to my Brown Onion Gravy Recipe in another post about MasterChef Australia's Vegan English Dinner).


Tuesday

Ami - Not a Friend!

I'm going to keep this as short as I can, because I don't like to write negative things on a happy blog, but we had such a bad experience at this restaurant that I'd sooner go anywhere else.

Ami was very accommodating the first time I went there. All the items on their vegan menu were available and most of the dishes were lovely - with some exceptions. The roast vegetable platter is very very expensive for a few raw food items, a roasted veggie or two, some not great chips and soggy noodles. The Paella is also terrible, with tasteless vegetables on a bed of watery rice.

The second and last time I will ever set foot in that place there were four vegans at the table. Only three items from their ten item menu were available for order, they had no physical menus to give us, the waiter didn't have a clue what a vegan was and the part that really upset us was that our aubergine stack, although delicious, wasn't big enough to be a starter in a molecular gastronomy restaurant.

Three of us ordered the same aubergine dish, which is considered a main course according to the online menu that is available. It's called the Leaning Tower of Aubergine listed to contain 'Roast aubergine layered with a pomodoro base, crisped baby spinach and savoury tofu, topped by a salty cranberry sauce'. There was no tofu, cranberry sauce or spinach in what we ate.

When we complained as to how utterly tiny the dish was, they told us it was because it wasn't a meat main, so it would obviously be small. Which is total nonsense. They tried every argument against us that they possibly could instead of offering to bring us a more substantial meal, and would not admit to us that it had been a very small portion for a dish that costs close to a hundred bucks.

Aubergines aren't expensive. Nor are tomatoes, or basil. Especially when you're buying bulk for a restaurant. I know. I buy fresh produce.

They treated us like idiots, and they offered no compensation for how unhappy we were. None of us lost our tempers but they were immediately defensive and raised their voices. They constantly spoke over us, would not listen to what we had to say and would walk away mid discussion. We spoke to three different managers that all gave us the same arguments - pointing out that three of us whom all had the same experience couldn't be right, regardless of our still rumbling stomachs. And they had the audacity to point out that it was because we hadn't ordered a meat dish.

Don't waste your time or your money on this restaurant. You will leave as unhappy and unsatisfied as we did. The quality went from great to completely inexcusably terrible very quickly, not to mention that half the restaurant still looked like a building site. I can watch TCM at home and buy my own bottle of champagne, thank you.

Monday

Coriander Pesto a la Sarah B

So I nicked most of this recipe from My New Roots blogger Sarah Britton but as my partner laments, I never really follow any recipes. I do what I want to with an idea a recipe gives me. My mom had a bunch of cilantro in the fridge that had seen better days, so instead of it being wasted, lying there for another week as so many herbs do when you pick too much of it, I was inspired to make a pesto from it. Do go read all the wonderful nutritional facts about coriander on My New Roots!

Coriander Pesto

bushel of coriander
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp coconut shavings
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 garlic cloves crushed and pan fried
a handful of pine nuts pan roasted (they're so expensive in South Africa, I always just put a few in for taste and fill the rest of the nut quota with something else - almonds and cashews are always winners in a pesto!)
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
a teaspoon of sugar (I was too lazy to find my agave that is sitting in a bag somewhere since our move)
a generous amount of sunflower oil

Pasta:

I've recently discovered a new Sasko brand Maize pasta at Pick 'n Pay called Puccini. It's in a dark green packet and under 10 bucks.

Enjoy! This pesto is wonderful, and I can't wait to put it on the vegan rye bagels I bought from Fresh Earth today!

This recipe used to contain raw onion, but I don't make it with that anymore. It just makes it too tangy for my liking. If you do use the 1/4 onion you should probably eat this pesto as you make it because the raw onions become more potent the longer you keep it for. It becomes a little too acidic after a couple of hours. I've also toned down the garlic from 4 to 2 cloves, but add as many as you wish!

Sandwich Assortment - Zoo Lake Picnic

Lunch at the park today was absolutely amazing. There were goslings everywhere, so fluffy and yellow, with all their parents hissing at us as we walked past. It was a beautiful day, so sunny and warm! I'm indescribably excited we're heading into summer, and few things make me happier than a picnic on a park bench on a lovely day.

My partner loves sandwiches more than I do, consequently he always makes delicious out-of-this-world peanut butter (or any other) sandwiches while I make very normal ones. We use the same ingredients, so who knows what his magic touch is?

Thus, today when he suggested sandwiches for lunch, I decided I'd skip my PB&J attempts and go straight for some soya meat replacement burgers. Not the healthiest mix, but sandwiches on white bread aren't particularly healthy anyway.

I bought a long Pick 'n Pay French loaf which is very little like a traditional one. They are crunchy at the ends, soft throughout the rest of the crust, and deliciously soft and fluffy in the centre! There are some dubious ingredients in Pick 'n Pay bread, so although it may be vegan, it's not necessarily something you want to be putting in your body if you're trying to be more health conscious. I buttered the loaf with some vegan margarine (we use Ole - not on my healthy list either but it is nice at times) and chopped it into 8 segments with which I made 3 different burgers.

Burger # 1

1 Fry's Traditional Vegetarian Burger Patty halved
Some fried onions and garlic (burger fried in the same pan simultaneously)
Dijon Mustard
Pickles
A slice of tomato
Lettuce

Burger # 2

1 Fry's Vegetarian Schnitzel halved
Cucumber
Vegan Mayonnaise
Spinach leaves
Salt and Pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Parsley

Burger # 3

In a pan:

Yuh-der Imitation Chicken Julienne Strips (Soya based) defrosted (they have their own oil to fry in)
A teaspoon of Ina Paarman Chicken Flavour stock powder
A little water to help it all along

In a bowl:

Mix the strips with a tablespoon of mayo (or more if you want to, but its a very rich filling already)
A teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Chopped parsley
Squeeze of lemon
Any desired spices - I like a little Cayenne pepper powder, salt and a generous amount of pepper

They were all delicious, but both of us liked Burger # 1 the most!

If you ever crave chicken mayonnaise toasted sandwiches, yuh-der julienne is the stuff that is closest to chicken in texture. They'll be super but very rich so one is probably enough. Balance it out with a tomato and vegan cheese toasted sandwich. the imitation chicken strips might weird you out though as they seem quite realistic, the wonderfully strange things that Chinese people can do with soya! I'm in love with their ancient culture that brings us these recipes, amongst other things! Hong Kong vegetarian restaurants have the best vegan options because of all the different soya products and interesting flavours that we just don't manage to get here. There's one vegetarian restaurant in Wan-Chai area that has been open for a hundred years! Imagine how long the tradition of making soya meat replacements has been going on for?!

Saturday

Tender-stem Broccoli and Roasted Walnut Salad

My partner and I work within a two minutes' walk of one another, so I love to have lunch together. He'll usually walk to the art gallery I work at, and I will cook us something delicious, as it helps enormously to avoid extra costs and the temptation of eating unhealthy fast food for lunch every day. When I'm not working at the gallery, as I don't have a permanent post, I make food at home and we eat lunch at the Johannesburg Zoo Lake on a bench. It's the most wonderful endeavour, and I love getting to a park for lunch!

Today I just grabbed a few things that were in the fridge. I really try to buy organic food as far as is possible, and local produce would be ideal, but some of the produce from around the world is often tempting. Today's meal consisted mostly of organic food, but also some spices and sauces that were in the kitchen at work. But definitely healthy and delicious!

My vegetables have been freezing in the new fridge we’ve kept them in of late, including my beautiful lettuce, which highly upsets me. I’ve resolved to just use the food as quickly as is possible. I managed to use a whole lot of my greens today, and even though they had frozen, everything was still crisp and delicious.

Sweet Cinnamon Shiitake Mushrooms

Sweet Indonesian Soya Sauce to taste
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Punnet of Shiitake Mushrooms

Heat the oil in a pan, toss in the mushrooms, pour over your desired amount of sweet soya dressing, I recommend about a tablespoon to 12 mushrooms. Toss them around in the pan, adding your salt and cinnamon, then cover the pan with a lid, stirring every so often. You don’t want to overcook the mushrooms though, because Shiitake mushrooms easily become quite mushy or sloppy. You want them to retain some spring. Keep the dirty pan aside for roasting the walnuts in later.

Tender-stem Broccoli and Roasted Walnut Salad

I don’t often measure the ingredients I cook with, so please bear with me on the portions of vegetable stock, or balsamic vinegar. Everybody has different tastes and requirements when it comes to cooking, so please follow it according to your own desires. My recipes are portioned for two, including a portion of leftovers for later pickings, unless stated otherwise.
10 stalks of tenderstem broccoli
A handful of raw walnuts
Mixed lettuce
Wild rocket
Sweet Indonesian soya dressing from mushroom pan
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Vegan Nature's Choice Mock Parmesan
Vegetable stock power (tsp probably)
Avocado

You need a shallow frying pan with a lid, bring about 2 cm of water to the boil and add the veggie stock. Add the broccoli to the pan and place the lid on top, steaming for a few minutes so they just cook a little bit, absorbing the flavour of the stock. I add a little salt and a generous amount of pepper too. Once blanched, remove from the pan and toss into your salad bowl to cool. Don’t throw the water out of the pan, because you’re going to use it for the asparagus on the side.
To roast the walnuts, toss them in the still hot pan you used for the Shiitake mushrooms. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to the pan and roast until the nuts are fragrant. It’s quite clear when they’re done, and it only takes about two minutes, if that long.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and feast!

Olive oil and Lemon Pan-fried Asparagus

8 stalks of fresh asparagus (never canned!)
Juice of one lemon (fresh – always!)
Leftover stock from broccoli
Splash of olive oil.
Using the pan you blanched the broccoli in, bring to a boil, do not add any extra water, add the juice of one lemon and a splash of olive oil. Add the asparagus and cover to steam. The liquid will reduce to a tart lemon dressing to pour over your asparagus once it has been steamed. As with the broccoli and mushrooms, you want to cook for a very short period of time so the asparagus is still crunchy and fresh.
I made everything separately, intending to eat everything separately, but it all went so well together that I put it all in the salad and licked my plate clean.
Delicious!

For dessert I finished off with a grapefruit and some fresh cranberry juice!

My New Roots

I have stumbled across the most wonderful blog called My New Roots. It's written by a Canadian born woman living in Denmark. She is a chef at two raw food restaurants in Copenhagen as well as blogging some of the healthiest, most delicious looking food I've come across since Tal Ronnen's cookbook. Her name is Sarah Britton and she is definitely worth a thorough read. Her vegan and raw sections contain a vast amount of exciting recipes and her entries contain extensive nutritional information about the ingredients. It's absolutely fantastic and like Jamie Oliver would say, such brave dishes!

My favourite recipe so far, although I haven't had time to try make it yet, is her Raw Cashew Dreamcake. I'm absolutely dying to give this a try! As soon as we're done with the craziness of Art Fair here in Jo'burg I'm onto it!

Friday

Doppio Zero

My partner and I are off to Doppio Zero in Rosebank tonight with one of my dearest friends, and I'm very excited!

Their winning menu item is their Very Vegan pizza. They've been so kind as to remove the cheese and the basil pesto from the list of ingredients to make the pizza 'very vegan'. We love them for it and love this pizza! I would suggest adding avocado to the mix! When I'm not particularly hungry but want pizza I have the garlic focaccia. Add avocado (which I spread all over the pizza) and anything else you desire! Amazing! If you go for the Avo Focaccia option, totally squeeze a little lemon over it and add some salt! Some rosemary is also super yummy!

I have checked with the Doppio Chain head office and their official statement to me was that there is no egg or dairy in the pizza bases, and that they are definitely vegan. As far as I know all their regular pastas have egg in them, so if you want to have pasta, order the wheat free pasta. They bring out some delicious rice fettucine. Just check with them before you order. The arrabiata sauce is amazing if you love chilli, otherwise try their yummy napolitana sauce.

Also, a glass of affordable red wine, or their spritzy sangria are a great accompaniment to the pizza! Just saying!