My younger daughter has recently turned vegan. She is all of 14 years and as a mother I was and am still worried about her nutrition and her development.
Riya started her vegan quest a month ago avoiding eggs, claiming that the chickens are packed tighly in cages without any space to move around and they are stacked in levels so that the poo of the chickens above falls on the chickens below. She felt so sad for the chickens being caged this way just so that they can produce eggs for us. Of course that jolted me. Here is my daughter who loves eggs in any form. Without much of a choice, I agreed and persuaded her to go egg free but still have milk products. She was fine with that for a month.
Last week, she read that cows are impregnated purposely with sperms so that they get pregnant to produce milk. The cows are always pregnant! Imagine being always pregnant throughout your childbearing years? That got her all riled up. Her fight for these poor animals who are being managed inhumanely skyrocketed. The many videos and posts in Instagram supporting vegan lifestyle didn't help as it only made her more wilful. She couldn't stand to watch us having milk and eggs and started trying to convince us to go vegan too. She even went on to say that she will not date a guy who eats meat! 'Imagine kissing him after he eats beef or pork? Ew!!' She has stopped all makeup that tests on animals and is now against all leather products as well. She wants to become a vegan activist when she grows up. That's my spirited younger daughter! My thoughts are why wait till you grow up? Why not start a vegan group for teens in Singapore? I hv pitched my ideas to her. Let's see where she takes them.
I was against her veganism at the beginning as I was worried about her development but now after seeing how passionate she was about these poor animals, I only can support her and ensure her growing body's nutritional demands are met in other ways. She has become more conscious of what she is eating and ensuring that there is enough protein through nuts and tofu. I supplement her diet with multi vitamins which she now takes without complaining. Her junk food bingeing has stopped as well because she discovered there is milk in all cookies and snacks.. My chips packets remain untouched and unopened for so long. She claims she has lost all taste for junk food. She is so mature and serious about this whole issue that I'm surprised how could she be only 14?
I have scouted around for special vegan bread for her ( did you know that all baguettes are vegan?!), special vegan ice cream etc. I also found out there are special supplements for vegans. Fish Oil from algae and flax seeds. Thanks to my docent friend and also a vegan advocate Christine Zeng.
But there is always the nagging worry at the back of my mind about her health. Will she recover quickly when she falls ill? What about when she reaches child bearing age? Only time will tell.
My first vegan recipe I'm featuring, after this development at home, is vegan pancakes. They don't taste like the usual with butter and eggs but it passed. Riya appreciated the fact that I'm making special dishes for her to support her vegan diet. Should I ask for more?
Ingredients (6-8 large pancakes)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tbsps fine sugar
3/4 cups canola oil
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1. Mix the dry ingredients, followed by all the wet ingredients. Whisk well.
2. If the batter is too thick, add more soy milk to thin it.
3. Add the blueberries.
4. Heat a small frying pan, drop a few drops of canola oil and swirl them around the pan.
5. Once the pan is hot pour enough batter to coat the base of the pan. Drop a few drops of canola oil on top, cover and cook on medium heat till you see the sides cooked with holes all around.
6. Flip and cook the other side, this time uncovered. It should turn golden brown on both sides.
7. Serve warm with maple syrup.
'Revihosoupa' or 'Revithia' is a traditional Greek vegan soup that has origins, well from Greece. Usually served during cold wintery evenings to warm our soul and body. With winter fast approaching in other parts of the world and Singapore having wet I-don't- want-to-step-out rainy evenings, this soup could not have been introduced at a better time.
Traditionally, this soup is made using dried chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled the next day in vegetable stock. This process takes a little longer but it will definitely taste better. So go for it if you have the time on hand. Canned chickpeas make a suitable substitute if you are pressed for time. This recipe requires very few ingredients and most of them will be readily available in your kitchen. I have not used any potato but you could add it (cubed) as well to further thicken the soup.
It serves as a wholesome meal on its own with sufficient protein and because its thick and creamy, it rests quite snugly in our belly soothing us into deep hibernating sleep. Serve with a couple of crusty bread on the sides. You may need some chilli flakes for heat, if you are an Asian!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 tbps olive oil
1 medium onion (yellow or red), chopped finely
1-2 sprigs thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 litre veg broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cans of chickpeas (400gm each)
Salt & Pepper
Extra Olive oil, sprig of thyme for garnish
1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, and fry the bay leaf and thyme leaves. This will be followed by the chopped onion.
2) Add the veg stock and season with salt & freshly ground pepper. Also add the 1 tbsp lemon juice at this point and let it come to a boil.
3) Add the drained canned chickpeas and simmer for 10 mins.
4) Take half the soup, blend it to a smooth batter and pour it back into the pot where the other half is still simmering.
5) Serve hot with a swirl of olive oil, extra ground pepper, chilli flakes (if using) and thyme leaves for garnish.
Chervil is a delicate herb related to parsley. Sometimes called French parsley or garden chevril, it is commonly used to season mild flavoured dishes and is one of the essential ingredients in the French cuisine along with other herbs like chives, parsley and terragon. This easy warm potato salad is light and tastes different from our usual mayonnaise potato salads we are used to.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)
10 small new potatoes
3 tbsps olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & Pepper
2 tbps chopped chervil leaves
1 tbsps chives, chopped
1 tbsps terragon, chopped
Make sure you get the potatoes with very thin skin so you don't have to peel them. Wash and boil the potatoes in salt for 10-15 mins till they are just cooked. Not overcooked. We aren't making mashed potatoes.
2) Meanwhile, make the vinegrette by first whisking the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper till they are well emulsified. Then, add in the chopped herbs.
3) Drain the potatoes when they are cooked. Mix the vinegrette with boiled potatoes, check for seasonings and serve immediately.
What a brilliant way to incorporate a guacamole and tomato salsa? And to serve this as starters to your guests will be a great way to get your guests go wow at your culinary skills and your ingenuity. I love avocados. Its green creamy flesh sits very well with me. And its so good for us too. Avocadoes offers nearly 20 vitamins in every serving, including potassium, lutein and folate. I'm not going too much into details here. I'm sure you can do your own research :). My fav way to have avocados? Topped with lime juice, salt and pepper on the side of egg white onion capsicum omelette and a toast of walnut bread.
These petite avaocado hills is a an easy recipe to follow. Especially if you have an overload of avocados and you want a quick way to use them up.
Ingredients (for 5 hills topped with salsa)
Tomato Cilantro Salsa
1 large tomatoe, seeds removed and chopped finely
1 small red onion, chopped finely
Juice of 1/2 lemon juice
2 sprigs of coriander leaves, chopped finely
3 ripe avocados
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1. Place all the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and mix them up.
2) Next, peel and pit the ripe avacodoes and mash the flesh with lime juice, salt and pepper.
3) Get a long serving plate and start assembling the avocado hills with salsa.Take spoons of the mashed avocado mix and place into a small ramekin bowl and press it tight. Then use a small knife to go around the sides and quickly place it upside down onto the serving plate. Do for the other hills similarly.
4) Top with the already prepared salsa and also decorate the entire plate with additional salsa.
5) Serve individually to your guests to avoid the mess of lifting up the avocado hills. Enjoy your guilt-free so good for you snack.
My girls and I enjoy watching Vah Reh Vah cooking videos on YouTube. Its not so much for the recipes but its more for the laughter they beget. The chef Mr Sanjay Thumma popularly known as Vah Chef is an Indian chef and founder of the his cooking website vahrehvah.com. What we enjoy most about his videos is the quantity of the ingredients he understates. He'll say 2 tbsps oil and pour in a cup of oil! Or he'll say a tsp of salt and he'll add like a whole lot of it. Everytime we see him doing that and the way he relishes his own dishes at the end makes us roll over with laughter. Its one of our bonding times on Friday nights.
While enjoying a particular bonding time last Friday, we chanced upon a delicious Simple Egg Curry which Riya was drooling over and requested me to cook that weekend. Using pressure cooker and cooking on high steam, the tomato curry base looked super delicious. So I attempted this Easy Indian Egg Curry over the weekend. It turned out quite yummy, I must say. My recipe below is adjusted for a smaller quantity.
Ingredients (for 4 eggs)
2 tbsps canola oil
2 large onions, chopped finely
2 tsps ginger garlic paste
1 green chilli, sliced thinly
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsps coriander powder
Salt per your preference
2 extra large or 4 medium tomatoes, chopped small
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 stalk of curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
2 sprigs of coriander leaves, chopped roughly for garnish
1) In a small pressure cooker, fry the onion, chilli slices and then the ginger garlic paste.
2) Then add in the spices and salt.
3) Continue cooking for a few minutes then add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Mix well and cook for a few more mins.
4) Cover the pressure cooker, put on the weight and let the cooker whistle. 5-6 whistles over a span of 10-15 mins on medium heat.
5) Boil the eggs in the meantime.
6) Switch off fire and let the pressure cooker cool. After 10 mins, open the pressure cooker. You will have a yummy tomato curry now. Taste for salt and season accordingly.
7) Make the tempering mix by frying the mustard seeds, urad dal and the curry leaves and pour this mix without the oil onto the curry.
8) Add the eggs, mix well and garnish with coriander leaves.
Jambalaya is a Louisiana origin dish of Spanish and French influence consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with the rice. I decided to make a vegetarian version of this dish using whatever vegsetables I had on hand and kidney beans as a protein substitute for the meat.
This is a highly recommended dish to anyone who has only 30-45 mins to cook and is looking for a hearty meal to feed the family. And a big plus ? it requires only 1 pot!
Vegetarian Jambalaya (Serves 4)
3 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pounded
2 celery sticks, sliced thin
1/2 a large bell pepper, cut into big pieces
1 litre veg stock
1 can of tinned tomatoes
6-8 baby okras
6-8 baby corns
1 cup of Arboria rice
1 can of kidney beans
Salt & Pepper
Chilli Flakes or Paprika
1) First, take a large heavy pot and fry the onion, garlic, celery and bell peper for 8-10 mins till cooked.
2) Pour in the veg stock.
3) Add in the diced canned tomatoes. If you don't have any canned tomatoes, just chop up two medium sized tomatoes and add them to the pot. At this point, add salt, pepper and some chilli flakes for heat.
4) Next, add in the washed Arborio rice. Arboria rice is recommended when your dish requires a creamy texture. If you don't have this specific rice, any shortgrained white or brown rice will do. Keep stirring regularly to avoid the rice sticking to the base of the pot.
6) When the stock has reduced in quantity, add the okra pods and the baby corns. I don't add this too early as then the okra will overcook and turn mushy.
7) Next add in the kidney beans.
8) When the stock has been totally absorbed by the rice and vegetables, turn off the fire and let it cool slightly before serving warm, garnished with parsley leaves.
9) Enjoy this wholesome guilt-free, gluten-free vegan Hearty Vegetarian Jambalaya.
As long as you have you have some vegetables and eggs at home, you can easily whip up a frittata. Frittata is an egg based Italian dish similar to an omelette or a crustless quiche with added ingredients like meats or vegetables. It is quite a wholesome meal with the protein from the eggs and the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.
Broccoli in a Frittata? Why not? And frittata doesn't always have to have whole eggs. Why not just egg white only for a twist?
Ingredients (Serves 2)
A small piece of broccoli flower (roughly 100gm) broken into small florets
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 - 4 garlic gloves, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced into small strips
6 egg whites
Salt & Pepper
4 cherry tomatoes halved
2 tbsp crumbles feta cheese
1) Boil the broccoli florets in salted water for 5 minutes.
2) Drain, then plunge into cold water to retain that beautiful green hue.
3) Take a frying pan and fry the the onion, garlic and bell pepper for 8-10mins till the vegetables are softened.
4) Beat the egge whites with pepper and salt.
5) Add the boiled broccoli into the pan and stir.
6) Pour the egg white into the pan.
7) Add a few cherry tomato halves for colour.
8) Cover and cook for 10 mins on low heat till the top is cooked as well.
9) Serve warm for breakfast or as a side for any other meal.
Has anyone missed my recipes? I apologise for my hiatus but I have not had time to blog my recipes for the last 3 months. I didn't have time to even try new recipes with my own twisted version of them. But I made time for this recipe as it simply had to be posted.
My older 16year old girl had just completed her mid-term exams and was bored with too much time in her hands. She decided to venture into the kitchen to try her hand at baking instead of her usual scrambled eggs or spinach banana smoothies. She came across this one bowl easy brownie recipe and turned out fabulous! Never mind my kitchen which looked like a tornado has just passed through. Never mind the cleaning I had to do after. I enjoyed it tremendously. This recipe is really worth sharing here on my blog. Of course, I replaced 1 cup of caster sugar with a mix of 1/2 cup caster and 1/2 cup brown sugar, to avoid that cloyingly sweet aftertaste.
The key to getting really choclatey ooey gooey fudgy brownies? A few points to note :
Yields 18 squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbsp canola/sunflower oil
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1/2 cup plain/all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
A few crushed pieces of walnut/cocoa buttons (if you prefer nut-free brownies)
1. Preheat oven to 175deg C. Spray cooking spray onto 10 x 6 inch flat brownie baking tin and line with baking paper. Set aside. Whisk the melted butter, oil and the sugar for 1-2 mins.
2) Add the eggs and vanilla essence and whisk further for another 1-2 mins.
3) Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Do it over the butter egg mix for a one bowl less clean up baking.
4) Add the sieved flour and cocoa to the butter egg mix. Mix well but do not over mix. You can add walnuts at this point.
5) Pour the batter onto the prepared baking tin.
6) Top with cocoa buttons or more crushed walnuts. Bake at the top shelf for excatly 21 mins. Remove, let it cool for 10 mins and cut into squares. Enjoy for a sweet after dinner treat.
Anne Wightman, a member of the training team for NMS Docent Training made this multiple flavoured, grainy and of course aesthetically so pleasing cake during one of the early days of our training. She has gladly shared her recipe here. Her original recipe did not have rose flavor but I added it into the syrup because pistachios and rose somehow just go together.
Ingredients (for a 21cm high cake)
75gm unsalted butter, softened
75ml canola oil
175gm shelled pistachios
50gm unsweetened desiccated coconut
125 gm plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
A pinch of salt
4 medium eggs, room tempertaure
200gm castor sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (keep the lemon for juice)
3 rounded tbsps of sour cream
Ingredients (for the syrup)
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
3tbsps caster sugar
200ml cold water
1 tsp rose essence
Ingredients for decoration
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup dried rose petals
1) First line a 21cm round springfoam baking tin with baking paper. Butter the sides. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
2) Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat and add in the canola oil. Mix, remove from heat and leave to cool slightly.
3) Place the pitschios into a food processor and whizz until they are finely chopped. Add the coconut, flour, baking powder, and salt and process for another 10seconds just to combine.
4) Beat the eggs and sugar using an elctric mixer until they are thick and pale.
5) Gently fold in the lemon zest and the pistachio flour mixture.
6) Add in the cooled butter and oil mix and three tbsps of sour cream.
7) Pour it into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 40-50mins in the middle shelf of the oven till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave it to cool.
8) In the meantime, prepare the syrup. Put all the ingredients into a small pot and boil until its thick and reduced by half.
9) Run a knife around the cake to release the sides from the tin. Remove from tin and place on a cake holder. Using a skewer, make holes all over the top of the cake for the syrup to flow in.
10) Drizzle the syrup all over the cake.
11) Get the decoration ingredients ready.
12) First sprinkle the desiccated coconut over and then top with rose petals and chopped pistachios.
13) Enjoy your hard work ! Bite into a delicious Pistachio Rose Lemon Cake with your favourite cuppa.
Eggplants are a vegetable that you need to have an acquired taste for. I realised this recently during a dinner with my friends from the National Museum of Singapore. I was surprised when a vegan friend Christine refused an Eggplant Zucchini Salad claiming that they are slimy and prickish to the tongue. Hmmm...don't entirely agree with you there, Christine. Okra is slimy I agree like what you said but this is the first time I have heard that eggplants are slimy! :) Even my teen girls don't like eggplants. They don't like broccoli either even when I make a chinese stir-fry weekly. But that's a whole new story with teens and their taste buds. Moms with teens will agree on this one.
This recipe is a simple Meditarranean stirfry incorporating the eggplants with celery, tomatoes and onions and served with either hummus, quinoa or brown basmati rice. I happened to have a packet of Tilda ready-made quinoa and brown basmati rice mix (see pic below) from London, purchased during my holiday recently. (Gosh, I miss London. Again, that's another story.) Alternatively, you can make your own quinoa or brown basmati rice but do cook them in veg broth instead of plain water for an added flavor.
Ingredients (for 2-3 servings)
4 tbsps EVOO for grilling eggplants
2 tbsps EVOO for the stew
I big dark purple eggplant roughly 200gm
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 celery stick, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pounded
1 can 400gm tinned tomatoes
2 tbsps capers, rinsed
6-8 olives, rinsed and sliced or left whole
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped roughly
Quinoa & Basmati Rice
1/2 cup tricolor quinoa
1/2 cup brown basmati rice, soaked for 30mins
2.5 cups veg broth (homemade or storebought)
Salt if needed
1) Cut the eggplants into medium chunks and sprinkle some salt over the eggplants to remove the bitter juices. Leave aside for 10 mins.
2) Prepare the other ingredients. Onion, celery and garlic, black olives, capers, coriander leaves and toasted pine nuts and lastly tinned tomatoes.
3) After 10 mins, pour the 4 tbsps EVOO onto a skillet and start grilling the eggplants. Drain on paper towel and keep aside.
4) In the same skillet, add 2 more tbsps EVOO and start frying the onion and garlic.
5) After 2-3 mins, add the sliced celery.
6) After another 3 mins of stirring, add the tinned tomatoes and stir to mix again.
7) Now, add in the capers and olives. Isn't it already looking so so delicious ??
8) Add in the grilled eggplants and season with salt and chilli flakes. Let the stew cook for 10 mins on low heat. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the base of the skillet.
9) Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and basmati rice in veg broth in your rice cooker. I cooked the pre packaged Tilda quinoa and basmati rice mix and it took only 2 mins in microwave. This is how it looks. Don't judge by its blah look - it is really tasty.
10) After 10-12 mins, when the eggplants have stewed well with the rest of the ingredients, switch off the fire. Serve the egg plant stew on a bed of quinoa and brown basmati rice. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and coriander leaves. Serve warm.