Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts

July 16, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

Every time I have cauliflower I realise how much I love it, but I don't have it often enough. This roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad was perfect for a sunny winter's day. I got the inspiration from this recipe, but since I didn't have most of the ingredients I just used what I happened to have in the fridge. The original recipe sounds amazing though, so I might just give that a go next. 

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad
(serves 4)

1 whole cauliflower, cut in to florets
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
olive oil
1 cup quinoa (I used white)
vegetable stock
1/4 lemon, juiced
baby spinach
slivered almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Scatter cauliflower and onion on a roasting pan, add olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender. 

2. Rinse quinoa and cook in vegetable stock until tender and fluffy. Add lemon juice and mix with a fork. 

3. Combine quinoa with the vegetables and sprinkle with almonds. Serve warm.

June 01, 2014

First Day of Winter

Winter is finally here, now bring on the cooler weather! I think this lentil soup will be my favourite this season.

Lentil Soup
(serves at least 6 people)

olive oil
3-4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
200g (1 cup) red lentils
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or vegetable stock)
black pepper

1. Heat oil in a large pot, add carrots and onion and cook for a few minutes.

2. Add lentils, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Add water as much as necessary (I like thick soups and lentils will thicken the soup as they cook). 

3. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables have soften. Serve warm.

March 09, 2014

Nutritious Meals for Busy Mums (and others, too!)

After becoming a mum I quickly realised that time spend cooking meals (or in fact doing any other tasks around the home) was very limited. Not wanting to negotiate healthy meals, I dug through my recipe archives and found some nutritious meals that are quick and easy to prepare. Of course there are days when toast and snacks will have to do, but these meals don't take that much more time to make.

Here are some of my favourites:

Skin Beauty Salad

  • Bonus: Includes good fats and protein
  • Short cut: Use organic, tinned chickpeas
  • Make ahead: Soak almonds over night
  • Keep in the pantry: Organic chickpeas, tahini, almonds

Soba Salad           

  • Bonus: Can be eater warm or cold
  • Add on: Tofu or tempeh for protein
  • Keep in the pantry: Organic soba noodles (I like this brand)

Cauliflower Curry   

  • Bonus: Quick to prepare, filling 
  • Make Ahead: Store the spice mix in an air-tight container and just add other sauce                       ingredients before preparing
  • Keep in the pantry: Spices, sesame seeds, almonds, coconut cream, coconut oil

  • Bonus: Filling with low GI carbs and protein
  • Short Cut: Use organic, tinned chickpeas and quinoa instead of freekeh
  • Keep in the pantry: Organic, tinned chickpeas, quinoa, hazelnuts (or use any other nut!), apple cider vinegar, tofu (or tempeh)

  • Bonus: Quick and easy to prepare
  • Short cut: Use tinned beans
  • Keep in the pantry: Organic black-eyed peas (or replace with chickpeas or other beans)
  • Bonus: Super quick and filling snack, easy to prepare with whatever is available
  • Keep in the pantry: Pure protein powder (brown rice or pea are my favourites)
  • Bonus: Easy and delicious snack
  • Add on: A scoop of protein powder
  • Keep in the pantry: Almond butter, chia seeds, spices, raw cacao powder

More Recipes Here

October 02, 2013

A Glimpse Into My Daily Diet

I thought I'd share a little snapshot of my daily diet, although you may have a pretty good idea of it already based on the recipes I've shared here over the years. I can quite happily eat the same foods (mostly plant-based whole foods) every day without ever getting sick of them, so my daily meals usually consist of copious amounts of vegetables served with legumes or whole grains, as well as some nuts, seeds and fruit. Of course there are sometimes exceptions to these daily foods, and those are often the ones that end up here on my blog.

During the cooler months I start my day with a bowl of oat porridge with a tablespoon of chia seeds, but as the weather gets warmer I tend to swap this breakfast to that of a protein smoothie. I drink a green juice most days and snack with raw nuts (mostly almonds and walnuts) and a few pieces of dried (Medjool dates or organic apricots) or fresh fruit.

In winter I love having vegetables soups (like this one) for lunch and/or dinner, but in spring and summer I prefer a big salad made with legumes (chickpeas, lentils, etc.), various types of vegetables (kale, avocado, cucumber, tomato, snow peas, carrots, etc.), scattered with seeds (sunflower or pumpkin) and drizzled with some fresh lemon juice and flaxseed oil. Dinner is often very similar to lunch, but with a different type of protein, often tempeh or a different type of legume or whole grain (quinoa, freekeh, etc.) I do eat eggs occasionally, even a small piece of fish once in a while, but I can happily do without any animal products (including dairy) for long periods of time.

Since I don't have a particularly sweet tooth, dessert is more often than not a piece of fresh fruit or dark chocolate (Loving Earth is one of my favourites), even a glass of home-made almond milk before bed will do.

So there you go, a short glimpse into my daily diet. Please feel free to send through any comments/questions if you have any!

On the photos, left to right: almond milk, protein smoothie, green juice, lentil salad with kale, fresh salad with tempeh and fresh kale salad with chickpeas.

September 19, 2013

Roasted Beets with Black Rice and Kale

I just can't get enough of kale, so here's another delicious little meal I made the other day. Beetroot are a great source of iron (as well as other nutrients) and I love how well they marry with earthy black rice. I add good oils to all my meals; sunflower seeds, flaxseed oil or tahini, for example. You can play around with the add-ons in this recipe; walnuts or tahini dressing would go great as well.

Roasted Beets with Black Rice and Kale
(serves 2)

3 small to medium sized beetroot
180g wholegrain black (non-glutinous) rice
a few stems of kale
sunflower seeds (or walnuts, sesame seeds, etc)
1/2 lemon
flaxseed oil
balsamic vinegar
ground pepper
pinch of salt (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C and clean the beetroot. Remove the leaves (if the leaves are in good condition, don't chuck them out! Just wash them well, steam lightly and enjoy as a salad) leaving some of the stems attached. Wrap each beetroot in foil and roast on a tray for about 45-60 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven, let cool and peel off the skins. Cut into wedges.

2. Cook the black rice until tender. Set aside.

3. Remove the kale leaves from the stems, rinse well and 'massage' the leaves in a bowl until tender. Add rice and beetroot wedges. Add sunflower seeds, juice of 1/2 a lemon, a dash of balsamic, flaxseed oil and seasoning. Eat warm or room temperature.

September 15, 2013

Greenlicious Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

It's been a busy weekend at home, catching up on housework and everything else that has piled up during the past few very busy weeks. With warmer weather I have been craving for everything green, including juices and smoothies, but also more and more salads. This kale salad, delicious and full of good oils, was a real energy booster after a long walk in the near by park.

Greenilicious Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
(serves 2)

1/2 big bunch of kale, washed and stems removed
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
2 green onions (shallots), finely sliced
a handful of walnuts
pinch of salt (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flaxseed oil

Tahini Dressing

2 generous tablespoons of tahini
1/2 small lemon, juiced
1-2 tablespoons  water

1. Massage the kale until wilted and tender. Add avocado, green onions and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and toss in the oil. 

2. Whisk tahini, lemon and water in a jug and stir through the salad.

July 21, 2013

Jewelled Couscous Salad

I am no stranger to couscous salads of all sorts. You can find some of my previous versions here, here and here. It's hard to get tired of something that's so quick, easy and versatile, which is largely why I keep going back to this recipe. I like using whole wheat couscous and I often include spices like cumin, coriander and even cinnamon. I use a variety of dried fruits, such as small figs, golden sultanas or as in this case, some dried cranberries. For a bit protein I throw in a can of chickpeas and some nuts (sliced almonds or walnuts are my favourite). You could even add fried tofu and grilled vegetables. Fresh herbs would be perfect also, but I didn't have any at hand at the time of making this dish.The best thing about couscous is that it makes a perfect side dish as well as a main dish, especially if you add all the extras.

Jewelled Couscous Salad
(serves 4)

2 cups (360g) whole wheat couscous
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups boiled water (500ml)
a handful of dried cranberries
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pomegranate, seeded
lemon juice
extra-virgin olive oil
slivered almonds
(fresh herbs like coriander, parsley, mint)

Add couscous, spices, salt and cranberries in a bowl. Pour in the hot water and cover with cling wrap. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and add all other ingredients. Mix well and enjoy.

PS. Due to the constant flow of spam comments, I've unfortunately had to turn them off at least for now. I still appreciate your feedback, so please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments.

July 14, 2013

Grapefruit and Fennel Salad

Meillä on ollut ihanan aurinkoinen ja lämmin viikonloppu. Pitemmän kävelylenkin päätteeksi teki mieli vähän kevyempää lounasta ja tässä salaatissa yhdistyivät sopivasti herkulliset raaka-aineet. 

Voi kunpa nämä tällaiset säät jatkuisivat! Kevättä alkaa olla jo viimeistään ensi kuussa selvästi ilmassa ja odotan kovasti etenkin sitä kukkaloistoa mikä täällä on kevään aikana aina upeimmillaan. Pirteän vaaleanpunaiset tulppaanit piristivät kuitenkin kummasti kotiamme tänä viikonloppuna.

Ihanaa alkavaa viikkoa kaikille!

A sunny winter's day called for a lighter lunch. Ruby grapefruit, fennel, rocket and avocado turned out to be a perfect combination of flavours and textures. I added some walnuts for a bit more crunch.

Grapefruit and Fennel Salad
(Recipe adapted from here)

2 ruby grapefruit, peeled and cut to segments
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
a small bag of rocket
 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
black pepper, to taste

Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Serve immediately.
I had to have some bright pink tulips for the weekend.

June 20, 2013

Vegetarian Quiche

I realise I've posted a number of vegetarian quiche recipes over the years, but since I always use a slightly different recipe, I like to add them here as a reminder to myself. This time I made a slightly healthier crust and added a mushroom, zucchini, spinach and cherry tomato filling. Using halloumi instead of cheddar gave the quiche a nice flavour and texture.

Vegetarian Quiche


250g wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
60ml vegetable oil
125ml cold water


oil, for frying
about 250g mixed mushrooms (button, oyster, shitake), sliced
2 zucchinis, sliced
150g baby spinach
dried oregano, to taste
tamari, to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder*
black pepper, to taste
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

125g halloumi cheese, grated
3 eggs
200ml full cream milk

* I use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Vegan Bouillon Powder (Reduced Salt)

1. Preheat the oven to 175C. 

2. Grease a pie dish (25cm) and set aside. Combine flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add oil and water and stir to combine. Knead to make a smooth dough, transfer the dough into the pie dish and spread evenly on the bottom and the sides of the dish. Prick with a fork and bake for about 10 minutes.

3. In the mean time, prepare the filling. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan, add sliced mushrooms and zucchinis and cook for a couple of minutes. Season with oregano, tamari, vegetable stock powder and pepper. Add spinach and cook for a further few minutes until all the vegetables are tender. 

4. Remove the crust from the oven, add the filling and scatter the tomatoes on top. Spread the cheese evenly on top of the filling. Break the eggs in a small bowl and whisk in milk. Pour the mixture evenly on top of the filling. Continue to bake for about 40 minutes or until the quiche seems set and the top has browned.

May 08, 2013

Marinated Fennel and Pear Salad

I finally had a chance to try lemon and olive oil marinated fennel, highly recommended by a friend who also happens to be one of my favourite bloggers. I love fennel as it is, but the simple marinade of lemon and olive oil truly take it to a whole new level. I whipped up a quick lunch by adding baby spinach leaves (but you could use rocket, if you have it), thinly sliced pear and macadamia nuts to fennel I had marinated for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Marinated Fennel and Pear Salad
(serves 2)

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pear, thinly sliced
baby spinach or rocket leaves
macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

1. Add fennel, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl. Toss to combine and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

2. To serve, simply toss the marinated fennel with the rest of the ingredients.

March 23, 2013

Leek and Potato Soup

Sydney is still sweltering in summery weather, with temperatures reaching 30C almost daily. There was, however, a cooler break some days ago and I just had to take the opportunity to make another soup. Potato and leek soup has been a favourite of mine for a long time, and even though I've shared a recipe for it before, I thought it won't do any harm doing it again.

I used nutritional yeast to flavour this soup, but you could easily use a dash of cream or soft cheese (flavoured cream cheese, for instance) instead. All it needs is a little drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil and another one of those rye-crisp breads with cheese to serve with.

I'd like more of these cool days please!

Leek and Potato Soup
(serves 4-6)

5 big potatoes
2 big leeks
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
freshly ground pepper, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

1. Peel and chop the vegetables and place in a large pot with vegetable stock. Bring to boil and simmer for about half an hour or until vegetables are tender. 

2. Turn off the heat and season the soup with nutritional yeast (or cream) and pepper. Purée the soup in a blender and serve drizzled with olive oil.

March 19, 2013

Carrot Pancakes

My pancake addiction is showing no signs of slowing down. Savoury pancakes, sweet pancakes and now these: carrot pancakes. All these variations are actually quite common in Finland and the savoury ones are often served with lingonberry.

Carrot pancakes (or any savoury pancakes, really) make a perfect weekend lunch and these were a nice treat on a quiet Sunday after a long outing in the near-by forest. I had the left-over pancakes next day for breakfast; what a perfect way to start a new week!

Carrot Pancakes
(serves 4)

2 large eggs (free-range, organic)
500ml full cream milk
200g wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
4 carrots, finely grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
butter, for frying
lingonberry, for serving

1. Break the eggs in a bowl and add half the milk, flour and salt. Whisk until smooth, then add the oil, grated carrot and rest of the milk. Leave for half an hour.

2. Fry pancakes one at a time, a couple of minutes on each side. Serve with lingonberry jam.

March 16, 2013

Finnish Spinach Soup

There is nothing better than a comforting soup on a rainy day. I made the most of it yesterday and whipped up spinach soup, a childhood favourite served with hard-boiled egg and rye-crispbread with cheese. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, and soon have fresh nettle available, try a similar soup using those instead. I have a recipe here.

It is supposed to be another warm one here today, so no more soups before autumn really sets in.
I am so ready for a cool change, I'm really looking forward to it!

Finnish Spinach Soup
(serves 4)

1 litre organic full-cream milk
3 tablespoons plain flour
200g baby spinach/English spinach/frozen spinach (thawed), blanched and finely chopped
a good pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper or a tiny pinch of white pepper
hard-boiled egg (free-range, organic), to serve

1. Add milk and flour to a saucepan and whisk well to combine. Whisking continuously, bring milk to a boil and add blanched, finely chopped spinach. Let simmer for a further 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and season.

2. Serve with hard-boiled egg and crispbread.

March 13, 2013

Brown Rice, Grape and Feta Salad

A quick mid-week update as I had the luxury of having a friend for lunch today. This brown rice salad was completely effortless to make, but it will definitely become my new favourite. When grapes are in season, I love eating them as they are, but also adding them to salads and desserts. This dish has a perfect combination of flavours and textures!

Brown Rice, Feta and Grape Salad
(Recipe adapted from Coles)

400g brown rice, cooked and cooled
2 big handfuls of seedless red grapes, washed and halved
200g feta, cubed
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
handful of raw cashews, lightly toasted

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

March 11, 2013

Everyday Meals


I thought I'd share a few simple and quick everyday meal-ideas with you. These are the kinds of meals I cook all the time: they are virtually zero-effort, even during those hot summer days when the last thing you feel like doing is standing next to a hot stove. 

Firstly; salads. Just take a peek into my Recipe Index and you'll realise how keen I am to feed myself (and my husband) with colourful, fresh salads that are really more like meals than just sides. This Greek-inspired salad consists of simple ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, mixed salad leaves, Sicilian olives (instead of traditional Kalamata) and feta cheese. Drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and grind a bit of black pepper on top. Voilà, lunch or even a light dinner is sorted.


Vegetables are obviously always heavily featured even in our main meals. This mushroom and eggplant stack has grilled eggplant smeared with a miso-honey-tamari mixture, layered with pan-fried button mushrooms and toasted sesame seeds. It is a perfect little meal served with a fresh salad and a slice of chunky bread, if you like.


Another easy summer-meal is barbecued portobello mushrooms topped with basil-walnut pesto. Simply grill or pan-fry olive oil-drizzled mushrooms (with stalks removed) and top with a pesto made with a bunch of fresh basil, half an avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, a handful of walnuts, pinch of salt and pepper.

Finally, desserts. I can't think of anything better than seasonal ingredients (like figs, in this case), served with cheese, ricotta or yoghurt and drizzled with pure Australian honey. Really, what more could you possibly need?

March 03, 2013

Sweet Potato-Rye Rieska

Freshly baked sweet potato-rye rieska (Finnish flat bread) for breakfast on a Sunday is exactly what I wanted. Sun is peeking through the clouds after two days of rain, autumn is on its way. 

Hetkittäiseen Suomi-ikävään auttaa lähestulkoon aina leipominen. Uunituoreet bataatti-ruisrieskat sunnuntaiaamuna tulivat tarpeeseen. Aurinkokin pilkahtelee jo pilvien lomasta kahden sadepäivän jälkeen. Syksy on saapumassa Australiaan.

Sweet Potato Rye Rieska*
(makes 10 small breads)
(recipe from Ruoka Pirkka)

400g mashed sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon salt
about 140g rye flour
about 100g plain flour

1. Preheat oven to 225C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Add salt to mashed potato, add flour and mix until smooth. Using two spoons, scoop portions of the dough onto the trays. Flatten the breads with flour-dusted fingers. 

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve warm with butter.

* Earlier flat bread recipes here and here.

February 28, 2013

Tiger Cake (Marble Cake)

I had a chance to bake some traditional cakes (knowing they'd get eaten) whilst my parents were visiting us the other week. Tiger cake, as it is known in Finland, didn't used to be my favourite growing up, but I've finally discovered the joy of these simple 'coffee cakes' Finns love so much.
It's these traditional recipes I'm most fond of: basic ingredients and no fancy machinery needed.

 Tiger Cake

200g butter (organic)
160g raw caster sugar
3 eggs (large, free-range, organic)
1/4 teaspoon pure ground vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
190g plain flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk (full cream, organic)

1. Beat soft butter and sugar in a bowl. Add eggs beating well after each addition. 

2. Mix vanilla, baking powder and flour in a separate bowl. Sieve this mixture into the same bowl with butter/eggs/sugar and fold carefully to combine. 

3. Take 1/3 of the mixture into another bowl. Add cocoa powder and milk and stir to combine. 

4. Pour 1/3 of the white mixture into a greased cake tin, add a layer of cocoa mixture in between and top with the rest of the dough. 'Prick' the dough with a fork to create the marbling. 

5. Bake in preheated oven (175C) for about 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

February 24, 2013

Barbecued Tofu and Portobello Salad

During summer, I mainly survive on salads, fruit and other cold, light meals without even craving for anything heartier. This summer we finally bought a little barbecue for our balcony and have used it a couple of times to mix things up a bit. This marinated tofu and portobello salad is one of my favourites; it's hearty enough to suffice for a proper meal, but light enough for even a hot summer's day.

Barbecued Tofu and Portobello Salad
(serves 2-4)

350g extra-firm tofu
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
pepper, to taste

a few large portobello mushrooms, sliced
mixed salad leaves
cucumber, sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved
avocado, diced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, coarsely grated

 extra-virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, to serve
toasted sesame seeds, to serve

 1. Cut the tofu to about 1-2 cm slices and put in a shallow bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the tofu. Leave to marinade for about half an hour.

2. Prepare the rest of salad while the tofu is marinating. Barbecue (or pan-fry) the tofu first, then use the left-over marinade to brush over the mushroom slices before barbecuing. Mix tofu and mushrooms with the rest of the ingredients, drizzle with extra oil if necessary, extra pepper and scatter with toasted sesame seeds.

January 28, 2013

Spinach Pancakes

These spinach pancakes are yet another all-time favourite of mine. Smothered with lingonberry jam, these pancakes make a perfect dinner for one (or two if you must share)!

Spinach Pancakes

2 eggs (organic, free-range)
500ml milk (full cream, organic)
about 150g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (or melted butter)
150-200g baby spinach, blanched under hot water, chopped finely

butter (organic), for frying
lingonberry jam, for serving

1. Whisk eggs in a bowl and stir in half the milk, flour, salt and oil. Whisk until smooth, then add the rest of the milk and spinach and stir well to combine. Leave to rest for about half an hour. 

2. Fry small pancakes on hot frying pan (greased with butter) for a couple of minutes on each side. Serve with lingonberry jam.

January 20, 2013

French Toast


Weekends call for a little indulgence and there is no better time for that than summer, when berries and other fruit are abundant. I made us a special lunch of French toast (well, my version of it anyway) served with fresh fruit and cinnamon yoghurt. I soaked the bread well but didn't over do it so it was soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Berries are perfect as they are not too sweet and using yoghurt instead of cream keeps everything light and fresh. This was a perfect lunch on a stinking hot day!

French Toast*
(serves 2)

2-4 thick slices of day-old sourdough bread
1 egg
200ml full cream milk
1/4 teaspoon pure ground vanilla
a knob of butter

fresh berries or fruit
unsweetened yoghurt
ground cinnamon

* all ingredients are organic, eggs are organic and free-range

1. Whisk egg and milk in a dish, whisk in vanilla.

2. Soak the bread slices (on both sides) in the milk mixture. Heat a knob of butter in a pan until slightly browned. Fry the bread slices on each side until golden.

3. Top with berries and other fruit and dollop with cinnamon spiced yoghurt.