Sydney Eats

I normally find inspiration for my blog when I should be doing some mind boggingly boring assignment for uni and today is no exception. I’d much rather tell you all about the amazing food I ate on a recent trip to Sydney than research macrophage infiltration and TNF alpha, but that’s just me!

(Edit: the research assignment took over my life so this blog post is being resumed 2 weeks later. Thanks uni!)

I love Bondi Beach. It is one of those places in Australia that is just so unique and you can’t compare it to anywhere else. It really is, city meets surf beach in a hip, modern, touristy, health-obsessed, picturesque place. This was my third time staying in Bondi and each time there is still so much to explore and eat, of course! It is a bit of a health hub with  new places popping up left right and centre and we definitely explored our fair share in the short time we spent in Sydney.

In no particular order, I present you our favourite eats in Sydney!

  1. Sadhana Kitchen Bondi 

132 Warners Ave, Bondi Beach

After a morning walk and swim, we headed to Sadhana Kitchen on our first full day in Bondi. This entirely plant based cafe is a dream! We both had the Bondi Bowl (I think that is what it was called) and it was the best deconstructed bowl I’ve ever had. Often, I find these underwhelming and boring but this had so much going on, it was delicious.

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2. Cali Press Juice 

2/16 Hall Street, Bondi Beach

This was our go-to for a morning smoothie before heading off for the day. They’re smoothies are blended with their house made cold pressed juices, so you really get your moneys worth. My personal favourite was the Godfather – containing espresso almond milk, espresso shot, banana, dates, vanilla, cinnamon and almond butter because who doesn’t want their morning coffee and breakfast in one? These keep you full for hours!

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Pictured: The Cali Berry in the front and The Field of Greens in the back.

 

3. Gigi  

379 King Street, Newtown.

We need a Gigi Pizzeria in Melbourne. It is hands down the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had by a mile. The whole restaurant is plant based but appeals to a much wider audience thanks to their authentic thin crust and true Italian style dining. We went with a big group, me being the only vegan and everyone was really impressed and satisfied.

My favourite pizza was the cavolo with cauliflower puree, artichokes, pinenuts, capers, currants, garlic & parsley, extra virgin olive oil. They were all very unique and different with amazing vegan cheeses and creams. I would highly recommend making a visit to Gigi if you’re ever in Sydney!

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4. Gelato Blue 

318 King St, Newtown NSW 2042

Three words. ALL VEGAN ICE CREAMERY! Visiting Gelato Blue has been a long time coming and I was not disappointed when I stepped into to find over 30 flavours of completely plant based ice-cream. It can be hard to find a vegan version of my childhood favourite – chocolate mint so I enjoyed a big scoop of that on a delicious cone. Definitely check this place out after dinner at GiGi pizza.

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5. Speedo’s Bondi

126 Ramsgate Avenue, Bondi North

Straight off our flight, into an Uber and off to Speedo’s for lunch! We had a super delayed flight (thanks Jetstar!), so we were starving and drenched thanks to Sydney’s unseasonal rain. Living in Melbourne my whole life, I’ve been told countless times in regards to the Melbourne vs Sydney debate – that the weather in Sydney is always better. Less rain, more consistent and warmer. I’ll have you know, the week we were in Sydney, it rained, was windy and grey at least 80% of the time. At the same time, the sun was shining in Melbourne with blue skies… the roles were certainly reversed!

Where were we? Oh Speedo’s! Situation on a little sloped street looking over North Bondi beach, this little cafe is a great spot for vegan and non vegan noms. Grab a outside on the footpath if you can!

We dug into a pitaya bowl and the vegan burger. Don’t ask me why or how but the burger tasted like a McChicken! Maybe it was the sauce or the sesame seeds but something about it weirdly resembled the iconic McChicken. It was up there with one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had! Would recommend.

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6. Banana Blossom Bondi 

18/2A Jacques Ave, Bondi Beach

This little asian noodle salad place is popular for good reason. We ate here twice in our short time in Bondi. Quick, cheap, wholesome and delicious noodle salads. I highly recommend getting the Pure Buddha’s Delight Tofu bowl with rice noodles, pear, papaya, pineapple, cashews and sweet tamarind dressing. All the salads come with greens and cabbage and are perfect to devour on the grass looking over Bondi Beach at sunset. The last part is optional but highly recommended!

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7. Mr Topper’s Toast Bar

222 Campbell Parade, North Bondi

Last but not certainly not least, is Mr Topper’s Toast bar. This was our go-to for our morning coffee and we enjoyed the most decadent toast we’ve ever had on our last morning in Bondi. Top marks go to the banana/PB/granola one the yummiest thick cut fresh sourdough. Stella had the same but with strawberries instead of banana so they were very accommodating with changes.

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Places I can’t forget to mention;

  1. The Health Emporium – Don’t go here for anything but the cocowhip cause damn, this place is expensive! However, we shared a mango/passionfruit coco whip and it was delicious!
  2. Bodhi in the Park – it’s going in this list because I didn’t get any good photos but this is the place I dream most about when I’m in Melbourne. We would book another Sydney trip to go to Bodhi alone. It’s an all vegan yum cha by day and they were some of the best vegan dumplings I’ve ever had. Honourable mention goes to the passionfruit dumplings from the dessert tray.
  3. Scoop Wholefoods – for providing us with an afternoon snack every day of chocolate covered berries/nuts/lot of funky things.

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Thank you for reading!

Lilli

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Mexican Beans

I wish you could search for photos on your computer because let me tell you, it took me a long time to find photos of these damn beans from October 2015. Yep, that is how long I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for.

It came back to my mind when I gave the recipe for a friend a while ago and she encouraged me to ‘pop it up on my blog’, so let’s just say it’s been on my to-do list for a long time – along with a million another recipes.

Due to ongoing persistent gut problemos, I can no longer eat beans/garlic/onion etc etc without blowing up like a balloon so a gal can dream about past times eating this delish thing. In saying this, I have substituted the beans for sweet potato and tofu before and it works a treat!

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Mexican Beans

Makes a large amount (enough to feed 4-6 people for dins)

Ingredients

1 tbsp rice bran oil
1 brown onion, diced
1 red capscium, finely diced/sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced/minced
2 tsp cumin. ground
handful fresh coriander, stems (optional), save leaves for garnish
1 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tin diced tomatoes
1-2 tbsp tomato paste, no added salt
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
2 cob of corn/1 tin of corn, drained
fresh red chilli, diced, (optional)
pinch of salt, to taste
1 tsp sugar, if necessary

Method
1. Heat oil in a very large sauce pan
2. Saute onion and red capsicum for 3-5 minutes until soft and golden.
3. Add the garlic cloves and saute until fragrant. Then add spices and coriander stems and cook off.
4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, corn and beans and simmer for 20-30 minutes until sauce has thickened and reduced.
5. Taste and add salt, sugar and chilli if necessary and to your preferences!
6. Serve with whatever you like (serving suggestions below). Garnish with coriander

Serving suggestions

  • As burritos/tacos – get some corn/wheat tortillas, shred some lettuce, mash some avo, make a cashew sour cream, salsa and eat the beans in those.
  • Burrito bowls – add some brown/white rice, Mexican beans, lettuce, avo, fresh tomato and lime and devour.
  • Make nachos with the beans, cheese and toppings

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Kale salad w ‘ceasar’ style dressing

Please enter this blog post with an open mind.

This isn’t your regular iceberg lettuce, bacon, oil laden crouton, poached egg kinda salad but it is a much healthier, totally delicious vegan version that I think you might quite like! This recipe is more of a guideline as I tend to cook without recipes. Find what works for you and throw it in.

Don’t knock it till you try it, right?

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Kale Ceasar Salad

serves 2

Ingredients

for salad
Half a bunch of kale, finely chopped
lettuce/baby spinach, if you wish to bulk it out further
Roasted sweet potato, optional
2 slices of rye sourdough, toasted and chopped

Smoky mushroom ‘bacon’
5 large button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tbsp rice bran oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tbsp maple syrup

‘ceasar’ dressing
1/2 cup almonds, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, drained
1/2 cup water, more or less to thicken/thin
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
1 medjool date (or maple syrup, or omit)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. For the dressing, add all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. For the salad. If you like kale raw, by all means leave it raw. I prefer mine cooked. You can steam it (I find this adds to much water to the kale) so my favourite way is to heat half a tbsp of rice bran oil in a non stick pan and sauté until slightly charred and crispy. Remove from pan and put it in a large mixed bowl.
  3. Using the same pan for the kale, make the mushroom bacon. Heat the oil on a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Add the soy, paprika and maple syrup and sauté the mushrooms until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
  4. Add as much of the dressing as you like to the kale in the bowl, and toss to coat the leaves.
  5. Grab two pretty bowls and divide the dressed kale up, top with the roast sweet potato (if using), mushroom bacon and rye sourdough toasts. Drizzle with a bit more dressing if you desire. Enjoy!

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Notes:

  • You could make tofu bacon (by simple slicing tofu finely and preparing the same way as the mushrooms) or some people even make rice paper bacon. Look it up..
  • The dressing will keep in the fridge for 3 days. It would be nice on most salads or it is good drizzling sauce for roast veggies too!

 

 

Coconut Dahl

As exam period looms, I get more creative in the kitchen. It’s the single best form of procrastination and not totally a waste of time!

I’ve been making variations of this for a while now, but today I wrote it down for once! I leave onion and garlic out of mine as I can’t tolerate it but feel free to add it in before the other veggies.

Dahl is so simple, nutritious, comforting, cheap, healthy and filling as hell!

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Coconut Dahl

Ingredients
1 tbsp rice bran oil (or similar)
1 large carrot
1 sweet potato
1 large potato
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup dahl lentils (little yellow ones)
kaffir lime leaves (optional)
handful fresh coriander (optional)
1 tsp stock powder (alternatively use stock over water or leave out)
3 cups water
half can light coconut milk
juice of 1 lemon or lime

to serve
cooked rice
greens/veggies
chutney

Method
1. Roughly chop all the vegetables.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan on low heat. Add all the spices and saute until aromatic.
3. Add the chopped veggies and coat in the spices. Add water if starting to stick.
4. Add the dahl, water, kaffir lime leaves, stock powder, coconut milk and stir until combined.
5. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20-30 minute until the dahl has absorbed all the liquid. Checking and stirring every 5 or so minutes so make sure the dahl doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn, add more water if necessary.
6. Taste and season if necessary. Add the lemon/lime juice and serve over rice and veggies.

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Vegan Sausage Rolls

Kicking myself internally as this is the first time I’ve posted in TWO MONTHS but here I am. Better late than never, I guess…

Having recently celebrated my 21st birthday, I thought I would share a recipe that I came up with for an afternoon of food and drinks with my girlfriends. My mum and I served up a range of vegan party food to a group of omnivourous and hungry girls, with these vegan sausage rolls being an absolute winner.

Please don’t be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients. A lot of them are common things most cooks should have in the fridge. I imagine these are quite forgiving so figure out your favourite combo by substituting or leaving things out.

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Vegan Sausage Rolls

Makes roughly 50-60 mini sausage rolls

Ingredients 

1 tbsp rice bran oil (or oil of choice)
1 brown onion
1 celery stick (large)
2 garlic cloves
1 carrot
200 g button mushrooms
half block of smoked tofu * (150g)
1/4 cup vegetable stock (optional)
1/4 cup white cooking wine
handful of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
2-3 tbsp tomato sauce (salt reduced)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 heaped tbsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper, to taste

1/2 cup oats
1 cup of breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 cup walnuts, crushed

4 sheets puff pastry, lightly thawed
1/2 cup almond milk, to brush
1/4 sesame seeds, to sprinkle

Method

  1. Add onion and garlic to a food processor and process until finely chopped (you don’t want it mushy but you want it finely chopped.
  2. Heat oil in a large, wide saucepan and add the onion and garlic and sauté.
  3. In the same bowl, process the carrot, celery, tofu and mushrooms until they reach the same size as the onion. Once the onion and garlic has browned a bit, add the carrot/celery mixture and continue to sauté until golden and fragrant.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and wine and heat until most of the liquid has absorbed.
  5. Add the herbs, tomato sauce, soy sauce and dijon mustard and taste. Add salt and pepper if need be.
  6. Meanwhile, put the oats, breadcrumbs and crushed walnuts (can do in the processor too) in a large mixing bowl. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees fan forced.
  7. Once the veggie mixture has absorbed all the liquid, remove from the heat and fold through the dry ingredients. You want the mixture to resemble mince meat in texture (not taste – hah). If need be, add some more breadcrumbs or oats to absorb liquid or hold back.
  8. Cut each piece of puff pastry in half. Using your hands, spread a generous amount of mixture in the middle of the pastry making sure it fills to the ends. Roll the pastry over the filling and brush with almond milk to help seal. Chop into 6-8 pieces and brush again with almond milk. Sprinkle with seeds and place on a lined baking tray leaving 3-5cm in between each roll. Continue with the rest of the mixture.
  9. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden and the pastry has puffed. The timing will depend on how thawed the pastry is and oven temperature.
  10. Eat immediately or store in containers and freeze for up to a month. Reheat in oven.

Notes
* You can buy smoked tofu at most health food stores. Regular, firm tofu will work too but the smokiness adds a lovely ‘meaty’ taste and depth of flavour.
These sausage rolls are a bit of a process but they truly are worth it!
Play around with the quantities to suit you taste preferences.

Enjoy!

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A guide to Byron Bay eats

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Having just arrived back from a week in Byron Bay with a belly full of delicious food and countless memories, I thought what better way than to share all my favourites cafes and restaurants on the blog.

Ever since visiting Byron Bay a few years ago, I’d been longing to come back. There is something about this little hippie town that lures you in and makes you never want to leave. Whether it’s the stunning beaches, relaxed vibe, warm weather or just the amazing selection of fresh and wholesome food, it’s a place I will return to over and over again without getting sick of.

I’ve compiled a list of every where we ate that are all vegan friendly, and seriously scrumptious. Here goes;

Bayleaf Cafe 

2 Marvel Street, Byron Bay

In the short 6 days we had in Byron Bay, we visited Bayleaf Cafe 3 times. The extensive menu caters for everyones needs; breaky greens, avocado toast and quinoa porridge just to name a few. You could try a different coffee every day of the week and still wouldn’t cover everything they have to offer.

My tip; breakfast greens with sourdough (best bread in Byron Bay) and a cold drip coffee. This was the perfect lighthouse walk fuel.

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Leaf & Grain

next door to Bayleaf Cafe on Marvel Street

This new little take away joint offers salads, fresh baked bread and delicious coffee for people on the run. Owned by the same people as Bayleaf, it is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite and drink for those who don’t have time to sit down.

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Folk 

1/399 Ewingsdale Rd, Byron Bay

Set a little out of the main town, located on the edge of a caravan park is the cutest, most relaxed and welcoming cafe I may have ever visited. Although a small menu, there is something to cater for everybody. I found the staff to be super friendly and accommodating – changing the coconut scrambled eggs for roast pumpkin in my nourishing breakfast bowl.

They too, offer a range of coffees from my favourite coffee roaster in Melbourne, Duke’s. Yay! My soy latte hit the spot in the scorching Byron sun.

If you’re lucky enough, grab a table outside. And don’t bother wearing shoes, most locals don’t anyway..

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Breakfast nourishing bowl: quinoa, greens, sauerkraut, roast pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and smashed avo on sprouted bread with sunflower seeds. This is the ultimate breaky for me.

 

Top Shop 

65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay

Think açai bowls, loaded burgers, fresh juices and take away coffee. Perfect place for a morning bite and coffee after a swim or to refuel for lunch.

We enjoyed veggie burgers here for lunch one day and can I say, this was the best veggie burger I’ve ever had. A crispy flavoursome chickpea patty with fresh salad and a green tahini sauce all piled high in a crispy, fluffy bread roll, mmmm!

Honorable mention also goes to the classic açai bowl. A sweet yet refreshing blend of açai berries with banana and apple juice, topped with crunchy almond granola and fresh fruit, this one really hit the spot.

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Naked Treaties

2/3 Marvel Street, Byron Bay

Tucked away on Marvel Street is a little haven for live and raw vegan food. They have the biggest juice, smoothie and raw treats menu I have ever seen. Be sure to check out the fridge for daily raw salad and wrap specials as they’re always whipping up something a bit different and innovative.

I enjoyed a ‘I am Zen’ smoothie bowl consisting of banana, mango, greens and a whole bunch of superfoods. Delish!

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Miss Margarita

2 Jonson Street, Byron Bay

The Fonda Mexican of Byron Bay except five times better (sorry Fonda!). Vibrant, abundant fresh mexican fare with killer cocktails. I recommend coming from 5-7pm from memory for Happy Hour. The strawberry coconut colada was to die for as was the espresso martini I enjoyed.

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Orgasmic Food Byron Bay 

11 Bay Ln, Byron Bay 

The name says it all. Seriously the best falafels I’ve ever had, not to mention super affordable. We shared a plate for about $18 piled high with all sorts of dip, tomato & cucumber salad, lettuce salad, tabbouli and 6 crispy falafel balls alongside a half pita each and we were stuffed! 

This is a must.

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Safe to say we ate our way around Byron Bay with satisfied tummies!

Until next time Byron, I’ll be back..

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Veggie Arancini

Arancini balls are easily a crowd favourite. Primary due to the reason they are deep fried and crunchy morsels of delicious carbohydrates perfect for passing around at a party.

With the festive season all around us, these make a great starter or nibble at any event and just because these are vegan, don’t think they lack any flavour!

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Makes enough to serve 4-6 for risotto, or 45 golf sized arancini balls.

Ingredients

Risotto

1 tbsp rice bran oil (or preferred oil)
1 cup pumpkin, diced in 1cm cubes
1 zucchini, diced in 1cm cubes
1 red capcsicum, diced in 1cm cubes

2 tbsp Nuttelex (any vegan butter)
1 brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 cup aborio rice, dry
1/4 dry white wine (can omit)
1 litre vegetable stock, low sodium
1 litre water
1 cup green peas, frozen
1/2 lemon, juiced

big handful of chopped herbs (I used parsley and thyme)

To make arancini balls

3/4 cup rice flour
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
2-4 cup rice bran oil/vegetable oil, to shallow/deep fry

Method: 

  1. Heat 1 tbsp rice bran oil in a large, wide sauté pan/stock pot (I never know what to call these!) over a medium heat. Add the pumpkin and capsicum and sauté for 2 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the zucchini and cook further for another minute or two. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the nuttelex in the same pan, add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden. – try not to burn or blacken as this will effect the colour and taste.
  3. At the same time, bring the stock and half the water to the boil in another large saucepan.
  4. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir until it is well coated and glassy looking. If using wine, add this now and cook off for a minute or so.
  5. Add 1 ladleful of stock/water mixture and gently stir continuously until the liquid has evaporated. Repeat with remaining liquid, cooking off all the stock in between each addition. It is important to keep stirring the risotto so the rice evenly cooks.
  6. Add the pumpkin, capsicum, zucchini and frozen peas to the risotto. Add any more liquid if necessary and taste. The rice should be al dente *
  7. Stir in the fresh herbs and lemon juice.
  8. Pour into a large, wide bowl and set aside.

To make arancini;

Leave rice to cool for at least 4 hours or until completely chilled. This will make the rolling process easier.

  1. Set up rice flour, almond milk and panko crumbs in three separate wide bowls.
  2. Line a tray or plate with baking paper.
  3. Using a spoon or wet hands, roll rice into desired shape balls (mixture makes about 45 golf sized balls)
  4. Dip each ball into the rice flour, then almond milk, then panko crumbs. Coat evenly and set aside on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining balls until all mixture has gone.
  5. Leave in fridge to cool for 1 hour.
  6. Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan or deep fryer. Bring to a medium/high heat (careful not to overheat). Test a ball or piece of bread. When the bread crumbs turn golden in about 30 seconds, the oil is ready.
  7. Cook arancini in batches of about 6-8. They need roughly 1-2 minutes on either side. They are done when they turn golden brown and crisp.
  8. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towel to drain oil.
  9. Serve immediately on their own or with vegan mayo or chutney/relish.

Freeze well, careful not to overcrowd the container as they will stick.

Reheat in a slow, moderate oven!

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Behind the scenes at Lilseats HQ: Crunchy nuggets of goodness.

Notes

Yet again, this is a long method. They seem like a lot of effort, but trust me they are quite simple to make and really fun!

The recipe is best started the day before, as it is done in multiple processes.

The amount of liquid you add to the risotto will depends on the size of your pan, how old the rice is, the water content of the vegetables etc. I’ve said 1 litre of water, you may need more you may need less. This is a skill you will need to judge yourself. Add the liquid once ladle at a time and keep tasting rice. It should have a small bite to it once cooked. You don’t want to under/over cook the rice!

Have fun and enjoy!

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Green Smoothie

With the arrival of summer and an abundance of fresh summer fruits, I thought I would write up my favourite green smoothie for you all.

This is a rough recipe as I tend to use what I have on hand, but this is my go-to combo.

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Green Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup water
handful of spinach
1/2 Lebanese cucumber (adjust to taste)
handful frozen mango
1.5 frozen bananas

Method

  1. Blend coconut water, water, spinach and cucumber first.
  2. Add the frozen banana and mango and blend until smooth.
  3. Poor into your favourite glass or jar.

Alternatively, leave out the water and make it a bit thicker and top with fruits/muesli/nuts/seeds of your choice for a smoothie bowl!

Tip: add the fruit of a passionfruit to the glass before pouring the smoothie in, so yummy!

Vegan Banana Bread

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To tell you the truth, I’ve been loving experimenting with vegan baking. I am so surprised at how the vegan counterparts compare to the ‘real’ (dairy-filled) deal – totally comparable.

Moist, wholesome ish (despite a bit of sugar and white flour), and absolutely moreish, this banana bread is so super easy to make and most ingredients you should have on hand. Banana bread has to be one of my favourite things to bake, and let’s face it, eat!

Here we go..

Vegan Banana Bread

Ingredients

3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 flax egg *
3 tbsp rice bran oil
3/4 cup of almond milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan forced and line a 20 x 10 cm (or approx) loaf tin with baking paper and a lil spray of oil.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together (eg: second half of the ingredient list) in a large mixing bowl, leaving a well in the centre.
  3. To make almond ‘buttermilk’, add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk and allow it to thicken.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, add the mashed banana, almond buttermilk, vanilla essence, oil and flax egg and stir until incorporated.
  5. Incorporate the two mixtures but gently pouring the wet ingredients in the well of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  6. Pour mixture into lined tray (top with some coconut flakes for extra pizazz) and bake for 40-45 minutes depending on oven and tin size. Banana bread will be golden and a skewer will come out clean when done!

* to make flax egg: mix 1 tbsp flax meal with 3 tbsp water, set aside for 5 minutes to set to the consistency of an egg! Cool, huh?

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Vegan Lamingtons

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If you follow me on Instagram, you may be aware that for the month of August, my friend and I decided to do a challenge we named Animal Free August! Basically, we set out to eat plant based/vegan diets for the entire month of August. And it’s going well, very well!

This year, we’ve both developed quite an interest for veganism and animal rights. We’ve both become quite educated on the topic of veganism and as it resonates with a lot of both our core values, we decided it was only time before we bit the bullet and transitioned to a more plant based style of eating. The challenge was a way of keep us both on track, and it’s been a lot easier than anticipated.

These laminations came about from a strong craving and desire to eat (non vegan) cake! I have to admit, I’ve always been so skeptical about vegan baking! How does one cook a cake or slice without butter? Or god forbid, no eggs? These laminations are enough to answer those two questions. Vegan baking is sooo easy!

Feed these to the highly skeptical alongside my vegan cookies (previous post) and your taste testers will be pleasantly surprised!

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Vegan Lamingtons

make roughly 12-14 lamingtons

Ingredients

Vanilla ‘Buttercake’

1 cup soy milk (high quality plz)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 1/2 cup plain flour *
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda (bi-carb)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil (neutral flavoured, I used Rice Bran)
1 tsp vanilla essence

3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup desiccated/shredded coconut

Raspberry chia jam

1 cup frozen raspberries
3 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
water, to thin

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius, fan forced. Line and grease a 20 x 20 cm square tin, or equivalent.
  2. In a small bowl, mix soy milk and ACV to make a soy buttermilk! (I was so impressed and excited by this, not gonna lie!) Leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture, add the oil, vanilla essence and soy milk mixture, bit by bit. Whisk to incorporate and remove any lumps.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, bang it on the bench to remove any air bubbles and pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes (oven depending) or until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. Whilst the cake is cooling, make the raspberry chia jam by defrosting the raspberries in a microwave/on the stove. Add the chia seeds, vanilla essence and a dash of water and let the chia seeds do their thing and thicken up the mixture. You can mash the raspberries with a fork, however they should separate anyway with the heat. You may need to add more water to thin the jam out.

7. Once the cake is cool (approx 1/2 hours), cut the edges off the cake and equally portion up lamington appropriate sized squares/rectangles. I made about 16 from memory, 3 cuts longways and 3 cuts lengthways. Cut the squares in half to make room for the jam.
8. Prepare the chocolate sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sugar and pour the boiling water in. Mix vigorously to remove any bumps. Put the desiccated coconut in another wide bowl. Set aside for dipping.
8. On each square, smear some chia jam in between, sandwich together, dip in the chocolate on all edges (I wear gloves for this part), and roll in desiccated coconut. Set aside each leamington on a wire rack lined with baking paper to avoid a chocolate/coconutty mess.
9. Voila, you have vegan laminations! Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days – they keep well actually.

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Notes

  • I’m aware this recipe is very long however don’t be fooled. These are so simple to make and the ingredients are what most avid bakers will have on hand!
  • *I’ve made these gluten free before using half teff flour, half gluten free flour (from coles) and they worked a treat! The teff flour does produce a different colour, so I tested these with normal flour to achieve a true lamington colour.
  • Normal jam works fine in between the lamingtons, however I find it too sweet so I like to make my own!
  • The cake batter would also make great cupcakes, just cook for less time!
  • Leftover chocolate sauce makes a delicious hot chocolate with some almond or soy milk – just sayin’!