Appetite For Reduction Day 5 – Catalan Pear and Couscous Salad

This was a new salad on me. Again, from Appetite for Reduction and only 220 calories for quite a generous serving. I guess I had about 1.5 serves in total for my lunch.

I had to make a few substitutions due to not having ripe fresh pears, I used tinned instead, although next time I might use Nashi pears. They’ll be less sweet I guess, but I’d like the crunch. I wasn’t able to get the pears past Seb (he doesn’t believe fruit should be in salads) but he still enjoyed it. I also didn’t have wholewheat couscous and no spinach, I used some yellowing rocket (arugula) instead.

Catalan Couscous Salad

Catalan Couscous Salad from Appetite for Reduction

The dressing was a Romesco dressing. It had all sorts going on in there. Roasted almonds, roasted capsicum and red wine vinegar. This would be a beautiful salad to take to a summer garden party. It’s a bit suave and sophisticated for a BBQ IMHO.

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Appetite for Reduction Day 3 – Chef’s Sanctuary Salad

So called because ranches just aren’t the best place for cows. Us vegheads much prefer sanctuaries. I decided to make this salad as Seb and I are starting to plan our big summer trip to the US. I’ve never been and I am super excited to be heading to see some old friends, some newer ones, including ones I’ve never met before. My absolute favouritist thing I am excited about is a visit we have planned to Farm Sanctuary in California. We have been supporting FS for a couple of years now and love the work that they do. The place is full of animals which have come from terrible circumstances and these animals can live their lives without any fear of mutilation or slaughter hanging over their heads. We intend to spend a couple of nights in the cottage attached to the sanctuary so we can spend time with the animals, who are ambassadors for the billions that are slaughtered every year.

Anyhoo, back to today’s salad from Appetite for Reduction. It was pretty epic. It had eggplant bacon, roasted cauliflower, lettuce, greens, carrot, onion, radishes, sprouts and cherry tomatoes. The salad was a ‘ranch’ dressing. It’s not pictured as it is all white and gloopy, but it tasted great!

Appetite For Reduction Day 2 Pad Thai Salad

Day 2 of salad week from Appetite For Reduction. This is one of my favourite salads ever! It’s called Pad Thai Salad and it is just chock-a-block full of deliciousness. We’ve got all those amazing fresh Pad Thai flavours like peanuts, shallots, coriander and lime, but absolutely no added oil in the recipe therefore makes it completely the opposite of regular Pad Thai (masses of oil and rice noodles which have no nutrition) We doubled the recipe again and added some cubes of tofu which were fried in a smidgeon of sesame oil (This is for flavour only. If you have a non-stick pan  you don’t need any oil as there is enough fat in the tofu to cook brown it. Next time I won’t bother). It takes a while to evaporate the water in the tofu, but after that it is goes nice and brown and then you can add some soy sauce while the pan is how and it does seriously chewy. I love it this salad and those that I have encouraged to make it really enjoy it too. While I made this I also roasted my cauliflower in readiness for tomorrow’s Chef’s Sanctuary  Salad. This is the first time I will have cooked this one so I am excited about how it will turn out.

This picture is really so terrible. The light in my kitchen is way too yellow. Anyone have any tips on how to make it a bit better?

Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan

Earlier on in the year I met and became friends with Christy Morgan AKA The Blissful Chef. During her 6 weeks in Thailand we spent nearly every weekend together cooking up a storm and going to restaurants. It was so nice to spend time with someone who has such similar interests.  After her return to the US I have happily been watching her work; educating people in Texas through her cooking classes and events. Christy had her first book released just a few months ago and she mailed me a copy of her book. It seemed to take forever to arrive but finally it did!

Her approach is raw and macrobiotic and low in fat so it is ridiculously healthy. It is such a beautiful book and so well designed. The recipes are sorted by seasons and clearly labelled as soy free, gluten free and also by how long they take to cook. In these days where there are so many fantastic vegan cookbooks on the market, it must be hard to do something that will make a mark and I really think she has managed to do so.

I have created a number of recipes from her book already, (I’ve got  bowl of her Hearty Lentil Soup on the stove right now) but real standouts so far have been her incredible salad dressings and her Macro Mac and Cheese. Now I have had MANY veg mac and cheese recipes. Most call for non-dairy cheese, or cashew nuts , or non dairy milk but not Christy’s. Hers has butternut pumpkin and tahini and it was absolute delicious. So incredibly creamy and I will agree that it did not taste the same as conventional mac and cheese but it certainly ticked the boxes of creamy, comforting and satisfying and so healthy and nutrient density was really high. I am sure I will blogging more from Christy’s book in future!  I should also note that Christy uses very little processed foods like vegan mayo or Earth Balance which means it is great book to have in Asia where such foods are difficult to locate and are also pricey. Thank you Christy for all the work you do and creating such a wonderful book.

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Teaching Me a Thing or Two

It’s strange how a playground conversation in passing can culminate into such a pleasant evening. Wang Ning and Ting Ting are a lovely couple (and couple) of Chinese teachers at my school. I happen to be on playground duty with both of them over the working week. Over the months we have started to have more and more conversations about eating animals. I don’t think they had ever heard of ‘vegan’ before and they had lots of questions. They had some concerns too, particularly about eating how to eat a balanced diet so I tried to explain a bit about it and they get it. I suggested they read a Chinese translation of The China Study to understand about the health aspects of eating this way. I also sent Ting Ting a You Tube video of Gary Yourofsky’s speech which has subtitles in Chinese*. (BTW: I should add that their English is excellent, but it’s always easier to understand these rather abstract concepts in your first language. Well, for me anyway) She watched it and was quite shocked and saddened at what she learned. Sensing she might need to debrief a bit, I invited them both over, but instead of cooking for them, they cooked for me. How lucky am I? They cooked two different Chinese salads. One had rice noodles as a base with carrots and peanuts and lots of garlic and sesame oil. The other had tofu skins and blanched celery. I’ve eaten tofu skin before but never prepared it. It’s so good. It has such a chewy and satisfying texture that makes a delicious meat substitute. I did cook dessert. I made my first batch of icecream here in Indonesia. There is no access to the richer soy milk here, so I was concerned that it might not be as good. It wasn’t as rich as it might have been, but it was still good. Such a pleasant and delicious evening with the two of them. I adore their open minds and hearts.

* A note for animal advocates. I really recommend suggesting Gary Yourofsky’s speech to those whose first language is not English. It has been translated in to many different languages and in that 50 minutes he challenges the viewer on their thinking. Another of my colleagues sat through it and blogged about it. I am loving all these open minds and hearts here at SWA.