Thursday, 18 February 2016

Millionaires' Shortbread

What?! Shortbread? But the whole point of shortbread is butter. How can you make that vegan and tasty? And the condensed milk and caramel!?

Well, naysayers, let me tell you something....come close..SHUT UP. You can make everything vegan. 

This recipe is great the tray was empty in two days.
I adapted it straight out of a Deliha Smith cook book that looks like it is from the 80's.

  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 175g margarine (for shortbread)
  • 100g margarine (for caramel)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 x cans condensed soya milk. I used this one from The Cruelty Free Shop 

  • Whittakers 50% cocoa bar.


      1. Pre-heat the oven to 180'C. Lightly grease a tin.
      2. To make the shortbread, mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in the margarine until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into the base of the prepared tin. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork and bake in the oven until firm and very lightly browned. Cool in the tin.

      3. To make the caramel, melt the margarine, sugar and condensed soya milk in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.
      4. For the topping, melt the chocolate in a bain marie. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set.

        If you give this recipe a go, I'd love to know how you got on.

    Au Revoir my Lovelies

    Rachael x

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Edamame Pasta with 'not' Sun-dried Tomato Sauce and Artichoke


Love Sun-dried Tomatoes, hate the price?
Here is my far cheaper version of a sun-dried tomato sauce that works great with pasta, but also perfect for bread, salads, and however else you like your sauciness. 

I paired this sauce with Organic Edamame pasta and artichoke. 


- Your favourite pasta (I used Organic edamame, and mung bean Fettuccine) 
-A jar of artichoke hearts (This time round, I didn't use too many, maybe 6-7 chopped)
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- A mix of the herbs you love the most. I used, basil, parsley, oregano, Rosemary, and paprika
- A teaspoon of garlic. 
-Half a medium red onion
- A tube of tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste.

I'm sure I could have made that look neater...

How to: 

- Get your pasta boiling. Mine took 7-8 mins.
- In a fry pan, heat your oil, then add your herbs
- Make sure not to burn your herbs, you just want to stimulate the flavour.
-Add your red onion (mushrooms would go great here too), and Artichoke.

This smelt like heaven.

- After a minute or so, lower the heat and add the whole tube of tomato paste. You want to cook this until the paste darkens.

- Once your pasta is cooked, stir it through the sauce and enjoy!

Main products used. 

Please let me know if you gave this a go. And remember you can use the sauce in so many ways. 

Au Revoir my Lovelies

Rachael x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Auckland Restaurant Month- Hectors

It’s Restaurant Month here in Auckland. Meaning that a lot of great places are joining in and offering deals to showcase their food.
Hector’s Restaurant, in The Heritage Hotel is a vegan staple.   You can see my review  from a year ago here

If you’re in Auckland, I urge  you to take full advantage of Restaurant Month. What better time to exercise those foodie taste buds? Visit   Heart of the City webpage to find out more about who is taking part.

Anyway, back to Hector’s. Last Friday evening, my partner and I made the impromptu trip to my favourite restaurant in Auckland.
Apparently you are meant to call more than an hour before hand, in order for the chefs to ensure they have all the correct ingredients, to take advantage of the Restaurant Month deal. But they were able to squeeze us in, and we are very grateful for that.

As always, our server was amazing. Herman looked after us, and was incredibly attentive- he gets all the points.
For $55pp you get a 3 course meal off of a set ‘Restaurant Month’ menu- there is a vegan and also a ‘normal’ menu to chose from.

With some vegan wine we got ready for a great meal.

Rockburn Riesling 

Macadamia Cheese and Poached Vegetable Salad with Beet Puree

Anyone who knows me, will tell you I hate salads, making this an odd choice.
  I won't lie, it was the word cheese that swayed me, not salad. Luckily though, there were no leaves in sight and who doesn't love a baby carrot?
I enjoyed this starter, it was light and the flavours were great. The cheese was a bit of a let down, kind of gritty, but I'm glad I chose the salad- try new things and all that.

Truffled Mushroom Tart, Hazelnut Salad, and Balsamic Reduction.
There is that word again, salad. I did eat a bit of it, but I chose this for the tart. I've had this dish before and LOVE IT. It's beautifully made, very flavourful. Ever since becoming vegan, I've had a love affair with mushrooms. They make such a great alternative to meat, so earthy.
This time, it was a bit heavy on the salt, but I haven't had that issue in the past (bear in mind I hate using salt, so I'm quite sensitive to it.)

Chocolate Mousse and Raw Hazelnut Brownie

 Chocolate, brownie, chocolate...and some nuts with freeze dried raspberry. The mousse was very decadent and I wouldn't have wanted more than what was served, as it's quite heavy. As for the raw brownie, it reminded me of soft granola and that is not a bad thing. I really enjoyed the addition of freeze dried raspberries too.

My partner had the fritters (I say my partner had, I did too)
Banana Fritters with Mango Sorbet and Ginger
What a lovely photo of my arm's shadow. 

The fritters  and sorbet weirdly matched the chocolate mousse. But what I really loved about this was the ginger syrup, it went perfectly with the mango sorbet.

 We really enjoyed our evening out at Hectors. it was a great chance to eat some loved food and also try something new. I intend on taking full advantage of what Restaurant Month has to offer Auckland.
So give Restaurant Month a go. You might find a new favourite spot.  

Au Revoir my Lovelies

Rachael x

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Pumpkin Soup

I made this over the weekend for part of a 3 course Mothers Day meal. Not to toot my own horn, but it's delicious, and so simple. Perfect for the cold winter.

- ½ crown pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes 
-4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 
-3 onions, peeled and chopped up 
-olive oil or vege oil, about 6 tbsp 
-3/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
-1/4 cup white sugar 
-salt and pepper to taste
-vegetable stock . 
- 2 tsp of smoked paprika

1.Sweat the veggies in the oil, nutmeg and sugar on a med to low heat until the pumpkin goes kinda mushy on the outside. 
2. Cover with vegie stock, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the veg is cooked. 
3. Let cool a little while then blend the soup in batches and put back into a clean pot and add a little more stock if too thick to thin it out, check seasoning, and add paprika.

And Ta Da, you are done. This freezes great, so make a large batch, split into Tupperware and freeze for a quick lunch.  

Let me know if you give this recipe a go.

Rachael xx

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Stray cat?

Blurry, I know. I'm sorry.
This cat has a tendency to eat all of my cat, Blu's food. 
He comes in through the cat flap, feasts on wet food, and snuggles up on freshly washed clothes. He's living the high life, with no commitment to a family. 

We've caught him numerous times. But no matter how much water you throw at him, how many times you chuck him out, or the dog barks- this cat always finds his way back in. He's persistent, and obviously very carefree- lovely cat qualities. I feel he tosses up the decision like this: 'they have a huge Staffordshire bull/ boxer cross, I really should stay away....buuuut foooood. Yep, I'm going in!' 

Which kind of makes it even more sad. He is obviously desperate, and  there is even a possibility he does have a family. And If he does- he should be taken from them anyway. He is skinny, clearly hungry for loves, and has, what looks like, an infected eye. 

Don't get me wrong, he's a lovely, gentle cat, far more loving than my Blu. I wish we could keep him, but our dog would try to eat him.  

I know it's a long shot, but he is honestly the sweetest cat- even Blu seems to like him. We often find them snuggled up together (maybe they are boyfriends?) if anyone does recognise this cat, please let me know. We are almost at the point of taking him into the vet. 

For good measure, here's Blu. 

Rachael x

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Letting the blog down

Life has been crazy but great. And unfortunately, that means I've been neglecting you. 
I've been traveling loads, and focusing on my job. 
When I started this blog, I was working part time in a job I hated, then made redundant and jobless for months. This blog became a haven for me, a place to express myself when I felt trapped and lost. 
I don't want my efforts with this blog to go to waste, this isn't a goodbye, it's a hello. To you the reader, to the blog itself, and to the me I want to become again-the me that takes the time to do what I love, write. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Ingredient of the Month- Quinoa.

Qu-I-no-A? Queen-O-A? Kai-O-noa?

Oh the ever elusive pronunciation of Quinoa. (It's KEEN-wha by the way.)

Quinoa has been around for thousands of years, though only recently has it become a popular ingredient, and dubbed a superfood. 

A complete protien, quinoa is the only plant food featuring all essential amino acids. It's also gluten free, low GI, low carbohydrate, and high fiber. It's pretty much a complete food. 
Whether you are a health nut, trying to lose weight, or are just after some good wholesome food, try quinoa. 

There is, however, a nack to cooking it. 
First off you need to make sure you give it a good wash as most don't come prewashed, and quinoa naturally has a bitter coating. 

You then boil it using a 1:1 water ratio. It will take between 10-15 mins to cook. What you're looking for is a small hook to begin to pop out- if, by this time, your water hasn't all been soaked up, strain it. Otherwise use a fork to mix the quinoa around, trying to get as much air in it as possible- you want fluffy quinoa.

Quinoa is relatively flavourless, the black and red varieties being more earthy than the white- and will also take a bit longer to cook. All 3 colours are natural, so don't worry about any possible bleaching. 

This is a really versatile food. It can be used in baking, as a replacement to potato, rice or pasta, added to soup, or bread. Here's a really basic recipe to get you started.


1.1 cup of quinoa
2. 1 cup of water
3. 1 stock cube
4. Tin of chopped tomato
5. 3 cloves of crushed garlic
6. 1 medium onion
7. Handful of button mushrooms
8. 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
9. Pinch of salt.


1. Chop the onion, garlic and mushroom to suit. 

2. In a saucepan add the quinoa, water, and stock and bring to boil.

3. In a fry pan, fry off your onion, garlic, and mushroom(filling the room with that amazing smell)

4. Add the tin of tomato and simmer until the tomatoes turn to a dull red.

5. Add paprika, and salt. 

6. Once you're satisfied with your quinoa, take it off the heat (sieve if you need to) let if cool for a minute or two, using a fork to stir it every so often. 

7. Stir the qunioa into the sauce and voila!

I hope you enjoyed this first Ingredient of The Month. Let me know if you try this recipe or what you love to do with quinoa.

Au Revoir my lovelies Rachael x