Friday, October 29, 2010

Swedish Chocolate balls

Any vegan who has been to Sweden, or has met a Swedish vegan, is familiar with Delicato balls and their chocolatey, coconutty goodness. Alas, these seem to be unavailable outside of Sweden. Not even at IKEA.

Thanks to my Swedish friends, over at, I discovered that delicato balls are just a commercial version of the Swedish treat, chokladboll. Armed with a recipe, I whipped up a quick batch a couple of nights ago. I took some to work, where they went down quite well, and opened the floodgates for a days worth of jokes about balls.


  • 3 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 tbsp cocoa (I used cacao powder)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar (I used the Hoyts brand) or 1 tsp  vanilla extract, added with the coffee
  • 2/3 cup margarine (nutellex)
  • 6 Tbsp  cold coffee
  • flaked coconut


  • Mix oats (Instant Oats will give a better texture and flavor and is recommended), sugar, vanilla sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl.
  • Using your hands or a potato masher, incorporate the margarine into the dry ingredients until the dough has an even consistency.
  • Add the coffee and mix until incorporated.
  • Fill a small bowl with flaked coconut.
  • With your hands, roll the dough into 3 cm diameter balls.
  • Roll each ball in the coconut or pearl sugar and place on a tray.
  • Chill chocolate balls for at least one hour before serving.

Required soundtrack: Anything by Roxette 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tofu fingers with tartar sauce

My fridge is full of tofu at the moment because I just can't resist buying the joyco "nigari hard tofu" as it's so cheap and stuffed with protein (55 grams per pack).

With so much of it available to me, I knew that I had to make a tofu dish for the BBQ potluck. The vegan table came to the rescue with it's "Tofu filet with cornmeal crust and tartar sauce". I did a practice run on Friday and it went well, so I made it again on Saturday.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 3 teaspoons mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, oregano and sage)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup vegan milk
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 block joyco tofu (325 grams)

Mix all the dry ingredients together and in another bowl whisk the mustard into your vegan milk.

Cut tofu into 1cm slices and heat oil in a frying pan.

Dip tofu into vegan milk and dredge in the flour mixture. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until perfectly brown and crispy (just like in the photo).

For the tartar sauce, mix in finely chopped parsley, pickles and capers into some vegan mayonnaise. I used the Praise 97% fat-free mayonnaise.

Check out K's write up of the potluck to see pictures of all the great stuff other folks made and of my sweet cornbread.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Black bean burgers from hell and blackened tofu slabs

There aren't many things that are more awesome than veganism or heavy metal music, unless of course you combine them both into an online cooking show. Tim Hogarth has done this with his heavy metal vegan cooking website and youtube channel. The videos are really fun and the recipes are not too difficult to make. I've made the apple pie and black bean burgers so far.

Check out the video and recipe for the black bean burgers.

The only mildly difficult part about this recipe was cooking up the black beans, since I'm not willing to pay $5+ for a can of beans no matter how convenient it is. I buy my black beans, and most of my dried beans, from D'Souzas at Preston Market.


Just when you think it can't get any cooler, I pull out a recipe from "vegan soul kitchen". Having experienced the "watermelon with basil sea salt" a few years ago while at a friend's place, and flicking through their copy, I knew that I needed to get it, and I finally did.


  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 kilo extra-firm tofu (I used the joyco nigari hard tofu that you can get from safeway), frozen, thawed, pressed and patted dry, cut into 3 even widthwise slices

Combine everything, except the tofu, in a small bowl and transfer to a large plate. Brush the tofu with  olive oil and dredge in seasoning. Fry until crisp (2-3 mins each side).

Typing up the recipe has made me realise that I actually put in too much cayenne, which explains its dominance, but that is the kind of dominance I don't mind.

Having made too much of the seasoning, I mixed it in with some margarine and used it as a sandwich spread. It's a keeper.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

One pie to rule them all

After trying the Linda McCartney pies a few weeks ago and being bitterly disappointed with its complete lack of flavour, I decided it was time to create a record of all the pies I've tried and rate them on their taste, presentation and all that other stuff food critics write about to help fill up their word count.

Funky pies

My first encounter with these was at last year's world vegan day, and unfortunately they were still frozen in the middle when I dug into a few of them. I wasn't blown away by them as they seemed to be too heavy on the oily pastry rather than the fillings. The fillings were also too chunky, with massive morsels of "chicken". All the flavours are good, but the chilli-non carne is one I won't be trying again. My favourite item from the funky pies people is not a pie at all, but their bacon and mushroom quiche. The brownies are pretty good too.

I was lucky enough to make a visit to the actual cafe in Bondi last year and sampling the rest of their menu was a pure delight and judging by k's recent post, they have raised the bar even higher.

Funky chunky

Rating - 3.5/5

Linda McCartney country pies

How excited I was to find out that these were available in Melbourne after remembering a pleasant experience with them when I was in England a couple of years ago. It was, however, a distorted memory, clouded with tasty potatoes and gravy that covered up for the flavourlessness of the pie. After the first few bites I felt a slight confusion. "Where is the flavour?", I asked myself. I ate a little more and realised that there wasn't any.  I finished it, but the taste of betrayal lingered for a few more hours.

Like most things in life, parallels can be drawn with the entire Wings catalogue. Linda McCartney foods have put out a few good things, I admit that the sausages are nice, much like Wings' "Live and let die", but there are a lot of things that went wrong (e.g. sausage rolls and all the lacto-ovo stuff/the rest of Wings' records, excluding "Band on the run" and, depending on my mood, "Mull of Kintyre").

Rating - 1/5

Primal pies

While in Sydney last year I checked out most of the must try eateries and sampled two of the pies on offer at Naked Espresso. While I feel they are closer to my ideal pie than the Funky and Linda McCartney ones, they lack a crucial element, structural integrity. The photo below demonstrates this.

As you can see, there is no unity between the filling and the pastry (and it's not just because of the way I'm holding it ;) ). It looks like it has been deflated.  One wrong move and you can say goodbye to all that filling. It's a strange problem as it was a non-issue when I experienced my first vegan pie all those years ago at a humble Preston bakery/cult-ery.

Rating - 4/5

La Panella

Going to La Panella is like visiting an old friend who has become slightly whacky, bleached their hair and made a million friends who are willing to give them large sums of money to set up their own T.V. network, but they still know how to make a nice pie. The pastry is thick enough to hold the filling together, maintains its structural integrity once bitten into and has the perfect T.V.P., gravy and vegetable ratio. True, sometimes I can't tell the difference between the plain vegetable and mushroom pie, but there is such amazing synergy between the core ingredients that I can easily disregard it.

Besides the unbeatable value, the biggest plus for these pies is that they can make carcass munchers unconsciously make an ethical food choice for once in their otherwise heartless lives.  Luckily(?) the supreme master's followers are growing so there may be more of this type of thing happening around the place.

Rating - 5/5

Special mention: Janet's pies in Newtown make a couple of vegan pies with only vegetables!?! in them. Nevertheless they are filling and borderline healthy. Here's a succinct but informative blog post by a sydneysider.