Raw Celeriac Salad with Walnuts and Dill

I know I have a similar recipe which I shared long time ago but this one is slightly different and the photo is better too. You don’t mind me sharing it again, do you?

DPP_00015 (1280x960)Back in Bodrum (Turkey), this was the first thing I used to make on the day of the local market, right after bringing the fresh produce home. This salad stores well in the fridge and you always have something to add to whatever you cook during the week. It is also a good sandwich filler.

DPP_00025 (1280x960)I strongly recommend you prepare everything before you attack the celeriac here as it turns brown so fast. I sometimes even put the lemon juice in the food processor first and then grate the whole thing straight on top of it. You either plan well or work fast. That is the only rule here.

½ head celeriac, peeled and grated
3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped finely
2 walnuts, shelled and chopped finely
Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
Black pepper

• Grate the celeriac either in a food processor or by using a hand grater.
• Mix grated raw celeriac and lemon juice in a salad bowl.
• Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.
• Garnish with extra chilli and serve.

Chickpea (garbanzo bean) and Smoked Almond Salad with Vinaigrette

I have been using smoked almonds extensively in salads since we discovered them at Scoop. Here’s a salad featuring these interesting ingredients.

Chickpea and Smoked Almond Salad with Vinaigrette
Bowl in this photo is hand-made in 2011 by ceramic artist Turgut Tuna.  It is hand made and it came all the way from Turkey. Thank you Zeynep and Canbora :) It is from Iznik -famous for its ceramics and tiles.

1x tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well and drained
1 small carrot, grated
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
½ green pepper (capsicum), chopped
½ cup smoked almonds
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To make vinaigrette: Combine vinegar and oil, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make salad: Combine chickpeas, carrot, smoked almonds, pepper, onion and mint in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Fettuccine with Pine Mushrooms

Fettuccine with Pine Mushrooms

Now that I posted information about pine mushrooms, I can show you how you utilise this fantastic varietal. This is such a fast and easy recipe and sautéing pine mushrooms brings out the nutty flavour in them. The recipe below serves 2.

200 grams fettuccine
6 pieces pine mushrooms, stem removed and cut into small pieces
1 thick spring onion, chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

• Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
• Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan –I use my wok as it makes it easier to combine –and sauté the mushrooms.
• Separate the green parts of the spring onions and set aside.
• Halfway through the sautéing process add the white parts of spring onion and cook until they are slightly limp.
• Drain pasta and add to the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper and combine well.
• Sprinkle with parsley and spring onions just before you remove it from the heat. Serve warm and enjoy!

Pine Mushroom

Pine Mushrooms
The first time I came across pine mushrooms was during the time we lived in Melbourne. We did most of our grocery shopping at Prahran market where there is a stall just for mushrooms. Damien Pike Wild Mushroom Specialist is the name and Damien is a mushroom expert. He was kind enough to take his time to explain what they were and in the end, we were convinced to try.

Pine mushroom Lactarius deliciosus –also known as saffron milk cap, orange fly caps or red pine mushroom –is found in Europe and later introduced to other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Chile. They commonly grow under pine trees. They exude a milky orange sap when cut and have vibrant saffron-coloured cap, gills and stem. The texture is firm and they have a full, nutty flavour. In some cases, the colour gets even more vibrant as they cook.

When I lived in Aegean part of Turkey, especially in Bodrum area (photo below), I heard about this wild mushroom called çıntar –the Turkish name for pine mushrooms. The locals have a long tradition of going out and hunting these mushrooms –and some other herbs –when they are in season. They know exactly what to pick as no mushroom poisoning has ever been reported in the area.

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle

In pine fields of Oberon in NSW, migrants from Poland, Italy and Ukraine or other Eastern European ancestry, pick these mushrooms after autumn rainfall. We get ours from Harris Farm but during only certain months as their season is quite short.

A few tips on cooking and preparing:
• If you get large and older pine mushrooms, use them in casseroles or stews as they take longer to cook and slow cooking is the best method for these. If you can get smaller, younger ones, they go nicely with pasta.
• They need to be washed well and stems should be discarded.
• Pine mushrooms are best when sautéed or grilled.

Govinda Italian Vegetarian Restaurant, Bangkok – Thailand

Govinda Italian Vegetarian Restaurant Pizzeria (1280x960)

We decided to try Govinda’s after reading reviews in our hotel room on the internet, especially the ones on Happy Cow. The place may be called Govinda but it is not an Indian restaurant. It is actually a vegetarian Italian restaurant in the middle of Bangkok with a big pizza oven. Apparently, it is chosen as one the top 10 best vegetarian restaurants in Asia by PETA.

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Complimentary bread basket.

It is centrally located –just off Sukhumvit –and surrounded by other restaurants and hotels. It is pretty easy to find. The owners are Italian however, they are not as friendly as they say in those reviews. The service is a little slow but it seems like the only vegetarian place in Bangkok where you can get European style of vegetarian food. Let’s face it, you get fed up with the local food pretty fast.

Soy Chicken Breast with Pepper Sauce (1280x960)

Filetto di Soia al Pepe o al Gorgonzola
Soy Chicken Breast with Pepper Sauce or Gorgonzola Sauce 290 Baht

Mashed Ppotato with Soy Bacon and Mushroom (1280x960)Puré di Patate Speciale
Mashed Potato with Soy Bacon and Mushroom 260 Baht

Govinda Italian Vegetarian Restaurant
Sukhumvit Soi 22
Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02 6634970
Email: govindasoi22@hotmail.com

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Green Bean and Onion Pasties

I bought some green beans to make a Thai salad when we had friends around for a Thai feast –mostly cooked by my dear husband –but on the last minute I changed my mind and didn’t make the salad as we already had a lot of food. So, I found the beans sulking in my fridge and decided to put an end to their misery. The result was quite satisfying.

Note: This’ll make 8 pasties. If you have any leftovers you can zap them in the microwave for 10 seconds the next day. They will still be fine.

Green Bean and Onion PastiesIngredients:
1 small pack baby green beans (round variety)
1 large onion, chopped finely
A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 sheets puff pastry
Sesame seeds
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

• Top and tail the green beans and cut into very small pieces –about a centimetre.
• Heat the oil in a pot and add the beans first. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring continually. Add the onions and some salt, then carry on frying and stirring. Once the beans are tender, remove from the heat and set aside. They need to be cold before you use them.
• When the bean mixture is cooled down add the parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
• Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 4 equal squares.
• Brush the edges with plain water –this will make the edges stick better. Divide the filling equally –again –and bring together two sides –overlapping about ½ inch –and press the other ends with a fork.
• Brush your oven tray with some oil and arrange the pasties, leaving enough room around each one as they will expand. Brush with oil and sprinkle each one with sesame seeds.
• Place the tray in the middle of the oven and bake the pasties at 180°C/350F/Gas Mark 4 until they are golden brown on top as well as the bottom. This usually take about 20 minutes although it depends on the oven.

Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher

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Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher
22-24 King Street
Newtown, Sydney 2042
Phone: 02 95579762
Website: www.ssvb.com.au

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My old review of Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher has been one of the most read posts on VegFusion. To top it up, pretty much everyone linked their posts to my review because at the time, Suzy Spoon didn’t have her own website. Now that I have been to her new premise more than once, I thought it was about time I wrote a new review with new photos.

I found out about Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher after reading an article on the Daily Telegraph. The one that said in the title; Meeting High Demand but with No Meat? I remember the day we came home with a bag full of interesting products to try. We carried on buying Spoon’s products until it was shut down. A few months later the new place was open and this review is about the new place.

schnitzels (1280x956)

Suzy Spoon makes and sells a wide range of delicious vegan products. All products are vegan and hand made by them from the finest ingredients. The sell sausages –now even gluten free ones are available –Viennese-style schnitzels, seitan pieces, smokey rashers and patties. They also sell vegan cakes, breads, sauces, etc.

Traditional Sausages (1280x989)

And this is what you do with the products: Traditional Sausages in action. Sausages lightly fried and served with Vegideli Gourmet Vegan Gravy, vegan mashed potatoes and ActiFried summer squash with spring onions and dill.


Suzy Spoon’s menu, including breakfast. Yes, it starts at 7am Peoples :)

Turkish Vegetable Güveç with Orzo

Turkish Vegetable Güveç with Orzo

Last week, I tidied up my kebab and clay pot recipes. I never knew you could use orzo in a casserole style kebab in Ottoman cooking. These dishes are usually cooked with meat, lamb etc. It’s so easy; you could chuck it all your ingredients in the oven and forget about it until it’s done because the fat content of these flesh foods will keep it moist whereas our meat analogues turn out as dry as cardboard. Here’s how I solved the problem:

Turkish Vegetable Güveç with Orzo
2 medium sized eggplant, peeled in stipes and roughly chopped (not too thin as they shrink once cooked)
2 potatoes, medium sized, peeled and cubed
1 banana chilli, deseeded and cut into thin strips
½ cup orzo
1xtin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper

• Cook the potato cubes in ActiFry for 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes, add the banana chilli and cook for another 10 minutes.
• Deep fry the eggplant cubes and place them on paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
• Boil enough water. Add salt and oil and cook orzo until soft. Drain and set aside.
• In a small saucepan, heat the oil and add tinned tomatoes, crushed garlic, sweet paprika, salt, pepper and oregano. Simmer until it reaches to sauce-like consistency. Add the parsley just before you remove it from the heat.
• Carefully mix the tomato sauce with the other ingredients and cook them in the oven for 15 minutes until all heated through. I used individual pots for the job.
• Afiyet Olsun Peoples!

LingZhi Vegetarian Restaurant at Liat Towers, Singapore

LingZhi Vegetarian RestaurantLingZhi Vegetarian Restaurant at Liat Towers
541 Orchard Road,
Liat Towers,
Singapore 288881

Phone: 67343788
Website: www.lingzhivegetarian.com

I remember discovering a fantastic buffet style Buddhist restaurant at one end of Orchard Road during my first visit to Singapore in 2000. When I went back to Singapore with my husband, we found the place and had a fantastic vegan fish which even flaked like the real thing. I said to John; “This is so much like the real fish. I think I feel uncomfortable.” But when we went back to Singapore for the third time, the place was gone. Actually the whole block was knocked down and something more colourful was standing in its place. It was time to consult our Singapore Vegetarian Food Guide –I blogged about it some years back –as we were still hungry and needed a place to eat. So that’s how we discovered LingZhi Vegetarian Restaurant at their new place –Liat Towers.

restaurant-info-liat-bg (385x322)

LingZhi was first opened in 1991 and moved to its new premises at Liat Towers in 2001. The style food is Chinese vegetarian which is basically Chinese vegan. The restaurant has a seating capacity of 150. The staff was friendly without being intrusive and they helped us with the menu items.

crispy wild mushrooms with aeroponic vegetables salad (1000x600)

They do lunch at LingZhi but we were there for dinner so I’ll tell you about their a la carte menu which was interestingly big. Not everything we had that night is on their current menu today but since I still have the receipt, I can tell you what we had:

  • LingZhi Imm Salad (don’t ask what type of salad it was as we can’t remember)
  • Sautéed French Beans with Fried Enoki Mushrooms. Actually the enoki mushrooms were lightly battered and fried. It also came with fermented black beans. This is the dish I still remember because it was light, interesting and delicious too.
  • Vegan’s Catch. As you can guess, it was a vegan fish dish.
  • Pickle and plain rice.
  • Tiger beer, of course :)

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LingZhi has another branch which is located at Velocity @Novena Square. Next time we’re in Singapore, we will definitely try the other branch as well.

Turkish Spicy Spread or İzot (Biber Reçeli)

Turkish Spicy Spread or İzot (Biber Reçeli) There is something about chilli peppers; once you start, you can’t stop. I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept but you may not be familiar with this; there is also something about Southeast Turkish cuisine; again, once you start, you can’t stop.

This is exactly what happened to us at lunch time. Although, we had other plans for lunch, I decided to try and make this mezze recipe I have recently discovered. So I made it. It turned out to be deliciously addictive; at some stage, we ran out of bread and moved on to crackers. Thank God, the recipe doesn’t yield a large amount otherwise we would be fat –I mean fatter –and the whole neighbourhood would be stinky-smelly because of all that garlic. Felt sorry for our friends who would be meeting us for dinner that night as we had the potential to stink up the whole restaurant.

If you’d like join us in this smelly business, here’s the recipe:

½ cup walnut kernels
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp hot chilli paste
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste (plain)
1 tsp dried spearmint
1 tsp Turkish kofta spice mixture (köfte baharı)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt

• Place the walnuts and garlic in a mortar and pound until it forms a slightly rough paste.
• Mix together the hot chilli paste, tomato paste, mint, cinnamon, kofta spice mixture and salt in a bowl. Add the garlicky walnuts and stir well.
• Spread on crackers or bread and serve.