Mine’s Hummus, Turkish Cypriot Style

Although I come from “that” part of the world, I have never been a huge fan of Hummus. I still pushed myself every now and then and tried making some but each attempt turned into a unique disaster in some unique way. You know the supermarket ones over here are a different story altogether. They are watered down and then thickened with gelatine in most cases and absolutely tasteless too.

One particular Hummus, though, that I remember having a long time ago which was so good that its memory stayed with me until this day. Well, we have been pigging out on this incredible Hummus for the last a few days ignoring everything else on our plates.

The recipe is donated by a dear friend of mine; Mine (pronounced Mee-nay) along with a message celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Mine’s mother is Turkish Cypriot and that’s what makes this Hummus different. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do…

1x420gr tin chickpeas, washed and drained (I used Woolworths Select)
4 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup lukewarm water, add gradually until the desired consistency is achieved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped continental parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground sweet paprika

• Process the chickpeas, garlic, tahini paste, lemon juice and the water in a food processor. Scrape the sides and pay attention to the area under the blade –this is usually where you get not so processed bits and pieces.
• Once you are happy with the consistency of the humus, transfer the whole thing into a bowl and add the spices, olive oil and chopped parsley.
• Stir well and serve with bread.

Cauliflower Pakoras and Mango Chutney

This is a very much loved Indian snack/starter in our family. Both recipes –cauliflower pakora and mango chutney- came from an Ayuvedic cooking class notes that we did together with my husband during my early days in Sydney. Serve these lovely pakoras with Mango Chutney –recipe below- or any other chutney you like.

You will end up with more chutney than you need for the pakoras here. Place the left-over chutney in a clean jar and store in the fridge. It makes an excellent addition to burgers and sandwiches.

Recipe for Cauliflower Pakoras

1 cup besan flour (chickpea flour), sifted
Water to make batter (add gradually until the right consistency is reached)
3 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ bunch fresh coriander, washed, dried and chopped
½ cauliflower, cut into florets and blanched
Oil for deep frying

To make the batter:
• Mix together spices, coriander, ginger, besan flour and water and whisk into thick batter.
• Let it sit for 20 minutes in the fridge.

• Steam the cauliflower until just tender. Drain and cool after steaming. I usually put it in the fridge for at least ½ hour. They get firmer and fry better this way.
• Dip florets into batter and fry slowly to golden brown (you might like to use gloves as the turmeric leaves a yellow stain, especially under the nails).
• Serve with mango chutney.

Recipe for Mango Chutney

2 large very ripe mangoes, peeled, stoned, squeezed and scraped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1-2 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (I used Macro)
¾-1 cup raw sugar

• Heat the oil in a saucepan.
• Add cumin seeds and gently roast.
• Add chilli and swirl around.
• Add the mango pulp, then the sugar.
• Cook gently, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes.
• Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Vegan Ricotta Cheese with Green Olives and Fresh Thyme

This goes really well with mini toasts, crackers or even with ordinary bread. This is the first time I have used Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese and I already have other plans for it of which you will see here on VegFusion soon.

¼ Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese, crumbled
10 green olives stuffed with pepper, sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 large pinches of fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, just a drizzle

• In a small bowl, mix together Tofutti ricotta, crushed garlic, olives, olive oil, salt and fresh thyme. Add more salt if needed.
• Garnish with the remainder of thyme and serve with cracker, toasts or bread.

Colourful Quinoa Salad with Roasted Capsicum

My first quinoa recipe on VegFusion ever! I have been thinking of using this healthy ingredient more in my cooking especially after visiting Peru -that was in 2007 by the way- but obviously thinking has been the only thing I did so far. In Peru, we had quinoa bars and quinoa and vegetable soups. After we came back, I kind of forgot about it and my occasional stock ended up having some living-breathing things in it and of course, that had to be replaced with a fresh pack. Then one day I decided I couldn’t ignore quinoa any more. And I made a salad…

Colourful Quinoa Salad with Roasted Capsicum Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ red capsicum, washed and deseeded
½ yellow capsicum, washed and deseeded
½ green capsicum, washed and deseeded
Handful fresh coriander, washed and chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds or walnuts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper

• Wash the quinoa and drain through a large fine mesh strainer.
• Place in a pot with the water and bring to a boil, as soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. I tend to stir it to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot at this stage.
• Remove from heat and set aside to cool, fluffing it with a fork every now and then.
• Place the capsicum under the grill and cook them until their skin blisters. Remove from the oven and place a clean tea towel over them. Once they are cool enough, peel the skin and cut them into strips.
• Blend dressing ingredients with a whisk or shake in a jar.
• Gently combine the roasted capsicums, sunflower seeds or walnuts, quinoa and dressing in a large bowl. Cover and chill, or serve immediately.

Note: Quinoa can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Tofutti Sour Supreme – vegan sour cream


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Tofutti Sour Supreme is a non-dairy imitation sour cream which seems to be filling a huge gap in my kitchen. I have been substituting both sour cream and yoghurt in my recipes with Tofutti Sour Supreme with great success. I … Continue reading

Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Cheezly

I find Cheezly White Mature Cheddar style cheese quite versatile. I have many other plans for this tasty vegan cheese. I believe it would work well in Aegean or Mediterranean style of salads.

I add this salad to Linda McCartney’s pies, Fry’s Vegetarian Crumbed Schnitzels, Spoon’s Vienna Style Schnitzels or any mock meat that become a part of the plate –although the recipe here is for 1.

Arugulat Salad with Walnuts and Cheezly
Handful arugula, washed, drained, pat-dried and torn
1 walnut, chopped
A tiny slice of Cheezly Mature Cheddar style vegan cheese, grated or crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil, just a drizzle
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)

• Arrange the arugula and walnuts on a plate.
• Whisk together the oil, lemon juice and salt. Drizzle over the salad and stir. Top the salad up with crumbled Cheezly and serve.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

This is such an interesting side dish if you are after something out of ordinary and is apparently part of Ashkenazi kitchen. The recipe comes from Marlena Spieler’s book called Jewish Cooking. I have always had a good feeling about this recipe and it turned out to be quite something. Although this is the first time I’ve had cooked red cabbage, I loved the taste, colour, smell as well as the texture.

We had it last night with Fry’s Crumbed Schnitzels and some Acti-fried potatoes. Since it can be served cold as I believe it would be nice in a bun with vegan burgers too.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
Serves 4 as a side dish.

¼ red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 apple, peeled and diced (I used Pink Lady)
½ red onion, chopped
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Handful raisins
Juice of ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper

• Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cabbage and fry for 7 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are well coated in the oil and the cabbage has softened slightly.
• Add the raisins, apple, sugar and apple cider vinegar to the pan and cook until very tender. Check occasionally and add more water or red wine if you like. If you reduce the heat, that won’t be necessary.
• Towards the end of cooking time, add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
• Serve hot or cold.

Note: Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage can be prepared ahead of time and reheated at the last minute.

TVP Stuffed Red Capsicum

Again, I took some shortcuts but I have my reasons. There is no way of making the original Turkish stuffed vegetables here in Australia. First of all, the type of capsicum we use in this dish doesn’t exist here. Not just the capsicum but also the zucchini and eggplant are unstuffable.  The original recipe uses more like a thin-skinned, banana chilli coloured capsicums. Have you seen any around? I sometimes get lucky and find the small variety in Auburn. So I had to compromise. Will you please forgive me?

1 large red capsicum
4 tbsp TVP
1 tsp heaped stock powder beef style (I used Massel’s)
1 small tomato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Handful continental parsley, washed and chopped finely
Salt and pepper

• Mix together the TVP, stock powder and onion powder in a small bowl. Drizzle with boiled water and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
• Put the grill on. Meanwhile, wash and dry the capsicum. Halve and remove all the gory bits like the seeds and membrane.
• Cook the capsicum under the grill until their skin is blackened and blistered. Place them on a plate and cover with a tea towel. When they are cool enough to handle peel the skin. Place them on an ovenproof dish.
• Heat the oil in a saucepan and add chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Then add the TVP mixture and chopped parsley. Stir and stuff the capsicums with this mixture. Add a little bit of boiled water and heat them in the oven until they are hot, inside and out.
• Serve immediately.