Vegan MoFo day 24: Filipino fare

I was super excited to come home from work today to find a surprise waiting for me- my copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky! I loved testing for this book, and I’m beyond excited to see others falling in love with the same recipes that I did. There was no better way to celebrate than by baking a pie, of course.

But I have a theme to keep t0! Luckily I know of one place in the world where pie is a street food- the Philippines.

Buko pie

Buko is Tagalog for young coconut- the main ingredient of this pie. Buko pie is common in the southern regions of the province of Laguna- where I lived and volunteered with Bahay Tuluyan, an organisation working with children in need of special protection, a few years ago. No jeepney ride from the children’s shelter, near Los Baños, to Manila would be complete without we volunteers picking up a buko pie on the way. The best part- we never had to leave the jeepney, as there would always be someone selling pies through the window. Buko pie made the long, uncomfortable drive a lot more bearable.

For this pie, I used the buttery double crust recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky, filled with a mixture of young coconut ‘meat’, coconut water, Soymilke condensed milk (which, by the way, is glorious) and cornstarch. It’s a simple pie, but with a lot of memories.

But never fear, despite my excitement about the arrival of the pie book, we didn’t have pie for dinner. I opted for a full Filipino night, with another recipe from Terry’s test kitchen.

Tofu, potatoes and eggplant in garlic adobo sauce

This adobo was beautifully authentic, tasting just like something that the house mothers at Bahay Tuluyan would have made- were they vegan. As I ate adobo at least two or three times per week while I was in the Philippines, this was a great, comforting reminder of how great often-neglected Filipino cuisine can be.

Needless to say, I’ll be cooking with fervour from this book when it’s released- until someone else can offer me a Filipino fix this good.

Vegan MoFo day 23: Sicilian snacks

I’m fairly certain that, were I to consult science, it would be proven that there is not one person in the world who doesn’t like Italian food. Pastas, lasagnes and risottos are universally delicious. But Italy’s street food is often passed over in favour of high-end restaurant delights. But despite the delicious meals I tried in fancy restaurants across Italy, I still can’t say no to street food.

For tonight’s dinner, I decided to try my hand at a Sicilian street food classic, arancini. I’d never attempted these before, but I’m a pretty loyal Masterchef viewer and they seem to make them all the time. How hard could it be?


In the case of this recipe, from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Nonna’s Italian Kitchen, not hard at all. A simple, chilled saffron risotto is moulded around a stuffing of your choice. I had hoped to use the Notzarella that I ordered last week, but I discovered that it had succumbed to the dreaded pink spots- the perils of working full-time and leaving the mailman to leave deliveries in the sun-drenched letter box, I suppose. Instead, I threw together a quick bechamel sauce seasoned with a hefty dose of home-made vegan parmesan, and stirred in some sun-dried tomatoes. Perfect!

As a bonus, this recipe calls for baking the arancini rather than deep-frying. It was a novel change, and most welcome today when my kitchen inexplicably responded to the moderately warm weather by becoming uninhabitably hot. These were a hit, and will definitely be made again.

The change in weather also seemed to call for a more common snack from Italy’s streets- gelato.

Hazelnut gelato

This was only the second time I’d used my ice cream maker, but it was undoubtedly a greater success than the first. The recipe also comes from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen, and uses cashews for some impressive creaminess. The Frangelico in here, besides being delicious and using up part of the giant bottle that I bought during pie testing, also gives the gelato a great, soft texture and prevents it from freezing too hard. Alcohol- what can’t it do?

The success of this gelato is surely a sign of greater things to come for my ice cream maker- and if this weather keeps up, it’s not a moment too soon.

Vegan MoFo day 22: Loving Sri Lanka

If Chadwiko and I have had to choose one favourite place that we’ve visited and whose street food we’ve adored, it’s likely to be Sri Lanka.

We visited Sri Lanka in 2009, a few months after the war ended. It was the perfect time to be there- Sri Lanka is a stunning country that deserves to be visited by everyone who can, and we were fortunate to have the chance before a tourism boom hit.

A lot of our fondest memories of our three weeks travelling around the country revolve around food. We were thrilled to find that street food of all varieties is everywhere- from fresh fruit and vegetables (durian and corn in particular), to hoppers with sambal, to a huge variety of curries with rice, it’s all there, and it’s all sold to you from the front of someone’s house in the middle of nowhere.

While rice and curry was a diet staple for those three weeks, for tonight’s MoFo meal I decided to try something a bit different. Owing in no small part to our love of street food, Chadwiko and I both ended up sick at different points on the trip, and as we rolled into Kandy one night, it was my turn to be unwell. Curry wasn’t going to help settle my stomach- I needed something more comforting. This is how we were introduced to kottu roti.

Kottu roti

Kottu roti is essentially chopped homemade roti, sauteed with vegetables, chillies, and spices. The distinctive sound of knives clashing on a street corner isn’t an ominous one- it just means that someone is preparing this dish. I used this recipe as the (loose) basis for my version, and added carrots and, as a number of recipes called for fried egg, a quickly-thrown-together and chopped tofu omelette (from Vegan Brunch, of course). It might be the memory of how this dish made me feel better when I was unwell, or it might just be my love of meals made primarily from bread, but this is true comfort food.

I served this with pol sambol, a Sri Lankan chilli-coconut relish, and probably my favourite thing I ate while we were there.

We were shown how to make pol sambol by a woman in her garage, outside Kandy. Made with only fresh coconut, chillies, lime and fresh spices, it’s super spicy and super delicious, no matter what you serve it with. It was high time that I tried to make my own.

Pol sambol

This recipe (as well as the aforementioned rotis) is a tester for Terry’s next book. With such fond memories of eating pol sambol in Sri Lanka, I lept at the opportunity to try this recipe. Sure, using a food processor to grind fresh coconut is a little less authentic than the mortar and pestle, but I loved it all the same. It’s not quite as spicy as the original, but it definitely still packs a punch.

And a plus for me- this made a ton of sambol. I guess I could have people over to share in the deliciousness… or I could keep it for my own happy stomach (this time completely sans gastrointestinal discomfort).

Vegan MoFo day 21: Turkish delights

It seems that you don’t need to have visited Turkey to be familiar with Turkish street food. I first grew to know Turkish food in Germany, where döner can be found on almost every street corner. But döner is essentially the Turkish version of yiros- and that’s been done! I instead decided to whip up a Turkish street snack I’ve started to see becoming more and more common in Australia; gözleme.



Gözleme is essentially a stuffed pastry, usually filled with spinach and feta. I’ve noticed these hand-held morsels beginning to spring up at markets around the place. I first tried them from a stall at the Gilles St vintage market back home in Adelaide, and I’ve more recently seen them sold at the weekly Gorman House markets here in Canberra. There’s nothing like a convenient, tasty slice of Istanbul while poring over used books and homewares.

I followed a basic recipe I found online; a simple yeasted dough, rolled out, filled and folded over, then brushed with olive oil and fried on each side. Easy. The exciting part was in the filling. The original recipe calls for feta, but that wasn’t going to happen- once again, it was time to turn to World Vegan Feast. Bryanna’s recipe for feta is a variation of the cheese curd recipe. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this necessarily tastes like feta, but the lemon juice used gives it some similar qualities that make it a more than acceptable replacement.

My gözleme dough was a bit thicker than it should have been, but it was tasty nonetheless. Sure, not as authentic as those found on the streets of Turkey or even the market stalls of Canberra, but not a bad effort from my kitchen.

Having some extra time this evening (a novelty!), I couldn’t resist making a dessert. I’ve never been a fan of Turkish delight, so there only seemed to be one other natural choice.

Rose-scented baklava

Rose-scented baklava

There’s debate around the true origins of baklava, but it can’t be denied that Gaziantep, Turkey, is famous for the stuff. The recipe also comes from World Vegan Feast, and is notable for the use of rosewater, which lent these a certain ‘fancy’ quality. This was my first time making baklava- and Chadwiko’s first time eating it- and we were both very pleased with the outcome. These aren’t at all difficult to make, they just require some patience. Or a distraction- I recommend Australia’s Next Top Model on the TV. Regardless, I can’t see this being the last time I make this recipe.

Turkey, you’re alright. Why couldn’t you have just played along and decided not to freeze over for winter, so that we could pay you a visit later this year?