Lemon Pepper ‘Chickn’ Nuggets

Filed under: delicious fried food and sneaky way to feed kids healthy stuff by disguising it as junk food.

This is rather heavy on ingredients but could be simplified by omiting the jackfruit and simplifying the spice mix.  You can also switch out the jackfruit and chickpeas for tofu to get a softer, less ‘meaty’ texture.

I use tinned jackfruit in brine, available at Asian supermarkets.

IMG_9678

Lemon Pepper Chickn Nuggets

Nuggets:
1/2 tin + 2 Tablespoons cooked chickpeas
2 Tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from chickpea tin)
1/4 tin jackfruit in brine (approx 5 Tablespoons when shredded)
1/4 Cup + 4 Tablespoons vegetarian chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 t sweet paprika
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 white pepper
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 onion powder
4 heaped Tablespoons gluten flour
1 heaped Tablespoon white flour
1 t lemon juice

Coating:
fine breadcrumbs
plant milk
white flour
tumeric
salt and pepper

Put 1/2 tin of chickpeas into a large bowl and mash into a rough, chunky paste.

Drain and rinse jackfruit. Pull jackfruit pieces into shreds (toddlers/kids love to help with this part as they have an amazing texture) and finely chop the hard parts at the core. Place shredded fruit into a fry pan with 1/4 Cup vegetarian chicken stock on a medium heat until the stock is more or less gone. Put half of the cooked jackfruit into a blender and add half of the jackfruit to the mashed chickpeas.

Spoon 2 Tablespoons of aquafaba into the blender along with 2 Tablespoons of chickpeas. Pulse until smooth and set aside.

To the large bowl, add spices and flours, lemon juice and smooth mixture from blender. Mix into a wet dough – adding ‘chicken’ stock if needed. Knead for several minutes and put into the fridge to rest for an hour.

Heat 2cms of coconut or vegetable oil in a frying pan.

Prepare 1 plate with white flour and a pinch of salt, 1 bowl with plant milk and 1 bowl with fine breadcrumbs, tumeric and a good grind of black pepper.

Tear pieces of dough about the size of a nugget (you could also make large flat ‘schnitzels’), coat in flour, then milk, then crumbs and set aside. Shallow fry in small batches, turning when golden on each side. Rest on absorbent cloth.

Eat warm or cold (these are even better the next day) with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of lemon juice over them.

Bon Ap!

 

Lemon Pepper ‘Chickn’ Nuggets

Bento Du Jour – Autumn/Winter

Lunchbox Bits and Pieces:

  • I sneak extra green leaves into the toddler by blending them into pestos, sauces and smoothies or chopping them super fine and adding to savoury muffins, fried rice, stews and curries. Thankfully she’s still too young to figure it out that she’s eating spinach if it doesn’t look like a leaf (18 months).
  • Don’t limit green leaves to kale, spinach and chard – use herbs and the tops of root vegetables like carrot tops, turnip tops and beet tops.
  • Add seeds to everything. They’re delicious, add instant nutrition and good fats, and bonus – they won’t kill any nut-allergic kids at school.
  • My kid is salt-obsessed. It’s not ideal but kind of inevitable considering my tastes. I use miso paste a lot so she gets the saltiness with the added probiotics. And nutritional yeast – it makes everything taste salty and slightly yeasty like vegemite.
  • Generally the main part of her lunchbox is leftovers from dinner the night before or I’ll quickly cook some cous cous or pasta and add a pesto or sauce from the fridge.
  • I use a Meals In Steel box and Kai Carrier bags. The teachers at creche often heat the young one’s food but if you have school-aged children there are some great thermal containers available these days. Like here and here.
  • Chia pudding takes 1 minute to make and 5 minutes to thicken. I just combine chia seeds, frozen berries and coconut yogurt (or you can use coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk). The above links also have leak-proof containers for lunches that go in school bags
  • I always keep pickles, yoghurts and fermented foods in the fridge, and fruit in the fruit bowl as quick snacks and lunchbox fillers. If you spend a little time making your own fermented foods it’s a great way of preserving produce and is WAY cheaper than buying it. We get our fruit from a local vege co op, forage in parks and the Chch red zone and swap food with friends who have fruit trees – if you stick to what’s in season it’s cheap/free and yum.
  • Usually once a week I’ll make one of the following and keep in the freezer for easy snacks throughout the month: savoury muffins, empanadas, filo parcels, samosas, raw balls. It’s worth the 1/2 hour every week (or 1.5 hours if I have the time and  patience to have the toddler “help”).
  • Every time I make rice I make extra and fry it the next day with finely chopped veg.
  • Every time I make lentils I make extra and put it into a pie or lasagne or something another day that week.

 

IMG_8603

Garlic & Thyme Borlotti Beans; Wholemeal Penne with Carrot & Olive Oil; Carrot top & Pumpkin Seed Muffin; Avocado; Kalamata Olives; Radish; Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding with Frozen Half Grapes; Fairtrade Banana

 

IMG_9226

Kim Chi Fried Brown Rice; Cucumber; Fairtrade Banana; Green Kiwifruit; Spinach Flatbread; Dried Dates

 

image1(3)

Red Cabbage Creamy Quinoa Fusilli; Linda McCartney Vegan Sausage Rolls; White Carrot & Kale Savoury Mini Muffin; Apple Slices; White Carrot Sticks; Cucumber; Orange Slices; Frozen Blueberries

 

IMG_8483

Miso Sesame Roasted Pumpkin; Agria Potato & Purple Cabbage Poêlée; Avocado; Vietnamese Spring Rolls; Lentil Mini Empanadas; Radish; Ciabatta with Tahini; Fejoa; Apple-Sweetened Dried Cranberries.

 

IMG_8573

Pumpkin & Pea Risotto; Spiced Black Beans; Purple Potato & Golden Beet Chips; Carrot & Carrot top Savoury Mini Muffin; Kalamata Olives; Smoked Coconut Cheese; Sauerkraut; Fejoa; Apple-Sweetened Cranberries; Frozen Blueberries; Coconut Yoghurt

 

IMG_8885

Lentil & Chard Spaghetti Bolognese; Kalamata Olives; Smashed Pumpkin; Sauerkraut; Radish; Japanese Turnip; Brown Rice Cake; Dried Apple Slices; Dried Cranberries; Spirulina & Blueberry Chia Pudding

 

IMG_8895

Spicy Autumn Tagine; Moghrabieh with Parsley & Preserved Lemon; Pitted Olives; Lebanese Bread; Hummus with Sumac; Chopped Dates with Toasted Seeds

 

IMG_9159

Chickpea & Spinach Curry; Brown Basmati; Steamed Broccoli; Bellbird Organic Sourdough with Mushroom Paté; Sauerkraut; Tumeric Pickled Courgette; Kiwifruit; Pumpkin Seed Raw Ball; Blueberry Coconut Chia Pudding

 

IMG_9202

Potato, Cauliflower & Leek Purée; Linda McCartney Vegan Sausage; Sauerkraut; Peas; Pickled Golden Beets; Cucumber; Kiwifruit; Blueberries; Pumpkin Seed, Coconut, Chia Seed & Date Muesli.

 

image2(2)

Purple Cabbage, Mushroom & ‘Chicken’ Green Curry; White Basmati Rice; Cucumber; Nigella Seed Bread with Pumpkin Hummus; Sauerkraut; Gerkins; Sundried Tomatoes; Nut-free Scroggin

 

IMG_8970

Puy Lentils with Garlic & Purple Cabbage; Cubed Agria with Porcini Salt; Ciabatta with Vegemite & Tahini; Mushroom Paté; Sauerkraut; Pitted Olives; Cucumber; Carrot; Fejoa; Apple; Cranberries; Sunflower Seeds

 

image1(4)

Fried Noodles with Tempeh, Red Cabbage and Daikon; Rice Crackers; Olives; Vegan Blue Cheese; Chickpeas; Mandarin; Coconut Yoghurt; Kiwifruit

 

image2(3)

Leek & Vegan Cheese Farinata; Pumpkin Hummus; Garlic-Braised Brussel Sprouts; Roasted Potato & Jerusalem Artichoke; Gerkins; Vegan Pepperoni; Kiwifruit; Chia Coconut Pudding

 

IMG_8471

Green Mac’n’Cheese; Pickled Golden Beets; Stewed Purple Cabbage; Mini Lentil Empanadas with Nan’s Tomato Relish; Radishes; Papa’s No-Knead Ciabatta; Cucumber; Raspberry & Coconut Chia Pudding.

 

Bento Du Jour – Autumn/Winter

Veganniversary/ Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté Recipe

It is 20 years since I became vegan! That means two things: I must be old, and everyone who thought it was ‘just a phase’ can suck it.

So of course I threw a wee dinner party. I was planning a big party thing but, y’know, working mum… winter nights… Anyway I’ve decided that I can keep celebrating throughout the year so stay tuned for some celebration/fundraiser gigs around the place.

Between the bad lighting, the many wines we blind-tasted and the frantic plating (how the hell do you keep the food warm without lamps?!), there is a distinct lack of good pictures of the evening but here is the menu: (Recipe Below.)

Veganniversary Menu:

Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté , Baguette, Pickled Slippery Jack Mushrooms

Tongue in Groove 2015 Little Stomper orange wine

White Bean & Garlic Soup with Garlic Oil

The Bone Line Barebone 2016 Chardonnay

Roasted Pumpkin, Fried Kale, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sundried Tomatoes, Wild Parsley, Micro Coriander, Tahini & Pomegranate Dressing, Sumac

Campo De Gules 2013 Crianza

Whole Roasted Green Cauliflower, Purple Cauliflower Chips, White Cauliflower Puree, Roasted White Carrot, Carrot-Top Pesto, Fried Onion

Barbera – can’t remember which

Dessert & Cheese Platter: Lupo Black Pepper Almond Cheese, Fresh Figs, Dark Chocolate, Frozen Grapes, Apple Jelly, Pineapple Sage Flower Mini Cheesecakes (adapted from The Minimalist Baker

Coffee, Pineapple sage tea, Pegasus Bay 1997 Finale dessert wine

image1(2)

image2(1)

Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté

 

IMG_8933

1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
500-700g mixed mushrooms
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
150ml vegetarian chicken or mushroom stock
1/2 teaspoon agar agar

If you’re using whole hazelnuts, crack open in a mortar and pestle and discard shells. You want about 1/3-1/2 cup of shelled nuts. Spread on a tray and roast in an oven for 10 mins at 200 degrees celsius until dark brown. Cover in a clean tea towel and rub to remove skins. Set aside.

Peel and roughly chop onions and garlic. Cut mushrooms into cubes.
Heat margarine in a large frying pan, add onion. Fry for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook down until mushrooms are soft and liquid has evaporated. Take out of the pan and leave to cool.

Blend toasted nuts while pouring olive oil in slowly. Blend until a smooth paste. Add cooled mushrooms and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Blend again.

(You can use this as it is – just transfer into a clean jar and spread on toast.)

Heat stock in a small pan until almost boiling. Add agar agar and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to dissolve. Pour the liquid over your pate and mix until well incorporated.

Crush some whole peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until half-crushed – you want some chunks rather than smooth powder. Spoon pepper into molds and shake gently to coat the bottom. Gently spoon your pate into the molds, pressing and tapping to fill the space. Put into the fridge to set. Agar sets really quickly but the flavours develop with time so ideally prepare it 1-2 days before serving.

*(I used a blend of wild mushrooms – porcini, puffball and birch boletes. Wild mushroom will always give a stronger, more complex flavour but you can use button, shiitake – whatever edible mushrooms you can get your hands on).

Veganniversary/ Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté Recipe

New Zealand is in the throes of a dinner party debate-gone-bad

NZ blogger Emily Writes has had to close her social media accounts (hopefully temporarily). Online abuse is an ongoing issue but I believe the catalyst for this particular exit was related to the vicious vaccination conversations going on in New Zealand right now. In a lot of ways this was a perfectly predictable and inevitable result of the current intensity of the debate. It’s like the whole country sat down to dinner, started a reasonable discussion about vaccinations and now everyone’s drunk and rolling around on the table choking each other on top of the mashed potato.

It’s time someone stood on a chair and screamed “STOP!” Seriously, calm your fucking farm New Zealand.

Pro-vaxxers – some of the stuff you’re reading is just as dubious as some of the anti-vax stuff. Unless you yourself are a scientist who has studied the topic, you know as much as anyone else who can read. Trust in your own decisions and remember this important fact: EVERYONE is just trying to protect their own children the best way they know how.

Anti-vaxxers – you are not helping your ’cause’ by ranting online, and certainly not by abusing or bullying. The pro-vax stance has a reason to hassle non-vaxxers (whether they should or not is a different story) – what’s your excuse? Trust in your own decisions and remember, EVERYONE is just trying to protect their own children the best way they know how.

Humans are all just making it up as we go and (hopefully) learning constantly. Right now this is complicated by the fact that we also have to decide which sources of information to trust. All of us are trying to do the best for our children and the society we live in. All of us. So let’s respect each other’s decisions and levels of intelligence, step away from our keyboards, take a deep breath and then continue the dialog with compassion and open minds. Whatever it is that you believe right now, you may not be correct.

 

New Zealand is in the throes of a dinner party debate-gone-bad

Les Beaux Malaises

At crèche drop off this morning I bumped into an old friend of my father who happens to be a Grandparent at Anaïs’s crèche.

Me: Oh, hi Trish!

Trish: Hi Clare! (calls me by my birth name, then indicates towards a man escorting a preschooler into the building) You remember my son, Jack?

Me: Oh, yes of course. Hi!

Jack: (Confused face) You’ve a better memory than I!

Me: (Blushing)

Insert small talk about raising toddlers while blocking the entrance and straining with the weight of child on my hip.

Me: Well, have a great day! (Bowls past dawdling kids to get Ani into the nursery area.)

The conversation in my mind:

Me: Oh, you don’t remember me, Jack? I was 12, you were 14. Your mum threw a party at your house. We stole and drank my first alcoholic beverage together. We sneaked down to the river and kissed. It was my first kiss with tongue. After a while I asked to go back to the party. I felt sick and dizzy and Dad got me some water. When we left the party I asked for your number. You wrote it on a piece of paper. I bragged about you to my form 2 friends on Monday at school. After a few days I plucked up the courage to call you but when I dialed, all I heard were quick beeps, indicating the phone number didn’t exist.

I remember every cell in body burning with embarrassment. For months afterwards you would pop into my mind and I would burn all over again. I lived in fear of the moment we would again meet at one of our parent’s houses. Mercifully, we did not.

It was not my last regretful drunken pash, but I remember it better than any other – with the clarity of the most emotionally complex creature on Earth – a 12 year old girl.

And now our kids go to crèche together. How lovely.

Les Beaux Malaises

Vegan Blueberry Mini Muffins

IMG_8101.jpg

These are toddler friendly, with no refined sugar. You could use all wholemeal flour but I prefer half white, half wholemeal.

1/2 C white flour
1/2 C wholemeal flour
1t baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon ground linseed + 3 Tablespoons water
2 heaped Tablespoons coconut yoghurt
1/3 C blueberries

Combine linseed and water in small bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius.
Mix flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon together. Add maple syrup, coconut yoghurt and linseed paste. Mix gently. Fold in blueberries. If the mixture is too dry, add a dash of water or coconut milk.

Spoon into muffin tray and bake for 25-30 mins. Makes around 12 mini muffins.

*You could defrost blueberries (if using frozen) but I find it doesn’t make much difference to the finished product.

**Disclaimer: I don’t own measuring instruments so I use Crown Lynn coffee cups. You may have to use your own judgement to adjust measurements.

Vegan Blueberry Mini Muffins

Bento Du Jour – Autumn

IMG_8108

Kim Chi Fried Rice – Nori-wrapped Tofu ‘Fillet’ – Edamame & Petits Pois – Pak Choy & Coriander Stalk Gyoza – Sugar-free Blueberry Coconut Mini Muffin – Grandma’s Cucumber, Tomatoes and Table Grapes – Mandarin

 

IMG_7986

Red Lentil & Chard Dhal with Steamed Basmati Rice & Paratha – Coconut & Raspberry Chia Pudding – Brown Rice & Quinoa Crackers – Vegetarian ‘Ham’ – Home-pickled Gerkin – Sauerkraut

 

IMG_7999

Green & Yellow Courgette Fritters – Red Bean and Kale Cassoulet – Tomato ‘Escargots’ – Roasted Beet Cubes – Fermented Gerkins – Pitted Dates – Crackers – Fairtrade Banana

 

IMG_8237

Spicy Black Beans with Baby Leeks and Spinach – White Quinoa with Capsicum – Avocado – Tomato & Cucumber Salsa – Corn on the Cob – Herb Wrap – Black Boy Peaches – Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

 

IMG_8249

Quinoa & Rice Fusilli with Wild Mushroom Ragu – Raw Capsicum – Avocado – Petits Pois – Vegetarian Sausage – Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin & Nigella Seeds – Courgette, Basil & Spinach Mini Muffins – Kalamata Olives – Kiwifruit – Pear Compote

 

IMG_7868

Maple & Miso-Glazed Aubergine with Sushi Rice and Edamame – Roasted Nori – Pak Choy & Coriander Stalk Gyoza – Quinoa Crackers – Nut-free Tahini & Linseed Raw Balls – Avocado – Wild Apple Compote

 

IMG_8348

Ratatouille with Wholemeal Cous Cous – Garlic & Herb Fried Spaghetti Squash – Pickled Lebanese Cucumber – Beetroot Leaf Fataya – Wholemeal Pita Bread – Hummus – Kalamata Olives – Fairtrade Banana

 

IMG_8331

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Agria Potatoes and Nutritional Yeast – Golden Beets – Petits Pois – Courgette, Basil & Spinach Mini Muffin – Avocado – Cucumber & Capsicum Sticks – Fejoa – Coconut Yoghurt  – Pear

 

IMG_7764 (1)

Miso Fried Rice – Nori-wrapped Tofu ‘fillets’ – Garlic & Sesame Broad Beans – Crackers – Tahini & Vegemite Mini ‘Escargots’ – Fairtrade Banana – Sugar-free Coconut & Raspberry Cake

 

IMG_7850

Penne with Roasted Vegetable Ragu – Fresh Tomato – Crumbled Broad Bean and Chickpea Falafel – Brown Rice & Quinoa Crackers – Wholemeal Ciabatta – Nut-free Tahini & Linseed Raw Balls – Roasted Nori – Homemade Cornichons – Fairtrade Banana

 

IMG_8096

Red Rice Noodles with Japanese Turnip, Pak Choy & Spring Onion – Baked Sesame Tofu Fingers – Courgette, Basil & Spinach Mini Muffins – Mandarin – Tahini, Cucumber & Vegemite Petits Escargots – Spray-free Grape Halves – Coconut Yoghurt

 

Bento Du Jour – Autumn