Chouchou Potato Cake

I love okonomiyaki. And gamja-jeon. This is a vegan white chick fusion of those two things with a silly Frenglish name to please my toddler (pronounced shoo-shoo, meaning cabbage cabbage*). It’s perfect for NZ winter, it’s also chewy, crispy, super quick, and it feels like junk food – which I tend to crave in winter.

I highly recommend using Agria potatoes or another starchy potato and it looks extra pretty if you throw in some purple potatoes too.

*Also a cute name for a kid or baby, or a word for favourite or ‘teacher’s pet’.

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Chouchou Potato Cake

1 cup finely grated potato (don’t squeeze the liquid out)
1/2 small onion (or around 1 tablespoon) grated brown onion
2/3 cup finely chopped cabbage
1/2 spring onion, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons white flour
2 tablespoon potato starch (or cornflour)

Sauce

2 tablespoons vegan mayo
1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice (opt)

Garnish with any or all of the following:

  • sliced green chillies
  • finely sliced spring onion
  • finely cut nori sheets
  • Korean red pepper flakes
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • grated daikon

Mix all pancake ingredients in a large bowl, get your hands in there so it gets well combined, you don’t want any sneaky floury bits. The liquid from the grated potato and the soy sauce should be enough liquid to wet the mix but it won’t be a batter, more like a sticky mess of grated vegetables. Don’t worry – it’ll stick together once cooked!

Heat a decent amount of oil in a fry pan on medium heat. Unfortunately you will need to use a non-stick pan for this. Once hot, pour your pancake mix in, wet the back of a metal spoon and use it to spread the mixture into an even pancake. Cook for 4-7 minutes until golden underneath and starting to hold together.

In the meantime mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and chop garnishes.

Loosen gently and flip. You can do this in one confident gesture (usually followed by a scramble to pick up the ensuing carnage and put it back together in the pan) or flip it onto a dinner plate and slide it back into the pan, uncooked side down. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

Slide onto a large dinner plate, drizzle with sauce, cover with garnishes and chop into pizza slices. You can also provide a dipping sauce of soy, vinegar and fresh chillies for an extra chilli hit. This is best enjoyed after a few minutes as it gets chewier once out of the pan.

Bon ap!

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Chouchou Potato Cake

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.

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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

Early Autumn Savoury Muffins

I never want to see another courgette. Ever. Or at least until next Summer after several months of limp-dick supermarket zucchs at a million dollars per kilo. This year we had a glut. It’s been great but I have pickled, preserved, frittered, fried, gratin-ed and made a freezer-load of rattatouille and I’m officially over them. Here is my last-ditch effort to use up the final few while sneaking green stuff into my toddler’s lunchbox.

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 Courgette, Spinach and Basil Mini Muffins

1 Cup grated zucchini
a few spinach leaves
1/4 small red onion or 1 spring onion
2-3 sundried tomatoes
a handful fresh basil leaves

3/4 Cup soy or almond milk (preferably unsweetened)
5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

2 Cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs or fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Finely grate courgette (if you squeeze liquid out of the courgette you’ll need to add slightly more milk later on.) Finely chop onion, dried tomatoes, basil leaves and spinach, mix with courgette and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Combine milk, vinegar and oil in a small bowl.

Mix flour, yeast flakes, pepper, salt, baking powder, baking soda and dried herbs in a larger bowl then add liquids and veggies. Stir to combine but don’t over-mix. Add a little extra liquid if the mixture is too thick. Spoon into mini muffin tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Makes roughly 20 mini muffins.

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Early Autumn Savoury Muffins

Happy Noodles

Food you think you’ll eat while at home with a young baby: Risottos, homemade pasta, gyoza, cassoulet, smoked garlic soup, cauliflower pizza, raw cakes … Basically anything that takes longer than 10 minutes or is a pleasure to cook.

Food you actually eat while at home with a young baby: Noodle Soup. Or Toast.

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enter: Happy Noodles

This is my number 1 go-to meal. It’s filling while being light, it’s super fast to make, every kid I know loves it (with varying amounts of chili) and it was the first Asian-y dish my husband liked (apart from cheese sushi – it’s a thing in France. Bleurk).

It’s basically a hot and sour soup but we call it Happy Noodles after a noodle bar in Paris.

Here’s the technique for 1 large portion:

Put 2 cups of water into a pan or wok. Add 1x cube of vegetable, fake chicken or mushroom stock, 1 handful of sliced dried shiitake mushrooms, 1 good splash of light soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp white pepper and 1 roughly chopped red chili. Get your broth nice and hot then add a portion of dried or fresh noodles (I prefer fat rice noodles) and some kind of vegetable (pak choy is great). Cook for 4 minutes, take off the heat. Add 1-2 T coconut milk and 1-2tsps of Lao Gan Ma black bean chilli sauce (or sambal oelek works). Serve with chopped spring onion (or fried shallots to save time), a handful of fresh coriander and a few cashews, peanuts or toasted seeds.

For a lighter soup keep the broth clear and use rice noodles. For a heavier, richer dish use a fat udon noodles and plenty of coconut milk.

The beauty of this recipe is that it can be as easy or as complicated as you like. If it’s a long Hangover Sunday, you can add onions, garlic, ginger and coriander root and then strain the broth. You can use limes or vinegar, play with the acid/sugar ratio, make it mostly broth or mostly noodles. You can blanch each vegetable separately and place perfectly atop your noodles. You can serve with a couple of big pieces of marinated, fried tofu. You can add frozen dumplings. Or if you’re hangry and have a crying baby at your feet, you can throw everything into a pot and eat it 5 minutes later.

See below for a few of my variations.

Bon ap. x

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Happy Noodles

A Good Excuse For Cookies

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I’ve actually never been a sweet-tooth, give me salty or smoky food any day. But the chocolate cravings I’ve been having since breastfeeding put my pregnancy cravings to shame. Plus, since the 6-week mark (and with the hot weather) pumping has been difficult and well, mama needs her freezer supply for wine tastings. Enter: Lactation Cookies.

According to the internet the key ingredients to aid in milk supply are oats, flaxseeds and brewer’s yeast. As a vegan and pantry hoarder, I always have a packet of unopened brewer’s yeast in the cupboard, so frankly I was happy to find use for it. By the way, nutritional yeast won’t do the trick – it has to be brewer’s. *Brewer’s yeast is crazy cheap and is available in NZ at bulk stores like Bin Inn.

So here I am, hungry all the time, little time to prepare food, craving sweet things for the first time and apparently if I eat a certain type of cookie my milk supply will increase and I can pump again.

Best. Excuse. Ever.

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After a little experimentation (what a chore, baking and trying biscuits..) here’s what my husband and I came up with:

Chocolate, Walnut and Chia Seed Lactation Cookies

1/2 cup vegan margarine (or coconut oil, olive oil.. whatever)

1/2 cup agave syrup (or 3/4 C sugar)

1 tablespoon chia seeds (mixed with 2 tablespoons water for 15 mins)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (soaked in 2 tablespoons water)

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2-3 tablespoon brewer’s yeast

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius.

Cream the fats and sugars. Add vanilla stir. Add chia seeds. These can take a bit of work to incorporate. Then add flaxseed meal, chocolate chips and nuts. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and brewers yeast. Slowly mix dry an wet ingredients together, then stir in oats. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed. Form the mixture into 12 balls and flatten on a lined tray. Bake for 12-15 mins until edges start to brown.

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A Good Excuse For Cookies

Fun with Fake Meats

A while ago I bought some vegan abalone from Chch’s Vegetarian World. It has since taken up a permanent position in my freezer, creeping me out. Honestly I had no idea what to do with it so eventually I delegated the task of preparing it to the Frenchman. I’m still not sold on vegetarian seafood in general but I have to say, this was delicious – not least because cooking with a lot of wine is every pregnant women’s favourite thing (or is that just me?).  Enjoy!

Spanish-style Abalone

 recipe by Youssef Iskrane

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1 large vegetarian abalone, cut into bite-sized pieces (or 2-3 portions of similar fake seafood – something chewy and not-too-strong-tasting)

200g fake chorizo, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 medium onion, finely sliced

3 cloves garlic, grated

3 tomatoes

250ml dry white wine

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chili flakes

salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon

  1. Halve tomatoes and place on a baking tray, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Roast at 240 degrees C for 10 minutes face down. Remove skins.
  2. Heat some oil in pan until smoking hot. Add chorizo chunks and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring to avoid sticking. Add onions and continue stirring until onions take a little colour.
  3. Add white wine for 1 minute to deglaze pan. Then add the abalone, tomatoes, garlic, paprika and chili flakes. Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer.
  4. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve with rice, bread or quinoa.

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*As I say, this dish tasted amazing but the texture of the ‘abalone’ still creeped me out. If I made it again I’d use ‘chorizo’ and button mushrooms.

Fun with Fake Meats

Food That Tastes Like Hugs

Reasons pregnancy is like one long regression into baby/toddlerhood:

  • You become increasingly clumsy and off-balance
  • You discover the amazing comfort of floating/balancing belly-down in the bath
  • You want your Mum
  • Cuddles, stretching, massage all feel 60% better than usual
  • During the 1st trimester you can’t stand the idea of vegetables and have to sneak them into dishes (this was the case for me at least)
  • Also during that picky 1st trimester you can only handle a single taste or texture at a time, and finds yourself physically separating elements on a plate.

This was one of my go-to dishes when I couldn’t stomach much. It’s from my soft, salty phase. This is not really cooking, as much as surviving on salty carbs with token green vegetable.

Warm Lemony Orzo

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Bring 1 litre of vegetable or vegetarian chicken stock to the boil. Add 1 C of dry orzo, a tsp of chopped lemon rind and 1/4 C of frozen peas. Cook for 6-8 mins until orzo is soft and stock is mostly evaporated, leaving a thick, risotto-y texture. Add salt, black pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste.

Optional – finish with a spoonful of vegan margarine, dairy-free parmesan, nutritional yeast and/or chopped parsley.

Food That Tastes Like Hugs