Summer Coconut Noodles & Salad



  • Rocket
  • Other lettuce torn into pieces
  • Greek salad dressing
  • Capsicum (red, green, yellow) thinly sliced
  • Sugarsnap peas

Coconut Noodles

  • Canola oil (1tsp)
  • Crushed garlic (1tsp)
  • Parsnip (grated)
  • Zucchini (diced)
  • Capsicum (red, green, yellow) chopped
  • Vegetable stock (1 cup)
  • Light coconut milk (165ml – tiny can)
  • Dried chives (1tsp)
  • Chili flakes (sprinkle)
  • 400gm flat rice noodles
  • Crushed ginger (1tsp)
  • Spring onions (finely chopped)



  1. Prepare ingredients
  2. Toss ingredients in dressing just before serving

Coconut Noodles

  1. Heat oil in large frying pan.
  2. Add garlic and fry briefly.
  3. Add parsnip, zucchini and capsicum. Saute briefly.
  4. Add half cup of vegetable stock and cook to reduce.
  5. Add coconut milk, chives, chili flakes and noodles.
  6. Cook for a bit, adding salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Add crushed ginger and stir.
  8. Add spring onions, stir, and serve immediately with salad.

My goreng (and tofu puffs)

Another step in my quest to make up for the Wairarapa’s failure to provide Malaysian food. This is my attempt to create mee goreng, and particularly, the mee goreng made by KK Malaysian in Wellington.

This is a work in progress. It’s tasty but still isn’t as good as I want it to be so I’ll continue to experiment and will edit as required (recently remembered to add tomato segments!).

Bonus ingredient: how to make your own tofu puffs!

Mee goreng in progress.

Ingredients (3 servings)

Tofu Puffs

  • 2 tbps canola oil
  • 2 tbps cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 300g block of firm tofu (no need to press it)

Mee Goreng

  • 4.5 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 500g fresh noodles
  • 3 tsp sambal extra pedas (aka hot chilli sauce)
  • 3 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 3 tsp vegetarian oyster/fish sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 3 handfuls of vegetables, chopped small to cook quickly (mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, corn, cabbage, leek, whatever)
  • 1.5 small tomatoes chopped into segments
  • tofu puffs chopped into halves or quarters
  • 1 packet mung bean sprouts
  • sesame oil
  • lime juice
  • chopped spring onions (garnish)
  • dried fried shallots (garnish)


Tofu puffs

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180c
  2. Chop the tofu into puff size chunks
  3. Mix the canola oil and conflour into a slurry
  4. Toss the tofu lumps in the slurry to coat them
  5. Arrange on a tray and bake for 20 minutes, turning once
  6. Turn out onto paper towels to absorb extra oil

Mee Goreng (cook in 3 batches)

Please assume that you’re using a third of the ingredients for each batch

  1. Prepare/chop all ingredients ready to cook
  2. Mix up portion of the chilli, kecap manis, oyster sauce, soy sauce and tomato paste
  3. Get the wok smoking hot
  4. Add canola oil
  5. Add noodles and stir fry briefly to get a bit of char on them
  6. Add sauce mixture
  7. Add garlic
  8. Add any vegetables that will take a while to cook (e.g. asparagus, mushroom, cauliflower)
  9. Stir-fry for a bit (add a tablespoon or so of stock if it starts to look a bit dry)
  10. Add tomato segments
  11. Add remaining vegetables (e.g. cabbage, corn kernels)
  12. Stir fry until nearly done and then quickly:
  13. Add good handful of bean sprouts
  14. Add dash of sesame oil (less than quarter of a teaspoon)
  15. Add splash of lime juice
  16. Toss a couple of times to mix, then serve onto plate
  17. Top with chopped spring onions and dried fried shallots

Fried rice with veges and tofu

This is a tasty fried rice recipe that makes a good base to experiment from. You can use whatever veges and so on you have lying around.

As a bonus, the tofu part is a good basic tofu scramble.

Ingredients (3 servings)

Tofu scramble

  • One 300g block of firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 0.5 tsp black salt (aka kala namak from your local Indian spice store)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Some ground pepper
  • 0.5 tsp of smoked paprika can be nice too

Fried rice

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups cooked basmati brown rice (ideally leftovers)
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp red or green curry paste
  • 1 tsp sambal extra pedas (or one finely chopped fresh chilli)
  • 3 large white mushrooms chopped
  • Other finely chopped veges as desired (brussel sprouts, leeks, etc)
  • 0.5 cup shelled edamame beans
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 cup chuckwagon corn (frozen corn/onion/capsicum mix)
  • 2 tbsp dried fried shallots
  • 3-4 spring onions finely chopped


Tofu scramble

  1. Crumble tofu into a bowl
  2. Add the other ingredients and mix
  3. Set aside (if you’re making tofu scramble on its own, just fry it and serve)

Fried rice

Ideally you’d do this in single-serve batches to get the right sort of temperature control, but it works pretty well when all done at once too.

  1. Heat wok to high (you’ll need to keep things moving)
  2. Add oil
  3. Add rice and stir for a bit
  4. Add garlic
  5. Add curry paste
  6. Add sambal extra pedas/chili
  7. Stir to mix
  8. Add mushrooms, chopped veges, and edamame
  9. Add soy sauce
  10. Stir until somewhat cooked
  11. Add tofu scramble mix
  12. Add chuckwagon corn
  13. Stir until it all looks cooked
  14. Stir in spring onions for 5 seconds
  15. Serve immediately
  16. Garnish with dried fried shallots

My laksa

As Wairarapa continues to fail me in the provision of Malaysian food, I decided it was time to learn how to cook laksa.

The first experiment went well and the second was good enough that I thought I’d record it to help me iterate from there. I’ll be updating it as I get better at it, and I’m open to suggestions. (I’ve iterated a bit and I’m pretty happy with where this has got to.)

It’s not “authentic” but it was delicious.

Laksa in the wok

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 tbsp cooking oil (canola)
  • 4 heaped tbsp Exotic Foods Thai red curry paste (green is also ok)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup capsicum cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup button mushrooms cut into quarters
  • 3 tsp Sambal Extra Pedas chili sauce (or any other very hot chili)
  • 2 litre vegetable stock
  • Hefty pinch of salt if required
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 4 tsp crushed ginger (or 2 tsp fresh grated ginger)
  • 400ml coconut milk (200ml to reduce the coconutty)
  • 500gm fresh noodles
  • 250gm fried tofu puffs cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 200gm mung bean sprouts
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced (as garnish)
  • 4 tbsp dried fried shallots (as garnish)


  1. Heat up the wok to medium and add the oil.
  2. Add the curry paste and garlic, and simmer it for a minute or two.
  3. Add the cauliflower, broccoli and capsicum and cook for couple of minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and chili sauce and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Add vegetable stock, salt, and lemongrass stick, bring to simmer and cook for another couple of minutes until vegetables are nearly done.
  6. Add ginger, coconut milk and noodles and return to simmer.
  7. Finish off by adding lime juice, stir and take off the heat.
  8. Remove the lemongrass stick.
  9. Serve into bowls (easiest to serve noodles first with tongs/fork, then the veges/soup with a ladle).
  10. Divide the bean sprouts, spring onions, and tofu puffs between the bowls, making sure the tofu puffs are both scrupulously fairly divided and properly submerged.
  11. Top with a sprinkle of dried fried shallots.

Ginger Kiss Trifle

Last year’s Christmas trifle was a bit disappointing. The sponge wasn’t quite right, it wasn’t moist enough, and no one really liked it that much. I decided that I wasn’t going to bother again.

But then I had an idea – Ginger Kiss Trifle! I’d already made ginger kisses once and liked them, and I thought they’d make a deliciously flavoursome base for the trifle.

This is less of a recipe and more a set of instructions that relies on other recipes. Therefore you won’t find a complete list of ingredients at the start, and it’s all a bit approximate. Oh, and it’s all vegan of course.

It’s hard to take a good picture of trifle and this doesn’t even come close!

The Day Before

Step 1 – Make a double batch of these ginger kiss biscuits from The Vegan Apprentice. (You’ll make the icing the next day.)

Step 2 – Stew a couple of cups of fruit (rhubarb and apple was nice, but next time I’m going to try pear).

Step 3 – Make sure you have a can of coconut cream cooling in the fridge.

Step 4 – Make this caramel sauce from Jessica in the Kitchen and put it in the fridge to thicken.

On the day

Step 1 – Make the icing from the ginger kiss recipe – make sure it’s not too thick.

Step 2 – Put the first third of the ginger kiss biscuits down. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of brandy.

Step 3 – Spread the first half of the stewed fruit.

Step 4 – Pour/spoon on half of the caramel sauce.

Step 5 – Another layer of ginger biscuits with two more tablespoons of brandy.

Step 6 – Spread/spoon over the icing.

Step 7 – Another layer of stewed fruit.

Step 8 – The second half of the caramel sauce.

Step 9 – Last layer of biscuits.

Step 10 – Top with the whipped coconut cream (add a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and one or two tablespoons of brandy).

Step 11 – Put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Step 12 – Just before serving, garnish with chopped crystallised ginger, or chocolate flakes, cherries, or whatever you fancy.

Skillet pizza – potato and leek

My latest challenge has to been to develop a good vegan pizza – without the use of vegan cheese. Obviously it wasn’t going to be cheesy but I wanted it to have a combination of flavours and textures that satisfied my pizza appetite.

At the same time, I also want to document the cast-iron skillet + grill (US: broiler) technique I use to cook pizza these days.

Pizza with roast potatoes and leeks on a chopping board


Makes 3 medium pizzas, serves 3-4.

You will need a cast-iron skillet and a grill (US: broiler).

Cashew sauce

  • 0.5 cup raw cashews
  • 0.25 cup water (approx)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (approx)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Pizza base

  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 180ml warm water
  • 315g strong flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil


  • 3-6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp extra light olive oil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh (or dried) rosemary
  • 2 cups diced roasted potatoes (about 3 good sized potatoes)
  • 1 leek – sliced


The general order of things is:

  1. Much earlier – make pizza dough and leave to rise
  2. Earlier – roast potatoes
  3. Make cashew sauce
  4. Prep other ingredients
  5. Make pizza
  6. Eat pizza

Cashew sauce

  1. Combine ingredients and blend.

The texture should be spreadable, add more extra virgin olive oil if required.

Pizza base

  1. Mix yeast into warm water and leave 10 minutes to develop. It should froth up a bit. If it doesnt, either the water is too hot or the yeast is dead, try again.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well, pour in yeast mixture and olive oil.
  4. Mix to combine.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it’s all the same consistency and springs back when pressed.
  6. Apply a fine coat of olive oil, put back in the bowl and cover. Leave in a warm place until it has risen to at least twice the original size.


Get everything ready first.

  1. Take a third of the dough and roll out to the size of your skillet.
  2. Heat the skillet to medium-hot and the grill to medium.
  3. Put 1 tbsp of extra-light olive oil into the skillet.
  4. Put the rolled out dough into the skillet.
  5. Coat with about 2 tablespoons of the cashew cream and 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (to taste).

Rolled out dough in skillet with cashew cream and tomato paste spread on it

  1. Sprinkle leeks, roast potatoes, rosemary and salt.
  2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top.
  3. Put the skillet under the grill.

Skillet in the grill

  1. Leave under the grill until it looks cooked (some slight blackening is expected).
  2. Return the skillet to the burner and cook until the base is done (it should be nicely browned).
  3. Remove, slice and serve.


Orange chocolate chip muffins

This recipe is a minor variation on this one.

It is surprisingly delicious.

Ingredients (makes 10-12 large muffins)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup of brown sugar
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp of orange zest
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips (compound works fine)

Muffin tin and, ideally, paper muffin cases.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a bowl put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and chocolate chips. Mix it all until well combined.
  3. In another recipient put the orange juice together with the olive oil.
  4. Prepare the muffin tins/cases.
  5. Mix the oil and juice with the dry ingredients only as much as necessary to mix and pour/spoon into the cases.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until colored.

Cabbage hash for burgers

Inspired by this recipe for Vegetables Manchurian, I made a type of cabbage hash that worked very well in a burger.

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)

  • 1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup green beans, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk
  • Cooking oil



  1. Mix all ingredients (except for oil) in a bowl.
  2. Heat oil in pan
  3. Add mixture to pan and press out for even coverage
  4. Cook for a while
  5. Section into quarters and flip
  6. Serve straight into burger buns with the usual accoutrements

The Really Simple Vege Chilli

This is a really simple vegetarian chilli that we make quite a bit. It is tasty with nachos, on rice, with baked potatoes, etc, etc.

It also freezes really well so we always have a few bags in the freezer ready for “Oh dear, what shall I cook?” dinners.

Think of this as a base and, if you follow these rough proportions, you can make all sorts of changes. Switch out one or more cans of kidney beans for black beans, add mushrooms or capsicum alongside the onions, do your own spicing, etc, etc.


  • Tablespoon of frying oil (canola, light olive oil, etc)
  • 2 onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cans kidney beans in brine (drained)
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 1 packet el paso chilli spice mix
  • 250gm frozen chuckwagon corn (mix of corn, peas, capsicum, etc)

I often double or triple this in a large stockpot.


  1. Chop the onions and fry at medium heat until somewhat cooked/translucent.
  2. Drain the kidney beans and add.
  3. Add the tomatoes (don’t drain them).
  4. Add the spice mix.
  5. Bring to a simmer and keep it that way for 30 minutes.
  6. Add the frozen veges and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Done!


Baked Eggplant Layer

From Healthy Food Guide March 2013.


  • 1-2 eggplants sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil


  1. Preheat oven to 190c. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray/paint with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan and cook onion and garlic until softened.
  3. Add tomatoes, pesto, sugar and chilli. Simmer for about 4 minutes until sauce has reduced. Add most of the basil. Season to taste.
  4. Place half of eggplant slices in lightly greased baking dish. Spoon over half of the sauce. Repeat layers.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and serve garnished with remainder of the fresh basil.

Kim Edit: I quite like adding roasted asparagus, roasted mushroom, 2 tablespoons of cut up sundried tomato and 2 tablespoons of marinated artichoke. Yum.