Tuesday, May 19

No Recipe Indonesian Gado-Gado

How. do. people. do. it ?

When I first learned to cook, I was living at home with my parents and three siblings. So, as one can expect, I learned to cook on a massive scale. Big pots of curry, trays and trays of roasted veggies, and pans of lasagna, were all I knew. I could feed a small army, or a football team, at least.  When I moved out to attend college, I shared a house with five of my closest friends. Our place was the hang out house; full of instruments, dance parties, laughter, and loads of food. Originally, I had intended to learn the delicate art of how to cook for one, but being the hospitable hippies we were, I ended up learning how to cook for more and more people. It wasn't rare that I'd feed anywhere form 13-25 hungry musicians and students at a time. Pots of rice and quinoa would cover the stove, every dahl you can imagine would bubble away, and pot after pot of vegan chili would satisfy the masses.  

After living in a series of community oriented homes, I moved out with my partner, who also happens to be a professional chef. Turns out, he has the same issue as me (when he makes soups, he makes 120 litres at a time!). We became the couple who would always make enough to freeze, resort to eat the same thing all week, or force food upon our friends (are you sure you don't want to come over for dinner? Are you sure you're sure?)

So, this brings me to this startling realization that, at almost thirty, I will be living and cooking for one. This summer I have the amazing opportunity to intern with V.K Rees here in New York, so a couple of weeks ago I picked up shop and moved to Brooklyn. And then the learning began. For the first little while I ended up making myself an odd array of dinner options: toast, hummus and crackers, kale with stuff on it and stuff with kale on it, and of course breakfast for dinner. Lots of breakfasts for dinners. As I grew tired of pancakes and kale, I thought more and more about how, if there were someone else to share a meal with, I would be inclined to put in more time, energy, and love. But why not do it for myself? 

Having to learn to scale back and cook just for one is hard, but manageable. And when it comes to finding the balance of making food with love, but still being easy, I think we've found the perfect fit. 

So, what is Gado-gado? 

Hailing from Indonesia, Gado-gado is basically the ultimate big salad. Meaning "a mix of stuff", or "mix mix", the salad is comprised of raw and cooked veggies, protein, and a tasty nut butter sauce. Basically, everything I love. Some veggies are a staple to the dish including potatoes, cabbage, bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber, tofu, and hard boiled eggs. But it's certainly not limited to these. Greens such as spinach, zucchini noodles, or kale can replace the cabbage, sweet potato or beetroot the potato, even things like broccoli or cauliflower would be delicious. For my version I added some sliced cherry tomatoes that I had on hand, omitted the egg to make a vegan version (although you could easily add it), and opted for a  multigrain tempeh over tofu. Basically, this is the essential dish to use seasonal and available produce or whatever is hanging out in the crisper draw. The recipe is up to you. 

No Recipe Indonesian Gado-Gado

(This recipe makes enough tempeh and sauce for two people. That way you don't have to make more later in the week.)

Recipe: (Serves 1)


2 New Potatoes, scrubbed
1 Large handful Bean Sprouts, about 1/2c cup
1 Persian Cucumber, or 1/4 of an English Cucumber, sliced
1 Cup Shredded Savoy Cabbage
1 Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved 
1 Handfull Green Beans
Handful Cilantro, chopped (some stems reserved -See below)

1/2 Recipe Indonesian Tempeh (See below)
1/2 Recipe Coco-nut-butter Sauce, warmed  (See below)

1. Begin by bringing a pot of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and continue at a rolling boil until they are easily priced by a fork. 
2. Meanwhile, as the potatoes boil, heat a frying pan to medium and sauté the cabbage just until soft (you may need to add a splash of water). Set aside and continue to cook the tempeh in the same frying pan. 
3. Arrange the cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, and tempeh in a bowl. Once the potatoes are cooked, chop and add them as well. 
4. Finally, add the green beans to the potato water and blanch for a mere minute. Add them to the salad.
5. Serve with the Coco-nut-butter Sauce, cilantro, and lime. 

Coco-nut-butter Sauce

Recipe: (Serves 2)

1/4 plus 2 Tbsp Coconut Milk (use the rest in a smoothie or porridge)

1/3 cup Almond Butter, or nut butter of choice
1 Tbs. lime juice
2 1/2 tsp Tamari
1 1/2 tsp Honey or Liquid Sweetener of Choice
1 tsp Grated fresh ginger
1/2 pinch chili
1 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro stalks
1 Small Garlic

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until they come together. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
2. Sever as is or gently heat on the stove top to warm it up before serving. 

Indonesian Tempeh

Recipe: (Serves 2)

2 Tbsp. Tamari
1 Tbsp Honey
2 Cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp. Liquid Coconut Oil
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Coriander
8 oz Tempeh, cubed. 
1 tsp Coconut Oil, for frying

1. combine the tamari, honey, garlic, 1 tsp oil, vinegar, and spices in a dish. 
2. Add the cubes tempeh and let sit to marinade for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. 
3. Set a frying pan to medium heat and once hot, add the other tsp. oil and tempeh. Toss for about 5 minutes or until crispy and brown. 

xox Sophie

Saturday, April 18

Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Lemon Cream

A raw layer cake!!!
.....Say whaaat?

I know what you're probably thinking here: why? But really, the question you should be asking is, why not?

For years now, I've been whipping up creamy and dreamy raw cheese cakes with a wide array of delectable seasonal fruit. And so far they delight everyone who is lucky enough to snag a slice, but these kind of cakes can be both time consuming and costly to make (unless you're stockpiling shares in cashews). So as one might guess, I was thrilled when I came across the idea to utilise a mix of ground nuts, rolled grains, and coconut to create a rich and moist cake that's healthy enough to eat for breakfast and doesn't break the bank.

Carrot cake just so happens to be one of my absolute favourite cakes by far, yet it always happens to be the worst kind of cake you could eat (and we're comparing it to other cakes here, so you know it's bad). Despite the idea that it must be good for you because its full of veggie (duh?) it's often loaded with more oil and more sugar than your average chocolate cake. And then to make matters worse, most recipes ask for it to be topped with a high fat, refined sugar, cream cheesey mess of an icing. Not really whole foods, and not something one should probably consume for breakfast. This recipe on the other hand utilises the natural sweetness of carrots and dates, as well as the healthy omega 3 fats found in nuts, as wholesome replacements. Refined flour has been replaced with ground coconut which is rich in copper and manganese, both of which help collagen production and maintain healthy connective tissues. To round out the base, gluten free oats are added, which although aren't technically raw, add a ton of soluble fibre. If you'd like this recipe to be fully raw or don't eat oats, you can use raw oat groats, as well as other non-raw replacements such as rolled quinoa or rolled rice. The first time I made this cake, I made it into a traditional style layer cake (filling and all), but for the second time I turned it into a simple carrot cake slice by pressing it into a sheet pan. Both ways are easy to prepare and delicious, so simply take your pick. 

Raw Carrot Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream

Recipe: (Serves 12)

2 Cups Finely Grated (squeezed) Carrots (approximately 8)
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (Gluten Free if Possible. Quinoa or Rice Flakes will also work)
1 Cup Raw Walnuts
1 1/2 Cups Medjool or soft dates, pitted
3/4 Cup Dried Coconut
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Cardamom
A Pinch of Salt


1. Begin by grating your carrots on the smaller side of a box grater. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the grated carrots. You will end up with quite a lot of carrot juice. Save it for smoothies or add to soup. Once the carrots have been squeezed dry, measure them until you have about 2 cups.

2. In a food processor, or high speed blender, grind the oats until the begin to make a coarse flour. Set the mixture aside.

3. Next, grind the walnuts until they begin to turn into a flour, but not so much that they turn into nut butter (that's another recipe). Mix into the oat mixture along with the coconut, spices, and salt.

4. Next, add the carrots and dates to the food processor/blender, and mix until the dates become well chopped. You may need to do this step in batches. If you have a Vitamix, I recommend using the tamper. 

5. Once the dates are chopped, combine the wet mixture to the coconut at oat mixture. Mixing well to combine.

6. To make a cake press half the mixture in a small 15 cm (6 inch) pan (or if you're like me and don't have a small pan, try forming them into a symmetrical patty) which has been lined with cling film. Remove and repeat with the other half. Set this mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up. Alternatively, you can press into a lined 20 cm (8 inch) square pan. 

7. Once the two cake have set up, they are ready to ice with the Cashew Cream (recipe below). Reserve 1/3 of the Cashew Lemon Cream to sandwich the two cakes together. Ice with the remaining cream. The bar on the other hand, can be iced right away. Once iced garnished with pumpkin seeds, chopped crystallised ginger, walnuts, or coconut. 

Cashew Lemon Cream 


1 Cup Raw Cashew, soaked for at least four hours if possible
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Water (only if nuts are not soaked)
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil


1. Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender. If you haven't had time to soak the nuts, add the extra water. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon or maple syrup if needed. 

xox Sophie 

Wednesday, April 1

Quinoa Baby Cakes with Herbed Tahini Sauce

The other day as I was visiting my favourite grocery store to pick up some of the essentials, I spotted some huge trays of sprouts for sale. Seeing these beautiful little micro greens bursting out of the earth it suddenly made me realize, hey, It's finally Spring! 

Living in Victoria, winter is pretty much non existent. No sleet, no snow, no ice. Instead, summer just transforms into the period of rain. Eight months of rain, that is. So when Spring officially arrives it can be kind of over looked. The idea of waking from the slumber of dark, cold, and long winters doesn't really exist in a city where flowers manage to bloom all year long. 

So to be honest, I felt kind of bad that it took going to the market for me to realize the true excitement for spring, but once I started to look, I saw it everywhere. Fresh baby greens, sprouts, radishes, and herbs, were suddenly at my beckon. Where only days before had been rows of yams and winter squash, there was now asparagus. Grabbing what colourful veggies I could, I quickly ran home to make us a joyful spring lunch. This is a perfect dish to use up left over quinoa and any roast veggies that might be kicking around. I combined my Quinoa Cakes with an array of fresh veggies, making my bowl more of a salad, but it would be delish along side some roasted cauliflower, yams, or beets too. The pièce de résistance of this meal happens to come in the way of the sauce (whose creation I entirely owe to by other half). A very easy sauce to whip together, it is flavoured with the fresh green flavour of parsley, cilantro, and green onions. The addition of tahini helps make it creamy, yet light and refreshing, while it cuts through the spice of the onion. Hopefully you'll be like us, slathering a thick layer on just about everything from Buddha Bowls to sandwiches or just cold leftover roasted veggies. 

Herbed Tahini Sauce

Recipe: (Serves about 4)

1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Bunch Parsley
4 Green Onions
4 Cloves Garlic
A Thumb-sized Piece of Ginger, peeled
1/2 Cup Olive or Avocado Oil
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Tahini
4 Tbsp. Tamari
2 tsp. Honey or Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper


1. In a blender of food processor, combine the cilantro, parsley, onions, garlic, ginger, oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Add the tahini, pepper,  and tamari along and puree until combined. Taste for sweetness and add honey as needed. 

Quinoa Baby Cakes

Recipe: (Serves 2, makes about 10 cakes)

2 Cups Cooked Quinoa (about 1 Cup Raw)
2 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley 
2 Cloves Garlic, grated
1 Cup Cubed and Cooked Squash or Yam (roasted or steamed)
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
A large Pinch Pepper
A little oil to pan fry with

To Serve: 

Herbed Tahini Sauce
Greens such as Lettuce, Spinach, Baby Kale or Bok Choy
Beans like Garbanzo or butter beans
Hardboiled Eggs or Goat Cheese
Avocado, Beets, Radishes, Grated Carrots, Cucumber, and Sprouts


1. Begin by cooking the quinoa and squash, if not using left overs.
2. Combine the quinoa with squash in a bowl along with the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Gently mash mixture together with you hands, just until it comes together.
4. Scoop approximately 2 Tbsp of mixture and shape into a little patty.
5. Heat a frying pan until medium and add a splash of oil. Pan fry patties until they are crisp, but not too dark. Flip and fry on the other side until browned (about 2 minutes). 
6. Serve in a bowl along with the fresh veggies, beans, and Tahini Sauce.

xox Sophie