Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi

 (Rice and Peas)

Risi e Bisi (rice and peas) is a classic Venetian spring dish.  In the past it was prepared only on the feast days decreed by the Doge (Venice’s ruler).

One can of course now prepare Risi e Bisi at any time although the dish really shines with fresh spring peas.  It’s been some time since I last shelled peas – there is something rather soothing about it – although quite a few didn’t quite make it into the dish – its so very easy to pop them into your mouth – they are quite lovely fresh…

Risi e Bisi  is actually a variant of Risotto, although technically a soup and should be served with a spoon, not a fork. It is so thick and rich that it does indeed look like a risotto. However unlike risotto, where constant stirring is required there is only minimal stirring so far less labour intensive!

It is a simple dish with only a few ingredients – but the end result is delish!

Buon appetito!


Risi e Bisi

What you will need:


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 6 – 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf (continental) parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Nutritiional yeast, for topping


What to do:

In a medium saucepan, place the stock and bring to a gentle simmer.

In a large, heavy pot or fry pan heat oil over medium heat

Add leeks and cook until just softened; about five minutes (remove and set aside a few tablespoons of the leeks for topping if desired). Add garlic and rice, toss until rice is nicely coated, about 3 minutes.

Add in warm stock, one cup at a time, the stock should be bubbly. Stir often allowing the stock to be just absorbed. Add in another cup of stock, repeat.


Risi e Bisi

Add in peas, more stock and continue the process for another 15 minutes or so, or until the rice is al dente, tender but chewy.

The whole process should be about 25 – 30 minutes or so.

Add in more stock and stir.

Your rice and peas should be a little soupy. Remove from heat, taste for seasoning and stir in parsley.


Risi e Bisi

Serve topped with a nice dusting of nutritional yeast and freshly cracked pepper.




Risi e Bisi


Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Spiced Yoghurt


Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Winter has arrived in Melbourne! It’s been chilly, rainy and windy. The sun made an appearance today which was lovely but the air was still cold – perfect time for soup and this one will warm the cockles of your heart!

With all the lovely warming spices and the added burst of peppery Tabasco sauce this soup is warming from the inside out!


What you will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 litre (4 cups vegetable stock)

250 ml (1 cup) water

1 bay leaf

185g (1 cup red lentils)

450g (1lb) butternut pumpkin (peeled and cut into 1 cm ½ inch) cubed

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 zucchini – but in half lengthways and sliced

200g broccoli, cut into small florets

1 small carrot, diced

80g (1/2 cup) peas – fresh or frozen

Spiced Yoghurt

250g (1cup) thick soy yoghurt

1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

1 garlic clove – crushed

3-4 dashes Tabasco Sauce

Spiced Yoghurt

What to do:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft and lightly golden. Add the curry powder, cumin and garam masala and cook for 1 minute or until spices are fragrant.


Add the stock, bay leaf, lentils and pumpkin. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are tender, Season well.

Add the tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, carrot and 500 ml (2 cups) water and simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the peas and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

 Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Spiced Yoghurt:

To make the spiced yoghurt, place the yoghurt, coriander, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl and stir until combined. Dollop a spoonful of the yoghurt on each serving of soup and garnish with a sprinkle of coriander leaves.

Serve with bread – crusty bread or maybe even naan bread – can’t go wrong really!

Enjoy! Xx

Lentil and Vegetable Soup




Easy Indian Dhal Soup

Easy Indian Dahl Soup

Sometimes I really enjoy cooking a particular dish that has a long, slow cooking process, other times quick and easy but not skimping on flavour is the order of the day!

This Dahl Soup fits the quick, easy and flavoursome brief completely!  It really is delicious! And by adjusting the amount of vegetable stock you can decide if it’s more of a soup or the more traditional Dahl ‘stew’.

Having made a bit pot of this Dahl, I was then able to take it to work for lunch for the next couple of days and like most meals involving spices – it only got better!

Serve with warm Naan bread – delish!

Easy Indian Dahl Soup

What you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 kg tin of chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
  • Coriander – chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Naan bread, to serve

Easy Indian Dahl Soup

What to do:

Melt the margarine in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Add the turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder and cumin and cook for a further 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes, red lentils, lemon juice, vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and cooked.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle the soup into a warm tureen

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with warm Nann bread.

Enjoy! xx

Easy Indian Dahl Soup

Squashed Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

Squashed Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

This is a scrummy Donna Hay recipe – the only ingredients that had to be changed for a vegan update was swapping butter for vegan margarine and using Nutritional Yeast rather than Parmesan cheese.

Ready in less than ½ hour – this is a super duper supper!

What you will need:

  • 200g spaghetti
  • 30g vegan margarine
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 500g cherry tomatoes (pierce at least half with a knife)
  • 1 cup roughly torn basil tomatoes
  • Nutritional yeast (nooch) to serve

Squashed Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

What to do:

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water for approximately 10-12 minutes until al dente.

Drain. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside keeping warm.

Return the pot to the heat and cook the margarine, garlic, vinegar and tomatoes for approximately 4 minutes or until the tomatoes are heated through and slightly soft.

By piercing some of the tomatoes – this will help to give a slightly caramelised effect, especially combined with the balsamic vinegar.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the tomato mixture, stir through and then toss the basil leaves gently through.

Pile the spaghetti onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with the nutritional yeast if so desired.

Serves 2

Enjoy! xx

Squashed Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

Easy Xmas Tofu Roast

Easy Xmas Tofu Roast

My first Vegan Xmas! And it’s about 6 months since I ‘went vegan’! I was vegetarian this time last year so a lot of the traditional food my family eats every year was ok then – Pavlova being one of them. But like everything I’ve found with transitioning to a vegan diet xmas food is just as easy – the difficult thing can be dealing with the opinions of family members about your ‘diet’!

So, I’ve been doing some research and uncovering some scrumptious new meals I will be cooking up  for Xmas day as well as ‘veganising’ some old favs – stay tuned!

This Tofu Roast is another gem I’ve come across in ‘The Vegetrarian Adventure’ by Karen Meyer. I’ve made a few little tweaks and have to say it’s pretty darn good! I really had no idea how it would turn out but it’s great.

You could serve it up with a vegan gravy but I decided this time to go with just a store bought mint sauce. So having done my test run and sharing it with you I’ll be cooking this up for xmas day and see if I can tempt my family to try it – we’ll see!


What you will need:

  • I block of firm tofu (440g)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion – diced
  • 3 sticks of celery – sliced finely
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional savoury yeast
  • Flaxseed egg for 2 eggs (2 tablespoons flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons water in a small bowl and let sit for a couple of minutes)
  • ½ cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon wholemeal bread crumbs (extra)
  • Salt and cracked pepper

Tofu Roast


What to do:

  1. Preheat oven – moderate temperature – 160°C
  2. Drain the tofu and then crumble
  3. Heat the oil in a frypan and sauté the onions and celery for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Combine the tofu, vegetables, flaxseed egg, tahini, nutritional yeast, bread crumbs, salt and cracked pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pile this into a lightly greased casserole or loaf tin. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour until the roast is solid but not dry.

This roast is perfect served with Roast Veggies –  see previous post of Roast Veggies inspiration.

I came across this recipe for a vegan gravy (see below)  by IsaChandra and think it would go perfectly – I’ll be trying this for Xmas day – let me know how you go 🙂

Enjoy  – and have a very merry vegan xmas! xx

Tofu Roast

Savoury Mushroom Gravy

4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 medium onion, diced small
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoons salt
Cracked pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine (chardonnay is great)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

In a small bowl, mix the flour with about 2 cups of vegetable stock until well dissolved. Once dissolved, add the remaining broth and mix. Set aside.

Sauté the onion in oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent – add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 more minutes.

Add wine and turn heat up to bring to a boil. Let wine reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the broth/flour mix and the nutritional yeast, if using. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

Taste for salt and pepper and serve

Easy Bean Nachos


I love nachos!

It’s one of the best combos ever – corn chips, avocado, tomatoes, lime, coriander… really it’s the dream combo.

And it has to be of the easiest of meals to put together – you can be sitting down with a scrummy supper in under ½ hour!

What’s not to love!


What you will need:

  • 2 x 410g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup (85g) chunky tomato salsa
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 220g corn chips
  • 2 cups (120g) finely shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Grated carrot
  • 1 tomato – chopped
  • 1 avocado – mashed
  • Little extra coriander
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Vegan Cheese (nice but not necessary)


What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200° fan-forced)
  2. Combine half the beans with the salsa and give it a good mash. Stir in the remaining beans and coriander
  3. Spread half the corn chips into a medium shallow baking dish – if you are using cheese you can sprinkle some (half) on now with half the bean mixture. Top with the remaining corn chips, remaining cheese and the remaining bean mixture. Pop into the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. While that’s bubbling away combine the tomato and avocado in a medium bowl and add the lime juice.
  5. Remove the nachos from the oven.
  6. Plate up the nachos and top with the salad mix (lettuce and grated carrot) Sprinkle a little finely chopped coriander on top.

Hey presto! Super easy, super yummy! Perfect for a Friday, Saturday or any night supper!

Serves approx 6 or 4 very hungry folk!


Vegetable and Tofu Pie

Vegetable & Tofu Pie

The complete veggie pie!

A version of this pie has been in existence since my share house days in my early 20’s when I first stopped eating meat – actually at the same time as the Save the Chicken  eggplant bake.  In its previous incarnation it was a vegetarian pie with eggs and milk and then piled high with grated cheese on top.  It was always a hit, even amongst friends and family who weren’t vego.

Recently a friend sent me a pic on facebook  – I’d typed out the recipe and given it to her – all the way back in 2003! I’ve been thinking about how I could veganise it… cakes, biscuits and muffins now seem so easy to ditch eggs and butter but this pie…. just wasn’t sure what I could do…

And then I came across a pie recipe in an old Vegetarian book ‘The Vegetarian Adventure’ by Karen Meyer which I found in a 2nd hand shop. The previous owner has written notes all through it, made suggestions, reviews and even pasted other recipes inside the front cover!  Although its a Vegetarain book there are quite a few Vegan recipes tucked inside it as well.

I was a little dubious… would it be a complete disaster…but it works!

The idea for the potato base for this pie (part of the original recipe) came from my sister who I believe got it from an Elizabeth David cookbook… so with potato as the pie crust – it really is a complete Veggie Pie!

Vegetable & Tofu Pie

What you will need:


Veggies – lots of them and whatever you happen to have around or takes your fancy! Possibilities include:

  • Onion
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Capsicum
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 x 440g block of tofu
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Salt and cracked pepper


  • 3-4 potatoes (washed, peeled or unpeeled depending on preference). Use any potato you have handy really – new potato or desiree work well.
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons vegan margarine

 Tofu & Vegetable Pie

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to approximately 160°C

Step 2: The base

Think mashed potato and you’ll get the idea!

  • Slice potatoes in half and add to boiling water – boil until soft and ready to mash (approx10-15 minutes)
  • Get out your potato masher & mash away
  • Add the margarine and flour to the mashed potato (if you find the mixture a little dry you have two options – add a dash of soy milk or a little more vegan margarine)
  • Once fully combined use this potato mix to line the base of a pie dish. Using a fork dot the lining and then pop into the oven for approximately 15 mins. The idea is to partially cook the lining – this will both firm it to hold the filling and give a lovely golden, baked potato flavour.
  • Remove the pie case from the oven and set aside to cool while you continue with the filling

Step 3: The filling

While the pie crust is cooking away get your filling started

  • Finely chop the onion (brown, spanish or white)
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a fry pan and add the onion.  Cook gently for 3 minutes until the onion becomes slightly translucent.
  • Lightly sauté the veggies – start with those that take the longest – cauliflower, broccoli and then work your way up to those veggies that require little cooking – spinach, corn etc.
  • They only require a little time cooking on the stove top – it’s just really to get them on their way!
  • Keep that potato masher handy…. !
  • In a separate mixing bowl add the drained tofu and give it a good mashing!
  • Add the tahini and soy sauce to the tofu
  • Add the veggies to the tofu mixture and gently combine.
  • Carefully pile this mixture into the potato pie case
  • Slice a tomato and arrange across the top of the pie and scatter sesame seeds and/or chia seeds over the pie top.



Before scattering the sesame and chia seeds it is optional to grate some vegan cheese over the top of the pie. Not necessary but can certainly be a nice finishing touch.

  • Now pop the pie into the oven. Baking time will vary – check at 35 minutes however it can take up to 45 mins depending on your oven.  You just want it lightly golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve with either a lovely green salad or if it’s more of a winter’s night then some lovely steamed veggies of your choice.

P.S. You could of course use pastry for the base whether you make it yourself or buy frozen pastry (vegan of course)!

I’m so happy that I’ve been able to recreate this pie – once you’ve cooked it a few times and have a feel for putting it together, you can have it ready in under an hour.

Enjoy! Xx

Vegetable Pie