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Vegan “Meat” Balls

Hello, everyone!  I meant to post this before Christmas and then got a little bit sidetracked with, um, Christmas.  Seems like a long time ago now…

My brother and his partner are currently giving veganism a go and so, as Christmas was at their house, we had to come up with something to contribute to the dinner that night.  Normally, this wouldn’t be such an issue – Mum and I are already vegetarian – but because I have kidney issues, a lot of vegan-friendly foods are off the menu.  No chickpea casserole or lentil burgers for me!  So it became a little trickier to figure out what to bring.  And I didn’t want to wuss out and bring something just for me to eat.

Mum was in charge of dessert, so I told her to just make apple pie which is easy to do (just substitute any butter in the pastry with a non-dairy spread) and we served it with soy ice-cream.  Simple!  So she got off lightly.

I had to figure something else out for a savoury dish.  So I came up with these vegan “meat” balls.  I don’t have an exact recipe – I was too busy testing and mixing to actually write down any measurements – but you will get the general gist of things here.  It’s a bit of a keep-adding-stuff-until-you-get-it-right kind of recipe anyway.

Start with the binding agent, which in this recipe is flax seed meal.  Add three tablespoons of water to one of flax meal and mix together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Now you need a large eggplant, chopped into small-ish pieces.  Chuck in a frypan and saute with a little bit of oil.  To stop it drying out, add a splash of water now and again.  You’re going to want to cook it for a while until….

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…it goes shmushy.  Y’know, all soft and mushy and no longer holding its shape.  Shmushy.  Oh and while you’re doing that, blanch some broccoli florets in boiling water for about 3 minutes until it is tender but NOT shmushy.  I used about 400g broccoli for this.  Drain it and set aside while the eggplant is cooking.

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Into a food processor, chuck the broccoli and eggplant, flax meal, five chopped spring onions (or you can use a small brown onion, chopped and sauteed with the eggplant), 200g of pine nuts, and about a cup of quick porridge oats.  I also added a little vege stock powder for seasoning and some smoked paprika.  Pulse in the processor, until it forms a sticky, combined blob. If it seems a little too sticky and wet, add some more oats or, if you’re not me, you could probably chuck in some besan (chickpea) flour.

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Now, roll the mixture into little balls – about the size of a golf ball.  Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with a little more smoked paprika if desired.

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Bake for 25 – 30 mins in a 180 C oven.  Turn halfway through cooking time so they’re golden on all sides.  They should be quite firm and crispy on the outside.

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Serve with a nice tomato sauce (like you would regular meatballs).  Yum!

These balls freeze really well and are delicious cold as well as hot.  You can use them in place of mince in a “meatloaf” or burgers.  As I said, my recipe is not exact – just go by feel and taste.  The eggplant lends a nice meaty taste to the dish, but you could substitute everything else for something you prefer.  Eg grated carrot instead of broccoli, breadcrumbs instead of oats, etc.  And of course you could use egg instead of the flax, if you’re not vegan.  Anything goes here!  Just experiment a bit 🙂

Hope you give these a try and maybe invent your own version/recipe (using my crappy version as a blue-print).  This recipe makes enough for a whole family and has the added bonus of not looking like they contain vegies (so fuss-pots will eat them too).

Thank you for stopping by x

 

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Quote for the Day : Learning to Fly

Quote for the Day : Learning to Fly

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” 
― Douglas AdamsLife, the Universe and Everything

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I’ve been dreaming an awful lot lately, about flying mostly.  I am someone who tends to have a lot of bad dreams and full-on, screaming-and-waking-yourself-up type of night terrors, so to have some nicer dreams about flying and being powerful is quite a change of pace.  I used to dream about flying all the time – for a while there I was convinced I was actually astral travelling because I would experience and see things that were so vivid, and even go places and witness events that would later turn up on the news.  But, of late, I have mostly dreamt of sad or painful things, break-ups and losses, death and monsters.  So it is certainly nice to have a few pleasant dream experiences thrown in for good measure.  Dreaming about flying has lots of different meanings and can be interpreted in lots of ways, entirely dependant on the dreamer’s life and current worries/hopes/stresses.  As I seem to be flying along quite happily, apart from a few wonky starts or inability to get off the ground, I think mine are saying I’m feeling freer than before and that, fears aside, I am “taking off”.  Something like that.  It could also mean I am full of hot air and have my head in the clouds.  Whatever.  I’ll take a flying dream over a being-chased-by-a-blood-thirsty-demon/vampire/ghost any day.  And the sooner I am free of the husband-leaving-me-again nightmares, the better.  Those ones suck!  Why don’t I get to have sexy Johnny Depp/Hugh Jackman/Robert Downey Jnr dreams?  My subconscious mind is so dull and chaste! Even as a teenager I didn’t have those kind of dreams – while my friends were re-counting raunchy tales of somnambular trysts with pop-stars and actors, my brain was showing me fascinating images of things like exploding spleens (true story – I had a nightmare about an exploding spleen) and graffiti that multiplied and smothered the world.  Also, the giant, evil pencil that I couldn’t hold on to whilst doing an exam.  Cheerful stuff like that.  I think it’s possible I should have sought therapy of some kind…

With dreams of conquering the world with my artistic vision (ha!), I tried making cards today but didn’t do a particularly good job (so I won’t show you – I have my pride!).  I have too much else on my brain at the moment, I think.  I’m off to Sydney in a couple of days for the dementia conference and I am focused on that (ie I am worrying about that) and all the accompanying plans and requirements.  Once that is over and done and I am back here in Perth in my little house with no threat of real flying (the dream kind is ok, just not fussed on the actual in-a-plane kind), I will relax and get back into things.  I did finish off my little clay quotes spheres/orbs (above) and I think they look pretty good.  I’ve displayed them on my bookshelf.  Next time I will make them bigger (these ones are like tiny marbles – why do I have to do everything in miniature?) and make more so I can display them in a bowl, maybe.

Gotta go and make soup for my lunch tomorrow and do some more worrying about my trip.  I AM worrying but I am trying to temper that with “you’ll be ok” type positive thoughts.  I’m getting better at those.  Because I have to.  Time I threw myself at the ground, or aimed for the sky – eventually I figure I will land somewhere and with a bit of luck it will be somewhere cushy and enjoyable.  And devoid of enormous expanding pencils (I can’t help but think that one is slightly sexual in origin but I am ignoring that fact and pretending it means something about something less, well,  phallic) or exploding spleens.  Sigh.

Have a lovely week everybody.  Fly and dream and, above all, love.

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