Back to basics

Kyra de Vreeze. Photo: supplied
Kyra de Vreeze. Photo: supplied

Vegan, by Kyra de Vreeze, published by Murdoch Books, distributed by Allen & Unwin, RRP $27.99
Vegan, by Kyra de Vreeze, published by Murdoch Books, distributed by Allen & Unwin, RRP $27.99
After the richness of Christmas, sometimes it's nice to go back to the basics and make the most of summer fresh fruit and vegetables.

Kyra de Vreeze, a naturopathic therapist, chef and food photographer, is a proponent of plant-based eating.

Her book, Vegan, aims to give vegetables a leading role in meals together with full grains, nuts, beans, herbs and spices.

''This cooking style requires some knowledge, but primarily a lot of practical experience. It's a matter of doing it again and again and again.''

She became a vegetarian at 16 and a vegan at 26 and has followed a predominantly plant-based diet since.

''I am of the belief that everyone would benefit from a simple, unrefined and pure diet with is primarily composed of plants.''

De Vreeze hopes the book will give people inspiration and practical tips on how to cook ''yummy'' plant-based foods with ease.

The book is divided into sections - breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners and desserts.

Cherry and chocolate porridge

Serves 2

Time 1 hour


4 handfuls of black rice
4 dried or 2 Medjool dates, pitted and diced
scant ½ cup (100 ml) nut milk (I use
rice-almond or rice-hazelnut milk)
20 drops of vanilla extract
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

frozen sour cherries, thawed
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
fresh sage leaves, chopped (optional)

To make the porridge, place the rice and dates in a pan with 1¼ cups (310ml) water. Heat so the rice is just at boiling point, then stir carefully and shortly every 15 minutes until the rice has been cooking for 45 minutes.

Add the nut milk, vanilla and cacoa powder. Stir to combine and then simmer for another 15 minutes over a low heat.

Spoon into bowls and top with the cherries, hemp seeds and sage leaves.


Rose and raspberry juice

Serves 2

Time 15 minutes plus steeping

1 Tbsp edible dried rose petals
4 Tbsp coconut blossom sugar
15 drops of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
15 drops of rose extract (optional)
70g (2½ oz) fresh or frozen raspberries

To serve
edible dried rose petals and split vanilla bean (optional)

Make a tea of the rose petals and a generous ¾ cup (200ml) of very hot water. Add the coconut blossom sugar and let it steep for 30-60 minutes.

Remove the petals and combine the tea, vanilla extract or the scrapings of the split vanilla bean, rose extract (if using) and raspberries in a blender. Blend until the juice is creamy and serve with a sprinkling of rose petals and the split vanilla bean (if using) to garnish.

Beetroot quiche with red onion

Makes 1

Time 75 minutes


1½ cups (200g) wholegrain buckwheat or spelt flour
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ cup (60 ml) coconut oil

1 cup (150g) cashew nuts
1 small beetroot, peeled and cut in cubes
1 tsp sea salt
3 small garlic cloves
1 small red onion

To serve
rosemary sprigs

To start the filling, soak the cashew nuts for 30 minutes in boiling hot water.

Meanwhile, to make the pastry, combine the flour and salt with the coconut oil. Add up to ⅓ cup (80ml) of water little by little and use your hands to bring together into a crumbly pastry. Roll the pastry into a ball and place in the fridge while you finish the filling.

Drain and rinse the cashew nuts and put them in a blender. Add up to ⅔ cup (150-170 ml) cold water little by little and mix for 2-3 minutes, until it has the consistency of thick cream. Add the beetroot cubes, sea salt and garlic and blend into a cream.

Heat the oven to 180degC. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Dust some flour on your work surface and place the pastry ball on top. Roll out with a rolling pin. Use the rolling pin to lift up the pastry and put it over a standard-size quiche tin. The pastry must overlap the sides. Use your fingers to press the pastry into the bottom and sides of the tin.

Bake the quiche base for 30 minutes, then cool.

Cut the onion in rings and sprinkle two-thirds over the base. Pour the filling over the base and scatter the rest of the onion on top. Bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and slightly golden.

Leave to cool and serve with rosemary to garnish and an autumn salad of your choice.

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