On a mission to 'vegan-ise'

The Global Vegan, by Ellie Bullen, published by Plum, RRP $34.99
The Global Vegan, by Ellie Bullen, published by Plum, RRP $34.99
Australian Ellie Bullen is passionate about travel, so she has combined that with her other love - wholesome food - in her latest book, The Global Vegan.

The dietitian and nutritionist developed her interest in wholefood while growing up in Lennox Head, a small beachside town, and started a food and lifestyle blog, Elsa's Wholesome Life, to encourage others to take up a nutritious diet.

''There is a lot of noise in the nutrition area these days and my aim has always been to provide clear information about a plant-based diet, as well as simple, well-balanced vegan meals,'' she said.

Bullen and her husband had been based in Bali while travelling the world, visiting more than 20 countries across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America and the South Pacific, but have now settled on the Gold Coast.

She often took cooking classes in new countries to learn how to prepare local dishes, meet locals and visit markets, although she admits her vegan ideals were challenged in some places where there were not many of those food options.

''With my passion for cooking I was excited to try out new ingredients and take inspiration from local dishes that I could come home and 'vegan-ise'.''

That has resulted in vegan takes on classics such as pad Thai, moussaka, caesar salad and even fried eggs.

The book is broken up into sections for breakfast, light meals, mains, sweets, drinks and basics.

She has included a section on plant-based nutrition and some of the new ingredients she uses.

The book also has many photographs of Bullen taken on her travels.

Indonesian crumpets

Makes 20

250ml (1 cup) soy or coconut milk
7g sachet dried active yeast
1 tsp coconut sugar
300g (2 cups) plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla powder
olive oil or vegan butter, for greasing

Suggested toppings
Coconut yoghurt, vegan butter, pure maple syrup, fresh berries, shredded basil leaves, dried edible flowers, hemp seeds, icing sugar.

Gently warm the soy or coconut milk and 250ml (1 cup) of water in a saucepan over low heat until just warmed through (don't warm the liquid too much or you will kill your yeast). Pour the liquid into a bowl and add the dried yeast and sugar. Set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes or until the surface starts to foam.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Place a clean damp tea towel over the mixing bowl and set aside for 35-40 minutes or until the mixture is risen and bubbly.

Heat the oven to 100degC fan-forced.

Lightly grease a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat, then lightly grease a few egg rings and place them in the pan.

Stir the mixture again - it should look like thick, bubbly pancake batter. Add 60ml-125ml (¼ cup-½ cup) more water to reach the desired consistency if necessary.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into each egg ring. Cook for 2 minutes or until the tops are completely covered in bubbles and the batter is dry. Remove the egg rings, transfer the crumpets to a heatproof plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make about 20 crumpets.

Serve the warm crumpets with your favourite toppings. I love adding lashings of vegan butter and maple syrup!

Any leftover crumpets will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Chana masala

Chana (meaning chickpea) and masala (meaning curry) has to be my favourite Indian curry.

During our time in India, we ate this curry with every meal. We shared other curries in order to try something new each time, but, in the end, the chana masala was always the best.

Serves 2

2 Tbsp avocado oil
1 onion, diced
400g can whole tomatoes
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see Tip)
2 tsp coconut sugar
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
sea salt
chopped coriander leaves, to serve
steamed basmati rice or garlic naan to serve

Masala curry paste
2-3 long red chillies, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2-3cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp brown mustard seeds

Using a large mortar and pestle, pound the masala curry paste ingredients for about 10 minutes or until you have a smooth paste. (Alternatively, you can use a small food processor.)

Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and curry paste and saute for 30 seconds.

Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes, then stir through the tomatoes and chickpeas. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to a thick curry.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir through the sugar and lemon juice, then taste and add a little salt, if necessary. Sprinkle the chana masala with coriander and serve with steamed basmati rice or garlic naan on the side and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Tip: Keep your chickpea liquid (aquafaba) to make sriracha mayo or caesar dressing.

Garlic naan

Homemade naan bread is a much healthier alternative to store-bought naan, which is often filled with preservatives. Serve this delicious garlic naan with any of the Indian curries in this book.

Makes 6-8

2 tsp coconut sugar
7g sachet active dried yeast

300g (2 cups) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt
80g (⅓ cup) coconut yoghurt
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds

Place 125ml (½ cup) of warm water, half the coconut sugar and the dried yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes or until the surface starts to foam.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, teaspoon of salt and the remaining coconut sugar into a large bowl.

Pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and add the coconut yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix to form a rough dough.

Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until soft and stretchy. Place in bowl, cover and rest for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.

While the dough is resting, place the garlic, cumin seeds, a pinch of salt and the remaining olive oil in a mortar and pound with a pestle to form a paste.

Divide the dough into six to eight even-sized pieces and roll into balls. Place on a lightly floured baking tray and cover with a damp tea towel.

Preheat the oven to 160degC fan-forced. Place a large non-stick frying pan over high heat.

Roll out the first ball to a 5mm thick circle. Fry for 3 minutes, allowing it to puff up. Flip and fry for another 3 minutes or until charred spots appear. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Spread the garlic paste over the naan, then place directly on an oven shelf and bake for 5 minutes or until the garlic is just golden. Serve immediately.

Gingerbread turmeric smoothie

This smoothie is inspired by my trip to Lapland, where we visited Santa's village, made fresh gingerbread and played in the snow. It was minus 20degC in Finland, so we weren't drinking smoothies, but when I returned to Bali I decided to create a smoothie with gingerbread flavours.

Makes 1
2 frozen bananas
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp hemp seeds, plus extra to serve
1 Tbsp cashew butter
1 medjool date, pitted
250ml (1 cup) almond milk
shredded coconut, to serve

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Pour into a glass or jar, sprinkle over some shredded coconut and hemp seeds and drink straight away.

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