Meatless Monday – Fettucine Coconara

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Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

This week’s Meatless Monday brings you a recipe imagined by yours truly:
Fettucine Coconara.

*Recipe requires mung bean pasta and coconut bacon. Once you’ve got your hands on these, you’re golden.

The original dish is popularly known as spaghetti (alla) carbonara and features a sauce made of cream, eggs, cheese and bacon poured over hot spaghetti. The revamped version for a meat-free meal is as follows:



  • ½ package/2 generous handfuls of mung bean fettucine
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut bacon
  • water
  • salt and pepper, a pinch and a liberal dash
  • ¼ cup peas
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (e.g. rice, almond, coconut…)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetarian or vegan Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon marmite


  1. Boil the water with a pinch of salt. Add the pasta making sure it is fully submerged under water. Leave to boil for about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain the pasta and let sit. Use the same pot to make the sauce.
  3. Heat the oil on medium then add the garlic, salt, pepper and marmite. *If using marmite, reduce the pinch of salt or omit all together. No marmite? No problem-just use salt. Marmite just adds an umami taste.
  4. Slowly pour in the ‘milk’ and stir. (Heat should still be at medium.) Add the vegan cream cheese and stir until sauce thickens. Add fettucine to the pot and stir until combined.
  5. Add peas, ‘parmesan’ and coconut bacon and give it a quick stir. Serve immediately while still warm.

This recipe alchemy turns the traditional dish into a high fibre, high protein and low-fat facsimile of the real thing.

If using frozen peas, use a steamer pot on top of the boiling fettucine pot so you can steam the peas and cook the fettucine at the same time.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

The vegan parmesan – kelp, nutritional yeast and nuts. Photo by Kimberley (c)2014


Busy Bea Baking…

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Rainy days and Mondays always get me down...” (Carpenters song)

…but baking perks me up. This week I took a page from certain cooking shows and went for a marathon-bake of recipes I had been meaning to try for quite some time. On Thursday I made a record 5 dishes requiring much prep in only a few hours, Friday was a sweet success with 3 treats in a few hours (including baking time) while Saturday was slow with a measly one recipe (pita bread). These pictures are just a tiny sample of what went on in my kitchen these past few days. I ate the food too fast to take a picture of it all.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Butternut squash and vanilla bean pancakes sizzling on the griddle. Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Kiwi Lime Tartlets Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Lentil Patties Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

I made:
*pie dough
*lentil patty filling
*quinoa and swiss chard salad
*spiced potatoes to serve with already prepared Indian bread
*prepared ingredients for vegan potato salad and baba ghanoush

I made:
*graham cracker crust and kiwi lime curd for the tartlet
*everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies
*butternut squash and vanilla bean pancakes
*rolled out the pie dough and filled with the lentil mix
*made baba ghanoush
*made a poolish for the pita bread

*just baked pita – no biggie



Food competition shows often feature cocky, neurotic and/or insecure chefs, both amateur and professional, running around the kitchen like chickens with their heads cut off trying to complete the appointed task. The pace is frantic, disaster usually ensues and there’s always a look of doom and gloom on someone’s face as the program cuts to commercial.

Real-life culinary adventures need not be so dramatic. For some it is a way to relax, a therapeutic tool or a creative outlet. So get your bake-on, enjoy the journey and relish in your creations.

*Except for the graham crackers which have honey, all recipes are vegan.

Meatless Monday – A Vegetarian in Paris

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Let them eat kale

The Cordon Bleu kitchen is no place for a vegetarian, let alone a vegan.

France is renowned for its cuisine and Paris is considered one of the world’s food capitals. From wine to pastry and all animal parts in between, there’s not, however, a lot for the vegetarian to sink their teeth into.

Classically trained‘ chefs are mainly schooled in the French tradition and the list of cooking techniques reads like a French dictionary. Today is July 14th Bastille Day and Meatless Monday ponders the influence of French cuisine on the status of meat-free food.

Bastille Day is France’s national day or fête nationale and is named after the medieval fortress come state prison the Bastille. Modern-day celebrations include parades, fireworks and of course food! A celebratory meal may consist of the following iconic French foods: escargot (i.e. snails), crepes, cheese, wine and dishes made with eggs (e.g. quiche, soufflé, macarons).

Inherent in the French terms gourmet and haute-cuisine is the idea that certain food is sophisticated, elegant and refined. According to tradition, animal products are used as a major flavouring in food or as the feature of a dish. Remove the animal and you remove the prestige.

The image of meat-free dishes is often that of boring and bland food. Tempeh pales in comparison to foie gras and vegan chocolate avocado pudding does not stand up to the elevated status (and height hopefully) of a chocolate soufflé. The status quo being that good food needs meat. Time to revolutionize this idea.

Sumptuous food can be meat-free, one doesn’t have to be vegetarian/vegan to eat it  & one doesn’t have to be classically trained in order to prepare it. 

The use of other French culinary traditions (i.e. herbs, spices and fresh local ingredients) peppered with some imagination and creativity can help ennoble any plant-based dish. So enjoy your meat-free meal and savour your life.

If you find yourself travelling in France, make sure to check out Happy Cow’s list of vegetarian/vegan-friendly food establishments:

Happy Cow – France






Busy Bea Baking…Procrastibaking

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I learned a new word on Facebook:

The art of making cupcakes instead of doing something else you should be doing.

It and the definition are credited to the site If this is Abby’s issue then I can deal with that no problem. Here are my latest creations from my procrastibaking.

What started off as an ice wine crème brûlée turned into an alcoholic soup. It looked promising as it chilled and congealed in the fridge but only the top layer was brûlée like while the rest was boo-lée. Besides I didn’t have any maple syrup to make the crunchy oat topping to give it a characteristic brûlée texture. The solution? Make cake of course.

A little bit of my recipe alchemy turned the soup into the cake you see below. With all the fat from the whipping cream, there was no need to put in additional fat like butter. And staying true to my (pseudo) vegan pledge, I did the old flax/chia seed trick to recreate the gelatinous egg bit. The result was a very moist cake. The leftover mango bits from the frozen treat you see on the right got mixed with some melted dark chocolate (Lindt). This fruity chocolate mud was slathered on top to adorn the cake. The second picture reveals a baker’s cosmetic secret: Cover imperfections with a dusting of icing sugar. It is like concealer on blemishes.

The mango treat was also the result of a failed experiment. Me and my hand blender got together to see if we could whip some full-fat coconut milk into shape. While the mixture thickened a little it bore no resemblance to a stiff dairy whipped cream. The solution? Throw in some fragrant organic mango and make a frozen treat. Next time, more mango and less coconut (and perhaps a little cardamom too).

And the final creation…bite my jandals* Kiwis, it’s summer in the northern hemisphere and these frozen treats are made with your superb kiwifruit. Thanks Zespri for exporting to Canada. Now could you send some gold kiwifruit and the mini ones the size of grapes?
*New Zealand word for flip-flops i.e. sandals

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Meatless Monday – Vacation, All I Ever Wanted…

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“The sun is shining and the weather is sweet,
Makes you want to move your dancing feet…”
~Bob Marley~

It’s been hot and humid – just how I like my summers to be. It begs the body to be outside and make hay (not food) while the sun shines. So today’s Meatless Monday just offers you a link to the complete collection (thus far) of Meatless Monday posts on Weal Food.

The Meatless Monday archives on Weal Food

I am open to feedback and requests. If there’s any topic you would like covered, let me know, and I will consider how I can accommodate you.

Ah the vegan creamsicles beckon…

Busy Bea Baking…

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Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Who’s been a busy girl?

I resurrected a childhood favourite summer treat and made a vegan version of the creamsicle. I remember fondly this sweet orangey coating with creamy white middle frozen to a popsicle stick. The ingredients in my alchemized version are coconut milk, orange juice, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon zest. I think coconut milk should get a Michelin star for its role in any vegan frozen treat. The other ingredients help to mute the coconut flavour so you are left with a simply rich taste and creamy texture.

It seems to be the Murphy’s Law of food. Once you find something you like, it suddenly disappears from grocery shelves. I have become quite attached to my Veganaise with grapeseed oil and when I ran out, wasn’t able to find it in any of my favourite haunts. The solution? Make my own of course.

I cross-referenced several recipes on the internet and finally settled on a hybrid. The base for this mayo was grapeseed oil emulsified with vinegar, spice and sugar. With a little patience and a lot of work from my hand-held blender the mayonnaise was created. It is fairly straightforward to make-simply place all ingredients in a blender and blend until white and thickened. Lesson learned: Next time, less sugar, more oil and patience while blending.

Enjoy minute amounts of vegan mayo in cold potato salad, on veggie burgers and as a base for a vegan Cesar salad dressing.

Canada Day Special – Edible Gifts

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Photo by Kimberley (c) 2014

Fill the snack bowl with ketchup chips, pour the maple syrup over your pancakes and sautée those fiddleheads, it’s Canada Day again! Besides poutine, butter tarts and Nanaimo bars, what other culinary contributions has Canada offered to the world?

The province of Saskatchewan has become “…the world’s largest exporter of green lentils...” according to the province’s government website. Both green and red lentils are grown here although other varieties do exist.
Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and are high in fibre and easy to prepare. Red lentils also contain a significant amount of potassium, iron, manganese and folate.
For everything you need to know about Canadian lentils, including recipes and nutritional information, click here.
Also, check out our previous lentil posts: Lentil Me Your Ears Yentl Lentil

Maple Syrup
This sweet tree sap is often synonymous with Canada. As a natural sweetener it can be used as a substitute for refined sugar.
Check out our previous post, The Sugar Bush, for a quick overview of maple syrup.

Saskatchewan strikes again! According to the Saskatchewan government website this province is “…the world’s largest mustard exporters.” There are three types grown here: yellow whose main market is North America; brown mainly for European markets and Oriental, which is popular in Asian markets. It may seem like a humble accompaniment to sandwiches but the condiment made from mustard seeds does have health benefits. Yellow mustard seeds contain selenium and along with the addition of turmeric (often for colour) gives mustard its anti-inflammatory effect.

And some notable food events happening across the country this summer:

British Colombia (BC)
Drive through the Okanagan Valley in central B.C. for a cornucopia of fruit: peaches, cherries, apricots, plums and wines made from such.

Calgary, Alberta
Free Stampede Breakfast! Usually loaded with some manner of pig product, these breakfasts of meat and pancakes are served up for free around the city during the annual Stampede extravaganza in early July. It is hosted by various organizations who volunteer to prepare and serve the most important meal of the day. Get there early to get a prime spot in the line-up.

Toronto, Ontario
Check out what some of Toronto’s restaurants have to offer at Summerlicious. Or go Greek at A Taste of the Danforth.

Drummondville, Quebec
My Canada includes poutine with vegetarian gravy and vegetarian cheese! Check out the Festival de la poutine, happening in August in la belle province i.e. Quebec.

New Brunswick
Forget the lobster, it’s Chocolate Fest in August!


Our other Canadian-related posts.