100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan

Day 56 – Boozy Baked Cranberry Sauce


Cranberry sauce is always one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal.

I think as a young future vegetarian, who did not like turkey very much, Cranberry sauce was one of the things I looked forward to the most. Typically it was just the jellied wobbly canned stuff that comes out with the ridges imprinted in the sides, but cranberry sauce was one of the special foods that may family only ate at Thanksgiving, which made it seem that much more fantastic. Now I am older, and prefer to make food from scratch and use as little processed and preserved ingredients as possible, so when I found this recipe from Jerry James Stone, the idea of making my own Cranberry sauce caught my attention. Especially if you are adding a little booze.

Although, I have a feeling “Boozy” might be a bit of a misnomer here, as I suspect most the alcohol will bake off, but it will still leave behind that lovely residue of sugar and will have helped macerate the cranberries. Maceration is a process in food preparation that uses liquids (often alcohol ) to soften or break up tough ingredients like raw, dried, preserved, or fresh fruit and vegetables and help them release their own juices adding to the flavor and making the ingredient easier to chew and digest.

I am making this cranberry sauce as a test for this year’s Thanksgiving. I am heading home to The States to be at my family Thanksgiving for the first time time since I moved to New Zealand 7 years ago.   Looking forward to seeing my family and helping to cook up vegetarian treats to add to the Thanksgiving table.

Boozy Baked Cranberry Sauce

adapted from: Jerry James Stone


  • 340 grams or 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup liquid honey
  • 2 Large Oranges
  • 1 Shot Triple Sec, Gran Marnier, Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur (a vanilla liqueur could possible work quite nicely as well).

Half the oranges. Then in a large mixing bowl add the honey and juice the orange halves. If you are using solid honey, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute to help liquify the honey.

Add the liqueur and whisk together the juice and honey mixture so that the honey is mostly dissolved into the juice.

Add in the cranberries and gently mix so they are lightly coated. Then place the cranberries in a baking dish or on a shallow cookie sheet and bake for 40 min on 180 C or 350 F. They are ready when the cranberries have wilted, cracked, and broken open.

You can chill them and serve them later but they are best hot and gooey. Also if you prefer a saucier texture you can roughly pulse the baked cranberries in a blender with some of the left over juice.


100 Days Project, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Gluten Free, Party Food, Recipes, Snacks

Day 55 – Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Dip


I think onion dip was one of the first thing I ever learned how to make as a kid.

This 1950’s classic onion soup mix and sour cream concoction is essential at American parties, BBQ’s, and picnics and I used to make it for after school snacks when I had friends around.  I was thrilled to find that here in New Zealand they make a similar version, and it is just as common, if not more so, to have onion dip at parties and gatherings. The one main difference is that in New Zealand they use reduced dream instead of sour cream, but the overall flavor is very similar.

When I found this recipe for Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Dip, on the Kitchen Simplicity blog, it seemed like a good alternative that used fresh ingredients instead of the typical packaged and processed ones.  The results are very similar tasting, although this recipe has the added subtle goat cheese flavor and a stronger caramelized onion taste, but there is nothing wrong with that as far as I am concerned.  If you are going to eat onion dip , you might as well eat ONION dip.

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Dip

from: Kitchen Simplicity

MAKES: approx. 2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Heat oil in a pan or skillet over a medium-low heat.  Add the chopped onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions down, stirring often, until it caramelizes and turns a deep golden brown. Set the caramelized onion aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile stir together sour cream and goat cheese, mashing the goat cheese with a fork
to break it up.  I use the Tararua Lite sour cream as it is one of the only vegetarian sour creams you can find in New Zealand (only thr Lite version is vegetarian). Stir in the caramelized onions and garlic addong the fresh chives and more salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving with corn chips, potato chips, pretzels, fresh bread, or any other party snack. Honesty, you could very easily just lick this off a spoon.



100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free (with Substitutions), Mains, Recipes, Vegan

Day 54 – Black Bean Pasta with Smokey Avocado Sauce


I am sure some of you may be thinking I have gone a bit crazy with this one . . .

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first of  the recipe, from Treehugger,using these type of Mexican flavors in a pasta dish, but my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try it. I have to admit I was pleasently surprised. Not only did the grilled avocado make a delicious creamy Alfredo-like sauce (yet without any dairy) the Mexican flavors worked with the pasta better than I expected them to. I am really keen to try playing twith the idea of an avocado pasta sauce again, but next time with more Italian flavors added in.

This dish is completely Vegan, dairy free, and can easily be made gluten free by substituting a gluten-free pasta.

Black Bean Pasta with Smokey Avocado Sauce

adapted from: Treehugger

MAKES: 2 large servings


  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 serrano chili or medium heat chilli, chopped finely
  • 250g of pasta (Linguine or Fettuccine)

Cut an avocado in half and brush with olive oil. and grill the halves flesh side down until the fruit is nicely charred. Scoop out the warm grilled flesh and put it in a food processor adding 1/2 cup cilantro, the lime juice, salt and cayenne, and one garlic clove. Process to make a purée, and then slowly stream in 1/4 cup olive oil and continue processing until the sauce emulsifies and has a creamy consistency. Taste and add more lime juice, salt or cayenne if necessary, and then set aside.

In a separate bowl mix black beans with finely diced red onion and serrano chile. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, another 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and salt to taste. Stir gently and let sit to meld the flavors.

Cook linguine or other pasta until pasta is al dente. Drain and add avocado puree and mix until well incorporated. Spoon bean mixture over the pasta, dress with a bit more cilantro and serve immediately while still warm.


100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Mains, Recipes, Vegan

Day 53 – Simple Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry


Gah!!! It was on of those way too busy Mondays, when you wish it was still Sunday and you can hide in bed with the covers over your head.   I definitely needed a quick and easy meal for tonight’s dinner.

Treehugger to the rescue!! Their recipe for a simple Red Lentil and Sweet Potato curry was just what I needed.

Curry is the generic English term to describe a wide variety of dishes from multiple word cusines. The similarity between dishes that are called a curry is the use of complex combinations of spices and herbs that is traditionally selected for each dish because of cultural tradition, religious practice, and family preference. Each individual dish usually has a specific name in the language of its origin describing the ingredients incorporated into the curry.

Simple Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry

adapted from: Treehugger



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato or kumara, peeled and cut into 40mm or  1 inch chunks1
  • 40 mm or 1inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ cups red lentils
  • green onion/spring onion
  • chili flakes

In a saucepan or kettle, bring 3 ½ cups of water to a boil.

In a large saucepan over high heat, warm the oil, and add the onion and a pinch of salt to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens (3 to 4 minutes). Add the sweet potato, ginger, garlic, curry powder and bay leaf and continue cooking for about a minute or until fragrant.

Then pour in the boiling water and stir in the lentils bringing the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the lentils break down and the sweet potatoes are tender (18 to 20 minutes). Season with salt.

While the potatoes and lentils are cooking, make rice basmati or jasmine rice for serving, or warm pita bread in the oven.

Remove the bay leaf and dish curry out on top of rice or to eat with the pita bread. Chop green onion to sprinkle over the top along with a small (or large) pinch of chili flakes, and serve while warm.





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Are you interested in social issues like global poverty? Are you free next Sunday night? Do you love New Zealand Music?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you should be coming with me to the Global Citizen Concert on Sunday August 4th.  I am really looking forward to this gig!! http://www.globalcitizen.org/nz

They have been having these concert events all around the world, and now it is Auckland’s turn. They are calling it a “unique evening of powerful performances to awaken active citizenship around the issues of extreme poverty and climate change. With bespoke musical collaborations and new song releases inspired by this social movement, the audience are in for an unforgettable experience”. Whatever pretty words they want to use to dress it up, it should be a fantastic evening of music, with proceeds going towards numerous NGOs working to affect social change. How often do you get the chance to boogie your little butt off while helping the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty? I suspect not very often . . .

100 Days Project, Breakfast, Recipes

Day 52 – Open Face Egg Sandwich with Roasted Chillies


Well . . . when you make fresh bread the day before, than a sandwich of some sort is almost a necessity.

I am a big fan of breakfast sandwiches, piling up layers of tasty ingredients on top of a slice of bread and topping it with some an egg or two. I found this recipe for an open face fried egg sandwich with Roasted Chilies and thought it would be a perfect match for the bread I made for my Day 51: Chipotle and Scallion Buttermilk Bread post.

Fried egg sandwiches have been around since at least the early 1900s, and believed to originally come from England. In 1910, a New York Times article describes the oddity of seeing actors on horror film set eating fried egg sandwiches dressed as “deathlike phantoms”. As an alternative to meat because of the war rationing, the first fast food fried egg sandwiches were introduced, by a manager at a St. Louis White Castle, during WWII .  While many WWII soldiers returned home with the taste for this kind of meal, since fried egg sandwiches called “Banjos” were popular with the troops in the trenches. Here is a piece of “saucy” trivia for you Herbivores . . . food writer Gael Greene wrote about her brief romantic encounter with Elvis Presley, and that a fried egg sandwich was his favorite post-coital snack.

I served this sandwich with the last of the Slow Cooked BBQ Baked Beans from my Day 44 post, which made a perfect Sunday late morning breakfast.

Open Face Egg Sandwich with Roasted Chillies

from: Fork, Spoon, and Knife


  • 1 slice of bread
  • butter
  • 1 egg
  • adobe sauce
  • 4-6 poblano or other medium heat peppers.
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 green onion/spring onion, chopped
  • sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a pan, and fry the bread in the butter.

Transfer the toast to a plate, and spread it with a thin layer of adobo sauce.

Slice the poblano peppers, and put them on a roasting pan under the grill until they get a bit black. Layer the roasted chillies over the adobo sauce.

Put more butter in the pan and wait for it to melt, before cracking the egg into it. Fry the egg until the clear has gone white and the yolk is not too over cooked. Layer the egg on top of the adobo sauce and the roasted chillies.

Sprinkle with the crumbled feta, green onion, cracked black pepper, and sea salt.


100 Days Project, Baking, Breads

Day 51 – Chipotle and Scallion Buttermilk Bread


I couldn’t resist trying to make this recipe . . .

This recipe from the Fork, Spoon, and Knife blog uses a combination of green/spring onion, spicy chipotle peppers, and rich buttermilk bread was just too tempting.

It is hard to find a lot of chilli pepper types in NZ, and Chipotle peppers are no exception. La Mama and Tio Pablo are two brands that are imported, and you can usually find one or the other in the higher end shops like Nosh or Farro Fresh. Chipotles are a key ingredient in Mexican food.  They have heat and a distinctive smoky flavor and give the food a mild and earthy spiciness.  These chilis acan be used to make salsas and are often ground and combined with other spices to make a marinade called adobo. The flesh of the chilli  is thick, so they are usually used in a slow-cooked dish rather than raw.

The bread recipe is flavorful enough to be eaten on its on, with a slather of butter or cream cheese, or used for a sandwich.

Chipotle and Scallion Buttermilk Bread

by: Fork, Spoon, and Knife


  • 1 1/3  cup flour
  • 2/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 chipotle peppers (preserved in adobo sauce but without sauce), diced fine
  • 4 scallions diced fine
  • 2 yolk
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

Sift together all the dry ingredients together and whisk together the wet ones. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold until just incorporated. Fold in the chipotle and scallions and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until just golden brown and it passes the toothpick test. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and slicing.