Friday, May 21, 2010

Viva Vegan! and where to buy Latin ingredients

When I first heard about Viva Vegan!, Terry Hope Romero's latest book, I knew it was a book I wanted to own and after seeing some of the fantastic tester photos I pre-ordered it!

My copy arrived a few weeks ago and I sat down straight away to bookmark the recipes I wanted to try. I found myself marking almost every page as there are so many recipes that I want to make.

As all the recipes from Viva Vegan! are from Central and South America, I'm tagging this post as part of the E.A.T World Challenge!

The first meal I made combined the Basic Onion-Pepper Sofrito, Venezuelan-style Black Beans, Creamy Avocado-Tomato Salsa and the Crispy Fried Green Plantains (tostones).

This was a delicious meal, the sofrito smelt so good while it was cooking and added so much flavour to the beans. I love love love tostones and these went perfectly with the creamy avocado salsa that is zingy thanks to the addition of lime. I also cooked some white asparagus and served the beans on brown rice.

Next up I made the Sweet Potato-Chipotle Bisque and the Cashew Crema. I used coconut cream as the cream so this was smooth, creamy and a little bit hot 'n' spicy due to the chipotle. The cashew crema and coriander finished it off perfectly.

I had some plantains that I wanted to use in a sweet recipe so I left them until their skin was almost black. I really thought they would be awful on the inside, but they were fine and had ripened enough to use in the Sweet and Nutty Roasted Stuffed Plantains. The smell of roasted plantains was lovely, so sweet and banana-y and the filling was an interesting combination of brown sugar, cayenne, lime and walnuts with the option of adding vegan cheeze, which I skipped.
The taste was something I thought I wouldn't like due to the different elements but it worked quite well and they made a nice meal for brunch.

My favourite meal so far is the Potato and Chickpea Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce and Pine Nut Crema. I used tinned tomatillos for the sauce and substituted rice milk and cashews for the tofu in the crema.

The filling is amazingly good so don't be tempted to eat it all while you're making the enchiladas! They make such a good meal and you'll have plenty for lunch and dinner the next day, guaranteeing you a great day! If you have the book, make these NOW!

All of the meals above are gluten and soy free or easy to modify and most of the recipes in the book are gluten & soy free and clearly marked so.
On to the ingredients! Terry has included a shopping list on her website and in the book. It was a big help when making a list of what I needed to buy to start cooking.

Here's my guide on places to shop for anyone in Sydney or Australia:

Firstly you won't find pre-packaged corn husks here as they are not allowed to be imported into Australia. You could try asking your local green grocer to save you the ones they peel off their corn or use baking paper or foil to wrap your tamales instead.

There are two online stores where you'll be able to buy most of the hard-to-find ingredients. I ordered from Monterey Foods and was happy with the service and pricing.

They have a great range including beans, pickled cactus (nopalitos), chillis, tamale flour, instant masa harina (for tortillas and arepas), harina PAN, hot sauces, tinned tomatillos, annatto seeds, epazote and tortilla presses so you can make your own!

Another online store is Fireworks Foods and they also have location you can visit in person. They have a similar range to Monterey but they also have a few different items like guava paste.

I purchased dried chipotles and chipotles in adobo sauce a while ago from Karrimah Farm in W.A. You can order online with them.

If you're in Newtown, Fiji Market has a good range of dried & tinned legumes, fresh cassava (manioc) and plantains, annatto seeds and chillis.

And if you're on the Northern Beaches, Country Growers at Warringah Mall has a good range of dried legumes, plantains, harina PAN, tinned chillis and Brazilian products including tinned black beans, guava paste and manioc flour.

I also bought some spices and Mexican Hot Chocolate from Herbie's, they have an online store and an actual store with a huge range of spices and herbs.

Really we have everything here that you need to create delicious, Latin-inspired meals! Grab yourself a copy of Viva Vegan! and get cooking!


Rose said...

Everything looks so delicious! I wish you were cooking for me tonight :)


Sarah (compostkitty) said...

can i live with you!?!?!
the food always looks amazing as always

Mihl said...

How exiting! I was glad I could be a tester for Terry. I had a lot of fun buying the ingredients and trying new recipes. You posted some I didn't try yet, so I'll be back to the kitchen soon.

Annie said...

OH I LOVE THIS! Those photos are fabulous!

dreaminitvegan said...

Yum! I can't wait to try this cookbook out. We love Mexican food, I guess it's because out here in California we just grow up eating it.

Kiersten said...

Everything looks yummy! I'm trying not to buy any new cookbooks at the moment, so I haven't picked Viva Vegan yet. Your pictures are tempting me though. I'd probably buy that book just to make those stuffed plantains. They sound amazing!

River - The Crafty Kook said...

Why did I not know about this book?! I must have it! It would be a great resource for some of my future EAT posts, and everything looks so so good! The stuffed plantains look ridiculous, as in ridiculously yummy.

I checked out the flickr pool the the alfajores con un-dulce de leche are evil! *WANT*

The Blissful Chef said...

You are making me want to buy this cookbook! Looks delish!

Vaala ◪ said...

The plating for the first dish is really cool...looks like restaurant food!

I've never seen plantations here which is a shame 'cause I keep seeing awesome recipes and photos for them! Will just have to keep looking I guess.

Jo said...

I've been looking for plantains in Australia ever since we returned home from Canada. Thank you!!!

Food looks lovely.

Michal said...

Everything looks fantastic, I have been waiting to hear feedback from Viva Vegan before I went out and purchased it since i havent really experienced too much latin food. :)

Kelly said...

OMG looks like you have been going crazy and everything looks fanastic. I will admit I am a sucker for tostones.

Ladybird said...

Oooh how creative and clever you are! Lots of great looking dishes there. nice job! :)

Burp and Slurp~! said...

WOW! I never knew you can make such gourmet stuff out of the ingredients I just passed by in my local Latino store! I live in LA so these are readily available...cannot wait to start cooking when I get back!

bittersweetblog said...

Mmm, all of these dishes look amazing! It's definitely not my normal flavor profile or cooking style, but this book sounds worth checking out.

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I went vegan in 2006 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love baking cupcakes and reading books and often wish I could combine both activities without disastrous results. If I’m not in the kitchen you’ll find me photographing food, cuddling my three kittehs or re-watching my favourite tv shows over and over again with my boyfriend. Due to food sensitivities I don't eat gluten or soy and yes, vegan, gluten free and soy free food is still delicious! Twitter: CupcakeKitteh
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