pizza, sandwiches & spring rolls

sandwich night with sesame-tempeh, charred fennel & pepper rings

3rd October 2018

Usually, sandwich night falls on Friday when it is just the three of us and I have made a fresh loaf of challah bread. The meal comes together in half an hour and is so delicious and satisfying. Slices of homemade bread are brushed with strong English mustard, followed by a thick layer of vegan mayonnaise and filled with avocado salsa, green garden leaves, tamari-sesame coated slices of tempeh and charred fennel and red pepper rings.

sandwich night

Preparation – 30 minutes

Serves 3

for the fennel-pepper rings and charred tempeh 

1 small red and green bell pepper

1 large fennel

1 packet/200g tempeh

6 Tbsp oil/ghee

3 Tbsp sesame seeds

3 Tbsp tamari

for the sandwiches

slices of your favourite bread

strong English mustard

avocado with tomato, coriander salsa and mustard seeds

vegan mayonnaise

bitter salad leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

cook the vegetables and tempeh

1.  Slice the fennel and bell peppers into rounds and the tempeh into strips or rounds. (Depending on the shape of the tempeh you are using). Set aside

2.  In a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of oil and cook the fennel rounds until charred around the edges. When sufficiently charred, scoop them out onto a large plate and repeat the same procedure with the red and green peppers – add to the same plate as the fennel.

3.  Lower the heat to medium and pour in the remaining oil, fry the tempeh until golden, flipping over and doing the same with the other side. Once all have been done (may need to do in two batches), return all the tempeh to the pan, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and saute, coating the tempeh with the seeds for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and drizzle the tamari over the tempeh. Stir a few times and scoop out onto the plate. Making sure you brush out all the seeds leftover in the pan over the charred peppers, fennel and tempeh.

to assemble the sandwiches

4.  Drizzle each slice of bread with olive oil, a swipe of mustard and spread a thick layer of mayonnaise, add a dollop of avocado salsa, and a layer of garden green leaves, a few slices of tempeh, a generous sprinkle of fennel and pepper rings and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.


summer rolls with two sauces

28th August 2015


I lost track of the days this week…

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Lost in the sound of the rain on the leaves, the colours of the nightfall and in the fullness of the mOOn …


summer rolls

When we have this at home, I lay out all the fillings on an extra-large chopping board in the middle of the table, set up two soaking stations on either side for the rice paper, and let everyone construct their own.  Other times I make them beforehand and pack them into little tiffin tins to enjoy out on a walk or a school lunch.  When the weather cools down, add sautéed sesame-covered tempeh and sweet potato strips or strips of grilled eggplant glazed with sweet miso and maple syrup. 


8 – 12 round rice paper wrappers

8 – 12 small lettuce leaves

1 carrot, peeled

1 beetroot, peeled

1 cucumber/zucchini

½ red bell pepper

a handful of fresh coriander and mint leaves

prepare the fillings 

1.  Using a box grater or the grater attachment on a food processor, grate the beetroot and carrot together. Cut the avocado and bell pepper into slices, and drizzle the avocado with a little lemon. Using a potato peeler, cut thin strips of cucumber/zucchini.  Wash and dry the fresh mint and coriander.

2.  Place all the fillings into individual bowls or lined up on a large cutting board.

assemble the salad rolls 

3.  Fill a deep bowl with hot water.  Dunk one of the rice paper rolls for 5 – 6 seconds, then lay out on a work surface. The paper will be slightly stiff but will continue to soften as it sits.

4.  Place a leaf of lettuce in the centre of the rice paper roll and arrange a thin bundle of grated carrot, beetroot, avocado slices, shaved zucchini/cucumber, bell pepper, then sprinkle a few leaves of coriander and mint over the vegetables.


5.  Pour a little of the tahini sesame sauce over the top and pull the bottom of the roll up to enclose the filling tightly. Fold one side over, then the other, and continue to roll up snugly.  Repeat with the remaining wrappers.  Serve with both sauces.


tahini-sesame dressing

The tahini can be replaced with your favourite mayonnaise or peanut butter.  A few finely chopped slivers of mild chilli can give this sauce a lovely spicy kick.

Recipe slightly adapted from here.


2 Tbsp sesame seeds (combination white and black)

¼ cup tahini

1 Tbsp rice vinegar or umeboshi plum vinegar

1 Tbsp tamari

1½ tsp toasted sesame oil

cup water


1.  In a high-speed blender, add the sesame seeds and grind until they are roughly ground.

2.  Add the tahini, vinegar, tamari, oil and water, and blend until well mixed.  Depending on the preferred thickness of the tahini, you may need to add more water.  I like the consistency quite thick. Left-overs can be used as a salad dressing or served with brown rice and sautéed vegetables.

tamari – ginger sauce

This is a great sauce to have on hand, the sweetness complements the tahini-sesame sauce.  I usually triple the recipe to use in a stir-fry during the week.


3 Tbsp tamari

1 – 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger


1.  Grate the ginger and place in a bowl with the tamari and sweetener.  Mix together and set aside for the ginger to infuse into the sauce.


Goodness shared by Stacey

tomato & capsicum sourdough bruschetta with goat’s cheese & olives

7th February 2011

Whenever I visit Israel, I am continually amazed at the quality of the fresh produce here.  I think that at home I am able to hunt out and purchase fresh, good-quality vegetables until I arrive here.  Large square punnets of cherry tomatoes, mountains of Lebanese cucumbers, capsicums (red peppers), strawberries. Whatever is in season.  All fresh and how a fruit or vegetable should look and taste.  The cheeses and olives are the same.  So many to sample.  It’s a shame I can’t read all the labels.

When such fresh and tasty food is available, it is easy to create a delicious dish from just a few ingredients.  I can now fully understand the simplicity of the Mediterranean diet.  This dish just does that.  Mediterranean in origin and ingredients.  I must point out, that the tomatoes and capsicums are the highlights of this dish, so hunt out the best you can find.  And, a good bread that when toasted, its unsauced crust stays crunchy.  I used a sourdough French Farm Loaf from Arcaffe (a cafe franchise in Israel).

tomato & capsicum bruschetta with goat’s cheese & olives

Serves 2


1 punnet or 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used mini Roma ones)

1 small red capsicum/pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sea salt flakes

freshly cracked black pepper

drizzle balsamic vinegar

½ tsp raw sugar (optional, if tomatoes are not naturally sweet)

2 large slices of good sourdough bread

olive oil for toasting bread

to serve

crumbled goat’s cheese/fetta (desired quantity for topping)

a handful of olives of choice (I used  fat kalamatas)

fresh sweet basil leaves/rocket (optional)


1.  Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot, then add tomatoes and capsicum (should sizzle when it hits the oil) and stir, season with salt and pepper.  Leave uncovered and prepare toasts.  Stir occasionally while cooking toasts.

2.  Heat olive oil in a flat skillet or frying pan; when hot, add bread slices.

3.  While bread is toasting, stir tomato/capsicum mixture, then add sugar.

4.  Keep an eye on the bread so does not burn. Turn over when one side is golden.  After final turn, add balsamic vinegar to tomato mixture and stir – reduce heat to low and let simmer until bread is done.

5.  Before serving, add more salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place toast on the dish, top with tomato/capsicum mixture, not forgetting a drizzle of the sauce, crumble feta and add desired quantity of olives.  Add basil leaves/rocket if wish.

Goodness shared from Donna

marinated tempeh sandwich with a quick & easy peanut sauce

8th December 2009


In Australia at Sunshine Beach earlier this year, I did most of my food shopping at the Eumundi Markets.  There was a stall called ‘Gourmet Roast Tempeh’.  It was a fantastic organic stall with a mountain of freshly grown knobbly ginger and fresh turmeric root.  There were also crispy broccoli, different types of Chinese greens, bunches and bunches of fresh coriander, and this delicious marinated tempeh.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me to capture all that beauty, but I did come away inspired to make my own marinated tempeh.

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Sunshine Beach, QLD, Australia

Tempeh is a soybean cake made by fermenting cooked soybeans.  It has an aroma that would be best described as mushroom-like.  Because tempeh uses the whole bean (unlike tofu), it contains all its nutrients and can be considered a whole food.  Tempeh is super high in protein, fibre, phytonutrients, vitamin B2 and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and copper.  The fermentation increases the digestibility (especially its proteins), its nutrient absorption, and most importantly, it deactivates the phytates and enzyme inhibitors present in beans.

Always check the “sell by” date.  It should have one, and you should ensure it is as fresh as possible.


marinated tempeh sandwich

I always make more than I need for the marinade, as it is handy to have on hand to spruce up a meal.  

marinated tempeh

1 packet/200g tempeh

cup tamari

¼ cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp mirin

1 heaped Tbsp freshly grated ginger

for the sandwiches

whole-grain sourdough bread

peanut sauce (recipe below)

avocado slices

fresh salad greens (lettuce, arugula, coriander, etc.)

grated carrot and beetroot

freshly cracked pepper

prepare the marinated tempeh

1. Mix the tamari, maple syrup, mirin, and grated ginger in a screw-top jar.

2.  Place the tempeh in a small shallow tray, pour over ¼ cup marinade and allow it to marinate for 30 minutes – 1 hour, then turn the tempeh over and marinate for another 30 minutes. The longer it sits in the marinade, the stronger the flavours.  Any leftover tempeh can sit in the fridge in a sealed container for 7 days.

3.  Slice the tempeh into slabs and use the leftover marinade in the peanut sauce below.

4.  Heat a spoonful of ghee/oil in a skillet; lightly saute both sides until golden.  Remove from heat and set aside.

assemble the sandwich

5. Slather a slice of bread with the peanut sauce.  Place slices of avocado on top, followed by the tempeh, lots of greens, grated beetroot and carrot. Drizzle with more peanut sauce if needed.

Serve immediately and enjoy, or wrap up to take to work later that day.

If you are trying to avoid bread, wrap everything in a large lettuce leaf and drizzle lavishly in peanut sauce.  If you have time,  slice up fennel rounds and sweet potato slices, saute until a little charred in a very hot skillet and add to the sandwich or wrap.

For a salad, toss in a bowl big handfuls of garden fresh salad greens, fresh coriander, grated carrot, beetroot, thin slices of red pepper, finely chopped fennel, avocado and some cooked quinoa/millet/rice.  Place tiny cubes of marinated tempeh in a hot skillet with some oil and saute until golden.  Add to the salad and drizzle with peanut sauce, an extra squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

easy peanut sauce

makes about 1 cup


⅓ cup organic peanut butter

4 Tbsp tamari marinade sauce (above)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

¼½ tsp hot paprika or chilli powder

½ cup hot water


1.  In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, tamari marinade sauce, lemon juice and chilli powder and slowly pour in hot water, stirring between each addition until a creamy thick sauce has formed.

2.  Taste and adjust by adding more tamari sauce, lemon or sweetener (honey/maple syrup).  It should be thick enough to spread – you can thin it out later for more of a drizzling sauce.


references –

Shared goodness from Stacey


3rd September 2009

This dough can be made on the day or refrigerated for up to 3 days (the latter allows the dough to develop, creating more flavour and texture). If short on time, allow at least a day in the fridge, but the best results are three days.


  • Choose quality flour: flour is the main ingredient in pizza dough, so use high quality and high protein flour, all-purpose works fine but for better texture (in terms of hole structure), use soft wheat flour tipo “00”.
  • Lean towards a wetter dough: when mixing the dough, if in doubt, keep the dough on the wetter/stickier side; you will be adding more flour during the roll-out phase.
  • Cold ferment: As mentioned above, a cold ferment improves flavour and structure. After making the dough (step 2), keep it in the fridge for 1 (minimum) to 3 days (ideal). On the day of pizza making, take the dough out 2-3 hours prior to cooking and repeat as above (step 4).
  • Keep toppings simple: use quality ingredients and keep the toppings to 2-3 vegetables.
  • Crispy crust: Invest in a baking stone. It holds a lot of heat, releasing it into the pizza as it bakes, giving it a crispier crust.
  • Hot oven: A very hot oven plays an important part in the finished result. Preheat the oven to the highest setting, generally 290C/550F, for at least 45 minutes—1 hour.

pizza dough

Recipe inspired by Shir, with guidance here and here.

Makes two medium thick-based pizzas (enough for three people).

Active time – 90 minutes

Total time – 4½ hours


1 tsp yeast

1 cup/220g water

2 Tbsp olive oil

2½ cups/340g organic soft wheat flour/Tipo “00” 

1 tsp salt

cornmeal or semolina for cooking


1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and water and allow it to sit for a few minutes for the yeast to activate.  Add the olive oil.

2.  Add the flour and salt, and with the dough hook attached, turn the mixer on low and mix for 4 minutes. The dough should look sticky but still resemble a loose ball. If not, add a tablespoon of flour or water accordingly; it is safer to lean towards a wetter dough; you can always add more flour later on. When you touch it, the dough should be sticky on your hands. I leave it to sit in the bowl; however, if kneading by hand, transfer it to an oiled bowl.

IF YOU WANT TO PREPARE THE DOUGH IN ADVANCE – at this step, proceed with the cold ferment and refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days (see variation above), then continue to step 4.

3. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 2 – 3 hours.

4. Cover a working surface with a generous amount of flour, gently shape it into a rough rectangular shape, and divide it into two or three equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, gather the four corners to the centre. Turn seam side down and mould gently into a ball. Dust with flour; set aside on the work surface. Repeat with the remaining portions.

5. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes—1 hour (preferable). Preheat your oven to the highest setting, 290C/550F, with your pizza stone or baking tray. Prepare your toppings (see below).

6.  When ready to bake: cover a baking sheet with semolina/cornmeal and press down the dough, working from the centre outwards with your fingers to form a crown. Then, pick up the dough and stretch the dough between your knuckles, slowly enlarging the circle, keeping a raised edge. This is a helpful video to watch, from 1 min onwards.  Avoid using a rolling pin because the pressure pops the bubbles. Leave the outer ½-inch untouched to keep the bubbles intact. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7.  Assemble your toppings: Drizzle olive oil on top and assemble your toppings. I try to keep the topping to 2 – 3 vegetables. When finished, brush the outer edge with olive oil.

8.  Cook your pizza: In the preheated HOT oven, scoot the pizza (still with the baking sheet) onto the pizza stone or preheated baking tray. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. After 2 minutes of baking, lift the dough and slide the baking paper off – but if you forget – no problem, the baking paper gets brittle where there is no pizza. 

our favourite vegan pizza

  • olive oil, pinenut sauce, charred cherry tomatoes (squish these onto the pizza, breaking them up with your fingers), sauteed peppers, sauteed eggplant rounds, chopped green olives, and finely chopped rosemary. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with pine nut parmesan and arugula leaves.

other pizza toppings

  • finely chopped rosemary, tomato base (I use smaller quantities of this sauce), grated mozzarella, sauteed red and green peppers, sauteed eggplant rounds. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with fresh oregano leaves and red pepper flakes.
  • extra olive oil, ¼ cup ricotta cheese, torn strips of mozzarella, ¼ cup basil pesto, grilled zucchini, finely chopped green olives, fresh basil leaves. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with ¼ cup grated parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

to serve

  • a big green salad of arugula leaves, toasted pinenuts, and shaved parmesan with a sweet balsamic and olive oil dressing.

Because of the hot oven, the cooking time is quick, so as one pizza comes out, the next one goes in, and by the time you have finished the first pizza, the next one is ready!

note to self

Four pizzas – increase flour to 680g

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