Superfood Tempe Taco

With the weather getting cooler it’s time for something comforting, something warm, and something spicy. It’s time to Taco!

Avocado and Tomato

There’re a few reasons why I love Mexican food. I love food with bold flavours, the kind of food that punches you in the face with a strong taste and then makes you come back for more. It’s sexy and daring. It’s passionate.

One of my favourite Mexican foods is taco. I mean, who doesn’t like taco? It’s tasty, easy to make and it’s great for parties!

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Traditionally, taco is made with meat but I make mine with tempe, walnuts and chia seeds. These make the taco highly nutritious and their unique texture gives the taco that ‘meaty’ and chewy taste, even though it’s completely plantbased.

You can find tempe (also spelled tempeh) at your local supermarket, health food store or an Indonesian or Malaysian speciality grocery store. You want to get raw tempe, as the cooked version is often flavoured and not as firm as the fresh type so it might be difficult to grate.

Superfood Tempe Taco

Why I love it

It’s not only that this superfood tempe taco is easy and quick to make, it’s also nutritious, delicious, and high in protein. The added chia seeds provide a boost of omega 3 and they also help thicken the taco’s ‘meat’ mixture in next to no time.

The leftover ‘taco meat’ can also be used to spice up salad or sandwiches for lunch the next day, if you can manage not to eat it all in one sitting.

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The key is to a good taco is a good taco seasoning. You can get it at the store or you can make it your self. If you’re a big taco fan, I recommend making it yourself because it’s so easy to do and you can customise it to suit your preferences.

You just need to get all the spices, mix them together and then store the mixture in an airtight jar to keep its freshness. The best thing about making your own taco seasoning is that you can adjust the taste to your liking. You can make it as hot (or as mild) as you like, you can add more of the spices you like, maybe reduce the salt, or add more pepper.

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Superfood Tempe Taco

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack (250) raw tempe, grated
  • ¼ cup walnut, finely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup non-dairy cheese
  • 8 hard taco shells

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and stir for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften.
  3. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Stir grated tempeh; cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour vegetable broth over the tempeh mixture and reduce heat to low. Add the taco seasoning, oregano, and ground red pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

*How to Make Taco Seasoning

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ – 3 teaspoon chilli powder (depending how hot you like it)
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Method:

Mix all the ingredients together

Tips:

  • Make a big batch of taco seasoning and use it to season roast vegetables, salads, wraps, etc
  • Use lettuce leaves in place of taco shells if you want to make it lighter (or if you run out of taco shells)
  • Use leftover taco meat to fill sandwiches or to sprinkle upon your salads.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you Leave a comment below or share a picture and tag me on Instagram!

 

Keren x

 

This recipe is also created in collaboration with Australian Avocado

New Zealand – North Island

Being an ex-pat who has lived in the land of Down Under for over 15 years, New Zealand presented an experience which felt a little like Australia, and yet was a vastly different setting. The mix of beautiful landscapes, the omnipresent Māori culture, friendly, easygoing Kiwis, and delicious Sauvignon Blanc was both charming and disarming. I loved it.

Here’re some of the highlights of my short adventure trip with the boy to New Zealand – North Island region, which includes Auckland, Rotorua, and Lake Taupo.

Me and my Lowell backpack

Me and my Lowell backpack at the airport – ready to go

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Waiting to board the plane

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Māorian welcome sign at the airport

Moments after we touched down in Auckland, we headed straight to Countdown (the largest grocery store chain in New Zealand) and bought oats, bread, fruits, nuts and some snack carrots. We knew we wanted to make breakfast every day and have healthy snacks available all the time so it was a good move on our part. We stayed at Quest serviced apartments equipped with a kitchen which helped tremendously with our effort to maintain a somewhat healthy diet during our travels.

Quests Apartments
AUS 1800 334 033
NZ 0800 944 400
International +61 3 9645 8357

Our breakfast every morning looks a little like this.

Every morning looks a little like this


Wai-O-Tapu

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Stairs at Wai-o-tapu

We started our journey with a trip from Auckland to Rotorua via Wai-o-tapu. It’s a great spot for geothermal gazing complete with an extensive walking track and funky coloured bubbling thermal mud pools.

Wai-o-tapu - Dew on tree branches

Dew on tree branches

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One of the many thermal pools at Wai-o-tapu

Green smoothie coloured pool

Kryptonite coloured pool

Champagne Pool at Wai-o-tapu

The famous Champagne Pool

My favourite picture from Wai-o-tapu and NZ. A girl taking a photograph with her man supporting her. Hashtag love!

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland
Open every day including all Public Holidays
April-October: 8:30am-5:00pm (last admission 3:45pm)
November-March: 8:30am-6:00pm (last admission 4:45pm)
Christmas Day: 8:30 am-5:00 pm (last admission 3:45pm)
Phone: +64 7 366 6333


Rotorua

When in Rotorua, one must visit the hot spring pool. Nothing is as pleasant, or potent, as a mineral-rich thermal spa (and a shivering cold rinse after) to ease one’s troubled mind and relax one’s tired body.

We went to the Polynesian Spa which was within walking distance from our Quest apartment and I must say, it was pure bliss. The spa encloses five shallow hot mineral pools with various degree of ‘hotness’ and a picturesque view of  Lake Rotorua.

Polynesian Spa
Address: Hinemoa St, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Hours: Monday – Sunday 8AM-11PM
Phone: +64 7-348 1328

Rotorua lake view from Polynesian spa

Rotorua lake view from Polynesian spa


Taupo

From Rotorua we drove to Lake Taupo where we stayed overnight at the largest and probably most scenic freshwater lake in New Zealand.

Lake Taupo

View from the balcony – Lake Taupo

View from the motel, can you see the steam coming off the surface of the lake?

Can you see the steam coming off the lake’s surface on the left hand side? It’s like a giant hot spring

For dinner we went to Bistro Lago, located at the Hilton Lake Taupo. It’s not the most vegan-friendly restaurant but we were quite happy with our fresh green salad and our simple yet delicious veggie roast featuring snow peas, green beans and potatoes.

Dinner at Bistro Lago - Taupo. Roasted vegetables featuring snow peas, green beans and potatoes

A simple roasted dinner at Bistro Lago

Bistro Lago at the Hilton Taupo
Hours: Restaurant 7am-9pm Bar 8am until late
Address: 80/100 State Highway 5, Taupo 3330, New Zealand
Phone:+64 7-378 708


Huka Falls

One highly recommended activity in Taupo is a visit to the Huka Falls and the Huka Falls Jet ride.  The ride offers a thrilling 30 minute ride along the Huka river while passing through bushes ‘so close you almost crash’ at high speed, and lots of 360° donut spins to keep your adrenaline rushing.

If that doesn’t appeal to you then this might: it’s the only water jet that can take you right in front the magnificent Huka Falls.

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Waiting for our boat ride

Huka Falls

Up close and personal with Huka Falls

Huka Falls Jet
Address: 200 Karetoto Rd, Taupo 3330, New Zealand
Hours: Monday to Sunday 9AM – 4:30PM
Phone:+64 7-374 8572


Auckland

We ended our trip where we started, in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, where we spent most of our time mmm.. eating.

Street Art in Auckland Street Art in Auckland

We made sure to visit The Unbakery at Little Bird Organics. It’s a raw, organic, vegan cafe which came highly recommended by a lot my vegan friend. It serves delicious salads, sumptuous raw cakes and dairy-free coffee. It was fabulous!

Little Bird Organics
Address: 385 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland 1021, New Zealand
Phone:+64 9-550 7377
Hours: Monday – Friday 8AM-2:30PM Saturday – Sunday 8 AM-3PM

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Cold drip coffee at Little Bird Organics

Tea selection at Little Bird

Tea selection and sprouting kit at Little Bird Organics

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Superfoods and other goodness

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Bird Bowl from The Unbakery – A tasting bowl of delicious salads and dehydrated raw goodness

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Special of the day – Dosa pancake with slaw, corn and creamy avocado dressing

On our last night in New Zealand we treated ourselves with a lovely dinner at Eight at the Langham. They had buffet and à la carte menus available. We chose à la carte and managed to get a few dishes specially made vegan for us.

Eight Restaurant
Address: The Langham Hotel 83 Symonds St, Grafton, Auckland 1010
Hours: Friday to Wednesday 6AM-10PM
Phone:+64 9-300 2924

Veggie burger at Eight at the Langham

Veggie burger at Eight

Eight at the Langham

Digging into some deep fried tofu with peanut sauce

The following morning we managed to squeeze another organic vegan meal at Wise Cicada, thanks to Zarah from VegTravelGuide who told us about this gem. Their raw banoffee pie is to die for!

Wise Cicada Café
Hours: 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday & 9am – 6pm Sat & Sunday
Address: 23 Crowhurst, Newmarket, Auckland
Phone: +64 9-529-9529

Wise Cicada Cafe

Wise Cicada Cafe

Bits of everything lunch at Wise Cicada

Bits of everything lunch at Wise Cicada Cafe

And that’s a wrap.

E noho rā New Zealand. You’ve been awesome!

Vegan Degustation at Yellow

I still remember my first fine dining experience. It was about 12 years ago at a French Restaurant in Surry Hills. I can’t remember the name, but I remember everything else. I remember the dress I was wearing, the people I was with, the service, the food, and I especially remember the amazing experience which sparked a decade of fine dining pursuits. I collected degustation menus like stamps and spent most of my salary on eating out. It was my dope.

Yellow Vegan Degustation

My recent visit to Yellow reminded me of that first fine dining experience. Sure, I’ve had gorgeous vegan meals at Otto and delicious customised vegan degustation at Marque. But Yellow stood head and shoulders above any those venues. It was splendid in every way possible. The efficient service, the romantic ambiance, the delicious food, everything was exactly on point.

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I had the 5 course vegan degustation menu and by the end of the night I promised myself that I will go back to try the even longer 7 course menu. It was good. Really.

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My pictures don’t do justice on how attractive all the dishes were. They were as bright and beautiful as a flower garden. There’s no seitan here. Instead, you’ll be delighted by plant-based whole foods which were carefully prepared and minimally processed, with lots of textural elements and umami-rich flavours – dishes that will make you forget they were vegan. That my friend, require some serious skills.

Salted Mexican Cucumbers + Tomatillos + Oca Yellow Vegan Degustation-10

It was my first time trying Mexican cucumbers. They look like miniature watermelons but they taste like cucumbers with a hint of citrus. It was slightly tangy, enjoyably light and refreshing.

Kohlrabi + Enoki Mushroom + Vegetable Broth Yellow Vegan Degustation-3

I had to look at the menu again when I was presented with this dish. I was expecting roasted kohlrabi or a soupy dish but, instead, I got beautiful and crunchy ribbons of kohlrabi with enoki mushrooms and violet flowers. It was a gorgeous dish which was rich in textures and, oh my, that consommé! A true umami experience.

Black Rice + Celtuce + Koji Yellow Vegan Degustation-4

What is celtuce? It doesn’t really matter. Delicious chewy rice, rich kryptonite green sauce and crunchy koji fit to die for.

Spaghetti Squash + Persimmon + Pepitas Yellow Vegan Degustation-5

Gorgeous yellow strings of perfectly cooked squash with sweet melty persimmon, crunchy pepitas and a thick nut cream. Divine!

Raspberry Sorbet + Plum + Hazelnut Yellow Vegan Degustation-8

Finely sliced plums encasing a delectable sorbet which was super smooth and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. I could only say that I wish I could have had more of this. Come to think of it, if my boyfriend had any manners he’d have given me his plate as well.

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As I concluded my night at Yellow I bade farewell to Australia, my friends, my dog and my dear love. It was my last night in Sydney before my 3-month trip overseas and I couldn’t have wished for a better place to end the night. Adieu, till we meet again.

Keren xx

Yellow Vegan Degustation-6

The Colonel via Deliveroo + Coupon Code

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As much as I love going out for dinner, there are days when I don’t feel like eating out, even on the weekends. Lately this has been a frequent occurrence thanks to the arrival of the boxed DVD sets for Breaking Bad (the complete series) and Walking Dead (seasons 1- 5). I had forgotten how addictive television series can be. The last few shows I was into were Gossip Girl, True Blood and Man vs. Food…. sad, I know… but they’re nothing in comparison to these two gems. Breaking Bad and Walking Dead are a hundred times better, and a hundred times more addictive. Goodbye, life.

Deliveroo-13 A lot of times when Nat and I choose to eat in, we’d get takeaway at a local Thai restaurant, Khaohom, which is cheap and easy. Some days however, especially on the weekend, I want something a bit different. Something fancier. Without having to leave home. Just so I can squeeze in another literally gut wrenching, skull-smashing episode of Walking Dead.

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Deliveroo is a restaurant delivery start-up which seeks to satisfy this need. It was founded in London two years ago and the company has recently launched in Australia. They may seem like just another food delivery service, but Deliveroo is different in that they focus on delivering food mainly from mid to high-end restaurants – restaurants that traditionally don’t offer a delivery service in the first place. This opens up a completely new range of delivery options.

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Image from uk.businessinsider.com

Image from uk.businessinsider.com

Here’s a short clip of my experience using Deliveroo to get one of my favourite dinners home-delivered. I found the website very easy to use and I especially love the ability to add special dietary requirements for my order. I selected The Colonial, a lovely Indian Restaurant in Neutral Bay. Nat is not really (not at all) a fan of spicy food so it takes a lot of effort (or a huge faux pas on his part) for me to get him to an Indian Restaurant. So getting the food to come home instead is the next best thing!

Coupon Code
I’ve teamed up with the cool kids at Deliveroo to give you $10 off your first order with so you can try their service. Just type in the code PASSIONATE when you place your order. This code is valid until 14 June 2016. Enjoy!
Have the best day ever,
Keren
Disclaimer: I received credits from Deliveroo to try and review their service. This is not a sponsored post and as always, all opinion is my own.