Sunday, 31 March 2013

Samoan Recipes - Vegan Style

Do you ever just suddenly turn around and realise all this time has passed? That has happened to me lately, I can't believe how quickly the weeks go by! I suddenly turned around and realised that March was over and April was here and opps! I haven't put up my Samoan summary yet and my blog has been rather neglected. So, I'm doing something a little sneaky (but it's not sneaky if I'm telling you I'm doing it right?). I'm putting up this post in early April, but back-dating it so that it looks like I was on top of things and put it up on March 31st :) You'll forgive me right?

March has been a bit of a difficult month for me, so I'm quite glad it's over! I'm hoping that things will be looking up in April. But despite a tough month emotionally, it was a rather delicious month on the blog. Admittedly, I struggled a bit with Samoa which is why there are slightly less recipes than I usually post for my featured country, but all the things I did make were truly delicious. There were (as usual!) two or three dishes that I didn't quite get around to posting/making. Hopefully I'll get them to you at a later date.

But for now - here is a recap of the delicious Samoan recipes from March.


Alaisa Fa'apopo
This easy and super creamy coconut rice was a nice change from the usual plain boiled or steamed side rice. It's very easy to make and it's just a little bit special, so I think I'll be using it to accompany my curries more often. Check out the recipe here.

Fresh Coconut Bread Rolls
Don't let my lack of photography genius put you off these - they are some seriously spectacular bread rolls! Something about freshly baked bread just makes you feel a bit melty inside, and even more so when they're packed full of fresh coconut and eaten warm straight out of the oven. If you serve these to people they will be seriously impressed when they find out you made them from scratch! Check out the recipe here.

Sweet Potato in Creamy Coconut Sauce
Don't be fooled by how simple this recipe looks. When I first made it I was thinking that it looked to simple to be something special, but boy was I wrong! It's a good reminder that sometimes going back to the basics gives the most spectacular result! This dish can also be made using any other root vegetables (or any vegetables really). Check out the recipe here.

Vegan Sapasui
I know, I know. This one seems a little odd. A bit out of place in a Samoan menu. It's Chop Suey - and I'm with you, I thought it was a bit of a weird one when I found it too. But apparently Chop Suey is so popular in Samoa it's become a bit of a national dish - why? Read the post to find out! Check out the recipe here.


Pineapple custard wrapped in handmade pastry? If you're a pineapple lover, then this is probably your idea of heaven. These paifala, or pineapple turnovers, and a real tropical-meets-patisserie number and the combination really works. Check out the recipe here.

Koko Rice
This is kind of like a chocolate risotto, and what could be a better comfort food? Rice with rich chocolate, luscious coconut cream and a hint of chocolate's best friend - orange. Delicious hot or cold, this is a dish you'll have no trouble eating :) Check out the recipe here.

Well, that is it for March! Goodbye March and hello April!

What are we feasting on in April? Well, I'm still working my way through a very long list of requested countries from all you awesome readers (thanks guys!), and April has come up as Netherlands Month! So are you ready for some Dutch food? You won't have long to wait!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Vegan Sapasui (Tofu & Broccolini Chop Suey)

At first when I was challenged to feature Samoan food I was a bit unsure if I would find enough recipes to feature. I wasn't sure until I read about Sapasui. Yep, it doesn't look very Samoan. Infact what is it is "Chop Suey". You might think I'm clutching at straws by featuring this as a Samoan dish, but I have been told that chop suey is so popular in Samoa that it is now considered something of a traditional dish.

Most websites will tell you that chop suey is prominent in Samoa because of Chinese influences, but this confused me because I'd always thought that chop suey was an American Chinese dish. I can tell you that I lived in China for a year, and they don't eat chop suey there! I never saw chop suey anywhere I travelled in China or even in South East Asia. The only time I've ever seen it on the menu is when I was travelling in Sri Lanka - they often had it in the 'foreign foods' section of the menu along with the spaghetti bolognese. 

So I was confused as to why chop suey made it's way into Samoan culture, and then I read about the American influence in Samoa. Infact, one of the islands that makes up Samoa is called "American Samoa". So, it'd like to dispel some internet misinformation and let you know that chop suey is not a Chinese dish! It's an American Chinese dish, and, apparently - a Samoan staple!

However it got to Samoa, it was nice to find it because it made a bit of a change from the coconut everything I was making for every other dish. Traditionally chop suey is made with minced pork or beef and a variety of vegetables with noodles. In the place of mined meat, I've used a delicious "minced" tofu - which came out strikingly similar to the real thing and was a big success. 

One more quick note before I get to the tasty point - recipes vary as to whether or not you should chop up the noodles into shorter lengths before cooking. Some day do it, some say definitely don't do it! I didn't chop mine up, because I like long noodles, but then I cooked them for a minute or two too long and they broke up a bit anyway. So I guess it is all means to the same end!


Tofu 'Mince'
400g hard tofu
1 tsp vegan beef stock powder (such as Massel)
1/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp soy sauce

150g mung bean vermicelli (sometimes also called cellophane or glass noodles)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2cm piece of ginger, grated
1 celery stick, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 Chinese cabbage, sliced
1 bunch broccolini, cut into 2cm lengths
1/2 cup vegan beef stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp ketcap manis

To Make
1. Crumble the tofu into a bowl. Stir the stock powder into the 1/4 cup hot water and add the soy sauce. Stir this through the crumbled tofu and set aside to absorb the flavour.
2. Remove the noodles from the packet and soak in cold water (for about 10-15 minutes, while you get the rest of the dish together).
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Sauté until the onion is cooked.
4. Add the marinated crumbled tofu and any remaining liquid in the bowl. Cook until any liquid is dissolved, at least 5 minutes.
5. Add all the vegetables and the beef stock, soy sauce and ketcap manis. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender and the liquid has reduced to about half.
6. Drain the noodles that you've been soaking in cold water and chuck them in the wok. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked and hopefully by this stage you shouldn't have too much liquid left in the wok. I recommend serving immediately - if you leave it hot in the wok the noodles will overcook and break up a lot (not that this matters very much!).

In other news, I've been nominated in the Australian Writers' Centre People's Choice Award in the Best Blogs 2013 competition! Unfortunately it is very much a contest in social media popularity - so I really need your help!

To vote hit this button to the right and then click the "vote here" button. Then scroll through the 5 pages of nominated blogs, Gormandize is on the second page. You 'll need to scroll through all the pages and then fill out your details at the end to make your vote count. Thank you for your support! 

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Samoa.
Check out my other recipe posts:

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sweet Potato in Creamy Coconut Sauce

We're almost at the end of March already, where does the time go? This year will be over before I know it. But, nearing the end of March means nearing the end of Samoan food month, so I'm on a push to get all my recipes up by the end of the month!

As I have warned you in previous posts, Samoa month is all about the coconut! This recipe is not exception. Like some of the other ones I've posted, it looks very simple. Indeed, it is very simple. But!! I can assure you that this coconut sauce is pretty special. I served this up for my Samoan dinner party and people kept going back for ladles of the sauce to mop up with their freshly baked coconut bread rolls.

In other news, I've been nominated in the Australian Writers' Centre People's Choice Award in the Best Blogs 2013 competition! Unfortunately it is very much a contest in social media popularity - so I really need your help!

To vote hit this button to the right and then click the "vote here" button. Then scroll through the 5 pages of nominated blogs, Gormandize is on the second page. You 'll need to scroll through all the pages and then fill out your details at the end to make your vote count. Thank you for your support! 

And now for the recipe! I made mine with sweet potato, because it was most readily available, but this dish could also be made with taro, cassava, white sweet potato or even just potatoes. Whatever is available near you.

Sweet Potato in Creamy Coconut Sauce

2 large sweet potatoes
1 onion, diced finely
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400ml can coconut cream
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

To Make
1. Peel and cube the sweet potato and place in a large saucepan.
2. Add the onion, garlic, coconut cream, vegetable stock and salt and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.
3. Once boiling, remove the lid and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, until the sweet potato is cooked through. This should take about 10 minutes. Stir gently every now and then to ensure even cooking. 

Serve with green vegetables and coconut rice or fresh coconut bread
Serves 4

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Samoa.
Check out my other recipe posts:

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Koko Rice (Samoan Chocolate Orange Rice Pudding)

I've been a little bit slack getting the posts up this month, so now at the end of the month I find myself with a whole bunch of Samoan recipes to post! So, over the next couple of days prepare to see quite a few posts while I try and fit them all in. This one is simple, luscious, rich and chocolatey - and what more could you want?

It's a rice dish called Koko Rice. It would traditionally be made with Samoan Koko, which reportedly is quite rich and without any bitterness. They use it in Samoa to make drinking chocolate and this delicious rice dish. Without this special ingredient available to me, I opted for real dark chocolate instead. Traditional versions also use orange leaves to give an orangey flavour to the rice, but not having any of those either I've used strips of orange peel to give it the orange flavour (and it worked very well!).

Koko Rice
1 cup dry rice
1 long piece of fresh orange peel (just use your potato peeler to peel off a good strip)
4 cups water
1 x 400ml can of coconut cream
1/2 cup sugar
100g chopped dark chocolate

To Make
1. Place rice, orange peel and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
2. Once boiling, reduce heat to as low as it will go and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is completely cooked and it looks nice and thick.
3. Add the coconut cream, sugar and chopped chocolate. Keep over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted. Once the chocolate is melted, it is ready to serve.

Serves 6. 

~NOTE: Traditionally this would be served hot, but it was also quite nice cold. We had plenty of leftovers which we ate cold or heated up briefly in the microwave. If you do store leftovers, it will thicken a lot as it cools and end up looking more like the pictures in this post. If you eat it hot straight off the stove then it will be a bit runnier than in these pictures.

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Samoa.
Check out my other recipe posts:

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fresh Coconut Bread Rolls

A slight confession - this isn't really a Samoan recipe. I'm not sure if they eat savoury coconut bread in Samoa. So why am I posting it for Samoan food month? Because - I found quite a lot of recipes for sweet coconut bread, but I really felt like making savoury bread instead so I just left out the sugar so that I could serve it with all my delicious savoury Samoan treats. It was perfect for mopping up the creamy coconut sauces of the other savoury dishes ("what creamy coconut sauces!?" you are thinking - don't worry I'll be posting up those recipes very soon!).

If you make this bread and serve it up to guests - they will have a hard time believing that you made it yourself! It's perfectly fluffy and it a sensational taste and texture thanks to the freshly grated coconut. If you buy a fresh coconut, you'll need a coconut grater to get the flesh out of the coconut. You can also use pre grated fresh coconut, which is available at some Asian markets. If you don't have either, you can use dessicated coconut instead. Just add an extra 2 tsp water to the dough so that it's not too dry.

1/2 cup finely grated fresh coconut
2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups plain flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup coconut milk or cream
3 tbsp Nuttelex or other vegan margarine, melted

To Make
1. Combine the coconut, sugar, yeast and warm water into a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside for 15 minutes until frothy.
2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture, coconut milk and melted margarine. Using your hands or a big wooden spoon, mix together well.
3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead, dusting with additional flour as needed. Knead until soft and elastic, for 5 to 6 minutes. Form into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot (what warm spot?? See this post!) to let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
4. After rising, the dough should be at least doubt in size. Turn it our again onto your floured surface. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
5. Place pieces on a tray lined with baking paper about 3-4 inches apart. Set back in your warm spot, uncovered this time, for another 45 minutes to rise again. While they're rising you can preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
6. Bake the bread rolls until golden brown on top, it should take 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or allow to cool to room temperature. Don't put in the fridge, once they have cooled down just store them in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.

Makes 8 bread rolls.

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Samoa.
Check out my other recipe posts:

Friday, 22 March 2013

The 9 Day Detox Plan

I definitely did a lot of over indulging during December, January and February. I enjoyed myself immensely but I came out of it with sluggish digestion, low energy and a few extra kilos. I'm not the kind of person who obsesses too much about my weight (or at least I try my very best not to!) but what I absolutely hate is when my pants are too tight. I'm all about comfort, you see, and tight pants do not fit into my idea of comfortable. So as soon as the pants start to get a bit tight, I'm keen to lose a couple of centimetres.

I decided to go on a detox, something I haven't done for years! I've never believed in 'dieting' to lose weight, but this detox plan has the added bonus that you definitely will lose some weight! I lost 5 kgs over 9 days when I did it. But it's really not about weight loss! The drawback to using this as a weight loss tool is that you're losing weight very  fast, which means it's going to be difficult to keep it off. If you finish the detox and just go back to your old diet, then you will put the weight back on immediately. So you have to follow it up with careful, portioned and healthy eating for 3-4 weeks afterwards to consolidate the weight you've lost. You may put 1-2kg back on, but that is still a net loss of 3-4kg lost which is pretty good for just 9 days of detoxing and then a couple of weeks of sensible eating.

This detox that I have put together is based on a 7 day detox from a book called Total Wellbeing. You can do this as a 9 day detox, or as an 18 day detox (by spending 2 days instead of 1 on every stage of the detox). The thing that I really love about this detox, is that it rewards you for completing each day by allowing you to add new things each day - so when I'm finished on day 2, I'm genuinely excited that tomorrow I get to eat tomato and avocado and carrot sticks! It also gets easier as you go along, rather than harder, because you add more foods in and you have more variety to choose from when planning your meals.

Overall, I have to say I recommend this detox immensely! It always gives me energy, makes me more positive and happy, flattens my belly a bit and really makes my digestion run smoothly! I recommend doing it it Spring, Summer or early Autumn though - as you'll find it easier to eat less and also because there is so much lovely fruit around.

The 9 Day Detox Plan

Day 1 - Fasting 
Drink plenty of water all day to flush out your system. Ideally, just stick to water (you can add a squeeze of lemon juice), but if you find that too hard you can drink freshly squeezed juices and herbal teas (not green tea - herbal only). If you go for juices, they must be fresh (not out of a bottle). You can do this at home or buy from places which make the juice for you on the spot - if you're buying from a juice franchise though, make sure they don't add any syrup or any fruits that have been stored in syrup (such as berries).

Day 2 - Add Raw Fruit
Make this day fun and exciting by buying lots of special fruits - I bought melons, peaches, pears, nectarines, blackberries, mangos, figs and passion fruits and I was so happy I never even wanted to eat anything other than fruit! Fresh fruit only, no tinned fruit. Make sure you continue to drink lots of water. The total wellbeing book states that apples, pineapple, grapes, mango and watermelon are particularly good for detoxifying your body. If you want special treat - check out these triple melon ice blocks I made.

Day 3 - Add Raw Veggies
Hurray for salads! Make a big salad and use fresh lemon, orange or lime juice for dressing - you can also add more flavour by using fresh herbs such as parley, basil and coriander. One of my favourite thing to have at this stage is a big bowl of guacamole for lunch - just take an avocado and mash it up with the juice of about 1/2 a lime then eat it with carrot, celery and cucumber sticks.

Day 4 - Add Cook Veggies/Fruit
Now you can cook your veggies up and you can also add spices to flavour - so you have lots of options. Soups are a great option as are salads with a cooked element -like beetroot salad, and if you like, you can dessert on some stewed fruit. Try and avoid tinned fruits and vegetables - go for the fresh ones! If you do buy tins, check the back of the tin and make sure there is no salt or sugar or additives. The total wellbeing book states that leeks, beetroot, globe artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes are especially good for detoxing.

Day 5 - Add Brown Rice
Add a small amount of brown rice to your soups, veggies or salads. Try and keep it in fairly small portions, about 1/3 cup cooked brown rice with your meal.

Day 6 - Add Beans and Lentils
Avoid eating the beans and lentils at the same time as the brown rice, as this can slow your digestion down. try and leave 3-4 hours between them.

Day 7 - Add Nuts and Seeds
Add unsalted nut and seeds in as snacks, or salad toppers. At this stage you can also add unhulled tahini (only if it's 100% sesame seeds), which makes a great salad dressing. Check out the spectacular salad I made for dinner at this stage of the detox.

Day 8 - Add Whole Grains
But avoid wheat! Choose from rye, buckwheat, barley and oats. As with the rice, keep the portion sizes small, limit them to about 1/3 cup per meal.

Day 9 - Add Fish (if you are a vegetarian or vegan, add unfried tofu)

Post detox diet:
If you can handle it, it is ideal to stay on the day 9 stage (or similar) for a couple of weeks after detoxing to consolidate any weight loss and strengthen your digestion. If you reintroduce other food groups, try and introduce them at least a day apart. If you introduce them too quickly, you increase the liklihood of digestive problems and regaining any weight lost. Try and avoid introducing wheat, refined sugars and dairy if you can and avoid any processed foods - anything with additives, colouring, flavouring and added sugar.

¬ You'll probably notice a bit of a lag in energy around days 2-4, this is because you've cut out processed sugar, caffeine and other stimulants as well as chemical food additives. Your body will have a small stage of withdrawal. Push through this and you'll come out a day or two later with so much more energy than you had when you were downing the sugary treats and all that coffee.
¬ Don't forget that the things listed are the only things you can eat - this means you can't add oils to salad dressing or use oil in cooking (of you're cooking onions to start a soup or veggie dish - just use 1/3 cup water, it works just as well). This also means you can't use any powdered or store bought vegetable stock, so make your soups flavourful by slow cooking for a long time or if you're in a hurry load it up with spices and flavourful lentils!
¬ This detox may not be appropriate for you. If you are pregnant, fasting is not advised - so if you want to do this detox then start it from day 3 and listen to your body! If you have a medical condition which might be affected by this detox, talk to your doctor beforehand to determine if it is suitable for you.

Doing exercise is recommended while on this detox, it'll help burn fat, improve your sleep and give you more energy. On the fasting day, however, take it a bit easy. You don't need to exercise at all on this day, but if you want to, stick to brisk walking and light weights only and always listen to your body - if you're feeling a bit faint or dizzy stop straight away and just rest. When I did it, by day 2 I was back on my normal weights program and I didn't have any problems with it. But I can't stress enough that everyone is different and you should always listen to your body when deciding what exercise to do, if you're unsure consult a personal trainer or just take it slow and build your way up.

If you have any questions, feel free to send them my way. A quick disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist, nor have I undergone any rigorous testing of this detox program. I'm just writing to you from my own experience!

Happy Detoxing! Drop me a comment to let me know how you went with it!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Easy Creamy Coconut Rice (Alaisa Fa'apopo)

Researching Samoan recipes revealed a lot of coconut. Coconut cake, coconut rice, coconut sauce, coconut sago, coconut bread. You get the picture - coconut for breakfast, coconut for lunch, coconut for dinner and coconut for dessert. Not that I'm complaining - luckily I love coconut! If I didn't I may have had to reject featuring this country at all!

Coconut rice came up quite a lot, and although I believe coconut rice is eaten in many countries (although perhaps to slightly different recipes) I couldn't resist whipping up a quick batch of Samoan style coconut rice. It's quick comfort food for sure! Very simple, but quite a special accompaniment in place of plain cooked rice. I think it's perfect partner is curry, but goes very well with pretty much anything you would put rice with. In Samoa they eat it as a snack, rather than a side dish.

This would be more traditionally made with coconut milk but I used coconut cream because that is what I had on hand - it just makes even creamier rice! If I'm using coconut cream instead of coconut milk then I often thin it out a bit with a a little bit of vegetable stock (this also boosts the flavour and negates the need to add salt to the dish).

Coconut Rice
Recipe Adapted from
2 cups long grain rice
2 cups water
1 cup coconut cream (plus 2 tbsp water or vegetable stock to thin it) or coconut milk

To Make
1. Place rice and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it boils, turn the heat right down and cover. Leave it to cook for 16-20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
2. Remove pan from the heat and stir the coconut cream into the rice. Cover and let sit (off the heat!) for 10 minutes.
3. Serve and enjoy!

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Samoa.
Check out my other recipe posts:

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Samoan Pineapple Turnovers (Paifala)

You may have noticed things being a bit quiet around here lately, I took an unplanned two weeks off the blog at the start of the month. I've had a lot on my mind the last couple of weeks, I've been doing some heavy duty thinking and planning so I didn't quite have room for planning blog posts and typing up recipes. I've been looking for some extra work so that I can earn a bit more money, planning a big holiday overseas, discussing lots of things with my partner - such as whether or not we want to move away from where we are to another area, we've also both been trying to decide whether or not to do further study. It's all just a big jumble of thinking going on in my head at the moment!

In amongst all of this you may have thought I have forgotten to have a feature country this month, well don't fear! I haven't, I have had this all planned for a while but it had a bit of a set back. Firstly, I had to move my traditional start-of-the-month dinner party back into the second week of the month (this is the dinner party in which I make lots of experimental dishes from the featured country and force them upon my trusting friends), so I was a week behind. Then I was a bit slack with the photos at that dinner party so I had to spend some time re-photographing some of the dishes. But they're coming along and I'm happy to finally bring you one of them!

Firstly - let's talk Samoa.

samoa maps, detailed map of samoa, map of samoa

Some of you who don't live in Australia might not know where Samoa is, well you can probably be forgiven because it's pretty tiny. This map comes from As you can see, Samoa is one of our neighbours (I live in Australia just in case you didn't know). So there are quite a few Samoans living in Australia; they're generally stereotyped as big scary guys who are good at rugby (mostly because they're so big). But just because there are plenty of Samoans living in Australia, it doesn't mean I have ever encountered any of their food! A quick google search revealed absolutely no Samoan restaurants in Sydney.

I was wary about taking on Samoa, because I've been burned by micronesian/pacific island countries before. I once tried to have a dinner party of foods from Palau. You know what the only  recipe I found on the internet was? This delicious looking fruit bat soup. Mmmmm...

So I did a quick google search on Samoan dishes before I accepted the request from a reader to feature Samoa. Luckily I found a bit more than I did for Palau, and it looked a lot more palatable! I still didn't find a lot so there may be fewer recipes than for some of my other months. I was basically relying on what information I could find on the internet - so if you have a Samoan recipe to share please email it to me at

So, enough chat! Before we get into the food, lets take a brief swim on this spectacular Samoan beach.

Image from

Now we have worked up an appetite let me introduce my first Samoa month recipe - Paifala. I'm posting this one up first because one of my dinner guests texted me soon after to ask me for the recipe because she loved them so much, so I figured I'd better get it online quickly for her. These are a simple looking pastry turnover filled with pineapple custard, but the key is in the lovingly handmade pastry (don't worry, not as hard as it sounds!)

This recipe, which I found on was already almost vegan so I didn't really need to change it much. I decided to try and keep it authentic and traditional, so I simply followed the recipe with a couple of substitutions and some minor changes. If I wasn't trying to make it traditional I would have used wholemeal flour - as I think it would be even tastier, and maybe added some mild spices to the pastry. But as is they are a delicious sweet treat.

The recipe says that it makes five, so I made a double batch because I was expecting 8 people for dinner. In the end though they turned out to be really big turnovers, so we only had half of one each at the dinner party and had lots of them leftover! So I'm giving you the original quantities to make 5 big paifala. You can double the recipe at your own discretion :)

Paifala - Samoan Pineapple Turnovers
Adapted from

1 x 440g can of crushed pineapple in juice (not syrup!)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice or almond milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup of the juice from the can of pineapple
3 cups plain white flour (I recommend trying wholemeal instead, but probably less authentic)
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegan margarine
1 cup coconut milk (or 3/4 cup coconut cream plus 1/4 cup water)

To Make
1. Make the filling! Drain out 1/2 cup of juice from the can and set aside. Combine the pineapple (with remaining juice), sugar and milk in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, uncovered. Stir the cornstarch into the juice you have set aside until dissolved.
2. Add the cornstarch juice to the saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat for a couple of minutes, until you see the mixture thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Make the pastry! First - preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Then, place the flour, baking powder and margarine in a bowl. Rub with your fingers until the mixture looks a bit like coarse bread crumbs. Then add the coconut milk and mix together to form a dough.
4. Turn out the dough into a floured surface. You don't need to knead it, but just press it together a bit so that it forms a smooth connected ball. 
5. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces (or you could probably make 6 if you wanted, they'll just be slightly smaller). Roll each piece out into a 20cm circle.
6. Put about one fifth of the cooled pineapple filling over half of the pastry circle, leaving about 2-3 cm around the border so you can seal it properly.

7. Lightly brush the edge with water and fold the pastry over. Press the edge together with your fingers or with a fork. You can make whatever pattern you like with the edge (fork marks, folded over, thumb print waves), just make sure it's sealed well so that the custard doesn't spill out while it's baking.
8. Poke some holes in the top with a fork or knife, this is a bit tricky because the dough it quite soft - but persevere otherwise your turnovers will puff up big time in the oven.
9. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling and then bake the turnovers in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until just turning golden on top. Remove and cool before serving. If you like, you can dust them with icing sugar while they cool.

Makes 5 big paifala.

Keep your eye out this month for more tasty Samoan treats!

Also don't forget you can follow me on facebook if you want to get my posts all up in your newsfeed - just jump onto the page here and hit "Like".

Coming Soon:
How I lost 5kg in 9 days and gained so much more energy - my 9 day detox plan!

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Samoa.
Check out my other recipe posts:

Friday, 15 March 2013

How to make your own raspberry infused vodka!

You might have noticed a few infused alcohol posts on this blog. The first time I infused my own alcohol I fell in love with the simple and elegant process of taking gorgeous fresh fruit which is in season and infusing it in spirits. It is a great way to make your vodka a bit more special and personalised, and also a great way to keep enjoying seasonal fruit throughout the colder months. During December this year, when the raspberries were at their most vibrant (and cheapest!) I bought up big and not only ate (almost) my weight in them but set a few punnets aside for vodka.

It's a simple process, so instead of a recipe I'll just give you some basic instructions. Take 2 punnets of fresh raspberries. Rinse well and then pat them dry. Place them in a large jar and cover with 750ml of vodka (or as much as you can fit in the jar. Keep the empty vodka bottle so that you can put the finished product back into it.

Store the jar in a dark cupboard for at least 4 weeks, or up to 2 months. By the end the raspberries should be completely white and the vodka will be a luscious red (this photo was taken about a week into the infusing, so the raspberries are losing some of their colour and the vodka is slightly tinged pink).

After it is sufficiently infused , strain the liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. You should end up to with a clear deep red liquid. Pour back into your empty vodka bottle and you're ready to go!

Even though this tastes quite strongly of raspberries, don't forget it is still straight vodka - so don't go too crazy with it. If you're the kind of person that likes doing vodka shots then you'll love these shots. If you like your vodka a little less hardcore then I highly recommend having this on ice with topped up with soda water. It's spectacular! It's also a perfect way to enjoy delicious summer fruit into the cooler months, I'm going to be drinking raspberries all winter long :)