Friday, December 28, 2007

Not all vegans are weird

I have only just come to that conclusion. I've been vegan for 5 years and I've only started to make some vegan friends. It's not that I haven't tried. When I first turned vegan I attended various veg*n social things and was put off and almost embarrassed by the vegans that I come across. I found quite a few that gave vegans a bad name and apart from meeting Mr T I stopped trying. Maybe it is because social groups tend to bring some of the strangest types of people together, people perhaps who are isolated for other reasons. Maybe it's also because annoying vegans tend to be louder and drown out the quieter nicer vegans. I'm also perfectly happy with my friends who are quite open minded and are so thoughful to cater for Mr T and I for different events. They don't try to get into arguments or question my lifestyle and I don't question theirs. So I didn't particularly feel the need to associate with other vegans.

However, it has been nice to have have that myth gone in my head and to come across vegans like Mr T and I who don't like to shove veganism down peoples throats and who aren't rude to others and are not angry against the world and have other non-vegan, non-animal rights interests. I just wish I come across more of them and I guess I'm not including people out there in the blogworld who are lovely because I haven't actually met you except for cristy who is just as lovely in real life.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You win, you lose some

My biscuits were a big hit. All 35 were gobbled up really quickly in fact before lunch several of my family members decide to sample them secretly and the teenagers didn't stop despite having several other desserts to choose from.

Unfortunately my cake was not so popular and I understand why. I decided to bake a cake just so I use my Santa tin. I almost made the trusty vanilla cake from how it all vegan with the maple icing but instead stupidly opted to make the maple cupcake recipe from vegan cupcakes take over the world. I saw the nutmeg in it and decided to add a little less but it didn't matter. The cake just tasted like nutmeg which is great if you love nutmeg but I don't and neither do my family. It's also a waste because there was quite a lot of maple syrup that went into the recipe. It was edible but far from great.


Here is a pic of the vegan cheesy cauliflower and broccoli. My mum marked it with a V with paprika so she could tell them apart. My brother has finally excepted that dairy makes his asthma worse and so decided to eat it this year instead of the dairy based one that he normally eats and even he thought it was great. My mum is the greatest!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Mrs Fields eat your heart out

These cookies are incredibly chewy and almost brownie like just as Isa promises. They are quite rich and have filled our tiny apartment with the best smell ever. I have eaten about half dozen just to test each batch to make sure they are ok and Mr T just got home and has tested a few too just to be on the safe side and we have about 35 left.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Poor Man's Paella

With Claire commenting about making paella for Christmas and her recently making it for us, it was fresh in my mind when we menu planned this weekend and Mr T decided to give it a go. Unlike other paella recipes though it doesn't have saffron because we are too poor to buy it. We also decided to use brown rice because it more filling and better for you. I'm sure it is not traditional at all but it was yummy and very simple to make. The only problem was there wasn't enough for leftovers tomorrow.

4-5 tablespoons of Olive oil (we like our olive oil and our pan is not Non-Stick)
2 cups brown rice
1 large Onion; chopped
2 large Garlic cloves; crushed
6 cups Vegetable Stock (we use Swiss Nature because it is worth the extra price)
1 Lemon; cut into wedges and rind grated
1 large green capsicum, chopped
1 can of artichokes; drained and quartered
1 can of kidney beans; drained
1 can of butter beans; drained
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika-adjust to your liking (we actually forgot to add it and it was still yummy)

Heat the oil. Add the brown rice, capsicum and onion and stir until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, stock and rind. Bring to boil. Add beans. Bring to a boil again. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes minutes. Add artichokes and paprika and then turn off and let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 2 and a half (Mr T eats a lot)

Do you like our fancy use of the newspaper?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vegan Lazy Xmas Thoughts

Normally my amazing mother makes plenty of roasted vegetables with gravy and broccoli and cauliflower with this cheezy sauce. She makes a special batch for Mr T and I which is made with soy milk and is amazing.

And then I bring a long extra things. This year I really can't decide though. In the past I have made lots of things and found myself the day before or on the day quite stressed or upset when things don't go to plan for example last year Mr T accidentally dropped my 50-60 mini cupcakes and peanut butter cups on the floor and they all landed face down. So this year I plan to try to take the easy way out as much as possible and trying to bring along purchased food where possible and just make a couple of easy things.

In the past I have brought along a nut roast like the Cashew Nut Roast with Sage and onion stuffing and I was toying with the idea of bringing the Sanitarium veggie roast or some other type of mock meat from Vincents vegetarian food. But then I realised that the oven is going to be so full that there won't much room for extra things.

Mum always tries to encourage Mr T to bring along something Chinese to try and so we thought about bringing dumplings either the normal ones we get from the Asian supermarket or ones they sell frozen at Camy's dumpling house. That would be easy and wouldn't take up any more oven space but just seems so out of line with everything else. Dumplings with gravy anyone?

I also thought about bringing along some type of salad since there will be no salads there. Possibly a rocket (arugula) salad with pear and nuts.

For drinks, I was thinking of making sangria especially since I now have Claire's tried and tested delicious recipe. But I have since heard that my brother's girlfriend is making mulled wine and I figure it will be too much wine so I'm now having second thoughts. For an easy option option I might bring mango tango for the kids since I'm sure that most of my cousins wouldn't have tried it.

For desserts, I was originally thinking of making cupcakes. Possibly chocolate or cookies and cream ones for the kids/teenagers and coconut and lime ones for the adults. But since someone else is bringing two cakes I'm now thinking of bringing biscuits instead. Possibly Maple Syrup Drop Cookies and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Any suggestions?

For dinner there will probably be lots of leftovers or we may go to one of the many Chinese veg restaurants that are open on xmas day. Breakfast I can't think of anything special. Everyone else normally has ham on toast. I guess we could have our very weird but very yummy avocado and Vegemite on toast.

What are you planning on making or buying?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Gossip rock!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Food Co-Op

I found a organic food co-op in Brunswick, yay! The way it works is several households all put their money together to buy bulk organic fruit and veg. It cuts out the middle person, saves money as a result and travel time. On Fri I picked up my first box. I decided to try a $20 box to see how it goes. If it is not enough I can get a $40 box next time.

To give you some idea of what types of things you get, I took this pic inside my fridge:


I also got about half a dozen potatoes and there are more kiwi fruit and apricots in the egg section of the fridge. What you get changes all the time depending on cost and what's in season. I was impressed that there are about 4-5 zucchinis in the box but wish there was more greens and more variety when it comes to fruit. Mr T and I are thinking that we might get fruit and veg from the food co-op once a fortnight and the other week go the market where we can also get grains and legumes and other items.

It is going to have to change the way we do things though. Generally Mr T and I sit down on the weekend and plan a weeks worth of meals. We generally find a couple of new recipes to try each week in either our cookbooks or online and then go and buy the ingredients to make those and other tried and tested meals. This time we need to do the opposite and plan the meals based on the ingredients we have. I have to admit it freaks me out a little. I know that most people reading this probably think the opposite as almost every blogger I know tends to just make recipes up out of thin air but I like to at least have some sort of recipe to start with. Thankfully, Mr T does most of the cooking and is more creative than me. But on the two nights that I am going to cook I am clueless as to what I will make. I am also unsure how I will go spreading out the veg over the week. Any one have any easy recipes using zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and/or carrots?

Some anniversaries that I missed

Sometime around October was my 5 year anniversary of being vegan and to think people thought it was a just a stage I was going through. 5 years is a pretty long stage! Veganism just gets easier and easier, I'm not sure if that is because vegan food is popping up everywhere or because I am just more familiar with vegan options.

Dec 13th marked 2 years since Mr T moved here to live. It was such a huge gamble but I think he has settled into Melbourne life pretty well. I was scared that he would hate Melbourne or miss his friends and his very different lifestyle in Hong Kong and just end up resenting me as a result but he hasn't! He has stayed in the same job for about 18 months, has made some very cool and sweet friends, sussed out all the good places to get coffee, and has gone to lots and lots of gigs. He even got asked for directions the other day in the city and could give them quite easily. Actually I think he is more familiar with Melbourne CBD than me. Thanks for taking the leap babe!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World



They don't look as good as the ones in the book, but they tasted pretty yummy. I love the texture thanks to Oreo (yes the ones here are vegan) pieces mixed into the chocolate batter. My only issue is that I can't seem to find American style shortening and replacing it with margarine just doesn't seem to cut it.

What are other Aussies using for shortening?

And which ones should I make next?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

PT is not that bad

One good thing has come out of my car incident. I've realised that travelling to work by Public Transport is not so bad after all. I grew up relatively close to the city but in the burbs and a suburb that didn't have a train station or trams and only relied on buses. Horrible buses that ran every 20-30 minutes so if you missed one you were in trouble.

I learnt really quickly to be car dependent.

I have since moved to Brunswick and and rely on my car much less. I can walk to the shops, I can ride everywhere. 2 trams and a train station are all within walking distance. On the weekend I rarely drive except for winter which is another story. Mr T doesn't drive at all and exists very easily but he works in the city. I work in the outer suburbs and a suburb which nearest train station doesn't line up with my closest train station so I looked into once a while ago and discovered that I need to catch a bus (ahhh how I hated buses) and a tram to get to work so I figured it was too much work and would take way too much time.

But with me being forced to use it while my car was getting fixed I discovered it only take an extra 10 minutes and the pros outweigh the one cons. On the pros list, it:

* saves me money
* is better for the environment
* I can read, half sleep and just gaze at the window and daydream on PT
* no having to deal with road rage or drivers cutting me off
* I feel more relaxed as the result of the above two
* I also have a great bus driver who not only waits when I am running from the tram but also tells me 'you don't have to run, I saw you' and has started calling me 'mate'.

So it's PT for me from now on.

While we are on the topic, I should probably mention a great experience with a tram driver I had recently. I was on a tram and quietly complaining to Mr T about how my left side really really really hurt over and over again. I was seated a few rows back from the tram driver and he poked out his head looked at me and said 'you don't look too good, this tram is going to the hospital and I will get there as soon as I can, it will take about 5 minutes'. I thanked him and as we neared the hospital we stood up ready to get off and he asked Mr T where he is from. Mr T replied Hong Kong and then he said that his wife is Chinese and he told Mr T to look after me because I am pretty. The pretty part he said in Cantonese. He also said his wife is 'chi sin' which means crazy. I turned out to be fine, but it was nice that he was so concerned and cute that this Anglo-Saxon tram driver was trying to talk to Mr T in his language. I wish I could put in a compliment about him but I don't know his name, the tram number or even the exact time we got on the tram.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I finally found a self defence class for me

I have had my heart set on doing a kung fu style called Wing Chun for years and went along to about 4-5 different schools over the last couple of years and even went to a few classes but hated it. It wasn't the style but the feel of each place. I would attend with a male friend and the instructor would address him and not me even though in each case I knew more about the style and I was the one who really interested in joining. Also there was either no females in the class or very little and the atmosphere just seemed a little too macho for me.

So when Mr T who has his own style (Hung Gar) recommended another style Tactical Krav Maga. I continued to say 'No' for a very long time.

I finally decided to go watch a bit of one class just to get him to stop suggesting it. The style was different than what I wanted but the one appeal was that it was run by a female instructor and it had the option of female only classes so I though it can't hurt to spend 30 minutes or so watching. I attended a mixed class and have never had so much fun or laughed more watching any other class. I enjoyed it so much that I watched the whole 90 minute class. It also appeared to be quite basic for the complete beginner like me. The instructor is young and female and not hugely muscular just like me and she had a great sense of humour. It was just so refreshing to be able to really relate to the instructor. The majority of the participants were female which was the reverse of every other class I have ever attended and she made the class fun. She also kind of reminds me of tegan and sara who I am fan of.

If you are curious there is a special one off introduction class this Sunday. It costs more than normal classes but goes for a little longer and is aimed at complete beginners. Here are the details:

When :: 2pm - 4pm, Sunday 25 November 2007
Where :: Level 1, 738 Sydney Road Brunswick VIC
Cost ::
$30 or bring a friend and pay only $25 each
Wear / Bring:: Wear comfortable clothes and joggers. Bring some water to drink.

If you want more details about the school, check out the site here. There are schools in Melbourne and Sydney.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Note sure who to vote for this sat?

Go check out how should I vote to find out.

All you have to do is answer a 20 question quiz and it will tell you. You can ever have it text messaged to your phone.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

You should adopt an adult cat!

I visited the lost dogs home and the RSPCA recently and was so sad that I just wanted to cry. There were so many cats looking at me and crying and they were so adorable. What's worse is that no-one wants to adopt a adult cat so the vast majority will be killed possibly within days of my visit. So why should you adopt a cat over a kitten? Most of the cats are house trained and know how to use a kitty tray, don't destroy furniture and you can sleep well in the thought that you saved a cat from his/her death unlike kittens which generally have no problem finding a home.

I could easily see myself become a crazy cat lady one day-well a crazy cat couple I guess. How could I walk away from all those sad cute faces knowing they will die!

For now though we are still hoping that there is a chance that Molly will come back plus I live in the smallest one bedroom flat in the world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Walk Against Warming

Mr T and I attended the walk against warming event today. By far the cutest group protesting today were the families affected by global warming (I think that was what was written on their t-shirts) with their bright orange t-shirts and posters that looked like they were painted by the kids.



But they weren't the only kids, there were hundred of all of little ones, holding signs, dancing and one was even playing a harmonica. I thought this one was cute.



I also liked this sign and no that wasn't me or anyone I know




Saturday, November 03, 2007

Molly is still gone and NO I don't want another cat/kitten

So far Mr T and I call out her name every day in all the neighbouring streets sometimes shaking her cat food, we put up about a dozen posters in our area, talked to a few neighbours and I have called up the cat protection society and lord smith hospital and they haven't seen her.

I have posted a blurb and pic about her on the lost dogs home lost and found website.

We leave our front door ajar right up until we go to sleep each night.

Tomorrow we will visit lost dogs home and RSPCA and early next week I will call up the vets to see if they have seen her.

What else am I missing?

A few nights ago my neighbour said that he saw her at 4am at a door. I really got my hopes up then. So Mr T woke up around 3-3.30am opened the front door and watched for the last 3 nights. Each night a cat appeared but it wasn't Molly.

The problem is Molly is one scared little cat, she is scared of other cats and we always have at least 3 cats near us.

She has only left our place once before and ran a few doors down after she saw the other cats and then she proceed to cry off again on again until I grabbed her from under the fence. That was for a couple of hours. It has not almost been a week!

Right now I feel overwhelmed with sadness, mixed in with a tiny bit of hope that just keeps diminishing each day. I don't know whether she is dead, or hurt or has found somewhere else to live or if she even has the capacity to return to our place if she wants to.

She's a part of our tiny family and I really wish people would stop asking me if I want another cat or kitten. She can't be replaced!

Monday, October 29, 2007

And then a whole heap of other tiny bad things happened and then Molly ran away and nothing else seems to matter except finding her.

If there is someone reading in Brunswick and you think you see a cat that looks like Molly (see pic below) please email me at bluerthanpink (at) blogspot (dot) (com)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life sucks when you have no money and:

1. you discover that you need to get your wisdom teeth out: goodbye close to $2000
2. you smash your newish car which you have had for only a couple of months in the stupidest way ever.

I feel so stupid right now, I have driven in out of my car parking space for over a year now with no problems at all. Most of the time I had my old falling apart car but to do it now was just horrible. Come to think of it I had my old car for 8-9 years with no accidents at all. The damage to my new car is significant: the paint is all scraped off along one side, it has at least one large dint and one panel actually fell off. The thing is Mr T actually said lets walk to the DVD store and I said no its too cold. God I wish I listened to him. So how did I do it: I misjudged how far away the wall was and how far my car was turning and hit it on a angle trying to maneuver around the corner of my building from my car parking space. No criticism please, I feel bad enough as it is!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We heart Molly

It's amazing how much we love her. Its strange my family always had a cat growing up but it is so different now. I have to admit we were hesitant about bringing her into our tiny apartment at the beginning. We were worried that she would destroy things, be bored, run away, and would just be too much trouble. She hasn't done any of those thing, she has just brought us a lot of happiness. Every day I get home from work and feed her and she eats and then within 30 minutes of eating she jumps onto my lap and purrs and purrs and purrs. Sometimes she starts purring before I have even started patting her. It has got to be my favourite sound ever.

Molly taking advantage of a rare thing: an empty coffee table.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Weird food combination trial 1

As per my request Mr T made Green Gourmet Giraffe's Peanut Stew with Bananas.

This recipe rocks and banana does actually go quite well with Parsley. The stew is yummy by itself so even if you aren't adventurous you can make enjoy it minus the Banana salsa, but the salsa adds something special to the dish. I've added it to the huge list of things that we should made again.

Next on the list of combinations to try is either Strawberries and Coriander or Mint and Mustard. Or maybe I will try to participate in time for the latest They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT) #7: caramelized cauliflower and Cocoa.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Vegetarian Restaurants in METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE

Bo De Trai Vegetarian Restaurant 94 Hopkins Street, Footscray VIC 3011 03 9689 9909
Bodhi Cafe 241 Victoria Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067 03 9416 1889
Bowl of Soul 118 Bridge Street, Port Melbourne VIC 3207 03 9645 2470
Café Sai 900 North Road, Bentleigh East VIC 3165 03 9563 8599
Calmer Sutra Teahouse 622 Hawthorn Road, Brighton East VIC 3187 03 9596 7563
Crossways Food for Life 123 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 03 9650 2939
Dhal Bar Vegetarian Cafe 376 St Georges Road, North Fitzroy VIC 3068 03 9489 4615
Enlightened Cuisine 113 Queensbridge Street, Southbank VIC 3006 03 9686 9188
Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery 141 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 03 9642 2388
Friends of the Earth Café 312 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066 03 9417 4382
Ganaeshaas Villas 4B Cramer Street, Preston VIC 3072 03 9471 9399
Global Vegetarian 499 North Road, Ormond VIC 3204 03 9578 9566
Glo Health 358 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick VIC 3185 03 9523 7824
Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant 139 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 03 9650 1578
Greenhouse Vegetarian Food Take Away Shop 804, Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
03 8504 2163
Greenlands Vegetarian Kitchen 213-215 Blackburn Road, Syndal VIC 3149 03 9803 9668
Gujju's Café & Chat House Shop 1, 141 Waverley Road, Malvern East VIC 3145 03 9571 1188
Hare Krishna Temple 197 Danks Street, Albert Park VIC 3206 03 9699 5122
Invita Living Food 32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000 03 9329 1267
Invita Living Food 76 Therry Street, Queen Victoria Market,
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9329 1267
Las Vegan Bakery & Café 22 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066 03 9415 9001
Lentil As Anything Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067
03 9419 6444
Lentil As Anything At The Spot Bar & Bandroom
133 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC 3058
03 9388 0222
Lentil As Anything 328 Victoria Street, Brunswick VIC 3056 0421 544 765
Lentil As Anything 41 Blessington Street, St Kilda VIC 3182 03 9534 5833
Lord of the Fries Shop 9A, 26 Elizabeth Street (Cnr Flinders Street),
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9654 5673
Madras Café Shop 10, 30 McCrae Street, Dandenong VIC 3175 03 9706 8659
Magpie House Café 48 Main Street, Upwey VIC 3158 03 9752 5838
Melbourne University Food Co-op 1st Floor, Union House, Melbourne University,
Parkville VIC 3052
03 9347 8716
Moroccan Soup Bar 183 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North VIC 3068 03 9482 4240
Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza 469 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 03 9481 7775
Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza 223 Barkly Street, St Kilda VIC 3182 03 9534 2542
Natural & Healthy Veg. Restaurant 747 Doncaster Road, Doncaster VIC 3108 03 9848 8092
Nostralis Wholemeal Pizza 55 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield VIC 3162 03 9528 4961
Organarchy C/- Student Union, Building 8 Lvl 4, RMIT City Campus
360 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3001
03 9925 1723
Organically Grown 190 Glenferrie Road, Malvern VIC 3144 03 9500 9796
Plush Pizza 85 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122 03 9819 1188
The Rainbow - Silence Heart - vegetarian
eatery
280 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121 03 9428 3225
Shakahari Vegetarian Restaurant 201-203 Faraday Street, Carlton VIC 3053 03 9347 3848
Soulfood Café 273 Smith Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 03 9419 2949
Soulmama St Kilda Sea Baths, 10-18 Jacka Boulevard,
St Kilda VIC 3182
03 9525 3338
Tofu Shop International 78 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121 03 9429 6204
Trippy Taco 48a Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066 03 9415 7711
Veg Out Time Shop 8, 63a Fitzroy Street, St Kilda VIC 3182 03 9534 0077
Veg Out Time 366 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141 03 9827 7570
Vegetarian Nirvana Café 486 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121 03 9428 1408
The Vegie Bar 378-380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 03 9417 6935
Vegie Curry Man Organics Café 296 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 03 9419 1555
Vegie Hut 984 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill VIC 3128 03 9898 2287
Vegie Mum 27 Village Avenue, Doncaster VIC 3108 03 9816 3222
Vegie Valley Vegetarian Restaurant 193 Coleman Parade, Glen Waverley VIC 3150 03 9560 9868
White Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant 185 Victoria Street, West Melbourne VIC 3003 03 9326 6040
Wholefoods Café/Restaurant 1st floor, Union Building, Monash University,
Clayton Campus, Wellington Road, Clayton VIC 3168
03 9905 4156


REGIONAL VICTORIA

Chat for Tea Vegetarian Tea Garden 25 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat VIC 3350 03 5331 3898
Conti-Banquet 9 Lone Pine Avenue, Hepburn Springs VIC 3461 03 5348 2005
The Ganesh Mandala Experience 5 Bridge Road, Barwon Heads VIC 3227 03 5254 2711
Health Foods Naturally 59-61 Vincent Street, Daylesford VIC 3460 03 5348 3109
Himalaya Bakery & Café 73 Vincent Street, Daylesford VIC 3460 03 5348 1267
Swing Bridge Café Mouth of Erskine River, Lorne VIC 3232 0408 895 022
Wholefoods Café 2 Baylie Place, Geelong VIC 3220 03 5221 5421

Harriett at This is Vegan Melbourne recently wrote about visiting every veg restaurant in Melb which reminded me that I once had the same idea. As you can see above in blue I have eaten at the majority of veg places but I still have a lot to go. One day I will get there. I really have to find an excuse to go the eastern suburbs.

Speaking of veg restaurants, lentil as anything -brunswick is all vegan now. I only live around the corner so I can't believe I didn't know this. Although, Mr T and I don't go there often because it is so hit and miss sometimes we get great meals other times they are just bland. The only consistently good thing on the menu is the okonomiyaki: Japanese pancake which comes with soy mayo, sweet soy and seaweed flakes. We went there tonight and all the references to egg, yogurt and roti in the menu are crossed out and apparently there is a new menu coming out very soon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

There is so much coming up

It's hard to focus on homework with so many social events happening.

Last sat night was the rusty chef 2 fundraiser. The food wasn't the greatest in the world and I really don't understand how food not bombs didn't win. But it was fun and there was lots of vegan food and cheap wine so I really can't complain. I stupidly forgot to take pics of the dishes that we voted on but I did take this one of the entrées provided by lentil as anything.

Yes that is a telstra plate in the corner


Food not bombs team right before their mini food fight

Upcoming events include:

Oct:
17th October Ride to WorkDay (which I will attempt to do)
28th October World Vegan Day

Deb:
16th December Gossip show
29th December Built to Spill show

Jan:
28th January Big Day out featuring Bjork, and Arcade Fire: I was so excited when I heard about Arcade Fire playing that I missed my exit on the freeway on the way to work this morning.

These are just the booked in events there are so many more that are on my maybe list. It's going to be a great summer!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bodhi Cafe

Mr T and I stumbled across a new vegetarian restaurant today by accident. It's called Bodhi Cafe and is located at 241 Victoria st, Abbotsford near the corner of punt rd and Victoria st. It was perfect timing because we were starving.

I ordered kumquat tea and BBQ Pork with fragrant rice (flavoured with mint and soybean crisps) and Mr T ordered the tofu don dish. The kumquat tea was perfectly sweet, the BBQ pork was beautifully presented and the rice was so yummy you could eat it by itself. The BBQ pork itself was up to the standards of all the mock meat places in Melbourne. Unlike other Chinese veg places in Melb though this had a more relaxed cafe feel, and instead of just BBQ pork you got a bit of a variety on your plate. Mr T thought his meal was boring but he did order the dish minus the egg that it normally comes with and if you ask me he ordered the most boring thing on the menu.

Kumquat tea (almost finished ohhps)

BBQ Pork

Mr T's 'boring' tofu don dish

I was very impressed, the decor was cute, the food was cheap with mains costing between $8 to $9 and best of all it is open til 11pm everyday except for Monday.

On the downside or the upside depending on your perspective there are more teas and coffees to chose from than there are main meals. There are only 10 mains to choose from but you can order things like lavender latte, and peanut butter coffee and red date/longan tea. They also had entrees like spring rolls and chicken nuggets and a variety of desserts (none of the desserts looks vegan friendly though). The mains alone though left us quite full. Here's a copy of the mains page on the menu:



It reminded me of Hong Kong cafes and like a smaller version of Fo Guang Yuan tea house.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

It was only after I returned from Hong Kong that I discovered that vegan mooncakes exist.

I visited an asian supermarket today and stood in line with about 30 other people to purchase some more mooncakes (my second box).

I recommend red bean paste ones or lotus seed flavoured mooncakes. They normally say on the labels how many egg yolks they have in them so just look for the ones that don't have any eggs in them, they are generally the cheapest. They also come in pretty red tin boxes which I am sure I will find some purpose for. Tradition has it that you should cut each one into 4 or 8 pieces see here for instructions (yes someone actually posted pics of how to cut a mooncake).

Pic taken from http://melbournechinesenewyear.com.au

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crazy food combinations

I don't know how I have missed it. But I only just discovered the regular blog event called They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT). The food nerd in me was so excited when I found it. I'm really impressed with some of the participating entries including Green Gourmet Giraffes Peanut Stew with Bananas . I can't wait to give some of the parings a go especially bananas and parsley, strawberries and coriander and mint and mustard . I know that the time has past to participate in those particular parings, but I am still going to give them a go and share the results. To find out more about how it works and other pairings go here. I should probably also mention that the latest pairing is lavender and apple and the deadline is October 1st. I'm not a huge fan of lavender flavoured anything so I will be giving that one a miss.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Home Song Stories

Home Song Stories is a movie about a chinese woman who migrates to Australia with her two children in the 60's to be with an Australian man. The story is told through the eyes of her son and written and director by Tony Ayres in an attempt to understand his own mother better. Joel Lokin who plays Tony Ayres is an adorable, captivating and very convincing young actor. If for no other reason it is worth seeing it for his amazing acting ability. If you need other reasons the story is very interesting. Other films, may have focused on the migration aspect, but this focuses on family and relationships and more specifically his mother who goes from relationship to relationship and who turns out to be quite a complex character. The cinematography is also beautiful. I read some review that likened it to In the Mood for Love but I wouldn't put in the same category. Can anything really beat in the Mood for Love or be its equal? That's not to say its not beautiful , it is! It's also an Australian film and one of the few ones that doesn't have typical embarrassing yobbo characters. Yay!

Only one word of warning: if you have a tendency to cry at sad parts in films take a pack of tissues with you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pretty Tassie

I know Tasmania is beautiful but didn't realise that Hobart itself is such a pretty city/town. I just wish I took more photos inside the town and around Salamanca, but I think I made up for it by taking lots of pictures elsewhere.


The weather was beautiful and around 16 degrees the whole weekend but it was freezing on top of Mt Wellington which is only a 30 minute drive away and yes there was even a bit of snow.

A viewfrom Mt Wellington, it doesn't do the sight justice but it was too cold to play around with my camera settings.

View from our room in battery point

Salamanca Market(I got the vegan pies from the summer kitchen stall on the left), I love how the mountains are so visible from Hobart itself.
View from Treetop walk.

I will post more pics later, the reason I am posting like crazy at the moment is because I am home sick and quite bored right now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vegan food in Hobart

We wandered around the first day in Hobart itself and stumbled across a cafe called tricycle cafe which did organic fairtrade coffee which made Mr T very happy. We had already had breakfast but prior to our 6.45am flight so we decided to share a second breakfast. We ordered the chilli beans on toast minus the cheese and the waitress was nice enough to split it on to two plates even though we only ordered one plate and she was also smart enough to realise that no cheese means no margarine too. The dish was great, it had just the right amount of spiciness and the avocado and lemon went really well with it. It's a really cute place too, gorgeous wallpaper and old pictures of tricycles cover at least one of the walls and good music. Mr T approved of the coffee too. It kind of reminds me of Pushka in Melbourne.


Next we tried Tassie's only Chinese veg restaurant Shu Yuan. Maybe we have been spoiled too much with good Chinese veg food in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong but this place was just disappointing. I ordered a plate of rice with two dishes, and Mr T ordered a plate with 3 dishes. It was not enough food, and expensive for precooked small meals. It reminded me of veg out time but the food wasn't as tasty or as big or as cheap. In fairness though maybe the meals made to order are better. I guess if you no other Chinese veg option than it's ok. I feel bad for posting a not so great review, and the truth is the food taste wise is not bad but just not great.

Our next place was by far our favourite: Sirens. I was surprised to find it empty when we wandered in around 6.30pm on a friday night and that only a few tables were filed up by the time we left. For a veg restaurant I was a little disappointed to discover that there was huge cheese focus and that they only had 3 vegan mains and 1 vegan dessert but when the few options are great I don't mind not have many options. I had the smoked tofu with pesto and Mr T had one of the special board meals: the stuffed Eggplant with polenta and chili chocolate sauce which will feature on the new menu which starts next week. My meal was good and Mr T's was amazing. Chocolate and chilli go so well together, but you already know that! And the nutty stuffing inside the eggplant, mmmm I was jealous that I didn't order it . Next we had the amazing dark chocolate mousse with a cashew crust served with coconut sorbet and their dark chocolate 'bikkies' which were also featured on their specials boards. I was so excited I forgot to take pics. The bikkies tasted like healthier homecooked version of chocolate oreos. And Cindy was right about the mousse, it was certainly the star of the night and I would recommend you fly to Hobart to try it. I'm not sure if I would agree it was the best vegan dessert ever (that prize has to go one of the cakes at Vegetarian Orgasm) but it's certainly up there. The crust was perfectly sweet and nutty the mousse rich and chocolatey and the coconut sorbet the perfect side. The only downside of Sirens was the prizes, Mr T's main for example was $19 but it was so worth it.


Lunch on sat we had two different types of vegan pies from one of the stalls at the end of salamanca market which were just ok and a little pricey at $4.50 for take away but convenient. If you are going for convenient though I suggest the vegan shepherd pie over the curried veg pie.

The following night we decided to go back to Sirens, this time we wandered in at a little past 6pm to again an empty restaurant and asked if it was open yet? The waitress replied it was but unless we had a booking it was all booked out. How does a restaurant goes from empty on a fri night to booked out on a sat? I felt like a fool for not booking and on Mr T's actual birthday but I had no idea.

So we decided to try Annapurna Indian Restaurant which apparently doesn't use gee. We walked in only to discover that luckily we got the last table in the double story restaurant. Which was strange considering there a was another Indian restaurant opposite it and Hobart appeared to be dead. What everyone eats out on sat in Hobart and no-one eats out on a friday? We ordered their onion bhajis and spinach pakoras.(both on the specials menu) We were surprised to find these huge looking plates instead of the usual small servings of entrees in Indian restaurants. They were both delicious and quite filling. I loved the lemon pieces to squeeze over them.

Please note this pic was taken after we had already started making a mess and eating them. They were actually bigger and prettier.

For mains we had dal (not because I am boring but because I figured I needed a little bit of protein and iron and other legume goodness) which tasted like a thousand other dals and a pumpkin curry which had the just the right amount of tang and was delicious. It also gets a thumbs up for decor as it didn't appear to be as tacky or as cheap looking as other Indian restaurants I have been to and the service was great. I explained at the beginning that I am allergic to dairy (white lie) and am vegetarian and asked what my options could be and there was about a dozen main meals and almost every entree to chose from. Yes more vegan choices at Indian restaurant than a veg restaurant.

On sun we packed a lunch as we were warned that everything was closed. We were glad we did because Hobart is completely empty most of the shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants are all closed on Sunday . All in all with a tiny bit of planning and possibly booking for Sat nights Hobart was was quite vegan friendly. Sure it doesn't complete with the amount of choices in Melbourne but for a small city/town it was great. I just want to go back to Sirens again!
Don't you wish there was vegan version of Iron Chef?

Ok, maybe that's just me. But if you do here is your chance to see something quite similar and for a good cause too. Here's the blurb:

To share affordable, healthy food and raise funds for their work, Food not Bombs and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre are, for a second time, taking the spectacle and drama of the Iron Chef battle - but with more - to the streets. Rusty Chef, a spin-off of the cooking show, Iron Chef, will be held at the Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne on Saturday, September 29. The event will include live music and graphic cooking close-ups broadcast live onto a big screen inside the venue. During the event, the chefs and their kitchen hands will have only one hour to prepare vegan food fit for the masses. As part of the challenge, they will use only gleaned or donated ingredients in a competition to see who can prepare the most magnificent banquet. Following the competition, all the food will be shared with the attendees. All monies raised will be shared between the two organizing groups. Food not Bombs is a local group which, since 1996, has been feeding homeless and other needy people in the city using food donated by organic markets and shops. This includes taking meals and food to picket lines, to high-schools with homeless and asylum-seeking students, to mental health institutions and to rallies and conferences. The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre has been Australia's leading asylum seeker aid, health and advocacy organization since 2001. The centre provides more than 20 services and for more 3000 asylum seekers, via a team of 700 volunteers Presale tickets can be purchased at the ASRC, located at 12 Batman St., West Melbourne.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I suck at making/decorating cakes

I decided to make Mr T a cake for his birthday since it's such a big birthday (30th). I made a vegan cheesecake using this recipe from vegweb.

The 'cheesecake' part actually tasted pretty good and even my family approved. The problem is the crust tasted a little burnt despite me following the cooking instructions. It also looked little too brown and well ugly on top. It was also much smaller that I imagined. This is the slightly better look with melted chocolate and strawberries. Next time I will skip the chocolate. I had to decorate it in a hurry for a family celebration and Mr T ended up actually decorating his own cake. Poor Mr T!


I heart trees

Mr T and I travelled to upper ferntree gully yesterday to do the thousand steps or Kokoda walk. It was great. Lots of beautiful ferns and trees. Although it reminded me how unfit I really am. Thankfully there are lots of plaques along the walk which are great excuses to stop and rest. It took us about 45 minutes to walk up in at a slow pace and about 20 minutes to walk down. We packed a lunch and had it once we reached the top. We enjoyed the walk so much we have decided to try to do about one walk like this a month.

Here are some pics:

Any recommendations for the next one?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hobart

Mr T and I will travel to Hobart for a long weekend in 2 weeks time to celebrate his 30th birthday. Which makes it a whole year since our last holiday. If anyone has any must sees or eats please leave a comment. I haven't been since I was a child and Mr T has never been.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yay for beautiful Weather!

I've loved the weather this weekend. It has been simply beautiful.

I didn't get a chance to go bush walking this weekend but will go next weekend providing the weather is nice again. Anyone want to join Mr T and I are welcome. We have decided to try the Kokoda Walk.

Molly enjoying the weather

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Too consumer driven

I've recently had to clean out my bedroom at my mum's place and realised that I own far too much junk. So with that and lots of eco guilt, and less cash and more time I've decided to look into voluntary simplicity. According to one website, Voluntary simplicity is defined as

a growing movement of people who have realized that happiness and fulfillment do not lie in having more money, or new and bigger things, but rather in the time with loved ones and connection with community. They are questioning the consumer society's insistence that possessions, especially of the newest design and color, are the means of fulfillment, or that any material possession can possibly be "to die for."

There is a whole host of websites devoted to it like:
You’ve heard it before: "time is money." What we discovered is that’s not true - time is better than money!

This revelation has allowed us to be content in our work or to change that work when it no longer satisfies. It has permitted us to spend less time acquiring things and more time acquiring experiences, insights, and relationships. It has encouraged us to lend a helping hand in our community, whenever the need arises, because we can make the time to do it. It has given us freedom and control of our lives.

For some reason, it seems to us that many people have failed to grasp this simple truth. They trudge off to work every morning to put in their time at jobs they despise so they can buy things. Have you noticed? The more a person hates his or her job, the more money he or she spends on toys, time-shares, new cars, the latest trendy clothes, jewelry, etc. And the more one spends, the more one needs to hang on to that job, no matter what.

Is there a way out? We think so. If you’re already addicted to conspicuous consumption, it will take some getting used to. But it IS possible to own your own life if you are determined to do it. How? Simplify!!

I can't say that I have walked away and decided to give away all my possessions or to stop purchasing. But it has got me thinking differently about consumerism and particularly how I spent my money. Just off the top of my head I know that I probably spent too much on clothes and household stuff that I don't really need and on eating out. So instead of having lunch out this weekend we are going to pack a lunch, grab my newest book from the library and go bushwalking. Any suggestions for somewhere easy and close to Melbourne?