Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Liquid meals?

This time next week, I will have my wisdom teeth removed and will need to live on liquid meals for probably a couple of days. So far I have thought of:

soy ice cream (my fav option so far)
mashed potatoes

what else can I eat?

Does anyone have any amazing tasty and nutritious soup recipes? So far all I can think of is the lentil quinoa stew from la dolce vegan which has lentils, vegetables and quinoa (the super grain).

Did I mention that I'm not a soup fan at all.

I love crunchy foods: pretzels, corn chips, nuts etc :-(

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't judge a book by it's cover

For a BBQ a couple of weeks ago I decided to make some sweet things to take. I made lychee cupcakes from VCTOTW and strawberries in rose jelly from veggie chic.

I started making the cupcakes and then realised that quite a few people in blog land had tried them and thought they were not so good. This is one of the guest recipes so I should have known better. One person recommended adding more lychee syrup and thankfully I listened to her.

The jelly recipe asked for vegetarian jelly so I used agar agar. I've used agar agar before to make jelly with no problems and it smelled and looked great (the pic doesn't quite capture it).

Unfortunately, the cupcakes however looked pretty horrible, there were flaxseed lumps all throughout it and the icing was pretty transparent and really running (see the pic below). However they thankfully tasted fine, there were kids at the BBQ and they kept coming back for more. I always think if I managed to get both adults and kids to agree I've done ok since most kids are so fussy. If you do plan on making them I strongly recommend that you triple the amount of lychee syrup and replace the flaxseed with another egg replacer.

The jelly on the other hand was the worst ever. It was tasteless and the texture was not right, it was like rubber. I'm not sure if it was because I didn't cook it long enough or if it is because vegetarian jelly is different or if the recipe just sucked. I stupidly didn't try it before the BBQ and so I had to try to convince people not to eat it and they wouldn't listen and I'm never felt more embarrassed ever, one of the kids spat it out and the rest of the adults politely ate it and pretended to like it. I'm glad that the majority of the people of the party didn't know I was vegan so they didn't have this horrible association with tasteless rubber vegan food.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vege 2 Go

Cindy has already beaten me with a review of this brand new restaurant, so for a proper review go there.

Vege2Go is pretty close to my house, so I was super excited to find a veg restaurant in East Brunswick. So much so that I sampled it when I was super poor by putting it on my credit card. I decided to surprise Mr T with take away food. The food all seems to be healthy home cooked Italian food with an emphasis on take away. I don't think it's fair to judge it quite yet because I only sampled a few things. But here's my thoughts on the few things that I tried. The salads (beetroot and rice) and the white bean and chard dish were all ok but not amazing.

The lentil soup was my favourite. It doesn't look tasty, but it was full of flavour and just the right amount of salt/stock.

I also sampled the vegan calzone and the vegan choc raspberry cake. The calzone tasted good but was very dry. You could tell the cake was made by non-vegans who might assume that vegan cake has to be different texture wise. The cake tasted good but it's texture was far too rubbery for me.

But I will be back, because it's great option for healthy take away food that doesn't cost too much. Plus I've heard good things about their quinoa dish.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pets and Veg*nism

I remember one vegan telling me that she decided to go vegan after her cat died. At the time I thought it was a bit strange but now I struggle to understand how 'animal' lovers can spend time with their furry friends and then turn around and eat another type of animal.

Living with an animal, you quickly discover that they feel pain, sneeze, sleep, and dream just like humans do. They also play and experience grief, happiness and sadness. Plus they develop a relationship with you and express affection and even anger or revenge with you. My neighbour explained how her cat has peed on her beanbag twice in several years of living with her. The first time after her partner teased the cat. The second time after she went away for the weekend and didn't get someone to look after her.

You also discover that they are not all the same and have their own personalities, and behaviours. BB couldn't be more different form Molly. I'm sure BB thinks she is a dog probably because she has been raised form a young age with a dog and developed a relationship with it. Not only does she wag her tail but she often sleeps like a dog too. Unlike Molly she's confident and shows off. BB is also quite naughty and has eaten through two packs of nutritional yeast and scratched my face a tiny bit. She jumps to super high lengths, the other day she jumped up to the window above my shower. While Molly loved to knead BB likes to give you little kisses on your face when you are giving her lots of cat patting time.

Plus animals are super cute.

Still not convinced, how about some facts:
  • Pigs like dogs are friendly, and loyal. However, pigs are smarter than dogs and thought to be smarter than 3 yr old human children.
  • Despite what many people think fish do feel pain.
  • Cows like humans are quite diverse. Some are slow and aggressive while others are highly intelligence and considerate.
  • Cows develop friendships over time, hold grudges against other cows and choose leaders based on intelligence.
  • Chickens are inquisitive and are thought to be just as intelligent as cats, dogs and primates.
For more info about animals go here: you can select on the right hand side which animal you want to find out about.

Here are a few more pics of BB, they are not the greatest but she doesn't like the camera and I can't use the flash, I love her blue eyes:

Monday, February 18, 2008

2nd trip to Tasmania

When we arrived there were a few hiccups with our accommodation and so my brother decided we should spend the night in Hobart. Mr T and I thought that was a great idea, not because we really wanted to see Hobart again but because of Sirens. Or rather to have Siren's vegan chocolate mousse cake again. Thankfully they still have the cake on the special menu. Although this time with no sorbet, it was still amazing:

Mr T decided to have the lychees with carrot and ginger jelly and orange lime syrup which is on the standard menu. It was great, although not up to the cakes standards in my opinion.

The mains below were good but far from great and not worth their high prices. I've forgotten the name of the first one but it has a harissa sauce and it was way too spicy for me. The second one is the smoked tofu.

While we were in Hobart we had brunch at tricycle cafe again since Mr T had already tried and loved their coffee. We had the hippie sandwich which is basically a smoked tofu salad sandwich with hummus. Normally it has beetroot in it but they ran out and put avocado in it instead. There was also fennel or some sort of herb in it. It was surprisingly a really great sandwich.

On the way out of Hobart we stopped at a very beautiful town called Richmond and found a pizza shop that sold vegetarian pizza with roasted sweet potato on it. It was really great and come in this cute box.

Other food features, included the Christmas Hills raspberry farm where I had raspberry sorbet, raspberry soft drink and they had a lentil burger on their menu which was ok but pretty impressive for rural Tasmania. Mr T was very impressed with his raspberry soy latte too. Plus the cafe overlooked the pretty farm and we took some raspberry sauce, raspberry and peppermint tea and raspberry jam home with us. Can you tell I like raspberries?

We also had a yummy noodle salad at Launceston's vegetarian Fresh cafe, their prices were a little high though. I guess though when your the town's only veg restaurant you can afford to be expensive.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Super Living Expo

I have lots of things to post about but not much time to blog at the moment. But I just wanted to quickly remind you that next sat is the Super Living Expo, which used to be called the Cruelty Free expo. It is held at the Northcote Town Hall. There will be cooking demonstrations, all sorts of stalls including crumbs bakehouse (that make the yummy vegan cakes/muffins that seem to be sold everywhere lately), soul veg (which is an awesome vegan catering company that makes vegan 'cheesecakes'), music from Steve Kilby (from the Church), relaxation and pampering workshops, and much more.

For more info go here

Monday, February 11, 2008

Introducing a new cat friend

This is BB. She is my dad's cat but will be staying with us for a little while my dad moves interstate. The poor thing has had about 12 moves in about 3-4 years since she was born, the last move consisted of 12 hours on a boat. She has only been staying with me for a few hours and has already ate, drank, used her litter tray and become acquainted with my knee. I've also noticed that she wags her tale like a dog when she is happy. I have seen other cats wag their tales but not like this, it's almost violent the way she flicks it around.

I'm trying not to get too attached!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Too many onions

What do you do when you have six onions left that you need to use up quickly?

Make caramelised onion pizza of course. I love how caramelised onions cook down. Anyway this pizza was so easy. I used pita bread, put a little pasta sauce on it threw on the caramelized onions, some pine nuts, fresh basil and instant 'cheese' sauce and cooked it in the oven and then when it was ready added some rocket or arugula as the Americans call it, don't you think arugula sounds fancier? I have started calling it arugula because I like the word so much and it annoys Mr T :-)

This week we picked up a $40 box from the food co-op. There is so much in it and it is quite different from the first box we picked up. Is it wrong that I was quite excited by this image:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chinese New Year

While living in Hong Kong I learned a little about Chinese new year but there is still a lot I don't know. Mr T and I have been together for 4 years and it is only now that he is starting to tell me about Chinese new year traditions and in fact I seem to find out more from other people than I do from him. So now that I know a little more I thought I would share it:
  • It is believed to be good luck if you start the year with a clean house. Or rather it removes any bad luck that you have had the previous year. However, cleaning should be done before the start of Chinese new year and not on the first couple of days (including sweeping the floor and taking out the garbage).
  • You should not visit people on the third day of Chinese new year as you may have arguments with those you visit.
  • You should buy a new outfit prior to Chinese new year so that you start the year fresh.
  • You should have leftovers from new years eve dinner for the first day of chinese new year so that you always have more: food, money etc.
If I have not given a true account of the traditions feel free to correct me.

Last night we had dinner with several friends at Vegie Hut in Box Hill to celebrate chinese new year early since we will be away for Chinese new year next week. And I forgot to take pics of the food except for the fried lychees which are not authentic Chinese food at all and which I have never seen before. I think next time I will stick with the fried pineapple or the sago pudding, while I love lychees the flavour doesn't stand out when it battered and deep fried.

There are about half a dozen Chinese veg restaurants in Melbourne and my top 3 are:

1. Vegie Hut-Box Hill
2. Enlightened Cuisine
3. White Lotus

I don't think it's fair to rank the others when I have only visited them once.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Vegan savoury muffins?

Has anyone seen any vegan savoury muffins recipes anywhere? What is the American word for muffins?