Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We are going to the Gold Coast

I finally got really cheap flights and am taking Mr T to Queensland for his birthday in Sept. Anyone have any general tips on where to stay or where to eat?

Should I stay in Brisbane or the Goldcoast?

I know it's probably too early too ask, but I'm just so pleased with myself because I never seem to get really cheap flights.

Cheezy Sun Dried Tomato Muffins

I finally decided to veganize savoury muffins and it worked, wohooooo!

Here is the vegan version of these:

2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
1½ cups grated cheezly mozzarella cheese, plus 1/3 cup extra
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped
½ cup shredded basil
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup soy milk
80g nuttelex (margarine), melted
1 teaspoon of egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons of water


1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180C. Lightly spray a 12-hole muffin pan with oil.

2. Sift flour and salt together into a large bowl. Stir in cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and pine nuts. In a jug, combine soy milk, margarine and egg replacer/water mix.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add milk mixture all at once. Mix lightly, until just combined.

4. Spoon mixture evenly into recesses in prepared pan. Sprinkle with extra cheese.

5. Bake 20-25 minutes, until cooked when tested with a skewer.

I think next time though I will add more basil and sun dried tomatoes. I probably should also mention that I've never had a savoury muffin before so I can't really compare it to non-vegan ones . But these are quite moist and don't fall apart thanks to the egg replacer and soy cheese and they taste great.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Procrastination cooking

I have been cooking a lot lately, not just baking like I normally do but actual cooking. It's because I've reduced my work hours so I can work on my thesis. So instead of doing homework I cook, at least it's productive procrastination.

If you have read this blog before you may have picked up on the fact that I love combining fruit/fruit juice with savoury dishes. It's one way that I try to eat more fruit, I don't eat enough by itself. So I decided to try the orange, lentil and carrot soup here. I didn't use fresh coriander or yogurt, and used ground cumin and coriander instead of seeds. It was ok, but I found myself needing more stock and relying too much on my 'beef' stock for too much of the flavour. Perhaps it is because I didn't use the seeds. I might have try it again actually following the recipe before I judge it.

Next, I decided to try the tofu balls thanking to Cindy's post. I really enjoyed them, the peanut butter helps them to stick together, and peanut butter, soy sauce, breadcrumbs (or cornflake crumbs in my case) all together equals yummyness. I didn't use the onion it asks for because I didn't have any, but I don't think it mattered. Sorry for my pic, I ate all of the prettier ones first and then put the uglier ones in my lunch box with pasta. Everyone at work, commented they smelled great. I did however, learn through trial and error that if you don't roll them in flour you can dry fry them instead of having to use lots of oil. I'm going to skip the flour next time.

Next up, I decided to make some choc mint cupcakes from VCTOTW. These taste like mint slices in cupcake form. Mr T helped me out with the icing and decided to be a little creative with it as you can see below. I did however notice that the mint icing part was kind of watery, i'm not sure if that's because I used margarine instead of shortening but taste wise it really doesn't matter. I even made a couple of non mint icing ones for those crazy people who don't like choc mint combinations. My little teenage cousins commented they they can't believe that they are vegan, and I ever so wisely replied 'sugar is vegan, and sugar is yum'.

I've decided I've been eating way too much sugar lately, so I decided to bake a slightly healthier baked good to take to Melbourne vegan strength training session. I wasn't training but just went to support the guys with food and to chat and to eat of course. Mr T recently started going to the gym and attending Melbourne vegan strength sessions and raved about them, so I also wanted to see it for myself. I thought that both bananas and peanut butter make a good workout meal, especially if teamed with choc chips. A Google search revealed a recipe for Peanut Butter Banana muffins with Choc chips at Utopian Kitchen. I had everything except for the egg replacer and according to the recipe it was optional, and considering that banana makes a good egg replacer I decided to give them a shot. I also used all white flour because I didn't have any wholemeal. I had 3 small bananas, but half way through making them I dropped a banana on the floor so I couldn't use it. Taste wise they were great, however it didn't make enough for 12 muffins , only 11 and they were still kind of small. I'm not sure if that is because of the missing banana or the missing egg replacer. Maybe I'll make them for brunch next week. Here's a pic of them with Noah's Cherry cupcakes.

Here are some of the guys in action:

They also have non conventional methods like tire throwing

And circus acts :-)

Meanwhile, I was playing with one very affectionate cat called 'Nothing'

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Plush Pizza Party

On Fri night we went to the Mountain Goat Brewery with some friends. It's a really cool looking place and even has a Foosball table. Mr T enjoyed the beer sampler for $10 below:

We then went to Plush Pizza and got a vegemite pizza

and satay minus mushrooms

and chunky

and I forgot what this one was, possibly anti-pasto with mustard base???

and the Ben Special.

Mmmmmmm, it was so great. I couldn't pick a fav, but I really enjoyed just having lots of different varieties to eat.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Top 10 Vegan Recipes of 2008- so far

Thanks to for making the list with matching recipes so you can test them out. I look forward to trying them out especially since I only own two of the new vegan cookbooks-Veganomicon and Nonna's Italian Kitchen (is that a recent cookbook?).


1) Plantain Omelet - From Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi’s Vegan Fusion World Cuisine.

2) Thai Coconut Corn Soup - From Nava Atlas’ Vegan Express.

3) Indonesian Coconut Rice - From Robin Robertson’s Vegan Fire & Spice.

4) Baked Ziti - From Beverly Lynn Bennett’s Vegan Bites.

5) Moroccan Phyllo Rolls - From Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.

6) Italian Stuffed Crepes - From Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Nonna’s Italian Kitchen.

7) Chickpea Curry - From Hema Parekh’s The Asian Vegan Kitchen.


8) Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding - From Isa Chandra Moskowtiz and Terry Hope Romano’s Veganomicon.

9) Root Beer Float Cupcakes - From Hannah Kaminsky’s My Sweet Vegan.

10) Fresh Mango Cobler - From Ani Phyo’s Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I used to be a good student, I swear!

I always had good grades, I had to get into uni, and then to get into my honours course and then to get into my current Masters course. But now, I'm just want to pass.

I'm not sure what it is, but studying straight out of school when I had an easy job and lived with my parents was a 1000 times easier than now. I now have to work to pay my rent, and work takes up a lot of my energy and is 'full on' to say the least and then there is housework and other responsibilities.

I like to think that it is because my priorities have changed and I now live more for the present than the future. So I focus on Mr T and family and friends and just living instead of study. But I'm sure a huge part is just laziness.

On Monday my worst fears were confirmed that I have to start my thesis all over again. It's a long story and anyone who knows me knows that I was struggling with motivation with it but it still sucks. All those meetings, research, stupid proposals, all down the drain :-(

Monday, April 21, 2008

Vegans are Cool

On Sunday Mr T and I went to a vegan food party. The idea actually started out as a joke when I suggested we have an ice cream party and a week later we had all of the below yummy food.

Mr T made mini neat balls from Veganomicon, which were slightly overcooked but still tasted ok. They were especially good with gravy that our host made. It was even better when wedged between corn chips. Just trust me ok!

I made the postachio rosewater cookies also from veganomicon, which tasted ok but texture wise weren't right. They were really hard and oily. I thought I must have cooked them too long so I tried with the second and third batch to cook them less and then they were obviously undercooked and worse. The good thing about an all vegan party is that I don't have to worry about my cooking affecting their perspectives of veganism. If I make something crappy for non vegans I feel like that just supports the myth that vegan food is boring or inferior. If something doesn't go well for vegans though I know that they don't blame veganism and just realise that I'm a crap cook or the recipe is crap.

They were edible though especially with rose water peach ice cream which our lovely host made.

Our lovely host also made not one but 2 tarts and a cheesecake. I can't remember the exact flavours but I think it was something like: chocolate cheesecake with praline white chocolate on top and an oreo crust, maple peanut tart and a fruit tart.

And Mango Almond mini cupcakes

And Chocolate Lasagna-made with with soy cream, chocolate, peanut butter, puff pastry and maple syrup. It was friggin AMAZING!

Other guests brought along chocolate cupcakes and two turtle mountain ice cream tubs, corn chips and coopers beer.

Not only did everyone make and bring yummy food, but all of the others had great music taste. For example, I had a conversation with one of the others about how great the Woods album is. Anyone who appreciates Sleater Kinney is cool in my book. I can't believe i've found other vegans that have good music taste. Normally the two are mutually exclusive and I have vegan friends and then non vegan friends with good music taste.

Maybe next time we can have a savoury food party since the majority of food was sweet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm back with the longest post ever (well for me)

You probably didn't even notice I was gone from the internet for the last week and a bit. I was in the world of homework hell. More on that later but now food.

Since I last posted I've been back at East Brunswick Club (I live close by) and took my camera this time.

Here is the 'chicken' salad, I didn't try it but it looked too healthy for me, there are bits of marinated 'chicken' underneath:

I was really impressed with the vegan tartar sauce with the vegan fish and chips and the 'fish' was pretty good too, it was typical soy protein fish with bits of seaweed wrapped around it and battered.

But probably my fav though is the chicken parma. The flavour is intense and it's filling and reminds me a lot of real chicken parma.

I think the best option is to go with someone else and share 2 dishes (fish and chips and parma) like I did with Mr T.

Now on to my treat for finishing my essay, ice cream. They are both from the Turtle Mountain-Purely Decadent range. If I could marry an ice cream brand it would be this one. As another vegan said to me on the weekend, it's the best thing about being vegan. The first flavour is cookie dough:

I'm not really a raw cookie dough person. I believe that something magical happens in the oven to the sickly sweet cookie dough to make it amazing. But if you are a raw cookie dough person then this flavour is so for you. Don't get me wrong, I ate it all. It just wasn't my fav flavour. The cookie dough parts are too sweet for me.

Next up is Chocolate Brownie Almond:

I love this flavour, the brownie bits are actually kind of chewy like brownies. It's not my fav flavour either, that spots belongs to the mocha almond fudge.

I have fallen in love with a new band- Port O'Brien. I heard their song I woke up today and it took me a month to figure out who there where. It's such a happy, drunk sounding song. Their stuff is pretty varied, if you go over to their myspace also check out the song tree bones. Some of their stuff kind of reminds me of bright eyes/arcade fire/someone else that I can't put my finger on right now. Mr T thinks that they sound like Modest Mouse, but I can't hear that resemblance. Anyway, I just had to go out today and get their CD today. I went to four music shops before finally finding it at missing link for $22. How great is that? Missing Link this small independent shop sold it and sold it cheap too. I heart Missing Link too.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Melbourne Vegan Goss
  • The vegan raspberry apple cake at SugarDough rocks, even my omni colleagues enjoyed it. It is super cute (sorry no pic), and nice and moist and is very coconutey (yes I made up a word) which is great if you are like me and love coconut. They have two other vegan cakes too but according to the staff the raspberry one is the best vegan one. It is quite small but cheap at $27 per cake.
  • The soy cheese at Cafe Umago is NOT vegan. I was skeptical with the appearance, and then my stomach started yelling at me, your stomach would yell too if you haven't had dairy for 5 years too and then I did a google search and Harriet confirmed my fears. Yuck, yuck, yuck! Why bother with soy cheese if it is not dairy free?
  • Veg 2 Go is now doing breakfasts (although they look too healthy for me) and they have changed their vegan choc cake so that it is not rubbery anymore. they have also added a few more vegan things like mushroom brushetta.
  • If you are a rich vegan or just like to spend lots of money on vegan food, Ezard does a 8 Course Vegan Tasting Menu for $110 and Pearl has a vegan menu.
  • The East Brunswick Club has added to their one vegan dish (vegan parma) and now has a vegan menu with an extra 2 items on it and the promise of daily vegan specials. Last time we were there they had vegan cheesecake and vegan fettuccine but we couldn't have them because we were there during their lunch hours. At lunch time you can get a cheap vegan parma but it is just deep fried tofu and is about the quarter of the size of the dinner one so I don't recommend it. Here is a pic of a half eaten one :

and here is the pic of the menu:

Oh yeah, it's also my anniversary with Mr T, what's that got to do with vegan goss? Well we are both vegan :-) Happy Anniversary!