Sunday, June 29, 2008

Potlucks x 2

Yesterday Mr T and I went to not one but two potlucks. The second one was an optional potluck -you could bring stuff if you wanted to. We kind of cheated and took along the same dishes to both events. I made the creamy cheese brownies, Mr T made the beanballs from veganomicon and together we made coconut lime cupcakes.

Here are some pictures from the first one, I'll upload the second ones later.

Some of the food:

Christie's chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing

chocolate mint cupcakes

Caroline and Tim's chocolate peanut butter shells

Bread with dukkah, white bean dip and I think olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Pancake with all three sauces

Emily's amazing mini quiches

Christie's spinach and 'ricotta' cannelloni

Lidia's spanokopita

Lidia's coconut cream pie

Also not photographed were the sushi rolls, a yummy looking salad, roti wraps, 'chicken nuggets', jerky and the dishes we took. I tried almost everything except for the sushi rolls and the salad because by the time those dishes arrived I was too full to eat anymore but I really can't complain because all of the food was great and I ate so much!

Thanks Christie for hosting it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lemon Bars are not the same as Lemon Slice

I learned that the hard way, after I made the lemon bars from the Joy of Vegan Baking. I thought that bars were just the American version of our slice and so they would be the same thing. Unfortunately American Lemon bars don't appear to contain condensed milk and so aren't creamy.

One day, i'll learn how to make a vegan equivalent of Lemon slice. It's the only thing I haven't figured out how to veganize, but I'm sure with a vegan version of condensed milk it will work. I just wish someone would do the hard work of trial and error for me. If you know of a recipe please point me in the right direction.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gooey 'Cream Cheese' Brownies

While I was typing that last post, I had these Gooey Cream Brownies in the oven. I saw the recipe over at Pamela Cooks here which is a variation of the vegweb recipe that has gotten plenty of good reviews.

I again made a mistake. This time I put the mixture it in a pan which was too big and so it was flatter towards the end than it should have been in my silly attempt to stretch it to fit the pan. So one tiny part is a little overcooked and crunchy but I cut that part away and the rest is amazing. I was worried that the cream cheese would be over-powering, but it was perfect. I am so making these again and again and again. They are rich and not cakey which I dislike about some brownie recipes.

Straight out of the oven

A closer look inside

and again

I've discovered that She and Him makes perfect baking music, thanks to Claire. What do you like to bake to?
Two perfectly good cookie recipes ruined by me

First up peanut butter & jam thumbprint cookies from the upcoming vegan cookie cookbook, the recipe can be found here. I ruined them by adding only half the amount of sugar they asked for by accident so they weren't sweet enough. It was a lot of fun to make them though.

After that I decided to give it another try with the remaining jam and make the chewy chocolate raspberry cookies from Veganomicon, the recipe can be found here. I made one tiny mistake. I didn't wash the sifter in between the two different batches of cookies, not realising that the first recipe called for baking powder and the second didn't and that baking powder has the potential to make something very bitter. It was such a pity because they were perfectly chewy and I could see the potential but they just had a horrible bitter taste.

Needless to say, Mr T and I ate all of them anyway, but we didn't love them the way we should have. Hopefully now that my baking disasters are over, I will be able to bake properly for the next vegan brunch potluck on sat.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beetroot meets Copha

It was my little sisters birthday recently and she asked me to make her Oreo cupcakes so I did using the Cookies and Cream recipe from VCTOTW that I have made for my family a few times. It's my family's fav type of cupcake, whenever I make other cupcakes they tend to be disappointed but I am getting kind of bored of them.

So to try to mix it up a little I decided to try to make the icing pink since my sister is obsessed with the colour pink. I didn't want to use red food colour (or Cochineal) because it is made from insect blood, gross! So I sought out my new source of all food knowledge- post punk kitchen forum and was pointed in the direction of this recipe which explains that you can use raw beetroot juice. I followed the original recipe for cookies and cream icing and just added the juice and it worked without affecting the flavour. I also followed Solusta's suggestion of using copha in addition to margarine. He suggested that I "melt some copha and marg down, then cool it down again. Once it starts to solidify, mix it so that the copha doesn't solidify separately." Here is the end product, it was a great colour and texture. The flash makes it look paler than what it was.


because I then added crushed up oreos it altered the colour, which I should have known since it turns my lovely white icing grey normally. I also put it in the fridge for several hours and it hardened up more than I thought it would and it wasn't easy to spread on to the cupcakes, but then butter is quite hard so maybe it was the right texture, or maybe I didn't mix it enough. I will certainly try both techniques again. Since I don't have a special cupcakes carrier YET (hint, hint), I generally take the cupcakes to the destination and then put icing on them otherwise they end up in a mess by the time I arrive. Before I left though I made some quick test ones which I know don't look pretty but you give you an idea of what they looked like.

My little sis and her friends loved them!


By the way Mr T has finally started his blogging again at Ask Me Tomorrow.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Button has been settling in quite well. The first couple of days, she wouldn't allow Mr T or I to pat her and would run away from us but would give out these tiny little meaws (like half meows) and rub herself up against our legs to tell us she is hungry. She also tried to steal our tempeh wingz (from don't eat off the sidewalk) and discovered her very own monkey bars- our indoor clothes rack which is almost as tall as me and has 3 levels. This kept us awake for a few nights with her getting up and down on it and her running all over the place like crazy. I forget what kittens are like and while Button is almost full grown she is still very much like a kitten in terms of her crazy energy. She now continues to run around during the day but curls up in bed with Mr T and I and actually lets us pat her, purrs away and then falls asleep on the bed. She is still a bit funny about us patting her head when she can see my hand coming at her and gets frightened so we try to pat her from behind. She also does strange things with her food where she takes it out of her bowl and puts it on the floor and eats it off the floor, why? I have no idea, the bowl is super clean!

Anyway, check
out the fluffy tail!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dutch Pea SoupHow come the books pic is yellow and not green like mine, it does contain GREEN split peas after all?

Ok, so you are probably sick of me talking about Las Vegan's Soup For All Seasons cookbook, but this will be the last one for the while or my other cookbooks will get jealous.

I couldn't wait to try the dutch pea soup after Lisa Dempster raved about it. I started cooking it, again excited by the simplicity. Have I mentioned i'm a pretty lazy cook? I was a little worried by the yucky smell of it cooking, it kind of reminded me of the smell of cabbage soup or something like that, but it was delicious. Although I do disagree with Lisa about one thing, I like it with the soy hot dogs.

While on the topic of Las Vegan, I went back yesterday and decided that the ginger-lemon muffin is my fav muffin and cajun eggplant calzone is the greatest.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Introducing the latest member of our household:

She looks like our old cat Molly who sadly ran away which is not our intention, we just have a soft spot for shy cats. We decided a couple of weeks ago that we have finally moved on enough to get another cat and were planning on going to the cat protection society or another shelter to get one when a friend called to tell me that there has been a cat at her local vet clinic for the last 6 months that they can't find a home for because she is so so shy. Within 24 hours we went and visited her and she was shy, but Molly was extremely shy too and eventually warmed up to us quite well. The good thing about shy cats is one they have warmed up to you, you know that you have earned their affection.

Anyway, we fell in love with her straight away and brought her home about an hour ago. We expected her to run and hide like Molly did considering how they described her but instead she has been exploring our tiny place and already shown a liking for playing with an elastic band she found on the floor and our scratching post. Here she is with the elastic band:

The pics don't do her justice, she looks like she has black patches but they are like a nice deep grey and she has a very fluffy tail.

The vet clinic named her 'button' which we had planned to change but considering she has had the same name of 6 months we might just leave it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Leda makes good vegan biscuitsMr T and I are regular buyers of Leda chocolate biscuits that taste like mintslice and tim tams and so i wasn't sure if they could pull off a non-choc biscuit, but these are pretty good and crunchy. I think they would make a good base for a cheesecake or a slice. I found them at Brunswick Coles (healthfood section).

Pic taken from their website.
Cannonballs meet Buckeyes

I wasn't sure whether to pair chocolate with peanut butter and make cannonballs or to make buckeyes. So I decided to cross the two together. I used Yeah, that "vegan" shit's recipe.

I actually thought that sticking a toothpick in it and coating it with chocolate leaving the top or 'the eye' exposed would be easier. But I was wrong. They also look ugly.

So I decided to toss the buckeye idea and the toothpicks aside and just coated them in chocolate. I was also wrong about cannonballs being an easy thing to make with all of the waiting, and the tedious task of coating each one in chocolate it took forever. Part of the appeal of making them was the simplicity, I think making ccokies, cupcakes and even cake is easier than making these tiny things. Despite the freezing some of them also feel apart when I tried to coat them and it was messy. I doubled the recipe and it used up three almost four small bags of chocolate chips to get them all coated.

So how did they taste?

Great, but not worth the effort. They didn't taste that different to chocolate spiders (which I make with crispy soy noodles), I think I will stick to them in the future.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's never been a better time to be an Aussie Vegan

It's so great to be discussing vegan recipes from other Aussies- like Mark Senn at Veginity and the soup for all seasons cookbook (see below) rather than discussing the American ones that I usually talk about.

It's also really awesome to discover more and more Aussie food bloggers. Just in the last couple of days I have discovered Solusta with amazing food pics, fellow cupcake lover Cupcake Kitteh check out the tater tacos and Shimmy Shimmy Coconut who discusses cookie dough centred cupcakes. There is also Vegology who discusses her inspiring competitive running. My list of Aussies vegetarian and vegan bloggers on the right is getting huge. Also, i'm hoping that a few more vegans I know will start blogging, you know who you are. I discovered all of the new ones I mentioned from PPK forum which has a huge Aussie Thread where the amazing brunch idea started.

There's also going to be a new Aussie vegan dessert cookbook coming out soon thanks to Aduki.

Then of course East Brunswick Club which is just a regular meat serving pub has more and more vegan dishes and desserts. I can not wait to try the chocolate and peanut butter 'cheesecake'!

I kind of feel sorry for the non-vegans who miss out on all the fun and the yummy food :-)
More from Las Vegan

I finally got to go to Las Vegan Bakery a couple of weeks ago. Mr T and I shared two TVP dishes, both his recommendations since he's the Las Vegan expert.

First the TVP calzone with the gourmet salad

and then the TVP burger

Both were supper yummy. I'm sad that I don't get to go there more often because it's only open for lunch Tue to Fri which is when I'm at work.

While I was there I went out the back to wash my hands and I got chatting with one of the owners and told her that I have been enjoying their Soup for All Seasons cookbook and have made two recipes the Spicy Morroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup and the sweet potato and lentil (more on that in a sec) and she said to me 'did you blog about it?'. To which I replied 'yes', I was so shocked that I almost fell over. I'm so glad it was a good review, it would have been quite awkward if it wasn't.

Anyway, on to the next trial from the cookbook. The sweet potato and lentil soup is probably one of the easiest in the cookbook which I love. So much so that I have made it twice, once without soy sausages and once with. I was a little concerned that with such a simple recipe that it would lack flavour, but it doesn't. It also doesn't hurt that sweet potatoes are one of my fav vegetables and it makes up a large part of the flavour. The first version without the sausages was good, but the addition of the sausages makes it great. It's definitely on my list of recipe to make again and again. This is the first version without the soy sausages which you can see doesn't look as pretty as the books pic.


Again sorry about the camera phone pics.
I just finished my final piece of coursework for my masters, yay!

Now, all that is left is my thesis.