Friday, July 31, 2009

Life is good

I feel like I either blog about food or rant when life is a bit shitty. So this is kind of the opposite. Lately life has been really awesome for a number or reasons like:
  • I got a secondment role which means an awesome opportunity to take a break from the role I have been doing for the last 3 and a half years and working with some different clients. The new role will be in Collingwood so am looking forward to having lots and lots of vegan options.
  • Mr T recently learnt how to ride a bike and we have slowly been exploring some short bike tracks around us. It has been so amazing to see him getting more confidence, learn to maneurve the bike and get more and more exicited about riding. It's kind of like rediscovering something through new eyes, or like watching children get excited about things, it's kind of contagious. I really enjoy riding slowly with him and chatting and just taking in our surroundings.
  • The weather has finally started to get a little milder and I now have some boots (from target) and mittens which makes the cold weather so much easier to tackle.
  • I have the found the greatest traditional chinese practioner ever. I have seen lots of good chinese doctors but this one is perfect, she has the cutest clinic ever, it is in Brunswick and she managed to help me getting rid of my horrible cough in like 2 days. I have a pretty shit immune system and it normally takes me at least a week if not weeks to fight viruses. I have been enjoying getting cupping I even think the bruises look kind of cool, and last time I had acupuncture I had this amazing floating feeling, it was aweome.
  • She has encouraged me to try Qi Gong which I'm super exicted about, but just need to find a good school.
  • I've been enjoying lots of dinners at friends places, and have really been enjoying the company and the awesome culinary efforts.
  • Button has been super affectionate lately.

Ok I'm probably making you sick with all this 'oh my life is so awesome....' stuff so I'll stop now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pancake weekend

A couple of weekends ago I had to knuckle down and spend a weekend working on my thesis, to try to make me feel better on sat morning I made these 5 minute pancakes. I didn't have regular soy milk but had choc and then made Vegan Dad's easy blueberry sauce.

The pancakes were super easy, slightly sweet, and yummy although I probably wouldn't recommend using choc soy milk. The sauce was delicious and well kind of healthy too.

The next morning, I made them again with regular soy milk, and served them lemon and icing sugar. Mr T said that he had never had them with lemon and sugar before. I think it is my favourite way to eat them and you can also eat them with your hands when there is no sauce or sticky maple syrup.

I will be making this quick pancake recipe again and again and again.

5 Minute Pancakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Set out all your ingredients.
  2. Set a stove element with a pan to medium heat.
  3. Combine the 4 dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) in a bowl.
  4. Add the soy milk and vegetable oil to your mixture.
  5. Mix until smooth.
  6. Now the pan should be ready for your batter, so spoon one pancakes' worth of the mixture into the pan.
  7. Flip [carefully] when you see bubbles in the middle of the pancake, or if the edges are looking stiffened.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nan's choc sauce for ice cream

Both my nan and mum used to make this yummy choc sauce that was only ever served on ice cream, and I asked about it recently and found that it was super easy to veganise.

This is best served on vanilla ice cream. It is gooey and almost fudge like and makes me feel better about eating ice cream in winter.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp of cocoa

  • Melt margarine, add sugar and cocoa and stir until sugar starts to dissolve
  • Add soy milk, bring to boil and cook for a minute (be careful here if you cook it for too long it will become too hard like toffee)
  • Take off heat and add vanilla essence
This makes too much for just 2 people, even people who eats lots like us so next time I will half the recipe. I didn't have regular soy milk but had vanilla soy milk so I just used that and left out the vanilla.

Thanks Nan, you rocked!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh my god, vegan omelets!

Ok so go and buy vegan brunch right now! I have only tried one recipe but already the book is worth it's money for vegan omelets.

These are amazing and quite easy to make too!

Here is my soy sausage, broccoli, cheesy sauce and sun dried tomato one

and my not so pretty one with cheese (from tart n round) and sun dried tomatoes.

I got some some black salt from the indian supermarket on sydney rd but only used half because it was too eggy for me, but Mr T loved it and sprinkled some on top of his.

Lindyloo has already posted the recipe so I guess it is ok if I also post it.

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 lb. or 450g silken tofu, lightly drained (not the vacuum-packed kind) or soft tofu

  • 2 T. nutritional yeast

  • 2 T. olive oil

  • 1/2 t. turmeric

  • 1 t. fine black salt, plus extra for sprinkling (optional)

  • 1/2 c. chickpea flour

  • 1 T. arrowroot or cornstarch


Chop up the garlic, if using, in a food processor. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and salt. Puree until smooth. Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds, until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is well incorporated.

NOTE: The original recipe also has a note in case you use soft tofu, and it's essentially that you will need to add/adjust water to your mix. Start off with 1/4 cup and test it out by heating up a skillet and cooking up 1-2 T. of it according to the directions below. If it spreads and congeals as it cooks, you can move on to the big versions. If it doesn't spread at all but just sort of sits there and doesn't congeal, then add up to 1/4 cup more water. I didn't add any it was fine.

Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the pan with cooking spray. Also, make sure that you use a large skillet, as you need room to spread out the omelet and to get your spatula under there to flip.

In 1/2 cup increments, pour the omelet batter into the skillet. Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to spread the batter out into about 6-inch circles.

Let the batter cook for about 3 to 5 minutes before flipping. The top of the omelet should dry and become a matte yellow when it's ready to be flipped. If you try and it seems like it might fall apart, give it a little more time. The underside should be flecked light to dark brown. Flip the omelet and cook for about a minute on the other side. Keep warm on a plate covered with tinfoil as you make the remaining omelets.

Fill omelet with the filling of your choice, then fold it. Once the omelet has been filled, sprinkle with a little extra black salt, since some of its flavor disappears when cooked.

Makes 4 omelets.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tart 'n' Round cheese

On my second visit to Tart n Round I noticed that they sell their own cheese I decided to buy a container but was quite skeptical looking at the jelly-ish texture.

But I put some on toast and grilled it and it was yummy. The texture was quite similar to how I remembered tasty cheese grilled on toast, the 'cheese' was kind of crisp on the outside and soft in the inside. Flavour wise, it is quite mild but you can definitely taste the cheesiness mixed with herbs.

And I asked about the choc tops, they are coming!!! At the moment they have a few tubs of their own home made ice cream and lots more savoury dishes like pizza and soup.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Let's talk vegan shoes

I have been looking everywhere for vegan boots, but not come up with any ones that I like. I want something that look like these leather camper boots only vegan. The biggest problem I have is finding relatively flat boots.

I have however found lots of other cute vegan shoes. Dimmey's in footscray has lots and lots of size 10 and size 11 croc ballet flats for $10 in a variety of colours. I wish I was a size 10!

And target has a variety of really cute vegan shoes at the moment, including: mary janes, ballet flats and wedges.

And of course I'm obsessed with the nicely scented melissa shoes. I love a lot of the new designs like these:

As for overseas sites, I've come across quite a few that I like but would rather not have shoes shipped if I can help it. Here are some ones that I like:

these red boots and many more from moo shoes

For unisex sneakers I love keep's casual men and womens shoes like these:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Enlightened cusine banquet or lots and lots of mock meat

Normally when we go to Enlightened Cusine, we go with a big group of friends and share lots of different dishes but then you only get a couple of bites of each dish. Mr T and I recently went to celebrate my new job or rather secondment. We chose one of the more expensive options on the banquet menu which I think was $32 each, but was worth it for this special occasion.

We had shark fin soup which I suprisngly liked and spring rolls

fried rice, sorry for the pic quality but It was kind of embarrassing taking food pics because my fellow diners kept looking at me when I did

Crispy sweet and sour pork, and mixed vegetables with tofu in a light stock/soy sauce

ma po tofu and spicy kung pow prawns

After all that mock and deep fried food it was nice to end with lychees and soy ice cream.

There was so much food, and it was so good to try a few dishes we had never had before and to have more than a few bites of everything. I liked all of it except for the prawns but I can't get into mock fish. I was slightly dissapointed with the ma po tofu, but I spend a year eating Ma Po Tofu in Hong Kong so I might be a bit picky with it. I always thought that shakahari would be the best first date option for vegans but am now thinking a banquet might be a better option, although maybe you don't want that food baby look you get from eating too much on a first date.

Enlightened Cusine
113 Queensbridge St, Southbank
9686 9188

Monday, July 13, 2009


  • Chris and Julia from Masterchef are dating
  • Lord of the Fries will soon be serving vegan desserts
  • Las vegan is open on thu and fri nights now

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Tuna Salad meets Jacket Potatoes

I heart jacket potatoes, I don't know why we don't make them more often. The other day I decided to combine the chickpea based Happy Tuna Salad with jacket potatoes and it rocked. I then added some cheddar cheezly to the top. My only complaint was that it was quite dry and so next time I might add some tofutti cream cheese or sour cream.

We had some of the potato/happy tuna salad filling leftover so I decided to fry them into patties which worked really well, I didn't even have to add oil.

What are you fav jacket potato combinations?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bad food pics but yummy food

This first dish is up there with my favourite tofu dishes, and I really like the method for dry frying the tofu first and love the orange sauce It was a perfect way to use up some excess oranges from the food co-op and I think I will add it to our dishes that we have again and again.

I don't want to risk losing the recipe so here is it:

Orange Tofu with Broccoli from Vegan Homemade

1 lb.(450 grams) extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes or triangles
bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
4 cloves garlic
4 green onions
3/4 c water
1/4 c orange juice
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
4 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 Tbs cornstarch

Dry-fry tofu until browned, or saute in oil if preferred. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender.

Whisk remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet to medium, and add tofu, broccoli and sauce mixture. Bring to a simmer, then continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced to your liking, stirring occasionally.

Serve over brown rice or noodles.

Erin also linked to this handy link on how to dryfry tofu.

This second dish was so great when I was sick. Ginger is awesome for both nausea and colds/flus. We followed her recommendations and used soy sauce instead of braggs. I love the unusual combination she uses, it actually works.

Carrot Ginger Cashew Pasta from Vegan Soul Power

*This recipe is casual with portions, because it can easily be stretched. I usually use about 3 carrots and 2 handfuls cashews.

-Raw, unsalted cashews
-Carrots, peeled and chopped
-1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
-1" ginger root, peeled and sliced
-1/2 tbs agave nectar
-Whole wheat pasta
-Kale or swiss chard, loosely chopped

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for your pasta. Bring a small pot of water to boil for your veggies.
2. Using a steamer insert, put equal parts carrots and cashews, along with the garlic and ginger in a pot to steam. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and steam for about 5 minutes, or until carrots can easily be pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, cook desired amount of pasta.
3. (Carefully) add steamed veggies to food processor or blender. Add a dollop of olive oil, a splash of braggs, and agave nectar. Blend until smooth-ish.
4. Once pasta is al dente, pour over kale or chard. Then toss with carrot sauce, adding a tiny pasta water if desired.

And finally not a food pic but a pic of the graffiti from my favourite safeway in Brunswick. It's my fav safeway because they sell tofutti cream cheese, often has good buskers, is right near radical grocery and I can take the bike path the whole way to get there instead of having to cross Sydney or Grantham St.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Strawberry cupcakes

It was my cousin's 21st on sat night and so I made 80+ mini cupcakes for her party. I'm almost worked my way through vctotw so decided to try something else. I made Kittee's strawberry kake recipe (minus the food colour) and put them into mini cupcakes liners. I baked them for about 12 minutes. I was really really happy with the flavour of these moist cupcakes and have already put in a request for Mr T to make me the actual cake for my birthday. The recipe is quite interesting because it asks for blackcurrant cordial but I don't think you would ever guess it. I then made the vanilla icing from vctotw and added some of the cordial to it. I think next time I will just stick to the vanilla icing as I think flavouring it takes away from the actual cake part. I also made flowers but didn't like the way they tasted. I had one person at the party ask me if I would make cupcakes for children's parties, I said I would think about it. I kind of worry that if I bake for money regularly I will no longer enjoy baking. Besides I wouldn't know how much to charge, and also whether I would advise her that they are vegan.

I've recently updated my veg links on the site, if I have left someone out please let me know!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sweet Potato Falafel

Our friend Ann recently made us some sweet potato falafel from 101cookbooks and I fell in love with it instantly. So for the last potluck-Lidia's farewell party Mr T made it. The sweet potato really pairs well with garlic and coriander. I think I actually prefer them over regular falafel, but that could be because I am all falafel-ed out, I do live in Brunswick the falafel capital. These aren't as firm as regular falafel but these are baked not fried. We will definely make them again.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Breaking news: Melbourne's newest veg cafe opened today!

I was super excited to find out that Tart n Round that make the amazing chocolate balls that are available at Fatto a Mano and many other places was opening a cafe. I was even more excited when I learnt that it was going to be in Thornbury and super close to my work. They opened today and so I popped in on my tiny lunch break. Everything they sell is egg free, dairy free, and wheat free and vegetarian of course. I didn't get a good look at the menu, but they had a few things in their fridge like veg burgers/patties, and lasagna. I also noticed that they had their amazing cherry bliss and peanut caramel balls, with some other chocolate balls and a few different varieties of giant cookies. One thing I did see on their menu was brownie sundaes that I will definitely try next time. I also heard rumours that they will see vegan choc tops but didn't see any. I needed something quick though so got a piece of lasgane. It was quite unique in that it had mashed potatoes on top but it worked. It had a range of vegies and mushrooms in and it and was yummy.

I also got myself a choc orange cookie.

It was huge like the size of my palm and I have long hands, see:

I can't wait to go back on sat with Mr T and try more. It's great to finally see a veg cafe around Northcote/Thornbury.

Tart N Round
839 High St
Tue- Sat 10-6