Saturday, October 31, 2009

Me, The Tobinator And The Boys' Night Out

I went to Critical Mass last night while Kristy, Steph, Pip, S-J and the gang were enjoying the yummy Vegetarian Vietnamese food in St Albans. I was there at 17:30 and there were no cyclists in sight. I thought it was cancelled but "the mass" finally showed up around six. The bikes were cool and the people were friendly. It kind of put me off when a cyclist was drinking a beer while riding though.

We finally started riding around 18:30. A lady asked me if my name is Toby. I said yes. The "The Tobinator" sticker on my bike must have given it away.

I was enjoying the ride but 2 minutes in I've got a call. Button The Bird Slayer was outside the house and I had to go home to take her back inside. Okay, goodbye Critical Mass, I will see you in December.

So I ended up having dinner with Craig at East Brunswick Club. The menu has changed. Vegan Parma is $12 everyday (but smaller) and they now serve Funky Pies with a side of Salad. They also have Mountain Goat Steam Ale on tap.

Craig and I both ordered the amazing Vegan Philly Cheese Steak and a pint of Steam Ale. The Cheese Steak was awesome as usual. The new beer Steam Ale is kinda like the Indian Pale Ale they used to make but yummier.

Talking about about EBC. CURSE ov DIALECT is having their album launch there at 20th Nov and Why?, the only non-hiphop act under Anticon label, will be there for their Meredith side show. I am giving Why? a miss because we will be overseas. Be quick, my friends. Tickets will be sold out in no time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coffee: My Drug of Choice

As most of you might know, I love my coffee. A cup of proper coffee is office workers' best friend. The scent, the taste and the caffeine gives you a good kick in the morning and helps you to carry on with the 8 hours of mind numbing/draining work.

Having a Soy Long Mac(chiato) at Brother Baba Budan(BBB) before work is like my ritual. I have never had a bad coffee there.

Soy Long Mac @ Seven Seeds , mother store of Brother Baba Budan

My recent favourite is the little deli/cafe Superfino (275 Flinders Lane, Melbourne). The non-hipster Barista makes a good Soy Long Mac and Soy Latte with Coffee Supreme Organic Fairtrade Blend with bonsoy. They are also pretty close to my work and don't have long queues like BBB.

When you are in the city, you can also get good coffee at Jungle Juice, Switchboard (they also sell vegan Anzac cookies) and Pushka. I have also heard raving reviews of Collins Quarter and Dancing Goats.

This is a food blog so let's talk about food. Away from the city, you can enjoy a vegan moussaka (replace Feta with Hummus) or baked beans with a nice cup of coffee at Ray (332 Victoria St Brunswick). One of their waitresses is vegan and she went through all the vegan options with Kristy and I.

Soy Long Mac from Ray

Bomb Cafe (229 Johnston St Abbotsford) make one of the best vegan breakfasts in Melbourne and their coffee is not bad either.

Soy Long Mac from Bomb Cafe
In other news: I'm doing my first Critical Mass tomorrow night! See you at 5:30pm outside the State Library at the corner of Swanston St and LaTrobe St.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cupcakes for Cat/Dog Lovers

Hey! This is Toby, previously known as Mr T. I didn't really blog because I thought you can read about my life via Kristy's blog anyway.

Last Saturday we had two birthday drinks to attend: Liz's and Lisa's.

We made Cat cupcakes for Liz, who has a cat called Bella, using fluffy butter cream icing for the face, chopped Oreo as ears, quartered jellybeans as eyes, chocolate chips as noses and cut up licorice as whiskers. We also made some of them for our friends Craig and Bec, who have just moved in together, with two cats.

Using the same Vegan Oreo Cupcakes as the base, we also made Dog cupcakes for Dog lover Lisa.

The dog version are made with a Chocolate icing face, Oreo ears, Skittles eyes, jellybean noses and Licorice mouth. :-)

Lisa had her birthday drink at Bar Etiquette. The small but cozy bar has a carefully selected beer list including the open fermented White Rabbit Dark Ale.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Introducing a new blogger here....

I was talking to Mr T about how I can't really blog this month because I really need to concentrate on my thesis and asked if he would be a guest blogger for a month and he agreed.

If things go well, I might make him a permanent co-blogger. So we could become a blogging couple like Cindy and Michael at Wheres the beef?

Although I would need to look at changing the title of my blog, something I've been thinking about for a while anyway. I just can't think of any good foodie titles yet.

Our bikes together

Cedar bakery

A couple of weeks ago, Erin and I went to Cedar bakery, it is a Lebanese bakery and small grocery store that is pretty similar to A1 bakery on Sydney rd, Brunswick. All of the bakery options are super cheap at approximately $2-3.50 each. It's situated on the Thornbury side of bell st, just after high street branches off to plenty rd.

I decided to get a spinach pie, excuse the blurriness :

and a plain oregano pizza with za'atar topping:

And Erin got a oregano pizza with salad. It was massive and filled with a lot more than the usual ones at A1 and Tabets (also on Sydney rd). It had lots of spinach, mushrooms, olives, onion and tomato:

Not only was the salad fillings healthier, but the oregano pizza and spinach pie pastry seems to be much healthier, it wasn't oily at all and was more bread like.

I really enjoyed the lemony spinach pie, and the plain oregano pizza would have been enjoyable to most people, but it had rosemary on it which I hate, next time I will opt for the large, healthy salad oregano pizza which might dull the rosemary flavour a bit.

Cedar Bakery
33-37 High St, Preston VIC 3072
(03) 9484 4999
Open 7 days- 8am-7pm.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good and Bad from Isa

I've been loving Vegan Brunch and think it one of Isa's best books along with my bible- vegan cupcakes take over the world.

I followed her simple but brilliant suggestion to add lemon pepper to my potatoes, I used chat potatoes because they are superior really. However, beware most of the lemon pepper options in the supermarket seem to have chicken in them, the salt free option doesn't though.

I have found mixed results with Veganomicon though, we loved the leek and bean cassoluet but had issues with the biscuits and had to throw them out.

We also made the seitan cutlets from,Veganomicon and they sucked, they were rubbery and even the taste was wrong it just tasted like gluten flour.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bird killer

Button has injured TWO birds in a week. On ride to work day, as I was about to walk out the door when I heard button come back through the cat door, and then looked around to see blood so started screaming to Mr T that I thought that she had hurt herself, but instead she had a bird in her mouth, so Mr T and I screamed, chased after her as she ran throughout the house leaving feathers and blood everywhere. We eventually got the bird but it was pretty injured and I'm pretty sure didn't make it, but I'm trying not to think about it. The whole experience really made me even more repulsed by people wearing feathers, they really are not attractive, unless they are on a life bird! We locked her inside for a few days after.

The second time, we both came home to work and saw her actually grab this tiny little bird, we managed to get the bird off her straight away and it looked fine, no blood, no major missing feathers. I took the bird across the street to a large park and thought it was scared but fine. Mr T gave it a bit of water and it drank and then blood started to come out of it's mouth and it rolled over and died right in front of us. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen.

So my question to you fellow cat people is what should I do? I already lock Button up at night and she has two bells on her collar. Do I lock her up permanently? Is there some sort of cheap enclosure I can attach to our private rental cat door so she can go outside without killing more birds?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vegan protein/power bars?

I'm sure that I saw a aussie veg*n blogger blog about some sort of vegan power/protein bars but now can't remember where I saw the post.

Any ideas?

Funky pies how I love you...

I recently noticed a few new additions at radical grocery and with little self control had to try both the new pies and brownies from Funky pies.

I chose the funky chunky pie on Anikee's suggestion, and did not regret it. It is a lot pricer than a la panella pie but absolutely delicious, with shitake mushrooms, potato and gravy. Now I hate the texture of mushrooms, but this reminded me a lot like mockmeat both in texture and taste, almost like a tuna flavour. It was just a shame that I had to share half of it with Mr T.

and of course I got a brownie:

Now these brownies are orgasmic, yes I know that's a big call, but it deserves it. I love desserts that are super rich, so rich that you almost can't finish it, not wimpy desserts that you end up wanting more with. And this was super rich and surprisingly gluten free. I could just feel my arteries filling up with oil and sugar in the best possible way.

It was seriously the BEST brownie that I had ever eaten, vegan or otherwise. So bad for you but so so so good.

I might have to stay away from Radical Grocery for a little while so I don't walk away buying the rest of them.

Do you like the on the move pictures? We were a little rushed and running late as per usual.


Btw, it appears that one of the new smiths chips flavour is vegan. All of the ingredients in the late night kebab chips appear to be vegan but it does say contain milk at the bottom, not sure if that was just standard on all of the 4 new flavours or if it was meant to refer to possibly containing traces of milk. I'm tempted to vote for it just based on the fact that it is only vegan one, because we need another vegan chip flavour, but I better try them and confirm their vegan status first.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday 14th October: Ride to work day with organised free breakfasts for riders around the country. It is expected to rain in Melbourne though so be sure to invest in some sort of water proof jacket/poncho thing. Any recommendations for cheap ones?
  • Wednesday 14th October: fellow vegan and friend Lisa Dempster's Neon Pilgrim book launch at Readings Carlton at 6.30pm.
  • Sunday 1st November: World Vegan Day celebration at The Abbotsford Convent.
  • Sunday 1st November- November 7th- Vegan fitness week- range of activities and eating planned.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Op shop tour

I won tickets to an op shop tour a couple of weekend ago. I was a little unsure about what to expect as I consider myself to be pretty familiar with op shops and when the first stop was in the inner north, I thought 'oh no I will know them all' but I had only been to two out of the five that we visited. It was seriously a great day, being on a bus with other keen op shoppers was great and since it was a diverse group it didn't seem like we had to compete over items. The shops were all spread out, which was great since I tend to be more familiar with op shops in the west and north, but not very familiar with those in the south and east and we had discounts at four out of the five op shops, there were even prices under some of the seats on the bus, so some lucky people had $10 vouchers to spend at one of the shops. I went when I was trying to save money but still managed to pick up 5 purchases for under $15: 2 skirts, 2 pillowcases and a dress.

I think this would especially great for someone who doesn't drive or was a keen op shopper and new to Melbourne, but was still lots of fun and well worth the price for a regular Melbourne op shopper. I went with a friend who is so crazy about op shopping that she keeps maps in her car of all of the op shop locations and has gone to more than anyone I have ever met and she still managed to come home learning about 2 new op shops and $50 lighter.

Jo runs the tours quite regularly in Melbourne and Adelaide and the shops change regularly. She also has a op shop blog with a list of op shop by suburb.

I wish that the cities that I am traveling to at the end of the year had op shop tours. If you know of any in Berlin, London or Hong Kong please let me know.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cookie sandwiches

We recently had friends over for dinner and I wanted to make something different for dessert, so I quickly settled on the idea of cookie sandwiches. I made cookie sandwiches for a potluck about a year ago and they were a big hit.

This time I cheated and used store brought ice cream(choc so good) and made my favourite cookies but used white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts in place of regular choc chips. I also didn't make the peanut butter caramel but did miss it a little.

There were pretty popular again although next time I don't think I will bother putting in macadamia nuts in, the flavour seems to gets lost in the sandwiches.

I can see myself making lots of these this summer.

Here is the recipe for the chewy chocolate chip cookies from post punk kitchen:

3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon whole flax seeds
1/2 cup soymilk

2 cups all purp flour
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grind the flax seeds on high in a blender until they become a powder. Add soymilk and blend for another 30 seconds or so. Set aside.

In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a seperate large bowl cream together oil and sugar. Add the flax seed/soy milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla.

Fold in the dry ingredients in batches. When it starts to get too stiff to mix with a spatula, use your hands until a nice stiff dough forms. Add the chocolate chips and mix with your hands again.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a disc that's about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then set them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Almond fudge for new parents

Close friends of our recently had a baby and to say congrats I got them this vegan appropriate onesie from this etsy seller:

and we brought along some food since I know neither of them have been getting much sleep. We took them some sausages from Vegan Brunch, lentil quinoa stew from la dolce vegan and I made these fudge balls. The fudge recipe is from disease proof your child which I thought was kind of appropriate, but I got the recipe from Katie at frugal veggie mama:

1/2 cup dates
1/4 cup soymilk
1 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup raw carob powder
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chop dates and soak in soymilk over night to soften. Mash all ingredients together in glass dish. Chill before serving. Serves four.

I followed Katie's suggestion and used vanilla soymilk instead of vanilla extract. I also used raw cocoa powder but I think it adds a little bitterness so next time I will stick to carob powder.

Congrats again Adam and Sarah on the birth of your healthy, adorable and energetic Astrid!