November 26, 2015

vegan about town

[fitzroy] pavlov's duck

Just a quick one before I mosey on off through to Singapore for family time. Visited Pavlov's Duck for a quick breakfast on Sunday. I'd forgotten that PD does hoppers on weekends and public holidays, so this was a delightful and fairly straightforward order.

Crisp hoppers (3) with beautiful squishy base, a lovely and slightly spicy dahl, marinated and caramelised onions (chilled). The hoppers are cooked at the front of the cafe, so you pass them as you come in, and how can you resist their charms? (You can't.)

A delicious addition to my South Asian weekends (dosa at Mukka). All I need now is for someone to make idli and I'll be content.

Previous visit: the pol roti

Pavlov's Duck
401 Smith Street

Entry is via a little step, ordering occurs at a high counter. Eftpos available. We didn't check out the toilets.
Get there on the 86 tram (not an accessible stop), the Rose Street stop.
The website is hard to read

Posted November 26, 2015 08:52 PM by steph


Celebrity Chef Vegan Potluck Picnic

Vegan potluck picnics with themes!!! On the weekend I went to a potluck with other veg*n bloggers-and-friends where the theme was Celebrity Chef. I dutifully went and borrowed some library books for research (Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, though I forgot to go pick up my reserve of a Margaret Fulton cookbook in time). Nothing really...
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Posted November 26, 2015 06:07 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Stuffing with kale and tofu bacon: a token Thanksgiving dish

It took me a long time to understand Thanksgiving.  Until I started blogging, I thought it was just like our Christmas.  Now I know it is at a different time of year, celebrating the harvest rather than religion, and the food is different.  While there is turkey like my childhood Christmases, the side dishes and dessert are totally different.  And the stuffing is cooked with chunks of bread, not breadcrumbs and it is not cooked in the bird.  Which makes it more attractive for a vegetarian.

I finally tried an American-style stuffing recipe.  It has sat in my drafts for too long.  I promised myself I would post it in time for Thanksgiving and now suddenly Thanksgiving is here.  So here it is.

I had been working up to making stuffing for a while now.  One of the great appeals of stuffing is that it is an opportunity to use up all those dried ends of sourdough loaves in the freezer. 

I have been bookmarking stuffing recipes with interesting add-ins for a while.  Chestnuts, cornbread, apples, dried cranberries and nuts of all kinds.  It seems that I am not alone in getting more familiar with Thanksgiving.  I recently saw a Thanksgiving recipe in a local supermarket magazine.  This cornbread stuffing with kale, bacon and pecans had the sort of flavours I liked.

I also sort of followed a Vegetarian Times recipe which said I should tip in the stock and the bread should soak it up.  Mine did not soak up.  I don't know if there was too much stock or that my bread was too stale and too many crusts.

The day that I baked this stuffing was a busy one so I made dinner ahead of time.  It looked great when it came out but was a bit wet for me.  I am confused about if this was in the moist or the soggy category.  It was nice but I have never had this sort of stuffing before and am still not sure how it is meant to taste.  When I reheated it the next night I put it under the grill (broiler) to crisp up and served it with vegies which I preferred.  

Possibly my main problem with the stuffing is that it is more like a bread pudding than the stuffing I grew up with.  I loved my mum's stuffing because, let's face it, it was better than the meat.  Always.  So I would prefer a nut roast to this stuffing because nut roasts traditionally use breadcrumbs rather than bread chunks which is far more like my mum's stuffing.  However I am willing to concede that if surrounded by lots of great side dishes and cooked as it should be (if I got it wrong) than I could love this stuffing. And I am sure it would work on a Christmas dinner table as much as on a Thanksgiving spread.

But I know that stuffing is far more of a tradition in some American houses.  So to those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope your stuffing is moist but not soggy (apparently that is right) and that you enjoy good food with good company.

I am sending this to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays, Jacqueline for Meatless Mondays and Shaheen for Eat Your Greens.

Some possible Thanksgiving recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Apple cider brussels sprouts (v)
Baked brie with cranberry sauce and walnuts (gf)
Carrot, walnut and cranberry salad (gf, v)
Cottage cheese and walnut nutloaf (v)
Cranberry and chestnut stuffing balls (v)
Cranberry nut rolls
Gravy (gf, v)
Parsnip, cranberry and chestnut roast
Pumpkin stuffed with hominy and tomatillo stew (gf, v)
Smoky maple sweet potato mash (gf, v) 

Stuffing with kale and tofu bacon
Adapted from Vegetarian Times and Coles
Serves 4-6 as a main or more as a side dish

400g sourdough bread, cubed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup tofu bacon, fried
1-3 tsp neutral oil like rice brace
3 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Half bunch tuscan kale, finely sliced
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. sage leaves, finely chopped (I used dried)
1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable stock (or less)

Place bread cubes on a large oven tray and bake at 180 C for about 8-10 minutes until dried out.  (Mine took a little longer possibly because it came straight out of the freezer.) Place the chopped walnuts on the oven tray for about 5 minutes or until toasted.  Fray tofu bacon on the stovetop in about 1-3 tsp neutral oil until crisp.Set aside.

Heat olive oil or butter in large frypan and fry onion, celery and garlic for about 10-15 minutes or until soft.  Add kale and fry another 10-15 minutes.  or until kale is wilted and a little crisp around the edges.  Stir in the herbs for 1 minutes.

Mix bread, walnuts, tofu bacon and vegetables with stock in a large bowl until stock soaks in (but mine didn't so perhaps less would be better).  Check and adjust seasoning.

Tip into a large oven tray and bake for 40-60 minutes or until crisp on top.

On the Stereo:
Life: Inspiral Carpets

Posted November 26, 2015 02:04 PM by Johanna GGG

November 25, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Cheeseburger puffs

November 22, 2015

We joined a gang of veg*n bloggers and associated hangers-on for a potluck picnic in Edinburgh Gardens this past weekend. The potluck was organised by Steph, who added the fun/complexity of a 'celebrity chef' theme. The easy option would have been to fall back on one of the many crowd-pleasing Ottolenghi or Isa recipes we've made before, but we decided to embrace the spirit of the theme more thoroughly and veganise some unlikely celebrity chef dishes.

Cindy had oodles of fun trawling her way through the slightly terrifying Paula Deen archives, weighing up options like the bacon cheeseburger meatloaf and the banana split brownie pizza - this Guardian rundown outlines just how horrifically unhealthy (and unvegan) Deen's cooking style is. In the end, after weighing up the picnic-appropriateness and veganisability of various mad recipes, we settled on these mini cheeseburger puffs, which basically involve wrapping the fillings of a cheeseburger in puff pastry.

With TVP replacing the the ground beef, Tofutti's American cheese slices filling in admirably for crappy cheddar slices and some squares of mock bacon adding our own special touch, these were a gloriously unhealthy vegan sensation. This is about as far from wholefoods as it gets. They were a huge success though, especially with generous dollops of tomato sauce on top. 

They're a bit fiddly to make - the TVP-based mince doesn't hold together as a burger patty at all, so you have to just scoop up a big spoonful of the mix into the centre of each pastry square (see above). Don't skimp on the homemade seasoning - the TVP is pretty flavourless on its own, so you really need to go crazy with the salt and spices. We made up our own versions of Paula Deen's silly salt and steak seasoning. The quantities below make 24 pastries, so consider halving it if you're not feeding a picnic full of hungry vegans.

The picnic food was all incredible - Johanna has already posted up her dishes, keep an eye on Veganopolous for a full round-up as well.

Mini cheeseburger puffs
(adapted from this Paula Deen recipe)

burger mix
1.5 cups TVP
1.5 cups boiling water
1 small onion, diced

Roughly 5 parts salt, 2 parts pepper, 2 parts garlic powder, 1 part onion powder, cayenne, ground coriander and dill - up to about 2 tablespoons.

toppings etc
1 packet Tofutti American cheese slices -12 slices, quartered into 48 little squares
enough mock ham to make 24 little squares
6 sheets puff pastry

Soak the TVP in the boiling water for 10 minutes or so, until the water is absorbed.

Fry the rehydrated TVP with the onion for about 5 minutes. Stir in the seasoning, then kill the heat and let the mix cool to room temperature.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. 

Defrost the pastry sheets. Make the puffs up - each one needs one quarter of a sheet of the puff pastry, a tablespoon of the burger mix, two cheese squares and one ham square (see above). 

Fold the four corners of the pastry up to meet in the centre and cover the filling (see photos above). Pinch the corners of the puff pastry squares together and partially along the seams, leaving a few little air holes along the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is crispy and golden. They're delicious fresh out of the oven, but just as good served later at room temperature.

Posted November 25, 2015 08:02 PM by Michael


No Bull: An All-Vegan Affair At Maha, City

‘Tis the season for lots of excellent all-vegan degustation dinners in Melbourne! Last night was Maha’s turn. Maha is known around vegan town for their fine plant based options. I’d never been before (I might lose vegan points for that somewhere) but the vegan options on the menu always sounded impressive and certainly not some...
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Posted November 25, 2015 04:56 PM

November 23, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Tamari chickpeas, a picnic and more aquafaba experiments

Yesterday Sylvia told me that when I use chickpeas, I must not tip the water off them down the sink because it is a waste.  When the 6 year old in the house understands the value of aquafaba, it is a sign I have been experimenting with it quite a lot lately.  Indeed I had high hopes of making Nigella's "macaroons" for a celebrity chef picnic on the weekend but the tamari chickpeas from Dreena Burton were actually far more successful.

Firstly let me say that I am far more comfortable with macaroons (which remind me of my grandfather) than macrons (which seem fiddly and trendy).  So I liked the idea of veganising the macaroons in How to Be a Domestic Goddess for a vegan picnic.  The more I looked the more they seemed like macrons.

Having never made this sort of recipe before vegan or not, I decided to trial them the previous day because I was going to a family meal in Geelong.  They flopped.  I wondered if they were affected by using almonds rather than pistachios or if the almond meal was not fine enough.  However I suspect the main problem was rushing around trying to get ready to make pancakes and getting Sylvia ready for gymnastics while having an oven timer that is being unreliable.  You can see in the above photo that they had potential.  They tasted good but were not worth sandwiching together with passionfruit frosting as I had planned.

So the next morning when I tried making the chocolate macaroons, I had hope.  I was more careful in sifting and preparing and watching the timer.  But even before the timer rang, I knew that the mixture was much less firm.  I had to work quickly to pipe them out.  (To spoon the mixture into the piping bag I put sticky tape over the nozzle to stop it running straight through.)

I had found that they baked too quickly in the first (vanilla) batch.  My oven needs baking to be turned midway through but I had got too distracted to turn them in time.  When I turned the chocolate macaroons midway, they did not look promising.

They came out so flat that I almost curled them like brandy snaps.  So much for doing my trial run.  The second batch were far worse than the first.  I almost threw out the remaining mixture and then decided to bake it anyway and just embrace the crisp flat macaroons.

There was still some skill to bake them long enough that they weren't so sticky in the middle that they were impossible to get off the paper, and not bake them so long that they were going to break a tooth.

When I left some in a tub for E who was not at the picnic, he looked at the shards and asked if I was going to bring home proper chocolate biscuits from the picnic.  Poor man is used to always being given the worst of the batch and expected there must be better versions somewhere.  As it was he decided they were too sweet.
I took them along to the picnic as sweet morsels but not expecting to impress.  Cindy commented that they would made attractive garnishes on a fancy dessert.  (Such as Faye's Mousse Your Own Adventure Cake that I enjoyed with chocolate cake in it.)

As I had quite a lot of chickpeas leftover after using the chickpea brine for aquafaba, and not a lot of energy for anything else, I made Dreena's Tamari Chickpeas.  They were a really nice snack and great to for lunches today.

And because it seemed mean-spirited to take a failed dessert and a simple baked chickpeas, and because I had left my sourdough starter out overnight by mistake, and because I had pizza sauce in the freezer and love making vegan mozzarella, I made a pizza to take along.  It was very relaxing to sit in the Edinburgh Gardens with good food and good company.  And there were so many delicious desserts that I didn't really mind that my attempt to mix Nigella and aquafaba had failed.  Yet more experiments will follow.

You can read more about the picnic from fellow bloggers Faye at Veganopoulous and Where's the Beef.

More aquafaba in recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate banana swiss roll
Marshmallow frosting
Tahini stew with feta and dill dumplings
Vegan meringues
Vegan mozzarella

Tamari chickpeas
Adapted from Plant Powered Kitchen

2 x 400ml tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly balsamic vinegar (I used plum)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 200 C and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Mix all ingredients in the tin and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.  They will still be soft and tender rather than crunchy.  Eat hot or room temperature.  Can be kept in container in the fridge for a 2 to 3 days.

Chocolate macaroons/crisps - work in progress
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess

250g icing sugar
30g cocoa
125g almond meal
3/4 cup aquafaba (I used chickpea brine)
25g castor sugar

Preheat oven to180 C.  Line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa.  Set aside and have almond meal and castor weighed and ready.

Beat aquafaba for about 2-3 minutes until white and fluffy.  Sprinkle castor sugar over the mixture and continue beating for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks but not dry.

Very gently, using a metal spoon, fold in icing sugar, cocoa and almond meal.

Pipe mixture into 5cm diameter rounds on baking paper leaving 5-10 cm space between each circle of mixture.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until bubbly and slightly dried.

Cool on baking paper for 10-15 minutes and then gently peel off and keep in an airtight container for a few days.

NOTES: This is what I did.  I thought it might make macarons but even when I left them to sit for 15 minutes they just were flat.  Perhaps another time I will try and see if I can get them to rise.  Meanwhile, they have some merit as crisp chocolate lacy rounds.

On the stereo:
Talking with the Taxman about Poetry: Billy Bragg

Posted November 23, 2015 10:03 PM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

springtime potato salad

potato salad

It is the season for lots of things in my garden. Early Nicola potatoes, late broad beans, and asparagus at its peak.

Most potato salads are traditionally dressed with mayonnaise, but I like to make mine with a vinaigrette.

I made this riff on my basic potato salad with some extra ingredients. Steamed asparagus, double peeled broad beans, and dill in the mustardy vinaigrette.

I also threw in some quartered cherry tomatoes for colour and some roasted almonds for crunch.  This fancied up salad varies according to the season.

This is one of the springtime versions, and a meal in itself.


springtime potato salad
prep time
20 mins
cook time
30 mins
total time
50 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: salad
cuisine: vegan
serves: 6
  • 1 kg waxy potatoes washed and cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 2 tbs chopped dry roasted almonds
  • 6 spears steamed asparagus cut into 1 cm pieces
  • ½ cup double podded broad beans
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
For the dressing
  • 2 tsp smooth dijon mustard
  • 3 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs of finely chopped dill
  • 2 tbs of finely chopped parsley
  1. Steam the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife point.
    DO NOT overcook or undercook. If you are unsure, taste a piece.
  2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel the skin off and cut into slices into a large serving bowl.
  3. Add the almonds, asparagus, broad beans, and cherry tomatoes.
  4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar, put on the lid and shake vigorously to emulsify.
  5. Add as much of the dressing as you need to coat the potatoes and fold in gently so as not to break the potatoes. You will probably need about ¾ of the dressing.
  6. Chill the salad and serve.
You can save the remainder of the dressing to use to refresh any leftover salad before serving.


Posted November 23, 2015 10:00 AM

November 22, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Urad dal with coconut & coriander

November 15, 2015

We had a few friends around for dinner on Sunday night and decided that an Indian feast was the way to go. We fell back on some old favourites - palak paneer, samosas and kulfi - and included this Ottolenghi-inspired dal as something novel. It uses urad dal - black lentils - which are firmer and hold their shape better than some of the other dals we've used before. The downside to their firmer texture is that they need to be soaked overnight, so you need to be a bit organised.

The recipe is otherwise straightforward - it's a simple one pot meal that just needs a bit of time to get the liquid thickened up. The dal itself is lovely, with the garam masala giving it a nice warmth and depth, but the toppings are what really make this stand out. It's definitely worth tracking down fresh coconut if you can - we found frozen shredded coconut at Mix Supermarket in Brunswick, which was an easy solution. The recipe below makes tons of food - we were eating leftovers all week (with no complaints).

Urad dal with coconut & coriander
(adapted from one of Ottolenghi's recipes from The Guardian)

300g urad dal, soaked overnight
60g ghee
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 whole green chilli, finely chopped
1.5 tablespoons garam masala
800g can crushed tomatoes
200ml coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds, toasted
100g roughly grated fresh coconut (we found some pre-grated in the freezer at an Asian supermarket)
50g crispy fried shallots
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

Drain and rinse the dal and set aside.

Heat the ghee in a large saucepan and then fry the onion for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until its golden and soft.

Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and garam masala and stir-fry it all together for a couple of minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes.

Add the dal, along with a litre of water and a teaspoon of salt. Cover until the mix is simmering and then simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Cook it down until you've got a thick, soupy texture.

Kill the heat and stir in the coconut milk, lime juice and mustard seeds.

Serve, topped generously with the coconut, shallots and coriander.

Posted November 22, 2015 09:32 AM by Michael

November 21, 2015


What I Ate… Lately

Whoops, a bit late with this again so let me distract you with a cat staring at fruit picture: My giveaway (for US readers) for Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen is still running here for a few more hours yet! One of the meals I’d made was a chickpea spinach curry and I’d frozen some leftovers. This is...
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Posted November 21, 2015 05:11 PM

November 20, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Chocolate banana swiss roll - a vegan aqua faba experiment

Those of you who are familiar with swiss rolls might guess from this top photo that it was not a complete success.  For if it was I would probably have a lovely photo of a perfect swirl of cake and cream or frosting.  However it was my first swiss roll, and was made almost vegan with aqua faba.  This is quite a feat and has lots of learning that I wanted to record and share.

I also wanted to record my journey into sponge making for another reason.  In my childhood, my mother and grandmothers regularly produced magnificent sponge cakes and pavlovas that relied on lots of eggs.  I ate them but I never liked eggy foods and hence have never made them as an adult.  So I have embraced the discovery of the egg-like properties of aqua faba.  It is returning me to my baking heritage in an unconventional way.

I sometimes feel guilty that I don't make pavs and sponges with Sylvia the way my mum did with me.  Which might explain why, instead of her doing some ukulele practice or reading after school, I showed her how to sift flour and fold flour into the whipped aqua faba and sugar.

It is hard to believe that for all the baking I do that I don't think Sylvia has seen me sift flour before.  It doesn't happen often but I know it is important for sponge cakes.  I didn't let her have a go at folding the flour in.  Not yet.  That is delicate work especially when working with unfamiliar recipes.

I have meant to try a swiss roll forever but it is something that intimidates me.  Too much that can go wrong.  Yet they look so pretty.  And my dad loves them.  When Choclette called for chocolate and banana creations for We Should Cocoa I wanted to make something special. I gave it a lot of thought and my whacky idea was to make a savoury mole flavoured swiss roll with a chilli, lime and banana filling.  I wasn't not quite brave enough.  So I fell back on a sweet version I had found.  A chocolate honeycomb and banana roll.  Only I decided to make it vegan.  Well almost.  I used violet crumble to mix into the filling and arrange on top, as the original recipe did.  It was a sentimental choice because my dad loved them.

Up to the moment when I rolled up the cake in the baking paper, I was pretty happy with my progress.  Then I tried making vegan marscapone because the original recipe called for marscapone.  It was really runny and I have only rarely used dairy marscapone and wasn't sure how it should be or how to thicken it.  Custard powder didn't really work.  The banana and violet crumble helped a little.

Even worse, when I tried to unroll it while still warm, the cake cracked.  This was not good considering that I had a really runny filling.  I am still undecided on what would have worked best in the filling.  The original recipe had caramel spread over the cake before adding the marscapone.  I liked the idea but didn't have time or energy to make it.  Frosting might work and I had my eye on this banana frosting.  However I think it would have needed to cool completely for frosting.  And I wondered if the cake would have cracked more if it was cool.  I also found this article from Kitchen Tigress about how cocoa makes it hard to work with a swiss roll.  But everything is better with chocolate.  I also liked the chocolate coating on Vegan Dad's swiss roll to cover up imperfections.  I really need more practice and hope to do so.  When and if I do, I will post more.

And so here you see how the filling was not quite right.  However don't be fooled.  It actually tasted really good.  After 30 minutes when we ate dessert outside in the backyard it was ok but after a few hours it was really good because a lot of the filing had been absorbed into the cake.  It was not quite the feathery light cake of my childhood swiss rolls but it was delicious.  Actually I am pretty excited at having come this far.  Stay tuned folks for more kitchen experiments....

More chocolate and banana recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana and choc chip scones
Banana treacle and nutella cake
Choc caramel banana cake
Choc-nut banana and fruit kebabs (gf, v)
Chocolate bliss balls (v)

Chocolate banana swiss roll - work in progress
Sponge adapted from Coconut Craze and marscapone adapted from Ricki Heller

Chocolate sponge: 

3/4 cup aqua faba (chickpea brine)
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa

Banana and chocolate marscapone filling:
400ml can full fat coconut milk
1 cup raw cashews*
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp custard powder (optional)
2 x 50g chocolate bars (I used violet crumble), chopped*
1 1/2 large bananas, roughly mashed

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Grease and line a swiss roll tin (about 9 x 13 inch rectangular tin).  Or if you want to be traditional, grease and line with flour.

Make sponge cake.  Sift dry ingredients.  Beat aqua faba until bubbly.  Add sugar and beat for 5-10 minutes until soft peaks.  Beat in vanilla.  Gently fold in sifted dry ingredients.

Pour into prepared swiss roll tin.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until the cake bounces back when you lightly touch the middle and the edges pull away from the side.  Place a tea towel on the bench and a layer of baking paper on top.  Turn out onto baking paper sprinkled generously with cocoa (or sugar). Roll up along the long side with the baking paper while hot, using the teatowel for guidance if necessary.  (This is to help shape the cake into a roll.)

Make marscapone filling by blending coconut milk, cashews, lemon juice, brown sugar and custard powder.  Pour into a small mixing bowl and mix in roughly mashed bananas and 1 bar of chocolate.

After the cake has been rolled up about 30 minutes, carefully unwrap and spread the filling in the middle.  (Mine was quite runny and I am still unsure of the best filling.)  It was best served after the roll had sat in the fridge for at least a few hours.  Can be made a day in advance.

NOTES: This could be converted to plain vanilla cake by substituting flour for the cocoa.  I didn't soak the cashews because I have a high powered blender but if you are using a regular blender, I recommend soaking them at least 2 hours.  I used violet crumble - a chocolate covered honeycomb bar - but it is isn't recommended for strict vegetarian or vegan diets.  Any chocolate bar would do - either a filled one or a bar of dark chocolate.

On the Stereo:
Born Sandy Devotional: The Triffids

Posted November 20, 2015 10:15 PM by Johanna GGG

November 18, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Bar Idda: Roots Fruits and Wild Herbs vegan degustation

I arrived at Bar Idda's vegan degustation feeling flustered from desperately seeking parking.  Upon entering, I was greeted with the lively bustle of the full restaurant.  It didn't take me long to relax with the the friendly folk on my table and an attentive waiter.  And then the seven courses started coming our way and I had a lovely time.  So much delicious, fresh, interesting food.

Bar Idda is an Italian restaurant in Lygon Street, East Brunswick that focuses on the fresh flavours of the Sicilian cuisine.  It is in the building that used to house Rumi before it moved down the road.  It has a rustic ambiance with the embroidered white table cloths, mismatched wooden chairs and white stucco walls.  I was there for the Roots Fruits and Wild Herbs seven course vegan degustation, which was held as part of The Age Good Food Month.

The service was friendly and enthusiastic.  Our waiter announced each dish and was happy to discuss what was in them.  But before eating, we started with a drink.  I chose not to have the matching wines.  Our waiter had a chat to me about what non-alchoholic drink he could make me.  He asked about my preferences and we agreed he should surprise me.  He served me a mandarin, orange and dark cherry drink that was so lovely and refreshing.


First up was the Verdura cunzati, which consisted of Sicilian green olives, warm maccu with olive oil and pane di casa, served alongside a pickled artichoke, asparagus, cucumber and melon.

The maccu, a silky smooth broad bean dip, was amazing and I could have eaten a whole lot more with the soft and crusty bread.  The olives were nice for nibbling as we chatted.  I found the pickled vegetables a bit challenging as it is no something I am used to.  They were cooked al dente and still retained some crunch.  I liked it but didn't love it, especially as I could not build up enough enthusiasm to try the rock melon.

Three dishes arrived for the fritti course of fried street food.  Zeppole of potato and chicory with salmoriglio; Chickpea panelle with tomato, chili and cumin salsa and sweet and sour avocado; and Herb-crusted zucchini flowers

The zeppole, or fritters, were lovely.  These could well be Italian comfort food.  Each had a dob of salmoriglio, which was an oil and lemon juice emulsion that was similar to mayonnaise.  The fried zucchini flowers was surprisingly dark on the outside but upon biting in, the zucchini was a perfectly cooked bright green.  The star of this course, however, was the chickpea panelle or chips.  It was like a Sicilian nachos and executed beautifully.  I was left wanting more of these crisp chips with the creamy avocado sauce and the lightly spiced salsa.


For crudo, we were served raw dishes of Soused cauliflower with currants, pine nuts, witlof and fresh herbs; and Zucchini spaghetti with broad beans, mint, pistachio and stemperata.

I confess to finding witlof a challenge and so I was wary of the cauliflower dish.  It was nicely balanced with the currants and pinenuts but it was the mild flavoursome zucchini spaghetti that really called my name.  This was one of my stand-out dishes of the night.  I did ask about the stemperata and remember capers and perhaps vinegar.  Mint is not a flavour I associate with Italian food but it was brilliant here as were the broad beans.

Next was arrosto, the roasted dishes, which consisted of Apunata of roasted baby vegetables with raspberry vincotto and Roasted eggplant and chickpeas with tomato passata.

I was surprised that the passata was a little spicy.  It was prettily presented and jazzed up the soft eggplant and chickpea mounds.  I liked it but was even more impressed with the ruby coloured roast vegetables.  At first I was concerned that the red vegie was chilli and I was happy to discover it was red capsicum among the beetroots, carrots and onion.  It was the sort of side dish I love that was lightly seasoned enough not to blanket the vegetables and refreshing in its simplicity.


I am not so familiar with Italian meal structure but I read that Secondi is the main course.  And indeed the pasta e contorni dishes of Homemade ravioli of wild local vegetables, cannellini beans with salsa verde and olive oil and Warm lentils, garlic mollica and citrus were rather substantial.

The dinner was great because it moved away from the starchy stereotypes of Italian cuisine: pasta, pizza and risotto.  This was the only course with any of them.  It was a treat to have home made pasta that was far more robust than dried pasta.  It was toothsome with a filling that was quite soft and beany.  The sauce was lovely but I could not quite identify the herbs in the salsa verde.  Our waiter who had a genuine enthusiasm for the food told us that the lentils were a favourite dish of his.  It was a great dish with lentils that were full of gentle flavour with a lovely crunch from the crisp breadcrumbs on top.


Dessert comprised two dishes starting with a refreshing sorbetto.  The spiced prune sorbet with Sicilian artisanal dark chocolate was light and fruity with just a touch of chocolate decadence.

Lastly we were served the cuccia.  According to the web "cuccia" means doghouse or dog basket.  We regularly asked our waiter for translations of unfamiliar words and I wish we had sought an explanation of this one.  Alas I can only tell you that our cuccia was an Almond milk, oat and farro pudding with bombolone, fresh berries and nut candy. We had a choice of espresso, camomile tea or bayleaf and lemon rind tea.  I chose the latter.

I was fairly full by now and not expecting much from a dessert that sounded like porridge.  How wrong I was!  It was both creamy comfort food of the best kind and elevated to a fancy schmancy dessert by the juicy berries, jaw locking nut candy and soft fried slightly chewy bombolone or doughnut.  I loved it.  And I was grateful for the herbal tea alternatives which are not usually offered when coffee comes out with dessert.  The bay leaf and lemon rind tea was just right with it.

Then it was time to go home, once I had tried to paid the bill and been reminded I had already paid when booking.  It had been a fantastic night of delicious food that challenged me to rethink the Italian cuisine; friendly discussion about family, vegan issues, Sammy J and Randy, and religion; and a great conviviality in the restaurant.

The regular Bar Idda menu has far less vegan meals though a few interesting vegetarian dishes.  This dinner shows they can produce creative and delicious vegan food.  I hope it might be indicative of the restaurant's willingness to accommodate dietary requirements but you would need to ring ahead and check on this.

You can read more about the degustation and see some great photos on Veganopoulous.

Bar Idda
132 Lygon Street
Brunswick East
Tel: (03) 9380 5339

Bar Idda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted November 18, 2015 10:40 PM by Johanna GGG

The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Loving Hut Northcote


Loving Hut
377-379 High St
VIC 3070
(03) 9077 1335


order online

Opening Hours

Tue-Sat: 11am-10pm
Sun: 4.30pm-10pm

Loving Hut is an all vegan restaurant chain with over 200 stores worldwide, each offering different menus and qualities of service, but all united in the goal of bringing affordable vegan meals to the public. 

Behind the sect-like glowing signage, yellow walls, plastic bamboo, and tv screen illuminating Batman cartoons (on mute thankfully), Northcote Loving Hut is a damn good place for a consistently delicious meal, and it's huge interior makes it an easy choice for last minute dining if you have a big group to feed.

The menu offers a boundless array of everything that seems non-vegan at a glance. We're talking about dishes such as 'Southern fried chicken' ($16) (or 'The volcano' ($17) if your partial to smothering said dish in hot sauce), 'Lemon chicken' ($14), 'Katsu duck with plum sauce' ($14), 'Pan fried tuna fillet' ($13) and the list goes on and it's all vegan.

My favourite dish of the moment is 'Bambam' ($15), which is deep fried eggplant or prawns with creamy sriracha infused mayo on top, and puffed tofu. Loving Hut also do an authentic vegan 'Silken tofu pad thai' ($13), a classic 'Curry laksa' ($12) and various rice, noodle and vegetable dishes. There are almost 50 items on the menu, so I won't even attempt to list them all, but I will let you know that many can be ordered as gluten free, onion free and garlic free.

Desserts are also an option, with Zebra dream organic coconut ice-cream scoops, banana fritters, and an array of cakes and La Panella Bakery style baked goods, such as lemon tarts and caramel slice.

Head to the big freezer to secure a bulk pack of vegan hot dogs or bacon (these ones aren't classified by the World Health Organisation as being group 1 carcinogens - yay!), and there's usually a good supply of veganpet and v-dog (which is hard to find) pet food to snap up for your fur kids.

 Loving Hut Northcote Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Also visited by: the lentil institutionwhere's the beef?, veganopoulous

Posted November 18, 2015 06:54 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

A Fan's Notes

November 14, 2015

We've been angling for a visit to A Fan's Notes since our friend Will talked it up as a super vegan-friendly addition to the strip of cafes on Nicholson Street in Carlton North. We were too early for them a week ago, so we took no chances on Saturday and wandered up for a late lunch.

It's a cluttered little cafe, immediately winning me over with posters of The Chills and The Clean, along with an impressive bookshelf and general scruffy-hipster vibe. The menu is full of vegetarian and vegan options, with five vegan or veganisable dishes (an enchilada and a quesadilla along with the scrambled tofu, bircher and burrito discussed below) and another five vegetarian dishes across the brunch and lunch menus. Coeliacs are also well catered for, with six dishes to choose from.

I was almost lured in by the vegan scrambled tofu, with polenta, asparagus, burnt eggplant, roast peppers and snow peas ($17), but instead went with the vegan option on the black bean burrito, hoping they'd replace the scrambled egg with scrambled tofu. Sadly they don't, but you still get a ludicrously fat burrito, stuffed with a slightly smoky black-bean mix and slathered in avocado, a corn and tomato salsa and accompanied by a pile of crispy kale chips ($17).

There are about forty different hot sauces to choose from as well - you can see the bottle of Tasmanian pepper sauce just in the edge of the picture above. I was deeply impressed by my meal - it's not super complicated, but it's executed well, is a mountain of food and was goddamn delicious. 

The sweet side of the menu is not quite as exciting as the savoury, with Cindy limited to either a vegan bircher, with apple and sweet dukkah ($11), or this slightly terrifying banana French toast, with pistachio cream, smoked sugar and rum syrup ($16 - the original dish has bacon, I'm not sure whether the price changes when it's omitted).

Long-time readers will know my feelings on bananas, and this was pretty much my nightmare: some sort of banana bread, with a soggy cooked banana draped across it. Ugh. Cindy was more accepting of the strong banana flavour and pudding texture, but even she was feeling some order envy as she looked at the varied savoury plates around her. 

A Fan's Notes is a great addition to the Brunswick brunch scene - its vegan-friendly savoury dishes are particularly noteworthy. There's decent coffee, friendly staff and great music on the stereo - we'll definitely be back.

The only previous review of A Fan's Notes that I could dig up was this short and positive write-up at Gluttony Fair.


A Fan's Notes
787 Nicholson St, Carlton North
9943 8373
brunchy, lunchy, drinks
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a flat entry way to a slightly crowded interior. You order at the table and pay at a high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted November 18, 2015 04:11 PM by Michael

November 16, 2015


World Event To End Animal Cruelty, Melbourne 2015

WEEAC in Melbourne is an annual event that raises awareness of the suffering animals endure every day. Events are held worldwide and yesterday Melbourne held its WEEAC gathering at CERES Community Environment Park in Brunswick. There were stalls, speakers, music and of course lots of food with perfect weather to top it off! I didn’t stay for the whole day...
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Posted November 16, 2015 07:58 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Sweet'n'sour mock pork

November 8, 2015

Sweet and sour pork was a childhood Chinese takeaway staple for me, and I still love the tangy sauce and juicy pineapple pieces just as much as Michael hates them. I occasionally order vegetarian versions around town but I've only just tried making it for myself for the first time. With Michael away on a work trip and the leftovers of a can of pineapple in the fridge, I was surprised how easily it came together.

Some mock pork pieces and canned pineapple chunks were mandatory, of course, and I filled the meal out with red capsicum, snow peas and a carrot cut into half moons. I looked to blog Rasa Malaysia for a sauce recipe - it has a tomato ketchup base, then builds up the sourness with plum sauce (I had homemade plum jam on hand) and rice wine vinegar, saltiness with vegan Worcestershire and oyster sauces, and that trademark texture with a little cornflour. The sauce glistened thickly against the mock pork pieces, but wasn't so abundant as to pool in the bottom of the dish.

This sweet'n'sour mock pork smelled exactly as I remembered it, and I ate it gladly for days with steamed white rice.

Sweet'n'sour mock pork
(adapted from a recipe on Rasa Malaysia)

1 red capsicum
1 carrot
2 handfuls snow peas
1/2 cup canned pineapple pieces

mock meat
450g mock pork pieces
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 teaspoons plum sauce or jam
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons vegan oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornflour
4 tablespoons water

Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.

Make sure the mock pork pieces are thawed and bite-sized. Place them in a container with a well-fitting lid. Sprinkle the cornflour over the mock meat, place the lid on the container and shake it around until the mock meat is evenly coated in the cornflour. Set it aside.

Place all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir them until they form a smooth sauce. Set them aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large frypan or wok. Add the cornflour-coated mock meat pieces and stir-fry them until golden. Add the vegetables and stir-fry them until they're bright and glossy - I did the carrot, snow peas, capsicum and pineapple in stages according to my texture preferences. Pour over the sauce and gently stir it through for no more than two minutes. Serve the sweet'n'sour mock pork over steamed rice.

Posted November 16, 2015 07:29 PM by Cindy

quinces and kale

the glass den

mushroom burger

The Glass Den is another find in the increasingly hip Coburg. It is a light, airy and bustling cafe that is set in the gatehouse of the old Pentridge prison. It is open for breakfast and lunch. They also did their first Friday night drinks and tapas session recently. I had been planning to go, but a number of events conspired against that. That’s OK as it will be a regular feature.

I was also keen to go after two favourable reviews by Where’s the Beef and Veganopoulous. Both of these reviews focussed on breakfast, so I decided to go for lunch for a bit of variety.

This is a very vegan friendly cafe.  There are lots of vegan or vegan option dishes that are clearly labeled, I counted at least sixteen, so I was spoilt for choice. Coeliacs are well catered for with lots of gluten free choices as well.

I opted for the Portobello burger, a large roasted mushroom on excellent multigrain bread, with rocket, caramelised onions, capsicum relish and coconut bacon. Large, juicy, messy, and delicious. I also had a side order of chips.

mushroom burger

Many of the other plates I saw coming by looked good too.

I’m keen to go back, both to try other lunch options and also for breakfast.

The Glass Den
15 Urquart St,
Coburg, 3058
(03) 9354 5032

Glass Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted November 16, 2015 10:00 AM

November 15, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


November 8, 2015

Back in August, fitzroyalty noted that an Indian restaurant was likely to pop up on Brunswick St next to Madame K's, where the vegan-friendly Frolic had previously offered froyo and waffles. Vegan About Town got in as soon as Mukka opened, thrilled to access veg-friendly Indian street food so close to home. She went on to invite me there for lunch just a few days later and I was out the door in 30 minutes.

The restaurant lets in plenty of light, and the interior is cheerful, casual and clean. I'm accustomed to Indian restaurant menus running to several dozen pages; the food here is listed on a single compact sheet, but maintains the high proportion of vegetarian and even vegan options, all clearly marked.

I love me a lassi, and a Mukka they come in two flavours, mango and rose-cinnamon ($6.50). Even better, they offer vegan-friendly analogues ($7, rose-cinnamon one pictured), made slushy and refreshing with blended almond milk and ice.

Steph and I shared a plate of Tibetan Momos ($10), dumplings with a thick, elastic rice flour skin and mild cabbage-potato filling. The accompanying chilli sauce was creamier than it was spicy.

We were really here for the dosa, each ordering our own Classic ($12.50). The crepe was crisp all the way through with a deeply savoury, almost cheesy, flavour (don't worry - it's totally vegan). The potato curry filling was generous, chunky and dotted with mustard seeds. I dipped my way through as much of the thick sambar dal and coconut chutney as I could.

The staff were friendly and helpful in a way that's rare but appreciated, offering us advice on a well-balanced set of dishes to order. I'm eager to try the puri, the tandoori, the paneer curries made with tofu and the breads, but it's going to be really, really tough to go past this dosa. Clearly many more visits are in order this summer.

This restaurant's opening was first flagged by fitzroyalty, and the first blogging visitor appears to be vegan about town.

365 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
9917 2224
main menu, dessert & drinks

Accessibility: There is just a small lip on the entry. Tables are moderately spaced throughout the interior. We ordered at our table and paid at a high counter. Toilets were located out the back, accessed by a flat but narrow path, and gendered.

Posted November 15, 2015 05:49 PM by Cindy

Vegetarian Life Australia

Vegan banana bread

This banana bread is vegan, delicious and very easy to make. It’s also a great way to use up ripe browning bananas that are too soft to eat neat. It can be whipped up in a flash and just requires a little patience for the 50 minute cooking time.

The bread is perfect warm from the oven (allow to cool for about 10 minutes) with a little vegan butter on top, and works equally well sliced cold the following day. I plan to try the same recipe made as muffins. I’m guessing it would be great like this, especially with some added nuts or chocolate chips. I suggest halving the cooking time for muffins.


  • 3 large or 5 small ripe bananas
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 100g coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g melted refined coconut oil
  • optional – 50g of nuts, dried fruit or dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Peel and mash the bananas in a large bowl.
  3. Add the melted coconut oil and sugar and mix.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Add extra fruit, nuts or chocolate if using and fold through gently.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased 2lb loaf tin and level the top.
  7. Bake for approximately 50 minutes, covering with foil after about 20 minutes to stop the top browning too much. The bread is cooked when a skewer comes out clean.
Banana bread ingredients

Banana bread ingredients

Mixing the dough

Mixing the dough

Vegan banana bread

Vegan banana bread

Posted November 15, 2015 01:57 PM

November 13, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Beetroot and caramelised onion galette with vegan mozzarella

A few weeks ago I had a vision of a vegan galette complete with vegan mozzarella.  It was a disaster of a night.  The zucchini would not cook in the galette so I left it in for ages and ages.   Then I made a chocolate pudding where I forgot to add baking powder.  However, I loved the pastry and mozzarella.  We ate well but I had to try the galette again.  Next time I filled it with caramelised onion and beetroot and it was amazing.

Before I tell you about the successful galette, I thought I would tell the story of the day I made it.  I always loved good news, bad news stories as a child and thought I would have a bit of fun with the idea here.  It was the day of the Melbourne Cup holiday and we decided to have brunch and a movie Oddball about a dog who saves fairy penguins from foxes.  Here's how it went starting at the cafe:

Good news - Crumpets with berry butter and caramelised almonds on the specials menu look amazing.
Bad news - The pancakes Sylvia wanted are not available.
Good news - I can get coconut bacon in my brunch.
Bad news - They have forgotten our order and we are in a rush.
Good news - We can order muffins and they are delicious.
Bad news - They have forgotten our drinks and we have to gulp them down quickly.
Good news - We don't have to pay.
Bad news - I discover the movie starts at 12 not 12.15.
Good news - We arrive in time and love watching the movie.
Bad news - After the movie, we are still hungry after only eating a muffin for brunch.
Good news - We have a voucher for two short stacks for the price of one at the Pancake Parlour.
Bad news- I love short stacks (ie pancakes with maple syrup) but I really need savoury food.
Good news - E and I decided to share a cheese pancake and a short stack with chocolate sauce
Bad news - I am tired when I get home.
Great news - After a rest I make an excellent galette for dinner.

So, back to the galette.  First let me tell you how amazing the pastry is.  It comes from Joanne at Eats Well with Others who inspired the tomato galette.  She uses butter and plain Greek yoghurt.  A lot of butter.  I used vegan margarine and vegan yoghurt the first time.  The second time I used dairy yoghurt.  Both were great.

The pastry was really soft.  In fact I worried it was too soft (I made it in two batches in my blender attachment for my hand held blender). But it came together when kneaded into a very soft dough.  And once it had been in the fridge it was quite easy to roll out.

My inspiration for the filling came from discovering some precooked beetroot buried in the bottom of the fridge, remembering how well the caremlised onions worked in a goat cheese tart my mum recently made, and being impressed by the beetroot in a tart Shaheen recently made.  I also had more vegan mozzarella to use up.

While I felt that the first (tomato and zucchini) galette was cooked too long, I think I could have had the beetroot and caramelised onion in slightly longer.  It was slightly undercooked in the middle but perfectly cooked on the outside.  I also would have loved the mozzarella to crisp up a little more.  I made a dairy cheese galette for Sylvia which cooked much faster, probably as it was smaller.

I loved the mozzarella on top.  Much of the flavour comes from the beetroot and onions so the mozzarella is optional but I loved it so much that I wanted more.  I only had a small amount left.  When I made the tomato and zucchini galette I had a whole batch of mozzarella and spread some on the base before adding the vegies to make the filling more creamy.

Though the galette could have cooked slightly longer, I really really loved it.  I had worried that the beetroot colour would bleed over the pastry and cheese but it didn't.  The caramelised onions and beetroot were really lovely together.  In fact I had to go back for seconds and couldn't wait til have more for lunch the next day.

This galette is delicious warm or at room temperature. It would be great for a dinner party or a picnic.  I hope to experiment with some different vegetable fillings.  While I love beetroot, it is unforgiving if a piece falls on clothes or table cloths.  I quite fancy a pumpkin filling next.

I am sending this galette to Kimmy at Healthy Vegan Fridays #73, Lisa and Jen for the Pastry Challenge,  Ros and Caroline for Alphabakes (M for mozzarella), and Helen and Michelle for Extra Veg.

More vegan pastry dishes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Eccles cakes with leeks, spinach and blue cheese 
Haggis neeps and tatties pastie
Liz O'Brien's sausage rolls 
Samosa pie
Spaghetti pie
Stargazy pie

Beetroot and carmelised onion galette
An original recipe from Green Gourmet Giraffe with pastry from Eats Well with Others
Serves 4


2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
225g butter (or margarine)*, chilled and cube
1/2 cup Greek yogurt*
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


250g cooked peeled beetroots, sliced
2 large onions, finely sliced
1-2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp salt and pepper mix
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella*

soy milk to glaze pastry

First make pastry: Mix flour and salt in a food processor.  Mix in butter until incorporated to make the mixture look like breadcrumbs.  Mix in yoghurt, water and vinegar until it comes together into a soft mass.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Use a little extra flour to briefly knead until you have a smooth ball.  Wrap in clingwrap and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 C and line a large oven tray with baking paper.

While the pastry chills, prepare the filling.  Fry the onions in oil for about 30 minutes over medium heat until soft and sweet.  Turn off heat and stir in balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper.

Roll out the pastry to about 1/2 cm thickness on the baking paper on the oven tray.  [I only uused 3/4 of the pastry - see NOTES - but I think it would be fine to use all of it if your tray is big enough.]  Use a little flour for the rolling pin.

Spread the fried onions onto the base leaved about 3-5cm around the edges.  Next arrange the sliced beetroot over the onion.  Drop blobs of vegan mozzarella over the beetroot.  Fold the edges of pastry over the filling, making tucks as you go so the pastry sits neatly.  It is to be rustic so it does not need to be perfect.  Brush pastry edges with soy milk.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the mozzarella is slightly brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Keeps in the fridge overnight.

NOTES: The mozzarella is optional or other cheeses could be used on top such as brie or cheddar.  But it is substantial enough without cheese.  If I had more mozzarella I would try using more.

I made the pastry vegan by using vegan margarine and vegan (coconut) yoghurt.  It worked really well this way.

I used about 3/4 of the pastry for the galette because I used some for a plainer pizza sauce and cheese galette for my daughter.  I think there is enough filling to make a larger galette with all the pastry or even two smaller ones.

As I found it easier to make two batches of pastry in the bowl attachment to my hand held processor I have noted the halved amounts of pastry for when I make this again.

Half serve of pastry:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
112g butter or margarine
2 tbsp Greek yogurt 
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp cup ice cold water

On the Stereo:
The Sound of the The Smiths

Posted November 13, 2015 11:25 AM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


November 7, 2015

Michael was keen to have Saturday breakfast at a fan's notes on our friend Will's recommendation, but at 9am they still weren't really open yet. Instead we crossed Park St to Carolina. We've visited before for breakfast and for drinks in the evening, so we were confident of a pleasant experience even if we hadn't seen the latest menu.

Vegan and gluten-free items are clearly marked but sparse on said menu, and other dishes look adaptable (e.g. remove feta from white beans, and goats cheese from herb-oiled avo on toast). The vegan and gluten-free Okay, Carolina fritters stand out as the most unusual offering, done okonomiyaki-style with pickled ginger, nori, chilli, Japanese mayo and a side salad with white miso dressing ($15).

Michael was tempted by those fritters, but ultimately went for the Carolina white beans ($13) with poached eggs ($4). They were fragrant with smoked garlic and sage, then topped with feta and fresh green herbs, almost but not quite toppling Michael's devotion to Henry's beans.

I pretended to take interest in a few other items, but couldn't resist the over-the-top lure of their new sweet plate, the campfire doughnut ($16.50). Two thick, cakey pieces of brioche were dusted in cinnamon-sugar then topped with a toasted home-made marshmallow and maraschino cherry. It was sweet, sweet, sweet; not really cut through by the excellent sour cherry jam or the thick dark chocolate sauce offered on the side.

Although Carolina wasn't packed out, it seemed buoyed by a steady stream of locals and regulars. The couple of staff members on hand were warm and capable, letting us feel almost like regulars too.


There are positive reviews of Carolina on TOT: HOT OR NOT, Gagwood Blog, Let's Get Fat Together, the coffee guide..., and Skinny Glutton. little eats liked the food, but had a bad experience with the service.


11 Nicholson St, Brunswick East
0425 731 315
breakfast, lunch & hot drinks, cold & alcoholic drinks

Accessibility: There's a single step up on entry. Tables inside are densely packed with a clear passage through the middle. We ordered at the table, paid at a low-ish counter, and didn't visit the toilets. TOT: HOT OR NOT and little eats report a pram-friendly back garden.

Posted November 13, 2015 08:34 AM by Cindy

November 12, 2015


Roots, Fruits And Wild Herbs: A Vegan Degustation At Bar Idda, Brunswick East

Pre-vegan, I was a big lover of Italian food and always happy to look for an excuse stuff myself on dishes from different regions of Italy. I still love Italian food, though it seems most of the vegan options for dining out are limited to pastas, pizzas and risottos– things I can make at home easily. Admittedly,...
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Posted November 12, 2015 04:56 PM

Thoughts Of A Moni

The Breakfast Club

Northcote has long been known for its hipster culture. Infact if you were playing a drinking game where you had to drink every time you spotted skinny jeans, a fixie or a  beard, you’d probably be hammered in about ten minutes (unless of course you are drinking a skinny soy latte with Equal). So it was fitting that we ventured out to try out a quintessentially hipster café, that in true hipster style is not on the main Northcote strip, and has received little recognition on the breakfast scene despite being bloody awesome.

Located on St George’s Rd, in a small strip of shops, The Breakfast Club is a tiny hole in the wall shop that seats about twelve people inside and another twelve outside. Apparently there is a seating area out the back too, but I didn’t venture out that far. The front window has a display of old, decorative plates with silhouettes on them, and there is a stockpile of souvenir spoons on the counter that are used to stir the coffees.

On the morning we went, most of the seating inside was taken, so we chose to sit outside. The menu was short, but quite interesting, and I found myself tossing up between the numerous vegetarian options on the menu. Almost every item was vegetarian, or could be adapted to become vegetarian which was very impressive. In the end I settled on potato croquettes served with avocado, chipotle mayo and poached eggs. The menu also listed bacon, which was obviously removed to make the dish vegetarian, but to my surprise the waitress offered to replace it with haloumi or mushrooms! Woo! I was a bit overwhelmed at having to make an on the spot decision about two of my favourite things (mushrooms and cheese) and in the end I hurriedly chose the mushrooms. I’m not sure if it was the better decision, and only time would tell.

The other half went for a sweet option – the banana and ricotta hotcakes, drenched in salted caramel sauce and topped with macadamia nuts, praline and a generous dollop of mascarpone.

Unfortunately we didn’t fully embrace the hipster culture and stuck with our regular, boring coffee orders, a latte and a flat white. The coffee was good, and we were both content. They hit the spot on a Sunday morning.

The service was friendly and efficient, and it wasn’t long before our orders arrived. As is customary now when eating with me, the other half patiently waited while I took photos of our food. It was a tall ask from me though, because everything really did look amazing, and it was quite an effort to not dig in immediately.

 My first observation was the large plates that our meals were served on. This meant that everything wasn’t crammed together, and there was room to spread all the elements out. Big tick from me. My plate had two big potato croquettes. They were big, plump balls of crumbed and deep fried deliciousness. As I took a bite, the soft potato fell apart in my mouth and I knew I had picked the right dish from the menu. The chipotle mayo was also good. There was not much heat (but perhaps I’m not a good benchmark for heat because my tolerances are apparently too high) but it was creamy and full of flavour. The mushrooms were also a real winner. They were sautéed in garlic, and tasted amazing. All the elements on the plate worked perfectly together and I was busy making sure I got a bit of everything on my fork with each mouthful.

Of course, the egg porn test had to be performed and my dish passed with flying colours.

 The other half also loved his breakfast, and I was lucky enough to have a taste from his plate. The ricotta and banana hotcakes were soft and fluffy and there was no skimping on the salted caramel sauce. As a sweet tooth, I have no doubt that this is what won him over. The big dollop of mascarpone was also welcome, and a pleasant deviation from the usual ice cream that is served with hotcakes. More people in the world need to learn that almost every meal can be improved by either deep frying or adding cheese.

As we sat in almost silence, busy scrapping our plates clean, we realised how big the serves were. Infact we were so full that we didn’t eat again until dinner, which is something that rarely happens to me (I am renowned for eating 76 times a day).

The Breakfast Club may not have received the accolades that many other cafes in the scene have received, or even the publicity across blogs and social media, but it is definitely a winner. Perhaps it’s better that not many people know about it, it means that I can always get a seat whenever I go.

The Breakfast Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted November 12, 2015 08:45 AM by Moni

November 11, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Shop Ramen

November 4, 2015

We've had our eye on Shop Ramen and its vegan bowl a long time, but only recently made our first visit after 9pm on a Wednesday. Although we didn't get to witness their noodle-making in action it was the right time to comfortably snag a seat - two years after opening there's still often a queue out front.

The menu is reasonably simple, living up to the neon sign out front advertising RAMEN, BUN & PIE. While dietary requirements aren't clearly coded, key ingredients are listed after each dish and the staff are on hand to help.

We started by sharing a bun ($4) stuffed with special sauce-smothered tofu, sauerkraut, peanuts and coriander, and almost too steaming-hot to handle.

Michael dipped into the widely lauded vegan tofu ramen ($14), piled with broccoli, pickled shitake mushrooms, edamame, cress and sesame (the standard version includes egg, but they're happy to exclude it). The excellent cashew milk broth is the novelty of this dish, but the fresh, slippery noodles were probably actually the star.

I took on the other vege main - a chilled rice bowl ($14) containing uncooked tofu squares in a sesame salsa verde topped with shredded fresh and pickled vegetables. Edamame, almonds and currants kept the brown rice interesting, and a salty soy sauce pooled in the bottom of the bowl.

The salted caramel milkshake is more widely recommended than the pie, but I didn't find myself to be much in the mood for either dessert after a meal of rice and pickles.

Blog accounts from ramen aficionados note that the broths and ingredient combinations at Shop Ramen are far from traditional - that might be one reason why us vegos get a look-in. They served us well when we needed some late-night veges and we might call on them for this kind of post-show nourishment again. Yet I probably won't be devotedly queuing on the regular.


Fellow vegetarian bloggers are split on Shop Ramen - I Spy Plum Pie enjoyed her visit, while Ebezilla's Food Blog was disappointed with her food.


Shop Ramen
329 Smith St, Fitzroy
facebook page

Accessibility: There is a small lip at the door. Inside the low tables and stools are quite densely packed, although there is a clear path through the middle. We ordered at the table and paid at a low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted November 11, 2015 07:45 AM by Cindy

November 10, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Pumpkin, almond and quinoa soup, days out and a bird's nest

Life is as up and down as our recent weather.  There are many unfortunate stories happening around me in which I only have a bit part and feel they are not mine to tell.  We have also been busy with some interesting events as well.  All in all, it has been crazy busy without so much time in the kitchen.  I am more likely to throw together a quick meal than follow a recipe or take notes to blog it.  I am glad I captured this pumpkin soup.  It almost flew under the radar.

Before telling you more about the soup, I will share a little about the good things in life.  Sylvia's school held an Art Show recently.  It was lovely to see all the artwork that the children have produced.  Sylvia showed us this wattle tree she had helped to make.

On the weekend, we went to The Garden Fiesta at Peppertree Place in Coburg.  It was a lovely local event.  There was music, food, friend, workshops, floral garlands all with a relaxed welcoming vibe.  I was pleased they were selling excellent vegie burritos and vegie tacos.

We also met up with my parents and three nieces to visit the Labassa open day in Caulfield.  It is an amazing ornate nineteenth century mansion (1862) that was made into 10 flats in 1920 and saved from demolition in 1980.  The old house has amazing stories.

As we walked through the many rooms, alternately marvelling at the detailed decorations and wondering at the flaking paint, E struck up a conversation with a self titled "living remnant".  The previous tenant was playing music and happy to talk about his days living in one of the flats.  We stopped for scones with jam and cream and a glass of cordial.  The temporary tea room was empty so we sat in a little pavillion in the grounds.  It was very relaxing.

This soup came in a week that was in need of comfort.  While I wont go into lots of details, I will say that it was too full of bad behaviour, bad luck and bad sleep.  Spectacles disappeared, there wasn't enough vegetables in my life and one of my favourite radio presenters, Richard Stubbs - who has brought much humour and compassion into my life - announced he was leaving.

I was grateful for a reflective moment in the midst of chaos.  Sylvia should have been reading her reader and practicing her ukulele.  Instead we lay on the grass and looked up at the clear blue sky and sought images in the twigs of the hedge and as we looked we discovered a bird's nest within the hedge.  Seeing the little baby birds in the nest was quite something.  It reminded us that there is often more happening in this world than we ever see.

I was also grateful for a simple soup that used up a wedge of pumpkin that had been lingering in the fridge.  It wasn't one I planned to blog but I loved it so much that I am sharing it.  It was inspired by this asparagus, potato and quinoa soup.  Rather than using potato for creaminess, I used almond butter.  It is very different from my idea of a good pumpkin soup that I posted years ago.  Yet you can't have too many pumpkin soups.

I had a bowl of this soup on an evening when I was feeling very tired.  It was very rich and creamy with a satisfying texture from the quinoa.  Even the warm orange colour was comforting.  I loved the soup but was not happy when I put the empty bowl beside me on the couch and the cat started to lick the bowl.  I guess even cats love this soup!

I am sending this to Lisa (and Jac) for No Croutons Required, Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays #72, Jac for Meatless Mondays, Janie (and Karen) for Tea Time Treats, and Corina for Cook Once Eat Twice.

More pumpkin soup recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Classic pumpkin soup
Japanese-style pumpkin, sprouts and tofu soup
Pumpkin, corn and wild rice chowder
Pumpkin facon soup 
Pumpkin and tofu laksa
Smoky pumpkin and corn soup 

Pumpkin, almond and quinoa soup
An original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup quinoa
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 red capsicum, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
750ml stock
800g pumpkin, trimmed and peeled
3 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
sriracha and herbs, to serve

Put on quinoa with 1 cup of water.  Cover, bring to the boil and then simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Once cooked, leave lid on until ready to use.  While quinoa cooks, begin making the soup.

Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Fry onion, celery, parsnip, carrot, capsicum and garlic until softened - approximately 5 to 10 minutes.  (I added mine as I chopped them, in the order as written.)  Add stock and pumpkin.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes until pumpkin is soft.  Mix in almond butter, yeast flakes and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth.

Stir in quinoa.  Check and adjust seasoning.  Serve with a drizzle of sriricha and fresh herbs, if desired.  I used thyme.

On the Stereo:
Set List - The Frames

Posted November 10, 2015 11:24 AM by Johanna GGG

November 09, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Spicy fried edamame & tofu with eggplant & soba noodles

November 1, 2015

We've been giving Community a good workout lately and having some very successful meals. It was our go-to book again for a healthy Sunday night dinner, with Cindy picking out this soba, edamame and eggplant salad. We made a few changes to the recipe, first adding in some tofu to make sure we had lots of leftovers for lunch, and second switching the edamame out for broad beans because that's all we could find at the shops.

There are a few processes involved in making the dish - you've got noodles to cook, eggplant to roast and a frying pan full of tofu and beans to manage - but everything can be done while the eggplant is roasting and it all comes together easily in the end. The pay-off is a massive saucepan of delicious noodly salad, with a mildly spicy sauce and a nice mix of textures from the tofu, beans and eggplant. This version of the recipe makes a lot of food, so it's probably worth rescaling things a bit unless you want to eat it every day for a week.

Spicy fried edamame and tofu with eggplant and soba noodles
(adapted from a recipe in Hetty McKinnon's Community)

4-5 eggplants (1.5kg)
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

350g soba noodles

4 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, seeded and sliced finely
1 tablespoon minced ginger
300g frozen podded edamame (or broad) beans
500g firm tofu, cut into 2cm cubes
5 tablespoons tamari
3 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
1.5 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Partially peel the eggplants, leaving a stripe pattern, and then cut it all up into 2cm cubes. Spread the cubes across a couple of baking trays, drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast them for 25 minutes or so, until they're tender. If the eggplant is done early, you can just kill the heat and leave the trays in the oven so it all stays warm.

While the eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the soba noodles for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Drain and refresh with cold water.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Stir-fry the chilli, garlic and ginger for a minute and then add in the edamame and tofu, stir-frying for another 2-3 minutes (a bit more if you want to get the tofu to go a little golden). Stir in the tamari, sesame oil, oyster sauce and cook for another minute, thickening the sauce up a bit.

Combine the noodles, eggplant and the tofu/bean mix in a large bowl and toss gently. Serve with a sprinkling of the sesame seeds on top.

Posted November 09, 2015 05:09 PM by Michael


In My Kitchen November 2015

In My Kitchen this month are a bunch of treats I received in the World Vegan Day Melbourne showbag. I was also gifted a goodies bag by Zomato with World Vegan Day and some of those treats are shown below. Psssst! If you are in the US, I have a cookbook giveaway for Vegan Richa’s...
Continue reading »

Posted November 09, 2015 10:59 AM

quinces and kale

half moon cafe

felafel sandwich

I’ve been to Half Moon Cafe a few times but never blogged about it. Perhaps everyone in Melbourne has already been there, but if not,  you should go. They have been voted the best falafel in Melbourne. I agree.

They serve Egyptian style falafel, made with broad beans rather than the usual general middle eastern kind made with chickpeas. I love their beautiful green interior.

There are several options up on the board for sandwiches or you can pick your own. I went for the Colibaba and subbed out the yoghurt for a tahini dressing.

The Colibaba is made up of falafel cooked to order, lettuce, rocket, babaganouj, beautifully fried eggplant slices, fried cauliflower, chilli and tahini sauces wrapped up in flat bread. It is a sensational combination of textures and flavours and I loved it. I don’t think snack food gets any better, and it is a bargain at $8.

There are plenty of other vegan or veganisable options available. The shop is tiny, with only a few tables inside, and it is low on ambience, but outside in the mall there are many tables available. It was packed at lunchtime on a public holiday.

The worst thing I can say about Half Moon is that they are only open daily until 5!

Half Moon Cafe
13 Victoria St (in the Coburg Mall)
Coburg, 3058
(03) 9350 2949

Half Moon Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted November 09, 2015 10:00 AM

November 08, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Almond Feta

November 1, 2015

Last weekend our friend Natalie invited us to skip the World Vegan Day crowds and eat breakfast nachos at her place. It was an excellent decision - we layered up plates with corn chips and scrambled tofu, black beans, potatoes, avocado and cashew cheese, met her cat, hung out in the shed and did newspaper quizzes. I brought over a watermelon salad as a fresh dessert we could pick at with forks.

The big innovation here is that I made my own vegan almond-based feta. I've had a few vegan feta recipes stowed away for years and I based this on the one at In The Mood For Noodles. Since it was intended for dessert, I skipped the garlic and the marinating in herb oil and relied on just the lemon juice and salt for flavour. I cut some corners, reducing the soaking time and the water involved in the original, but making sure that I got a smooth grind on those almonds. 

I was very pleased with the results, though you can see that this baked feta gets a little golden around the edges. (It turns out that I should have baked it at 200°F, not 200°C! Whoops.) It remains a bit softer and more fragile than dairy feta but it captures the  smoothness, whiteness, and tang of its namesake.

Almond Feta
(adapted from a recipe found on In The Mood For Noodles,
where it's credited to Vegetarian Times)

1 cup whole or flaked blanched almonds
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Place the almonds in a bowl and cover them with lots of water. Allow them to soak for 5-24 hours. Drain the almonds and rinse them briefly with fresh cold water.

Place the almonds in a blender or spice grinder and add the remaining ingredients plus 1/4 cup water. Blend everything thoroughly until it's as smooth as possible.

Place a sieve over a bowl and line the sieve with two layers of clean Chux wipes or cheesecloth. Scoop in the almond mixture, then pull up the fabric corners to parcel up the cheese and tie the cloth ends together with string or a rubber band. Refrigerate the bowl-sieve-cheese parcel setup for 12 hours, to allow some moisture to drip off.

Preheat an oven to 200°C (try 90°C next time) and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Retrieve the almond cheese, unwrap it and scoop it into the tin. Fold the baking paper over almond mixture to fashion it roughly into a little rectangle. Bake the feta block for 40 minutes, flipping it over at the 20 minute mark. Allow the cheese to rest for 30 minutes then refrigerate it until firm.

Posted November 08, 2015 08:41 AM by Cindy

November 07, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

In My Kitchen - November 2015

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, October was the "most abnormally dry month  in records going back to 1910".  It was a month that sped by here with low energy, a hospital visit (not for me) and lots of other draining moments.  Though I continued blogging, I only posted 3 recipes.  Hopefully November will be a more productive month in the kitchen and on my blog.

Meanwhile, I have been returning to quite a few favourite recipes.  Above is another stab at potato and cheese pasties.  Sylvia requested them for a school event.  I had planned to buy her something from the freezer section of the supermarket but she would have none of that.  The pasties worked really well with pre-rolled puff pastry when shaped in square.  No pesky off-cuts.  Everyone was very happy with them

I have been fascinated at the explosion of interesting vegan and/or gluten free products in the supermarkets.  Here are a few.  (1) Kale and quinoa popcorn.  Sylvia was initially horrified at the idea until she realised it was salted pocorn with so subtle green flavouring. (2) Nudie coconut yoghurt.  Sadly just as rich and creamy as Coyo's yoghurt.  I am still seeking a vegan yoghurt that has more of a cultured tang.  (3) Condensed coconut milk.  Amazing find.  Short ingredients list.  Yet I am still to use it.  (4)  BBQ fava beans.  A nice variation on a favourite snack. 

We loved making lemonade with lemon juice, sugar and water.  On a whim I tried it with coconut sugar recently.  It was so brown that Sylvia has told me it is like coke.  (Better than "murky".)  I had to add some agave to achieve enough sweetness.  It is nice but has a bit more flavour than regular sugar.

I have a few baking goodies from the supermarket.  Muffin papers, fudge chunks and popping candy.  We have only used the muffin cups so far (for the ghost cupcakes).  I am planning on using the rest in some choc chip cookies.

I made frugal freezer stock recently.  I love having a freezer with lots of stock.  (I guess you might call it well stocked - ha ha!)  It always makes me enjoy making soup when I have a good home made stock.

I finally used up my puy lentils in a harrira soup from Isa Does It.  I love that cookbook and keep planning to write about it.  Don't the lentils look beautiful?

Finally some of the finer things in life (just think of the lack of focus as a sentimental patina).  Gifts of home made candles and home grown broad beans.  Plus a little luxury purchase of blood plum balsamic vinegar.  As Christmas approaches gifts are on my mind.  Doesn't it feel like we are heading for the festive season at some rate!  Before we know it, the end of the year will be upon us.

I am sending this post to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her In My Kitchen event.  Head over to join in (by 10th of each month) and/or check out what is happening in other bloggers' kitchens.

Posted November 07, 2015 09:17 PM by Johanna GGG


Review And US Giveaway: Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen

* This giveaway has now closed * This review includes a giveaway for readers in the US. For details of how to enter, please read on! I’ve been following Vegan Richa’s beautiful blog for quite a while now and am always bookmarking her recipes to try. The recipes I have made have always been simple to follow...
Continue reading »

Posted November 07, 2015 04:44 PM

November 06, 2015

vegan about town

[fitzroy] mukka indian restaurant

I can't even be reasonable in this review, for tonight I did the thing Australia so often fails to give me:

Dosa a short walk from house. Look at that beautiful thing. Crispy all the way, a heavy and spiced masala aloo, and a dal sambar that was so good I kept eating after all the dosa was gone - which I never do!

And the mark of a good dosa is how sad I am when I'm finished it and there's no more, though I'm full to bursting and shouldn't eat anything else. (I was sad indeed)

Housemates Bella and Alex were first time dosa eaters, and were both very happy with their dosa. Bella had the masala dosa also (listed on the menu as the 'classic'); Alex had the eggplant and pea dosa, which I briefly sampled and had a very mild smokey flavour.

Our eyes were massive, so I insisted on ordering the vegetable biryani and a dish of momo for sharing also. The biryani was excellent, interestingly minty but very moreish. The momo were also excellent and I will eat them again for sure.

I also had a mango and pistachio cooler, which is basically a lassi but with almond milk. I chose to have mine with added coconut rum. It was good but it wasted precious tummy space. Maybe on a beautiful summer evening.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free are all clearly labeled on the menu. The staff are really friendly, and as Mukka just opened, they're having a discount until 12 November. I plan to eat there this Sunday lunch time, not cos there's a special but because dosa for lunch is one of the greatest reasons to exist on this planet.

I just made my mum jealous on the phone by describing to her in loving detail the distance between my house and this dosa. (Always remember that the way to make a Malaysian mother annoyed is to tell her you're having better food than her)

My only complaint is that I wish the biryani was a little spicier. D:

Mukka Indian Restaurant
365 Brunswick Street

Totally failing at remembering if there's a step to get in. Low tables, mixture of stools and chairs with back. Inside is well lit, ordering happens at the table. Payment over a high counter. Toilet is down a dark narrow path. Takes cards and cash.

Get there on the 96 or the 12 tram. Please don't bring a car into Fitzroy if you can help it, it's so annoying.


Posted November 06, 2015 09:44 PM by steph

November 05, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Gas-Light Izakaya in the Gasometer Hotel

October 31, 2015

The latest incarnation of the Gasometer has been open a year and a half, offering a steady stream of gigs and gastropub meals... except that the kitchen's just been rebranded Gas-Light Izakaya! We stopped in early for dinner before swinging around to the band room for Dan Kelly's album launch.

The menu doesn't pay much mind to special dietary requirements - there are more than enough dishes to sate vegetarians, but vegans and coeliacs are likely to have a tougher time of it.

The fried cauliflower florets ($9) were huge and hard to maneuvre with chopsticks, but had the right balance of crunchiness and tenderness. The accompanying sweet and sour sauce only left us hankering after the spicier version we've made at home.

The jalapeno and cheese korokke ($5, foreground) was also expertly fried, though we were ambivalent about the warm mushy filling (Smith & Daughters has really spoiled us for any other croquette!). We were more taken with the tofu bao ($6 each) and especially their red dragon sauce.

Finally we split the tofu katsu-sando ($16), a neat little sandwich of crumbed tofu, chilli relish and mustard leaves on a soft brioche bun. The accompanying French fries were only so-so, but it's a nice and reasonably priced self-contained meal.

With its nori-laced Caesar salad, fried chicken bao and icecream doughnut sandwich, I reckon that Gas-Light Izakaya is appealing more to local trends than Japanese traditions. The dishes we tried generally delivered on their descriptions, but they're just barely designed with veg*ns in mind. It'll continue to be a convenient food stop for a Gasometer gig, but I don't envisage making extra excuses to visit.


We've got lots of posts on previous incarnations of this dining room, the most recent from over a year ago. This izakaya incarnation has been blogged only on I'm So Hungree, who was positive.

Gas-light Izakaya in the Gasometer Hotel
484 Smith St, Collingwood
9416 3335

Accessibility: The Gasometer has a small step on entry. The tables are crowded in some areas but the booths and tables closest to the entry are relatively spacious. Ordering and payment occurs at a high counter. Male and female toilets on the same level are accessible only when the band room is vacant and are not particularly spacious; alternate toilets are located upstairs, one cubicle each for two genders.

Posted November 05, 2015 04:18 PM by Cindy

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Vegan mozzarella and spiderweb pizza

I recently tried Vedged Out's vegan mozzarella.  It was amazing.  The cheese crisped up on the outside and was gooey and cheesy on the inside when baked on a tart or melted on toast. But we don't stand still in the rapidly changing digital world.  I saw a similar vegan mozzarella recipe which used aqua faba.  I tried it, incorporating some of the Vedged Out components.  This was even better because it had strings! 

Yes strings!  Strings are the ultimate in vegan cheese.  Finding the taste is not so hard but finding the texture is so hard. And to be honest, I have never been a big fan of the taste of mozzarella.  It is a bit bland.  But I love the strings.  You can see by all the pictures I took of strings below that I was pretty excited.  I also had to check it worked in melted cheese on toast.  And I am happy to report: affirmative!

My first experiment with the mozzarella was to try it in a tomato, zucchini and corn galette (based on Joanne's tomato and corn galette).  It was good but the zucchini just would not soften.  I quite liked the mozzarella spread on the base of the pastry and some more dotted on top.  In fact I have revisited the amazing galette pastry with beetroot and will share that soon.

A week or so later I made the mozzarella again for pizzas for our Halloween lunch.  I found the idea on Vie de la Vegan where Kyra made spider web pizzas.  As soon as I saw it I wondered if the vegan mozzarella would work.  In fact I was a little nervous when I tried it as I was not sure how much it would spread.  Turns out it holds its shape well.  I just piped it using a zip lock bag snipped at the corner.

Sylvia insisted she would not eat vegan cheese.  So I made a pizza for her and the children.  Fortunately the adults all loved the vegan cheese pizza.  I used some sourdough starter in my fast track pizza for the bases.  Leaving the mixture for a couple of hours made for a thick airy base.  I whizzed up some pumpkin hummus in with tomato paste, a tin of tomatoes and some extra seasoning to make the sauce.

So with the search for a vegan mozzarella over (until the next viral trend), you can relax as I tell you a story about spiders.  We bought some plastic spiders and cotton wool spider webs for the Halloween lunch.  A couple of nights later I looked up and asked who had put the spider up high on the window.  We all looked at each other puzzled.  And [cue spooky music] then the spider moved.

I will make the bold claim that this vegan mozzarella would be as cunning as the plastic spiders in standing in for the real thing.  And it is can be piped in shapes which make it even superior to regular mozzarella!  And did I mention it uses ingredients I always have in my pantry (the nutritional yeast flakes can be optional if they are hard to find.)  I am in love with the stuff.

I am sending this pizza to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays #72, Jac for Meatless Mondays, and Lucy and Lauren for Fabulous Foodie Fridays #76.

More fun pizzas on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
(How many of these would be great with this mozzarella cheese for decoration!)

Vegan Mozzarella
Adapted from Vedged Out and Avocados and Ales
Serve 2-4

1/4 cup cashews*
2/3 cup aquafaba (chickpea brine)*
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp tapioca flour (starch)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp refined coconut oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste*

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender.  It will be a really thin liquid.  Pour into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring fairly frequently.  (Ideally stir frequently but I was cleaning my blender at the same time so you can get away with a break every now and again.)  The mixture will become lumpy on the way to becoming smooth.  Just keep stirring and have faith.  It will take a few minutes.  Once it thickens and becomes smooth and pulls away from the pan while stirring it is good to use.  The mixture can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

*NOTES: I have a high powered blender.  If you do not have such a blender you might need a little less water and also need to drain the blended ingredients to take out any chunks.  I used the water drained off a can of chickpeas.  If you use the water drained off home cooked chickpeas you might need more salt.  If you want to grate the cheese, you can add some agar and set it in the fridge in a ramekin.  It might be easier to grate if frozen.

On the stereo:
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit: Courtney Barnett

Posted November 05, 2015 02:37 PM by Johanna GGG

November 04, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Halloween ghost cupcakes (vegan with aqua faba)

At our Halloween lunch, the cakes were the main event.  Sylvia and I planned to make the ghost cupcakes way before we had any other plans for the lunch.  I was excited to see Wallflower Girl had made ghost cupcakes with aqua faba marshmallow fluff.

I am not even sure what marshmallow fluff is but I am fascinated by Aqua Faba (the chickpea water that has been drained off tins or batches of cooked chickpeas until the vegan world recently discovered how versatile it is.)

Before I even made the marshmallow fluff I was using it instead of an egg replacer in the chocolate cupcakes.  They were highly recommended by Janet of the Taste Space but I never buy egg replacer.  (I am not vegan.  I just dislike eggs.)  I trued aqua faba and the cupcakes were brilliant.  They were moist and rich and tasted fresh the next day.

I have made meringues out of aqua faba earlier this year so I wasn't quite as nervous about the marshmallow fluff.  It is very similar to making meringue mixture but not baking it.  My problem was that it was incredibly sweet.  The sweetness made me forget to worry about any lingering beany taste.

However I still get amazed that the mixture beats up to be so stiff that it can be loaded onto a spoon that is held upside down and it will not slide off.

I tried to prepare as much as possible the day before the lunch.  Chocolate Covered Katie said it could be made up to 24 hours in advance.  So I put it in the fridge overnight.  The next day it was like beaten egg whites that have been set aside while preparing the cake.  They take on a jellied shape with a slightly wet exterior.  I beat it to stiff peaks again and wondered if it had been worth beating it the day before if I still had to beat it the next day.

I had originally planned to pipe the mixture in peaks like little ghosts.   It seemed a lot of marshmallow.  A lot of sugar.  A lot of work. And I could see they were not going to last.  We did a few of the little cupcakes.  Sylvia ring fenced these for the kids table that she was setting up for her friends.  When they arrived the kids ate the cupcakes first and I felt quite irresponsible.

As you can see on Sylvia's kids table, the ghosts did not keep their peaks.  (Was it because it was in the fridge overnight?  Would some guar gum or xanthum gum help? Mixing marshmallow into buttercream like this one?)  So instead I spread the marshmallow fluff over the cupcakes and made the faces on this thin spread (see top photo).  I much preferred this option because that was quite enough fluff on them.  I am not keen on lots of icing or frosting but even E, who likes a lot less than me, said he preferred less of the fluff because it was so sweet.

As the marshmallow fluff did not set, I had to keep it out of the way or it was on my arms or packets of food.  And it was very very sticky.  However it did make for very white spooky ghosts and they were enjoyed by everyone, especially the kids.

Find more Halloween food on Green Gourmet Giraffe. 

Ghost cupcakes
From Wallflower Girl

Vegan chocolate cupcakes (see below)
Marshmallow fluff (see below)
Dark chocolate chips

Pipe marshmallow fluff onto cooled cupcakes.  Either pipe mountains with peaks or just pipe enough to spread over the top.  Arrange 3 choc chips as eyes and mouth.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Aqua Faba
Adapted from the Leafy Cauldron via the Taste Space
I made 12 large cupcakes and 24 mini muffin sized cupcakes

2 cups plain flour (I used half white, half wholemeal)
2 cups sugar (I used half raw, half coconut)
3/4 cup cocoa (not Dutch process)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp coffee granules
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water
1 cup rice bran oil, or other neutral oil
1 1/4 cups plant milk (I used sweetened soy milk)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 170 C and line 2-3 cupcake trays with papers.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, coffee and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Lightly whisk aqua faba until bubbly in a medium sized bowl (my 2 cup jug was too small).  Mix in water, oil, milk, vinegar and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until combined.

Fill cupcake papers about two thirds to three quarters.  The mixture is very funny (oops I meant runny) so a ladle or small cup measure helps to do this.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked to touch and a skewer inserted in the middle counts out clean.  NB I cooked the large cupcakes on my highest shelf and the mini muffins in the middle shelf and they all took the same amount of time.

Leave in tins for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.. If desired spread below marshmallow fluff on the cupcakes or use a frosting of your choice.

Marshmallow Fluff with Aqua Faba
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie and Seitan is My Motor

1/2 cup chickpea brine
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup castor sugar

Beat chickpea brine, cream of tartar and vanilla until bubble (about 1 minute).  Add sugar and beat for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture will make stiff peaks and not fall off a spoon if held upside down.  (NB I don't have very powerful electric beaters.  Other recipes suggested anything from 5-15 minutes.)

The mixture can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight but will need to be whipped again the next day.  It took me about 3 minutes to get my mixture back to stiff peaks.

On the Stereo:
Uke can play super easy ukulele: Mike Jackson

Posted November 04, 2015 11:22 PM by Johanna GGG

November 03, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Stagger Lee's

October 31, 2015

Michael and I both had good news at work on Friday, and he insisted that we breakfast somewhere fun to celebrate on Saturday morning. I suggested we check out Stagger Lee's, which our friend Lisa recommended a few months ago as a good spot for vegan options.

With exposed bricks and bulbs, two communal tables and serious, single origin coffee, Stagger Lee's fits the inner-north cafe mould. The menu is annotated with Vs, VG, VGOs and GFs (including the wine list!) but we couldn't see a corresponding legend. The V*s were all over the place, on lemon curd-covered crumpets, granola and bircher bowls with coyo and almond milk, ricotta-spiked avocado with corn and jalapenos, and a herby omelette.

Michael exclaimed over how great the coffee was, then tucked into the vegan version of the green garden ($20), a medley of cashew cheese, broccolini, avocado, fennel, radish, herbs, pomegranate seeds and sprouted lentils. The smoked ocean trout and poached egg of the original version were replaced with a bowl of sauteed mushrooms. Michael loved the salty and slightly astringent freshness of the salad. The mushrooms worked well, too, but perhaps didn't call for the same $20 price tag that the trout does.

On a day of celebration, I was compelled to order the Willy Wonka waffles ($16). The waffles themselves were plain and dry, but dressed up to the nines with a scoop of honeycomb icecream, miniature chocolate cone, soda pop jelly, strawberries, freeze dried raspberries, popping candy, chocolate sauce, and a laughable garnish of three green leaves. It was an entertaining one-off.

I'd be more likely to come back to Stagger Lee's to try the fancy little cakes or the croissants, while Michael had a flash of regret when he spotted the veggie breakfast burgers in the display cabinet. (The 'gangsta milkshakes', however, have my side-eye.)


Stagger Lee's has already won a fan of fellow veg blogger I Spy Plum Pie and numerous omni bloggers, see De-brief Me, A Tale of Two Bougies, A Melbournite, Simple Palates, Seriously, MEL: HOT OR NOT, Gourmet Chick, Brunch Addict, grazing panda, Eatingdiaries, Let's Get Fat Together, Verdict lobster, I'm So Hungree, Occupie Fitzroy, INLOVEWITHBRUNCH, thehangrybitch, Eat. Play. Shop., Never Too Sweet, A Chronicle of Gastronomy, Go to bread, not bed!, Lifes Merit, Vonderwoman in Melbourne, Couchfoodies, Yellow Eggs, Food Fable, Locked Loaded And Caffeinated, Gastronomical Ramblings, confessions of a little piggy, Eat Australia, foodie about town, Melbourne Vita, Hedge To The Downs, hungrycookie and Feed Reid. Reviews are ambivalent on Melbourne Patron, Miss Sage Sugar, Peat & Drift, and Lip's Temptations.

Stagger Lee's
276 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
9419 5564

Accessibility: There's a shallow ramp through a wide entry. Tables are somewhat densely packed but there is a wide pathway through the middle. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted November 03, 2015 05:02 PM by Cindy

vegan about town

kering tempe

My housemates think I'm levelling up in tempeh, but what's actually happening is that I'm getting more South East Asian in my tempeh prep and cooking. It's so great! Let me tell you how.

Tempe kering (or kering tempe) is just tempeh that has been shallow fried and deliciously flavoured. The important elements are to slice the tempeh thin, to fry it in heaps of oil at a high temperature, and to add a delicious flavour with it.

One of my favourite comfort foods is pictured here to the left, a more traditional kering tempe served as part of comfort food maggi mee. To cook this I started frying the tempe in a whole lot of sunflower oil (which is my favourite vegetable oil at the moment). After I'd done both sides once, I added a paste mixture comprising of grated palm sugar, kecap manis, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin and chilli. Sometimes I use fresh stuff and pound it together, and sometimes I just use a whole lot of already ground ingredients. I usually guess proportions based on my mood, but about a teaspoon of each and a whole lot of kecap manis to go with about half a pack of tempeh.

To be totally traditional, this should be fried with peanuts, but I usually don't have peanuts in the house so sad for me. It's still good without!

To the right is a modification I'm really happy with. I roasted half a butternut pumpkin, skin on. This pumpkin was coated in sunflower oil and maple syrup, before going into the oven for about 35 minutes, turning halfway.

When the pumpkin was cooked I drained off the marinade and poured it straight into a fry pan, where I proceeded to add some extra oil and then fry the tempeh until it was in crispy sizzle town. I then poured the pumpkin in, fried it all around, and served it as a side dish. It's amazing!

Fried tempeh is a gift to us all.

It's important not to use olive oil when you're making kering tempe, because you need very high temperatures to get a beautiful, crispy tempeh. Use a canola, sunflower or peanut oil instead.

Posted November 03, 2015 03:06 PM by steph

November 02, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

A Halloween lunch with a watermelon monster

In our house, Halloween is a time when death is uppermost in our minds.  We held a lunch yesterday, as we do each year, to remember the day that our twin boys, Alex and Ian were stillborn.  It used to be a quieter affair but their younger sister now treats it as another birthday party.  And Halloween is becoming the theme each year.  Sylvia loves the fun food and so would her brothers.

When we decided to make broomsticks with pretzels, it seemed a good opportunity to revisit the white chocolate and pretzel spider webs we made a few years back.  The ones we made back then had dodgy chocolate spiders in the middle and really wobbly webs.  Sylvia jumped at the suggestion.  She even had a go at piping the chocolate webs.  As you can see above we had mixed results.

Some of the webs were far better and I have been able to include an updated photo on the original post.  However we had a problem with the chocolate not setting.  It set in the fridge or freezer but not at room temperature.  So I left them in the freezer overnight (the fridge being too full).  Sylvia decided to take them out this morning.  I had balanced them carefully but a 6 year old was not to know this.

When she opened the door they fell out and shattered all over the kitchen floor.  We were able to rescue and snack on a few pieces but most of it ended up in the bin.  I was a bit sad but the white chocolate is so sweet that perhaps it was for the best to admire but not eat too much.

We were busy tidying the house and cooking leading up to the lunch.  The roses in the garden are all beyond their best.  Sylvia was keen to find some flowers.  We managed to pick a few that were less overblown then the rest.

Sylvia was very keen that we made cheese and pretzel broomsticks like last year.  I had memories of making them by wrapping swiss cheese around a pretzel and tying it with a spring onion.  It was fiddly.  This year we found the string cheese that other people have used and it was so easy that I was able to leave Sylvia to do it without supervision.  We did leave out the little detail of the chive or spring onion tied around it but there was much else to do.  The string cheese was much easier but I think we all preferred the taste of the swiss cheese to the plastic stuff.

E was quite keen on a jack o lantern themed food.  I had chickpeas leftover from using aqua faba (more on that later) and decided to make pumpkin dip.  I served it in a ramekin with a face cut out of nori.  (Those with a keen attention to detail might notice that I forgot the nose.)

One of the dishes I was most excited by was the watermelon monster.  I was originally inspired on pinterest.  I bought an 8kg watermelon the day before and was quite proud of it.  Sylvia was fascinated.  Unfortunately it was really too heavy for her.  So when she picked it up to cradle it like a baby she dropped it.  The watermelon split and bled on my rug.  Boo hoo!

I am not a huge fan of watermelon and only bought so much watermelon just for the fun of doing the monster.  So it seemed like a waste.  I put the huge watermelon in the fridge, shuffling lots of food around to fit it.

I avoided the huge cracked watermelon in the fridge as long as I could.  Once I took it out and gave it a searching look, I discovered I had been unduly pessimistic.  No, my watermelon would not look just like the picture but it would do very nicely as a scary monster with lime halves and dried cranberries attached with a toothpick for eyes.  In the end it was very simple and looked impressive.

As I made the monster it at the end, I only chopped up some pineapple to go with the watermelon despite having other fruit to include.  The kids loved having the watermelon and were not at all deterred by the proper black pips.  (I bought it at a local fruit and veg shop rather than the supermarket that had no watermelon on the day and usually sell the anaemic type with not much in the way of pips or colour.)  I gave some to my mum and plan to make juice with a lot of the rest.

I was just finishing making the watermelon monster when my parents and a couple of Sylvia's friends and their families arrived.  We had lots of crudites, swiss cheese, bikkies and chips to serve with the pumpkin hummus and broomsticks.  I also made spider web pizza and ghost cupcakes.  These last two both deserve their own post.  I will be back with more Halloween fun soon.

Find more Halloween food on Green Gourmet Giraffe.

Posted November 02, 2015 09:20 PM by Johanna GGG


World Vegan Day Melbourne 2015

Serious face bit: You are welcome to use my photos but please provide credit and link back to my blog. Thank you! Aaaand snap back to happy face with jazz hands because this is a happy post! World Vegan Day Melbourne! The number one event on many a vegan’s calendar here. We had the added...
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Posted November 02, 2015 06:39 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Kitchen Inn

October 5 and 29, 2015

Since our office move a couple of months back I've been continuing to explore the food options around the neighbourhood (while missing Sonido and Smith & Deli of course). I had a tip-off from a mate that Kitchen Inn had a surprisingly decent range of vegetarian options, so I dropped by to check it out. It's a short menu section with just five dishes, featuring Kitchen Inn's house-made noodles, rice, vegetables and - in all five dishes - vegetarian BBQ pork. Each dish is super affordable - just $8.90, for plates so big you'll struggle to finish them. Vegans will be well served by most of the options (the egg noodle dish is a no-go, obviously), but will need to let the staff know to exclude the egg that comes standard in dishes like the fried kueh teow and fried rice (I failed in the noodle dish on the left below, but excluded the egg successfully from the fried rice on the right).

The fried kueh teow was fantastic - excellent noodles, wok-fried to give them a smoky wok-hei and filled with a generous mix of mock-pork, egg and veggies. The fried rice was good as well - not quite as successful as the noodles, but a fantastically good value lunch, especially with a few scoops of chilli oil on top.

Kitchen Inn is a bit of a madhouse at lunchtime - if you get there at 12pm or later, you're probably going to have to queue for a while and/or share a table. They do offer takeaway if you'd rather just take your mock pork to the park or your desk. Kitchen Inn has quickly found its way into my regular lunch rotation - I'm keen to work my way through all the veggie noodle dishes on the menu.


Kitchen Inn
469 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
9328 2562
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a small lip on the door. The interior is very crowded, with people and tables - there are outdoor tables as well that are a bit simpler to nab a seat at. You order and pay at a high counter and they bring the food out. I haven't visited the toilets.

Posted November 02, 2015 04:17 PM by Michael

quinces and kale

a salad of broad beans, tomatoes and garlic croutons

tomatoes, broad beans, croutons

I don’t know quite what this salad is. It is like panzanella, the Tuscan bread salad in that it uses stale bread and tomatoes, but the bread is crispy…and it has broad beans in it. Whatever it is, it is damn good.

I made it because I had too many larger broad beans in the garden, some very ripe cherry tomatoes and some stale bread. Not very appealing individually, but together they are great.

I made large garlic bread croutons of the bread, made a panzanella like dressing with tomato juices, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt. And piled in a heap of double podded broad beans.

I just love double podded broad beans. They are a bit of a pain to peel, but I think they are worth the effort for the beautiful jewels that are the result.

This is definitely a dish that is more than the sum of its parts.


a salad of broad beans, tomatoes and garlic croutons
prep time
10 mins
cook time
10 mins
total time
20 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: salad
cuisine: Vegan
serves: 2 as a side or 1 as a main
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced finely
  • 100 grams of stale sourdough bread cut into 2-3 cm chunks
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 cup of podded broad beans (by the time they are double podded they will reduce to about ½ cup
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt
  1. Heat the oven to 180 C
  2. Put the oil, parsley, bread and garlic into a bowl and toss well until the bread is coated
  3. Put the bread in a single layer on a tray or baking dish
  4. Back for 5 mins, shake to turn over and bake for another 5 or so minutes until the bread is golden brown and crispy. Don't cook it until it gets hard and tooth breaking. It should still have some give under the crunch.
  5. Put the podded broad beans into boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse under cold water and pinch off the coarse outside skins to extract the brilliant green insides.
  6. Put the quartered tomatoes into a salad bowl with salt, vinegar and oil (you may not need all the oil and vinegar, add it slowly and taste)
  7. Crush the mixture a little bit with your hands, just enough to release the tomato juices.
  8. Fold in the croutons and the broad beans.





Posted November 02, 2015 12:23 PM

November 01, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Remembering Alex and Ian 8

As another birthday heads around for Alex and Ian, our sons who were born and died on this day in 2007, I yet again have to shift my wondering about how their lives might have been.  Eight seems so old for these boys that we only ever held and gazed upon as tiny babies.  Eight long years without them.  As always we miss them and wish they were here to celebrate with us.

Instead we will eat cake in their memory.  (More on that soon)  And I share a few links I have come across over the past year that relate to stillbirth and loss:

Angel Gowns - an organisation where people donate old wedding dresses to be used to make outfits for stillborn babies.

Why I talk about my stillbirth - Alana Rosenstein in the Huffington Post

Losing Iris: the quiet despair of a child stillborn - Sarah Hughes in the Guardian

Pregnancy loss cards by Jessica Zucker.  When someone experiences preganancy loss, family and friends often don't know what to say.  These cards have thoughtful messages for such occasions. 

A bed for my heart - website for parents who have lost a child

Everything doesn't happen for a reason posted in The Adversity Within

Posted November 01, 2015 06:24 PM by Johanna GGG

Vegetarian Life Australia

World Vegan Day 2015 – Melbourne

World Vegan Day brought in huge crowds to the Melbourne Showgrounds today.

Ironically the horse racing carnival was right next door continuing on obliviously with its annual tradition of excessive drinking, gambling and frippery to the tune of horses being whipped and galloping at top speed around the track. The crowd at WVD graciously ignored their neighbours at Flemington and instead focused on the amazing selection of cruelty free food and goods on display, as well as the wide range of animal welfare organisations that were there to promote their tireless works.

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours perusing the many stalls, taste testing goodies and choosing a small range of items to buy and take home with me. I was delighted to see the high numbers attracted to the event. There is clearly a rising interest in choosing a cruelty free lifestyle with people from all walks of life in Melbourne. Veganism is definitely not the sole domain of hippies and alternative folk any more. There were young, old, smartly dressed, not so smartly dressed and everyone else in between represented there today. What a great turn out – it can only get bigger and better each year from here.

Here are a few snaps from WVD 2015.


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Posted November 01, 2015 04:26 PM

October 30, 2015

October 28, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Shu Restaurant: vegan degustation

It is not often that a Chinese restaurant prompts me (or anyone) to vacuum the car but that was the end result of a vegan degustation dinner at Shu Restaurant in Collingwood.  I hasten to add that I was not vacuuming up the food on offer.  It was too good for such treatment.  Shu specialises in innovative Shichuan cuisine and indeed this was unlike any Chinese food I had had before.  It was a special invitation-only dinner for a group of bloggers and foodie friends of Shu.  This post to sing its praises is well overdue.

We arrived at Shu on a cold wet night in August for this Christmas in July degustation.  Shu is an interesting place with great attention to detail and a preference for recycled materials.  The drinks were in beakers, the chopstick holders are recycled, one part of the wall was covered in old vinyl records and a coloured light show went on while we ate.  The light was not in my favour but I encourage you to check out more photos and reflections on the night by Veganopoulous and Cates Cates who were far more punctual than me in posting about the meal.

The proprietor, Shu, greeted us warmly when we arrived.  I mentioned I was not into really spicy foods and he reassured me I would be fine.  Mostly I was.  I arrived with Faye from Veganopoulous and we sat with a couple who were regulars and connoisseurs. When I tasted the cocktail that was set before me I was a little startled at how alcoholic it tasted and gave it a miss, given that I was driving and only occasionally drink alcohol.  I was a bit sad to avoid it as it was pretty and seemed interesting.

Our first selection was a tasting plate of Chilled and Raw dishes.  From left to right above: Cucumber, seaweed and soybean skin with spicy tahini and roasted pumpkin seeds; Silken tofu with beans, sprouts and pickled chilli relish; and Daikon roll of enoki mushroom, Asian herbs and lettuce in spicy soy sauce.

My favourite of the three was the cucumber, seaweed and soybean skin.  The silky creamy mixture melted in my mouth while the seeds added a pleasing crunchy contrast.  The daikon roll of enoki mushrooms was spectacular to look at but a mystery as to how to eat it in polite company.  I used my fingers, which perhaps was not the most dignified way to eat it.  I liked the soft silken tofu and crunchy sprouts but was took busy avoiding the spicy sauce to appreciate it fully.

Next came the Hot Dian Xin selection.  It was a slightly more substantial tasting plate of Steamed tofu pocket stuffed with preserved mustard greens and peanuts, Pan fried shiitaki and cabbage wonton with pickled chilli jam and Chinese vinegar; and Crispy beetroot and wood ear roll with a green chilli dip.

One of my favourite dishes of the night was the Beetroot and wood ear roll.  I enjoy spring rolls but the filling is all a bit sameish.  Beetroot and mushroom gave such novel and delicious filling.  I found the tofu pockets filling a bit gritty and was not a huge fan.  I loved the wonton.  The home made wrappers were noticeably more prominent and satisfying in texture and flavour than the regular wrappers I am used to and it was a lovely filling.

Then started a round of Sharing Plates.  We started with a Pan roasted eggplant rolls with pickled vegetables and roasted cashews.  All the food was styled with flair and I loved how these were presented on a long platter.  Sadly these were not so much my thing.  They were nice but were something I would have enjoyed as part of a platter rather than on their own.  And they were a bit too spicy for my palate.

Alongside the eggplant rolls were the Home Town noodles.  I ate these separately from the eggplant rolls and was surprised that they were cool rather than warm.  These noodles were served with a light seasoning and sesame seeds.  It all sounds rather dull but they were beautifully done and I could have slurped more of these.  They had a lovely cooling effect after the spicy eggplant rolls.

I am not a huge mushroom fan and was rightly wary of the Mixed Asian mushrooms, ginger and fennel stir fried in a sweet soy sauce.  While I enjoyed the opportunity to try a far greater variety of mushrooms than I normally would, I found the dish had too many mushrooms for my liking.

I was far more appreciative of the Crunchy coleslaw tossed with seeds and nuts with a Sichuan pepper infused soy sauce.  It was refreshing albeit a little spicy.

I regret that I don't have a photos worth sharing of the Wok fried seasonal vegetables with dried chilli and Sichuan pepper.  I have had such bad experiences of Chinese vegetables covered in an MSG goo that I was so delighted in how fresh and nicely flavoured these vegies tasted.  It was one of my stand-out dishes of the night.

Our final sharing plate was the Crispy tofu and grilled beanshoots in preserved Pixian bean paste.  The tofu had crispy edges while being meltingly soft inside and was lovely.

Finally we were served a Raw avocado cheesecake with blackberry syrup and toasted coconut chips.  This was a really nice light dessert at the end of a large meal.  It was lightly sweetened with a pleasing tang to it.  The talking point was the jellied fruit cubes.  In my notes I have written "lychee and agar cubes???" and can only surmised that this was what a guest surmised.  It was a stunning and memorable end to a great dinner.
The degustation introduced me to Asian food in a new and exciting way.  There was far more spice than I am used to but it was done well and I coped - mostly!  All the dishes were quite light and I was full but not stuffed to the gills at the end.  I would definitely return for a meal and recommend it to others.

You might remember that I started the post talking about vacuuming the car.  At the end of the meal I offered Cindy and Michael a lift home.  When I took out the child seats I was horrified at the crumbly mess beneath them.  I covered it up with a rug and vacuumed the car soon after.

Disclosure: I was invited to Shu by the proprietor and paid by the honest box at the end of the meal.  I was not obliged to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Shu Restaurant
147 Johnston Street, Collingwood
(03) 9090 7878
Open: Wed - Sun: 6pm - 10.30pm

Shu Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted October 28, 2015 11:19 PM by Johanna GGG

October 27, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Little River II

October 24, 2015

On our first hit-and-miss visit to Little River, I noted that I'd be interested in coming back for lunch. We finally followed through on Saturday. The sun shone through the windows but it was cool inside, and Little River was hosting a steady stream of customers.

Michael wanted what those other customers were having before he'd even heard its description. It revealed itself to be a daily special of vegan tofu quesadillas ($15) stuffed with tofu and beetroot hummus (plus what we reckon was Biocheese) and a side of corn salsa and guacamole. Michael loved this fresh and hefty plateful, but wished for a bottle of hot sauce to spice it up.

I requested the vegan option on their corn fritter wrap ($9). A solid toaster-pressing held this together well, and I enjoyed the juicy filling of charred corn, capsicum, spinach and avocado. I couldn't really detect the chutney and wished for just a touch of acidity - perhaps a lime wedge on the side? The lightly dressed rocket garnish certainly helped.

I held off on a milkshake and saved room for something from the cake cabinet, picking out a vegan-friendly pecan slice ($5). It was soft and sweet, perhaps not at deeply caramelised as I prefer, but still darn good. It'd even survive a takeaway bag, I reckon.

We received cheery and efficient service, and weren't hurried out the door. It's lovely to see this vegetarian cafe holding its own with unpretentious, fresh foods.


You can read about our first visit to Little River here. Since then it has also featured on veganfoodtour.

Little River
Shop 7, 208 Albion St, Brunswick
9973 0473
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a small lip on the door and a shallow ramp as an alternative to the three steps up inside. Tables are arranged quite spaciously; we ordered there and paid at a low-medium counter. The toilet is a unisex cubicle - access is flat but narrow, inside is spacious but lacks handrails and other dedicated supports. There are a couple of high chairs and a small selection of children's toys available.

Posted October 27, 2015 03:51 PM by Cindy

October 26, 2015

Thoughts Of A Moni

YOMG - Yo My Goodness

Last year I was stupid enough to try and run a half marathon with no training. Yes, that’s right, NO training, not even a little 5km run within weeks of the big event. Amazingly, I managed to run all the way till 17km, and it was only then that my body gave up and I had to walk the rest. The worst part was the recovery though. I literally couldn’t move the next day, and it took me a good ten minutes to simply get out of bed.

This year I decided to do it all again, but with the difference being that I was going to train properly. I’m a very stubborn person, and when I set my mind to a goal, I give it 110%. This meant that for 12 weeks leading up to the race, I was training 6 days a week, in the morning before I went to work. It sounds crazy, but it very quickly became a habit, and on the few occasions where I skipped a morning run because I was sick, I really missed it. I never thought I’d become one of those people that were addicted to exercise, but by some strange phenomenon I think I have.

Anyway, all the hard work did pay off. I ran my half marathon last week, and I ran it comfortably. For me it was not about the time (which was nothing spectacular), but it was about finishing the race, finishing it well and enjoying it. There were so many things along the 21.1km run that really put a smile on my face. To the parkrun volunteer standing on St Kilda Rd yelling out words on encouragement, thankyou. Parkrun has become an integral part of my Saturday mornings, and everything associated with it makes me smile, so it was heartening to see a parkrun fluoro vest whilst I was trying to run four and a bit parkruns.

To the band that was singing Prince’s Raspberry Beret as we ran onto Albert Park Lake, thankyou. That song is one of my favourites, and despite huffing and puffing somewhat, I still managed to sing a few lines to myself as I was running.

To Melissa, who was standing on St Kilda Rd as I came back up from Fitzroy St, thankyou. It was so exciting so see you standing on the median strip, cheering everyone on, and hearing a ‘GO MONICA!!’ as I ran past! It certainly put a spring in my step, and a noticeable increase in my pace which can my seen on my Garmin stats.

But I don’t think anything excited me more than being able to run onto the MCG. I was so glad that I had something left in the tank because I absolutely ran my heart out as I entered Melbourne’s great sporting cauldron. I sprinted past people, I soaked in the atmosphere, and as an Indian, all I could think about was the fact that I was competing on the same turf that Sachin Tendulkar had competed on. It was just a little bit special.

Of course, once the half marathon was over, my stomach demanded some attention and I was desperate for food. I came home, devoured a massive bowl of risotto, ate half a pizza, and yet I was still starving. Greasy, salty foods are what I always crave after a run, so I decided that I could only be sated if I could get my hands on a burger and chips.  I wanted somewhere reasonably local, because I really was too tired to trek anywhere too far, but I wanted something good. In recent weeks my Instagram feed has been full of burgers from YOMG in Glen Waverley, so this is where we decided to go.

7pm in Glen Waverley and the place was pumping. It still amuses me to think that Glen Waverley is now a place where people come to hang out, and you have to struggle to find parking! When I was at high school, it was just another suburb, nothing special, and you definitely wouldn't plan a big night out there. How times change!

There was a line at YOMG and there was someone at the front writing names down on a waiting list. We were told there would be a ten minute wait for a table, and that if we wanted we could order right then and there, and by the time our food was ready, there would probably we a table ready too. This sounded like a good plan to us.

The menu is simple. YOMG were originally focused on frozen yogurt (hence the name), but the Glen Waverley branch has broadened its offerings to include burgers, fries and milkshakes. There are also chicken wings but this was of no interest to me!  There were two vegetarian burgers on the menu, the Hipster and the Mr. Potato Head. The Hipster was a mushroom burger, and I had been having a lot of mushroom burgers recently, so I opted for Mr. Potato Head. The other half went for one of the specials, which was a chicken burger with Southern fried chicken. We also chose some loaded fries, namely the Fetta Fetish. After all, the only way to improve deep fried potato is to serve it with cheese. The other half also decided that running 21.1k deserved a reward in the form of a milkshake so upon recommendation from one of the staff he ordered a salted peanut butter caramel milkshake. It sounded so indulgent!

As promised, our table was ready in about ten minutes, and almost as soon as we sat down, our food was ready too. The burgers and fries are served in cardboard containers on a tray which makes for excellent food porn photography. You only have to follow the #YoMyGoodness hashtag on Instagram to see how much fun people are having!

After our first bite, it was clear that YOMG knew their burgers. They were exactly what we wanted in a burger. This was no burger trying to disguise itself as healthy. These burgers weren’t hiding the fact that they were oily and fatty, but they were also not skimping on taste and flavour either. The Mr. Potato Head burger was definitely the right choice. To the person who thought of substituting a vegetable patty for a couple of potato cakes, you should be awarded a medal of some sort. It was genius. Add some cheese, some slaw, pickles, mayo, sauce and a fried egg, this burger was a heaven of sorts. It was exactly what my body was craving and I was a happy diner.

The other half was also very content with his burger. I don’t even remember exactly what was in it, but I know there was fried chicken and bacon. Apparently these ingredients are the key to a man’s heart.

I had high hopes for the loaded fries. There was a big container of chips, generously topped with fetta, dukkha, oregano, spring onion and a squeeze of lemon. It sounded amazing, but unfortunately I think it was a little too much. Loaded fries run the risk of becoming soggy too quickly, and this was the case here. It was also extremely heavy, and so we struggled to finish it. I think if would want fetta on your fries, Jimmy Grants does a better version. It is much more restrained, but it means that nothing gets soggy, and the subtle hint of fetta is more than sufficient.

The milkshake however was delicious. Sweet, with the hint of saltiness to bring out the flavour, which was truly indulgent. I am not a big peanut butter fan, but this was good.

When we finished our meal and left, there was still a queue of people waiting to order and get a seat. This was indicative of how good YOMG is. It’s not the healthiest meal, but that is the least of my concerns when I’ve just run a half marathon! It is however super yummy, and a brilliant option when you want a cheat meal.

YOMG - Yo My Goodness Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted October 26, 2015 11:20 AM by Moni


The Harvest: A Vegan Degustation at Transformer, Fitzroy

With a number of vegan degustation evenings happening around Melbourne this time of year, I was happy to see Transformer were holding their own vegan evening. I enjoyed my first dinner there back in July and this seemed like a great opportunity to go back! ‘The Harvest- Celebrating the Best in Vegan’ was Transformer’s first...
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Posted October 26, 2015 10:16 AM

quinces and kale

ray’s cafe

toast, tomato and mushrooms

I used to go to Ray’s quite a lot before I was vegan. In the old days they did mostly things with eggs and turkish bread. I haven’t been for a few years, partly due to a friend moving house (Ray’s was a convenient point for breakfast) and partly because the menu then wasn’t so vegan friendly. That has changed. They now have quite a few clearly marked vegan and vegan option dishes on their menu.

I am definitely a savoury person at breakfast so the three sweet options were out. I almost went for a white bean tagine, which sounded great, but I am not a huge fan of Moroccan spicing. So instead, I ended up going for a breakfast mezze, which consisted of good sourdough toast with three vegan sides of tomato and mushrooms with a couple of hash browns. The hash browns were of the pre-made variety, which I secretly love, though I had expected them to be house made. The stars of the show were some deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes halved and dressed with basil and olive oil. They were great. The mushrooms were good too.

Coffee, as always, was great. They have soy and almond milk.

I enjoyed my return to Ray’s and it is nice to have it back on my list of breakfast places.

332 Victoria St, Brunswick

Ray's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted October 26, 2015 10:00 AM

October 25, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Hedgehog, Neighbourhood House open day, and Darebin Music Feast

There are some recipes I love because they taste great.  Then there are others where the taste goes deeper than flavours and burrows into the memory with a nostalgia that calls forth another time.  Hedgehog is one of those special recipes for me.  I have been eating it and making it since I can remember.

So when I was recently asked to bring a traditional recipe to a food swap, hedgehog was one of the first recipes that sprang to mind.  I have a recipe from my mum that I love.  Yet my mum often doesn't stick to one recipe.  She follows the same recipe for a while, then alters it or tries a new version, then returns to her favourite recipe.  I don't think she would mind that I have - ahem - four other hedgehog recipes since starting this blog.

Who would have guessed there could be so many variations on this plain old slice.  Almost as many as there are names.  Others know this sort of slice as tiffin, biscuit cake or fridge cake.  I guess the main thing is that it is no bake and must have chocolate and chopped biscuits in it.  I know others suggest using any variety of plain biscuits but for me it is always Marie biscuits.

As well as being in love with hedgehog, I cannot resist anything with condensed milk in it.  Hence my need to try both Lucy and Lauren's recent hedgehog recipes with condensed milk in them.  I merged them, using lots of melted chocolate like Lucy but coconut rather than sultanas like Lauren.  Always coconut.  That is why I even sprinkled some on top.

I highly advise against making this with small children just before they are heading to bed.  Yet I just wasn't organised enough to make it earlier.  The park had been just too much fun!

The hedgehog was destined for our local neighbourhood house open day that was held today.  I also made cheese stars (a bit like this) so that Sylvia has something to eat that is not sweet.  As it was, they had vegetarian sausages at the bbq so it wasn't as bad as I feared.  Though Sylvia was very taken with the cake stall.  Yes, my food ended up on the cake stall table as I had not realised it was different from the food swap.

Did I mention that the hedgehog tasted amazing.  Much richer than my regular one.  Chocolatey and gooey and very sweet.  Not for the faint-hearted.  At one stage I thought my hedgehog was not selling much.  Then I returned to the cake stall and it had disappeared.  Apparently someone (with very good taste) bought the rest of the slice that had not been sold.  Then I felt sorry for everyone else, except me because I was clever enough to leave a few pieces home for us!

The open day was a great success with a lovely relaxed vibe.  I sung with a singing group I have had one rehearsal with.  A friend did face painting.  Sylvia and her friend did some craft activities.  There was more music, an AGM, sewing activities, the sandpit.  As always I find the neighbourhood house a welcoming and generous place to be.

We would have stayed longer but E had another gig on.  He was playing in the Darebin Music Feast with his ukulele group.  I found the Music Feast a really interesting and creative place to be.  The ukulele gig started with a few uke players down the High Street in Northcote and members of the group and other ukulele groups were stationed along the way to join in as they walked up to the Town Hall.  This was a really fun start.

Once at the town hall, they played a high energy gig in the forecourt that was a great crowd pleaser.  My dad came along too and really enjoyed it.  While the morning had been cool and windy, by the afternoon it was quite warm.  A little bit too warm actually.

As the gig finished my dad, Sylvia and I headed to the very cute Little Box Brownie caravan for cool drinks.  Well they had cool drinks and I had a slice of brownie.  Very good brownie.  Rich, moist and a little crumbly.  I was pleased to enjoy the offerings of a local blogger.

Before we could sit and relax, we were invited along to a show in a lift.  Who could resist such a quirky idea!  So it was just me, E, Sylvia and my dad in the audience for the show!  Not a big lift.  The performer was quite odd in an entertaining way.  We all found ourselves singing along to Cats are Forever and watching a slide slow of cats.

Then we listened to another band in the Town Hall as we sat outside in the shade relaxing.  There were a few food trucks there but by then we had eaten our full.

As we left, we caught the end of an opera performance from the balcony of the town hall.  I love a festival that constantly surprises and delights.

Northcote is the sort of suburb where there is quite a bit of street art.  This was my favourite piece of street art that I saw while we were there.

Making the hedgehog had required a trip to the supermarket.  So I was organised enough to plan tonight's dinner last night.  I made the Isa Does It pizza bowl with kale, rice, veg sausages, tomato cashew sauce and olives.  Like everything else I have tried from this cookbook, it was fantastic.  I really needed some good food after eating out all day and this was perfect.  Though I was glad to have a piece of hedgehog leftover for dessert!

I am sending this to Create Make Bake and Bake, Play, Smile for Fabulous Foodie Fridays #75, and to Karen and Janie for their Bonfire Night/Halloween edition of Tea Time Treats.

More hedgehog recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Hedgehog (mum's recipe)
Hedgehog fudge with dried cherries
Prince William's fridge cake (posh hedgehog)
Steph's vegan hedgehog (v)
Walnut hedgehog (v) 

Adapted from Bake Play Smile and Create Bake Make

250g marie biscuits*
130g butter (I used margarine)*
130g dark chocolate*
1/2 cup condensed milk (about half a 400g tin)*
1/2 cup shredded coconut

200g milk chocolate*
50g dark chocolate*
handful of dessicated coconut

Crush marie biscuits in a paper bag so that the chunks about 1cm wide or less.  Melt butter and chocolate together.  Stir in condensed milk and coconut.  Chill in fridge for about 30 minutes or more.  For the topping, melt milk chocolate and dark chocolate together.  Spread over the slice.  Sprinkle with coconut.  Chill until firm.  Remove from fridge about 20 minutes before cutting and slice into square.

NOTES: This could easily be made vegan by using vegan biscuits (such as Nice biscuits), vegan margarine, vegan chocolate and vegan condensed milk.

On the Stereo:
The very best of Peter Allen

Posted October 25, 2015 10:33 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Char-grilled broccoli with chickpeas, almonds, lemon & chilli

October 22, 2015

I'm really enjoying my new cookbook and, after a load of chips at trivia on Tuesday, I decided that Wednesday was a good night to get my salad on again. This broccoli-based salad had a few advantages: it looked simple to make, it had a good mix of veggies and protein, and it seemed like it would be goddamn delicious. 

It lived up to all three promises, although the preparation was a bit more involved than I initially imagined. It would work a lot better if you cooked the broccoli on a bbq as the recipe suggests, as cranking our non-stick frying pan up to charring heat levels left me a bit on edge. And that made it hard to remember to check up on the toasting almond flakes. Luckily, I just about got things right - the broccoli could probably have charred for a bit longer to get more of the smokiness that the recipe promises. Regardless, the combination of crispy almond flakes, fried capers and big hits of lemon and chilli, plus loads of mint and parsley really added some oomph to the base of broccoli, spinach and chickpeas.

The parmesan isn't essential, so this is an easy veganisable dish, and one that we'll definitely come back to again.

Char-grilled broccoli with chickpeas, almonds, lemon & chilli
(slightly adapted from a recipe in Hetty McKinnon's Community)

1kg broccoli (3 heads), cut into florets
6 tablespoons olive oil
100g capers, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups baby spinach leaves
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
80g parmesan, shaved
100g flaked almonds, toasted
salt and pepper

Toss the broccoli florets in half the olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat a frying pan (or a bbq if you're doing it properly) until it's super hot and throw in the broccoli. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning regularly, until the broccoli florets have charred up a bit.

Put the other half of the oil in a small saucepan with the capers, garlic and chilli flakes. Heat it up until the garlic just begins to change colour (you really don't want to burn it!) and then kill the heat, and pour the oil/garlic/caper/chilli mix over the broccoli.

Stir in the chickpeas, spinach leaves, lemon zest and some more salt and pepper and toss well.

Serve, topped with lemon juice, mint, parsley, parmesan and almonds.

Posted October 25, 2015 08:32 AM by Michael

October 24, 2015


Vegan Brunch At The Glass Den, Coburg

The Glass Den came to my attention through the vegan community, when there was a bit of a buzz about a new vegan menu coming up. I also love this part of Coburg, with the historic Pentridge Prison that was built in 1850 (closed in 1997) and have wandered around there many times. I was excited...
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Posted October 24, 2015 12:33 PM

October 23, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Honey parsnip cake and a bee swarm

A couple of weeks ago I was just leaving home when a neighbour alerted me to a bee swarm in a tree by her unit.  The bees had been so thick in the air when she got home that she had to wait for it to settle before getting in her front door.  The swam resting in the tree (see my photo below) was very alive with bees crawling over it and looked like something out of a science fiction film.

Apparently our body corporate was sending someone over but he didn't appear before the weekend.  We assumed it would be an exterminator.  I read online and found that local bee keepers could take the swams away with no harm to the bees.  So I rang a local shop called Bee Sustainable who were very helpful in directing me to a local bee keeper.  I felt very proud of my work.  However as soon as the bee keeper arrived the swam flew off into the air with a deafening buzzing and disappeared over the roof tops.  It was a very odd experience.

While reading online about bee keepers, I was pleased to read the Beechworth honey is one of the brands that are Australian produced.  This is the honey we have at the moment.  Strange all the incidental knowledge you pick up in while trying to keep a house in order.  As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, I had great plans for my Beechworth honey.

Cakelaw does an amazing job at keeping up with interesting cake recipes in newspapers and sharing them on her Laws of the Kitchen blog.  She recently posted a Honey Carrot Cake that Dan Lepard had devised.  Of all the bookmarked recipes and cookbooks of recipes in my life, this one rose to the top of the pile.  It was a most intriguing recipe with apple, tahini, spices and cocoa. 

When it came to baking the cake, it was the parsnips rather than my carrots that needed using up.  And I have always wanted to bake a parsnip cake.  I also made a few small changes to the spices, used cranberries rather than sultanas and didn't douse it in honey and cream cheese frosting when it came out of the oven.  I had hoped to use up some cream cheese in the frosting but by the time I made the cake E had eaten too much of it.  There wasn't enough enough to make with yoghurt in this frosting.  So I just spread it on a few slices instead.

This is not a neat delicate cake for maiden aunts.  No.  It is a moist cake that produces slices which are a little crumbly but you don't mind because they are so dense with flavour and cranberries and charisma.  If cakes have charisma!  I loved it.  If you want to really impress guests with the cake, go the whole hog and douse it in honey and cream cheese frosting.  But for a quiet moment with a cuppa, this cake is delicious by itself or with a lick of butter.  Whichever way you eat it, this honey parsnip cake is bound to please.

I am sending this cake to Veggie Desserts, Michelle Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Helen for Extra Veg and to Create Make Bake and Mrs D Plus 3 for Fabulous Foodie Fridays #74.

More vegetable cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Avocado pound cake with cream cheese frosting
Chocolate beetroot brownies
Chocolate carrot cake
Kale cake (v)
Mashed potato chocolate cake
Moist and nutty carrot cake
Spicy pumpkin tea cake

Honey parsnip cake
Adapted from Dan Lepard via Laws of the Kitchen

125ml neutral oil (I used rice bran)
175g honey
50g tahini
2 eggs
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cocoa
200g grated parsnip
1 small apple, peeled and grated
40g glace ginger, finely chopped
150g dried cranberries
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 160C.  Grease and line a loaf tin.  (Mine is 13x22cm but Dan suggested a 10 cup loaf tin.)

Combine oil honey and tahini in a large mixing bowl.  Mix in eggs, mixed spice and cocoa.  Stir in parsnip, apple, ginger and cranberries.  Finally mix in flour and baking powder.

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Serving suggestions: Dan suggested brushing the hot cake with warmed honey and topping with a cream cheese frosting.  I preferred serving slices with butter or cream cheese spread over it.  A drizzle of honey or jam could be added to this if it wasn't sweet enough.

On the stereo:
In Blood Memory: Jen Cloher 

Posted October 23, 2015 10:17 AM by Johanna GGG

October 22, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The Glass Den

October 18, 2015

The Glass Den is a roomy Coburg cafe set within the D-division gatehouse of the now-decommissioned Pentridge Prison. In the past month they've really ramped up their vegan menu options, so we skulked in for a late breakfast on Sunday morning.

Though it's a meat-and-all menu, it's clear they know their stuff. There are dairy and three non-dairy mylk options on the first page (plus a vegan coffee frappe hidden further back!), and vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free symbols scattered everywhere. They're almost to be expected, perhaps, on the chia pudding and smashed avo dishes, but coconut mousse, coconut bacon and mushroom substitutions mean that plates like the big breakfast and the calamari salad are also on the veg*n table. You've actually gotta hunt for the eggs and bacon (they are there). It all made for some tough  decision-making.

Michael needed a flu fighter juice (carrot, ginger and orange; $7) to combat his sniffles.

With that done he demanded a second big nutrient boost from the Shrooms & Kale ($15.50), a plate of multi-grain sourdough toast, sauteed kale and garlic mushrooms, pine nuts and coconut bacon. The coconut bacon lacked colour but the dish was well-seasoned. Unfortunately the thick, crusty toast and lack of sauciness rendered this a little dry.

I took a chance on the coconut hotcakes ($16.90). They're vegan and gluten-free by default and read a little overwrought - "gluten free hotcakes, grilled banana, berry foam, maple syrup, candied almonds and coconut". Actually they seem to be one of the cafe's most popular dishes, and I saw several pretty plates delivered to the tables around me before I got my paws on this one.

My suspicions were unfounded - these were excellent hotcakes, with the texture of a flourless almond cake. The fruity trimmings were very generous and complementary. I can't think of many (any?) better gleegan breakfasts around Melbourne.

With a belly full of hotcakes, I barely glanced at the sweet treats by the till. But here they are! They looked nice, and some of 'em were labelled vegan too.

Service was welcoming but a little slow, and it won't deter us from visiting again. This is a menu we want to see more of.


The Glass Den
15 Urquhart St, Coburg
9354 5032
brews, breakfast, lunch, cold drinks, booze

Accessibility: There's a flat entry and clear corridors throughout the cafe, but the tables and chairs are densely arranged. We ordered at our table and paid at a low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted October 22, 2015 06:07 PM by Cindy


Blog Interruption!

Hi everyone, I’m experiencing some problems with images displaying on the blog. Hope to have this fixed by bedtime (it’s 9:15am). My apologies!

Posted October 22, 2015 08:15 AM

October 21, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Moroccan deli-cacy, East Brunswick cafe and deli

Moroccan deli-cacy may be the new kid on the block in East Brunswick but it has a rich heritage.  It is situated in the old Miramar Nut Shop that was one of the first Lebanese mixed businesses in Melbourne.  Now it is a cafe-cum-deli run by Hana Assafiri who has run much loved Moroccan Soup Bar.  I am happy to report that the standards are every bit as high as the expectations.

My mum told me how good Moroccan deli-cacy looked last week just before I read Michael's high praise for the cafe. Yesterday I had lunch there with my mum.  It was every bit as amazing as I had hoped.  We arrived at the cafe.  It still feels like a nut shop with bins of spices, tubs of nuts and shelves of tinned goods.  Around the edges are colourful red stools and outside is more seating.

At the back of the shop is a display cabinet of salads, grain dishes and even a mountain of a yoghurt that was on its way to becoming a cheese but stopped midway, according to Hana.  She is a welcoming and bustling presence behind the counter.  She asks if we have any allergies and dishes up a platter of wonderful colours, tastes and textures.

It is a glorious feeling to sit at a tiled table with Hana's creation before me.  The cafe is light and airy with the large windows open to let in fresh air.  Without a menu I am at a loss to tell you everything I ate.  I just know it was the sort of lunch I wish I had every day.

I was initially impressed by the spiced couscous with soft dried apricots and dried cranberries.  Other dishes include a barley and legume dish, creamy chickpeas, another grain dish, smoky baba ganoush, green salad, fried zucchini, the yoghurt, fried haloumi, pickles, wonderful falafel and hearty wholemeal bread.  I noticed some spiciness and my mum noticed lots of mint.  For those seeking a vegan lunch, Hana was creating a vegan platter when I spoke to her later.

We also order fresh mint tea which is worth ordering just for the gorgeous silver teapots.  It is also a refreshing drink.

The food is different each day.  Compare this to the meal that Michael had.  He also had some ricotta pancakes with a coffee.  I noticed some turkish delight, macarons, and (I think) almond crescents on display on the counter.  But I was too full to want anything sweet.  It was a meal that was satisfying without leaving me feeling uncomfortable.  I can't wait to go back.

Before we headed home, I had a wander around the corner to check out the street art in Ann Street.  It is changed since I was there last year, most notably with the controversial Karma Sutra Burger.  The Moroccan deli-cacy has added new colour to an interesting part of East Brunswick ad I am sure attract yet more people to this area.

Moroccan Deli-Cacy
313 Lygon Street
Brunswick East
03 9387 6805

Moroccan deli cacy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted October 21, 2015 09:06 PM by Johanna GGG

October 20, 2015


Roasted Capsicum And Tomato Pasta Sauce

I had a kitchen full of red capsicums and tomatoes, thanks to raiding the discount trolley at a nearby supermarket. People of Melbourne (possibly Australia wide), check with your local Woolworths supermarket to see if they bring out a discounted produce trolley during the day! I know of a few that do this, though times...
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Posted October 20, 2015 09:32 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Peanut butter & blueberry pie

October 17, 2015

Michael and I unintentionally went over-the-top on peanuts in our contributions to Hayley's birthday picnic, doubling down on roasted peanuts and peanut butter in both dishes. While Michael's dressed a kale and quinoa salad, mine formed the base flavour for a sweet little pie.

My first contact with this pie was as a recipe tester for Leigh Drew's Wrapped in Pastry. The peanut butter caramel filling was always destined to win me over, but it was the fresh blueberry topping that proved to be the clincher. Instead of the depth and richness of a more predictable chocolate/peanut butter pairing, blueberries really lighten up the caramel and lend a hint of tartness. It makes for a really nice springtime dessert.

The shortcrust pastry was not my best effort. I think I added too little liquid, rendering it crumbly and difficult to roll (yet so very easy to swear at). By contrast, the peanut butter caramel was simple and completed in perhaps 5 minutes. I enjoyed taking a little longer over the topping, alternating decorative circles of blueberries and roasted peanuts to pretty, homely effect.

This isn't the kind of recipe that will ever enter our weekly rotation but I can see myself enjoying it all the more for pulling it out once a year, when blueberries are cheap-ish and there are friends to feed.

Peanut butter & blueberry pie
(a recipe from Leigh Drew's Wrapped in Pastry,
made available online through her blog)

2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup almond milk

caramel filling
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup almond milk
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries
2/3 cup salted roasted peanuts

To make the pastry, place the flour and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse them briefly to combine. Add the margarine and blend until it's thoroughly mixed through the flour. With the blades still rotating, pour in the lemon juice. Drip in the almond milk a tablespoon at a time and continue blending until the ingredients are well mixed; they might even pull together into a dough ball. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, push it together into a dough ball with your hands, wrap it up in the plastic and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 180°C and lightly spray a pie dish with oil. Retrieve the dough ball from the fridge, and unwrap it, leaving the spread out glad wrap between the ball and the bench. Arrange another piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough, and roll the ball out between the two plastic sheets to fit the pie dish. When it looks like a good fit, remove the plastic on top and ease the pastry into the dish open side down. Pull off the second layer of plastic and fit the pastry into the dish, trimming and patching where needed. Poke some holes in the base with a fork and bake the pastry until it's lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Allow the pastry to cool on the bench.

To make the filling, place the peanut butter and almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir them regularly until they're well-mixed and smooth, then take them off the heat. Sift in the icing sugar and add the vanilla, whisking everything together until it's very smooth. Pour the caramel into the pastry case and smooth over the top to even it out. Decorate the top of the pie with alternating concentric circles of blueberries and peanuts. Refrigerate the pie for around 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Posted October 20, 2015 04:03 PM by Cindy

October 19, 2015

Thoughts Of A Moni

Fukuryu Ramen

Located in a small alley, at the top of a flight of stairs, is a place you may never have known existed – unless you are a ramen enthusiast. I had never tasted ramen before. It is a Japanese noodle soup, usually made with a meat based stock as the base, which doesn’t make it very vegetarian friendly. Fukuryu Ramen however, has developed a vegetarian ramen, made with a vegan broth and miso paste, which meant that I could taste it!

We got there for a late dinner one Saturday night. The restaurant was fairly large and only about half full, so finding a table was not an issue. All the ordering is done first at the counter and paid for before you take your seats. I was sure I was going to try the ramen, but the other half is not a soup fan, so instead he decided to try a variety of small dishes.

We sat down, got ourselves some self serve water (they have a choice of chilled, room temperature and sparkling!) and waited for our food. It wasn’t long before the dishes started to arrive.

Our first dish was some okonomi balls. These were fried balls filled with egg and pork belly and served with Japanese BBQ sauce and kewpie mayo. The other half said these were ok, but he wasn’t blown away. There were very heavy, and he didn’t manage to finish them all.

Next to arrive was the chicken karaage, which seemed to be the Japanese take on KFC. With Korean fried chicken, one of the latest fads, it seems only fair that the Japanese put their spin on it too. The chicken was served with citrus mayo and some fresh cabbage salad. In what was becoming a theme for the night, it was deemed to be OK, but again, nothing special.

My ramen arrived next and I was excited. On the tables there were a variety of condiments that you could add to your dish, so I added some chilli flakes. There was also a variety of sauces and oils, but I decided to take the conservative approach because nothing seemed to be labelled and I am sure that some of the condiments would have had fish sauce in them.

The vegetarian miso ramen came with buttered corn, grilled pumpkin and a gooey egg. There was also some soft noodles, mushrooms and sunflower seeds. The broth was lovely and light, and very comforting. The egg was perfect, and whilst I may not be a ramen connoisseur, I know a good egg when I taste one.  I had ordered a regular size ramen which was perfect for me. They also do a large size, but I think this would be too much for most people.

The other half still had another side dish to eat. He had ordered soft shell crab mini sandwiches. These were soft shell crabs served with cabbage and spicy mayo in a steamed bun. These were deemed to be delicious, but way too spicy. I think there were equal proportions of crab to spicy mayo and it was just too much. In the end the other half tried to scrape off as much of the mayo as possible, but it was still too spicy.

We also ordered some curry chips. I am a sucker for anything deep fried and I can rarely go past chips. In line with the latest craze of loaded fries, Fukuryu Ramen and loaded they fries up with some Japanese potato curry (yes, potato with potato) and cheese. The chips weren’t bad, but like all loaded fries, it was a very heavy dish, and because of the curry, the chips went soggy very quickly.

We also ordered a green tea parfait to finish off the meal. Unfortunately I am not a matcha fan, so I really didn’t like this dessert. It was basically matcha soft serve topped with cream. I forgot to take a photo of this one too, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this.

Fukuryu Ramen are also on the social media train. For any selfie you share of your food with their hashtags on Instagram, you can score yourself a free green tea soft serve. Once again, I’m not a fan, so not worth it for me, but for matcha lovers, I’m thinking this is a good deal!

On the whole we weren’t blown away by the meal. The ramen was lovely, but none of the sides were anything special. Still, if you are on the hunt for a decent ramen, perhaps Fukuryu Ramen is worth a visit.

Fukuryu Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: I dined here courtesy of Zomato and Fukuryu Ramen, however I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

Posted October 19, 2015 12:35 PM by Moni

quinces and kale

spring vegetable braise with pasta

spring vegetable braise with pasta

I love spring. I love it for the light, the warmth and the sense of renewal and hope. I also love the return of delicious spring vegetables.

This dish is so easy to make, a few small vegetables, some herbs, stock, oil, vegan butter and lemon or lime juice.

The added bonus for me is that all the vegetables came from my garden. Snow peas, artichokes, asparagus, thyme and parsley, straight from the garden and into the pan. I used a lime instead of a lemon because I had one last one hanging onto the tree.  I always get a thrill when cooking an entire dish with vegetables from my garden.

This braise can be served over pasta or any other grain, or served in pastry if you wanted to get fancy.

But I usually keep it simple and serve it with some fettucine or pappardelle pasta. The vegetables are the star in their buttery, lemony sauce. And they take less time to cook than the pasta.

spring vegetable braise with pasta
prep time
10 mins
cook time
10 mins
total time
20 mins
author: quincesandkale
cuisine: vegan
serves: 2
  • 2 globe artichokes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs vegan butter
  • 1 cup stock
  • 16 snow or sugar snap peas
  • 16 spears of asparagus
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley

  • 20 thyme leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • instructions
    1. Prepare the artichokes and cut the hearts into quarters.
    2. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the artichoke pieces until lightly browned.
    3. Add the stock to the pan, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cover.
    4. Cook for a few minutes until the artichoke pieces are just tender.
    5. Add the other vegetables, cover and cook for a minute or two.
    6. The stock should reduce down to a slightly thicker syrup. If it hasn't, remove the vegetables, reduce over high heat and return the vegetables to the pan.
    7. Stir in the herbs, butter and lemon juice.
    8. Season with salt to taste.
    9. Serve over pasta.
    There are a number of good videos that show how to prep artichokes.
    Here is on from the BBC



    Posted October 19, 2015 09:00 AM

    October 18, 2015


    Return To Krishna On Barkly Indian Restaurant, Footscray

    Since my first visit to Krishna On Barkly a few months ago, I have been waiting impatiently to go back. Fortunately we were passing through Footscray around dinner time so Arthur and I headed in for what we were certain would be an awesome feast. And it was– Krishna On Barkly are hands down my...
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    Posted October 18, 2015 10:06 PM