August 01, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

East Elevation VII

July 17, 2014

East Elevation is not currently offering a weekly dinner service, but they do run the odd special event. When we caught wind of their July vegan dinner we were signed up in seconds - their equivalent event one year ago was delightful. (Hot tip - they've another on August 7 that's sold out and they will consider an encore on August 8 if enough people show interest!)

With this $60 six courser, East Elevation outshone the all bright hopes I held for the meal. I don't think you can find anything else like it in this city. It began with small plates presenting Jerusalem artichoke as a puree with pepitas and truffle, but also fried to a crisp and salted - a nice interplay of comforting savoury softness and light crunchy touches.

Tilting further to soft comforts were these jars of soy custard with surprisingly sweet fresh and pickled mushrooms, topped with a kombu and shiitake broth at the table.

The night's crowd pleaser was a buttery confit Nicola potato set in a soy emulsion with toasted shallots, burnt leek and vegan parmesan. I reckon this is what a sour cream-and-chive baked potato looks and tastes like in heaven.

The final savoury course was more divisive. While the baby carrots - baked, pickled and pureed - were sweet and inoffensive, not everyone took to the grassy-earthy tones of the Coopers stout soil and the hay puree. The larger clods of 'soil' reminded me happily of Weetbix, and I enjoyed the sights and smells of a paddock that it evoked. For me the only hiccup was that, on a cold and dark winter night, this dish was served at room temperature.

Nothing gets me onside a degustation like a menu with two desserts! Never mind that I couldn't quite reconcile my taste buds to the first fruity one - poached rhubarb and blood orange served with a dollop of lumpy, ricotta-like almond curd, a pretty but bitter nasturtium leaf and a disorienting stem of smoked rhubarb.

By contrast the chocolate and almond-themed finale really hit home with its sweet scatter. A spill of almond milk, a shard of dark chocolate and a puff of Persian fairy floss; a crunchy crush of praline, equal parts almond and amber toffee; a tiny sundae of shaved chocolate and almond milk granita that started with matching textures then melted unevenly in the mouth to matching temperatures. And a cup of East Elevation's specialty Monsieur Truffe hot chocolate on a base of almond milk - until I drank it I was yearning for more and more of this meal, but I finished completely, deeply satisfied.


Here are our previous  one, two, three, four, five, six blog posts about East Elevation. This particular evening has also been blogged on quinces and kale.

East Elevation
351 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9380 4915
set menu $60

Accessibility: Excellent. A ramp on entry, great light, lots of space and spacious individual unisex toilets, at least one of which has disability signage. Ordering happens at the table and payment at a reasonably low counter.

Posted August 01, 2014 10:14 AM by Cindy

July 31, 2014

consuming cate


Pierogies are a popular dish in Eastern Europe on a cold winter night. Whilst it's summer here, I've been meaning to make some for a while. You could use any vegetables really, silver beet and spinach would work really well, and I'd be keen to add some diced vegan bratwurst next time. They'd also be a fantastic way to use up leftover baked vegetables.

  • 3 cups of wheat flour (all-purpose)
  • half a teaspoon of salt
  • 2/3 cup of boiling water
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • half a teaspoon of olive oil
Filling 1
  • 2 tablespoon onion jam
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast mixed with 1/2 cup hot water (or 1 veggie stock cube)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Filling 2
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced in small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup cabbage, diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon onion jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Sift flour into a mixing bowl
  2. Pour  boiling water into the bowl, while vigorously stirring the mixture with a fork or wooden spoon.
  3. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 min, add a quarter of a cup of cold water, give it a stir, and crumble down the lumps (if any). 
  5.  Once again cover the pierogi dough with a tea towel and set is aside for 15 minutes.
  6. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it becomes a smooth and pliable.
  7. Flour a chopping board and roll out the dough until it becames as thin as possible without holes. Half a centimetre or less is ideal. 
  8. Roll out the dough and cut out circles for pierogies using a large glass

9. Put some of the filling onto the dough circle and fold it in half.

10. Close it with your fingers and some water around the edges to seal

Now it's time to cook your pierogies. I like mine boiled and then lightly fried. You could no doubt try baking them also.

To boil
  1. Bring a litres of salted water to the boil
  2. Add pierogies and once they rise to the top, boil for 4 minutes. Remove carefully with a spatula.

To fry
Warm some olive oil or dairy free spread and cook on both sides until brown


Once browned, removed from the pan and serve with salad, soy sour cream and a shot of your favourite vodka. 

Posted July 31, 2014 06:41 PM by Cate Lawrence

Ballroom Blintz

Proud Mary

I had never been to Proud Mary before. I know, I should have handed in my hipster card as a result long ago. I’m not sure if Proud Mary is even a part of the hipster zeitgeist anymore, so out of the loop am I. Bennett, who was responsible for orchestrating this long overdue visit, is adamant that the hipsters have given over Proud Mary to the growing contingent of Collingwood yuppies, but although I spotted plenty of sartorially coordinated families complete with strollers picking up coffees, there were still far too many ugly sweaters and ironic moustaches in attendance for me to believe that the hipsters had abandoned it entirely.

I was a little concerned that perhaps the full brunt of Proud Mary would be completely lost on me given their specialty is coffee, and I’ve only got to the point where I have a flat white maybe one every couple of weeks, and I certainly don’t go in for cold drips or anything fancy like that. I managed to risk severe caffeine overstimulation by having two flat whites bookend my brunch, and they were quite lovely as anticipated, strong but not fierce, smooth with a good head of crema. And I found the bright blue duck egg cups they were served in to be darling.

Since I couldn’t experience the height of coffee orientated decadence offered by Proud Mary, I decided that I clearly had to go for the most excessive vegetarian friendly brunch item available. There are few things less fancy when it comes to vegetables than the words ‘foraged mushrooms’ so I was very easily swayed into the idea of pine mushrooms on sourdough with housemade cheese curd and a poached egg.

I understand that high levels of pine mushroom use is probably out of the reach of most cafes, but that is a shame because they are such a treat. Two giant disks of lightly sauteed mushroom sat atop a giant slice of sourdough, liberally dotted with light, enormously rich dollops of bright white curd, and once the perfectly poached egg was popped and the yellow yolk oozed all over everything I was in some class of heaven.

Bennett went with the avocado dish of charred corn, green onion tabbouleh, harissa, roasted baby tomatoes and avocado on seedy bread, minus the ricotta because he has a vendetta against cheese. This was an equally piled plate that looked very filling, and quite virtuously so too.

Proud Mary isn’t cheap, you’ll have to battle through the weekend crowds regardless of how early you arrive, and there is the aforementioned hipster factor that is off-putting for some. But even though I was braced to be disappointed in the face of years of overwhelming praise, I was inevitably won over by the food. I’d like to go back in order to have a go at the sweets end of the menu, which apart from such exciting sounding brunch items like the ricotta hot cakes with mandarin caramel, honeycomb and ice cream (!!! how does that even qualify as BREAKFAST) is also augmented by a giant cabinet that was inundated with sweet baked treats – I gave such a saucy eye to a collection of jam doughnuts that they are probably pregnant now.

Proud Mary

172 Oxford Street, Collingwood

Ph: 9417 5930

Posted July 31, 2014 03:57 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Honeyed beer and barley stew

Sometimes a blog post does not come easily.  So let me just tell you how it is.  I am drinking Camomile Honey and Vanilla Tea as I look for words to begin and thinking how much I love honey.  Sourdough bread is in the oven.  Fresh bread is one of my favourite things.  And I look at my notes and remember what a fun day we had in the school holidays when I made this stew.  A stew filled with happy memories deserves a place on the blog.

The day didn't begin well.  Sylvia rose at 6am and put on the Frozen CD.  Nooooooo!  We went swimming.  Yessssssss!  We met Sylvia's school friend and her little sister at the pool.  They joined us and a couple of other little kids that we know who were taking lessons.  It was a fun time splashing about.  I was complimented by an old lady on 'how wonderful you young mums are taking the kids to the pool'.  ('Moi?')  Followed by lunch at Zaatar where Sylvia actually now eats the zaatar pizza with not too much scraping off the zaatar.  Then a play in the park where the kids had fun scrambling up a tree and watching the ducks.

Later I felt good about my little victories.  I finally sold our Ikea Trofast wardrobe (sob - I did love it but there is no room) after discussions with 3 potential buyers and 3 cancelled pick-ups.  I sewed up a coat pocket that was torn in an anxious moment!  I bravely fished out a 'black hissing thing' from under the coffee table (it was a piece of lego, Sylvia!).  I sorted the collar on the cat who had managed to lose her old collar and slip out of her new one.  I even used up lots of vegies from the farmers market in the stew.

I love the pretty striped choggia beetroot but never know what to do with it.  (Any ideas are welcome!)  Initially I had hoped to make a chunky beetroot soup I love but add barley.  Then I sort of got influenced by a beer and barley recipe I wanted to make but had no Worcestershire sauce on hand.  I winged it.  And it was very good.  Much better than a honey and cider stew I made some years ago by adapting a meaty recipe.  I left potato out of this stew so that I could put it in the freezer.  (Actually I think that might be what is in the mysterious tubs!)

In looking at the recipe it seems a lot of stock powder.  You might need to reduce to taste.  I found that it needed quite a bit of seasoning.  However I think this is the reason I added honey.  Vegans could add other sweeteners to taste but I found that a little honey went a long way.  Barley made the stew very thick but it was packed with plenty of vegies that add flavour and nutrition.

The stew was even better for being served with a hunk of fresh seeded soda bread.  I was not sure it was quite cooked in the middle but even so it was a treat.  I had the bread ready for Sylvia's dinner but the stew took longer.  I waited until she was in bed and ate it listening to the Wonderland soundtrack.  Good music and a sleeping child are every bit as lovely as good stew with fresh bread.

I will end with a note about the choggia beetroot that I bought at Coburg Farmers Market.  I had hoped some of the stripes would show through in the final stew.  You can see in the photos that there is not a hint of beetroots pink hues.  The beetroot stripes lost their colour and became the faintest of shadows.  However I was pleased that E actually said how much he enjoyed the beetroot in the stew.

I am sending this stew to Elizabeth's Kitchen for her Shop Local event that challenges bloggers to feature locally sourced ingredients.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Savoury sandwich ideas
Two years ago: Irish No Knead Bread
Three years ago: Apple Spice Cake
Four years ago: Lentil quinoa balls and fun links
Five years ago: Bizarre gnocchi and strange crumble
Six years ago: Paella with thanks
Seven years ago: Mushroom Yoghurt Pie with Spinach Crust

Honeyed beer and barley stew
An original recipe inspired by me (Green Gourmet Giraffe) and Vegan Eats
Serves 6-8

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup beer
5 cups water
1 heaped cup dried barley
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large turnip or swede, peeled and chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
3 medium beetroot, chopped choggia or golden are best
2 leeks, chopped
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced
6 tsp stock powder
2 bay leaves
few springs parlsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp salt flakes, or to taste
few stalks fresh thyme
400g tin of  lima beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1-2 tsp honey
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil over low heat in a stockpot and fry onion and garlic for a few minutes until translucent.  Add beer, water, barley, lentils, remaining vegies, stock powder, bay leaves, parsley, salt and thyme.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add lima beans, vinegar, honey and black pepper.  Cook for another 5 minutes until warmed through.  Garnish with parsley.

On the Stereo:
(Michael Winterbottom's) Wonderland soundtrack: Michael Nyman

Posted July 31, 2014 10:09 AM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

true north

breakfast roll

Another day, another breakfast.

I’ve been a bit sick of my breakfast rut recently and so I decided I’d go out. It also had to be somewhere new. What’s the point of getting out of an “at home” rut and falling into an “eating the same thing at the same café” rut?

So this time I headed to True North in Coburg. I’d heard some good things about it from my finger-on-the-pulse Coburg friends, and Coburg is so hip these days it could not go wrong. :)

The café is a smallish cosy place and it has booths, which makes it a winner in my book. There are a good number of well-marked vegan options on the menu.

I chose the Breakfast Roll even though I wanted several other things, none of which I can now remember, except a BLT.

The roll itself was a beautiful crunchy sourdough that came from Rustica Bakery in Fitzroy.  I loved it so much that I went home afterwards via the bakery and bought some of their bread. :)

But back to the cafe…the roll came with bubble and squeak, facon, avocado, rocket and tomato relish. Good, good, good. I’m not sure if the bubble and squeak varies according to what is left over, but mine had nice bits of sauerkraut in it.  This  was delicious and contrasted so well with the smoky flavour of the facon and the smoothness of the avocado. The coffee was also excellent.

I need to go back, so I guess I’ll have to get stuck in a new breakfast rut at True North and eat my way through the rest of the menu.


True North
2a Munro St
Coburg, 3058
9917 2262

Posted July 31, 2014 09:15 AM

July 30, 2014

Little Vegan Bear

Chapel Street Eats

These eats go back a while. The first was way back in April on ANZAC day – the bear and I met up with my mum and dad for lunch and a movie due to it being a public holiday. We met in between our places on Chapel St, and headed towards the Sweetwater Inn for a bite to eat. Unfortunately, they weren’t yet open when we got there, though that may be a good thing – this post may have had far too much deep-fried-ness otherwise. Yowzers!

I’ve never really spent a lot of time on the South Yarra end of Chapel st – it’s a bit more fashion-oriented than I can bear for very long. They do have a couple of cinemas though, and plenty of cafes and restaurants to drink cawfee and fill tummies.

We decided to stop at a Mexican place called Amigos, as it wasn’t too far from where we needed to be. Amigos has three location – South Yarra, St Kilda and the CBD, and according to the website they have been serving Mexican food and drink since 1981.

Upon viewing the menu, I noticed two items labelled vegan. Not a huge choice, but good to have the options labelled nevertheless.

amigosThe bear went for the Ensalada Verde – a green salad with avo, tomato, red onion, and a citrus and herb dressing, topped with tortilla strips. He enjoyed this, and even let me taste a little. Decent tasting though someone overpriced at $16.50 for some leaves and bread, in my humble opinion.

amigos2I had the Pico de Gallo – a blend of tomato, red onion, coriander, lime and chili with corn chips ($10.50). Nice and fresh tasting, and suits my love of snacking foods.

Afterwards, we went on the Jam Factory to see The Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema. It was the first time I had been to the movies in quite some time, and I enjoyed watching a film in the dark on the big screen. Gotta love Wes Anderson, I enjoyed the unusual darkness of this film, as well as the usual quirky patterns of conversation. Since then, I’ve been to the cinemas two more times (Good Vibrations and All This Mayem) and am looking forward to more visits – hopefully I’ll catch a few films at the Melbourne International Film Festival starting tomorrow….look out!

Next up, a trip to Lord of the Fries. Why oh why do I continue to go here and not enjoy myself?

Perhaps that is a little harsh – it’s just that I have such high expectations! Vegans and omnivores alike, everybody tells me how great Lord of the Fries makes me feel like I am missing something. Can somebody please explain to me why they are so good? Perhaps I make continually bad choices, I don’t know. Perhaps I need to visit at 3am after a night out – I bet I would enjoy it then.

lotf2The bear and I got a few bowls of fried stuff. Here is some chips and chili poppers with vegan cheese and hot napoli sauce. Yet another sauce that really didn’t do much for me, although it was better than the satay and the special vegan mayo that I’ve tried before. The sauce wasn’t spicy at all, and the chili poppers were pretty tasteless – just friedness, with bland cream cheese style filling.

lotf1Sorry for offending your eyes with this picture, I know it ain’t the prettiest. This is a bowl of chips and onion rings with vegan cheese and gravy. Admittedly, this was the best sauce of all the ones I’ve tried, despite its translucent gelatinous appearance. Not saying it was amazing, but definitely preferable to the others.

Maybe I need to try the sweet potato fries. Or the burgers or hot dogs. I had a burger once and it was okay, but nothing mind blowing. No doubt I will be back some time, as I feel the need to crack this mystery.

lotf3Oh my goodness – to think I almost let you get away without laying your eyes on this monstrosity! Okay, that was mean, I actually enjoyed this until I felt sick. The Chapel st store also does a few milkshakes, this one being Oreo flavoured. I know it looks a bit like sewerage, but it was not too bad – a bit sickly sweet, but hey, why else would you get a milkshake?


7/478 Chapel St, South Yarra
Sun – Thurs – 11.30am – 12am
Fri – Sat – 11.30am – 1am

Lord of the Fries
170 Chapel St, Windsor
(see website for other locations)
Mon – Wed – 11am – 8pm
Thurs – 11am – 9pm
Fri – Sat – 11am – 5am
Sun – 11am – 9pm

Posted July 30, 2014 10:22 PM

The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Smith & Daughters

 Smith & Daughters: Tarta de Chocolate Azteca w/ fresh avocado icecream ($14)

Smith & Daughters: Tarta de Chocolate Azteca w/ fresh avocado icecream ($14)


Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick Street,
Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Opening Hours:

Tue-Fri: 6pm-1am
Sat: 10am-3pm (brunch menu)
Sun: 10am-3pm (brunch menu)

You only need to walk past Smith & Daughters on a weeknight to see that they’re not only leading the way in all vegan dining, but dining in general. Vegans and omnivores alike are flocking here for awesome food, super friendly service and a damn good vibe.

The Spanish and Mexican inspired all vegan dinner menu is an ever-evolving pursuit of perfection. Say goodbye to main meals, and hello to a vast selection of mouth-watering small plates to make your own smorgasbord. Choose from such delicacies as 'White truffle, forest mushroom pâté w/ caper berries, cornichons & toasted bread' ($15 GFO), 'Tuna & green pea croquettas w/ caper aioli' ($5 each) and the amazing 'Tortilla w/ garlic aioli' ($7 per slice).

If you’re more in the mood for salad, the 'Tacos con enslada' (GFO NFO $16)—a crisp tortilla basket filled w/ black beans, vegan chorizo, grilled corn, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, pickled red cabbage and coriander cashew cream is a popular choice.

Life’s too short for regrets, so don’t skimp on a Smith & Daughter’s dessert—do try the 'Tarta de Chocolate Azteca' ($14), served with the most incredible fresh avocado ice cream or share some ‘Warm Spanish Donuts’ ($12) with quince and spiced sugar.

Spanish or Mexican Baked Omelettes ($16 GFO), ‘Spanish French Toast' ($16) and a 'Breakfast Burrito' ($15) w/ scrambled tofu, crispy vegan chorizo, black beans, garlic kale and guacamole are on offer for brunch on weekends only.

Coffee with your choice of soy, oat, coconut or almond+coconut milk is $4 or $3.50 (black).

P.S Thursday nights from 10pm-1pm are dedicated to Morrissey/Smith's tunes, 'moza-ritas' and late night vegan eats. 'So, please, please, please, let me, let me, let me eat all the vegan treats this time...'

 Smith and Daughters on Urbanspoon

Also visited by: where's the beef?, Veggie Mama, Like a Vegan

Posted July 30, 2014 07:37 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

East Elevation VI

July 6, 2014

We landed back home to a weekend with our trusted cat-sitter Carol and my visiting mum (they're sisters, you see). Mostly we hung out at home, and I cooked up a big pot of soup. The forecast was good on Sunday, so we reacquainted ourselves with Brunswick on foot. The houses and gardens and street art were familiar and comforting, and we pointed out the odd local business that had changed in our absence.

We steered Mum and Carol to East Elevation for brunch. It's deservedly popular these days and often has a waiting list, but we scored a spot at a communal table quickly. The wait for hot drinks and food was decidedly longer. Actually I'd been waiting for these crepes ($17.50) for months, maybe even a year. They've been on the menu tempting me all that time, but I've gotten distracted by the tapioca and the specials; once I went ahead and ordered them but they were sadly sold out.

They were slender and slightly elastic in the best tradition of egg-based crepes, with a seam of fresh ricotta and occasional bursts of rosewater between folds. The lemon-saffron syrup and crushed hazelnut praline were subtle accents, less important than the fresh strawberry halves.

Brunch at East Elevation isn't cheap, but it certainly isn't ordinary either.


We've already blogged about East Elevation one, two, three, four, five times. Since that last write-up, the brunch menu has been blogged by fellow vego Green Gourmet Giraffe, as well as omni bloggers at thehangrybitch, melbourne brunch scene and grazing panda.

East Elevation
351 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9380 4915
veg dishes $7-17.50

Accessibility: Excellent. A ramp on entry, great light, lots of space and spacious individual unisex toilets, at least one of which has disability signage. Ordering happens at the table and payment at a reasonably low counter.

Posted July 30, 2014 05:50 PM by Cindy

July 29, 2014

consuming cate

Food for thought

This book reminds me of me, working on my novel (slowly)

Can bloggers live off rainbows and hugs?, Holly Becker, Decor8

Is Freelancing a Lonely Business, Liz Parry, The Guardian

David Lynch now has a line of women's sportswear. Weird.

You can see some of my favourite places to eat in Melbourne here. Sadly Camy Shanghai Dumpling Noodle Restaurant is not mentioned!

Silo by Joost replaced by Brothl, looks really interesting! I'm not big on meat based dishes but I think it's a clever way to address food waste. You can see the menu here.

I've always been blown away by the work of Ron Muek. How can you not be? I was lucky to see some in Melbourne a few years ago. This is not a new article but rather new to me.

Very pleased to see another interview with my friend Kate. I look forward to owning her book someday!

This website made me giggle. And did you know there's a big Goth Festival in Leipzig every year? There's quite a few gothic clothing shops and clubs so this make me lol.

Posted July 29, 2014 06:01 PM by Cate Lawrence

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Grovedale Hotel, Gertrude St Proejction Festival, Open House Melbourne etc

I mentioned that I was tired on Sunday morning.  By that stage of the weekend I had already eaten out at the Grovedale Hotel and Federation Square, visited Newtown Farmers Market, looked over Treasury Buildings as part of Open House Melbourne,  and viewed the lights at the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, as well as spending time in Geelong (out of town) with family.  So here is a little more information of what I got up to.

On Friday night we drove down to Geelong after Sylvia had finished school.  We had a family birthday dinner at the Grovedale Hotel (236-236-258 Torquay Road, Grovedale tel: 03 5243 2814). It was my first visit but I think other family who live down that way have been there before.  We were greeted with a huge urn of flowers and some fancy modern gates.  Portofino's restaurant is very modern and well lit with none of the clutter that you might associate with traditional pubs. 

At first glance I was not overly impressed by the menu which only had a vegie stack offered for vegetarians.  I have had too many bad vegie stacks to ever be enthused at the prospect.  Then I saw there was a pumpkin gnocchi with basil and cashew pesto, ratatouille and roast tomato vinaigrette.  I was delighted to have a gnocchi that wasn't just rich and stodgy.  Packed with a generous amount of vegies, this gnocchi was very filling and full of flavour.

The hotel catered well to children with a kid''s menu - as usual it doesn't really cater to vegetarian kids.  Sylvia is happy with a bowl of chips (but I try to give her some decent food beforehand to balance out her meal).  For dessert, she had the frog in a pond - a chocolate frog in a pond of green.  I loved it when I was young just as much as she does now.

I was impressed that although dessert orders were taken all at once, the kids' desserts arrived first.  Generally the service was friendly and thoughtful.  When not eating chips and chocolate frogs, Sylvia had a lovely time in the kids play area (see her cousin Stella at play in the top photo).

The dessert menu presented a tyranny of choice.  I ordered the chocolate and Baileys tart with double thick cream, almond brittle and fresh strawberries.  It was good - beautifully presented - but I was not keen on it being served on a slick of cream.  (I was the one in my family who never liked cream on any dessert!)  I enjoyed the tart but would have liked it more gooey and less set.  It was very rich - perfect for sharing.

And share we did.  I think I most loved my brother in law John's sticky date pudding because it was warm and sticky and soft and perfect for a winter evening.  I also was very taken with the white chocolate and vanilla cheesecake with honey and macadamia sauce.  My sister Susie had enjoyed it before because it is gluten free and loved it enough to recommend it and order it.  It was indeed a marvellous soft creamy cheesecake but very sweet.

My mum found the whole menu hard to choose from because it offered so much temptation.  Though she wanted many of the dessert options she couldn't pass up "3 ways with passionfruit - pavolva, sorbet and natural".  I think I heard some oohs and aahs from her direction but I got too overwhelmed at wandering spoons and desserts being passed about and didn't taste any.  The other dessert that I didn't taste was Erica's lemon meringue pie.  It looked magnificent and disappeared quickly so I guess it appealed to those who like such desserts.  (Not me!)

We stayed the night in Geelong and on Saturday morning, made a flying visit to the Newtown Farmers Market (on the corner of Shannon Avenue and West Fyan Rd).  My mum and I just bought a few bits and pieces before she had to meet a friend for coffee.  I headed back to my folks' place where Sylvia was playing with her cousin Ashy.  It was very cute that they were doing drawings for each other.  Ashy's big brother Cooper came over later and played hangman with me.

My dad and I had planned to go to Melbourne for Open House and the light displays.  I have visited buildings for Open House Melbourne over the last two years.  A few buildings seemed to have dropped off the list this year but there were still ones that interested me.  By the time we got back to the city, we were too late to queue anywhere and decided to go to the Old Treasury Building.  I visited back in 2008 and enjoyed it enough to return.

This imposing building was completed in 1862 to store gold from the gold rush.  I don't remember it being quite so busy last time but I do remember the grandeur of the upstairs rooms and the simplicity of the caretaker's family's rooms downstairs.  Sylvia plonked Dolly on a chair upstairs.  My dad and I were amused to see people passing by with quizzical looks.

I particularly love the green cooker downstairs which you can see in my food history post.  Possibly Sylvia's greatest curiosity was kept for the caretaker's section when she wanted to see a toilet.  We pointed out the below pot. She was suitably amused.

Both upstairs and downstairs also houses some interesting displays about Melbourne's history.  It was so busy and Sylvia was thirsty so we didn't get much of a chance to stop and read.  We did stand on the display of gold bars.  (It has a glass floor over the gold!)  The Old Treasury Building is regularly open as a museum.  I must head back when it is quieter and I have more time.

Once we left Old Treasury Building, we did have time because we had decided to wait to see the lights both in the city and in Gertrude Street after 6pm when it grew dark.  While we waited, we sat in the Atrium at Federation Square and had a burger and chips at Beer DeLuxe.  Yet again Sylvia ate chips.  I had a delicious lentil burger with tomato, lettuce, cheese, beetroot and pineapple.  I was surprised that their section that served coffees and ice creams closed at 5.30.  That scuppered our plans of a coffee for my dad and an ice cream for Sylvia.  (Her screams were loud enough to be heard around the world!)

My dad and I were hoping to see the Paint the Town Red light display in the city.  Apparently over 45 buildings are lit red at 6pm in a show of support during the international AIDS 2014 conference.  This was our second journey into the city to see the lights and both times I was disappointed.  The Arts Centre spire (above) was red but my dad and I couldn't work out if St Paul's Cathedral was lit red.  Fed Square and the Town Hall definitely weren't red (though Town Hall was last weekend).  Fortunately we had Sylvia with us and she just loved all the regular lights in the city.

My dad left us then to get his train home.  Sylvia found a shop selling ice creams which cheered her up no end!  With an ice cream in hand (hurrah for cold weather preventing them melting too quickly) we drove to see the Gertrude Street Projection Festival.  These were brilliant.  Different patterns and pictures were projected onto the Atherton high rise towers.  Across the road a pub on the corner of Napier St was lit up with white fairy lights.

We stood on the street corner watching the projections.  The pub projections were actually interactive.  A few people were using their phone to make little dots race about and chase the fairy lights.  The miracles of modern technology!  I really liked the friendly vibes of people standing around on the corner. 

I would have spent more time walking along Gertrude St and then back to the Wilde cafe at the corner of Napier St for a mulled wine but it was Sylvia's second late night and we had to get home.  We drove home singing Frozen songs and feeling very tired.

The projection festival has finished but there is information about other city projects in this article or check out the Melbourne Public Art Program

Posted July 29, 2014 10:52 AM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tokyo | Day 5

July 4, 2014

Our last day in Japan was a pretty lazy one, exploring Matt's local area, Kōenji. It's a lovely neighbourhood - a few mostly pedestrianised streets with lots of cute shops, bars and restaurants. We had a few plans for lunch, but were stymied by one place having closed down and one only opening for dinner. While we reassessed our options, we refuelled with a couple of the twee-est doughnuts in the world from Floresta doughnuts.

They were excellent, with dense dough and sweet, subtle flavours - a far cry from the over-the-top richness of our Portland experience. With a sugarry charge, we decided to return to Meu Nota for a jetlag-free visit.

Lunch is limited to a couple of different sets, which I found a much more fun way to explore what they have to offer. We went for the full set (1230円 ~ $12.90), with a paprika flavoured soup for Cindy and a more traditional miso for me. Alongside the soups were an amazing mix of fried goodies, pickled veggies, salad, corn bread, brown rice and a little bowl of tofu spread. Throw in your choice of coffee and tea and you've got an incredible meal - I'd definitely recommend swinging by here for lunch one day.

After a little bit more wandering around, it was time to put an end to our three week adventure and jump on the train out to the airport.

There was still time for one final bit of eating - we scraped together our last yen for a couple of umeboshi onigiri and some last mochi while we waited to board.

It was an incredible three week holiday (plus our respective earlier work jaunts), with so much wonderful food, ranging from fruit-loop garnished doughnuts to a banquet of delicate Japanese temple food. Hopefully you haven't minded our slightly self-indulgent holiday recapping - our regular, Melbourne-based programming will be resumed shortly!

Posted July 29, 2014 07:22 AM by Michael

July 28, 2014

consuming cate

Strawberry fields forever: strawberry and rosewater jam & strawberry cordial

We've found that strawberries are well and truly in abundance in Germany at the moment. They are locally grown (unlike a lot of other fresh produce) and insanely cheap. On Saturday we took a ten minute bike ride to a big market held at a local Sports stadium. It's a combination of clothing and produce ala Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne with some of the most revolting sweat shop produced, bedazzled garments that you'll ever see. But we didn't go for the clothes thankfully! It's been a very hot summer here and I assume crops have peaked early, accounting for the cheap prices. Like two huge cauliflower for 1€ ($1.40AUD) or 6 punnets of strawberries for 1€. Yep we were rather excited and stupidly bought 6 punnets. It was stupid because like most apartments, our fridge is small and the freezer maybe as big as two shoe boxes. 

I knew I had to do something with them fast, especially as fruit flies are a problem everywhere and fly spray non-existent. So I decided to make strawberry cordial and strawberry and rosewater jam. I haven't found our local Middle Eastern grocer yet to buy rosewater but luckily I bought a little over with me. I water bathed both recipes ( a preserving method which enables them to be kept out of the refrigerator) but you can certainly skip this step and just pop them in the fridge. Of course, opened jars should always be stored in the freezer. 

Strawberry cordial

• 2 cups water
• 2 cups sugar
• 1.5 cups strawberries 

• juice of 2 lemons
1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes.
2. Add the Strawberries and lemon juice then simmer for 5 minutes. Stir well, mashing the fruit as it simmers.
3. Put the mixture through a strainer and allow to cool.
4. Bottle and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 
5. To serve, add to a glass and top with sparking or still water and ice.

(yes that was a Vegemite jar in the photo. I will have to order some from the online shop in Germany or UK. We've found Marmite in our local asian supermarket but Vegemite is sadly absent. Vegemite is actually cheaper in the UK than Australia)

Berry and Rosewater jam

• 1.5kg mixed berries • Juice of 2 lemons
• 1.3kg of sugar
• 1/4 cup of rosewater


1. Combine berries, juice and sugar in a pot.
2. Slowly bring to the boil – remembering to stir as

you go. The sugar needs to be dissolves prior to the jam boiling.
3. Boil for 15-20minutes or until the hot jam reaches

setting point.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the

5. Skim off any frothy scum (or add 1 teaspoon

butter) and allow to cool for a while before bottling. 
6. Pour into warm sterilized jars, seal, label and water bath or store in the fridge.

Posted July 28, 2014 07:29 PM by Cate Lawrence

Vegetarian Life Australia

Outstanding customer service at Little Rose

Little Rose

Little Rose

Another amazing breakfast at Little Rose has drawn me back to my blog. I should have come back months ago, but feeling compelled to complement the deliciously yummy food and amazing customer service was the impetus I needed.

This was my second visit to this gorgeously quaint back  street cafe in Port Melbourne. Both visits have provided equally delicious meals, but this one was extra special because of the fantastic customer service. After checking the meal was  vegetarian I ordered the sauteed button mushrooms with bubble and squeak, fried eggs, parmesan, sourdough and mustard cress. Of course I know that bubble and squeak can be made either with or without bacon, hence my checking with the waitress up front. As a seasoned vegetarian I know to always check when ordering an ambiguous menu item.

Disappointingly the first cut into said bubble and squeak revealed bacon and a call from me to the waitress. But this was the point when Little Rose really exceeded expectations. Not only did they offer to swap the bubble for home made hash browns, but when the meal was returned to me the whole dish had been exchanged for a fresh version, my cutlery was replaced and I was told that it would be free of charge. The waitress also apologised. This in itself was quite amazing as I’ve found shops and restaurants rarely offer a “sorry” when something is faulty or delivered incorrectly.

To top it off the food was amazing. The chef at Little Rose is brilliant and everything I have eaten there is delicious. My hubby would agree with this as well.

Food 5 stars, customer service 5 stars! Thank you Little Rose.

Little Rose is located around the back of Rose Diner at 309 Bay St, Port Melbourne.

My delicious breakfast with replacement hash browns.

My delicious breakfast with replacement hash browns

Hubbies vegetarian breakfast.

Hubbies equally delicious vegetarian breakfast

Little Rose - gorgeously quaint.

Little Rose – gorgeously quaint both inside and out

Posted July 28, 2014 05:08 PM

quinces and kale

bread, butter, cheese and a sandwich


On one of the coldest days last week, I spent the day cooking.  I made a loaf of bread, some bread rolls, butter and cheese. I know it is relatively easy to buy all these things in Melbourne, but I find a lot of pleasure in making the most basic foods like these. I make bread the most often, because the no knead recipe is so simple, and the results are so rewarding.

bread P1010364 bread rolls

I’ve only made vegan butter once,  before the arrival of Half Pint Vegan Dairy butter.  But with no butter available at the moment from Half Pint, I decided I’d make some. The recipe I used is the one at I make cheese probably once a month, and live in hope that I will finally make the perfect vegan cheese. I’m still trying. :) In the meantime I’ve settled on this one. At the end I had a very nice cheese and tomato crunchy roll with some sprouts for lunch. Sometimes simple pleasures are the best.

Posted July 28, 2014 10:00 AM

Ballroom Blintz

Beetroot and Feta Fritters

Fritters are secretly one of my favourite staple recipes to have hanging around, as I tend to collect vegetables and often the only way to get rid of them is to grate them up and fry the beejesus out them (what, you don’t just think to fry everything?).

These beetroot fritters are particularly good because 1). They are bright pink; 2). You don’t have to wait forever to roast the beets, it’s a grate, fry and eat prospect; and  3). The inclusion of Danish feta makes them quite a bit richer than the standard vegie fritter, so once you team them with a nice side salad they make a proper filling dinner. Bingo bango.


  • 2 medium beetroot, peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 125g Danish feta
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, plus extra
  • cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • olive oil, for frying


1. Combine the grated vegetables in a bowl with the sliced spring onions and the egg. Mix to combine, then once the egg is fully incorporated, add the flour, and mix further until the mixture is sticking together nicely. If your mixture is still too wet, just keep adding flour until it reaches an agreeable consistency.

2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Using a tablespoon, take spoonfuls of the mixture, plop into the pan and flatten down into discs with the back of the spoon. Each side should take around 2-4 minutes to brown sufficiently, and obviously remember to turn them over so both sides cook. Let cooked fritters drain on a plate covered with paper towel, and repeat until you run out of mixture.

Posted July 28, 2014 08:35 AM

July 27, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Gluten free grain free almond meal pancakes

Grain free is the new gluten free.  Once it was enough not to have gluten but now a lot of people follow a paleo diet.  Not me.  I am just a vegetarian with the right recipe at the right time.  Vitasoy sent me Pete Evans' Healthy Every Day cookbook recently.  I have had my eye on the Almond and Berry pancakes for a while.  This morning Sylvia wanted pancakes but there were no bananas for our usual pancakes.  The moment had come.

It has been a big weekend so I can vouch for these being fairly easy once I worked out what frothy eggs looked like.  The recipe is not one I would make often as I rarely make anything with more than 3 eggs.  And I am a bit unreasonably cross at the recipe because I was tired enough to drop my lovely salt hog while grabbing it for a pinch of salt.  Argh!  I cut a few corners in serving mine with plum and raspberry jam rather than berries and honey.

As can be the case with gluten free baking, the pancakes were quite fragile when cooking.  They firmed up as they cooled.  They weren't at all fluffy like regular pancakes.  The best way I can describe the texture is like a flourless orange and almond cake.  Light and a little fragile when hot and quite sturdy when cooled.  Sylvia was not a fan but E and I enjoyed them.

The recipe suggested it would serve 2 but they were so dense that together we only got through almost 2 thirds.  Even so I was not too fussed about lunch when I headed off to a school working bee in the late morning.  I was still full from the pancakes.  We finally had lunch at 2.30.  I guess all the raking up the leaves finally caught up with me.  So while I can't see these pancakes being a regular, I would make them again, especially if we have gluten free guests for brunch.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Mustardy cabbage pasta bake
Two years ago: MLLA Chickpea pizza base
Three years ago: Pumpkin cake for Dolly's tea party
Four years ago: Turkish Fig Pudding
Five years ago: Balancing Soup and Scones
Six years ago: Tabouli from the Tree
Seven years ago: Lasagne and the Boy Wizard

Gluten Free Almond Pancakes
lightly adapted from Pete Evan's Healthy Every Day
Makes about 12 medium pancakes - serves 3-4

4 eggs
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp honey
200g almond meal
1 1/2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
butter or margarine or coconut oil to grease frypan

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl for a few minutes until frothy.   Mix in milk and honey and give a good stir so that most of the honey dissolves.  Place the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and pour in the egg mixture.  Stir to make a thick mixture (more like a loose paste than a regular pancake batter).

Heat a heavy bottomed frypan over medium heat.  Grease by rubbing about half a teaspoon of butter over the frypan (I used margarine).  Drop dessertspoonfuls of mixture onto the pan and spread a little with the back of the spoon.  Fry a few minutes until the mixture is a bit dry and when you check the other side it is golden brown.  Fry on the other side about a minute.  Eat warm with sweet topping of choice.  I liked jam.  E liked maple syrup.  Or cool to room temperature and eat for snacks with jam or honey.

On the Stereo:
American Roots, vol 2: Various Artists

Disclosure statement:  I received the cookbook free of charge as part of a giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

Posted July 27, 2014 10:38 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tokyo | Day 4

July 3, 2014

We headed to Shimokitazawa on Thursday morning, a neighbourhood known for its vintage shops and hip eateries. In typical hip style, nothing was open until 11am and many shops didn't begin trading until 1 or 2pm. Michael wanted breakfast from Kaiso bakery (another Lee Tran Lam rec), so we wandered the blocks until the clock ticked over and we could check out their offerings. The food labels had more French than English and the savoury snacks looked suspiciously meaty, with the four cheese bialy than LTL mentioned only available later in the day. We were satisfied with the more-choc-chip-than-bread Choco (250円 ~ AU$2.60) and slice of Tarte du Mois (i.e. pie of the month, 450円 ~ AU$4.70), which worked a sturdy-to-delicate spectrum from pie crust to well-baked frangipane, fruit slices and sugared top.

With a couple more hours of strolling and second-hand shopping, we had an appetite for lunch. Michael tracked down Magic Spice, a psychedelic cafe that specialises in soup curries and allusions to tripping. From their English menus we were able to deduce that the standard process is to select a soup curry base and a spice scale from The World Of Mysterious Hotness - chilli wusses start at Awakening, while the more adventurous can work through Meditation, Ecstasy, Nirvana, Paradise, Raputa ("provokes consciousness flying in the sky") to Aum Air ("awakening of a super sense of extreme hot space") for an extra couple of dollars. Then there's a range of extra toppings to select for your soup, and sweet-hot-acid condiments at the table.

Michael started with a Vege-Bean soup at Nirvana, adding natto and Koya (freeze-dried) tofu (1030円 + 200円 + 120円 + 110円 ~ AU$15.30). I had my Vege-Mush at the tamer Meditation level, adding tempura sweet potato slices and aji-gotti, a "seasoning egg with soy taste" (1100円 + 100円 + 110円 + 140円 ~ AU$15.20); little did I know that there was already half a boiled egg at the bottom of my soup. This meal had the kind of volume and variety that had me going for hours (almost literally) - I really liked the combination of tender-cooked and fresh raw vegetables, the flavour of the clear broth and had no hope of getting through the side of rice. The drinks we ordered - a Thai iced coffee for Michael (530円 ~ AU$5.50) and an iced chai for me (510円 ~AU$5.40) - were similarly huge and very sweet, so we ended up saving them for dessert.

This was a really fun experience, albeit one that vegans would probably struggle to navigate. In fact, we left wondering if the stock base might've been chicken too.

We had no such doubts at Itosho, a vegetarian restaurant that's been running for more than forty years under the helm of chef Hiroharu Ito. Like Bon, which served the most expensive and memorable meal of our last Tokyo trip, Itosho upholds the tradition of shojin ryori, i.e. Buddhist temple cuisine. For 8400円 ~ AU$87.80 each, Michael's family all joined us for a multi-course meal at this Michelin-starred restaurant.

The restaurant's capacity is small and Chef Ito presented almost all the dishes to us personally, describing them in Japanese to Michael's more fluent siblings. Our first bowl was arranged with walnut-studded silken tofu, gluten, ginger, mushrooms, matcha jelly and tiny purple flowers - I was reluctant to mix it all together as instructed, but the delicate flavours and textures stayed intact. The sesame sauced side vegetables and surprisingly sweet black beans were also fun to pick at.

The clear cup of renkon/lotus root soup didn't charm everyone in our group but I liked it well enough, particularly the single chestnut dumpling that bobbed on the surface.

Ito's take on tempura was a resounding success by contrast - a tofu slice, shitake mushroom, cornlette, pumpkin piece, eggplant piece and pepper were each coated in crunchy mochi flour pebbles and served with seasoned salt for sprinkling.

Shitake reappeared in the following course as the subject of simple but excellent sushi.

Larger blue plates laid out samples of tiny lacquered potato spheres on toothpicks, tender marinated lotus root and gluten pieces in a green plum sauce. It took this second serve of gluten for me to really appreciate how light and almost gelatinous it was compared to the dense seitans we're accustomed to. I recalled that we'd been served something similar at Kajitsu a couple of weeks earlier.

Open-weave baskets held handmade soba noodles with shredded nori and a little wasabi. We dipped them into the cup of soy sauce, marvelling at their fresh texture.

Asparagus wrapped in yuba tasted fresher still. (One day, I hope, I will master yuba preparation at home.)

We were feeling a little overwhelmed by the time the tofu-and-burdock imitation fish sushi arrived - their brilliance was almost wasted on us bloated customers. The cloudy mushroom soup was also very, very good - I imagined what a wonderful lunch this single course could make.

Relief was at hand, with a melon wedge each served for dessert. It was a soothing finish to a marathon of a meal.

It was an evening that filled me with gratitude (as well as vegetables!) - what a privilege to be served by such an accomplished chef, to get a glimpse of an ancient vegetarian tradition, and to share it with Michael's receptive but not-at-all-vegetarian family.

Posted July 27, 2014 07:51 PM by Cindy

July 24, 2014

quinces and kale

successful sprouts!

alfalfa sprouts

I love bean sprouts, but I have to admit I suck at making them. I don’t like buying them because of the packaging.

I’ve tried lots of methods of making sprouts, from the good old-fashioned jar with some net, to a hessian sprout bag. They almost always end up manky. This is absolutely my fault – I always forget to rinse them enough.

I BRIEFLY considered (for about one nanosecond) a top end auto rinsing model, designed for the completely sprout challenged. I dismissed it as ridiculous at a couple of hundred dollars. Really, it shouldn’t require a technological marvel to make sprouts. It should be fairly simple. Shouldn’t it?

But with failure after failure I’d pretty much abandoned hope until…

Enter my new kitchen toy, perfect for the lazy or forgetful person - an Easy Sprout sprout maker that promises no need for rinsing. I have to say I thought it was too good to be true, but it really isn’t.

Let me be clear – I think it is outrageously priced (around $40 for a few bits of plastic). But for what it does, it is a bargain. The theory is that the double walled construction holds the heat and moisture needed to sprout successfully. The heat is generated by the sprouts themselves and the moisture is retained, but in the outer container.  And it does work!

All you need to do is to soak the seeds for a few hours or overnight, rinse once and leave them alone. You can rinse them again if you like. I did this twice during the 5 days when I noticed the sprouter on the bench, but it is very forgiving. The only reason I can see why you might want to rinse, is to redistribute the seeds from the bottom of the container, to give them a better chance at sprouting more evenly. Even I can remember to do that.

So far I’ve made alfalfa, mung bean and lentil sprouts. All successfully.

I cannot speak highly enough of this sprouter.  I got mine from Sprout.


handy sprout lentils sprouting mung bean sprouts



Posted July 24, 2014 10:10 AM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Christmas in July smoky cheese and barley nut roast

Sylvia started it.  I love to celebrate Christmas in July but had no plans this year.  We had a quiet weekend at home to try and throw off our colds when Sylvia found the Christmas CDs and books.  (Must hide better next time!)  So began the craziness.  I told her we could play carols and watch a Christmas DVD and I would make Christmas dinner.  Why not when, baby, it's cold outside!

For those unfamiliar with Christmas in July, it is truly delightful in Melbourne to celebrate Christmas in the middle of winter and indulge in a decadent festive meal.  (Of course it is not about presents!)  We are feeling very wintery lately.  Sylvia is insisting on turning her calendar to August for the snowman picture.  We even have had snow in the hills outside Melbourne.  And I keep hearing wind and rain outside even when there is none.  You see, I have had an ear infection for the past week that is playing havoc with my hearing.

We needed a tree!  I wasn't committed enough to drag out Christmas decorations.  Instead we had a quick craft episode with a few rolls of colourful washi tape.  With a bit of guidance, Sylvia created a picture of a Christmas tree to put on the wall.  Her tree had bananas and the star at the top was sticking out its tongue! 

More effort on a Christmas tree was kept for our gingerbread tree.  We have a graduated set of 5 star biscuit cutters that we have used on another gingerbread Christmas tree.  Last time we used a gingerless gingerbread that was appropriate to our friend's intolerances.  On the weekend we used my favourite gingerbread recipe.  It has never let me down.  We smooshed together the stars with green icing.  Then Sylvia decorated it with Christmas sprinkles.

For the Christmas dinner, it seemed obvious to make a nut roast.  As those who know my blog will be aware, I love nut roasts and make them frequently.  I had some pearl barley and split peas in want of using.  I googled and found ideas.  In particular, a Jamie Oliver Cranberry and Pistachio Nut Roast.  It appealed because it suggested I could use barley instead of rice in the risotto base.  (The recipe omitted to note that it would take longer to cook barley than rice!)

I have decided my recipe is different enough to Jamie's to claim it as original because I made so many changes.  The main one is that I couldn't find fresh cranberries to top the nut roast.  They are rare in Melbourne at the best of times and I didn't have the energy to hunt them out.  I only went to the shops because I needed another course of antibiotics.  Our local shops don't sell wild mushrooms so I used portabello and button.  I used whiskey instead of wine, smoked vintage cheese instead of cheddar, walnuts instead of pistachios.  Even my breadcrumbs were different as I had kept leftover seasoned crumbs and cornflakes from some tofu nuggets.

Jamie says to leave out the eggs and cheese to make the nut roast vegan.  I would try mixing through a little tofu.  My nut roast took a lot of its flavour from the smoked vintage cheese.  To veganise this nut roast, I would add some smoked paprika and additional seasonings.  In fact the nut roast was so hearty that a small amount would suffice and it would serve quite a lot of people if need be.

I had promised Sylvia a Christmas dinner so it was a proper roast dinner with roast potatoes and pumpkin, brussels sprouts, gravy and cranberry sauce.  I had some miso lentil grave (from Isa Does It) in the freezer.  It was ok but a bit thick and intense for a nut roast.  The cranberry sauce worked well in lieu of freshly cooked cranberries.  The nut roast was so flavoursome that it needed the sweetness to cut through the seasoning.

And there were sprouts.  There are always sprouts in a traditional British Christmas.  I hated brussel sprouts as a child.  E hated brussel sprouts when I met him.  Yet both of us have come to love them.  More surprising is that Sylvia loves them.  She eats them first in her dinner because they are her favourite thing.  When I ran out this week she was demanding that I buy her more sprouts.  Am I alone in thinking this is odd behaviour in a child!  Not that am complaining.  Even so, it seemed ironic that I didn't cook all the sprouts that I bought for the meal and wished I had.  They were really good!

I dug out our tartan table runner and Christmas dishes.  Sylvia decided that dinner must be by candlelight.  She loves roast potatoes but was less impressed by a small piece of nut roast.  In fact the best thing she had to say for it was that if she ate enough cranberry sauce she couldn't taste the nut roast.  I suspect it was the candles and carols rather than the nut roast that made her exclaim that it was the best night ever. 

And Sylvia loved the gingerbread Christmas tree.  She was very excited when it was time for dessert.  This was an easy and yet impressive way to finish our Christmas dinner.  And it made a festive touch to the table.  I enjoyed the gingerbread but I was so full from main course that it was a bit wasted on me. 

As a meat eater I once loved the leftover meat after Christmas dinner, and as a vegetarian I now love the leftover nut roast.  The following day we had plenty of nut roast.   Did I mention that I baked oat and seed sourdough bread around preparing for our Christmas in July!  It meant that I could eat wonderful leftover nut roast sandwiches.  Actually I overdid the cranberry sauce and roasted pumpkin in the sandwich.  It need a little less sweet flavours but with spinach and grated carrot was still lovely.  I also made some rice and nut roast, a bit like this recipe (without stuffing it in peppers).

And the next day I could photograph the nut roast in daylight.  Natural light for blog photograph seems very limited at the time of year.  For those in the Northern Hemisphere experiencing long summer days (or as The Age newspaper recently said, Britons experiencing a (sort of) heatwave), you probably don't feel very Christmassy at all.  Perhaps reading this post, you are feeling just the way that we do Down Under when it comes to Christmas in December: too hot to think about Christmas and finding it hard to feel in synch with those wintery weather that are the hallmark of the festivities.  For us, it felt just like right.  But even better without the annoying commercialism.  This is the sort of Christmas I wish for all year round!

I am sending this nut roast to:

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Christmas in July - Chocolate Shortbread and Sovereign Hill
Two years ago: Celery and blue cheese soup and Open House Melbourne
Three years ago: Mulled wine and chocolate cake
Four years ago: Christmas in July Cupcakes
Five years ago: Pudding, Parties and Plate Smashers
Six years ago: Miss Marple’s Tea Room – cosy charm
Seven years ago: Hubert the Hog’s Head

Smoky cheese and barley nut roast
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver
Serves 6 to 8

2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g pearl barley
1/4 cup whiskey
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tsp stock powder
200g mushrooms, diced
100g walnuts, crushed with a fork
100g almond meal
150ml breadcrumbs
125g smoked vintage cheddar
black pepper, to taste
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 190 C.  Grease and line a loaf tin (mine is 22 x 13cm and was full to the brim with the

Heat between 1 and 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan.  Fry celery and onions over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until soft. Stir in garlic for a minute or so.  Add pearl barley and fry for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Deglaze with whisky and the stir in the 2 - 3 cups of boiling water and the vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the pearl barley is just cooked and most of the water is absorbed.  Add more boiling water as required.  (I originally added 2 and 1/2 cups of water and then added another cup when it was absorbed and not yet cooked.) 

Meanwhile fry mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes until soft and most of the juices have evaporated. (If you don't get to do this until your barley is cooked, you can do this in the same saucepan once barley is transferred to the mixing bowl.)

While the barley and mushrooms are cooking, prepare remaining ingredients and add to a large mixing bowl.  Add pearl barley mixture and mushrooms once cooked and stir together until well mixed.

Spoon mixture into the prepared loaf tin.  Smooth the top of it with the back of a spoon.  Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Turn halfway through the baking and check if it needs to be covered in foil.  My oven refuses to burn anything (except the odd chip) but I know others are more powerful.  I baked mine for 40 minutes at 200 C and it was a bit soft so longer would be better.

Allow to rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a serving tray.  You can make this a day ahead and keep on a serving tray covered in foil (once cooled) and reheat (covered in foil) on the day.  Serve with lots of roast vegies, greens and gravy or anyway you want.  I highly recommend some cranberry sauce.

On the Stereo:
White Christmas: Bing Crosby

Posted July 24, 2014 10:02 AM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tokyo | Day 3

July 2, 2014

We were left to our own devices on Wednesday, with a recommendation from Matt that we flee the heat by catching the train up the hill to the Hakone Open Air Museum. It was surprisingly great - beautiful views, tranquil parkland, a natural hot spring foot-bath and dozens of brilliant outdoor sculptures to explore. The slideshow below captures the highlights - I really recommend making the trip up if you've got some spare time, especially if the Tokyo heat is getting to you.

The food options up the mountain were pretty limited - we loaded up on chips and mochi at the supermarket and snacked our way through the trip up, before pouncing on some inari on the way down. We were lured in to the little snack shop by the plastic model of inari on the table outside and were thrilled when the owner whipped up a freshly made box for us to take away. Brilliant.

Our aim on our return to Tokyo proper was a visit to the vegetarian ramen place T's Tan Tan (one of the recommendations on this wonderfully helpful post on The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry). It's buried deep in the sprawling Tokyo train station and we spent a good half an hour wandering about struggling to spot it. We actually had pretty decent directions, but it took a few stops at the train station maps for us to eventually pin it down.

It was well worth the effort - a fully vegan menu focussing heavily on ramen and ramen-related delights. I took the set menu option - your choice of ramen plus a small side bowl for between 1050円 and 1200円 (AU$11 - AU$12.60; pictured top left). I picked the shirunashi tantan for my noodle soup - it came with bean sprouts, pot-herb mustard, chilli oil, black vinegar, cashew nuts, peanuts, sesame oil and soy bean meat and was based around a complex and tasty broth (rather than the watery version that vego noodle soups can sometimes rely on). My small bowl accompaniment was the rich and creamy massaman curry, which had a few scattered veggies among the thick sauce and rice. I cooled myself down with an iced coffee, which was sweet and cold but otherwise not that memorable. Cindy went for a smaller meal - the original T's Tan Tan ramen (sesame, peanut, soybean meat and green pak choi in a noodle soup, 800円 ~ $8.40; pictured bottom right) and an accompanying cup of sweet apple lemonade tea (450円 ~ $4.70). She was just as impressed as I was. 

T's Tan Tan is definitely one to add to your Tokyo checklist - it's got a bit of a food court vibe about it, but the food is cheap, delicious and lacking any fish-related concerns. Ramen is such a Japanese classic and one that is challenging to track down in a properly vegetarian form, so we were thrilled to eat so well here.

Posted July 24, 2014 09:24 AM by Michael

July 23, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tokyo | Day 2

July 1, 2014

Tokyo has a beverage machine tucked around every corner and Michael happily made use of them, often hunting down a self-heating can of coffee first thing out the door.

We spent much of our second day with Michael's family, first strolling through Meiji Jingu. Michael and I had been there before, and in spite of our many fellow sightseers it was a pleasant, relaxing place to be - cooler in the shade of the trees and surrounded by positive prayer cards at the Shrine. Even so, we were thirsty and aching for a seat within a couple of hours.

Matt led us to Sakura-Tei for lunch, where we were seated around a hotplate to cook our own meals. We chugged down iced drinks to stave off the plate's radiant heat and ordered a bowl of okonomiyaki ingredients each. Matt helpfully ascertained with our waiter that there was one genuinely vegetarian option among them (1150円 ~ AU$12.10; there was something fishy going on last time we tried this) so we set to work gently folding together cabbage, onion, cheese and eggs into a nobbly batter and arranging it on the plate. I proudly pulled off a neat flip, though I made more of a mess of my fried egg and cheese topping. My 'yaki might've been a little overcooked but there was no faulting it once the brown sauce and mayonnaise were slathered on.

We sought out another uniquely Japanese experience for dinner that evening, gathering at an izakaya in Shinjuku, ordering our snacks and drinks directly from an ipad at the table. Honestly, the food at this one wasn't great so I won't bother naming the venue - the edamame were unruly and starchy, the avocado was brown, and Michael and I found ourselves pushing fish flakes off several dishes that had looked vego on the menu. (On the upside, I had a lovely yuzu-flavoured soft drink.) There are numerous other excellent izakaya around Tokyo, and it's well worth giving them a go.

We finished the evening timidly exploring Shinjuku Golden Gai, a cluster of tiny bars that usually only welcome friends-of-friends. Even without an in, we could feel the quiet intimacy of this neighbourhood in stark contrast to the huge intersections and looming cinema-screen adverts only a few minutes' walk away.

Posted July 23, 2014 12:22 PM by Cindy

consuming cate

Vegan oven baked donuts

I'm not a huge fan of donuts but I really like these little ones. They are baked rather than deep fried, making them less greasy. Make them small and you'll be reaching for more

1 cup milk ( I like almond milk)
50g dairy free spread
2.5 cups self raising flour*
1 1-2 teaspoon dried yeast
3/4 cup lemon sugar 
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Place milk in saucepan and heat until warm. Do not boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon spread.
2. Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in yeast, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Make a well in the centre. Add milk mixture. Mix to form a soft dough.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel
5. Set aside in a warm place for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size

6. Line a baking tray with baking paper
7. Using your fist, punch dough down.
8. Place on a lightly floured board
9. Knead until smooth and elastic
10. Stretch dough to be 2cm thick

11. Using a small round cutter, cut 12 donuts
12. Place doughnuts, 5cm apart, on prepared tray. Cover with a tea towel again. 

13. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C.

14. Cook doughnuts for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
15. Combine remaining lemon sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
16. Brush doughnuts with remaining butter. Dip in sugar mixture, shaking off excess.
17. Serve with your choice of tea or coffee.

 *Don't have access to self raising flour like here in Germany? You can use plain flour on it's own of course or add 5 teaspoons of baking powder to the flour and stir well together. 

Posted July 23, 2014 06:15 AM by Cate Lawrence

Lemon sugar

Lemon sugar is a great way to use up lemon rinds and add flavour to your baking, cocktails and desserts. It takes only minutes and each jar will last a couple of months. 

  • 2  medium lemons
  • 3 cups sugar

  1. Place sugar in a jar
  2. Zest the yellow outer rind (avoiding the white pith) and place in the jar
  3. Stir well then leave in a warm, dry place to dry slightly for 30 mins
  4. Close and store in the cupboard
  5. Shake before use

Variations: use orange of lime zest
This can also be made using orange zest or lime zest, instead of lemon zest, if you’d prefer a different citrus taste. In addition to being mixed into recipes, citrus sugar is also great for making drinks

Posted July 23, 2014 06:04 AM by Cate Lawrence


A New Home For Veganopoulous! And You’re Invited!

It’s moving day! My new site is now at  

I’ll no longer be blogging here at but everything has been successfully (I hope…) moved over to  Follow me! I’d get all Pied Piper on you, except I think that would involve leggings-as-pants.


See you there!

Posted July 23, 2014 01:14 AM

July 22, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Shortbread like Ena Baxter made it

When I started blogging back in 2007 I was having a lovely time  experimenting with new flavours and ideas.  It was only later I realised that I had forgotten to include the basics.  I just took them for granted.  Perhaps that is why I have posted a recipe for dark chocolate and cranberry shorrtbread and spiced chocolate shortbread but until today I have not posted a basic shortbread recipe. 

It might also be that I find regular shortbread to be quite dull.  Maybe it was not always so.  I blame my current disdain for shortbread on the months I spent working in a quiet office in Edinburgh.  Most of my days there were spent gossiping and raiding the stocks of Walkers shortbread.  However, I live with E who loves it with a passion that betrays his Scottish upbringing.  Our little girl loves shortbread too. 

Now bring in my sister in law HH who lives in Edinburgh and is thoughtful and generous at choosing presents.  A few years back she sent me this present pack.  A book of baking recipes, a woollen rose and Ena Baxter's Scottish Cookbook.  I particularly loved the cookbook as it was one that belonged to E's mum.  Ena Baxter is one of the famous Baxters family that make lovely soups and preserves.  I was lucky enough to visit Fochabers in Scotland where their main factory is.  Sadly it was too snowy to visit their Highland Village

The cookbook is full of traditional recipes.  Most of the dinner recipes are meat.  I have spent more time looking at the baking chapters.  It is written for women who are skilled in the art of baking and don't need precision when it comes to cake tins, amounts of ingredients or baking times.  I consider myself a competent cook and yet I find this sort of recipe challenging.  I have tried the treacle scones once or twice and not got the (unspecified) amount of milk right.

Earlier this year I tried Ena Baxter's shortbread.  The recipe didn't give a size of tin or nor the time to bake it.  I had to try it twice to feel like I had it right.  The first time I didn't fill the whole of the lamington tin because it seemed too thin.  The shortbread was golden brown around the edges but in the middle it was too pale, dense and soft rather than sandy and crumbly.

Don't get me wrong.  It was edible.  Which was just as well.  I had made it for a school lunch on Harmony Day.  This is a day for children to wear their national dress and bring food from their family's country.  Sylvia wore a tartan skirt and a t-shirt with the Scottish saltire on it.  I had to pin them to fit with a safety pin or two.

It surprised me that Sylvia did not know what a safety pin was.  I grew up helping changing my siblings' cloth nappies that were held together with safety pins.  I guess they just don't feel safe enough for kids any more.  Well I guess I did stick the safety pin into them occasionally.  Oops!

Incidentally I was quite surprised at an article in The Age newspaper on racism damaging children recently which said that one-off multicultural events "can do more harm than good and reinforce rather than challenge negative attitudes and beliefs".  I wonder how this plays out at Sylvia's school where there is a lot of diversity in the children's backgrounds.  Today I heard about a nutrition presentation at the school where a child asked if the puppet presenter was fasting for Ramadan.

But I digress.  Back to the shortbread.  I tried again.  This time I spread it thinner, cooked it until I knew the colour seemed more evenly golden brown.  It was much better.  Cooked right through.  Sandy and crumble.  Sylvia had been a bit wary about the first batch but gobbled up the second.  And I think Ena would have been pleased that I am learning not just by cookbooks but also by learning from doing.

E's mother would also be delighted that I am using her cookbook to feed her son and granddaughter (and myself) a traditional biscuit that has been eaten for many generations in Scotland.  So while plain old shortbread is not my favourite thing to eat, it is embedded in our family and can make me feel quite sentimental  Which is a good reminder of why the simple foods are sometimes the most important to us.

I am sending this to Cates Cates for the Christmas in July theme this month for Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food.  While shortbread can be enjoyed all year round, it is also a traditional festive treat and great for gifts..

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Carrot dinner rolls
Two years ago: RRC Show us your Cookbooks
Three years ago: MLLA Chickpea, potato and tomato stew
Four years ago: Syrup cake, shoes and chooks
Five years ago: Pear and Walnut Chutney
Six years ago: Chickpea cutlets and gluten strings
Seven years ago: Mulled Apple Juice for a Midwinter Birthday

From Edna Baxter's Scottish Cookbook
Makes about 54 small squares

250g plain white flour
125g rice flour
125g sugar
250g butter

Preheat oven to 160 C or 325 F.  Line a lamington or swiss roll tray with baking paper (mine is 31 x 24cm).

Use your hands (or pastry cutters) to rub butter into flours and sugar until thoroughly incorporated.  The mixture will be soft lumps.  Tip the mixture into into the prepared tray and use the back of a spoon or your hands to press it down firmly, evenly and flat.  It might seem thin but thin is good.  Mark squares (or fingers) by running a knife through the shortbread dough.  Use a fork to poke holes in each piece.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.  Cool in the tray and then cut into squares or fingers as marked.

On the Stereo:
White chalk: P J Harvey 

Posted July 22, 2014 09:23 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tokyo | Day 1

June 30, 2014

We hit our first full day in Tokyo without having really done much in the way of planning. Luckily, Matt was on the case and had our day pretty well mapped out. We started with a wander around Nakemuguro, browsing through a few shops and wending our way towards Potager Marche, a vegetable focused deli. They sell fruit and veggies, pre-made veggie meals and snacks and have a lunch set for people who want to eat in.

The lunch set is 1290円 (AU$13.50) and involves a little cup of soup, a bread stick, fresh leafy salad, your choice of three sides and a freshly squeezed veggie juice. The sides were the most interesting - there were pickled veggies, a couple of different kinds of mock meat, a gratin and so on. Everything was fresh and tasty - it felt like a good healthy start to our Tokyo eating.

We followed up with a visit to their nearby sister establishment, Patisserie Potager, a sweets shop with an intriguing focus on vegetables - everything has a vegetable component, so there's pumpkin and corn-based treats, radish jelly and a whole range of other odd-sounding desserts. I had a white asparagus souffle (470 円 ~ $4.90), while Cindy went for the passionfruit and yellow capsicum jelly with yoghurt mousse (470 円 ~ $4.90). Both were excellent, although the capsicum in Cindy's got a bit lost under the other flavours while my souffle had distinct hints of asparagus that worked surprisingly well in a sweet context. It's a fun shop and one that would reward more exploration. Vegans might struggle though, my sense was that everything was heavy on the dairy.

We strolled around for a while, making our way up the Hikarie building for a view over Shibuya and surrounds and some impressive design exhibitions before trekking back out to track down a source of decent coffee.

Matt knew just the place - Omotesando Koffee, tucked away in the back streets and offering a tiny peaceful oasis in the midst of the city's buzz. The heat was hitting us pretty hard after our walking, so we all ordered variations on iced coffee: iced latte for me (530円 ~ $5.60), iced mocha for Cindy (660円 ~ $6.90) and an iced cappucino doppio (660円 ~ $6.90) for Matt. We were all sucked in by the amazing baked custard cubes as well (170円 ~ $1.80).

The plan for dinner was to meet up with the rest of my family in Shinjuku where they were staying, but delays in their transport from the airport meant we had time for dinner first. Like a magician, Matt remembered the existence of Ain Soph Journey, an all vegan restaurant, just as we were about to walk past.

This was another Japanese veg*n place that was stuck on Western food - Ain Soph offered risotto, tortillas, paella and other slightly uninspiring menu items. I naively expected that most places would be doing vegetarian versions of Japanese dishes, but that didn't seem to be the case.

We ordered a mix of dishes to share between the three of us: tofu Spanish omelet (800円 ~ $8.40), tortilla with dips (1200円 ~ $12.60), deep fried veggie meat (650円 ~ $6.80), salad of the day (1500円 ~ $15.80) and a veggie cutlet (650円 ~ $6.80). The two fried mock-meat dishes were the highlights, with the salad and dips passable but overpriced and the omelet a bit lacking in flavour. It's lovely (and rare) to be able to order freely in Japan, so Ain Soph's fully vegan menu is going to be a life saver for some, but the food itself probably won't blow anyone's mind.

After a quick catch up with the rest of the family at their hotel in Shinjuku, we collapsed back at Matt's house and recharged our batteries for day 2, wiped out from too much food and too much heat.

Posted July 22, 2014 10:36 AM by Michael

July 21, 2014

Little Vegan Bear

Baked Falafel with Quinoa Tabouli

I freaking love falafel, and for some reason I’ve always enjoyed the baked kind more than the fried. Maybe it’s memories of greasy kebab shops with crispy oily falafels that leave a coating in your mouth. Maybe it’s the fact that you can put them in the oven and leave them be to do their thing without too much worry. Whatever the reason, they rock.

I actually made this recipe back in Gympie when we were living in the van. Oh, how it seems so long ago…cooking in our tiny fold out kitchen on the side of the road or in the bush. Those were the days! I didn’t have an oven then to bake them, but have since made the recipe again and enjoyed it as much.

What I liked about these is how moist they are, they don’t dry out even when baked. Rather than being like dry biscuits, they are like mouthfuls of creamy hummus. And who doesn’t love hummus?! They are also one of those magical foods that taste even better the next day, so they make great leftover lunch.

Of course, tabouli is the perfect match for falafels, and I love the hint of mint hidden away in it – so fresh and zangy. Oh and the parsley helps with the garlic breath you may find you have after eating all this. You’re welcome.

falafelBaked Falafel with Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa Tabouli:
(serves 4 as a side dish)

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 bunch flat leafed parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil

Rinse and cook quinoa according to instructions. I usually do 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid. Allow to cool.

Add quinoa, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and mint to a bowl and toss to combine.

Whisk garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Pour over tabouli and mix through.

Ta-daaaaa! Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Baked Falafel:
(makes 12-14 small falafels)

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 brown onion, diced
2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp hulled tahini
3 Tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C and lightly grease a tray.

Blend onion, garlic, parsley and coriander in a food processor or blender.

Add half of the chickpeas, cumin, paprika, lemon juice and tahini and mix until well combined.

Add the remaining chickpeas, and pulse until just combined. I like to leave half of them kind of chunky.

Transfer mix to a bowl, and stir in flour and baking powder. The mix should be like a thick paste or soft dough and you should be able to roll it into balls without making too much of a mess. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour. If too dry, try adding some more lemon juice or water.

Roll mixture into balls and lay out on the tray, press slightly to flatten into disc shapes. Spray or brush lightly with olive oil (optional).

Cook for 15 minutes, then carefully flip each falafel over. Bake for another ten mins, until golden brown.

Serve with tabouli and dressing of choice – here I whisked together some tahini, white wine vinegar, water and smoked paprika, then topped with some hot sauce (of course!)


Posted July 21, 2014 10:49 PM

melbourne with the rocket » food

sydney with the rocket: day 2

There are few things more satisfying than opening up your heavy hotel curtains to find the sky as blue as a 90s teen heartthrob’s eyes. It means your day is going to go well, your party hair isn’t going to become soggy, and your kid won’t have to lug around an umbrella and poke other people in the shins with it. So up we all got, ate some cereal, then spent far too long making ourselves all very beautiful for the party we were to attend in the afternoon. The Rocket and her dad had gone out two days before while I was at work and picked her a very froufrou frock, all tulle and sparkles, which she wore with skull and crossbones sneakers; I’d hit up Dangerfield a couple of nights before for my own Melbourne-black frock with a pair of cityscape tights; Teach wore a white shirt with bicycles on it and looked very handsome. We layered up with coats and caught the train to Newtown for our to-do.

Nicked from the Wedpics site (pretty handy tool for those getting hitched or not hitched) and taken by the superlative C, party-thrower extraordinaire

Firstly, Sydney public transport requires you to know which station you’re going to and touch-screen your way to a ticket; some other machines have this totally hilarious system with some fifty or however many actual pushable buttons to pick your destination. Melbourne has Myki so I can hardly criticise, but it was pretty fun for us all to jab at the buttons while laughing in a mocking fashion. Anyway, once we were beyond that we moseyed onto our destination, via the quite lovely Hollis Park, which had an elaborate, split-level playground. It’s seriously beautiful around there, all sloping hills and gorgeous close-knit houses looking over parks. Newtown, or at least the small part we went to, was full of giant second-hand bookshops (the Rocket led me to the economics aisle and made me read her the titles), cutesy little shops full of stuff I would’ve spent all my money on if I’d gone through those doors, and vegan restaurants. Our destination was Rubyos, a lovely fresh-looking restaurant where we had our own room walled off and I walked through the door to be greeted by a bunch of people so friendly and just gloriously, colourfully stylish, that I was immediately happy. The Rocket looked shy for a while until complimented on her dress, then foofed around twirling for a while. The non-bride and non-groom were beautiful, polished, and beaming; there was talk, and merriment, and readings, declarations of love for this moment if not an unknown future, and singing and such emotion that I almost couldn’t even. It was sweet and funny and original and I loved everyone by the end, including everyone who was very kind to the Rocket even though she was the youngest by some twenty years. To her credit, she was pretty great: she talked during the ceremony, but only because she wanted to narrate out loud the Maisy book I brought along to shut her up. She had puppy stickers and a book to put them in, but most of the stickers ended up on the guests as she happily shared them with everyone and eventually had people coming over for requests. And the food, guys, OH the food – it was GLORIOUS and there was MOUNTAINS of it. Grazing plates of glory: beginning, I think, with an antipasto that had the most absolutely genuinely best crackers and baba ganoush I have ever, ever had, and a tasty little salad and olives (blech) and other things; there were rice burgers that fell apart but tasted heavenly; steamed green beans with ginger, lime, and cashew nuts (I think), which weren’t my thing but Teach adored; ancient grain and vegetable patties; the best fucking potatoes I may have ever ever had; so much more, I don’t know. It ended with cupcakes that stained people’s mouths blue as everyone kissed goodbye. It was, of course, totally worth the trip, and I’m so glad we went.

Totally stolen from C’s sister. Sorry H! It was just such a loverly picture. x

We went home in the cooling afternoon and tucked the Rocket in for a nap. Teach sent me out to get a coffee and explore the city on my own, and I wandered the streets, excited to be somewhere new, somewhere so familiar – all the stores, of course, are essentially the same as home – yet the streets were too big, or too small, and the buildings were wrong, and so beautiful. I couldn’t find anywhere for coffee but ended up at a now-forgotten chocolate shop where I did some sketching (I remain genuinely terrible but I like drawing pictures of the Rocket doing ridiculous things) and had a fairly average coffee that made me quietly smug about Melbourne’s coffee scene. Just as I finished, Teach let me know that the Rocket had rejoined the waking world, so back I went, we regrouped, and went out for a walk.

Our aim was Bodhi, upon the advice of many friends who said it was great but we had to be okay with spending big. We are very talented at wasting money on food, and seeing as we’d already blown a stack of cash just getting to Sydney there was no point in holding back on a tasty night’s dinner, so off we went. Hyde Park was on our way, and I really can’t tell you how happy I always am to encounter mid-city parks. The juxtaposition of city buildings and grass to run around on – it’s great. So we ran around, then unexpectedly bumped into a street gang of possums who, unlike our local skittish brand, happily came right up, sniffed your sneakers and begged for food. The Rocket was very pleased if not slightly alarmed about the whole scenario; I’m sure our local possum hunts are forever ruined by this version. After getting confused and not figuring out the multilayers of the park, we found our way sideways and underneath to Bodhi, a sprawling, glittery place with outdoor heaters, friendly staff and trees knotted with fairy lights. They could have fed me torn paper bags and I wouldn’t have cared, it was just so lovely. We sat outside so we could get rice on the ground and ordered.

Overwhelmed by choice, we ordered plain rice for the Rocket, who jabs at all menus and yells “RICE!” at waiters even if we are at a pizza joint; edamame (as always); English spinach gow dumplings; Australian mushroom gow dumplings; smoked soy, coconut, chili and coriander betel leaves; chickpea battered winter vegetables with sour cream and sweet chili sauce; san choy bao and sweet yam tempura spring rolls. Edamame: excellent as per usual (and much better than the night before, slathered in salt); spinach dumplings A++; mushroom dumplings awful as mushrooms are awful (Teach adored them though); betel leaves miniature but absolutely incredible; battered winter vegetables hit and miss (I was also full once I got to them); san choy bao super tasty even though the Rocket, devastatingly, threw half the lettuce on the ground; the sweet yam was nice but way way too sweet. Share with four people, or maybe eight so you can have half each. One made me a little queasy. Still, it was a beautiful, satisfying meal, the service was lightspeed-fast, and it did cost a lot but hey, worth it. I pondered a few times during ordering about getting the peking duck, but kept talking myself out of the $23, and since regretted it entirely after my colleague Alison said, “You went to Bodhi, right, and got the peking duck? I have literally flown to Sydney just to eat that dish.” DAMMIT PAST FIONA, YOU NEVER LEARN. It cost us around eighty bucks and was worth it.
Then back home via the lit-up streets around Sydney Tower (which was closed, pah), and back to the hotel for the Rocket to sleep soundly in her metal prison while her jailers sat on the couch with Nickelodeon and popcorn.

Posted July 21, 2014 10:11 PM

The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Al Nada Sweets


Al Nada Sweets
160 Sydney Rd
Coburg, VIC 3058
03 9386 0002

Opening Hours:
7 days: 9am-10pm

Al Nada Sweets have been baking traditional Lebanese sweets since 1978. Over 30 years on they made the switch to using all vegan ingredients in their traditional sweets, and say it was the best decision they ever made. We tend to agree!

If you’re a newcomer try a mixed pack of 10 pieces for $12 in order to sample everything. They are very sweet, so unless you’ve got a mega sweet tooth or some mates to share with, you may prefer to buy some single pieces for $1.50 each. The baklava and birdnest pastries are popular, and for those not keen on pastry the nummoora, a simple semolina cake is a good choice.

Best of all, they're open every day until 10pm (particularly handy if you've promised to provide dessert for a dinner party and well, didn't actually make anything).

The biscuits in the front window are not vegan, and not baked on the premises.

Other places that sell Al Nada Sweets:

Aust Cafe, Austin Hospital, Level 1 Austin Hospital 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg - 03 9496 4740
Bear Cafe, 439 Brunswick Rd, Fitzroy - 0414 507 635 (currently closed)
Las Vegan Cafe, 22 Smith St, Collingwood
Cafe Tru Track, 52 Leveson St, North Melbourne - 03 9328 8753
Little Dear Tracks, 44 Oheas St, Coburg - 03 9354 3449
Life Skills Cafe, Latrobe University Bundoora - 03 9479 1525


Habib Wholefoods, 260 Flinders St, Melbourne - 03 9639 5515

The Cruelty Free Shop, 385 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy - 03 9495 6673
Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery, Shop 2, 93 High Street, Preston - 03 9943 9184
Aunt Maggies, 188 Gertrude St, Fitzroy - 03 9417 5504
Golden Mini Mart, 2-10 Murray Rd, Coburg North - 03 9355 7786
Yarra Groceries, 736 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056 - 03 9384 0414
Hayat Spices, 852 Sydney Rd, Coburg - 03 9383 7233
La Manna Fresh, 403-407 Sydney Road, Brunswick - 03 9380 1909
Al Alamy Bakery, 51 Waterfield Street, Coburg - 03 9355 8866
IGA Fitzroy, 424 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
IGA Brunswick, 614 Sydney Road, Brunswick
IGA Nth Melbourne, 20-26 Errol Street, North Melbourne

Prahran Convenience Store, 196 Commercial road, Prahran - 03 9529 2050
Foodworks Sth Melbourne, 135 Wells St South Melbourne - 03 9696 0995
IGA Sth Melbourne, 36/38 Park St, South Melbourne - 03 9699 3820
IGA Brighton, 765 Hampton St, Brighton - 03 9592 3598
IGA St Kilda, 64 Fitzroy St, St Kilda - 03 8598 9644
IGA Albert Park, 133 Dundas Place, Albert Park - 03 9690 3772
IGA Middle Park, 19-21 Armstrong St, Middle Park - 03 9696 2532
IGA Richmond, 518 Bridge Rd, Burnley - 03 8459 7086

IGA Moonee Ponds, 118-126 Maribyrnong Road, Moonee Ponds - 03 9372 8777
IGA Essendon, 347 Buckley St, Essendon West - 03 9337 8228

 Al Nada Sweets on Urbanspoon

Also visited by Veganopoulous

Posted July 21, 2014 06:10 PM

quinces and kale

east elevation

potato and onion

This was my third trip to an East Elevation Vegan Night.

I don’t think I was blogging when I went to the first two. The first visit was great, the second even better. So I was really looking forward to my third visit.

Even though I don’t think the third visit was quite as good as the second, I wasn’t disappointed.

This time the dishes were even more refined and creative than the last couple of visits, though perhaps a little less filling. Some were utterly brilliant, and while there were one, or possibly two I didn’t enjoy as much, others in the group were impressed. I  guess it all comes down to taste.

Those quibbles aside (and they are minor quibbles), this is bargain priced vegan fine dining. $60 for 6 courses with an optional $30 wine pairing.

I love the space at East Elevation, it is open, with high ceilings and a mysterious industrial sized chocolate rolling machine in a glass room to add to the fascination. The tables are beautifully set out with flowers and herbs.

This dinner also happened to be the third trip to EE of our vegan dining group. This was the site of our first dinner. Since then we’ve eaten a lot of really good food, but EE still retains a place in my heart (and stomach) as one of the best. I love that the food here is conceived as vegan, not vegetarian with something missing, as is sometimes the case.

Here is what we ate…

jerusalem artichoke and truffle

I don’t normally like jerusalem artichokes, I find their earthiness a bit overpowering,  but this was brilliant and delicious. A jerusalem artichoke puree, truffles and crisp jerusalem artichoke chip.

artichoke and truffle


soy curd with mushrooms and sea vegetable

The sauce was poured at the table adding a little bit of theatre. I liked the flavours in this, but the curd was a little soft and disintegrated. I’d probably have preferred it with silken tofu to give more texture, but the flavours were good.

mushroom, curd and sea vegetable


confit nicola potato, crispy onion, caramelised onion, burnt leek, soy emulsion and vegan parmesan

This one was mind-blowingly wonderful. The soft potato, the crispy and caramelised onions, the smooth textured slightly tart emulsion, smoky leek and a cheesy, crunchy nut parmesan, all combined to make a great dish. Wow! I could have eaten several. Definitely dish of the night for most of us.

potato and onion


carrot, hay, stout

This one left me a bit cold, others thought it was great, but I am not a big fan of carrots. Roasted carrot, pickled carrot, carrot puree, hay flavoured emulsion of something (I wasn’t listening properly…) and a crumb of stout.

carrot, hay, stout


rhubarb, blood orange ,almond curd and nasturtium

Two ways with rhubarb, poached and smoked, with an almond curd and blood orange segments and syrup. I loved the smoked rhubarb. The blandness of the almonds and the peppery flavour of the nasturtium worked well with the tart flavours of the fruits.

rhubarb, almond, nasturtium


chocolate and almond

Hot chocolate, chocolate soil, almond praline, almond granita, chocolate with almonds and persian fairy floss. Yum.

chocolate, praline, granita, persian fairy floss


I’m glad to see vegan food being taken so seriously.


East Elevation
351 Lygon St,
East Brunswick, 3057
9381 5575

Posted July 21, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tokyo | Day 0

June 29, 2014

Our final holiday week was spent in Tokyo. It's been four years since our last visit, and Michael's brother Matt stills lives happily in the city. He met us at his local subway stop on Sunday evening and helpfully deposited us at Meu Nota for dinner while he headed off to a gig.

The staff at Meu Nota don't speak much English, but they do have a subtitled copy of their menu to share. In any case, every thing is vegetarian so we knew we couldn't go too wrong. It's not a deeply traditional set of options, with falafel bites and couscous salad available beside the miso soup and rice bowl of the day.

Michael shoveled his way through the Meu Nota 30 ingredient taco rice bowl (1000円 ~ AU$10.50), a salad with corn chips and spiced bean 'mince' - we think this is where most of the 30 ingredients were going.

I dug into a modest bowl of sauteed vegetables in a coconut, carrot and ginger sauce, served over brown rice (850円 ~ AU$8.90). It was comforting home-style food, exactly what our exhausted diner-weary bodies needed. We could barely string together any English let alone Japanese, but I hope we adequately conveyed our gratitude to the friendly Meu Nota staff.

Posted July 21, 2014 09:54 AM by Cindy

consuming cate

Greetings from Leipzig

I've been an absent blogger but this time, with good reason, I've moved countries! Chris, Mr Pablo and I now reside in Leipzig, Germany. We've been here just over 2 weeks, and it's certainly been a ride.

How's it all going? I'll divide into good and bad in dot point form to give you a wee snap shot. I've had a rotten lurgy so have been too unwell to explore much or cook much so my lens is somewhat limited to local haunts.

Bad (and some good)

  • I left my mobile phone on the plane to Frankfurt. Despite contacting the appropriate authorities it was never handed in. And it's not worth much either. Luckily Chris sent a phone to his Dad in the UK which he doesn't use so he's posting it to me. Hence the lack of photos
  • We had major dramas with the Lufthansa and Mr Pablo. In short, he was left in Frankfurt whilst we flew to Leipzig. I caught a train back the next day (four hours each way) and spent 5 hours in animal cargo/customs/animal cargo/ et al. All of these places were a fair distance from the main airport and required driving to each. Yes, neither the airline or pet travel company detailed any of this. Stressful, very stressful. I was very lucky to befriend a kindly cab driver who spoke English and really helped me out. In his own time for free. As we'd caused a bit of a rucus at Lufthansa the day before when we realised Mr P wasn't loaded onto the plane. I also had a lovely Lufthansa animal staffer called Armando helping me out. It's when you depend on the kindness of strangers that you really value goodness in people.
  • I developed a rotten sore throat and ear infection and bad cough a couple of days after arriving. Probably the same lurgy that struck everyone back home. I needed to see a doctor and did a google for doctors who could speak some English. 
  • Ah the joy of the German medical system. Appointments could only be made by an online form and the place was closed all weekend. Despite sending two requests for an appointment I received no reply. So went down to the clinic which looked like a weird hospital DDR style. The receptionist was dressed in white and didn't speak English (fair enough). We were all offered tea and coffee in the waiting room. Called in to see a student doctor perhaps in her 50's. Explained symptoms and asked how to say ear in Deutsch. She suggested holding my nose and exhaling repeatedly with my mouth closed. I explained I had tried this repeatedly and my ears have been ringing at a high volume for days and are extremely painful. Then her supervisor came in (wearing shorts and t shirt hehe) and changed the battery of the ear checker, digging it far enough into my ear that I screamed. He then showed the student comparable pictures of ear infections on google pics and pointed to mine. They decided that a nasal spray from the chemist would work and if it wasn't better in 2 days go back for a prescription for  'very serious treatment-' antibiotics. I'm cursing myself for not bring a pack with me from Australia. It's times like this I miss Brunswick Betta Health, as crap as it was. That said, the appointment was free and the nasal spray was 2€. It contains water and essential oils.  ( I returned for another visit and since my hearing is still impaired, I received a script for antibiotics and a referral for an ear specialist if the antibiotics don't fix it).
  • The chemist was like going to a liquor shop with no booze on show. There were sweets and bandages but I couldn't see any drugs. If you are planning a trip to Deutschland bring all the drugs. Upon advice of other expats I took 6 months worth of my prescription meds with me to Leipzig.
  • It's been really hot. 36c today which is of course, not as hot as Melbourne but there's no air con anywhere. Poor Mr P in his winter coat!
Things that are just a bit weird or different
  • We only have one key for the apartment, for both of us. We are not allowed to copy the key. I am terrified of losing the key. When we next leave the country we will try get some copies made overseas. 
  • Supermarkets are interesting. Each supermarket has at least three full aisles of booze and a comparative amount of meat. I have never seen so much meat in my life in all it's forms. I have bought some vegan bratwurst however. 
  • You get charged a tax on any bottles (glass or plastic) that you buy. These can returned to the store for a refund. 
  • Despite scouring supermarkets and health food shops, I am unable to find bicarbonate soda in quantities bigger than 50g, more than single sachets of yeast or baking powder, ice cube trays or shower puffers 
(these things) 
I am debating whether to wait until I go to the UK next or buy all of the above on ebay. 
  • Sausages are hugely popular. Even when a sausage stall is located next to indian and thai restaurants for the same price, people will opt for the sausages. 
  • Ice cream parlours are very popular, serving huge sundaes. I have enjoyed a few due to lurgy recovery. Great gelato!
  • Downloading aka torrenting is heavily penalised. We have a proxy but I miss being able to d/l at whim.

The natural museum near our apartment . It currently has an exhibition about Australia, complete with posters of badly taxidermied kangaroos. 

The Good
  • Despite speaking very little German I can generally get by. Chris is fluent and I am keen to do a proper intensive course once the schools reopen in August. I have done German lessons in Australia, it's just hard to remember! Unlike Berlin, most people don't speak English unless they are younger. 
  • There's a fruit and veg market twice a week in the town square with lovely fruit, veg, bread, flowers etc.
  • Booze at the supermarket is ridiculously cheap. When you go out, beer is the cheapest followed by wine, mixed spirits (like a gin and tonic) are expensive by Australian standards but the wine is good. 
  • Buffet brunch is really popular here on the weekends. I love brunch! 
  • It's great living in the city and being close to things. It's a walk to shopping centres, the town square, cafes and restaurants etc
  • Our cargo arrived without any damage. 
  • Yesterday I found the Leipzig version of Brunswick st/Smith st in Melbourne. A big second hand store like Savers where I bought a skirt, plenty of bars and interesting restaurants. It's 8 tram stops from our house, nice and close. 
  • My ears are still blocked but my throat is better and hopefully I'll be well enough next week to get stuck into working on my book.

 We can attest the fire station is still in operation

Stay tuned for more pics once I have a phone again!

Posted July 21, 2014 01:08 AM by Cate Lawrence

July 20, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Sourdough banana oat pancakes

It was a cool autumn morning with a banana to use up.  That calls for banana oat pancakes.  This is my easy way of using up smelly old bananas and pleasing Sylvia.  I hadn't been baking much sourdough bread.  I don't like to discard the starter so I just feed it up and find a purpose.  Usually that is flatbreads.  I thought I would try tossing it into the pancakes.

Most of the pancakes were small but I made a large one at the end when I had had enough of frying.  However, they fried quite quickly and soon we had a plate piled with pancakes.  They were a bit flatter than my usual version and also not overly sweet.

I had stewed some plums the night before.  This meant the pancakes were fancier than the usual lemon and sugar or maple syrup.  I had a pile of three pancakes with plums and vanilla yoghurt.  It was scrumptious.  Then I had seconds.  And was very full.

Now we were ready for the day.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Healthy banana bread and kids making do
Two years ago: WW Tofu nut balls and princesses
Three years ago: CC Vegetarian Moussaka
Four years ago: Fish and chips – reflections of a vegetarian
Five years ago: SHF Apricot sponge – by any other name
Six years ago: Vegetarian Cassoulet
Seven years ago: Mushroom Yoghurt Pie with Spinach Crust

Sourdough banana oat pancakes
Adapted from our favourite banana oat pancakes
Serves 4 to 6

30g butter
2 tsp golden syrup (or other sweetener)
1 banana, mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
butter, for frying

Melt butter.  Mix in golden syrup and banana, then egg.  Mix sourdough starter, oats and baking powder.  (My batter was thickish and quick blobby rather than a pouring consistency.)

Heat a frypan over medium heat.  Melt a little butter (about 1/2 tsp) in the frypan and use the back of a spoon to spread it about evenly.  Drop dessertspoons of batter into the frypan.  (Or two spoonfuls for a slightly bigger pancake.) Fry a few minutes until bubbles appear.  Flip over and fry another minute or two until the other side is golden brown.  Serve warm with your choice of toppings.

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

Posted July 20, 2014 09:56 PM by Johanna GGG

Vegan Bullsh*t

Cajun Kitchen, CBD

My SO and I have recently developed a fondness for Young and Jacksons' bar - especially the rooftop cider bar, where they're currently serving the Hills Cider Co's limited pomegranate cider (has anyone tried this? it's vegan friendly and incredible). So we've been looking more and more at v-friendly CBD eats. After our first plan of action fell through, we saw the word 'tofu' and decided to wander into Cajun Kitchen on Elizabeth Street.

The menu isn't extensive for veg*ns - you basically have three choices: chips, a salad (which, to be fair, looks pretty good) or the Cajun Tofu Wrap, $9.90, which I went for:
It was.. okay. The tofu was tasty but there wasn't nearly enough of it - just two small strips. You have a choice of heaps of sauces, and silly me grabbed the hot sauce despite being a chilli wuss which may have affected my judgement a bit. The SO, a raging meat-eater, ordered the pulled beef wrap and said it tasted like nothing else, just beef, which is a bit disappointing. I like the concept of what they're trying to do, but for around $10 in the city you have so many more options within the CBD itself: Shandong Mama's zucchini dumplings, Panzerotti, LOTF,  at least two v-friendly ramen shops, etc. I probably won't be back, but I'm glad I checked it out all the same!

One great thing they are stocking is Fentiman's rose lemonade:
This stuff is excellent: a fresh lemony kick with rose and a few other things mixed in. It doesn't taste too floral and was incredibly refreshing - one of my favourite carbonated drinks I've tried. If you happen to walk past, grabbing a bottle is a good idea - it's different enough that it's worth a try. If anyone tries the chips, let me know if the seasoning is worth a revisit!

Posted July 20, 2014 08:54 PM by L


Veganopoulous will be changing address!


Ooooh, new address over there!

Hi folks, gosh this blogging break is trying my patience. I’ve got stuff to blog about (food reviews, op shop finds!) but I thought I’d wait until the new blog is up. My blog will be changing hosts so there will be a new address. Unfortunately I can’t automatically move subscribers over so when the new blog is live, I’ll post here with the details and you will have to manually subscribe to the new blog yourselves.  Sorreeeee! I’ll give you an awesome family recipe of mine to make up for it.

I’d love to see you (and new subscribers of course) over at my new address when everything is up and running! Please? MWAH!

Posted July 20, 2014 05:27 PM

Little Vegan Bear

Yong Green Food

At the start of June, my Granny came over from Perth to visit. On one of the first days she was here, she and my mum came to meet me in Fitzroy and we went to Yong Green for lunch.

I was happy to find they were open when we arrived, as I have been having some poor luck with them this year – every time I make an effort to try and go, they end up being closed for holidays! Thankfully, not this time.

Yong Green Food have a wonderful menu which is based around healthy, sustainable and seasonal food and conscious eating. Pretty much the entire menu is vegan, or vegan on request, and they also cater for other dietary requirements such as organic, gluten-free and garlic/onion-free.

If the food’s not enough to draw you in, their sustainability initiatives are also admirable – Yong Green have taken steps to reduce their greenhouse emissions by purchasing their own GreenPower and acquiring carbon credits through abatement projects. They also donate 10% of their profits to support farmer-managed natural regeneration in East Africa.

yonggreen2We had a lot of trouble choosing what to eat – we couldn’t decide between entrees or desserts. Ultimately, we went with mains to ensure we had room for coffee and cake afterwards.

I went with the famous dragon bowl – brown rice, topped with various veggies (I think there was carrot, cucumber, sprouts and more) and sliced soy beef. There is also the option to have it with tofu.

yonggreen1Excuse the crappy photos and shadows plz.

The dragon bowl comes with a miso soup and chili sauce – the warm miso an especially nice touch for a winter’s day. The meal was delicious, filling and nourishing.

I didn’t actually take photos of my mum or granny’s meals – mum went with the macro dragon bowl, so it was very similar to mine. Granny went with a Japanese curry, which was absolutely scrumptious.

Then the cake!

yonggreen3We got a piece of raw cake each, and split them three ways so we could each have a taste. This was the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Not too dense and with a generous amount of raspberries and sauce, this was lovely.

yonggreen4I’d never had a raw pecan pie before, and our first meeting was successful. I would definitely eat you again pie!

yonggreen5The tiramisu was my favourite, and unfortunately the smallest (and most expensive) of the three. This was also my first raw tiramisu, and the addition of spiced rum was most welcome.

The cakes were very nice, though I’ve probably had better elsewhere, and given the price ($9 – $10.50/slice) I would probably prefer to spend the money on entrees next time as the savoury food on offer is more interesting.

Yong Green Food
421-423 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Tues – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 10pm
Wed – 5pm – 10pm
Thurs – Sat – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 10pm
Sun – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 9pm

Posted July 20, 2014 03:20 PM

July 19, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

where's the beef? at the Melbourne Writers Festival

The 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival program was released yesterday, including an extensive selection of Food, Wine and Travel events. I'll be appearing on a panel entitled Thinking & Drinking: Australian Fine Dining alongside Andrea Frost, Ronnie Scott and Estelle Tang. This panel will be held at the Duke of Wellington (an accessible venue!) from 6:30pm on Monday August 25.

I'd love to see some friendly faces there - please come and say hi if you attend!

Posted July 19, 2014 11:01 AM by Cindy

July 17, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

5:2 diet - vegetarian meal plans, reflections and recipes

Late last year I started the 5:2 diet. I was impressed by Michael Mosley's Eat Fast and Live Longer BBC tv program, Horizon.  It argued that eating 500 calories (or 600 calories if you are male) 2 days a week and eating whatever you want for the remaining 5 days has many health benefits, as well as aiding weight loss. I have been surprised at how much I liked it. Yet starting the diet was hard because I couldn't find vegetarian meal plans. So here are a few reflections, recipes and meal plans for anyone who is interested in the diet.

Disclaimer: I am not a trained health professional. I am merely sharing my experiences. I have discussed this diet with my doctor and I recommend doing so before starting the diet, especially if you have any risk factors. It is not recommended for people with eating disorders.


I started out religiously counting calories, and it was hard at the end of each day. As my stomach demanded food, I would dream of the piles of food I would devour the next day. Strangely enough, when the next day came I wasn't that hungry and didn't gorge myself as I had expected. While there is much talk about 'fasting', it is not a starvation diet.  The longer I do the diet, the easier I find it. Though you still might find me a little more grumpy than usual on the evening of a fast day.

I really like the light feeling of eating less food on a fast day. It has also made me cut back on the amount of cooking and groceries we buy.  This diet is not for everyone and it has its critics.  (I like to believe it is good for my health but it seems the research is still in its early days.)  However I like that I have lost a little weight and this has been with no extra cost, no signing up, and no foods I must or mustn't eat.

Having done this diet for months, I find that I don't always calorie count now. I follow a fairly similar eating pattern of porridge for breakfast; rice cakes or bread with a spread and salad for lunch; perhaps some fruit or miso soup for snacks; and a soup of vegies and legumes for dinner. Mostly good simple food. On occasion I have had cake for lunch but I don't recommend it.  Nor do health professionals who recommend good nutrition both on fast and non-fast days.  Here are a few notes on what works and doesn't work for me:

The 5:2 diet works fine when:
  • Drinking lots of water and herbal tea
  • I eat lots of vegies to give plenty of interest to a meal
  • Child free day (school holidays are challenging)
  • Shopping for food (surprisingly doesn't bother me)
  • Busy (eg focused on work) so that time flies
  • I take snacks with me when out and about
  • If I meet friends it is just for a coffee and I have herbal tea
  • I don't eat lots of sweet and salty foods that stimulate my appetite

The 5:2 diet is not easy when:
  • I am eating out
  • I have a headache and/or am sick
  • I do lots of exercise
  • I am photographing tempting food for blog
  • I am baking and storing freshly baked goods around the house
  • If I don't have a good idea of what food I will eat (preparation helps)
  • Christmas and Easter or other big celebrations present me with lots of good food


When I first started, I found it useful to keep a food diary to keep a running total of my calories.  I used calories lists from Tinned Tomatoes and Lavender and Lovage as well as searching online. 

After a while I didn't need snacks as much and found myself making slightly higher calorie soups for dinner.  I still keep a good supply of rice cakes, cuppa soup, miso soup, fruit and herbal tea for light snacks if I need them. And I find a homemade vegie stock helps give extra flavour to soups.

NB I don't get too hung up on getting the calories precise so if they are slightly out that is fine.  (Fro example: my notes say that a small apple is 52 cal and a large one is 95 cal so I may allocate different calories depending on the size.)  It is about reducing calories rather than precision.

Here are a few sample days of my food diary:

Hearty tomato noodle soup - 125 C

Week 1 Day 1

Breakfast Porridge 127 cal
Morning tea Half apple 42 cal
Lunch Hearty tomato noodle soup (from a box)         125 cal
Afternoon tea 3 cherry tomatoes 12 cal
Dinner Italian butter beans
A few vegies
140 cal
10 cal
Supper Half apple
1 pistachio
42 cal
4 cal
Total 502 cal

Rice cakes with peanut butter and tomato, and fried asparagus - 92 C

Week 7 Day 1

Breakfast Porridge 127 cal
Morning tea Half apple 47 cal
Lunch 1 thin rice cake with 1 tsp peanut butter         
1/2 tomato
4 asparagus spears
fried in 1/2 tsp oil with pinch of salt
58 cal
13 cal
11 cal
10 cal
Afternoon tea Happy cow cheese wedge 35 cal
Dinner Broccoli soup 153 cal
Supper Rice cake with vegemite
1 almond
40 cal
12 cal
496 cal

Curried red lentil and dried apricot soup - 141 C

Week 9 Day 1

Breakfast Porridge 127 cal
Morning tea Nectarine 39 cal
Lunch 1 rice cake with hummus
1/4 tomato
1 rice cake with vegemite
60 cal
13 cal
40 cal
Afternoon tea n/a
Dinner Curried red lentil and dried apricot soup     141 cal
Supper 1/2 nectarine 15 cal
445 cal

Sweet potato and red lentil soup - 129 C

Week 13 Day 1

Breakfast Smoothie 147 cal
Morning tea n/a
Lunch Cuppa noodle soup (packaged) 125 cal
Afternoon tea bit of rice cracker
bit of peach
7 cal
7 cal
Dinner Sweet potato and red lentil soup              129 cal
Supper Rice cake 35 cal
440 cal

Nashi pears - 127 C and packam pears - 80 C

6 months later(I had given up noting the week number)
Breakfast1 rice cake and peanut butter49 cal
Morning tean/a
Lunch1 slice sourdough bread
2 tsp hummus
132 cal
15 cal
Afternoon tea1 (260g) nashi pear127 cal
DinnerBeetroot and kidney bean soup181 cal
504 cal


Based on this microwave porridge
serves 1

1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp honey

Mix all ingredients in a small heat proof mixing bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir and cheek consistency. Microwave another 1-2 minutes depending on how thick you like your porridge. When it is thickened and oats are cooked, serve hot. 127 calories per serving.

Serves 2

1/2 banana
1 ripe peach*
1 ripe plum*
10 raspberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp chia seeds
ice blocks, optional

Place everything in a large jug and blend until smooth with a hand held blender (or use a blender jug if you have one). Pour into two glasses and enjoy. 147 calories per serving.

*Variation: I have also made this smoothie with 1/4 cup of blueberries instead of the plum and the peach. It worked out at 122 calories per serving.

Italian butter beans - 140 C
Italian butter beans
From BBC Good Food
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
400g tin diced tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
2 x 400g tins butter beans, rinsed and drained
small bunch basil, chopped

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar and seasoning. Tip in the beans and a splash of water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve. 140 calories per serving.

Sweet potato and red lentil soup
A lighter version of this soup
Serves 4

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup red lentils
1 sweet potato (mine weighed 233g), chopped*
5 cups water
2 tsp stock powder
pinch salt

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Fry onion, garlic, celery and carrot until soft. Add remaining ingredients and check seasoning. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until potato is soft and lentils cooked. Puree and serve. 129 calories per serving.

*Note: you could bake the sweet potato until soft. It will make the flavour more intense in the soup but it is not necessary if you don't have time.

Variation: I have also made this soup with 1/2 tsp olive oil, 50g silverbeet, 30g mushrooms, 35g kale, 2 tbsp tomato paste and not pureed it. This was really delicious and 139 calories per serving.

Asparagus and chickpea salad - 133 C
Asparagus and chickpea salad
serves 2

1 bunch asparagus
1/2 x 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 medium red pepper, chopped
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cider vinegar

Trim and roughly chop asparagus. Lightly steam and cool under cold water. Drain. Mix with remaining ingredients. Season to taste. 133 calories per serving.

Smoky kidney bean soup
Adapted from Lavender and Lovage
Serves 4

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots, chopped
100g button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
125g butternut pumpkin (or squash), chopped
400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400g  tin diced tomatoes
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
good shake of cayenne powder
2 cups vegie stock
nutritional yeast flakes to serve, optional

Fry onion in olive oil for a few minutes until translucent.  Add carrots, mushrooms and garlic.  Fry 5 to 10 minutes until vegies soften. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until carrots and pumpkin are soft when pierced with a fork.  Serve with nutritional yeast flakes if desired.  142 calories per serving.  (149 calories per serving if you scatter each serving with 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast flakes.)

Smoky kidney bean soup - 142 C
Other recipes on my blog that I have used on the 5:2 diet:


Blogs that have 5:2 recipes and low calorie recipes (mostly vegetarian) :

Reflections by others:

I am sending the Smoky Kidney Bean Soup to Lisa's Kitchen for No Croutons Required, a monthly event held with Jac of Tinned Tomatoes for bloggers to share vegetarian soups and salads.  This monthly event would also be a great place to look for 5:2 diet meal ideas.

      Posted July 17, 2014 10:48 PM by Johanna GGG

      quinces and kale

      orange almond meal cake

      orange almond meal cake

      It’s winter and I have a fruit bowl full of navel oranges begging to be used. I cannot think of a better use for them than this wonderful cake.

      This recipe is a vegan version of a beautiful Sicilian/Sephardic Jewish orange and almond cake. Navels work best in this cake because they have no seeds to remove – the oranges are pureed whole. The only non vegan ingredient in the original recipe is eggs. While eggs are reasonably easy to replace in a cake,  this one has a lot. Six in fact. So I approached it with some unease, thinking it would turn out like a brick. I need not have feared. It is a fairly dense cake, sort of like a pudding in texture, but so is the original.

      It is the easiest cake to make. It is really suitable to make vegan because it is such a fudgy cake to begin with. It doesn’t suffer from having the eggs replaced with a vegan alternative, as it doesn’t need the eggs for lightness like say, a sponge.

      The original is an old faithful recipe that’s been in my family for years. There are lots of versions of it out there, some with fewer oranges, some with and without flour. This is the one that seems to have settled in as my favourite.

      It is utterly delicious with its combination of nutty, bitter and sweet flavours.

      My only problem with this cake is I could happily scoff the lot at two or three sittings.


      orange almond meal cake
      prep time
      30 mins
      cook time
      45 mins
      total time
      1 hour 15 mins
      author: quincesandkale
      recipe type: sweet
      cuisine: vegan
      serves: 8
      • 4 small or 3 large navel oranges (they don't have seeds)
      • 1 cup raw caster sugar
      • 6 vegan egg replacement (I used Orgran No Egg and made 6 'eggs' according to the instructions)
      • 250 grams of almond meal
      • 1 cup self raising flour
      1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
      2. Put the whole oranges into a saucepan and boil gently for 20 minutes.
      3. Put the whole boiled oranges into a food processor and blitz until pureed but with some small bits of peel still visible.
      4. In a bowl, beat the egg replacer with the sugar until smooth and fluffy.
      5. Mix in the almond meal.
      6. Mix in the orange puree.
      7. Fold the flour in gently and scoop the mixture into a cake pan and level it out.
      8. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until done.
      9. Insert a skewer and it should come out cleanly when done.
      10. If it isn't give it another 5 minutes.
      11. Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before turning out.



      Posted July 17, 2014 10:00 AM

      July 14, 2014

      Vegan Bullsh*t

      BBQ Night at the Cornish Arms

      So. This is a horrible photo because The Cornish's lighting is horrible at night but who even cares. BBQ NIGHT.
      This is the vegan big plate, $20: you're looking at a veggie frank with a gorgeous semi-spicy black beany chili and cheeze, chick'n strips, pork skewers, deep fried pickles (AW YES), slaw and a gorgeous BBQ sauce to slather it all in. Plus, not pictured, cuminy seasoned shoestring fries and a roll to assemble your own carbwich. I have no words, you need to get on this.

      Posted July 14, 2014 06:51 PM by L

      July 12, 2014


      A short blogging break: it’s decluttering time

      Hi everyone, I’m going to be changing the blog up a bit (like cleaning out the gajillion pointless categories and decluttering the tags for starters) and a few other things.  All this requires a bit of a break while I move things around and make everything sparkly clean and makeovery.  Plus I need to find more time to go op shopping ;)

      You can catch me on Twitter @Veganopoulous

      See you when I get back!

      love boat

      Veganopoulous is expecting you!


      Posted July 12, 2014 01:04 PM

      July 08, 2014

      Thoughts Of A Moni

      Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill

      As part of Nuffnang's birthday celebrations, I was lucky enough to win some vouchers for Mad Mex. We hadn't had a chance to use the vouchers, but last weekend, we finally forced ourselves to go out, and indulge in some Mexican food!

      I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from Mad Mex. The website seemed to indicate it was a franchise, but I wasn't sure whether it was more like a restaurant or whether it was fast food. Turns out, it was something in between.

      The set up is very similar to a Subway concept, but instead of choosing the bread, you choose the type of meal, from nachos, enchiladas, a burrito, a grande melt or tacos. You then choose your main filling, which in my case was obviously vegetarian, and just like subway, you then choose your salads, while they build your meal.

      As we sat down at our table, we noticed the great light fittings constructed out of empty Corona bottles, an apt homage to the Mexican beer.

      I unwrapped my burrito to discover a very full wrap.

      Firstly the tortilla itself was great. I was expecting something dry, but instead it was soft and tasty. Inside I had rice and beans as the base, and then sautéed vegetables as my vegetarian option. As usual I had opted for all the salad on offer, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and hot sauce. Commendably, the hot sauce was hot, which impressed me. Everything combined well, and worked together, but to be honest, it was nothing spectacular.

      Mad Mex is nothing fancy, and if your on Chapel St, there are definitely better options. Infact we were commenting that perhaps Grill'd would have been a better option, after all, their burgers are amazing. But nevertheless, it was an enjoyable meal, just not extraordinary.

      Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

      Posted July 08, 2014 10:08 PM by Moni

      vegan about town

      bare burger [various locations, nyc]

      My first and last nights in NYC saw me dining on food from Bare Burger. After being collected from La Guardia and depositing my belongings, I walked with my hosts to Bare Burger in Astoria, where the staff were friendly and delightful, offering advice, opinions and the ingredients list as required.

      We started with two serves of fries: one sweet potato (or "yam", which is often not actually yam), and one of not sweet potato. This is served with a whole lot of sauces, which our waiter kindly replaced with some other options, more vegan, for me.

      Bare Burger has a whole lot of options, but both times I've eaten there now I delighted in the Barest of Burgers, which is where you get to pick everything! I went with the wholemeal bun and filled it with this amazing black bean patty, smoke house sauce, avocado, tomato, spinach and mushrooms.

      I'm not ashamed to say that tonight, my last night in NYC, we stayed in to do some work and ordered delivery from Bare Burger and I ordered something very, very similar. It was a good nom choice, as they also do gluten-free and were totally lovely. (Also there is vegan cake on the dessert menu)

      Bare Burger
      33-21 31st Avenue (also has other locations)

      Posted July 08, 2014 11:47 AM by steph

      July 07, 2014

      The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

      Disco Beans

       Disco Beans: Disco de Fiesta’ ($16.50 GF)

      Disco Beans: Disco de Fiesta’ ($16.50 GF)

       Disco Beans: ‘Disco Bonanza’ ($15.50)

      Disco Beans: ‘Disco Bonanza’ ($15.50)

       Disco Beans: Vegan Banana Cake ($4 GF)

      Disco Beans: Vegan Banana Cake ($4 GF)


      Disco Beans
      539 Plenty Rd
      Preston VIC 3072

      03 9478 1461


      Opening Hours:

      Tues-Sun: 8am-4pm

      Dinner Tues-Sat: 5.30-9.30pm

      Cash Only

      Disco Beans is a sweet little cafe in Preston offering up homestyle Japanese food with vegan options aplenty.

      A breakfast favourite is the ‘Disco Bonanza’ ($15.50) with pan-fried marinated organic tofu, baked mushrooms, roasted potatoes, rocket and homemade tomato sauce served with organic 7 grain toast. Gluten free bread ($2) is also available. 

      The 'Disco de Fiesta’ ($16.50 GF) is the other notable vegan option, with a combination of homemade guacamole, homemade black beans, homemade tomato sauce, corn chips, lemon and jalapeño served on grain rice. Most ingredients are available as sides, so you could also build your own vegan brunch extravaganza if you wish.

      Disco Beans is now also open for dinner with a multitude of vegan options including ‘Gyoza’ ($10.50), ‘Fried Chicken Do’ ($16.50), ‘Vegan Okonomiyaki’ ($14 GF), ‘Organic Tofu Don’ ($14.50) and ’Organic Tofu Steak’ ($7.50). A six course vegan Japanese banquet (Regular, Winter or Sushi) dinner is also available for $30 per person (cash only, bookings necessary).

      There are also some vegan sweets on offer including traditional Japanese rice cakes 'Daifuku' ($3 GF), 'Chocolate and Black Bean Brownie' ($4 GF), 'Banana Cake' ($4 GF) and 'Vegan Muffins' ($4).

      Coffee is $3.80 with with a 40c soycharge for Bonsoy.

       Disco Beans on Urbanspoon

      Posted July 07, 2014 06:48 PM

      In the Mood for Noodles

      Life cafe

      We are back in Hong Kong and since being gf is hard here. Im going to try to blog my meals. Although I've already missed a few things.

      Hong Kong is such a crazy city. I feel like I still love it and hate it. I always get whirled into shopping too much even now when I have no money. This city makes me want to go out more, see more, do more but then I get tired and over the heat and the crowds and just want to retreat.

      I'm seeing a new side to it at the moment though. Its no particularly baby friendly, I'm glad for baby wearing because I think prams and strollers would be tough here.  Also parent rooms are hard to find especially areas to breastfeed privately. But it's also nice seeing so many people playing and talking to our 9 old month old son. He's been loving the attention and seeing his HK relatives and all the neon lights.

      Anyway, on to the food.

      First meal that I managed to take photos of was this delicious kale risotto. This was so much better than it sounds. Brown rice risotto cooked in wine with crispy tofu 'bacon'. My bowl was licked clean. I also devoured their sweet potato fries with a garlicky aioli type dip and a juice. Toby enjoyed his big vegan breakfast. We will definitely be back.

      Life cafe
      Hong Kong

      Posted July 07, 2014 12:02 PM by K

      July 05, 2014

      melbourne with the rocket » food

      sydney with the rocket: day 1

      We arrived in Sydney around one o’clock on Saturday. It was windy but bright, a wholesome twenty degrees, and someplace different. For one, the airport has a train. Sydney 1, Melbourne 0.

      It costs about $16.40 to get an adult onto the airport line into the city proper – it’s only about three stops to Central, so I’m not sure if it’s cheaper to get a taxi if there’s a few of you. The Rocket was free, so we sucked up the thirty-plus dollars and delighted in being on a double-decker train. Our hotel was a short walk from Central, so we wheeled ourselves over and checked in. I was in charge of booking as Teach was armpit-deep in reports at the time, so I spent a few days getting increasingly agitated about how expensive it is to stay places, and not having any visual of where in Sydney is good or safe or close or fun, and panicking about the date getting closer and everything selling out and us sleeping in an internet cafe. Eventually I chose the Campbell Street Meriton Apartments, because they had an immediately available online chat and could answer all of my questions about cots and babies and stuff, and their prices seemed relatively competitive, especially for the size of the rooms. (Not that I would know. I am just awful at booking things. If it’s on sale, I’ll find out, the day after I’ve paid upfront and signed a no-refund disclaimer. It’s just not one of my skills, sadly.) Anyway, it turns out that the reason it was a bit expensive was because it’s right in the middle of the city, and quite nice; armed with a bit more knowledge I would probably stay a few suburbs further out next time and just catch a train in. Still, as Past Fiona had already paid for it and Present Fiona got to stay there, it was a nice place: a one-bedroom serviced apartment, which meant we could get the Rocket to sleep in a separate room and then go watch free Foxtel in the lounge/kitchen. For another $35 we had a cot put in the room; it was pretty small, and with metal prison bars instead of gentle white wood like the one at home we inherited from my sister. As we settled in, we tried to get her to sleep, but she wasn’t really on board with that idea. Instead we got her up and took her for a wander around.

      This door to our hotel: most fun thing in New South Wales

      It’s hard not to compare Sydney to Melbourne the whole time. In my mind where we stayed was the equivalent to the Spring Street end of Little Bourke, with theatres and people but narrow streets and not quite the level of excitement of the bigger streets. Sydney is cleaner, but maybe less friendly – unless it’s just that it’s unfamiliar – and has almost no street art in the places we were. There weren’t many cute little shops to go into, though there were lots of tasty-looking eateries. We strolled up Pitt St just as gale-force winds hit; hats flew off people’s heads and one person was attacked bodily by an errant newspaper. The Rocket has stopped enjoying wind and instead chose to wail, so we went into a Coles for a bit to buy some milk and cereal, then went up to Kings Comics and talked ourselves out of piles of collectible toys we didn’t need. It was nearing dinnertime, so, having previously consulted my friends online about where to go, we had dinner at Mother Chu’s Vegetarian Kitchen.

      It was a patchy start; we got there at about five past five but weren’t given our mains until about a quarter to six, though we’d had some (sadly unsalted) edamame to start. The service was very friendly, however, and the Rocket just happy to be indoors. The menu mostly calls things “soy” or “gluten” instead of the usual “duck” or “chicken”, and doesn’t elaborate on the flavours. I chose crispy bean curd with mushrooms and broccoli; Teach picked a crispy gluten dish. Once they turned up, we were much more positive; the food is pretty delicious, and maybe we’d just been a bit tired and cranky. My bean curd wasn’t crispy, but it was warm and good and there was tons of it and I ate it all up, only managing to get a little of Teach’s crispy gluten before he scoffed all his too. The Rocket was happy with her bowl of rice, a bunch of edamame and some of my tofu. If I’m in Sydney again, I’d give it another shot for sure, maybe this time calling a day in advance so I could have some of their vegetarian Peking Duck, or some steamed BBQ buns, or satay sticks.

      We decided to call it a night after that, and took the Rocket back to the hotel, tucked her in, consoled her, tucked her in, gave her toys, went back and picked up her toys from the floor, tucked her in, etc etc for all eternity until she finally slept. Then we ate candy and watched terrible television until we were sick, because if there’s one thing we do well, it’s knowing how to waste being in a different city.

      Posted July 05, 2014 03:05 PM

      July 03, 2014

      Thoughts Of A Moni

      Proud Peacock

      Social media is brilliant at providing businesses with free advertising, and for this occasion, The Proud Peacock had definitely benefited from this. One of my friends had visited it and put photos up on Facebook, with comments to say that it was a little local place, with amazing food. I decided to look up how local it was and found that it was walking distance from my place! And so it was decided, we were going to have dinner on Friday night there. It just so happened that Friday lunch was scheduled to be our monthly team lunch, and we were without a venue, so I decided to nominate Proud Peacock, so that I could get a preview of what was to come for dinner... it proved to be a good move.

      Visit 1:

      We arrived at about 12:30 pm, and the lunch rush was well and truly under way. There were no seats inside, a massive crowd lined up at the counter, and a few people even sitting outside. This was a clear sign, that this place must be good. We also joined the queue, placed our orders at the counter, and then found ourselves a spot outside. Luckily it wasn't too cold!

      Whilst we were waiting, the waitresses were running around, frantically trying to keep on top of things, and make sure all the patrons were looked after. We were given bottles of soft drink, Chinese tea, fruit, and tim tams, all as freebies, while we waited. After about 10 minutes (not long at all given how busy they were), our dishes arrived.

      One of the things that impressed me most about Proud Peacock was the separate vegetarian menu. I was spoilt for choice, but I settled on a vegetarian pad thai, knowing that I would be back later that night to sample more of the menu.

      The pad thai was delicious with all the standard inclusions, vegetables, egg, tofu, crushed nuts, and a wedge of lemon on the side. There was also chilli on the table, but it was super spicy (even for a seasoned chilli connoisseur like me!) so I used it sparingly! The waitress also bought around some take away containers, suggesting that there was a high chance that we wouldn't be able to finish our portions, but she clearly underestimated my abilities! In her defence, the portions were big, but I was just super hungry!

      We left very full, but very satisfied, and I was excited to come back for dinner!

      Visit 2:

      We arrived at about 6:30 pm and the dinner rush was no less than the lunch rush from earlier in the day. We squeezed through the front door, and looked around for a spare couple of seats. Luckily there was a table that was just emptying, and we pounced. It was cold, and we didn't particularly want to sit outside, so we were grateful for the spot inside.

      Surprisingly, given how busy it was, there was still table service, and almost as we sat down, menus were brought to us, followed by fruit, Chinese tea and chocolate biscuits, and after a few minutes our order was taken. We got greedy and decided to order three meals between two of us which was ambitious, given I knew how big the serves were. Nevertheless, we were up for the challenge. There was about a 15 minute wait, but this wasn't an issue, and completely understandable given how busy they were.

      Given how cold it was, my heart was set on a vegetarian noodle soup, and whilst this wasn't on the menu, the staff were happy to oblige. A very large bowl of steaming broth, vegetables, noodles and chunks of beancurd was placed in front of me. This dish hit the spot perfectly, and unlike some other phos with are bulked up with mock meat, this one was full of fresh vegetables and soft beancurd.

      Our other dish was a salt and pepper eggplant, which was on the specials board that night. Deliciously soft, succulent pieces of eggplant were coated in batter and then deep fried and the whole dish was dressed liberally with salt pepper, shallots and chilli. There must have been some secret spices in the batter because it made the eggplant taste amazing. Unfortunately we were way too full and could hardly finish half this dish, so in true Proud Peacock style, we were handed takeaway containers to pack our leftovers in for the next day!

      As we headed to the counter to pay, we received countless apologies for the slow service. To be honest we didn't mind at all, infact the whole chaotic nature adds to the character of the place, but regardless a family pack of Tim Tams was forced upon us as a way of saying sorry and we were sent home!

      Proud Peacock is definitely going to become one of our favourite locals. It's one of those places where you just want to give the people that run it a big hug!

      The Proud Peacock on Urbanspoon

      Posted July 03, 2014 06:01 PM by Moni

      vegan about town

      grasslands [toronto]

      I know it’s a big call, but breakfast at Grasslands was the best meal I had during my time in Canada, despite the amazing pie at The Wallflower. 

      At first we were really only going because it was one of the few places that could cater for vegans and coeliacs and also took bookings. But it was so good. SO. GOOD. 

      Having had a big night before (we got back to our accommodation at well after midnight, having consumed many alcohols, spent the day in the sun, and hung out in an indoor hotel pool for many hours), it was with a gentle stride that we navigated our way on public transport to Grasslands, located on Queen Street West. 

      We arrived to find a beautiful puppy lying across the doorstep, and I fell upon a lovely coffee. 

      I wanted to eat everything on the menu, but in the end went for the Hangover Helper, on the grounds that I was a bit delicate. The Hangover Helper is comprised of scrambled tofu (with mushrooms and daiya cheese), salsa, guacamole, spinach (which I asked to be withheld), toast, chips, salad and watermelon. The tofu was a lovely texture with the daiya adding a slightly cheesy creamyness. The salsa and guacamole added a nice little flavour, and then I added a big of sriracha sauce for a little spice and it was perrrrfect. The salad was bland but a nice addition to the friedness of the rest of it, and finishing it off with three slices of watermelon was just right. 

      ALSO AMAZING: the bite of french toast I had; the bite of gluten-free waffle I had, so light and fluffy and, as Dr F said, you couldn't tell it was gf + vegan at all (unlike the pancakes at Fresh, so sad). 

      I am disappointed that I didn't get a chance to return to Grasslands. If you get a chance, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 

      478 Queen St W

      Stairs to enter and down to the toilets. Payment at the table. CC accepted. Lighting okay but it was daytime.  Get there on the streetcar. Service really helpful and lovely. 

      Posted July 03, 2014 10:02 AM by steph

      June 30, 2014

      Ballroom Blintz

      Grigons & Orr II: Attack of the Avocado Egg

      I normally don’t do a lot of repeat visit posts here. Mainly because I mostly figure that if I’ve already written a rave about a place, that’s really enough of an incentive to readers, no one wants to hear me gabbering on about the same places over and over again. I only ever feel inclined to write about a place multiple times if I visit a long time after the first post and feel inspired enough to do a kind of ‘so here’s what they’re up to now’ update, or if I experience a particular dish that makes me sit up and take proper notice and feel the need to make a community awareness announcement. This particular post is most definitely of the latter variety.

      Jen and I ended up at Grigons & Orr during the now distant Anzac Day weekend when our first choice of Elceed was closed. Physically not much appears to have changed since my first visit – the resemblance to an old school corner shop is still very charming, and I even spotted the box of crocheted blankets by the front door, although the autumn sun was strong enough that we didn’t need to borrow any.

      I knew that I was after a big plate of assorted breakfast goods, and was pleased to see that there was a vegan and gluten free option that looked like it would be of good service to my craving. “The Ghandi” promised potato rosti, spinach, BBQ tofu, tomato, and an “avocado egg” consisting of half an avocado with a pumpkin puree yolk. I was immediately taken by the thought of this avocado egg – how on earth do you make pumpkin taste like egg? Would it taste like egg? Or would it just be a very savoury ball of pumpkin, which probably shouldn’t be sniffed at and might be a nicely novel edition to breakfast? Clearly I HAD to find out.

      Well, I have no idea how the cooks at Grigons & Orr did it, but the bright yellow orb of pumpkin sitting in the middle of my avocado half in place of the stone did, unaccountably, magically, taste like like creamy egg yolk. WIZARDRY! Really I shouldn’t be surprised that pumpkin can be induced into tasting like rich delicious anything, but as a child who stupidly eschewed anything pumpkin related I am still catching up with the full extent of this miracle. As to the other components of my plate, the rosti were crispy and provided a good starchy sponge to soak up all the excess sauce from the BBQ tofu, which was VERY saucy indeed and a welcome brunch plate edition, I’d love to see more places play around with tofu that aren’t specially veg*n places, it can be done guys, tofu isn’t scary. The spinach was properly buttery (or margariney in this case), and the tomato was, well, warm breakfast tomato. I am not that fussed with warm breakfast tomato, it was just there, getting the way of tofu and avocado egg. While I was initially worried that the moderate serving size wasn’t going to be enough to soothe my rapacious tum, it was actually the perfect amount to fill you but not stuff you.

      Jen went with the salmon version of the corn fritters, which was an impressive looking pile crowned with salmon and a fan of sliced avocado. They didn’t look to be too dense, and seemed to contain a decent array of vegetable matter.

      Grigons & Orr was well worth a repeat visit food-wise – the thought of the pumpkin egg still keeps coming back to me weeks later. The service is friendly but remains slightly idiosyncratic – as with my first visit if you want dairy and sugary accoutrements with your tea you have to get up and go source them yourself – but honestly it’s always reassuring when in this brunch fad mad town an establishment that’s been around for more than a year or two can still front up with a good spread.

      Grigons & Orr

      445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

      Ph: 0487 608 489


      Posted June 30, 2014 02:25 PM

      June 24, 2014

      In the Mood for Noodles

      Olive oil and butter

      Hi, remember me ? Just realised I can blog while feeding my son!

      Olive oil and butter is a Greek cafe/bakery. They have at least one sweet bakery item which sadly my coeliac disease stops me from trying and reporting on. They recently started offering all day breaky on the weekend which includes a vegan and gluten free option. Their polenta is creamy and porridge like but not lacking in flavor, served with slow cooked beans (gigantes) and avocado. They somehow manage to pull off both slivered almonds and crispy fried shallots together too. 

      Bonus points for having high chairs and interesting flashing lights which together with a friendly waitress helped entertain my 9 month old son.

      It's also been blogged about by Mel hot or not and Consider the sauce

      Olive Oil and Butter
      196 Sommerville rd
      Kingsville (tiny suburb near yarraville and seddon)

      Posted June 24, 2014 10:45 AM by K

      June 13, 2014

      consuming cate

      Selling my bike!

      2012 model of the Great women’s bike in good condition, this is the 2012 model of the Breezer Uptown 8

      The saddle has been replaced with something far more comfortable, the Electra Amsterdam Comfort seat and the cabling has been tidied up as on the original model, cabling would slip a lot. 

      It's a fantastic bike, especially if you are on the shorter side like me and find a lot of Amsterdam bikes simply too tall. 

      Pick up available Brunswick or I am happy to arrange a courier at your expense. Bought for $1000 selling for $600. Will throw in my shiny red retro helmet for free. Interested? Email me or give me a call on 0433584889

      Sizes: (17.5″), M (19.5″), L (21.5″), XL (23.5″) Low-Step: XS (15″), S (17″), M (19″), L (21″)
      Color(s): Black Satin/Mineral Brown, L.S.: Black Satin/Cobalt Blue
      Main frame: Breezer Custom Aluminum, Single Water Bottle Mount
      Rear triangle : Breezer Custom-Tapered Aluminum, Horiz-In Dropouts
      Fork: Breezer CrMo w/ CrMo steerer, V-Brake Mounts
      Crankset: Shimano Nexus FC-NX75, 38T
      Bottom bracket: VP-BC73C Cartridge Style
      Pedals : Wellgo CO21 Aluminum Body w/Kraton top and CrMo Spindle
      Front derailleur NA
      Rear derailleur NA
      Shifters: Shimano Nexus Revo, 8-speed
      Cassette: Shimano, 18T
      Chain: KMC Z-51
      Wheelset: Shimano Dynamo 3N20 6V-3W Front Hub, Shimano Nexus 8 Premium Rear Hub, Alex DH19 36H Rims
      Tires: WTB Freedom Cruz Elite w/Reflex, 26×1.5″
      Brake set: Tektro 857AL V-Brake
      Brake levers: Tektro CL530
      Headset: VP-H692W
      Handlebar: Breezer Aluminum, 26mm Rise
      Stem Breezer Aluminum, Quill Style
      Tape/grip: Breezer Open End Ergonomic Kraton rubber
      Saddle: Breezer Comfort Saddle
      Seat post: Breezer Suspension Aluminum 40mm Travel, 350×27.2mm
      Fenders: Polycarbonate w/Integrated Lighting Conductors
      Headlight: Busch & Muller Lumotec Fly LED w/Standlight Feature
      Taillight: Basta Riff Steady LED w/Standlight Feature
      Rear Carrier: Breezer Tubular Aluminum w/Spring Clip
      Other: Axa Solid Ring Lock, YWS Chime Bell w/Black Anodized Chime

      Posted June 13, 2014 03:52 PM by Cate Lawrence

      June 08, 2014

      Ballroom Blintz

      Tempeh Shepherd’s Pie with Mushroom Gravy

      Ordinarily I am the sort of cook where if I see a recipe with a hugely long ingredients list and a method that involves more than using maybe two pots, I go “tell him he’s dreaming” and then make ramen for dinner for the forty thousandth time. It’s not just laziness (although a decent percentage of it is laziness) – huge recipes are generally a signal that not only are you going to have to whip out some very clever kitchen skills in order to pull it off, but there’s generally also specialty ingredients lurking within that list that are going to be a bugger to source, are probably expensive and will then sit in your cupboard forever never to be useful for anything else and you’ll end up throwing them away four years past expiry in a fit of annoyed guilt. And of course, there is nothing worse than throwing all your soul and effort into a big complicated recipe, only for it all to explode in your face and end up tasting terrible.

      This Frankenstein’s monster of a shepherd’s pie recipe, which I cobbled together in order to use up a packet of tempeh, is however well worth its long ingredients list and slightly fiddly assemblage. I was inspired by Michael’s version of the Viva Vegan creamy corn-crusted tempeh pot pie and used that recipe as a jumping point, although I already knew that I’d be changing several elements – subbing out the corn crust for a more traditional mashed potato, replacing the potato with pumpkin, adding green beans and leaving out entirely the currants and olives (because HONESTLY), and using a mix of spices more easily found in my cupboard and garden. It also didn’t look saucy enough for my purposes, so I started googling around for a suitable vegetarian gravy to add, and came across this version of tempeh pie to further jump off. The mashed potato formula comes courtesy of my mother, as all the best things do.

      The only thing that I’ve amended in writing this recipe down is that in my original version I used half dried shiitake mushrooms and half a mix of other dried mushroom varieties, as that’s what I had in my cupboard. But as the shiitake was clearly the best part of the whole endeavour, and lent an awesome richness to the pie filling as a whole while the other mushrooms were merely taking up standing room, I must forcefully insist that you go Full Shiitake.


      Tempeh Filling

      • 1/2 medium sized pumpkin, deseeded, skin removed, and diced
      • 230g packet tempeh
      • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
      • 2 brown onions, finely sliced
      • handful green beans, top and tailed and cut into short rounds
      • 2 tsp cumin
      • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (substitute with dried if you don’t have fresh)
      • 2 tbsp red wine
      • 1 tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 1/2 cups water
      • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
      • olive oil

      Mushroom Gravy

      • 1 small packet whole dried shiitake mushrooms
      • 3 tbsp soy sauce
      • lots of ground black pepper
      • 1 cup mushroom water (this will be what’s left from re-hydrating your shiitake!)
      • 2 tbsp corn flour, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
      • olive oil

      Mashed Potato Topping

      • 4 floury potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
      • 50g butter
      • milk
      • ground black pepper and sea salt


      Grab your shiitake and set them to soak in a big bowl of boiling hot water. The longer the mushrooms have to soak the better, so always make sure this is your first step.

      Steam your tempeh and boil your taters! I have one of those stovetop steamer sets where you boil water in the saucepan then whack the steamer pot on top, so if you have one of those you can be a SUPER MULTITASKER and do both at the same time. WONDERS! (You can also just bung on a separate saucepan for the potatoes if you don’t have a stovetop steamer set.) The potatoes will take about 20 minutes to properly soften up, and you should make sure you boil them in water that has had a good generous shake of salt added. The tempeh will take 10 minutes or so, so lay a little round of baking paper on the bottom of the steamer before putting in the tempeh, and then place over the boiling potatoes with a lid on – make sure there is a few inches gap between the top of the boiling water and the steamer pot, otherwise you’ll end up with very soggy tempeh indeed. Once the tempeh is ready, take it out carefully – it will be hot – cut it into cubes and put aside.

      Since we’ve been multitasking wonders and boiled our potatoes, we may as well make the mash topping now. Drain the water from the pot, add the butter, and use a masher or the back of a fork to mash the potatoes. Add in a splash or two of milk to bring it to your preferred level of creaminess, add generous amounts of black pepper and sea salt, and mash it all up good. You can set aside the mash with a lid on it and it will keep warm while you make the filling and gravy.

      Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 200C.

      Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a big deep frying pan. Fry the onions and the carrots over medium heat for about 10 minutes – you want the onions to be completely soft. Add the tablespoons of wine, which will cook off nice and quickly, then add the cumin, thyme, pumpkin, beans, tempeh, soy sauce and water. Add the powered vegie stock, combine, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, with some occasional stirring, before taking off the heat and setting aside.

      Now to the gravy. Drain the mushrooms (but keep that mushroom water, we need it!), and cut the shiitake in half. Put them in a small frying pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil and start to saute away. Crack over a good generous amount of black pepper. Add in 1 cup of the leftover mushroom water and bring to a gentle boil. Slowly pour in the corn flour and water mixture, and let it all simmer, while stirring, until it thickens nicely (your kitchen will be smelling like THE MOST DELICIOUS THING IN THE WORLD at this point, by the way).

      Let us assemble the pie. Get the biggest, deepest casserole dish you can find. Layer first with the filling mixture, then with the gravy, and finish with the mashed potato. Put the casserole dish on a baking tray that has been lined with foil (just in case there is any spillover during the pie’s time in the oven) and bake for 45 minutes, or until the potato has nicely browned.

      photo (3)

      If you are vegan you can make this pie – just replace the milk and butter in the mashed potato with your preferred non-daily equivalent. If you are coeliac you can make this pie – just replace the soy sauce with tamari. If you are an omnivore who ordinarily goes “ugh tempeh”, get your childish arse in hand, stop being so fucking boring and make this goddamn pie. This is my greatest life achievement, creating this delicious monument to saucy starch, and if this is the only tangible thing that I leave to the world, well then my existence has been worthwhile. Make the goddamn pie.

      photo (4)

      Posted June 08, 2014 12:10 PM

      June 06, 2014

      blog | easy as (vegan) pie - australian vegan recipes and places to eat!

      yong green food - fitzroy

      Raw cheese platter: herbed garlic cashew cheese, nut bread, tamari olives, balasamic figs $20  Quinoa Fritters: Fried organic quinoa patties, mixed with vegies and spices served with coconut chilli sauce $12.50 Raspberry white chocolate cheesecake: cashew, raspberries, agave, cacao butter, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes $8 Long time no speak. Believe me it's not because I haven't

      Posted June 06, 2014 08:53 PM by Carla

      June 01, 2014

      consuming cate

      Hire me

      I am a freelance writer, researcher and cook. I create content for websites, blogs, workshops and social media and write and test recipes to teach. I am currently writing my first novel.

      In my creative work I am available to assist with:

      • Food product reviews
      • Recipe testing and development
      • Cook book reviews and editing of drafts
      I have extensive experience in the not for profit sector from running Green Renters which I co-founded in 2009. In particular I am able to assist with:
      • Grant applications
      • Workshop content and development
      • Presentations and speeches
      • Web copy
      • Media releases
      • Fact sheets and handouts 
      • Proposals and strategy documents
      • Social media strategy and community management
      • Copywriting

      Consuming Cate is my personal blog. The content of my posts are things and experiences that I genuinely like. My views are my own.

      I am open to sponsored posts and to provide opinion of products, websites and services  for a fee. However I will state my opinions freely. 

      Posted June 01, 2014 09:14 PM by Cate Lawrence

      May 20, 2014

      Challenge Accepted!

      Week 7: Pumpkin Tomato Curry and Chandra Malai Kofta

      Pumpkin curry

      This was a surprisingly easy recipe from a random Penguin curry book I have, that I discovered when flipping through my cookbooks for something to do with the Pumpkin I had.

      Oh man, I wish I could transmit scent through this blog because it smelled amazing, with just the Pumpkin, vegan butter and Cumin seeds. Mmm.

      Quick, easy and delicious, this is going to be one of my new staples, along with the chickpea curry I love. The only ingredients in this really are Pumpkin, ghee, Cumin seeds, onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric and Chili. I also added amchoor powder because I had it and thought it might add to the flavour.

      I was craving the Pumpkin Lakhnawi from my favourite Indian takeaway place and this really hit the spot.

      Malai Kofta

      This was actually a lot easier than I'd thought, providing you remember to soak the nuts or as Isa says "always be soaking"! Which I am not, but luckily I did remember.

      I like that this is made mostly from ingredients I usually have on hand (except Panko Crumbs). :-)

      The kofta mixture came out a little too wet, so I added some more Panko Crumbs, but then it didn't hold together super well when frying (side note: I am always frying with Coconut oil from now on. Yum.), maybe because I tried to chop the Zucchini instead of shredding it finely due to not being able to locate my grater. Oh well.

      The sauce was super thick and creamy and amazing. If anything, maybe slightly too rich, but so worth the time put in. It would be equally as good just poured over some steamed veggies. Definitely making again!

      Time for food porn photos:

      Posted May 20, 2014 07:31 PM by Kate

      May 18, 2014

      Challenge Accepted!

      Week 6: Black Rice and Cashews

      This week's dish is from Robin Aisbell's Big Vegan. (I have a beloved sweet potato gnocchi recipe from this book that I make regularly, it is divine.)

      Big Vegan

      It's been a long week, so I decided to go for something a little easier - black rice with cashews. I also added in some other veggies (zucchini, red Bell peppers and mushrooms) for some colour, but the rice kind of overcame all their colour and in the end the whole thing was black. Oh well!

      In the end it turned out a little too salty for me, what with the Miso as well as the vegetable stock. I probably wouldn't make this again, but I would like to try black rice in more dishes. :-) 

      Posted May 18, 2014 05:34 PM by Kate

      May 16, 2014

      Tempeh Tantrum

      Porch and Parlour

      As I mentioned last week, I’ve relocated to ol’ Sydney town. I’ll be here for a few months before heading overseas for a wee bit. Who knows where this wild roller-coaster we boringly call ‘life’ will take me after that? For now I plan to uphold my promise to you, dearest reader, and drag (really, it’s a tough gig) my butt along to some of the finest vegan-friendly food dispensaries this fair city (gosh she’s a beauty, ain’t she?) has to offer. A heads up on Sydney’s most lip-smacking cafes offering cruelty-free grub for Melbourne readers who are visiting or for those of you lovely followers who call this place home.

      It only takes a little Instagram thumb scrolling to realise that there’s a real hub of conscious eating happening in the Bondi area. A couple of weekends ago the folks and I headed for the beach for some brunch-hunting and Bondi Farmers Market shopping. We found a cozy little offering of divine smelling coffee and breakfasty delights hugging a North Bondi street corner across the road from the ocean. It’s certainly an intimate atmosphere at Porch and Parlour so you may need to wait for a seat but I promise you it’s worth it.

      This little beauty serves up locally sourced, seasonal produce accompanied by delicious cups of rich and smooth Will & Co. coffee. I practically excited-squealed my order at the friendly beard and man-pony adorned waiter. This was my first vegan brunch since coming back to Sydney and I had high expectations. They were met. I enthusiastically devoured my scrambled tofu with semi dried tomato, basil, spinach, red onion, kalamata olives, plump and juicy cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic cloves, hummus and lemon.

      t-scram bondi

      Yes, it was a big gorgeous mess. I loved that there was enough guts to this t-scram (yes, I coined this a few posts back and I’m sticking with it — don’t snort) that it didn’t need any bread. Perfect for those avoiding the dreaded gluten. This is made even more delicious with a generous glug of Handsome Devils Co. hot sauce (the De Arbol doesn’t have honey in it, the Chipotle does). With a ‘best of’ Creedance Clearwater Revival adding extra warmth to the atmosphere and a ripper cup of coffee on offer, the folks and I decided P&P’s the perfect spot to kickstart the weekend. We’ll be back.

      Vegan options: The t-scram and there were a couple of sweet options too.
      Coffee: Noice. Locally roasted Will & Co.
      Soy: Bonsoy
      Moola: $21.50 for breakfast and a coffee. Not bad.
      Ear candy: Creedance Clearwater Revival.

      Have you got a favourite vegan-friendly spot in Bondi?


      Posted May 16, 2014 04:21 PM

      May 07, 2014

      Tempeh Tantrum

      How to build a bad ass smoothie armoury

      Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ve taken some time off blogging due to a sudden and unexpected move to Sydney. But I’m back! I missed ya, I did. You look ravishing today. You do!

      As promised, here is your guide (finally) to building a bad ass smoothie armoury. Once you have gathered these ingredients you’ll be shooting from the hip come smoothie o’clock. You don’t need to go out and buy them all at once — take your time collecting them. As I said in the previous post, the superfood powders seem expensive at first but you only use a teaspoon or a tablespoon at a time so they will last you a long time.

      I cleared a shelf in my pantry for all of my smoothie bits and pieces. Once you get rolling, you’ll be knocking back at least one smoothie a day so it is worth making the space. Smoothies are perfect for breakfast, post-workout, lunch, dessert, and with a few magic ingredients — matcha, maca or cacao — they can even, GASP, replace your morning coffee. So make some space, start collecting your gear, and get slurping!

      Frozen bananas: I buy a bunch of bananas every week with my grocery shopping, it’s the easiest way to make sure you always have bananas ready to freeze. When they start to spot, peel them, pop them in sandwich bags and into the freezer. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins C and B-6, manganese and fibre AND they are my NUMBER ONE smoothie ingredient. They have the perfect sweetness and give your smoothies a lovely creamy consistency.

      Fresh, seasonal, organic or farmer’s market produce: I think it’s important to buy organic, for your health, the environment and for flavour. Make the effort to buy fresh, seasonal produce — look up where your closest farmer’s market is — and you will be rewarded with flavour and more nutrient-dense smoothies.

      Dates:  Medjool dates are absolutely delicious. They are the perfect caramel-like sweetener for your smoothies. And they happen to be packed with minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Sweet deal.

      Açaí puree pouches: You will need these powerful little purple pouches for  açaí bowl breakies. Heaven in a bowl. This Brazilian tropical fruit is not only delicious, it will also dose you with amino acids, antioxidants and omega fatty acids — a beautifying combination that slows the ageing process and boosts the immune system.

      Frozen berries: It’s always handy to keep some frozen berries in the house. They are a brilliant açaí bowl ingredient, are high in vitamin C and bursting with other antioxidants too!

      There are many new superfoods hitting the market every week, and many new brands. Not all of them are created equal so I have added my favourite brands below to help you suss out the good stuff.
      Cacao powder
      This Mayan superfood is one of my all-time favourite smoothie boosters. Not only does a spoonful of this stuff make your smoothie exquisitely chocolatey it will also ensure your liquid breakie gets a dose of antioxidants, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Cacao also boosts serotonin levels which is our natural anti-depressant — among other therapeutic  benefits.
      My favourite cacao powder is the Ecuadorian Gold by Power Superfoods.

      Maca Powder
      Maca is a Peruvian root and is jam-packed with nutrients. It is high in vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins. It also provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Maca is said to promote sexual function in men and women. PLUS it is said to relieve issues relating to women’s menopause and menstrual cycle. Not to mention it is known to increase energy levels and stamina! It really is top stuff.
      My favourite maca powder is by Power Superfoods.

      Mesquite powder
      This powder is ground from the pods of the mesquite plant and has a sweet, nutty and caramel-like flavour — especially delicious when paired with cacao. It is a high-protein wholefood that is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine (great for bone health, cholesterol management, pain relief, anxiety and stress reduction). It also helps to control blood sugar levels so it’s a great superfood for diabetics.
      My favourite mesquite powder is by Loving Earth.

      Lacuma powder
      Lacuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru, Chilli and Ecuador. It is gluten-free and a great source of antioxidants. It is a natural sweetener that won’t raise your blood-sugar levels. It adds a lovely almost maple-like flavour to your smoothies while delivering fibre, vitamins and minerals.
      My favourite lacuma powder is by Loving Earth.

      Psyllium husk powder
      This powder is derived from the gluten-free psyllium seed. It is a rich source of soluble dietary fibre. It helps to cleanse the bowel, lower cholesterol levels and has been used to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics. It will bulk out your smoothie without adding any flavour.
      My favourite psyllium husk powder is by Planet Organic.

      Plant-based protein powder
      There are many plant-based protein powders on the market. Some, especially the raw varieties, are more nutrient dense than others. The problem I have with many of them is their chalky consistency. If the powder is too chalky, it ruins the smoothie and they are less likely to become a daily habit. So I stick with the least chalky one I’ve found.
      My favourite is Vital Protein’s natural pea protein isolate. 

      Matcha powder
      Matcha is a Japanese green tea leaf powder. It is a nutrient-rich wholefood that gives you an extra zing in the mornings, increases metabolism, fortifies your immune system, improves cholesterol, enhances your mood and even boosts memory and concentration! Plus its high chlorophyll content (giving it that wickedly green hue) makes it a powerful detoxifier for the body.
      My favourite matcha powder is Absolute Green’s certified organic green tea powder.

      There are too many to list. This post would become a blogologue of epic proportions. Experiment. Have fun exploring. At the top of my list are: coconut oil (my fave is Nuigini Organics), chia seeds (my fave are Power Superfoods), activated buckwheat kernels (my fave are Loving Earth, especially their heavenly caramalised buckinis) and cinnamon. But I will try to talk a little more about ‘awesome extras’ in later posts.

      For now, start stocking your smoothie armoury with these wonderful ingredients and get blitzing! Here is another of my favourite smoothie recipes to get you started. Happy slurping.

      This smoothie is oh so pretty in pink. I call it…

      The Molly Ringwald
      Serves 1
      1 heaped cup frozen raspberries
      1/2 red dragon fruit
      1/2 medium beet
      1 cup coconut milk
      1 tbsp coconut oil
      1 tbsp chia seeds
      Blend it like Beckham. Top with coconut and dragon fruit. Slurp.



      Posted May 07, 2014 05:26 PM

      May 01, 2014

      Sour Cherry

      Vegan Baking Guide

      Noticed this vegan baking guide on One Green Planet. It will definitely come in handy for veganising some old favourite baked goods!

      On another note, I've sorely negelected this blog for some time now! I have a bit more time on my hands this year, so look forward to posting more recipes and photos soon.

      Posted May 01, 2014 01:13 PM by Scarlet

      April 28, 2014

      Around the World Vegan


      On the weekend I decided to treat my partner to a fancy, frenchy meal at home for being such a fabbo guy.

      I went to town on it, and made 5 courses of yum, including:

      1. Brioche and walnut pate
      2. Autumn harvest soup
      3. Jerusalem artichoke puree with sauteed mushrooms
      4. Nut loaf, Brussels sprouts and blueberry, pomegranate and ginger sauce
      5. Caramel apples and roast hazelnut and cocoa nib chocolate bark

      It was very tasty, and also too much food. We only got half way through, then saved the rest for lunch on Sunday.

      I didn’t get photos of everything, and not all the recipes will be posted here. You’ll need to head to my other blog, Not Your Nan’s Vegie Patch, for the recipes for the soup and the puree/mushroom thing which I’ll post soonish – they both included mostly ingredients I grew myself.

      I did make sure to get a shot of the brioche though, so I could illustrate the recipe to share with you.

      Golden vegan brioche!

      Golden vegan brioche!

      I have to confess I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten brioche before, but this isn’t an entirely faithful version anyway, given my impatience and the need to replace the eggs and the butter.

      I used these two recipes as a base, then veganised using xanthum gum, Vegg (the main ingredient is stinky black salt), Nuttelex and Melrose Omega Care spread.

      Against the odds, my vegan brioche turned out gorgeous and yellow and soft and melty. It didn’t have much in the way of it’s own flavour, as I was trying to keep it neutral to go with both the savoury walnut pate and the sweet blackberry jam. If I make it again I’ll add either salt or sugar to match it’s purpose.

      I have yet to manage the egg-wash effect of a shiny surface on any baked good – if you have a trick, let me know!

      Brioche, apricots, pate and jam

      Brioche, apricots, pate and jam


      Vegan Brioche

      Makes 12 little brioches in a muffin tray

      1/2 cup soy milk
      2 teaspoons active dry yeast
      3 1/2 cups plain flour
      1 tsp Vegg (or a mix of black salt, nutritional yeast and cornflour)
      2 tsp xanthan gum

      3/4 cup water

      8 tablespoons vegan margarine (I used half Nuttelex, and half Melrose Omega Blend)
      1/4 cup sugar
      1. Warm the milk to lukewarm in a pot or the microwave.
      2. Add the yeast and 1/2 a cup of flour and whisk together. Sit, covered, in a warm place until the mixture doubles (mine only took about 5 minutes).
      3. In a blender, pulse the Vegg, water and xanthum gum until smooth and thick.
      4. In a large bowl, mix the margarine, sugar, yeast mixture and egg replacement until smooth. 2 1/2 cupfs of plain flour and mix to form a sticky dough.
      5. Using the left over flour, knead with your hands, or if yours is too sticky (like mine was) with a bendy spatula until the dough starts to get a little more elastic (only about 5 minutes, don’t overdo it).
      6. Grease a 12-muffin pan.
      7. Divide the mixture into 12 parts and let rise in the muffin pan, covered with a tea towel. I put little balls of dough on top of each brioche, to simulate the properly french-ish look, but you don’t have to do this.
      8. After allowing to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place (my dough grew by about one third in this time), bake at 170 degrees celsius until golden brown on top. Mine took about 2 minutes, your oven will vary.
      9. Et voila! Enjoy warm, with delicious spreads of your choosing.


      NB: Please ignore my poor punctuation/grammar/layout/etc. I’m not really putting much effort into this blog at the moment, I just thought vegan brioche was a little too great not the share.

      Posted April 28, 2014 10:34 PM