November 28, 2014


What I Ate This Week: The Greedy Cat Attack Version

I’ve really been enjoying removing certain food items from my eating recently and I’m feeling and seeing benefits. So much so, that I had lunch out today, ordered a fried entree and promptly felt sick to the point of throwing up. That’ll teach me to go for deep fried after a fortnight of no oil! Breakfast...
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Posted November 28, 2014 05:11 PM

November 27, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Owl birthday cake

Everything seemed right with this owl cake when my niece Ella entered the kitchen, looked at the cake and smiled with pleasure.  After all she had chosen this cake for her birthday.  Seeing her reaction made light of my misgivings about the sunken cake, the colour of the beak being wrong and the not-quite-right shape.  After all, these cakes are about making kids happy!

I had looked through my novelty pinterest pins with Ella a week before and we decided on an owl cake.  I chose a favourite gluten free chocolate cake recipe.  After all it was her twin sister's birthday too and Grace is celiac.   The recipe has worked well before but on this occasion it came out of the oven all risen and beautiful.  (I even ate a little cupcake I made with some leftover batter and it was light and airy.)  The next morning the large cake looked flat.  It still tasted good.

The cake was also too square.  Well  it was square when it went in the oven.  When I came to cutting out an owl I wished I had used a lamington tin rather than a square one. It was cute enough but I would have liked a round face.

I was pleased Ella chose the owl cake.  It was easy enough to cut, frost and decorate with choc chips.  Easy enough that Sylvia was able to help.  The biggest challenge, other than cutting it from a square (which resulted in a concave rather than round head), was making the eyes and beak.  I decided to dye some white chocolate, smear it on baking paper and cut it out when just firming up.  The colours we made were quite muted but close enough for jazz.

We took the cake to my mum and dad's place in Geelong for the birthday lunch.  Sylvia decided she would join in on the owl theme and make some owl snacks that she had seen on Playschool.  She originally wanted to do it with sandwiches but we decided to use cheese slices so they would be gluten free for Grace.  Sylvia loved instructing her younger cousin Ashy on making the owls.  They looked great though everyone was too full from other food to eat them.

Here is my plate of food.  There was heaps.  I had a beetroot burger, roast potatoes and pumpkin, cauliflower cheese, coleslaw and heaps of salad.

And here is the little owl with candles.  It looks like owl acupuncture.  And what a stoic look this little bird has despite all the pins and flames.  Over and over.  We sung happy birthday to Ella and then to Grace and then all the kids had a go at blowing out the candles.

Finally here is a lone eye - like a halloween remnant - after many slices were passed around the table.  Everyone loved the cake.  I suspect the generous helping of choc chips on top were the secret of its success.  By the time we had all eaten sponge cake, grubs, hedgehog, and pav, everyone was as full as a state school.  Best of all, was having my nieces thanking me for the cake as they left.

I am sending this cake to
- Helen of Fuss Free Flavours for Bookmarked Recipes (coordinated by Jac of Tinned Tomatoes);
- Helen of Casa Costello for Bake of the Week; and
- Jane of the Hedgecombers for Tea Time Treats (co-hosted with Karen of Lavender and Lovage) for this month's Bonfire Night (because chocolate cake is warming and owls come out at night).

More animal shaped cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Butterfly cake
Club Penguin cake
Green giraffe cake
Monkey cake
Sparkles the rabbit cake
Viking cat cake

How to Make an Owl Cake
Adapted from Sew White and Laws of the Kitchen

You will need: 
Chocolate cake baked in a lamington tin (I used this cake)
Baking paper and pencil
*Chocolate frosting (I used this one)
White choc chips (I used melts)
Black choc chips
Blue and yellow food colouring
Dark brown round lollies (I used junior mints)

[*My frosting had to be made first and then left to cool and thicken.]

Make owl template:
Cut out piece of baking paper the size of the cake.  Fold in half and draw outline of half an owl (I would do the ear tufts on the side of the ears and then a smaller circle at the top for the head and a larger circle at the bottom for the body but the square didn't get much room for shaping - hence next time I would use a rectangle shape of the lamington tin).  Turn over and trace the half shape to create a whole owl shape.

Cut cake into owl shape:
Place paper over cake (on a chopping board) and use skewer or other sharp objects to make marks on cake of the shape of the owl.  Use a sharp knife to cut out the owl shape.  Use a pastry brush or silicone brush to remove any crumbs.  Transfer cake onto cake board or plate. 

Make white chocolate shapes for eyes and beak:
Melt about 1/4 tbsp white chocolate and smear half over baking paper.  Take a small spoonful out and mix with yellow food colouring.  Smear on baking paper.  Mix blue food dye into remaining white chocolate and smear onto baking paper.  Place piece of baking paper in the freezer.  Once chocolate is just setting, cut out two large circles of white for eyes, two slightly smaller circles of blue for inside eyes and a triangle for a beak out of yellow chocolate.  I used scone and biscuit cutters for circles.

Frost and decorate cake:
Spread chocolate frosting over the cake.  Clean any frosting from board or plate with a cloth.  Place white circle on frosting for eyes.  Use a small dab of frosting to attach the blue circles on the white circles.  Then use a small dab of frosting to place lollies in the middle of the blue circle.  Now place white choc chips overlapping so that they form a half circle breast of the bird that goes just a little below the eyes.  Place yellow triangle between eyes as beak.  Arrange dark choc chips overlapping around the rest of the body and head of the owl.

On the Stereo:
Costello Music: The Fratellis

Posted November 27, 2014 01:23 PM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

coconut sticky rice with mango

mango with sticky rice

Mangoes are so cheap at the moment.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with mangoes. I love them green in a salad, I like them when they are a bit softer, not too ripe, sweet but still with a tang. But when they get really ripe I loathe them, they have a volatile smell that just makes me feel ill.

But this week I bought six perfectly ripe ones to make some mango with coconut sticky rice for dessert at my Mum’s birthday. This dish has become a family favourite after my sister spent a couple of years in Thailand. We all ate it when visiting and have all fallen in love with it.

It is easy to make and is so delicious, a combination of soft, sticky, sweet, tart and salty.

Every time I eat it, I can imagine I am Thailand. Tonight is even humid and hot with a thunderstorm to add to the illusion…


coconut sticky rice with mango
prep time
15 mins
cook time
20 mins
total time
35 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: dessert
cuisine: vegan
serves: 4
  • 1 cup sticky rice (also called glutinous rice)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbs brown sugar or palm sugar
  • a big pinch of salt
  • 1 or 2 mangoes
Steaming Method
  1. Soak the rice in warm water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Line a steamer with a piece of baking paper that is cut to fit the steamer and punch a few holes in it.
  3. Steam the rice for 20 minutes or until done.
Microwave Method
  1. Soak the rice in warm water for at least 10 minutes with the water covering the rice by about ½ cm.
  2. Put a plate on top of the bowl to cover it and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir and microwave for another 3 minutes. If it needs any further cooking, do this in bursts of 1 minute. It is easy to overcook and you want the grains still identifiable, not a bowl of mush.
Putting it together
  1. Once the rice is done by whichever method you choose, put the cooked rice into a bowl.
  2. Mix the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour ⅔ of it over the rice and gently fold in. Don’t worry too much about mixing it, the warm rice will absorb the coconut milk.
  4. Place a portion of the rice into a serving bowl, top with sliced ripe mango and pour over some of the reserved coconut milk mix.


Posted November 27, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Banana butterscotch pudding

November 9, 2014

I've been accumulating bananas in the freezer and wondering what to bake them in. I wanted to make this sticky banana pudding while Michael was away travelling but I can't find the recipe online anymore - and boy howdy, have I looked. It was after my latest failed search that I let it go and started researching alternative versions. There are actually plenty of self-saucing banana puddings out there that my fond memories prevented me from noticing.

I went with a Bill Granger recipe posted on fuss free cooking. I knew it wasn't the same as my ol' fave - I remember there being butter and/or cream in the butterscotch sauce - but if anything that made it simpler to prepare. Given that mashed banana is a common egg replacer in vegan baking, I doubled on the fruit and cut down on ingredients in the process.

Pouring a watery syrup over the cake might look weird, yet I trusted it would work (I've done this once before). Granted, it's not as buttery as the original, but this butterscotch sauce thickens and pools in the bottom of the dish and leaves sticky caramel on the edges of the cake, just as it should. The pudding is very, very sweet and I'll try reducing the sugar in the cake down to 70g or so next time I bake it. Fresh from the oven the pudding is cakey and almost light; after a day in the fridge it tends toward dense and fudgy. It's a treat either way.

Banana butterscotch pudding
(slightly adapted from fuss free cooking,
where it's credited to Bill Granger)

85g butter or margarine
115g castor sugar
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup almond milk

butterscotch sauce
140g brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 cup water

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a baking dish

In a large bowl, beat together the butter/margarine and the castor sugar until fluffy. Beat in the mashed bananas and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Sift over the flour, baking powder and salt and gently beat it in, gradually adding the milk as you go. Pour the cake batter into the baking dish.

Place all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring them to the boil. Gently pour the sauce over the cake batter. Bake the pudding for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is cooked through.

Posted November 27, 2014 09:01 AM by Cindy

November 25, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Street Art in Melbourne #10 - Coburg Street Art and MoreArt 2014

A few years back a friend commented that there wasn't any street art in Coburg, in the inner north of Melbourne.  It all was happening in neighbouring Brunswick.  However Coburg is changing.  It is now a suburb boasting gentrified residents with money and time and a love of art.  And Moreland City Council also supports street art in Coburg as can be seen right now with MoreArt 2014.

Let's start with this colourfully painted house on the Upfield train line. 

I really love this Recognise mural that can be seen from the park on the wall of the Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood House.

These three cartoons are on the wall at Woollacott Street.

Here is the full wall on Woollacott Street.  (And yes that is me and my bike in the mirrored image!)

This shed is at Harmony Park on Gaffney Street.  (For the pedants, it is Coburg North.)

There is even stencil art in Coburg.  Not a lot.

This monkey mural is on a wall at Espresso Joe's drive through coffee shop on Sydney Rd south of Gaffney Street.

Coburg signal boxes are being painted as part of a VicRoads program.  I particularly love the giraffe in a car outside Coburg North Primary School.

This mesh lizard and a mate have been atop a house in Railway Place, again on the Upfield train line.

Victoria Street mall has some interesting pieces of street art.  These Pillars of the Community Celebration poles were created by Aaron James McGarry for the Coburg Carnivale this year.  He also made the koalas out of old shopping bags (see the koala in the forked tree in the photo).

I recently was riding through the streets and saw someone's bins on the road waiting to be emptied.  I really love the floral decoration on the bin and had to snap a photo.  It gives new meaning to trashy art!

More trashy art.  I really love these house photos that have been stuck on the sides of bins, public toilets and other public architecture.  Then I saw on Facebook that it is part of the MoreArt 2014, the Moreland City Council's public art show.

I thought that this Little Free Library that has recently appeared on the Upfield bike track south of Reynard Street might be part of MoreArt 2014 but I can't see it on the list of art works.  It would be a great place to read a book and watch some trains!

Finally I happened to see this peacock through some brush fence.  It is painted on someone's garage.  (It is signed by Jara Art.)

I hope you will agree with me that there is some really interesting street art around Coburg.  If you are in the area, I recommend you check out the MoreArt 2014 page which has a little map of where you can see participating art pieces until 19 December 2014.  Or just look out the window if you are on the Upfield train.

Posted November 25, 2014 11:30 AM by Johanna GGG

November 24, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Loving Hut II

November 8, 2014

Leigh Drew has been in Melbourne recently promoting her new cookbook Greenilicious. She found time between celebrity appearances and repeat visits to Yong Green Food to share a meal with some veg bloggers including Veganopoulous, Green Gourmet Giraffe, The Good Hearted, Veganise This! and Kittens Gone Lentil.

Veganopoulous kindly reserved us a table at Loving Hut Northcote, which we've been long overdue to revisit. The menu has expanded to almost fifty savoury dishes with a variety of mock meat and non-mock dishes, stir-fried, deep-fried and completely un-fried foods. Everything is vegan, and the menu is coded for gluten-free, raw, chilli-heavy and onion/garlic foods.

I've had an eye on other bloggers' meals at Loving Hut throughout the year, and it was darn difficult to settle on just one for dinner. Ultimately I went for the sizzling katsu duck ($14) doused in a sweet and sour plum sauce, topped with a few steamed vegetables. The mock meat was excellent with a tender, slightly fatty texture and crisp crumbing.

The fried chicken that so impressed me on our first visit now has a spicier sibling called the volcano ($17). It's an even heftier serve of mock meat doused in a three chilli-rated sauce that marks it as Michael's meal - I don't have the heat-tolerance to steal more than a bite!

The dessert cabinet's expanded with the menu, and we couldn't help but test it out too. Lower shelves hold homely goods like brownies and jam tarts, and the top shelf is reserved for some of the fancier cakes. (After we picked a couple of these, our waiter proudly mentioned that they're made by his partner.) This chocolate and hazelnut slice (~$6.50) was silky smooth and topped with a toffeed pecan and sherbetty powdered raspberry.

The Loving Hut staff were efficient and personable, even stopping by to check that our meals were OK - unheard of at a Supreme Master venue. On our chattering, seat-swapping table of eight I was oblivious to the half-empty food court atmosphere I've previously reported. The only shortcoming was ours and not the restaurant's: we were too enthusiastic about the deep-fried dishes and should have made more space for their fresher, vegetable-focused foods. Perhaps we can make amends next time.


This shared meal has been mentioned in passing on Green Gourmet Giraffe and Veganopoulous.

You can read about our first visit to Loving Hut Northcote here.


Loving Hut
377-379 High St, Northcote
9077 1335
menu: one, two 

Accessibility: Lookin' good! A very wide automatic door, flat floors and moderately spaced tables. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets, but I spotted a disability-labelled unisex toilet down a wide corridor at the back of the building.

Posted November 24, 2014 10:20 PM by Cindy


Cruelty Free West Expo 2014

This time of the year sees quite a few events for vegans, or friendly to vegans (and non-vegan of course!) around Melbourne! Yesterday we went down to Caroline Springs for the Cruelty Free West Expo, put on by the Caroline Springs Animal Welfare Network. CSAWN publish the most excellent Cruelty Free Guide To The West,...
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Posted November 24, 2014 05:14 PM

quinces and kale

enlightened cuisine

spicy pork and eggplant

Enlightened Cuisine is a great Chinese mock meat restaurant with a vast menu. I’ve been there twice and both times I’ve enjoyed it very much.

It is in an out of the way place, and sometimes I wonder how it survives in that windswept area between the casino and City Road, but it does.

Three of us went there for an early dinner recently before heading off to see the Stephen Sondheim opera/musical “Passion” at the Arts Centre.

We shared some Golden “Duck” Slices as an entree and followed that up with two main courses and rice. The “duck” slices were a convincing texture and flavour made from wheat or soy protein with a thin layer of batter and served with a sweet dipping sauce.

My favourite main was the spicy eggplant with ‘pork’, but the sizzling ‘beef’ was pretty tasty too.  The mock pork was particularly good though, with a firm texture. The spicy sauce packed a punch but wasn’t so hot that it gave me hiccups,  which is what happens when I get too much chilli. The sizzling beef and the sauce were poured onto the platter at the table, adding a bit of theatre. It also came with plenty of veggies.

Really good if you are craving a mock meat fix.

sizzling beef


Enlightened Cuisine
113 Queensbridge Street,
Southbank VIC 3006
(03) 9686 9188

Posted November 24, 2014 10:00 AM

November 23, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Cheesey Kale Quesadillas with Mole Sauce and home made Tortillas

It was a home made day.  I made (roasted) cashew butter to go in home-made mole sauce to go in quesadillas made with home-made tortillas.  I was rewarded with possibly the best quesadillas I have ever made.  They didn't spill or curl or flop the wrong way.  They were creamy and spicy and filled with lots of healthy kale.

I have made a few mole-related recipes but never a mole sauce.  This year I bought my first jar of mole sauce and loved it.  However I was a little uncomfortable that it had peanut butter in it (because my 5 year old has a peanut allergy).  I really needed to make my own.  The one I made was as easy as the recipe suggested.  It was very spicy but with great depth of flavour.  The cocoa added to the richness but did not taste like chocolate.

The sauce took about an hour to cook but it was not onerous.  The last 15 minutes just required occasional stirring.  It was a balmy spring evening.  Sylvia was outside jumping off the letterboxes at the end of the driveway and drawing chalk circles on the footpath.  The neighbours were out too.  I just needed to run in and stir for a few seconds every now and again.  The mole made the house smell wonderful and spicy.

I've always thought I would make my own wheat flour tortillas some day.  Even so, I am not sure what fit of whimsy led me to decide to make some.  I guess I have made enough similar fried flatbreads to know it was be fairly easy.  They were rather quickly and were lovely and soft.  (Sylvia even had one in her lunchbox the next day.)  Perhaps their freshness made it easy to fry them up into quesadillas.  I still have to find out more about making tortillas such as what is the best way to store them and is it better to knead a little or a lot.

The mole recipe suggested enchiladas.  This sounded good but I don't always have the energy to put together an oven bake and wait for it.  I wanted something quick.  So I made quesadillas with kale and cheese.  Once the tortillas were made it took no time at all to put together dinner. I fried up some kale, slapped together the quesadillas and fried them.

These quesadillas were excellent.  The tortillas were superior to store-bought.  So fresh and floppy.  The sauce kept it all together but I love cheese and thought this was a good opportunity to use the vegan biocheese.  E had regular cheddar cheese.  But it would work without any cheese too because the mole sauce has lots of flavour.  And of course stuffing it with kale made it feel healthy.

I had heaps of mole sauce leftover.  I still have some in the fridge a week later.  Below you can see some of the dishes I have served with the sauce.

As well as the quesadillas, I have made plain old cheese and mole quesadillas with lettuce and tomatoes on the side (bottom left), wrap your own tortillas with mole, spicy kale and avocado dip, lettuce, tomato, kale and cheese (top left) and mole burgers with spicy kale and avocado dip, plus a side serve of rice fried with leftover salad, hot sauce, salt and lime (top right).  When I did the wrap your own tortillas, I was in a rush and didn't warm the sauce properly.  It really needed to be warm.  I must remember that next time.

I am sending these quesadillas to Shaheen at Allotment to Kitchen with thanks.  She is hosting this month's We Should Cocoa and has chosen to pair chilli with chocolate.  I am not keen on chilli in sweet food but I do love a savoury chocolate dish.  I have had mole on my to do list for some time so this event was a great inspiration.  I am also sending these quesadillas to Shaheen for her Eat Your Greens event.

More savoury chocolate and chilli recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Cheesey Kale Quesadillas with Mole Sauce 

Kale, chopped
Tortillas (recipe below)
Mole sauce
Cheese (cheddar or biocheese)

Fry up kale in oil for a few minutes until bright green in colour.  Spread a tortilla with about 3-4 tbsp of mole sauce leaving about an inch around the edge of the tortilla.  Thinly slice some cheese and soread over half the mole sauce.  Scatter with kale.  Fold over and fry on medium high heat until golden brown on each side.  (It takes a bit of time - enough to be running in and out of sleepless child's room)

Easy Mole Sauce
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Makes about 2 1/2 to 3 cups

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2 tsp)
2 tbsp old bay seasoning*
1 tbsp chilli salt seasoning*
1/2 tbsp cumin powder*
2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cloves, ground
400g tin of diced tomatoes
2 cups water
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp cashew butter*

Fry onions in oil over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Add garlic, spices and sugar. Stir for 1 minute.  Mix in the tomatoes, water, cocoa powder and cashew butter.  Check seasoning.  Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 15 minutes (covered), stirring frequently.  Store in the fridge.

*NOTE I used old bay seasoning, chilli salt and cumin instead of 1/4 cup chile powder.  If you don't have these or American style chile powder (not the same as what is referred to as chilli powder in Australia) you could use 2 tbsp mild paprika, 2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cayenne powder (based on this recipe.)  Many moles tend to use peanut butter but I avoid it due to family allergies.  However you could substitute peanut butter or other nut butters for the cashew butter.

Wheat flour tortillas
From Taste of Home
Makes 8

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil

Mix flour and salt.  Add water and olive oil.  Mix until it comes together in a dough.  Lightly knead on a floured surface until you have a smooth dough.  Rest for at least 10 minutes, covered with a tea towel.  Cut into 8 pieces.  Roll out each piece into a 7 inch circle on a floured surface.  Heat heavy based non stick frypan over medium high heat and fry each tortilla about 1 minute each side or until just a few brown spots.  Use tongs to poke at any air bubbles and to flip the tortilla.  Stack cooked tortillas on a plate with a tea towel over them to keep them soft and warm.

On the Stereo:
Brood: My Friend the Chocolate Cake

Posted November 23, 2014 09:10 AM by Johanna GGG

November 22, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Lucy Lockett

November 4, 2014

This is a story of major oversight on our part - it appears that cafe Lucy Lockett has been serving up original and abundantly veg-friendly breakfasts and lunches just a couple blocks from our home since February. And we had no idea. 

We blame the awnings that obscure their signage. When a cafe opened in this spot almost two years ago, we looked over the menu and didn't see anything we wanted to order. Since then it's evolved from Red Scooter to Red Vespa to the current Lucy Lockett without making any further impression on us at all. Thankfully our friend Troy is a little more observant recommended their menu to us.

As I hinted above, there's a lot to recommend - smashed avocado comes with spring onions and coriander (and Vegemite if you like!), mushrooms are braised with spinach, there's a breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled egg and beans. The sweet side is as extensive and thoughtfully composed - the bircher muesli is vegan with a pina colada theme, house roasted granola comes with popcorn, and the French toast is crumbed with banana chips and oats. I can almost forgive them for adding bacon to their sticky date and almond pancakes. And that's not even delving into the toasties and lunch options! With crystal clear dietary markings throughout, these guys are true friends of vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs.

Michael relished a sunny plate of vegan, gluten-free corn and zucchini fritters interspersed with quinelles of avocado, sour coconut cream and sweet chilli jam ($18). My serve of Dr Marty's crumpets ($8.50, pictured top) came in a fancy stack, dripping with rich house made peanut butter, mixed berry jam and fresh strawberries. I also sampled my second iced chai of the weekend ($6.50, also pictured top), though based on the confused murmurs behind the counter it's rarely ordered. It was a mild milk tea chilled with both ice cubes and ice cream.

Staff were friendly and relaxed on a quiet Melbourne Cup morning. Prices hover around $15 for breakfast, rise towards $20 for lunch plates and soar beyond for folks ordering the biggest meat-based meals. Those price points are becoming more common in Melbourne's cafes, and I don't mind paying them here, where the veg options are so numerous and varied.


Lucy Lockett
140 Barkly St, Brunswick
8388 7138

Accessibility: The entry is flat and the interior is spacious. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted November 22, 2014 11:18 AM by Cindy

November 20, 2014


What I Ate This Week

A little public service announcement: since redirecting my old blog over to this one, I can’t comment on blogspot blogs (I’m working on fixing this).  Waaah! So many comments I want to leave but can’t for now. My apologies! Okay, so I’m getting back in to training and stepping up my efforts where nutrition is...
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Posted November 20, 2014 10:01 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Vegan eating out in Melbourne

The growth of vegan food available in Melbourne over the past decade or so has been huge.  Lots of places are now providing vegan options that are exciting, creative and innovative.  As a vegetarian who does not like eggs or a lot of dairy, I enjoy lots finding cafes with plant based offerings.

This year I planned to write about vegan eating out in Melbourne during Vegan MoFo but ran out of time.  The draft has sat there ever since begging to see the light of day.  I also developed the post because I never have time to blog about all the meals I photograph.

So here is my tour of some of Melbourne's vegan-friendly cafes.  It is not a comprehensive list because it reflects how I eat out - I don't like mock meat, I live in the inner North and I mostly eat out at brunch or lunch rather than dinner!  I hope it will make us all feel good about all the wonderful vegan food available.  I'd love to hear of your favourite place to eat vegan food.

My top 5 vegan meals in Melbourne

Sourdough toast with smashed peas, wild rice and candied walnuts
@ Wide Open Road, Brunswick
Sadly this dish is no longer available.  It was so amazing that couple of years later it still stands out as one of my favourite meals I have had in a cafe.  I have also had an excellent tofu scramble there.  It is worth checking their current menu for vegan options.

Vegan nachos 
@ the Vegie Bar, Fitzroy
I was at the Vegie Bar for lunch a while back and really enjoyed the generosity of these nachos.  Heaps of corn chips, salsa, black beans, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream and jalapenos.  It could easily serve 2 (ie I could not finish it).  Nachos can be a bit dry but these were full of vegies and sauce and were really satisfying.  I also loved the green kale smoothie I had with it. 

Brunswick ploughman’s lunch 
@ Code Black, Brunswick
A Middle Eastern twist on the traditional ploughman's lunch.  I was very impressed that when I asked for a vegan version, eggs and meat weren't just subtracted but I was given substitutions.  My platter consisted of chickpea fritters, pickled cabbage, roasted mushrooms, olives, beetroot dip, grated carrot with cumin, fresh radish, avocado with dukkah, gherkins and home made flatbreads with dukkah.  It was so so good.

Raw Hawaiian Live Pizza 
@ Yong Green Food, Fitzroy
I haven't had much raw food in cafes but there is more of this around Melbourne.  One place that I have visited was Yong Green Food which has a lot of raw food including pizza.  This raw pizza had a macadamia-nut bread base, topped with tomato sauce, avocado, pineapple, olives, sprouts, cherry tomatoes and cashew cheese sauce.  Not comparable to regular pizza but wonderful and light.

CLT bagel 
@ New Day Rising, East Brunswick
There is a good reason this CLT has been raved about by many.  The generous serve of coconut bacon (with rocket, tomato and avocado) makes this bagel chockablock with flavour and goodness.

5 recent dishes at omnivore cafes
  1. Natural Tucker Bakery (North Carlton) - tofu and pesto tart with pumpkin, and wholemeal apricot and coconut cake.  Healthy and delicious.
  2. San Churro (CBD and various) - churros with dark chocolate sauce (thanks to Linda for pointing out these are accidentally vegan.).  Absolutely decadent.
  3. Minang Nasi Padang (Carlton) - Eggplant curry, tofu coconut curry and spicy peanuts.  Cheap and cheerful Indonesian street food.
  4. Dos Diablos taco truck - (on the move) black bean tacos with corn salsa (enjoyed in Yarraville Gardens!).  Nice but I should have availed myself of the sauces.
  5. A Minor Place (East Brunswick) - almond crusted chickpea burger, vegan mayo, caramelised onions, tomatoes, spinach and sourdough toast.  Fantastic and quite spicy!

5 recent dishes at vegetarian or vegan cafes
  1. Supercharger (CBD) - smashed green peas and avocado, eggplant curry, carrot salad, braised tempeh and brown rice.  Healthy but my options didn't quite work together and just felt virtuous.
  2. Loving Hut (Northcote and other locations) - wanton noodle soup.  Delicious and satisfying.  I want to try more.
  3. Melbourne University Food Cooperative (Parkville) - pumpkin and tofu pie.  Great healthy cheap student food.  (Sadly it is closed until Semester 1 starts next year in March.)
  4. Sister of Soul (St Kilda) - black sticky rice with caramelised coconut and blood orange sorbet.  An amazing dessert.  (I wish the photo did it more justice.)
  5. Lord of the Fries (CBD and other locations) - original burger with chips.  A mock meat burger I enjoy.  Yummy burger (that I was reluctant to try because it is quite 'meaty') with lots of sauce.  (Ask for vegan cheese and mayo.)
5 Vegan and vegetarian cafes I have reviewed
  1. Smith and Daughters (Fitzroy) - Stylish vegan restaurant with a Mexican influence.  Enjoyed brunch and would love to try the dinner menu.  
  2. Lord of the Fries (CBD and other locations) - Great chips but also burgers and hot dogs.
  3. Vegie Bar (Fitzroy) - A busy and lively vegetarian restaurant with an extensive menu, lots of raw food and heaps of vegan options.
  4. Trippy Taco (Fitzroy) - Cheap and cheerful vegetarian Mexican-style street food with lots of vegan options.  Great tamales. 
  5. Mr Nice Guy Cupcakes (Ascot Vale) - All vegan.  He makes lovely filled bagels but it is the fancy cupcakes that really make me ooh and aah!

5 Vegan-friendly cafes I have reviewed
  1. True North (Coburg) - Offers vegan meat and cheese substitutes in their impressive rolls and sandwiches, such as BLT, Breakfast Roll and Reuben Sandwich.  Plus lots of hot sauces.
  2. Wide Open Road (Brunswick) - Innovative modern menu that changes seasonally. 
  3. Code Black (Brunswick) - Modern cafe with interesting dishes that is prepared to actually substitute for meat and cheese rather than just remove it from your dish!
  4. ShanDong Mama (CBD) - Flourescent lit Asian cafe with amazing dumplings and scallion pancakes.
  5. East Elevation (East Brunswick) - Light-filled warehouse cafe and chocolatier that offers fried tempeh instead of eggs in their veggie breakfast.

5 cafes I want to try vegan food

5 shops to buy vegan products

5 vegan friendly places that are gone but not forgotten
  • Cafe Sarabella (Coburg) - A little Indian cafe in Victoria St mall that is much missed.
  • The Gasometer Hotel (Collingwood) - This pub had a great innovative vegan section on the menu.  It closed and has since reopened with a more traditional pub menu.
  • Lentil as Anything (Brunswick) - I enjoyed this vegetarian community-oriented cafe on the corner of Union St and Sydney Rd.  At least there are other branches of Lentil as Anything that are still open. 
  • Radical Grocery (Brunswick) - a fantastic vegan grocery store that I loved visiting.
  • Tart ‘n’ Round Café (Thornbury) - This was a great vegan and gluten free cafe.

5 Melbourne bloggers who write about vegan cafes

I am sending this post to Rika of Vegan Miam who is heading to Melbourne next month and is very interested in where to find vegan food!  I look forward to reading about her experiences!

Now it your turn.  What is your favourite vegan-friendly cafes, vegan meal and/or recommendations for vegan eating in Melbourne?  If you don't live in Melbourne, tell me what cafe/dish you would like to try.

Posted November 20, 2014 11:18 AM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

roasted vegetable frittata

roasted veg frittata

Another week and another triumph for the ever wonderful chick pea flour.

This time I’ve made a chickpea flour and roasted vegetable frittata. It is wonderful. Sometimes vegan replacement foods can be a disappointment. But this is not. Chickpea flour batter is so fabulous as an egg replacement that I think many people, vegans and non vegans alike, could not tell the difference. The idea comes from the chickpea batter in a quiche recipe at The Gourmet Vegan.

It is a little bit more work than just mixing everything up and throwing it all into the oven, as the chick pea flour needs cooking first, and the veggies need to be roasted before mixing it all together.  But, if you have roasted veggies already in the fridge, you can have this ready in less than 40 minutes. I used a combination of roasted cauliflower, pumpkin, red capsicum, and halved cherry tomatoes that I already had in the fridge. Apart from its delicious flavour, I think the cauliflower really helps with the texture and I would always include it. But any roasted vegetables would be good. I have some leeks in the garden that are just calling to be used. :)

I ate mine with a salad made with some lettuce from my garden with avocado, and a dill flavoured, mustardy vinaigrette.  Warning it is delicious, I’ve eaten a third of it already!

roasted veg frittata


roasted vegetable frittata
prep time
10 mins
cook time
30 mins
total time
40 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: vegan
serves: 8
  • 2-3 cups of roasted vegetables – I used a combination of cauliflower, pumpkin, red capsicum, and halved cherry tomatoes.
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Massel liquid stock concentrate or a stock cube
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon black salt ( this gives an eggy flavour)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.
  2. Mix the chick pea flour with 1 cup of the water into a smooth paste.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  4. Pour the chick pea flour mix into the saucepan and mix thoroughly.
  5. Lower the heat and stir continuously until the batter thickens.
  6. Continue to cook, stirring for another 3 minutes.
  7. Gently fold in the roasted vegetables. It will be quite thick.
  8. Scoop the mix into a oiled cake tin or flan dish.
  9. Smooth the top with a wet spatula.
  10. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the tin.
  12. Serve cold or warm.


Posted November 20, 2014 10:00 AM

November 19, 2014

Thoughts Of A Moni

30 Mill Espresso

The address says Malvern, but I’d be more inclined to say it’s in Tooronga, given that it is directly opposite Tooronga Station. But technicalities aside, let’s focus on what 30 Mill Espresso is there for, and that’s good breakfast and great coffee.

30 Mill Espresso serve Five Senses coffee which is full bodied with a rich aroma. I never used to be a coffee snob, but these days, I can definitely tell a good coffee from an average one. This coffee was on the high side of good. I was already winning, which is unusual for early on a Saturday morning.

The menu had a mixture of sweet and savoury options but as expected my eyes gravitated towards the corn fritters. The corn fritters were served with dollops of creamy labneh, confit cherry tomatoes, a delicious red onion jam, and dusted with dukkah. Unfortunately the fritters were less like the crunchy fritters that I expected and more like corn cakes. The flavour was great, and I could taste hints of coriander and cumin, but the texture was not there. The onion jam was the highlight though, and I was almost tempted to ask if it was house made, or whether I could purchase it.

The other half went for the blackboard special which was sliced chorizo on sourdough, served with avocado and feta mash, rocket salad, corn relish and a poached egg. He declared this a winner, mainly due to the avocado and feta mash which he said tasted pretty amazing.

There was also a delicious selection of fresh croissants and pastries on the counter, but unfortunately we were too full to try these. Perhaps next time...

Overall 30 Mill Espresso was a pretty good option for breakfast. Whilst I probably wouldn’t have the fritters again, I would go back and try something else. After all, they do serve some awesome coffee that’s worth making a second visit for.

30 Mill Espresso on Urbanspoon

Posted November 19, 2014 03:03 PM by Moni

November 18, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

East Brunswick cafe: Pope Joan

I heard about Pope Joan long before I managed to go there for a meal.  The hype was right!  I loved it. The cafe is light-filled and stylish.  The meals are unusual and delicious.  The food is prettily arranged, often served on vintage plates.  It is satisfying without being heavy.  The staff waft by with floral jugs for topping up water glasses.  It has been easy to return a few times.

Upon entering the cafe, it seems quite small.  However there are lots of tables down the side.  We had to wait for a seat on a Saturday morning but not for too long.  During the week, it has been easy to find a seat.  On our first visit late last year, Sylvia had a little play in the garden down the back.

It was at that visit that I was first wowed by their fancy tarts.  It was a zucchini tart with basil and grains (pictured at the top).  The pastry shell was filled with a light zucchini mousse that contrasted nicely with the raw zucchini ribbons and creamy soft cheese..  It rested on a salad of quinoa, cranberry and herbs, which lay on a slick of capsicum puree.  All very very good.

My mum had crumbed sardines on a mash of butter beans, feta, capers and currants that she spoke highly of.  Sylvia had the chips. They were sprinkled with a herb salt and came with a cute little jar of tomato relish.  The chips were crinkly and crunchy and most excellent.

I loved the presentation of our food so much that I hoped the people next to us would order something else so I could ogle it.  Disappointingly they chose the same tart as me.

It was so good I wanted to try another dish.  Yet when I returned with E and Sylvia, the option I fancied the most was another tart.  This time it was a spinach and haloumi tart.  It was amazing without quite reaching the dizzy heights of the zucchini pie.  Perhaps the spinach mousse was a little heavier than the light zucchini mousse and it didn't have quite the textural interest.

We were there early enough that E decided to try the rice pudding with blueberries.  He was a little perplexed to find it was served cold in a jar.  Yet once he started eating it, he was most pleased with the creamy fruity concoction.

Sylvia had the fruit toast with butter and jam.  She enjoyed but didn't finish it.  E and I had to help out so I can tell you it was lovely bread and good quality jam.  It is many months now since I was there and I wish my notes were a little more detailed.

My most recent visit, but hopefully not my last, was a few weeks back.  This time I tried one of the sandwiches.  They seem to change regularly but to be quite different to any I have had before.  This sandwich was cauliflower and celeriac slaw, aged cheddar and Branston pickle in a soft wholegrain bread.  A nice twist on a traditional British style of sandwich.  It was very satisfying.  My mum also had a sandwich and Sylvia had chips.

It was a warm day so I also had the lemon and toasted barley spritzer (without the optional gin).  I was attracted by the description of it served with slices of orange and mint.  We all enjoyed the refreshing drink.  Pope Joan also does a lovely apple and pear juice that is far more fruity than sweet.

I had been tempted by the desserts on previous visits but this time I yielded.  The three of us shared a chocolate salted caramel hazelnut tart.  It was heavenly.  The chocolate was gooey (not chilled) with a generous layer of caramel underneath and just enough nuts. It was exactly the sort of decadence I love to finish off a meal.  It is not the cheapest meal in town but I enjoy the interesting food and the stylish crockery.  We will be back.

Pope Joan
75-79 Nicholson Street,
Brunswick East
Tel: (03) 9388 8858
Mon - Fri: 7.30am - 11.30pm
Sat - Sun: 7.30am - 5pm

Pope Joan on Urbanspoon

Posted November 18, 2014 09:17 PM by Johanna GGG

Vegan Bullsh*t

Shandong MaMa 2

I've been back to Shandong Mama many times over the past year since I blogged it, but I finally remembered to document a visit! They've expanded the menu and now opened up a second location (with booze!), Shandong Mama Mini, and it's great to see they're having so much success. Still only the one vegan dumpling option but now you have the option of having them fried too - and the scallion pancakes are now marked with a V! We always order the same, one order of boiled zucchini dumplings, one fried, and some scallion pancakes:
The dumplings are still the best ones I've had. They're lovely and fresh with amazingly thin tender skins, bursting with zucchini, tofu and coriander. These dumplings are fat - popping one into your mouth whole would be a challenge. But they're perfectly proportioned, and with vinegar, chili and soy sauce on every table, you can mix up your perfect dipping sauce and hoe in. The scallion pancakes, though, are an awesome side - crunchy outsides and doughy insides, although with very little scallion flavour (and almost no visible green). I was curious about how they make these until I glanced at the receipt - they're baked, which explains the thick crunch and the non-greasy outsides. For a quick, easy and delicious CBD lunch, you really can't beat Shandong Mama. The service is fast and friendly, the food is incredible and more innovative than the other dumpling places around Bourke St. I can't wait for my next excuse to go there!
Shandong MaMa
Shop 7, 200 Bourke St, Melbourne
open 11:00-9:00 Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays
Shandong Mama on Urbanspoon

Posted November 18, 2014 04:47 PM by L

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Heartattack and Vine

November 3, 2014

We took advantage of cheap Monday nights at Nova to catch up with Cindy's aunt for a movie and a meal. I'd been itching to try Heartattack and Vine, the newest kid on the Carlton block, with an impressive pedigree (it's been opened by Wide Open Road and A Minor Place alumni and follows their tradition of a musical reference moniker).

They've transformed the old Brown's Bakery space into a tremendously stylish bar - beautiful wooden tables, exposed bricks and gorgeous light fittings create a lovely atmosphere. It's cosy inside - maybe 30 seats - and there are a couple of big outdoor tables on Lygon if you want to sit outside.

We had no idea what to expect food-wise, but we had high hopes. It turns out though that H & V is more bar than restaurant, modelled on the bars of Italy, where food is all about shared plates of small bites. They've got the drinks nailed down - a great range of bottled beer plus Coburg Lager on tap, cocktails, an impressive wine list and an array of Six Barrel Soda Co soft drinks. Cindy and Carol split the raspberry/lemon and the cola and were impressed by both.

There's no menu to speak of - the kitchen puts together an array of dishes each day and you talk them through with the staff and make your choices - $3.50 a dish or 3 for $10. We wound up with 9 dishes ($30) - this included all the vego options (they'd just run out of a salad) plus some anchovy-stuffed olives for Carol. The day we visited vegans would have been limited to the crisps, the spiced nuts and the green olives (all of which were good). We added some cheese and pickles on delicious bread and some gooey, cheesy arancini, plus they threw in some crisps as a bonus. The dishes were all excellent, although teetering on the brink of decent value - $30 got the three of us enough food to get through the movie, but really not much more than that.  

We had a good time at Heartattack and Vine - the staff are super friendly and the vibe was busy without being overly crowded, but I struggled to scale back my expectations to bar food from the full meals I'd been imagining. This isn't really H & V's fault - they do what they do very well - I'm sure we'll be having drinks there again before too long, but it's probably not a dinner destination if you're feeling hungry. They're open all day - coffee and pastry at breakfast, a few different sandwiches and rolls at lunchtime and booze all day. It's a welcome addition to the neighbourhood and will provide fierce competition to the bar upstairs at Nova


The lunch options at Heartattack & Vine have been reviewed at de-brief me already.


Heartattack and Vine
329 Lygon St, Carlton
9005 8624
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a small lip on the door as you come in off the street. The interior is pretty crowded and the seating mostly low stools. You order and pay at a high bar. The toilets are unisex, but not particularly accessibility-focused otherwise.

Posted November 18, 2014 07:19 AM by Michael

November 17, 2014

quinces and kale

blondie bar

grilled zucchini salad

Blondie Bar is a lovely small bar and restaurant, nestled into the Melbourne Recital Centre, serving Asian inspired food.

I found myself there at 5pm recently after a chamber music concert. Not quite dinner time, but I was ready for a drink and a small snack. Fortunately, in addition to serving lunch and dinner, they also have a decent bar snacks menu. What was an unexpected surprise and pleasure is that the menu contains three marked vegan options and a couple of more easily veganizable vegetarian ones.

We chose a grilled zucchini salad and some edamame.

The salad was a delicious combination of grilled zucchini, white and black shelled beans and grilled mushrooms in a soy dressing. The edamame don’t need any elaboration, just the usual soybeans steamed with salt.

It is always nice to know that there is another good place for a post concert snack and drink in the arts precinct.

Blondie Bar
Corner Sturt Street & Southbank Boulevard
Southbank, 3006 

Posted November 17, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Blue Buddha Cafe

November 3, 2014

Following our lunch at Tadka Boom!, Michael and I ran a few errands in the city and then walked north to Raw Trader with dessert on our minds. It was closed for the Melbourne Cup long weekend and Short Stop next door had only just that minute sold out of donuts. Dang. We whipped out our smart phones, confirmed that Blue Buddha Cafe was open and continued walking north.

Tucked just beyond the Queen Victoria Markets, this cafe has transformed a flat corporate building with a benevolent blue Buddha mural. Inside there's second hand furniture, cotton cushions, board games and a small lending library. Michael picked a pew and I wandered over to the counter to survey our options. The brunch foods that others have posted about weren't really apparent, but it was easy to discern our cake-and-drink options.

I picked out two non-bananified raw cakes from the display case ($6 each) - a wedge of lemon and avocado cheesecake, and a cupcake-sized chocolate and avocado cheesecake. They were homely and well-balanced: not overladen with sweetener or coconut oil, and perfectly portioned.

Drinks are fair trade and soycharge free - Michael went for his usual flat white ($4), while I took on their soy iced chai ($5). The latter was remarkable! Made with real tea and real spice with only a subtle hint of sweetness, this could be my perfect iced chai. I'll guess I'll have to go back soon just to be sure. Next time I'll turn up in time to try their mushroom bacon too.


Blue Buddha Cafe has already received positive reviews on Veganopoulous, The Good Hearted and A Melbournite.

Blue Buddha Cafe
30/1 O'Connell St, North Melbourne
8395 0699
facebook page

Accessibility: There's one small step on entry and a moderately spacious interior. I ordered and paid at a low counter. The furniture is a mix of cushioned wooden pews, milk crates, and more standard table and chairs. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted November 17, 2014 08:16 AM by Cindy

November 16, 2014

Little Vegan Bear

Soul Foods, Newcastle NSW

A couple of weekends back, we took a quick weekend trip up to Newcastle to visit the Bear’s new baby nephew. Our efforts to arrive super early were apparently in vain – when we got to the airport, there were no shuttle buses for over an hour. We sat at the airport drinking big old mugs of coffee wondering why exactly we had taken the 6am flight.

The shuttle bus took us into Newcastle, where we desperately needed some breakfast after already being up without food for over five hours. Harnessing the power of the internet, we found our target – Natural Tucker Health Food and Cafe on Darby St. We started making our way there, when we stumbled upon this sign:


Vegan options? Count us in!

newie2Soul Foods was closer than our destination, and conveniently right across from the train station we needed to get to to scoot out to Cardiff afterwards.

The cafe had high ceilings and a quirky interior – lots of mismatched coloured chairs and pretty teacups. I liked it. I was a bit jealous of two ladies to my left who had what looked like the most royal thrones of the room, but I stopped giving them greasies to look at the menu.

The bubbly lady explained the vegan options – I went with the zucchini fritters/pancakes? Usually served with haloumi, but could be replaced with tofu to be made vegan. Sounded great.

newie1 When my meal came out, I was impressed by the vibrant colours – I like to eat with my eyes and I like rainbow plates. However unfortunately this dish just didn’t quite come together. The zucchini fritters were semi-sweet pancakes with blueberries in them, but then topped with savouries. It was great that they could substitute the haloumi instead of just take it away, however the tofu was raw and I could not taste any marinade. Tomato and avo are always good brekkie additions, and everybody knows I am a dip fanatic, however the hommus tasted distinctly of one I have bought at the supermarket, as did the pesto – which tasted very cheesy (like those little oily cashew ‘chunky’ dips you can buy). When I asked afterwards, the lady assured me that it was vegan and house-made, but I was still a little skeptical. It tasted EXACTLY how I remember that non-vegan store bought dip to taste. But hey, if they tell me so I gotta believe it.

The bear went with a bean dish, though he had it with feta so I didn’t snap it. He really enjoyed it and I tried some of the beans which were tasty. I think they came with some pumpkin toast.

Soul Foods had a bunch of tasty looking vegan sweets, but I wasn’t really feeling it on the day. I was a little disappointed with the breakfast, but wouldn’t discount them entirely without having another go. Maybe next time!

Afterwards, we bumbled with buying train tickets (confusing machines), missed our train (and also forced an innocent man to miss the train too with our inability to navigate the ticket machine) and ultimately had to wait another hour and a half for the next one. When we complained of our plight, we were told “but it’s Saturday” as if that explained the lack of transport options. Oh us Melbourners with our frequent departing Saturday trains, what were we thinking? We arrived at Billy’s sister’s place at about 2pm. Good thing we got that 6am flight! Ha!

Soul Foods
227 Hunter st, Newcastle NSW
Tues – Fri – 7.30am – 5pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 3.30pm

Posted November 16, 2014 10:18 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Smoky cheesy peas pasta and recent days out

It is true that sometimes life seems too busy for blogging.  Too busy for fancy meals.  Too busy for lots of posts.  To busy to put down on screen all the things I would like to share and mull over.  Hence today's post is a little eclectic.  It is a catch up on weekend activities and I have a recipe for a successful but simple cheesey pasta dish.

So last weekend started with the Pepper Tree Place Fiesta.  Pepper Tree Place is one of those local hubs that make me glad to feel I am starting to connect with my community.  It is a vibrant, colourful, interesting place to spend time, shady enough to cope on a hot day and full of friendly faces, including a few familiar ones.  We enjoyed the music.  I bought a crocheted poppy for Remembrance Day.  Sylvia did some craft.  I had some very yummy okonomiyaki and sample some pakora-style patties made by a Bangladeshi woman.

Continuing with the theme of feeling connected, on Monday I heard Susan Greenfield on Q and A discussing issues of social media and how connected it really makes us.  I understand her point but I was able to feel quite smug as I had just had three days in a row of real world interactions with people through blog connections.  (A dinner with bloggers, a meet up with a blog friend and a book launch that I was invited to by Dina who reads my blog!)

Firstly the dinner was at Loving Hut.  I was really pleased to finally get there after a few attempts when it was closed.  It was also great to meet up with bloggers, some familiar faces and some new.  In fact, I was too busy chatting to realise the paper menu had two sides.  (It was one of those days: my wooden spoon fell apart and I managed to spill my plate of sweet potato spring rolls!)  Despite that I pleased with the wanton noodle soup.  It was just what I wanted.  Light with enough vegies, satisfying dumplings and slurpy noodles.

Having participated in Vegan MoFo for the last few years has raised my interest in World Vegan Day.  This year I was able to go and I really enjoyed sitting on the grass, enjoying good food and catching up with a blogger and her kiddie whom I bumped into.  Browsing the actual stalls was less satisfying.  The sheds were busy and not so much fun with a 5 year old who just wanted chips and ice cream.  Meanwhile I could only find a 2 hour park and the clock was ticking away.

I mainly saw the food displays and they were interesting but no revelation.  I had a sense that there wasn't a lot of food on offer that I couldn't make at home or find in the shops.  Which is not to say we didn't enjoy sampling the products.  I had a scallion pancake, some crab cakes with aioli and coconut ice cream.  Sylvia had sweet potato chips with sweet and sour plum sauce and strawberry ice cream.  We also took away a box of cupcakes, a spicy kale and avocado dip and a bottle of kombucha.  Sadly the kombucha got spilled all over the car.  Sigh!

Today we went to The Scottish Fling Festival at the Immigration Museum.  It was great fun.  We saw country dancing, highland dancing, an ode to the haggis, and bands such as Taliska.  Sylvia rode on a shetland pony and did some tartan weaving with gaffer tape.  Sadly we were too late for much in the way of food.  In fact by the time we queues, the vegetarian pasties and tattie scones were gone so we had to exist on Tunnocks Caramel Logs and Irn Bru and eat some chips on the way home.

And finally here is today's recipe.  It is for a smoky cheesey peas pasta that I made to woo Sylvia last week.  Every now and again I make a big effort to get her eating the same dinners as us.  Often I make a vegan cheese sauce for pasta which I find lighter.  For an observant 5 year old, I was taking no chances.

I used the smoked cheese that she loves and a few vegies she often eats for dinner.  One challenge is that she loves many vegies raw rather than cooked, such as carrot and capsicum.  She was particularly displeased with the tiny scrap of capsicum I threw in.  However my trump card was the tofu bacon.  She loves it with a passion.  While she had her little complaints, she did eat this two days running.  I think I can call it a success.

I am sending the pasta to Eat Your Veg and Bangers and Mash for the Family Foodies blog event that is focusing on Vegetarian food in November.

More creamy pasta sauces on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cauliflower cheese macaroni 
Cheeseless mac and cheese sauce
Creamy vodka pasta sauce
Hurry up vegan pumpkin alfredo 
Vegan cheesy peas pasta  

Smoky cheesey peas pasta
serves 3-4

250g pasta shapes
2-3 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 capsicum, finely chopped
2 dessertspoons wholemeal flour
2 cups soy milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 to 1 cup smoked cheese grated
1 cup green peas
Handful of fried tofu bacon bits

Cook and drain pasta according to the packet instructions.

Heat oil over medium high in large frying pan and fry carrot and capsicum for a few minutes until they start to soften.  Add flour and fry for a few minutes until it slightly darkens in colour and/or smells cooked.  Gradually add milk until mixed in and bring to the boil so it thickens.  Stir in grated cheese and peas.

Pour cheese sauce over drained pasta and mix well.  At first it seemed far too much for my pasta but it actually ended up coating it really well.  Serve with tofu bacon bits scattered over the pasta.

On the Stereo:
Super Trouper: ABBA

Posted November 16, 2014 10:18 PM by Johanna GGG

Vegan Bullsh*t

Tofu Misozuke

This post has been two months in the making! I've been fascinated by the idea of tofu misozuke (miso cured tofu) for a while: miso is one of my favourite flavours in just about anything, so I sat down during the late winter and knocked it together. After smearing my tofu with the miso mix and curing for two months approx, this is what came out: 

I really enjoy this stuff. It has a definite miso hit and the tang of a cheesy, fermented product, but is quite smooth and mild. Google suggests it's best enjoyed in the style of a nice cheese, and that's the way I've been having it - gently smeared on a water cracker or toasts. I suspect it has other uses too  -maybe smeared on a banh mi as the pate, or seared like a block of foie gras? With a block of Vegusto or A Vegan Smiles cheese, some fruit and some crackers, you'd have a perfect vegan cheese plate. The flavours can be tweaked by using different miso pastes so the idea has plenty of room for experimentation - I know I'll be making more with darker misos, as well as playing with extending the curing time.
Tofu Misozuke (very slight adaptation from Rau Om's open source recipe)

300g block tofu. Anywhere from soft to hard can work - firmer tofus will take longer but have a more interesting flavour. I chose this Momen Tofu from Woolworths and found it worked well - I wouldn't go a very spongy, dry tofu, but other than that, whatever you have.
Cure it with:
1 cup miso (I used white)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mirin (I didn't have sake)

Mix marinade together in a bowl until well combined.

Press your block of tofu gently for a couple of hours to remove excess moisture. Wrap it in one layer of muslin, then smear your marinade on thickly until it is completely covering the fabric. I found that I needed to pat it on rather than smear. For ease of handling, if you like, wrap another light layer of muslin around the outside, Line a Tupperware container with paper towels and pop in your tofu block. Cover it with more paper towels, seal and let sit in the fridge for 2 months, changing the paper towels when they become wet. To read more of the science about it, head to Rau Om's blog.

Posted November 16, 2014 05:30 PM by L

November 15, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Tadka Boom!

November 3, 2014

We were pretty excited when Tadka Boom! opened in the CBD, bringing with it the promise of India-inspired breakfast dishes and more straightforward lunches. Idli-based breakfast dishes and scrambled eggs with lentil and rice pikelets sounded fascinating and fun. Sadly, we took a few months to get ourselves sorted for a visit, by which time they'd ditched the brekkies entirely. The new focus is healthy Indian lunches, which suited our mood for a lazy long-weekend trip into the city.

The restaurant is tucked into Goldsborough Lane, a little courtyard filled with office-worker lunch spaces and not a lot of atmosphere. The layout inside is bright and cheerful - block colours, cute circular fluoro lights and upbeat staff. The menu is a slightly odd mix of wraps and rice bowls, snack-sized dishes and Indian-inspired sliders and tacos. It's veg-friendly and well-labelled, with heaps of options for vegans. 

The Indian felafel tacos (2 for $10) sounded intriguing, but I decided to go with something more conventional - the Varansi Veg rice bowl (spicy vegetable mix with brown basmati rice and lentil dahl, $10.90) with a side of Bombay bites (lentil and herb nuggets with coriander aioli, $3.50 extra). The bites were okay - a little on the dry side, but a nice herby flavour and a decent amount of aioli for dunking.

The bowl was more successful - the spicy veggie mix was fresh, almost salady, with plenty of fresh chilli chunks dotted through the cabbage, greens, carrot and likely cooked cauliflower and the dahl was hearty. I was impressed that they keep the spice levels up reasonably high - this could have been pretty dull if they'd been a bit less adventurous.

Cindy tried one of the salads - lured in by the promise of samosas as a key ingredient. The Boom!osa combined broken spinach and potato samosas with fresh greens, blackened chickpeas and a spicy dressing ($10.90). 

Cindy was impressed by this (although it also had high spice levels, which were a bit of a challenge) and inspired by the idea of including samosa chunks in a salad - expect a homemade interpretation at some stage soon!

Tadka Boom! is the kind of place you'd love if you worked nearby - an affordable, varied menu with plenty of veggie options. I'm guessing it'd be pretty busy on a regular work day - even on the Monday before the Melbourne Cup public holiday things were getting pretty full by 12:30. Their lack of any weekend opening hours mean it might be a while before we get back. It's definitely worth checking out if you do work in the neighbourhood, though - I'd love to hear what the tacos are like!


The Lentil Institution has already covered the vegan options at Tadka Boom! and was quite impressed, while Gastrology and Grazing Panda both enjoyed the omni options. Brunch Addict's post makes me a bit sad to have missed the brief breakfast period, and there are a series of posts on special freebie events at My Fair Melbourne, Bread & Butter, I'm So Hungree and ForkSake.


Tadka Boom!
Shop 22, Goldsborough Lane, Melbourne
9600 1633

Accessibility: There's a flat entryway and a reasonably spacious interior. Seats are a mix of high stools and regular tables. You order and pay at a lowish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted November 15, 2014 08:09 AM by Michael

November 14, 2014


What I Ate (This Past Fortnight)

Whoops. Kinda forgot the weekly What I Ate again… so let’s make this (another) What I Ate This Past Fortnight, shall we? I made a tofu scramble with assorted veg that had to be used up. I flavour my tofu with a little garlic powder, nutritional yeast and black salt. I had it in a tortilla...
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Posted November 14, 2014 09:38 AM

November 13, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Angela Liddon's Glo Bars

This morning I gave Sylvia the choice of pink iced cupcakes and glo bars.  She chose glo bars.  I was most pleased at my success with the healthier treat.  Then she says, but don't make them again because I don't like them that much.  As if I wont be making them again!

For those who haven't had the luck to come across Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows vegan blog, you might not be aware of this signature recipe of hers that has been reproduced in her cookbook that came out this year.  I love her blog and have loving making a few of her recipes.  This one was no exception. 

E commented that it was one of the better healthy bars I have made.  And to prove it we just kept nibbling away at them.  They were so good.  As well as being full of good seeds and oats, no refined sugar, and easy to make gluten free and vegan.

Now a note about the photos of these bars.  Muesli bars are among the most boring looking food.  They are meant to be healthy rather than pretty.  I really liked Angela's styliing the bars with fabric (and had also seen Mihl do it too recently with baking paper under the fabric).  I also had a look at FoodGawker for ideas. 

Then I ripped up an old dress of Sylvia's that she had worn out, literally.  When she got home and saw what I had one she gave me one of her scary disapproving frowns.

Yet for all Sylvia's displeasure at me ripping up her old dress for the blog (even though it was already quite ripped), she and her friends seemed to enjoy the novelty wrapping.  So this morning I asked what she liked about the bars.  The wrapping?  The choc chips?  The rice bubbles (which we used for puffed rice)?  Nope!  It was the oats.  Kids are so unpredictable.

I am sending these bars to Ros at the More Than Occasional Baker for Alphabakes, a blog event she runs with Caroline of Caroline Makes, challenging us to bake focusing on a different letter each month.  This month the letter is H and so I have H for hemp seeds.

Previous recipes using Rice Bubbles on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Classic Glo Bars
Slightly adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook via Chatelaine
makes 12 bars
1 1⁄4 cups puffed rice*
1⁄4 cup hemp seeds
1⁄4 cup sunflower seeds
1⁄4 cup dessicated coconut
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
1⁄2 cup, plus 1 tbsp, rice malt syrup*
1⁄4 cup nut butter (I used half cashew butter and tahini)
1⁄2 cup chocolate chips*

Line a slice tin or a 23 inch/9 inch square tin with baking paper.  Mix oats, puffed rice, seeds, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Heat rice malt syrup and nut butter on stove top or in microwave until warm and gooey.  Mix into dry ingredients - you will need a lot of elbow grease to this as it is hard work.  Mix in choc chips (make sure mixture is cool enough that they don't melt).  Press firmly into prepared tin, using damp hands.  Chill in freezer for 10 minutes or in fridge for about an hour.  Cut into bars.  Keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks or you can freezer them.

*Recipe notes: To make the recipe gluten free, make sure the oats and puffed rice are gluten free.  To make the recipe vegan, make sure the choc chips are vegan.  If you are not in Australia, I am not sure how easy it is to find rice malt syrup.  I always use it instead of brown rice syrup which is hard to find here.

On the Stereo:
Hal David and Burt Bacharach: the Songbook Collection: Various Artists.

Posted November 13, 2014 10:30 AM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

curried pumpkin fritters

curried pumpkin fritters

Week 136 of my love affair with chick pea flour. Is there anything that can’t be done with this fabulous stuff? It binds like egg, you can make omelettes and quiches with it, it is delicious and it is high in protein so your mother and your non-vegan friends can stop worrying if you are getting enough protein. :)

Today I made some curried pumpkin fritters, a variation on the “what the hell do I do with all these zucchini” fritters (that moment will come in the summertime!).

They are delicious too, but pumpkin and curry spices have a great affinity so these are a winner. They are fast and simple to make, and delicious. They are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Sometimes I serve them with a spoonful of coconut yoghurt, but I’d run out, so today I just scattered them with some fresh coriander leaves from the garden. This recipe would work with carrot and parsnip too.


curried pumpkin fritters
prep time
10 mins
cook time
5 mins
total time
15 mins
author: quincesandkale
serves: 6
  • 400 grams pumpkin
  • ½ cup chick pea(besan) flour
  • 2 teaspoons of your favourite curry powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbs water
  • 2 tbs oil for frying
  1. Grate the pumpkin coarsely into a bowl.
  2. Mix in the salt and curry powder.
  3. Stir in the chick pea flour. It will be a little dry, so add the water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture just sticks together. It shouldn’t be wet.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, turn the heat down to low.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of mixture for each patty to the pan and neaten and shape into patties and loosen from the bottom so they don’t stick.
  6. Allow to fry on that side for 2 minutes, and then carefully flip and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Drain on paper to remove any excess oil.


Posted November 13, 2014 10:00 AM

November 12, 2014

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Rhubarb & strawberry sorbet

November 1-2, 2014

I'd kind of promised icecream for our pizza party, but then I got all excited about that baked ginger cheesecake. I figured something fruit-based might best match it and pulled out The Perfect Scoop for a browse. It didn't take long to pick the rhubarb and strawberry sorbet.

If you're comfortable stewing rhubarb and have a food processor or blender then you've got this recipe sewn up - the method's reasonably simple and the ingredient list is simpler still. I found that the sorbet's consistency was a little crystalline straight from the freezer, but it became soft and frothy as it melted. It was a cool and tangy contrast to a dense, creamy and spicy cheesecake.

Rhubarb & strawberry sorbet
(adapted very slightly from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)

400g rhubarb
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
250g punnet strawberries
1/2 teaspoon squeeze lemon juice

Wash the rhubarb, remove the leaves and trim the stems. Slice the stalks into 2cm lengths. Place them in a medium-large saucepan with the water and sugar. Bring it all to the boil, then turn down the heat and pop a lid on top, simmering the rhubarb for 5-10 minutes until cooked through. Let the rhubarb cool to room temperature before continuing.

Wash and hull the strawberries. Place them in a food processor with the rhubarb and its syrup and squeeze over the lemon juice. Blend it all together very thoroughly, until it is as smooth as possible. Refrigerate the mixture until it is very cold, ideally overnight.

Churn the sorbet mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions and freeze it for at least 4 hours before serving.

Posted November 12, 2014 08:47 PM by Cindy

November 11, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Peach crumble revisited

The other night Sylvia was watching ABC3 - she is a big girl now!  The show was the Legend of Dick and Dom and they were encountering the Neehi Tribe.  This tribe of children forbade vegetables, fruit and bedtime.  All they ate was chips.  Yep!  That sounded very familiar.  Well the chips did!  Sylvia sometimes recoils at vegies but mostly she doesn't do too badly!  On the night I made peach crumble, she asked for broccoli and peas, and then swiped a cucumber I was nibbling on.  In one of those fickle moments she was more fussy about dessert than her mains.

Like many meals these days, the peach crumble was not planned.  My mum left a cupcake holder at our place.  Sylvia put a few peaches and said we needed enough to fill it.  Before I knew it I was at the supermarket buying up on peaches.  It was fun for a bit.  Then I wondered what to do with them.  Despite my last attempt at peach crumble being disappointing, I decided to have another go.

Let me tell you how much I loved this crumble!  Sylvia and I had some when E was still on his way home.  I hatched a plot to tell him we never made the crumble, hide it in the oven (he would never look there) and eat it all myself.  Mwahahaaaaa!

This time the crumble was lighter which I think suited the delicate white peaches.  The peaches were almost ready to eat rather than the tougher ones last time.  They just melted in my mouth and left a delicious pink juices pooling on the bottom of the dish.  It was a very lightly sweetened crumble.  The flavour of soft juicy baked peaches was so magnificent that I didn't think they needed much sugar.

This is a crumble for fruit lovers.  It didn't have enough crumble for E or Sylvia.  In fact Sylvia took a dislike to the peach skin because the slices of peach were too large for her.  But I could have eaten the whole crumble.  It was that good.  It was nice the next day but not as superb as the first night. 

I don't do much baking with stone fruit.  I love it fresh so much that I am always loathe to bake with it.  This experience showed me that baking with stone fruit early in the season is the best time for it.  The fruit has not yet reached its peak and it feels like the season will last forever.  I'd love to make this again but we are eating the peaches at some rate.  Maybe next year!

I am sending this crumble to:

Previous fruit crumbles on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Peach Crumble
A Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe adapted from here.

10 medium peaches (I used white)
2 tbsp castor sugar
1 tbsp cornflour

1/3 cup wholemeal flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup coconut sugar (or raw sugar)
80g butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Roughly chop peaches and mix with sugar and cornflour in a 23cm square dish.  Rub the butter into the flour, almonds, coconut and sugar until you have lots of buttery lumps.  Scatter over the peaches.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until crumble is golden brown.  Eat warm or at room temperature.

On the Stereo:
Thursday's Fortune: Club Hoy

Posted November 11, 2014 10:30 PM by Johanna GGG

Ballroom Blintz


I have to interrupt my own traveling foodie reminiscences to tell you all about Thaiger. It is VERY IMPORTANT.

You may remember me visiting Huxtaburger not too long ago and being very disappointed with their vegie burger option. I even went back a couple of weeks after writing that review to give them another go in the fear that I’d been too harsh, but no, it’s still a highly uninspiring tofu slab. But as Cindy mentioned in the comments of that piece, a tofu burger doesn’t necessarily have to be boring and can be done awfully well. Thaiger is a very compelling example of such.

Thaiger, as you may have noticed from the puntastic name, is a Thai-inspired take away burger restaurant. Tucked down the Walk Arcade next to the sushi place that always has the obscenely long queue, it’s a very neat and attractive set-up. There’s 14 different burgers to choose, although only one is vegetarian, so if you like your meats you are in for a fun time (someone go try the pou-nim black burger and come back to tell me all about it because it sounds FASCINATING).

What about this singular veggie burger? Well, it consists of a slab of panfried tofu, crisp around the edges and gelatinous within, topped not only with smoky softened enoki mushrooms but also with a crunchy corn fritter. Keeping it all together is a generous squeeze of sesame soy mayo and a shiny, squishy bun, with some nicely frilled lettuce for good measure. As you would imagine, the combination of smoky enoki, corn fritter, and soft hot tofu was pretty epic in terms of the amount of flavour hurtling about, quickly quashing any suspicion that a tofu burger can’t be delicious. It just all depends on what you team it with.

I also got a cup of sweet potato chips (you can get regular potato chips too), which were hot and as crispy as one can get a sweet potato wedge. I wish I’d been together enough to realise that Thaiger of course had a bunch of sauces that I could have had with my chips, and it shall not be a mistake I make again.

Thaiger is one of those places where it comes across that everything in the business has been devised with great care. From the way the burgers are wrapped and placed in their take-away wrappers and sleeves so that you can eat them in the easiest, least messy way possible, to the design of the space itself, and the care that has clearly gone into creating the menu itself. There are a lot of burger joints across Melbourne now, most peddling the same types of burger fillings and snacks with a slightly depressing homogeneity, so Thaiger feels refreshingly unique. And more importantly than that, it’s properly delicious.


Shop 16, The Walk Arcade, 8 Causeway Lane, Melbourne CBD

Ph: 9663 8558

Posted November 11, 2014 12:11 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Ginger cheesecake slice

November 1-2, 2014

This recipe has been on my dessert wish-list since I received a review copy of Veganissimo a year ago. The cookbook's helpful icons reminded me that it's both gluten-free and soy-free, and was thus an ideal dessert for our pizza party.

I've little to report when it comes to the making of this cheesecake - everything came together as instructed without any angst or uncertainty. The base is a slightly sandy mix of flours spiked with ground ginger, but its main role is to support a major dose of crystallised ginger. Over the top goes a cashew-based cheesecake mixture, and in a refreshing departure from the now-ubiquitous raw cakes this one gets baked.

The result is firm and dense rather than fluffy, creamy with a sweet heat. A small slice brings big satisfaction (...particularly when one's belly is already full of pizza).

Ginger cheesecake slice
(from Leigh Drew's Veganissimo!)

3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2-1/3 cup olive oil

200g crystallised ginger, roughly chopped

cashew cheesecake
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup almond milk
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely sliced
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cover the cashews for the cheesecake in water and soak them overnight.

Preaheat an oven to 160°C. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients (buckwheat flour through to ground ginger). Pour over 1/2 cup of the oil and mix it through with a spoon or clean hands. If needed, add more oil a tablespoon at a time until the mixture resembles wet sand. When the texture is right, pour the base mixture into the baking tray and spread it out evenly, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon. Bake the base until it is golden at the edges and beginning to dry out, 10-15 minutes.

While the base is baking, place the almond milk in a small saucepan with the fresh ginger pieces. Simmer the milk over low heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the ginger to infuse into the milk as it cools for a further 10 minutes.

When the milk is cool enough, remove the ginger pieces and pour it into a food processor or blender. Drain the cashews and add them too. Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients and blend them thoroughly until as smooth as possible.

Sprinkle the crystallised ginger pieces over the base. Pour over the cheesecake mixture and smooth over the top. Bake the cheesecake until it is golden on top and firm around the edges, 40-50 minutes. Allow the slice to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Posted November 11, 2014 09:21 AM by Cindy

November 10, 2014

quinces and kale

smith and daughters again…visit three

blackbeans with queso

I love Smith and Daughters. Obviously. Recently I went for my third visit for brunch with some friends after returning from a month on holiday.

I still get excited eating in an all vegan restaurant. The only problem is too much choice. The food is as good as ever, with my old favourites still available and some new ones to try. And their ever changing drinks list is a wonder.

I do love the food, the vibe and the service at Smith and Daughters. If I have a small complaint it is that the music is a bit loud for conversation.  But that’s a small price to pay for such delicious food.

Because we were talking so much, I neglected to note what was in the drinks so they are a bit of a blur, I can barely remember mine which was a tropical passionfruit smoothy that contained many ingredients. I do know it was both beautiful and delicious. The other chocolate based ones were good too.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to pay attention to the menu, so I’m able to give a bit more information on the food.

chocolate cocktail tropical cocktail blackbeans with queso blackbeans, guacamole and tortillas spanish omelette mexican omelette quince french toast

Between us we ate a blackbean soup with a cheesy quesadilla, a layered queso dip with spicy blackbeans, salsa and corn chips, two baked omelettes, mexican and spanish. I also snuck in a tuna croquette, just because I cannot be near Brunswick St and not eat one. For dessert we shared a completely unnecessary, but totally delicious french toast with poached quince.

Every last bit of it delicious. Visit four will be coming as soon as possible.

Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, 3065
(03) 9939 3293

Posted November 10, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Grillin' cheese sauce

November 2, 2014

Last weekend we had some friends over for a vegan pizza party. I made a quadruple batch of my favourite pizza dough, we grabbed a few fresh veges and cured olives from the market, and we invited our friends to bring their favourite pizza toppings too. Michael collated a range of grated and gratable vegan cheeses and I had a go at making my own.

This pizza cheese recipe from Live Blissful resembles any number of cheesy vegan sauce recipes out there, based on mock-milk and ground cashews with nooch, lemon juice and garlic for flavour. But the way it bubbled and coloured and crusted in the oven took me by surprise - it definitely brings the golden-gooey look to an otherwise cheeseless pizza.

Tastewise, it was pretty mild. I used a little onion powder instead of garlic due to our guests' dietary requirements and will revert to a generous shake of garlic powder in other circumstances. (It probably wouldn't hurt to increase the nooch and lemon juice quantities either.) This formulation works well in tandem with grated commercial vegan cheese like Cheezly or Daiya; they've got flavour and a bit of stretch but can dry into miserly strings in the oven and this sauce lends body and creaminess.

This cheese sauce still has something to offer on its own, and we grilled up a good portion of it on plain toast too.

Grillin' cheese sauce 
(from Live Blissful)

1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cover the cashews in water and soak them for at least an hour. Drain the cashews and blend them with the rest of the ingredients until the sauce is as smooth as possible. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and heat it, stirring constantly. Take it off the heat once it's thickened, around 5 minutes.

Use the sauce on pizza, toast or inside grilled cheese sandwiches.

Posted November 10, 2014 07:21 AM by Cindy


World Vegan Day Melbourne, 2014

* You are welcome to use my photos but if you do, I’d appreciate it if you could link back to my blog. Thanks! This is also one very photo-heavy post! World Vegan Day Melbourne! I’m trying to think up a sensible paragraph here but really, all I can think of is EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! So wow, what a...
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Posted November 10, 2014 01:03 AM

November 09, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

In My Kitchen: November 2014

In my kitchen are signs of summer.  The days are getting hot enough to want to avoid turning on the oven.  Berries and stone fruit are coming into the stores.  Strawberries are at the farmers market.  We ate them as they were.  We bought more last week to eat with butterscotch and gingerbread ice cream!

In my kitchen are new bowls.  They were a $2 each from the bargain shop down the local high street.  Expect to see them in a photo on this blog soon.  If they don't all smash like the one yesterday morning.  We served a lovely pumpkin, chickpea and rice soup in them last week. 

In my kitchen we have the remains of a packet of Halloween marshmallows.  They are not vegetarian.  I prefer vegetarian marshmallows but they are hard to find and E and Sylvia love them so.

In my kitchen are Stand 'n' Stuff Tortillas.  They are almost like a soft taco - much smaller than I expected.  You can see a photo of them alongside my Mexican corn gnocchi.  I still have half the packet and it seemed fresh enough days later in a plastic bag but with the hot weekend just passed I really need to use them up.

In my kitchen are oaty bites.  They are great little healthy snacks with minimal sweetness.  (They also come in apple and sultana.) I thought they would be great for the lunchbox.  Sylvia disagreed.

In my kitchen the lunchbox is filled five days a week.  Sylvia loved having the chocolate-covered Girl Guide biscuits.  When I was young these were often in our kitchen.  Never covered with chocolate.  I bought these for nostalgic value. Oh and I also gave her some pear and a home made focaccia sandwich.

In my kitchen are some great vegan goodies from a visit to the Mad Cowgirls Vegan Bakery.  I bought some vegan marshmallows.  E and Sylvia are banned from them so that I can use them for baking.  Hope they don't melt in the heat now I have opened them for the monster cake.  Bio cheese is the best - see melty picture with a recent burger.  Tofetta is pretty good - used in this gnocchi.  But I was most excited to find Australian liquid smoke.  It is made by Misty Gully who I have now discovered are really all about smoking meat.  But isn't Outback Campfire a great name for Liquid Smoke!

In my kitchen are many easy meals thrown together without recipes or notes for the blog.  Here is a sort of stir fry flavoured with old bay seasoning, tamari, mirin and maple syrup.  It was really good with rice.

In my kitchen is this gorgeous melamine daisy plate from Mozi in Melbourne Central.  I love their homewares and their hand creams too.  I admired this plate quite a few times before I got worried they would sell out and had to have one of my own.

In my kitchen is a new brand of jam I spied in the supermarket.  I have never heard of Henry Jones before but apparently it is an old company related to IXL whose jam is quite common in the supermarkets near me.  Much as I love making chia seed jam, it does not last long.  So I was interested to see a commercial chia jam.  It is made in Australia, low in sugar and tastes great.

In my kitchen is a new and old salt hog.  You may remember I had one exactly the same and smashed it a few months back and had to replace it with a soulless salt keeper.  In one of those moments when world feels like a warm and fuzzy place, the lovely Veganopoulous found one the same as my old one in an op shop and gifted it to me.  Isn't she generous!  Aren't bloggers the nicest people!  Isn't blogging great!

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

Posted November 09, 2014 08:25 PM by Johanna GGG

November 07, 2014


Cookbook Review: Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day!

Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day! by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes is a cookbook I flip through often. The recipes sound fabulous and the photos are great. I just wanna pick the crispy bits of seitan off the page! But I have to confess I’ve done this book a great disservice. See, even though I...
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Posted November 07, 2014 10:04 PM

In My Kitchen, November 2014

I feel a bit embarrassed when I realise my last In My Kitchen was back in July! Back then, I shared my smaller-than-a-Hobbit’s-toilet kitchen with you. In August I started preparing for MoFo and missed the deadline for the In My Kitchen submission. September was MoFo. I got terribly sidetracked in October but here I...
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Posted November 07, 2014 05:34 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Broccoli soup with tahini, lemon & pine nut dukkah

November 1, 2014

Our veggie box included a couple of heads of broccoli and some silverbeet, so Cindy's recipe radar went off when she came across this soup on My Darling Lemon Thyme. It was perfectly designed to fill our post-Halloween lazy day - a simple soup, easy to whip up and healthy to help our recovery from all the cocktails and over-eating at Smith & Daughters.

Ah, if only. This was basically a disaster - our stick blender blew its motor in the middle of the process, our tahini sauce sank like a stone rather than swirling neatly on top of the soup and I managed to splash the half-blended soup all down my front. Good times. Luckily, there was enough leftover for us to re-blend the soup on Monday with a new stick blender and for me to eat it with less of a grump on and actually enjoy it. The tahini sauce in particular is excellent - tangy and salty and providing some depth to the flavour of the soup. I think I've been scarred enough by this soup not to put it into high rotation, but it's not really fair to blame the recipe for our appliance breakdowns and my clumsiness - go and look at the great photos on My Darling Lemon Thyme to get inspired.

Broccoli soup with tahini, lemon & pine nut dukkah
(slightly adapted from a recipe on My Darling Lemon Thyme)

tahini & lemon sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon pine nuts
4 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
water to thin things out if necessary (the recipe recommends 2 tablespoons, but our mix seemed plenty runny without it).

1 leek (the white parts), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 heads broccoli (stems and florets), roughly chopped
1 litre veggie stock
1 x 400ml can coconut cream
a small bunch of silverbeet leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons dukkah (the original recipe wanted za'atar)

Start with the tahini sauce. Smash up the garlic, salt, allspice and pine nuts in a mortar and pestle until it's a thick paste. Stir it together with the tahini and the olive oil and season and then set it aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the leek and garlic with the salt and cumin until it all softens nicely. 

Stir in the broccoli for a minute or two and then pour in the stock and simmer everything for 15 minutes or so. Throw in the silverbeet leaves and cook for another few minutes before adding in the coconut cream. 

Let the mixture cool a bit and then stick-blend until the soup is smooth (or your blender explodes). Serve with a dollop of the lemon-tahini sauce on top and a sprinkling of the pine nuts and the dukkah.

Posted November 07, 2014 07:25 AM by Michael

November 06, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Smoked cheese spread, weekend, random notes and facebook

Entertaining always leaves leftovers in my fridge.  I had bought more cheese than necessary for our recent birthday lunch.  It went into a delicious cheese spread that saw us through a long weekend.  Sylvia had a holiday on Monday as well as the Melbourne Cup public holiday on Tuesday.  So here is an overview of the weekend interspersed by craft, the zoo and the cinema.  Oh and I have some random reflections to share as well.

I have already told you about the birthday lunch on Saturday.  On Sunday we had a quiet day at home. It seemed an excellent opportunity for some craft.  Sylvia got out her craft tablecloth and craft box.  She was keen.  We also got out the paints and she set about painting some pictures while I cut out some cake shapes for her to paint.  (Template from here.)

Meanwhile I started some birthday cake collages I had been keen to try. The idea is to rip layers of cakes from craft papers.  We have a ridiculous amount of patterned papers and this was a fun way to use them.  Though it did leave the loungeroom in a mess.

Meanwhile we needed lunch.  I had ambitiously planned to make cheese balls for the cracker spiders the previous day and had bought some nice cheese that never got used.  So I mixed it with leftover cream cheese and seasoning.  It was delicious, albeit quite rich.  It wasn't that easy to spread.  Perhaps a bit of butter would help that so I have added it as an optional extra to the recipe below.  It would be very good in a ball rolled in crushed walnuts for entertaining.

For lunch I made sandwiches with smoky potato salad, vegie sticks and kale chips.  (The leftover kale chips were great and I loved having some ready chopped vegies!)  It was so good.  Afterwards I had to finish the collages.  Sylvia had done with her paints so she helped me and even made some of her own.

For dinner that night we had hotdogs.  I have had Fry's hotdogs in the fridge for far to long.  Actually they were 2 months past the best by date.  Oops.  I wasn't overly keen on the hotdogs but I have never found a vegetarian hotdog that I like.  When I was young my mum would make hotdogs on weekends occasionally.  I have never found hotdogs that have the red colour and the crunch of the skin that characterised the hotdogs I knew.  These ones were good served with some cheese spread, kale chips and tomato sauce in the hotdog buns.

Finally on the Monday, Sylvia and I went to the zoo while E had to work.  I made a cheese and chutney sandwich for E with the spread and for me I made a sandwich of cheese spread, chutney and kale chips.  Sylvia had cheese and vegemite sandwiches.  I am not in the habit of taking sandwiches out with us a lot but now that Sylvia has come to appreciate cheese and vegemite sandwiches, thanks to school lunches, we do it occasionally.

We go to the zoo frequently enough that I just hone in on favourite animals these days.  The meerkats are always entertaining.  Not only are they so cute to watch but I really like the sense of community.  The little meerkat here is on the lookout on behalf of his buddies.  We went to see the seals who were a unusually inactive.

Two elephants in the pool.
The trail of the elephants is a favourite with us.  It is created to imitate walking through the jungles of Thailand and has lots of interesting jungle infrastructure as well as animals.  Many times we have walked this trail without seeing much of the elephants.  So it was fascinating to see quite a bit of them on this visit.  It was a warm day and we spent some time watching them play in the water.  Mostly submerged, squirting, cuddling tusks and ... er... pooing.

I had promised Sylvia an ice cream so we sat to enjoy it.  When we walked back past the elephants, they were out of the water and walking about.  It was quite amusing seeing one recalcitrant elephant refusing to come for its hay.  The little baby elephant (above) was very sweet.

The trail of the elephants also include the butterfly house and the orangutangs.  The butterfly house is mesmerising with so many butterflies fluttering about and landing on the watching people.  Sylvia was most displeased to have a butterfly land on her hat.  We enjoyed watching some of the orangutangs playing on the ropes and platforms.

As we were ready to leave we walked past the giraffes only to find they had gone to bed.  I was most displeased.  Sylvia was very pleased to buy a bag that came with colouring in pens to colour in the picture on the side of it.  The next day we went to see the House of Magic at the cinema.  It was a movie that was at times cute, spooky and heartwarming.  I liked it, only not as much as I thought I should.

Home made cash register at the cousins cafe.
Now I have some random notes to share:
  • Great article about our relationship with food and cooking by John Lanchaster in The New Yorker.  I was struck by his comment "[f]or the most part, recipes are useful only when you already have a pretty good idea of how to cook."  A theme that rears its head in food blogging every now and again.  (Thanks for the link Lucy.)
  • Sylvia was playing cafes with her cousins the other day.  They create a cafe in my parents' loungeroom and ask for customers to visit.  My dad came along and asked for a steak.  Sylvia had to ask for a steak to be pointed out to her in the plastic food items.  Then I asked for something vegetarian and my nephew had trouble finding something for me on the menu they had written.  All a learning process!
  • I enjoyed listening to the Gough Whitlam memorial service yesterday.  And I have been watching a documentary on our former prime minister called The Power and The Passion.  One of the interesting pieces of trivia was that when he went to China in 1971 he forgot his brylcreem and after that never used it again!  Which explains the slicked back hair in earlier photos and the fluffier hair later.  Trivia aside, I still have that pang of what our country would be like if he hadn't been sacked!
  • I was astounded to read on The Ecologist that the UK throws away enough pumpkin to make 360 million portions of soup, pie or cake.  It is even more surprising that the Brits need a campaign to educate them about recipes to use pumpkin.  But then again, I guess they didn't have pumpkin a few times a week on their dinner plate as a child like I did.  (Thanks for the link Kate.)

Roses in our garden - thanks to my mum who gives them lots of TLC.
Finally I wanted to reflect on Facebook.  This week I have reached 100 Likes on my blog page.  Thank you to those of you who have liked the page.  It feels good.  Though I read that it is estimated that my posts will only reach about 6% of the people who Like my page.  Wow!  I Since starting my FB blog page in August, I have found it has been another way to engage with readers but also another drain on my limited time for my blog.  However I have found it useful for following other blogs.  There are some blogs that don't show up in my blog list on the side bar that I use instead of a feed reader.  I have been able to keep up with these blogs through FB.  This has helped demonstrate the value of a FB blog page.

In a related note, recently I stumbled across a FB post where someone had shared the apple slice recipe on my blog.  It has been shared a gobsmacking 75,000 times.  (As well as lots of shares on Pinterest and gawks on FoodGawker.)  I had noticed the spike in my blog stats but it was impossible to see where it was coming from in Facebook until a friend tagged me.  I still get frustrated with the exclusive nature of Facebook.  Yet I also find it a useful way to share information and links.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Apple and white chocolate blondies
Two years ago: Zaatar - friendly middles eastern bakery cafe
Three years ago: WHB Twice cooked apple cake
Four years ago: Afghans – childhood comfort food
Five years ago: The Cornbread that Stops a Nation
Six years ago: Soup from the Black Lagoon
Seven years ago: Easy Peasy Risotto Soup

Smoked cheese spread
Inspired by Martha Stewart
Makes a scant cup

100g good cheddar cheese
90g cream cheese spread
1-2 tbsp of butter or margarine (I didn't use)
1/2 tsp each smoked paprika, seeded mustard, worcestershire sauce
dash of chilli powder

Mix all ingredients and serve immediately or keep for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

On the Stereo:
American Industrial Songs: Pete Seeger

Posted November 06, 2014 11:00 PM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

the promise of spring


I love spring.

I love the longer days, the change of light and warmth and the new growth in the garden. But most of all, I love the hope and promise it brings after the grey winter.

Right now my garden is full of tiny fruits and vegetables that are bursting out everywhere. Some I can eat now, and some will be ready in a few weeks or months. Some I have waited patiently for my first crop, like cherries, artichokes and asparagus, while others are making a welcome return like peaches and apples.

This season I converted my raised beds to wicking beds, which are basically gigantic self watering pots. They are miraculous. They use very little water and remain moist all the time. The growth in the veggies is phenomenal. I’ve never had silver beet with leaves 30cm wide.

Here is a photo tour of my garden at the moment.

Roses, a veggie bed with lettuces, leeks, kale and some tomato seedlings, gigantic silver beet, tiny limes, new leaves on the kaffir lime, artichokes and asparagus.

roses veg bed cherries limes kaffir lime leaves artichokes asparagus

Strawberries, teeny pears, loganberries, raspberries, cherries(!), grapes, apples and quinces.

strawberries pears raspberries loganberries cherries grapes apples quinces

Here’s to spring!

Posted November 06, 2014 10:00 AM

November 04, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Monster cake, monster rice krispies and the red food dye fiasco

I have written about my discomfort with Halloween and the snacks I made at the birthday lunch for Alex and Ian.  While Halloween does not sit easily with me, I was far more comfortable with making a monster cake and monster rice krispies.  Monsters are as much something that little boys love as they are co-opted for Halloween fun.  Only this year I mistakenly overdid the red food dye and Sylvia and friends looked like something out of a horror movie.  That was fun but not at all recommended!

I decided to make rice krispie monsters based on a Pinterest image that took my fancy.  Like Halloween, rice krispie treats were never part of my childhood.  In fact I'd never heard of 'rice krispies' until I started blogging because we say 'rice bubbles' in Australia.  By the time I discovered the recipe I was vegetarian and was only too aware that marshmallows were made with gelatine.

Last year I tried some vegan rice krispie treats with cashew butter and rice malt syrup.  They worked ok.  I tweaked the recipe on the weekend and they were brilliant.  I am sure I loved them twice as much because they had chocolate spread over the top.  I made them with Sylvia the afternoon before the lunch.  They were easy to make but quite messy with spreading chocolate on them.

The photo had little squiggly mouths of icing.  I hate being asked to pipe icing.  It never works for me.  I thought if I bought a little tube of icing that would solve my problems.  Shopping late in the day found me buying what I thought was a tube of icing gel.  When we put it on the rice krispie monsters, Sylvia tasted it and told me it was salty.  I dismissed this and never bothered to taste it.  The gel did seem rather darker than I expected.  But it was on the monsters by then and I put it down to the dark chocolate background.

When Sylvia first tasted a rice krispie and her mouth went all red, I thought that was a powerful icing.  She loved the red so much she was smearing the gel over her mouth.  And by the time we were all eating the rice krispies, we all commented on how disgusting it tasted.  This was no sugar icing mixture.  It was pure food dye.  Red food dye!  That the kids were smearing over their lips and giggling in the mirror.  Oops!

So I post this recipe with the warning: do check the icing pen if you decide to buy one.  I will revert to my usual practice of making icing to pipe from a ziplock bag with the corner snipped or using one of my pipes.  At this this is not a piping exercise where precision is required!  However I do highly recommend making rice krispy treats using this recipe and topping it with chocolate.  So so good!

The other monster treat I made was a monster cake.  I took the path of least resistance here.  The cake I made was the banana yoghurt cake that we have loved on previous occasions.  I used the same simple cream cheese frosting I had used for the cake before but coloured it green.  The inspiration for the cake was a Charlie and Lola book called This is Actually My Party.   (The irony that it was more Sylvia's party than Alex and Ian's is not lost on me!  My mum also bought some pink cupcakes - in the top photo - which corresponded nicely with the story in the book.)

Given that very few kids were eating the cake, I liked that it didn't use many lollies (yep that is sweeties or candy).  In fact we had enough for it: mini oreos I had bought for the monsters (eyes), some vegan marshmallows I had bought (teeth), and some smarties (eyes), a jelly snack (mouth) and a jelly dinosaur cut into a round nose.  It was also an easy cake for Sylvia to help me make.

Food dye aside, the kids really loved the cake and rice krispy treats.  And the adults really loved the cake.  In an attempt to be a bit more healthy, I also made some skewers of blueberries and pineapple chunks.  I really liked them and they made a pretty addition to the table in a vase (see above photo).  I felt like I did well the birthday lunch in keeping the food simple.  We didn't have too many leftovers, though I do have a few pink cupcakes stashed in the freezer.

I am sending these monster rice krispies to Healthy Vegan Fridays #20 hosted by Kimmy of Rock my Vegan Socks and Robin of Vegan Dollhouse.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Halloween treats: owl and spider cupcakes
Two years ago: Rocket birthday cake
Three years ago: Monkey birthday cake
Four years ago: Eggplant pate for boys birthday
Five years ago: Boys birthday, number two
Six years ago: Chocolate cake for our boys

Monster rice krispies
Adapted from my Green Gourmet Giraffe version

1⁄2 cup cashew nut butter
1⁄2 cup rice malt syrup (or brown rice syrup)
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
3 tbsp castor sugar
1 tbsp margarine or butter
pinch of salt
red food dye (or colour of choice)
4 cups rice bubbles (ie rice krispies, or other puffed rice)*

To decorate:
300g dark chocolate or choc chips
mini oreos*
mini m and ms" (or skittles)
red food icing

Mix all ingredients except food dye and rice bubbles into a large heatproof bowl.  Heat gently in the microwave until warm and gooey.  (I think I did about 1 minute).  Stir in a few drops of food dye or as much as you need for your desired colour.  Stir in rice bubbles until wall coated with gooey mixture.

Tip into a greased and lined lamington tin.  Smooth with the back of a spoon.  Refrigerate for an hour or two until firm.

Cut into rectangles (I cut 12 but there were rather big and we actually chopped them smaller to eat them).  Melt chocolate and spread over each rectangle.  Place mini oreos on melted chocolate to make eyes.  Pipe a squiggly mouth with red/pink icing.  Use m and ms to place pupils on eyes and dots over the monsters. 

Refrigerate until firm before eating.  (Again this should only be an hour or two.)  I found that they were great kept firm in the fridge but we kept some leftovers at room temperature for a day or two and these were fine too.

*Note: to make these gluten free, choose a gluten free brand of puffed rice.  Eyes could be made by purchasing different sizes of chocolate buttons (some dark and some white) and use alternative lollies or pipe icing for the spots.  To make these vegan, you will need some vegan lollies to make the spots and pupils of the eyes or just pipe icing.  Thanks to Robin for the suggestion of using Skittles which are vegan!

On the Stereo:
Wreck and Ruin: Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson

Posted November 04, 2014 11:10 PM by Johanna GGG


Highpoint Shopping Centre: The Vegan Perspective

I don’t usually go to the big shopping centres much these days, but when I do it’s nice to know where I can find some vegan food. This week we had to visit Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong so I decided to do some research and see which place are vegan friendly. Unfortunately I didn’t...
Continue reading »

Posted November 04, 2014 10:19 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Springtime salad with ricotta & hazelnuts

October 21, 2014

Broad beans come and go quickly in spring, and we were lucky to be delivered a paper bag of pods in our vege box, along with some excellent asparagus. A 'broadbeans' tag is tucked into my recipe bookmarks for just such a moment; this season I pulled out a salad recipe that Anna posted on beans & barley five years ago.

I made a couple of minor changes, swapping the rocket for vege box lettuce and serving the ricotta in big dollops rather than tossing it through the salad. It's rare that I use honey at all, but I loved the way it combined with apple cider vinegar in the dressing (and I'm sure it'd be fine to use maple syrup or similar instead).

With a vibrant green foundation of lettuce, broad beans and asparagus, richer protein in the ricotta and hazelnuts, and a lively sweetness in that honey-vinegar dressing we found that this had everything we needed for a light dinner.

Springtime salad with ricotta & hazelnuts
(slightly adapted from a recipe on beans & barley)

handful of hazelnuts
450g unpodded broad beans
1 bunch asparagus
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 handfuls green leaves, rinsed
100g fresh ricotta
salt and pepper, to taste

Gently toast the hazelnuts in a dry frypan, then set them aside.

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to the boil. Extract the broad beans from their pods and discard the pods. Chop the asparagus into 3-5cm lengths. When the water is boiling, add in the broad beans and blanch them for no more than 2 minutes. Scoop out the broad beans and add the asparagus to the water, blanching them for 1-2 minutes before scooping them out.

Heat the apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Stir in the honey until it's dissolved. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Hopefully by now the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle. Rub off their brown skins and roughly chop the nuts.

When the broad beans are cool enough to handle, use your fingernails or a small knife to remove the skins from the beans.

Arrange the green leaves in a bowl or on a platter. Arrange the broad beans and asparagus on top, then dot over teaspoonfuls of the ricotta and scatter over the hazelnuts. Pour the dressing over the top and serve.

Posted November 04, 2014 08:57 PM by Cindy

November 03, 2014

Little Vegan Bear

Banana Chai Spice Smoothie

It is well and truly smoothie season. Over the past weeks I have shifted from eating mainly porridge brekkies to total smoothie town. I alternate flavours regularly, but lately this one has made been amongst the reruns.


Banana Chai Spice Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 date
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of black pepper
1 tsp maca
1 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!


Posted November 03, 2014 01:36 PM

quinces and kale

grated potato fritters with a filling

grated potato cake

I always loved grated potato fritters as a kid.  They were one of the meals that my Dad was in charge of making and they were always a treat. As well as being delicious they have a nostalgia value for me too.

The originals have egg in them, but this is an egg free, flour free, lighter and slightly more upmarket version where a filling is sandwiched between 2 layers of potato.

This time I made mine with a layer of delicious balsamic caramelised onions from my friend Susan who runs Saucy7 preserves, as well as a dusting of grated Vegusto vegan cheese.

Here is the first layer of potato with the filling before the top layer is added.

grated potato cake with filling


You can make these with any filling you like. One of my favourites is mushrooms. But anything goes really.


grated potato fritters with a filling
prep time
10 mins
cook time
15 mins
total time
25 mins
author: quincesandkale
cuisine: vegan
serves: 1
  • 1 large potato
  • salt
  • ½-1cup of filling of your choice
  • ½ tbs oil
  1. Peel and grate the potato.
  2. Rinse the grated potato to remove the starch and drain thoroughly
  3. Squeeze in a tea towel to remove moisture.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan (preferably non stick it will make turning infinitely easier)
  5. Add half the potato in a layer at least 2 cm thick and pat down gently.
  6. Spread the filling over the potato layer.
  7. Top with the remaining potato and neaten the edges and pat down slightly.
  8. Don’t squash it. It is best if the layers remain separate.
  9. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 8 mins.
  10. Remove the lid, flip and cook the other side with the lid on until it is browned and the potato is tender.


Posted November 03, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Wang Wang Dumpling

October 19, 2014

We spent Sunday afternoon at Coburg's Post Office Hotel at a terrific gig. Though we'd snuck in a few shoestring fries, we were ready to escape the pub chaos and grab dinner elsewhere after the encore. Wang Wang Dumpling was only a short walk away - the Elegant Gourmand at tummy rumbles blogged about it yonks ago and it was exactly what we wanted.

Wang Wang Dumpling is large and reasonably spacious, with the easy-to-wipe-down surfaces and hand-written specials of a family restaurant. I noticed that they were running a steady takeaway trade up by the counter.

The menu is a huge plastic binder with veg dishes scattered throughout - it's a bit of work to establish what the options are and prioritise, but there's plenty to choose from.

The staff started us off with some complimentary hot tea, and we ordered additional big botttles of falsely-fruity iced tea ($3.50 each) as we mixed up dipping bowls of soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil.

The spring onion pancake ($4.50) was a crispy-golden monument to deep-frying with only the smallest flecks of green.

Fried tofu with salt and pepper ($14) is new to the menu. While the batter and garnishing chilli-capsicum dice are great, this batch was woefully underseasoned; we found ourselves dredging the odd piece through our chilli-soy bowls.

The fried vegetable dumplings ($10.00) were more satisfying. Biting one in half, I could discern finely minced mushroom and green vegetables inside.

We weren't in the mood for noodles, but apparently Wang Wang make their own. One of the hand-written signs promised deep-fried icecream, too, but good sense and a stomach full of fried dough won out over my screaming nostalgia. I'd like to return to try more and luckily we're only a #19 tram ride away. With reserved but friendly service and a quick turnaround on orders, this is a nice venue for comforting and unfussy meals.


Wang Wang has also received positive write-ups on Consider the Sauce and The Quince Poacher.

Wang Wang Dumpling
3/51 Waterfield St, Coburg
9354 0294
menu: drinks, entrees, dumpling & soup, chicken & duck, claypot, beef & pork, more beef & pork, seafood, vegetable & omelette

Accessibility: There was one step up on entry and reasonably spacious tables inside. We ordered at our table and paid at a medium-high counter. We didn't visit the toilets and suspect they might be located outside of the restaurant.

Posted November 03, 2014 09:15 AM by Cindy

November 02, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Halloween cheesy snacks, reflections and the dangers of Pinterest

In Australia we are fond of saying that Halloween is an American import.  In my house, E says that Halloween originates from our Celtic heritage.  It is not something I grew up celebrating.  I was in the supermarket on 31 October and was shocked at how pillaged the lolly aisles looked.  Halloween is a growing tradition here but we are still uneasy about it. 

I have mixed feelings about posting Halloween recipes here on my blog.  I enjoyed the Halloween pumpkin cupcake at True North in the above photo.  Yet commercialisation of the day makes me uncomfortable.  Halloween is very much about remembering the dead in our house.  I grew up with the Catholic tradition of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  The 31 October is the eve of the birth and death of Alex and Ian.  We remember our sons with a lunch and cake on their birthday each year.

Then there is our 5 year old Sylvia who loves all that is spooky and scary.  And so I too cannot resist some of the fun of Halloween.  After all, death is not all about sadness.  (TS Eliot said, in my beginning is my end, but he might well have said in my end is my beginning!)  She is starting to get excited at planning this birthday meal with us.  We invite our family each year and this year Sylvia invited a school friend too who came with her mum and little sister.

Some Halloween themes are creeping into the birthday food.  I have started collecting ideas on my Halloween Pinterest board.  Which had me dreaming of all sorts of weird and wonderful food art.  When I told Sylvia that we would make some Halloween snacks, she was so excited. They looked like lots of fun to make.  While I am sharing them here, I warn you that they were not as simple as they looked on Pinterest.

All morning yesterday Sylvia kept asking when we would make broomsticks.  I waited until about an hour before everyone was expected.  It seemed quite a simple recipe.  Perhaps it would be even easier if we had string cheese that seems quite popular in recipes in the USA.  Instead I followed the instructions on Kidspot.  They make it look pretty easy too.

The cheese on the first few broomsticks I made crumbled and the chives broke when I tried to tie the cheesy bristles onto the pretzel broom handles (which were small because that was all I could find).  I finally got the hang of it with spring onion ties but it was too hard for Sylvia.

No matter, I said to Sylvia, you do the bats.  Poor child!  These were probably our biggest failure.
I saw a pin where someone used dark grapes with blue corn chips for wings.  It seemed a good idea to use cherry tomatoes and hold the bats up by shoving the toothpick into a chunk of cheese.

I apologise for only sharing a photo of the one bat we managed to get to stand up for a while.  It was too difficult trying to get the rest to stand up - if the cherry tomatoes weren't so big that they fell over, the corn chip wings either drooped or were too heavy for the poor wee tomatoes.  I wont be doing these again.  Though the one that worked did look impressive overseeing the platter like an edible dark lord!

After the broomsticks and bats drove me a little batty, I went easy with these olive spiders.  I really liked the idea of putting olive spiders on a pizza or a little cheeseball.  But they were too much work.  I had the ingredients for the cheeseball but in the end I took the shortcut and just spread cream cheese on a round cracker and cut up black olives in a spider shape.

If I had had more time I would have made more.  However I accidentally bought ones that weren't pitted which created challenges with cutting them up.  I only made four of these because I was running out of time.  They looked too good to eat and so I never tried one.  All I can say is that a few hours later when we were clearing up the crackers were really soft.

Despite all my complaints about making the Halloween snacks, they weren't too time consuming and delighted the kids.  I really enjoyed eating the broomsticks.  All the snacks made a fine and fun contribution to a simple lunch of vegies, sourdough focaccia, pretzels, blue corn chips, dips and some kale chips that was brought along by Sylvia's friend's mum.  Naomi also kindly brought the lovely flowers from her garden.  And a good time was had by all.

I will post the monster cake and monster rice krispies from the lunch in the next day or two.  Meanwhile, though you can also find them all over the blogosphere, here is my take on the cheese and pretzel broomsticks.

More Halloween recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Cheese and pretzel broomsticks
From Kidspot (which has a useful video demonstration)

spring onion, preferable at least a few days old
sliced cheese (we used Swiss cheese)
pretzel sticks

Firstly take the floppy green end of the spring onions (trimming off any manky bits) and use a sharp knife to cut longways into very thin long pieces of spring onion.

Take a square of sliced cheese and cut in half.  Use a sharp knife to cut slits into the cheese to make a fringe on the bottom half of the long edge.  (I found it easier to handle if the slits were about 0.5cm and did not got any further up that halfway towards the top of the rectangle.)

Place the end of a pretzel stick along the edge of the cheese rectangle with the fringed bottom facing away from the pretzel.  Roll the cheese around the pretzel so that you have a fringed bottom like a broomstick (as in the photos).

Place broomstick on a plate.  I found mine quite fragile so it was best to put them where they were going to be and minimise handling.

On the Stereo:
Deserters Songs: Mercury Rev

Posted November 02, 2014 10:58 PM by Johanna GGG

Little Vegan Bear

Loving Hut Northcote II

Happy World Vegan Day (for yesterday!) I didn’t do anything to celebrate as I was home in bed with the sniffles, however am looking forward to the WVD Melbourne event next Sunday. Come at me delicious food!!

I’m still trying to knock out some recipe and dining out posts from before and during MoFo – this one being one of them. A couple of weeks back, the Bear and I hit up the Northcote Social Club for a gig. It was a Tuesday night, so we headed there straight from work and had some time to kill before it started. I don’t know why I feel that I need to give you a backing story to why we ate at Loving Hut, it really does not need to be justified.

As usual, the vibe was kind of weird as there was only one other couple sitting in when we arrived, in that sparse, school cafeteria-style space. There was a video playing on the TV of nature and animal shots which kept us entertained for some time, and for a moment I almost forgot how strange it was that a TV was playing there in the first place.

lovinghutnorthcote1We started out with some steamed wontons, which were sitting in a ginger-soy vinaigrette. I really enjoyed the dressing, as well as the crunchy garlic shoots and herbs on top.

lovinghutnorthcote2I couldn’t resist ordering the tofu bites again, I am obsessed. Hot, crispy, salty outside with melt in your mouth centre. And that tartar sauce, how?! So good.

lovinghutnorthcote3For the main, we shared a bowl of the Bun Bo Hue, which was plenty for the both of us as we were not super hungry. I always find these big bowls of soup so filling, even with the thin broth base. You can choose to have mock beef or tofu with this one – we chose beef. The flavour of the broth was lovely, made with lemongrass, chili, ginger, lime and cinnamon. It was zesty and slightly spicy and made me feel good inside.

lovinghutnorthcote4After perusing the dessert cabinet, there was no way I was leaving without a piece of this. There were a few cakey slicey things like this of different flavours, I can’t remember exactly what this one was – I think hazelnut mocha raspberry, or something of the like. I remember thinking that all those flavours might be a bit ambitious, but it seriously worked so well. The base had an incredible light and crispy texture, the centre beautiful and creamy, and how could I go wrong with a scoop of Zebra Dream ice cream on the side? Winnnaaaahhhhh!

If you want to see the glory of my first visit to Loving Hut Northcote, check out the post here. The Northcote shop definitely wins my vote over the Richmond one, which I have been to several times but only once taken pictures (post still to come). Also note, the hours of operation have changed since my last visit and they are now open for lunch too. Hoorah!

Loving Hut
377-79 High St, Northcote
Tues-Sun – 11am – 10pm
kitchen closes 30 mins prior to closing

Posted November 02, 2014 06:02 PM

The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Shu Restaurant


147 Johnston Street
VIC 3066
(03) 9090 7878


Opening Hours
Mon-Tues: Closed
Wed-Sun: 6pm-10.30pm
Vegan degustation on Wednesday nights

Encouragement from friends after many a successful dinner party led Shu Liu to open his own modern-Sichuan restaurant in Collingwood back in 2012. With vegan friends in his circle, he became well practiced in adapting Sichuan food for the compassionate eater and now devotes Wednesday nights at Shu to a vegan degustation.

Shu's fitout has a quirky chemistry lab/nightclub feel about it; think beakers, stainless steel, video projections and neon lights. All that aside, it is indeed the vegan food that steals the show.

On our visit, Shu's vegan degustation ($45) started with an impressive chilled platter of three dishes, including a 'Daikon roll of cucumber, smoked tofu, enoki mushroom and asian herbs' in a spicy soy dressing that had a memorable kick. A 'Chilled silken tofu jar of fresh peas, lentils and chickpeas, topped with housemade chilli jam' also featured and had a great mixture of textures.

A few hot plates followed including 'Steamed tofu pockets stuffed with preserved vegetable and roasted almonds' and the most amazing 'Pan fried vegan dumplings' with pickled chilli jam and Chinese vinegar.

Following on were some shared plates that included 'Pan roasted eggplant rolls stuffed with preserved mustard greens and roasted cashews'. The preserved mustard greens can only be described as a salty mouth explosion, which according to Shu is unique to his Sichuan hometown, situated at the beginning of the Yangtze river.

'Crispy fried organic tofu brushed with spicy black bean sauce sprinkled with roasted dried chilli and Sichuan pepper' was another amazing shared plate, paired with perfectly 'Grilled green beans and preserved mustard greens'.

A dessert of 'Raw avocado cheesecake topped with dried blueberries, puffed rice and brown rice syrup' was the perfect end to the meal. It was light and not too sweet, and would definitely entice me back to Shu just so I can have it again.

Thank you to Shu for offering complimentary meals to The Good Hearted.

 Shu on Urbanspoon

Also visited by: Quinces & Kale, Vegan About Town, where's the beef?

Posted November 02, 2014 03:54 PM

November 01, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Remembering Alex and Ian 7

Today we remember our sons Alex and Ian who were born and died on this day seven years ago.  As on other years, there is cake and sadness, wondering what they might have been like, what sort of party they might have chosen, and wishing they were here to celebrate with us.

As well as remembering Alex and Ian on their anniversary, it is the day on my blog to share some of the links I have come across during the past year about stillbirth and loss:

There were articles about celebrities who had experience pregnancy loss:

And here are some interesting resources and articles:

Posted November 01, 2014 07:14 PM by Johanna GGG

October 31, 2014


A Return To True North in Coburg

I met up with Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe yesterday at True North in Coburg. I pretty much have a plan to try as many of the vegan options as quickly as possible, in case they change the menu. Because my Reuben sandwich there was so good, I don’t want to risk missing out on...
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Posted October 31, 2014 11:45 PM

A Despicable Halloween With The Doctor

Soooo I had plans to make some Halloween foods today. But they all involved the oven and it was too hot for that (31C, about 88F) so I did what any good parent would do and took the kids to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop. In other words, relied on others to do the baking...
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Posted October 31, 2014 10:14 PM

Product Review: Accessories By Hello Vegan

I recently posted about visiting Melbourne’s World Event To End Animal Cruelty. One of the stalls I really wanted to visit was Hello Vegan and I was glad to finally have a chance to see their necklaces and earrings in person. Hello Vegan create beautiful accessories using fairly traded and/or vintage materials, with a strong focus...
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Posted October 31, 2014 12:36 AM

October 30, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Gnocchi with Mexican Corn

Tonight Sylvia started reading a chapter book in bed.  It wasn't planned.  She just happened to find a crochet blanket down the side of her bed.  Under it was The Folk of the Faraway Tree.  I came into her room and found her reading the book and telling me that I don't need to read to her any more.  Life can be like that.  Unexpected.  Yet obvious when it happens.  Like this gnocchi dish I made this week.

I happened to come across the interesting pasta salads at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.  In particular the Mexican Street Corn Salad took my interest.  It was something fun to make with the corn in the fridge.  And I had yoghurt, the lime, the avocado and some tofu feta.  I wanted it less creamy, less spicy and to use the gnocchi I had in the pantry.  Mine looked like a distant cousin of the Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice salad.

In fact it didn't look like a salad at all.  Despite my good intentions.  In fact I got fixated on making the corn for some Stuff and Stand taco shells that had been too surprising to pass up in the supermarket.  They were just right for stuffing with lots of interesting food.  I had the lettuce and refried beans for colour.  Then I remembered the pasta and was unsure. 

I threw in the pasta with the corn and left the taco shells until the following night.  In my imagination they had become massive taco bowls.  A quick look reminded me they were not that big.  Pretty but never made to hold a meal!  They were also unexpectedly soft.  A nice little addition to the meal but not the star that I had expected.

I am sure the gnocchi and corn would be satisfying on their own.  However I highly recommend serving it with the lettuce, refried beans and yoghurt.  It adds colour, texture and nutrition.  This meal could be made in a dairy loving kitchen with Greek yoghurt, parmesan and feta.  Or it could be made vegan with vegan gnocchi, vegan yoghurt, nutritional yeast and tofu feta.  Mine was a bit of both, according to availability and whim.

I am sending this pasta to Rachel Cotterill who is hosting Jac's Pasta Please event this month with the theme of Fusion pasta dishes.  I love the theme and am pleased to be part of the event, albeit a little late (thanks Rachel).

More fusion pasta dishes at Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Gnocchi with Mexican Corn
An original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 4

3-4 tbsp olive oil, divided
kernels of 3 cobs of corn
500g packaged gnocchi
2 spring onions, sliced
1 handful parsley (or fresh coriander), finely chopped
1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Franks)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste 
1-2 pinches of chilli powder
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup tofu feta or feta
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes or parmesan
juice of 1-2 limes
2 dessertspoons plain yoghurt

To serve:
Refried beans
Plain yoghurt

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high  heat in a large frypan and fry for a few minutes or until the corn until cooked.  (Alternatively you could BBQ or roast the corn if you had time.)  Remove cooked corn from frypan and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the frypan.  Fry gnocchi for about 5 minutes or until cooked and soft with some crispy edges from frying.  Add more oil if needed.  Return corn to frypan with spring onions, parsley, hot sauce, smoked paprika, salt and chilli powder.  Stir for a minute or so to heat through.  Stir in remaining ingredients and remove from heat.  Check seasoning.

Serve gnocchi with refried beans, lettuce and extra yoghurt.

On the stereo:
Live Concert Recordings: The Dead: Dec 30 and New Year's Eve Oakland CA. (The Grateful Dead)

Posted October 30, 2014 11:23 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

A Minor Place IV

October 19, 2014

On Sunday morning we wanted to head up towards Albion Street to scope out a rumoured new veg eatery that a friend had spotted (Little River, coming soon) and figured we'd start things off with brekkie at A Minor Place, an old favourite. The menu at A Minor Place has been pretty stable over the years, with most of our more recent visits going unblogged as we ordered old favourites like Henry's white beans and the New York bagel. We were pretty surprised to turn up and see that they've made sweeping menu changes in our absence (although don't be alarmed, the two dishes mentioned above remain available).

There are a few promising new dishes to add to these classics - a white bean ragout with poached eggs and goats cheese (with a vegan option, $16), a harissa scrambled eggs ($15.50) and a super salad with quinoa, kale, wild rice, corn and jalapenos among other ingredients ($16) all caught my eye. Things are well labelled - V for vegan and VO for vegan option, with everything else pretty self-explanatory.

Cindy was thrilled that they'd finally changed up the sweet options, promptly ordering the housemade pancakes with mixed berry compote, strawberry mascarpone, pistachio praline and berry maple syrup ($15.50).

Look at that mountain of decadence! Cindy loves a good berry-based sweet treat and she was very happy with this - the mascarpone was generously proportioned but not particularly strawberry flavoured and the pistachio praline was a mix of pistachio slivers and chunks of very sweet toffee.

I went for the vegan open chickpea sandwich, which is an almond-crusted chickpea patty with vegan mayo, caramelised onion, tomato, spinach, pickled carrots and tomato relish on wholegrain toast ($16.50).

First up, a minor complaint: why on earth do people insist on stacking meals such that two pieces of toast are on top of each other with basically nothing in between? Nobody wants to eat toast like that, you just wind up having to awkward tip things off the toast while trying not to embarrass yourself by smearing relish all down your front. Anyway. Structural frustrations aside, this was a damn fine start to the day - the patty was hefty and delicious (although not quite as crunchy on the outside as I was imagining from the phrase 'almond crusted'), the onions were soft and sweet, the relish had a nice sneaky spiciness to it and the whole package was a massive, messy food explosion. If you turn up at 10:30ish like we did, this will hold you until dinner (oh okay, we did have some sneaky pub chips at about 4:30).

A Minor Place is reliably impressive - the staff are friendly and efficient, the coffee's top notch, the food is always great and the atmosphere is a bit less stressful than a few years back when the Sunday queue would take up most of the block. If you haven't been for a while, now's a good time to go back and check out the new menu.

Since our last visit (way back in 2011!), A Minor Place has been reviewed positively by veg blogs The Good Hearted and Tempeh Tantrum and by more general bloggers Sharking for Chips and Drinks, dear melbourne, Gagwood Blog, EggsWithSides, things i see, eat and think, MelbourneChaiTimes and the spy machine.

A Minor Place
103 Albion Street, Brunswick
9384 3131
menus: food, drinks

Accessibility: You've got a few steps up to the front door and to the outdoor tables down the side, although there are a couple right on the street as well. Inside, things are fairly spacious around the counter, but get a bit crowded in the second room. The toilets are tucked away in the back courtyard and aren't really designed with accessibility in mind.

Posted October 30, 2014 09:12 PM by Michael

quinces and kale

chickpea flour and roasted veggie scramble

chickpea flour scramble

Another day, and a ‘failure’ that turned out delicious.

I was trying to make a chickpea omelette/pancake with some roasted veggies elegantly folded inside it for breakfast. In my pre-coffee stupor I forgot to add any raising agent and forgot to oil the pan. When I went to fold it, everything was a bit flat and totally stuck! Rather than throw it away I simply scraped it from the bottom of the pan and broke it up a bit, threw in some roasted veggies and then tossed it around to cook some more. What I ended up with was a delicious, nutty flavoured soft scramble with some crunchy bits.

A nice change from a tofu scramble and a very happy accident.

I’ll be making it again.


chickpea flour and roasted vegie scramble
prep time
10 mins
cook time
5 mins
total time
15 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: Breakfast
cuisine: vegan
serves: 1
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • ½ cup water
  • a pinch of salt
  • a small handful of parsley chopped
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and allow them to stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the mix into a oiled pan and once it starts to dry off on the top surface, flip and break it up into chunks and cook some more.
  3. Add any garnishes of your choice. I ate mine with some leftover roasted mushrooms, pumpkin, parsnip and onion.


Posted October 30, 2014 10:00 AM

October 29, 2014


Product Review: Leda Banana Bars, Baked Fruit Filled Bars, Minton Biscuits and Rum Balls

I’ve passed many Leda packages in the supermarkets when looking for either vegan or vegan+gluten free products. When I became vegan, other vegans told me to go and try Leda products quick smart, raving about the Minton and Choculence cream filled biscuits in particular. I’ve tried the Choculence in the past and can understand why...
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Posted October 29, 2014 07:22 PM

What I Ate (Recently…)

I really should rename this series to “What I Ate… this month or so”. I swear I try to get my What I Ate posts up every week. A lot of the time the stuff I make seems too heavy on the mega-boring to blog about (I don’t want to subject you guys to more...
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Posted October 29, 2014 11:48 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Cocoa granola

October 12-13, 2014

With tea and toast and boxed supermarket cereal, I worked myself back into a breakfast rut these last couple of months. I was just about ready to bake up a batch of my favourite granola recipe when Heidi posted this one on Apples Under My Bed

Now it's been years since I've read about chocolate granola on Orangette, and I've even sampled some out and about, but I was wary of extending my well-established chocolate habit to breakfast. But Heidi's recipe is different - it's got the deep roasted flavour of cocoa without the richness of cocoa butter, and offers the freedom to tinker with the sweetness as needed. I appreciated Heidi's recipe notes - it's tempting to over-bake this mixture, but it crisps up while cooling and doesn't need more than 25 minutes in the oven.

I think this granola is at its best with berries and coconut yoghurt, while Heidi recommends teaming it with banana and milk. I might have some other serving suggestions soon, as I've found myself baking two further double batches for friends (and for me too, sure) since the first trial I photographed above.

Cocoa granola
(slightly adapted from Apples Under My Bed)

3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
generous shake of salt
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons ground coffee
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat an oven to 160°C. Line a large baking tray with paper.

Gently melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and set it aside to cool a little.

In a medium-large bowl, stir together the rolled oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, salt, cocoa and coffee.

Whisk the maple syrup and vanilla into the coconut oil. Pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the granola onto the baking tray, spreading it out evenly. Bake the granola for 20-25 minutes, stirring it at the 10 minute mark. Be careful no to burn it.

Allow the granola to cool before storing it in an airtight container. Serve it with yoghurt and fruit.

Posted October 29, 2014 07:55 AM by Cindy

October 28, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Loaf and Lounge: Camperdown bakery, and the road to Port Fairy

On our recent holiday, it was amazing to find a country cafe (The Farmers Wife Harvest Cafe in Port Fairy) that served kale salad.  Yet I was even more surprised on the way home when we discovered the Loaf and Lounge bakery in Camperdown which sold kale salad, raw cauliflower salad and green smoothies!  It was a pleasure to eat good fresh honest food that was more homely than mass produced. 

But let me backtrack to the start of our trip.  On the way down to Port Fairy, we stopped at the Winchelsea Shire Hall Tea Rooms where we had visited last time.  This time it was behind deep roadworks but charming nevertheless.  I had a korma pie with salad and chutney.  It was very nice but the salad was mostly greens.  Spending $13 seemed a lot for a pie with some lettuce leaves.  Yet I was still enjoyed being there and having a good meal.  Sylvia had the chips which were very good too and E had a focaccia.

The rest of the drive to Port Fairy went rather quickly past the windmills and cows and green green fields.  No doubt it felt like we sped along because we didn't detour down the Great Ocean Road as we have on previous visits.  I had to stop to photograph the Stony Rises which, as I wrote about last year, make me all nostalgic for childhood trips down this way.  In fact driving along this part of the Princess Highway brings me past many places that bring back memories of people I have known throughout my life.

The trip home had not a hint of sunshine.  It was the sort of day on which we were just relieved if it stopped raining.  We looked at another cafe that looked interesting called Snout in the Trough but I had seen the Loaf and Lounge (above) which looked cosy and full of people enjoying their meal.  We had just got in there when the rain came on, so heavy and blown almost horizontally by the wild winds.  It was good to be on the inside.

It was obvious when we stepped in that this was no ordinary country bakery.  The sort that rely on lots of icing and cream and custard with a bit of pastry or bun in between.  I have been in enough of those (like these).  This one had the standard pie warmer and loaves of bread and a counter display of colourful cakes.  Yet the walls were brightly painted and the room was furnished in elegant eclectic old tables and chairs that would be at home in a Brunswick cafe.  The juices on the blackboard looked really interesting and Sylvia was able to have sushi.

I spoke to the woman behind the counter and asked for advice on what to eat.  I could have had a sandwich or baked beans but wanted something else.  She advised to have some salad with a pastie.  I was amazed that the salads were kale salad and raw cauliflower rice salad.

Even the pastie wasn't the usual pastie with the regular bakery flaky pastry.  This pastry seemed home-made and more substantial.  If only every pastie came with such healthy salads.  My only problem was that they served the salad without any dressing.  When I asked a waitress she returned promptly with a little bowl of dressing.  The salads weren't full of lots of interesting ingredients like in the Farmer's Wife but they were packed with fresh vegies.  It was great to feel like I had eaten well on the road.

E had sausage roll and chips which he spoke highly of and he enjoyed his coffee.  Sylvia had her heart set on a strawberry milkshake which came in a huge paper cup she could not finish.  I was delighted with my green smoothie made of banana, apple, kale, orange juice, chia, water and ice.  Like Sylvia's drink, it was huge but so good.

After lunch, though we had eaten well, the cake cabinet beckoned.  It was full of colourful sweet treats.  Sylvia chose a green stripey doughnut, I had a coffee scrolls and E had a vanilla slice.  The doughnut was lovely and fresh.

At the counter there was some discussion of whether coffee scrolls have coffee in them.  I don't like coffee so I check, though I know most don't.  It was not the usual puffed up soft sweet bread roll.  It was denser and more chewy.  I enjoyed it though it had too much icing for me.

E hit the jackpot with an amazing vanilla slice.  Vanilla slice is something that gets done really badly in bakeries too often. The custard can be a colourless gell.  (Why else do they call them snot blocks!)  This one had magnificent creamy thick custard with a thick layer of good flaky pastry and pink icing. I am not usually a fan of vanilla slice but when I tasted his one, I almost wished I had ordered one myself.

I did think about buying my dad a piece of vanilla slice and perhaps purchasing some of the jams and chutneys on the shelves.  However I got distracted by the drama of the little girl locked in toilets and the burly tradie who used his screwdriver to get her out.

Then we got back into our car and headed back home via my parents' place in Geelong.  We were glad to go home given that the lovely sunny days of our holiday had gone all gloomy and grim on us.  I didn't take any photos on the way home but will leave you will a photo I took of the impressive clouds on the way to Port Fairy.

The Loaf and Lounge
223 Manifold St
Camperdown, Victoria
Tel: 03 5593 1521

The Loaf and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Posted October 28, 2014 11:48 PM by Johanna GGG


A Few Recipes I’m Really Enjoying

We’ve had typical Melbourne spring weather, which means we have some very warm days followed by some really cold days. To give you an idea, a few days ago I got sunburnt. Today, as I type this, I’m rugged up in my dressing gown and heating up lavender bags to keep warm. The other night...
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Posted October 28, 2014 05:05 PM