April 23, 2014

Little Vegan Bear

Easter weekend

The last week or so has been HECTIC. I went from being sick off work for a few days, to coming back (which can be hectic enough just playing catch-ups), having a birthday, spending Good Friday packing up my room, saturday moving house and all the fun that comes with that, then the unpacking, Easter, and blah blah blah. Back at work yesterday and I’m totally spent.

But that’s not what I came here to talk about – I want do tell you about the wonderful things I did, not the draining ones.

Friday night I lured the bear over to my place to help me sort out a few things with the promise of pizza. And pizza we had! I made up the standard VWaV dough which we spread into four thin crust pizzas.

ImageFirst up, a lovely chilli, sun-dried tomato and olive pizza, with vegusto melty cheese and fresh basil and oregano.

ImageNext, supreme mushroom, capsicum, onion, garlic, pineapple and sun-dried tomato with a pesto swirl!

ImageAnd in case that swirl of pesto wasn’t enough, here’s a totally rad cheesy pesto-chilli-mushroom pizza, made with my delicious toasted sunflower seed pesto (recipe to come!)

ImageAnd lastly a classic supreme.

A pretty successful pizza party that managed to sustain us through Saturday’s move – we were up early to pick up a van, which due to all the holidays we could only have for a couple of hours, so it was a race against time carting everything from one place to the other. But we made it!

I didn’t get back to the new place til the evening, which meant we only had an hour or so to quickly build my bed before we rushed off to a comedy show we had bought tickets to a while back. We dashed out to see Steve Hughes, then stopped by Victoria St to grab some dinner before retiring to the newly made bed. My new place is in Abbotsford, just around the corner from Victoria St, so I anticipate there being many delicious adventures in the near future.

Sunday and Easter was upon us! Sadly, I didn’t have time to get very festive this year…I had the best intentions of making some hot cross buns and chocolates but never found the time. I hardly even ate much chocolate! Woe is me! I did find a few minutes to whip up a coconut salted caramel mix which i filled some chockies with, but only managed to do about eight before I ran out of time. Oh well. Who said making chocolates had to be just an easter thing?

While my Dad had prior engagements with his hockey team, my Mum came into Abbotsford and we went over to the Convent for lunch.


I ordered the arancini balls and we also ordered a side salad to share. Arancini can go either way, and as the Bear pointed out, they often conjure images of crusty, dried out, been-sitting-in-the-window-forever food. This was not the case here though – the Arancini had a nice firm crust (I imagine it had been baked), yet was lovely and moist inside and mixed with lots of mushroom bits. It was topped with a rich napoli sauce and sitting on top of some lovely strips of zucchini and eggplant. All round delicious.


After lunch we took a stroll around the grounds, enjoying the pleasant weather and the relaxed atmosphere. There were also some craft markets on, so we were able to browse the handmade wares.




This patch of grass had been coloured in an incredible pattern. The kids around were LOVING it, running around on it screaming their little hearts out. It’s not every day you get to play on purple grass, I reckon it’s grounds for going troppo.



The easter bunny even made an appearance! (?)

On monday, a lovely friend and I decided to take a little day trip out of the city to enjoy a lunch in Belgrave. We headed out there in the early afternoon, and it was lovely to breathe in the fresh autumn air, free of the big city smoke.


We stopped in at the Grunge Cafe for a spot of lunch, and after deciding on a delicious item from the brekkie menu (scrambled tofu and mushrooms), I discovered even more vegan options in the display cabinet, including this vegan burger – served here with garlic bread and salad. Would you look at that thing?! – How could I resist?

This was hands down one of the best vegan burgers/patties that I have tried. It was jam packed with whole chickpeas and pumpkin seeds amongst other things, and served with a lovely chutney. My only complaint (and it would be a stretch!) would be that there wasn’t quite enough chutney to service the whole burger, but with a burger that delicious it really didn’t matter.

Extra points to the lovely staff member who must have seen the look on my face when she mentioned garlic bread, and asked me if I too would like some added to my meal…uh YES!!!!

Seriously, check this place out – it was worth the trip just for this lovely meal alone (don’t get me started on the rest of this pretty little town).


After lunch we wandered around the main strip and then set off to go on a little forest walk. After a small amount of getting lost, we remembered that it would be getting dark soon, and that perhaps we should set off an adventure in the morning in one of the weeks to come, in order to avoid getting lost in the forest.

Happy with this new plan and the small (but delicious!) taste of Belgrave we had, we endeavoured to come back in a fortnight or so.


And thus ends the Easter weekend!

Convent Bakery
Abbotsford Convent
1 Saint Helliers St, Abbotsford
Open 7 days, 7am – 5pm
Grunge Cafe
1696 Burwood Highway, Belgrave
Mon-Fri – 8am – 4.30pm
Sat-Sun – 9am – 4pm

Posted April 23, 2014 11:06 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Lolo & Wren

April 20, 2014

We had a very quiet Easter weekend lined up, so we were ready to go when Eliza tweeted us a tip: breakfast at Lolo & Wren in  Brunswick West. It was a place we'd both heard of, but not one that we'd really paid any attention to, failing to notice as Lolo & Wren made it onto the Herald Sun's top 25 Melbourne breakfasts, The Age's guide to Melbourne's best sandwiches and into the upper echelon of The Age's cheap eats guide. Nevertheless, one look at the menu made it clear that we were in good hands: there's banoffee porridge ($12.50), caramelised pear, almond and walnut pancakes with marscapone, rhubarb and blueberry compote, mint and maple syrup ($15.50), a very fancy sounding bruschetta ($18.50) and plenty of other impressive options. There's not a lot on offer for vegans - an adapted version of a haloumi, beans, leek and vegetable escabeche dish ($16.50, and I'm not sure what they do instead of the haloumi) and a patatas bravas side ($9.50).

The cafe itself is a bit out of the way - tucked under a newish apartment block on Albion Street west of Melville Road. It has a very stylish fit-out, mixing a simple clean look with some hip recycled touches, like the communal table and main bar (built out of old wooden pallets). At 9am on Easter Sunday things are pretty quiet, but by the time we left at 10ish there wasn't a spare table to be found - Lolo & Wren have clearly won a devoted following since opening a little over a year ago.

I considered the haloumi dish but decided that I couldn't resist the allure of the sweetcorn and zucchini corn fritters with pepperonata, feta, pebre salsa, chilli jam and avocado ($16.80). 

This was incredibly impressive - the fritters were the perfect balance of crispy exterior and puffy, soft interior served with a lovely mix of accompaniments. The chilli jam offered just a hint of spiciness, while the creamy, salty feta and tangy salsa kept every mouthful interesting. This is a brilliant breakfast - definitely one to make the trip for.

Cindy was drawn to the brioche French toast (with lemon curd, fresh orange, ricotta, candied zest, raspberry compote, baby basil and burnt orange syrup, $15.50).

It looked even better than my dish - a brilliantly presented plate that made me wish I'd gone with a sweet order for once. The lemon curd was a standout, and the berries and orange cut through the richness of the eggy bread and the ricotta. It was another great meal.

Lolo & Wren is a real find - fancyish breakfast dishes at pretty reasonable prices in a lovely setting. The staff were friendly and efficient, the coffee excellent and the menu well stocked with interesting dishes. It's not as conveniently located as some of our other favourites, but it's well worth a visit and will definitely be added to our rotation.



Lolo & Wren
484 Albion St, Brunswick West
9383 3712
menu: one, two

Accessibility: There's a flat entry into an interior that's moderately dense with tables. We ordered at the table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets but noticed a wheelchair-accessible sign for them.

Posted April 23, 2014 08:48 AM by Michael

April 22, 2014

Consuming Cate

Food for thought

Did you have a good Easter?  I had a great Easter sunday lunch and invited friends over for a big boozy meal of roast veg, meat and nut loaf and all the trimmings. Great fun. I also made hot cross buns experimenting with a different recipe of my creation (I try one each year) which used coconut oil instead of Nuttlex and orange water instead of orange juice and zest. Did it work? It was hard to tell as the buns were proofed for far too long after being ready to bake and I had the sense that the variations cancelled out the spices and fruit so they ended up a bit bland really. 


Things that interest me this week:

Love this recipe for vegan 'creme eggs'. I've never liked the original but I know people who are huge fans. 

These big prints by Sophie Hanson of Local is Lovely are just gorgeous. If I had the cash (and wasn't moving)...

Love this creative project of  by designer and writer Dinah Fried, who cooks, art-directs, and photographs meals from nearly two centuries of famous fiction. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951
'When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield.'

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 1963
'Then I tackled the avocado and crabmeat salad...Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comic.'

I love this video Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky from the 1930s.

This post by Underground SupperClub Creator Ms Marmalade about creating food for people undergoing dialysis for renal failure is indeed humbling

"Madonna earns the wraith of Joyce Bana", as reported by Elliot Ross. Great critique by the Malawi President on the great white saviour complex. 

"Why I'm not excited by H&M's Australian Launch" by Maddy Newman is a good summary of all the problems with fast fashion. Don't get me wrong, I don't buy all local produced organically made clothing myself, I just can't afford it and it's difficult to find in plus sizing. But it doesn't mean I can't be aware and make ethical choices where I can. 

Do you like to watch documentaries? I'm a huge fan on a range of topics. Recent ones I've enjoyed include Erasing Hate and Confessions of an Undercover Cop

Posted April 22, 2014 08:51 AM by Cate

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Sweet potato & red curry soup

April 18, 2014

I've somewhat foolishly signed up to do the Oxfram Trailwalker this year - a 100km walk through the Dandenongs over the course of a weekend, inevitably resulting in pain, tears and ruined friendships. Our team decided to make use of the Easter weekend to get a last burst of training in and headed out Warburton way to sample a section of the trail.

Sadly, Melbourne's forecast of 'a few showers' turned out to be more like 'buckets of freezing icy rain,' leaving me wet, cold and cranky on my return home. Luckily, the meal I'd planned for the evening was the perfect antidote - a spicy, thick soup, bursting with flavour and loaded with fresh veggies.

It's another recipe from Isa Does It and had the twin virtues of being pretty simple to make and being able to thaw the ice in my bones. There's a bit of veggie chopping required to get yourself set up, but from then on it's a big one-pot dish that simmers away quietly filling your house with wonderful aromas. The curry paste and coconut milk give everything a very Thai feel, while the root veggies and kale give it a slightly heartier vibe and the lime juice adds a bit of zing. Now I just need to convince Cindy to make this on the weekend of the actual walk - I can't imagine a better dish to come home to.

Sweet potato & red curry soup with rice and kale
(based on a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Isa Does It)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
2 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3/4 cup jasmine rice
4 cups veggie stock + 2 cups water (use 6 cups of stock if you've got it)
2 tablespoons red curry paste (we use Maesri)
the leaves from 1 bunch of red kale, shredded
half a sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
400g can coconut milk
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon maple syrup
fresh coriander for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a big pot and throw in the onion and one teaspoon of the salt. Cook for five minutes or so, stirring often, until it's softened up.

Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another minute or so.

Tip in the stock and water, the rice, and the rest of the salt and cover. Bring it all to the boil.

Once it's boiled, drop the heat until you get it at a nice low simmer. Throw in the curry paste, kale, sweet potato and carrot and stir everything together thoroughly. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the coconut milk, lime juice and maple syrup, stir in some of the coriander and kill the heat.

Serve, garnished with remaining coriander.

Posted April 22, 2014 08:49 AM by Michael

April 21, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Easter chick crackers, salt dough easter eggs, and an egg hunt

It has been a fun Easter.  We have made chocolate easter egg nests, painted salt dough eggs, baked (and eaten) lots of sourdough hot cross buns, made easter chick crackers for a lunch and had a fun colour coded egg hunt.  Having a 5 year old about is fun.  Sylvia has been very excited about the Easter bunny and eager to go to church to hear stories about Jesus.  So here is a rundown.

On Good Friday, we stayed at home and kept ourselves busy.  Too many hot cross buns were eaten.  At lunchtime I decided to make a light lunch of crackers and cheese.  For a few years I have admired some cute cheese and cracker chicks.  Finally I made them myself.

The chicks were made of garlic crackers, cheddar cheese, black sesame seed eyes and carrots for beaks, feet and hair.  They were easy and yummy.  We also snacked on some smoked almonds so I had fun making them into a nest.

We enjoy chocolate Easter eggs but I love some alternatives, especially when home made.  I decided it would be fun to make salt dough egg cut outs with Sylvia.  I didn't have an egg shaped cutter but we found a cap off a doll's baby drinking cup that seemed about the right shape.  We had also thought about doing flowers.  Any shape would do, especially at other times of year.

Despite following a recipe, the eggs were a little puffy and soft when they came out of the oven.  Not unusual for my oven to be slower than others.  We managed to paint one side of the eggs before Sylvia went to bed.  I painted the other side while she was refusing to sleep.

We took the salt dough eggs to my parents' place when we went there for Easter.  They have a little seasonal tree on the sideboard.  My mum had also made some dough eggs with my nieces.  They had rolled out a dough of flour and water and made decorations on them by colouring some leftover dough and sticking it on the eggs before baking.  All the eggs were strung from the tree and made a very striking centrepiece on the table on Easter Sunday.  And we gave some with Easter eggs to Sylvia's cousins.

As always we ate well when at my parents' house.  On Saturday we had burgers for dinner before going to mass.  Everyone else had meat burgers but my mum grilled some saganaki for me.  It was so good with the charred edges in toasted buns with fried red capsicum. lettuce, onions, tomato and sauce.  Reminded me of the ones we had when I was a child.  Or perhaps it tasted so good after an afternoon swim in Geelong.

I also took along a golden beetroot nut roast for the roast dinner on Sunday.  Plus some chocolate cake (that I will write about later.)  I loved the Toblerone cheesecake my mum made for dessert on Sunday.  And there were hot cross buns galore.

Sylvia had made a special basket for Easter bunny to put eggs into.  She was also very excited about an Easter egg hunt.  I had seen an easter egg hunt with colour coordinated easter eggs.   My dad organises the easter egg hunt and embraced the idea of each child collecting a different colour.  Below you can see his colour chart.

The egg hunt was great fun.  My dad had done a great job of hiding the eggs.  Almost too good, in some cases.  Colour coding the eggs meant there wasn't the mad scramble to be the kid to find the most and there was some interesting cooperation between the kids.  The only drawback was having an extra child unexpectedly turning up.  Fortunately one of the toddlers hadn't turned up yet and never missed it.

Above is another sneak peak of my chocolate cake and just some of the Easter eggs lined up.  E gave me a Koko Black easter egg.  He said he had to queue for it.  Having sampled it tonight, I can understand why you might queue for it.  The chocolate was far superior to many Easter eggs I have tasted.  And that is just the way I want my Easter to end.  With some great chocolate.

I am sending the Easter chick crackers to Louisa from Eat Your Veg for the Family Foodies event which focuses on Healthy Snacks in April. It is hosted on alternate months with Vanesther from Bangers and Mash.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: WSC Chocolate Chip and Honey Scones
Two years ago: Zucchini Layer Cake plus random thoughts
Three years ago: Marzipan choc chip cookies
Four years ago: Curried Paneer and Birthday Cheer
Five years ago: Easter Nut Roast and Feasting
Six years ago: NCR Moody Mushroom Stew

Salt Dough Easter Eggs
From Design Mom

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
egg shaped cutter

Mix flour, salt and water.  Knead briefly until you have a smooth dough.  (It was slightly tacky but didn't really need extra flour).  Roll dough out on baking paper to about 0.5cm thick.  (I am not sure this is essential but it keeps the work surface clean.)  Cut out egg shapes (I used one of Sylvia's toys because we don't have cutters).  Transfer to lined baking tray.

Use a chopstick to poke holes towards the top of the eggs.  Bake at 120 C for 2 hours.  (Mine were not quite done after this so - some had some softness still but I didn't have the time to leave it longer.)  Cool the eggs.

Paint eggs on one side, let dry, turn over over paint other side.  When both sides are dry, threat a piece of string through each egg and tie a knot.

On the Stereo:
Blonde on Blonde: Bob Dylan

Posted April 21, 2014 10:23 PM by Johanna GGG

Challenge Accepted!

Week 3: Take a Bao

So after not feeling well for the past few days, a big steaming bowl of spicy Pho was just what I felt like last night. I've always adored BBQ buns, so I wanted to try my hand at them too, though I knew it wouldn't be easy. Both of this week's offerings are from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World.

Terry Hope Romero

BBQ Seitan Buns

These were just as involved as I'd imagined, and the only way I was able to get them done last night, sick and tired, was because I'd made the seitan ahead of time, earlier in the week. 

After some quick conversion from ounces to grams, and staring in consternation at the 35g packet of yeast ("Surely she doesn't expect you to use all five sachets? The box says only one is needed to make a Tea Bun..."), I decided to just follow what the recipe said. I ran into a minor snafu early on, when the dough was not 'tacky' and moist as described in the book, but decidedly dry, with quite a bit of flour sitting around it. I added an extra half a cup of water and tablespoon of oil, and it seemed to start behaving better.

After letting it sit for an hour and then 'punching down' the dough (I've always loved that instruction, I have a photo of one time I made bread, where I've left an actual fist mark in the dough. :-D), I rolled and cut it into small balls:

In the meantime, I cut up the pre-prepared seitan and baked it with the marinade while the sauce thickened on the stove. When they were combined, then came the fun part, shaping the bao:
(Quite a bit of the seitan mixture may have made it into my mouth rather than the bao, sooo yummy.)

After fiddling around in different batches whether to steam with the lid on or off, I decided to leave it on, reasoning that slightly wet bao were better than half-cooked ones.

And voila, the finished product! Om nom nom. They did taste a little more... yeasty I'm going to call it, than store bought bao I've tasted, but still yummy.

 "Did she really make fresh Bao? Quaint!"

Sizzling tofu Pho soup

This was a lot more involved than I expected it to be, with a lot of simmering time and cooling time and several different parts all to be assembled, so I may have taken some shortcuts. I used a packet of pre-marinated tofu instead of making more seitan from scratch, and fried it in a pan. The broth was by far the most complex part, with a lot of different spices (some of which I had to substitute, will try again another time when I have all of them to see the difference). After frying the onion and ginger, I added the shitaake mushrooms and other sauces and simmered for 45 minutes, after which you are supposed to strain the veggies out and add soy and vinegar, but I forgot to do this until it was already in the bowl so I added some in there.

The best part was assembling the bowl in layers, first the noodles, then chopped bok choy and carrot, then tofu and the broth poured on top. Definitely not a weeknight meal though, unless you'd made some of the parts ahead of time, but I will definitely be making it again!

Spicy and sour and delicious.

Posted April 21, 2014 01:41 PM by Kate

quinces and kale

tapioca pudding

tapioca pudding

No, don’t say erk and run away…I know it sounds like boarding school and bad food, but it is delicious.

I have bad memories of tapioca as a child and after eating this I don’t know why. This pudding is the last word in comfort food.

One day a few weeks back when I was shopping in Fairfield I came across a tapioca, coconut milk fruit dessert tub made by Arlington’s. It was marked vegan and I’m always ready to give a vegan product a go. My expectations were not high, given my previous childhood horror of tapioca, but I was blown away. However at the rate I was scoffing them I was going to be poor very soon.

So I decided to make my own. It is a very easy dessert or breakfast food to make. Cook the tapioca in some sweetened coconut milk and water, add some pureed fruit. Cool and set.

tapioca pudding with fruit

This time I made mine with some apples and quinces from the garden. I ate it for breakfast this morning garnished with some apples cooked with raspberries.


tapioca pudding
prep time
5 mins
cook time
15 mins
total time
20 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: dessert, sweet, breakfast
cuisine: Vegan
serves: 4
  • ½ cup tapioca pearls
  • 300 ml coconut cream
  • 280 ml water
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup pureed fruit of your choice (I used a mix of apples and quinces cooked with cinnamon and cloves)
  1. Put the tapioca, coconut cream and water into a saucepan
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook until the pearls are clear and no longer have a bite
  3. Add the fruit (I made mine partly pureed with the occasional chunk for a contrast)
  4. Add sugar to taste. I needed about 5 teaspoons.

Posted April 21, 2014 09:15 AM


What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition

A little while back, I blogged about needing to lose a bit of weight.  Make that a lot of weight!  5kg (11lbs) for starters, seeing as that’s what I’ve put on after getting down to a weight I hadn’t seen in a very very long time over a year ago!

This week I am right back in to my oil-free cooking and avoiding stuff like bread and pasta.  I’m also going for more wholefoods and minimising processed foods.  Fats are also cut waaay down so I am mindful of things like nuts, seeds and usage of coconut oil.  As much as I don’t like the cooking sprays, I am using a very short burst of olive oil spray for oven cooking but keeping that to zero as much as possible.  I don’t find this restrictive in any way, fortunately!

Here’s a look at what I’ve eaten this week.  I have retained only a little of the muscle mass I gained when heavy weight training over a year ago (boy does it hurt my pride to flex and see no more guns) so I’m trying to keep an eye on protein intake so I don’t shrivel away entirely…


I started on Monday and today is the following Monday morning .  So in one week, I am down  1.5kg (3.3lbs).  I haven’t exercised, apart from one gym workout as a trial.  I have injuries in both feet and should avoid weight bearing and impact exercises like jogging.  Not fun when you want to lose weight, so I’ll be checking out exercise bike hire to get some HIIT happening.

So, these are some of the things I’ve eaten.  Of course, it’s not everything but I’m guessing you will all get sick of me photographing bananas and the same bowl of soup because I made enough for four days then went nuts because I hate leftovers after the second day…

Smoothie with unsweetened plant milk, banana, spinach, pepitas, hemp protein:


A bowl of vegetable and cannellini bean soup (there are also some red lentils floating around but not enough, so I threw in the beans for a protein boost).  Days worth of this:


When I went for my haircut, I made a double serve of a breakfast smoothie so I could take some with me, seeing as a) I was at the hair salon for a couple of hours at least and b) I was near Crumbs Bakery, with their vegan pastries and donuts.  DANGER. This smoothie has spinach, banana, blueberries, hemp protein, flax:


Chickpea scramble made with broccoli, tomato, kale, lemon juice and lots of savoury yeast with my mum’s peas and carrots (cooked with onion and a little tomato paste) on the side:


Smoothie with hemp protein, flax, fresh mint, banana. As I was making it I was thinking “I’ve missed something, I just know it”… turns out it was the spinach.  I add spinach to all my smoothies.  Except this one:


Pan Seared Garlic Tofu from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, cooked in my new cast iron frying pan.  Oh my goodness, crispy tofu without using stacks of oil! I served this with the roast cauliflower (with a spritz of oil spray) and the miso tahini dressing from the Isa Does It recipe for the Roasty Soba Bowl.  Instead of soba I went for the last of the broccoli and some chickpea scramble.  YUM.  I had it again quite a few times:

misotahinivegtofuAlthough I enjoy smoothies for a quick easy breakfast, I decided to try pancakes.  AHA! I hear you say.  Pancakes on a diet?  Oh Veganopoulous, you crazy kid! Well!  I made the blueberry pancakes from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive nutrition book.  These are made with buckwheat flour, cooked quinoa, hemp milk, water, blueberries, salt, two dates, baking powder and baking soda.  You mix up the batter in a food processor.  They’re not the most attractive of pancake colours but they’re super healthy.  The recipe makes two large servings.  I had mine with a small sliced banana and home made applesauce (I just stewed some apples in a little water then pureed it all.  No sweetener).  The banana and applesauce did well as a ‘syrup’ seeing as I’ve waved goodbye to my beloved maple syrup for now.  This breakfast really filled me up and I was stuffed by the last couple of forkfuls so next time I’d make these as three smaller servings:


Another smoothie from Thrive, this one made with hemp, flax, pumpkin seed, banana, orange, ground cloves:

We visited my parents on Good Friday and my mum had made Greek lentil soup and added in some kale I took over.  Being Good Friday she didn’t use olive oil so I was pleased to have a nice bowl of oil free lentil soup.  Called “faki” in Greek, pronounced “fu-KI” and enough to earn me detention after the home ec teacher asked what I ate for dinner and I answered honestly:


I made another Brendan Brazier Thrive recipe, this time the Black Bean Lime Salsa.  I love this! black beans, tomato, onion (which I left out), fresh coriander, balsamic vinegar, hemp oil, lime juice.  I moosh mine up in the food processor even though you’re supposed to just mix them together.  Here I have it served with the last of my roast cauliflower steaks:


I haven’t featured any Easter gatherings here as I haven’t been to any.  We have a belated Easter lunch with my parents, sister and brother in law today so I’ll be blogging about that very soon.  This year I said I’d make hot cross buns with the kids but really, we’ve had so many store bought ones in the house that my dad insists on buying for us, that I am just well over them and I think Arthur and DeeW have consumed more than enough without needing to add to the count!

Although I ate the same things many times, it doesn’t bother me much now.  See, I’m a person who hates leftovers after day two.  I get BORED to the point where I would rather not eat than eat leftovers AGAIN.  I’m a bit of a princess like that.  On the third day I wanted to cry, in that whiny #firstworldproblem manner, when I realised I still had more bean-veg soup to eat.  Yea verily Veganopoulous, get over it! For day 4 I felt better about it because it certainly helps knowing what I will be eating, without having to worry about coming up with something new every day or two.  It makes for boring blog entries though!


This past week I’ve been playing and re-playing the new single by Tori Amos called ‘Trouble’s Lament’.  I can’t get enough of it!  I’m a looong time fan but the last couple of albums didn’t really jump out and grab me like all the rest.  But this song just kapowed me in the face!  If you’re a long time fan too, you might also be kapowed by the different sound she takes here.  Before I sat down to listen I was wondering how different, though familiar, it would be to her past albums and I wasn’t expecting this.  I’m looooving the percussion and guitars.  Kapow!

Posted April 21, 2014 08:11 AM

April 20, 2014

Vegan Bullsh*t

Waffle Taco?

I'm still getting used to using my waffle maker - I forget I own it so it hasn't gotten much use lately. But I came across this recipe from The Sugar Hit and was intrigued - buttery corn, spring onions and salsa together? Instead of the fried egg, I figured a nice greasy rosti would be an excellent choice. It photographs terribly, but damn it was good.
I really liked this recipe, although I think there was far too much butter (cough, Nuttelex) in there - it kind of overwhelmed the sweetness of the corn and the spring onions. Perhaps the omni version fares better? But the waffles came out lovely and crispy with great inner texture and were the perfect vehicle for my lazy pico de gallo (a handful of grape tomatoes, quarter of a red onion, 6-8 pickled jalapeno slices, pepper and lime juice). The whole thing took very little prep - the batter rests a while but it was a nice easy, lazy, tasty way to end an Easter Sunday - waffle maker, a frypan and a chopping board on the go while having a drink in the kitchen. Super relaxing. I rolled mine up into a giant waffle taco and stuffed my face. I am not even ashamed. Happy Easter! 

Posted April 20, 2014 08:31 PM by L

Thoughts Of A Moni

Fig and Pistachio Frangipane Tart

For almost my whole life we've had a fig tree in the backyard that produced ridiculous amounts of figs each year. For about the first fifteen years, I ignored it completely, then when I started working, my colleagues were amazed that I had such easy access to figs and requested that I bring them in some. We had so many, that I started bringing kilos and kilos to them, from which they made jams, and tried to convince me to taste them. I always refused. Then this year, I suddenly had a change of heart and decided I needed to try these figs that everyone raved about. Last year my instagram feed was filled with photos of fig tarts that Thanh from I Eat Therefore I Am fame made, and so I decided to try and replicate his success.  This recipe is almost the same as his, with a few tips and tricks that I discovered along the way.


1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
125g butter, room temperature, cut into small squares
1/4 cup ice cold water

Pistachio Frangipane:
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup pistachios, ground finely
1/2 cup plain flour


1. Put the flour and the salt in a food processor, with the dough attachment and wizz them up for a few seconds.

2. Add the butter, and wizz up again, until the mixtures resembles a breadcrumb texture. This can take a minute or so, depending on the temperature of the butter.

3. Slowly add the water. It is important that the water is cold as this helps the texture of the pastry.

4. Keep processing until the dough forms a ball and then remove from the food processor. It is important not to overwork the dough.

5. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up.

6. After 20 minutes, remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out. You can flour the bench if you feel the pastry is too sticky, but usually I haven't needed to.

7. Transfer the pastry into a tart tin. I've found the best way to do this is to loosely roll the pastry onto the rolling pin, and then unroll it into the tin. Then place the tin in the fridge for another 20 minutes, to let the pastry firm up again. Now is also a good time to preheat the oven to 200C.

8. After 20 minutes, remove the tart shell from the fridge, line it with foil, and blind bake for 25 minutes using rice or beans.

Pistachio Frangipane:

Generally I complete this step while the tart shell is blind baking.

1. Cream the butter and sugar together. I usually prefer to do this with the back of the fork, but depending on how soft your butter is, you could do with with the beaters.

2. Add the whole egg, additional yolk and vanilla extract and continue beating until you have a gooey paste.

3. Add the flour and ground pistachios and beat some more. Ideally, the pistachios should be ground to a fine powder, in a coffee grinder or a small food processor. The texture should be similar to almond meal. The more finely ground the pistachios, the lighter your frangipane will be. Keep beating the mixture until it is well combined. Don't be afraid of overworking it, the more you beat, the better.

Assembling The Tart:

To assemble the tart you need:

1 blind baked tart shell
1 portion of the pistachio frangipane
As many figs as you can get your hands on!

1. Spoon and spread the pistachio frangipane into the tart shell evenly.

2. Arrange the figs in any pattern you like over the top of the frangipane. Because I always have so many figs, I tend to quarter them, and arrange them tightly. The more figs you use, the stronger the flavour.

3. Bake in a 180C oven for 35 minutes or until you are satisfied with the consistency of the frangipane. I prefer my frangipane gooey, so 35 minutes works well for me. If you prefer the frangipane to be more 'baked' then just leave it in the oven for an extra five to ten minutes.

4. Allow the tart to cool in the tin, and then serve with ice cream.

Once fig season was over, I made this tart with peaches which also tasted great. I suspect most stone fruit will pair well with the pistachio.

Posted April 20, 2014 08:24 PM by Moni

April 18, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Sourdough hot cross buns, playdough and some firsts

Another Good Friday.  Another batch of hot cross buns (HCBs).  I have been making them every year since I started this blog.  I don't get too excited by Easter eggs but I could live on hot cross buns.  All year round.  Homemade of course.  This year I have been excited to be able to use my sourdough starter.  The HCBs take longer but they taste A-Maz-Ing!

I have made two batches of hot cross buns this year.  I haven't actually followed a sourdough bread recipe since making my starter mid-last year.  I can't get my head around them.  Intuition is so much easier.  So I was wary about finding a sourdough hot cross bun recipe.  I thought I needed a practice run in case it all went terribly wrong.

I turned to my sourdough guru, Brydie at City Hippy Farm Girl, and then swapped notes with my mum who is into Dan Lepard right now.  I added my usual HCB crosses and glaze.  By the time I had noted what I had done the first time, I felt I could claim the recipe as my own. 

The first batch was started at 9am and out of the oven at about 7pm.  I was very pleased with it.  My mum tasted the HCBs and declared them to be the best I had ever made.  I agree.  They were soft and fluffy, spicy with sweet sticky chewy crosses. 

The second batch was made last night in readiness for Good Friday.  I started at 4pm, left them for 4 hours before the fold and stretch, left them in the fridge overnight, and finally had them ready to eat at midday.  The dough was so soft that it seemed almost cake-like rather than that tough dough that I usually bash about.  It also didn't seem to rise as much as usual.  I guess it is weighed down by butter and egg.

I have a feeling they would be ok at room temperature overnight (based on a tester bun and previous sourdough breads) but would need to check to be certain.  I also believe that this recipe could be veganised easily with a chia seed egg and non-dairy milk and margarine.  (This is based on making a vegan version of my favourite recipe.)  I was able to confirm that it is best to line the tin with baking paper to stop them sticking.

There is much that is counter-intuitive in this recipe.  Making crosses without any sugar seems wrong but they are just lovely once covered in sticky glaze.  The glaze seems too much for the buns but if you keep brushing it on, you will use it all.

Sourdough baking is so forgiving of a ride to the park or a favourite television show (Janet King).  However this recipe does need a bit of attention at the start.  It is worth it.  The results were every bit as good as the first batch.

Sylvia loves the thick chewy sticky crosses.  She rips off the crosses and leaves the buns.  Which does not make me happy.  I love the crosses too.  At least she is as excited by HCBs as I am and had eaten some of the buns.  Hot cross buns have always been a part of my Good Friday.  It is usually a quiet day at home for us.  There is something solemn about the day that prohibits going out and having fun.

Instead we stayed home and had fun.  In a quiet way.  Once the hot cross buns were made, we made salt dough easter eggs and playdough.  We read Hurrah for the Circus by Enid Blyton.  I made Easter chick crackers.  We even discovered camelia flowers in the garden.  Then Sylvia started to turn over the tub of mint to find worms.  My favourite comment of the day was when she said to me, "You go in and clean up the playdough.  I will look at worms."

In fact, Sylvia has had quite a few firsts lately.  It makes me feel like she is growing up quickly.  I guess school does that to a child.  Here is a list of recent firsts:
  • being on school holidays
  • swimming without a flotation aid and keeping her head about water
  • riding her (new) bike with me riding alongside
  • going to the cinema with a group of friends
  • searching for worms in the garden by herself
  • reading Where is the Green Sheep by herself (almost).
  • making salt dough shapes

Sylvia also believes that Hot Cross Buns are square.  Perhaps it is because I like to make them snuggled together with a cross that joins them together.  I know my HCBs aren't as round and pretty as some but I am very partial to these rustic buns.

I am sending these hot cross buns to Susan for YeastSpotting, the regular round up of all things yeasty online.

Previous Hot Cross Buns on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
Original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe, inspired by City Hippy Farm Girl and Dan Lepard 
Makes 16 to 20 buns

400g starter (100% hydration)
550g unbleached flour
275g mixed fruit
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
50g sugar
250ml milk (I used soy milk)
100g butter, room temperature (I used margarine)
1 egg
2 tsp salt

1 cup  plain flour
1/2 to 1 cup water

1/2 cup water
1/4 cupcastor sugar
1 tsp mixed spice

Mix all the buns ingredients except the salt.  Cover and rest for 30 minutes.  Mix in the salt - the dough will be quite stiff.  Cover and stand another 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 15 seconds and stand covered for 10 minutes.  Knead for 15 seconds and rest 10 minutes.  Knead for 15 seconds and rest for 1 to 4 hours.  (Use a floured board if required.  If the dough comes together nicely you could add a little oil to the board.)

Stretch and fold (or knead for 15 seconds).  Cover and leave for 1 to 2 hours.  Tip the dough onto a lightly floured (or oiled) board and cut into 16 to 20 balls with a sharp knife.  (When I tried 15 buns they were a little big.)  Roll each piece into balls and place in a lined 13 x 9 inch baking tray.

Cover and set aside to rise for 1 to 3 hours until risen.  At this point you can leave them in the fridge overnight.  I think you could also leave them at room temperature but need more experimenting on this.  If you leave them overnight you will need an hour or two for them to come to room temperature the next morning.

About half an hour before you are ready to bake the buns, preheat the oven to 220 C.  When the buns are ready to go into the oven make the crosses by mixing flour and water into a thick paste.  I used about 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water but it changes every time.  I like a thick cross so if you want neat thin ones you may need less flour and water than me.

To pipe the crosses I spoon the mixture into a ziplock bag, seal it and snip a tiny corner.  Then I pipe lengthways and then crossways over all the buns. 

Bake bun for 20-40 minutes (Brydie at City Hippy Farm Girl said 20-25 minutes.  I did 40 for my first batch but did just shy of this for the second batch and it could have been in a little less.  My oven is slower than most.)  They are ready when golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  They will look quite dull until glazed.

About 5 minutes before the buns are ready to come out of the oven, mix all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring.  When the buns are out of the oven, turn onto a wire rack with the crosses facing upwards.  Place an old teatowel either on the rack before placing the buns or on the surface under the rack.  It will get messy with the glaze.

Brush glaze over the buns.  It seems like too much but just keep brushing over and over until all the glaze is used up.  (Do not just tip over the buns - it will just pool under the buns.)  Wait at least an hour before eating - if you can wait that long.  Reheat for 10 - 15 minutes at 180 C (I find I do 15 minutes but my oven is not over powerful).

On the Stereo:
Love: The Beatles

Posted April 18, 2014 10:36 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Food for the field

April 14-17, 2014

Last week my work took me out to the field - wandering woodlands, measuring trees and tracking their embattled offspring in the north-west of Victoria. Our mission was a little vague, but the company was good and the weather was spectacular. We drove and walked and talked and ate together, and I learned a lot along the way.

'We' were a team of seven, making the six-hour drive from Melbourne and setting up camp in an isolated but unexpectedly luxurious lodge. Unable to assist with the driving, I volunteered to manage the food. I've had a bit of practice.

Still, it's not my weekly habit to cater to so many - including meat-eaters, a coeliac and a fellow with a selective nut allergy - and I floundered estimating quantities of bread and milk. At least the meal strategy that I blogged a couple of years ago helped a lot.

I recycled many meal ideas from that last big trip. Cereal and toast, tea and coffee and juice with BYO alcohol. Fruit and muesli bars, trail mix and jelly lollies. I bought ready-made felafel for sandwiches, while others pitched in with extra fruit, allergy-friendly snacks, sliced meat and coeliac-friendly sandwich substitutes.

For dinner we ate lentil tacos (canned, for rapid cooking) with myriad trimmings, then a Thai red curry with tofu, lots of vegetables and steamed rice.

On the last night I pulled out a spice paste I'd prepared earlier and made the eternally awesome Mondo chickpea curry. Instead of serving more rice I gave Lucy's baked polenta a go, doubling the quantity and stirring in half a block of parmesan. This unlikely pairing was a roaring success eaten by an outdoor fire.

On the last morning, I was relegated to toast duty while a colleague fried up eggs, bacon, spinach and mushrooms on the barbecue. As we wolfed it down I thanked everyone for the favours they'd granted that week, hoping that I'd be able to reciprocate one day. While we all interpreted it as an offer of workplace assistance, I'd probably consider a catering role too.

Posted April 18, 2014 07:04 PM by Cindy

April 17, 2014

Thoughts Of A Moni

Fat Bob's Bar and Grill

So late one sunny morning, after we had just decided to run 15km through the Citylink tunnel and the Bolte Bridge (Run For The Kids of course!), my body told me that I urgently needed to fill it with food, preferably greasy junk food. So off we went home to have a shower, because no one appreciates a couple of wannabe runners that are all sweaty and stinky, and decided to finally start tackling the Herald Sun Melbourne's best burger list.

First on the list, and closest to home was Fat Bob, in Moorabbin. Fat Bob was a little bit tricky to find whilst driving down Cochranes Rd, and in the end we decided to park the car and try and find it on foot.

We came across a little laneway, where we were greeted by a placard of a big fat man (Bob, I presume) holding a burger, and also quite a few American muscle cars parked out the front. We were definitely in for an American diner experience! We walked down the alley which was filled with tables and hungry diners, and entered the restaurant through some big doors.

Once inside, we were in a space that was engulfed by neon lights, and in line with the names of the burgers, various American automotive paraphernalia. We were quickly seated, given menus and instructed to order at the bar.

All good American diners have spiders, and the other half couldn't go past this. Apparently he hadn't had a coke spider in fifteen years, and this one was every bit as good as he remembered.

The Herald Sun article had recommended the Jackie O burger (which the other half had), and zucchini fries. These were a little steep, at $8 for a small cup, but boy where they delicious! The zucchinis were cut into small pieces, coated in batter, deep fried and become crunchy bits of heaven. I had never thought of deep frying zucchini, but then when we thought about it, eggplant chips are not uncommon, and the texture is somewhat similar.

There was one vegetarian burger on the menu called the Goodrich, so obviously this is what I went for! After a fairly long wait, which was reasonably justified given how busy they were, my burger arrived. The burgers come wrapped in foil, which is great for burger integrity, heat retention and to minimise mess. Who would have thought a humble piece of foil could serve so many purposes!

The Goodrich contained portebello mushrooms, gooey Swiss cheese, carmelised onion, beetroot (because all brilliant burgers have beetroot!), and lettuce and tomato. The mushroom was cooked beautifully, and there was mushroom juice dripping everywhere whilst I tried to eat it! As we jokingly commented, no one ever looks hot trying to eat a burger!

For me the one downfall of the burger was the bread. The roll is a milk bun style, and it had too much sugar for my liking. Pair this with the sweetness of the beetroot and the caramelised onion and it was a little too sweet. Nevertheless, all the other elements were delicious, and you could really taste the quality of the ingredients.

All in all, it was definitely a successful start to the burger adventures!

Fat Bob's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted April 17, 2014 10:21 PM by Moni


Lunch today at Invita Living Food at the Queen Victoria Market

Yay for haircuts!  Especially when you haven’t had one in over a year.  Today I headed down to North Melbourne to get about two hundred kilograms worth of boofy hair cut off (more like six inches but boy my head feels lighter).  After that I went for a short walk down to the Queen Vic Market to pick up a bunch of coriander.  I also thought I’d go and check out Invita Living Food, as I’ve been past it many times without realising I could actually find healthy vegan food in there.

Initially, I was just going to browse and not buy anything but one of the menu items caught my eye: the rice ball.  The description on the menu board (which is different to the description on the website) was ‘rice balls, corn carrot, zucchini, coriander, sea weed, tamari, ginger juice, lemon juice, olive oil, rice crumbs, tapioca starch’.  Gluten free, vegan, full of good healthy stuff.  I think it cost $14.60.   I asked if it was fried in oil and the staff person told me it was baked. The rice ball sure sounded better than my plain bean and veggie soup that was waiting at home!  My stomach was growling, it was another half hour before I’d be home and so I thought why not?  It’s a beautiful day!  Phone photos, sorry!


The rice ball was pretty big though I was a bit surprised the inside was quite mooshy and for a while I wondered if it was undercooked but I guess with those ingredients, it’s a mooshy ball.  I took a pic but you can’t really make it out:


I figured I’d eat it, blog about it and see what readers think!  I liked it regardless of the mooshy factor but my favourite part of the meal was the eggplant chickpea salad on the side.  This was really tasty. The serving of quinoa with some veg and lentils mixed through was okay.  There was a little bit of chutney too, I tried it and it was a peanut satay kind of flavour.  It was sweet though and as I’ve cut out sugars/sweet food (apart from fruit), I put this to the side.  Only after I’d emptied a sachet of sugar over it to stop me being tempted to eat a bit more…

There were vegan desserts on display, alas I took a photo that didn’t turn out.  Plus I didn’t want to linger too much around the dessert display, seeing as I’m not eating sweet stuff!  Invita also serve juices, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, a tofu burger (no bun is mentioned) and other savoury breakfast and lunch items.  I very much enjoyed sitting under the marquee listening to the hustle-bustle market sounds and the ding dings of the trams!  All while flipping my new ‘do around.



Invita Living Food is located at 76 Therry Street, near the Vic Market jam donut van and the organic fruit and veg section.

Posted April 17, 2014 03:51 PM

quinces and kale

coconut yoghurt – third time lucky!

coconut yoghurt with passionfruit

I’ve been in search of the perfect recipe for coconut yoghurt. The first one I used is a bit hit and miss when it comes to thickening and I can’t ever really work out why. It is great when it works, but too thin when it doesn’t.  Draining it helps, but honestly that is messy and a bit of a pest. It is also very high in fat compared to dairy or soy yoghurt, which means I have to eat less of it, which isn’t good, since I love yoghurt for breakfast, snacks and desserts.

So when I came across this recipe for coconut yogurt on Lexie’s Kitchen I was thrilled. It involves setting the yoghurt with the help of some tapioca starch and agar cooked in water, which is then mixed with the coconut cream. As there is quite a bit of water in the final mix, the fat content is much lower, but the texture is pretty good and is like thick greek yoghurt, though not as rich. It takes a bit more effort, but it is worth it.

I got my non-dairy yoghurt culture (the SYAB1 strain) at Green Living Australia.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I’m currently eating it with passionfruit that are staging a takeover bid in my garden.


coconut milk yoghurt - third time lucky!
prep time
15 mins
cook time
10 mins
total time
25 mins
author: quincesandkale
cuisine: Vegan
serves: 8
  • ¾ teaspoon agar powder (no more)
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons sugar (you need this for feeding the yoghurt starter, not sweetness)
  • 2 cans full fat coconut cream (try to use one with the minimum number of additives)
  • 3 level tablespoons tapioca starch
  • yoghurt starter or probiotic capsules
  1. You need everything to be clean so that the wrong bacteria don't get into your yoghurt and make it go off, so clean everything by dousing in boiling water.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the tapioca starch and ½ cup water. Set aside.
  3. Add 2 cups water to a large pot. Sprinkle the agar powder over surface. Bring to boil and gently simmer for 5 minutes or until the agar is completely dissolved.
  4. Give the tapioca mix a stir and whisk it and the sugar into the agar agar mixture.
  5. Return to simmer, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. It will thicken.
  6. Whisk in coconut milk. Heat just until steam rises from surface.
  7. Allow milk to cool to 95-100˚F. This can take a while. Do not get impatient. If you put starter into a hot mix, you will kill it.
  8. Sprinkle the yogurt starter or probiotic (use manufacturer's recommended measure) over surface of the cooled milk mix and whisk very well.
  9. Transfer to container(s) and then to the yogurt maker.
  10. Leave undisturbed to ferment for 8-10 hours.
  11. Transfer to refrigerator and chill 6-8 hours. The yogurt will set as it cools.
Don't put too much agar in or you'll end up with a jelly.
It is better to err on the side of less, rather than more, so use closer to ½ teaspoon than 1 teaspoon.

Posted April 17, 2014 09:55 AM

April 16, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Easter chocolate egg nests - two ways

Last week at the swimming pool, a little girl befriended Sylvia and me.  She started to tell us how much she loved egg wraps.  When I said I didn't like eggs she was astonished.  Sylvia however likes to joke that my favourite eggs are Easter eggs.  I guess she is right.  The novelty amuses me.  Yet commercial Easter eggs are not always the best quality and I quite like my chocolate other ways.  Like in a nest.  With Easter eggs.

Yes, it is starting to feel a lot like Easter around here.  Sylvia is beside herself with excitement as only a 5 year old can be.  I bought the M and Ms speckled eggs.  They were opened in an untimely way but were not long for this world anyway.  I quite liked the crunchy centres.  The Cadbury mini eggs were bought a day later.  I was relieved to find they were gluten free so I could use them for some nests for my celiac niece.  But the solid chocolate centres were less pleasing than the M and Ms.

Chocolate Easter egg nests seems quite a common Easter recipe.  It was my first time making them.  I decided to try them two ways.

One was a BBC recipe using cornflakes.  After making them I realised this is actually a recipe with which British children are very familiar.  E said he had them without eggs when he was little.  I think they are similar to Australia's chocolate crackles.  The chocolate coating was quite soft and took some time in the fridge to set.  Even so they were quite fragile

The  other recipe used coconut.  I only had white choc chips and a block of 70% chocolate.  White chocolate seemed too sweet for anyone and dark chocolate seemed too bitter for children.  (But any sort of chocolate could be used.)  These ones set quickly and were quite hard.  They reminded me of coconut roughs.  Which is a very good thing.

These nests were easy to make and even easier to eat.  They are great to make with young children.  Sylvia was able to help counting out eggs, stirring the mixture and arranging the eggs in the nests.

Both versions could be made without the eggs at any time of year.  The cornflake ones would be best in a cupcake paper (to stop them falling apart) and I would make the coconut chocolate into small balls if you didn't them it big enough to hold an egg or three.  In fact, you could even make them smaller nests with just one egg.

These nests are great for sharing.  The day after making them we had a busy day that was fuelled by nests.  Sylvia took some down to my parents to share with her cousins (and grandparents).  E and I went to see Le Week-end at the movies and had some coconut nests after our dinner at the fish and chip shop.  (I had a burger.)  Earlier in the day Sylvia and some school friends went to see Shrek at the movies and we took the leftover easter eggs along, which the kids loved!

I can see these being repeated in Easters to come.  Maybe we will experiment with them further.  Crispy noodles, muesli and shredded wheat are other ideas.  I have also seen them made with butterscotch chips or chopped honeycomb.  And I particularly love the sound of these coconut macaroon nutella nests.  The possibilities are endless.  And delicious.

I am sending these Easter nests to Rachel Coterill for We Should Cocoa, with the theme of Easter this month.  Stuart at Cakey Boi  has chosen Spring into Easter for Treat Petite and Catherine of Cate's Cates has Easter Inspirations for this month.

Previous easter recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Easter eggs with lime cheesecake filling (gf, v)
Easter egg pizza
Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns (v)

And a few other GGG ideas for filled chocolates:
Chocolates with almond butter filling (gf, v)
Chocolates with healthy caramel filling (gf, v)
Chocolates with healthy peppermint filling (gf, v)
Chocolates with peppermint filling (gf, v)
Orange and sweet potato filled chocolates (gf, v) 

Chocolate Easter Egg Nests (with coconut)
Adapted from Serious Eats
Makes 10-12

100g 70% dark chocolate, broken up
120g white choc chips (or other choc chips)
1 1/3 cups dessicated coconut
packet of mini chocolate eggs 

Melt chocolate and choc chips in the microwave or on stovetop.  Stir in coconut.  Place spoonfuls of mixture on a lined baking sheet.  Press three mini eggs into the middle of each nest.  Allow to set at room temperature.  (This didn't take took long - perhaps an hour!)  Keep in an airtight container.

Chocolate Easter Egg Nests (with cornflakes)
From BBC Food
Makes 12

225g/8oz dark chocolate choc chips
2 tbsp golden syrup
50g/2oz butter (or margarine)
75g/3oz cornflakes
36 mini chocolate eggs (approximately)

Melt chocolate, golden syrup and butter together in microwave or on stovetop.  Mix in cornflakes until well covered.  Spoon a heap onto a lined baking tray and press three eggs into the middle.  Set in the fridge for an hour or two.  Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.

On the Stereo:
The Best of Blur

Posted April 16, 2014 10:12 PM by Johanna GGG

April 15, 2014


Isa Does It, VCIYCJ and Vegan with a Vengeance recipes

I’ve made a few more recipes by Isa Chandra M. over the past month but have been a bit slack with posting, so here they are all in one go.

Peanut Butter Criss Crosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I won’t ever eat peanut butter on bread or toast but in biscuits I love it:

The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl.  Yummm:


After trying the roast veg soba bowl at the Corner Hotel back in March, I had to make it at home.  This time I followed the Isa Does It instructions to the letter and I was rewarded with the same delicious meal.  I used both the lentils in the actual recipe but the next day I went for marinated tofu instead.  I’ve also made this with more veggies added in:


Isa’s Vegan With a Vengeance is a great book but admittedly, not one I have used all that much.  Not because there’s something wrong with it, more because I tend to stick with the latest cookbook purchases.  You know, shiny new toys and stuff.  Last week I decided to break out VWaV and I made the Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake.  Deeeelicious!


Some weeks ago I made the Marbled Banana Bread from Isa Does It.  Clearly, my family need more practise with the marbling bit:




As I’ve cleaned up my eating (again) I won’t be doing much baking and I will be adapting recipes I use to be lower in fat, or making substitutions outright.  I like that I can still use Isa’s recipes as a base and end up with something that is still super tasty!

Posted April 15, 2014 05:39 PM

April 14, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

NCR Pumpkin, bean and apple soup for a protest

A market, a party, another market and a march.  It was a weekend full of perusing stalls, eating (mostly) good food, listening to ukeleles and walking with like-minded people to declare that we wanted Australia to welcome refugees.  Then I ate soup.  Here are some photos.

Above are photos from the Walk for Justice for Refugees - Palm Sunday.  I was glad to be there.  We saw people we knew, listened, walked and had ice cream afterwards.  Sylvia had a lovely time with a school friend we bumped into.

We went to the Fitzroy Market.  Above is the nice lady who sells the icy poles.  I had a rhubarb and raspberry one.  It was so good.  She is taking a break until Spring.  We will miss her.

Sylvia and I went to a first birthday party with my mum.  The little girl is part of a Burmese family my mum has become friends with.  They were so welcoming and friendly. 

I went to the Flemington Farmers Market.  Lots of good food.  I bought mostly fruit, vegies and bread.   The snail on my kale amused me when I hopped into the car to go home.  After the photo we parted ways.

After the march yesterday we arrive home with little energy.  The reason I had to go to the farmers market was to buy some nice in-season apples.  Those from the supermarket were disappointing.  The old apples went in the soup with some old pumpkin and some beans from the freezer.

Last night it was too hot and a little bland.  I enjoyed some rye bagels and cream cheese on the side.  Today we had leftovers for lunch and dinner.  Extra seasoning helped greatly.  The soup was thankfully light on a day of Easter baking.  We made chocolate nest and my first sourdough hot cross buns.  More on them another time.

I am sending this soup to Jacqueline for No Croutons Required, the monthly vegetarian soup and salad blog event co-hosted with Lisa.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Couscous salad and reflections on the week
Two years ago: Choc chip muesli slice
Three years ago: PPN Carrot Pesto Pasta Bake
Four years ago: Honest soup inspired by a Farmers Market
Five years ago: Tupperware, Arran and Tomato Soup
Six years ago: Family Favourite: Chocolate Pudding

Pumpkin Bean and Apple Soup
serves 4 to 6

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1kg butternut pumpkin
1 and 1/2 cups cooked white beans
2 tsp stock powder
1 tsp maple syrup 
2 and 1/2  tsp salt (or to taste)
2 large apples
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and fry onion for 5 to 10 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic and fry about a minute.  Meanwhile trim, peel and chop pumpkin.  Add pumpkin, beans, stock powder, and maple syrup to the pot.  Gradually add salt tasting as you go (if you use tinned beans you will probably need less salt - however the pumpkin and apple are quite sweet so I found this soup needs a bit of salt).  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Meanwhile peel, core and chop apples.  Add to pot and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Puree.  Stir in nutritional yeast flakes and as much black pepper as you like.

On the Stereo:
Just enough education to perform: The Stereophonics 

Posted April 14, 2014 11:27 PM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

mexican flavoured bean burgers

mexican bean patties

I love the way that having a couple of things lying about sends my brain into a “what-could-I make-with-this?” train of thought.

These burgers started with a fridge cleanout…cooked brown rice, three quarters of a can of borlotti beans, some sweet corn and leftover avocado from my breakfast toast.

I immediately thought Mexican, of course, and grabbed the very last of the coriander from the garden along with some chillies, cherry tomatoes that are ripening on the hanging upside down plants and one of my precious seven capsicums I grew this year. :)

The burgers are good, but what really lifts them is the fresh salsa on the top, so don’t skimp on that.

mexican flavoured bean burgers
prep time
20 mins
cook time
10 mins
total time
30 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: savoury, dinner, lunch
cuisine: vegan
serves: 4
For the burgers
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small capsicum
  • a small amount of oil (maybe a teaspoon)
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 1 small minced chilli or ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chopped oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 350 grams cooked dried beans (I used about ¾ of a can of borlotti)
  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • kernels from 1 corn cob or a small can of corn
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 tablespoons mung or chickpea flour
  • salt
For the salsa
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • salt
  • a big squeeze of lime juice
For the burgers
  1. Finely dice the onion and capsicum
  2. Fry in the oil until soft, add the garlic and the paprika, chilli, oregano and cumin and fry for a minute
  3. In a large bowl combine the contents of the frying pan with the beans, rice, corn and coriander and mash.
  4. Add the chickpea flour and mix in thoroughly.
  5. Season with salt to taste.
For the salsa
  1. Dice the tomatoes, avocado and onion
  2. Mix with the chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime
  3. Salt to taste





Posted April 14, 2014 09:55 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The B.East

April 8, 2014

The opening of B.East in 2012 smacked of the worst kind of hospitality cynicism - Baba, a fancyish Middle Eastern place that we quite enjoyed, was closed down by the owners so they could jump on the Americana/burger bandwagon with the B.East. We checked it out early and were pretty unimpressed - the whole exercise felt a bit half hearted and trendy. Still, it seemed to be a success, with crowds of people there whenever we wandered past. We even revisited at one point to try the tempeh burger they were offering up for vegans, but it was a pretty dull rendition and we'd more or less cast it aside as somewhere we'd never get around to blogging.

At least until Jess McGuire tweeted about how amazing the harissa mock chicken burger was. So we had to make one more trip. We managed to coincide our return with Jess' excellent pop culture trivia (at which we failed pretty dismally), which meant that the whole place was jammed with people and very noisy - it's as much pub as restaurant, and really not somewhere you'd go for a quiet relaxed meal.

The menu's changed a lot since we visited - there's a couple of veggie burgers, a slider, a couple of snacks and a range of fries. I really just wanted to focus on The Morrissey (mock fried chicken, sweet corn relish, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno salsa on rye - vegan, $13), but Cindy thought we should broaden our selection a bit.

We started with a roast pumpkin and blue cheese slider (pumpkin and blue cheese fritter, snowpea tendrils and horseradish aoili, $7). 

This wasn't very memorable - there wasn't the blue cheese richness I was hoping for or any real kick from the horseradish in the aoili. The fritter was fat and fried, so it wasn't a complete disappointment, but I wouldn't order it again.

Instead, I would order The Morrissey.

This was the bomb - the patty was huge and had great crispy batter around fatty mock chicken. The bun was fresh and manageable enough (although the whole thing was too big to really eat neatly) and the sauce was really hot and spicy. Four of our trivia team tried this and everyone was very enthusiastic - definitely one to check out, and not ludicrously priced at $13.

The $13 doesn't get you any fries though - you can pay $3.50 to get a side with your burger or you can do what we did and get a full serve ($6.50 plus $1 if you want a dipping sauce instead of just the table ketchup/mustard). The fries were excellent - super crunchy and salty.

Despite our initial misgivings, the B.East hits the mark pretty solidly for a boozy Tuesday trivia. There are cheap Holgate pints, fantastic fries and one of the best mock chicken burgers around. We just need to study our John Hughes movies and Beyoncé-related trivia before we return.

The B.East
80 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9036 1456

Accessibility: There's a wide entry with a ramp into a pretty crowded interior (at least on trivia nights). It's dimly lit and noisy and you order at a high bar. The toilets are on the same level through a narrowish corridor by the kitchen and are gendered and quite large (although I can't remember seeing a specifically accessible cubicle).

Posted April 14, 2014 09:52 AM by Michael

April 13, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Red peppers: in pasta bake, stuffed and in soup

Sometimes a recipe lodges itself in my mind and refuses to budge.  No matter how I cook around it, I am called by an dinner that must be mine.  So it was with the pasta bake that was called Dad's Friday Night Pasta Dish by Half Baked Harvest which lured me with amazingly beautiful photos, a great story and a simple dish.  The clincher was that red capsicums were dirt cheap.  So let me tell you about my week with red capsicums (or peppers).

I bought a bag of red capsicums on sale.  The pasta bake called but I didn't quite have the time or ingredients.  Instead I roasted a capsicum on a gas flame and made Isa's Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese.  It was very good, especially with the remainder of my sweet potato mash from the enchiladas added.  I loved it but the pasta bake still beckoned.

Then I went shopping and bought more red peppers and basil on sale.  The looming use by date on the basil really pushed me because I knew if I didn't use it, it would be a slimy mess in the fridge.  (Been there, done that!)  I made tofu bacon and considered using the Vegusto vegan mozzarella in the fridge but I just wasn't sure enough (it melted ok but had no strings) and used regular mozzarella.

It was in cooking the angel hair pasta that I came unstuck.  As usual I put on the pasta and checked the packet for time.  This one only took 2 minutes.  Which meant I didn't have the 10 minutes I expected to get together herbed oil to toss the pasta in.  Then a plum crumble slice came out of the oven at the same time the pasta was ready.  In my haste I poured boiling water over my hand while draining the pasta.

The burn really hurt.  I made the rest of dinner with my fingers pressed against a zooper dooper (fruit ice stick) from the freezer and wrapped in a tea towel.  Otherwise it was too painful.  Finally I looked up the web for ideas and wrapped it in clingwrap.  The pain went away.  It was a miracle that I recommend to anyone else unfortunately enough to have this problem.

What with making tofu bacon, grating cheese and chopping parsley, it wasn't quite as quick as the recipe suggested but then I just didn't take short cuts.  It was delicious.  E loved it for the same reason I was a bit unsure.  It didn't have enough vegetables.  It was also a bit oily because I added a bit more oil and the sundried tomato oil.

One of the things I really liked about the recipe was the author saying that when her dad made this dish it was always different.  I would really like to try it again.  Sylvia enjoyed the angel hair pasta tossed with oil before I added the herbs but not after.  I would like more vegies.  I forgot to season the pasta so the bake was a bit lacking in flavour.  I have added a few changes to what I did below to reflect what I would do if I made it again.  If I made it again I would like more capsicums on top.  I'd love to try it with vegan mozzarella.  There are many possibilities.

The possibilities for the dish are not just about how to prepare it but how to use the leftovers.  I also made a lovely vegetable and bean soup last week.  I had decided to serve the remaining noodles with a stuffed capsicum (yes I call them stuffed peppers too - either makes sense to me) but ran out of time.  It was far easier to put the stuffing in the fridge, chop the remaining pasta bake and mix with the vegie soup.  And so delicious.

The next night I had the stuffing and the red capsicums and it was quite easy to just stuff them.  I used home cooked white beans from the freezer, tofu bacon, kale from the farmers market, and some leftover red pepper mac and cheese sauce.  (If you didn't have a cheese sauce you could use some nut butter, nutritional yeast flakes and mustard.)

I used half the vegan mozzarella on top and grated some to mix into the stuffing.  It probably would have been better to cut it into chunks rather than grate it.  The mozzarella on top was brilliant and has converted me from a skeptic to a fan of Vegusto.  The taste is great, the mouthfeel is right and it even crisps on top.  (I still am not a fan of the mozzarella when cold but have been loving it on grilled cheese on toast.)

I was surprised at how well these stuffed peppers worked.  I followed what I did in my nut roast stuffed peppers recipe on the blog.  I wondered if a bit longer might be good as I loved the one pepper was starting to char and blister.  What was really great about this recipe is that most stuffed peppers recipe seem to involve some sort of carbs or grains.  This one is big on protein.  Yet E didn't even feel in need of a slice of bread with this because it was so filling.

I often find stuffed peppers a bit boring and old school vegetarian.  These ones were full of interesting flavours and very modern.  And like the pasta bake, the recipe is open to endless variations.  I am sure I will make these again but with whatever takes my fancy.

I am sending the pasta bake to Manjiri at Slice of Me for Pasta Please which focuses on olive oil this month.  I am sending the stuffed peppers to Avika at A Day Through My Life #70 for My Legume Love Affair, which is managed by Lisa and founded by Susan.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Chocolate lime energy slice, the park and the beach
Two years ago: Purple Pomegranate Stew
Three years ago: Cheesey bikkies: what not to do
Four years ago: Butterscotch Bounty from Ricki
Five years ago: Wholemeal Chocolate Cake
Six years ago: Posh chocolate orange biscuits

Red Capsicum and Mozzarella Pasta Bake
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Serves 6 to 8

1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Handful parsley finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
500g angel hair pasta
1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
125g tofu bacon bits, fried til crisp
300-400g mozzarella cheese, grated
3-4 red capsicums (bell peppers), sliced
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Freshly torn basil, for topping

Preheat oven to 190 C.  Heat water for pasta.  Meanwhile, in a pasta dish, about 13 by 9 inch or a little smaller, mix olive oil with herbs, garlic, paprika, pepper and salt.  Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to instructions on the packet (mine only had to be simmered about 2 minutes).  Drain and toss in herbed oil.  Sprinkle pasta with olive, sundried tomatoes and tofu bacon.  Then sprinkle with about 3/4 of mozzarella cheese.  Arrange red capsicums over the cheese.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Bake for 45-60 minutes or until capsicums are well cooked.  Keeps for a day or two in the fridge.

Peppers stuffed with white beans and kale
Original recipe by Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 2

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of purple kale, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup PPK Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese sauce
2-3 tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup fried tofu bacon bits
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 large red peppers (capsicums)
100g vegan mozzarella

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Heat olive oil in frypan over medium heat.  Fry onion for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown.  Add kale and cook another 5 minutes or so until cooked.  Stir in garlic and remove from heat.  Meanwhile mix together beans, cheese sauce, sundried tomatoes, tofu bacon, parsley and seasoning.  Grate about half the mozzarella into the bean mixture.

Prepare the red peppers by removing stem, membrane and seeds.  Microwave each open side down for about 2 to 3 minutes or until softening but not collapsing.  Stuff each with half the mixture, packing it in with the back of a spoon.  Stand in an ovenproof dish.  (I used a small ramekin in my dish to help the peppers stand up.)  Slice the remaining mozzarella and place over the top of the filling. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and the peppers are soft and starting to blister.  Eat hot.

On the Stereo:
Ball of Wax, audio quarterly, volume 26: a tribute to the anthology of American Folk Music - various artists

Posted April 13, 2014 11:21 PM by Johanna GGG

Challenge Accepted!

Week 2: Super sandwiches

So despite all my best intentions, I ran out of time this week to make the Bao like I'd planned. But! I did receive two new cookbooks in the mail (hooray! you know, sometimes I just type 'vegan' into book depo to drool over all the shiny cookbooks I don't yet own. But anyway): Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day, and Artisan Vegan Cheese. So I present for you now two of the delicious and inventive sandwiches from Vegan Sandwiches:

Oreo Wafflewiches

Oh wow. Yes, just as good as they sound. AND, it is the kind of recipe you can make from ingredients you almost always have on hand, which is only like my favourite kind of recipe ever (seriously, few things make me happier than reading an awesome recipe in a book and thinking, hey, I can make that recipe right now). These are actually surprisingly easy to make, if you own a wafflemaker (mine was $30 from the supermarket a few years ago, still going strong). All you need to do is mix, pour and wait, then fill with melty icing.

Don't be jealous.

Peanut Butter Banana Bacon sandwiches

Wait, don't run away! I know this sounds kinda weird, but it totally works. I love really original recipes that try new combinations, which is why this one caught my eye. The smokiness of the chickpeas, creamy peanut butter and sweet banana meld into this warm, gooey comforting thing when grilled together. I used a frypan to make the chickpea bacon because I don't have a broiler but if I made it again I would cook them for a bit longer, to let the flavours meld more. 

Next Week! Hopefully BBQ Buns and Pho (shizzle).

Posted April 13, 2014 01:43 PM by Kate

April 12, 2014

Vegan Bullsh*t

LOTF Chapel Street + Schnitz

Found myself in Prahran yesterday with a little time to kill. The Lord's seemed like a good way to escape from the rain and get a feed at the same time - especially with their Facebook spamming about the new sweets menu, only available at the Chapel St. store.

I grabbed a vegan Mini Mark because it's a damn good burger, $4.45:

This was as good as any: lots of pickles, nice and tangy. I rarely get anything else because this burger is really that tasty. But the real reason I was there was to try the oreo cookies and cream shake, about $6:

Props to LOTF; this came out in a red aluminium cup with condensation on the sides and full of froth. It has a real milkbar feel to it, but honestly, it wasn't that great. It appears to just be vegan milk, a couple of Oreos and maybe a little So Good Vanilla ice-cream blended - not a lot of chocolaty flavour. If they jazzed it up with either more biscuits or a little chocolate syrup, it'd be much more interesting and worth six bucks.

I do like the Prahran store, though - it's very cute and service was great and fast. They're carrying large and mini Mr. Nice Guy cupcakes in red velvet and golden comb, as well as a Botanical Cuisine mint slice dessert (which I didn't get to see) and a peanut butter choc shake. Glad to see LOTF branching out - a cupcake is an awesome dessert to have on the menu - but I hope the shakes improve!

Oh, and I discovered Schnitz chips are vegan just the other day so I had to try them out. This is a "family" size box, $8.90:

If you like beer battered chips, these are the chips for you. Crispy and well-seasoned with an oniony flavour to the crumb, they're super addictive and we ate the whole box and were totally happy about it. These will be my go-to chips when I fancy takeaway from now on. Schnitz's site now has allergen information (the veggie schnitzel contains milk) and the only other vegan option is the garden salad, but at least there's something for us there!

Posted April 12, 2014 02:55 PM by L

April 11, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Gwyneth's Apple Muffins and the rainy school holidays


Yesterday I started my day by baking muffins to take to a friend's place.  When I had planned to bake Spiced Apple Crumb Muffins I had been excited that I had all the ingredients to bake from a Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook from the library.  I hadn't counted on Sylvia wanting to play at 5.30am that morning and my friend's little girl being too sick for us to visit.  Serendipitously, I had another friend who appreciated the muffins.  All was not lost.

Apples are in season right now and this recipe seemed perfect.  Except I didn't really have all the ingredients.  I had most of them.  And what I didn't have, I was able to substitute.  Gwyneth uses spelt flour.  I have used it in the past but don't regularly have it in the kitchen.  There are only so many flours I can fit in my pantry.  I added more regular wheat flour because the mixture seemed so thin.  I was out of wholemeal flour so I used a little wheatgerm. 

I chopped everything finely for Sylvia.  (She has an aversion to bits!)  When it came to sprinkling the crumble topping, she was eager to help.  It seemed there was too much topping for the muffins.  Yet by the time they rose beautifully, they had just the right amount of crumble.  I was most pleased with the muffins.  Perfect golden crunchy domed tops.  The maple syrup gave lovely flavour but minimal sweetness.  And they were soft and comforting.  (My only reservation is that maybe I shouldn't have reduced the cinnamon quite so much.)  It seemed a shame not to share even though we didn't go to see Yav.

Let me pause here to note that the school holidays started on Monday.  They are Sylvia's first school holidays.  It has been a gloomy grey wet week.  I was very glad that I booked Sylvia into a holiday swimming intensive of lessons every morning this week. It has been a great way for her to burn off some energy, even if it is a chore to dry the towels and bathers every night.  It makes me feel better about not being able to get out to the park or riding on her new bike.  Hopefully we will see the sun next week.

I phoned my friend Kathleen and suggested we meet up for a cuppa and a muffin.  We had originally planned to meet last week but I had been sick.  The fates were kind to us.  I was able to share the muffins with an appreciative friend.  Sylvia had great time playing with Kathleen's daughter.  And we were able to have a good catch up after all.  So it seems that the best laid plans of mice and men might go awry but a batch of fresh muffins will always be good thing.

I am sending this post to Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families for the Simple and in Season food challenge, run by Ren Behan.  I am also sending the muffins to Healthy Vegan Fridays #13, hosted by Suzanne at Hello Veggy, Anna at Herbivore Triathlete, and Kimmy at Rock My Vegan Socks.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Topsy Turvy Dinner: savoury chocolate muffins and cauliflower rice - and a cat fight
Two years ago: PPN Holiday cooking - Nut Roast and Pasta Napoletana
Three years ago: Autumn Apple Cake
Four years ago: PPN Mee Goreng
Five years ago: A Nutroast Tribute
Six years ago: A Long-winded Nut Roast Post

Apple and walnut crumble muffins
Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's Notes from My Kitchen Table (online here)
Makes 12 muffins

6 tbsp white flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
3 tbsp rice bran oil
1 tbsp soy milk

1 tbsp cornflour
2 small apples peeled and finely chopped (mine weighed 260g)
125ml rice bran oil (or another neutral oil)
150ml maple syrup
150ml soy milk
250g white plain flour
50g wheatgerm
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
60g toasted walnuts (I forgot to toast) finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180 C (or 350 F).  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin papers or grease.

Prepare topping by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Toss chopped apples with cornflour in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk together oil, maple syrup and milk in a medium to large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except walnuts.  Mix until combined.  Fold in apples and walnuts.

Spoon into muffin tin.  Sprinkle with all of the crumble topping mixture.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (I did 30 minutes).  Cool on a wire rack.

On the Stereo:
Late Night Tales: Nouvelle Vague: Various Artists

Posted April 11, 2014 11:23 PM by Johanna GGG

Little Vegan Bear

Cheesy Cayenne Kale Chips (Raw)

This recipe is magic.

I swear – you make it, and it just disappears before your very eyes. It’s really quite unbelievable.

I was trying to emulate the Loving Earth kale chips here – I love the thick chunky cashew-y bits. Once the base is downpat, it’s easy to play around with the herbs and spices to get different flavour combinations. These are my favourite so far though – a bit of cheese and a bit of a cayenne kick – the perfect combo.

It’s also worth mentioning that these can be done the oven, however I find they turn out much better in the dehydrator. Probably because the only times I’ve done kale chips in the oven I’ve left them too long and burnt the butts off them. Oops.

Cheesy Cayenne Kale Chips

1 bunch kale, washed, dried and thick stems removed
1 cup cashews
1 carrot, grated
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like to feel the buuurrrrnnn)
Dash of turmeric (for colour)
Salt (to taste)

Place all ingredients apart from the kale in a high speed blender and blend to combine. I find it easiest to use the tamper to keep pushing it down. If required, add a little bit of water at a time until it reaches a smooth – but still thick – consistency. It should be ‘spreadable’.

Cut or tear the kale into pieces and place into a bowl. Give it a bit of a squeeze/massage to break down some of the tougher fibres, then pour the cheesy mix on top.

I like to get my hands dirty here, I’m sure you could stir it through with a spoon if you prefer. Mix the cashew cheese amongst the kale, ensuring each piece gets coated. Apart from being a bit of fun, using your hands means you can fill the curls up with mixture, which I love.

Spread kale out on teflex lined dehydrator trays, and dehydrate for 6-12 hours, until crispy.

And voila! Watch them disappear!


Posted April 11, 2014 10:54 PM

April 10, 2014


Lunch at Vege2Go in Melbourne

I only recently discovered that Vege2Go have an outlet in the David Jones food hall. I’ve had some Vege2Go before (ha, that links to my tortilla disaster post!) but a few weeks ago a fellow vegan told me about the David Jones outlet.

Today Husband and I took Arthur and DeeW to a kids comedy performance called Mr Snot Bottom and the Curse of the Silly Stinky Zombie Babies.  With a title like that, my kids are THERE. I loved hearing dozens of children in the audience squealing with crazy snorty laughter.

After the show Husband took Arthur and DeeW off to the Pancake Parlour (yay for freebie vouchers!) and of course as there’s nothing for me to eat there I went next door-ish to David Jones to check out Vege2Go.


I haven’t been to the DJs food hall in well over ten years.  Maybe even fifteen.  I used to buy those big bags of mixed biscuits and I saw they still have them but I’m betting nothing is vegan so I didn’t bother getting a closer look!

Vege2Go has vegan meals in packaging that they can heat up for you:


On cold rainy days I’m not someone who is in a soup mood.  I was in a pizza mood today, rain does that to me:

vege2go2The pizza was okay and not bland, though I feel the toppings were on the light side.  I also picked up the Vege2Go blueberry pear breakfast quinoa as it was half price.  That can be tomorrow’s breakfast.

Vege2go cater for vegans, vegetarians, egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, sesame-free, nut-free, sugar-free and gluten-free peeps. You can browse their products online at http://www.vege2go.com.au/  I love the lemon coconut slice and can’t resist eating it in one go.  I try but lemon-coconut is a flavour combo that completely destroys me.  Fellow lemon-coconut lovers will probably know exactly what I mean!

Posted April 10, 2014 06:15 PM

Consuming Cate

Food for thought: DIY (pic heavy)

There's something exciting about starting anew in a new country. There'll be some big shifts besides the obvious ones like language and culture, like living in an apartment. I've lived in a couple of ground floor flats but never an apartment in a multifloor dwelling with a lift! 

The place we are renting is small (55m square) by Australian standards but it's a good start for us. It's cheap, comes with all mod cons (even a dishwasher which I've never had and am looking forward to using for sterilising jars before preserving). 

It's a time of continual decluttering in preparation for small space living. We are of course, selling as much as we can to fund our travels (Mr Pablo's journey is more than ours). We've held two successful garage sales with at least another to follow. I've been selling off my art work including some of my own creations. 

These embroideries  are of lyrics of some of my favourite Smiths lyrics. I've exhibited these a couple of times at different exhibitions. Ive sold the others in the series and I'm selling these for $50 each. 



So this post is not just a selling post of me hawking my wares, here's a few things from around that have been holding my attention.

How amazing is this property, featured on The Design Files? And compared to the before images it just floors me! 

Love this DIY repair of a delapidated wall. Reminds me of one of my favourite DIY jobs ever

The image doesn't seem to be on Kelli's blog anymore but you can read about it still. I'd love to do this to a couch! 

This book by Gabrielle Galimberti featuring children and their favourite toys. 

"Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say" by , The Washington Post.

Posted April 10, 2014 11:57 AM by Cate

quinces and kale

smith & daughters – brunch

french toast with poached quince

It was only 9 days since my last visit to Smith & Daughters for dinner, but my friend and I thought we’d give the brunch a whirl. When trying to agree on some dates for a booking, we set up about 8 possible options, including the following day. We laughed that we’d never get it, but as luck would have it we got ourselves a spot for Sunday morning.

After my first visit to S&D my expectations were high and I wasn’t disappointed.

The place has a different feel in the daylight. Less crowded, more laid back and lots of light. Combined with the ever friendly service, it makes for a very relaxing experience.

The coffee came quickly and was excellent.

Tragic that I am, I’d already been perusing the menu online and had decided on the Mexican omelet before I even got there. My friend went for the breakfast burrito.  We shared bits and pieces.

breakfast burrito mexican omelette

The mexican omelet I think was the star of the two, with a definite eggy feel and good flavours from the potato, grilled corn, mushrooms, peppers and nopales. It came with gucamole and a tomatillo sauce.

The burrito was nice, but one of the things I love about this place is it makes vegan things that nobody else does. I was always going to go for something that isn’t readily available elsewhere. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it though. It was nicely spicy with scrambled tofu, chorizo, garlic kale, black beans and chipotle cashew cheese. Served with some guacamole and lime. Mmmm.

I had been relying on my normally sweet toothed friend to order the french toast so I could steal a bite, but to my surprise she didn’t so I was forced to order it myself as a dessert. :)

OMG. The sweet things here are sensational, and this was no exception. Beautiful flavours and served with quinces. My favourite grown up fruit.

french toast with poached quince

I’ll be back…again.


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

Posted April 10, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The Terminus Hotel II

April 6, 2014

This week Michael managed to steer our pub club to the Terminus Hotel, which was renovated and relaunched soon after our visit last year. It's a got a spacious, contemporary look with the traditional pub trappings - a long bar with a wide selection of craft beers, high tables, low tables and a beer garden. There's a clear split between the 'gastropub' and 'bar & beer garden' sections, with different menus on offer at each.

We settled into the more casual bar area, where the menu is dominated by on-trend Asian-ish dishes like bao, banh minis, green papaya salad and duck spring rolls. There's also a few meaty classics for the old guard, with miniature analogues for the kids. Veg*n and gluten-free options aren't marked clearly, but we were heartened by the number of tofu options scattered across the menu.

The kitchen was out of banh mi rolls and served our lemongrass tofu banh minis ($13.90) on two sweet, doughy slider rolls. The lightly battered tofu had a lovely texture and there were nice pockets of fresh chilli hidden away, but I didn't catch the pickley or herbal flavours I seek in a banh mi, let alone the promised lemongrass.

The vegetarian bao option ($5.90 each) struck a better balance with squidgy salty mushrooms, a squirt of soy mayo, and the cleansing bite of pickled ginger.

The fries ($6.90) came with the unlikely pairing of rosemary flecks and chilli jam. I'm still not quite convinced by it but the chips were well cooked with abundant golden crunchy bits, which I scrounged right to the bottom of the bowl.

The Terminus bar is a very comfortable spot to hang out with friends, and their food was well received across our table. The banh minis aren't the satisfying stuff found in  Footscray or Richmond, but the menu is a welcome diversion from the stodgy burgers and burritos we've come to expect from North Fitzroy's pubs.


You can read about our pre-renovation dinner at the Terminus here. Since its transformation, the bar menu has received a very positive review on Fitzroyalty, while the 'gastropub' menu has won fans on Seeking Victory.

The Terminus Hotel
492 Queens Parade, North Fitzroy
9481 3182
bar menu

Accessibility: I think the bar has a flat entry, then inside there's a reasonably spread out mix of high and regular tables. Ordering and payment happens at the high front bar. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted April 10, 2014 06:25 AM by Cindy

April 09, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

True North: Coburg cafe

Recently we noticed a brand spnaking new cafe had opened up at the local shopping centre.  Then an acquaintance said her friends were running the place.  Full of hope, I went there for brunch on Sunday and then returned for lunch this week.  The reclaimed timber and green walls were welcoming and fresh.  The menu is full of eggs, breads and fancy sandwiches.  I was pleased to find that there were some good vegetarian options.

Before visiting, we checked online for more information and found that according to The Three Thousand, it is in "Coburgia"  where "the beards and tattoos [are] encroaching on the Nonas and fruiterers".  Be warned that I also got sidetracked by a cafe of the same name in America.

Upon entering on Sunday lunchtime, we found that indeed The Three Thousand is right.  It was bustling with hipsters and drawing interested looks of passerbys.  Or perhaps it was just the David Tennant look-a-like making coffee.  Despite being busy, the service was prompt and friendly.

The menu was in a small print and I didn't have my glasses.  Everything seemed expensive and mysterious.  I asked about vegetarian options and was delighted to hear that they have vegan bacon and vegan chorizo.  (Hopefully the menu will eventually note these options.)

I decided to try the BLT.  The Bacon (or facon) was thin and crispy, the Lettuce was crunchy, the Tomatoes and mayonnaise kept it saucy and the seeded sourdough bread was dense and pleasing.  On the side were some fancy corn chips.  I loved this as a light lunch.

Sylvia was disappointed to hear that they were out of waffles.  Instead she had some of the lovely seeded sourdough with honey.  E had an egg and bacon roll which came with sauerkraut and relish.  He enjoyed it but found the roll a little crunchy.  I loved the green decor, E loved the cats decorations and Sylvia was very pleased to get a little Easter egg as she left.  We headed off to our play (A Pocketful of Joy at La Mama) feeling very satisfied.

This week I returned for lunch with my mum and Sylvia. I brought along my glasses and found the prices looked more reasonable when I could read them properly.  It was a different vibe on a weekday.  Not so busy, less of the hipsters and no David Tennant look-a-like.  The Go Betweens was on the soundtrack, however.  Now that is my sort of music.

I already knew what I wanted: The Reuben sandwich with vegan bacon instead of the pastrami.  When I asked the owner he said it might taste a bit odd.  But they did it for me.  It was great.  I have never had a Reuben sandwich and this mix of vegan bacon, cheese, sauerkraut and mustard was a delicious mixture of crunch, melty, sharp and spicy.  With chips and a pickle on the side.

My mum had the asparagus and ham quiche with salad.  She said it was delicious and that they got the pastry right.  Sylvia was very pleased to have the waffles with maple butter, pecans and caramelised banana.

Afterwards, I was curious about the sweet pie of the day.  My mum and I shared a slice of the peach, honey and cinnamon pie.  For research, you understand!  I had thought it would come warm and was surprised it was room temperature.  I wasn't very keen on having it served with cream poured over it (one of my childhood dislikes).  The pastry was nice but I am not really into pastry.  It was the peach the drew me to the pie and the peach that I loved.  It was scrumptious.  Juicy and flavoursome.

There is lots of more interesting food to try.  If I get there again in the next week or two, I might sample a hot cross bun.  E wants to try a gingerbread cat.  I quite liked the look of the salad sandwich (with feta as optional), the bagels look lovely and I really would love a version of the huevos rancheros without the eggs.  Along with Eastern Bloc and Little Deer Tracks, it does seem that the hipsters are moving into Coburg.

True North
2a Munro Street, Coburg
03 9917 2262
Open: weekdays 7am - 4pm, weekends 8am - 4pm
True North Facebook page

True North on Urbanspoon

Posted April 09, 2014 10:05 PM by Johanna GGG

Little Vegan Bear

Vegan Market Day

The Sunday before last, Billy and I visited the St Kilda Botanical gardens for the vegan market day organised by Animal Liberation Victoria. It was a beautiful day for it, with no better place to be than out in the sunshine in the gardens, with the smell of vegan food wafting through the air.

We had a little wander around the stalls, picking up some goodies as we went. The first we came across was a stall called ‘A Vegan Smiles’, which was doing cheese along with some other sweet treats like protein bites. By the time we had got there, they had sold out of all the cheese apart from one final pack, so we snapped it up to give it a try.

This wasn’t bad – it was enjoyable spread on crackers. The consistency was more like a spread than a solid cheese, and it had a very nutritional yeast/garlic/oniony flavour. Because I find it quite easy to make a cheese of that description, I probably wouldn’t get this again. Great to have new local vegan products on the market though!

Next we picked up some sweeties – the lady at the stall we got this from informed us that these were the only smores supplies in Australia at the moment. How could we pass up them after hearing that information?!


It was pretty yummy – I haven’t had marshmallow in sooooo long, and this wasn’t as sickly sweet as I had suspected it might be. I also got a bag of Dandies marshmallows, as I’ve never tried them.

mark3I know right?! What is this crazy chocolate bar I’ve never seen? I’ll tell you what it is – DELICIOUS. Lovely dark chocolate, with mini marshmallows scattered through it to give it a yummy chewy texture. How have I never seen this before?

Next we wandered over to the area where they had live music, food, and talks happening. Our intention was to get a sausage from the sausage sizzle (how often do I get to say that?) but when we got there they had run out of bread, and it was going to be half an hour until they got more. We had every intention of waiting, but then we wandered down to the other stalls and found some dosas on the go, so opted for them instead.


These were lovely! Not quite as good as the smokey eggplant ones from Overdosa, but definitely did the job. They were filled with a lovely potato mix, and came with three different chutneys – a coconut based, a chilli, and something else that I can no longer remember (pumpkin?).

After our savoury stop-over, we were ready to tackle the bake sale.


Unfortunately for us, it seemed that the bake sale had already been tackled – the table was almost bare! We did manage to snap up a profiterole to share, which had apparently won the bake-off. I thought the pastry was a bit heavy, but I loved the crunchy toffee bits.

While we were eating, somehow a plate of doughnuts appeared on the table. We managed to sneak one of the last ones before they disappeared (a matter of minutes)!


It was lovely – I wish I had ten!

Our final stop was to the coconut ice-cream cart. I’d seen this cart somewhere else not too long ago, but for some reason didn’t indulge. Well I was not going to let that happen again.

Funky packaging, with a little paddle to eat it with tucked inside the lid. The flavours all sounded amazing, and I managed to sway myself from the usual mint-choc chip (it wasn’t easy) to try something else…



This was be-a-u-tiful! The flavour was amazing, and unlike some other coconut ice-creams i’ve tried that have been quite hard and icy, this was lovely and creamy. I will never walk past this cart without indulging again!

Finally, it was time to make our way home. The food didn’t end there though – we smooshed up on the couch with a bowl of Red Thai Tofu and Green Beans with Thai Basil from Appetite for Reduction – the perfect way to end our delicious day.


Posted April 09, 2014 07:07 PM

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

yearly melbourne roundup - music

I just saw this sitting in my drafts. I also wanted to do a yearly gig/music roundup (most of this info is for me to record through the blog). I don't want to rank and file so will just present these gigs are all being awesome (except the Presets - that was a total bummer). St Vincent and David Byrne (dream come true seeing David Byrne live) The Drones Einsturzende Neubauten (Blixa - another

Posted April 09, 2014 09:35 AM by Carla

the cornish arms - brunswick

vegan double down - two chicken fillets with bacon, cheese, token lettuce leaf, special sauce, slaw and wedges Definitely file this under "I can't believe I ate the whole thing". It was actually super delicious - the crispy, spicy batter was unreal and definitely sated that hankering for KFC batter I always have (I know - why?!?!). The slaw was great - fresh, crsipy and creamy. I could have

Posted April 09, 2014 09:29 AM by Carla

April 08, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Frugal vegetable stock revisited

Home made stock has such lovely depth of flavour.  However I only make it occasionally.  While it is just a matter of simmering some vegetables, herbs, salt and water, it still takes a bit of energy, space and dishes.  Once I do it I always feel such a domestic goddess.  I first found the frugal freezer stock idea years ago.  Given that I am still using this method, I thought I would revisit the recipe with the tweaking I have made over time.

I have always disliked that making stock involved throwing out the cooked vegies.  This frugal stock mainly relies on using the ends and peelings of vegies that we usually throw away anyway.  It takes me a while to collect the scraps so I just store them in a plastic bag in the freezer until I have enough scraps or enough energy (whichever comes first).

However I (and some others) found that just using scraps could leave a bitter taste in the stock.  I started to add a whole onion and a whole carrot - roughly chopped.  Using both scraps and whole vegetables seemed to help balance the flavours.

The other change I made to making stock has been to use my pasta insert for my stockpot.  It came as part of my saucepans package when I purchased it years ago and I don't use it for pasta very often.  The pasta insert is brilliant for cooking the scraps in so that when the stock is cooled it is quite easy to lift out all the vegie scraps.

Lastly all I need is enough room in the freezer to store all the stock.  Once it is in there, it is lovely to be able to take out a tub of stock and toss it into a soup or stew.    It is quite a dark stock but adds great flavour to a hearty soup or stock.  (Here are some examples of how I use it.)  What's not to love about fresh stock, recycling and keeping your costs down.  All achieved with very little effort.  No wonder it makes me feel like a domestic goddess.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: In My Kitchen - April 2013
Two years ago: WHB Purple carrot soda bread, wildlife and sandcastles
Three years ago: Strawberry muffins, new oven and an allergy
Four years ago: SOS KC: Beets, Greens and Chickpea Curry
Five years ago: Carrot Miso Soup
Six years ago: Pumpkin Apple and Sage Risotto

Frugal Freezer Stock

1 bag of vegie scraps*
1 onion
1 carrot
a few cloves of garlic
4-5 cups water
5-6 tsp salt
fresh herbs from garden such as rosemary, thyme, bayleaves

*I keep a plastic bag in the freezer and add vegie scraps as I trim and peel vegies.  It can be over a few weeks.  The main vegies I make sure are well represented are onion, celery (a stump of a bunch is great), carrots and other root vegies such as celeriac, turnip, parsnip.  I also love to include most vegies trimmings such as pumpkin skin and seeds, zucchini ends, leek trimmings, parsley stalks, tomato cores, sweet potato peelings, potato peelings.  I avoid brassicas such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, because I read somewhere they have a strong flavour that can be quite smelly. The amount of vegies usually varies but is about enough to fill my stockpot once the pasta insert is in it.

Place pasta insert into stockpot (if you have one) and tip frozen vegies inside it.  Roughly chop onion, carrot and garlic cloves but don't bother to peel or trim.  Throw into the stockpot with frozen vegies.  Add water, salt and some fresh herbs (or trimmings of herbs).  Taste water to check it is salty enough and add more salt if necessary. 

Cover and bring to the boil.  Give a good stir (I poke at it from time to time with a wooden spoon).  Simmer for about15 to 20 minutes or until vegies are soft enough to crush with a spoon.

Lift the pasta insert out and drain off any stock.  (If you don't have a pasta insert, you will need a large collander with a large pot beneath to tip the stock into and drain stock from the vegie trimmings.)  Discard trimmings.  Ladle stock into containers and freezer if desired.  I freeze a lot of mine in 2 cup tubs but I like to have a few different size tubs as well.

On the Stereo:
It: Pulp

Posted April 08, 2014 10:58 PM by Johanna GGG


Lunch at Gopal’s: visit 2

Ever since I visited Gopal’s back in September 2013, I’ve been waiting to go back.  I haven’t been in that part of the city recently and although I could always catch a tram in to town and go eat somewhere, it’s not really something I do that often!

Today I took Arthur to the city to watch the Adam Spencer ‘Blurred Primes’ show as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  We left home with enough time to allow us to buy lunch.  Arthur got fries from Lord of the Fries and we took those up to Gopal’s so we could hang out a bit.

Truthfully, we walked up in to Crossways first and it was unbearably hot in there.  We were in there a couple of minutes, checking out the food and Arthur said in a pale kind of voice “can we go somewhere else, it’s really hot in here”.  As he gets nosebleeds a lot when he’s too hot, we got out of there fast.

Gopal’s is a hop, skip and jump away from Crossways.  I was pleased to see the window seats were empty so I told Arthur to stay put eating his chips while I got my meal:


Today I got the vegan deal for $11.50 (up from $10.50 last year).  I had brown rice, a chickpea kofta, a mixed chickpea-veg curry and then two kinds of salad.  Dessert was plain sago pudding and I got the lemon mint drink.  Like I said, all that for $11.50 and a mega serving.  I couldn’t finish the drink or the salad, I was so full.  Arthur had half the sago, I tried to finish it off but was way too stuffed:


I didn’t take any Melbourne photos because it was raining and I hadn’t taken my camera.  I was too busy dodging puddles (my boot has a hole in it somewhere) and trying to steer Arthur through crowds.  We got a good seat and enjoyed the show.  Part of the show involved a Melbourne world champion in Rubik’s Cube solving.  This guy solved the cube in under six seconds.  Then he did it one handed.  Then he did about a fifth of the cube then put it behind his back and completed it.


It was nice to have a day out with Arthur.  I wish he’d eat the same kind of restaurant/cafe food I do, so we could share those huge Gopal’s plates!  But three years ago he would only eat cheese sandwiches and WeetBix and now he’s in to roasted chickpeas and tofu.  All plain, without rice or salad or anything, but we’ll get there one day!

Gopal’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant is located at 139 Swanston Street up a lot of stairs.  Website here.

Posted April 08, 2014 10:30 PM

April 07, 2014

Vegan Bullsh*t

Tomato Not-Eggs

Does anyone else occasionally have strong food memories? Like you're just minding your own business, you see something you ate once upon a time (and which you promptly forgot about) and suddenly it's at the forefront of your brain and you need to make it happen again right now. Just me? Just me. Whoops. 
Enter tomato eggs.

I remember trying these as a kid and thinking they were really delicious.. but somehow I never remembered that fact until I was browsing the web and came across a picture. It's a really simple recipe - tomatoes, eggs, spring onions - so not much room to play with but this version is pretty damn good. It relies heavily on the omelette recipe from Vegan Brunch - you could do it with tofu but I wouldn't suggest it. The texture needs to be softer than a scrambled firm tofu will do, and needs to have more flavour than soft tofu on its own. But this could be an awesome base for a scramble - there's heaps of room to play with, and you only need one frypan once the omelette mix is made. Easy peasy.

Tomato Eggs (serves two)

- one to two spring onions, sliced finely
- two large tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (aim for 8-10mm thick max)
- one quantity vegan omelette mix from Vegan Brunch, as follows:
300g medium tofu, the water-packed kind (you could use silken like the original recipe - I wanted more of a curdy, harder texture for this though. if you use silken, cook a little longer and keep an eye on it.)
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. neutral-flavoured oil
generous pinch turmeric
1/2 tsp. black salt 
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. arrowroot
1/3 cup chickpea flour
Combine tofu, nooch, oil, black salt, turmeric and garlic in food processor and pulse. When thoroughly combined, add in arrowroot and chickpea flour and re-blend until you have a smooth mixture. Bam: omelette mix.

For the tomato eggs:
Preheat a large, nonstick frying pan to around medium. Season your omelette mix generously with salt, white pepper and sesame oil, then add about half a teaspoon of vegetarian oyster sauce (this stuff - I suspect if you don't have it, worcestershire sauce would be a decent addition). Re-blend. Oil your frypan fairly generously, add your omelette mix and carefully spread it out into an even layer with a large spoon or spatula. Let sit for around 2 minutes. Once it appears to be partially setting, tear it up! Loosen the entire thing from the base and, using a spoon or fork, separate the mixture into small chunks. Check your heat at this moment, if you've got serious browning it's up too high. Once you're happy with the chunks, let them cook a further 5-ish minutes until you're happy with the consistency. Remove from pan and set aside.
Using the same pan, re-oil and pop in your tomatoes and spring onions (reserve some of the darker green bits for garnish). Season with salt, white pepper and a generous pinch of sugar. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add a few teaspoons of water. Cover with lid and let steam for 30-45 seconds, until tomatoes are visibly softened but still very much intact. There will be residual water, don't worry about that. Add your eggs back into the pan and stir thoroughly to coat. Let cook an additional minute or two so that the residual liquid is absorbed and the eggs are fully coated. Take off the heat, garnish with spring onions and maybe a little sesame oil, and stuff your face.

Posted April 07, 2014 01:11 PM by L

Ballroom Blintz


Since January Kate has been insisting that I needed to get along to Pidapipó, a new gelateria in Carlton. She had quickly become obsessed with it and was encouraging everyone in our office to go down when we next hit up Cinema Nova, which for us all is multiple times a week, so really none of us had any excuse.

What I soon discovered upon entering the threshold and sampling Pidapipó’s wares was that there is no way that you can stop at just one visit. Because, and I am very confident in stating this, Pidapipó is serving up the best gelato in town. Yes, even better than Gelato Messina. COME AT ME.

Take the first combination that I sampled: salted caramel topped with Nutella swirl. Let’s not even get into the fact that the salted caramel balances sweet and salty on a perfect knife edge and that I may have subsequently sampled it at least three more times. Let’s focus on when I ordered the Nutella swirl, which as the name suggests has Nutella threaded through vanilla gelato, I was asked by the counter girl “Would you like some Nutella drizzled on top?”

Would I like Nutella drizzled on top, ahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa OF COURSE I WOULD.

On my second visit I thought it would only be sensible in terms of further research to get a double fruit sorbet cone, but I ruined the experiment by only getting one fruit flavour due to the fact peanut butter was available and we all know I wasn’t going to say no to that. I topped the peanut butter with peach, which was bright pastel orange and liberally flecked with small pieces of fruit. Like all of Pidapipó’s flavours it was robust, just a huge burst of stone fruit goodness. But the peanut butter… ahahahahahAAAAAAAAA THE PEANUT BUTTER. Seriously I just wanted to cackle malevolently like a super villain who finally has their hands on all the plutonium.

It would take me forever to write about the rest of the flavours I’ve sampled in the proper manner I’ve established, so let’s bullet point this shit:

  • Ricotta and fig – creamy gelato with thick, luscious threads of caramelised fig. This is my three-way tie for favourite with salted caramel and peanut butter.
  • Banana – thick and flavoured like they’ve straight up frozen mashed banana with the barest of embellishments just to make sure it’s creamy as all fuck.
  • Pistachio – One of my all time favourite ice cream flavours, Pidapipó’s pistachio is a highly impressive iteration, ratcheting up the nuttiness until it threatened to become an overpowering flavour explosion. Sample at your delicious discretion.
  • Pineapple – one of the sorbetti flavours, like most of the fruit ones are, and while not as creamy as the milk based gelatos, they still pack an impressive flavour wallop. Pineapple is all sharp-sweet tropics in a cup.
  • Blood plum – Another sorbetti, and so clean, sweet and tart all at once, this one’s a great palate cleanser after a meal.
  • Banana and choc fudge – This is the only flavour that hasn’t managed to completely wow me, but that doesn’t mean that it was bad, indeed, how can any gelato threaded with thick seems of gooey chocolate fudge ever be anything but enjoyable?
  • Hazelnut – Another nutty flavour explosion, these are Italians, of course they are not going to do hazelnut by halves, it’s going to explode your face off is what it’s going to do.
  • Coconut – Such a divisive flavour, but if you don’t like coconut son I feel sorry for you, because you are MISSING OUT ON DIVINE REVELATION.

The gelato at Pidapipó is impressive enough, but I’m also so pleased with how spotlessly clean the store always is, how friendly the staff (all Italian) are, how you can always see the baskets of fresh fruit and giant jars of Nutella waiting to be turned into chilled delight, and how the phrase “so we have to go get The Ice Cream” has become so ubiquitous among my friends and I. Because it is the only ice cream now, for all of us, everyone I have introduced to Pidapipó have immediately caught evangelical zeal for it. Come join us. JOIN US.


222 Faraday Street, Carlton


Posted April 07, 2014 11:52 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Warra Warra Korean Kitchen

April 1, 2014

We needed a speedy city dinner before hitting up Cherchez La Femme and finally managed to resist the lure of Shandong Mama to follow through on Hayley's gushing recommendation of Warra Warra Korean Kitchen. It took us less than a year, which I'm claiming as a win.

Warra Warra is tucked away at the back of the Tivoli Arcade off Bourke Street - it's got a few big outside tables and a stylish, exposed brick industrial-ish interior. The menu is long with plenty of vegetarian options, basically one for each menu section: a soft tofu stew, bibimbap, tofu bulgogi, a grilled tofu green bowl, spicy vegetarian hotpot, veggie tofu with kimchi, kimchi pancake, sweet potato noodles and a few others - you've got choices is what I'm saying.

I got there early and the super friendly staff plied me with free nibblies and not so free beer (the waiter helpfully pointed out that Hite beer is pronounced like 'height' not hit-ay).

When Cindy arrived we quickly negotiated our orders - I couldn't ignore the rave reviews that Hayley gave the bibimbap ($13.90), while Cindy was intrigued by the tofu bulgogi ($17.50, served with rice, salad and seasonal fruit).

The bulgogi comes out in five dishes - you get some leafy greens and a couple of bits of fruit, a seasoned rice bowl (the staff checked in with us as to whether we wanted fish flakes and/or egg on top of the rice, so it's probably worth being clear that you're vego/vegan when you order), a little pan of saucy tofu, kim chi and pickled oniony bits. The tofu was grilled and coated in a sweet sauce with a bit of soy saltiness, served on a bed of cabbage, carrot and onion. Cindy was happy to enjoy it as it was, but I'd have added a dash of hot sauce or mixed it with the kim chi to give it a bit more zing.

Thankfully, the bibimbap is designed to be self-sauced to your satisfaction, so I could happily squeeze on as much of the house made chilli sauce as I wanted (hint: a lot).

The dish itself was excellent - a good mix of tofu, veggies and rice with a squishy egg yolk on top that you mush up and stir through everything else. The stone bowl is super hot and everything keeps on cooking while you eat, so the rice gets crunchier the longer you go on. It's not heavily flavoured - just a drizzle of a sweet soy sauce on the tofu - but the staff are clear that you're meant to self season (there's a mild sauce as well as the chilli, but I was never going to make that mistake).

Warra Warra is a good CBD restaurant to have in your kit bag: fresh and delicious food, a quiet and relaxed atmosphere and plenty of vego options. The prices are reasonable (although not as cheap as the various dumpling houses we usually fall back on in the city) and the service spot on. They do cheaper set dishes at lunchtime, when I think things are a bit more chaotic. We'll definitely be back - I'm keen to try the kim chi pancake ($14.50) and the veggie tofu with kim chi ($19.50).

We were inspired to try Warra Warra by the write-up on Ballroom Blintz. There are more positive reviews on Mon's Adventures, Where Adles Eats, Blogs and Thoughts, new international students, The Food Society and Barley Blog, while The Weekly Foodie, Doughnut forget me! and Peach Water had more mixed experiences. 

Warra Warra Korean Kitchen
Shops 19 & 20, Tivoli Arcade, 235-251 Bourke St, Melbourne
9662 2077

Accessibility: The entry is flat, but things are a bit crowded inside. The toilets are up a small step, are gendered and of standard dimension. You order at the table and pay at a high counter.

Posted April 07, 2014 09:21 AM by Michael

quinces and kale

grains and pilafs – instant food

couscous bowl

Writing a food blog is not good for the waistline…crunchy potatoes, ice cream, creme caramelcheesecakes, lasagna…well you get the idea. So I’ve been back at the gym recently, exercising so I can continue to eat without the inevitable consequences.

While I do like to eat healthy food, it has to be healthy food that is delicious and doesn’t feel like hard work either cooking or eating it.

As part of the meal I ate at Maha a while back there were a couple of substantial grain salads, both of which I really enjoyed. When I think of making a salad I’m often stuck in a bit of a rut, usually thinking of it as a side salad and put together something involving lettuce.

While these green salads are great,  I sometimes forget how satisfying and infinitely variable a grain based salad can be. They are perfect for summer because they keep well in the fridge, are there ready and waiting for you when it is too hot to cook, but they also work well in colder weather too because they are so substantial.

So I have been experimenting with some grain based salads and I have a favourite one of the moment. It is inspired by the lentils and freekeh at Maha.  It is really nothing like that one except the grain and lentil. Mine is a combination of freekeh, small green french type puy lentils with a dressing of pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, fresh coriander and preserved lemon. It then serves as a base to add other things.  I’ve been eating this with some hummus, roasted peppers and the last of the cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden.

One of the things I love about having a basic grain or pilaf ready to go in the fridge is that it can be dressed up to be a meal in a bowl with just the addition of some veggies, cooked and raw, maybe some protein if the grain base didn’t already contain some and a dollop or two of a favourite dip or dressing.

I try to have a batch of undressed, cooked rice or quinoa in the fridge to do this with so I can have a meal ready in 10 minutes. And even if you don’t, you can always rely on couscous which will cook while you prep the other stuff. Depending on what you put with it,  the meal can go in any direction.

Add some canned beans, tomatoes, avocado, corn kernels, tajin, lime and fresh coriander and it can be Mexican.

Add some fried tofu, crushed peanuts, spring onions, fresh coriander and vietnamese mint, some wilted greens in sesame oil, soy and chilli and it can be SE-Asian.

Take away the peanuts, mint  and coriander, substitute Japanese soy, add some ginger and a shake of that wonderful Japanese sesame/salt flavouring gomashio it suddenly feels Japanese.

Try some tofu fetta, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, roasted peppers and hummus and it is heading off to the Meditteranean.

The trick is to have the grain ready to go. That way it won’t take long and you’ll resist the temptation to get some crappy takeaway that will just be awful anyway.

Just let your imagination run riot. I’m loving my grain bowl meals at the moment.

Here are a few I’ve eaten in the last week…the rice pilaf had some dried mushrooms, caramelised onions and a bit of wild rice in with the jasmine rice. The freekeh and lentils had the pomegranate molasses, lemon, coriander treatment. Apologies for some of the photos they are a bit ordinary, taken with the phone due to a flat camera battery.


A vaguely middle eastern rice bowl…with tomatoes, stuffed zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant dip, pistachios and hummus.

rice bowl 2

A loosely Mexican themed rice bowl…with avocado, tomatoes, corn with pepper cashew cheese, and some hummus and a squeeze of lime (OK the hummus is a bit out of place, but I love hummus)

rice bowl 1

A totally confused “what’s in the fridge or cupboard” bowl with couscous, green beans, borlotti beans with garlic dip, roasted tomatoes,  hummus and baked almond ‘feta’ 

couscous bowl

I also made a freekeh and lentil  bowl with Middle Eastern flavours…fried cauliflower, hummus, eggplant dip, tomatoes and some carrots and quarters of baby cos lettuce for crunch, but forgot to photograph it.

Life’s hard for a food blog writer sometimes, when you have that  “*&%$ I’ve eaten it before photographing it” moment! Oops… :)



Posted April 07, 2014 07:55 AM

April 06, 2014


Dinner at The Cornish Arms, visit 2

Today is a child free night for Husband and I as we have some stuff to attend tomorrow morning.  We didn’t actually plan to go to the Cornish Arms (which is why my photos were taken with my phone), we’d been driving around returning library books and as we were close enough to Sydney Road, we decided to go to dinner there.

I appreciate the effort the Cornish Arms go to to provide good vegan pub food options, though they are on the expensive side.  Today’s vegan options were:


Decisions decisions!  On our previous visit I went for the vegan parma and I didn’t really want something with a big slab of seitan so I went for the Texas BBQ Pork Bun.  I think that’s what it’s called, the Cornish Arms website seems to have a different menu.  Anyway, it was as described: “vegan roast pork cooked with housemade BBQ sauce, roast veppers and cheez.  Served with a tangy slaw and deep fried pickles”:


The deep fried pickles had a light, airy kind of batter.  Taste wise, they didn’t make much of an impact but for me the novelty was really in eating something puffy.  I told Husband that I better open one up to show the blog audience:


The roast pork bun itself was pretty good.  Having a BBQ sauce would pretty much put it on the sweet side of things but I didn’t find it too sickly sweet like other BBQ sauces can be.  The bread seemed your standard bakery bread roll.  The slaw was nice and not too much of it which was good. Because really, this meal is all about the bun and the puffy pickles!

Extreme closeup:




Husband ordered a non vegan meal (he said it was good) and we didn’t order drinks.  We always stick with the jugs of water.  Our bill came to $36.  Service was friendly and our meals took about thirty minutes to arrive.

I asked about the vegan dessert options and was told there was a peach cheesecake and a cookies n cream cheesecake.  Neither option appealed to me which was probably a good thing considering how much cake I ate the other day… anyway, as I said earlier I do appreciate the effort that has gone in to the Cornish Arms vegan menu but as with many other establishments offering vegan meals, I do wish there was more in the way of house made vegan dessert.


The Cornish Arms is located at 163 Sydney Road in Brunswick. There was live music tonight but we chose to sit outside as it was a pleasant night!

Posted April 06, 2014 11:45 PM

vegan about town

white pasta sauce (also good for hot chips)

I've never been very good at white sauces: they're not a thing I ever ate as a child (unless they were part of a hor fun, which is a different kind of white sauce all together), and I considered white sauce a different, unusual, completely foreign thing. It was a special treat, and certainly not anything I had any experience with at home. 

Since I've been vegan I've failed at every recipe I've turned my hand to; so it was with great delight that last week I was feeling lazy and magically a white sauce appeared as my dinner. 

So I stole this from Emma in talk and texts, and turned it into a recipe. On Friday it was leftovers of pasta with this sauce plus hot chips + potato cakes from the local fish and chippery; tonight I fried thin strips of tempeh and thinly sliced mushrooms in some teriyaki sauce to top it all with. It's versatile and delicious, and next I think I'm going to try it as a béchamel on a lasagne. 

There are no pictures because you've seen an ugly brown/cream sauce before. 

So I present to you, a super delicious but relatively easy white pasta sauce. 

Dice half a brown onion, and brown it (ha!) in 2 tablespoons of nuttelex/margarine, before adding a minced clove of garlic and half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes. Careful with the chilli, I basically killed my flattie Bella this evening by choosing to use about two tablespoons of chilli. I just like chilli, okay?

When it's all brown and delicious smelling, add a heaped tablespoon of (vegan, obvs) powdered chicken-flavoured stock (ILU, Massels), and 2 tablespoons of plain flour. Mix it all in, add a dash or three of milk, stir again, add some more milk and maybe some water and create a roux, then dash to the sink as you hurriedly drain and rinse a can of cannelleni beans. Add these to the pot, then stir and let simmer. Simmer simmer simmer, adding more water or milk as necessary, until you're happy with it. Mash some of those beans up, then simmer a bit longer. Hurrah, a sauce!

Tonight I also added teeny tiny diced carrots in the latter stages, simmering them until softened, and some frozen peas to the cooking pasta spirals, and of course the fried tempeh and mushies. Emma definitely had fresh spinach, basil and kale, all added after the sauce was taken off the heat, and also probably some other exciting things because I remember it being quite bulky. I would love to try this as a sauce over cauliflower and sweet potato. 

Posted April 06, 2014 09:50 PM by steph


Another veganny goodness lunch

My parents came over again today to help with some work going on at our house.  Which of course means I cook some vegan delights!  I decided on a very light dessert, seeing as we had a double layer chocolate fudge cake two days ago.


First up was Spinach and Tofu Ricotta Cannelloni, posted by Caeli over at Little Vegan Bear.  I made the sauce and filling last night to make things easier today.  I haven’t had cannelloni in years so I was very happy with this tasty vegan version!  The filling contains tofu, mushrooms, walnut and spinach (plus other flavours) and was very easy to make.  The stuffing-the-tubes bit was the most time consuming part but really, it was only ten minutes.  Put the radio on, rock out to a few Poison songs, deny you did that, and you’re done.  Hey did you know that Rikki Rockett, the drummer from Poison (AS IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW) is vegan?  Anyway, I topped my cannelloni with grated frozen Cheezley:


My second dish was the Creamy Potato and Leek Casserole posted over at James&Matt. I had a leek in the fridge for about, oooh, as long as you can have a leek before it starts sporting mould.  I screwed it up a bit though.  I used less potatoes and used a smaller baking dish but I think I misread the liquid ingredient amounts and didn’t compensate properly.  Although the casserole on top was all nice and thick, the potatoes were swimming in a sea of watery liquid. My silken tofu was also really watery which probably didn’t help. Next time I will adjust properly, because this dish was delish and I’d like to make it again  :D


I also made a simple salad with mixed salad greens, tomato, toasted walnuts and the Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.


For dessert, I wanted something as light and refreshing as possible so I opted for fruit with some kind of fancy pants element.  I chose the Winter Citrus Salad from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  Fresh mint leaves and (raw in my case) sugar are whizzed up and sprinkled over sliced oranges and grapefruit.  I added strawberries.  I’ve never made mint sugar before, it’s so incredibly tasty for something so incredibly simple:


I gave some cannelloni and potato leek casserole to my sister and brother in law.  They said they tried to leave some for tomorrow’s dinner but caved in and ate it all tonight instead.  So there you go, thumbs up all ’round from my family!

Hair vegan.

Hair vegan.

Posted April 06, 2014 09:48 PM

Consuming Cate

A day of cooking and egg free quiche

I've never liked eggs but I found myself with a fridge full of veg and a desire to make something different. Based on tofu cheeses I've made previously, I decided to make an eggless quiche.

  • 2 cups flour of choice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Tofu mix

  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 leek
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • Chunk of capsicum
  • Handful spinach and wombok
  • 450g medium firm tofu
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds



To make the pastry:
  1. Place flour in a bowl 
  2. Add olive oil and rub in with fingers to make a crumbly mixture
  3. Add water gradually and stir
  4. Knead gently into a ball and place in fridge covered in gladwrap for 30 mins
  5. Pre heat oven to 180c
  6. Remove pastry from fridge
  7. Place on floured board and knead until springy
  8. Roll out to desired size and place in pie pans
  9. Prick inside of pies and place in oven for 10 minutes
  10. Remove and leave to cool

Quiche filling
  1. Fry onions, garlic and vegetables and until lightly browned
  2. Leave to cool
  3. Place tofu and seasonings in a blender and whizz until combined
  4. Leave for 10 mins
  5. Place veggies in pies
  6. Top with tofu mix and stir to combine
  7. Bake in oven for 30 mins
  8. Remove and cool for 10 mins to allow it to thicken
  9. Serve with salad and condiments such as  onion jam

Variations: different vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, mushrooms, olive and sundried tomatoes would also work well. Next time I would add some parsley and basil also. 

Posted April 06, 2014 07:49 PM by Cate

Challenge Accepted!

Week 1: Puffy Pillow Pancakes

Hello and welcome to the Kate Cooks Actual Recipes From Her Too Many Cookbooks challenge! (Otherwise known as Challenge Accepted)

When I came to realise recently that I own over 40 cookbooks (and counting), yet have probably only used two or three recipes from many of the books, I decided to challenge myself to cook new things, and this project was born.

After seeing Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's live cooking demonstration recently, this week I decided to make Puffy Pillow Pancakes from my (brand new) Isa Does It cookbook.

Now, my previous attempts at pancake making have resulted in at best, soggy crumbly piles of dough, so I was a little sceptical that mine could turn out like the inch-thick pancakes in the book.

The first batch didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped, were difficult to flip and resulted in a few pieces of reject pancake (which then prompted a cloud-shape type debate on Facebook over what they looked like):

(Feel free to add your guesses in the comments)

But! When I actually followed Isa's advice about not crowding the pan with more than two pancakes at a time, they turned out almost perfectly! Voila:

Mmmm, pancakes.

Next time I think I might add some different flavours in the batter, like orange zest. :-)

Next Week: Steamed BBQ Buns from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World.

Posted April 06, 2014 01:32 PM by Kate

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Sweet potato, zucchini and olive quesadillas

Last week saw very little cooking in my kitchen.  Last night I realised that I had been so busy and poorly that I had only cooked one meal during the week.  I went to the movies, attended Sylvia's first school concert, had parent teacher interviews, had meetings and babysat my niece.  It was good to go out for dinner and eat meals from the freezer, when I wasn't so sick that I could only eat vegemite on toast.  My fridge however is still full of vegetables.  So last night I made some rather good quesadillas.

Quesadillas ticked a few boxes.  They were a good way to try some of my new Vegusto vegan mozzarella cheese, they used up some of the vegies that were begging to be put out of their misery, and they were fairly easy.  The original recipe for Zucchini, Olive and Cheese Quesadillas from Cooking Light used low fat mozzarella and feta cheese. 

I didn't have any feta and wanted to keep it vegan.  So I used a sweet potato that I half cooked about a week ago.  It was looking expectantly at me every time I opened the fridge.  I also had plenty of cherry tomatoes and some zucchinis from the farmers market.  And I couldn't resist adding my favourite spice, smoked paprika.

The sweet potato was a good choice in adding more vegies and helping the quesadilla stick together.  I've had problems with quesadillas holding together in the past but these flipped over with no problem.  In fact, with the sweet potato, you could probably omit the cheese altogether or even mashed in a few beans instead. 

It was my first time using Vegusto.  It grated ok but clumped together when I tried to sprinkle it on my tortillas.  I could taste the meltiness from time to time in the quesadillas but I don't think it was the best way to feature it and look forward to using it in more meals.

I had thought of making some refried beans to have on the side but I didn't have the energy.  I found that the quesadillas made a satisfying meal without them.  E said he could have eaten more.  Some refried beans and salad would make this a larger meal.  As it was, E just added some Tabasco because it wasn't quite spicy enough for him. 

I am sending these quesadillas to Vanesther at Bangers and Mash who is hosting Mexican Month on the Spice Trail

I am also sending them to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours for the Extra Veg challenge that she hosts with Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Sushi with sticky walnuts and edamame
Two years ago: Plum almond tart
Three years ago: WHB: Plum and Cinnamon Oat Slice
Four years ago: WHB Easter nut roast and reflections
Five years ago: Pooh Bear Honey Slice
Six years ago: Seduced by Strawberries and a Pudding

Sweet potato, zucchini and olive quesadillas
Adapted from Cooking Light October 2001
Serves 2

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 small to medium zucchinis, grated
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp smoked paprika, divided
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 tbsp white miso
4 (8-inch) wheat tortillas
1/2 cup (2 oz) mozzarella cheese, divided (I used vegusto)
1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, divided
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives, divided

Heat olive oil in a large frypan over  medium heat and fry onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add zucchini and fry another 5 to 10 minutes until zucchini starts to brown.  Turn off the heat.  Mix in oregano, 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika and season with a good pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper.  Scrape into a small bowl and set aside.  Use a paper towel to wipe out the frying pan to be ready for the tortillas.

Mix the mashed sweet potato with miso, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper (or to taste).  Spread half the mashed sweet potatoes over a tortilla, or enough to cover it but not too thickly.

Preheat frypan over medium heat.  (I didn't add any oil.)  Have the mozzarella, tomatoes and olives ready.  Place a plain tortilla on the pan and scatter with half the mozzarella, half the zucchini mixture, half the cherry tomatoes and half the olives.  Top with the tortilla spread with sweet potato, with the vegetables facing downwards.  Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Carefully flip over and fry another 2 minutes or until golden brown on the second side.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Cut each quesadilla into four and serve hot. 

On the Stereo:
Listen, Listen: an Introduction to: Sandy Denny

Posted April 06, 2014 09:01 AM by Johanna GGG

April 04, 2014


Vegan Goodness for a Family Lunch

My parents came over today to help us out with some work on the house and my sister had the day off work and came over to help too.  Despite them saying I shouldn’t worry about cooking, I decided to put on a bit of a last minute light lunch.  Why last minute?  Because my sister and I had originally planned to go to Smith & Daughters for lunch, as I’d seen the opening time listed somewhere as midday but when I went to confirm later, Smith & Daughters were only open for dinner.  Which, as you can imagine was a mega disappointment.  I’ve been hanging out to go and that was to be the big adventure today. SOB CRY WAIL.

My mum and dad also offered to come over pretty much last minute, when I’d just realised Smith & Daughters was not going to happen.  I hadn’t done the shopping and there was no chance of going out to get stuff.  Fortunately, I’d made a big pot of the Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew from The Oh She Glows Cookbook the day before and served that up. Husband went out and picked up some zaatar breads from Zaatar in Coburg. For another side dish, I made some roast cauliflower.  I usually sprinkle nutritional yeast on it but I’ve run out (and I’m finding it hard to survive without it) so I just used a little garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  I would have sprinkled on some almond meal, but I over processed almonds the other day and they went past the almond meal stage and in to the halfway-to-butter stage…

I’d also previously frozen a dip I made from toasted walnuts, roasted red capsicum and garlic.  I love this dip.  Soooo simple to make, I just toast some walnuts, roast a heap of red capsicum (bell peppers) then peel off the blackened skins and whiz it all up in the blender with some garlic and olive oil.

I decided to make some hummus too, to have another dip on offer.  I don’t follow a recipe, I just throw a can of chickpeas in the blender along with some tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt.  I leave the olive oil for serving, along with a sprinkle of paprika:


I also made a simple salad with mixed lettuce, tomato and some leftover red quinoa I’d cooked a few days ago.  The salad was dressed with the Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  I forgot to sprinkle my toasted walnuts on top.  That’s how I roll!  Like sitting down to eat, finishing our meals then realising I forgot to fill the water jug for everyone.

For dessert I wanted to make a cake.  Arthur and DeeW have been asking me to bake a chocolate cake for ages, so I made the Double Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, along with the suggested chocolate buttercream icing.  This was a last minute bake the night before as I really didn’t want to be baking on the day.  Everyone enjoyed the cake and it looked great on the cake plate, though I made a bit of a mess with the icing on the cake plate.  It’s amazing how children think a double layer cake on a platter is super special:


For more info on the Oh She Glows recipes mentioned here, stay tuned as I am writing up another recipe review post!

I really enjoy cooking vegan food for my parents and as mum is observing Lent and eating mostly vegan (otherwise vegetarian, she gives up meat/fish for Lent), this is where I showcase some simple but very tasty dishes that are easy for her to prepare at home.  When I went vegan and mum was asking me what kind of stuff I’d be cooking, I laughed and said “you know all those meals you make during Lent but that you also make when it’s not Lent?  Like your lentil soup, and green beans-potatoes-carrot dish and your fasolatha (bean soup)? Those!” And she was all “oh!  Fair enough!”  It’s great though as my mum now makes her regular foods vegan for me but she and my dad also enjoy it. She’s not sceptical when it comes to a vegan diet because a lot of what she eats is vegan anyway, without ever having deliberately made it vegan, if you know what I mean!  So for her there has been no problem eating a vegan diet– she was eating this way a lot, long before she ever heard the word vegan.  That’s true of just about everyone I’ve spoken to.  Too often, people seem to think vegan food is all ‘rabbit food’ plus tofu and nothing could be further from the truth!

Posted April 04, 2014 10:56 PM

April 03, 2014

Thoughts Of A Moni

South Melbourne Market

Last Saturday I had the privilege of joining a group of other bloggers for a tour of the South Melbourne Market. The South Melbourne market is the oldest market in Melbourne, and one of my favourites for fresh produce, but I had little idea of all the other amazing shops there. 

We met up outside the LG Kitchen which is host to some great cooking classes with top chefs, where we were greeted by Janet our guide for the morning. Janet gave us a brief overview of the market and its history, and then off we went to explore!

The owner of The Brow Bar with Janet
Our first stop was The Brow Bar. This stall is a relative newcomer to the market, and focuses on the Middle Eastern and Subcontinental technique of threading for hair removal. We were also surprised to learn that a large percentage of the clientèle here are male!

Henrietta from Sleep Couture
We then headed to SO:ME Space, which is an area created to showcase small designers and their pop up stalls. On the day we were there, there was Henrietta who specialises in some gorgeous sleepwear. You can see her uber cool leopard skin ugg boots in the background!

John from Pardon My French
We kept moving along to our next stop which was a crepe stall called Pardon My French. John, the crepe master was flat out trying to keep up with demand, and apparently his speciality is the Nutella crepe! I definitely need to come back and try it!

Our next stop was a shop called A Story By Another Name. We learnt that this shop has been a fixture of the market for 50 years, run by the same family over 3 generations! They stock Bonds apparel, mainly hoodies and t-shirts, and Converse shoes. Their point of difference is however, that they only stock items in black, grey white, navy, and the odd bit of khaki, and allow the wearer to create their own look with the base colours. A novel concept which has obviously worked!

These are Rollie shoes, which are stocked at Creatures Of Comfort. How bloody cute are they?!

The next shop we stopped at was Klopper. This was a gorgeous store with the most amazing ceiling piece, but for me, the highlight was the Kester Black nail polish that they stock. Kester Black is a brand started by a Melbourne based lady who creates cruelty free nail polishes! I will definitely be back here to get some!

And then we came to my absolute favourite shop, The Soap Shop. This was definitely one of the highlights of the day for me. As you can see, and as the name tells you, The Soap Shop obviously stocks soap, and all of it is natural, organic, and fantastic for people who have sensitive skin. But for me, the best part was the huge range of liquid soaps and cleaning products available. They have everything from body wash and shampoo, to laundry detergent, dish washing liquid and even dog shampoo! They run an environmentally friendly program where you bring in your own bottle and they fill it up for you. Such a brilliant concept, and one I will definitely take advantage of now that I know about it!

Being a vegetarian, nut shops are high on my priority list, and Rita's Coffee and Nut Shop was fabulous! I think what made it so special was Rita herself! She was a great character, full of laughs, and so passionate about her store and the products. We were invited to taste so delicious walnuts, and also sample some of her many mixes, including the now infamous virility mix!

Cheese is an absolute staple in my diet, in fact one of the first things I have bought for my new kitchen is a cheese board! At Vangeli's Deli were were treated to samples of some delicious brie and cheddar.

Elle of Cherry and Me with a rather unique bodysuit!
Frankie's story is a subsidiary of the previously mentioned A Story By Another Name, which focuses on Kids wear. The little Converse shoes were a particular hit with us, and we only wished they made larger sizes of the giraffe chucks!

One of the last stores we visited was Georgie's Harvest Potatoes and Herbs. I never realised there were so many different varieties of potatoes! Georgie takes great pride in the produce she sells, all of which is sourced from niche growers.

The interior of the store smells gorgeous, mainly due to the dried eucalyptus that is hanging from the roof. Below that is many cords of garlic and chilli, all hung to dry.

One of the highlights from Georgie was the shitaki mushroom tree that they have in the store! It was amazing and I have never seen anything like it before!

Overall, it was a fantastic day! I've always loved markets, and this was no exception! It was also lovely to meet some other bloggers, and for once we didn't feel ridiculous walking around with our DSLRs, iPhone cameras, and taking a ridiculous number of pictures! I'm sure people thought we were tourists!

A huge thankyou to Nuffnang and the South Melbourne Market for hosting us! I will definitely be back!

Posted April 03, 2014 10:19 PM by Moni

Green Gourmet Giraffe

In My Kitchen - April 2014

In my kitchen this month is an eclectic selection.  Firstly feast your eyes on this red, blue and white cupcake.  When I decorated my St Patrick's Day cupcakes with green frosting, I also had red frosting leftover from Sylvia's toadstool cake.  On a whim I had some fun with decorating and photographing it but the colours seemed wrong for St Pat's Day so I saved it for this post.

In my kitchen is Sylvia's lego.  I am amazed at all the kits you get with lego.  Sylvia got about four for her birthday.  We had had a convertible car, an ice cream cart, a beauty salon and a castle with a slide.  She has had great fun with them.  I love the little lego girl with the laptop on her knee.  Don't know where Sylvia's got the idea!  The downside of the kits is that there is less left to the imagination.  They are very good for following instructions though.

In my kitchen is a limited edition packet of Magnum Mini ice creams.  They are pretentious enough to only put the flavour in French on the front of the packet.  I found myself checking the back because my French is not brilliant.  This meringue and berry flavour was amazing.

In my kitchen are Tim Tams by Adrian Zumbo.  It seems that Magnums are not the only food producer going all pretentious.  Here we combine a classic Australian bikkie with an Australian baking superstar chef.  I found the raspberry and white chocolate too sweet but I loved the salted caramel one with a passion.

In my kitchen are snacks for school lunchboxes.  And the occasionally inappropriate snack.  This is my first year of doing lunchboxes.  They must be nut free.  I sent these vanilla biscuits with chocolate coating along with Sylvia for playlunch.  That evening I read the packet a bit more carefully.  Hazelnuts!  Oops!  Must try harder.  (At least I am not aware of any nut allergies in Sylvia's class - other than her own peanut allergy!)

In my kitchen is a cute new chicken plate and some bird shaped sponges.  They were sent from Ireland by my sister.  I started using the sponges after throwing out the current sponge after a foolish attempt to polish school shoes on a school morning ended up a a shoe polish fiasco.  The sponges are a triumph of style over usability but they are cute.  The plate is a fine addition to some other melamine plates and bowls I own.

In my kitchen I donned my domestic goddess halo.  I have been baking sourdough bread and making stock and cooking up dried beans.  The last loaf of bread was lovely but was on top of the preheating oven while I was at the movies (highly recommend Wadjda if you are looking for a film to see) . It resulted in the mixture spilling over the edges and baking razor sharp.  It has ripped two paper bags!  The stock seemed good but got tipped down the sink by mistake by an over zealous dishwasher.  Thirteen cups of beans are in the freezer awaiting their moment! 

In my kitchen are oatcakes.  We were delighted to find that Woolworths is selling their own brand of oatcakes.  Everyone loves them in our household.  They were great with spinach dip or mixed berry jam or just plain in Sylvia's lunch box.

In my kitchen is chocolate almond milk.  I bought it to make chocolate cupcakes.  I was surprised how quickly Sylvia drank the leftovers.  She has more chocolate milk today at school.  They had a morning tea with hot cross buns and flavoured milk.  It just reminds me of blueberry Big M that was so popular for a short time when I was at primary school and tasted like dishwashing water or something equally horrible.  But I guess there are worse things Sylvia can drink than flavoured milk.

In my kitchen is farmers market produce.  A couple of weeks ago I finally made my first farmers market visit of the year.  I was motivated to go by a desire for some new season apples.  I also bought up on plums because we have been enjoying stewing them to eat with yoghurt and in a crumble.  The golden beetroot was great in nut roast.  I loved the fruit bread but we are yet to sample the Golden Axe apple cider.  I am pretty excited about using the combination of wild rice, brown rice, bamboo rice, white rice and red quinoa.  Any ideas for meals that can feature the rice combo?

In my kitchen are cruelty free products.  I finally made it to the Cruelty Free Shop in Fitzroy that has excited veg*n bloggers of Melbourne.  I can see why.  It has so many amazing products.  I practiced restraint in my purchases.  I was excited to buy some Vegusto vegan mozzerella cheese, Seed and Bean lavender chocolate, and Beanfields pico de gallo bean and rice chips.  And I picked up a tin of black beans because they are not so easy to find in my local shops. 

It is a pretty shop.  I loved the clean neat shelves of the shop.  It reflect a change in veganism.  It is quite different from the cluttered hippy co-ops and health food shops where I usually find such products.  Though I hope there will still be a place for the old school shops.  Then I went across the road to the Vegie Bar and had an amazing huge piece of chocolate cake for lunch.

I am sending this post to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her In My Kitchen event.  Head over to check out what is happening in other bloggers' kitchens.

Posted April 03, 2014 02:19 PM by Johanna GGG

vegan about town

tea adventures at travelling samovar

Last Saturday Emma and I took Puppeh for a walk down Rathdowne Street to Travelling Samovar, a tea house we've both been meaning to visit for about a year, since it first opened.

Travelling Samovar has a wide range of teas and tea sampling. The staff are super helpful, and knowledgeable, and are happy to provide hot water to give a second (or, in my case, with my pu-er, fifth and sixth) brew.

I was intrigued to learn that not many people know what pu-er is! But Travelling Samovar has an extensive pu-er range, so I totally went for a loose leaf that comes packed in a dried tangerine skin. It smelt amazing, like jaffas, and although I'm not sure the tangerine skin impacted the flavour of the tea it did enhance the overall experience, so I'm into it. I did the full gong fu with my pu-er, until I was tingling from being tea drunk.

Emma went the tea sample option (called a tea-ser), picking darjeeling because she loves it. This came in three pots: a Gielle 1st flush; an Oaks 2nd flush; and a Risheehat 2nd flush. This was a great way of knowing what one likes and trying it until the perfect one is found, which I appreciate.

Emma's tray of teas included timers, clear pots, and extra hot water. Combined with my gong fu, this was an excellent experience because I appreciate being given responsibility over my tea. There are other tea houses in Melbourne which are fun, but the thing I love the most about my tea (especially my Chinese tea) is the ability to experiment with it, to control the steeping and the pouring and also the drinking of it as I want.

This was a fun morning. Although at first I was offput by the cost - $10 for my pu-er - the fact that I could basically drink it until I was tea drunk means it was a price I was in the end content with.

Travelling Samovar
412 Rathdowne Street
Carlton North

Posted April 03, 2014 10:26 AM by steph

quinces and kale

smith & daughters


I cannot say enough good things about Smith & Daughters. The food is wonderful, the vibe is good, the drinks are fabulous and the service is great.

They had only been open for a week and the place was PACKED. Before I get too wildly enthusiastic, not everything was 100% perfect, but it was just wonderful as a total experience. Sometimes places just know how to get things right.

Let’s start with the fact that you can eat everything on the menu, yay! This already had me almost in tears and I wasn’t even drinking. I am not going to put quote marks around the ‘tuna’, ‘chorizo’ or any other mock meats. Everything is vegan.

I cannot speak too highly of the super friendly and cheerful service, nothing was any problem. They were incredibly busy and still things worked well. We were welcomed at the door. We got our drinks orders in quickly, so there was no sitting around waiting for service. We were a large party of twelve and we asked if they could just feed us rather than us order. The only instructions we gave were that we had to be served the croquettes and the paella and that they should bring enough of each so there was no squabbling over a single taco.  No problem.

There is a great drinks menu of beers, wine, cocktails and mocktails. I didn’t feel like drinking as I had to get up early the next day, so I ordered a delicious grilled apple mocktail that tasted like an apple pie!

With drinks in hand, we waited to be surprised and delighted. Here is what we ate…

We started with some large green warm olives that were marinated in a lemony oil. I was so excited I forgot to take a photo. They were delicious.

Next we had the tuna and pea croquettes with caper aioli. These were SO good. Crispy, soft and full of flavour. I could have just eaten several serves of these and been happy. There were three on the platter but we got overexcited and leapt on them before I had a chance to snap a quick photo. tuna and pea croquettes


We also ate some panfried peppers as well as some guacamole and tortilla chips that I neglected to photograph.

These were followed by soft tacos in three flavours, potato and chorizo,  jackfruit,  and one of mushroom, nopales and grilled corn.tacos


Oyster mushroom and white bean ceviche with plantain chips
This wasn’t my favourite dish, but it still had good vibrant flavours.


Mushrooms with a sauce of sherry, garlic and smoked paprika
Yum. Sensational. Lots of rich smoky sauce and bread to mop it up.


Paella with calamari, prawns and sausage 
This had me laughing because the mock calamari was so realistic it was even scored in a grid pattern. To be honest this was my least favourite dish, not because it was bad, but because I have to confess that I don’t really like saffron, so I am not a good judge. It just tastes weirdly medicinal to me. Sacrilege, but there it is. But most of the rest of the table enjoyed it.


Donuts with quince paste and spiced sugar
These were great but suffered only by being totally outshone by the tart that followed. That’s unfair. They were wonderful!
donuts with quince paste


Aztec chocolate tart with avocado icecream
Number one dish of the evening, though the croquettes are a worthy competitor, followed by the mushrooms. Be warned, this is a dish which causes unseemly, involuntary moans of pleasure and which causes you to want to hug random strangers. Rich, jammy, dark and offset perfectly by the not too sweet icecream. Great. Just great.
chocolate tart and avocado icecream


So get yourself down there as soon as you can get a booking. You won’t be disappointed. I have to go back to taste some other things on the menu and to re-experience those croquettes and the chocolate tart.

They are also open for brunch on the weekends, which I intend to get to soon.

Very soon.


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

Posted April 03, 2014 08:05 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Smith & Daughters III - Brunch Edition

March 30, 2014

I know, I know, this blog is in danger of needing a new name: something like 'Cindy and Michael go to Smith & Daughters' or 'Smith & Daughers R Us', but we really couldn't resist one more visit to suss out the weekend brunch options.

The space looks even slicker in the daytime - the chilli plants bursting with colour and the windows flooded with light. Through the week, Smith & Daughters have the same menu for lunch and dinner, but come the weekend they pull out the brunch options, offering up vegan versions of omelettes, French toast and more. They're really pushing their fresh juices too, with a mix of green juices, citrussy options and a tropical juice plus smoothies and a bunch of breakfast cocktails all using freshly squeezed produce for added pep. We had a juice each ($7.50 small/$12 large) - the easy green for me (kale, celery, cucumber, spinach, mint, lime, apple, lemon and ginger) and en rosa for Cindy (pink grapefruit, orange, pineapple, red grape, apple and watermelon). Both were great, although I did have some regrets about my failure to order one of the four breakfast cocktails instead. Next time.

Isn't that just the cutest salt and pepper shaker set you've ever seen? The food menu's short and punchy - shorter than the drinks.  There's two kinds of baked omelette (Spanish and Mexican), a horchata rice pudding, French toast and a scrambled tofu breakfast burrito.

I was always going to order the breakfast burrito, stuffed with scrambled tofu, chunks of house-made chorizo, black beans, garlic kale and chipotle cashew cheese, with a side of lime and guacamole ($18, or $15 without the cashew cheese).

I must confess, my first thought when this came out was, "It's a little small." It turns out that I didn't have anything to worry about - the combination of fillings was just that, incredibly filling. I worked hard to finish it and didn't need to eat again for hours. Oh, and for bonus points: it was incredibly good. The scrambled tofu was excellent, with chunks of chorizo and cashew cheese bursting through. Their house-made hot sauce is great too - tangy and spicy without overwhelming the other flavours around it. I started off pondering whether this could be $6 better than Trippytaco's tofu burrito and finished it ready to recommend it to everyone I know.

Cindy somehow resisted the lure of the French toast (served in spiced wine syrup with poached quince, $16) in favour of the horchata rice pudding (house made horchata and grilled pineapple, $15). Tasted separately, she found the pudding dense and plain and the pineapple sour, but they worked much, much better as a team.

The coffee (Wide Open Road) was excellent and can be done with soy, oat, coconut or coconut/almond milks. The service as friendly as ever (although they clearly know who we are now, so we may not be getting an objective experience) and a bit more in control without the heaving crowds of the nighttime sittings. We had a great time on our Sunday morning. Prices are getting into the higher range that we see around town, but the menu items are undoubtedly the most interesting for veg*ns in that bracket. I'm dying to try the omelettes and pretty keen for some brunch boozing, so I reckon there's at least one more Smith & Daughters post in our future.


You can read our summary of the restaurant launch here and a dinner we paid for here. There are a few more launch posts popping up - see Gastronomical ramblings and The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar, while The Lentil Institution somehow snared a quick meal without a booking on a packed-out Wednesday night.  

Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
9939 3293
brunch and booze menu, juices, smoothies and coffees
http://www.smithanddaughters.com/ (although the facebook page is really a bit more useful)

Accessibility: The entry is flat and narrow and the tables are pretty crowded. The interior was a bit quieter and brighter during the daytime. Toilets were located up several steps, were gendered and of standard dimension. There's full table service.

Posted April 03, 2014 06:31 AM by Michael

April 01, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Pumpkin and tofu ricotta cannelloni and weekend craft

After our roast dinner last week I had roast pumpkin and slow cooked leek leftover.  It was calling out for pasta.  I initially thought to use up some of the packets of pasta shapes but then I remembered Little Vegan Bear's canneloni and a packet of cannelloni shells in the back of the cupboard.  Sorted!

With most of the vegies prepared, it was an easy meal.  Not too much fuss on a weekend of low energy.  We didn't get out to the local festival with pedal powered cinema but we did get into the spirit of Earth Hour by recycling a lot of toilet rolls in a craft project!

It was a weekend to stay around the house.  Time to clean and shop and read the paper.  Time for some craft.  Sylvia was given a sock puppet kit for her birthday.  It provided a few socks, pictures and craft bits.  Sylvia chose the Easter bunny with green and red whiskers.  Then we made a Dolly and B2 sock puppet.

Her dolly's latest best friend is a B2 toy from the Bananas in Pyjamas tv show.  She has had the toy since we were given it free with a purchase when she was a baby.  But this is the first time she has shown it any interest.  I glued white ribbon on the blue felt to give the puppet that B2 look.

Our next project was inspired by another favourite children's program, Play School.  I loved it as a kid and now Sylvia does too.  They always seem to do such great craft activities.  They recently made a table and chairs out of toilet rolls and masking tape.  It seemed easy enough.  (And don't the toilet rolls look like canneloni tubes?  I am sure there is a fun craft project in that!)

The table and chairs were pretty easy.  The table was more successful than the chairs but they were a bit of fun.  Dolly and B2 liked them.  The most amazing part of the activity was finding that I had 28 toilet paper rolls in the house!  Sylvia got into the craft mode and made herself a camera and mobile phone out of felt and sticky tape.

If you don't have toilet paper rolls I am sure it was be fun to make a cannelloni table and chairs.  But I was boring and just cooked them in a roasting dish.  I loved Caeli's idea of adding walnuts and mushrooms to her spinach and tofu ricotta canneloni.  It gave the substance that I sometimes feel is missing in a spinach and cheese combination.  I didn't have many mushrooms and I feel the walnuts could have been chopped more finely.

It is a mystery as to why I bought those dried cannelloni shells.  They are a pain to stuff.  I would much prefer rolling fresh lasagne sheets around the filling.  At least the cannelloni was really tasty so I felt good about having them.  It wasn't too heavy.  On the first night I thought it a bit overseasoned.  By the second night the flavours had melded nicely and I enjoyed it even more.  Next time I need to take Caeli's lead and add some fresh basil.

I am sending this dish to Ness at JibberJabberUK for the No Waste Food Challenge that is coordinated by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.  Catherine at Cates Cates for her Anyone can Cook Fabulous Vegetarian Food challenge - which I am sneaking into the March theme of Non-Terrifying Tofu, with her blessing.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Google Reader is closing... and I am not sure I am upset
Two years ago: Spinach crackers and hummus for a potluck
Three years ago: Nut roast renovation: raw and rescued
Four years ago: Apocalyptic Dreams, Hot Cross Buns and Banana Nutella Cake
Five years ago: Marvellous Mars Bar Slice
Six years ago: Exploring Quinoa Country

Pumpkin and tofu ricotta cannelloni
Adapted from Little Vegan Bear
Serves 6

Tomato and leek sauce:
drizzle of olive oil
I large leek, sliced
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
dash of smoked paprika and salt
2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
1/2 cup cherry toms halved
1 tsp each seeded mustard, smoked paprika, salt, promite, maple syrup

Tofu ricotta and pumpkin filling:
300g medium tofu
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
Salt and pepper (I used about 1 tsp salt which might be a tad too much)
3 cups finely chopped roasted pumpkin (with skins on is fine)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Handful mushrooms (I only had two), finely chopped
Handful of basil (I didn't have this but it would be good)

To assemble:
200g dried cannelloni shells (or use fresh lasagne sheets)
Handful grated cheddar cheese (use vegan cheese or omit for vegan canneloni)
Sesame seeds and poppy seeds to sprinkle

To make tomato sauce, heat oil in a very large frypan and saute leek, celery and celery with smoked paprika and salt for about 10 minutes.  Cover and gently cook for 30 to 40 minutes until leeks are soft and sweet.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

Make tofu ricotta and pumpkin filling while the tomato sauce cooks.  Mash tofu in a bowl with a fork.  Add remaining ingredients.  Check seasoning (go easy on the salt at first).

Preheat oven to 200 C (or you could do 180 C if you know your oven is a powerful one unlike mine).

To assemble, scoop a little tomato sauce and spread on the bottom of a roasting dish.  Fill each cannelloni shell with filling - I used the back of a teaspoon to shove it in until just overflowing.  (Usually I would use fresh lasagna sheets, spread on some filling and roll up.)  Once each cannelloni shell is filled, arrange on tomato sauce on roasting dish.

When finished filling, cover cannelloni shells with remaining tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and seeds.  Bake for 45 minutes.  (Cover with foil if it is getting too crispy on top.)  Best to let rest before serving.  (I didn't so I can't say how long.)

On the stereo:
American Roots: a history of American folk music: Various Artists

Posted April 01, 2014 09:27 PM by Johanna GGG

Consuming Cate

Figs marvellous figs...


Figs are well loved in our home. Before I met my husband he was deliberating between moving to Italy or Australia. He spent time teaching and touring in Italy which included a momentous trip climbing a mountain. During the climb he came upon a fig tree. No fig has ever (or no doubt will ever) match the glory of this mythical fig!

But I was gifted a big box of figs recently that were a bit too ripe to eat uncooked so I decided to make some jam and chutney. I don't really follow recipes unless I'm writing one to teach a preserving class but I had a go at writing one for these figs. It goes without saying that you should use sterilised jars and lids and water bath the preserves or store in the fridge (if you want more info on this, come along to one of our classes ;))

Spiced fig and red wine jam


  • 1 kilo ripe figs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick/1 tspn cinnamon
  • 5 Cloves
  • 8 Cardamom Pods
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  1. Wash and chop the plums into quarters or eighths if they are very large. 
  2. Place in a large pan with1/3 cup water.  
  3. Add sugar, lemon juice & spices, heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Add the red wine.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes. The figs will start to break up as they cook. 
  6. After 10 minutes, bring the mixture to the boil. 
  7. Boil for 10 minutes and then test to see if the jam has reached setting point.
  8. Fish out the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, then transfer the jam to the sterilised jars.

Burnt fig chutney
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 kilo figs
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1.5  cups sugar (or two cups if you prefer a sweeter chutney)
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Cook garlic in olive oil until lightly browned
  2. Put all of the other ingredients in a large pan and mix all together well. 
  3. Set over medium heat and simmer for 2.5 hours or until the chutney has thickened and is sticky. If chutney sticks, you can add a bit more water. 

  4. Spoon into sterilised jars

Posted April 01, 2014 03:25 PM by Cate

Recuperation and Pear and almond muffins

I've been a bit behind with blogging of late. I had day surgery on friday so it's taking a little bit of time to recover. I had some work done on the arteries in my legs. I have a weird genetic condition which causes pain when walking (and another associated condition which will need treatment). I've had some rather revolting post-surgery stockings to wear and it's not been fun in hot weather. I took them off a bit too early and ended up with massive bruises on the fronts of my legs. No swimming until they heal me thinks. Off to see the surgeon tomorrow for a check up ultrasound, fingers crossed.

Mr Pablo has been ecstatic at my sedentary behaviour (besides 30 mins prescribed exercise each day) and has been sharing the bed enthusiastically.

Yesterday I did a bit of cooking: lovely lentil soup, an experimental pumpkin loaf which didn't fare all too well and some pear and almond muffins. It's not really hot food weather, I've been impatiently waiting for the real autumn to arrive, it's my favourite season!

Pear and almond muffins
    • 3 cups self-raising flour,
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 pears, diced
    • 1.5 cup almond  milk
    • 1 cup almonds
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Topping (optional)
    • 1/2 cup oats
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup Nuttlex (vegan margarine) 

  • Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180c
  2. Place flour, sugar, cinammon, almonds and pears in a bowl and stir lightly
  3. Add milk and olive oil and mix gently until combined
  4. Place in greased muffin tins
  • Topping:
  1. Place oats, sugar and Nuttlex in a bowl and rub with finger tips until crumbly. 
  2. Top muffins with a tablespoon of topping each
  3. Cook for 40 mins or until cooked through. 
  4. Allow to cool and store in container or enjoy one with a cup of tea.

      Posted April 01, 2014 02:44 PM by Cate

      where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

      Martha's buttery apple pie

      March 30, 2014

      I'm embarking on a rare re-blog with this apple pie recipe. I first made it in 2007 and didn't include the full instructions. I think I've made it once every year since and I'm starting to worry that one day Martha Stewart's web team will delete the page (they've shifted it once already) and I'll be pie-less forever more.

      I'm not certain that I'd bookmark this recipe if I were to happen upon it for the first time now. It's completely unsharable with my vegan and gluten-free mates, with almost three cups of flour and more butterfat than our fridge has held since... well, probably since I made this pie last year.

      But I've grown rather fond of it. The crust is crisp and unsweetened with an unfeasibly high proportion of butter. The filling has the usual pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, but it's the multiple varieties of apple that provide a surprising complexity (clever work, Ms Martha). And if the butter quantity seems unfeasible, the 1.8kg apple filling defies logic itself. It forms a mountain in the pie crust, threatening avalanche as you fit the pastry lid and a pie-splosion in the oven.

      There are some pesky interim stages where you're supposed to freeze the crust and the pie, and I've concluded that they're worth it, somehow they even out the pie's baking. I'd deem the extra butter in the filling less necessary, as it was responsible for some unattractive oozing in my most recent pie.

      Nevertheless, this buttery apple pie has taken a nostalgic hold on me. It's my Melbourne winter pie.

      Martha's buttery apple pie
      (a metricified, annotated version of this recipe)

      2 1/2 cups plain flour
      1 teaspoon salt
      230g butter
      1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water

      1/3 cup plain flour
      2 tablespoons cream
      1-1.6kg assorted apples
      3 tablespoons lemon juice
      1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
      1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      60g butter

      To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a food processor. Dice the butter and add it to the processor, blending only until the mixutre forms a coarse crumb-like texture. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again until the dough just starts coming together. It should look like this:

      Add a little more water if it won't come together within a minute, and repeat.

      Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form it into two balls and wrap them separately. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

      Roll one of the dough balls out to fit a pie dish. Transfer the pastry into the dish, fit it as best you can, trim the edges and place the crust into the freezer for 30 minutes.

      Set to work on the filling. Peel and core the apples, and slice the flesh into bite-size pieces. Place them in a large bowl with the lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

      When the pie crust is ready, retrieve it from the freezer and spoon in the apple filling.  Dice the butter and distribute it across the pie filling.

      Roll out the second dough ball to fit the pie as a lid. Place it over the pie, pinching togther the edges. Cut slits into the pastry top. Brush the cream over the pastry and sprinkle over the extra sugar. Freeze the pie for a further 30 minutes.

      Preheat an oven to 200°C. Bake the pie until the crust begins to go golden, about 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180°C and continue to bake the pie until the crust is very golden and the juices are bubbling, about 35 more minutes.

      Posted April 01, 2014 07:21 AM by Cindy

      quinces and kale

      supermarket free month


      I really don’t like the big supermarkets.

      I don’t like them for all sorts of reasons, from their coercive hold over pricing with farmers, to their involvement in gambling. I’m not even sure WHY I continue to shop there, but I sometimes do.

      I can only put it down to the lure of being able to get almost everything I need at once or force of habit.

      But recently I’ve been using them less and less. There are lots of reasons for this. Since becoming a vegan the supermarkets don’t really have a lot of products I want.  Another reason is that supermarkets directly contribute to the rise of factory farming by insisting on ever cheaper prices.  I’ve also been growing most of my own fruit and veggies over the summer so haven’t needed to buy so much.  I’ve also discovered good alternative online sources of must have items, like toilet paper, from socially responsible businesses like Who Gives a Crap who donate 50% of their profits to the building of toilets in developing countries.

      Increasingly I’ve been shopping locally at small businesses, buying from CERES Fair Food or shopping at the markets or online from specialist retailers. I actually prefer this.

      But still, sometimes,  I  go on auto pilot to the supermarket, or I go in the mistaken belief that it is easier and cheaper. Stupid really, because it isn’t.  One of the main reasons is that I tend to buy more when I shop in supermarkets rather than in small shops. They are set up to entice us.

      The evidence is pretty good that local shopping lowers people’s expenses, not necessarily because the prices are cheaper but simply because they buy less. This is incredibly important when you consider the enormous amount of food waste.

      I’m also thinking that there are other useful side effects.

      When I go to the supermarket, I take the car. When I shop at smaller shops, I tend to buy less at a time so I walk or take my bike. When I buy more, I overflow the capacity of the bags I have taken and so get unnecessary plastic bags.

      So shunning the supermarket will be good for me and the environment as well.

      So it is timely that, just as I was starting to use supermarkets less, along should come Supermarket Free Month.

      I’m going cold turkey and not going to a big supermarket in April,  and hopefully never again.


      Posted April 01, 2014 06:30 AM

      March 31, 2014

      Little Vegan Bear

      Spud Bar and Nostralis Pizza

      It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gone from being up to date with all my posts to having a backlog. Gah!

      I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, completing my first fortnight of my new job. The stress and excitement of starting a new job couple with the travel time to and from work have left me feeling pretty tired by the time I get myself home. Hopefully as I start to get into a better rhythm things will start to balance out a little.

      The other week Billy and I went to a show at the Corner, and I needed something to fill my tummy before hand. We went for a walk down Swan St and bumped into Spud Bar, which I have never been to before. I’ve heard lots of rave reviews about the place, and so I thought I’d give it a try.

      I asked if they were able to do me a vegan potato, which was no problem at all. Spud Bar is sort of like Subway, but with potatoes – in that they have a range of ‘fillings’ and toppings on display, so you can pick and choose what you want. You can also choose between a potato or a sweet potato for your base.

      I just went with a the standard veggie spud topped with hummus and some tomato salsa. This was pretty good at satisfying my need for a simple, fresh meal. I wouldn’t say the flavour was AMAZING, but it was decent. I did slather it with tabasco sauce though to give it a bit of a kick. Mmm spicy.

      Later on in the week, we decided to have a pizza and movie night and I was determined to finally try Nostralis Pizza. I have been wanting to try it for everrrr, particularly since Plush Pizza closed (boooo!). Nostralis do wholemeal, exclusively vegetarian pizzas, with stacks of vegan and gluten-free options. They’ve been in the business since 1981 which I thought was pretty darn impressive.

      My apologies for the shocking photos here. After the time it took us to get these pizzas home, there was no time for excellent lighting or production skills.

      We ordered the first two pizzas on the list, just because they sounded interesting and different from the typical pizzas that vegans can access. This was the Nostralis Special, with tomato, bean shoots, capsicum, onion, olives, soy beans, pineapple, chili, garlic and herbs. Chaos!

      I quite liked this one, though the structural integrity of each slice was seriously compromised by the thick layer of bean sprouts. This was definitely a two hands job. The others were not such big fans, saying it lacked flavour. I suppose with so many bean sprouts they kind of outshone the rest of the ingredients.


      We also got the Vindaloo pizza, which was described as having tomato, cheese, banglore beans, peppers, sultanas, hot spices, bananas, onions and vindaloo curry paste. I didn’t mind this, but I couldn’t find any banana or sultanas which was a little disappointing. Maybe they were blended into the paste? I’m not sure, I couldn’t taste them either. It wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked either.

      Both these pizzas were good, but I had hoped for better. HOWEVER, I would love to go back and try some of the more traditional flavours, as I think they might be more suited to my pizza taste buds.  Also, living a fifteen-twenty minute trip from Nostralis meant our pizzas were no longer steaming fresh by the time we got them home, so next time I’d definitely like to dine in, or at least grab them and take them to a nearby park or something. I think they’d be rocking straight out of the oven.
      Spud Bar
      226 Swan St, Richmond (and various other locations)
      Mon – Fri – 11.30am – 9.30pm
      Sat – Sun – 11.30am – 9pm

      Nostralis Pizza
      55 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North
      Mon – CLOSED
      Tues-Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm(ish)

      Posted March 31, 2014 09:57 PM

      quinces and kale

      roasted capsicum with tomato, olives and garlic

      stuffed capsicums

      This is a great dish to have cooked and ready for the days when you can’t be bothered. Well it is great anytime really! But I often cook them in summer and early autumn. One nice thing about Melbourne’s warmer weather is that, interspersed with really hot days, we have cool changes before the weather heats up again. Whenever there is a cool day in a heatwave I cook up a batch of these capsicums and keep them in the fridge for later. They have none of the mess of peeling roasted capsicums and I think they taste better. You just eat them and leave the skin behind or eat them skin and all (I do). They get better with age, with the oil and sugars from the capsicum and tomatoes forming a delicious syrup.

      I’ve been making this dish for so long, I am not exctly sure where it came from. I think it may have originally been a Delia Smith recipe from the 1980s! I do remember the original had erky anchovies in it, which I replaced with olives for the salty hit.

      The tomatoes in these were a mix of red, yellow, orange and green striped ones from my garden.

      I eat mine with some crusty bread for mopping up the juices and a green salad.


      roasted capsicum with tomato, olives and garlic
      prep time
      15 mins
      cook time
      75 mins
      total time
      1 hour 30 mins
      author: quincesandkale
      cuisine: vegan
      serves: 2
      • 2 red capsicums
      • 6 kalamata olives stoned and broken into pieces
      • 2 large cloves garlic sliced thinly
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 4-6 ripe peeled tomatoes (either fresh or whole canned)
      • basil leaves to garnish
      1. Heat the oven to 180C
      2. Put a small amount of olive oil in the baking pan
      3. Cut each capsicum in half lengthways, remove the seeds and membranes, but leave the stems in.
      4. Arrange cut side up in the pan so that they are packed in tightly.
      5. Using your fingers crush the tomatoes into each capsicum half so that they are almost full.
      6. Distribute the garlic and olives between the capsicums.
      7. Spoon 2 teaspoons of olive oil into each capsicum and make sure to wipe the cut surfaces of the capsicum with the spoon so they are oiled.
      8. Put into the oven to bake until they are soft, collapsing and starting to blacken in spots. This will take around 75 minutes. Check them a couple of times during the cooking and baste the cut edges with some of the filling so it doesn't dry out.
      9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
      10. Put into a container, sprinkle with basil and refrigerate.

      Posted March 31, 2014 06:55 AM

      March 30, 2014

      Green Gourmet Giraffe

      Flemington Farmers Market

      Until a local farmers market open last year, I visited many farmers markets in Melbourne.  Then we had our own and I haven't ventured far afield since then.  This weekend I had a yen to go to a farmers market.  The fifth weekend doesn't offer many farmers markets.  Thank goodness that Flemington Farmers Market is on every Sunday.  I really enjoyed our visit there and am sure I will return some time.

      Our first stop was at the Red Beard Bakery from Trentham.  We tasted their sourdough hot cross buns and immediately bought a six pack.  They were light and fluffy but substantial too.  I looked longingly at the loaves of bread but I have a sourdough starter begging for attention.  Then I dragged Sylvia away from the bread tasting.

      Before any more purchases, we walked around the market to get a sense of what was there.  It is always overwhelming to see the array of goodies on offer at a farmers market and it was hard to know where to start.  We walked by the cat treats, the oversized zucchini and the fundraising honey joys.

      We began with a snack.  Not one of these pies.  Firstly we shared a soft chewy salted pretzel.  I looked at the Pure Pie stall longingly but they did not seem to have any vegetarian ones that were warm.  It was too early for pies.

      Instead Sylvia and I shared a Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart.  They were rich and gooey.  So gooey that I rushed back for some serviettes.  But very delicious.

      Then I bought some garlic.  Because we needed it.  And I liked the sound of elephant garlic.  We wandered around and bought vegies from a few stalls.  Two coloured corn, green and yellow zucchini, rainbow chard, purple kale, broccoli, onions.

      I really liked the peppercorn tree in the middle of the market.  We stopped there to sample cheese.  Sylvia was very taken by the BoatShed Sun Smoke Cheese and we bought a wedge for $15.  (Not the price we usually pay for cheese but we both love our smoky flavours.)

      I was particularly taken by this eclectic stall with the Wild Dog Natural Produce's Strawberry Vinegar.  Sylvia would have stayed and drunk all the tester vinegar.  Instead I bought a bottle ($9 for 250ml) which we took home to drink like cordial with soda water.  It is so so so delicious.  It was only through a little self control that we didn't drink the whole bottle today.

      Next we headed over to the apple stall and tasted the three on offer from the Otways.  I really wanted to like the Cox Pippins because I love the name but the Jonagold were crisper.  Sylvia loved the red ones (I think they might have been Akane) so we bought a few of these too.  Don't the apples look just beautiful.  I turned some of them into a crumble tonight.

      On the way out I started wondering about lunch.  We stopped at the pie man by the entrance and bought a wagyu sausage roll for E, a morroccan sweet potato pasty for me and a frangipani berry tart for E.  Sylvia got another pretzel.  My pastry had beautiful flaky pastry but was quite spicy.

      Here is most of the food I bought.  One of the reasons I went to the farmers market was that I had made an effort to use up (almost) all the vegetables in the fridge.  I was delighted that I managed to get all the vegetables into the fridge.  I feel well stocked yet again and ready to face the week.

      Flemington Farmers Market
      Mount Alexander College
      169-175 Mount Alexander Road, Flemington, Vic 3031

       Every Sunday 9am - 1pm

      Posted March 30, 2014 09:21 PM by Johanna GGG