July 02, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Chickpea sauté with Greek yoghurt

June 27, 2015

The fifth gathering of our semi-regular Ottolenghi potluck posse was booked in for Saturday night, part of a ridiculously busy weekend for Cindy and I. We scaled back our usual ambitions and found an uncharacteristically simple Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty as our contribution. By the time we'd done our grocery shopping, dinner had been called off due to illness, leaving us to enjoy this dish without having to share.

It really is surprisingly straightforward given the usual rigmarole involved in an Ottolenghi meal - you can do it all in one pot over about 25 minutes and the ingredient list is  modest dozen with only sumac falling outside our standard kitchen stocks (thankfully we'd been given a little take home stash of sumac at Maha on our previous visit, so we were good to go).

For all its simplicity, this is a lovely meal - we were generous with the garlic (just one clove, but a really ginormous one), which I'd recommend, while the lemon, herbs and caraway seeds mean every mouthful is bright and interesting. The dollop of yoghurt on top is nice, but not essential - we took leftovers with us the day after with just the sumac sprinkled on and it was still excellent. File this one away for an occasion when you want to bust out one of your Ottolenghi books but don't have the time or energy for anything complicated - its a simple, satisfying winner.

Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yoghut
(a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty)

1 small bunch silverbeet
1/3 cup olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
Greek yoghurt
sumac for sprinkling

Cut the silverbeet into stalks and leaves

Blanch the stalks in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Throw in the leaves and blanch for another couple of minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water. Squeeze the water out and roughly chop it all up.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Throw in the carrots and caraway seeds and cook for 5 minutes. Add the silverbeet (stems and leaves) and chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir through, before killing the heat.

Serve immediately, topped with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of sumac.

Posted July 02, 2015 08:03 PM by Michael

Vegetarian Life Australia

To fake or not to fake


As veganism grows in popularity and Melbourne experiences a burgeoning cruelty-free culinary scene, I’ve recently been reading some lively debate on social media around the issue of mock meat.

Some vegetarians love it and find it happily replaces a gap left in their diet after giving up real meat, and others are appalled by the very idea of trying to replicate the taste and texture of animal flesh.

As a lifelong vegetarian I don’t have any tangible concept of what actual meat tastes like or feels like to chew in my mouth. For me, mock meat is not a replacement for real meat, but instead it’s an extension of my plant based diet that adds a variety of interesting tastes and textures.

I don’t eat mock meat every day, but I really enjoy it when I do. I particularly like the chewiness of gluten based mock meats and the deeply savoury flavours that are imbued in them. I assume that these oral experiences are a large part of the appeal of real meat.

I actually can’t really see the difference in eating mock meat and drinking soy milk or enjoying nut cheese. They are all vegan foods based on the concept of an animal product. Each ends up with its own unique variation.

Mainstream supermarkets in Australia offer very little in the way of mock meat products but Asian grocery stores are often an Aladdin’s Cave of fake meats and seafood. They are also usually the best supplier of a wide variety of different tofu. I can easily spend a happy half hour perusing the fridges and freezers for new additions to my culinary repertoire. I tend to come away so laden that I have to clear out the back of the freezer when I get home to make space for my haul.

I believe that there’s no right nor wrong in the decision to enjoy mock meats as a vegetarian or vegan. After all, to live and let live is a motto that most of us try to live by. But my personal choice is definitely to fake it, and I make absolutely no apology for that.

Posted July 02, 2015 04:51 PM


What I Ate

I haven’t done my weekly What I Ate for weeks. Again… Okay, so up the top there are some buckwheat waffles I made with aquafaba (I used the liquid from canned chickpeas). We bought a new cheapie waffle maker and I want to make healthier waffles for the kids using different kinds of flour. These...
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Posted July 02, 2015 12:15 PM

June 30, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Smoky cheese and roasted corn muffins

Recently we were teasing E that he is not a hipster because he does not have a huge beard.  So on the weekend Sylvia told him he just needed a cap and a muffin to be a hipster.  Apparently hipsters carry muffins.  I took care of the muffin with a round of baking.  However before it even came out of the oven Sylvia found E a cap.  The way she put it on him made him look more like Frank Spencer than a hipster.

The muffins were actually an attempt to use up some roasted corn.  I bought it ages ago and it had been staring at me from the pantry balefully each time I opened the door.  It had been a disappointing purchase.  I try to support some of our smaller stores but this roasted corn was past its best and overseasoned.  I hoped if I paired it with cheese in a muffin and didn't season the batter so much that it might just work.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good the muffins were.  I added smoked paprika and could really taste it but otherwise held back on the other seasonings which was just as well.  With all the cheese and the bbq seasoning on the corn, they were full of flavour.

We ate them for lunch warm from the oven spread with chutney.  I took a few of the smaller ones along to my bookclub and they seemed well received.  Sylvia told me she enjoyed the chunks of chewy corn.  I did too.  Though I think I enjoyed the muffins more on the day of baking, especially when warm.  They were so soft and cheesey when warm from the oven.

We had them yesterday on the first day of the school holidays.  Every day this week starts with a swimming lesson for Sylvia at 9am.  A muffin was a great snack after a long swim after the lesson.  And I needed the energy for a long day of swimming, shopping, recipe testing, making grubs, tidying, sorting photos, making birthday cards and wrapping a present.  In fact at the end of the day when I sorted clothes for washing, I discovered that I had put Sylvia to bed without changing her into her pajamas.

And I regret to say that even with a muffin E does not look like a hipster.  Not to worry.  I finally had time to flick through the Sunday Age while tidying the newspapers tonight and I saw that hipsters are no long cool.  Apparently the new thing is Yuccies (Young Urban Creatives).  But they did not mention if you need a muffin to be a Yuccie!

More savoury muffins from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Artichoke, sun-dried tomato and cheese muffins
Cheese and pesto muffins
Cheesy almond muffins (gf)
Pumpkin and goats cheese muffins
Pumpkin miso muffins (v) 
Savoury beetroot, carrot, chocolate and goats cheese muffins
Smoky parsnip muffins

Smoky cheese and roasted corn muffins
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe

Makes 12 muffins and 9 mini muffins
  • 200g cheese, grated (I used 150 cheddar and 50 parmesan)
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour (I used 1 wholemeal and 1/2 white)
  • 1 cup seasoned roasted corn
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • good pinch seasoning
  • 1 cup plain natural yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Grease 12 hole muffin tin and 9 mini muffin holes.  Preheat oven to 200 C.  Mix cheese, flour, corn, smoked paprika and seasoning.  Mix in yoghurt, egg and olive oil until you have a stiff batter.  Spoon into prepared muffin cups.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through when one is torn open (that is how I checked as the skewer test wasn't helpful).

On the Stereo:
Va Va Voom: Hummingbirds

Posted June 30, 2015 10:11 PM by Johanna GGG

Vegan Bullsh*t

Smith and Deli

Smith and Deli is possibly the most exciting thing to happen to the Melb vegan scene in, well, ever. This visit actually happened over a week ago, but I've been in Adelaide (plenty of eats, will blog) since so haven't had time. Smith and Deli is just off Brunswick St in a nondescript looking building. The main feature when we went was the piles of people waiting out the door - passersby kept wandering past, stopping and staring at the commotion. Hilarious. The Eat Vegan cross is standing proud over the door:

Inside is adorable, with an old-school deli feel. There's plenty of pics around - and it was far too busy for me to snap any - so here's one quick counter shot. I love the pastel balloons and hand-written menus - it's obvious the whole place is well-thought out and the overall effect is cheery and welcoming. The deli cabinets are full of homemade cheeses and meats, as well as some premade (biocheese and Daiya), as well as an array of baked goods. Away from the counter, there's a wall of Mexican dry goods, one of fresh bread, organic veg and a fridge with more house products - vegan cream cheese and caramel sauce, just to name a few. There's also a wall of coolers with some commercial vegan products (some things I hadn't seen before - well played!), S&D house pizzas (margherita and pepperoni) and premade meals like lasagna, as well as drinks.

Our wait took - oh god, probably 45 minutes at least at 12 pm Saturday (we kind of deserved that). When we got our food, it was sealed with adorable Smith and Deli custom stickers:

Finally. Onto the food! My better half went for the Parmageddon ($14), chicken parma, napoli sauce, pesto and housemade mozzarella on a roll: 


This was an incredible sandwich. The napoli, pesto and cheese worked perfectly together. The house mozzarella is pretty tasty, up there with the better vegan cheeses - I'd love to see them selling this outright so I could experiment with it myself. This is one of the simpler sarnies on the menu, but it's utterly genius.

After scoffing a LOTF big brekky burger, I wasn't as hungry as I should have been and just got a pie - the pepper steak pie, $7:

It was a good pie. The pastry was flaky and the pie held together well. The filling was quite mild and I wasn't the hugest fan of the mock meat - it tasted like the mutton from Vincent's which I don't love. But that said, better half loved this pie. I did like the mild flavour of it, and had it been filled with something like lentils, I would have been proclaiming my everlasting love.

We couldn't leave without sweets! There were so, so many options. Brownies, popcorn-topped donuts, challah sticky buns.. enough to almost be thankful for the wait time so we could deliberate. Better half chose a vanilla slice ($5), where I went for the apricot danish (didn't catch the price): 

Both were perfect bakery renditions of the non-vegan originals. I'm not really a fan of vanilla slices - probably because I never ate them in childhood. But this one was legit, with the proper custard wobble and sweet icing. But the danish! Holy crap, this was good danish. Sweet and flaky with a lovely thick custard and tart apricot half. Divine. It was enough to make me wonder where vegan danishes have been all this time and why haven't they been in my stomach? It's going to be really hard to try something new next time, but I think I can make that sacrifice.
To nobody's great surprise, Smith and Deli are doing amazing things. Their attention to detail is impressive and every single item on the shelves is intriguing. Its popularity is entirely justified, and it's fantastic to be able to pick up a few groceries and an amazing meal at the same time. I know I'm heading back very soon for a shop and another crack at the menu. And another. And another.

Posted June 30, 2015 04:57 PM by L

June 29, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Smith & Deli II

June 23, 25 & 26, 2015

After the excitement of Smith & Deli's launch, Cindy and I decamped to the Sunshine Coast for a week, missing the madness of the Deli's first week of proper trading. On our return, I got busy making up for lost time.

My first visit on Tuesday morning was intended as a quick stop to grab a sandwich for lunch. On discovering that the sandwiches aren't an option first thing in the morning I decided I'd have to come back later in the day. Still, no point walking out empty-handed. I grabbed a soy flat white and an Egg McMartinez ($7) to tide me over.

The coffee (by Wide Open Road) was excellent, but the Egg McMartinez was the real star - a deliciously eggy muffin sandwich with a slice of melty cheese and some crispyish bacon. It's a snack rather than a meal, but an incredibly delicious one.

I was back at lunchtime, in the rather long sandwich queue. I'd been hanging for a Godfather (hot chilli salami, pepperonci, mozzarella, roasted peppers and fresh basil, $13).

Is this the best vegan sandwich in Melbourne? The Reuben at True North is a contender, and there are another dozen or so to sample at Smith & Deli, but it's hard to see anything topping this - it doesn't hold back on the spice levels, has a pretty convincingly melty cheese undertone and has bursts of basil to accompany the thick salami chunks. Incredible.

I couldn't walk out without some lunch-dessert, adding a maple-bacon doughnut for afters (I've forgotten the price - maybe $5).

The crispy, salty coconut flakes took a good doughnut and made it great. Vegans now have a challenger in the fancy doughnut trend sweeping Melbourne.

Amazingly, I somehow found myself without a packed lunch just a couple of days later and in need of another visit to the deli. This time I started with the Temple of Doom (turkey, jalapenos, roasted corn, pickled cabbage, cheese and chipotle aioli, $13).

This was a bit of a messier eat than the Godfather, but was similarly great - the combinations on the S & D sangas have clearly had plenty of thought put into them - in this case the pickled cabbage, jalapenos and aioli worked some pretty great flavour magic around the turkey and cheese slices.

I almost ordered another doughnut for dessert, but branched out to sample a challah sticky bun ($7), a rich bun, gooey with some sort of caramel glaze.

After such a successful run of daytime dining, we finished the week sampling some of the pre-prepared meals for sale in the fridges at Smith & Deli, splitting a pepperoni pizza ($17) and a small serve of mapo tofu ($10).

The pepperoni pizza was a simple affair - an excellent thin base, topped with tomato sauce, a few big chunks of salami (possibly the same product that featured on the Godfather sandwich), some mozzarella rectangles and fresh basil leaves. It's a classy step up from the vegan pizzas we recently had delivered from Eat Pizza. In general, pizzas suffer from a vegan premium price-wise, and $17 is a bit of a stretch for this, but mock meats and cheeses don't come cheap.

The mapo tofu was gratifyingly similar to the version that I love making, right down to the over-enthusiasm with the chilli, which left Cindy gasping. I can well imagine grabbing a serve of this next time's Cindy's out of town and I'm too lazy to cook - it's really excellent.

The Melbourne veg*n community is losing their collective mind about Smith & Deli and with good reason. It's serving up a stunning array of vegan food, from pastries, sweets and sandwiches, to spices, staples and mock meat, plus a range of pre-made meals for home. Having an office within 500m is going to be an expensive, delicious privilege.


quinces and kale, Little Vegan Bear and Veganopolous all munched their way through Smith & Deli's menu during the first week it was open, while style melbourne, Eat And Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Die(t), table to paper, Veggie Mama and MEL: HOT OR NOT were all at the same freebie launch that we were.

Smith & Deli
111 Moor St, Fitzroy
9042 4117
sandwich menu 1, 2
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a lip on the door and the interior is flat. All foods are easily visible, but some of the groceries are easier to reach than others. Ordering and payment is at a low counter.

Posted June 29, 2015 06:45 PM by Michael


Review: Prana ON Protein Plus A Protein Bites Recipe

Protein powders: one of those things I’ve personally had a love-hate relationship with over the years! Love, because I find them so useful when I need to meet my protein requirements when, for instance, I have a personal health or fitness goal. The hate part… well, so many protein powders I’ve bought in the past...
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Posted June 29, 2015 04:02 PM

Thoughts Of A Moni

Mrs. Parmas

Mrs. Parmas has been open for almost a decade, but it still surprises me as to how many people haven't heard of it. That's probably a good thing given that it is still so busy and it can be tough to get a booking, forget about just wandering in and assuming there is a table free.

With a month's notice, catching up with a friend from interstate, we decide to book a table for a Wednesday night for dinner. I was excited all day for my parma, and even skimped on lunch to make sure I had enough stomach space. The parmas at Mrs. Parmas are not only delicious, they are extremely generous. The parma takes up the full plate and the sides are actually served separately in communal bowls for the table.

Vegetarians need not fear here because the parmas come in three variants - eggplant, chicken and veal. Infact there is a sign above the bar that talks about the first parmigiana being made from eggplant! Us vegetarians are the ones eating the real parma! There are also about fifteen different toppings plus a special, which means there are forty eight different parmas to be tasted! Almost one for every week of the year!

I usually go for the tandoori eggplant parma, but on this occasion I decided to branch out and have the mushroom parma. Like all my choices at Mrs. Parmas, I wasn't disappointed. There was big slices of field mushrooms, lots of sauce and cheese and that soft creamy eggplant as the vehicle.

The chips were also delicious, well cooked and seasoned with oodles of chicken salt. And before you jump on my case, yes a vegetarian can eat chicken salt, its full of apparent chicken chemical goodness. The salad, however, is not great. It is dressed with what tastes like average supermarket dressing and there is way too much of it. If you were keen on salad, it might be worth asking if you could have it without the dressing.

The other bonus of Mrs. Parmas is the beer list. It is extensive to say the least. The taps rotate regularly and they always have local Victorian microbrewery beer, most of the time with stuff you haven’t tasted before. They also sell by the bottle, but when the taps are so good, there really is no need to look at the bottle list. There is wine and cider too, for those that way inclined.

You don’t go to Mrs. Parmas for the ambience, infact the venue is a cross between an RSL and a pub. And you also don’t go there for a long, drawn out meal, because for most bookings they will ask you to vacate your table after 1.5 hours (that’s how busy they are)! But you do go there for an amazing parma and some great beer. If you do want to keep going into the night then move on to another venue, it is Melbourne after all and there are no shortage of spots!

Click to add a blog post for Mrs Parma's on Zomato

Posted June 29, 2015 03:19 PM by Moni

quinces and kale

corn pancakes

corn pancakes

I have always been terrible at making pancakes.

I have never really understood why, but it has always been so, both pre and post vegan.  I produce sad, gluggy things that barely resemble the pancakes I remember. I like them light and fluffy.

I’ve finally worked out that it might be the flour I was using. I bake bread fairly often and I always have specialist high protein bread flour in the cupboard.  I’d been using this for the pancakes and it isn’t really right.  They need a softer, lower protein flour, so I recently made pancakes with some regular supermarket flour.

Not surprisingly they didn’t turn out sad at all, but light and fluffy, so I decided they deserved to be published. I mean look at them.They are gorgeous. If I sound a bit chuffed about them…that’s because I am.

I decided to take these in a Mexican direction so I topped them with some vegan butter and a salsa made from tomatoes, onion, coriander and avocado.

They also work as sweet pancakes, I ate the second lot with vegan butter and maple syrup.

I have finally conquered the pancake! :)


5.0 from 1 reviews
corn pancakes with salsa
prep time
10 mins
cook time
5 mins
total time
15 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: Breakfast
cuisine: Vegan
serves: 6 pancakes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg replacement (I used Orgran, but you could use flax seed emulsion or any other)
  • ½ cup almond or soy milk. You need enough to make a thick spoonable batter.You may need a bit more but don't make them too runny.
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (I used frozen, but fresh would be good)
For the salsa
  • 6 cherry tomatoes diced
  • ¼ avocado diced
  • 1 tsp finely diced onion
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs chopped coriander
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the egg replacement and non dairy milk together and add to the flour mix.
  3. Stir until well combined.
  4. Fold in the corn kernels.
  5. Heat a heavy pan over medium heat and melt a mix of oil and vegan butter until it sizzles.
  6. Add scoops of batter to the pan, the pancakes should be about 3-4 inches across.
  7. Cook for 2-3 minutes until small bubbles appear in the top and start to burst, and the edges start to dry out a bit.
  8. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side.
  9. Mix the salsa ingredients together.
  10. Serve the pancakes with some vegan butter and the salsa.


Posted June 29, 2015 10:10 AM

June 28, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Two Liebster Awards

Last year when I did Vegan MoFo I was given two Liebster awards by Danielle Joy and Jasmine at Self Sufficiency Cafe.  These are awards that bloggers share to encourage us to learn about and connect with new bloggers.  I am all for fostering community in the blogosphere but it has taken me many months to get around to answering the questions that come with this award.

As the award was doing the round in Vegan MoFo when there is a flurry of vegan blogging, the awards had quite a few questions about being vegan.  Umm ... I am vegetarian rather than vegan.  So I have slightly changed a few questions to reflect this and I have also combined a few questions from both Danielle and Jasmine into the first one before going onto their separate questions.

Why did you become vegan or vegetarian and how has it changed your life?
I have written about becoming vegetarian at length in my post on being vegetarian.

Questions from Danielle Joy

Smith and Deli - Home Alone sandwich
What vegan place would you recommend in your area?
Smith and Deli in Fitzroy is the vegan place I have to recommend on my side of Melbourne.  It only opened a couple of weeks ago and on the occasions I have visited the queues have been crazy but the sandwich selection is amazing.  Above is the Home Alone sandwich with mashed potato, vegan turkey, vegan stuffing, brussells sprouts, gravy and cranberry sauce.

What food could I wake you up with in the middle of the night for?
Grubs.  No not witchety grubs.  'Grubs' is the term for one of my favourite childhood snacks made with cocoa, condensed milk, biscuits and coconut, and I still love them with a passion.  When I think food in the middle of the night I think of midnight feasts with grubs that we had as a child.  Now I have my own child I appreciate the midnight feasts don't always happen at midnight but they are still exciting.

Why did you start blogging?
Briefly, I wanted to have a space to share my recipes and notes.  I have written more about why I started blogging.
What’s the best vegan meal you’ve ever made? (link, please!)
Oh that is a hard question.  So many great meals to choose from.  One of my favourite meals is a roast dinner with nut roast.  So while I am not sure what is the 'best' meal I have ever made, I can nominate my favourite meal I have made to be the one where a friend and I made a roast with a vegetarian hog's head.  It was fun and amazing and delicious.  (NB the nut roast was vegetarian but could be made vegan easily.)

Vegetarian hog's head
What’s your favorite vegan dessert?
Chocolate pudding.  It is a childhood favourite and I still love it.  For those who need clarification, my chocolate pudding is a warm self saucing chocolate pudding. 

What do you eat when having a savory snack attack?
Roast chickpeas!  I mean to make lots of savoury snacks but often just end up with little packets of crunchy salted roast chickpeas that I often carry in my bag for emergencies.

What do you eat when having a sweet tooth craving?
This really depends what is in the house but sweet tooth cravings often involve chocolate.  We usually have chocolate in the house so sometimes it is just a square of the stuff and other times if I have been baking it might be cake, slices or porridgies

Liz O'Brien's sausage rolls
What do you serve non-vegans when they come over for dinner?
I am not the sort of cook with standard recipes I always make.  If I really wanted to impress a veg-shy meat eater I might make some sausage rolls but mostly I try something new.

Questions from Jasmine at Self Sufficiency Cafe

What food item could you not do without?
My first instinct was to say chocolate.  Then I thought perhaps it should be something healthier like chickpeas or good bread.  Honestly my list of kitchen staples is quite long so I am not sure I would do well to narrow it down to one item.

Celia's overnight sourdough bread
What would be your last supper (you can have 3 courses)?
Nut roast with lots of crispy roast vegies, cauliflower cheese, green vegies and gravy.  Then a rich dense chocolate cake with lots ganache (perhaps this zucchini brownie with ganache and smoked walnuts)  And to finish, a fruit platter with lots of stone fruit, pineapple, berries, apple and dates stuffed with cashew cheese

What is your favourite TV show?
Call the Midwife.  The photography is so beautiful, the plots give such poignant insight into post war Britain and the characters are so complex, compassionate and awkward.

Who is your favourite comedian?
I don't have a stand-out favourite.  Though perhaps Dave O'Neil who is a local legend.  Or it could be Danny Kaye because first loves hold a special place in the heart and The Court Jester is one of the first films I loved.  I don't feel the same way about another childhood love, Jerry Lewis, but I still find The Goodies and Fawlty Towers hilarious.

What is your favourite junk food?
Chocolate - any sort will do - but my favourite guilty pleasure is possibly the chokito

What ingredient had you never heard of until you went vegan or vegetarian?
I was already doing quite a lot of vegetarian cooking when I went vegetarian many years ago.  However my favourite discovery in vegan cooking is probably nutritional yeast flakes.  I love cheese and these flakes have made it possible for me to eat lots of yummy vegan cheese sauces and less dairy cheese.

Street art - Fitzroy pool
What is your favourite smell?
Oh smells are so evocative.  I love fresh-baked bread, chlorine at the pool, and jasmine in spring.

What is a typical Sunday like for you?
I met someone who went to the same cafe every Sunday and was quite amazed.  I don't have a typical Sunday.  Sylvia loves to have pancakes on Sunday morning which we do if there is time.  We often might watch some telly in the evening.  However Sundays might be just lazy days to sit in front of a movie, or a meal at my mum's or a day out in the city. 

Posted June 28, 2015 12:42 PM by Johanna GGG

June 25, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

20 facon recipes for vegetarians and vegans in Bacon Week

Yesterday I heard a discussion on the radio about Australian Bacon Week.  Interesting stuff .... until I heard discussion about vegetarians missing out and how many people could never go vegetarian because they love bacon too much.  My hackles rose!  I am here to tell you it aint so.  Here is my response with a good dose of facon!

Actually I didn't love bacon so much that it really bothered me when I went vegetarian over 20 years ago but I did miss it occasionally.  Then I discovered that it is not the pig flesh (or the bone or bristles) that I missed but the smoky flavour.  Enter smoked paprika, liquid smoke, smoked salt and lots of vegetarian bacon.

I avoided the neon pink vegetarian bacon in the supermarket but have had lots of fun experimenting with making different vegetarian bacon (aka fake bacon or facon).  I tried make it out of beans and buckwheat, coconut, tofu, tempeh and eggplant.  Of these my favourite is tofu facon.  I make it often.  Here are 20 facon recipes for vegetarians and vegans in Bacon Week.

10 Innovative facon recipes
I love trying unusual recipes with facon (and might I suggest they would work fine with regular bacon)And yes, you can experiment with vegetarian bacon with chocolate!

Smoky Mexican nacholada casserole (gf, v)

10 common recipes with vegetarian bacon
These recipes are ones commonly pop up online and in cookbooks.  Some of these are my childhood comfort foods.  I have found that they work brilliantly with vegetarian bacon so there is never any need to miss meat.

Bacon, avocado and tomato sandwich (v)
Breakfast burritos (v)
Caesar salad (v)
Cheese, bacon and spinach muffins
Chickpea pilaf (gf, v)
Creamy potato salad (gf, v)
Fried rice (gf, v)
Macaroni cheese with peas and bacon
Vegetable quiche (v)
Zucchini slice

gf = gluten free, v = vegan

Posted June 25, 2015 11:50 AM by Johanna GGG

June 24, 2015

The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Smith & Deli


Smith & Deli
111 Moor Street,
Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9042 4117

sandwich menu

Opening Hours:
Tue to Sat 8am–7pm

Smith & Deli is an all vegan, New York style deli bought to life by our friends from Smith & Daughters. This is the place to stop by for bread, pastries, coffee, cheeses, meats (all vegan remember!), salads, soups, pies, meals to go and an incredible array of over 25 sandwiches.

Sandwiches are king at Smith & Deli and the menu may stun you with the sheer amount of options of available, so check it out before you go. The 'Rubenstein' ($15) is a good pick with pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles and Russian dressing on rye; or go for a 'Buffalo the Vampire Slayer' ($12) with buffalo tofu, ranch, shredded iceberg, carrot, onion and celery in a roll. Next time I think I'll channel Kevin and try the 'Home Alone' ($15) made up of turkey, roasted brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, mashed potato & gravy, all on a roll. Gluten free bread is available for all sandwiches for an extra $2.

Some lighter options that are more in the breakfast camp are also on offer, including a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches ($8-$12), croissants, and chef Shannon Martinez's take on a popular fast food breakfast item with the 'Egg McMartinez' ($7) including egg, bacon and cheddar on an English muffin with your choice of sauce.

Meals to go, such as pizza ('pepperoni' $16), lasagne, pies (four different flavours everyday, in both single and family sizes), sausages, schnitzels, tofu and tempeh are all available.

The cabinets are full of sweet treats too, where (with options rotating daily) you might find 'Maple Bacon Donuts' ($5), 'Vanilla Slice ($6), 'Apple Pie Bars' ($5), 'Lemon Tarts' ($7) and much more.

Black coffee is $3.50 or $4 with non-dairy milk – or add an extra $2 for Smith & Deli's own fresh nut milk. The chai soy latte sweetened with agave nectar ($4) is great.

As their slogan goes: Thank you for being a friend, Smith & Deli!

 Click to add a blog post for Smith and Deli on Zomato

Also visited by: veganopoulouswhere's the beef?, quinces and kale

Posted June 24, 2015 06:11 PM

June 23, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Pomegranate and orange smoothie

Recently I read a couple of articles about the rise of the know-it-all thanks to Professor Google's assistance, and school students being over-confident.  Gulp!  Perhaps that would be me last year when I decided my new high speed blender could cope with pomegranate seeds.  It seems that just made a horrid grainy smoothie that was so awful there was nothing for it but the bin.  Luckily when I tried again, I got it right.  Hurrah for experience over know-it-all.  

Hence when I made a recent pomegranate and orange smoothie I made sure I sieved the pomegranate arils.  Which perhaps supports a couple of other articles I liked about teaching your kids to be fearless and to take risks.  After all there is nothing quite so humbling as falling flat on your face.  And nothing a food blogger hates more than having recipes go so wrong there is no saving them.  It all a good lesson.

Using pomegranate in a smoothie again worked a treat.  It was a lovely smoothie, slightly tart but very refreshing.  And I redeemed myself by managing to fill it with fruit that had to be used.  We had too many bananas, strawberries that would go off within a day or two, an old orange and lots of limes off our tree.

The pomegranate had also sat there for some time.  Once I had cut it open and stained my new chopping board, I put the leftover arils in a bowl and we enjoyed eating them plain, on salad or on muesli and yoghurt.  I don't buy pomegranate often but I hope next time I will be wiser about what to do with them.  Oh no.  Maybe now I do know it all.  Well I know more about pomegranates.  Now I just need to work on my photography!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: E for Eccles cakes - vegan and savoury with leek, spinach and blue cheese
Two year ago: Leek, walnut and blue cheese scones
Three years ago: WHB Apple and mince crumble
Four years ago: Smoky tomato soup and recent cooking
Five years ago: Nigella’s potato bread
Six years ago: What does home mean to you?
Seven years ago: The solstice fruitcake offensive
Eight years ago: Kraut rock cupcakes

Pomegranate and orange smoothie
Serves 1-2

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 pomegranate
juice of 1/2 lime
1 punnet of strawberries, hulled
1 banana, peeled
1 cup milk (I used soy milk)

Blend until smooth.

On the Stereo:
Worlds of Sound CD sampler: Various Artists

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

June 22, 2015

quinces and kale

smith & deli


Smith & Deli is finally here.  It has been worth the wait. I didn’t think it was possible to love something more than Smith & Daughters, but I do.

I turned up at 8.15 am on the opening day thinking I might be able to dash in and grab something for breakfast. An Egg McMartinez perhaps? The place was buzzing, with a queue snaking its way to the door. I had to leave to do some volunteering so I headed out again, postponing my visit until 1.30pm.

When I arrived back there was a queue snaking its way out the door…

I joined it and spent my waiting time productively, collecting various goodies as I passed them on the way to the till. Like lollies at the checkout, I grabbed some shallot sourdough from Noisette bakery, some tortillas, a frozen chicken curry pie and spent a long time cruising the cakes and deli items for future reference. To my disappointment, the last vanilla slice disappeared before my eyes. Oh well, something to look forward to.

I also had lots of time to admire the cute retro decor, perfect right down to the gingham shirts worn by the staff and Patsy Cline on the stereo.

At the ordering station, staffed by the ever lovely Mo, I settled on a Home Alone sandwich. This might have been made for me, stuffed as it was with all the kinds of foods I love. Turkey, stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, mashed potato and gravy. Utter, utter heaven. There were a couple of substitutions for my sandwich because they had run out of rolls and turkey. They subbed in turkish bread (fine by me, I love it) and chicken salad for the turkey. I don’t know what the original is like but this was fantastic. I cannot imagine a better sandwich. I got a bit teary as I ate it.

I love sandwiches, but frankly our options are often limited at non vegan places to hummus and salad. The sandwich list here is 32 varieties long and runs over two blackboards and every damn one sounds fabulous.  I plan to blog the entire sandwich list as part of Vegan MoFo 2015.

As an unreformed pastry addict I also ordered a beef bourguignon pie. I confess I ate that as well as the sandwich. I am now very full.

pie sandwich

I had intended to take the pie home to eat, but I scoffed half on the drive home. It was great, a rich buttery shortcrust pastry bottom with a flaky top,  packed full of intense red wine, mushroom and beefy flavours. Even allowing for the fact that I think anything wrapped in pastry is special, this was a great pie.

The sandwich, I did manage to wait until I got home. I can’t begin to describe how happy it made me. Just let me say that any sandwich that leaves you tearing up is special.

But the joy doesn’t stop with sandwiches, cakes and pies. You can pick up take away meals, soups, pies, pizza, deli meats, cheeses and salads as well as dips, bread and all kinds of staples.

Any other shop where you had to wait for food might make people a bit grumpy, but the vibe was so nice, people in the queue laughing and talking to each other. The cheerful staff keep the queue snaking around in an orderly fashion to get people in from out in the cold and they give helpful advice as to what items are available quickly if you are in a hurry. By day three (yes I went the first three days in a row) they had improved the wait time by taking sandwich orders in the queue so they are made (or almost made) by the time you reach the cash register.

While I was waiting I had one man tell me he was so happy because he hadn’t had food like this for almost 20 years since becoming a vegan. We were almost a bit weepy.

Thanks S&D for making my day so happy (and gluttonous).

Note: I went again the next day and had a custard and quince danish. Crunchy, flaky, delicious. And the day after, another sandwich, the Temple of Doom. I’m stopping for a day or two now.

Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065
9042 4117

Posted June 22, 2015 09:00 AM

June 21, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Vegan tahini stew with feta and dill dumplings

You might have noticed that I haven't been posting so many savoury recipes this month.  It is the winter solstice here this weekend and I struggle to get meals made before the sun goes down.  So there is no natural light, not much time and energy and I am trying to eat well which means we have been having more stews that I throw together with whatever is in the fridge.  I also have been returning to favourite recipes.

Lately I have made excellent pizza, corn and tempeh soup, tahini lime rice, red lentil koftas, tofu bacon and almond feta.  It was the almond feta that got me thinking.  I had a day when my mind bounced from one dinner idea to another like a pinball. 

At first it was a vegetable galette.  Then I fancied trying Gena's avglomeno again but it was so light and I wanted to the comfort of Mexicale pie with its cheesy dumplings and rich stew.  In a moment of serendipity, these dishes inspired a great new casserole.  I was pleased that it was an opportunity to use some ingredients that had been in the fridge a while.  I flavoured the dumplings with almond feta and dill.  The dumplings were baked on top of a lemony tahini stew made with lots of vegies and beans.

And even though the light had well and truly faded by the time I was cooking dinner, I took a photo of the casserole dish that I used.  It was a wedding present many years ago and I still love it.  The handle clips on and off, meaning that it can be used on the stovetop and in the oven.

I appreciate any time saving ideas I can come by these days.  This stew was not a quick affair.  E was out with his ukelele so I made an easy dinner for Sylvia and waited until she was settled into bed before I relaxed over dinner.  It was a most excellent stew of tahini flavoured vegies and beans with large dumplings to mop it up with.  This was hearty stuff.

The dill was lovely and a touch of Eastern European flavour.  The almond feta was perhaps not as prominent as I had hoped.  Perhaps some lemon juice in the dumplings next time would  give them a lift.

I have been making Mexicale pie for more years than I care to remember and it is exciting to have started experimenting with different flavours.  More exciting was trying using aquafaba instead of the eggs.  This seemed to work well.  My first use of aquafaba involved tipping out the brine from a tin of beans to make a batch of meringues.  In this dish, I used the brine from the beans I put in the casserole.  No waste at all there!

While it might be only the beginning of winter, with a chilly 2.6 degrees celcius and condensation on the window this morning, the solstice hails the start of longer days.  I am looking forward to more daylight in the evenings for photos and more warming winter meals.

I am sending this to Jac for Meatless Mondays, Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays #52, Elizabeth for No Waste Food Challenge, and Lisa, Lauren, and Danielle for Fabulous Foodie Fridays #56.

More warming winter meals from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Bean and beer stew with dumplings (v)
Chickpea, potato and tomato stew (gf, v)
Lentil ragu with chocolate chilli fettuccine (v) 
Nicki’s Nana’s chulent (v)
Sauerkraut, bratwurst and potato casserole (v)
Smoky apple baked beans (gf, v)
Vegetable nut crumble
Vegetarian moussaka

Warming winter meals from elsewhere online:
Beetroot, red onion and puy lentil bouruignon - A2K
Cheese and leek bread pudding - Tin and Thyme
Mushroom stout pie with potato dumplings - Where's the Beef?
Pumpkin maple baked bean cornbread casserole - Oh She Glows
Savoury lentil bean stew - Tinned Tomatoes
Vegetarian shipwreck casserole - Oh My Veggies 

Tahini stew with feta and dill dumplings
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe.  Inspired by Choosing Raw and Mexicale Pie
Serves 4

Tahini stew:
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cup vegetable stock
1 and 1/2 cup cooked cannelini beans
1 cup cooked chickpeas
400g tin corn, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp white miso
1/4 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt flakes

Feta and dill dumplings:
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (polenta)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup low fat milk (I used whole fat milk)
6 tbsp chickpea brine, lightly whisked
1 cup chopped almond feta
1/4 cup dill

First make the filling.  [Note: I use a 22-23cm round deep casserole dish that can be used on the stovetop or in the oven but if you don't have one that can be used this way, use a large saucepan and a deep casserole dish.]  Heat oil in large saucepan (ovenproof if possible).  Fry onion, garlic, carrot and celery on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are softening.  Add stock, beans, chickpeas and corn.  Bring to the boil and simmer about 10 minutes.

While stew simmers, make dumplings by mixing together all the ingredients.

When the stew has simmered, whisk lemon juice, tahini, miso and mustard powder with 3/4 cup water in a small mixing bowl.  Add to the vegetable mixture and heat until  tahini mixture is well mixed into the stew.  Turn off the heat and stir in nutritional yeast flakes, dill and salt.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

If not using an ovenproof saucepan, pour mixture into an ovenproof dish.  There should be quite a lot of liquid in the mixture as the dumplings will absorb some while baking.  Arrange spoonfuls of dumpling mixture on top of tahini stew.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes at 200ºC. Then reduce heat to 180ºC and bake a further 30-40 minutes until dumplings are cooked (golden brown and a skewer in the middle will come out clean). Serve hot.  To reheat add a drizzle of water to mixture if possible (ie if you have served some of the dumplings) and heat with lid on to keep dumplings from drying out (about 20-30 minutes).

On the Stereo:
Ghost Sonata: Tuxedo Moon

Posted June 21, 2015 12:13 PM by Johanna GGG

June 20, 2015

Vegetarian Life Australia

Dinner at Ren Dao

We had a fantastic celebratory dinner at Ren Dao in Melbourne’s Elsternwick last night.  The evening heralded the end of mid term exams for my son and we all felt like we deserved an evening out.

The all vegan meal was really great. We’ve eaten at Ren Dao a few times before but I felt it has improved recently. Everything we ordered was excellent and also beautifully presented. The service was great; attentive and friendly but not overbearing in any way. My only complaint was that the starter didn’t come out first and the dishes trickled out from the kitchen at different times. We were sharing all the dishes so the timing wasn’t a great problem, but I usually prefer to have the starter upfront.

We ordered vege prawns to start (supposedly, although they arrived half way through the meal). They looked amazing and were deliciously crispy with a sweet dipping sauce. I would have prefered a chili sauce but it was still great. For mains, to share, we had an amazing coconut butter chicken, mee goreng noodles and the fresh daily greens. The greens turned out to be a great mix of greens and mock meats in a lovely light sauce and were a nice compliment to the other dishes. The butter chicken was the standout dish of the night with its crispy balls of mock chicken ready to dip in a wonderful coconut sauce. I also really loved the mee goreng noodles. Mee goreng is my favourite go to dish in Asian restaurants and this version was excellent. We requested it spicy and the heat was spot on.

All in all, an excellent meal.

Ren Dao
275 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick 3185

Overall rating 8/10

Mee goreng

Mee goreng

Vege prawns

Vege prawns 

Coconut butter chicken

Coconut butter chicken 

Daily greens

Daily greens

Ren Dao

Ren Dao

The excellent menu

The excellent menu

Posted June 20, 2015 07:16 AM

June 19, 2015


Smith & Deli, Fitzroy

Whenever I blog about a new vegan place, I get quite a few comments from readers overseas saying how Melbourne seems to be so ace for vegans and plant based eaters. Well, Melbourne now has yet another fantastically super all-vegan food outlet I’m excited to share with you: Smith & Deli in Fitzroy. Co-owners Mo and...
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Posted June 19, 2015 07:56 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Street Art in Melbourne CBD: ACDC Lane and Duckboard Lane

When I visited Lane's Edge cafe and bar in March, I had a lovely day walking through the city with a camera.  So yesterday I sorted just a few of the street art photos that I took.  I have been to Hosier Lane a few times but this was my first visit to ACDC Lane and Duckboard Lane just up over Russell Street (off Flinders Lane.  Both lanes, which form a horseshoe, have lots of interesting street art, including quite a lot of political art relating to high profile people ranging from our Prime Minister Tony Abbott to Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson.

ACDC Lane:

Duckboard Lane:

If you look closely at this pattern, you notice it is made of bottletops.

Posted June 19, 2015 12:28 PM by Johanna GGG

June 18, 2015


Late Lunch At Sister Of Soul, St Kilda

I visited Sister of Soul some months ago but never blogged about it because I hadn’t taken photos (I was without my camera because I ate there before a concert at the Palais Theatre). This week I was able to go back for another meal and naturally, here I am to tell you about it...
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Posted June 18, 2015 08:30 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Greenhouse Cafe

June 17, 2015

I spent my formative years living in Caloundra on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. At the time eating out for me usually meant fish and chips at the beach, Pizza Hut or, if we were feeling particularly sophisticated, a trip to the local Thai place. I was thrilled to notice last year that Caloundra's first all-vego place had opened and even happier to find it still in business nearly 12 months later when I finally managed to swing by for a visit. 

Greenhouse is more than just vegetarian - it's also fully organic. The menu seems to change semi-regularly, and on our visit there was a good mix of vegan and non-vegan stuff, including made-to-order dishes, pre-made wraps and sandwiches and an array of muffins and sweets. There's plenty of gluten-free options scattered throughout. They're also big on smoothies and juices and they have kombucha on tap. We settled in for a proper lunch with my Mum and all three of us ordered from the a la carte menu.

Mum went with the spinach, onion jam and three cheese tart, served with a beautiful looking pumpkin salad ($15.90). She was a bit overwhelmed with the size of the meal when it came out, but enjoyed it so much that there were no leftovers for me to sample.

I ordered the vegan burger off the specials board, marinated tofu with pickled veggies and satay sauce on Turkish bread ($17.90). This looked a bit sad when it came out - it was definitely not the kind of burger you could pick up and eat - but fortunately the taste easily overcame any doubts I had over the presentation. The satay sauce reminded me a bit of our favourite curry peanut sauce recipe, melding a hint of spice with nutty goodness. The pickled veggies added a nice salty kick, and the mint gave it all a fresh edge. I stole some chilli from Cindy's plate too, which I can heartily recommend.

Cindy ordered the avocado with coconut cashew cheese, pickled green chilli and mint on long-fermented sourdough ($14.90). This was a lovely fresh lunch plate - the avocado was perfectly ripe and all the trimmings were lovely, especially the fresh mint. The cashew cheese was smooth and creamy, but didn't have a particularly strong flavour - it probably would have helped smooth out the fresh chilli chunks if I hadn't stolen them all.

We couldn't resist the lure of the sweets counter on our way out, taking home a Mexican chilli choc beetroot slice and a raw vegan choc-cranberry tart (both gluten-free, total price ~ $13).

I'm not usually a big fan of raw desserts, but the choc-cranberry tart was the clear winner out of these two - sweet, tangy and nicely textured. The slice was good too, but I think it needed a bigger chilli hit to cut through all the chocolatiness.

We had a great time at Greenhouse - the staff that work there are incredibly warm and friendly, turning a decent lunch into a really lovely meal. The food is great, if a little on the expensive side (I guess getting everything organic doesn't come cheap), and it's a nice spot to sit and people watch. I'm so impressed that someone has given a vego cafe a shot in my hometown and even more impressed that they're making it work - there was a steady stream of customers while we were there and it's easy to see why the locals would keep coming back.


A handful of bloggers have checked out Greenhouse and been uniformly positive - check out sustainability in style, Vegie Head, Live Blissful and Riley xo.

Greenhouse Cafe
5/8 Ormuz Avenue (off Lamkin Lane)
07 5438 1647

Accessibility: Smooth entry with a relatively spacious interior. The outside tables are on a slightly uneven footpath area. There's table service and you pay at a low counter. Things seemed super child-friendly on our visit (toys, kids' table, high chair etc).

Posted June 18, 2015 06:41 PM by Michael

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Lane's Edge Cafe and Bar, Melbourne CBD

When E and I met for lunch in the city back in March I chose a sentimental favourite cafe.  Many years ago in our childfree days, we went there regularly for a glass of wine after seeing movies at the Kino Cinema.  These days we are far more likely to go out for lunch than for drinks.  The menu seemed to offer a reasonable amount of vegetarian options and the kitsch courtyard beckons. 

The small bar at the front is quiet but there is a lively bustle in the fun courtyard which has a kitsch ambiance with plastic ivy, red beaded curtains and coloured lights.  (It has overhead heaters in winter.) 

Our waitress was very helpful in talking through the options.  From memory I think there was a vegetarian pasta special but not a veg soup.  I tossed up between vegetarian pizza, spanikopita roti wraps, and the Mediterranean salad.  It was a sunny day and I fancied something light so I chose the salad.

The Mediterranean salad comprised lettuce, red onions, olives, tomato, pan fried feta. herb and balsamic dressing with warm Turkish bread.  When it arrived I was disappointed that it only had a few small wedged of bread.  It also had a lot of green leaves.  However the dressing was full of flavour and the waitress brought me more bread at no charge so I was very satisfied.

The pies on offer change regularly.  E chose the chicken and sweet potato pie which came with chips and salad.  He loved the pie but was not keen on the salad.  (Is he ever keen on salad!)  I sampled a few chips and they were crisp and hot. 

The menu had enough vegetarian meals for me even if not terribly different than what is on offer elsewhere.  But who wouldn't enjoy decent food in a courtyard that is like a little tropical oasis in the city.  It does not offer a lot to vegans though the dips and chips might be suitable.  The menu notes that they have gluten free options.  And if you are after a fancy cocktail, you will be spoiled for choice.

When we paid our bill I was amused by the irony of our waitress wearing a t-shirt that read "freedom is my religion".  Then we headed out into the autumn sunshine to enjoy our time in the city. 

Lane's Edge Cafe and Bar
39 Bourke Street (up near the corner of Spring Street)
Melbourne CBD
03 9654 2409

Click to add a blog post for Lane's Edge on Zomato

Posted June 18, 2015 12:00 PM by Johanna GGG

June 17, 2015


Vegan Shopping at Prahran Convenience Store

Prahran Convenience Store is pretty popular with many vegans I know and those I see on social media. As I’m rarely on that side of town I haven’t yet been, but we were in Prahran today and so I had to check it out. In some of the vegan groups people often post about great...
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Posted June 17, 2015 09:54 PM

June 16, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The B-East

June 15, 2015

We're irregular visitors to the B-East, usually stopping in when Jess McGuire is hosting trivia and grabbing a Morrissey burger for dinner. This week they've upped their veg credentials by introducing an all-vegan menu on Monday nights under the banner Mock The Casbah. I managed to nibble my way across most of the menu with the help of some friends.

The vegan fried chicken ($11.50) used the same crispy-skinned greasy wheat-meat as their excellent Morrissey burger, ditching the bun and harissa for a drizzle of smoky chipotle aioli and some dill pickles. This would tickle fanciers of the Cornish Arms' basket of wings.

The pulled pork burger ($13) was tangy, spicy and messy, served on a chewy rye bun. The snap & crackle cauliflower taco ($6.50) was a milder prospect with its avocado cream, and probably the pick of the table.

I dug into a chargrilled corn and quinoa burger ($14), jettisoning half the thick bun on sight. It centred around a thick cake of fluffy quinoa with only a few corn kernels, and was substantially boosted by a cheese slice, chilli aioli and a layer of sweet potato crisps.

We didn't have the appetite (and the little ones didn't have the patience) to stick around for dessert, on this night a double chocolate fudge tofu brownie with vegan salted coconut caramel ($7).

The B-East are promising to rotate the menu from week to week, so bear in mind that these particular dishes might not be available if you swing 'round on a future Monday. Nevertheless they're putting in a great effort to include gluten-free options (taco plus both burgers adaptable on this night) and assure the vegan status of their ingredients. I'm excited to see what they come up with next.


You can read about one of our previous visits to the B-East here.

The B-East
80 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9036 1456
first Mock The Casbah menu, dietary info

Accessibility: There's a wide entry with a ramp. Tables are a mix of standard and high, chairs a mix of stools and backed with a baby's high chair or two on hand. Furniture is pretty densely packed but there are wide corridors through the middle. It's dimly lit and noisy, with food and drinks to be ordered and paid for 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 June 16, 2015 08:57 PM by Cindy


Lunch At Dolly’s Sister Vegan Cafe and Bar, Geelong

We have another fully vegan cafe!!! Can you believe it! Gosh it seems like all I’m hearing about lately is even more vegan places opening up, or in planning stages. Not to mention more vegan options in non-vegan places. This time the lucky people of Geelong (about an hour west of the Melbourne metro area)...
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Posted June 16, 2015 04:57 PM

Vegetarian Life Australia

Roast veg vegan pizza

At least once a week I knock up a round of quick and easy vegan pizzas for dinner. Store bought bases make the process really painless. Yes I know, bought bases are a travesty to the pizza purists, but my kitchen philosophy is about keeping it healthy, keeping it meat free and keeping it easy!

My current favourite pizza combo revolves around roasting a big tray of chunky chopped Mediterranean veg – usually a mix of eggplant, onion, red capsicum and mushroom with chopped garlic, a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. I roast for about 40 minutes in a hot oven until everything is caramelizing nicely. One toss through at about three quarter time is a good idea.

I spread a liberal amount of tomato and herb paste onto the bases then add a smattering of grated vegan Bio-Cheese (now available at my local Coles!!) and some torn basil leaves before spooning on a generous quantity of roast veg. I usually add some semi-dried tomatoes and halved kalamata olives on the top before cooking for about 15 minutes.

Add a balsamic and olive oil dressed mixed salad on the side and it’s the perfect dinner combination; loaded with veg and full of wintertime comforting goodness.

20150615_172410 20150615_175254 20150615_181551






Posted June 16, 2015 04:25 PM

June 15, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Caramel chocolate chunk muffins, National Celtic Festival, a party and more long weekend eats

What is the purpose of a long weekend if not for cooking and sharing good food, heading out of town and relaxing at home!  We managed to do all of this on the recent Queen's Birthday weekend.  I don't claim to have brilliant photography of all of it but sometimes when you are enjoying yourself, it hard to spend much time behind the camera.

Actually my pictures might have been better if I had remembered to take my DSLR camera to Geelong so I could have taken better quality photos.  We went down to my niece's birthday party at Inflatable World.  It was a great place for the kids to run around in the middle of winter.

My sister in law made gorgeous cupcakes for Ashy.  Sylvia had a sore tummy after everyone sang happy birthday so we didn't stay long.  I took a cookies and cream cupcake with me and they were delicious.

We stayed at my parents' place in Geelong and my mum had stayed home cooking rather than going to the party.  For dinner we had curried cauliflower naan pizzas and a delicious tarte tatin for dessert.  The pizzas were delicious but the tarte tatin was amazing.  The apples were cooked so that they just melted in the mouth as they should and were beautifully caramelised.

On Sunday, Sylvia, my mum and I headed out to the National Celtic Festival while my dad rested up at home. The weather was not as pleasant as last year's festival.  The sun shone but the wind rattled our bones.  We saw some highland dancing, some buskers and the medieval sword fights.  Perhaps the highlight was an amazing vegetarian burger from Jerry's Vegie Burgers.  Made of lentils, rice, corn and other vegies, it was so good with some satay sauce, tomato relish and green leaves in a bun.

We stayed at my parents' place long enough for Sylvia to play with her cousin, while I shopped, and to eat fish and chips for dinner (thanks go to my brother Dave who went out to the fish and chip shop a second time when my corn jack was forgotten!   Then home so we could get up the next morning and make dodgy pancakes in our own kitchen.  I tried making pancake mixture (with beetroot powder) to use in a squeezy bottle but it was not my finest hour in pancake making.  This spider web was the best of a bad bunch and you should have seen it once I tried to flip it.

More successful was my almond feta that I made on Monday.  I confess that I left my almonds soaking for 2 days and found them with some cloudy shapes in the water.  I decided that the almonds were just cultured and ploughed on with the recipe.  It was very good in a salad sandwich with home made sourdough bread, spinach and Italian butter beans.

As the day drew to a close, I baked.  Sylvia wanted caramel cupcakes.  Fortunately Kari had posted a healthy recipe for choc chip caramel muffins only a few weeks previously. I love caramel but it is so sickly sweet.  These muffins were actually not very sweet at all and the bittersweet chocolate chunks in my muffins were quite dominant.  They were also quite stodgy in a substantial and satisfying way.  The stodge, however, meant they kept their knobbly shape of the thick batter rather than smoothing out when baking.

After baking, I made us a dinner of leftovers: pasta with a creamy sauce, Italian butter beans, tofu bacon and almond feta together with some spinach.  It made for a very satisfying pasta meal. Sadly it would be a lot of work to make it from scratch so it is unlikely to be a regular meal.  However I was rather pleased with bringing the creamy pasta (which Sylvia loves) and Italian beans together.

After dinner we all had a muffin and had one for lunch the next day.  We loved them so much that I made them again yesterday and again they were pounced upon with enthusiasm.

My only qualm about the muffins, which is not limited to this recipe, is that it is hard to detect the nuts.  Recently one of Sylvia's teachers expressed concern about one of her class mates having peanut butter sandwiches for lunch at school because of Sylvia's peanut allergy.  I get far more worried at the thought that someone will offer her a chocolate brownie made with a spoonful of peanut butter in it.  It is so easy to know peanuts are in a peanut butter sandwich but less easy to detect all the hidden ground nuts and nut butters in baking.  I don't have any answers to this quandry, given that I love baking with nuts but it is a concern.

Fortunately Sylvia is not allergic to cashews and has enjoyed these muffins.  I am pleased to have an easy recipe that is full of lots of healthy ingredients and minimal refined sugar and flour.

I am sending these muffins to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays 51, and Karen (and Janie) for Tea Time Treats.

More healthy baking from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate almond rice bubble slice (gf, v)  
Chocolate tahini cookies (v)
Fruit, Nut and Tahini Slice (v)
Fruity Quinoa Muffins (v)
Glo Bars (gf, v)
Healthy banana bread 
Heidi’s chocolate cake
Rustic muesli squares

Caramel Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Lightly adapted from Bite Sized Thoughts
Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup medjool dates
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 scant cup soy milk
1 cup plain wholemeal flour
1/2 cup plain white flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
85 g dark chocolate, chopped (I used 70%)

Cover cashews and dates in boiling water for about 15-30 minutes (ie while you prepare the other ingredients).

Preheat oven to 180 C and place muffin papers in a 12 hole muffin pan.

Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a 250ml cup measure and fill the rest of the cup with soy milk.  Set aside to curdle and thicken.

Place flours, coconut sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Drain water off cashews and dates.  Blend with about a third of the milk mixture until smooth.  (I do this in a high powered blender but I think a little texture would be ok if your machinery is a bit less powerful.)  Pour or spoon into dry ingredients.  Tip the rest of the milk mixture into the blender and blitz to lift as much of the dates and cashews off the blender and pour into the dry ingredients.

Mix the wet and the dry ingredients together with a spoon until just combined.  It will seem quite dry but will mix in ok.  Then gently mix in the chocolate chunks.

Spoon mixture into muffin papers and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in a muffin comes out clean.  Best at room temperature and they keep for 2-3 days.

On the stereo:
Title: Meghan Trainor

Posted June 15, 2015 11:33 PM by Johanna GGG


Happy Cat Day To Us

A year ago today we adopted our two cats through Melbourne Animal Rescue (MAR). We decided to get two, so they could keep each other company and maybe not feel alone in a strange new home! We’re most definitely cat people so we began browsing animal rescue websites before finding two little brothers who were...
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Posted June 15, 2015 03:06 PM

quinces and kale

scrambled roasted cauliflower and tofu

scrambled tofu and roasted cauliflower

I’ve been sick again with a cold for the last week and all I have craved is soft comfort food.  Cauliflowers are cheap again and I had recently bought two. I had roasted one of them in the oven the previous day.

When I woke with a sore throat, I thought of scrambled tofu for breakfast. I remembered that I had used roasted cauliflower in a quiche and thought I would give it a try in some scrambled tofu.

It was so delicious that I ate it three times over the next two days.

This is just an easy scramble of medium soft tofu, pieces of roasted cauliflower, kecap manis and sriracha.

I think I am always going to include some roasted vegetables in my tofu scrambles from now on. It adds to the texture and the flavour and lifts the tofu above the ordinary.

I ate mine with some toasted sourdough.  I feel better now.


scrambled roasted cauliflower and tofu
prep time
5 mins
cook time
5 mins
total time
10 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: Breakfast
cuisine: vegan
serves: 2
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup roasted cauliflower pieces
  • ½ block medium soft tofu
  • 1 tsp kecap manis
  • sriracha to taste (I used probably about 1 tsp)
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add the tofu and cauliflower pieces and mash with a fork to a scrambled egg consistency.
  3. Fry until it starts to catch slightly, stirring.
  4. Add the kecap manis and sriracha
  5. Stir until well heated and brown.
  6. Serve with toast.


Posted June 15, 2015 10:00 AM

June 14, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Smith & Deli

June 14, 2015

We are long and loud supporters of vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters. Over recent months, co-owners Mo & Shannon have been bursting with excitement over their new venture Smith & Deli and they threw a freebie our way today, inviting us to its media opening.

While their flagship restaurant is a place to sit and share something special, Smith & Deli is seat-free and stacked from floor to six feet with foodstuffs to take away.

Around the sides there's food for your home kitchen - housemade pizzas, pies and dips, fresh produce, dry staples and spices, plus many of those obscure ingredients that you might have wanted to hunt down, like coconut syrup and canned hominy. They're also stocking the best of brand-name vegan groceries, like Tofurkey mock meats, Alter Eco and Loving Earth chocolates, So Delicious ice creams and Daiya cheese.

Step up to the counter and things get really serious. Here deli favourites like pastrami, pretzels,  croissants and scrolls get the vegan treatment! They make sandwiches to order and the menu runs to almost three dozen options, with names like Club Sandwiches Not Seals, Parmageddon, and The Wiggum (photos of the sandwich menu linked at bottom of post). There's gluten-free bread with a $2 surcharge.

Mo packed us up with a Rubenstein and two salads. This sandwich is a glorious saucy mess of pink mock pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles and cheesy Russian dressing on thick rye slices (to be sold for $15). The peanutty noodle salad and spicy chickpea-dotted potato salad were meals of their own, and we saved most of them for later (price unknown).

The snickerdoodle and double chocolate cookies were fine specimens, more crunchy than chewy. When it comes to vegan amazestakes, though, they were roundly beaten out by the pain au chocolat (which Michael paid $5 for). It's a teensy bit on the bready side, but there are golden flakes to be had, not to mention soft, dark chocolate.

The array of vegan foods on offer here is frankly overwhelming and I'm sure everyone's going to find their own favourite delicacy, whether it's a croissant (always Michael's soft spot), a vegemite & cheese scroll, or an egg McMartinez. It'll be months, if not years, before we've got it covered and made our final judgements.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St, Fitzroy
9042 4117
sandwich menu 1, 2
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a lip on the door and the interior is flat. All foods are easily visible, but some of the groceries are easier to reach than others. Ordering and payment is at a low counter.

Posted June 14, 2015 04:16 PM by Cindy


Dinner At Smith & Daughters, Fitzroy

Until last night, I hadn’t been to Smith & Daughters for dinner. I KNOW, you guys. I know. I have been for brunch before and did get as far as making a dinner reservation for my birthday last year but unfortunately had to cancel. But with my birthday this year, and with my sister and...
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Posted June 14, 2015 01:22 PM

June 12, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

IT Reflections: Apple Photos, Cake Fails, Zomato, Blog Updates and Quicklinks

If there is any constant in the online world, it is that software will continue to change and develop.  It will also continue to surprise, horrify and delight me.  Today I have a few issues to discuss (or even rant about): the introduction of Photos software by Apple to replace iPhoto, what is a 'cake fail', replacing UrbanSpoon with Zomato, mobilaggedon, and some updates on my blog.  And a few quicklinks to make you think and smile.


Blog updates:
Let's start with a few small blog updates and a wish for more time to work on tweaking my blog:
  • I have updated my Favourites page to sort the savoury meals into categories and reflect my current cooking.
  • I added some children's books to the Child Friendly Almanac page.
  • I spent time fiddling around with icons and tables to upload Follow Me buttons for Facebook, Pinterest and Delicious on my sidebar.  (inspired by Where's the Beef's buttons).  As usual there is always more to do.

Apple replaces iPhoto with Photos
Back in April I updated myMacBook operating system and found that Apple has replaced iPhotos with Photos.  It was very disconcerting and I still miss iPhoto.  I miss being able to organise my photos into events with a decent sized thumbnail that will flick through the collection of photos when I hover on it, and I miss sorting my photos by title.  Some of the editing functions in Photos are better now that they are together like crop and tilt. 

I read this article explaining how the new Photos software is very basic but gradually updates will introduce new features so that eventually it will be better than iPhoto.  This is frustrating in the short term but it is good to understand how software is updated online.  Meanwhile I have had to adjust some practices and suddenly have found that searching and archiving photos has become slower.

What is a cake fail?
A while back I was laughing at some photos of cake fails when I found one of my photos included as a fail.  I initially kept laughing and then sobered up.  I have no delusions about my ability as a photographer and I know that my skills had been even worse before I started blogging.  However I shared this photo from years back to document ideas in birthday cakes rather than brilliance in decoration or photography.

More pertinent I question the title 'cake fail'.  It is one of those moments when the internet seems impersonal and cruel.  Would the author say this to me if they knew me?  Probably not.  And if they did I would point out (calmly I would hope) that actually it was not a fail because I had fun decorating the cake with my little niece and she had loved her cake (even if today she says she doesn't remember the cake).  And the cake tasted good!

I made another castle cake this year.  I didn't let Sylvia help because I had a vision but part of me feels it would have been kinder to have just had fun decorating with her.  Everyone needs to learn and kids need to have fun.  The dark side of the internet is the pressure to appear perfect to people who don't know us without the space for learning or fun.

In fact I worry I fall for the internet's focus on style over substance.  Some of my best photos are not necessary the ones that are the most honest.  When I get out my food props and shove the clutter out of the way, I present food in a way that does not reflect my life.  In all honesty the lace tablecloth and dainty cup and saucer only come out for photos.  I never stack up choc chip cookies nor wrap muesli bars in pretty fabric except for a photo, and I only own doilies for food props.  I could go on and on about photos but will let you check out some other posts instead.

I felt some similar frustration about online preference for style over substance when I heard about mobilaggedon in April.  For those who did not hear the story, we heard that Google would start to privilege sites that were mobile-friendly, meaning the many site would disappear from Google searches.  I understand that more people are using mobile photos and websites should be developed with this in mind but quite frankly I don't do a lot of web surfing on my iphone because I much prefer a bigger screen for both reading and looking at images.

I know that Blogger (the blog platform I use) has a mobile-friendly version so I assume my blog (and most blogs) would not be affected.  However after spending a lot of time and effort in a previous workplace trying to ensure our website was mobile-friendly, I understand that for smaller organisations, it is not necessarily an easy ask.  I was reassured to hear an interview with the Google Communications Manager in Australia in which he said that Google had 200 factors that are used in ranking searches.  And quite frankly after grappling with issues of search on a website upgrade, I take my hat off to Google for how easy they have made it to search the web.

Zomato takes over UrbanSpoon
Another recent change in the webscape in Australia (and other countries) is the takeover of UrbanSpoon by Zomato.  I have found UrbanSpoon really useful for searching where to eat out so it made sense to share my blog posts on eating out on UrbanSpoon.  (In fact I wish I had started doing this earlier than 2014.)  So if you look for UrbanSpoon now, you will find yourself redirected to Zomato and all the information from UrbanSpoon has moved there.

I was contacted by one of the Melbourne marketing team to discuss the changes over a coffee.  I was really interested to hear that UrbanSpoon had been a small staff group of about 40 worldwide and Zomato was setting up an office of about 40 staff just in Melbourne.  Which means that there will be more visiting of restaurants by staff, more consistency in prices, menus and photos as well as some interesting options for searching by location.  So you may notice that where I had links to UrbanSpoon on eating out blog posts these have now changed to Zomato.  I will be interested to see how they develop.

Blogging and IT quicklinks
And while we are talking about blogging, it seems a good time to share some links about blogging

Some fun music videos
Finally if you have got this far through this post, you really want something to give you a smile.  Here are some fun videos:

Posted June 12, 2015 02:24 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Steamed custard buns

June 8, 2015

We had a somewhat underwhelming experience at Buddha's Day last month, with the steamed custard buns least whelming of all. They were packaged ones, took half an hour to receive, and weren't vegan. Our friend Bec reminisced that custard bao were a pre-vegan favourite of hers, and I got to wondering whether I might be able to make them myself.

A few weeks later, we invited Bec and her family over for lunch and I embarked on a bun-steaming bonanza. I pulled some home-made seitan out of the freezer, sauteing it with onion and spices to make a mock-BBQ pork filling. Then I set about making a thick vegan-friendly custard filling, taking inspiration from China Sichuan Food. I made a double batch of yeasted bun dough, fashioning massive BBQ bao and slightly daintier dessert buns, and Michael stir-fried some Chinese broccoli while I supervised the bamboo steamers.

We took on the buns with gusto, and I had to remind everyone (myself included) to leave room for the custard ones. They were a worthy first effort, with hot, tearable white dough and a sweet, yellow centre. I couldn't help wishing that they were just a little sweeter outside, and a little fluffier, with a less floury flavour inside. But all that cornflour is what has the thick custard filling behaving so well, and I'll be reluctant to reduce it. Best of all, Bec seemed to get a kick out of them - mission accomplished.

Steamed custard buns
(based on this BBQ bun recipe by ErinWiko,
and a custard filling recipe on China Sichuan Food)

bun dough
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 x 7g packet instant dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups plain flour
spray oil

custard filling
1 1/2 tablespoons custard powder
1/2 cup cornflour
100mL soy milk
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons margarine

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and dry yeast into the warm water. Give it a minute or two to check that it's foaming and live. Pour the yeasty water into the flour bowl and mix it all together thoroughly to form a dough. Knead the dough inside the bowl or on a clean lightly floured bench for 5-10 minutes, until smooth. Spray a clean bowl with oil, place the dough in it and roll it around to coat it in the oil, then cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave the dough in a warm place to rise to double the size, about an hour.

In a small-medium saucepan, stir together the custard powder, cornflour and sugar. Whisk in the soy milk until it's as smooth as you can achieve. Set the saucepan over low-medium heat and add the margarine, stirring it as it melts. Gently cook and stir the custard, scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan to prevent it from burning. Continue until the custard is thick and gluey, about 10 minutes, and turn off the heat. Beat out any lumps with some vigorous stirring, then set the custard aside to cool.

When the dough is ready, divide it into 12 equal portions. Lay out some baking paper to work on. Use a rolling pin to roll each portion into a circle, slightly thinner around the edge than in the middle. Spoon a rounded tablespoons of custard into the centre, then gather up the dough edges to fold it around the filling, pinching it together to close. Cut a small square of baking paper and set the bun seam side down on it and score a cross on the top, transferring the bun to a steamer. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Steam the buns for 10 minutes and serve them immediately.

Posted June 12, 2015 12:12 PM by Cindy

June 11, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Rum'n'raisin cocoa cake

June 7, 2015

Michael's birthday was barely half elapsed before he got on his plane to Munich, so we agreed that I'd have a celebratory cake ready for him when he returned home. Michael had picked out the rum'n'raisin recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and I offered to pump it up with a bit of cocoa.

Instead of forming a dozen cupcakes, I poured the batter into a single round cake tin and baked it a little longer. It makes for a damp cake with a fluffy crumb and deep flavour - it has the dark caramel sweetness and only a little of the sharp booziness of dark rum. While I'm not especially fond of dried fruits in cake, the rum-soaked raisins dotted through this one are happy bursts of tripled sweetness.

A soaked-in glaze and slathering of buttercream layer but don't belabour the rum flavouring; I also added a ring of dark chocolate chips to the top to extend the cocoa theme.

We ate this cake with cups of vanilla-scented black tea, and everyone went back for seconds.

Rum'n'raisin cocoa cake
(adapted from a recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World,
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero)

2/3 cup raisins, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons dark rum
spray oil
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornflour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mace or ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon margarine

1/4 cup margarine
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon barley malt syrup or molasses
1 tablespoon soy milk
1 cup icing sugar

dark chocolate chips, to decorate

Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons of the rum. Allow them to soak up the alcohol for at least 30 minutes and preferably an hour or two.

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a springform cake tin with baking paper and lightly spray it with oil.

In a medium bowl, stir together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow them to curdle for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the oil, sugar, syrup, remaining tablespoon of rum and vanilla until everything is well combined.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mace. Pour in the whisked liquid ingredients and stir thoroughly until well combined and smooth. Fold in the rum-soaked raisins. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake until the cake passes the skewer test, about 35 minutes.

While the cake is still warm, prepare the rum glaze. Stir the rum and sugar together in a small saucepan and set them over low-medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved and they've been bubbling about a minute. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the margarine, stirring until it is melted. Whisk in the vanilla. Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the cake and spoon over the glaze. Allow the cake to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, place the margarine, rum, vanilla, syrup and soy milk in a medium bowl. Beat them until they're well mixed (I struggled). Sift in half the icing sugar and beat it thoroughly into the margarine mixture. Repeat with the remaining icing sugar, and continue beating for several minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Spread the buttercream over the cooled cake and decorate the top with chocolate chips.

Posted June 11, 2015 08:49 AM by Cindy

June 10, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Vegan meringues - made with aquafaba (chickpea brine)

Now that every vegan in the world seems to have tried aquafaba meringues, it no longer seems very novel and yet I had to try it.  For the uninitiated aquafaba is the brine that chickpeas or other beans are cooked in.  The residual protein and starches seem to imitate the properties of egg white.  If you want to see what experiments are in progress, just check out the Vegan Meringues - Hits and Misses Facebook Group.

When I first read about these meringues, my jaw dropped to the floor in amazement.  Yet it took me a while to try it.  In fact it was after having the brine of two consecutive tins of chickpeas sitting in the fridge until it went manky that I decided I just had to try it and stop filling the fridge with old chickpea brine.  Also I remember making maple syrup meringues in summer and how sticky they became in the humidity so it seemed wise to try these in winter.

And by jove, I was dumbfounded at the miracle of how much the aquafaba acted like egg white.  I take my hat off to the genius who created this.  My mum makes pavolvas a lot so the taste of the beaten egg and sugar is a taste I remember fondly from my childhood.  I am not a huge fan of meringues but E and Sylvia love them.  I took some meringues to my parents' house and they were similarly amazed at the meringues. 

The meringues were crisp all the way through.  While cooling on the tray I could hear a little crackle and they were ever so slightly cracked.  Perhaps they needed to cool slower in the oven?  On the first day I made them they tasted a bit beany but the next day the bean taste was undetectable.  By day 6 they had become chewy in the middle but were still edible. 

Now that I have had success with aquafaba, I am keen to try it in other recipes.  Sylvia just loves pavlova so I guess I should try a pavlova though I had heard from others that this is harder with aquafaba than meringues.  I also would like to try it with maple syrup after making maple syrup meringues in summer.  So much experimenting to do.  Thank goodness we love chickpeas!

More aquafaba recipes online:
Chocolate chip cookies - Vedged Out
Chocolate mousse - Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes
Eton mess - Not Quite Nigella
Eggless pasta - Vegan Dad
Faye's mousse your own adventure cake - Veganopoulous
Lemon coconut banana cake - Veganopoulous
Rhubarb ice cream - Seitan is My Motor
S'mores cupcakes - Agent Minty
Yeasted pumpkin seed fruit loaf - Bunny Kitchen

Aquafaba Meringues
From Banana Bloom
Made about 75 meringues

1/2 cup aquafaba (chickpea brine)
3/4 cup castor sugar

Beat aquafaba until frothy.  Continue beating and gradually add the sugar.  Beat sugar and aquafaba about 5 minutes until mixture is smooth and glossy and you can made stiff peaks with it (also it should stay in the bowl if you are brave enough to hold it upside down).

Spoon or pipe onto a lined baking tray and bake at 100 C (or as low as your oven will go - I did 120 C because my oven is very slow) for about 1 hour or until meringues are crisp.

Cool on the tray.  Keeps about 5 to 6 days in an airtight container.

On the Stereo:
Discography: the complete singles collection: Pet Shop Boys

Posted June 10, 2015 12:52 PM by Johanna GGG

June 09, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


May 27 and 29, 2015

Every June for the past eight years, I've jetted off overseas for the biggest perk of my job, an annual international conference. This year the setting was Munich - full of sunshine, giant beer gardens and beautiful old buildings. The traditional Bavarian diet is not particularly sympathetic to vegetarians (and vegans would really struggle). I ate a lot of creamy mushrooms and cheesy potatoes. Luckily, there are a decent number of vego places in the city and I had a few free meals to explore. My main focus was Bodhi, a well-reviewed place that takes the traditional German pub vibe and vegans everything up.

My first visit was an early dinner (staving off jetlag as best as possible) and I sat outside in the sunshine with a tall wheat beer watching most of the city biking past. 

The menu they gave me was in German, and I puzzled it out as best I could although I'm sure the staff would be happy to translate if you wanted more details (I've just used google translate below). The grilled tempeh in dark plum sauce with millet/hemp dumplings, roasted tomatoes and sauteed zucchini (19.90€ ~ AU$29) sounded interesting, as did the lupin fillet with a mustard crust, red wine shallots, broccoli and mashed potatoes (16.90€ ~ AU$24.70), but I decided to go for the most German-sounding meal on the menu: the crispy soy steak with a dark beer sauce, red cabbage and potato dumpling (14.90€ ~ $21.80). I threw in a side of chilli cheese nuggets (3.90€ ~ $5.70)  just because I could.

Look at that triptych of amazingness! The soy steak was crisped up with a kind of cornflake batter, swimming in a rich beer gravy. The potato dumpling had something impressively cheesy about it, and the red cabbage was soft and tangy. The little cheesy nuggets were completely unnecessary after the giant plate of heavy German food, but they were so great I couldn't stop myself. After 25 hours of travel, a litre of beer and all that food, I barely managed to make it home before falling asleep.

After a full day of meetings on Saturday, I had a spare morning on Sunday to do some more exploring. First stop: Bodhi's weekend brunch.

This time I parked inside, mostly so I could stare longingly at the buffet table. From memory, the brunch price was 18.90€ (AU$27.60), which bought access to an amazing spread of breads, pastries, spreads, salads, desserts and three hot dishes: pancakes, scrambled tofu and a tomato-y potato bake.

The scrambled tofu was probably my highlight, with chunks of smoked tofu dotted throughout the scramble. The pretzel was great, but they're available everywhere, so I probably should have focussed more on the bread and dips or grabbed myself a plate of pancakes. Instead, I found myself fading after my salad plate, even after a decent cup of filter coffee. The place gradually filled up between 10:30 and 11:30 when I moved on, so if you were coming with a group, I'd recommend making a booking. The staff are lovely, happily speaking English to monolinguists like me and making me feel super welcome even as a solo traveller.

I spent the rest of the weak pining for more Bodhi - sadly our conference venue was too far away for me to sneak off at lunchtime and all of our nights were booked up with beer-garden-related shenanigans. It's a wonderful place - definitely worth stopping by if you've got a day or two in Munich.

There aren't too many blog posts about Bodhi that I could find - Living in Germany is the only one in English, while there are positive (if a bit garbled thanks to Google Translate) reviews on Wie ein frischer Veganer die Welt erlebt, Muc.Veg, Claudi Goes Vegan, Munchen Blogger, Prostmahlzeit and tine taufrisch.

Ligsalzstrasse 23, Schwanthalerhohe, Munich
+49 89 41142458
menus (in German): starters, salads and pasta, mains (and another), dessert
facebook page

Accessibility: There are a couple of steps up on entry, to a reasonably spacious interior. The toilets are gendered and on the narrow side. There's full table service.


I did manage to check out a couple of other veggie places during the week: Max Pett is Munich's most famous veggie establishment, a centrally-located, vegan and alcohol-free restaurant with a wide-ranging menu. It was a welcome source of salads and vegetables amidst the regular German food, including this excellent (but badly photographed) palak tofu (15.80€ ~ AU$23).

I also stopped by Tian for lunch - the two course set meal of carrot soup with bulghur and a romaine lettuce salad with hummus, hazelnuts and herbs was fresh and healthy, but not something you'd go out of you way for.

Munich's a lovely city - well worth a detour from the veg*n Mecca of Berlin if you've got a few spare days. Beautiful historic buildings, lovely parks and some jaw-dropping Alpine scenery a short day trip out of town - some non-food highlights are in the slide-show below.

Posted June 09, 2015 07:54 PM by Michael

Thoughts Of A Moni

Red Robyn

Breakfast is usually a meal where cafes quite easily cater for vegetarians, but Red Robyn in Camberwell takes it one step further and caters for gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, FODMAP diets, fructose friendly diets, nut allergies and every other kind of dietary requirements can you can think of. However don’t let this fool you into thinking that taste is compromised. I am a firm believer that gluten makes everything taste better but the team at Red Robyn have managed to break my pattern of thinking.

I picked Red Robyn on a public holiday morning whilst browsing Zomato to find a breakfast haunt. On a side note, how cool is Zomato?! It took me a while to adjust from Urbanspoon, but I am loving it now! Anyway, Red Robyn ticked all the boxes for me, it had an interesting menu, it was reasonably close by, and it seemed to receive mostly positive reviews. It definitely looked like a good place to try.

We arrived for a late breakfast at about 10:30am, and the cafe was bustling. Clearly we aren’t the only ones who feel that public holidays are for breakfasting out. There were no individual tables free so we were seated on a communal table and handed some menus. What struck me as most thoughtful was how clearly the menu was labelled. Every dish was clearly marked with which dietary requirements it was suitable for, or could be adapted for. The entire menu was gluten free, meaning that coeliacs could eat there without any concerns, and even things like sesame allergies were marked. Whilst I don’t have any medical dietary requirements, I certainly appreciated the effort that had been made to make sure everyone was catered for.

Our coffees arrived fairly promptly. As usual I ordered a latte. The coffee was pleasant, but nothing special. I think I am spoilt for coffee these days, being the proud new owner of a coffee grinder and a machinetta, so not many cafes will be able to impress me anymore. Nevertheless, it was certainly not offensive, and I drank it happily whilst waiting for the meal and trying to complete the substandard cryptic crossword in the Herald Sun.

Our meals arrived fairly soon after, although I think the cafe staff thought we had to wait too long because they offered us multiple apologies. To be honest, we were in no rush, so really weren’t phased but it was nice that the staff cared.

I had ordered my traditional choice, the corn fritters, but to my surprise, these fritters looked like nothing I had ordered before. There were three large ball shaped fritters that were slightly larger than golf balls, and they looks crisp and crunchy from the outset. They were set on a bed of avocado puree, tomato salsa, a quinoa and capsicum salad and dressed with chilli jam and lots of snow pea tendrils. Yes, this dish was already a winner and I hadn’t even tasted it.

I cut into one of the fritters and the first thing that hit me visually was how many whole corn kernels there were! The fritters were full of real corn! I tasted a piece and was blown away! The fritters were made with smoked corn, so there was a wonderfully smoky flavour which dominated over the sweetness of the corn and together they made a deep and rich flavour explosion in my mouth! The avocado was beautifully smooth and creamy, and the tomato salsa was well seasoned and packed a punch. What surprised me was the quinoa and capsicum salad. I wasn’t sure how quinoa would work with deep fried fritters, or whether I should mix it with the tomato salsa so that it didn’t become too heavy, but surprisingly it worked perfectly. The chilli jam also had a good tang (but I still think the jam at Spilt Milk is better!).

The other half had the sweet potato rosti with pork belly. He said the crackling of the pork belly was a bit burnt, and the centre was deliciously fatty. I don’t think he was as excited by his dish as I was by mine, but he said he still enjoyed it. I was kind enough to let him taste some of my fritters and he was sure that I had definitely won dish of the day.



The menu at Red Robyn changes with the seasons, focusing on seasonal produce, so I would love to come back and see what else they offer. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is warm, and they make everybody feel welcome, even if you are a gluten and lactose intolerant vegetarian.

Click to add a blog post for Red Robyn on Zomato

Posted June 09, 2015 01:23 PM by Moni

June 08, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


June 1, 2015

Moroccan restaurant B'stilla recently held a one-off vegan dinner to coincide with an exhibition of Julia Deville artworks. Rosalie was quick to organise a table of keen diners and I happily signed on for a seat. At first glance our table looked cramped and out of the way, but it proved perfectly cosy for sharing a conversation right across the table and we had no trouble attracting the staff's attention throughout the night.

The kitchen had prepared a multi-course vegan meal for $45 per person. All we had to do was alert them to extra dietary requirements (which they handled expertly) and pick some drinks! I skipped over the matched drinks and other alcohol, mightily pleased to see a couple of mocktails on offer. My house made rosewater lemonade ($8) had a strong rose perfume that overwhelmed the mint garnish but balanced the lemon well.

Our first table of food featured triangles of freshly char-grilled batbout bread served with a thin and tangy tomato citrus jam, crispy baby okra spiced with zhoug, and cups of harira soup. In contrast to the version we cook at home, this soup was light on the tomato; more brothy, with plentiful chickpeas and lentils.

For round 2 we were treated to a vegan alteration of their signature B'stilla. Instead of birds, this thick flaky pastry was filled with eggplant and pumpkin pieces, almonds, cinnamon and saffron. It was rather mild, for all that - I enjoyed the icing sugar and cinnamon dusted over the top but cursed our ineffectual knives as I plunged through the casing.

The accompanying salads were also terrific - roasted beetroots were served with walnuts and chermoula, and the refreshing coleslaw included almonds, apricot and chilli.

We had to work hard to find room for the final round of savoury foods - we really didn't do the root vegetable tagine or dill-garnished couscous justice.

As usual I perked up for dessert, spooning out my fair share of saffron rice pudding topped with tangy-crunchy-chewy bursts of freeze-dried strawberry, pistachio and dried barberry. It was encouraging to see a non-vegetarian restaurant convert a usually dairy-laden dish, instead of falling back on fruit or sorbet.

Nobody could possibly have left this dinner hungry! B'stilla were generous and thoughtful in their hosting of this vegan meal. One of their reps has previously contacted us stressing their willingness to cater to special diets, so there's a good chance that anyone could book ahead and receive dishes just as good as what we experienced at this special event. We can also vouch for the warm, attentive staff and relaxed atmosphere at B'stilla.


Quinces & Kale and Green Gourmet Giraffe have already blogged the same event. B'stilla was also covered by vegetarian blogger northmelbournelife last year.


30 Bray St, South Yarra
9826 2370
banquet menu, drinks

Accessibility: We took half a dozen steps up on entry and didn't notice a more accessible alternative. Tables are densely packed with clear corridors through the centre. We ordered and received the bill at our table, and elected to pay at the high counter. One of my dining companions observed that reaching the toilets required navigating crowded tables, and that they are gendered and relatively narrow.

Posted June 08, 2015 06:18 PM by Cindy

Green Gourmet Giraffe

B'Stilla vegan dinner, South Yarra restaurant

Last Monday I drove through the dark rainy night to meet up with a vegan dining group at B'Stilla for the special vegan dinner.  I was glad to get in from the rain and rushed past Julia deVille's taxidermy display, (which is not my thing).  The restaurant specialises in Morroccan cuisine.  My seat didn't have great light for photography (given it was an 8pm booking in winter) but I liked my view of decorated tiles and painted tangine pots.  The owners also use seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Upon perusing the menu initially I was overwhelmed by the four course menu.  Then I saw that as well as offering wine pairing with the meal, there were also some unusual mocktails.  I appreciated some interesting non-alcoholics options and ordered an Apple, cucumber and mint soda.  It was just enough sweetness and wonderfully refreshing. 

It wasn't long before we were served three dishes for the first course.  I particularly loved the warm Grilled batbout bread with tomato citrus jam.  Then I tasted the Crispy baby okra with zhoug which had a nice crunch on the outside and was pleasingly soft inside.  Others loved it but I found it so spicy that I couldn't eat much of it. 

All of the dishes were served in sharing plates in the middle of the table.  The one exception was the small individual bowls of Harira Soup with chickpea, ginger, date, celery and lemon.  It was quite thin and light but was lovely with the harissa and lemon wedges that were served on the side.  I appreciated that we were choose how much of the spicy harissa to add, to allow for varying tolerances to chillis.

The star of the show was the B'stilla stuffed with eggplant, pumpkin, cinnamon and saffron and accompanied by salads. The organiser of the dinner, Rosalie, informed me that traditional B'stilla (from where I gather than the restaurant takes its name) is pigeon in brik pastry.  Our vegan b'stillas was dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar.  It was served with Spiced roasted beetroot, green charmoula and walnuts, and Morroccan slaw with almond, apricot and chilli dressing.

This dish was memorable because the B'stilla pastry was so hard to cut through, the slaw was served on such a pretty plate, and it is unusual to have a slightly sweet main with such savoury dishes on the side.  I've never eaten a less sweet beetroot dish.  It was very early and lovely with the crunchy walnuts.  The B'still filling was meltingly soft with pastry shards falling around it.  I didn't take enough notice of the slaw but it went well with the meal and I didn't find it particularly spicy.

I don't go out for evening meals often and usually consider it fancy if I push the boat out to two courses.  So after two substantial courses, I felt quite full and ready for dessert.  I was surprised to find we still had a a huge dish of Root vegetable tangine with chickpeas and pumpkin seeds and a pile of Steamed couscous.  I really enjoyed it and loved the crunch of the seeds but this was the least impressive course.  I suspect I had had my fill by then but it also felt more like the food I make at home.

I did not expect to love the dessert of Saffron rice pudding with barberries and pistachio.  Rice pudding is generally not a favourite of mine.  However this one was superb.  I loved the warm spices and the tart dried fruit in it as well as the crunch of the nuts.  It also looked really pretty.

Overall I really enjoyed my meal.  It was delicious with lots of unusual flavours and ingredients.  The service was great and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.  At $45 for four courses, it was excellent value.  No doubt this is the sort of value that has found B'stilla named as the Age Good Food Guide Best Restaurant Under $30.

I also really enjoyed the company, with most interesting conversation on zeitgeist vegan issues such as aquafaba meringues, Ikea vegan meatballs and dehydrated potato flakes in vegan egg sandwiches.  It should be noted that B'stilla is not usually open on Mondays and this special meal is not from the regular menu.  However upon perusing the online menu there are some similar sharing dishes that would suit vegans and vegetarians.

Also see other blog posts about our dinner by fellow bloggers, Rosalie at Quinces and Kale and Cindy at Where's the Beef.

30b Bray street, South Yarra, 3141
03 9826 2370
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 5.30pm 'til late

Click to add a blog post for B'Stilla on Zomato

Posted June 08, 2015 11:47 AM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale



Last week we had another get together of our ad-hoc vegan dining group, this time at B’stilla,  a Moroccan restaurant in South Yarra. On a cold and rainy Monday night we headed out for a special vegan dinner they were holding. Eight of us had booked in for the dinner. Three veg*n bloggers were at the table and so I’m sure the dinner will be eventually blogged by all of us.

I’d heard some good things about how the restaurant catered well for vegans and some more lukewarm reviews. I was staying open-minded, but I confess I was a bit scared as I really don’t like saffron and I’m a bit funny about sweet spices with savoury food. Both of these are pretty central to Moroccan cuisine.

We settled onto our table which was cosily tucked into a corner where we could carry on a decent conversation. Some of us opted for the paired wines ($30 for 4 glasses), others stuck with mocktails and I had a foot in both camps starting with a refreshing apple, mint cucumber mocktail and moving on later to shiraz. The other mocktail was a rosewater lemonade which I am told was delicious, if you are a fan of rosewater, which I am not.

Once we were all seated with our drinks, the food started to arrive pretty rapidly, so rapidly I thought we were going to be done in less than an hour. There was a grilled Moroccan batbout flatbread with a tomato and citrus jam, some incredible fried baby okra spiced with zhoug, a green chilli, parsley, coriander, cumin and various other spices mix. These were the ultimate beer snack, crisp, soft,  salty and spicy – I could happily have eaten the whole bowl. Next up was a small bowl of harira, a spicy, zingy lemon soup.

bread and tomato jam fried okra harira soup

There was a small pause before that most Moroccan of dishes arrived, b’stilla. Traditionally these are meaty, but these were made of eggplant and pumpkin, wrapped in the thin brik pastry and decorated with the tradtional dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon. I liked mine, the sweet/savoury combination worked well with the vegetables, though the bottom of the pastry was almost impossible to cut through.

The b’stilla were accompanied by two wonderful salads, a Moroccan slaw and a roasted beetroot and walnut salad. The slaw was almost my pick of dish of the night just beaten by the okra. It was dressed with a mildly spicy chilli dressing and packed with small bites of almond and apricots. The beetroot was spiced, roasted and served with a delicious green chermoula and walnuts. There was a lot going on with the spices and the earthy beetroot and the creamy walnuts.

moroccan slaw b'stilla beetroot and walnut salad

Another merciful pause before the arrival of the root vegetable and chickpea tagine with couscous. By this time we were getting pretty full! Firstly, the couscous. This was the nicest, lightest couscous I have ever eaten. Clearly I have to lift my game from the instant variety! The tagine was delicious, and sprinkled with crunchy pumpkin seeds which made for a nice textural contrast. But most of us were defeated by now and could only manage a small portion.

tagine couscous

Finally, the dessert was a saffron rice pudding with freeze-dried berries and pistachios. I loved this from a textural point of view and for the sweet flavour, but the saffron was a killer for me, I really don’t like it. Otherwise a great dessert and saffron lovers would be very happy.

rice pudding

The banquet was a bargain at $45 and I’d be very happy to return. I think I’ve overcome my fear of Moroccan food. :)

30 Bray St
South Yarra, 3141
(03) 9826 2370

Posted June 08, 2015 10:00 AM

June 06, 2015

The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Miinot Gelato


Miinot Gelato
71 Melville Road,
Pascoe Vale South
03 94375569


Opening Hours:
Mon: 1-7pm
Tues: Closed
Wed-Fri: 1-7pm
Sat: 12-7pm
Sun: 12-5pm

North and westsiders no longer have to make the trek to Fitzroy to join the queues at Gelato Messina for amazing all-fruit based handmade gelato thanks to Miinot Gelato, which opened in late 2014 in Pascoe Vale South.

Miinot Gelato is an impeccably presented family run shop with a small, but fruitful selection of quality gelato, including around 4-5 vegan flavours on rotation. On our visit, the vegan choices included lemon, forest berries, mango and strawberry & pear. The vegan dark chocolate gelato is also usually on offer.

The flavours are intensely natural and if you're lucky you might even encounter a little chunk of fruit or berry seed. The mango gelato was a particular highlight and exceptionally creamy.

Whether you're after a single plain cone ($4.20), a double waffle cone ($5.80) or even a tiny cone ($2.50), Miinot Gelato can accommodate. Cups range from a tiny cup ($2.50) through to a quad cup ($7.20), or you can grab a 500ml ($15), 1000ml ($20) or 1500ml ($27) tub of your favourite flavours to devour at home.

 Click to add a blog post for Miinot Gelato on Zomato

also visited by veganopoulous

Posted June 06, 2015 05:19 PM


What I Ate: The Sick Version

The past couple of What I Ate weeks have been pretty uninspiring, thanks to a sick household. This year it was clearly my turn to be struck down and for almost a fortnight too. For my own meals, it meant loads of juices as that’s all I’ve been able to stomach without feeling queasy. Lots...
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Posted June 06, 2015 12:47 PM

Vegetarian Life Australia

Thai pumpkin and carrot soup

There’s nothing more satisfying than knocking up a pot of delicious soup for a cold winter’s day lunch. Today’s creation is a Thai influenced roast pumpkin and carrot soup. It’s very easy to make and only relies on a few regular pantry ingredients.

For the teenager of our house a big steaming bowl of soup with a warm bread roll has taken the place of breakfast today as he’s only just rolled out of bed at 11.30 am! It makes no difference, breakfast, lunch or dinner, soup is always great.

The quantities listed made enough for three generous bowls. Increase the ingredients if you want to make more.


  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin
  • 1 medium potato
  • 3 small carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 420 ml tin light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • olive oil
  • coriander to garnish


  1. Peel the pumpkin and carrots. Cube all the vegetables and toss with a little olive oil and the chopped garlic.
  2. Roast in the oven at approx 210’c for 35 mins – until nicely browned around the edges and cooked through.
  3. In a medium size pan heat a little oil and add the red curry paste. Cook for a minute.
  4. Add the roast vegetables and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the coconut milk, stock powder and about half a cup of water.
  6. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  7. Cool slightly then blend using a stick blender. Slowly add more water to reach your desired consistency.
  8. Garnish with a little chopped coriander and serve with warm bread or a toasted bagel.

Thai pumpkin and carrot soup (1)Thai pumpkin and carrot soup (2)Thai pumpkin and carrot soup (3)Thai pumpkin and carrot soup (4)Thai pumpkin and carrot soup (5)

Posted June 06, 2015 12:40 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Krishna Indian Restaurant

May 31, 2015

The Moody Noodles invited me and some other friends across to West Footscray to share a meal at Krishna Indian Restaurant. Although this family business has been established for 20 years, it has only recently become 100% vegetarian. They've really gone all out, often skipping the ghee and using ingredients like tofu and soy nuggets to bring a diverse selection of vegan-friendly, as well as traditionally vegetarian, dishes. Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options are well marked throughout the menu. The staff know what's what can will happily lend advice on request too. If you call ahead, they can even prepare gluten-free naan!

We started out with some complimentary chips and a jammy tamarind sauce with a surprise little slow burn. Onion bhaji ($6.50) and mushroom pakora ($8.95) had a lovely besan batter and a vegan-friendly minty-creamy dipping sauce.

It was tough picking from the multidude of mains! The vegetable korma ($10.95, bottom left) and soy nugget masala ($10.95, top right) were pleasant but turned out a little samey. We were more taken with a saag mushroom curry ($12.90, bottom right) and their unusually vegan-friendly malai kofta ($12.95).

The vegan garlic naans ($2.95) were still crispy-edged and buttery. Their gluten-free analogue reminded me of an arepa and it was roundly enjoyed by K, the table's coeliac.

Krishna's most exciting innovation might be their dairy-free desserts - so often vegans have to skip this last menu section! K shared a small bowl of carrot halva ($4.95) with little S while the rest of us ordered a gulab jamun ($2.00 each). The little doughballs were gorgeous, one of the loveliest, fudgiest versions of this dish that I've ever eaten.

We had many more hits than misses at Krishna Indian Restaurant. It's wonderful to see a family Indian restaurant catering imaginatively to a range of dietary requirements. Their prices are reasonable and the service is very accommodating. We hope the local community will embrace their newly meat-free menu.


Krishna Indian Restaurant
Shop 3, 578 Barkly St, West Footscray
9687 5531
menu front page, thalis & entrees, entrees & mains, mains 2, bread & rice, accompaniments & desserts
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a step up on entry and the tables are well spaced. We ordered at our table and paid at a high counter. I didn't visit the toilets.

Posted June 06, 2015 09:51 AM by Cindy

June 05, 2015

Vegetarian Life Australia

Working and cooking

meal-planningIn the last few months life has got really hectic. I’m juggling working full time in my own business, being a mum to a teenager at the pointy end of school and trying to maintain my self-appointed status as queen of the kitchen. It’s pretty hard trying to do it all and in the end something has to give. Sadly, nightly home cooked fresh meals aren’t always top of my agenda.

But recently I have discovered the wonders of meal planning. I think in the past I assumed meal plans were for people who find cooking a chore and need to know in advance exactly what they will be eating when. I assumed that the joy and spontaneity of cooking would be lost if I deigned to plan ahead. Well, I’ve changed my mind. I now love meal plans!

Every Sunday morning I’ve started writing a weekly meal plan, right before my trip to the supermarket when I go and buy all the missing ingredients for the week. Admittedly things sometime change on a whim if we don’t fancy the meal I’ve planned, but most nights the relief of knowing in advance what’s for dinner is wonderful. No worrying at lunchtime about what’s for dinner. No (usually none anyway) rushed trips to the shops on the way home to buy last minute supplies.

Now I get home from work, check the plan, throw it together. Done!

I even plan big meals on nights when I’m home early so there’s leftovers for lunch or the next night’s dinner. Or really easy meals for nights when I know I’ll be tired or late. And the local farmer’s market has become a great resource for stocking the freezer with vegie pies, spinach boreks and home-made pizza bases. All are wonderful for quick and easy meals after a long day.

This is what this week’s plan looks like …

Sunday – vegan mince and eggplant lasagna with salad
Monday – leftover lasagne with steamed vegies
Tuesday – falafel, hummus and salad wraps
Wednesday – tofu and veg curry with vegan raita and roti bread
Thursday – pasta with vegan alfredo vegetable sauce
Friday – Family night out – no cooking :)
Saturday – Japanese veg pancakes with goyza and salad

Posted June 05, 2015 03:44 PM

June 04, 2015


Lemon Coconut Banana Cake with Aquafaba

We have a load of lemons in the kitchen, thanks to my in laws. I haven’t made a lemon cake in forever and Melbourne’s chilly weather is screaming out for lemon coconut cake! It was all perfect timing because Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe has just posted a recipe for Lime and Coconut Cake. My...
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Posted June 04, 2015 09:40 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Pineapple fried rice

May 31, 2015

Michael's away for his usual mid-winter conference. It's a good time to make recipes that he wouldn't like. This one, for example, is a savoury dish with pineapple in it - a complete dealbreaker for the other half of where's the beef?

I actually had some organic tinned pineapple in the fridge, having resolutely bought it for my half of a pizza night. (Incidentally, I can definitely recommend the fancy organic tinned pineapple - it's much tangier and toothier than the usual supermarket stuff.) In fact, I had everything I wanted to adapt Heidi Swanson's pineapple rice recipe right at home.

And it's definitely an adaptation. I wanted my pineapple chunky, not blended into the dressing, and I fried my garlic instead of leaving it raw. I'm no fan of raw onions either, and elected to replace the green onions and shallots with a sprinkling of fried shallots. All up, my recipe's more a fried rice than rice salad and that's the way I like it - hearty brown rice dressed with tamari and a little sesame oil, studded with browned seitan pieces and juicy pinapple, topped with crunchy cashews and fried shallots. I could almost be back at the Japanese-Hawai'ian Olu'Olu Cafe with a bowl like this.

Pineapple fried rice
(adapted from a recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup pineapple juice
pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2/3 cup seitan, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pineapple pieces
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup fried shallots

Place the rice and water in a small saucepan, cover with a lid and set them over high heat. When the rice begins to boil, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cook until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Bring the rice to room temperature - I refrigerated mine overnight and then set it on the bench about an hour before I wanted to eat.

In a small jar or bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, pineapple juice, chilli flakes and tamari. Set them aside.

Set a large frypan or wok over high heat and add the sunflower oil. When the oil is hot, add the seitan and stir-fry it until it's beginning to brown. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for another 30-60 seconds. Add the pineapple pieces and let them sear a little before stirring them around. Add the rice, using your spatula to break down any big clumps, and stir-fry it. In the minute before you're ready to serve the rice, stir in the spinach leaves and the cashews, allowing the spinach to wilt a little. Serve the rice sprinkled with fried shallots.

Posted June 04, 2015 02:49 PM by Cindy

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Lime and coconut cake, glazed tofu and mistaken identity

On my recent In My Kitchen post I showed you a haul of lemons and limes from our trees in the backyard.  You might not have noticed that they were all yellow.  I am never sure when green limes are ripe and often they are yellow by the time they come off the tree.  Which means that when stormy weather blows the fruit off the tree I might get my lemons and limes confused.  It brings up awkward moments when I think I have made a lime and coconut cake but wonder if it is in fact a lemon and coconut cake.

Of course there are clues.  Opening up the fruit and finding it green usually means it is a lime.  But because I was unsure about some of the windfall fruit, I worried some of it was actually unripe lemons.  So I am now relying on the Meyer lemons having quite smooth and bright yellow skins to tell them apart.  However when I made lemonade this week I did find myself opening a lemon only to find it is a lime.

You might attribute my uncertainty to my decision to whip up this cake quickly after school when I was helping Sylvia with readers and ukelele practice and getting dinner ready.  It was that easy to put together quickly but afterwards I worried I had confused the lemons and limes.

My mum visited the next day and had a slice of cake with a cuppa.  She assured me that it was lime.  Then she had another slice and took a slice home for my dad.  Often my mum finds cakes quite sweet but she loved this one.  The cake disappeared rather quickly.

I attribute my mum's love of the cake to my decision to reduce the icing sugar by half.  It meant that the icing was more of a glaze and quite tart.  It was so thin that it dribbled down the sides and pooled at the bottom of the cake.  Possibly half the glaze would be enough.  I used a whole lime because I have lots of limes and the cake was made to use up some of them.

This is a simple old fashioned recipe.  The cake is yellow and buttery with the slight texture of coconut and that wonderful taste of coconut sprinkled in the icing.  It is the sort of cake I could imagine in my grandmothers' time, though I am not sure that limes were so common then.

And I am sneaking another recipe in here because it also has a case of mistaken identity.  I thought I would used up some cranberry sauce I have had since Christmas.  I used it in a glazed tofu that I adapted from Apricot and Orange Glazed Tofu that I made years ago.  I made it less spicy (without the chilli paste) so that Sylvia would eat it and she loved it.  We had it with some Toby's Singapore Noodles and broccoli.  The noodles were so much nicer with the tofu than eaten alone. 

It was only after I made the tofu that I discovered I had used up the rest of my mum's quince jelly instead of cranberry sauce.  So I will have to make it again and use up the cranberry sauce which is still lurking in the fridge.  Perhaps I could try it with some lime juice instead of orange juice, if only I can tell my limes apart from my lemons.

I am sending the cake to Jen's Food for this month's Credit Crunch Munch, coordinated by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All!  This cake uses basic pantry ingredients and fruit from my backyard.

More citrus cakes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Choc-lime marble cake
Chocolate marmalade cake
Citrus grape cake (v)
Cranberry mandarin syrup cake
Lemon and honey cake (gf)
Orange, lavender and almond syrup cake 

More citrus cakes from elsewhere online:
Chocolate, whole orange and almond cake (gf) - Apple and Spice
Flourless orange poppy seed cake (gf) - Chocolate and Zucchini
Gluten free lemon trickle cake (gf) - BBC Good Food
Lemon, buttermilk and black pepper cake - Laws of the Kitchen
Lemon, lavender and honey cake - Amber Rose
Lemon olive oil cake with grilled nectarines (v) - Chef Chloe
Lime coconut and olive oil cake - The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua and The Boy
Sticky lemon and yoghurt cake - The Age Good Food
Yellowman's lime banana bread - Taking Julia North

Lime and coconut cake
Slightly adapted from Frills in the Hills

2 limes, zest and juice
50 grams dessicated coconut
175 grams butter or margarine, softened
150 grams caster sugar
175 grams self raising flour
3 eggs

1 cup icing sugar
1 lime, zest and juice
dessicated coconut for sprinkling
extra lime zest for decoration

Grease and line a 20cm ring tin.  Preheat oven to 180 C.  Mix lime juice, zest and coconut in a small bowl.  Mix remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and add coconut mixture.  Scrape mixture into prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack. 

Mix icing sugar with lime zest and juice and spread over cooled cake.  Sprinkle generously with coconut.  Scatter with extra zest.

Quince and orange glazed tofu
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 2 to 3

250g extra firm tofu 
1 tbsp oil for frying

1 tbsp quince jelly (or cranberry sauce)
1 tbsp tamari
juice of 1 orange
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp seeded mustard
1 tsp chilli paste (optional)
small pinch of black pepper

Pat tofu with a paper towel and slice into thick fingers.  Mix marinade ingredients in a shallow tub.  Place tofu in marinade for 15 minutes to overnight, depending on your timing.  Heat oil on a large frypan.  Add tofu (shake off as much marinade as possible) and fry on medium high until lightly golden brown on each side.  Add marinade carefully - the oil will splatter with the addition of liquids.  Continue to fry and turn the tofu until the marinade thickens into a glaze and the tofu is golden brown.

On the Stereo:
Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters: The Twilight Sad

Posted June 04, 2015 12:09 PM by Johanna GGG

June 03, 2015


A Quick Lunch At Mantra Lounge, Carlton

This is a bit of a delayed blog post as I went to Mantra Lounge a few weeks ago. My first taste of Mantra Lounge food was on the vegan cruise back in March. Arthur and I were in the area so we stopped in at Mantra Lounge for one of their lunch time specials....
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Posted June 03, 2015 04:14 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe 2

May 29, 2015

The Brunswick St veg*n enclave has expanded further still with the opening of Fina's Vegetarian Cafe 2 a couple of months ago. It's a sibling to the cute vegetarian Vietnamese cafe Fina's in Richmond with a matching orange mural. Everything we're fond of from Fina's 1 seems to be here  - that is, unless anyone was particularly attached to their dairy products! Fina's 2 appears to be completely vegan, right down to the Mister Nice Guy cakes, soy milk smoothies and soy condensed milk Vietnamese iced coffees.

They've also set the gold standard for menu labelling. There's a photo of every dish, and an extensive code indicating pure vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, onion & garlic-free, and MSG-free items, as well as offering 'no mock meat' and 'more mock meat' variations.

I started out with a slushy-sweet custard apple smoothie ($5.80) and picked at my friends' chosen entrees. The crispy tofu ($9.80) was silky and hot, while the wontons ($9.80) had more bite to them, stuffed densely with tofu and wood ear fungus.

On our recommendation, J ordered the magnificent grilled pork skewer ($26.80) and monopolised the table with rice paper wraps, hot water and two plates of fillings. It was OK, though, because he shared.

The menu recommends that the chicken satay with capsicum ($12.80 + rice $2.80) is for "people who love mock, this special clay pot will have it all". Clamps boldy took it on with More Mock Meat and was satisfied with his choice. The well-seasoned soy nuggets were nestled in a rich broth, without any of the peanuttiness I was expecting. I returned to the pancake that I know and love from Fina's 1 ($14.80) - it was crispy with a strong and welcome coconut milk flavour, stuffed with bean sprouts, mushroom slices and the odd skerrick of fatty mock ham and squidgy mock prawn.

The wait staff were terrific and it was great to see this new business bustling. Everything we ate was well prepared, balancing hot fried veg*n proteins with crispy-fresh vegetables, although the prices jumped all over the place. I don't think I'd stretch to $10 for the simple entrees again, but the chicken claypot was excellent value and the pancake held its own. Regardless, I'm thrilled to see Fina's extend their brand of Vietgetarian food to the inner north.


You can read about one, two of our past visits to Fina's 1 in Richmond. We haven't spotted any blog reviews of Fina's 2 elsewhere.

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe 2
339 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
9415 6765
menu pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
facebook page

Accessibility: The entry has one step. Inside the tables are densely packed with a clear corridor through the middle. We ordered at the table and paid at a low counter. I didn't visit the toilets.

Posted June 03, 2015 09:05 AM by Cindy

June 02, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

In My Kitchen June 2015

It has been a chilly autumn and with the arrival of June comes what promises to be a long cold winter.  In my kitchen there has been purchases, presents and lots of cooking.  As I wont be writing these recipes into blog posts, I am just squeezing in a few of their stories here.

Last month our lemon and lime trees were heavy with fruit.  This month most of the fruit is blown off the tree and I am amazed at our yield.  I needed Sylvia's toy trolley to bring them all inside.  Lemons and limes are finding their way into soups, stews, cakes, and lemonade.  They are being given to visitors, including members of a Gypsy jazz band that we invited into our yard on the weekend (as you do when bands play in your back lane)!

A friend pointed me in the direction of the Catalyst documentary (Our Chemical Lives) and the dangers of plastics in our lives.  It was one of the reasons I bought these new bowls to replace some of the plastic bowls we have been using for Sylvia.  I have also bought a new electronic kitchen scale because my large bowl I use for bread dough kept falling off my previous electronic kitchen scales.  And I love the colour!

After seeing the documentary, I have been throwing out some of my more worn plastics, including my green plastic chopping board.  In its place is a new wooden chopping board that is already stained with pink from a pomegranate.  Here it is seen with the loaf of overnight sourdough bread that was responsible for Sylvia losing her first baby tooth.

I was in my local health food shop looking for an aluminum free deodorant and was delighted to discover a packet of beetroot powder.  It has already been put to good use in my ombre potato and cheese torte.

Sylvia and I have had a few craft moments at the kitchen table, including card making.  I have enjoyed experimenting with painting and collage on greeting cards.  Every time I do one that I like I think I never have to buy another card again but I don't always churn them out as quickly as I intend.

Sylvia's favourite meal lately is pasta with creamy cheese sauce.  I decided to make this variation with grated carrot and peas in it but it did not go down so well with her.  E and I loved it.

I was reminded of how good Angela's Glo Bars are and made another batch.  I forgot the choc chips and thought they were really good without them.  But I had some chocolate melts so I drizzled some over the bars.  I think it was more about good looks than giving much of a chocolate taste but there were those in the house who liked it.

After I made the plum teacake with quince jelly glaze I used the rest of the plums to make chutney.  I wrote in my post when I made it years ago that it took only 30 minutes to simmer down.  This one took hours to simmer (2 or 3?) and I kept stirring regularly and yet it still managed to catch and burn on the bottom of the saucepan in about 5 minutes. 

So I turned to fill my sterilised jars only to find that E had decided to wash the lids.  Apparently he was being helpful but I still don't know what he thought I was doing when I simmered them in a saucepan for 10 minutes!  So I quickly resterilised the lids and filled the jars and prayed that the chutney would not taste burnt. 

I filled a few jars and had a spoonful or two over to try the next day.  I had it on bread with some tofu besan omelet.  It was good so I am hopeful.  However the spices still tasted a bit grainy and I remember they were better after the jam sat for some weeks last time so it is resting while we finish the last of the tomato chutney.

Last week I told you about a most excellent chickpea, walnut and cranberry salad sandwich that I made with a delicious avocado dressing.  I really loved the dressing on a bowl of vegies and chickpeas too. 

I have had my eye on some five seeds sourdough irish bread for ages.  The idea of combining the speed of soda bread and the flavour of sourdough sounds brilliant.  I halved the recipe and found the dough quite dry, even with adding more liquid.  This might be due to the different consistencies of sourdough starters.  It was nice but not brilliant.  I'm game to try it again so stay tuned....

I bought a huge squash from CERES farmers market.  It was stuffed with a rice, lentil and vegie mixture.  Nothing to set the world on fire but a good honest dinner.  I really liked putting some leftover tomato broth from the baked cauliflower into the water that I used to cook the rice.

I would like to pack more vegies in my lunches.  While writing about my new blender, I thought I should check if I could make chickpea flour out of dried chickpeas.  I could.  Then I found myself with heaps of the stuff.  I mixed it with lots of stuff from the fridge that needed using - cauliflower, pesto, corn, spinach - and fried it up into burgers.  Most of them went into the freezer to be on hand for sandwiches or quick lunches.  If only I can remember they are there!

Joanne's Eggplant Balls at Eats Well With Others looked so yummy when I read her post about them that I had to try them when I had eggplant in the house.  They were a pretty rough and ready dinner because I sort of ran out of time to do much side dish.  The next day the leftovers were great on crackers with hummus and lots of vegies on the side.

E headed off to the City Library on the weekend to check out their booksale.  He returned with an indie rock cookbook (Lost in the Supermarket) for me.  It has a very sweet salad by the very sweet Belle and Sebastian, some great potstickers from Gorch Fork and a tongue in cheek recipe for Fly Soup by Antony and the Johnstons.  It is great fun to read through and I might even try a few of the recipes.

Even more exciting than an indie rock cookbook is Vegemite chocolate.  I was so excited when I saw it in the supermarket that I couldn't wait to get home and try it.  In the queue to pay, I happened to see an American friend and showed her.  Her reaction to vegemite was a bit like Jimmy Fallon's (ie horrified).  We hurried home to tear off the wrapper!

It is only when I read the small print that I discovered it was actually chocolate with a caramel filling that was mildly flavoured with vegemite as in salted caramel.  It was quite tasty with that odd flavour of vegemite hovering right at the edge of your tastebuds in a vaguely weird and yet acceptable way.  Would I eat it again?  Oh yeah!  Would I eat it a lot?  Of course not.

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

Posted June 02, 2015 10:51 PM by Johanna GGG

June 01, 2015

Thoughts Of A Moni

Steak Ministry

A vegetarian visiting a steak house is rarely going to lead to glowing reviews, but I went to Steak Ministry determined to give it a fair go. As per usual, I had spent time perusing the menu, and thoroughly familiarised myself with the one vegetarian option on the menu. I may be sound a little sarcastic, but honestly, I’m not trying to be. I definitely didn’t expect multiple vegetarian options on a steak house menu, besides, the one option that they did have sounded pretty delicious, so off I went on a Monday night to pop my steak house cherry.

Our booking was for 7:30pm, and being the eagerlings (or rather hungrylings) that we are, we arrived at about 7:20pm. The restaurant was surprisingly busy for a Monday night, almost three quarters full, and both the floor and kitchen were bustling with staff. We were seated almost immediately, handed our menus, and told that someone would be around shortly to take our order.

Fast forward about 15 minutes, and we were still waiting. Finally someone came around, but all they did was take our drinks order and walk away. It took another 20 minutes for our drinks to arrive and then the waiter was finally happy to take our meal order. I ordered the vegetarian option that I had thoroughly studied from the menu, and the other half ordered a steak, obviously. It was now 7:55pm.

Credit where credit is due, almost immediately after our order was taken, two pieces of bread and some oil were placed on our table. I was starving, so I probably could have wolfed down a whole loaf, but two pieces for two people was going to have to do. I’m always a sucker for good bread, and this was a decent sort. I just wish there was more. Almost as soon as we were chewing the last of the bread, our board was whisked away, almost as a reminder that prompt service was available when they wanted to offer it. And then we were back to waiting.

Our meals didn’t arrive until 8:45pm. Yes, you read that correctly, we waited for one hour and twenty five minutes for our meals. By this time I was pretty hangry, and ready to inhale my plate. My chosen dish was deep fried stuffed zucchini flowers with quinoa and ricotta, roasted pumpkin puree and chilli chocolate sauce. It sounded like an interesting dish and I was excited to eat it. I cut into the first zucchini flower, and there was a definitely crunch, indicating a crisp batter. Unfortunately that’s where they excitement ended. The stuffing was rather bland. When someone says there is a quinoa and ricotta stuffing, I assume that there also will be herbs, spices, seasoning and other flavour inducing elements. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so presumptuous. The two or three little dollops pumpkin puree were equally bland, and I really could taste any sign that they had been roasted. There were some thin slices of heirloom beetroot and microherbs to garnish the dish that did little to enhance the flavour. And the chocolate chilli sauce which I had been apprehensive about (I am not a chilli chocolate fan) was just a bizarre way to attempt to tie the dish together. Overall, the dish looked beautiful but really didn’t work for me.

The other half ordered a medium rare steak with mushroom sauce. When you go to a steak house, it really is fair to expect a perfect steak, after all, that’s what they advertise themselves for. So imagine his disappointment when he discovered that his medium rare steak was more medium than medium rare. The mushroom sauce was also very watery and could have done with a lot more reduction. When the steak was served, the waitress asked if he would like some mustard with his meal, because apparently the mustard goes very well with the meat. He said yes, but in another nod to the super efficient service, the steak was consumed, the plates were cleared, and yet the mustard never arrived.

The highlight of the meal was the onion rings. We decided to order something other than the usual side of chips, and so we chose onion rings. These were delicious! Crispy, full of flavour and so morish. They were served with an amazing smoked garlic mayonnaise. Unfortunately there was only about twelve onion rings and 2 blobs of mayonnaise. At $9, I would have wanted at least thirty onion rings and a sauce bowl full of the mayonnaise.

Overall our experience at Steak Ministry was pretty underwhelming. Waiting almost an hour and a half for some pretty average meals is really not my thing, and it is unlikely that we will be back. I’m sure there are other steak houses, with a vegetarian option on the menu, that we can visit when the other half needs his steak fix.

Steak Ministry Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted June 01, 2015 03:46 PM by Moni

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


May 27, 2015

For my birthday this year we decided to try Kappo, a newish Japanese place in the city. It's the fancy cousin of the lovely Hihou and Izakaya Den so we had high hopes for a good night out. The first trick is gaining access - there's a door on the Spring Street side of the building that looks like the entry, but it's closed and there's a sign pointing you up Flinders Lane. The next door you find is somewhat forebodingly shut and after pushing and pulling fruitlessly, I finally figured out that you have to press the bell and have the staff let you in. Awkward.

Once we'd made it over that hurdle everything was much more straightforward - we were seated at the bar overlooking the little kitchen and given a quick run down of the way dining at Kappo works. Your 'menu' is basically a list of about 50 ingredients and all you have to do is decide whether you want 5, 7 or 9 courses and whether there are any ingredients you especially want to have included or excluded. We went with the 7 course option ($120) and let them do whatever they wanted within our vego constraints.

Cindy kicked things off with a ryu-kan cocktail ($23), a bittersweet concoction of whiskey, campari, umeshu and grapefruit, with a big spherical ice cube keeping things chilled. I went down the matching drinks path ($80) meaning I was bombarded with an array of excellent wine and sake, none of which I paid sufficient attention to to really comment on, except to note that the matched drinks will leave you pretty toasted - read on as my blog post gets vaguer and vaguer the later into the night it gets.

The first course involved still more booze - a little shot of warm sake, served with charred king brown mushrooms that had been flavoured with yuzu. Even though I often get matched drinks at fancy restaurants, I rarely get the actual matching that goes on, but this combination made a lot of sense to me, with the sake really accentuating the umami of the mushrooms.

Next up was a warm vegetable salad, served with a wonderful walnut miso and a plate full of delicacies for dipping - gingko nuts, persimmon coated in sesame seeds and charred peppers grown in the restaurant's own plot near Fed Square.

The soup that came next was one of the highlights of the meal - a seaweed based dashi, with some starchy tofu that somehow included potato, fried lotus roots, black radish and spring onion. It was closely followed by another plate of teeny delicacies, including pomegranate seeds, slippery jack mushrooms, crisply lotus root, a black rice crumble, tomato, wakame, lime and salt. Every little taste was wonderful.

Then came a salad, with pine mushrooms, spinach, golden beetroot and a pine-nut dressing, all covered in crispy slivers of something that I didn't manage to note down and couldn't identify by taste alone. The visual highlight of the night was probably the gorgeous veggie sushi that followed, involving shitake mushrooms, impossibly delicate capsicum, asparagus, pickled ginger and some peppery radish.

Things got a bit heartier with the next dish - yuba with saltbush, kale and shitake mushrooms.

The last of the savoury dishes has us already starting to struggle for stomach space - a simple bowl of rice with delicate pickles, daikon and bean curd.

The desserts were a combination of the winningly simple (a yuzu and honey sorbet) and the impressively fancy (sweet potato chips and sweet potato ice cream, with chocolate and a brown sugar sauce).

Just when we thought we could finally stop eating, a final tray of petit fours turned up - chocolate pastry cigars, a moscato grape jelly made with arrowroot and little brown sugar and red bean spheres. It was too much food, but too excellent to ignore.

The meal was finished off with a soothing roasted tea.

The staff were friendly and efficient and the atmosphere was relaxed (I was surprised to see empty tables in such a small place, although I guess a Wednesday night degustation is pretty indulgent). I'm sure they would easily cater for vegan visitors too - our guess was that everything we had up to dessert was vegan anyway. Eating at Kappo is a wonderful experience - every detail is impressive. You choose your own chopsticks and sake cups from their wonderful selections, you get to watch the chefs piecing together impossibly delicate dishes and you get served up a steady stream of excellent and varied food.


There are a only a couple of blog reviews of Kappo that I could find - both The Peckish Connoisseur and Frog Foodventure were very positive.

1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
9639 9500

Accessibility: There are a few steps as you enter. Inside, tables are reasonably close together - there are a couple of regular height, but mostly it's the bar or at a high table. Toilets were gendered and narrow.

Posted June 01, 2015 12:04 PM by Michael

quinces and kale

brussels sprout and potato soup

brussels sprouts and potato soup

OK so it isn’t pretty and it is a kind of khaki colour, but this soup is delicious.

It packs a flavour punch enhanced by the caramelised flavours of onions and brussels sprouts and it is velvety smooth from the background of broken down potato.

I like mine with a teaspoon of cashew cheese stirred through. It adds to the flavour and creaminess. Other good toppings are dill (I am currently in love with dill as a herb) and crunchy fried onions.

I made this soup on a recent nasty, windy, cold day in Melbourne with hail and rain pounding outside and it was lovely to sit with the bowl warming my hands and eating it with some crunchy sourdough toast.

frying brussels sprouts and onions


brussels sprout and potato soup
prep time
15 mins
cook time
40 mins
total time
55 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: soup
cuisine: vegan
serves: 6
  • 400g brussels sprouts
  • 700g potato
  • 1 tbs oiive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 5 cups stock (I used Massel)
  • salt to taste
For Garnish
  • extra crisp fried onions
  • soft cashew cheese (I used Botanical Cuisine Lemon and Dill)
  • dill
  1. Trim the base of the sprouts and cut into ½ cm slices.
  2. Peel and coarsely chop the potatoes
  3. Peel and chop the onions.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan
  5. Add the onions and the sprouts and fry until they brown
  6. Add the garlic and fry for a minute
  7. Add the potatoes and the stock
  8. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is falling apart.
  9. Blend until smooth using a stick blender or a blender.
  10. Serve garnished with any or all of the garnishes.


Posted June 01, 2015 10:00 AM

May 31, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Apple breakfast crisp

May 25, 2015

This recipe is me trying to heave myself out of another breakfast rut. Our vege boxes come with a lot of apples at this time of year, some of them mealy, and I just knew that there was a breakfast crumble out there for them. I trawled my cookbooks but came up short. Isa, Heidi and Deb had muffins and waffles and eggs 'til Tuesday, but nothing that'd get apples into my workday breakfast.

Once I hit google it turned out that Deb Perelman did actually have exactly what I needed, an oaty apple crisp especially designed for breakfast. I threw in a couple of pears with the apples, swapped honey for barley malt syrup and slivered almonds for raw cashews. It's not too distant from my ol' fruit crumble manifesto, though it taught me a couple of important tricks. First, you can melt the butter instead of blending it cold into the crumble. Second, it's worth baking apples well beyond my habitual 20 minutes to bring them to that collapsing, apple pie stage. 

These aren't startlingly innovative tricks, but I appreciated them just the same. I've been enjoying my buttery collapsed apples for days with a couple heaping spoonfuls of yoghurt and even plotting future batches. Different flour! Skip the sugar! Other fruit and nuts! And what about vegetable oil, eliminating the need for melting entirely? But always lots of oats, lots of baking and a smidge of cornflour.

Apple breakfast crisp
(slightly adapted from a recipe on smitten kitchen)

200g mixed fruit (I had 5 apples and 2 pears)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
110g butter
1/4 cup barley malt syrup
1/2 cup flour
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat an oven to 180°C.

Peel the fruit, remove any cores and chop the flesh into bite-size pieces, placing the fruit in a medium-large baking dish. Stir through the lemon juice as you go to prevent the fruit from browning. Sprinkle over the caster sugar, cornflour, cinnamon and salt, and stir it through to evenly coat the fruit pieces.

In a medium-large saucepan set over low-medium heat, melt the butter and the barley malt syrup together. Turn of the heat, and stir in the flour, rolled oats, cashews and coconut. Pour this granola mix evenly over the apples in the baking tray. Bake it all for 45-55 minutes, until the apples are softened and bubbly. Keep an eye on it as it bakes, and cover the dish if the top gets too brown.

Posted May 31, 2015 08:54 AM by Cindy

May 30, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Baked Carrot and Feta Risotto and random musings

We had a conversation with Sylvia the other night about what we do that is good for the environment.  There is so much that we can do for the environment.  It is a bit like having another baby with so many needs and so many options.  My regrets on activities I didn't offer Sylvia in her preschool years are eased by knowing that I did lots of fun things with her.  Likewise I know that I have managed to do some things for the environment if not everything.  Little victories.

Here is a list of some of the things we discussed with Sylvia:
  • Eating vegetarian.
  • Cooking a lot of food at home to minimise packaging.
  • Using leftovers as much as possible rather than throwing out food.
  • Cycling, walking or taking public transport when possible.
  • Looking after our plants in the backyard.
  • Using our curbside rubbish collection to recycle as much paper, plastic and green waste as possible.
  • We don't have a clothes dryer or a dishwasher.
  • Turning off lights when not in a room.
  • Buying food at farmers markets.

A lot of this sounds like common sense to me.  Yet at the same time, today as I shopped at CERES Farmers Market I felt pleased that I am shopping at farmers markets regularly, making my own sourdough bread and growing lemons and limes in my backyard.  This is the sort of lifestyle I aspired to as a young adult but just could not imagine.  And while I don't have my own water tanks, solar panels and focus on indigenous plants in our yard, I feel like I am making progress with caring for the environment.

And being environmentally aware is not all serious and grim.  Farmers markets offer lots of interesting locally grown produce.  I have recently posted about my fun cooking with purple potatoes.  Today I bring you a risotto that features both orange and yellow carrots from the farmers market.

I made it a few weeks back when I needed to make a meal in advance for a busy night.  It was also execllent when we had Sylvia's friend over for a sleepover and wanted something simple to serve.  (The girls had pasta with creamy sauce and vegies on the side.)

I had carrots and feta to use up as well as many lemons on the tree.  I really liked the sound of Joanne's risotto with carrots and feta, but Lorraine's 'forget about it three cheeses risotto' seemed a good way to give me a bit of extra time by baking rather than hovering around the stovetop.

The salty feta and sweet carrots worked together brilliantly, with just a little extra baking needed so all the water was absorbed.  At first I thought perhaps all the feta made it too salty but the final dish was so moreish that I would do it the same all over again.  And probably will.  I will also be trying different flavours in baked risottos, this promising to be the first of many.

Before I go, because I have been rambling, I will continue to digress with a few random moments from today that amused me:
  • I love listening to Greg Champion of the Coodabeens on the radio when he sings his satirical songs.  Today he sang a song about FIFA corruption to the tune of the Monkees I'm a Believer and managed to rhyme "caught in Geneva" with FIFA.  It was brilliant.
  • Possibly all the talk of corruption in soccer got Sylvia thinking.  She asked if you wear socks to play soccer.  Actually it seems that 'soccer' comes from the work as'soc'iation.
  • Tonight I read Sylvia some of the Nancy Drew's The Secret of the Old Clock that she is reading.  At one point Nancy Drew had cinnamon cake with apple sauce.  Sylvia turned to me and said, that's just like us.  It was nice to feel that she felt akin to Nancy Drew for all the good food rather than envious.  After all we had chocolate pudding for sweets tonight!

I am sending this risotto to Jac for Meat Free Mondays, to Elizabeth's Kitchen for No Waste Food Challenge, to Cindy for Gluten Free Fridays #144, and to Vanesther (and Louise) for the Italian Challenge of the Family Foodies event.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Street Art in Melbourne #8 miscellaneous
Two year ago: RR Brown butter picklets (not pikelets)
Three years ago: Chocolate macaroons and the wee rascal
Four years ago: CC Moody Blues - the juice and the colour
Five years ago: Sophie's moreish tofu - adapted
Six years ago: Blueberry Soup with Heavenly Yoghurt
Seven years ago: Promoting Promite
Eight years ago: Fruity caulifower chowder

Baked Carrot and Feta Risotto
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella and Eats Well with Others
Serves 6

2-3 tsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced
4 carrots (orange and yellow), diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups stock
200g feta cheese, crumbled (or less)
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 180 C (or 200 C if you have a slow oven like mine).

Fry leek and carrot in oil over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Stir in arborio rice for about 1 minute.  Scrape rice mixture into a baking dish (about 9 x 13 inch) and mix with stock, feta, parsley and lemon juice.  Cover with foil.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes.  It is ready when the liquid has been absorbed.  (This took 60 minutes in my oven but I would advise to check at 40 minutes and decide if it needs more time at this stage.)

On the stereo:
The Basement Tapes Raw: Bob Dylan

Posted May 30, 2015 10:39 PM by Johanna GGG

May 28, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Chickpea, walnut and cranberry salad sandwich

The very word sandwich conjures up simplicity and convenience at lunchtime.  Which is why I love a good peanut butter sandwich.  Yet the best sandwiches take a lot of preparation.  The trick is to incorporate foods that are already being made for other purposes.  Take these sandwiches for example.  I baked a loaf of overnight sourdough bread, I had leftover avocado dressing and I only needed to mix in some vegies to have a great salad sandwich.

For those groaning at my industry, I hasten to reassure you that I don't always have a flurry of activity in the kitchen.  However it is lovely to feel like a domestic goddess with freshly baked bread and muffins and a home made salad dressing that will make vegetables taste great.  I made the dressing yesterday and mixed it through some spinach, carrot, chickpeas and cherry tomatoes for lunch.

Today I was inspired by Janie at the Hedgecombers who has challenged bloggers to make sandwiches for the Tea Time Treats event that she runs with Karen of Lavender and Lovage.  I am often so lazy about my sandwiches that I appreciate any reason to try harder.

I looked through my bookmarks for a sandwich idea that matched my available ingredients, was impressive and required minimal work.  I chose Simple Veganista's Cranberry, walnut, chickpea salad sandwich.  The avocado dressing that I made yesterday seemed a good substitute for her dressing and then I changed some other ingredients.

It reminded me a little of a mock tuna salad but I loved the added sweetness from the cranberries.  After enjoying my sandwich, I then ate a freshly baked muffin.  If only every lunchtime was so satisfying.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Street Art in Melbourne #6 Aboriginal art for Sorry Day
Two year ago: Golden syrup dumplings and a confession
Three years ago: Buttery quince and almond cake
Four years ago: St Andrews Market - crafts in the bush
Five years ago: St Nigel's brownies
Six years ago: WTSIM ... Red onion, feta and olive tart
Seven years ago: Condensed Milk: Heirloom Comfort Food
Eight years ago: MM #12: A marriage of vanilla and chocolate (cupcakes)

Chickpea, walnut and cranberries salad sandwich
Salad adapted from The Simple Veganista and dressing adapted from Healthful Pursuit.  Makes 2 sandwiches (and there will be leftover dressing)

Avocado dressing:

1 small avocado (80g)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
3 tbsp chickpea brine or cooking water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp wild garlic salt flakes (or regular salt)


1/3 cup cooked chickpeas
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp shallot, finely chopped (or less)
2 tbsp avocado dressing

To assemble:

extra avocado dressing
baby spinach, chopped
grated carrot
sourdough bread

Make avocado dressing by whizzing up the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Make salad by lightly mashing chickpeas in a bowl and mixing remaining ingredients.  To assemble the sandwich, pile some salad on one piece of bread and use the back of the spoon to spread across the bread evenly.  Pile on the carrot and spinach.  Spread a little dressing on the other piece of bread and place on top of the vegies.

On the Stereo:
Way to Blue: Nick Drake

Posted May 28, 2015 09:26 PM by Johanna GGG

May 27, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Whole roasted cauliflower wih tomato broth

It is a terrible thing when the internet is exploding with tantalising recipes of whole baked cauliflower and the price shoots up to $6 per head.  So when I saw the price of cauliflowers had fallen to $1.20 a couple of weeks ago, I grabbed one.  And I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

It was to be baked.  Well actually it was to be boiled first and then baked.  I am not confident in my oven's ability to roast vegies until they are soft inside.  Not when they are as large as a head of cauliflower.  So I eased it in to the idea but boiling the cauliflower first.  It also meant dinner came together a lot quicker.

While there are many recipes for an Indian style yoghurt paste to be rubbed over the cauliflower, I really liked Bon Apetit's idea of boiling it in a seasoned liquid.   But I preferred Jamie Oliver's tomato flavours.  Plus I have lemons and herbs in the garden which went into the mix.

I chose a rather small saucepan that just fit the cauliflower.  It didn't require as much boiling liquid as my large stockpot.  Once tender, I carefully transferred it to a roasting dish and spooned tomato over it.  I looked for a suitable serving dish and was not confident in any of my pretty dishes to withstand high oven temperatures.  So I stuck to stainless steel.
My cauliflower was soft enough that it just needed to crisp up around the edges.  After 20 minutes I thought to spray it with oil.  I think this helped.  Once cooked I found that the flavours of the seasoned liquid pretty much came through.  Which meant that I didn't need to make it quite so salty.  I think the 3 tsp of salt were too much and would reduce this to 1 to 2 tsp.  Otherwise I really liked it.

I served it with a moussaka that my mum had made for me.  The next day I had some at room temperature for lunch with crackers and hummus.  Then we finished the last bit by chopping it up and adding it to soup.

I am excited about how good the cauliflower tasted when cooked this way.  It is a nice light way to cook a side dish that is good enough to eat by itself.  The Bon Apetit recipe called for dipping the florets in a creamy goats cheese.  I am sure it would work in other dips or with other sauces too.

I still would love to try roasting the cauliflower from raw because it gives such a lovely flavour.  However I am really pleased with this for now, especially with all the flavour the broth imparts.  And I am delighted to be able to send it to Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Choclette of Tin and Thyme for their Cool Cauliflower Recipe Collection.

I am also sending the dish to Kimmy at Rock Your Vegan Socks for Healthy Vegan Fridays 49.

More cauliflower recipes at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Buffalo cauliflower sourdough pizza with tofu blue cheese (v) 
Cauliflower burgers (gf v)
Cauliflower cheese
Cauliflower cheese sauce (gf, v)
Cauliflower, pea and parmesan polenta fingers (gf)
Cauliflower in spicy peanut gravy (gf, v)
Cauliflower rice with vegies (gf, v)
Celery, watercress and cauliflower salad (gf, v)
Cheesy cauliflower and rice soup (gf, v)
Lentil and cauliflower taco filling (gf, v) 
Macaroni cheese with sauerkraut, cauliflower and blue cheese (v)
Meaty cauliflower and walnut lasagne
Potato, cauliflower and kale pesto mash (gf, v)

And some cauliflower recipes from elsewhere:
Cauliflower and kale rice pie - SBS
Chocolate cauliflower brownies - A Travelling Cook
Chocolate cauliflower cake with salted cinnamon caramel icing - Veggie Desserts
Cottage pancakes - 101 Cookbooks
Creamy cauliflower and stilton cheese soup - Lavender and Lovage
Ottelenghi's cauliflower and cheese cake - Allotment 2 Kitchen
Spicy whole roasted cauliflower - Pure Wow

Whole roasted cauliflower with tomato broth
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver and Bon Appetit
serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 large head of cauliflower
400g tin of diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup dry sherry
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 bayleaf
5cm spig of rosemary
sprig of thyme
oil spray for roasting
chopped parsley for garnish

Trim cauliflower of greenery and wash.  Preheat oven to 240 C.

Place remaining ingredients (except oil spray and parsley) into a large saucepan that the cauliflower fits into.  (The snugger the fit of the cauliflower, the less broth is needed for cooking.  However it does make it a bit harder to maneouvre the cooked cauliflower out.)  Taste and adjust seasonings.  I found that the taste of the broth was strongly present in the final cauliflower.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cauliflower is just tender when a skewer is pushed into the middle.

Now use large slotted spoons to carefully transfer cauliflower from the saucepan to a roasting tray or an oven proof serving dish.  Scoop a little of the tomato from the broth on top of the cauliflower.  Spray cauliflower with oil.  (Set aside the tomato broth and use as stock in soups and stews.)

Bake cauliflower for 30 minutes or until it is slightly charred.  Scatter with parsley and serve in wedges.

On the stereo:
Elastica: self titled

Posted May 27, 2015 10:32 PM by Johanna GGG

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Gingernut hedgehog

May 23-24, 2015

Last weekend we joined in on a big party for a little girl's birthday. Much of the food was expertly catered by the Las Vegan crew, and another guest prepared a cake decorated with fairies and fondant mushrooms. I brought along a tray of hedgehog slice, a fairly common treat from my own childhood.

I don't have a family recipe, but I knew Vegan About Town posted one that I could draw from and adapt to suit my pantry. The whole hedgehog deal was really just a plot to use up two packets of LEDA gingernuts, and it served to polish off some walnuts, cashews and dried cherries too. Best of all, it's an oven-free melt'n'mix method easily accomplished in 20 minutes.

The slice has a great fudgy texture and a much darker chocolate base than the non-vegan versions I've known before. On reflection, it was probably too rich and bittersweet for the kids. In fact the little tackers barely took an interest in the savoury selection or the birthday cake once the candles were off either - they seemed to have eyes only for the bowl of Skittles! That just left us greedy grown-ups to graze on party pies, stuffed potatoes and pastry pinwheels all afternoon.

Gingernut hedgehog
(adapted from a recipe at Vegan About Town)

300g gingernuts
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup dried cherries
300g margarine
300g dark chocolate
3 tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
120g tub apple puree
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Line a large baking tray with paper.

Crush the gingernuts lightly, so that they're a mix of big chunks and powdery crumbs, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the nuts and add them to the bowl. Stir in the dried cherries.

In a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, melt the margarine. Add the chocolate and stir occasionally as it melts, ensuring that it doesn't burn. When the chocolate is completely melted, whisk in the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, apple puree and maple syrup. 

Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl; stir it all together with a wooden spoon until well combined. Pour the slice mixture into the baking tray and spread it out as evenly as you can. Refrigerate the slice for at least a few hours before slicing and serving.

Posted May 27, 2015 05:01 PM by Cindy

May 26, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar

May 21, 2015

We had time for a quick dinner in the city before a friend’s gig on Thursday night and took the opportunity to check out Sun Moth Canteen and Bar. I’ve been stalking them on Instagram lately and have been impressed by the steady stream of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes that pop up in their feed.

It’s a sleek, sparsely decorated space – all clean lines and polished wood, with a few big plants and a projector decorating the front wall with silent movies (surf films the night we were there). The menu is short but still has plenty to choose from: four of the seven mains are veg-friendly (three vegan friendly) and there are a handful of options on the snacks menu as well (we’ll definitely be trying the fried bread with olives, lemon, chilli and garlic next time!). They’re big on fancy beer and good coffee too, but Cindy and I were both on soft drinks, so we’ll have to go back for a second visit to explore the beverage options more thoroughly.

First up was the kale salad, served with pickled cauliflower, carrot, quinoa, toasted seeds and a thick smear of hummus ($13). This was a lovely fresh dish, with the hummus adding something substantial to the light veggies. The variety of textures was a strength too, while the acidity of the pickled cauliflower provided some sharpness.

Our other main was the white bean stew, with rosemary, leek and braised mushrooms ($17). This is perfect winter food – warm and hearty, flavourful and comforting. It really fills you up too – we struggled to make it all the way through.

We were running late so we didn’t get to check out their dessert menu, but the quality of the savoury dishes means I’ve got high hopes. I’m similarly excited to get in and try the breakfast menu one day. Sun Moth is an excellent vegan friendly CBD option – the atmosphere was relaxed, the staff were lovely and the food was top notch.


There are a bunch of sponsored posts out there about Sun Moth, but only Exploring Beer in Melbourne seems to have checked it out on their own dime - they're very enthusiastic.

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar
28 Niagara Lane, Melbourne
9602 4554
meals, snacks

Accessibility:There are half a dozen steps at the entry to Sun Moth, but they seemed to include a mechanism for wheelchair access. Inside, things are super accessible - spacious, with unisex, ambulant and disabled toilets and full table service.

Posted May 26, 2015 02:51 PM by Michael

May 25, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Plum teacake with quince jelly glaze

Of all the stone fruit, plums are the ones most likely to find their way into baking in my kitchen.  They are the last of the stone fruit, signifying the end of sunny days.  As the days become cooler and the nights draw in, the last of the plums go on sale and offer one more taste of summer.  This year I made plum cake with a quince jelly glaze.

I had been taken with a Raspberry and Quince Jelly Teacake found on Celia's Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, who in turn was inspired by the River Cottage Autumn television show.  I loved the idea of glazing a cake with quince jelly that my mum makes each year. It was one of those recipes that I knew I would try sooner rather than later.
I made changes: less eggs, some wholemeal flour and substituted brown sugar for castor sugar.   I found myself searching for substitutes as I wanted less eggs and didn't have enough butter.  I used some yoghurt, some linseeds and some extra baking powder to replace the egg and some more yoghurt instead of some of the butter.  Then I discovered I had misread the oven temperature too and baked it at 160 C instead of 180 C.

It wasn't quite as yellow as Celia's cake but it was a lovely cake to eat with a cuppa on a blustery autumn day.  I had plenty more plums left and made chutney with them.  Then I regretted that there were no more plums until next summer.  I will miss them.

More plum recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Plum almond tart
Plum and cinnamon oat slice
Plum gingerbread sponge pudding 
Plum kuchen
Plums and raspberry jam 

More plum recipes from elsewhere:
Plum, marzipan and cinnamon muffins - Eats Well With Others
Plum pie - Nigel Slater in the Guardian
Plum and poppy seed muffins - Where's the Beef?
Rustic plum and lavender galette - Cook Eat Live Vegetarian
Walnut and spiced plum Christmas cob - The Vegetarian Society, UK

Plum teacake with quince jelly glaze
Adapted from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

150g margarine or butter, softened
200g brown sugar
150g Greek yoghurt
3 eggs
150g self-raising flour (I used half wholemeal)
150g almond meal
1 tbsp ground linseeds (flaxseeds)
1/2 tsp baking powder

4 (350g) plums, sliced into thin wedges
2 generous tbsp quince jelly

Grease and line a lamington tin (13 x 9 inch).  Preheat oven to 160 C.  Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs.  Gently stir in yoghurt, flour, almond meal, linseeds and baking powder.  Scrape into prepared lamington tin.  Arrange plum slices on top of the cake batter.  Generously brush the quince jelly over the plum slices.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in the tin.  Keep in an airtight container for three to five days.

On the Stereo:
Nikki-Nack: Tune-Yards

    Posted May 25, 2015 10:28 PM by Johanna GGG