April 18, 2014

April 17, 2014

Thoughts Of A Moni

Fat Bob's Bar and Grill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fat Bob's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted April 17, 2014 10:21 PM by Moni


Lunch today at Invita Living Food at the Queen Victoria Market

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

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


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


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

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



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

Posted April 17, 2014 03:51 PM

quinces and kale

coconut yoghurt – third time lucky!

coconut yoghurt with passionfruit

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

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

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

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


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


Posted April 17, 2014 09:55 AM

April 16, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Easter chocolate egg nests - two ways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Stereo:
The Best of Blur

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

April 15, 2014


Isa Does It, VCIYCJ and Vegan with a Vengeance recipes

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

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

The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl.  Yummm:


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


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


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




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

Posted April 15, 2014 05:39 PM

April 14, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

NCR Pumpkin, bean and apple soup for a protest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpkin Bean and Apple Soup
serves 4 to 6

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

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

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

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

quinces and kale

mexican flavoured bean burgers

mexican bean patties

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

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

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

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

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





Posted April 14, 2014 09:55 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The B.East

April 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Instead, I would order The Morrissey.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted April 14, 2014 09:52 AM by Michael

April 13, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Red peppers: in pasta bake, stuffed and in soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 200 C.

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

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

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

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

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

Challenge Accepted!

Week 2: Super sandwiches

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

Oreo Wafflewiches

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

Don't be jealous.

Peanut Butter Banana Bacon sandwiches

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

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

Posted April 13, 2014 01:43 PM by Kate

April 12, 2014

Vegan Bullsh*t

LOTF Chapel Street + Schnitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted April 12, 2014 02:55 PM by L

April 11, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Gwyneth's Apple Muffins and the rainy school holidays


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Vegan Bear

Cheesy Cayenne Kale Chips (Raw)

This recipe is magic.

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

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

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

Cheesy Cayenne Kale Chips

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

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

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

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

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

And voila! Watch them disappear!


Posted April 11, 2014 10:54 PM

April 10, 2014


Lunch at Vege2Go in Melbourne

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Posted April 10, 2014 06:15 PM

Consuming Cate

Food for thought: DIY (pic heavy)

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted April 10, 2014 11:57 AM by Cate

quinces and kale

smith & daughters – brunch

french toast with poached quince

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

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

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

The coffee came quickly and was excellent.

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

breakfast burrito mexican omelette

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

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

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

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

french toast with poached quince

I’ll be back…again.


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

Posted April 10, 2014 10:00 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The Terminus Hotel II

April 6, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Posted April 10, 2014 06:25 AM by Cindy

April 09, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

True North: Coburg cafe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True North on Urbanspoon

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

Little Vegan Bear

Vegan Market Day

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


It was lovely – I wish I had ten!

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

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



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

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


Posted April 09, 2014 07:07 PM

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

yearly melbourne roundup - music

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

Posted April 09, 2014 09:35 AM by Carla

the cornish arms - brunswick

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

Posted April 09, 2014 09:29 AM by Carla

April 08, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Frugal vegetable stock revisited

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frugal Freezer Stock

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

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

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

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

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

On the Stereo:
It: Pulp

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


Lunch at Gopal’s: visit 2

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Posted April 08, 2014 10:30 PM

April 07, 2014

Vegan Bullsh*t

Tomato Not-Eggs

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

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

Tomato Eggs (serves two)

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

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

Posted April 07, 2014 01:11 PM by L

Ballroom Blintz


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


222 Faraday Street, Carlton


Posted April 07, 2014 11:52 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Warra Warra Korean Kitchen

April 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted April 07, 2014 09:21 AM by Michael

quinces and kale

grains and pilafs – instant food

couscous bowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

rice bowl 2

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

rice bowl 1

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

couscous bowl

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

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



Posted April 07, 2014 07:55 AM

April 06, 2014


Dinner at The Cornish Arms, visit 2

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

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


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


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


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

Extreme closeup:




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

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


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

Posted April 06, 2014 11:45 PM

vegan about town

white pasta sauce (also good for hot chips)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted April 06, 2014 09:50 PM by steph


Another veganny goodness lunch

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


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


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


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


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


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

Hair vegan.

Hair vegan.

Posted April 06, 2014 09:48 PM

Consuming Cate

A day of cooking and egg free quiche

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

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

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



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

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

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

Posted April 06, 2014 07:49 PM by Cate

Challenge Accepted!

Week 1: Puffy Pillow Pancakes

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

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

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

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

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

(Feel free to add your guesses in the comments)

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

Mmmm, pancakes.

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

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

Posted April 06, 2014 01:32 PM by Kate

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Sweet potato, zucchini and olive quesadillas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 04, 2014


Vegan Goodness for a Family Lunch

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Posted April 04, 2014 10:56 PM

April 03, 2014

Thoughts Of A Moni

South Melbourne Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted April 03, 2014 10:19 PM by Moni

Green Gourmet Giraffe

In My Kitchen - April 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

vegan about town

tea adventures at travelling samovar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travelling Samovar
412 Rathdowne Street
Carlton North

Posted April 03, 2014 10:26 AM by steph

quinces and kale

smith & daughters


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Very soon.


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

Posted April 03, 2014 08:05 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Smith & Daughters III - Brunch Edition

March 30, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Posted April 03, 2014 06:31 AM by Michael

April 01, 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Pumpkin and tofu ricotta cannelloni and weekend craft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consuming Cate

Figs marvellous figs...


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

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

Spiced fig and red wine jam


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

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

  4. Spoon into sterilised jars

Posted April 01, 2014 03:25 PM by Cate

Recuperation and Pear and almond muffins

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Posted April 01, 2014 02:44 PM by Cate

      where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

      Martha's buttery apple pie

      March 30, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Posted April 01, 2014 07:21 AM by Cindy

      quinces and kale

      supermarket free month


      I really don’t like the big supermarkets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


      Posted April 01, 2014 06:30 AM

      March 31, 2014

      Little Vegan Bear

      Spud Bar and Nostralis Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

      Posted March 31, 2014 09:57 PM

      quinces and kale

      roasted capsicum with tomato, olives and garlic

      stuffed capsicums

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

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

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

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


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


      Posted March 31, 2014 06:55 AM

      March 30, 2014

      Green Gourmet Giraffe

      Flemington Farmers Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       Every Sunday 9am - 1pm

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

      vegan about town

      the brunswick mess hall, brunswick

      March is a swathe of birthdays for me, across the city, the country and the world, I feel like every day I am crying out "Happy Birthday!" or "生日快乐" or "I'm sorry I forgotttttttttt." So I can never make it to all birthday celebrations, but this year one celebration I made it to was Ash's 30th birthday dinner, at the Brunswick Mess Hall.

      Arriving quite late, as this dinner was one of three events I needed to make it to this chilly Thursday evening, my ordering was a bit of a mess but I did seize quite shortly upon the Bramble Fairy cocktail, because a) it's a bramble fairy! and b) it contains jam. This was excellent, and the Mess Hall has a large array of very excellent cocktails for ordering and some lovely, helpful bar staff. Look at that adorable little pink thing! So pink. And a spotty paper straw.

      Sadly, the enthusiasm I felt for the cocktails could not be continued over to the food menu. In the end I settled on the pad thai, which they cheerfully made vegan for me; and it was perfectly servicable, and when it took a million years to appear and only came out after Ash yelled at someone, they also refunded me so that was some excellent service.

      The atmosphere is lovely, and I did enjoy my cocktail, so it's a shame that there's a second sadly. Let me recite some of the cocktail names for you: The Saigon Colonies Cocktail; The Ping Pong Special; Samurai's Mist. Good work, everybody! Good, racist work. With their food coming from the "Lucky Panda" kitchen and this frustrating, pan-asian and also appropriative (there's a pinata there somewhere) menu and packages, I'm probably not a return. How many appropriative and upsetting restaurants can Melbourne really support? Apparently like a poo-million (a word I stole from Hayley yesterday and do not plan to return).

      The Brunswick Mess Hall
      400 Sydney Road

      Ordering at tables, eft/cc available, didn't check the toilets. Forgot about the entry. GF available.

      Other Melbunnies: Cindy + Michael (ps there were DEFINITELY no 油条 on the menu; Melbourne Mademoiselle.

      Posted March 30, 2014 02:57 PM by steph

      March 29, 2014


      Recipe Reviews from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

      Oh She Glows is a blog I very much enjoy, so I was happy to hear that Angela was developing a cookbook.  My copy arrived a couple of weeks ago and I love reading through it.  It’s a beautiful book with lovely photos and a picture accompanying each recipe.  The Oh She Glows Cookbook has made the New York Times Bestseller List and with good reason: this is simply a gorgeous piece of work!


      You can find ten of Angela’s recipes from her book over at Prevention.com.

      I feel incredibly guilty about my photos here.  One of the hallmarks of blog Veganopoulous is the cringey food photography.  And I am so very conscious of making the recipes look unappetising because my snaps are bad.  Please believe me when I say these are fantastic recipes and I absolutely recommend you grab a copy of the Oh She Glows Cookbook yourself and take a look through it, or browse the recipes on the Oh She Glows site.

      I’ve made Angela’s overnight oats before from recipes on her blog but I tried the cookbook version, knowing I’d enjoy it.  See what I mean about awful photography?  Try to ignore it and focus on this being a simple, healthy, super recipe and very popular.  I first discovered Oh She Glows because I was reading blogs where people were talking about Angela’s overnight oats, in a manner that made me feel I was waaaay behind the times.  Once I tried the overnight oats I understood why people get hooked:

      Oh She Glows overnight oats

      The water in the jug is actually fresh.

      Arthur sat down with me to flip through the pages.  He noted some good looking breakfast recipes then asked to see the desserts section.  He (we) pretty much drooled over everything and he was mighty excited to see the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites in the Power Snacks section.  We had all the ingredients so we (he) decided to make them.  I used one tablespoon of coconut oil instead of the stated 2Tbs.  These are great though incredibly difficult in terms of resisting the temptation to eat half of it before you’ve rolled the balls.  I think this chapter should be renamed Willpower Snacks, because it took all of my willpower not to shove many of these in my gob.  I can’t find my photos anywhere and must have deleted them by mistake, argh.  Fortunately I found an image from the Oh She Glows Cookbook as well as the recipe.  So now there is no excuse for you not to make it!


      Photo by Angela Liddon, taken from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

      I also made the Out-the-Door Chia Power Doughnuts.  First I had to buy some doughnut oven pans because really, they’re so cute.  Anyway, I doubled the recipe so I could share some with my sister and I used a combo of black and white chia seed.  For my first attempt I used buckwheat flour (I loooove buckwheat flour) instead of oat flour, only because I hadn’t washed the blender so I couldn’t make oat flour.  The batter was quite thick with the buckwheat flour and Angela’s recipe with the oat flour says the batter is very runny.  So I added a considerable amount of extra non dairy milk.  I had to work quickly when spooning the batter in to the doughnut pans because it started thickening up with all that lovely chia.  As this was my first time filling doughnut pans, I did it all messy and the holey bits were covered in the final product and I had to cut holes with a sharp knife.  The doughnuts were great, not too sweet which I looooove and I served them with the suggested Coconut Lemon Whipped Cream… which I turned in to Coconut Lime Whipped Cream, cos I was out of lemons.  Which really wasn’t whipped cream at all because I accidentally used a can of low fat coconut cream which I ended up using as a dipping sauce:

      For my second attempt, the blender was washed and dry (ha!) so I ground up some oat flour.  Boy do I love my Blendtec blender.  Anyway, the oat flour version produced lighter doughnuts.  This time I used a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight but I didn’t have lemon juice so I just sweetened it with maple syrup and added some maple extract:


      More sweet treats: the Gluten-Free Almond-Chocolate Brownies.  Made with almond meal and brown rice flour, these are easily the best brownies I have ever tasted.  I don’t usually like brownies as I’m not much of a chocolate fan, but I am so embarrassed about how much of this I ate in twenty four hours.  I even took a plate outside for walkies:


      Arthur liked the look of the Maple-Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal.  I’m always up for a baked porridge!  The recipe calls for half a cup of unsweetened applesauce which I didn’t have.  Usually I make my own in the blender but it was late at night and I couldn’t switch the blender on.  I decided to leave it out but as I had an open can of coconut cream in the fridge, I used the leftovers along with some soy milk.  I definitely should have added more liquid, or perhaps took it out of the oven sooner as it dried out a little.  I really liked it regardless but when it comes to porridge, Arthur and DeeW prefer the usual sort I make.  I think I will incorporate the flavourings and apple-pear in to their regular porridge, as this is such a good recipe and I’d hate to see it go unused because my family don’t go for baked oats:

      Oh She Glows Baked Oatmeal


      The first recipe I made from the book was a soup, because I had loads of veggies to use up.  I confess that I always skip over Soup chapters and come back to them last.  Not this time.  The Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew was made first, though I added in more veggies and also a cup of leftover cooked burghul because they all had to be used up.  Delicious!  I’m looking forward to trying more of the soup recipes, usually unheard of for me.  No photo, it seems to have disappeared  :(  But I’ll be making this again asap and will be posting more recipe reviews so come baaaaack.

      From the Oh She Glows blog, I made the Homemade Mocha Nutella spread, minus the mocha/coffee.  Angela’s recipe mentions the (food) processing time and I definitely think you should stick to it.  I didn’t, because it was evening and I had to hurry up and get DeeW ready for bed so I cut corners here.  I don’t think my coconut sugar blended enough as a result because you can feel the grittyness, though perhaps I should have used the smaller bowl of my food processor to really moosh things up.  I also began with using only half the coconut sugar stated as that’s just a thing I do in case a recipe is too sweet for me, but in the end I added the whole amount which was exactly what I had left of coconut sugar.  I would make this again to give out as a gift, with more care and time spent on the processing part.  Patience, grasshopper:



      So far I have loved every Oh She Glows recipe I’ve tried.  I started bookmarking pages with little scraps of paper then gave up because I was bookmarking every page.  I now have the very painful task of selecting which two recipes I will make next.  I’m limiting myself to selecting two only, because otherwise I will do a mega blowout and bookmark everything again!

      Posted March 29, 2014 11:34 PM

      Green Gourmet Giraffe

      Golden beetroot nut roast, creamy leeks and a busy week

      So it has been a busy week.  Two birthday celebrations, a sleepover and a concert.  Not to mention meetings, bank queues and getting caught in the rain.  And there was nut roast.  While not the simplest of dishes, it is one of my easiest.  I make nut roasts so regularly that it is no effort at all to whip one up.

      But firstly let's start with the weekend.  On Saturday I went to Coburg Farmers Market for the first apples of the season.  I made smoky nuts and a batch of chocolate muffins from Ricki Heller's Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free.  They were for a Moody Noodles birthday celebration.  The nuts were a bit burnt and the cupcakes slightly crumbly but it was great to catch up with familiar faces (and some new ones too).  I loved K's cashew cheese with roasted garlic and smoked paprika from Veganissimo.  (Now I really want to buy the book!)  Plus there was a pretty cake and a cute baby.
      Sunday we went to a community concert in the park.  I was one of the volunteers and had a very long day from set up, though all the music, to pack up and dinner at the pub.  Despite the cancellation of one of the headline acts, it was a great afternoon and made me happy to live in my neighbourhood. 

      I particularly loved the art tent where kids could paint a hand with Aboriginal colours.  I coaxed Sylvia to paint a hand and was rewarded with paint stains on her princess dress that did not come out in the wash!  Apparently the painted hands will be on display around Moreland.

      During the week we made the most of Sylvia's last few school-free Wednesdays (which come to an end when Term 1 finishes up next week) and had a sleepover at my parents' place in Geelong.  We had a birthday dinner for my brother.  I made a nut roast to contribute to mum's roast dinner.  (I know it looks like a bone on my plate in the top photo but it is roasted parsnip).

      My sister in law made the gf chocolate cake.  It was delicious and my sort of thing.  Sylvia was excited about the pavolva.  I also took down the chocolate bark with coconut bacon which got mixed reactions.

      The nut roast inspiration came from Sam Stern's Eat Vegetarian.  It was his 'classic' nut roast with a tomato sauce that is mixed in with almond meal, breadcrumbs and chestnuts.  I had golden beetroot from the farmers market, I had a gluten free mixture of crumbs (including gomasio, besan and coconut flour), a packet of rice crumbs that has been spilling in my freezer for too long and no chestnuts within cooee.  I used cashews instead of chestnuts and made do.

      The nut roast was a success.  It was on the sweet side and quite day-glo orange.  But delicious.  It was gluten free but regular wheat breadcrumbs could be used.  It only had one egg so I think you could substitute a flax egg or chia seed egg to make it vegan.

      Tonight I made a roast dinner to use up the rest of the nut roast.  When I was organising myself to make gravy I found I was out of onions.  What self-respecting kitchen doesn't have onions!  (Ok, I know some people don't have onions in their diet!)  At least I had a huge leek from the farmers market. 

      I took my inspiration from Jamie Oliver and made Creamy Leeks and Peas.  I cooked the leeks until soft (about 10 minutes uncovered and 30 minutes covered) on the stovetop with sliced celery, sliced garlic, a dash of smoked paprika and a pinch of salt.  (I put some of these aside for another day.)  Then I added some milk, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and seeded mustard.  Mixed it up and added some peas.  It was a great side dish. 

      I made the creamy leeks while I roasted the vegies.  I sliced the potatoes into chips.  Sylvia loved them so much last time I made them and my mum had already made her proper roast potatoes this week.  I also roasted some pumpkin.  I even heated the dinner plates as my mum used to do.  Hence my use of place mats.  They haven't been used for some time.  I do love the pictures on them so here is a gratuitous photo.

      The roast dinner was comforting, creamy and crispy.  Sylvia ate a decent chunk of nut roast (drowned in tomato sauce) and then told me it was disgusting.  The chips were golden and crisp.  The pumpkin was charred around the edges like it should be when the skin is left on.  The creamy leeks and peas were an unusual addition to the roast dinner.  They went very nicely with the tomato and beetroot flavoured nut roast.  Every busy week needs an ending like this.

      As this meal features golden beetroot and a huge leek from the farmers market I am linking up with Shop Local #7 at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, an event for bloggers to feature locally sourced food.

      Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
      One year ago: Easter egg pizza and Easter quicklinks
      Two years ago: Snag Stand - cosmopolitan takeaway
      Three years ago: Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings
      Four years ago: Flat pack chocolate chip cookies
      Six years ago: Easter Nut Roast

      Golden beetroot nut roast
      Adapted from Sam Stern's Eat Vegetarian
      Serves 4-6

      Tomato sauce*:
      3 tbsp olive oil
      1 medium onion. finely chopped
      1 large golden beetroot, finely chopped
      1 celery stalk, finely chopped
      3 cloves garlic
      400g tin of tomatoes
      1/2 tsp maple syrup (or other sweetener)
      1/2 tsp sea salt

      Remaining ingredients:
      1 cup dried breadcrumbs*
      1/2 cup rice crumbs*
      1/2 cup ground almonds
      1/2 cup ground cashews
      1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried herbs)
      1 tbsp lemon juice (a good squeeze)
      1 egg*
      1/2 to 1 tsp salt
      freshly ground black pepper

      Preheat oven to 180 C.  Grease and line a loaf tin.

      Make tomato sauce:  Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Fry onions, beetroot and celery for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.  Stir in the garlic and fry about a minute.  Add tomatoes, maple syrup and sea salt.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.  The sauce should be thick and the beetroot will be soft when cooked.

      While tomato sauce cooks, prepare the rest of the ingredients.  When the tomato sauce is ready mix with remaining ingredients - I did this in the saucepan but you could do it in a mixing bowl if you prefer.  It will be quite a thick mixture.  Tip ingredients into prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 50 minutes.  If the top starts to brown too much cover with foil (mine was uncovered).  Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes before turning out and slicing.  Leftovers can be wrapped in foil in the fridge and reheated in the oven

      * NOTES: You could use some precooked tomato sauce with vegies of choice, though it should be quite thick so you might need to boil it down.  For the breadcrumbs and rice crumbs you can substitute other grains or flours.  I used a mixture of coconut flour, besan, gomasio and rice crumbs.  You could also substitute a flax egg or chia seed egg for the egg (about 1 tbsp ground seeds with 3 tbsp water) to make it vegan.  As with all nut roasts, the possibilities for substitutions are endless.

      On the stereo:
      Super Trouper: ABBA

      Posted March 29, 2014 12:10 PM by Johanna GGG

      March 28, 2014

      Ballroom Blintz

      Stuffed Tiny Pumpkin Perfect For One

      My mother is quite the vegetable grower, and alongside all the kale, rhubarb and tomatoes that I keep pilfering from her garden, she recently gave me a teeny tiny pumpkin. I initially wasn’t quite sure what to do with it (boil it? Mash it? Stick it in a stew? Hang on, wrong vegetable), it was such a pretty wee thing that chopping it up as a component in a dish seemed like it would be an insult. But then I thought “well, if you can stuff a big pumpkin then you can also stuff a mini one,” did some research, smushed a bunch of different recipes together and devised the perfect stuffed mini pumpkin for one. The best thing is that it’s that kind of recipe I love, the ‘shove in whatever you have handy’ kind, so you can mix up the ingredients list depending on what you have in your pantry.


      • 1 tiny pumpkin
      • 1/2 wholemeal English muffin (or whatever fresh breadcrumb is handy for you)
      • 1/4 small green capsicum
      • 1/3 small zucchini
      • 4-5 mushrooms (any kind – I used shiitake)
      • grated cheese, to taste (whatever you have – I used a mix of cheddar and parmesan)
      • thickened cream
      • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
      • 4 fresh sage leaves (obvs. if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand use the dried equivalent)

      1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a tray with baking paper.

      2. Take your wee pumpkin and cut a circular lid into the top around the stem (be careful! Use a sharp knife, as pumpkin skin is quite tough, and be slow and deliberate about it). Get a spoon and scoop out all the seeds and slimy membraney insides. Put the now disemboweled pumpkin on your baking tray, lid off.

      3. Chop up the mushrooms, zucchini and capsicum into tiny little diced pieces. Crumble up the half of the English muffin into course breadcrumbs, and put in a bowl with the diced vegetables. Chop up the herbs, add to the bowl. Grate your cheeses, when you feel you have enough, add to the bowl (warning: what you think will be enough cheese will never enough; add some more. Yes, even more). Mix together all the things in the bowl so they’re nicely combined. You have stuffing now!

      4. Take your bowl of stuffing and fill the cavity of the pumpkin. Pack it in there. Once it’s filled to about an inch or two from the top, pour over the cream. It should sink throughout the the stuffing, but if you want to give it a hand in mixing it through a little, do so. Don’t overfill, as you need to make sure you can put the pumpkin’s lid back on for baking. Crack some black pepper and salt over the filling, for good measure.

      5. Pop the lid back on the pumpkin, and put it in the oven. Cook for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes until you can pierce the pumpkin with a wooden skewer and it goes through easily and cleanly.

      2014-03-25 20.37.47

      And there you go, you made a tiny delicious pumpkin! Get a fork, get a glass of wine, pop the lid off and get a whiff of the lovely pumpkiny smell. Pull away the soft orange flesh from the walls of the pumpkin and mix it through the creamy vegetables, and feel the contentment start to sing through your bones. You’ve done good.

      Posted March 28, 2014 10:02 AM

      March 27, 2014

      Green Gourmet Giraffe

      Trotters: Carlton cafe

      Did I ever tell you about the time I won a poetry competition at my college and won dinner for two to Trotters!  That was a long time ago.  Trotters has been a fixture in Carlton's Lygon Street since I can remember.  I have fallen in and out of love with it a few times over the years.  I've been there a couple of times lately for enjoyable dinners.

      Trotters was always a poky place with a soup, quiche and salad sort of menu. It always seemed more vegetarian-friendly than a lot of the Italian restaurants nearby.  The cafe was small and crowded in a little terraced building with an upstairs.  Recently it has expanded into the next door building and feels far more spacious.  I don't know if the old signs were always on the walls but I really like that ambiance they create.

      It is close to the Cinema Nova so I have been there after the cinema a few times recently.  Last year I ate at Trotters after seeing Enough Said with my friend Heather.  I had eaten a light meal before the film so I ordered two sides: polenta chips with chilli aioli and sauted seasonal greens with shaved parmesan.  I loved the crispy polenta chips and the aioli bu wasn't sure what to do with the shaved parmesan on it.  The broccolini was exactly what I needed, though again I didn't quite need so much parmesan.

      Heather had the house-made pan-fried gnocchi with roasted butternut pumpkin, baby spinach and pinenuts, drizzled with burnt sage butter.  She enjoyed this.  I tasted it and decided I must order it some time.  (Update April 2014: went to Trotters again and ordered the gnocchi - it was lovely and light and delicious.)

      Trotters offers some standard vegetarian meals: the vegetarian burger, a risotto and eggplant parmigiana.  It is the sort of choices that I can find comforting or boring depending on my mood.  However it appeals more than some of the other offerings on Lygon Street.

      The real disappointment at Trotters was the dessert.  There is no appealing chocolate option.  We decided to share the apple crumble with ice cream.  The crumble was nice but a bit on the dry side and really needed the ice cream.

      My other recent visit was early in the year when E and I went to see Inside Llewyn Davis.  We went for the pizza menu and I would definitely recommend this.  The hand stretched organic spelt pizzas seem a tad more modern and exciting than the rest of the menu.

      I had the Ortolana pizza, which came with tomato, mozzarella, zucchini, capsicum, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and provolone.  Roast vegies can be done really badly on a pizza but this was excellent.  The base was thin but satisfying (and not baked to a crisp like a recent pizza I had a pub)!  E ate the outside first in case he was full but I really loved the crust.  It was filling enough that I couldn't finish mine.  E thought the spelt base was lighter than regular pizza bases.

      Trotters is one of the cafes on Lygon Street that makes me feel nostalgic for times when I spent so much more time in that area and a little pleased it is still going strong.  I have really missed the Vina Bar ever since it shut (despite great other cafes nearby).  However its Vietnamese cuisine sat a bit oddly in the Italian strip of cafes.  Trotters seems the perfect cafe for Lygon Street.  A little bit student chic, a little Italian, a little modern and generally good food.  Now if only I could still write the sort of poetry that would win me a meal there.

      400 Lygon Street, Carlton
      Tel: 03 9347 5657

      Trotters on Urbanspoon

      Posted March 27, 2014 09:59 PM by Johanna GGG


      Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, 2014

      Yesterday my mum and I went to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.  Mum loves all things flowers and gardens so off we went.  Our plan was to spend a few hours there, then walk down to Shakahari in Carlton for lunch but alas, time flew too quickly as we tiptoed through the tulips (remember: I was told I looked like Tiny Tim when I was young…. tiptoeing through tulips has been traumatic ever since) and we had to leave at 2pm.  As expected, there were zero vegan food options from the food outlets that were set up so I took along some chia muffins that kept me full.  There was a place serving soups and perhaps may have been vegan but I wasn’t in a soup mood so I didn’t bother asking.

      This is mostly a photo heavy post.  It was a lovely sunny day and I was so pleased to see leaves are already changing colour because I love autumn.  The event was held at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton gardens:









      I loved this hanging basket full of herbs n stuff.  I’ve been playing around with ideas for my own herb garden but I might go hanging baskets instead:







      This was my favourite.  I wanted to steal it:








      My kind of Easter egg:







      We walked around for hours admiring so much beautiful stuff.  I bought some some plant based soaps (five decent sized bars for $15) made with sustainable palm oil.  I also bought some lavender that can be used in cooking.  Mum bought a few plant cuttings.  She had a good day and got to meet one of the presenters (Jason, who does the landscaping) from Better Homes and Gardens.  I took a photo, I think she’ll make it her desktop wallpaper now.


      The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on until March 30th. Vegans: take your own snacks!  http://melbflowershow.com.au/

      Posted March 27, 2014 02:36 PM

      Consuming Cate

      Is Mr Pablo coming to Germany?

      A lot of people have been asking me lately if we are taking Mr Pablo to Leipzig with us. The answer is, of course! We're in the middle of the process right now. He had his rabies vaccination this morning and a new microchip as his old one of 17 years is obsolete.  Once we move I'll write a bit about our experiences and how to move a cat from Australia to Europe.

      Posted March 27, 2014 01:12 PM by Cate

      where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

      Stealthy yellow couscous

      March 25, 2014

      This dish's monochromatic tones belie its varied textures and flavours. Once your eyes adjust to the yellow you might notice turmeric-tinted couscous, soft chickpeas, golden almond flakes, dried apricot gems and sliced savoury sausage. You'd have to dig in for a taste to pick up the garlic, paprika and lemon.

      Unusually, my feature need-to-use-this-up ingredient of the night was a jar of homemade vegetable stock. But I had almost everything else for Veggie num num's recipe in the pantry and the herb garden too - I needed only to jot the chickpeas and sausages onto my shopping list. With a little preparatory measuring and chopping this comes together very easily; without it there's a risk you'll get caught with spices and/or garlic burning in a frypan while you mince that last clove and drain the chickpeas. (Ahem.)

      There's not a lot of fresh vegetable matter here so I'd recommend a big green side salad before calling this a meal. Alternatively you could break up the shades of yellow by tossing in some spinach, capsicum and tomato.

      Stealthy yellow couscous
      (slightly adapted from Veggie num num)

      1 1/2 cups couscous
      2 cups vegetable stock
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1 teaspoon turmeric
      1/2 teaspoon paprika
      1/2 teaspoon cardamom
      1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained (could be reduced to 1)
      1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
      1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped (I'd use more next time)
      1 wedge preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin finely chopped
      1 lemon, zest & juice
      1/4 cup flaked almonds
      300g veg*n sausages
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      salt and pepper

      Place the couscous in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the stock into a small saucepan on medium heat. When the stock is hot, pour three-quarters of it over the couscous and stir it all a little with a fork. The couscous should absorb the liquid is just a few minutes.

      Make sure all the ingredients are ready to go: mince the garlic, measure out the spices, drain the chickpeas, dice the apricots, parsley and preserved lemon, zest and juice the fresh lemon.

      Dry-roast the almonds in a large frypan, being careful not to burn them. When they're golden and fragrant, set them aside in a bowl then return the frypan to the heat.

      Fry the sausages until they're crisp and golden, then remove them from the pan and slice them diagonally.

      Return the pan to a lower heat, and warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in it. Add the spices and cook them for about a minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chickpeas and remaining stock to the pan, bringing it to the boil and evaporating off some of the liquid. Add the apricots and preserved lemon to the pan, then after another couple of minutes stir through the sausage slices. Remove it all from the heat and set it aside a moment.

      Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Pour in the lemon juice and remaining olive oil and stir it through. Fold in the lemon zest, parsley and almonds. Sprinkle over lots of salt and pepper. Fold in the sausage and chickpea mixture and serve.

      Posted March 27, 2014 08:02 AM by Cindy

      quinces and kale

      autumn in my garden

      last of the tomatoes

      It’s autumn where I live and this is the time of year when the last harvesting of the summer vegetables finishes. I’ve spent a good part of the morning pulling up the tomato plants and stripping the ripe ones off and hanging up the plants to encourage the masses of green ones to ripen. Fingers crossed. I’m also picking the last of the eggplant and capsicums and pulling out the corn. I also found one purple carrot. :)

      Next comes the hard prep work on the beds for the winter crops. I’ll be shovelling compost and mulch to get ready for planting the peas, spinach, kale, silver beet, lettuces, broad beans, onions, garlic and carrots.

      I love my fruit and veggie garden. It was once a normal, lawn and shrub backyard, but when I was recuperating for six weeks after an operation four years ago, I started making plans for a productive fruit and vegetable garden. It has 5 large and 2 small raised beds as well as an arbour for grape vines and berries and espaliered, mostly dwarf, fruit trees. In summer I eat almost exclusively from the garden.

      I have three chickens in my garden. They have a large run at the back and two long narrower ones down each side under the apple, pear, cherry, quince, avocado and apricot trees,  a rampant passionfruit vine and a large peach tree. In case you’re wondering, I had the chickens before I was vegan, no I don’t eat the eggs, I give them to non-vegan neighbours and friends who would otherwise buy allegedly ‘free range’ eggs. My neighbours bring around their food scraps and other treats for them and the closest ones toss their weeds over the fence. I think the girls live pretty happy lives. I can’t imagine the garden without them, and when they pass on I know I’ll be getting some rescue hens. They’re a highlight of my small bit of the street, with kids from across the road visiting to see them, and my neighbours enjoying the sounds they make.

      This time of year is probably the girls’ favourite. All that soil activity and weeding provides lots of interest and excitement for Blanche, Betty and Beryl. They’re enormously helpful. I love the excited sounds they make while they are industriously scratching the soil and calling out.

      I’d better get back to it, they are waiting for me to throw more weeds and squashed tomatoes to them…

      Here are some photos of the garden and the girls.


      I have seven raised beds, espaliered fruit trees and a grape and berry arbour

      garden stripped bare


      Betty checking out the apples…

      betty checking out the bugs on the apples


      Beryl showing her best profile

      beryl the chook


      Patsy the cat looking decorative

      patsy helping


      Beryl, Betty and Blanche under the cherry tree and behind the raspberries (which they will eat if they can reach them!)

      betty, beryl, blanche 

      Tomatoes – last ditch ripening efforts and a sad, moth eaten kale plant that needs to be replaced

      hanging tomatoes


      Here is the garden in its summer glory…something to look forward to!


      peaches on tree


      zucchini and corn
      zucchini in the garden

      Posted March 27, 2014 07:55 AM


      Vegan Black Metal Chef, Isa Chandra M, Terry Hope R and dinner at the Corner Hotel in Richmond!

      Plenty of vegans around the country are super pleased right now because we have just been bombarded with vegan chef amazingness.  All in the form of Vegan Black Metal Chef, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  In fact, some interstate vegans are super pleased enough that they traveled to Melbourne for tonight’s vegan cooking demonstration and Q&A, held at the Corner Hotel in Richmond.



      I rocked up on my own and because I was way early, I decided to get a meal there at the Corner Hotel.  To be honest nothing on their online menu really appealed to me but I grabbed a menu from the bar anyway.  I’m so glad I did (I had been thinking of walking around a bit to find something), because there was this fantastic vegan menu for the night (I think it was just for tonight, that’s what I overheard someone saying).

      Straight away, one meal jumped out at me: the roast vegetable soba bowl.  The description to me seemed like they were making Isa’s exact recipe from Isa Does It.  This really appealed to me because I have made it before but mixed up ingredients and it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Purely my fault of course.  Anyway, I figured that if this indeed was Isa’s recipe, then I best try it because it was made by a real live proper chef person.  The other options were a black eyed pea burger with mango salsa and wedges; vegan Southern style fried chicken and a vegan shepherd’s pie.

      You guys.  I am SO GLAD I chose this.  The dressing sauce was fantastic and I think… I think I now love the miso-tahini combination.  I neverrrr thought I’d be saying that, not this year at least. Previously, the miso-tahini combination kinda brought on the vommies a little. As soon as I go and buy some cauliflower, I’ll be making this following Isa Does It exactly:



      After hanging out taking my time reading newspapers and stuff, I noticed people going up to Isa and Terry to sign their books.  Isa and Terry were a few tables away and I talked myself out of asking them to sign.  Because having social anxiety can really suck.  But I had taken along Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, hoping to get them signed for DeeW and Arthur respectively seeing as they looove those books.  When I finally did go up, Terry wasn’t there but Isa kindly signed the books for my vegan cupcake lovin’ cookie scoffin’ kids.  My claim to fame for the night is that I was the only person in the audience to have visited Omaha, where Isa now lives and will be opening her restaurant.


      Once inside, the stage was set up for Black Metal Chef who was up first.  I feel like such a dork now, because I’m not sure if I correctly remember what everyone cooked!  Black Metal Chef made a spinach potato curry, followed by a dish with udon noodles, seitan, mushrooms and capsicum:


      Yes, he really does cut with this:


      Please forgive the crappy quality of my photos, by the way.


      VBMC signed my guitar pick and took a photo with me.  The photo was for Arthur, he really likes watching VBMC’s videos.  Then Arthur walks around in a deep scary voice saying stuff like “Mummy… cook the tofu… be careful not to burn it…”:


      Terry Hope Romero was up next, making a lovely sounding cashew dressing for her to-be-released-soon cookbook called Salad Samurai.  She also cooked up some tofu which smelled amazing.  I had a seat front and centre, best spot in the house:




      Isa made her red pepper Mac and Cheese recipe, one I am determined to make very very soon.  She also made some breaded tofu which was torture, because by that time I was getting hungry again and the divine smells weren’t helping:




      I had a great night, got that ooooh lovely bass-pumping-out-of-your-chest from the live music, and of course I got to meet Isa and Black Metal Chef (not Terry, waaaah).  I’d say I did pretty well!



      Sliiiight skinnying of the arms…

      Posted March 27, 2014 01:43 AM

      March 26, 2014

      Little Vegan Bear

      Berrissimo (for the last time)

      Bummer to hear that Berrissimo has closed up shop.

      And just when I started enjoying it!

      Well, I sort of enjoyed it the first time but not as much as I had hoped I would. Yet Billy and I popped in last week to give it another go, this time opting to share a small one between us.

      They had some different vegan flavours on offer this time – I think these were peach and strawberry, with those little delicious popping balls and some kind of truffle-y thing. And gosh darnit, they were delicious! Last time we couldn’t eat it all, this time we couldn’t get enough. So fruity, fresh and delicious.

      Oh well, hopefully something wonderful will take its place.

      Berrissimo CLOSED
      2/360 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
      Mon-Thurs – 1pm-9.30pm
      Fri – 1pm-10.30pm
      Sat – 12pm-10.30pm
      Sun – 12pm-9.30pm

      Posted March 26, 2014 10:46 PM

      Vegan Bullsh*t



      The last month has been stupid. I've been under the weather more often than not and crazy busy on top of it, but here's some things I've been eating.

      Raw passionfruit cheesecake from Naked Treaties. This is RIDICULOUSLY good raw cheesecake.. possibly better than Yong's and Pana's. Snagged it from Habib's in Flinders Street, $7.50. (Shitty train station picture because it didn't last the whole way home.)

      Made dumplings! These are tofu, spinach, grated carrot with a soy-ginger-sesame marinade, with a whole lot of sesame seeds mixed in. They fried beautifully and were super tasty. I enjoy making dumplings far more when I make the dough myself; it takes about two seconds and not having to endure the nasty flour-residue hands makes it far more pleasant.

      Tried the alternate non-spicy dish in Gong De Lin's Scoopon banquet: mushroom and bamboo shoot (I think) in a savoury sauce. Simple but I really enjoyed it, the texture was really interesting. I am not a mushroom person, so every dish where I genuinely enjoy a mushroom always surprises me. 

      Berrissimo! Watermelon fro-yo with lychee and strawberry pearls. Didn't really like the watermelon - it was slightly artificially strange. 
      Cruelty Free Shop's opening weekend, grabbed a few little things. That Vanoffe chocolate is insane. It tastes like Dairy Milk but in a healthy kind of way. I also snagged a block of Loving Earth's new caramel chocolate at Go Vita, which I am a bit obsessed with - it's so melty and sweet, like eating fudge but you don't get a stomachache or a sugar overload. Has anyone else tried it?

      Divine Realm, formerly Chan House - this is their "roast chicken rice", $8. Crispy, salty fried chicken, lemongrass fried rice, sweet chilli vegies and fried tofu skin. For eight bucks this is an awesome lunch, and so pretty! They're also doing these ridiculous flavoured 'prawn' chips in carrot and mushroom that are really tasty, $3/bag and so worth it.

      Wonton soup at Loving Hut Northcote. There was something a little offputting about the wontons themselves (slightly grainy? like underprocessed nuts? type filling) but the light broth, veggies and fried tofu were lovely. $12.

      Fried chicken! I was stupidly hyped for this but I really think it needed more salt. Grease without salt just makes me feel a bit sicky - didn't feel all that great after eating these. Sadfase. Definitely better mock meat options in Melb. $15

      Custard tart, made according to an old-school Women's Weekly book recipe by my mother but using Well and Good's amazing custard powder that sets perfectly with no heat. This tastes like a suburban bakery from my childhood, in a really good way - simple therapeutic food, and I was sad when we ate it all.

      Lychee jelly from the local Afghan supermarket. It's made with carrageenan and still has that glorious jelly-wobble unlike agar.. in reality it's completely transparent, so I really could have chosen a better bowl. Still pretty good jelly - it'd be fantastic to suspend fruit in.

      More actual food posts soon!

      Posted March 26, 2014 05:47 PM by L