October 07, 2015


Week In Review

This is a many-weeks-in-review as I’ve slacked off a bit with these. I had planned on a weekly series but with Mofo especially for all of last month, I just kinda kept forgetting about it! First up, enter my giveaways! Australian readers, you have a couple days left to enter my giveaway (four packets of...
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Posted October 07, 2015 11:04 AM

October 06, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Strawberry & rose sundaes

October 1-2, 2015

When a date for our most recent Ottolenghi feast was announced, I swiftly staked a claim on dessert. Promising icecream served my cause well. There was still the matter of which icecream. In addition to the rich halva sundae from Plenty More (bzzzzt - already done) there are several online options, from a dense rocky road experience to a tropical coconut scoop served with roasted pineapple in the new NOPI book.

Ultimately, I leaned on those gorgeous strawberries doing the rounds right now. They're the major component of NOPI's strawberry and rose mess, blended up into a sorbet and also diced up fresh. Then there's a cacophony of sweet, sour, perfumed, creamy and crunchy supplied by mascarpone and crème fraîche, pomegranate seeds and syrups, meringues and dried rose petals.

The flavours and textures in my version were flawed but forgiving. The cream and the syrup were very runny, and didn't taste much of the rosewater or sumac they made use of. I seized on  Ottolenghi's permission to buy ready-made meringues, and they were homogeneously, crisply dry. The sorbet was soft and frothy (I credit the corn syrup) and quick to melt. It mattered little, with everyone eagerly spooning into their share, saving the sorbet from its impending liquid doom. I took only my coveted new jar of dried rose petals home with me.

I can imagine making the strawberry sorbet, and perhaps even the entire dessert, again. It's pretty and tasty and flexible, and it survived half an hour's travel by bike. It could even be the recipe that inspires me to try aquafaba meringue-making as I attempt a vegan version.

Strawberry & rose sundaes
(slightly adapted from a Yotam Ottolenghi & Ramael Scully recipe
published in the Guardian)

strawberry sorbet
200g strawberries
1/4 cup water
40g caster sugar
40g icing sugar
30g corn syrup/liquid glucose

creamy layer
200g mascarpone
340g crème fraîche
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 teaspoons rosewater

2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon sumac

macerated strawberries
200g strawberries
2 teaspoons icing sugar

45g meringues
1 pomegranate
2 teaspoons dried rose petals

Prepare the sorbet a day in advance. Wash and hull the strawberries, then blend them to a smooth puree. Pour them into a small-medium saucepan and add all the remaining sorbet ingredients. Stir them over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool a while on the bench, then refrigerate it to chill completely. Churn the sorbet in an icecream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the icecream to a container and freeze it completely, at least 4 hours.

Make the creamy layer by whisking together the mascarpone and crème fraîche in a bowl. Sift over the icing sugar and stir it in too. Whisk in the rosewater, then refrigerate the mixture until it's time to serve the dessert.

For the syrup, place the boiling water and sugar in a glass jar and swish them around until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pomegranate molasses and sumac, and whisk or shake everything together until well combined. Set the syrup aside until serving time.

Macerate the strawberries by washing and hulling them. Sift over the icing sugar and stir it through the strawberries. Allow them to sit for at least 15 minutes, until they're bright and glossy.

Remove the seeds from the pomegranate by whatever means works for you - I tend to tear at it over a bowl of water and discard the pith and membrane as I go.

Assembly will take about 5 minutes before serving. Divide the creamy mixture evenly among 6-8 glasses or bowls. Drop in the strawberries. Gently place a scoop of sorbet in each dish. Break up the meringues and arrange them in each glass. Drizzle over some syrup. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and dried rose petals. Done!

Posted October 06, 2015 05:48 PM by Cindy

Vegetarian Life Australia

Vincent’s Vegetarian Food Mart, Footscray

I’ve lived in Melbourne for 22 years and am embarrassed to admit I had never visited Footscray until last weekend.

Saturday was a hot and steamy day and the fragrant smell of Asian fruit permeated the air from the moment we stepped into the huge indoor produce market that the suburb is most famous for. The stalls were heaving with amazing fruit and veg and the aisles were bustling with busy shoppers. I felt like I’d stepped into a small corner of Asia.

We stopped at one of the many restaurants that line the streets outside the market for lunch. Hao Phong’s treated us with some delicious rice paper rolls stuffed with noodles, veg and hot mint with a yummy chili satay dipping sauce, followed by a substantial dish of rice noodles with mixed veg and bean curd. Tasty and cheap.

Inside Hao Phong, 136 Hopkins St, Footscray

Inside Hao Phong, 136 Hopkins St, Footscray

Delicious rice paper rolls with hot mint

Delicious rice paper rolls with hot mint

Rice noodles with veg and bean curd

Rice noodles with veg and bean curd

It made my day complete when I remembered that Vincent’s Vegetarian Food Mart was in Footscray. I’ve wanted to go there for years and just never seem to be in the area. A solid 20 minutes spent perusing the small but very full store resulted in a large haul of interesting goodies, most of which I hadn’t seen anywhere else before. My docket read something like this:

Vegetarian crispy chicken
Vegan satay skewers
Mini vegetable buns
Vegetarian peanut buns
Vegan satay sauce powder
Vegan nasi biryani spice mix
Dong shang sesame seaweed
Mango pudding powder
Vegan fish sauce
Toffuti better ricotta cheese
Vegetarian mushroom tom yam noodles
Vegetarian penang prawn noodles

Vincent's Vegetarian Food Mart

Vincent’s Vegetarian Food Mart

Inside Vincent's

Inside Vincent’s

My selection of goodies from Vincent's

My selection of goodies from Vincent’s

“Thanks Vincent’s, this lot should keep me going for a while, but I have a feeling I’ll come back and visit you again soon anyway :)”

Posted October 06, 2015 01:13 PM

October 05, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Saff's Cafe, Castlemaine

So we are back from our trip to Echuca.  The suitcases are unpacked.  A couple of loads of washing have been dried on the line and put away.  And today we even washed the car.  All the remains to be done is upload a few posts on the holiday.  Starting with our lunch stop at Castlemaine en route to Echuca.  This was possibly the best cafe of the holiday.

 Firstly we admired the buildings of Castlemaine in the glorious sunshine.

Well actually we firstly confused Chewton for Castlemaine, then I tried to take E to another place that I swore said Restaurant and Barn but it turns out that it said Restorer's Barn.  Finally we found Saff's Cafe.

It was just our sort of place.  Street art.  Some historic touches.  I particularly loved the old faded signs on the facade that were a reminder it was once a building that sold ploughs, horse nails and fencing wire.  The mural on the side was delightful and humourous.  The backyard was a joy to look at through the french doors.

I chose the red lentil burger in Turkish bread with tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, relish and yoghurt.  It was really soft when I cut the huge burger in half.  But very good and interesting to have the relish and yoghurt come on the side.  Sylvia had the small bowl of fries.  I was really pleased we didn't order a large bowl. There were heaps and they were very good.  Hot and crisp.  E had a very substantial egg and bacon sandwich.

I was very full but I still wanted dessert.  The baked blueberry cheesecake was calling my name.  Fortunately there was only a small slice left (and we received a discounted price).  E and I shared it and it was delicious.  Really dense cheesecake with lots of fruit, albeit a bit jellied.

Sylvia insisted on a slice of lemon tart.  Then she barely touched it.  Fortunately E was at hand to help out.  He enjoyed it.  I have so little desire for lemon tart that I didn't bother having a bite but that is a personal preference.

And just to proove that we had chosen well, the place was quite full. 

Sylvia did a little happy dance and then we left.

We couldn't leave Castlemaine without some time in a bookshop.  Stoneman's Book Room was fantastic and we could have spent hours there.  Our fleeting visit to Castlemaine was enough to convince us we should head back some time.

Saff's Cafe
64 Mostyn St, Castlemaine, VIC
(03) 5470 6722
Facebook page

Saffs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted October 05, 2015 10:20 PM by Johanna GGG

quinces and kale

carrot and beetroot salad with garlic and dill vinaigrette

carrot and beetroot salad

After my few months of Smith & Deli sandwich consumption, I need to get back to some lighter eating. The weather has warmed up so it seems right for salads to make a big comeback in my diet.

This one I discovered at a dinner at my sister’s a few months ago. I’ve been meaning to make it since. It is a simple grated carrot and beetroot salad with a garlicky vinaigrette dill dressing.

I was clearing the garden beds for the spring planting and removed the last of the carrots and beetroot and this salad immediately came to mind. The carrots are some beautiful heirloom ones, purple on the outside and orange inside.

beetroot and carrots

It is a combination of sweet, earthy and bright flavours and much more than the sum of its parts. The dill really makes it.

It’s such a delicious and beautiful way to eat your veggies.


carrot and beetroot salad with garlic and dill vinaigrette
prep time
10 mins
total time
10 mins
author: quincesandkale
recipe type: salad
cuisine: vegan
serves: 2
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and grated
  • 1 medium beetroot peeled and grated
  • 1 serve of vinaigrette recipe here made with ½ clove of crushed garlic
  • 2 tbs finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs chopped dill fronds
  1. Combine the vegetables and herbs in a bowl. Add as much of the vinaigrette as you like and toss.




Posted October 05, 2015 09:00 AM

October 04, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Spring Salad

September 2, 2015

September saw the fifth meeting of our Ottolenghi potluck gang after a few months off, with a vaguely spring-themed dinner to take advantage of Victoria's newest public holiday. (The wonders of our previous meals can be seen in various degrees of blurriness here, here, here and here.)

As always it was an incredible spread, featuring stuffed onions, muhammara, stuffed peppers, rosemary savoury bread pudding, carrot & mungbean salad, green salad plus the spring salad featured in this post and an incredible dessert that Cindy will post about in a day or two.

I was inspired by Melbourne's burst of warm weather to go for a very spring-themed dish, a simple salad making use of asparagus and broad beans that are both at their peak right now. I altered a couple of things, frying the shallot gently rather than using it raw and bafflingly failing to buy nigella seeds. It was reasonably straightforward by Ottolenghi standards and added some freshness and variety to our meal - the sesame oil was pretty dominant flavour-wise, so you might consider going a bit heavier on the lemon juice and chilli.

Ottolenghi has many show-stopping salads, and this is a more unassuming effort - it's a worthy contribution to a big table of food, but it's probably never going to be the star of the show.

Spring Salad
(very slightly adapted from a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More)

2 small bunches asparagus, trimmed and sliced at an angle into 4-5 pieces each
200g green beans, trimmed
300g broad beans (if you're using fresh, you'll need ~1.5kg of pods)
50g baby spinach leaves
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon black and white sesame seeds, toasted
(the original recipe also includes 1 teaspoon nigella seeds, which I forgot to include)

In a small frying pan heat up 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and fry the diced shallot for 5 minutes or so, until it's nicely softened. Set it aside for later.

Fill a bowl with iced water to cool the veggies once they're blanched.

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and throw in the asparagus, blanching for 3 minutes and then extracting them with a slotted spoon and dumping them in the iced water. Pop the beans in to blanch for 4 minutes and then throw them in the iced water as well. Add the broad beans into the boiling water and blanch them for 2 minutes and throw them in the cold water as well.

Drain the veggies and set the asparagus and beans aside to dry. Pop the broad beans out of their little protective shells and then combine them with the other veggies (including the spinach) in a large bowl.

Stir through the shallots, the chilli, sesame oil, the rest of the olive oil, the lemon juice, the sesame seeds and the salt and serve.

Posted October 04, 2015 07:19 PM by Michael

October 03, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

In My Kitchen - October 2015

We are back from our Echuca holiday with October heralding that Spring is well and truly here.  It is 30 C today.  Hot enough for suncream, for the garden to need watering and for our white cat to need to stay indoors.  My cooking mojo is low with the post holiday slump.  However term 4 starts next week.  Once we are all back to school, to work and into routine, I am sure more cooking will be happening here!  Meanwhile let's see what has been happening in my kitchen.

Recently, I made Mars Bar Slice.  It has been a long time since we indulged and how I missed this slice.  It was a wedding anniversary treat.  I used a mixture of milk and dark chocolate on top and managed to overcook the chocolate.  It still tasted great but the chocolate didn't look as glossy and smooth as it should.

I made these crackers with some leftover sun dried tomato butter from recipe testing.  The butter had been in the freezer for ages so it needed to be used.  I had about 1/2 cup of butter, added almond meal, wheatgerm and self raising flour until it got a little crumbly.  Then I added a tbsp or so of water until I could bring together and briefly knead into a ball.  Then I rolled it out and cut it into squares.  I baked it at 180 to 200 C until golden brown.  They were so good that I wished for a proper recipe.  They were short, a little crumbly and full of flavour.

This is my favourite eggflip (spatula).  It is made of melamine and I am very attached to it.  When it cracked I kept it.  E recently dropped it and one of the prongs has broken off but I have not yet had the heart to stop using it or throw it out.  I have one or two alternatives but I need to look out for another like this.

When I visited the new Coburg North Coles with E and Sylvia there was very little holding back in the chocolate aisle.  The banana jelly blast chocolate was disappointing because it was not terribly good milk chocolate and I didn't find any decent sized pieces of banana lollies that I had expected.  The grape twists were ok but I have always found grape flavour quite odd and overpowering ever since tasting hubba bubba grape bubble gum as a kid.  E took the orange chocolate to work and of the little chocolates I much preferred the jam doughnut one.  They had unexpected creamy fillings.

I was swayed by the combination of sesame, poppy, sunflower and mustard seeds in a rice cracker.  Just my sort of thing.  They were very lightly seasoned.  I thought it would be too many seeds for Sylvia but she enjoyed it just as much.

I bought a bag of sweet potatoes and baked them up with good intentions of making Kari's Stuffed sweet potaotes with tahini, sun dried tomatoes and paprika.  Time got away from me and I used them up in sandwiches, stews and pasta.

We had paper chains around the house from our Christmas in July lunch but when Spring arrived, we needed some decoration to welcome the warm weather and made these daffodils out of egg cartons, yellow paper and green pipe cleaners.  They are up around the loungeroom window but we need more so I consider it a work in progress.  As we haven't bought eggs for weeks I haven't had any cartons but now that a neighbour has given us some, we will need to make some more.

Once day I will write more about the amazing Smith and Deli but for now I will just share my Foghorn Legless sandwich with crumbed tempeh, facon, tomato, lettuce and dressing.  I was such a fan of a chicken schnitzel many years ago before I became vegetarian that I was really excited about this.  Until I found the crumbed tempeh was cold.  So I took it home, fried the tempeh and bacon, toasted the sandwich with some biocheese and it was really truly amazing!

This was a recent lunch.  Leftover beetroot stew (made with quinoa), toasted bread, and salted caramel popcorn.

I had lots of cheap strawberries before we headed off for holiday in Echuca.  I had a notion to make strawberry jam but I was too tired and many of the strawberries were past it.  However I made a simple strawberry sauce.  It was really good with yoghurt and muesli the next morning.  Sylvia had some with her ridiculously sweet three grain cereal.

We couldn't finish the sauce before our holiday so I mixed it with vanilla yoghurt and froze it.  Mixing strawberries and vanilla yoghurt has been a great way to save quite a bit of yoghurt and berries from the bin.  Most have gone into icy pole moulds and are a great healthy snack for Sylvia.

While on holiday in Echuca, E bought four different fudges.  (Jam doughnuts, chocolate and caramel, malteser and butterscotch.)  I think this is the reason that the packaged steamed puddings he bought were never used and still are sitting in our kitchen.  This fudge is so sweet but rather good.  We really enjoyed eating it on a seat in the Port of Echuca.

I couldn't resist this Victorian floral plate at one of the second hand shops in Echuca.  The shopkeeper estimated it came from the 1880s.  I'd love to know its story.

Finally here is some of my shopping from this morning at Preston Market.  As it is the school holidays, we don't have gymnastics this morning and I had a notion to go to a Farmers Market.  There were none near me that I could find online so I went to Preston Market instead.  It is a market I could probably get used to if I was a regular but as I have only been a couple of times before, I find it very overwhelming.  I did love the bread with its name on it though.  I came home with lots of lovely fruit and vegies which we need after being away.

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

Posted October 03, 2015 08:39 PM by Johanna GGG

October 02, 2015

Thoughts Of A Moni

Mission Red Quinoa and Chia Wraps and a Tempeh Stir Fry

This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Mission Foods

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had an aversion to sandwiches for lunch. They were so boring, usually went soggy because mum put tomato in them, and the biggest problem was probably that we never got nice bread, it was always the super processed stuff from the supermarket. All through primary school and high school I was always the daggy kid that brought her lunch in a container. Even when I didn’t have access to a microwave, I was much happier eating cold rice and curry than a soggy, squashed sandwich.

Fast forward a decade or two (jeez it has been a long time since I was at school), and my lunch world has changed. I still love leftover rice and curry, but there are so many other options that are available now.

I was recently sent some Mission Red Quinoa, and Chia wraps. Both quinoa and chia seeds have recently become very popular superfoods, and whilst I am usually skeptical of supposed health food fads, these grains really are quite good for you! Both grains originated in Central and South America and are integral to the diet there. Chia and quinoa clearly worked for the Aztecs and Incas because they did some pretty amazing things, namely Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu.

The Mission wraps take all the goodness of these superfoods and present them in a convenient wrap form. To me, usually wraps mean an extremely processed form of food, but these Mission wraps are all natural and contain no artificial colours or flavours. They are also a great source of fibre, omega 3 fats, calcium and protein, but most importantly they are soft and taste great.

What I like best about the wraps was the resealable pack. Make sure you don’t open them at the top, there is actually a sticky panel down the side that you can peel open, and then restick if you don’t need the whole pack. Brilliant!

I decided to try a couple of things with the wraps that would make delicious brunch or lunch recipes.

Firstly I made a brunch burrito. I am lucky enough to regularly receive some super free range duck eggs, and these eggs are amazing. The yolks are golden and so rich, and when scrambled they are simply delicious. I made some of these scrambled eggs, added some grated tasty cheese and some baby spinach. Dressed with some chipotle aioli, this made a perfect brunch burrito. Soft wraps, creamy eggs and oozey cheese make me very happy.

I also decided to make a tempeh stirfry to fill the wraps with for lunch. I had some tempeh in the freezer, and having never cooked with tempeh before, I decided that this was a good way to try and use it.

Tempeh Stirfry in Red Quinoa Wraps


200g frozen tempeh (you can use the plain or flavoured varieties), thawed and chopped into small cubes
2 carrots, julienned
1 capsicum, cut into thin strips
1/2 large eggplant, cut into small pieces
¼ bunch spring onion, chopped
Small knob ginger, chopped finely or grated
1 tbs soya sauce
1 tbs tomato sauce
8 Mission Red Quinoa Wraps


1.    Heat some oil in a large skillet or wok and fry the tempeh until it is golden.

2.    Add the ginger and fry it off.

3.    Next add the carrots and capsicum and toss through for a few minutes.

4.    Add the eggplant, and sauces and mix through. If the mixture seems a bit dry and is sticking to the pan, add a little water.

5.    Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for a few minutes.

6.    In the meantime, heat the wraps in the microwave. The wraps can be heated in the packet, just make sure to take out the little silicon pouch!

7.    Place the wraps on a plate, and fill with the stir fry mixture. Be careful not to be too greedy and overfill, otherwise you will end up with a big mess while eating!

8.    Wrap and eat!

The Mission Wraps are available at Woolworths and selected independent supermarkets for a RRP of $4.79. More information and other recipe ideas are available on the Mission Foods website.

Disclaimer: I received these products courtesy of Nuffnang and Mission Foods, however I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

Posted October 02, 2015 10:30 AM by Moni

October 01, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

September 27, 2015

Since we moved from Carlton to Brunswick a couple of years ago, there seems to have been a bit of a foodie renaissance around the Lygon/Elgin corner - there's Heart Attack & Vine (which we've at least managed to visit), Milk the Cow, Pidapipo, Nora, the fancying up of Percy's into The Roving Marrow  and today's topic, The Vertue of the Coffee Drink (those who favour simpler pleasures will be relieved to know that the trusty Intersection Cafe is holding its own among all these upmarket upstarts).

A couple of things to get out of the way. Firstly, the unwieldy (and frankly pretty terrible) name at least has a nice back-story, taken from an ad for London's first coffeehouse way back in 1652. Secondly, the location is as hilariously Melbourne as it could be - an old stable, down an unpromising alleyway lined with dumpsters beside a petrol station. It takes some finding.

Once you find the door, the atmosphere changes quickly from grimy and weird, to airy and lovely - lots of natural light, fancy coffee making equipment on display (they roast their own) and a tremendously alluring sweets cabinet (that we somehow resisted). The menu is at the unconventional spectrum, with ingredients like amaranth, thyme pastry and verbena buttermilk pudding dotted throughout. There are a couple of salads (heirloom veggies or amaranth & quiona) and an oat and coconut porridge that can be veganised, plus a few other veggie dishes.

I had an excellent flat white, while Cindy weighed up the dirty chai (chai with an espresso shot), but settled on the Mork hot chocolate ($4), which hit the spot (although nothing measures up to the Msr Truffe version they serve at East Elevation. They have lots of interesting coffee options on the drinks menu. Next time I'll try out the 'Coffee 3 Ways' - three different preparations of the same bean (espresso, long black and EK shot, $11).

Food-wise, I couldn't go past the chickpea chips, with poached eggs, charred zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan and baby basil ($18).

It always takes me a moment to readjust after someone serves up a savoury breakfast without toast - it's so standard that I don't even notice when there's no mention of it in the description of a dish. I didn't really miss it here though, with the crispy-on-the-outside chickpea chips absorbent enough to soak up the eggy bits. The zucchini and tomatoes were okay, but the chips and the eggs were the stars of this dish.

Cindy ordered the oat and coconut porridge, with goji berries, raspberry compote, toasted coconut, and cacao nibs ($14).

This was a visually stunning meal, with the mix of colours and shapes arranged on the plain porridge like some sort of abstract art.  It reminded Cindy of the high-end porridge she had at Pilgrim in Hobart, but fell a bit short of that standard - a bit more fruit would have helped to liven things up.

The Vertue of the Coffee Drink is a welcome addition to Carlton's breakfast scene - the menu is fresh and interesting, the food is prepared and presented beautifully, the coffee's great and the staff were friendly and effective. It's definitely at the more expensive/more pretentious end of the spectrum, but it does a decent job of delivering food that justifies the prices.
, with only Ichigo Shortcake being anything less than wowed. 
The Vertue of the Coffee Drink
8 Raffa Place, Carlton (tucked in beside the Shell service station on the corner of Lygon and Elgin)
8060 6987

Accessibility: Once you make your way down the little alley and find the cafe, it's super accessible - there's a flat entry, a reasonably spacious interior and fully accessible, unisex toilets.

Posted October 01, 2015 08:37 PM by Michael

September 30, 2015


Vegan Mofo 2015 #30: Fusion Challenge

Well now Marilla, this is a bit embarrassing. It’s the final day of Mofo and our prompt is Fusion Challenge! Aaaaand I didn’t have the time today to make one final Mofo dish. I had planned to make something with the Szechuan pepper I recently bought but didn’t get around to brainstorming ideas. And then...
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Posted September 30, 2015 09:42 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Street Art in Melbourne - Coburg II

I had a post on Street Art in Coburg late last year.  I continue to discover more art in the area so here we go again.  Above is on Reynard Street.

Artwork on Oxygen Youth Space in Gaffney Street, Coburg North.  Painted by Brent Watkins and Leith Dalton.

 SpongeBob SquarePants can be seen from the Upfield train line.  Sylvia loves this picture.

 Wheatpasting near Moreland Station.  E says it is based on Klimt's The Kiss.

I had a photo of the Little Free Library in my last Coburg Street Art post.  It has been expanded but since this photo, vandals have torched the yellow bookshelf! Some people are heartless!

 Superman on the Upfield train line!

More artwork along the Upfield train line.

I think this stencil was on High Street.

Interesting recycling artwork near the corner of Harding and Nicholson Streets and more down where Harding Street meets the Merri Creek bike path.

Batman on the Upfield train line. 

And knowing that Batman is in Coburg, our citizens can sleep safely in their beds.  Stay tuned for the next episode of Coburg Street Art.....

Posted September 30, 2015 08:38 PM by Johanna GGG


Review And Giveaway: The Plant-Based Journey By Lani Muelrath

This review includes a giveaway for readers in the US and Canada. Please read on! I’m very happy to be a stop on the blog tour for Lani Muelrath’s latest book, The Plant-Based Journey. Lani is an award winning teacher, speaker and mindful living and plant based lifestyle coach. Lani’s website and blog are great–...
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Posted September 30, 2015 04:28 PM

quinces and kale

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – the wrap up

S&D sandwich collage

Day 30.

What a pleasure it has been! Here I am a kilo or so heavier and my wallet is about the same amount lighter. Yarra Council has also done extremely well with parking fees.

I’ve eaten almost the entire sandwich list and quite a few other things besides. The pies, ready made meals and sweet things are great too.

It has been a lot of delicious fun. Many of the staff at the Deli knew me by name by a few days in, and knew of the project. They are all wonderful people. I had them make suggestions as to their favourites and the specials I should try.

The opinions are genuine, as they would be regardless of whether I paid or not. But in the interests of full disclosure I purchased all of the sandwiches except the final Home Alone. Mo wouldn’t let me pay for the final sandwich, she kindly gave it to me as a gift for finishing the project.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this very personal guide to the sandwiches.  I have some well documented bigotry against pineapple in sandwiches, tempeh and savoury croissants. You may differ in your tastes, so don’t just take my word for it, go eat them yourself. It took me three months. :)

Here is a sandwich word cloud. The size of the words is based on my rankings.


Sandwiches I didn’t eat

  • Free Willy – it had a superior twin the Free Willy 2
  • Egg Salad – it had a superior twin Tim Curried Egg Salad
  • Piggy Bundy – it had a superior twin The Better Bundy
  • Nobody makes Friends with a Salad sandwich – meh, that includes me
  • Velvet Elvis – Just a cheese toastie
  • Hail Seitan! – pineapple in a sandwich, erk!
  • The Big Muff – it was no longer available

Biggest surprises…things that I didn’t think were going to blow me away but did

  • Free willy 2
  • Little Havana
  • The Wiggum
  • As-Salami-Lakum

Other stellar things I ate

  • A rose petal and persian fairy floss doughnut
  • Challah sticky buns
  • Croissants
  • Quince & Custard danish
  • Truffled Carbonara pasta sauce
  • Beef bourguignon pie
  • Chicken and bacon pie

And the winners are….
The whole list in my preferred order with links to the reviews


So that’s me signing out from #veganmofo 2015.

Thanks S&D! I’ll be back, but perhaps not quite as often! :)

Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065


corn vegan mofo logo


Posted September 30, 2015 10:00 AM

September 29, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Mango coconut splice jellies

September 25-26, 2015

I didn't eat many desserts, as such, on our holiday in Vietnam earlier this year. I did drink lots of sweet and colourful beverages, though, and I picked up a slim recipe book of Tropical Desserts at the airport with our last remaining dong. This jelly recipe is adapted from that book - the original includes veg-friendly agar-agar as the setting agent, but uses dairy cream for the white layer. Coconut cream was an easy substitute that readily took on a pandan infusion. I've had good and bad experiences with agar-agar, and this was definitely a good one. The jelly set hard and fast, creating neat mango and coconut layers that sliced smoothly and were firm enough to serve as finger food.

Served alongside Vietnamese-style coffees on soy condensed milk, they were the perfect end to an epic lunch. My holiday companions teamed up to concoct a cơm chay-style buffet of rice, mock meats, pickles, rolls, savoury doughnuts, and other assorted sprinklings. (Props to Vincent Vegetarian Food and Minh Phat for great supplies.) We had little trouble finding a dozen folks to help us eat it (and still, Michael and I face a week of makeshift banh mis stuffed with the leftovers). Lucky for us, there remains a small supply of the jellies to ration out too.

Mango coconut splice jellies
(adapted from Devagi Sanmugam's Tropical Desserts)

mango layer
300g mango flesh (I got mine from 1 1/2 small cans)
500mL syrup from canned mangos
2 tablespoons agar-agar powder
150g caster sugar
a drop of lemon essence

coconut layer
400mL can coconut cream
600mL water
2 tablespoons agar-agar powder
250g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 pandan leaves

Get out a large, rectangular tray to set the jelly in. Optionally spray it with oil to prevent sticking.

Blend together the mango and syrup until smooth.  Transfer them to a saucepan and stir in the agar-agar over medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boil, and stir it constantly for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and lemon essence until completed dissolved. Pour the mango jelly mixture into the tray and refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes.

Clean out the saucepan and use it to whisk together the coconut cream and water. Stir in the agar-agar powder, sugar and salt and set it over medium heat. Knot the pandan leaves and add them to the mixture to diffuse their flavour. Bring the mixture to the boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Discard the pandan leaves and pour the coconut mixture on top of the mango layer in the tray. Refrigerate the layered jelly for at least an hour before serving. Slice it into small squares.

Posted September 29, 2015 06:40 PM by Cindy


Vegan Mofo 2015 #29: Vegan Road Trip

Today’s Mofo prompt is What would you bring on a vegan road trip? Given the happy news (because I’m a nerd) I woke up to this morning, there’s only one destination for my road trip! Of course, I need a pilot: “No, Veganopoulous. We can’t sacrifice rocket fuel for more nooch.” And a happy co-pilot [edit:...
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Posted September 29, 2015 01:43 PM

September 28, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Nutella doughnuts in Coburg

Nutella doughnuts have arrived in the 'Burg.  (You might know it better as Coburg.)  Along Sydney Road, bakeries are adorned with signs that they are here.  Displays boast lines of plump sugary doughnuts with little nipples of nutella that are merely the tip of the iceberg.  Bite into one you will find generous veins of nutella within that oozes all over your lips.  Icing sugar flies over your clothes.  They are hard to eat neatly.  Even harder to resist!

Actually nutella doughnuts are not that new.  I discovered them a couple of months ago after reading about Melbourne's nutella craze leading to a temporary nutella shortage.  Once I tried more than one I found myself on a mission to taste all Coburg's doughnuts.  I never found a nutella doughnut I didn't love.  (Though it is different story in the city.)  I tried them at eight establishments.  More than I expected to find.  It is time to stop searching.

I have eaten them in the mall, on a park bench, in cafes, at home, in arcades.  My black jacket has seen enough icing sugar.  They are messy but oh so good.  Here is my round up, starting with my favourites:

Crystal Bakery
427 Sydney Road 

Crystal Bakery is a cheap high street bakery the is your place for soft white bread and cute doughnuts with sprinkles.  It comes top of my list.  It was here I first tasted the nutella doughnuts.  It was indecently early in the morning and they were so fresh and pillowy with a generous ooze that I fell in love.  I have had them from Crystal Bakery since and they are still soft and delicious though never quite as sublime (or as early in the day) as the first time.  They are also ridiculously cheap at $2.  They always have heaps at the start of the day but I have been there later in the day and found that they are sold out.

Candy Ink Cafe
53 Moreland Road

Another favourite is the Candy Ink doughnut.  This is a quirky cafe that offers coffee and tattoos.  Sylvia and I had one after lunch the other day.  She got nutella all over her face and couldn't finish it.  Mine was heated which just encouraged the ooze and made them amazing.  Really loved these and also love their nutella doughnut artwork. 

O'Heas Bakery and Deli
203-205 O'Hea Street

O'Heas is a bit fancier than other local bakeries with great sourdough breads and ciabattas.  Their nutella doughnuts are among my favourites.  Their doughnuts seem to have more nutella on top than most but like all doughnuts, there is an amazing amount inside.  They also seem to have icing sugar on the nutella, unlike most, which made me think it might be drier but it was pleasingly oozy.

Dat Thanh Bakery
389 Sydney Road

This is a favourite bakery of E and Sylvia's.  They refer to it as The Vietnamese Bakery and love the cinnamon doughnuts.  It is a similar sort of place to the Crystal Bakery and their doughnuts are also soft, delicious and cheap.  I managed to get a photo of the doughnut mid-ooze which is very hard when nutella doughnuts are so messy.

The Pie Place
Walkers Arcade, 471 Sydney Road

The Pie Place is a hole in the wall bakery in Walkers Arcade that, as the name suggests, specialises in pies.  It is not a great photo but believe me they are one of the good nutella doughnuts.  I confess that I was a bit emotional when I had this one as I discovered that my favourite hairdresser has left the salon where I have been going.  [Which is significant as it has taken me about eight years to finally find a favourite hairdresser so I don't come across them often.]

Trivelli Cake Shop
369 Sydney Road

Trivelli is an old fashioned family run Italian pasticceria with a faded shop front.  They offer cannoli impressive decorated cakes and gelati.  These were the first doughnuts that I encountered that had crystalised sugar rather than icing sugar on the outside.  I prefer the icing sugar but enjoyed the doughnuts.  Tivelli gets bonus points for having the option of small or large doughnuts.

Fergusson Plarre Bakehouse
495 Sydney Road

Fergusson Plarre is a bakery franchise that is presented in the style of a traditional Aussie country bakery with pies and pasties, fun decorated biscuits, slices and other baked goods.  It was dusted with crystalised sugar but it was particularly unusual in not having the nipple of nutella on top.  If eaten in isolation I would say it was lovely but compared to other local offerings it was smaller and more expensive and rated low for me.

Hangar Cafe
Coburg North Village, 180 Gaffney Street 

Hangar is your bog standard food hall cafe that is part of the "Coburg North Village" shopping centre around the new Coles supermarket.  This was my least favourite nutella doughnut.  It is just not my sort of cafe, service was a bit slower than I expected and the exterior of the doughnut was more chewy and fried than others I have tasted.  As with Fergusson Plarre, eaten in isolation I would have loved it but it pales in comparison.  Which just shows how spoilt we are in Coburg to have so many good nutella doughnuts that I can be so picky!

So there you have it.  Coburg really has been inundated with nutella doughnuts in all sorts of establishments.  Even with my love of them, I haven't been able to cover every cafe/bakery that sells them.  So the next time you walk into any bakery or cafe in Coburg, look around and don't be surprised if you see a nutella doughnut tempting you!

Posted September 28, 2015 10:32 PM by Johanna GGG


Review: Street Vegan By Adam Sobel

[image source: Penguin Random House] The Cinnamon Snail Food Truck from New York has a well deserved reputation for superamazing food. The first all-vegan all-organic food truck in the US, they’ve won awards, been featured twice on the front page of the New York Times dining section, received super accolades and moooore. Here in Melbourne, I’d...
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Posted September 28, 2015 07:49 PM

Vegan Mofo 2015 #28: Tacos VS Burritos

Today’s Mofo prompt is Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue? TEAM BURRITO. All the way! It’s like that one time when someone asked me “Team Edward or Team Jacob?” and I was all DUDE. I am TEAM CHARLIE. That’s how I feel about burritos. They’re a snug cosy blanket stuffed with...
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Posted September 28, 2015 01:44 PM

September 27, 2015


Vegan Mofo 2015 #27: Favourite Herb or Spice

Today’s Mofo prompt is Favourite Herb or Spice. Eaaaaasy! First up, cinnamon. There was a lot of cinnamon when I was growing up, in all those Greek sweets though I used to love it when we’d sprinkle cinnamon on the rice pudding my grandmother would make for us. Gotta admit though, I’m more a fan of...
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Posted September 27, 2015 05:04 PM

vegan about town

[wa] community gardening and vegie good times

On a really quick visit to Perth last week, and the highlight was probably visiting the community garden at my childhood church.

This used to be a whole lot of junky, empty land out behind the church. Pat, a member of the congregation, went to a Living Smart course - a course I used to facilitate (!!!), Living Smart is a series of workshops about living sustainably in your community in WA, and was designed by Earth Carers and is totally excellent. ANYWAY, during the course of the course, they all agreed that 'community gardens' was an essential component of supporting and growing one's community. And Pat was all 'we have this empty land, it could totally hold a garden', and this community garden was born.

I love this garden so much! It's maintained in conjunction with the Swan View Community Association, and uses this unused space, and builds community. The produce goes to another local church, who have a soup kitchen twice a week (though of course people working in the garden take some bits and pieces home). It has pushed this aging church community out into the wider community, and also brought some of the wider community into the church community. There's also some involvement with the local high school (Swan View Senior High). And it's so adorable, to see these people (and this building) that I've known since I was a wee penguin in a different light.

This photo to the right is my mum harvesting kale, a vegetable she's never before cooked. On the day I visited, they were having a sustainability fair as a part of Sustainable Open House Day. I'm actually having a word with them, because their sausage sizzle was Classic Bunnings (white bread, cheap meat sausages), and their crochet was Classic Church Fete (crocheted coat hangers and crocheted tissue boxes) and their apple pies were only $3, and I may not believe in their God but they are adorable and I definitely want them to make crochets that the hipsters would want to buy. ANYWAY, way adorable.

If you're a Perthie in the Greenmount/Swanview/Midland area, you can visit the garden on Tuesday mornings (and the church, Uniting, on Sundays at 9:30, if that's your jam).


The rest of my trip to Perth was mostly food. Visited Mt Lawley staple Veggie Mama for a delicious plate of curries and salads, and took myself out to breakfast at Swan Valley Cafe. Both are exclusively vegetarian. Swan Valley Cafe has always specialised in teas but has recently branched out to include matcha lattes, and it was a lovely one. My breakfast there was beans on toast - their bread is all gluten free, and really lovely, and the beans were EXCELLENT. There was zucchini and capsicum in them, and they were served on one trillion cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves, with lots of avocado. My only complaint was how quickly it went cold.

At Veggie Mama I always get the 'Mama's Curry' as one of my curries, with a beautiful creamy potato and fried tofu mix of amazingness, as well as whatever other curries catch my eye. Veggie Mama specialises in fresh juices and fantastic salads, and always has something interesting going on in the sweets department.

Good Perth times, except for the rain, what is UP with that. (Ans: climate change)

Veggie Mama
Cnr Beaufort + Vincent
Mount Lawley
Get there on any bus going along Beaufort Street to the city
There's a seated area that's accessible, but ordering takes place at a counter that's up a half-flight of stairs. Takes CC. Never been there at night but during the day it's so well lit.

Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe
990 Great Northern Highway
Get there in your automobile, and drink at some wineries on your way out again. Lots of ramp access, both into the restaurant and around to the garden in the back. CC available. Well lit and very quiet. Includes an attached tea shop and nursery.

Posted September 27, 2015 11:52 AM by steph

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


September 18-20, 2015

We ducked off to Lorne for a spring long-weekend, managing to luck out with a ridiculously lovely few days of sunshine. We spent most of the time wandering the beach and the lookout tracks, reading books and eating our way through some of the treats that the town has to offer. 

We stumbled across Mexican Republic (which strangely has no website - here's the Zomato page) on our walk up to our accommodation and headed back for an early dinner.

It's a cute little place with a handful of booths and a couple of outside tables. The menu is reasonably veg-friendly, although you'd need to ask for some alterations to get anything vegan. We kicked things off with a mojito ($15) and a citrus margarita ($12), which were boozy and refreshing. Cindy ordered one of the smokey bean tacos (with goats cheese, black beans, corn and smokey salsa, $8) alongside some charred street corn (butter, cheese, chipotle mayo and lime, $6). She was particularly impressed by the well-charred corn, while the $8 taco was a decent if expensive bite.

I ordered the smokey burrito (black beans, quinoa, guacamole, smokey tomato and corn salsa, goats cheese, cabbage, pickled onion and chipotle mayo, $16). Quinoa is kind of a weird burrito filling, but it does a good job of replacing the regular rice option while adding a bit of a crunchy texture. The rest of the fillings were decent as well, but it needed some hot sauce to liven things up a bit and was a bit over-priced at $16 (to be fair, everything seemed a little bit pricier in Lorne than in Melbourne).

We got up super early the next morning to check out the sunrise from Teddy's Lookout (photos in the slideshow below) and wandered down to the main street afterwards to scope out our brekkie options. The early crowds were at Moon's Espresso, and the menu was enticing enough to lure us in to join them.

The menu is pretty eggy - there is a simple toast dish with hummus, avo, basil and tomato ($14) that seemed vegan, but that was about it. I was starving and ordered the biggest dish I could - the Mushington D.C. - a brilliant combo of sauteed mushrooms with goats cheese, dukka, spinach and poached eggs on toast ($17). Cindy had the more modest fruit toast with butter ($8), which was a solid rendition of a pretty straightforward dish. 

We snacked at home and then went for an early dinner at the highly regarded Pizza Pizza. The tiny little shopfront cranks out high quality pizzas - the only seating for now is at the outdoor tables, although there was some work going on in the building next door to add in some indoor seating.

Pizza Pizza feels straight outta Brunswick - crispy, perfectly cooked bases, with an interesting selection of toppings. We split a Pizza for Nelly (napoli sauce, mozzarella, capers, olives, sun-dried tomato and caramelised onions, $16.50) and a Spinner (napoli sauce, mozzarella, spinach, roast pumpkin, feta and pine nuts, $16.50). These were truly excellent pizzas - definitely worth a visit (or a takeaway down at the beach).

On Sunday we grabbed a late brunch at the Swing Bridge Cafe and Boathouse, a cute little cafe perfectly situated by the bridge over the Erskine River. It's a popular spot, bathed in sunlight, with the surrounding picnic tables included in the cafe's service area.

It's a small menu, with nothing obviously vegan. I ordered the 'weeds' - slow poached eggs on sourdough, with smashed avocado, goats cheese, coriander and kale ($17). The super slow poached eggs are pretty gooey - I don't mind them, but they're an acquired taste. The rest of this was ace though, with the kale letting me pretend that I was having a healthy weekend. Cindy grabbed one of the sweets - an apple crumble muffin - with a strawberry smoothie ($8). The smoothie didn't really burst with fresh strawberries, with the unripe banana base overwhelming it all a bit. The muffin was okay - not loaded with apple, but warm, sweet and strudel-ly.

Our final meal of the weekend was at The Bottle of Milk, a specialty burger place with branches in Lorne and Torquay. The menu's got five veggie burger options - three of which can easily be made vegan.  

We had the tofu burger (foreground, marinated grilled tofu with tomato, onion, carrot, lettuce, mayo, chillie paste and satay sauce, $14) and the hot lentil (background, housemade lentil patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, carrot, mayo, chilli and lemon yoghurt) plus a serve of fries ($6.50) with bbq sauce ($1). I was really impressed by my lentil burger - an excellent patty, with some zingy condiments and fresh salad. The tofu burger worked well too - marinated tofu at non-vego is often pretty bland, so we were impressed that The Bottle of Milk seemed to know what they were doing. 

We had a lovely weekend in Lorne - the weather was perfect, the setting was stunning and the food was pretty top notch.

Posted September 27, 2015 11:50 AM by Michael

September 26, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Salted caramel popcorn, coburg carnivale and school holidays

Last night we drove home from Geelong after Sylvia stayed at my mum's.  It usually takes a little over an hour.  Yesterday it took me two and a half hours.  I am still feeling behind.  Dinner was late last night.  This morning we slept in.  We have been to the Coburg Carnivale today and tonight I have baked bread, made strawberry sauce and almost packed for holidays tomorrow.  With the first week of the school holidays behind us, I am sharing some great holiday food - salted caramel popcorn.

I don't make popcorn or caramel sauce often.  However Sylvia bought E a bag of popcorn kernels for Father's Day and chose the recipe.  I have made it twice.  Once I thought I could pop the kernels while the caramel was cooking but learnt the hard way that it doesn't work so well.  They were still good to snack on after a netball lesson.  The second time Sylvia had decided it was needed for movie night during the school holidays.  I made sure to be more organised and think it was slightly better.

The second lot was made with only half the butter required but I found that coconut oil was a fine substitute for the rest of it.  I really loved it but it was terribly moreish.  Sylvia is already browsing our popcorn book for more ideas on how to flavour the popcorn.  She fancies rainbow.  I want coconut rough.

We had some over after movie night.  I mixed the leftovers with a trail mix of almonds, dried cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate chips.  It was great for snacking at the new park in Bell Street (by Kelson Street). Sylvia and her kinder friend really enjoyed the flying fox.

It has been a busy week of the school holidays.  Sylvia has had a few playdates, some time with her cousins holiday gymnastics and we had lunch at Candy Ink (corner Moreland Rd and Nicholson St in Coburg).  I had a quinoa vegie burger that was very nice (other than the under ripe avocado).  I'd be interested to return and try the vegan big breakfast with the vegie sausage.

I seem to have just spent most of the week chasing my tail.  However I have caught up with friends, seen Joan Baez in concert (amazing) and had afternoon tea at 2 Little Birds with Sylvia and my mum in Geelong.  They had lots of beautiful cakes I had this lovely caramel date cupcake.

The weekend snuck up on me very quietly.  But I was glad to welcome the warm weather and head off to the holiday atmosphere of Coburg Carnivale.  We took along honey joys to the cake stall and sampled a few of the cakes and slices.  Sylvia had a rainbow painted on her face.  We all caught up with friends and enjoyed some lunch from the mall.  I still love the Half Moon falafels!

We tried to keep our eyes on the performances but spent more time on the suitcase rummage.  I particularly loved Retro Momentos upcycled Australian tea towels that were made into bags, wallets and aprons.  Sylvia made a badge and a Kingfisher bird and E bought some artwork and got a free Moreland tote bag.

There was also dancing, music, circus performers.  My favourite thing of all at the Carnivale was the robot baby in the pram.  The mama (or dada?) robot was very amusing but the robot baby was so cute that I want one! And on that note I will leave you to head off on holiday.  I have scheduled a few posts while we are away but will be quiet on the commenting until we are back on Friday.

More caramel recipe from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Caramel cake
Caramel chocolate chunk muffins (v)
Caramel fudge (gf)
Chocolate caramel layered fudge (gf)
Chocolate caramel slice (v)
Chocolates with healthy caramel filling (gf, v) 
(Healthy) caramel popcorn (gf, v)

Salted caramel popcorn
From Pop: 40 recipes from popcornland

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
115g butter (I used vegan margarine)
115g caster sugar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Make popcorn first by putting 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a large brown bag, folding it over 3 times and twisting the edges.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until the popping reduces to once every few seconds.  Sort through for any unpopped kernels.  We found the easiest way to do this was to put into a bowl, take out the fluffy popped corn at the top and the unpopped ones would sink to the bottom.  Repeat with second 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels.   Spread popped corn into a large roasting tray lined with baking paper.

To make the caramel, mix butter, sugars and salt in a medium saucepan.  Melt butter and sugar.  Gently bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat.  Mix in vanilla and bicarb immediately.  Pour over popcorn in prepared tin and stir until mixed through.

Cook at 140 C for 10 to 45 minutes.  (I found that 10 or 15 minutes was enough but the recipe says 45 minutes.)  Cool and eat or store.  It lasts a few days in a sealed container.

On the stereo:
More Silly Songs: 20 more simply super singable silly songs: Various Artists

Posted September 26, 2015 09:48 PM by Johanna GGG


Vegan Mofo 2015 #26: Snowed In

Today’s Mofo prompt is It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have? Welllll I’ll just pretend I’m snowed in, and that Melbourne doesn’t really look like this today: I can’t go outside because there are WILD SNOW CREATURES: I want to...
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Posted September 26, 2015 06:21 PM

quinces and kale

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #29 – back to the beginning – home alone

home alone sandwich

Here it is, day 29 and I’ve eaten all the sandwiches that I wanted to try. There was one day left to post a sandwich before the wrap up tomorrow, so I decided to go back to where it all began – the Home Alone.

I’ve never actually eaten the real Home Alone sandwich, because on the frenzy of opening day back in June, they’d run out of rolls and seitan turkey. I had my original one on turkish bread with chicken salad. I have that one scored as 11/10 – putting it at the top of my list of sandwiches.

So in the interests of science I ate the REAL Home Alone. The real sandwich ingredients are seitan turkey, stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, mashed potato and gravy on a roll.

I am happy to report that it almost lives up to the first one I ate. I probably prefer the first one by a half a point, but that’s being picky. It is possible that I just remember it more fondly because it was my first love.

In any case, there is a nice symmetry that my first and last sandwiches are both the same and the Home Alone, in either guise, still remains my favourite. I am going to score it the same.

As someone commented, it is like Christmas Dinner in a sandwich.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065


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Posted September 26, 2015 10:00 AM

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #28 pesci pesto

pesci pesto sandwich

This is a modest but delicious sandwich, nothing fancy, just some pesto and that great mozzarella that they make at Smith & Deli on good sourdough bread. It is toasted so that the cheese is melty and the bread crunchy.

I hadn’t expected to love this because it is just described as pesto and cheese.  I thought that meant it was going to be the Bio cheese, but happily it was the mozzarella.

A superior cheese toasty.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065


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Posted September 26, 2015 10:00 AM

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #27, burrito


Day 27.

This burrito was on the specials list on the day I went to the deli. I had been going to have one of the regular sandwiches on the board, but Mo convinced me to have the special burrito. Not that I took a lot of convincing.

Mo: You should try the special burrito.

Me: Hmmm. OK.

It was ready to go from the pie warmer with no waiting, cosily wrapped in paper and foil. It kept hot for the twenty minute trip home.


Unwrapped, it was a delicious thin soft flour tortilla packed with brown rice, black beans, avocado, some pretty spicy pulled pork made from jackfruit, with jalapeños and red pickled cabbage. I don’t think there was any cheese in there. I did wish for some vegan sour cream on the side  to cool things down a bit, but I’m not really complaining. It was good.

Delicious and filling on a cooler spring day. I doubt I will manage any dinner.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065

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Posted September 26, 2015 10:00 AM

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #26, tuna patty sandwich

tuna patty sandwich

Day 26.

This was to be a post about the Big Muff, but the Big Muff is no more. I think it was one of those stuffed whole loaf sandwiches that you then slice up. I had wanted to try it but sadly it is gone.

As I have eaten just about every other sandwich on the menu, I was wondering what to get next, so I was delighted to see a tuna patty on the daily specials board, either alone or with the option of being made into a sandwich. I took the sandwich option of course. A tuna patty is definitely part of my childhood food memories. It is one of the few things my Dad would cook. So this was a real treat.

I hesitate to say this, but this is a rival for one of my favourites. Something is going have to move over for this to make it into my top 5.

In some ways it is like the Free Willy 2, but less strongly tuna flavoured with the addition of mashed potato in the patty. It also has the bonus of  a delicious contrast of the soft potato and tuna inside contrasting with crunchy breadcrumbed exterior of the patty.

I don’t think it has bedded down into a set recipe for the sandwich, it was made with the patty, mozzarella, some mayo and ranch dressing, and then toasted.  But Mo also asked me what I’d like on it after she had toasted it. I chose some iceberg lettuce and sliced red onion.

I’d eat this any day of the week. It is fabulous.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065

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Posted September 26, 2015 10:00 AM

September 25, 2015


Vegan Mofo 2015 #25: Share Your Favourite Cuisine

Wow, we’re up to day 25 already! Mofo has zoomed by this year. Today’s Mofo prompt is Share your favourite cuisine. Man, what a tough one. It’s hard to choose when, you know, you like food. In no particular order: Japanese Before I was vegan I loved katsu curries. Always something crumbed and fried then submerged...
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Posted September 25, 2015 03:09 PM

Review and Giveaway: Nestar And Miss Sweetie Chocolates

One thing I love about being a vegan food blogger is discovering vegan products and sharing them with readers. I know many of you are fans of chocolate (ha!) and so I’m very happy to write about Nestar and Miss Sweetie as well as giving you a chance to win some of their goodies. For details of how...
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Posted September 25, 2015 11:07 AM

September 24, 2015


Vegan Mofo 2015 #24: What Dolly Parton Would Eat If She Were Vegan

Hello? It’s Dolly! Come on over for some seitan bbq ribs! We’re barbequin’ from 9 to 5! Dolly! I love Dolly. I went to her concert a couple years back and people were really in to it– there were kids and their great grandparents singing along to all her songs. We went to Canberra for a...
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Posted September 24, 2015 08:31 PM

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Alice Hart's Summer Minestrone - in Spring!

It is a rare treat to have a night of cooking with no deadlines, no small girl to distract me, no husband waiting with rumbling belly.  I didn't plan it.  Fate was just feeling kind this week!  It just so happened that when we asked my mum to have Sylvia overnight while we see Joan Baez tonight, that she was in town yesterday and took Sylvia for two nights.

I had seen a Spring Leek Minestrone in the latest Coles Magazine.  It was a lovely green but had meat in it so I knew I needed to fiddle with the recipe.  Fortunately it brought to mind a gorgeous green Summer Minestrone in Alice Hart's Vegetarian that I swoon over every time I browse the cookbook.  I mostly followed Alice Hart but brought in some pasta from the Coles recipe and altered the vegies a little depending upon what I had.

I really loved the texture of the soup which was cooked by halving the green vegies to simmer one batch to melting tenderness and then adding the other batch just at the end so they kept their colour and a slight toothsomeness.

The soup would be great without pasta if you wanted it gluten free.  I would either use smaller pasta next time, like risoni or a smaller macaroni, or a grain like rice or quinoa.  I often chop vegies as I cook a stew but as greens need to be ready on time to retain the colour, I made sure I prepared all the vegies before I started cooking.  I used frozen broad beans and peas but was happy to welcome fresh asparagus into my kitchen now it is Spring.

I love reading food writing.  Nigella Lawson's prose is such a joy.  Alice Hart's cookbook is really beautiful to read but I did feel she went a little far in claiming that if you keep the soup to the next day you will find that "the vegetables may not be as sprightly but will have gained wisdom and character".  Though perhaps E might appreciate some wisdom from his vegetables, given that he ate his soup with a fork.

I am delighted to have finally made this soup.  It was every bit as wonderful as it looked.  Happily I also had time to set up the light box last night to photograph it!  I would like to stick around telling you more but I have a shower to scrub, forms to fill out and muesli to bake while the house is quiet!

I am sending this minestrone to Meat Free Mondays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

More Spring recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Asparagus, artichoke and wild rice salad (gf, v)
Corn fritters (gf)
Gnocchi with Mexican corn (v)
Japanese snow pea salad (gf, v)
Maple walnut asparagus bowl (gf, v)
Smoky potato, bean and corn salad (gf, v)
Spring risotto soup (gf, v)
Strawberry soup (gf, v)

Summer minestrone 
Adapted from Alice Hart's Vegetarian and Coles Magazine
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
250g asparagus, sliced
200g broad beans, podded weight, skins removed
200g peas
200g green beans, sliced
75g edamame beans
1150ml water*
2 tsp salt*
1 tsp vegetable stock powder*
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
100g small pasta pieces*
2-3 dessertspoons unsweetened yoghurt*
handful fresh mint
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp fresh pesto, to serve*

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan.  Fry garlic, leek, celery and fennel for about 10 minutes until soft, stirring frequently.

Add half the asparagus, peas, broad beans, green beans, edamame with all the water, salt, stock powder and vinegar.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add pasta and simmer 5 minutes.  Add remaining greens and simmer a final 5 minutes.  Check pasta is cooked.

Stir in yoghurt, mint and black pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls and swirl in some pesto.  Eat hot, warm or cool.  It can be made a day ahead or leftover kept in the fridge overnight.

  • Fresh vegies are best but I used frozen peas, edamame and broad beans.  I weighed 200g of the broad beans in their grey skins and then skinned them before adding to the soup.  
  • I didn't have stock so I added a mixture of stock powder and salt but if I had a good vegie stock I would use that and I might even reduce the stock slightly as E said it was too watery for him.  
  • I used a macaroni pasta but would use a smaller one next time or grains like rice or quinoa (especially if I wanted it gluten free).  
  • I used yoghurt instead of cream.  If you wanted to make it vegan you could use vegan yoghurt, cashew cream or even a splash of vegan milk and a little less stock.

On the stereo:
Very Early Joan: Joan Baez

Posted September 24, 2015 11:29 AM by Johanna GGG

Thoughts Of A Moni

Tuckshop Takeaway

The burger craze has well and truly taken Melbourne by storm. All over the internet there are lists being published with the best burgers in town, and almost always Tuckshop Takeaway features on these lists.  It was one Saturday, when we were super hungry after a parkrun, that we decided it was about time that we went to find out what all the hype was about.

Located on the corner of Hawthorn and Glen Eira Rds in Caulfield, Tuck Shop Takeaway is a tiny little corner shop, reminiscent of an old school canteen. It is decked out with all the typical features of a primary school, including a drinking fountain and a door apparently leading to the Principal’s office which I didn’t venture through, because that’s for the naughty kids.

The premises is tiny, and as the name suggests is much more suited for takeaways, but we decided to buck the trend and eat in. We were there at about 3pm, and yet it was still packed and there was a line for the take away orders. This place was clearly popular. Our orders took about 15 minutes to arrive, and we had to push our way onto a table. Like the stereotypical school canteen, the apparent cool kids had hogged about seven seats between four of them, which was clearly rude given how busy the place was. I don’t think they were too impressed at having two of their unused seats taken away from them, but tough.

The menu at the Tuckshop is... concise. It consists of two burgers, a handful of jaffles, chips and a few milkshakes. This didn’t phase me too much though, I’m all about quality over quantity. We ordered one of the burgers each and some chips to share. The other half also jumped on the Nutella craze and got a Nutella milkshake.

Obviously I got the veggie burger, very maturely named the Veggie Wedgie. This was a very unique veggie patty with beetroot, lentils and brown rice. I was quite impressed with this component of the burger. These were flavours I hadn’t experienced together before and they worked together well. The rice and lentils provided the right texture, and the beetroot added an element of sweetness without being too overpowering.  Unfortunately none of the other ingredients offered anything spectacular. There was lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese and special Tuckshop sauce (which as far as I could tell was just mayo and tomato sauce mixed together). The inclusion of the pickles was nice as these are rarely on veggie burgers, but nothing else really shone. The bun was pretty good, but again, nothing outstanding.

The other half got the other burger on the menu, the Minor burger. The patty here was a beef patty that was cooked pink in the middle. As a vegetarian this freaks me out a bit, but I’ve been told that this is how it tastes best.  All the other ingredients of the Minor was the same as the Veggie Wedgie. Unfortunately the other half wasn’t very impressed with his burger either. He went as far as to say it was just above a McDonalds burger in taste. Disappointing really.

The chips on the other hand were quite good. Boasting of being hand cut and triple cooked, they really were a step up on regular chips. They were cooked to a crisp but still soft inside.

Overall, our experience at Tuckshop Takeaway was a little underwhelming. Having read so many good things on the interwebs, perhaps I had set my expectations too high, but given the great burgers that are available these days, I don’t think I was out of my rights to do this. Would I go back? Probably not. After all, Grill’d does amazing burgers and chips, and you don’t usually have to fight for a spot at a table.

Tuck Shop Take Away Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted September 24, 2015 10:52 AM by Moni

quinces and kale

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #25, croissantwiches of eastwick

croissantwiches of eastwick

Day 25.

The croissants at Smith & Deli are definitely the best vegan croissants that I have ever had and some of the nicest croissants full stop. They’ve got the flaky layering right, which is hard to do.  I’ve enjoyed them plain with some apricot jam made by my neighbour.

I approached the Croissantwich of Eastwick with some trepidation. Let me state up front that I am no fan of the savoury croissant. I hold an irrational (or possibly rational) hatred of them. I am a firm traditionalist. They belong with jam.

croissant croissantwiches of eastwick

I never liked ham, cheese and tomato croissants before I was vegan, so there is no real reason I should enjoy a vegan version.

But for science I ate one. It is a grilled croissant with mustard, house made mozzarella, tomato and seitan based ham. Tasty enough, but just wrong. Not my favourite, but that’s me. I think savoury croissants are an abomination. :) If you like them then you will enjoy it. The croissant makes it great.

Rant over. Hand me some jam.

Me? 6/10. An unbiased score for those that like savoury croissants 9/10.

Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065

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Posted September 24, 2015 10:00 AM

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #24, the mensch

the mensch bagel from smith & deli

The Mensch is supposed to be that classic – a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. It isn’t quite, but it is damn delicious. I feel a bit mean complaining, because it is so delicious.

The bagel was covered with seeds and onion and super fresh, and nothing really beats a beautifully fresh bagel. The dill cream cheese, onion and capers combo is perfect and adds to the whole illusion, but the smoked salmon (made from watermelon) isn’t really smoky, a bit too sweet and a bit too wet to be really convincing.   

Despite these small quibbles, I still loved it.  It is really delicious. Just don’t expect a smoked salmon bagel and you won’t be disappointed.  

I ate it on a glorious Melbourne spring day and it was perfect for the weather in a way that a heartier toasted sandwich would not have been. 

As a sandwich is really succeeds, as a smoked salmon bagel less so. I’m marking it on its merits as a sandwich. Delicious.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065


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Posted September 24, 2015 10:00 AM

September 23, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Lebanese Talk of the Town

September 14, 2015

We met up with a couple of friends at Talk of the Town for a south-side dinner on a Monday night. Despite the name, I'd never heard of this place before, but our dining companions assured us it was worth a visit. It's a pretty basic-looking Lebanese place - there's a big cabinet loaded up with food, about ten tables and a no-frills kind of atmosphere.

Still, you don't eat atmosphere, and the menu had a lot to get excited about: falafel, veggie kibbeh, vine leaves, stuffed capsicum, cabbage rolls and tons and tons of salads to choose from. Nearly all of the veggie dishes are vegan, and the staff are happy to talk you through your options. Options are kind of the problem - there were far too many dishes to choose from, so we sent Craig up to figure out an order for the table.

He came through with the goods, ordering up a falafel and dips entree ($8.50), a stuffed capsicum ($9), a couple of veggie kibbeh ($6 each) and a selection of five salads ($5 each, although I think there might have been some bulk discounting going on).

The falafel were excellent, and well served by the hummus, babaganoush and pickles that accompanied them, and the kibbeh (pumpkin crust around a leek and silverbeet filling) were superb, but the real stars of the show were the salads. We ordered the green beans with tomato paste, onions and spices (above, bottom-right), the eggplant and potato with tomato paste, garlic and cumin seeds (below, top-right), the chickpeas with silverbeet and mint (above, top-right), the fried eggplant with walnuts, garlic and za'atar (below, bottom-left) and the mejadara (rice and lentils, below, bottom-right).

There were split opinions as to the best dish of the night, with the fried eggplant and the potato eggplant both getting rave reviews and the spicy beans hitting the mark surprisingly well. It was all fresh and interesting enough for us to polish off everything without any trouble - a pretty impressive feat given how much food there was on the table.

The proprietor generously served us up a selection of fudge to cap the meal off - this wasn't vegan, so Cindy and I scoffed it all and he even more generously dished up some Turkish delights for the other two to take away with them.

We had a great time at Talk of the Town - the food is cheap, varied and delicious, the service is efficient and friendly and the corkage of $1 per beer is pretty damn reasonable. We don't get to Elsternwick that often, and when we do we usually wind up at Ren Dao. It's great to have another option along Glen Huntly Road - we'll be back to work our way through the rest of the salad menu.


Only little white truths and Spatula, Spoon and Saturday have reviewed LTOTT - both were generally enthusiastic. 

Lebanese Talk of the Town
446 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick
9528 6591
menus: one, two

Accessibility: There's a step on entry and a fairly narrow dining area. You order and pay at a high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

Posted September 23, 2015 06:16 PM by Michael


Vegan Mofo 2015 #23: Autumn Equinox Eats

Today’s Mofo prompt is Autumn Equinox Eats. Autumn is my favourite time of year. Love love love it and sit there drooling in spring when North American bloggers start showing photos of their homes decorated with autumn themes. I can’t help it, I WANT SQUIRREL BUNTING. I did do some autumn decorating last year but slacked...
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Posted September 23, 2015 01:28 PM

quinces and kale

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #23, hail seitan!

no pineapples

Day 23.

OK, I love the name of this, and I love pineapple, but I cannot bring myself to eat a savoury sandwich with pineapple on it. EVER. You will have to try it for yourself. I am on strike.

It is heavy with seitan, featuring salami, turkey, ham, pineapple, BBQ sauce and cheese.

I welcome any comments on this post, I’m sure it will start a war as to the merits of ham with pineapple.

But like the Hawaiian Pizza (that abomination and thing of horror!), this sandwich is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Some people will understand.  :)

You are on your own here.



Posted September 23, 2015 10:01 AM

September 22, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

1000 Pound Bend, and David Bowie is at ACMI

E and I dropped of Sylvia for an extended playdate (thanks Kerin) the other day and headed into the city for lunch at 1000 Pound Bend and the David Bowie exhibition at ACMI.  It was a day of sensory overload but sadly not of the culinary type.  However we enjoyed our afternoon out.

Arriving in the city, we disembarked from our tram at the State Library where a protest in support of refugees was in progress.  I was a little sad not to be able to join in but our time was limited.

Instead we headed down Little Lonsdale Street to 1000 Pound Bend.  E and I love a grungy cafe in Brunswick or Fitzroy but there are less of them in the city.  So we were pleased to find this warehouse converted into an art student cafe so centrally located. 1000 Pound Bend was even more of interest because it is a favourite haunt of Amanda Palmer when she has been in Melbourne.

I really loved use of found objects in the decor.  I counted three small old television sets.  They make me feel nostalgic for when we had such sets in student houses and we played about with the rabbit ears, strove to see the picture through the snow and hit the tv to stop the picture rolling!  

In the top photo you can see some old archways at the bar.  They are works of art.  Looking around we spotted a little book nook, old paraffin lamps and old paintings.  The main problem with the ambiance was that the music was a bit too loud.  The waitresses seemed to like it as they were dancing about the cafe as they took orders!  I started with a very nice ginger beer.

We were there for lunch and the menu offered a few vegetarian options.  Chana masala, an antipasto plate, kimchi pancakes, a haloumi burger and a vegan burger as well as the breakfast faves an eggy fry up and smashed avocado on toast.  I chose the vegan pumpkin, chickpea and kale burger with harissa mayonnaise and pickled vegetables.  The pattie was huge and overflowed the bun.  I enjoyed it but I wished I had some salad and chips on the side.  It just was too much bun and burger patty which made it seem a little plain, albeit slightly spicy.  E reported that his croissant with ham and cheese was fine.

Then because I am addicted to nutella doughnuts (as you will see in a coming post), I shared one with E.  It was a big mistake.  I later described it as being like a kitchen sponge filled with nutella.  I hesitate to be so down on any cafe but this doughnut was really dry.  We really loved the ambiance and hope to return to the cafe, though I think we would be happy to just stop for a drink rather than a meal.  Though I would be interested to try other dishes.

One part of the building that fascinated us was the windows which had bars on them but no glass.  We were sure there must be shutters.  However when I asked a waitress, I was told that they had recently changed the layout and the windows near us had previously been in a smoking section.

I love a place with some interesting street art and you will know 1000 Pound Bend by its street art as you walk along Little Lonsdale Street.  So we admired the street art as we left and boarded a tram to ACMI in Federation Square.  (ACMI's more pretentious name is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.)

We stopped in the gift shop first and, although there is some interesting David Bowie merchandise, the item that really caught my eye was this cat scratching pad.  How cute is that!

But onto the exhibition, it was overwhelming.  In fact, David Bowie is overwhelming with all his constantly changing styles, music, masks, haircuts, costumes and brilliant ideas!  My favourite exhibit was a tissue blotted with his lipstick that was over 40 years old!  Really!  Who kept it?  I also loved watching the Life on Mars video while standing beside Bowie's powder blue suit and looking at his handwritten lyrics.

It is the first exhibition I have been to where we wore headphones that pick up the soundtrack depending on where we stood.  This added to the sensory overload.  I did wonder that the exhibition started with Bowie's early life with lots of information about his personal life and historical context but there was little of this after the 1960s.  However it is a great exhibition and made for a really interesting afternoon out.

1000 Pound Bend
361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

1000 Pound Bend Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted September 22, 2015 11:07 PM by Johanna GGG


Vegan Mofo 2015 #22: Make A Dish Using All Seasonal Produce

Today’s Mofo prompt is Make a dish using all seasonal produce. Spring here began on September 1st and I’m looking forward to seeing new produce at the markets. The freshest produce I had available was just perfect– cut rhubarb from my mother in law’s garden two days ago. Arthur and DeeW are really in to rhubarb and...
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Posted September 22, 2015 12:38 PM

quinces and kale

eat all the smith & deli sandwiches – #22, as-salami-lakum

as-salami-lakum sandwich

Day 22.

This sandwich was another surprise. I had it low down on my list, but I was wrong. Damn, it’s good!

After the Godfather challenge I was a bit cautious about another chilli sandwich, so I approached this with some trepidation. I needn’t have worried.  This is easily consumable without beer (I am not sure if that is good or bad) with a chilli factor many notches down.

The chillies in this are not the super fierce pureed red chillies that come in the Godfather, but some Turkish style pickled green chillies that give a nice mild heat and tartness to the sandwich. Teamed with some chilli salami, pesto, black olives and some of the great house made mozzarella, it makes for a really excellent sandwich. It comes toasted, always a good thing in my book.

Funnily enough, after initially ignoring it,  it is now in my top 10. I’d happily eat it again and again.


Smith & Deli
111 Moor St
Fitzroy, 3065

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Posted September 22, 2015 10:00 AM

September 21, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Strawberry bread pudding

September 13, 2015

Every time I've opened up Isa Does It (and it's often), I've gazed longingly at the strawberries and cream bread pudding. When I noticed two weeks ago that strawberries were cheap and abundant, I started thinking often of the pudding even when I wasn't flicking through cookbooks. I pretty much planned our home-cooked lunch with Carol around making it for dessert. You might notice, for example, that the main meal was pretty low on carbohydrates, to save room for this bready finale.

It goes like this: cube up sturdy day-old bread. Whisk together a custard of almond milk, coconut milk, sugar and cornflour (I may have added some dark rum). Soak the bread in the custard and toss it in a pan with lots of strawberries and a sprinkling of flaked almonds (doesn't it all look eerily white?). Bake the pudding until the almonds and bread are golden and the custard has set. Drizzle over some glaze if you like (more sugar! more rum!), and scoop it into bowls with vanilla icecream.

I'm glad I got to scratch that itch, while strawberries are everywhere and it's still cold enough for pudding. If you move fast, you might capture that crucial window too.

Strawberry bread pudding
(slightly adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Isa Does It)

6 cups bread, chopped into 2cm cubes
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
400mL can coconut milk
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
500g strawberries, sliced 5mm thick
1/3 cup flaked almonds

2/3 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons almond milk
1 teaspoon dark rum
2 teaspoons sunflower oil

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a large high-walled baking dish.

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Place the cornflour in a smaller bowl and gradually whisk in the almond milk. Whisk in the sugar until it's mostly dissolved. Stir in the coconut milk, lemon juice, dark rum and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the bread and allow it to steep for around 10 minutes.

Spread the soaked bread cubes and strawberries out in the baking dish and sprinkle them with flaked almonds. Bake the pudding for 30-40 minutes, until the bread is lightly browned. Allow it to cool for 10-20 minutes.

Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together until smooth in a small bowl. Once the pudding has cooled a little, drizzle over the glaze. Serve the pudding with a scoop of icecream.

Posted September 21, 2015 05:09 PM by Cindy


Vegan Mofo 2015 #21: A Vegan Stranded On An Island

Today’s Mofo prompt is What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island? (Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!). Okay I really, need to think about this one. Hnnngggghhh. Concentration time. Many a vegan has been faced with the ol’ “but...
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Posted September 21, 2015 02:04 PM

September 20, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Saganaki with peppered figs

September 13, 2015

We haven't been to Hellenic Republic for several years, but we still regularly recall the excellence of their saganaki with peppered figs. Saganaki is pretty great any time, and pairing its salty creaminess with sweet dried fruit and a kick of peppery heat was a revelation. Haalo had a recipe published on Cook Almost Anything within months and we're only just now trying it for ourselves six years later.

There's a bit more going on here than just pepper and figs - Haalo has us simmering the dried figs in honey and balsamic vinegar, bay, vanilla and cloves. I adapted on the fly (honey => maple syrup, cinnamon stick => ground cinnamon) and tended it all for a solid hour on the stove. If anything I was too light on the pepper.

The saganaki was a little less simple than I anticipated too. The dusting of flour was fine, but unlike its cousin haloumi, these saganaki triangles bubbled and melted and glooped all over the pan! They're clearly at their best with a fast and dry fry.

They're lessons learned for next time, and they barely lessened our enjoyment this time. This salty, sweet and spicy goodness went down a treat with a huge, tangy green salad.

Saganaki with peppered figs
(slightly adapted from a recipe at Cook Almost Anything)

peppered figs
250g dried figs
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 vanilla pod
10 cloves

400g saganaki
flour, for dusting
olive oil. for frying

Slice each of the figs in half and place them all in a medium-sized saucepan. Add in the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, pepper, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Slice the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds into the saucepan and drop the vanilla pod in too. Add in the cloves. Pour over enough water to cover all the ingredients and simmer them until the figs are soft and the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about an hour. Remove the bay leaf and cloves. Keep the figs and syrup warm.

Slice the saganaki lengthways into 5mm-thick pieces, and lightly dust each piece with flour. Heat just a little oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Place the saganaki slices in the pan and fry them until just golden on each side (this could take less than a minute!). Serve the saganaki immediately with the figs and syrup spooned over the top.

Posted September 20, 2015 07:58 PM by Cindy


Vegan Mofo 2015 #20: Veganize An Old Family Recipe

Before I get in to Mofo biz, I’ll let you all know about the blog tour that is happening right now for Lani Muelrath’s latest book, The Plant-Based Journey. It’s an awesome book if you want to transition to a plant based diet and lifestyle, whether you want to make the change or have already made...
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Posted September 20, 2015 01:38 PM

September 19, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

No bake chocolate oat slice

The School Holidays started today.  We are all tired and in need of a break.  Or in lieu of a break, at least an easy recipe to pep us up!  I found this no bake chocolate oat recipe on Pinterest.  It was simple, delicious and slightly healthy.

I loved how quick it was to put together, even given that I made my own oatmeal out of rolled oats using my blender, and then blended up some almonds to make almond butter.  (The original recipe was peanut butter and I think other nut butters would work well too.  I suspect this might also work with coconut oil and coconut sugar in the oat layer.) 

I really loved the toffee flavours in the oat layer compared to the thick creamy barely sweet chocolate layer.  My only quibble was that the oat layer was really buttery and I would try it with a little less butter next time.

Soon after making it, a neighbour visited for a chat.  It was still setting, not quite keeping its shape but just firm enough to cut into pieces.  We took some onto the verandah with a cuppa, chatted for a bit and then helped ourselves to just a little more.  It was so good.  Sylvia and E agreed when they got home.  They were delighted too.   I think it might be a new favourite slice.

I am sending the slice to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer for Treat Petite, and to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays.

More oaty vegan slices on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate and ginger flapjacks
Chocolate lime energy slice 
Glo Bars 
Pumpkin muesli slice
Raspberry oat slice
Tahini muesli bars 

No bake chocolate oat slice
Adapted from all recipes

230g margarine (or butter)*
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 2/3 cups oatmeal
1/3 cups hemp seeds (or more oats)
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

190g dark chocolate (I used 67%)
1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)

Line a 22cm square tin with baking paper.  Melt margarine in a medium saucepan.  (*I think there was a lot of butter and would try 200g next time.)  Stir in brown sugar then oatmeal, hemp seeds, vanilla and salt.  Tip about half of it into the prepared tin and press evenly and firmly across the tin.  Gently melt chocolate and nut butter in a small saucepan (I used a steamer to keep saucepan from touching the burner).  Spread evenly across the oat mixture in the tin.  Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate mixture to cover it as much as possible.  Press down gently.  Set in the fridge for a few hours.  Cut into squares.  Keep in the fridge.

On the Stereo:
1989: Taylor Swift

Posted September 19, 2015 10:27 PM by Johanna GGG


Vegan Mofo 2015 #19: Lunch On The Go

Today’s Mofo prompt is Lunch on the go. I’m home more than I’m out, so it’s rare that I have to pack a lunch-on-the-go. If I’m out and about I prefer to buy my lunch as a bit of a treat, and something to feature on the blog. It’s all research! One of my favourite...
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Posted September 19, 2015 10:09 AM

September 18, 2015


Vegan Mofo 2015 #18: Honour Someone Who Inspires Your Veganism

Today’s Mofo prompt is Honor a human or non human animal who inspires your veganism. I give a big shout out and mega thank you to people involved in animal rescue and whistle blowing. It really bugs me that they’re often treated so badly. I’m also inspired by the people who have been working hard to...
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Posted September 18, 2015 02:09 PM

Thoughts Of A Moni

Lune Croissanterie

For about two years now, there have been some crazy people who have woken up at 4am on a weekend, so they could head down to Elwood and line up for croissants. Yes, croissants. Seriously. How good could these croissants be, and were they really worth more than my sleep? I finally decided that this was a question I needed answered and so, a couple of weeks ago, I too joined the crazies that woke up before dawn on a Friday and headed down to Lune Croissanterie. I arrived there at about 6am and joined a queue that had already formed.

The demand for Lune croissants is so high that they have developed a ticketing system which runs as follows: people can start lining up as early as they wish. At 6:30am, they open a little window and hand out tickets in order of the people lined up. The store doesn’t open until 7:30am on Fridays and 8am on Saturdays and Sundays, so everyone is free to disperse, but they need to be back before they name is called out. If they call out your name, and you aren’t there, then you forfeit your croissants. This is not something you want happening. The first thirty people are guaranteed a choice of everything on the menu, but after that, you get whatever is left.

I received my ticket at about 6:45, was handed a menu, given instructions to be back by 7:45, and with this I quickly retreated to the warmth of my car. I was ticket number 17. This wasn't bad, given that the next day on Saturday, there were people lined up at 5am only to receive ticket number 67. Demand is obviously ridiculously high at Lune. 

The menu at Lune is constantly rotating. There are a few staples like the plain croissants, pain au chocolat, kouign amann (pronounced Queen Aman), and the ham and gruyere croissant. There are also cruffins and twice baked croissants. Each person is allowed to buy a maximum of 6 items, so I wisely used my waiting time studying the menu and deciding which items I would be taking home.

I finally settled on my 6 pastries. They were:

2 Pain au Chocolats (one was for some friends at work)
1 Kouign Amann (the name sounded so interesting that I had to try it)
1 Ham and Gruyere (I broke all my rules and got one as a treat for the other half)
1 Tiramisu Cruffin (Tiramisu, enough said.)
1 Reece Croissant (This was the special of the day, peanut butter, dark pana chocolate, salted caramel, and all kinds of other deliciousness)

It was about 8:10am that my name was finally called and I was ready to get my hands on my delicious pastries. All my choices were still available (lots of things sell out very quickly), so the team at the counter packed my box quickly. While I stood there, I watched the very tight operation running and it was a sight to behold. There were pastries galore, ovens being emptied, racks being filled and then emptied just as quickly, and most importantly everyone had a smile on their faces. It was evident that the team behind Lune genuinely love what they do.

Unfortunately I had to head straight to work (I was already late!) so I didn’t get to eat any of my pastries till that night. This was a rookie error, but unfortunately I had no choice.  It did however mean that on my drive to work, my car filled with the delicious aroma of my freshly baked goodies.

Later that night, I unboxed all the deliciousness and I can proudly say that dinner that night was filled with butter and sugar. The verdicts are as follows:

Pain au Chocolat: This was delicious. My friends at work said it was amazing, and I have to agree. The layers were beautifully defined, and it was so light and airy. The chocolate was also amazing, so rich and decadent.

Kouign Amann: I didn’t know what to expect when trying this one and I was surprised at how good it was! There was a strong cinnamon aroma that engulfed me when I tasted it, and the pastry was so flaky. 

Ham and Gruyere: Obviously I didn’t try this one, but given the rave reviews this Lune staple gets on social media, coupled with the fact that the other half declared it his favourite croissant, I’m guessing this was a winner.

Tiramisu Cruffin: OMG. Where do I start? I had never had a cruffin  before, and I don’t think I can have another one because it is highly unlikely that it will be as good as this. A croissant in a muffin shape, this pastry was filled with an amazing coffee flavoured cream and then topped with a dollop of mascarpone. Soooo good, and definitely my favourite.

Reece Croissant: I’m not a big peanut butter fan, but this was good. Maybe it was the salted caramel that made it so good, but whatever it was, it worked.

Overall, all the pastries were of top quality. It was very evident that all the ingredients were of high standards, and this translated through to how good the end product was. Each pastry was light, fluffy, airy, and definitely worth every calorie being consumed!

Unfortunately Lune is no longer open in Elwood. But fret not, in a few weeks they will be open in Fitzroy, in a bigger premises, more capacity, and hopefully longer opening hours which will mean that we won’t need to queue at crazy hours any more. Whatever the case may be, I can’t wait for them to come back, because I want my croissant fix!

Lune Croissanterie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted September 18, 2015 09:22 AM by Moni

September 17, 2015

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


September 11, 2015

We've been meaning to visit Wonderbao for years - we're resolutely pro-bun, and the enthusiastic reviews that pop up regularly on vego blogs (see below) have kept it on our radar. My job has recently shifted from Gertrude Street to the city and, although I miss my old favourites, one of the upsides has been the opportunity to scope out some city lunches. Wonderbao is hidden away down an arcade off A'Beckett street and it's easy to miss it if you're not paying attention (Sarah Cooks has a helpful map on her blog post).

The menu is pretty minimal, especially for vegos - there's a tofu gua bao ($4.90) and a mushroom bao ($2.70), plus a couple of sweet bao options ($2.50 each). I didn't have a good sense of how much I should order, so I was relieved to see that they've got a conveniently arranged veggie pack - for $9.50 you get the tofu gua bao and mushroom bao for lunch and the taro bao for dessert.

The tofu is the clear stand-out - a cube of fried silky tofu, with coriander, sweet soy sauce and pickled mustard, folded into a pillowy steamed bun. The mushroom bun isn't bad either - a puffy ball of dough, wrapped around a mixed filling of shitake mushrooms, tofu and veggies. The filling itself isn't popping with flavour, but the sriracha and soy sauce on the table mean you can add a bit of punch as required. The final offering was dessert - a bun stuffed with a smooth, starchy taro-based filling that is a bit sweet and a bit savoury, but mostly pretty bland. I was tempted to add some sriracha just to see if it would make this more memorable, but I resisted. I'm not generally a big fan of taro-based desserts though, so I'm probably not the ideal reviewer of this dish.

Wonderbao is popular - I arrived bang on 12 and managed to score a seat at the window, but there was a queue streaming out the door by 12:15 that showed no signs of disappearing while I was working my way through lunch. The hype is interesting - Wonderbao offer decent value food, with an emphasis on doing one thing and doing it well - but the food itself isn't life-changing, and I doubt I'd be willing to queue up for 20 minutes to grab a seat. Still - on a proper spring day, I can easily imagine grabbing a couple of the tofu gua bao and eating them in the sunshine somewhere else.


Wonderbao might just be the most blogged-about place we've reviewed. Vegos The Good Hearted, Nouveau Potato, VeganopolousThe Chocoholic Philosopher, easy as vegan pie and vegawesome are fans, while The Simple Eater wasn't so impressed. 

The non-veg blog scene is full of praise - with positive reviews from Burn My Mouth Blog, The World Loves Melbourne, Miss.Neverfull, Food & Travel, But Mostly Food, Mango Macarons (two, three),  Easy Food Hacks, Two Clowns Tripping, Klaus & Fritz, Sarah Cooks, Burp!Appetit, Olive Sundays, Never Too Sweet, The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua, The Hungry Traveller, Gourmet Chick, Petit Miamx, confessions of a little piggy, The Chommery, Seeking Victory, Addicted to the Sweet Life, Juganauts Foodie Thoughts, Skinny Glutton, Curiously Celeste, Good Food, Good Mood, The Hangry Bitch, Carly Findlay, Momo & Coco, Simon Food Favourites, Temasek, Ministry of Gluttony, Let's Get Fat Together, Who Told You That?, Food and Tea Traveller, Gastrology, Let Me Feed You Melbourne, Yellow Eggs, Eat.Play.Shop, foodie about town, Jenny Chews, Rumbly in my Tumbly, Foodscrazy, Eat and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Die(t) (twice), Asian Restaurants in Melbourne, Gastronomic Gems, Yum Yum, egg tarts and apple pie, Plus Ate Six, The Very, Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Epicurean of Southbank, Poor Student Eats/Drinks Melbourne, Food Made With Love, The Hunger Pangs, I came, I saw, I ate, Kaffiekoo, New International Students, The Escort and the Thief, Petit Fours, The Owl's Nest, The Bake-a-Nista, My First Foray, Simple Palates, Seriously, Ultimate Foodie Getaway, Saving, Dining and Travelling, I Talk Too Much My Mouth Hurts, Panda & Cakes, tickle my tastebuds, Couture Foodie, A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words, Lots of Cravings, Snow Crab Nebula, Food Porn Journal, Good Food, Good Karma, A Hedonist's Love, The Adventures of Miss Piggy, Jotting Down my Foodsteps, Wandering Mint, Ellie's Belly Adventures, The Food Society (twice), A Chronicle of Gastronomy, Gluttony Fair, Go to Bread, Not Bed, Crystal Noir, Caramel Love, Live To Eat, Farkthat'snotbad, 50 First Dates, Food is Our Religion, Spoonfuls of Wanderlust, libertine eats, ps: i heart you, I Heart Good Food, Little Miss Peckish, Sweet and Sour Fork, Peach Water, Ichigo Shortcake, Look, See, Food, A Food Trail, Wynne Ma, FoodVixen, Charles Jedidiah, Lunchosaurus and iFat - Food Chronicles and just a few less impressed posts at Curious Charlie, Such Good Life, Pigging Out Around the World and secretemple.

Shop 4/19-37 A'Beckett St, Melbourne CBD
9654 7887
menu 1, menu 2

Accessibility: Wonderbao has a flat entryway into a very small interior. There are a few stools for people eating in, but it's mostly about takeaway. You order from a medium counter. I didn't visit the toilets.

Posted September 17, 2015 04:14 PM by Michael


Vegan Mofo 2015 #17: Make Or Eat A Traditional Local Dish

When I think of a Melbourne dish, the first thing that comes to mind is a dim sim. From Wikipedia: A dim sim is a Chinese-inspired meat or vegetable dumpling-style snack food, popular in Australia and to a lesser extent in New Zealand. The meat variety dish normally consists of small amounts of pork or...
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Posted September 17, 2015 12:22 PM

September 16, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Spaghetti with Silverbeet and Cauliflower Grematola, Vegan parmesan and Vegan MoFo Quicklinks

So I have mentioned that I am not participating in Vegan MoFo for the first time in four years.  I miss it a little but I also know I just don't have the time to commit this year.  It doesn't mean I can't be sharing excellent vegan food and excellent links to other Vegan MoFo blogs.  Which is exactly what I am doing in this post.

The recipe comes from Joanne's amazing Eats Well With Others blog.  As a good Italian girl, she posts fantastic pasta and pizza recipes.  With lots of vegetables.  I really loved her idea for using cauliflower rice and finely chopped silverbeet for grematola which is normally lemon zest, garlic and parsley.  She also used lots of parmesan cheese.

I had everything on hand except the parmesan cheese.  It seemed silly to run out to the shops for parmesan when I had plenty of ingredients to make vegan parmesan cheese.  I have tried vegan parmesan before but I was still amazed at just how good I found some ground up nuts and nutritional yeast flakes with a little seasoning.  (And it looks really cute in my retro salt and pepper set with the mushroom mustard pot.)

As always, a truckload of vegies seemed to disappear into the tangle of pasta.  Yet I felt pretty good eating this pasta because I knew there were lots of greens and vegies in it.  E was not overly keen because he missed seeing the parmesan when I left the pasta for him for dinner.  The parmesan really does make a difference.

Vegan MoFo Quicklinks
As I mentioned above, I have been enjoying watching Vegan MoFo from the sidelines.  This year the organisers have imposed themes.  It has been interesting to see how various bloggers have responded.  I have particularly loved the day when everyone gave kitchen tours.  As always, it feels impossible to get around to every blog.  Below are a few favourite recipes and fun posts:

Apricot chickpeas with spiced coconut rice - Vie de la Vegan
Tempeh cheatballs with marinara sauce - Little Vegan Bear
Caribbean vegetarian rundown - Allotment to Kitchen
Green energy bowl - Rock Your Vegan Socks
Tourlou Tourlou - The Elizavegan Page

A Smith and Deli sandwich a day - Quince and Kale
Marinated eggplant sandwich - Seitan is My Motor
Not Quite Costanza’s Calzone - Veganopoulous
Crisp sandwiches - Flicking the Vs
Meatloaf igloo - Chunky on Chia

Waffle doughnuts - Hasta La Vegan
Healthy choc chip corn muffins - Veg Fiend
Stuffed french toast - Spade and Spoon
Peach whiskey upside down cake - Sprouts and Chocolate

I am sending this post to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays, Helen, Michelle and Katie for Extra Veg, and Shaheen for Eat Your Greens.

More vegan pasta recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Avocado pasta
Cheesy peas pasta
Fennel and lentil lasagne 
Hurry up pumpkin alfredo
Risoni with chickpeas, lemon, and mint 
Soy bombs and tomato sauce on top of spaghetti
Spaghetti hoops

Spaghetti with Silverbeet and Cauliflower Grematola
Adapted from Eats Well With Others
Serves 4-6

500g spaghetti
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bunch silverbeet (chard), stems removed
¼ cup olive oil
8 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp of lemon zest
½ - 1 tsp chilli paste (or chilli flakes)
salt and black pepper, to taste
I quantity vegan parmesan (as below) or use 1/2 cup dairy parmesan

Finely chop cauliflower into 'rice' and then finely chop silverbeet.  I did this in blender.  (This is the time to prepare everything to make sure the vegies can be prepared while the pasta cooks.)

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to instructions on packet. 

Meanwhile .... Heat oil in a large frypan and fry the garlic briefly (30 seconds) until they smell fragrant.  Add cauliflower and silverbeet and fry for 6-8 minutes.  Add lemon juice, lemon zest, chilli paste and seasoning to taste.

When pasta is cooked toss with vegetable mixture.  Serve warm.

Vegan parmesan cheese
Slightly adapted from Minimalist Vegan

1/2 cup cashews
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp salt flakes
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Blend until ingredients are blitzed to a powder.

On the Stereo:
You Can't Hide Your Love Forever: Orange Juice

Posted September 16, 2015 06:14 PM by Johanna GGG


Vegan Mofo 2015 #16: Favourite Late Summer Food

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite summer food, but I do like eating more fresh fruit at that time of year so I’ll make this one a summer in general (I’m pretty terrible with knowing what grows best at certain times of the year). Bananas are always at the top of my list though....
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Posted September 16, 2015 02:12 PM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Middle Fish III

September 9, 2015

Michael's job has shifted locations from Fitzroy to the north-western CBD. As a result, Middle Fish has become middle ground between our workplaces. Originally focused on breakfast and lunch, this Thai cafe now trades for dinner, too, and the menu has expanded substantially since our last visit (erm, that was probably me sneaking in for banana roti with a textbook for cover).

Most helpful is a double spread headed "Not Meat". Here Middle Fish spell out that their vegetarian dishes may contain eggs, fish sauce or shrimp paste - it's not quite my definition of lacto-ovo, but there are six dishes clearly marked vegan among them. There are also pages of Thai desserts and street sweets I'd not encountered before, extending their past roti offerings to sago, sticky rice and root vegetables steeped in coconut milks and syrups, some with icecream.

But we were here for dinner. Once we'd placed our order, we were presented with a plate of prawn crackers - a nice gesture, but again stretching the definition of vegetarian further than we usually go.

By contrast, the Thai tea with condensed milk ($3.80) was exactly was I was after, sweet and more woody than bitter, almost orange once I'd stirred it up.

Michael trialled their vegan mussaman ($15) with brown rice - a pleasant rendition with lots of tofu and only mild spices (this was rapidly rectified using the hot sauces at the table).

I insist on roti with Thai curries whenever possible. This one ($4) was thick, thoroughly toasted and very flaky, with a bit o' satay sauce on the side.

I went back for the kai jiew ($14.50) I've ordered several times before - this is an enormous golden-fried omelette studded with tofu and the odd broccoli floret, slouching over a mound of brown rice. I happily laboured over it for some time, dabbing sriracha around with my spoon.

While the light and the ambience is a little dimmer in the evening, Middle Fish remains a bright, relaxed spot for a meal. With the same menu now served for lunch and dinner, there's no need for anyone to miss out.



Middle Fish
122-128 Berkeley St, Carlton
9348 1704
menu foreword, Thai-style breakfast, Kao tom: rice soup, Melbourne breakfast, nibbles, Sa la pao, Southern Thai cuisine, Ka njom jeen, lunch, lunch 2, not meat, Thai dessert, street sweets, cold drinks, hot drinks, tea

Accessibility: There's a flat entry way leading into an incredibly spacious and naturally well-lit dining area (it's a bit dimmer at night). Service takes place at the table, payment at a low counter.

Posted September 16, 2015 07:29 AM by Cindy

September 15, 2015


Vegan Veggie Balls At Ikea

We had a family trip to Ikea yesterday and the number one item on my little Ikea list were the new vegan veggie balls from the restaurant. Released in Australia back in April, Ikea have introduced these new menu items in order to offer food options that are more ‘nutritious and sustainable‘. First off it always,...
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Posted September 15, 2015 08:34 PM

Vegan Mofo 2015 #15: Obamas Coming To Dinner

Today’s Mofo prompt is OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make? Now, I don’t watch much TV or really follow politics of other nations enough to know the latest or who has done what and where. But whenever I’ve seen Barack Obama interviewed...
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Posted September 15, 2015 10:52 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne


September 6, 2015

September 6 is the anniversary of our first date (now some fifteen years ago) and also our registry office wedding (ten years ago). This year it fell on Fathers' Day, so it was a day of celebratory lunches for many. We had ours at Matteo's, a decades-old fancy Fitzroy restaurant that we'd not visited before. We were constrained to their Fathers' Day set menu (3 courses for $95), but happily found cute little eggplant symbols marking vegetarian options across every course.

We played swapsies on the two veg entrees. I started on the zucchini flowers, which were stuffed with fetta and tempura battered, and set against a rainbow of heirloom beetroots. Under the whole and shaved beetroots was a beetroot puree with a surprising horseradish kick.

The other entree featured cubes of eggplant fried in a thick crunchy batter and glazed with Sichuan pepper and black vinegar. It was set on a basil silken tofu sauce and covered in a cacophonous collection of fresh herbs.

While Michael enjoyed a cocktail and couple glasses of wine from the drinks menu, there were no non-alcoholic options spelt out. With a nudge from Michael, though, one of their staff mocked up a Moscow Mule-inspired soda.

The vegetarian main was very rich and European, and arrived at our table with a heady waft of truffle oil. The dish centred around a brioche moulded charlotte stuffed with truffled mushrooms. It sat atop wilted water spinach in a pool of porcini sauce, with three bafflingly-peeled cherry tomatoes. On top was a poached egg and fresh snow pea shoots.

For dessert, Michael and I went our separate ways. He had a generous board of cheeses with figs and fruit bread, washed down with a glass of muscat.

Meanwhile, I took on the plate of three (really four!) small desserts. They were safe dishes very well executed: a diamond of flourless orange cake topped with burnt orange curd and a candied mandarin; a small pot of vanilla creme brulee garnished with poached apple and rhubarb (my surprise favourite); a dark chocolate fondant; and a spoon of Medjool date icecream.

On its website, Matteo's fancies itself as the "dapper, slightly eccentric aristocrat of Melbourne fine dining". It's modern Australian, but not up-to-the-minute trendy - the heavy tablecloths, plush furnishings and formal service style are quite traditional and this 'fusion' approach has been kicking around a long while too. While our entrees were brightly coloured and flavoured, the mains and desserts were more staid, and the $95 price tag felt a little steep. But this is probably the lot of the Fathers Day set menu, and I remain interested in experiencing their regular vegetarian options.



533 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North
9481 1177
Fathers' Day special menu

Accessibility: There is a small step on entry. Tables are quite densely packed. We received full table service. Toilets were gendered, relative narrow, and located up a narrow set of 4-5 steps.

Posted September 15, 2015 08:27 AM by Cindy

September 14, 2015


Vegan Mofo 2015 #14: Share Something Vegan With A Non-Vegan

Today’s Mofo prompt is share something vegan with a non-vegan. I’m the only vegan in my family, immediate and extended (my seven year old daughter DeeW is vegetarian). I only ever prepare vegan food and here’s a selection of dishes I like to make for family gatherings or gifts. The festive chickpea tart from Dreena...
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Posted September 14, 2015 10:34 AM

where's the beef? Vegetarians in Melbourne

Pumpkin flatbread

September 5, 2015

This little half-recipe caught my eye while I was reading the blog Challenge Accepted! earlier this year. It's a pumpkin spring onion pancake with just three ingredients. Substituting sauteed leek for the spring onion, we rolled ours out flatter, fried them in a little less oil and used them as flatbread to eat with spiced chickpeas and coconut spinach.

Mashed pumpkin is a beautifully soft and sweet binder for this kind of bread, which can otherwise be a little bit tough (... when I make it, anyway). The bread was a soothing flavour and grounding texture alongside these tangy curries.

Pumpkin flatbread
(from the blog Challenge Accepted!)

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with paper.

Remove the skin from some pumpkin and slice it into large wedges. Roast the wedges until they're very tender, 40-50 minutes. (If you're using a leek, use this time to slice it into rounds and saute it in a frypan until soft.) When they are cool enough to handle, transfer the pumpkin to a large bowl and mash it thoroughly. (If you're using a leek, stir it into the mashed pumpkin.) Sprinkle over a little salt, and use a wooden spoon to fold in plain flour a 1/4 cup at a time, until you've formed a tacky dough.

Roll out some baking paper onto a bench, and liberally dust it with flour. Pinch off a 1/4 cup round of dough and plop it on the paper, dusting the top with a little more flour. Roll out the dough to form a rough circle about 3mm thick. Heat up a frypan with just a touch of oil, and fry the flatbread for 30-60 seconds per side, until it's dry on the surface and brown spots appear. Repeat the rolling and frying process with the remaining dough.

Posted September 14, 2015 08:19 AM by Cindy

September 13, 2015

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Coconut and chocolate chunk cake

This is one of those posts that is struggling to be written but I am not giving up without a fight.  Because the cake was excellent and I really wanted to share a post today for International Chocolate Day. In fact, if I had to recommend a cake for the day it would be this one with lots of chunks of chocolate studding a moist vegan coconut cake.

I know some people do not like the word moist but I have far greater problems in my life.  Like driving into the glare of the evening sun.  Or Sylvia snapping the brake cable on her bike.  Or finding that the photos of the cake in this post would not work on my photo software so I couldn't edit them properly.  Or having a complete fail when the slice I made was more like baked porridge than cakey slice.  Or making strawberry sauce for pancakes this morning and finding that E didn't even notice when he had his pancakes later than Sylvia and me.  Actually that wasn't so bad because I got to eat the rest of the sauce straight out of the saucepan and it was no great hardship.  More worrying is that my parents' dog is very sick and I am yet to hear if he survived the day!  Big sigh!

[Update: My parents dog is now better!]

No wonder I need chocolate.  Fortunately I had oodles of it today in the form of mars bar slice.  I haven't made this slice for years but thought it would be a nice treat.  It was also good to take along for afternoon tea when we saw our friends with their new (very cute) baby.  Let's just forget that the chocolate seized when I microwaved it and had to spread rather than poured over the top of the slice!

But back to the chocolate coconut cake.  It was magnificent.  I made it for a morning tea for a friend's birthday a few weeks back.  While it was baked the previous evening, I drizzled the icing over it shortly before leaving home.  If you are like me and love a soft cake textured with dried coconut, an overload of chocolate, a crispy coconut topping and just a wee drizzle of icing, then this cake is for you. 

A few notes on the cake.  The Whittakers 67% dark chocolate works brilliantly in this cake.  I used a little more than needed but did not regret it.  I didn't have orange zest and am not sure it is necessary but have left it there as it seems a nice idea.  I had a little coconut milk left from a 270ml tin that was just enough for the icing.  I actually used less icing than I made because I wanted it lacy so we could see the coconut flakes and chocolate chunks. I thought the coconut flakes were too well done - because I made a pitiful effort at covering them with foil when they were browned - but they were fine on the end result.

I used a shredded coconut in the cake that is slightly larger shreds than my usual desiccated coconut.  As always it wasn't sweetened, nor was my coconut milk but I haven't specified this in the recipe as it is one of those odd ideas - I am not sure I have seen sweetened coconut milk and I rarely see sweetened shredded coconut.  I think I bought sweetened shredded coconut once but it was a mistake.  Anyway let's not go there.  Instead we can just pretend such things don't exist and we live in a world where packaged coconut doesn't need sugar because we are going to add sugar into the cake anyway!  But I can assure you this isn't a terribly sweet cake.  Just amazingly delicious.  Truly worthy of International Chocolate Day!

More irresistable chocolate cakes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Honey, yoghurt and chocolate cake
Jill Dupleix's flourless chocolate cake (gf)
Melt and mix chocolate chunk mud cake
Nigella's nutella cake (gf)
Paragon chocolate orange cake
Vegan chocolate (layer) cake (v)
Walnut fudge cake

Coconut and chocolate chunk cake
Adapted from the Tolerant Vegan

Dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cups plain flour (I added 1/4 cup wheat germ)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cups sugar (I used raw)

Wet ingredients:
115g (1/2 cup) margarine or butter, melted
2 teaspoons grated orange peel (optional - I didn't use)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup coconut milk

The chocolate:
150g dark chocolate, broken into bits

50g dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup coconut flakes

Icing drizzle:
1/2 cup vegan confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoon coconut milk

Preheat oven to 180 C and grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.

Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl or large jug.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined.  Mix in the 150g dark chocolate chunks.

Scrape mixture into prepared cake tin.  Scatter with chocolate chunks and then coconut flakes.  Bake for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle misses a piece of chocolate and comes out clean.  If the coconut flakes are brown enough before the cake is cooked, cover with foil as they will continue to darken!  Cool in the tin.

When cool remove from tin and place coconut flakes upwards on a serving plate.  Mix icing sugar and coconut milk to make a thin icing.  Drizzle over cake sparingly so that the coconut flakes are still visible.

On the stereo: 
The Best of Bowie: David Bowie

    Posted September 13, 2015 11:11 PM by Johanna GGG


    Vegan Mofo 2015 #13: Kitchen Tour Time

    Yay, this is where you all get to see my kitchen that’s a big pain in the arse. And that looks a little grotty even though it really isn’t (I scrubbed it before the photos!) We do have plans to renovate (one day…) but it will involve a fair amount of demolition and rebuilding and us...
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    Posted September 13, 2015 09:43 AM