351 Lygon St, Brunswick East
I had never been to Proud Mary before. I know, I should have handed in my hipster card as a result long ago. I’m not sure if Proud Mary is even a part of the hipster zeitgeist anymore, so out of the loop am I. Bennett, who was responsible for orchestrating this long overdue visit, is adamant that the hipsters have given over Proud Mary to the growing contingent of Collingwood yuppies, but although I spotted plenty of sartorially coordinated families complete with strollers picking up coffees, there were still far too many ugly sweaters and ironic moustaches in attendance for me to believe that the hipsters had abandoned it entirely.
I was a little concerned that perhaps the full brunt of Proud Mary would be completely lost on me given their specialty is coffee, and I’ve only got to the point where I have a flat white maybe one every couple of weeks, and I certainly don’t go in for cold drips or anything fancy like that. I managed to risk severe caffeine overstimulation by having two flat whites bookend my brunch, and they were quite lovely as anticipated, strong but not fierce, smooth with a good head of crema. And I found the bright blue duck egg cups they were served in to be darling.
Since I couldn’t experience the height of coffee orientated decadence offered by Proud Mary, I decided that I clearly had to go for the most excessive vegetarian friendly brunch item available. There are few things less fancy when it comes to vegetables than the words ‘foraged mushrooms’ so I was very easily swayed into the idea of pine mushrooms on sourdough with housemade cheese curd and a poached egg.
I understand that high levels of pine mushroom use is probably out of the reach of most cafes, but that is a shame because they are such a treat. Two giant disks of lightly sauteed mushroom sat atop a giant slice of sourdough, liberally dotted with light, enormously rich dollops of bright white curd, and once the perfectly poached egg was popped and the yellow yolk oozed all over everything I was in some class of heaven.
Bennett went with the avocado dish of charred corn, green onion tabbouleh, harissa, roasted baby tomatoes and avocado on seedy bread, minus the ricotta because he has a vendetta against cheese. This was an equally piled plate that looked very filling, and quite virtuously so too.
Proud Mary isn’t cheap, you’ll have to battle through the weekend crowds regardless of how early you arrive, and there is the aforementioned hipster factor that is off-putting for some. But even though I was braced to be disappointed in the face of years of overwhelming praise, I was inevitably won over by the food. I’d like to go back in order to have a go at the sweets end of the menu, which apart from such exciting sounding brunch items like the ricotta hot cakes with mandarin caramel, honeycomb and ice cream (!!! how does that even qualify as BREAKFAST) is also augmented by a giant cabinet that was inundated with sweet baked treats – I gave such a saucy eye to a collection of jam doughnuts that they are probably pregnant now.
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood
Ph: 9417 5930
Another day, another breakfast.
I’ve been a bit sick of my breakfast rut recently and so I decided I’d go out. It also had to be somewhere new. What’s the point of getting out of an “at home” rut and falling into an “eating the same thing at the same café” rut?
So this time I headed to True North in Coburg. I’d heard some good things about it from my finger-on-the-pulse Coburg friends, and Coburg is so hip these days it could not go wrong. :)
The café is a smallish cosy place and it has booths, which makes it a winner in my book. There are a good number of well-marked vegan options on the menu.
I chose the Breakfast Roll even though I wanted several other things, none of which I can now remember, except a BLT.
The roll itself was a beautiful crunchy sourdough that came from Rustica Bakery in Fitzroy. I loved it so much that I went home afterwards via the bakery and bought some of their bread.
But back to the cafe…the roll came with bubble and squeak, facon, avocado, rocket and tomato relish. Good, good, good. I’m not sure if the bubble and squeak varies according to what is left over, but mine had nice bits of sauerkraut in it. This was delicious and contrasted so well with the smoky flavour of the facon and the smoothness of the avocado. The coffee was also excellent.
I need to go back, so I guess I’ll have to get stuck in a new breakfast rut at True North and eat my way through the rest of the menu.
2a Munro St
These eats go back a while. The first was way back in April on ANZAC day – the bear and I met up with my mum and dad for lunch and a movie due to it being a public holiday. We met in between our places on Chapel St, and headed towards the Sweetwater Inn for a bite to eat. Unfortunately, they weren’t yet open when we got there, though that may be a good thing – this post may have had far too much deep-fried-ness otherwise. Yowzers!
I’ve never really spent a lot of time on the South Yarra end of Chapel st – it’s a bit more fashion-oriented than I can bear for very long. They do have a couple of cinemas though, and plenty of cafes and restaurants to drink cawfee and fill tummies.
We decided to stop at a Mexican place called Amigos, as it wasn’t too far from where we needed to be. Amigos has three location – South Yarra, St Kilda and the CBD, and according to the website they have been serving Mexican food and drink since 1981.
Upon viewing the menu, I noticed two items labelled vegan. Not a huge choice, but good to have the options labelled nevertheless.
The bear went for the Ensalada Verde – a green salad with avo, tomato, red onion, and a citrus and herb dressing, topped with tortilla strips. He enjoyed this, and even let me taste a little. Decent tasting though someone overpriced at $16.50 for some leaves and bread, in my humble opinion.
Afterwards, we went on the Jam Factory to see The Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema. It was the first time I had been to the movies in quite some time, and I enjoyed watching a film in the dark on the big screen. Gotta love Wes Anderson, I enjoyed the unusual darkness of this film, as well as the usual quirky patterns of conversation. Since then, I’ve been to the cinemas two more times (Good Vibrations and All This Mayem) and am looking forward to more visits – hopefully I’ll catch a few films at the Melbourne International Film Festival starting tomorrow….look out!
Next up, a trip to Lord of the Fries. Why oh why do I continue to go here and not enjoy myself?
Perhaps that is a little harsh – it’s just that I have such high expectations! Vegans and omnivores alike, everybody tells me how great Lord of the Fries are..it makes me feel like I am missing something. Can somebody please explain to me why they are so good? Perhaps I make continually bad choices, I don’t know. Perhaps I need to visit at 3am after a night out – I bet I would enjoy it then.
The bear and I got a few bowls of fried stuff. Here is some chips and chili poppers with vegan cheese and hot napoli sauce. Yet another sauce that really didn’t do much for me, although it was better than the satay and the special vegan mayo that I’ve tried before. The sauce wasn’t spicy at all, and the chili poppers were pretty tasteless – just friedness, with bland cream cheese style filling.
Sorry for offending your eyes with this picture, I know it ain’t the prettiest. This is a bowl of chips and onion rings with vegan cheese and gravy. Admittedly, this was the best sauce of all the ones I’ve tried, despite its translucent gelatinous appearance. Not saying it was amazing, but definitely preferable to the others.
Maybe I need to try the sweet potato fries. Or the burgers or hot dogs. I had a burger once and it was okay, but nothing mind blowing. No doubt I will be back some time, as I feel the need to crack this mystery.
Oh my goodness – to think I almost let you get away without laying your eyes on this monstrosity! Okay, that was mean, I actually enjoyed this until I felt sick. The Chapel st store also does a few milkshakes, this one being Oreo flavoured. I know it looks a bit like sewerage, but it was not too bad – a bit sickly sweet, but hey, why else would you get a milkshake?
7/478 Chapel St, South Yarra
Sun – Thurs – 11.30am – 12am
Fri – Sat – 11.30am – 1am
Lord of the Fries
170 Chapel St, Windsor
(see website for other locations)
Mon – Wed – 11am – 8pm
Thurs – 11am – 9pm
Fri – Sat – 11am – 5am
Sun – 11am – 9pm
Smith & Daughters: Tarta de Chocolate Azteca w/ fresh avocado icecream ($14)
Sat: 10am-3pm (brunch menu)
Sun: 10am-3pm (brunch menu)
You only need to walk past Smith & Daughters on a weeknight to see that they’re not only leading the way in all vegan dining, but dining in general. Vegans and omnivores alike are flocking here for awesome food, super friendly service and a damn good vibe.
The Spanish and Mexican inspired all vegan dinner menu is an ever-evolving pursuit of perfection. Say goodbye to main meals, and hello to a vast selection of mouth-watering small plates to make your own smorgasbord. Choose from such delicacies as 'White truffle, forest mushroom pâté w/ caper berries, cornichons & toasted bread' ($15 GFO), 'Tuna & green pea croquettas w/ caper aioli' ($5 each) and the amazing 'Tortilla w/ garlic aioli' ($7 per slice).
If you’re more in the mood for salad, the 'Tacos con enslada' (GFO NFO $16)—a crisp tortilla basket filled w/ black beans, vegan chorizo, grilled corn, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, pickled red cabbage and coriander cashew cream is a popular choice.
Life’s too short for regrets, so don’t skimp on a Smith & Daughter’s dessert—do try the 'Tarta de Chocolate Azteca' ($14), served with the most incredible fresh avocado ice cream or share some ‘Warm Spanish Donuts’ ($12) with quince and spiced sugar.
Spanish or Mexican Baked Omelettes ($16 GFO), ‘Spanish French Toast' ($16) and a 'Breakfast Burrito' ($15) w/ scrambled tofu, crispy vegan chorizo, black beans, garlic kale and guacamole are on offer for brunch on weekends only.
Coffee with your choice of soy, oat, coconut or almond+coconut milk is $4 or $3.50 (black).
P.S Thursday nights from 10pm-1pm are dedicated to Morrissey/Smith's tunes, 'moza-ritas' and late night vegan eats. 'So, please, please, please, let me, let me, let me eat all the vegan treats this time...'
Another amazing breakfast at Little Rose has drawn me back to my blog. I should have come back months ago, but feeling compelled to complement the deliciously yummy food and amazing customer service was the impetus I needed.
This was my second visit to this gorgeously quaint back street cafe in Port Melbourne. Both visits have provided equally delicious meals, but this one was extra special because of the fantastic customer service. After checking the meal was vegetarian I ordered the sauteed button mushrooms with bubble and squeak, fried eggs, parmesan, sourdough and mustard cress. Of course I know that bubble and squeak can be made either with or without bacon, hence my checking with the waitress up front. As a seasoned vegetarian I know to always check when ordering an ambiguous menu item.
Disappointingly the first cut into said bubble and squeak revealed bacon and a call from me to the waitress. But this was the point when Little Rose really exceeded expectations. Not only did they offer to swap the bubble for home made hash browns, but when the meal was returned to me the whole dish had been exchanged for a fresh version, my cutlery was replaced and I was told that it would be free of charge. The waitress also apologised. This in itself was quite amazing as I’ve found shops and restaurants rarely offer a “sorry” when something is faulty or delivered incorrectly.
To top it off the food was amazing. The chef at Little Rose is brilliant and everything I have eaten there is delicious. My hubby would agree with this as well.
Food 5 stars, customer service 5 stars! Thank you Little Rose.
Little Rose is located around the back of Rose Diner at 309 Bay St, Port Melbourne.
On one of the coldest days last week, I spent the day cooking. I made a loaf of bread, some bread rolls, butter and cheese. I know it is relatively easy to buy all these things in Melbourne, but I find a lot of pleasure in making the most basic foods like these. I make bread the most often, because the no knead recipe is so simple, and the results are so rewarding.
I’ve only made vegan butter once, before the arrival of Half Pint Vegan Dairy butter. But with no butter available at the moment from Half Pint, I decided I’d make some. The recipe I used is the one at veganbaking.net. I make cheese probably once a month, and live in hope that I will finally make the perfect vegan cheese. I’m still trying. In the meantime I’ve settled on this one. At the end I had a very nice cheese and tomato crunchy roll with some sprouts for lunch. Sometimes simple pleasures are the best.
Fritters are secretly one of my favourite staple recipes to have hanging around, as I tend to collect vegetables and often the only way to get rid of them is to grate them up and fry the beejesus out them (what, you don’t just think to fry everything?).
These beetroot fritters are particularly good because 1). They are bright pink; 2). You don’t have to wait forever to roast the beets, it’s a grate, fry and eat prospect; and 3). The inclusion of Danish feta makes them quite a bit richer than the standard vegie fritter, so once you team them with a nice side salad they make a proper filling dinner. Bingo bango.
1. Combine the grated vegetables in a bowl with the sliced spring onions and the egg. Mix to combine, then once the egg is fully incorporated, add the flour, and mix further until the mixture is sticking together nicely. If your mixture is still too wet, just keep adding flour until it reaches an agreeable consistency.
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Using a tablespoon, take spoonfuls of the mixture, plop into the pan and flatten down into discs with the back of the spoon. Each side should take around 2-4 minutes to brown sufficiently, and obviously remember to turn them over so both sides cook. Let cooked fritters drain on a plate covered with paper towel, and repeat until you run out of mixture.
I love bean sprouts, but I have to admit I suck at making them. I don’t like buying them because of the packaging.
I’ve tried lots of methods of making sprouts, from the good old-fashioned jar with some net, to a hessian sprout bag. They almost always end up manky. This is absolutely my fault – I always forget to rinse them enough.
I BRIEFLY considered (for about one nanosecond) a top end auto rinsing model, designed for the completely sprout challenged. I dismissed it as ridiculous at a couple of hundred dollars. Really, it shouldn’t require a technological marvel to make sprouts. It should be fairly simple. Shouldn’t it?
But with failure after failure I’d pretty much abandoned hope until…
Enter my new kitchen toy, perfect for the lazy or forgetful person - an Easy Sprout sprout maker that promises no need for rinsing. I have to say I thought it was too good to be true, but it really isn’t.
Let me be clear – I think it is outrageously priced (around $40 for a few bits of plastic). But for what it does, it is a bargain. The theory is that the double walled construction holds the heat and moisture needed to sprout successfully. The heat is generated by the sprouts themselves and the moisture is retained, but in the outer container. And it does work!
All you need to do is to soak the seeds for a few hours or overnight, rinse once and leave them alone. You can rinse them again if you like. I did this twice during the 5 days when I noticed the sprouter on the bench, but it is very forgiving. The only reason I can see why you might want to rinse, is to redistribute the seeds from the bottom of the container, to give them a better chance at sprouting more evenly. Even I can remember to do that.
So far I’ve made alfalfa, mung bean and lentil sprouts. All successfully.
I cannot speak highly enough of this sprouter. I got mine from Sprout.
It’s moving day! My new site is now at http://www.veganopoulous.com/
I’ll no longer be blogging here at wordpress.com but everything has been successfully (I hope…) moved over to veganopoulous.com. Follow me! I’d get all Pied Piper on you, except I think that would involve leggings-as-pants.
See you there!
I freaking love falafel, and for some reason I’ve always enjoyed the baked kind more than the fried. Maybe it’s memories of greasy kebab shops with crispy oily falafels that leave a coating in your mouth. Maybe it’s the fact that you can put them in the oven and leave them be to do their thing without too much worry. Whatever the reason, they rock.
I actually made this recipe back in Gympie when we were living in the van. Oh, how it seems so long ago…cooking in our tiny fold out kitchen on the side of the road or in the bush. Those were the days! I didn’t have an oven then to bake them, but have since made the recipe again and enjoyed it as much.
What I liked about these is how moist they are, they don’t dry out even when baked. Rather than being like dry biscuits, they are like mouthfuls of creamy hummus. And who doesn’t love hummus?! They are also one of those magical foods that taste even better the next day, so they make great leftover lunch.
Of course, tabouli is the perfect match for falafels, and I love the hint of mint hidden away in it – so fresh and zangy. Oh and the parsley helps with the garlic breath you may find you have after eating all this. You’re welcome.
(serves 4 as a side dish)
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 bunch flat leafed parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil
Rinse and cook quinoa according to instructions. I usually do 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid. Allow to cool.
Add quinoa, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and mint to a bowl and toss to combine.
Whisk garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Pour over tabouli and mix through.
Ta-daaaaa! Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
(makes 12-14 small falafels)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 brown onion, diced
2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp hulled tahini
3 Tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200C and lightly grease a tray.
Blend onion, garlic, parsley and coriander in a food processor or blender.
Add half of the chickpeas, cumin, paprika, lemon juice and tahini and mix until well combined.
Add the remaining chickpeas, and pulse until just combined. I like to leave half of them kind of chunky.
Transfer mix to a bowl, and stir in flour and baking powder. The mix should be like a thick paste or soft dough and you should be able to roll it into balls without making too much of a mess. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour. If too dry, try adding some more lemon juice or water.
Roll mixture into balls and lay out on the tray, press slightly to flatten into disc shapes. Spray or brush lightly with olive oil (optional).
Cook for 15 minutes, then carefully flip each falafel over. Bake for another ten mins, until golden brown.
Serve with tabouli and dressing of choice – here I whisked together some tahini, white wine vinegar, water and smoked paprika, then topped with some hot sauce (of course!)
There are few things more satisfying than opening up your heavy hotel curtains to find the sky as blue as a 90s teen heartthrob’s eyes. It means your day is going to go well, your party hair isn’t going to become soggy, and your kid won’t have to lug around an umbrella and poke other people in the shins with it. So up we all got, ate some cereal, then spent far too long making ourselves all very beautiful for the party we were to attend in the afternoon. The Rocket and her dad had gone out two days before while I was at work and picked her a very froufrou frock, all tulle and sparkles, which she wore with skull and crossbones sneakers; I’d hit up Dangerfield a couple of nights before for my own Melbourne-black frock with a pair of cityscape tights; Teach wore a white shirt with bicycles on it and looked very handsome. We layered up with coats and caught the train to Newtown for our to-do.
Firstly, Sydney public transport requires you to know which station you’re going to and touch-screen your way to a ticket; some other machines have this totally hilarious system with some fifty or however many actual pushable buttons to pick your destination. Melbourne has Myki so I can hardly criticise, but it was pretty fun for us all to jab at the buttons while laughing in a mocking fashion. Anyway, once we were beyond that we moseyed onto our destination, via the quite lovely Hollis Park, which had an elaborate, split-level playground. It’s seriously beautiful around there, all sloping hills and gorgeous close-knit houses looking over parks. Newtown, or at least the small part we went to, was full of giant second-hand bookshops (the Rocket led me to the economics aisle and made me read her the titles), cutesy little shops full of stuff I would’ve spent all my money on if I’d gone through those doors, and vegan restaurants. Our destination was Rubyos, a lovely fresh-looking restaurant where we had our own room walled off and I walked through the door to be greeted by a bunch of people so friendly and just gloriously, colourfully stylish, that I was immediately happy. The Rocket looked shy for a while until complimented on her dress, then foofed around twirling for a while. The non-bride and non-groom were beautiful, polished, and beaming; there was talk, and merriment, and readings, declarations of love for this moment if not an unknown future, and singing and such emotion that I almost couldn’t even. It was sweet and funny and original and I loved everyone by the end, including everyone who was very kind to the Rocket even though she was the youngest by some twenty years. To her credit, she was pretty great: she talked during the ceremony, but only because she wanted to narrate out loud the Maisy book I brought along to shut her up. She had puppy stickers and a book to put them in, but most of the stickers ended up on the guests as she happily shared them with everyone and eventually had people coming over for requests. And the food, guys, OH the food – it was GLORIOUS and there was MOUNTAINS of it. Grazing plates of glory: beginning, I think, with an antipasto that had the most absolutely genuinely best crackers and baba ganoush I have ever, ever had, and a tasty little salad and olives (blech) and other things; there were rice burgers that fell apart but tasted heavenly; steamed green beans with ginger, lime, and cashew nuts (I think), which weren’t my thing but Teach adored; ancient grain and vegetable patties; the best fucking potatoes I may have ever ever had; so much more, I don’t know. It ended with cupcakes that stained people’s mouths blue as everyone kissed goodbye. It was, of course, totally worth the trip, and I’m so glad we went.
We went home in the cooling afternoon and tucked the Rocket in for a nap. Teach sent me out to get a coffee and explore the city on my own, and I wandered the streets, excited to be somewhere new, somewhere so familiar – all the stores, of course, are essentially the same as home – yet the streets were too big, or too small, and the buildings were wrong, and so beautiful. I couldn’t find anywhere for coffee but ended up at a now-forgotten chocolate shop where I did some sketching (I remain genuinely terrible but I like drawing pictures of the Rocket doing ridiculous things) and had a fairly average coffee that made me quietly smug about Melbourne’s coffee scene. Just as I finished, Teach let me know that the Rocket had rejoined the waking world, so back I went, we regrouped, and went out for a walk.
Our aim was Bodhi, upon the advice of many friends who said it was great but we had to be okay with spending big. We are very talented at wasting money on food, and seeing as we’d already blown a stack of cash just getting to Sydney there was no point in holding back on a tasty night’s dinner, so off we went. Hyde Park was on our way, and I really can’t tell you how happy I always am to encounter mid-city parks. The juxtaposition of city buildings and grass to run around on – it’s great. So we ran around, then unexpectedly bumped into a street gang of possums who, unlike our local skittish brand, happily came right up, sniffed your sneakers and begged for food. The Rocket was very pleased if not slightly alarmed about the whole scenario; I’m sure our local possum hunts are forever ruined by this version. After getting confused and not figuring out the multilayers of the park, we found our way sideways and underneath to Bodhi, a sprawling, glittery place with outdoor heaters, friendly staff and trees knotted with fairy lights. They could have fed me torn paper bags and I wouldn’t have cared, it was just so lovely. We sat outside so we could get rice on the ground and ordered.
Overwhelmed by choice, we ordered plain rice for the Rocket, who jabs at all menus and yells “RICE!” at waiters even if we are at a pizza joint; edamame (as always); English spinach gow dumplings; Australian mushroom gow dumplings; smoked soy, coconut, chili and coriander betel leaves; chickpea battered winter vegetables with sour cream and sweet chili sauce; san choy bao and sweet yam tempura spring rolls. Edamame: excellent as per usual (and much better than the night before, slathered in salt); spinach dumplings A++; mushroom dumplings awful as mushrooms are awful (Teach adored them though); betel leaves miniature but absolutely incredible; battered winter vegetables hit and miss (I was also full once I got to them); san choy bao super tasty even though the Rocket, devastatingly, threw half the lettuce on the ground; the sweet yam was nice but way way too sweet. Share with four people, or maybe eight so you can have half each. One made me a little queasy. Still, it was a beautiful, satisfying meal, the service was lightspeed-fast, and it did cost a lot but hey, worth it. I pondered a few times during ordering about getting the peking duck, but kept talking myself out of the $23, and since regretted it entirely after my colleague Alison said, “You went to Bodhi, right, and got the peking duck? I have literally flown to Sydney just to eat that dish.” DAMMIT PAST FIONA, YOU NEVER LEARN. It cost us around eighty bucks and was worth it.
Then back home via the lit-up streets around Sydney Tower (which was closed, pah), and back to the hotel for the Rocket to sleep soundly in her metal prison while her jailers sat on the couch with Nickelodeon and popcorn.
Al Nada Sweets
160 Sydney Rd
Coburg, VIC 3058
03 9386 0002
7 days: 9am-10pm
Al Nada Sweets have been baking traditional Lebanese sweets since 1978. Over 30 years on they made the switch to using all vegan ingredients in their traditional sweets, and say it was the best decision they ever made. We tend to agree!
If you’re a newcomer try a mixed pack of 10 pieces for $12 in order to sample everything. They are very sweet, so unless you’ve got a mega sweet tooth or some mates to share with, you may prefer to buy some single pieces for $1.50 each. The baklava and birdnest pastries are popular, and for those not keen on pastry the nummoora, a simple semolina cake is a good choice.
Best of all, they're open every day until 10pm (particularly handy if you've promised to provide dessert for a dinner party and well, didn't actually make anything).
The biscuits in the front window are not vegan, and not baked on the premises.
Other places that sell Al Nada Sweets:
Aust Cafe, Austin Hospital, Level 1 Austin Hospital 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg - 03 9496 4740
Bear Cafe, 439 Brunswick Rd, Fitzroy - 0414 507 635 (currently closed)
Las Vegan Cafe, 22 Smith St, Collingwood
Cafe Tru Track, 52 Leveson St, North Melbourne - 03 9328 8753
Little Dear Tracks, 44 Oheas St, Coburg - 03 9354 3449
Life Skills Cafe, Latrobe University Bundoora - 03 9479 1525
Habib Wholefoods, 260 Flinders St, Melbourne - 03 9639 5515
The Cruelty Free Shop, 385 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy - 03 9495 6673
Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery, Shop 2, 93 High Street, Preston - 03 9943 9184
Aunt Maggies, 188 Gertrude St, Fitzroy - 03 9417 5504
Golden Mini Mart, 2-10 Murray Rd, Coburg North - 03 9355 7786
Yarra Groceries, 736 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056 - 03 9384 0414
Hayat Spices, 852 Sydney Rd, Coburg - 03 9383 7233
La Manna Fresh, 403-407 Sydney Road, Brunswick - 03 9380 1909
Al Alamy Bakery, 51 Waterfield Street, Coburg - 03 9355 8866
IGA Fitzroy, 424 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
IGA Brunswick, 614 Sydney Road, Brunswick
IGA Nth Melbourne, 20-26 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Prahran Convenience Store, 196 Commercial road, Prahran - 03 9529 2050
Foodworks Sth Melbourne, 135 Wells St South Melbourne - 03 9696 0995
IGA Sth Melbourne, 36/38 Park St, South Melbourne - 03 9699 3820
IGA Brighton, 765 Hampton St, Brighton - 03 9592 3598
IGA St Kilda, 64 Fitzroy St, St Kilda - 03 8598 9644
IGA Albert Park, 133 Dundas Place, Albert Park - 03 9690 3772
IGA Middle Park, 19-21 Armstrong St, Middle Park - 03 9696 2532
IGA Richmond, 518 Bridge Rd, Burnley - 03 8459 7086
IGA Moonee Ponds, 118-126 Maribyrnong Road, Moonee Ponds - 03 9372 8777
IGA Essendon, 347 Buckley St, Essendon West - 03 9337 8228
Also visited by Veganopoulous
This was my third trip to an East Elevation Vegan Night.
I don’t think I was blogging when I went to the first two. The first visit was great, the second even better. So I was really looking forward to my third visit.
Even though I don’t think the third visit was quite as good as the second, I wasn’t disappointed.
This time the dishes were even more refined and creative than the last couple of visits, though perhaps a little less filling. Some were utterly brilliant, and while there were one, or possibly two I didn’t enjoy as much, others in the group were impressed. I guess it all comes down to taste.
Those quibbles aside (and they are minor quibbles), this is bargain priced vegan fine dining. $60 for 6 courses with an optional $30 wine pairing.
I love the space at East Elevation, it is open, with high ceilings and a mysterious industrial sized chocolate rolling machine in a glass room to add to the fascination. The tables are beautifully set out with flowers and herbs.
This dinner also happened to be the third trip to EE of our vegan dining group. This was the site of our first dinner. Since then we’ve eaten a lot of really good food, but EE still retains a place in my heart (and stomach) as one of the best. I love that the food here is conceived as vegan, not vegetarian with something missing, as is sometimes the case.
Here is what we ate…
jerusalem artichoke and truffle
I don’t normally like jerusalem artichokes, I find their earthiness a bit overpowering, but this was brilliant and delicious. A jerusalem artichoke puree, truffles and crisp jerusalem artichoke chip.
soy curd with mushrooms and sea vegetable
The sauce was poured at the table adding a little bit of theatre. I liked the flavours in this, but the curd was a little soft and disintegrated. I’d probably have preferred it with silken tofu to give more texture, but the flavours were good.
confit nicola potato, crispy onion, caramelised onion, burnt leek, soy emulsion and vegan parmesan
This one was mind-blowingly wonderful. The soft potato, the crispy and caramelised onions, the smooth textured slightly tart emulsion, smoky leek and a cheesy, crunchy nut parmesan, all combined to make a great dish. Wow! I could have eaten several. Definitely dish of the night for most of us.
carrot, hay, stout
This one left me a bit cold, others thought it was great, but I am not a big fan of carrots. Roasted carrot, pickled carrot, carrot puree, hay flavoured emulsion of something (I wasn’t listening properly…) and a crumb of stout.
rhubarb, blood orange ,almond curd and nasturtium
Two ways with rhubarb, poached and smoked, with an almond curd and blood orange segments and syrup. I loved the smoked rhubarb. The blandness of the almonds and the peppery flavour of the nasturtium worked well with the tart flavours of the fruits.
chocolate and almond
Hot chocolate, chocolate soil, almond praline, almond granita, chocolate with almonds and persian fairy floss. Yum.
I’m glad to see vegan food being taken so seriously.
351 Lygon St,
East Brunswick, 3057
Hi folks, gosh this blogging break is trying my patience. I’ve got stuff to blog about (food reviews, op shop finds!) but I thought I’d wait until the new blog is up. My blog will be changing hosts so there will be a new address. Unfortunately I can’t automatically move subscribers over so when the new blog is live, I’ll post here with the details and you will have to manually subscribe to the new blog yourselves. Sorreeeee! I’ll give you an awesome family recipe of mine to make up for it.
I’d love to see you (and new subscribers of course) over at my new address when everything is up and running! Please? MWAH!
At the start of June, my Granny came over from Perth to visit. On one of the first days she was here, she and my mum came to meet me in Fitzroy and we went to Yong Green for lunch.
I was happy to find they were open when we arrived, as I have been having some poor luck with them this year – every time I make an effort to try and go, they end up being closed for holidays! Thankfully, not this time.
Yong Green Food have a wonderful menu which is based around healthy, sustainable and seasonal food and conscious eating. Pretty much the entire menu is vegan, or vegan on request, and they also cater for other dietary requirements such as organic, gluten-free and garlic/onion-free.
If the food’s not enough to draw you in, their sustainability initiatives are also admirable – Yong Green have taken steps to reduce their greenhouse emissions by purchasing their own GreenPower and acquiring carbon credits through abatement projects. They also donate 10% of their profits to support farmer-managed natural regeneration in East Africa.
I went with the famous dragon bowl – brown rice, topped with various veggies (I think there was carrot, cucumber, sprouts and more) and sliced soy beef. There is also the option to have it with tofu.
The dragon bowl comes with a miso soup and chili sauce – the warm miso an especially nice touch for a winter’s day. The meal was delicious, filling and nourishing.
I didn’t actually take photos of my mum or granny’s meals – mum went with the macro dragon bowl, so it was very similar to mine. Granny went with a Japanese curry, which was absolutely scrumptious.
Then the cake!
We got a piece of raw cake each, and split them three ways so we could each have a taste. This was the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Not too dense and with a generous amount of raspberries and sauce, this was lovely.
The cakes were very nice, though I’ve probably had better elsewhere, and given the price ($9 – $10.50/slice) I would probably prefer to spend the money on entrees next time as the savoury food on offer is more interesting.
Yong Green Food
421-423 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon – CLOSED
Tues – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 10pm
Wed – 5pm – 10pm
Thurs – Sat – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 10pm
Sun – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 9pm
|Hearty tomato noodle soup - 125 C|
|Week 1 Day 1|
|Morning tea||Half apple||42 cal|
|Lunch||Hearty tomato noodle soup (from a box)||125 cal|
|Afternoon tea||3 cherry tomatoes||12 cal|
|Dinner||Italian butter beans |
A few vegies
|140 cal |
|Supper||Half apple |
|42 cal |
|Rice cakes with peanut butter and tomato, and fried asparagus - 92 C|
|Week 7 Day 1|
|Morning tea||Half apple||47 cal|
|Lunch||1 thin rice cake with 1 tsp peanut butter |
4 asparagus spears
fried in 1/2 tsp oil with pinch of salt
|58 cal |
|Afternoon tea||Happy cow cheese wedge||35 cal|
|Dinner||Broccoli soup||153 cal|
|Supper||Rice cake with vegemite |
|40 cal |
|Curried red lentil and dried apricot soup - 141 C|
|Week 9 Day 1|
|Morning tea||Nectarine||39 cal|
|Lunch||1 rice cake with hummus |
1 rice cake with vegemite
|60 cal |
|Dinner||Curried red lentil and dried apricot soup||141 cal|
|Supper||1/2 nectarine||15 cal|
|Sweet potato and red lentil soup - 129 C|
|Week 13 Day 1|
|Lunch||Cuppa noodle soup (packaged)||125 cal|
|Afternoon tea||bit of rice cracker |
bit of peach
|7 cal |
|Dinner||Sweet potato and red lentil soup||129 cal|
|Supper||Rice cake||35 cal|
|Nashi pears - 127 C and packam pears - 80 C|
|6 months later||(I had given up noting the week number)|
|Breakfast||1 rice cake and peanut butter||49 cal|
|Lunch||1 slice sourdough bread|
2 tsp hummus
|Afternoon tea||1 (260g) nashi pear||127 cal|
|Dinner||Beetroot and kidney bean soup||181 cal|
|Italian butter beans - 140 C|
|Asparagus and chickpea salad - 133 C|
|Smoky kidney bean soup - 142 C|
It’s winter and I have a fruit bowl full of navel oranges begging to be used. I cannot think of a better use for them than this wonderful cake.
This recipe is a vegan version of a beautiful Sicilian/Sephardic Jewish orange and almond cake. Navels work best in this cake because they have no seeds to remove – the oranges are pureed whole. The only non vegan ingredient in the original recipe is eggs. While eggs are reasonably easy to replace in a cake, this one has a lot. Six in fact. So I approached it with some unease, thinking it would turn out like a brick. I need not have feared. It is a fairly dense cake, sort of like a pudding in texture, but so is the original.
It is the easiest cake to make. It is really suitable to make vegan because it is such a fudgy cake to begin with. It doesn’t suffer from having the eggs replaced with a vegan alternative, as it doesn’t need the eggs for lightness like say, a sponge.
The original is an old faithful recipe that’s been in my family for years. There are lots of versions of it out there, some with fewer oranges, some with and without flour. This is the one that seems to have settled in as my favourite.
It is utterly delicious with its combination of nutty, bitter and sweet flavours.
My only problem with this cake is I could happily scoff the lot at two or three sittings.
Hi everyone, I’m going to be changing the blog up a bit (like cleaning out the gajillion pointless categories and decluttering the tags for starters) and a few other things. All this requires a bit of a break while I move things around and make everything sparkly clean and makeovery. Plus I need to find more time to go op shopping ;)
You can catch me on Twitter @Veganopoulous
See you when I get back!
Disco Beans: Disco de Fiesta’ ($16.50 GF)
Disco Beans: ‘Disco Bonanza’ ($15.50)
Disco Beans: Vegan Banana Cake ($4 GF)
539 Plenty Rd
Preston VIC 3072
03 9478 1461
Dinner Tues-Sat: 5.30-9.30pm
Disco Beans is a sweet little cafe in Preston offering up homestyle Japanese food with vegan options aplenty.
A breakfast favourite is the ‘Disco Bonanza’ ($15.50) with pan-fried marinated organic tofu, baked mushrooms, roasted potatoes, rocket and homemade tomato sauce served with organic 7 grain toast. Gluten free bread ($2) is also available.
The 'Disco de Fiesta’ ($16.50 GF) is the other notable vegan option, with a combination of homemade guacamole, homemade black beans, homemade tomato sauce, corn chips, lemon and jalapeño served on grain rice. Most ingredients are available as sides, so you could also build your own vegan brunch extravaganza if you wish.
Disco Beans is now also open for dinner with a multitude of vegan options including ‘Gyoza’ ($10.50), ‘Fried Chicken Do’ ($16.50), ‘Vegan Okonomiyaki’ ($14 GF), ‘Organic Tofu Don’ ($14.50) and ’Organic Tofu Steak’ ($7.50). A six course vegan Japanese banquet (Regular, Winter or Sushi) dinner is also available for $30 per person (cash only, bookings necessary).
There are also some vegan sweets on offer including traditional Japanese rice cakes 'Daifuku' ($3 GF), 'Chocolate and Black Bean Brownie' ($4 GF), 'Banana Cake' ($4 GF) and 'Vegan Muffins' ($4).
Coffee is $3.80 with with a 40c soycharge for Bonsoy.
We are back in Hong Kong and since being gf is hard here. Im going to try to blog my meals. Although I've already missed a few things.
Hong Kong is such a crazy city. I feel like I still love it and hate it. I always get whirled into shopping too much even now when I have no money. This city makes me want to go out more, see more, do more but then I get tired and over the heat and the crowds and just want to retreat.
I'm seeing a new side to it at the moment though. Its no particularly baby friendly, I'm glad for baby wearing because I think prams and strollers would be tough here. Also parent rooms are hard to find especially areas to breastfeed privately. But it's also nice seeing so many people playing and talking to our 9 old month old son. He's been loving the attention and seeing his HK relatives and all the neon lights.
Anyway, on to the food.
First meal that I managed to take photos of was this delicious kale risotto. This was so much better than it sounds. Brown rice risotto cooked in wine with crispy tofu 'bacon'. My bowl was licked clean. I also devoured their sweet potato fries with a garlicky aioli type dip and a juice. Toby enjoyed his big vegan breakfast. We will definitely be back.
We arrived in Sydney around one o’clock on Saturday. It was windy but bright, a wholesome twenty degrees, and someplace different. For one, the airport has a train. Sydney 1, Melbourne 0.
It costs about $16.40 to get an adult onto the airport line into the city proper – it’s only about three stops to Central, so I’m not sure if it’s cheaper to get a taxi if there’s a few of you. The Rocket was free, so we sucked up the thirty-plus dollars and delighted in being on a double-decker train. Our hotel was a short walk from Central, so we wheeled ourselves over and checked in. I was in charge of booking as Teach was armpit-deep in reports at the time, so I spent a few days getting increasingly agitated about how expensive it is to stay places, and not having any visual of where in Sydney is good or safe or close or fun, and panicking about the date getting closer and everything selling out and us sleeping in an internet cafe. Eventually I chose the Campbell Street Meriton Apartments, because they had an immediately available online chat and could answer all of my questions about cots and babies and stuff, and their prices seemed relatively competitive, especially for the size of the rooms. (Not that I would know. I am just awful at booking things. If it’s on sale, I’ll find out, the day after I’ve paid upfront and signed a no-refund disclaimer. It’s just not one of my skills, sadly.) Anyway, it turns out that the reason it was a bit expensive was because it’s right in the middle of the city, and quite nice; armed with a bit more knowledge I would probably stay a few suburbs further out next time and just catch a train in. Still, as Past Fiona had already paid for it and Present Fiona got to stay there, it was a nice place: a one-bedroom serviced apartment, which meant we could get the Rocket to sleep in a separate room and then go watch free Foxtel in the lounge/kitchen. For another $35 we had a cot put in the room; it was pretty small, and with metal prison bars instead of gentle white wood like the one at home we inherited from my sister. As we settled in, we tried to get her to sleep, but she wasn’t really on board with that idea. Instead we got her up and took her for a wander around.
It’s hard not to compare Sydney to Melbourne the whole time. In my mind where we stayed was the equivalent to the Spring Street end of Little Bourke, with theatres and people but narrow streets and not quite the level of excitement of the bigger streets. Sydney is cleaner, but maybe less friendly – unless it’s just that it’s unfamiliar – and has almost no street art in the places we were. There weren’t many cute little shops to go into, though there were lots of tasty-looking eateries. We strolled up Pitt St just as gale-force winds hit; hats flew off people’s heads and one person was attacked bodily by an errant newspaper. The Rocket has stopped enjoying wind and instead chose to wail, so we went into a Coles for a bit to buy some milk and cereal, then went up to Kings Comics and talked ourselves out of piles of collectible toys we didn’t need. It was nearing dinnertime, so, having previously consulted my friends online about where to go, we had dinner at Mother Chu’s Vegetarian Kitchen.
It was a patchy start; we got there at about five past five but weren’t given our mains until about a quarter to six, though we’d had some (sadly unsalted) edamame to start. The service was very friendly, however, and the Rocket just happy to be indoors. The menu mostly calls things “soy” or “gluten” instead of the usual “duck” or “chicken”, and doesn’t elaborate on the flavours. I chose crispy bean curd with mushrooms and broccoli; Teach picked a crispy gluten dish. Once they turned up, we were much more positive; the food is pretty delicious, and maybe we’d just been a bit tired and cranky. My bean curd wasn’t crispy, but it was warm and good and there was tons of it and I ate it all up, only managing to get a little of Teach’s crispy gluten before he scoffed all his too. The Rocket was happy with her bowl of rice, a bunch of edamame and some of my tofu. If I’m in Sydney again, I’d give it another shot for sure, maybe this time calling a day in advance so I could have some of their vegetarian Peking Duck, or some steamed BBQ buns, or satay sticks.
We decided to call it a night after that, and took the Rocket back to the hotel, tucked her in, consoled her, tucked her in, gave her toys, went back and picked up her toys from the floor, tucked her in, etc etc for all eternity until she finally slept. Then we ate candy and watched terrible television until we were sick, because if there’s one thing we do well, it’s knowing how to waste being in a different city.
I normally don’t do a lot of repeat visit posts here. Mainly because I mostly figure that if I’ve already written a rave about a place, that’s really enough of an incentive to readers, no one wants to hear me gabbering on about the same places over and over again. I only ever feel inclined to write about a place multiple times if I visit a long time after the first post and feel inspired enough to do a kind of ‘so here’s what they’re up to now’ update, or if I experience a particular dish that makes me sit up and take proper notice and feel the need to make a community awareness announcement. This particular post is most definitely of the latter variety.
Jen and I ended up at Grigons & Orr during the now distant Anzac Day weekend when our first choice of Elceed was closed. Physically not much appears to have changed since my first visit – the resemblance to an old school corner shop is still very charming, and I even spotted the box of crocheted blankets by the front door, although the autumn sun was strong enough that we didn’t need to borrow any.
I knew that I was after a big plate of assorted breakfast goods, and was pleased to see that there was a vegan and gluten free option that looked like it would be of good service to my craving. “The Ghandi” promised potato rosti, spinach, BBQ tofu, tomato, and an “avocado egg” consisting of half an avocado with a pumpkin puree yolk. I was immediately taken by the thought of this avocado egg – how on earth do you make pumpkin taste like egg? Would it taste like egg? Or would it just be a very savoury ball of pumpkin, which probably shouldn’t be sniffed at and might be a nicely novel edition to breakfast? Clearly I HAD to find out.
Well, I have no idea how the cooks at Grigons & Orr did it, but the bright yellow orb of pumpkin sitting in the middle of my avocado half in place of the stone did, unaccountably, magically, taste like like creamy egg yolk. WIZARDRY! Really I shouldn’t be surprised that pumpkin can be induced into tasting like rich delicious anything, but as a child who stupidly eschewed anything pumpkin related I am still catching up with the full extent of this miracle. As to the other components of my plate, the rosti were crispy and provided a good starchy sponge to soak up all the excess sauce from the BBQ tofu, which was VERY saucy indeed and a welcome brunch plate edition, I’d love to see more places play around with tofu that aren’t specially veg*n places, it can be done guys, tofu isn’t scary. The spinach was properly buttery (or margariney in this case), and the tomato was, well, warm breakfast tomato. I am not that fussed with warm breakfast tomato, it was just there, getting the way of tofu and avocado egg. While I was initially worried that the moderate serving size wasn’t going to be enough to soothe my rapacious tum, it was actually the perfect amount to fill you but not stuff you.
Jen went with the salmon version of the corn fritters, which was an impressive looking pile crowned with salmon and a fan of sliced avocado. They didn’t look to be too dense, and seemed to contain a decent array of vegetable matter.
Grigons & Orr was well worth a repeat visit food-wise – the thought of the pumpkin egg still keeps coming back to me weeks later. The service is friendly but remains slightly idiosyncratic – as with my first visit if you want dairy and sugary accoutrements with your tea you have to get up and go source them yourself – but honestly it’s always reassuring when in this brunch fad mad town an establishment that’s been around for more than a year or two can still front up with a good spread.
Grigons & Orr
445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Ph: 0487 608 489
Ordinarily I am the sort of cook where if I see a recipe with a hugely long ingredients list and a method that involves more than using maybe two pots, I go “tell him he’s dreaming” and then make ramen for dinner for the forty thousandth time. It’s not just laziness (although a decent percentage of it is laziness) – huge recipes are generally a signal that not only are you going to have to whip out some very clever kitchen skills in order to pull it off, but there’s generally also specialty ingredients lurking within that list that are going to be a bugger to source, are probably expensive and will then sit in your cupboard forever never to be useful for anything else and you’ll end up throwing them away four years past expiry in a fit of annoyed guilt. And of course, there is nothing worse than throwing all your soul and effort into a big complicated recipe, only for it all to explode in your face and end up tasting terrible.
This Frankenstein’s monster of a shepherd’s pie recipe, which I cobbled together in order to use up a packet of tempeh, is however well worth its long ingredients list and slightly fiddly assemblage. I was inspired by Michael’s version of the Viva Vegan creamy corn-crusted tempeh pot pie and used that recipe as a jumping point, although I already knew that I’d be changing several elements – subbing out the corn crust for a more traditional mashed potato, replacing the potato with pumpkin, adding green beans and leaving out entirely the currants and olives (because HONESTLY), and using a mix of spices more easily found in my cupboard and garden. It also didn’t look saucy enough for my purposes, so I started googling around for a suitable vegetarian gravy to add, and came across this version of tempeh pie to further jump off. The mashed potato formula comes courtesy of my mother, as all the best things do.
The only thing that I’ve amended in writing this recipe down is that in my original version I used half dried shiitake mushrooms and half a mix of other dried mushroom varieties, as that’s what I had in my cupboard. But as the shiitake was clearly the best part of the whole endeavour, and lent an awesome richness to the pie filling as a whole while the other mushrooms were merely taking up standing room, I must forcefully insist that you go Full Shiitake.
Mashed Potato Topping
Grab your shiitake and set them to soak in a big bowl of boiling hot water. The longer the mushrooms have to soak the better, so always make sure this is your first step.
Steam your tempeh and boil your taters! I have one of those stovetop steamer sets where you boil water in the saucepan then whack the steamer pot on top, so if you have one of those you can be a SUPER MULTITASKER and do both at the same time. WONDERS! (You can also just bung on a separate saucepan for the potatoes if you don’t have a stovetop steamer set.) The potatoes will take about 20 minutes to properly soften up, and you should make sure you boil them in water that has had a good generous shake of salt added. The tempeh will take 10 minutes or so, so lay a little round of baking paper on the bottom of the steamer before putting in the tempeh, and then place over the boiling potatoes with a lid on – make sure there is a few inches gap between the top of the boiling water and the steamer pot, otherwise you’ll end up with very soggy tempeh indeed. Once the tempeh is ready, take it out carefully – it will be hot – cut it into cubes and put aside.
Since we’ve been multitasking wonders and boiled our potatoes, we may as well make the mash topping now. Drain the water from the pot, add the butter, and use a masher or the back of a fork to mash the potatoes. Add in a splash or two of milk to bring it to your preferred level of creaminess, add generous amounts of black pepper and sea salt, and mash it all up good. You can set aside the mash with a lid on it and it will keep warm while you make the filling and gravy.
Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 200C.
Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a big deep frying pan. Fry the onions and the carrots over medium heat for about 10 minutes – you want the onions to be completely soft. Add the tablespoons of wine, which will cook off nice and quickly, then add the cumin, thyme, pumpkin, beans, tempeh, soy sauce and water. Add the powered vegie stock, combine, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, with some occasional stirring, before taking off the heat and setting aside.
Now to the gravy. Drain the mushrooms (but keep that mushroom water, we need it!), and cut the shiitake in half. Put them in a small frying pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil and start to saute away. Crack over a good generous amount of black pepper. Add in 1 cup of the leftover mushroom water and bring to a gentle boil. Slowly pour in the corn flour and water mixture, and let it all simmer, while stirring, until it thickens nicely (your kitchen will be smelling like THE MOST DELICIOUS THING IN THE WORLD at this point, by the way).
Let us assemble the pie. Get the biggest, deepest casserole dish you can find. Layer first with the filling mixture, then with the gravy, and finish with the mashed potato. Put the casserole dish on a baking tray that has been lined with foil (just in case there is any spillover during the pie’s time in the oven) and bake for 45 minutes, or until the potato has nicely browned.
If you are vegan you can make this pie – just replace the milk and butter in the mashed potato with your preferred non-daily equivalent. If you are coeliac you can make this pie – just replace the soy sauce with tamari. If you are an omnivore who ordinarily goes “ugh tempeh”, get your childish arse in hand, stop being so fucking boring and make this goddamn pie. This is my greatest life achievement, creating this delicious monument to saucy starch, and if this is the only tangible thing that I leave to the world, well then my existence has been worthwhile. Make the goddamn pie.
This was a surprisingly easy recipe from a random Penguin curry book I have, that I discovered when flipping through my cookbooks for something to do with the Pumpkin I had.
Oh man, I wish I could transmit scent through this blog because it smelled amazing, with just the Pumpkin, vegan butter and Cumin seeds. Mmm.
Quick, easy and delicious, this is going to be one of my new staples, along with the chickpea curry I love. The only ingredients in this really are Pumpkin, ghee, Cumin seeds, onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric and Chili. I also added amchoor powder because I had it and thought it might add to the flavour.
I was craving the Pumpkin Lakhnawi from my favourite Indian takeaway place and this really hit the spot.
This was actually a lot easier than I'd thought, providing you remember to soak the nuts or as Isa says "always be soaking"! Which I am not, but luckily I did remember.
I like that this is made mostly from ingredients I usually have on hand (except Panko Crumbs). :-)
The kofta mixture came out a little too wet, so I added some more Panko Crumbs, but then it didn't hold together super well when frying (side note: I am always frying with Coconut oil from now on. Yum.), maybe because I tried to chop the Zucchini instead of shredding it finely due to not being able to locate my grater. Oh well.
The sauce was super thick and creamy and amazing. If anything, maybe slightly too rich, but so worth the time put in. It would be equally as good just poured over some steamed veggies. Definitely making again!
Time for food porn photos:
This week's dish is from Robin Aisbell's Big Vegan. (I have a beloved sweet potato gnocchi recipe from this book that I make regularly, it is divine.)
It's been a long week, so I decided to go for something a little easier - black rice with cashews. I also added in some other veggies (zucchini, red Bell peppers and mushrooms) for some colour, but the rice kind of overcame all their colour and in the end the whole thing was black. Oh well!
In the end it turned out a little too salty for me, what with the Miso as well as the vegetable stock. I probably wouldn't make this again, but I would like to try black rice in more dishes. :-)
As I mentioned last week, I’ve relocated to ol’ Sydney town. I’ll be here for a few months before heading overseas for a wee bit. Who knows where this wild roller-coaster we boringly call ‘life’ will take me after that? For now I plan to uphold my promise to you, dearest reader, and drag (really, it’s a tough gig) my butt along to some of the finest vegan-friendly food dispensaries this fair city (gosh she’s a beauty, ain’t she?) has to offer. A heads up on Sydney’s most lip-smacking cafes offering cruelty-free grub for Melbourne readers who are visiting or for those of you lovely followers who call this place home.
It only takes a little Instagram thumb scrolling to realise that there’s a real hub of conscious eating happening in the Bondi area. A couple of weekends ago the folks and I headed for the beach for some brunch-hunting and Bondi Farmers Market shopping. We found a cozy little offering of divine smelling coffee and breakfasty delights hugging a North Bondi street corner across the road from the ocean. It’s certainly an intimate atmosphere at Porch and Parlour so you may need to wait for a seat but I promise you it’s worth it.
This little beauty serves up locally sourced, seasonal produce accompanied by delicious cups of rich and smooth Will & Co. coffee. I practically excited-squealed my order at the friendly beard and man-pony adorned waiter. This was my first vegan brunch since coming back to Sydney and I had high expectations. They were met. I enthusiastically devoured my scrambled tofu with semi dried tomato, basil, spinach, red onion, kalamata olives, plump and juicy cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic cloves, hummus and lemon.
Yes, it was a big gorgeous mess. I loved that there was enough guts to this t-scram (yes, I coined this a few posts back and I’m sticking with it — don’t snort) that it didn’t need any bread. Perfect for those avoiding the dreaded gluten. This is made even more delicious with a generous glug of Handsome Devils Co. hot sauce (the De Arbol doesn’t have honey in it, the Chipotle does). With a ‘best of’ Creedance Clearwater Revival adding extra warmth to the atmosphere and a ripper cup of coffee on offer, the folks and I decided P&P’s the perfect spot to kickstart the weekend. We’ll be back.
Vegan options: The t-scram and there were a couple of sweet options too.
Coffee: Noice. Locally roasted Will & Co.
Moola: $21.50 for breakfast and a coffee. Not bad.
Ear candy: Creedance Clearwater Revival.
Have you got a favourite vegan-friendly spot in Bondi?
Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ve taken some time off blogging due to a sudden and unexpected move to Sydney. But I’m back! I missed ya, I did. You look ravishing today. You do!
As promised, here is your guide (finally) to building a bad ass smoothie armoury. Once you have gathered these ingredients you’ll be shooting from the hip come smoothie o’clock. You don’t need to go out and buy them all at once — take your time collecting them. As I said in the previous post, the superfood powders seem expensive at first but you only use a teaspoon or a tablespoon at a time so they will last you a long time.
I cleared a shelf in my pantry for all of my smoothie bits and pieces. Once you get rolling, you’ll be knocking back at least one smoothie a day so it is worth making the space. Smoothies are perfect for breakfast, post-workout, lunch, dessert, and with a few magic ingredients — matcha, maca or cacao — they can even, GASP, replace your morning coffee. So make some space, start collecting your gear, and get slurping!
Frozen bananas: I buy a bunch of bananas every week with my grocery shopping, it’s the easiest way to make sure you always have bananas ready to freeze. When they start to spot, peel them, pop them in sandwich bags and into the freezer. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins C and B-6, manganese and fibre AND they are my NUMBER ONE smoothie ingredient. They have the perfect sweetness and give your smoothies a lovely creamy consistency.
Fresh, seasonal, organic or farmer’s market produce: I think it’s important to buy organic, for your health, the environment and for flavour. Make the effort to buy fresh, seasonal produce — look up where your closest farmer’s market is — and you will be rewarded with flavour and more nutrient-dense smoothies.
Dates: Medjool dates are absolutely delicious. They are the perfect caramel-like sweetener for your smoothies. And they happen to be packed with minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Sweet deal.
Açaí puree pouches: You will need these powerful little purple pouches for açaí bowl breakies. Heaven in a bowl. This Brazilian tropical fruit is not only delicious, it will also dose you with amino acids, antioxidants and omega fatty acids — a beautifying combination that slows the ageing process and boosts the immune system.
Frozen berries: It’s always handy to keep some frozen berries in the house. They are a brilliant açaí bowl ingredient, are high in vitamin C and bursting with other antioxidants too!
There are many new superfoods hitting the market every week, and many new brands. Not all of them are created equal so I have added my favourite brands below to help you suss out the good stuff.
This Mayan superfood is one of my all-time favourite smoothie boosters. Not only does a spoonful of this stuff make your smoothie exquisitely chocolatey it will also ensure your liquid breakie gets a dose of antioxidants, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Cacao also boosts serotonin levels which is our natural anti-depressant — among other therapeutic benefits.
My favourite cacao powder is the Ecuadorian Gold by Power Superfoods.
Maca is a Peruvian root and is jam-packed with nutrients. It is high in vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins. It also provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Maca is said to promote sexual function in men and women. PLUS it is said to relieve issues relating to women’s menopause and menstrual cycle. Not to mention it is known to increase energy levels and stamina! It really is top stuff.
My favourite maca powder is by Power Superfoods.
This powder is ground from the pods of the mesquite plant and has a sweet, nutty and caramel-like flavour — especially delicious when paired with cacao. It is a high-protein wholefood that is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine (great for bone health, cholesterol management, pain relief, anxiety and stress reduction). It also helps to control blood sugar levels so it’s a great superfood for diabetics.
My favourite mesquite powder is by Loving Earth.
Lacuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru, Chilli and Ecuador. It is gluten-free and a great source of antioxidants. It is a natural sweetener that won’t raise your blood-sugar levels. It adds a lovely almost maple-like flavour to your smoothies while delivering fibre, vitamins and minerals.
My favourite lacuma powder is by Loving Earth.
Psyllium husk powder
This powder is derived from the gluten-free psyllium seed. It is a rich source of soluble dietary fibre. It helps to cleanse the bowel, lower cholesterol levels and has been used to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics. It will bulk out your smoothie without adding any flavour.
My favourite psyllium husk powder is by Planet Organic.
Plant-based protein powder
There are many plant-based protein powders on the market. Some, especially the raw varieties, are more nutrient dense than others. The problem I have with many of them is their chalky consistency. If the powder is too chalky, it ruins the smoothie and they are less likely to become a daily habit. So I stick with the least chalky one I’ve found.
My favourite is Vital Protein’s natural pea protein isolate.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea leaf powder. It is a nutrient-rich wholefood that gives you an extra zing in the mornings, increases metabolism, fortifies your immune system, improves cholesterol, enhances your mood and even boosts memory and concentration! Plus its high chlorophyll content (giving it that wickedly green hue) makes it a powerful detoxifier for the body.
My favourite matcha powder is Absolute Green’s certified organic green tea powder.
OTHER AWESOME EXTRAS
There are too many to list. This post would become a blogologue of epic proportions. Experiment. Have fun exploring. At the top of my list are: coconut oil (my fave is Nuigini Organics), chia seeds (my fave are Power Superfoods), activated buckwheat kernels (my fave are Loving Earth, especially their heavenly caramalised buckinis) and cinnamon. But I will try to talk a little more about ‘awesome extras’ in later posts.
For now, start stocking your smoothie armoury with these wonderful ingredients and get blitzing! Here is another of my favourite smoothie recipes to get you started. Happy slurping.
This smoothie is oh so pretty in pink. I call it…
The Molly Ringwald
1 heaped cup frozen raspberries
1/2 red dragon fruit
1/2 medium beet
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
Blend it like Beckham. Top with coconut and dragon fruit. Slurp.
On the weekend I decided to treat my partner to a fancy, frenchy meal at home for being such a fabbo guy.
I went to town on it, and made 5 courses of yum, including:
It was very tasty, and also too much food. We only got half way through, then saved the rest for lunch on Sunday.
I didn’t get photos of everything, and not all the recipes will be posted here. You’ll need to head to my other blog, Not Your Nan’s Vegie Patch, for the recipes for the soup and the puree/mushroom thing which I’ll post soonish – they both included mostly ingredients I grew myself.
I did make sure to get a shot of the brioche though, so I could illustrate the recipe to share with you.
I have to confess I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten brioche before, but this isn’t an entirely faithful version anyway, given my impatience and the need to replace the eggs and the butter.
Against the odds, my vegan brioche turned out gorgeous and yellow and soft and melty. It didn’t have much in the way of it’s own flavour, as I was trying to keep it neutral to go with both the savoury walnut pate and the sweet blackberry jam. If I make it again I’ll add either salt or sugar to match it’s purpose.
I have yet to manage the egg-wash effect of a shiny surface on any baked good – if you have a trick, let me know!
Makes 12 little brioches in a muffin tray
3/4 cup water
NB: Please ignore my poor punctuation/grammar/layout/etc. I’m not really putting much effort into this blog at the moment, I just thought vegan brioche was a little too great not the share.