Monday, December 24, 2007

Mrs Fields eat your heart out

These cookies are incredibly chewy and almost brownie like just as Isa promises. They are quite rich and have filled our tiny apartment with the best smell ever. I have eaten about half dozen just to test each batch to make sure they are ok and Mr T just got home and has tested a few too just to be on the safe side and we have about 35 left.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Poor Man's Paella

With Claire commenting about making paella for Christmas and her recently making it for us, it was fresh in my mind when we menu planned this weekend and Mr T decided to give it a go. Unlike other paella recipes though it doesn't have saffron because we are too poor to buy it. We also decided to use brown rice because it more filling and better for you. I'm sure it is not traditional at all but it was yummy and very simple to make. The only problem was there wasn't enough for leftovers tomorrow.

4-5 tablespoons of Olive oil (we like our olive oil and our pan is not Non-Stick)
2 cups brown rice
1 large Onion; chopped
2 large Garlic cloves; crushed
6 cups Vegetable Stock (we use Swiss Nature because it is worth the extra price)
1 Lemon; cut into wedges and rind grated
1 large green capsicum, chopped
1 can of artichokes; drained and quartered
1 can of kidney beans; drained
1 can of butter beans; drained
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika-adjust to your liking (we actually forgot to add it and it was still yummy)

Heat the oil. Add the brown rice, capsicum and onion and stir until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, stock and rind. Bring to boil. Add beans. Bring to a boil again. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes minutes. Add artichokes and paprika and then turn off and let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 2 and a half (Mr T eats a lot)

Do you like our fancy use of the newspaper?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Food Co-Op

I found a organic food co-op in Brunswick, yay! The way it works is several households all put their money together to buy bulk organic fruit and veg. It cuts out the middle person, saves money as a result and travel time. On Fri I picked up my first box. I decided to try a $20 box to see how it goes. If it is not enough I can get a $40 box next time.

To give you some idea of what types of things you get, I took this pic inside my fridge:

I also got about half a dozen potatoes and there are more kiwi fruit and apricots in the egg section of the fridge. What you get changes all the time depending on cost and what's in season. I was impressed that there are about 4-5 zucchinis in the box but wish there was more greens and more variety when it comes to fruit. Mr T and I are thinking that we might get fruit and veg from the food co-op once a fortnight and the other week go the market where we can also get grains and legumes and other items.

It is going to have to change the way we do things though. Generally Mr T and I sit down on the weekend and plan a weeks worth of meals. We generally find a couple of new recipes to try each week in either our cookbooks or online and then go and buy the ingredients to make those and other tried and tested meals. This time we need to do the opposite and plan the meals based on the ingredients we have. I have to admit it freaks me out a little. I know that most people reading this probably think the opposite as almost every blogger I know tends to just make recipes up out of thin air but I like to at least have some sort of recipe to start with. Thankfully, Mr T does most of the cooking and is more creative than me. But on the two nights that I am going to cook I am clueless as to what I will make. I am also unsure how I will go spreading out the veg over the week. Any one have any easy recipes using zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and/or carrots?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Weird food combination trial 1

As per my request Mr T made Green Gourmet Giraffe's Peanut Stew with Bananas.

This recipe rocks and banana does actually go quite well with Parsley. The stew is yummy by itself so even if you aren't adventurous you can make enjoy it minus the Banana salsa, but the salsa adds something special to the dish. I've added it to the huge list of things that we should made again.

Next on the list of combinations to try is either Strawberries and Coriander or Mint and Mustard. Or maybe I will try to participate in time for the latest They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT) #7: caramelized cauliflower and Cocoa.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bodhi Cafe

Mr T and I stumbled across a new vegetarian restaurant today by accident. It's called Bodhi Cafe and is located at 241 Victoria st, Abbotsford near the corner of punt rd and Victoria st. It was perfect timing because we were starving.

I ordered kumquat tea and BBQ Pork with fragrant rice (flavoured with mint and soybean crisps) and Mr T ordered the tofu don dish. The kumquat tea was perfectly sweet, the BBQ pork was beautifully presented and the rice was so yummy you could eat it by itself. The BBQ pork itself was up to the standards of all the mock meat places in Melbourne. Unlike other Chinese veg places in Melb though this had a more relaxed cafe feel, and instead of just BBQ pork you got a bit of a variety on your plate. Mr T thought his meal was boring but he did order the dish minus the egg that it normally comes with and if you ask me he ordered the most boring thing on the menu.

Kumquat tea (almost finished ohhps)

BBQ Pork

Mr T's 'boring' tofu don dish

I was very impressed, the decor was cute, the food was cheap with mains costing between $8 to $9 and best of all it is open til 11pm everyday except for Monday.

On the downside or the upside depending on your perspective there are more teas and coffees to chose from than there are main meals. There are only 10 mains to choose from but you can order things like lavender latte, and peanut butter coffee and red date/longan tea. They also had entrees like spring rolls and chicken nuggets and a variety of desserts (none of the desserts looks vegan friendly though). The mains alone though left us quite full. Here's a copy of the mains page on the menu:

It reminded me of Hong Kong cafes and like a smaller version of Fo Guang Yuan tea house.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

It was only after I returned from Hong Kong that I discovered that vegan mooncakes exist.

I visited an asian supermarket today and stood in line with about 30 other people to purchase some more mooncakes (my second box).

I recommend red bean paste ones or lotus seed flavoured mooncakes. They normally say on the labels how many egg yolks they have in them so just look for the ones that don't have any eggs in them, they are generally the cheapest. They also come in pretty red tin boxes which I am sure I will find some purpose for. Tradition has it that you should cut each one into 4 or 8 pieces see here for instructions (yes someone actually posted pics of how to cut a mooncake).

Pic taken from

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vegan food in Hobart

We wandered around the first day in Hobart itself and stumbled across a cafe called tricycle cafe which did organic fairtrade coffee which made Mr T very happy. We had already had breakfast but prior to our 6.45am flight so we decided to share a second breakfast. We ordered the chilli beans on toast minus the cheese and the waitress was nice enough to split it on to two plates even though we only ordered one plate and she was also smart enough to realise that no cheese means no margarine too. The dish was great, it had just the right amount of spiciness and the avocado and lemon went really well with it. It's a really cute place too, gorgeous wallpaper and old pictures of tricycles cover at least one of the walls and good music. Mr T approved of the coffee too. It kind of reminds me of Pushka in Melbourne.

Next we tried Tassie's only Chinese veg restaurant Shu Yuan. Maybe we have been spoiled too much with good Chinese veg food in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong but this place was just disappointing. I ordered a plate of rice with two dishes, and Mr T ordered a plate with 3 dishes. It was not enough food, and expensive for precooked small meals. It reminded me of veg out time but the food wasn't as tasty or as big or as cheap. In fairness though maybe the meals made to order are better. I guess if you no other Chinese veg option than it's ok. I feel bad for posting a not so great review, and the truth is the food taste wise is not bad but just not great.

Our next place was by far our favourite: Sirens. I was surprised to find it empty when we wandered in around 6.30pm on a friday night and that only a few tables were filed up by the time we left. For a veg restaurant I was a little disappointed to discover that there was huge cheese focus and that they only had 3 vegan mains and 1 vegan dessert but when the few options are great I don't mind not have many options. I had the smoked tofu with pesto and Mr T had one of the special board meals: the stuffed Eggplant with polenta and chili chocolate sauce which will feature on the new menu which starts next week. My meal was good and Mr T's was amazing. Chocolate and chilli go so well together, but you already know that! And the nutty stuffing inside the eggplant, mmmm I was jealous that I didn't order it . Next we had the amazing dark chocolate mousse with a cashew crust served with coconut sorbet and their dark chocolate 'bikkies' which were also featured on their specials boards. I was so excited I forgot to take pics. The bikkies tasted like healthier homecooked version of chocolate oreos. And Cindy was right about the mousse, it was certainly the star of the night and I would recommend you fly to Hobart to try it. I'm not sure if I would agree it was the best vegan dessert ever (that prize has to go one of the cakes at Vegetarian Orgasm) but it's certainly up there. The crust was perfectly sweet and nutty the mousse rich and chocolatey and the coconut sorbet the perfect side. The only downside of Sirens was the prizes, Mr T's main for example was $19 but it was so worth it.

Lunch on sat we had two different types of vegan pies from one of the stalls at the end of salamanca market which were just ok and a little pricey at $4.50 for take away but convenient. If you are going for convenient though I suggest the vegan shepherd pie over the curried veg pie.

The following night we decided to go back to Sirens, this time we wandered in at a little past 6pm to again an empty restaurant and asked if it was open yet? The waitress replied it was but unless we had a booking it was all booked out. How does a restaurant goes from empty on a fri night to booked out on a sat? I felt like a fool for not booking and on Mr T's actual birthday but I had no idea.

So we decided to try Annapurna Indian Restaurant which apparently doesn't use gee. We walked in only to discover that luckily we got the last table in the double story restaurant. Which was strange considering there a was another Indian restaurant opposite it and Hobart appeared to be dead. What everyone eats out on sat in Hobart and no-one eats out on a friday? We ordered their onion bhajis and spinach pakoras.(both on the specials menu) We were surprised to find these huge looking plates instead of the usual small servings of entrees in Indian restaurants. They were both delicious and quite filling. I loved the lemon pieces to squeeze over them.

Please note this pic was taken after we had already started making a mess and eating them. They were actually bigger and prettier.

For mains we had dal (not because I am boring but because I figured I needed a little bit of protein and iron and other legume goodness) which tasted like a thousand other dals and a pumpkin curry which had the just the right amount of tang and was delicious. It also gets a thumbs up for decor as it didn't appear to be as tacky or as cheap looking as other Indian restaurants I have been to and the service was great. I explained at the beginning that I am allergic to dairy (white lie) and am vegetarian and asked what my options could be and there was about a dozen main meals and almost every entree to chose from. Yes more vegan choices at Indian restaurant than a veg restaurant.

On sun we packed a lunch as we were warned that everything was closed. We were glad we did because Hobart is completely empty most of the shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants are all closed on Sunday . All in all with a tiny bit of planning and possibly booking for Sat nights Hobart was was quite vegan friendly. Sure it doesn't complete with the amount of choices in Melbourne but for a small city/town it was great. I just want to go back to Sirens again!

Monday, September 3, 2007

I suck at making/decorating cakes

I decided to make Mr T a cake for his birthday since it's such a big birthday (30th). I made a vegan cheesecake using this recipe from vegweb.

The 'cheesecake' part actually tasted pretty good and even my family approved. The problem is the crust tasted a little burnt despite me following the cooking instructions. It also looked little too brown and well ugly on top. It was also much smaller that I imagined. This is the slightly better look with melted chocolate and strawberries. Next time I will skip the chocolate. I had to decorate it in a hurry for a family celebration and Mr T ended up actually decorating his own cake. Poor Mr T!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Mr T and I will travel to Hobart for a long weekend in 2 weeks time to celebrate his 30th birthday. Which makes it a whole year since our last holiday. If anyone has any must sees or eats please leave a comment. I haven't been since I was a child and Mr T has never been.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mushroom Bake

Mr T made these yesterday and they were amazing! The recipe is from Garden Of Vegan. The recipe asks for Portobello mushrooms but he just used regular mushrooms. Without giving away the recipe too much I can share that it includes rosemary, oregano and ground almonds. Our tiny little place was filled with the greatest smell.

Tanya explains in the cookbook that: "many friendships have been cultivated and nurtured because of this dish". Before, I read that I was already thinking it would be a great dinner party recipe. The problem with a dish like this is that anything else served would just seem a little too ordinary.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta with Bean Broth)

This recipes rocks and I made it up. Ok maybe not but I altered it and I'm sure it is even better than the original recipe. The original recipe is from 'Nonna's Italian Kitchen' by Bryanna Clark Grogan but I got it from the Vegan food website. For those of you who have the cookbook I would love to know what it's like I've never seen it in a bookstore in Melbourne to be able to flick through it. I love the look of Bryanna's recipes online but they always look too labour intensive for lazy me.

Anyway here is my slightly altered version. Next time I will double the recipe so that there is enough for leftovers for Mr T and I.

    • 1 carrot, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2 x 480 g / 17 oz cans cannellini beans
    • 1 1/5-2 cups of vegetarian stock
    • 1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
    • 2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley (don't even think about using inferior regular parsley)
    • 1 t Italian dried herbs
    • 450 g / 1 lb pasta, such as farfalle (bows), penne or ziti

Put a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

In a large non-stick or lightly oiled pot, steam-fry the carrot, celery and garlic in their juices for 3-4 minutes. Add the beans, broth, parsley, sun dried tomatoes and herbs. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the vegetables. Taste for seasoning. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of parsley and soy parmesan and crusty bread on the side.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mr Chive

I know I said no more lunch pics, but I had to share this recipe for “Sausage Heroes with Sauerkraut and Carmelized Red Onion". It is so easy and yummy. I'm going to cook the red onion and "sausages" on the sandwich press at work.

I have lots of things to talk about but not enough time to share will post again soon, I promise.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Vegan muffins without sugar and salt can taste great.

These are the full meal muffins from shmooed food and they are easy to make and quite healthy. Even Mr T loves them and he hates blackstrap molasses. My only recommendation is to leave out the rasins/currants.

They are great for breakfast on the run.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Pandan recipes?

I just discovered that Pandan is the mysetrious ingreident in the vietnamese jelly drink that I used to get from Footscray, and had it in soy ice cream at the tofu shop.

I would love to experiment, anyone have recipes for it?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thanks Dave!

My lunch today: my fat (so they would fit in the tiffin) rice paper rolls with tomato, carrot, coriander, and smoked tofu, and seaweed salad, pickled ginger, salted cucumber and fruit.

When Dave suggested I put tomatoes in rice paper rolls I thought he was crazy. But I decided to give it a try and it rocks.

I love how easy it is to make rice paper rolls, the only problem is Mr T and I find ourselves eating them one by one in the kitchen as soon as we finish making each one instead of making several and then sitting down to eat.

I've decided that they are also better with the sauce inside. These ones have the yummy peanut based sauce from 'vegan lunch box' inside.

Now what else should I try inside the next batch of rice paper rolls? Avocado?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Rice paper rolls and New years eve

We made rice paper rolls tonight. These are Mr T's ones, mine were not wrapped quite as well. We made it from a vegan lunch box cookbook recipe with apple pieces, lots of coriander, baked and marinated tofu, spring onions, and cabbage. They were good and very easy to make and the peanut sauce that went with it was also very good. Mr T's made his with some sauce in it and I think I will make them all that way next time. I will certainly be making rice paper rolls again but trialing other ingredients next time.

Had a great new years eve. Went along to a BBQ with the intention of having dinner there and then going off to another party but we were having so much fun that we didn't leave til about 1.30am. It was excellent. There was probably about 20 people there and yet no meat, no boring typical questions like 'what do you do' and all sorts of interesting people. Lots of alternative creative individuals as opposed to yuppie creative types. Most people bought food along and there was lots of great vegan food. We chatted to lots of people about food, art, music, travelling and lots of other things and ate and ate and ate. It almost felt like I walked into this cool underworld gathering of creative and interesting people many of which were vegetarian. Don't get me wrong many of my friends are creative and amazing but this was different. It kind of inspired me to do something creative unfortunately it didn't help with my desire to work on my thesis. I have to start doing some serious work on it. Any words of wisdom from those who have actually finished a masters thesis when they initially struggled with motivation? I've completed a honours thesis but it was so long ago and I don't actually remember struggling with motivation.