Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Veg Out Time

The other day, I was with K shopping in South Yarra. I felt kind of funny in the Republic of Orange-coloured People but was happy to see an old friend on Chapel street: Veg Out Time.

We both missed the food as we haven't been back since Vegan Fitness Week. We could both enjoy their cheap, fast, yummy, vegan and gluten-free food.

You can get half a plate of brown/white rice with two dishes from the Bain-Marie for $9 or three dishes for $10.

I had Yellow Tofu, Mapo Tofu and stir-fried Chinese greens with garlic. They were all full of flavour and, relatively, healthy.
Yellow Tofu is my all time favourite. It is basically a very mild Malaysian style curry with mushroom and tofu. I order it every single time I go there.

K ordered Eggplant Masala and some sort of other curry. I tasted them both and thought they are both yum but a little bit too spicy for me.

Vegan options are clearly marked but you would need to ask them what is gluten-free.

If you don't like
Bain-Marie food, you can also order fried noodles/rice dishes from the menu.

Veg Out Time

8/63 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
(03) 9534 0077
Open Daily 12pm-10pm

366 Chapel Street, South Yarra
(03) 9827 7570
Open Daily 11:30am-10pm

On the Stereo:
Good Morning Spider by Sparklehorse

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gluten free lunch options

I thought it might be helpful to share some g/f vegan options for lunch since this was one thing I was a little stuck with in the beginning. Generally we tend to make enough dinner so that we have leftovers for lunch for the following day. But when I have training at work or we eat out for dinner than lunch can be a bit more tricky since I can't just grab a sandwich. Here are a few options that I've come across and tried:

Lazuppa spinach and chickpea soup, it heats up in a can which is handy. All of the Lazuppa soups are g/f and most of the veg options appear to be vegan. This was ok, I like the protein addition of chickpeas, but I added more salt and pepper and served it with flavoured rice cakes. I think without rice cakes I would be left pretty hungry.

Rice spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. I got this from Absolutely gluten free but they are actually made in Italy. I love this become you can just add hot water (or microwave) but the guy at the shop told me it's better when you add hot water. Also, it comes with a little fork and napkin which is great for training or holidays when you don't have microwave access. The noodles itself are quite nice and the sauce is a typical tomato based sauce, it's not amazing but it's tasty and convenient enough that I don't mind. If teamed with a muesli bar then I'm full.

Pattu Potato and Green Pea Curry with garlic papadums. This curry is way too spicy for me, but I enjoyed the garlic papadums. I know there are many varieties of these ready to serve Indian curries, so if you have tried some that are really mild, especially those with rice please let me know.

Other things that I have taken include rice paper rolls, g/f bread (with toaster bags) so I can make toast with g/f baked beans and rice cakes really are my best friend. I have eaten them with cheezly, aussie-mite, nooch, peanut butter and the flavoured ones just plain for breakfast, lunch and just as snacks.

If you have taken other g/f vegan lunch ideas for work I would love to hear about them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lakshmi Vilas Vegetarian Take Away

Several weeks ago, Erin and I embarked on our own little op shop tour, so she could show me her fav op shops near her new workplace, we went to about five large op shops around dandenong and Noble Park. It was a great day, but by about 4pm we had worked up a nice appetitie, so upon her recommendation decided to give Lakshmi Villas a go. It's a small Indian vegetarian cafe on one of the mains streets in Dandenong, not far from Dandenong Savers. Excuse my phone pics.

It has a small bain-maree selection of curries and a small but very affordable menu:

I had the masala dosa, which has become my fav Indian dish since going g/f since it's generally g/f although it's worth double checking since I have found one place that mixes the rice flour with wheat flour. For $7 this one comes with the usual soupy type sauce, a spiced tomato based chutney and typically a coconut based chutney. Since they had ran out of the coconut chutney, she offered me an extra side, and I choose the chickpea curry. The masala dosa itself was superb, crispy, with the right amount of chilli in the spiced potatos although I'm yet to meet a dosa I haven't liked. I could tell though that creamy coconut chutney though would have finished off the dish perfectly. It left me slightly hungry which was good since it was so close to dinner time and I was going out for dinner afterwards. But if I was going there for lunch at a regular time then I might order an extra dish, although Erin has warned against having the masala dosa and the set meal.
Erin chose one of the set menu items which comes with 3 curries, rice and papadums. And being the lovely friend that she is, she allowed me to try each of them. She had a potato curry, which reminded me more of regular roasted potatoes rather than Indian curries but was crunchy and delicious, the same chickpea curry that I had and a nicely spiced dhal.
It reminds me a lot of Ganaesha Villas, just such a shame it's so far away from the Northern suburb where I live, otherwise it really would become a regular place for me. I can't believe that I couldn't find any reference to it in a blogger search, apart from Keira's reference to their coconut chutney.

Lakshmi Vilas
5/31 Pultney St
9793 7726
Tue-Sun 11-8pm.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 Awards

This year Aduki has teamed up with Uproar to bring you the 2010 veg friendly awards. So go vote for your favourite veg or veg friendly restaurants and products here.

It took me ages to decide but Trippy Taco ended up earning a couples of votes from me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Upcoming chocolate vegan cookbook...

Those of you who went to the g/f potluck, may remember Keira's standout amazing caramel slice. She is working on a vegan chocolate themed cookbook which includes the caramel slice recipe, as well as recipes for cheesecakes, fudge and much more. I have been lucky enough to test out a few of the g/f recipes, yes several recipes are g/f! I've made a couple of things so far but this is the only one that I took photos of. It is chocolate hazelnut slice, which has buckwheat flour in it. This was my first time using buckwheat flour in a dessert and I was pretty pleased that you couldn't taste the buckwheat. This slice was pretty easy to make and is delicious. It also makes a great dessert for sharing and is just as tasty the next day.

Between this recipe and the caramel slice recipe, I've already decided that this cookbook is a winner. I can't wait til it comes out!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coeliac Results and Possible Fructose Malabsorption

This is probably boring for some of you so feel free to skip over this post but I might be helpful for anyone else struggling with the complex coeliac testing or even for just for me to get a better handle on it..
  • So first I tested positive to the coeliac antibodies (200+)
  • I then had negative biopsy which is considered by many to be the "gold standard" for diagnosing coeliac disease so typically that would be enough to say that I don't have coeliac disease since it means that my intestine looks like a normal intestine instead of a typical coeliac one. However it was negative for me but my specialist wasn't convinced so requested that I go gluten free for 6-8 weeks and re-test my coeliac antibodies and do the gene test.
  • My coeliac antibody test did go down from the original 200+ to 90 after eating gluten free which suggested that reducing gluten was having an effect on the test. Although I don't know if that is a conventional way of testing, I haven't found anything about it online at least, so not sure how effective it is.
  • I then tested positive to the following coeliac gene test HLA DQA1*05, and HLA DQB1*02 but not to DQb1*0302 (DQ8).
This is the confusing part. And this is my rough understanding from lots of googling:
  • If you test negative to all of the gene tests then you don't have coeliac disease (which is what I was hoping for). But a positive test result does not automatically mean that you have coeliacs disease, although .90% of coeliac disease patients have both HLA DQA1*05, and HLA DQB1*02.
  • So it looks like I might have coeliac disease but the negative biopsy doesn't make any sense. Although I've read on coeliac forums that sometimes people have negative biopsies and years later get tested and have positive results.
Today I went to see another specialist who suggested that I try the fructose free diet for a week to see if that helps because I'm still getting sick and I have noticed that sometimes it is after fruit. He also suggested that I return to eating gluten free so that I can have another biopsy. Although I still don't understand how a second biopsy would be different and I hate the idea of having another procedure so close to the previous one. I also had a bone density scan today because low bone density is common in untreated coeliacs.

I'm confused. I might try the fructose free diet first and then decide about returning to eating gluten and the second biopsy. Don't get me wrong, I would love to eat gluten again, but to start eating it only to stop again would be worse I think. It took me a while to adjust the first time around. Besides I've already got a new toaster, sifter etc and de-glutened my house.

My new fructose free diet means no fructose foods as well as other foods that are considered 'windy' so no:
  1. apples, pears, mango, paw paw, watermelon, dates, figs, lychee, quince, persimmon nashi fruit
  2. onions, leek, asparagus, artichokes
  3. broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, & legumes (due to their 'wind producing' rather than fructose content)
  4. no dried fruit/fruit juice
  5. no honey (or agave), sorbitol, mannitol & xylitol and sugar free gums
The specialist explained that if I do have fructose malabsorption issues it's not as strict as being coeliac so I would be able to include small amounts of fructose.

But how does a vegetarian survive for a week without the 'wind producing' legumes like chickpeas, lentils?

I might start the fructose free diet next week when I'm finished this week's food co-op box which included cabbage and broccoli.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Disco Beans Cafe and Art Space

My vegan friend from New Zealand is in town with his Swiss partner and his English/French speaking three-year-old daughter. A good excuse to eat out.

So K and I took them to Disco Beans Cafe and Art Space last night. The brightly coloured Japanese cafe has only been open for a week.
It has a large communal table and some small tables. From what I remember, it was a sock shop and performance/gallery space.

The walls are covered with a colourful collage of Japanese and Chinese magazines

Be nice! We are new!

They do "home style Japanese food". You can pick from "Dream Bean Curry" (black bean pumpkin curry), Udon noodles, noodle soup, "Belly Plate", raw vegan strawberry frozen cheese cake (called "Strawberry Fields Forever"!!!) and a mochi sorta thing with aduki bean paste. You can choose the vegan or fishy version for most of their dishes. K was super excited that they could make most things gluten free.

The vegan rice noodle soup (gluten-free) is THE BOMB. I like the combination of black sesame, enoki mushroom, snap peas and seaweed. There are also some sliced tofu sheets, similar to the Inari sushi type, in the noodles. I couldn't pinpoint what is in the Shoyu style broth but it is very tasty and authentic.

The "Belly Plate" consisted of a mixture of rice, millet and quinoa, pan fried tofu with a miso-ish plum sauce, marinated mushrooms and a fresh salad with pickled cabbage.

The non-gluten-free version has a different sauce.

We all wanted to try the "Strawberry Fields Forever" but it was sold out. We decided to save room for CocoLoco and give the other desserts a miss.

Check out their Facebook page and threethousand's review.

Disco Beans
238 High St, Northcote
Open Wed-Sun noon-3pm and 5.30-9.30pm

On my walkman:
Yes I'm a Witch - Yoko Ono VS Cat Power, Jason Pierce, Le Tigre...etc

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Revisting My Childhood

My father and his siblings grew up in a Public Housing Estate in Hong Kong called So Uk Estate (蘇屋邨). My late grandparents were still living there after my father & Co. married, moved out and had children. They knocked most of the buildings down because they are way too old and the 6 remaining buildings will go in 2012.

In the 80's/90's and maybe the early millennium, we often went back to So UK Estate to visit my grandparents and sometimes have dinner at Lily Chinese Restaurant (百合酒樓). The grand kids, who are all in their 20's/30's now, would sit around a special table and eat children-friendly food. My favourite were deep fried fish fillets with corn sauce, sweet and sour pork, Cantonese style steak fillets and lemon chicken.

I made lemon tofu chicken last week using the amazing Health Wise gluten free batter mix from Absolutely Gluten Free. K thinks it taste a lot like batter from fish and chip shops.

The tofu chicken part is damn simple:

- Cut tofu to bite size.
- Marinade the tofu in a bit of salt (and/or gluten free soy sauce), white pepper (I use black pepper), paprika and dried thyme.
- Dip them in the batter mix.
- Shallow-fry (or deep-fry) them!

With the Lemon sauce, I used this recipe from Christine's Recipe. It is a bi-lingual omni home cooking blog. Christine is a Chinese mum in Queensland.

When they are ready, pour the lemon sauce and serve!

I did the dish again, two big packs of tofu worth, at the gluten-free flour testing party at Cindy and Michael's home and five of us finished the whole thing in a blink of eye.

If you are too lazy to make the sauce, you can just sprinkle Chinese five spices or salt and pepper on it. Enjoy it with Cooper's Pale Ale or Gypsy Pear Cider. La Dolce Vita!

I also made the Cantonese Style Steak, combining different traditional omni recipes online.

What you need is two packs of tempeh.

- Halve tempeh lengthwise, then halve each half crosswise, then halve each portion crosswise again so you will get 8 thin "steak fillets".
- Boil them in water for 5 to 7mins.
- Marinade them in gluten-free few splashes of gluten-free soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, a dash of rice wine vinegar, some white/black pepper and few drops of seasame oil.
- In the mean time, slice 2 medium onions. Fry them but remove it from the pan/wok before they turn brown. Put it aside.
- Fry the tempeh til they are brown on both side.
- In the meantime, mix 2 tablespoons of Tomato Sauce and Spring Gully Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce (vegan-safe and available at Coles), 1/2 tablespoon sugar and salt and dash of rice wine vinegar together in a bowl.
- Add cooked onions and sauce to the tempeh fillets and gently stir fry it on low/medium heat. Add in corn flour water mixture (1 tablespoon of corn flour with 4 tablespoons of water) and cook til the sauce thicken up.

Here you go:

On my walkman:
The North Wind Blew South by Philamore Lincoln

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My fav cafe...

is Trippy Taco

I think it was my fav place before I went gluten free, but one I started eating gluten free my passion for it just grew and grew. It is really is an injustice that we haven't blogged about it yet, considering how much we eat there. Although, part of me didn't want more people going there, it's too busy as it is.

It's a small veg mexican cafe (although it did have a brief period of serving chicken) with about half dozen tables inside, and 2 small tables outside. It always seems to be packed, with a regular flow of take away customers too. So it might not be the best choice if you want food fast.

And what's not to like? It's cheap-ish, super vegan and gluten free friendly,tasty, kind of healthy, filling and there are board games to play with while you wait.

So what's g/f? The tacos, fries, nachos, and I think their quesadillas and possibly one other dish. Most of the dishes can be made vegan by replacing the cheese with cheezly.

I'm addicted to their tacos, with super yummy soft corn tortillas, the best tortillas I have tasted, yes better than mamasita in my opinion although Toby would disagree. You can choose from black bean or tofu fillings with the tacos and burritos. I generally get the black bean filling, because it's so rare to have a black bean option in Melbourne and also we don't have canned black beans in supermarkets here for some reason. But the tofu ones are just as delicious, with grilled spiced tofu. It comes with cheezly, avocado, lime, tomatoes and various forms of lettuce. For around $9.50 (with the cheezly surcharge) they really are good value for money and fill me up quite nicely.

When I'm feeling super hungry though, or just in the mood for fast food, I can't resist sharing their fries which are covered in salt and some sort of addictive spice combo, I can only pinpoint the obvious paprika and perhaps a tiny bit of chilli. They kind of remind me of nandos fries which are vegan but not g/f. Toby and I have tried replicating them at home but haven't managed to come close.
Toby however is a big eater, so generally orders the wheat based burrito. I've had it in pre g/f days and agree that's is more filling but flavour wise not as nice as the corn based tacos.

They also have a few vegan options for dessert like a sweet corn tamale but my latest obsession is going to Trippy for dinner and then getting a few take away choc peanut butter g/f cookies from las vegan cafe, which is only a few doors down. Both place are pretty close to vegan wares too, if you want to get some vegan shoes while you are in the area.

Fore more trippy reviews, check out here, here and here.

Trippy Taco
48a smith st
9415 7711

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rocky Road!!!!

When we got invited over to a friends place on sat night for dinner, I decided to bring along some dessert. My first thought was rocky road, I've been dreaming about it since the last potluck when we made rockyroad ice cream. I decided to follow this recipe, but made some tiny adjustments:

650grams (roughly) chocolate
1 packet of dandies marshmallows from radical grocery, chopped
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
200g turkish delights, chopped
1/2 peanuts (I used crushed peanuts but will use whole or half pieces next time)

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl while you melt the chocolate, and then add the melted chocolate and mix again. Put mixture into a lined slice pan and refrigerate for about an hour and then cut into squares.

It was tasty, quite rich and super easy to make. While I liked the texture of turkish delights, I think the flavour overpowered the marshmallows so next time I think I will substitute the Turkish delights for cranberries or cherries. If you are making them for someone who is g/f then make sure that the turkish delights are g/f, the ones from coles had wheat in them, but I found a pack at A1 bakery that was g/f and vegan.

By the way, I've decided to remove my name from this blog for work reasons.