Monday, August 29, 2011

Root Beer Float Ice Cream in Chocolate Cups

I couldn't decide on a name for these even with the suggestions I got from twitter which included chocolate floats, root beer crunch, cups of brown joy, root beer cupiscles and brown cow cups. Leave a comment to help me decide and I'll change the title!

Cindy and Michael had a small potluck at their place to celebrate 5 years of blogging! My dish was obviously inspired by the trip to the US particuarly root beer floats and peanut butter cups. So I decided to combine the two things. First I made this root beer ice cream from bittersweet :

Root Beer Ice Cream
1 Cup Vanilla Soymilk
1 Cup Root Beer Soda (I used A&W which is gf)
1/2 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrow Root
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Root Beer Extract (I left this out)
Whisk together all the ingredients, except for the root beer extract, in a medium sauce pan. Beat vigorously to ensure that there are no lumps whatsoever before turning on the heat to medium. Cook, whisking every few minutes, until the mixture comes to a rapid boil, and immediately remove from the stove. Whisk in the root beer extract, and then chill thoroughly before churning according to your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the churned ice cream into an air-tight container, and stash in the freezer for at least 4 – 6 hours before scooping, or until frozen solid.

It is suprisingly refreshing by itself, but I had to take it to the next step. So I melted some dark chocolate with a tiny bit of coconut oil and lined foiled cups with the chocolate about half way up, added in the ice cream and then covered the top with more chocolate and placed them back in the freezer.

I really enjoyed the combination of flavours, the chocolate makes the root beer a little more mellow but because the root beer has such as strong flavour it works. Be warned though, not everyone likes root beer so it worth trying before making it. Root beer tastes a lot like sarsaparilla which I guess is an aquired taste as a few people at the potluck complained that root beer tastes like medicine. If that is the case then I think I missed out on some yummy medicine growing up!

Please note that you can find root beer in some asian supermarkets in Melbourne, I found it at the asian supermarket at Barkly Square in Brunswick.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ginger and Jasmine Tea Glazed Almonds

I kind of lost my blogging mojo since we come back from the US, which is partially due to what I like to call post holiday syndrome, and then was out of cooking/baking action for a few weeks when I broke my toes and have had a few other things distract me. But I am now trying to get it back.

I made these nuts weeks ago when friends bought over a fun boardgame called apples to apples. They were kind of inspired by wheres the beef cashew crack but obviously with different flavours and nuts. I used the right amount of jasmine tea but the flavour of the tea was overpowdered by the ginger, next time I might decrease the ginger and add more jasmine tea. I enjoyed them but I do love ginger but admit that I prefer their lemony cousin.

Jasmine Tea and Ginger Glazed Almonds from 28 cooks:
1 c raw almonds
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 jasmine tea bags, or 1 generous tsp of jasmine tea
1/4 c finely chopped crystallized ginger

In large pan, combine almonds and sugar over medium high heat. Stir frequently until sugar starts to melt. Lower heat, and stir continuously for 10 minutes, or until sugar starts to fully melt and cover nuts. Add tea and continue to cook for an additional minute or two, until nuts are well glazed and tea is well mixed in. Add ginger, and stir until well mixed. Pour onto sheet of wax paper on a cooling rack, and spread out. Allow to cool. Store in tightly-sealed container.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Choc Rice Cakes- Product Review and Recipe

I discovered these mini dark chocolate coated rice cakes in the supermarket the other day and was pleased to discover that they were both gluten free and vegan. Anyone who has every worked with me knows that my two most common snacks at work are chocolate and rice cakes. Although not normally together as I tend to put peanut butter on rice cakes. So I was intrigued by this pack which I found them in coles for about $3.90 for a packet.

At the first bite, I was still not convinced but after eating one or two I'm now a total convert. It allows me to have my choc fix but in smaller portion and also fills me up at the same time.  They are much smaller and thinner than regular rice cakes so after sharing a few with colleagues and indulging in several the packet was quickly gone. They do vaguely remind me of chocolate digestives which I was also a big fan of.

So tonight I tried to recreate them using regular size rice cakes. I used the multigrain corn thins and melted a tiny bit of lindt dark chocolate with coconut oil and simply spread a thin layer and let it set. I can't tell you how much though because the chocolate was leftover from another recipe I was making. They were just as good but next time I would use the neutral plain rice cakes as the multigrain ones have a weird sorgum/corn flavour which doesn't go that well with chocolate. I can defintely see this becoming a regular snack in our household.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mercy Seat

I think it's easy being vegan, its a bit more difficult being gluten free and vegan though. Particularly as not all veg*n restaurants cater for us gluten free folks and sometimes the 1-2 options are bland and just not worth it. Excellent in Portland which seems to be the best place in the world for us gleegans. There have been a couple of new veg*n cafes which have opened recently in Melbourne which have 0 gluten free options.  In my previous gluten eating days I would have rushed out to support the new veg businesses but simply haven't been able to which makes me a tad sad. Mercy Seat was among them, but they announced on Friday night that they had gluten free bread so I rushed out the next day with Cindy and Michael to try what others have been raving about. Mercy Seat is a vegetarian breakfast/lunch place which is situated at a bar called 99 problems.

I had the scrambled tofu with avocado on gluten free bread. The scrambled tofu doesn't contain any soy sauce which I was thankful for since it generally means that I can't eat it. Instead it was fried with spinach, red onions, and plenty of spices. I could see the tumeric and they are a tad spicy from what what I suspect to be cayenne pepper.  It was delicious and very filling. Also excellent value for $10, not sure how much extra it was for gf toast. The rest of the smallish menu looks pretty gluten heavy with burgers, vegan philly cheese steak etc but I suspect that the avocado with vegan feta is also gf if served on gf toast. I just hope that they are not using the kolios greek fasting feta which is not actually vegan. We will certainly go back to try more.

They also had home made lemonade on the specials board, I was surprised to find that it was carbonated rather than American style lemonade but it was just as refreshing served with mint.

Toby thought his long black was very delicious. They use padre coffee.


Mercy Seat
31 Johnston St

Friday, August 5, 2011

Vegie Bar

I've been pretty critical of Vegie Bar in the past. I have a theory about why: I have noticed that new vegan or vegetarians or new Melbournians tend to love vegie bar whereas vegetarians and vegans who have been living here for while tend to be more critical of Vegie Bar. I think the reason is that menu hasn't changed much over the years and people who have been going for years have too many bad experiences. I have had several experiences of accidentally eating dairy there over the years and some bad customer service experiences too. I have gone a few times over the last few months though and had much better experiences.

When our friend Yuanna was down from Hong Kong we took her there the first night and again on the last night. Yuanna is an omni but loved her food there on both occasions. The first time we had some raw crackers with a raw cashew based dips. It was so pleasing to have crackers and dip that I could eat. The dip was creamy and the crackers were comparable to the ones at yongs greens food. Btw, all photos were taken by Yuanna.

I then had the mostly greens with tempeh and satay sauce. Healthy but satisfying.

 and we had a piece of the vegan chocolate cake. I didn't realise that it was guten free. This was great served there, as it was warmed and kind of gooey, whereas if you have it take away it tends to be a bit hard:

The second time I had the vermicelli noodles, this is my fav dish. Slightly fried and lots of flavour. I guess it is a lot like what we make at home but without the effort and dishes.

The second time they had a special dessert, a avocado based chocolate mousse with poached pear and pistachios. I really liked this, you couldn't tell that it was made from avocado and Yuanna said that it reminded her of Indonesian desserts and so she tried to order two but they had sold out by that stage.

380 Brunswick St
 9417 6935

Recently reviewed by carla, steph and healthy party girl.