Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Eating Out: Flora by Greenhouse

A few meals from my beloved Flora. I realised as I was making this post that I hadn't been there for ages! This is shocking, and I must rectify it! Until then, enjoy this post and the previous posts I have made about eating there.

I tend to visit for lunch. On one visit, I tried the Pineapple, Grapefruit, Turmeric, Ginger, and Orange juice for a vitamin C boost. It was OK, but a bit overpowered by the orange flavour. My friend got this one one of my first visits here, and her juice looked much darker. So perhaps they have changed the proportions?

Pineapple, Grapefruit, Turmeric, Ginger Juice at Flora by Greenhouse West End

I wanted a lighter drink because for my food I had picked out their Reuben Sandwich and a side of Pesto Olive Potato Salad. This was all very yummy, but also very filling. My one gripe with the Reuben is that it does get a bit overpowered by mustard. It is strange they don't make a russian dressing to put on this, as should be the case with a Reuben. They have a lovely seitan, pickles and kraut, cheesy sauce, but then the mustard just overpowers it all.

Reuben at Flora by Greenhouse West End

Pesto and Olive Potato Salad at Flora by Greenhouse West End

Another visit I tried their Stuffed Croissant - spinach, scramble, rice paper bacon in a croissant, then toasted. These are pre-assembled and toasted on demand. This was something I wouldn't get again as the fillings stayed cold and it was weird. If they had been hot on the toasted croissant, it would be awesome.

Loaded Croissant at Flora by Greenhouse

I did hit them up early for a pre-work Saturday breakfast once, when they announced they were having a $15 all you can eat breakfast. WHAT? Yes please! It wasn't the usual buffet style. They had a staff member serving from the hotboxes behind the counter. You could go back as often as you wanted. This is my savoury plate with scramble, mushrooms, chilli beans (that had zero heat), rice paper bacon, hash brown, toast, and one of their vegan egg things. I also went back for some waffles and fruit salad, as well as an extra hash brown. I was pleasantly full after this, especially having a turmeric latte with it as well, but you could have gone back for a lot more!

All You Can Eat Breakfast - Savoury at Flora by Greenhouse

All You Can Eat Breakfast - Sweet at Flora by Greenhouse

Turmeric Latte at Flora by Greenhouse

Flora by Greenhouse West End - 239 Boundary Street, West End

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My poor girl got a UTI on Sunday morning. She was very uncomfortable. Thanks to pain relief and antibiotics, she is much happier now. We're still waiting on culture results for her urine, but she's 100% better in herself already.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Diner

Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson is a wonderful book full of really delicious food. As the name implies, it focuses on 'classic comfort food'. You can see my other posts about it here.

Home-Style Loaf, (Garlic) Mashers, and Rich Brown Gravy: This homey combination made for a great cold weather dinner. The loaf is based on tofu, soy (or beefy) crumbles, oats, and walnuts. I used a bag of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles for this. It was very nicely seasoned, full of soy, ketchup, mustard, and sage. I cut this into 8 thick slices, and leftovers were good on sandwiches. The mashed potato recipe is simple and a bit cheesy from nutritional yeast. The skins are left on for a chunky mash. Although the recipe title in the book is Garlic Mashers, there is no garlic in the actual recipe, only in some of the variations. I just made them straight up. I made a half recipe of the gravy, which was plenty for serving with the loaf. This was a tasty gravy, though not brown in the Australian sense of gravy. But it tied it nicely together, along with some steamed green beans.
Rating: Loaf :), Mashers :), Gravy :)

Home-Style Loaf; Mashers; Rich Brown Gravy

Diner House Salad: The basis of this salad is the Diner House Dressing recipe from later in the book. It is a mix of balsamic, soy, and flax oil. I didn't have flax oil (or the variation of hemp oil), so I just used extra virgin olive oil. I found this to have a very strong vinegary and salty taste straight off the bat. Perhaps the flax oil would have mellowed it a bit? Perhaps due to the quality of my vinegar? The salad recipe in the book mixes greens (I used baby cos), carrot, and sunflower seeds (along with raw onion and hemp seeds, both of which I left out). I found the dressing in this mix to be a bit too overpowering. Two days later I used the leftover dressing on a suggested salad variation with baby spinach, apple, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. This combination was great! The sweetness in the salad offset the dressing, plus I think the dressing mellowed after two days in the fridge.
Rating: :| to :) depending on salad ingredients.

Diner House Salad

Diner House Salad

Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets: I've had this recipe marked to make for the last couple of years. Finally I made it and why did I wait? It involves a bit of advance work, you have to make and chill the Italian Sausage Cutlet recipe from later in the book, but once that is done it all comes together so fast. I made a half batch of the cutlets to make a half recipe of this. The cutlets say they make 9-11, I made four out of my half batch so they may have been a bit bigger. But they steam up great and firm up so well in the fridge. When it comes time, they are dipped in seasoned flour, a curdled milk mixture, and then panko before being fried, topped in a very easy to make tomato sauce, sprinkled with mozzarella (optional but really essential, I used Follow Your Heart), and then put under the grill/broiler in the oven. This was AMAZING! The cutlets turned out so well, they were so tender and juicy. I served mine over some baby spinach and a rice/quinoa mix, and had a leftover one in a sandwich. MAKE THIS!
Rating: :D (For the steamed and cooled cutlets on their own: :), though the possibilities are pretty endless.)

Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pie: Another recipe that I had marked to make for ages, I finally made it last year for my parents' wedding anniversary. A chocolate sandwich cookie crust filled with a chocolate cream, covered in strawberries, and drizzled with a chocolate drizzle. I didn't have vanilla milk, so used a combination of plain oat milk and some vanilla extract in the filling, which was quite soft even after setting. The filling and the drizzle both call for strawberry or raspberry liqueur. Being a non-drinker, I didn't feel like getting a big bottle for a few tablespoons, so I used some strawberry extract instead. This pie had lovely flavours, and looked quite pretty to boot.
Rating: :)

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Basil Spinach Spread: I made a half recipe of this. It is really a pesto, with all the expected pesto ingredients as well as some basil. I made sandwiches with mine, it is lovely with tomato and some chicken style slices.
Rating: :)

Basil and Spinach Spread

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara taste testing

Every Vegan Diner post I make has to end with the same photo of Sahara, trying to taste test the Biscuits and Gravy recipe from the book. I miss her trying to stick her face into my dinner.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Eating Out: Buddha's Birthday Festival (with bonus NASA at Night)

Every year there is the Buddha's Birthday Festival at Southbank, which includes a vegetarian food stall fair. Not everything is vegan, but there are a lot of vegan goodies to be found there. The majority of the food there is Asian, not surprisingly, but there are burgers and chips and what not if you are after something else. I go there for the Asian food, though I struggle every year with choosing what to eat! So much food, so little stomach space! Last year I didn't get to go, it was just on a bad weekend for me, but you can see some of my visits from previous years here and here.

It was a rainy day, but thankfully had stopped raining by the late afternoon when I met up with my friend Amy. It was perfect, overcast, cool, and not very crowded thanks to the earlier rain. Of course we started by doing a walk through and trying to pick out what we wanted. We started by sharing a classic, the Steamed BBQ Pork Bun. This stall at the festival does the biggest, fluffiest ones ever, and I have been thinking about them ever since I was there two years ago. They didn't disappoint.

BBQ Steamed Buns at Buddha's Birthday Festival

We hydrated with some fun drinks. Amy got a Watermelon Lemon Juice, and I had a Black Plum Juice. According to the sign, black plums are boiled and filtered to get the juice, then liquorice, osmanthus, and sugar are added. What is osmanthus? I just looked it up and sore it is a herb used in Chinese medicine. I don't think it detoxified my body (thanks liver and kidneys for doing that), but it was delicious.

Watermelon Lemon Juice and Black Plum Juice at Buddha's Birthday Festival

I was feeling under the weather, so some soup seemed the way to go. Especially given the actual weather! I saw a Japanese stall that had some Kitsune Udon, and that was all I could think about. And it was delicious! I also found out that stall belonged to a restaurant that is super close to my house (and is also on UberEats to my house) and has some vegan options on their regular menu. GThis is very exciting, because I love Japanese food most of all!

Kitsune Udon from Mazri at Buddha's Birthday Festival

Amy was also feeling like soup, and picked up a laksa from another stall.

Laksa from Su Life at Buddha's Birthday Festival

I was still a bit peckish, and could eat a bit more. I happened to bump into a friend there who recommended I try some sticky rice. Wrapped in a bamboo leaf and stuffed with tofu, peanuts, and mushrooms I thought this was delicious. Unfortunately, the one that Amy got seemed to be stuffed with mostly peanuts, which wasn't so much fun. Please excuse the terrible photo, the light was fading at this point.

Sticky Rice at Buddha's Birthday Festival

We weren't only there for food. It happened that this day, the fourth of May, May the fourth, coincided with a Museum At Night event for the NASA Exhibit at the QLD Museum. So after eating we headed in for an over-18 (read, no kids, hurrah_ trundle through the museum. It was a fascinating exhibit, with lots of cool stuff about space. Also a lot of photos and stories of white men, which was a bit disappointing. One small plaque with some white women. WHITE MEN ARE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO SPACE TRAVEL. Below I share a few photos, including one of me being a serious space scientist, a teeny tiny capsule that makes me claustrophobic to think about, and Jabba the Hutt. It was Star Wars day after all!

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

And no trip to the museum is complete without saying hello to our friend the Muttaburrasaurus.

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My best friend gifted me this wonderful soft, warm, heavy jumper. It is wonderful to wear. And Dim Sim thought she'd try it out as a blankie as well.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Eating Out: PingAn Veggie Time

It's been a while, but I finally made my way back to PingAn Veggie Time, Brisbane's 100% vegan Thai restaurant. It is not really near my house, but it is close to one of our clinics so I took the opportunity to stop by there for lunch one day. I've only been here a couple of times before, but you can see those visits here.

They have a range of fun drinks, and I ordered a refreshing Lychee Drink with Fresh Lychees.

Lychee Drink with Fresh Lychees at PingAn Veggie Time

I was feeling pretty hungry, so I ordered two entrees. The Steamed BBQ Buns (big, soft, and yummy), and the Tofu Skewers with Peanut Sauce (delicious). I chomped those skewers straight down, I love the sauce. The BBQ buns were great, though by the time I ate one and my main, I was pretty full. Which was fine because I kept one and ate it later for afternoon tea at work and it was still great.

Steamed BBQ Buns at PingAn Veggie Time

Tofu Skewers with Peanut Sauce at PingAn Veggie Time

I chose my main off their lunch specials list, Veggies and Tofu with Mushroom Sauce and Rice. This ended up being fairly small, so it works well with getting an entree (or two, in my case, even if I did have to keep some for later). They always do cute shapes for their rice with the lunch meals, and this time I got a teddy bear. The sauce was lovely.

Veggies and Tofu with Mushroom Sauce Lunch Special at PingAn Veggie Time

PingAn Veggie Time - Shop 3/708 Sandgate Road, Clayfield, QLD - (07) 3262 6056

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim sleeps on my lap. This particular afternoon, she decided to use my soft tummy as her pillow, which was very cute. She's not normally a pillow cat, that was Sahara's deal, but I am happy to have a tummy for her to use as she wishes.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Desserts

Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky is an older book that has been sitting on my shelf for sometime. For some reason, I hadn't made anything from it! But that had to change. It has lovely and enticing photos, no surprise given Hannah's photography skills, and a range of delicious sounding recipes. A lot of these I made for bake sales, which are always great events to try out a bunch of fun baking recipes! The recipes are divided by season, with a final chapter for essentials at the back. This is my first round-up of this book, but I did post about one other recipe I made from it here.

Lemongrass Mac-Nut Blondies: These have a lovely subtle lemongrass flavour. The recipe says to chop the lemongrass as fine as possible, I just chopped small then blended with the milk to get it even finer without spending time and cutting fingers trying to get it super small. These baked up pretty tall and puffy, you can see the top cracked a bit, but they still look great and were are nice combination of flavours.
Rating: :)

Lemongrass Mac-Nut Blondies

Zesty Rhubarb Ripple Cake: I love rhubarb, and last spring was a great season for it. The rhubarb ripple is a lovely syrup made from simmering rhubarb (mine was frozen, and I also had a few strawberries I chucked in for fun) with sugar and water, which is then layered and swirled through a thick batter. While the batter has orange juice in it, I only realise after I made it that there was no orange zest in the recipe, although this was mentioned in the recipe introduction. I needed to give this cake an extra 10 minutes in my oven to cook. Just so you know, it rises a lot during cooking, so don't use a shallow pan!
Rating: :)

Zesty Rhubarb Ripple Cake

Mango Lassi Popsicles: I have a little ice block set with six small popsicle moulds, so I made a half batch of the recipe. This filled them all with a little extra left over, though you can just drink that like lassi so there is no waste! This is a very easy recipe, with only five ingredients. I used frozen mango because we had a very short mango season this year. These are a good snack, they are refreshing but also not too sweet.
Rating: :)

Mango Lassi Popsicles

Cranberry Streusel Bars: OK, I loved these! A lovely tart cranberry filling, which is balanced by the sweet base and streusel. The filling calls for 3/4 cup of maple syrup, which is super expensive here, so I did use a recipe to make an extended maple syrup from another book to make it a bit more economical, topped up with a bit of pure maple syrup as well and a few drops of maple extract. These bars are very crumbly once you cut them, so a bit messy to eat, but absolutely delicious.
Rating: :D

Cranberry Streusel Bars

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes: To be honest, the idea of sweet potato casserole as seen on the Thanksgiving table isn't the most appealing to me. Being a very American thing, I didn't grow up with it, and no shade on people who do enjoy it! But I like the idea of it made into cupcakes. These cupcakes are baked with sweet potato puree. I blended my puree up with the milk and other wet ingredients to make sure it was perfectly smooth. It was a very thick batter, but it baked well and was not too dense. The maple frosting is very easy, and worked out to be pretty much the exact amount for the 12 cupcakes.
Rating: :)

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Winnie and Doris

These two cuties are adoption kitties Winnie and Doris. They were hand raised by one of the nurses, and it is sad that they don't have homes yet! This photo is taken through the kitten enclosure, they were sitting on the top of a cat scratching post having a good snuggle. Getting photos of them are hard, because when they are on the go they are ON THE GO!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Eating Out: Dicki's

Brisbane is a bit spoiled for choice when it comes to vegan cafes, and I am not complaining one bit! Today's post is all about a couple of visits to the all-vegan Dicki's. You can read about my previous visits here.

I love their housemade maple lemonade. Made on still water (hurrah for not being fizzy), it is wonderfully tart and refreshing and has become my go to drink there.

Housemade Maple Lemonade (still water) at Dicki's

My body has a low tolerance for deep fried food, it makes me feel sick quickly. But I couldn't go past the special of Gouda Cheese Sticks on one of my visits. Kind of like cheesy spring rolls. They were gooey and delicious, and served with some aioli for dipping.

Gouda Cheesesticks with Aioli at Dicki's

They also have toastie specials every day, and I was tempted by one with tempeh, pumpkin, tomato, spinach, pesto, and aioli. It was a wonderful combination.

Toastie Special at Dicki's

They also boast a cabinet full of vegan sweet treats, and I took home an Apple Crumble Muffin. This was amazing - the crumble is great, there is a hefty dose of apple, and it is huge! I ended up having it for breakfast the next morning with an apricot.

Apple Crumble Muffin at Dicki's

At my most recent visit, I again had some maple lemonade. I can't say no to it! And I also ordered their Big Breakfast for lunch, so I guess technically brunch. Is it still brunch if it is after 1pm? Anyway, this was a beautiful plate full of tofu scramble, sauteed mushrooms, crispy tempeh, hash brown, beetroot hummus, asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes, and sourdough. The menu also said crumbed eggplant, but I guess they were out? I only realised just now that it didn't have that. I also ordered a side of their cashew dill cream, which is SO GOOD GUYS! I want a tub! Anyway, this was a great big breakfast. It was filling, but still light enough to not weigh me down and make me need a nap on my way to work.

Big Breakfast with Cashew Dill Cream at Dicki's

I also picked up another apple crumble muffin, and a slice of lemon and yoghurt cake. No photo of the cake, because it got smooshed a bit in the container on the drive to work. But trust me when I say that it was delicious.

Dicki's - 893 Brunswick St, New Farm, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Jed's been at our main hospital for the last couple of days with a fever and a sore leg. Please send him get well soon wishes!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Cruelty Free Shop May 2019 Vegan Mystery Box

The final box of my six month Christmas gift subscription arrived today for the Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box. Let us see what is inside, what sort of note are we going out on?


  • Super Fudgio Peanut Salted Caramel Cream: Meh, caramel. But yay, peanut. They suggest that this is a creamy sweet treat snack on the go, but I can't imagine wanting to actually suck this down as I imagine it will be very sweet. I think it will be used as a topping for some sort of dessert.
  • Chow Cacao Peanut Butter Slab: I have had this before, but it is a bit of a let down for my own peanut butter chocolate hopes and dreams. Instead of having distinct peanut butter and chocolate parts, the peanut butter is mixed through the chocolate. So you end up losing a lot of that peanut butter taste.
  • Candy Lush Love Bear Lollies: I am not one for lollies, but these look super cute and fun and are made with fruit juice so I am hoping won't be too sweet. Vegan gummi bears!
  • Belladotti Bacon Bits: I have a packet of these in my cupboard already, and they are really good. Crunchy and bacony, they are excellent on all sorts of things. So I am glad to have more of them.
  • SuperOrb Mesquite, Oat, Cashew, Caramel Superfood Snack: That is a lot of things in that name, and there are even more in the ingredients! It seems to be a snack ball coated in 'wildcrafted chocolate' and then rolled in ground cashews, which wounds really interesting. Plus no coconut oil! Hurrah!
  • The Chocolate Yogi Hunny Bunny: This is honey comb shards inside a milky style chocolate, so you know what I am going to say. A bit too sweet for me!
  • Provamel Organic Soy Cream: I use soy creams in place of coconut cream in a lot of non-coconut requiring sauces and ice creams. Coconut cream and milk is a popular ingredient, but given my coconut fat intolerance I try and avoid it. If I'm making a curry or something that needs coconut milk, I just use a smaller amount of light coconut milk diluted with water. But that doesn't work for sauces or creams relying on coconut cream for the thickness rather than the taste. But I have found soy cream to be a great stand in, so hurrah!
  • Sweet & Sour Veggie Chips: The CFS is claiming these as a new product, but they have been available in the supermarkets for eons. Still, they are a tasty fun treat.
  • Leda Minton Biscuits: The stalwart, vegan mint slice. I am not normally a fan of chocolate and mint, but these get the mix just right. Also very popular with certain friends overseas!

A bit of a mixed bag. Nothing that blows me away, a couple of meh things, but overall pretty solid and some stuff I will get some good use and enjoyment out of. This will be my last mystery box post until next year, when I get my next subscription as a Christmas gift.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Stoically waiting for me to come to bed.