Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Eating Out: Yavanna

Over Easter, a friend from Melbourne was up in Brisbane and we made plans to catch up. Of course, visitors get to choose the location! They are also vegan, and as regular readers of this blog will know Brisbane has a lot of options for a hungry vegan to choose from! Ultimately, they settled on Yavanna. I was keen, as I hadn't had a chance to get there on a weekend to try the breakfast menu. You can see my other visits to Yavanna here.

I had been to hot yoga that morning, so a cooling Turmeric Soy Latte seemed the best way to start.

Iced Turmeric Latte at Yavanna


I chose the Sesame Mushrooms on toast, which came with avocado and some smoked sesame cheese. This was really nice. Satisfying, without filling me up too much.

Sesame Mushrooms with Smoked Sesame Cheese at Yavanna


The ordered the Big Breakfast, which had mushrooms, scramble, toast, beans, tomatoes and spinach, potato gems, and they also added a side of smoked sesame cheese.

Big Breakfast with Smoked Sesame Cheese at Yavanna


We spent several hours chatting, and the day ended up being grey and rainy, so I ordered a soy hot chocolate to warm my hands and my tummy. Yes, they are some little marshmallows!

Hot Chocolate at Yavanna


Finally, we got some baked goods to take away. I got a jam doughnut and a pain au chocolat.

Pain au Chocolate and Jam Doughnut at Yavanna


Yavanna has released a new menu since then, with different breakfast options and ever more dinner and lunch options to try out.

Yavanna - 9/2 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara


I'm getting another cute family portrait done of my and my three girls, which meant looking through photos to send to the artist for reference. Sahara was such a stunning, striking looking lady. I miss her a lot.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan On The Cheap

Vegan On The Cheap is one of my favourite cookbooks by Robin Robertson. It has a great range of recipes, with a eye to being budget friendly in mind. She also has some options for 'splurging' if you feel like adding a little extra. I've posted about this book a number of times, and you can see those posts here.

Mu Shu Burritos and Thai-Style Pineapple Rice Salad: This is a nice combination (suggested in the weekly menu section of the book) of a warm burrito and cool salad. The mu shu filling is shredded seitan (I just chopped it finely), carrot, and wombok aka napa cabbage (which I accidentally turned to mush because I had my food processor shredding blade the wrong way around so it got the fine grate treatment... sigh) in a lovely hoisin-based sauce. The filling was quite liquid, I suspect due to my unfortunate cabbage smooshage, so I used a slotted spoon before putting it on the wrap. The recipe says it fills eight 7-inch tortillas to serve 4. I was serving two people, and I used a large wrap for each of us and had plenty leftover. I scaled down the salad a bit, and used jasmine rice that had been cooked, frozen,and defrosted. I suspect the texture of the rice would have been better if I had used freshly cooked and cooled, but we use up what we have. The salad has pineapple, carrot, peas, coriander, and peanuts in it. I left out the green onions and chile. I think the salad would also work well turned into fried rice! Certainly I combined the leftover salad with leftover burrito filling and heated them up for dinner the next day and it was great.
Rating: Burrito :), Salad :)

Mu Shu Burritos; Thai-Style Pineapple Rice Salad


Mu Shu Burritos


Comfort Loaf with Creamy Mushroom Gravy: Winter calls for 'meat'loaf and gravy. This comfort loaf was delightful, with onions, carrots, celery, tofu, beans, oats, walnuts, and breadcrumbs (I used panko because they were there), as well as other bits and pieces. This made a large and satisfying loaf. It stuck a little the the bottom of the loaf tin, so grease it extra well, but it is delicious. Also, leftovers made fabulous sandwiches! I served it with the Creamy Mushroom Gravy. I made a 1/2 recipe, which was enough for three serves. This is a great savoury gravy, and is easy to make.
Rating: Loaf :D, Gravy :)

Comfort Loaf; Creamy Mushroom Gravy


Peanutty Pumpkin Stew: This comes together easily, using a tin of pumpkin puree as the pumpkin base for it. It also has other vegetables, peas, peanut butter, tinned tomatoes, and kidney beans. I left out the curry powder and the chiles, but I added some spinach and about 3/4 cup of brown rice.
Rating: :)

Peanutty Pumpkin Stew


Call It Cassoulet: Delicious beany tomato stew! This recipe uses white beans (I only used two tins rather than three), diced tomatoes, vegetables and herbs to make a very satisfying cold weather dinner. There is the option to add some chopped pepperoni (recipe in the book), I used some chopped Field Roast hot dog instead, which was a lovely addition. It also is topped with some toasted croutons. I used one slice of wholemeal bread, which was enough for two servings. They were nice and crunchy. Overall the stew made four serves (I kept two as leftovers, which is why I didn't make croutons for all the serves because they would just go soggy), served over some baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Call It Cassoulet


Skillet Hash: Onion, carrots, potato, seitan, herbs and spices. A lovely, quick, tasty dinner. The potatoes need to be cooked before adding, and I used my favourite new trick of cooking them in the microwave using the potato setting. For the seitan, I used a leftover bit of red seitan from Viva Vegan, which had it's own nice seasonings to add. I took the splurge a little option of adding a bit of FYH mozzarella, though I only had a sprinkle left in the bag so it didn't get too cheesy. I also added in some baby spinach. Served with ketchup, which was great. Avocado would also be awesome on this.
Rating: :)

Skillet Hash


Seitan and Mushroom Goulash: This recipe is in the slow cooker chapter of the book. Somehow, when I was planning to make it, I totally missed this important fact until it was 4pm in the afternoon, so I delayed its making until the next day when I had lots of time to give my slow cooker some action. It smelled wonderful! It has onion, seitan, mushrooms, and sauerkraut (I used the Polish kind in a jar), as staples of paprika, caraway, white wine, tomatoes, and sour cream. I used both the Tofu Sour Cream recipe and the Simple Simmered Seitan recipe from the book. The seitan recipe is easy and gives a nice, savoury seitan that goes well in lots of different dishes. It is a forgiving recipe, as I mucked it up twice (firstly by not adding enough gluten flour, so I had to add more in after I had mixed in the liquids, and secondly I had boiled the cooking broth before adding it). The sour cream is based on silken tofu, and the tofu taste is quite strong initially but then mellows with time. I made a whole recipe of the sour cream, which claimed it would make 2 cups, but it only made one and a half. The goulash was nice, but even better as leftovers once the flavour had time to meld. Served over spinach fettuccine and baby spinach.
Rating: Goulash :), Seitan :), Sour Cream :)

Seitan and Mushroom Goulash


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Please enjoy this very fancy Instagram Flat Lay-style photo of the top of Dim Sim's head and her cute little ears.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Samhain and Yule 2019

Following on from my post last week, here are my food celebrations for the other two sabbats that have already been and gone this year. If you missed the last post, have a quick read to see what they are all about and what they mean to me.

Samhain (April 30th, 2019)

Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere is October the 31st, which everyone knows as Halloween (which has its origins in Samhain). Samhain is considered the new year of the wheel of the year. You can have a lot of fun with food for this, there are traditional foods but you can also go the fun Halloween route if that is your thing. Though given that it is not Halloween here for another 6 months I generally just go with something more traditional.

Punk-Kin Pasta from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer: I got the idea to make this from Bianca's blog, she always posts about her sabbat feasts and I often search on her blog for some witchy food inspiration. This is a simple but tasty little dish, with a very easy sauce made from a tin of pumpkin puree. I did thin it out a little but adding some pasta water, a splash of oat milk, and a sprinkle of stock powder. The sauce also has sauteed chunks of sausage in it, and I used Field Roast Apple Sage. An excellent combination. Sprinkled with a bit of FYH Parmesan. I used 250g of pasta, which was enough for 3 serves.
Rating: :)

Punk-Kin Pasta


Jen's Raisin Soda Bread from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer: I had planned on making some sort of cute fancy dessert, but ended up going for something simple with a quick soda bread recipe. This is quite dense and doesn't rise as much as some other soda breads that I have made. I had planned on using currants instead, as I am not the biggest fan of raisins (I just find them very sweet), but then I discovered that I was out of currants and only had raisins. This also has caraway seeds in it, though I misread and only added 1/2 tsp instead of 1/2 tbs. This was good with a bit of butter, and as the recipe said was even better the next day.
Rating: :| but only because of the raisins, otherwise would be :) if it had currants (or even sultanas)

Jen's Raisin Soda Bread


Yule aka Winter Solstice (22nd June, 2019)

Normally Yule is the sabbat where I make the biggest effort food wise. I love making either Christmas or winter menus from my cookbooks, and I had planned to do something similar this year. But then I was working late on the actual day,and I then I was super sick. So I went for very simple, and even then it had to wait a week. Oh well!

Portobello Pepper Steak Stew and Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: I am a huge fan of the caulipots recipe with AFR, which is mashed potato and cauliflower. Not because of any caloric concerns, but just because it is tasty and a fun way to get some cauliflower into your life. The book has several flavour variations, and while I had made all of them I hadn't actually ever made the original one. But now I have! And I topped it with this lovely warming stew, that has slices of seitan and portobello mushroom. It is meant to have red and green capsicum, but I used carrot and celery instead. And I left out the chili flakes. This had a lovely, savoury flavour. Really it was only three serves with the caulipots. I have saved a bit of the leftover stew to make a wrap out of at a later time (it is currently in my freezer), which Isa suggests and a fun way to enjoy it as well. This was a great combination, served over some baby spinach.
Rating: Stew :), Caulipots :)

Portobello Pepper Steak Stew; Caulipots


Baked Apples from The Joy Of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: This is a very simple recipe. I halved it to make two apples as I was only serving two people, and I used granny smith apples. Apples are cored (but still leaving some flesh at the bottom) and half-peeled, filled with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, ad baked. After baking the apples were lovely and soft, and the filling was very runny! I served it with some So Delicious Snickerdoodle Cashew Ice Cream (my favourite ice cream).
Rating: :)

Baked Apples


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Speaking of witchcraft and Samhain and Halloween, have a black cat! She is pretty magical! Did you know that even to this day, black cats are the hardest to adopt out because people some people still think they are bad luck? I have met several people who say that black cats make them nervous. Obviously this is ludicrous! So give a black cat a home, or at least a pat if they want it. Black cats are awesome!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Eating Out: Greenhouse Canteen

Greenhouse Canteen is one of my favourite spots for dinner in Brisbane. They have three locations, two on the Gold Coast and one in Brisbane, so of course the Brisbane one is my spot of choice. I've only been a few times, but each time has been outstanding. You can see my previous visits here. For this post, I went out to dinner there with a couple of friends to try out their new menu (which is about to change again I think).

I almost always get a ginger kombucha when I am there. It is nice and dry and not too fizzy or sweet.

Ginger Kombucha at Greenhouse Canteen


We shared a couple of starters. Firstly, the Stuffed Zucchini Flower, filled with almond feta and served with spinach puree, pickled onion, and dukkah. This is hard to share, because there it only one!

Stuffed Zucchini Flower


We also shared the Cauliflower Wings. I love these because instead of being buffalo spicy, they are coated in a delicious smoky relish. Served with ranch still, of course.

Cauliflower Wings at Greenhouse Canteen


One of my friends had the Mac and Cheese, which is a lovely creamy cauliflower sauce with smoked mushrooms, cashew parmesan, and kale. I've had this and it is really nice.

Mac and Cheese at Greenhouse Canteen


My other friend had the Beetroot Burger, a towering meal. The 'bun' is made out of large tempura mushrooms, and it is filled with a beetroot and black bean patty, cashew brie, caramelised onions, sweet potato crisps, and crispy kale. I haven't had this one before, but everyone who tries it says it is amazing.

Beetroot Burger


I was excited to try the Eggplant Parmigiana, a massive slab of baked breaded eggplant topped with napoli sauce, cashew brie, and cashew parmesan. Served with sweet potato fries (and aioli for dipping) and a salad. This was delicious and huge and so filling. The only downside was the salad, which was a bit dry and was mostly large pieces of some sort of spiky lettuce blend. But to parma itself was amazing!

Eggplant Parmigiana at Greenhouse Canteen


Although out tummies were pretty full, we had to split some dessert. For research and science! We shared the Chocolate Brownie with Pandan Cashew Cream. The brownie was warm and fudgy and delicious. The cashew cream was nice, though I couldn't taste much in the way of pandan so it seemed to be mostly used for colour. Oh, Greenhouse and Flora are owned by the same people, so you will notice that Greenhouse too puts a pea sprout garnish on everything. Even the brownie. It amuses me.

Brownie with Pandan Cashew Cream at Greenhouse Canteen


I am definitely looking forward to going back again sometime, they are now open for lunch on Friday and Saturday. Everything I have been here has always been a great experience.

Greenhouse Canteen and Bar Brisbane - 68 Manning Street, Brisbane - 3724 2761

Cute Kitty Picture of the Post

Kittens in a bag


Following on from Kittens In A Basket, I present to you Kittens In A Bag! Panko (ginger) and Atom (grey) are the last two of our kittens still looking for a home. They are very cute, and full of kitten energy and mischief!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Menu: Lunch Box Adventure Menu from Vegan Lunch Box

Vegan Lunch Box is a book full of, no surprises, lunch box menus for kids. But you don't have to be a kid to have fun with it. (Also, if you do have kids, you don't have to make fancy lunch boxes for them to take to school every day.) In my previous posts, I have mostly been making and presenting the menus to take as lunch for myself. But meh, effort. So for this one I decided just to make it for dinner and serve it on a plate. An excellent idea! This menu comes from the Lunch Box Adventure chapter of the book.

Musubi: I made a half recipe of this, and got three big rice balls out of it - two for me and one for my dad (who had a big lunch so only wanted a light dinner). The book suggests stuffing them with an umeboshi plum or peanut butter. I didn't have any whole umeboshis, so I did some umeboshi paste and that was a very strong flavour! I also did one with peanut butter, which was fun. I would have preferred a bit of seasoning in the rice itself, as they were very large and a little more flavour would have been good.
Rating: :)

Musubi


Adzuki Beans with Pickled Ginger: This is a quick and easy bean based salad, with lots of chopped picked ginger in it (including the pickled ginger juice, which forms part of the dressing). I left out the scallions in it, but did add a bit of chopped celery for texture. I had some leftovers after dinner, and I mashed them up with some mayo to make a nice beany sandwich filling.
Rating: :)

Adzuki Beans with Pickled Ginger


Japanese Spinach: I've made this sort of recipe before from other books, but this one was sadly lacking in seasoning. It needed a bit of salt, or a lot more soy sauce. I only made half a recipe using one bunch of spinach, which was enough for two.
Rating: :|

Japanese Spinach


And here is the final plate! It also includes a nashi (aka Asian Pear), as suggested by the book. But I also added some miso soup as well (just from a packet) to round it out. It made a nice dinner, not to heavy but not too light.

Musubi, Adzuki Beans with Pickled Ginger, Japanese Spinach, Nashi, Miso Soup


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo portait


As promised, this is where I put Gizmo's beautiful portrait. This is the bookshelf in my bedroom, an don the shelf below you can see her urn (and Sahara's next to her). I love looking at this beautiful piece every day. I've been in my new bedroom for several months now, but it is a slow work in progress with filling and decorating it. I want everything to be just right for this room. My old bedroom is now my study, so that has all the rest of my stuff in it (including a lot of beautiful art as well), so I can take my time with deciding what I want in my new room.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Lammas and Mabon 2019

When I was younger, I identified as wiccan. That sort of religious belief is no longer with me, however I still definitely feel a pull of the seasons (what little seasons we have here in Brisbane), of the moon, of the world around me. Recently I heard the term secular witchcraft, thanks to Sayward of Bonzai Aphrodite, and that really seems to fit with my world view. I have gotten very bad at being in tune with anything over the last couple of years, mostly thanks to be exhausted by work. But this year I wanted to at least mark each of the sabbats of the wheel of the year by making some sort of appropriate food. Celebrating with food is very much my style. As I am in the southern hemisphere, I celebrate the sabbats in the opposite from those in the norther hemisphere. If you are curious about the traditions and origins of each of the sabbats, there is lots on Google, including what sorts of foods are associated with each. I meant to post about them as they happened, but I didn't, so here is a bit of catch up. I still have two more to share, in another post.

Lammas (1st February, 2019)

I kept things pretty simple for this one, and just threw an easy lunch together. I had corn on the cob (corn is important in Lammas) with a grilled mushroom, avocado toast, and some sliced cucumber. Then I follower it up with some natural yoghurt, blackberries, and apple crumble granola.

Lammas Lunch: Corn on the cob, avocado toast, mushroom, cucumber


Lammas sweets: Yoghurt, apple crumble granola, blackberries


Mabon aka Autumn Equinox (21st March, 2019)

Sure it may have been autumn, but the weather here was still warm. Part of living in Brisbane is taking inspiration from the foods, but also eating in a seasonally appropriate way. Cue salad and a chilled cheesecake!

Roasted Kabocha Salad with Barley and Lemon Miso Vinaigrette from Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw: This salad was a great way to incorporate pumpkin which keeping things light and cool. Overall, this salad needed a bit more seasoning. The barley (which I cooked in the rice cooker after soaking overnight), would have benefited from being cooked in stock rather than water, and a bit more salt could have been added overall. The roasted kabocha and red onions were nice. I used baby spinach as the leaves in the salad, rather than rocket or kale, and I couldn't find any radicchio so I just used more spinach. I also left out the chili flakes in the dressing, and used a mix of water and guar gum in place of the oil because oily dressings make me a bit queasy. I got three serves out of this.
Rating: :|

Roasted Kabocha Salad


Roasted Apple Cheesecake from Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky: This is a lovely dessert. Roasted apples and blended into a yummy cream cheese mixture, then poured onto a gingerbread base before being topped by more roasted apples and also some candied pecans. The base was a tad dry, it probably needed a bit more melted margarine to get it to stick a bit better. I needed to bake the cheesecake for an extra 20 minutes in my oven, but then it set up perfectly in the fridge. I only made half a recipe of the pecans to top it with, which was plenty. The real star is the beautiful apple cream cheese filling, so good!
Rating: :)

Roasted Apple Cheesecake


Roasted Apple Cheesecake


I'll be sharing my Samhain and Yule eats in an upcoming post.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Eileen Doodles


This is the finished portrait of Gizmo, based on the photo I shared in my last post. The artist is Eileen Doodles. I have followed her on Instagram for quite a while, I love her sweet cat portraits. I always knew that if I was going to get her to do a piece for me, that her style was perfect for my sweet Gizmo. And I was right! I love this portrait so much. She changed it a little from the original photo to include Gizmo's little white tail tip. Next time I'll show you where I've put it.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Eating Out: Grassfed

Grassfed, Brisbane's all vegan burger and ice cream restaurant (featuring I Should Coco ice cream), has been hugely popular since its opening several months ago. I have been twice before, but was keen to get back to keep working through their burger menu. The downside of this place is that there is extremely limited seating, so you need to time your trip just right. I managed to get a seat a couple of times recently for lunch visits, which I enjoyed a lot.

Of course I had to get a Strawberry Milkshake, my favourite part of any trip to Grassfed! I am happy to see they are now serving the milkshakes in glasses if you are eating in, rather than in single use BioCups like the last time I visited.

Strawberry Milkshake at Grassfed


I was excited at this visit because they had just announced onion rings as being added to the menu. When I think of onion rings of my youth, I think of the ones from Hungry Jacks. Most onion rings of now are not like that, they are too much batter and oil and make me feel sick. But I still always try it if I see it, just in case. And these... these were amazing!

Onion Rings at Grassfed


I finally got my BFC burger, the last time I ordered it I realised afterwards they had left off the bacon and the mushrooms, but this time it was in it's full glory! Veef patty, Bacon, fries, double cheese, king oyster mushroom, caramelised onion, tomato, lettuce, pickles and Grassfed special sauce. It was huge, so filling! I did have something spicy in it, which I wasn't a fan of. I suspected it was the special sauce.

BFC at Grassfed


I headed back again the following week. Of course, a strawberry milkshake! Enjoy another photo.

Strawberry Milkshake at Grassfed


I ordered the Chick'en Burger this time. Normally it has Chick’en schnitzel, lettuce, sauerkraut, and aioli sriracha sauce, but I got them to switch out the sriracha aioli for beetroot aioli. This is a terrible photo of what was a really nice burger.

Chick'n Burger at Grassfed


I also ordered some more onion rings. But this time, they let me down so hard. The first photo they are wonderfully brown and crunchy. This time they were pale and soggy. Woe. I think I will just remember that first perfect time, and stick to fries from now on. They served them now with special sauce as default, and I was able to confirm that their special sauce is indeed spicy! Rude. So in future I will be sure to sub it for something else in any other burgers I eat.

Onion Rings at Grassfed


Grassfed - 4/27 Cordelia Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo on the parent's bed


I've shared this photo of Gizmo before. But several weeks ago I commissioned an artist that I love to do a portrait of Gizmo. She picked out a few photos from the Flickr that she thought would suit her style the best, and this was the one we chose to recreate. I'll show you the finished piece in the next post!