Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Eating Out*: Hay Gurl

*Pre-COVID days.

It feels wrong to be posting about a food outing on my blog with everything happening right now. I am doing it to keep a routine going, which I need so I don't spend eight hours dissociating in my room or something. But even with that, I have to recognise how extremely privileged I am to be safe in my house, safe in my neighbourhood, sitting at my laptop writing a blog about food. But here I am.

I would just like to say, Black Lives Matter. As white people, we need to educate ourselves (don't rely on Black people to do it for us), listen to Black people, donate and show up where we can, and support Black people. That goes for Australia as well - our indigenous community needs our support and our voices.

Earlier this year, our induction cooktop broke and needed replacing. I happened across a kitchen store on an outing that had a great selection of cooktops, and happened to be in the same complex as Hay Gurl, a vegan cafe. After careful consideration, we chose our cooktop and Dad and I went to buy it and then had an early lunch at Hay Gurl, which I had been to once before.

I got one of their hot chocolates on Oatly, and Dad got a juice.

Juice and Hot Chocolate at Hay Gurl


Dad got the chickpea Omelette that I had last time, loaded up with smoked carrot, almond feta, tomato, spinach, and beetroot hummus as they were out of avocado.

Omelette at Hay Gurl


I had their Ultimate Brunch Toastie, which had a house patty, chickpea scramble, spinach, and BBQ sauce. It was lovely, and very filling.

Ultimate Brunch Toastie


I also got a couple of little treats to take away - a Speculoos Sandwich Cookie and a Boysenberry Heart Cookie. They were both good, but the heart cookie had this amazing berry flavour and was my favourite.

Speculoos Cookie Sandwich and Boysenberry Heart Cookie at Hay Gurl


With the onset of COVID-19, Hay Gurl switched to doing weekly deliveries (not in my area). Sadly, they have since announced that they were closing, and will not be re-opening in the future. RIP Hay Gurl, I am sorry I only got to visit you twice, beause you were lovely.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


3am yesterday (Monday) morning, Dim Sim got another UTI, only a week after finishing her last course of antibiotics, which we had extended out by a week (so three weeks total) to see if that would give her more time between infections. Alas, it did not. She's OK now, I have all the stuff to treat and manage at home (benefit of the job) so I could get onto it right away again. But at this point it seems like she has to be on antibiotics forever. I've sent a urine sample away just for a bit of extra information, and will be discussing with my boss later this week.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Granola Round-Up

Hello friends, this is a recipe round-up with a difference. Instead of rounding-up recipes from a single book, I am instead rounding-up a type of food from several books. In this case, granola. I have really been on a granola kick of late. I just love me some oats! I started off buying this apple crumble ganola that I loved, I would eat it so often with yoghurt. It was really really good. And then one day, I just didn't enjoy it anymore. *shrug* So I started making my own granola from my recipe books, which is really super easy! I generally halve, third, or even quarter the recipe (some of them make huge amounts) because I have been wanting to try lots of different onces. Granola making and eating has become something I have really been enjoying since I've been isolating. I normally will eat it with yoghurt, fruit, and sometimes a big blob of peanut butter. Also, sorry in advance, I am not very inventive when taking photos of granola.

Macadamia Yoghurt Granola from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: This is a very subtly flavoured granola, oaty and nutty with a slight sweetness. It is good for using on stronger flavoured yoghurts. I halved the recipe, which made three serves (a serve for me is normally a heaped half cup measure), and I replaced the coconut oil with canola oil.
Rating: :)

Macadamia Yoghurt Granola


Maple Cinnamon Granola from Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw: This is a delicious granola, it is buttery and maply and salty and sweet crunchy and all things good. I made a half recipe, which fit perfectly onto a single baking tray. There are a few options for ingredients, I used wheatgerm (but raw, not toasted), a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, and dried cranberries.
Rating: :D

Maple Cinnamon Granola


Fruit-Sweetened Chai-Spiced Granola from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell: This is sweetened using apple juice concentrate, though I only had apple juice, but there is the option to add brown sugar (which I did). I quartered this recipe, for three serves. It has a lovely blend of spices, including black pepper for some warmth, and also has pecans.
Rating: :)

Fruit Sweetened Chai Spiced Granola


Easy Homemade Granola from 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou: Alas, a disappointing granola. The problem may have been that it had no sweetener, other than orange juice, and it seemed to have far too much liquid when I mixed it all together and then it stayed soggy and pale in the oven for too long. It had a 90 minute baking time, I ended up increasing the heat for the final 30 minutes to get it to brown and crisp up. Also, because it was just orange juice and no sweetener, it didn't get that nice sticky coating. Thankfully I had only made a half recipe of this, because it was underwhelming. It had the usual suspects of almonds, sunflower seeds, and pepitas in it. The spice was cardamom, which was nice, and it had dried blueberries as well.
Rating: :|

Easy Homemade Granola


DIY Granola from Veganize It by Robin Robertson: This is a nice mix of almonds, coconut, pecans, dried cranberries and blueberries, and spice. It was meant to be cinnamon, but I unexpectedly ran out so I used a mixed spice that was mostly cinnamon with a bit of nutmeg and allspice in it. I made a half recipe of this (which was still 4 cups worth of granola!), and it was done a bit sooner than the baking time if you were making the whole recipe. I think the key to granola is always just to regularly check it in the oven so it doesn't burn.
Rating: :)

DIY Granola


Peanut Ginger Berry Golden Oats from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: This was a lovely warming recipe, thanks to a hefty dose of ground ginger! It is sweetened with brown rice syrup, though I used rice malt syrup, and I also used crushed peanuts as that was what I had on hand (also it is nicer eating smaller bits of crunch I think). You can add any dried berry to it, so I added cranberries. Quite a festive granola with ginger and cranberry. I made the whole recipe of this, as it only made two and a half cups, and I am glad that I did. I did have to bake it for a bit longer in the oven to get it to go nice and brown.
Rating: :)

Peanut Ginger Berry Golden Oats


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Yes Dim Sim, this looks like a very comfortable way to sleep. But she's got the crocheted blanket, so she is very happy.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Cruelty Free Shop May 2020 Vegan Mystery Box

The final box of my six month Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box arrived earlier this month, and I just realised that I hadn't posted about it! Need to get on that while it is still May.

May 2020 CFS Vegan Mystery Box


  • Rawries Instant Burger Mix - Chipotle: They claim it is not too spicy, but I don't believe them. I'll be giving this away.
  • Loma Linda Chorizo: Again with the spicy! Though I can't see any chili in the ingredients, but I have heard it is spicy and that their spicy stuff is like super spicy.
  • FFFactory Choc Covered Crunchy Bites: Good news! I really like these!
  • Melinda's Gingerbread Loaf Mix: To be fair, I haven't tried this yet. But last month we got this brands pancake mix and I made it and it wasn't great. I hope this will be better, at least it will have some flavour? It is a gluten free brand, so things can be very hit and miss.
  • Raw Beauty Kakadu Plum Hydrating Cream: A little sachet of moisturiser, sure I will take it.
  • Maco Mike Game Changer Protein Bar: The flavour on this is Cheezecake Choc Chip Peanut... so I guess this is where we are at with vegan bar flavours now. It is very proud of its 'real' ingredients, though I see a lot of them are coconut (coconut milk powder, shredded coconut, and coconut oil), so we'll see.
  • Pico Chocolate - Salted Caramel: I was meh when I saw this because I knew it would be too sweet. But I ate it all. I'm going to say quarantine stress. Also I liked that it was chcolate with crunchy chunks of salted caramel in it. I like crunch, and these were nicely salted.
  • DJ&A Shiitake Mushroom Crisps: I've had these before and they are delicious!


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Another photo from our big Saturday snug fest. Can you even with this sweet little baby? Look at her precious little face?

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Midweek Munchies

Let's get munching! We are moving into the period of this year now where things started getting scary, so my munchies definitely take on a certain comforting aspect.

I was so excited when I saw Crum at the Brisbane Vegan Expo last year, I had to snap up a tin. Then I kept it in my cupboard for ages, designated as 'precious'. But when COVID started taking over the world, it became time to crack it open. What is Crum? Crum is a vegan version of Milo. What is Milo? Milo is a chocolate and malt powdered drink that is very famous in Australia. Warm Milo before bed, Milo in cold milk, Milo piled onto vanilla ice cream, Milo off a spoon. Milo was not vegan, so it was a long time since I'd had it, and nothing else really came close. And then there was Crum, and it is amazing! I've enjoyed it in cold milk, and as you can see as a hot drink and over ice cream (So Delicious Cashew Vanilla), and of course off a spoon. I should mention that earlier this year, a vegan version of actual Milo did come out. But as Milo is now owned by Nestle, I will never buy it. Also I have heard that it is bitter and you need to add sugar. Meanwhile, Crum is ethically made (they are approved on the Food Empowerment Project Chocolate List) and is a local small Australian business. It does have a high price point because of this, so I acknowledge my financial priviledge in being able to buy it. It is a very special product.

Muc of hot crum


Crum and So Delicious Cashew Vanilla Ice Cream


If you are feeling stressed because you parents are in Japan and COVID is becoming a bigger concern (this was March, they got home soon after, and they were fine), might I suggest snacking on some some Alter Eco Super Blackout chocolate dipped into some Speculoos spread. It is excellent snackage. I love this Alter Eco Chocolate - it is 90% cocoa, so is definitely dark, angry, and bitter, but it also somehow smoother than other dark chocolates. I have several blocks of this on hand at all times. It is also approved on the FEP Chocolate List!

Excellent Snackage


My friend Leigh got my onto this amazing toasted sandwich combination: Vegemite, tomato, and Miyoko's Smoked Farmhouse cheese. This is so savoury and so comforting, and just gooey enough but not sloppy. I have eaten so many of these as they are just the thing for a satisfying lunch.

Vegemite, Tomato, and Miyoko's Smoked Farmhouse Toasted Sandwich


What else makes me happy? Silly drinks! This juice sounded intriguing! Though, like so many juices, it didn't live up to the promise. It is mostly pear juice, so that is mostly what I tasted. But it does have some grapefruit juice, strawberry and raspberry puree, and the davidson plum puree, so there was a hint of something there.

Silly Drink


I bought this chickpea pasta and used it in a recipe from a cookbook I will talk about later, but it was basically a pesto pasta. This brand of fresh vegan pasta is available in Woolworths, though is generally pretty pricey, but I got this on a bit of a sale. It was not bad, quite dense because of the chickpea, but nice texture and a fun shape.

Fresh Vegan Chickpea Pasta


In my continuing yoghurt adventures, I tried this Alpro Vanilla Almond yoghurt from Coles. It has a good texture but was a bit too sweet for me. Especially as I normally eat yoghurt with granola in the mornings, and I don't love super sweet stuff first up in my day.

Vanilla Alpro Yoghurt


Finally, a lot of silly drinks. I was stress buying. This was back when I was still going out to grocery stores, the last several weeks it has all been delivery with only one or two trips out. I got the Nudie Glow juice on super sale. I'd had it before, and it is fine. Mostly apple juice, but there is a bit of pomegranate juice and blueberry puree in there. Also a teeny amount of aloe vera and rosehip, I have no idea what that is adding to the taste. Next, the Mango Turmeric Almond Milk. You know I had to get it - turmeric! This was had a lovely flavour, kind of like a thin version of a mango lassi, but it did have that tiny bit of watery sawdust aftertaste from the almond milk. The strawberry soy milk popper was a given, I've had it many times before and I love it. Strawberry milk forever! Finally, the Jamu Jamu Asian Pear and Ginger Joy Tonic, which I also got on super sale. It was very bitter, and extremely fizzy... it bubbled everywhere when I opened it! It didn't bring long lasting joy, but I did get a bit of joy from drinking something so silly.

Silly Drinks


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


It is getting cooler here, and Saturday was a chilly and overcast day. Dim Sim wanted to pass the morning by snuggling on me. So we sat on the sofa, and she slept on me (my bosom is an excellent pillow), and I pilled that crocheted blanket she now loves over us, and I sat there while she slept. So sweet.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Eating Out*: Pizza Hut (Delivery)

*Do they even have eat in Pizza Huts anymore? Anyway, this was pre-COVID, but was a delightful delivery.

Not wanting to be left behind, Pizza Hut came out with a vegan range of pizzas earlier this year. They use Dairy Free Down Under cheese, which I have tried before at home and sadly it was not the greatest, but I figured their ovens can probably melt it down better than mine. Unlike Dominos, they don't have any vegan meats, but have a selection of vegetable and vegan cheese pizzas, as well as a few sides. I got a delivery deal for two vegan pizzas, two vegan sides, and vegan desserts.

First up, the Vegan Mediterranean, which had tomato pizza sauce, kalamata olives, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese.

Vegan Mediterranean Pizza from Pizza Hut


For our second pizza, we got the Veggie Deluxe, which was tomato pizza sauce, mushrooms, pineapple (yay!), tomato, onion, and vegan cheese. Also capsicum, but I had that left off.

Vegan Deluxe from Pizza Hut


For our sides, we got some Vegan Cheesy Garlic Bread and some Spud Bites (basically, potato gems).

Vegan Cheesy Garlic Bread from Pizza Hut


Spud Bites from Pizza Hut


So, how was it? The pizza was pretty good, and the cheese was OK. The flavours were fairly similar, but I enjoyed them both. They also have a Vegan Margherita and a Vegan Cheese Lovers pizza, and the Meditarranean pizza also comes as a personal pizza at lunch time. The vegan cheesy bread was nice (though the Dominos Cheesy Garlic Bread is the best), and the potato gems were good though a bit soggy by the time they arrived. Still, a nice dinner with pieces of pizza left over to eat cold the next day.

Vegan Pizza Hut


As for that vegan dessert? Well, there is only one option. And that is a four pack of the Vegan Cornettos, which I happen to love. Pizza and ice cream? Yes please!

Cornettos from Pizza Hut


Pizza Hut is a national chain, and is all delivery or pick up. Though based on their website they are now making sure it is contactless given current times.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara sitting pretty


A couple of posts ago I talked about some Gizmo memories I've been thinking about a lot lately. I've also been thinking about Sahara. She would have been pretty happy to have me home all the time I think. She loved being involved and seeing what I was up to, but she also just loved me. Honestly, the love and just complete trust that little cat had in me makes me cry. All the things she had to go through, but if I was there she believed in me and let us do them. What a gift.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson is a massive tome full of recipes for everything you can think of. Eventually I hope to cook through the entire thing, though it has been resting on the shelf for a while as I have so many other cookbooks as well to explore. But I have a million photos ready to share from things I have already made! Today I will be sharing some sandwiches and wraps. You can see what else I have posted from this book here.

Tastes Like Tuna Salad Sandwiches: For someone who was never a big fan of tuna salad pre-vegan, I sure do love it now. Because chickpeas are awesome! This is a pretty standard version, with mayo, celery, capers, and mustard. It also has a little kelp powder as well. I got enough for 6 sandwiches out of one recipe, delicious with lettuce, tomato, and some cheese.
Rating: :)

Tastes Like Tuna Salad Sandwiches


Sloppy Bulgur Sandwiches: This variation on the sloppy used bulgur, as opposed to mushrooms or seitan or TVP or whatever. It was fine, but just not very filling, and the bulgur didn't bring the flavour that other versions have. It made enough for a lot of rolls, so I served mine as open sandwiches for extra spreading room. I left out the capsicum and just used more onions in the filling.
Rating: :|

Sloppy Bulgur Sandwiches


Curried Tofu 'Egg Salad' Pitas: Again, tofu revolutionises the egg salad. Tofu is way better than eggs! This spin includes mango chutney and curry powder, as well as the usual suspects you'd expect to find. Stuffed into pitas with some lettuce, it made a good lunch. If you have any coriander (cilantro) hanging around, this is nice to add as well!
Rating: :)

Curried Tofu "Egg Salad" Pitas


Marinated Mushroom Wraps: On thing you will realise during this post, I suck at taking photos of sandwiches and wraps. Anyway, this is a nice wrap for a light lunch, it isn't very filling so you'll want some sides. Portobello mushrooms are marinated in lemon, soy and sesame oil (I just used a splash), and that's it. No cooking required! Drain, slice, and wrap up with what you wish. As suggested, it is avocado, baby spinach, and tomato. I left out the capsicum!
Rating: :)

Marinated Mushroom Wraps


Peanutty Tofu Roll-Ups: Did someone say tofu and peanut? Sign me up! Tofu and peanu tbutter (and some other stuff, obviously) are blended to make a lovely flavoured spread. Wrapped up with lovely fresh carrot, lettuce, and cucumber. Yum!
Rating: :)

Peanutty Tofu Roll-Ups


Garden Salad Wraps: Oh boy, this photo. Oh well. This is full of fresh veggies like cos, tomatoes, carrot, and cucumber (I left out the raw onion) tossed in a vinaigrette, as well as green olives and some sauteed and seasoned tofu.
Rating: :)

Garden Salad Wraps


Avocado and Tempeh Bacon Wraps: These are basically a BLAT in wrap form. Tempeh bacon is my favourite bacon, and this cookbook has an excellent and very easy recipe for it in the breakfast section. Add mayo, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and roll. This is such a good version of an excellent combination.
Rating: :D

Avocado and Tempeh Bacon Wraps


Chickpea-Tomato Wraps: This is another take on a chickpea salad, with sun-dried tomatoes mixed in as well. It is quite a sloppy filling, so a wrap is an excellent choice for transporting it to your mouth. Which you will want to, as it is delicious!
Rating: :D

Chickpea-Tomato Wraps


Tofu-Tahini Veggie Wraps: You can't really tell from this photo, but these have been spread with a lovely blend of tofu, tahini, celery, herbs, and other things. Lettuce and carrot added, and roll up! I used Lavash bread for these, which is why I think they are so flat because they are often more fragile and don't roll nicely. At least the ones I got here.
Rating: :)

Tofu-Tahini Veggie Wraps


(% 1000 Vegan Recipes blogged: 29.4%)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim SIm


I've mentioned in a number of posts before that Dim Sim has a pinky on the sofa. The pinky started life as an off-brand Snuggie I bought to keep me warm, but was quickly claimed by her. Do not touch the pinky, even if she is no where to be seen, and you are cold. It has been chilly here of late, so I got another blanket to put over me (another one my grandma crocheted years ago). Well, Dim Sim was pretty quick to claim that too! She was delighted. It's fine, I'll be cold.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Midweek Munchies

Before we get into some the food, how about some more animal friends? Birds like to sign in the mornings, that is fact. My new bedroom (well, I've had it for well over a year now, but compared to my old room) faces the front of the house on the second story, so I do get some birds talking in the trees out the front. But when it rains, it seems extra loud. So one rainy morning, when I was hearing some birds just belting it out, I had a peek outside. I have a balcony with sliding doors in my room, but I also have a long window high up above my bed, and outside this is an awning. I had a look and, sure enough, some happy singing bird friends perched snug under the awning singing their little bird hearts out!

Rainy Day Singing Friends


Rainy Day Singing Friends


But onto food! I found some So Delicious natural almond yoghurt at Woolworths! It is not a true natural yoghurt, it is sweetened, but much less compared to the Wise Bunny natural yoghurts. Anyway, this is very nice and creamy and good with granola.

So Delicious Natural Almond Yoghurt


I got some mini vegan spring rolls on super sale. I am not always the biggest fan of spring rolls, too oily and fried and they go soggy fast, but I was lured in by the sale price. And these were fine, but ultimately too oily and soggy. Also because they were mini there was not enough filling to pastry ratio. But I have bought them again since on sale, so they can't be too bad. They make a good vehicle for delivery plum sauce into your mouth.

Mini Vegan Spring Rolls


Here is a great toasted sandwich I made, with some leftover marinated tofu (I don't remember which recipe), tomato, basil, and some Made From Plants Herby Seseame Cream Cheese.

Toasted Sandwich with leftover tofu, tomato, basil, and Fenn herby sesame cheese


Baked potato time! And scrambled tofu time! I always have the ingredients (a potato and a block of silken tofu) on hand. This scrambled tofu has some scrambled tofu mix, spinach, and mushrooms mixed in, topped with some ketchup, avocado, and bacon bits.

Baked Potato with Scrambled Tofu with spinach and mushrooms


I tried this risotto I got from the freezer in Woolworths. It was actually pretty good tastewise! I added a bit of nutritional yeast, but it was fine without it. It had white beans and mushrooms in it, as well as broccoli. Unfortunately it was just a tiny serve for dinner, but it made a nice part of dinner.

Ruffi Risotto


Sigh. My favourite yoghurt of all time was the Impressed Almond Yoghurt. They had a natural one that was not sweet, but also not super sour and was just so smooth. Plus a vanilla and a strawberry one. I present to you the very last Impressed Almond Yoghurt of my life. Earlier this year, they discontinued them as they said there wasn't enough demand. Hello, I was buying a lot of them! But I guess not enough. I will miss their natural yoghurt forever in particular.

The last ever Impressed Yoghurt


Four'N'Twenty meat pies are very well known in Australia, but very not vegan. Until now! They have released a vegan one! It was initially only available in the pie heaters of certain service stations, which is where I got this one. But now is also available in four packs from Coles. It is pretty good! I mean, meat pies are not exactly gourmet fare to begin with, so it hit that nostalgia spot quite well. I ate this with loads of ketchup, as all pies should be eaten. Remove pastry lid, squirt a whole bunch of sauce into innards. Mix up and eat with spoon, eat pastry case, put more ketchup on pastry lid and eat that. That is how you eat a pie.

Four N Twenty Plant Based Meat Pie


Finally, some microwave pasta? You know you can get microwave rice, which I do like to keep on hand, but pasta? I had to try this. You microwave it for two minutes, and you know what, it was OK. I used it to make a small serve of mac and cheese for a scaled down recipe from a cookbook I'll talk about in another post. But all things considered, kind of handy to have around, especially if you are in a situation where you don't have access to a stove. Hard to find though, I have only seen these in IGA supermarkets.

2 Minute Microwave Pasta


2 Minute Microwave Pasta


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

2008_11_01_Gizmos12thBirthday1


I've been thinking a lot about my girls who are no longer with me in these days of staying in. What would they think about me being home all the time? What would it be like with all of them to look after during these times? Gizmo was such a grounding, healing, caring cat. She knew when you were upset, and would come to be with you and her purr and fuzziness would make things at least a little better. I was thinking about how when I would wake up in the middle of the night with a bad headache, she would sleep on my pillow pressed against my head and purr, and that was so soothing and made the pain ease and I could sleep. She was such a generous cat, while also being the boss cat of the household.