Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets (March and April)

The Brisbane Vegan Markets debuted in November last year, and have quickly become a regular event. I blogged about attending the first one, but it was a couple of months before I went back again. That first one I went to was on a very,very hot day, and it was so crowded with very little seating on shade. But I am happy to report that they have addressed those issues that they can, and now that it is a regular event the crowds are a little easier (though I still always get there early before they build). The weather they can't control, which I think is why I missed the next few during the particularly oppressive summer months. I've been back now many times (it's become a regular event for me in the last couple of months), but today I will share with you my eats for March and April (I know, I am way behind).

In March I discovered that the nice thing about the morning markets is that I can do a yoga class, have a quick shower at the studio, then it is just a short drive down to West End! Unfortunately for the March markets, the night before I had eaten had a huge, greasy meal that wasn't so great and sat heavily in my stomach even the next morning, so I was not able to manage much. Thankfully they had some light options for me. I picked up a refreshing Green Tea Soba Salad from the September 18 stall, and a passionfruit lemonade from the Get Vegan with Jadda stall.

Soba Salad from September 18 and Passionfruit Lemonade from Vegan With Jadda at Brisbane Vegan Markets


This was also the only time in history that I did not get an I Should Coco Ice Cream... I just needed something a bit less indulgent. My poor tummy! I was going to skip dessert all together, but they did have these ice cream sandwiches from a place called Nice Slice, though I haven't seen them there since. I got the strawberry vanilla. While it did have a bit of coconut cream in it, it was mostly cashew based so didn't make me feel gross. And it was nice and not too sweet.

Strawberry Vanilla from Nice Slice at Brisbane Vegan Markets


The April markets came around and I still wasn't all that hungry... don't worry, in future markets I will make up for it! I was craving something with veggies, and they had a nice Ethiopian stall called Mother Africa (I think) that had a selection of non-spicy stews served on a 'sour bread pancake', so injera. The stews were pumpkin and coconut, lentils, and vegetables. It was really nice, though I haven't seen them there lately. Which is a shame.

Mixed Plate with Sour Pancake from Mother Africa at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Here's a bonus shot of my friend's bag of fried stuff from September 18 - some of their chicken drumsticks, and something else on a stick.

Chicken Drumsticks and other fried thing from September 18 at Brisbane Vegan Markets


With my veggies and lentil urge sated, I was definitely in the mood to hit up I Should Coco for some ice cream! I got the Mallow Out, which was their special for that month, with chocolate syrup, mini marshmallows and ground hazelnuts. Due to a tragic mouth burning incident on some too hot soup the day before, the thought of a hard and crunchy cone seemed perilous, so I had to make do with a cup. Still good.

Mallow Out (Chocolate Syrup, marshmallows, ground hazelnuts) from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Flour of Life, my favourite vegan bakery, also had a stall. I got my very favourite strawberry custard flan. These are LIFE!

Strawberry Flan from Flour Of Life at Brisbane Vegan Markets


As mentioned, I've been several more times, and I will share those adventures in a later post. We get into some serious eating, so be prepared!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Nose and toes.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eating Out: Vegan Day Out Brisbane

The Cruelty Free Shop organises two Vegan Day Outs each year in the cities where it has a shop (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra). The shops tend to be in very vegan-friendly areas, so they organise a range of deals and specials with surrounding businesses over a weekend for you to enjoy. They also have HUGE sales in their actual shops, with lots of good deals. To participate, you just need to stop into the CFS and pick up a map with vouchers, then head out and explore.

This happened a couple of weeks ago, and my friend Ashleigh and I decided to take advantage of some of the deals on the Saturday, while also seeing an exhibit at the art gallery. We picked up our maps, and headed out.

For breakfast, we headed to Miss Bliss to try a couple of their vegan specials. It turned out that VDO coincided with the first weekend of spring, so the 'specials' were just the regular vegan options on their new menu, and the regular price. Oh well, they were still pretty! We shared the black sesame waffle with peanut sesame crumble, yuzu pearls and lemonbalm, with the matcha coconut yoghurt on the side. Also the white chia and tapioca pearl pudding with mango jam, coconut juniper jelly, pickled watermelon, grapes and pineapple chips. I was worried the pudding might be too coconutty for me, but shared with Ashleigh it was not too much. I loved the fresh bursts of flavour from the fruits, and the pineapple chips were chewy and sweet and amazing. The waffles were good too, though a bit dry. The coconut yoghurt is meant to be served on top, we got it on the side because of my issues. It indeed was way too coconutty for me, and also kind of bitter. Ashleigh, who can eat coconut fatty things, was not a huge fan either.

Black Sesame Waffle from Miss Bliss


Coconut Tapioca Pudding from Miss Bliss


After breakfast, we strolled down to GOMA to see the Marvel exhibit on its last weekend. Even though I haven't see all the movies, it was pretty cool. Lots of costumes and props! Of course, Loki is the best and I won't hear a word against my Marvel husband.

Avengers


Loki


I am Groot


On our way out, we took a quick stroll through the Queensland Museum to visit the Whale Mall and the Muttaburrasaurus - both have been there since I can remember and both make me very happy to see!

Whale Mall


Muttaburrasauraus


Then it was back for some more food. Vege Rama at West End had 10% off all vegan food for VDO. We started with some fun Tumeric Shots, and Ashleigh also had an Immunity Shot. I got the Kale Of A Ride green juice, which had kale, spinach, kiwi, coriander, apple, lemon and coconut water. Just the kind of silly drink I like! It was good, though definitely tasted very green!

Tumeric and Immunity Shots from Vegerama


Kale of a Ride Juice from Vegerama


For food, they were tragically out of the ravioli, so we ordered a huge piece of vegan lasagne. I've had the lasagne at their city shop, and I imagine it is probably the same recipe, but this tasted better! We also had the Artichoke Pizza (Artichoke, Spinach, Mushroom, Broccoli, Mozzarella, Napoli Sauce, Balsamic Dressing), which was delicious. The only downside was that they were very filling, and both had a heap of Daiya on them, so we were so full afterwards that further eating at VDO specials seemed unlikely.

Lasagne from Vegerama


Artichoke Pizza from Vegerama


But not impossible. Because nothing will stop me in my quest for ice cream! I Should Coco had a $5 cone special for their amazing non-gross coconut based soft serve with the sauce of your choice. I chose strawberry.

$5 Cone with Strawberry Sauce from I Should Coco


Afterwards we were so full, and so we headed home with our bulging bellies. I still managed to fit in a trip to Pu Kwong that night for dinner... so full....

On the Sunday the CFS was hosting a vegan bake sale for Coast To Coast Animal Friends, and I was dropping off some stuff, so I headed in very briefly after yoga to drop things off. They had an amazing spread, so many choices!

C2C Vegan Bake Sale


Of course, since I was there, I took the chance to enjoy one more VDO special. Smashing Berries Superfood had some $10 vegan bowl specials, and I got the Chocolate Protein Peanut Butter Bowl (Base: banana, cacao, almond milk, peanut butter, pea protein // Toppings: chocolate buckini, banana, cacao nibs, peanuts, peanut butter)... it was so yummy! I also had a beetroot latte, they have one of the nicer ones that I have tried!

Peanut Butter Protein Bowl and Beetroot Latte from Smash The Berry


So VDO was pretty fun, though I do find that a lot of the specials/deals for the Brisbane one are a bit meh compared to the larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but that is not entirely unexpected. You can still have a lot of fun! I look forward to the next one in the new year.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Zulu


Cat in a harness! Cat in a harness! When I was dropping off bake sale goodies, I got to meet Zulu! His mum was taking him for a walk, and he was so cute. He didn't pose very well for photos, but he did give me kisses!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Recipe Round-Up: Cook The Pantry

I do love my Robin Robertson cookbooks, and Cook The Pantry by Robin Robertson is no exception. It's another one of her books that focuses on easy, quick to make recipes, with the focus on ingredients you should mostly be able to find in your pantry. This is the first time I have posted about this book, and here's what I've been making!

Pantry Pasta Salad: This salad is packed full of beans, artichokes, peas, olives, tomatoes and capers. It also calls for roasted capsicum, but of course I left that out. There are a range of suggested extras you can add, I added extra peas, grated carrots and avocado. I didn't have any celery at the time, but that would be a great addition to give it some crunch. I don't like oily dressings, so I subbed the oil in the lemon-based dressing for some water with guar gum to thicken it a little.
Rating: :)

Pantry Pasta Salad


Chunky Chickpea Sandwiches: I do like chickpea sandwiches. In this case I left out the onion (raw onion doesn't aggree with me) and added in some grated carrot to go along with the celery, I also increased the amount of smoked paprika. It was a little let down by using a sub-par vegan mayo (I had a bottle of Melrose from a vegan box, normally I always use Vegenaise). I enjoyed it on a toasted sandwich with avocado, cheese, spinach, tomato and mayo. It says it makes 2 sandwiches, I had enough filling for 3. It is also nice as a dip with celery sticks.
Rating: :)

Chunky Chickpea Sandwiches


Dinnertime Scramble: This tasty scramble calls for 1 cup of frozen onion and capsicum pieces, I just used 1/2 cup of raw onion and no capsicum. As well as onion, it has mushrooms, cheese (I used FYH cheddar shreds) and chopped bacon (I used some Uptons I had in the freezer from a previous US trip). This claims to serve 4, but I got two and a half serves, serving it with some potatoes, greens, tomato and kraut.
Rating: :)

Dinnertime Scramble


Quick Quinoa Pilaf: I like a higher vegetable to grain ratio in my pilafs, so I decreased the amount of quinoa from one and a half cups to one cup, which provided three big servings. The veggies are onion, pees, carrots and scallions, but you could add other things as well. The toasted almonds give it a lovely crunch, and herbs (I used coriander) give it some freshness. I served this with some baby spinach, roasted green beans and Tofurky chick'n.
Rating: :)

Quick Quinoa Pilaf


Lemongrass Jasmine Rice with Asparagus: I found that the lemongrass flavour got a bit lost in this, it was very subtle if you really thought about it. I tend to be cursed when it comes to cooking stovetop rice dishes, so I needed to add an extra cup of water and cook for an extra 5 minutes for the rice to cook all the way through. I added some peas, and served it with spinach and tofu, and I got three serves.
Rating: :)

Lemongrass Jasmine Rice with Asparagus


Pantry Bulgur Pilaf: This was a bit bland, but was quite good with some nooch mixed in. Bulgur is mixed with carrots, scallions, cranberries and almonds. I added some peas and chickpeas for bulk, and served it with some spinach. I used 3/4 cup of bulgur rather than 1 cup, and adjusted the stock accordingly.
Rating: :|

Pantry Bulgur Pilaf


Tofu and Broccoli Stir-Fry: I love tofu and veggies. I added extra broccoli, grated carrot and peas, used raw onion instead of frozen and skipped the capsicum, and used bamboo instead of water chestnuts. I doubled the sauce (though used the same amounts of oil and sugar), which led to quite a saucy dish! Served with baby spinach and brown rice.
Rating: :)

Tofu and Broccoli Stir-Fry


Tuscan Chickpea Frittata: This says it serves 1-2, and I ate the whole thing. It is chickpea flour based, and I have terrible luck with flipping large chickpea pancakes. As always, it broke up so I ended up portioning it up to finish cooking it. I also added parsley to the batter, as well as the tomatoes, olives and spinach.
Rating: :)

Tuscan Chickpea Frittata


Black Bean Picadillo: I love the mix of olives and raisins in picadillo, and this was no exception. I left out the roasted capsicum, but everything else was made as is. I got three servings, rather than four. This tends to be a theme... I guess I have a big appetite!
Rating: :)

Black Bean Picadillo


Red Beans and Quinoa with Chipotle Queso: The star of this recipe is the cashew-based queso, which is very nice. I used a sprinkle of chipotle powder, rather than an actual chipotle, so I could keep the heat mild. It did get a bit thick and overheated in my super fast blender, so I thinned it out with a bit of extra milk. Again, I decreased the amount of quinoa from one and a half cups to one cup (adjusting the stock accordingly), and I left out the chiles. I added a bit of parsley for colour, as I had some that needed using up, and I served it with green beans and spinach.
Rating: :)

Red Beans and Quinoa with Chipotle Queso


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Aurora


Aurora, living up to her Sleeping Beauty inspired name. She went to her forever family yesterday! We miss her around the clinic, but so happy that she has found her home.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Eating Out: VeganYumm

Veganyumm is Brisbane's all-vegan bakery, and I have been there a few times, either eating in or getting things to go. Here are some of the other things I have had from there.

One of the very first times I ever went was after dinner with a friend for a little dessert. We both got melting moments - hers was GF, mine was gluten full. It was so lovely, the filling was tangy and not too sweet at all. I also had a turmeric latte, and my friend had a hot chocolate. They had a range of different melting moment flavours as well. I haven't seen these recently there, so either they don't make them any more or they are only an occasional thing.

Melting Moments, Hot Chocolate, Turmeric Latte at Veganyumm


I visited another time with some friends from out of town. One ordered the fancy Iced Chocolate and one of their amazing ANZAC cookies. I also ordered and ANZAC cookie, along with a Snickers Hot Chocolate. I was hoping it would be similar to the peanut butter hot chocolate I used to get from another cafe (that has sadly closed), but this one was very, very sweet. They also have a few savoury options, and I got to try a bit of this nice pumpkin pastry.

Iced Chocolate and an ANZAC from Veganyumm


Snickers Hot Chocolate and ANZAC from Veganyumm


Pumpkin Pie from Veganyumm


The last time I bought things from there, I got them to take back to work. I tried one of their sausage rolls, which was not too bad (I am very picky when it comes to sausage rolls), a lamington and a brownie. The lamington could have been a little fluffier on the inside, but it was pretty good. Unfortunately the brownie was dry and much smaller than they used to be.

2017-05-04 12.32.12


Which kind of brings me to my final thoughts on Veganyumm. They seemed to start out strong, but as they have gone on I feel I have noticed a decrease in the quality of some of the food. And for the prices you pay there, you want it to be amazing. Also, they changed the formula of my very favourite peanut butter chocolate chip bar, and turned it into an oily, stodgy monstrosity. I know other people who feel the same way. I suspect that they rely on icing as the focus for many of their products, and I of course am a weird icing hater, so that may contribute to my thoughts. However, it should also be noted that a lot of other people love the food there. I won't be going out of my way to eat from there again, but people should try it and make up your own mind. Here is a photo of their cabinets, it certainly looks pretty!

Veganyumm


Veganyumm - 473 South Pine Rd, Everton Park, QLD - (07) 3355 6329

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


I couldn't quite finish making the bed this morning as Dim Sim plonked herself in front of my pillow while she was waiting for me to get dressed.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Eating Out: Khot Thai

I've mentioned before how much I love Khot Thai. It is an exceptional Thai restaurant that has loads of vegan options and is a two minute walk from work... what is there not to love? While I have continued enjoying takeaway lunch specials, I have also eaten there a couple of times, and also had some epic takeaway as well!

The first time I actually ate there I met my friend Melanie for dinner. We started with the Vegan O-Cha Rolls, which are rice paper rolls filled with salad and marinated mushrooms. They are quite pleasant, though not very filling. That's OK though, because we also had some fried tofu chunks in a delicious peanut sauce as well. For our mains, we went with noodles all round. Melanie got the Pad Thai, and I of course had the Pad See Ew.

Vegan O-Cha Rolls at Khot Thai


Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce at Khot Thai


Pad Thai at Khot Thai


Pad See Ew at Khot Thai


Another time my friend Ashleigh and I ordered an epic takeaway feast for the two of us! Ashleigh needed gluten free as well as vegan at the time, and we were able to order all of this in gleegan style! We started off with some curry puff and spring rolls, which were good, though the spring rolls were a bit odd and had been cut up... strange. I am assuming it was due something to do with the gluten free pastry? We also got the praram (satay sauce) with tofu, which was good... though we had so much food that really we didn't need the fried-style tofu here (which came in a separate container). I would have preferred it with just veggies or regular style tofu. Ashleigh loves yellow curry, which they claim is the mildest curry but which was still a but spicy for me. Thankfully we had some coconut rice to soak up all the sauces. And, of course, we got some Pad See Ew.

Vegan Samosas and Spring Rolls from Khot Thai


Tofu Praram and Coconut Rice from Khot Thai


Yellow Curry and Pad See Ew from Khot Thai


Much food from Khot Thai


My last visit there was a little while ago. A friend from Sydney was visiting and was organising a group meet up, and I suggested Khot Thai as they cater to all sorts of dietary requirements. Also, it was on night I was working, so I was able to speed walk up the road as soon as work finished to meet them for dinner. Practical! This time I decided to try the regular, gluten-full vegan spring rolls. They were tasty, though I need to remember that I only really like eating one or two spring rolls before I start feeling a little greasy. For my main I ordered... can you guess... oh the suspense... Pad See Ew. It's my favourite!

Vegan Spring Rolls at Khot Thai


Vegan Pad See Ew at Khot Thai


Dinner came to an end and people were ordering dessert, and I just assumed there wound't be anything for me. That is until I overheard something about vegan ice cream. WHAT!?!?! They have vegan vanilla soy ice cream, and a few desserts can be made vegan. I got the Banana Roti with Vegan Ice Cream and strawberry sauce (hold the whipped cream).

Banana Roti with Vegan Ice Cream at Khot Thai


Yay! Anyway, I am sure I will continue loving Khot Thai forever. A new completely vegan Thai place has opened up in Clayfield (more on that in a future post!), but Khot Thai still has my heart. Also it has that unbeatable advantage of being two minutes from work.

Khot Thai - 257 Given Tce, Paddington, QLD - 3505 0360

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Aurora


You guys... Aurora STILL hasn't gotten a home! How is this possible? LOOK AT THIS FACE!