Thursday, 21 March 2019

Eating Out: Cup and Wells

I saw a few people posting on Instagram Cup and Wells and their vegan options. While not far from me, it wasn't in a direction I normally travelled. I was also confused by the menu I found online, which didn't have anything specifically vegan marked. I emailed them and was told that the mushroom crepes, avocado toast, and earth waffle were all vegan, but that other things could be modified. (My visit was last year, and they have since changed the menu. The current online menu seems to have three vegan options marked: an acai bowl, avocado toast, and a miso eggplant salad.) So one day when I was vaguely more in that direction, I stopped in.

Whatever I was told in the email was wrong. The mushrooms crepes, my first choice, could not be made vegan. At least, they didn't think so. The waffle and avocado toast were OK. I ordered the Earth Waffle, they didn't have it. I ordered the avocado toast, but got them to sub in mushrooms (apparently vegan) for the spicy cauliflower that it came with. It was pretty, it was fine, it was pricey for single piece of toast.

Avocado Falafel Smash with mushrooms instead of buffalo cauliflower at Cup and Wells


I wanted to order some of their in house lychee iced tea, but they didn't have that. I ordered a matcha green smoothie. I can't remember what vegetables and fruits were in it, but it was something weird in it that attracted me to it. Plus, matcha! Different from the green smoothie on their current menu. It was meant to have coconut yoghurt in it, but I got them to leave that out.

Matcha Smoothie (minus coconut yoghurt) at Cup and Wells


And finally, the baked goods. They have a cabinet of baked goods. And some of them were vegan... and also gluten free. I got the Red Velvet Cupcake (which was so dense and dry), and the Beetroot Brownie (which was tasty but so soft and almost goopy that it never should have made it to the shelf for sale).

Red Velvet Cupcake and Beetroot Brownie at Cup and Wells


Needless to say, it is not a place I would rush back to. While it wasn't bad, there are many more exciting places around that I don't have to go out of my way for. But if an omni friend ever picked it as a place for a meet up, you will be fed!

Cup and Wells - 230 Lillian Ave, Salisbury QLD 4107

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Mariah


In my last post, you met Mozart. This is his sister Mariah. She is a lovely tortie girl, and just as noisy and frisky as her brother.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Midweek Munchies

Another round of random things I have eaten!

This recipe for Blueberry Poppy Seed Overnight Oats came from a Coles magazine. Coles is one of the two big supermarkets here in Australia, and each puts out a free monthly magazine that my mum likes to get. There has definitely been more and more vegan recipes included, and even some vegan features. Though they are fairly basic in their approach to veganism. Anyway, this recipe had oats, oat milk, maple syrup, grate pear, blueberries, and poppy seeds in it. Topped with some more blueberries, pear, syrup, and some pecans. It was OK. The pear was nice, I don't eat them a lot. I think I would definitely prefer frozen to fresh blueberries in the future for the oats, because they would have added a bit more flavour as they defrosted overnight and let out all their frozen juice.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Overnight Oats from Coles Magazine


I used up some Korma paste that I got in a mystery box to make this curry with lots of vegetables and chickpeas. I used light coconut milk and water for the liquid, and served it over spinach and basmati rice. As predicted, it was a bit too spicy for me. I dolloped on some cooling sweet chutney after this photo.

Korma Paste


Shaggy's Vegan Shack was a market stall with ready meals, and I picked up this mac and cheese at a Brisbane Vegan Markets. They were on the cusp of opening a meal delivery service last year, which tragically a medical issue with the main cook struck and they haven't been back since. Much sadness. The bacon mac and cheese was really lovely, though I wasn't a bit fan of the croutons. Fresh is definitely best for croutons.

Shaggy's Vegan Shack Bacon Mac & Cheese


Another go with the Vegie Delights Classic Not Burger. This time I pan fried it and put it in a toasted sandwich with sesame cheese, tomato, and spinach. Really good. I think I almost prefer burger patties in toasted sandwiches rather than in burger buns!

Vegie Delights Classic Not Burger toastie with sesame cheese, spinach, tomato


I had picked up a few flavours of Tonicka Kombucha at an ecofest. They were OK, though there are other brands of kombucha I prefer. This was the Mixed Berry flavour, which I turned into a spider by pouring it over some Snickerdoodle So Delicious Cashew ice cream. I didn't have any plain vanilla ice cream. It was a fun flavour combination, even though the floaty chunks of snickerdoodle dough were pretty funny. For my US friends, I believe you call a spider a float.

Spider with Tonicka Mixed Berry Kombucha and So Delicious Snickerdoodle Ice Cream


I had some beetroot and I had some blueberries, so a google search led me to the Blueberry Beet Smoothie from the Grateful Grazer blog. It also has oats in it, and I used oat milk as the non-dairy milk and soy yoghurt instead of coconut. It was OK, not too sweet, which I liked. The texture was a bit funny, even with my super blender. But fun to try.

Blueberry Beet Smoothie from Grateful Grazer blog


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

2019-03-15 15.27.09


It's been a while since I've shared any clinic kitty photos. This is Mozart! He is up for adoption, along with his sister Mariah (who you will meet in my next post). They have musical names because they are musical kitties! They are very vocal. His favourite current toy is a dangle toy, But he doesn't want you to dangle it for him, he just wants to drag the whole thing around him, carrying it in his mouth. Funny boy!

Monday, 18 March 2019

Eating Out: You Came Again

The new vegan kid on the blog is You Came Again, a vegan tapas bar that opened in West End several weeks ago. Vegan stuff just keeps on happening in Brisbane! I went there a couple of weeks ago for my friend Amy's birthday, and I am happy to report that we tried almost the entire menu. So buckle up, there are lots of photos ahead.

We shared a Grazing Platter, which has all of their small bites combined onto one big plate, plus some fruit. It included house marinated olives, roasted thyme and tamari nuts, beetroot hummus and labneh with dukkah, and bread. We got extra bread as well. It was all really good, except the labneh was basically a big wodge of coconut so that was no good for me.

Grazing Platter at You Came Again


Moving on to the Tapas section of the menu. These aren't really Spanish, more so they are small plates inspired by a number of differnt cuisines. And we tried them all! First up, the Vegan Meatballs with Romesco Sauce and Crispy Garlic Chips. While the capsicum infused sauce was not for me, I did really enjoy the texture and flavour of the balls.

Vegan Meatballs at You Came Again


No one could go past Crispy Fries with Lemon and Aioli. We got a couple of bowls of these to share with the table. The fries were delicious, the lemon seasoning was bright and zingy, the aioli was nice and creamy.

Cripsy Fries with Lemon Seasoning at You Came Again


I thought I'd try the Lemon Popcorn Cauliflower Bites with Sriracha Mayo, but avoid the may to avoid the spicy. Alas, the bites themselves were quite spicy. But other people were big fans!

Lemon Popcorn Cauliflower Bites at You Came Again


In the spirit of avoiding spicy food, I did not try any of the Harissa Roasted Carrots with Red Pepper Hummus, Toasted Hazelnuts, and Pomegranate Glaze. Although it looked so beautiful, I was told by others that it was definitely spicy.

Harissa Roasted Carrots


The Vegan Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms were more back to me speed... and by speed I mean heat level. Simply, you can't really go wrong with these. The pesto also was not super oily, which I appreciated.

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms


The BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders with Southern Coleslaw were fun, though the mayo covered slaw overpowered the taste of the jackfruit a little.

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders at You Came Again


I'm sure it will come to no surprises to anyone that the Japanese-inspired dishes were my favourite. First up, the Miso-Glazed Eggplant, which was perfect.

Miso Glazed Eggplant at You Came Again


And then the Agedashi Tofu. The broth on this was perfect and drinkable! Though does make it a bit harder to share. But they did bring out some cute spoons with it!

Agedashi Tofu at You Came Again


The Beetroot Carpaccio with Dill and Capers in a Citrus Vinaigrette with Vegan Cream Cheese was mostly disappointing, unfortunately. Whatever they did to it, the very thin slices just tasted like tinned beetroot. Which is fine, if tinned beetroot is what you are after. But not if you are hoping for something else.

Beetroot Capaccio at You Came Again


Finally, the Asian-Style Sesame Greens. Seared broccolini in a nice sauce. Because you have to have some greens.

Asian Style Greens at You Came Again


Then it was onto the desserts! I ordered the Crispy Waffles with Berry Compote and Nicecream. I ordered the nice cream on the side, because they told me it was coconut based. A good decision, as far to coconutty for me. But someone else ate it. Alas, the waffle came also drizzled in coconut milk! But I could scrape it off and it wasn't too bad. The waffle itself was nice, though not crispy, but good with the berry compote.

Berry Waffles at You Came Again


Several people ordered the Vegan Lemon Meringue with Lemon Curd, Crushed Meringe, and Whipped Cream. It got good reviews.

Lemon Meringue at You Came Again


The final dessert, and item on the menu,the Chewy Walnut Brownie with Nice Cream and Caramel Sauce, was ordered. But it got dropped off the order so it never came. Here is a photo of it from their Instagram for you to look at.

Brownie  at You Came Again


Overall, I enjoyed most of the food and the atmosphere and service was lovely. They have a large selection of local vegan alcohol, though as a non-drinker I enjoyed some lovely floral kombucha on tap. They also have a large backyard area where you can picnic with your puppies.

You Came Again Vegan Tapas - 245 Boundary Street, West End QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim would like to remind you that she is still present and here and should be the focus of your attention but not too much please because she doesn't like to be crowded.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Cruelty Free Shop March 2019 Vegan Mystery Box

After last month's box being described as their 'biggest ever', I assumed it was in terms of value. But this month's box was in fact described as the 'highest value ever'! What was in this highest value ever box you ask? Let us look in the March 2019 Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box.

2019_03_VeganMysteryBox


  • Calico Animal Print Bag: Honestly, I have a ton of tote bags. But I do like this cute horse print!
  • Wholesome Organic Vanilla Frosting: I am not a frosting/icing person. Though I do sometimes bake for bake sales and the like. Normally I make frosting from scratch, but this will come in handy if I am in a rush.
  • Bundy's Chocolate Hemp Protein Bar: Apparently this will taste like chocolate fudge I can only dream of. We shall see. But I am always happy to have a supply of snack bars.
  • Natural World Coconut Hair Oil: Coconut oil is my nemesis, and I am not a fan of putting it on my body either (even the smell is gross). I haven't actually sniffed this, and it is a very liquid product, so I will at least give it a try.
  • Sweet William Dark Chocolate Baking Buttons: Australia seems to be in love with the Sweet William chocolate brand, which was one of the earliest vegan chocolates around. However, their chocolate is not very good, and they are not on the FEP list. At least the buttons are handy for melting down for brownies and things like that! Where there are other things to improve the flavour.
  • Lenny & Larry Complete Cookie Choc-O-Mint: So, I seem to be whinging a lot in this post. But I rarely like chocolate and mint together, only under very specific circumstances. The mint in this seems to be from bright green mint chips, which are not super enticing. I predict toothpaste.
  • VonBlu Citron Lip Scrub: I use a lot of lip balm (paw paw ointment for life!), but it has been a long time since I've used a lip scrub. I will give this a try if we ever get winter here.
  • Fratelli Scrocchi Pizza Crackers: Finally, something I am truly excited about! I love savoury snacks, and these crackers sound like they will be delicious.


Hmmmm.... So, maybe their highest value box, but not a lot in it this month that excited me. I've got two months left on my subscription, so hopefully they can bring it home strong!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

061 (2)


The last photo I ever took of Gizmo, on the day I had to let her go, was of her precious little white tail tip.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Recipe Round-Up: The Wicked Healthy Cookbook

The Wicked Healthy Cookbook was doing the rounds on Instagram and blogs, and looked interesting and different enough to add to my collection, so I gave myself a present. It certainly is a beautiful book, with recipes ranging from simple to quite technical. The book is loosely divided into recipe types, with chapter headings including First Bites, Handhelds, Bowls, Straight-Up Vegetables, Comfort Food, Nature's Candy, Wicked Healthy Juices and Cocktails, and Sauces and Bases. Of course, the use of the term Wicked is sprinkled liberally throughout, but sometimes in a way that implies a certain food is wicked vs healthy, to which I say no thank you to your diet culture bullshit. But at least that is fairly minor. I certainly won't be making every recipe in this book, but there is enough that I want to make plus lots to pique my interests.

Banh Mi with Lemongrass Tofu, and Ginger Aioli: This recipe involves making a few components, there is the tofu (in a marinade of orange juice, lemongrass, and others), the aioli (made by mixing sushi ginger and others with mayo - I used Vegenaise), and also some pickled carrots (meant to be made with chillies, but I left them out). Overall, everything is very easy. I found the aioli to be a bit too strong with the lime flavour, so I added an extra spoonful of mayo. But the tofu and the pickles were lovely. I was serving three people, so I cut my 375g block of tofu into 6 slabs - 2 per banh mi. The tofu is baked in the marinade, and I did have to increase the heat a bit to get the marinade to turn into a nice glaze. Overall a wonderful mix of flavours.
Rating: :)

Banh Mi with Lemongrass Tofu and Ginger Aioli


Kickass Plant-Based Reuben on Dark Rye: Fortune smiled on me when I found a loaf of dark rye sourdough at Coles, and knew exactly what I wanted to make. This recipe does take some advanced planning to make the seitan. First you need to make a coriander spice mix, which makes a whole cup (though mine was a little less as I left out the tsp of cayenne pepper). Half of this is mixed into the seitan dough, and the other half is used to roll the seitan in before baking. The seitan is baked wrapped in foil. It was delicious seitan, though I found it hard to cut as thin as they did. Also, unlike the picture, my seitan was very pink! The dough does include some beetroot. Once the seitan is made, you need to caremelise some onions, and then make your sandwiches with sauerkraut, cheese slices (I used Daiya Smoked Gouda), and their Sriracha Russian Dressing. I made the dressing, but without the sriracha. I also used Vegenaise as the base rather than making my own mayo. A very messy but delicious sandwich!
Rating: :D

Kickass Plant-Based Reuben on Dark Rye


Seitan for Kickass Plant-Based Reuben on Dark Rye


Banana Blossoms with Coconut and Chile: Obviously. I left out the chili. Also I committed possibly a cardinal sin, and used tinned banana blossoms even though they say that they don't work well here and you should use fresh. Hunting then down and spending actual hours preparing them seemed like effort, so I figured I'd see what happened. I made a half recipe using an 8oz tin of flowers, and it worked fine. I had one giant serve using mung bean vermicelli. My main issue was that the coconut was a bit too strong, next time I would decrease the amount of coconut milk even further than I usually do. It is served with some lettuce, cucumber, and coriander, as well as lime juice. I would have liked a bit more flavour to go on the greens. Overall, the flavours were not quite there for me with this one.
Rating: :|

Banana Blossoms with Coconut


Broccoli with Fermented Black Bean Sauce: This was a lovely light dinner, and very fast to make. The sauce is a mix of soy, rice wine, sweetener, and sesame oil and the sautee is onions, fermented black beans, and broccoli. I left out all the chillies. It also calls for water chestnuts, but I am just not a fan so I increased the broccoli. Normally I would have subbed with celery for some crunch, but I didn't have any. I had this for dinner after a huge lunch, but if you were looking to make it more substantial you could easily add some tofu. This said it serves four as a side dish or small plate, I served two with it over some rice.
Rating: :)

Broccoli with Fermented Black Bean Sauce


Strozzapreti with Cauliflower Mornay, Mushrooms, and Kale: I made this with Trivelle pasta, not strozzapreti, because that's what I could find. The first part of this recipe is to make the separate Cauliflower Mornay Sauce. I made a half recipe, expecting to get about a litre out of it, but I only got about 750mL. Perhaps my cauliflower was a bit smaller than theirs. It is an easy cauliflower and cashew based sauce to make, and has a pleasant savoury taste. Once you have that, it is a quick ride to dinner. I halved the recipe, using only 250g of pasta. But still a full bunch of kale, as that cooks down to a very small amount. Kale is meant to be steamed and chopped, I blanched it by pouring some boiling water over it, then chopped it in the colander with some scissors. The mushrooms are dried black fungi. I ended up using a bit more than half the amount for this, as that is what I had left in my bag of mushrooms. More like a 2/3 amount for the recipe. It all went together very nicely, along with some onion and garlic, to a comforting dinner.
Rating: :)

Strozzapretti with Cauliflower Mornay, Mushrooms, and Kale


Mac & Cheese: This recipe is listed under the Wicked Healthy Cheese Sauce recipe, though they also have some suggestions for additions to a mac and cheese bowl bar elsewhere in the book. The cheese sauce is based on cashews, butternut,and garlic. It is fairly easy to make. Much like the cauliflower mornay, it involves boiling the big ingredients until soft and then blending with the rest of it. I used a blend of garlic cloves and garlic powder, as I was feeling to tired to peel 1/4 cup worth of cloves. The sauce alone is great, but when it is added to some macaroni it becomes magic! I made a half recipe of the sauce, which was too much for 250g of pasta, so I had some sauce left over as well. They actually suggest a double recipe for 1lb of pasta, which would also be very saucy. I made our own simple mac and cheese bowls by adding some roasted broccoli, and also some leftover seitan from the reubens (which I pan-fried and glazed in a bit of BBQ sauce).
Rating: :D

Mac & Cheese


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo's 13th Birthday


Gizmo loved catnip, though she didn't go crazy playing. She liked to sniff, lick, and roll around.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Eating Out: Cafe O Mai

Vietnamese food is one of my favourite types of cuisine, and Cafe O Mai in Annerley has a lot of good vegan options. This post is about a visit I made with my friend for lunch, but you can also read about my previous visits here.

We both ordered some drinks to start. I got the Jasmine Garden juice, which had apple, pear, cucumber, spinach, and mint. So refreshing! And Ashleigh got the Vietnamese Coffee Affogatto, which is vegan by default with coconut sorbet, coconut sago pearls, and a sesame praline.

Jasmine Garden Juice at Cafe O-Mai


Coffee Affogato at Cafe O-Mai


We shared some rice paper rolls and some spring rolls to start. I love the rice paper rolls the best, though the spring rolls were good too. I just prefer the freshness of rice paper rolls. Plus the hoisin peanut dipping sauce!

Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls at Cafe O-Mai


Vegetarian Spring Rolls at Cafe O-Mai


I ordered the Buddha Vermicelli Noodle Salad, which is topped with lemongrass tofu, crispy tofu, and spring rolls. This is my favourite thing there, as it is so fun and refreshing.

Buddha Bowl Vermicelli Salad at Cafe O-Mai


Ashleigh got the Vegan Vietnamese Tofu Curry, which is advertised as a mild yellow curry. Ashleigh liked it a lot. I tried a little bit and, yes, that mild was too spicy for me!

Vegan Curry at Cafe O-Mai


They also have a little sweets case, which often has vegan sweets. We grabbed a couple of chocolate chip cookies to go.

Chocolate Chip Cookies at Cafe O-Mai


Cafe O Mai - 15 Cracknell Rd, Annerley, QLD - (07) 3255 9778

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo helps me study the liver


I hope you aren't sick of my Gizmo photos yet. Her helping me study. She was such a helpful girl.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Midweek Munchies

More random things that I have eaten.

A while ago I got sent this very sweet care package from a friend and her partner's cat.

Sweets from George the cat and Jenny Marie


For the first time ever I saw fresh tomatillos available! Normally I have to order canned ones from the American or Mexican online shops. I found these at Coles, and bought some to make a few dishes with. I can't find them anymore, so I hope it is just that they are seasonal and will come back eventually, and not that they have been taken away for good.

Fresh tomatillos at Coles


I had tried the New York Style Daiya Cheesecake a few years ago in the US. But of course, my heart beats for strawberry. Even though they have coconut oil, Daiya products seem to not make me sick compared to other coconut fatty things. So the cheesecake was OK as long as I just had a little bit. These are hilariously expensive here, but they were on sale for half price so I finally got to try my strawberry one. I am glad I waited, because they are hilariously small. Anyway, I topped mine with some homemade rhubarb berry jam, whipped rice cream from a spray can, and some fresh strawberries. It was nice, though once was enough for me.

Daiya Strawberry Cheesecake with Berry Rhubarb Jam, Rice Whip, and strawberries


In one of my Vegan Mystert Boxes I got some satay paste. I made a couple of stir fries with it, including this one with pumpkin, cabbage, green beans, and tofu. The instructions were along the lines of 'add coconut fat, then more coconut fat, then some extra coconut fat', but I ignored that and just sauteed in grapeseed oil and then added some light coconut milk to the paste to make the sauce.

Satay Sauce


I have had mixed results with the Linda McCarntney range. I hate their sausage rolls, and their sausages are meh. But I found the pies on sale at Woolworths, and I do love a good meaty pie. Happy to report that the pies were quite good, and definitely hit the craving I had.

Linda McCartney Pies


And finally, a burger. This time it was a Vegie Delighs Classic Not Burger. It is mild, tastes a bit like a chicken burger (but not exactly, they also have a chicken burger). This was one of the first vegan patties on the market, years ago, so it was fun to revisit. With mayo, spinach, and tomato.

Vegie Delights Classic Not Burger


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo


Gizmo loved looking out of the sunroom to watch birdies in the back yard.