Thursday, March 22, 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets March 2018

I didn't make it to the January or February Brisbane Vegan Markets, but I was glad to go along for the March morning markets a couple of weeks ago. I met up with Tracee and Jamie, my regular market buddies. And I ate a lot of food. Eventually. All the stalls seemed to be running late setting up that day! So even though we got there at 9am when the markets opened, we didn't get to eat until 10am. I was pretty hungry by then!

Farm Animal Rescue normally always has some sort of BBQ food available, and this day that had a special burger. The patty was Veef, which is made by local company Fenn Foods (who also make the smoked sesame cheese I'm obsessed with). It was a really nice patty, and a great burger. It had cheese, mustard, ketchup, BBQ onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. The photo does not do it justice.

Veef Burger from FAR at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Because I was very hungry after waiting so long, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. So I ordered this Blue Rice with Tempeh and Tofu from Nonya Malaysia House, as well as a lemonade. The rice is blue thanks to blue pea powder, and regular readers will know how much I love silly coloured food. Unfortunately the colour didn't come through so well in the photo. It was pleasant (no real special taste), served with lovely nutty tempeh and soft fried tofu, as well as some mild curry vegetables. But boy was I full!

Lemonade and Blue Rice with Tofu, Tempeh and Curried Veggies from Malaysian Nonya House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Tracee and Jamie tried out some offerings from the Happy Fish stall. Including this side cheese bombs - deep fried cheese cubes. I tried one, and it was melty and cheesy and yummy, but also very deep fried. One was enough for me.

Cheese Puffs from Happy Fish at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Unfortunately they said that the Fish Burger was not a great success, and the chips were undercooked.

Fish Burger and Chips from Happy Fish at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Tracee also got some curry from the Sri Lankan Pepper Pot place, but I was off waiting for my blue rice and she ate it before I could get a photo! She said it was good. I haven't tried anything from that stall, as I have heard it is pretty spicy!

Of course no market is complete without a visit to I Should Coco for ice cream. This month the special was a PB&J Ice Cream Doughnut. That is a doughnut with soft serve, PB, and jam sandwiched between the layers. I had to get it! Unfortunately, the doughnuts that were delivered were much smaller than they were expecting, so the sandwich idea really didn't work out. I still got it, and it tasted great, but the presentation was pretty awful. They were serving them on plates, rather than in the big cups, so everything just fell everywhere. But it was funny.

PBJ Doughnut Sundae from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

As well as taking home some of the above mentioned sesame cheese, I also picked up some tarts and flans from Flour of Life, but they got a bit smooshed on the way home. And I have posted them a million times before. I am not going to go to the evening markets this month, but I am looking forward to the April morning markets!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim perfection

Every time I look at her I wonder how I got so lucky.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cruelty Free Shop March 2018 Mystery Box

Another month, another box! My Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box arrived earlier this month, packed with exciting goodies. Nine new (to the CFS) products, and an old favourite.

March 2018 CFS Vegan Mystery Box

  • Simply Delish Chocolate Pudding Mix: I know pudding can be controversial, I fall in the pro-pudding camp. I am keen to try this.
  • Salt & Vinegar Vege Chips: These are new the CFS, but have been available in other health food shops and supermarkets for ages. They have a very different texture from your usual potato chip, and come in a range of flavours. Salt and vinegar is my favourite! It is hard to find vegan salt and vinegar here, a lot of it has dairy in it.
  • Sneaky Wholefoods Turmeric Chai Bar: Anything with turmeric in the title has my immediate attention. This bar also has no coconut oil in it!
  • SurfSweets Watermelon Rings: I am not the biggest lolly person, but sometimes do enjoy a little sugar hit of an afternoon here and there, and I like watermelon things, so I will definitely try these.
  • Riega Dahl Seasoning: I have seen these seasoning mixes at the Green Edge Before, though never bought any. A lot of them tended to be on the chili/spicy side, I am glad to see that this dahl one seems relatively mild.
  • Primal Thai Peanut Jerky: This is the 'old favourite', Primal has been here for ages. I normally get the smokey or BBQ one, but I have enjoyed this peanut one in the past as well. If only they would fix their packets so that they would actually open properly when you tear them!
  • Gingerbread Easter Bunny: Although they stock the gingerbread men every year, this is 'technically' new the the CFS as it is the first time that they have made a gingerbread easter bunny.
  • OCHO Organic Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bar: I am so exited to try this, what appears to be chocolate covering a giant slab of peanut butter. I hope it lives up to my expectations. Less exciting, this bar is on the FEP's 'cannot recommend, but working on the issues in various ways' list, so I wouldn't be buying it myself.
  • Bounce Plant Power Beetroot & Cashew Energy Ball: Beetroot? Say no more. I'm in.
  • GimMe Extra Virgin Olive Oil Roasted Seaweed: This is another product that has been available in the supermarkets for quite a while. Normally I just snack on them, but I am looking forward to using them as mini wraps in a sushi bowl, inspired by My Cat Loves Daiya.

Overall, this is one of the boxes I have been most happy about. There is no product in there that I need to give away due to spice or coconut oil levels. And a lot of flavours in there that I enjoy.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Julia and Angus

These cutie twins are Julia and Angus, our two new adoption kitties at work.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Eating Out: Brewski

The Brisbane vegan social media hype is alive and well, if there is a new offering, it doesn't take long for news to spread and vegans to flock. We want to spend our money! Give us options! Brewski is a bar that has always had some vegan options, but last year they started offering vegan burgers, and had cheap burger Tuesdays, and vegans descended!

I arranged to meet up with some friends after I finished work one Tuesday. I finished at 7pm and went straight there, and they were already packed. My friends were running a bit late, and by the time they got there... all the vegan burgers were sold out! They still had some other vegan options on the menu, so we ordered some to share. But this point they were swamped, and it was an hour to wait until our food came! So. Hungry.

We each got one of the Meatless BBQ plates, which had grilled vegetables, smoky jackfruit, a dill pickle, cornbread with smoky butter, BBQ sauce, and your choice of sides. I picked the potato salad. This was nice, though not amazing. The best part was the cornbread and smoky butter.

Meatless BBQ Plate with Potato Salad at Brewski

We also shared some nachos, which were nice (though as so often happens, there was not enough topping for all the corn chips), and some shoestring fries with vegan aioli.

Vegan Nachos at Brewski

Showstring Fries at Brewski

I had a more successful burger outing when I went up at lunch one Tuesday, right on opening, so they were definitely not sold out and were a lot quieter. I had the Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger, which everyone had been raving about, with a side of fries. The burger was nice, a solid cheeseburger.

Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger at Brewski

I also went back another lunch and tried the ABC burger, which stands for Avocado, Bacon, Chicken. They use match chicken to make the patties, I think. This was really nice, I think my favourite of the two. With some more potato salad for the side.

ABC Burger with Potato Salad at Brewski

There are some other things on the menu that I'd like to try as well, but definitely on a quiet lunch time rather than a busy evening!

Brewski, 22 Caxton St, Petrie Terrace, QLD, 4059, (07) 3369 2198

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Cute boarder

A very cute boarder.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats From Around The World

Another of Allyson Kramer's books is Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats From Around The World. This is a fun book, that is divided up into chapters for Africa, Europe, South and Central America, Asia and Oceana, and North America. This is my first round-up of this book.

Easy One-Pot Rice (Jollof) with Cinnamon and Curry: The cinnamon taste is very subtle here, if you are a cinnamon fiend like I am, add more. Often with stove-top rice dishes, I find that they take a lot longer to cook than stated. Happily, this cooked perfectly in the allotted time! It is a mix of rice, vegetables (I left out the capsicum, and used drained tinned tomatoes rather than blanching, peeling, and chopping fresh ones) and spices (I left out the chili), and I also added some chickpeas in the final 5 minutes of cooking. This makes a fair bit, but not quite the 6 servings it claims. I got four and a half servings.
Rating: :)

Easy One-Pot (Jollof) Rice with Cinnamon and Curry

English Cottage Pie: I love a good saucy, savoury pie filling. Unfortunately this was a bit dry and a bit bland. It is based on TVP and vegetables, but needs to have a lot more sauce in the filling. The addition of ketchup on top definitely helped! I made a half recipe of this, which made 3-4 serves.
Rating: :|

English Cottage Pie

Russian Salad: While originating in Russia, this is a popular dish in South America. It is a fun salad - potatoes, mayo, hot dogs, cheese... definitely not a health food! I used Field Roast hot dogs, Daiya Monterey Jack cheese, and Vegenaise. I left out the shallots, but added in some peas (there seem to be peas in the photo in the book, but not in the ingredients). I didn't have any dill relish, so used some gherkin relish with dried dill added, and I used dry thyme instead of fresh.
Rating: :)

Russian Salad

Farinata Pizza: This is a super quick pizza to make. The pizza sauce is particularly lovely, and is so fast! It makes more than you will need - I made a half recipe and still only used half of it, but it would be great to have some in the freezer for pizza nights. The chickpea flour base is thin and crusty, and makes for a substantial and filling pizza. It is topped with spinach, mushrooms, onion, and cheese (also capsicum, but no thanks). I used Follow Your Heart Mozzarella shreds.
Rating: :)

Farinata Pizza

Pomegranate Soup: This is an unusual soup, foll of peets, herbs, rice, split peas and pomegranate juice, and topped with some gluten free meatballs. The balls have soy curls, white beans (it was meant to be chickpeas, but I'd run out), cooked rice, and chia seends in them. I made a half recipe of everything, which gave me to smallish serves of soup, and 12 meatballs. The full recipe is meant to serve 10 or more, with 2 meatballs per serving, so that seems a bit dd to me. I served this over some wilted greens, and it was quite a unique and tasty dinner.
Rating: :)

Pomegranate Soup

Minted Green Salad with Oranges, Lentils, and Tomatoes: I this for a refreshing lunch to use up some lentils and herbs. It is meant to use cooked green lentils, I used tinned brown lentils. With the amounts I had left, I made a 2/3 quantity of the recipe. Very precise, I know! I liked the sweetness of the orange and the fresh burst from the mint. Very nice!
Rating: :)

Minted Green Salad with Oranges, Lentils, and Tomatoes

Spinach Mushroom Curry (Saag Mushroom): This is a very subtle and slightly sweet curry, but I liked it. The sauce is thickened using mashed butternut rather than any sort of cream replacement, which is a nice change from coconut. The recipe calls for fresh spinach to be wilted, drained, and pulsed in the food processor. I skipped this step by using a box of frozen, chopped spinach. Thawed and drained, of course. This recipe says it makes four, but I only got two servings with rice.
Rating: :)

Spinach Mushroom Curry (Saag Mushroom)

Bulgogi-Style Tofu: There are some great flavours here, it is quite rich. Thinly sliced tofu is marinated in a delicious mix overnight, before being browned and then simmered in the marinade until it becomes dark and sticky. I got 4 filling serves from this, served with rice and some roasted bok choy. My mum loved this!
Rating: :)

Bulgogi-Style Tofu

Baked Poutine: Baked potato fries, a rich gravy, and cheese = yum! The gravy ended up being a bit of the salty side, I would back off a little on the soy I think! The fries cooked up well, though did not go quite as crispy as I would have liked. I used Daiya cheddar shreds for the cheese. I am not a huge fan of cold Daiya shreds, but the heat from the potatoes and the gravy made it all melty and good. There is some broccoli underneath as well, for greens.
Rating: :)

Baked Poutine

Avocado, Tomato, and Cheddar Soup: Half a recipe of this made two large mugs. It is a lovely cheesy and tomato soup, though I think you could easily just use nooch rather than melting cheddar shreds into it. I left out the chilli powder to make it nice and mild. The only thing I wasn't a huge fan of was the avocado - it is chopped and added in the last few minutes of cooking. Time to accept that I just don't enjoy warm avocado.
Rating: :)

Avocado, Tomato, and Cheddar Soup

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Last week we had electricians running all over the house, so Dim Sim came to work with me for the morning to avoid the fray. She was less than impressed, but at least she didn't have to have any procedures or stay overnight! Well, I lie a little. I did check her blood pressure, which was good. I got the rest of her results back yesterday - they still can't 100% rule out small cell lymphoma, but the most accurate test came back as inflammatory. And given her complete lack of clinical signs, that is what we are going with. Starting some anti-inflammatory meds and rechecking bloods in a month.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Eating Out: Boundary Street Markets

Visiting Brisbane but not in town for the Brisbane Vegan Markets? Never fear! Every Friday and Saturday night, the Boundary Street Markets, which are at the same location as the BVM, have a whole range of vegan options. Including many of the stalls from the BVM! The rice of veganism in Brisbane, and the success of the BVM, has seen the Boundary Street Markets becoming more and more vegan friendly. A lot of the stalls have made appearances at the BVM, and continue to offer their vegan menu as an option on other market days. So you can still get a taste of it.

Most importantly, I Should Coco has their ice cream stall there! I have stopped by a number of times on my way home from work on a Saturday, just to pick up a little ice cream treat before I go home. Below I have the PB&J sundae, Chocky Timmy cone, and The Strawbo from a few of my visits.

PB&J Sunday from I Should Coco

Chocky Timmy from I Should Coco

The Strawbo from I Should Coco at Boundary St Markets

At the end of last year, I stopped by for the first ice cream in a while and I was blown away by the number of vegan options available there now. I decided to stay for an early dinner, but what to choose? I ended up settling on the Gado Gado Heaven and Super Vegan Bao from Hoja Gourmet.

Gado Gado Heaven and Super Vegan Bao from Hoja Gourmet at Boundary St Markets

And I got the monthly special ice cream from I Should Coco, 'The Elvis'. This had peanut butter, banana, coconut bacon, and maple syrup.

The Elvis from I Should Coco at Boundary St Markets

Ice cream aside, the markets have always had some vegan options - gozleme, langos, momos, Sri Lankan curry, doughnuts, and sometimes burgers. But here are a few of the newer options. Malaysian, Indonesian, Japanese, and Fish & Chips! It is definitely a great place for vegans to check out.

Vegan Options at Boundary St Markets

Vegan Options at Boundary St Markets

Vegan Options at Boundary St Markets

Vegan Options at Boundary St Markets

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim and carrot

Just a girl and her carrot.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Eating Out: VegeRama (DragFest and Gladiators editions)

Thank you so much to everyone for your kind words about Dim Sim, and Sahara. We have a week or so to wait for the final results to get back, so we are just in a holding pattern. Importantly, she is very well and happy in herself. So that is the main thing.

Back to regular programming, here is a post about food. Being in West End, which is also very near South Bank, VegeRama West End is a good place to meet up for food before or after events. Of course, there are loads of places around this area that have vegan options, and VegeRama tends to be a bit hit and miss, but it turns up on the rotation every now and then.

I met up with my BFF Ashleigh and her sister Bec for dinner before DragFest last year. We had planned on going to another place, but they had a line, so VegeRama just seemed like a simple option. We shared some samosas (which are always nice) and some dumplings (which were too spicy for me), to get started.

Samosas at Vegerama

Dumplings at Vegerama

This was in winter, so instead of the usual juice or smoothie we tried some hot drinks. Ashleigh got a Dirty Turmeric Latte (why anyone would ruin a perfectly good drink with coffee is beyond me), and I had a Beetroot Latte. The beetroot looked prettier than it tasted, which I was warned about by the waitress, but I gave it a try anyway. I didn't taste like much at all.

Dirty Turmeric Latte and Beetroot Latte at Vegerama

Ashleigh and Bec shared a Tomato and Zucchini Risotto of the specials board, which was simple but nice. I tried a little bit.

Tomato and Zucchini Risotto at Vegerama

I got the Stuffed Tofu, which was a disappointment. I asked and was assured by the kitchen that it had no chilli in it, but it clearly did. My mouth was on fire and my stomach was burning. It was so close to the time out show started, and I hate making a fuss, that I just rage ate it and then had a sore gut for the night.

Stuffed Tofu at Vegerama

The reason I was going to DragFest was because my favourite drag queen Jinkx Monsoon was performing. She is amazing and I love her and she is the only reason I will stay out that late at night. Here is a blurry photo of her.

Jinkx at DragFest 2017

Another time, Ashleigh and I went to an After Dark night for the Gladiators exhibit at the Queensland Museum, starting with dinner at VegeRama first. We shared some samosas, which are always a good bet.

Samosas at VegeRama

We tried the Supreme pizza, which was not bad. Not as good as our favourite Artichoke and Mushroom (which is sadly off the menu now), the green swirl was a bit bitter. They also use a load of Daiya on their vegan pizzas, so if you are not a Daiya fan just keep that in mind.

Supreme Pizza at VegeRama

They were changing over to their new summer menu when we were there, so we tried the new Rotolo Pasta. This was a gluten free pasta filled with sweet potato and herbs, with a napoli sauce, grilled asparagus, parmesan and crispy basil. It was really nice, they did a great job with the gluten free pasta. Very good texture.

Rotolo Pasta at VegeRama (House made gluten free pasta, filled with sweet potato mash & herbs. Served w Napoli sauce, crispy basil, grilled asparagus & vegan parmesan.)

The museum was hosting a special, 18yo+ event where they open at night so you can explore, play in the science centre, and they also have demonstrations and talks on. The gladiators exhibit, not surprisingly, had a pretty violent history behind it. But it was also quite interesting. Did you know that a lot of gladiators had a predominantly vegetarian diet to stay in peak physical form? They did! Anyway, here is a cool piece of the Colosseum.


And no visit to the museum is complete without saying hi to the Muttaburrasaurus, and stopping by the Whale Mall.


Whale Mall

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Let's never forget my beautiful Gizmo. Though it has been a bit over six years since she passed away, I miss her forever.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dim Sim's 18th birthday (and Sahara)

Hi friends, I hope you will indulge me in a cat-full and food-free post! Dim Sim's 18th birthday was on the 16th of February, so I thought I might do a little day in the life post of my sweetheart from her special day.

Dim Sim sleeps either under the covers with me, or on her blankie next to my pillow, so we woke up together. In the mornings, I have to sneak into the bathroom for my shower before she can get in there. She likes to drink water out of the bottom of the bath, and the fact that someone is in there with the shower running doesn't stop her. Once I'm done, I run some fresh water for her, and she jumps in for a drink.

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Then she went to have a little drink from her actual water bowl in my room.

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Then it was downstairs to have a look out the window at the back yard, then settle onto her special chair for a nap.

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

I had to work all day, out of the house for 12 hours, but I was sure to get a little photo of us before I left. She had moved from her chair onto her cushion in front of the sunroom window. Now that she is an only cat, all places are her places.

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

While I was at work, Mum sent me regular photos of her throughout the day. Mostly eating, napping, having cuddles, or occasionally just skulking about in deep contemplation. Enjoy.

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

As you can see, life is tough when you are a small black cat. When I finally got home, we had some nice snug time with her on a cushion on my lap, sleeping away.

Dim Sim's 18th Birthday

Then we go up to bed, she has another drink from the bath, there is bedtime snacks, and then we sleep. This is a fairly regular daily routine for her, so I guess every day is like your birthday when you are a cat! Still, happy 18th my love. Now she is old enough to vote!

On a sadder note, the 17th of February, the day after Dim Sim's birthday, was the one year anniversary of Sahara's passing A whole year without her, I can barely believe that time would be so fast and so cruel. Though I know, it has been six years since Gizmo. Time does not stop. I went to yoga in the morning, and then had a quiet day watching a lot of Brooklyn Nine Nine. Dim Sim slept on my lap a lot. I made a dinner that involved steamed broccoli, which was Sahara's favourite treat. I miss her.