Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Midweek Munchies

Time for some random things that I ate.

I bought this vegetarian soya chicken for a reason that I then didn't follow through with. I ended up using it as a chicken-style seitan sub in a stew I made. You can see it sliced here as well. It was pretty tasty in the stew, and browned up nicely, but had a definite soy flavour to it.

Vegetarian Chicken

Vegetarian Chicken

Nature's Kitchen is one of the in-house vegan brands at Coles. New things pop up every now and then, including this Five Grain Ciabatta Loaf with a buttery garlic and parsley spread. It comes from the fridge section, and you just pop it in the oven to heat up. It is really nice.

Nature's Kitchen Garlic Ciabatta Bread

Nature's Kitchen Garlic Ciabatta Bread

Nature's Kitchen Garlic Ciabatta Bread

Here is a lovely snack plate I made for lunch one day, featuring Miyoko's Aged Black Ash. Also on the plate were some water crackers, some carrot and pepita crackers, grape tomatoes, celery, cucumber, beetroot hummus, and some golden kiwi fruit. The cheese is really nice, but that black ash gets over everything!

Snack Plate starring Miyoko's Black Ash Chevre with beetroot hummus and Flats as well

I found these vegan cookies sitting near the counter when I was at my local Drake's (formerly Drake's SupaIGA) a while ago. Of course I bought them. And they were really nice! I very rarely go to Drake's, but I will look out for them next time I am there.

IGA Vegan Cookies

This is a mug of delicious Mork's Dark Hot Chocolate, which is so rich and a little bitter and so good. I topped it with some mini pumpkin Dandies that I had got on super sale from The Green Edge. Huge mistake. Turns out I hate pumpkin Dandies. I fished these out of my hot chocolate, and my dad ate the rest of the bag.

Mork dark hot chocolate with mini pumpkin Dandies

Another little snacky lunch I made, using some fancy stuff. This Fine Cultures Smokey Cheddar from The Green Edge is coconut oil free and very nice. Also a little tub of beetroot and onion relish from Bruny Island Cheese Co. The relish tasted nice, but needs draining before you use it. I served these together with some leftover cream cheese on some water crackers.

Fine Cultures Smokey Cheddar Cheese and Bruny Island Beetroot Onion Relish

Water crackers with cream cheese, Fine Cultures Smokey Cheddar Cheese and Bruny Island Beetroot Onion Relish

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

The look of judgement!

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Eating In: Wild Breads

I never got into the bread-making isolation craze of 2020. We get our bread with our grocery order. But we have branched out by having a couple of deliveries from Wild Breads, a Brisbane-based bakery. They have quote a few vegan things, so I have been able to try them.

The number one best thing they make is an olive sourdough, it is so delicious! My favourite way to eat it is toasted, spread with avocado, sprinkled with smoked salt, and with a nice side of some veggies.

Wild Breads Olive Sourdough with avocado and smoked sea salt

They make a Fruit and Hazelnut Loaf, which is so thickly sliced it is amazing. The one downside is that they use whole dried figs in it, and because it is sliced so thickly sometimes you end up with most of a dried fig in your toast. I don't really like dried figs, so I pick my slices carefully and the fig ones go to my mum! This is lovely toasted with peanut butter, fresh berries, and cinnamon.

Wild Breads Fruit and Hazelnut Loaf

Wild Breads Fruit and Hazelnut Loaf with peanut butter, cinnamon, raspberries

Our first order was their mostly vegan starter pack (the only non-vegan thing in it was some chocolate muffins), and it came with these Cibatta Pockets. They are very thin, but were good sliced and filled with things for a toasted sandwich, like the one pictured below with cream cheese, onion and beetroot relish, and smoked cheddar cheese in it.

Wild Breads Ciabatta Pocket

Toasted Ciabatta with cream cheese, Fine Cultures Smokey Cheddar Cheese and Bruny Island Beetroot Onion Relish

Their Sweet Milk Buns are vegan! But they use coconut milk powder. But it isn't enough to have any bad effect on me or to make them taste coconnuty! These came in the starter pack and I wasn't entirely sure what to do with them. Are they for savoury burgers? Are they only for sweet stuff? But they are just kind of like a big, soft, fluffy, sweetish burger bun, and are great for burgers! Stay tuned for a future midweek munchies to see the awesome cheeseburger I made with them.

Wildbread Sweet Milk Buns

The final thing I have tried from them has been some of their bagels, which are all vegan. I have tried two of their sweeter versions - the cinnamon raisin (my favourite) and the blueberry (which has a lovely purple-blue colour when you slice them!). I have enjoyed these with both peanut butter and with cream cheese.

Wildbreads Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

Blueberry Bagles from Wild Breads

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Ginger Kitten

That sweet white powderpuff Haloumi has already found a new home! Of course he have. And this cutie orange girl from our most recent litter has also just gone to her new home! We are doing good rehoming kittens. Mali (mummy cat) is still waiting for her special home.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Big Vegan

Big Vegan, by Robin Asbell, was a book I bought when I had a spurt of buying vegan cookbooks several years ago. I had seen a couple of people posting about it. But it is a book I haven't used that much, as witnessed by the fact that the last (and only) recipe round-up I did from it was almost five years ago! Since then, I've posted a couple of other random recipes from it on the blog, but it was time to really dig in to this book a bit. Because it does have recipes that appeal to me, I just had kind of forgotten about it on the shelf. You can see what I have already posted from this book here.

Strawberry-Banana Blender: This is very thick, you could almost make a smoothie bowl out of it. All the fruit is frozen, and it also has some rolled oats in it for extra staying power. I used pain oat milk (rather than vanilla) and added a touch of vanilla extract. I also left out the almond extract it called for, because I find it just makes everything taste like marzipan. Australian almond extract may be different to the ones in the US? Who knows. This also has the option of adding some straberry jam to it, which I did. I used St Dalfours, which is fruit sweetened, because I find sugar sweetened jam too sweet for me.
Rating: :)

Strawberry-Banana Blender

Hemp-Cherry Muesli: I made a half batch of this supposedly four serve recipe, but two serves served one me. Granted it was a very filling serve. This is an overnight oats kind of deal, but as well as rolled oats it has rolled rye (which I used instead of rolled barley, which I do not have), and some toasted hemp seeds. I find too much hemp can make me feel a bit icky, so instead of using 1/4 cup I just used a 20mL Australian TBS. Again, I didn't have vanilla milk so I used plain oat milk with a smidge of vanilla paste, and I also added a drizzle of maple and agave (using up a few drips from the end of some bottles). It uses dried cherries, which plump up after soaking overnight. You can eat this cold, of heat it up in the microwave, I ate it cold. Also very nice with a bit of PB drizzled over it, and some fresh fruit. You can see I also added some slivered almonds for a bit of crunch.
Rating: :)

Hemp-Cherry Muesli

Sunshine Carrot-Tofu Scramble: I love eating scrambled tofu as brinner! But if you are making it in the morning, you can mix most of the tofu mixture together the night before and pop it in the fridge overnight, ready for you to cook in the morning. This scramble has some cooked quinoa added for extra protein, as well as grated carrots and spinach (I added a bit extra of both those veggies). I left out the yellow capsicum, and added some celery instead. It recommends serving with some sunflower seeds on top. This was nice, but could have done with a smidge more seasoning. It has quite a nice seasoning mix, but maybe just increase it a bit. I served this with some potato gems.
Rating: :)

Sunshine Carrot-Tofu Scramble

Warm Teriyaki Tofu and Wilted Spinach Salad: This is really more like a sautee than a salad, as everything gets put in a pan at some point. The tofu is glazed with a mix of soy sauce and mirin. I sauteed the scallions with the tofu, as I prefer them well cooked. Once the tofu is cooked, you wilt the spinach in the pan with some carrot and celery, which I used in place of water chestnuts (I am not the biggest fan of them). I got three dinner sized serves from this, and served it with some rice.
Rating: :)

Warm Teriyaki Tofu and Wilted Spinach Salad

Indonesian Fried Rice: This is in the side dishes chapter, but I turned it into a main by adding a 200g block of Japanese-marinated tofu. I also mixed up the veggies a bit, ditching the capsicum and fresh chile for carrots and celery. This has curry powder in it, and because I am me I decreased it from 2tsp to just 1/2tsp and used a mild curry powder, which was just right. This was a bit dry though, so I'd suggest adding more soy sauce when cooking.
Rating: :)

Indonesian Fried Rice

Sweet Moroccan-Glazed Tofu with Couscous: This is a lovely combination. The tofu is rubbed in spices, and then cooked in a mix of oil and agave to give a lovely glaze. The couscous is seasoned and full of peas and carrots. I also served this over some baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Sweet Moroccan-Glazed Tofu

Szechuan Eggplant with Peanuts: This recipe as made way back in the earlier days of me using this book, when I had a little bit more heat tolerance than I do now. Still, I used sririacha instead of red chile paste because straight up chile paste is just way too much. The recipe is a mix of eggplant and tofu, but instead of using plain tofu I used my trusty Soyco Japanese-Marinated Tofu. Served over jasmine rice and baby spinach, this was two big looking servings, though it wasn't that filling.
Rating: :)

Szechuan Eggplant with Peanuts

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Every second Friday I start work at 2pm. And every second Friday Dim Sim climbs onto my lap and I have to move her off to leave for work, which is a tragedy for both of us.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Granola Round-Up the 2nd

Time for another recipe round-up of granola recipes from across a number of cookbooks! I really got into granola-making during my isolation (and the way Brisbane is going at the moment, I am preparing to go into isolation again if/when needed... seriously, you have to read about it to believe it), and I have continued making a new batch of granola every couple of weeks. Even during winter, it is quick and easy and I like it. Especially since I have found some decent vegan yoghurts I can enjoy with it. So, let's get crunchy. (Oh, an enjoy almost every photo looking the same, because I apparently really like to eat my granola out of the same bowl.)

Coconut, Date and Almond Granola from Keep it Vegan by Aine Carlin: This said a full recipe made 8-10 servings, so I made a half recipe, which was three servings. This has a lovely mix of almonds (it calls for a mix of whole and flaked, I just used all slivered), pumpkin seeds, desiccated coconut, and dates. While I halved the recipe, I still used the whole amount of cinnamon because cinnamon is the best. This was a nice granola, I was worried the dates might make it too sweet, but they were well spaced out with the crunchy oats.
Rating: :)

Coconut, Date, and Almond Granola

Peanut Butter and Jam Granola from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I made a half recipe of this, which ended up being two servings a little over 1/2 cup each. I question the recipe that says a full batch would make 4 cups, the ingredients certainly don't add up to that. This is a mix of creamy peanut butter and the jap of your choice, I chose strawberry because it is the best jam. I found this granola to be a lot softer than other ones, it didn't go crunchy, and it also says it needs to be kept in the fridge.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter and Jam Granola

'Fig' and Grapefruit Granola from The New Vegan by Aine Carlin: I really don't like figs. The fresh ones give me terrible ulcers, and I am just not that fond of the dry ones for the most part. So I used dates instead in this recipe. I also used a ruby grapefruit as that is what was at the shops (also, pretty!). Oats are toasted with ground ginger and lemon zest for a lovely warming flavour. The granola is crunchy with nuts and seeds - I didn't have enough hazelnuts so I used a mix of them and almonds, but it also had pistachio, pepitas, and sunflower seeds in it. I made a full recipe, and got three serves. It says it serves 8-10, so I guess if you are just having a spoonful as a serve? Instead of adding the dates to the oven like the figs were meant to be, I just added them at the end oonce it had cooled.
Rating: :)

Fig and Grapefruit Granola

Apple Cranberry Granola from Vegan Yack Attack On The Go by Jackie Sobon: A great mix of dried apples, cranberries, almonds, maple syrup, and almond butter. My almond butter was not pourable, so I heated it gently on the stove with the syrup so I can mix it through. The big issue I had was that the oats and nut part of the granola needed more time in the oven to go golden. However as this recipe has you mix the fruit in from the start, it started to burn a bit! You can see the dried apple is pretty dark, though it ended up having a nice caramlised flavour. But maybe add the fruit in either at the end or in the last half of baking.
Rating: :)

Apple Cranberry Granola

Baconish Granola from Baconish by Leinana Two Moons: The bacony part of this granola comes from some coconut bacon. Added to a mix of oats, almonds, and dried cranberries. The recipe calls for coconut oil, but I used canola. I made a half recipe and got three serves. I liked that this had a nice, subtle smoky flavour that went really well with the maple syrup flavour and the cranberries.
Rating: :)

Baconish Granola

Cacao Nib Granola Clusters from Cook Share Eat Vegan by Aine Carlin: These are halfway to a bliss ball, but instead are baked. They are a mix of fruit and nuts. The recipe called for figs, but I declined to use them. I used a mix of dates, dried cherries, prunes, raisins, and dried appricots. I accidentally pressed a bit too hard when I was putting the blended mix onto the baking sheet, so it ended up baking pretty solid rather than in clusters. I had to break/chop them up a bit. These were nice, but boy were they super sweet. I served them over a pretty tart natural soy yoghurt, with some fresh fruit as well, but small doses only. They do make a good snack though!
Rating: :)

Cacao Nib Granola Clusters

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Results are back and the good news is that everything is stable! Her kidney disease hasn't advanced, and her thyroid is being controlled with her current medications. So we just continue on as is. Hurrah!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Midweek Munchies: Pantry Meals Edition

Hello friends! One thing I have gotten very used to doing over the past few months is making sure to stock up on some pantry friendly meals. Both because sometimes you can't get things, but also now that we are only getting a weekly grocery delivery there is no guarantee that produce delivered on Thursday will still be in good shape by Wednesday... So this post is dedicated to a few of the pantry meals I have made! By pantry I mean pantry and freezer. One of the nice things about these as well is that as they don't involve a recipe, they involve very little brain power to pop together. Win win!

First up, a classic. Spaghetti and Meatballs! I am not a big fan of Gardein chicken products, but I really enjoy their meatballs. Even better is now they are available from the major supermarkets, so I can get them sent in our weekly delivery! At the beginning of everything, pasta was very hard to come by, so this packet of spaghetti was very special. Also, a random vegan jar of pasta sauce I picked up. Normally I make pasta sauce from scratch when I am making recipes, but nothing beats a jar from the cupboard for convenience. Not included in the 'before' photo, but seen in the 'after', is some frozen spinach that I added to the sauce and also some FYH vegan parmesan from my fridge.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

These Vegie Delight Garlic and Herb Sausages are some of my favourite sausages, and they are easy to order from the supermarket and live in your freezer until you are ready. I always have a packet of them on hand. When veggies were scare, I grabbed a tin of mushy peas for fun. I like mushy peas! Also some potatoes that I just cubed and roasted, and all drenched in some Just Add... vegan gravy (easily made up with the powder and some 'beef' stock).

Sausage and Gravy

Sausage and Gravy

I saved a bit of the gravy to make a roast beef, gravy, and cheese toasted sandwich. The beef was the last of a packet of Redwoods Beef-Style Slices that had been languishing in my freezer, and the cheese was Miyoko's smoked farmhouse from my ridiculous stash of it that I bought when I found it on super clearance sale.

Roast Beef, Gravy, and Miyoko's Smoked grilled sandwich

The final meal is meatloaf! I got this Made With Plants Meatloaf on sale (short-dated) and threw it into my freezer until the time was right. It doesn't technically say you can freeze it, but you can. I mashed some potatoes, cooked up some frozen green beans, and topped it in yet more Just Add... gravy. I don't know what I will do when that stash of gravy powder runs out! These frozen baby green beans have quickly become one of my favourite veggies to keep on hand. I just boil them for a couple of minutes, then drain. They are so sweet and juicy. Previously I haven't been one for frozen veggies (besides peas and corn), but I now consider these an essential in my freezer, and I use them to add a green side to all sorts of things! But back to the meatloaf, you can microwave it or bake it. I was tired, so I just zapped it in the microwave. It has a glaze on it too. It was actually pretty good, but very small. The three of us demolished it for dinner, no leftover meatloaf sandwiches here!

Pantry Dinner

Made With Plants Meatloaf

Made With Plants Meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes, Just Add Gravy

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sleepy Dim Sim

One very sleepy kitty. We went to the clinic yesterday morning for her six monthly senior check up. Everything on her exam seemed stable, given that she is a 20 year old kitty with several issues, but still waiting for her blood results to get back later on today!

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Eating In: The V Word

One of the best finds during isolation was finding out through Instagram that The V Word was doing home deliveries of baked goods and freezer-friendly meals. I had initially found them at their stall at the Brisbane Vegan Expo last year, where I discovered the joys of their Chinois. So I was stoked to be able to get a bunch of stuff delivered. As well as tarts, brioche, and chinois they also had some sandwiches, quiches, and ready meals. You could order the meals for two people or four people, so the first time I ordered for four... but they are so big I ended up just ordering for two from them on because that was more than enough to feed three people! Sadly, they are no longer operating in Brisbane, as they have moved to Toowoomba. Woe! I hope that one day when things are safer, I might make the drive there to pick up some more of their amazing food if they start working at markets again.

Strawberry Custard Tarts are a favourite of mine... as in, one of my favourite foods ever, so I of course had to get some. The minimum order was four, and these were not freezer friendly, so I just had to eat them all over a couple of days. Such a tragedy! So good.

Strawberry Tarts from The V Word

The Quiche Lorraine was freezer friendly, with a minimum order of four, so I was able to enjoy these delicious savoury treats for lunches spread out over a couple of weeks. You could eat them cold, zap them in the microwave, or heat them in the oven depending on what you had time for/were feeling like.

Quiche Lorraine from The V Word

Their lasagne was amazing. You could choose from TVP or lentils, and of course I chose TVP. Amazing tomato TVP sauce, bechamel, and cheesy topping. I ended up ordering three of these.

The V Word Lasagne with Pesto salad

Ahhh... the chinois! Sometimes it was still warm from the oven when it arrived. A chinois is like a pull-apart with scrolls of brioche filled with custard and chocolate chips. It is very special.

Chinois from The V Word

Their moussaka was another excellent ready meal, they all just need heating in the oven. I only ordered this on the last order I made, so I am sad that I cannot have it again.

Moussaka from The V Word

The Croque Monsieur was another freezer-friendly lunch option. It was a minimum order of two, so I ate one the next day and froze the other for a future treat. Once thawed, you just pop it in the oven to heat up. It has smokey tofu and cheese inside, and is topped with bechamel and more cheese.

Croque Monsieur from The V Word

Finally, their loaded mac and cheese. It had smoky tofu bacon and sundried tomatoes in it. I'd probably prefer it without the sundried tomatoes, as I have a complex relationship with them. But it was good, thick, creamy, and cheesy mac and cheese.

Loaded Mac and Cheese from The V Word

Sigh, so hungry and so sad looking at all this food I may never eat again! But it was wonderful while I had it, and what a great service to have delicious vegan meals delivered to your door that you could stash in your freezer for the future. Plus the benefit of supporting a local business. I hope our paths cross again one day!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Speaking of adoption kitties, our newest little friend looking for a home is Halloumi. Can you even with that white fluffy face?