Monday, March 16, 2009

Bring on the cold (or not)!

So, I am going on a holiday tomorrow. Over the sea! This makes me very excited, because it has been about seven years since I last went abroad. I am going to England, for a road trip of awesome with one of my best friends who lives over there. What this means is that I won't be blogging for a few weeks, but that this time I will have an actual good excuse, rather than just not quite getting around to it like the last couple of months.

So, the roadtrip is going to be insane! London, Canterbury, Dover, Brighton (and Vegan Fayre!), Salisbury, Bath, Avebury, Glastonbury, Stonehenge, The Cotswolds, Warwick, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Chester, The Peak District, The Lake District, Hadrians Wall, Edinburgh, York and Cambridge are all on the agenda, plus a few more.

What is also on the agenda is vegan eating! Lots and lots of it, in fact. YUM! So when I get back I shall have a bazillion things to blog about, in addition to all the blog posts I still need to blog. So expect a blogger-thon on my return!

Happy (belated) birthday to Dim Sim!

One month ago today, the teeniest, blackest, most velvety, most precious little princess in the whole wide world (otherwise known as Dim Sim) celebrated her birthday, her 9th birthday in fact. Very traumatising to think that my baby is now 9 years of age!

I'm late in posting this, but a month to the day seemed semi appropriate. I had been waiting to get her super special birthday present, but it is on back order and I won't get it for a little while.

So here are some photos of the birthday girl!



Here she is fast asleep on her chair. What's a birthday kitty to do but sleep?



How about play with our bat dangling toy? Dim Sim's favourite toys are the ones you dangle above her head.



And here she is again, looking the cutest patootiest of all the birthday girls.

As for the super awesome present that hasn't arrived yet, you shall have to wait and see!
Kisses to my fuzzy love!

Menu: Early Autumn Supper from The Complete Vegan Cookbook

Another day, another menu, as I do. To celebrate the start of Autumn I decided to make this Early Autumn Supper menu from The Complete Vegan Cookbook (my second ever vegan cookbook and the first one I started using regularly).

Here's what it has to offer.



Grilled Butternut Squash Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms. Sadness, I'm afraid. The recipe called for such a teeny amount of pumpkin, by the time you add the stock and the soy milk it is very pale and the flavour is so very faint. I didn't have the facilities to grill the pumpkin, so I roasted it. Maybe that had some great influence on the intensity of flavour? It also had cute little soup pasta in it, which added some bulk. Alas, the mushrooms ended up being flavourless and squidgy. *sigh* I served it with fresh wholemeal bread rolls, which were tasty!



Green Bean Salad with Asian Seasonings is much more tasty. I've made this before and it is very tasty. The only problem is that it only makes quite a small amount. Unfortunately, but the time the soup and rolls and salad were done, people were asking if there was a main course. Alas, the answer is no. But there was...



Dried Apricot and Coconut Pudding! The undoubted winner of this menu. It is SO yummy and creamy and sweet. A blog of soy ice cream would go really nice with it.

So, we had a wishy washy pumpkin soup, a lovely but too small salad and an amazing dessert. Not the biggest success, but the dessert is certainly worth repeating and the salad is a great little side.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quiche!

I'm at the clinic tonight and I am sleepy. So here is a random dinner from the rather large collection of photos I still have to share.

It was the second day of the first month of the two-thosand-and-ninth year or the modern world, and something was in the air. I had just finished a horrible New Years Day on call at the clinic (can you say three euthanasias and a blood transfusion) and I needed to do something to cheer myself up. 'Self' I said, 'It is time to make some quiche!' Because what else does one do when one is in need of a joyous distraction?

Dinner came courtesy of that might volume, Veganomicon. It was quite exciting because I made my own pastry, which is something I don't do too often. Why, I am not sure. Because it is FUN! I had held off making the pastry from Veganomicon because it required shortening, and we can't really get the same sort of shortening here in Australia. So I decided to say BOO to that and I just used trusty Nuttelex instead. And it worked so wonderfully! YUM! I am looking forward to making a lot more pastry, especially as we start heading into the cooler months of the year.

While I call him Quiche at home, in public he prefers to go by Asparagus Quiche With Tomatoes and Tarragon. I was intrigued because instead of the usual tofu base it uses white beans, walnuts and asparagus all smooshed up to make the filling. It was a very satisfying dish to make!



And here is The Quiche, looking so smexy and yummy. The texture was softer than some of the other tofu-based quiches I had made, but it was yummy. I think that it may have said it made enough for 6-8 servings. To that I say HAH! We cut it up into four pieces, and even then it was only really filling enough as a light snack. Which meant that Mr Quiche needed a friend.



Meet Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Croutons, also from Veganomicon. OK, so I admit that the book suggested that these two things go together and you know how I am about menu suggestions. This salad is ROCKING. Yummy crunchy lettuce, homemade crunchy garlic croutons and...

(No Clarke! Don't destroy the Fortress you FOOL!)

(Sorry, watching Smallville Season 5)

... the dressing is to die for. Actually, Vegan Tickles blogged this a few days ago, which reminded me of this fabulous combination. Anyway, even if you don't like salad - go and make the dressing and eat it with a spoon. It is seriously that good.



And here they are together. Don't they make a sweet pair?

(Oooohh, James Masters has super glowy eyes of DOOOOOOM).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mexi-Can!

Sadly, my friend Tash from work left us last week to go back to her hometown of Sydney and work in a vet clinic there. Sadness. It means I a also losing my Battlestar buddy, tragically only two weeks out from the season finale!

For a goodbye shindig, several of the girls from work headed out for a farewell dinner at Montezumas. I love Mexican, and I love Montezumas! They are tasty and have a reasonable selection of vegan options. All you need to do is ask for the menu for special dietary requirements and there you go!

So, lets get Mexican!



I'm a non drinker. Partly because I am a driver and partly because it just seems like too much work. So this is my pretty, pretty mocktail. It is a 'Strawberry Crush', which is basically just strawberries and ice all crushed up but it is super yummy and sweet and a very Susan type of drink.



My main course was a vegetarian burrito - minus the nasty cheese and sour cream. It is a feast of beans, rice and tortillas with sadly too few olives on top. Oh, to have more olives!



And because I was super hungry and had a craving for vitamins, this is their amazing salad. I get it minus the cheese, of course. But it is a whole bowl full of raw veggie goodness - celery, carrot, cabbage, radish and broccoli. Plus the super special ingredient - raw apple. So yummy!

They have some other great vegan options as well! Though sadly their dessert options offer no vegan joy.

The following night Tash and I had a private farewell, with dinner from Loving Hut and our last viewing of Battlestar together for a long time. Dinner was awesome! I had the 'Sandy Beach' special, which is rice, vegetables, some sort of faux cutlets and tartare sauce. Yum! We had Vietnamese Rice Paper rolls for starters and Orange Poppy Seed cake for dessert. I have to start taking photos from there! I also had a great lunch there on Monday. I'm going to The Forest on Saturday for dinner, so I must remember to take some pictures!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Summer Al Fresco Menu from Vegan Planet

I made this earlier this week for family night, to mark the end of summer. Well, technically I made this menu on the second day of autumn. But I had been on call and working the last few days of summer, and in all honesty it was a 30 degree day, so it was still feeling summery to us! Unfortunately, this was not eaten al fresco, as my mother is so heat-phobic that as the night was pretty warm we had to stay in with the airconditioning. *brrrrrrr*



The first course was Roasted Corn Chowder. It is made by roasting cobs of corn and then cutting off the kernels to put into the soup, and it is so yummy! The smell of corn roasting in the oven is sensational. It keeps really well too, and I had the left overs two days later for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich to dip. Yum! I highly recommend this.



The first component of the main course was Rosemary-Lemon Potatoes with Black Olives and Sundried Tomatoes. This is really great, possibly because I am addicted to all things potato, but I think everyone would love it! The potatoes are boiled, cut and then fried until starting to brown. It makes a fairly small amount to split for side dishes.



The other part of the main course was Garlic and Herb-Marinated Vegetable Kabobs. The vegetables were mushrooms, fennel, zucchini, golden shallots and cherry tomatoes. The original recipe called for capsicum, but to that I saw ewwww and I subbed the tomatoes. It is also only the second time I have used fresh fennel, which I am really liking! The recipe calls to make eight kabobs - one of each vegetable on each skewer. Maybe my skewers are really long, but it looked ridiculous so I made 4 skewers with two of each on it. The combination of the vegetables and the marinade was fabulous.



And here it is all together with some nice leafy greens, because there must always be green stuff. If I made this again I would double the amount of vegetables so everyone could have two big kabobs. The single kabob on each plate looked a bit lonely. Plus I am a hungry little vegan and I need my foodage!



The meal ended with Fresh Peach Crisp with Almond Butter Cream. Delicious. I really like the fresh peach taste in the crisp, much better than using tinned peaches! The almond cream was also really nice, but use a food processor rather than the blender mentioned in the recipe to smoosh it up or it won't be creamy enough. I also had some with my waffles this morning, and it was yummy!

It was pretty fun to make. Just don't forget to marinate the vegetables ahead of time! I got a little distracted. And it was very nice to eat.

So farewell summer, and hello autumn.