Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boo!

Well, didn't my post-MoFo declaration of blogging a couple of times every week just fall down and get lost somewhere. No real excuse, just time going by at a rather alarming rate! I am also horrendously behind on reading blogs, but don't think I am neglecting you! I am slowly working through, so when I get to your blog you will see about a bunch comments from me on all the posts I have missed. ;)

I have a lot to blog about - there have been some exciting events and I have had some sort of a social life! I know, it boggles my mind too!

The last thing I blogged about was my fantastic trip to Sydney, which involved a lot of fabulous food and fun times with my wonderful Browncoats! The next weekend was Halloween. Halloween isn't really a thing in Australia, though some people and some shops seem to think it should be. I am glad, I have no desire to have people knocking on my door demanding lollies! But still, it was a Saturday night and it was an excuse for a bit of a spooooooky party! A How to Host a Murder, to be precise.

Our murder party was called 'The Good, The Bad and The Guilty', and was a wild west themed event. My character was Butch Chastity, the famous outlaw. Apparently my character was meant to be totally butch, but being that the one thing I am not is butch I went for the cute cowgirl look. After all, did Buffy not teach us that we girls can kick some serious butt, save the world and still look damn adorable while doing so? Sadly, I don't have a photo to give you right now! I need to get some pictures off Jen's camera, but she is overseas right now. But I will put one up when I do get them. I will tell you though - sequined pink cowgirl hat!


I can show you a picture of my trusty steed though. This is 'Spot-O-Silver', the Appaloosa of Sin. For those feeling strangely nostalgic upon seeing him, he is a Grand Champion from years ago, and he also makes neighing and galloping noises when you press the button on his back! If you don't understand that Appaloosa Of Sin reference, then shame on you and go and download Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog immediately. For those who do, welcome geek friends of awesome! Sing it with me now... 'Bad Horse. Bad Horse! Bad Horse. Bad Horse! He ride across the nation, the thoroughbred of sin...'.


Here are a couple of the other guests. We have Elias Truist-Heath, the heart-throb gunfighter with a mysterious orphaned past and the delightful Elvira Lynn Fekshin, inspiration for the song My Heart Burns For You And Other Places Too, aka the whore. Oh sorry, did I say whore? I meant madam. ;)

Food wise, we were going to keep it western and simple with a barbeque. The other kids had general charred meat products (you know what they say about that!) and I fried up some Sanitarium vegan sausages for myself. I also provided the salads.


Amazing Grace Pasta Salad from The Garden of Vegan. I love this salad, it is your basic creamy pasta salad with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, snow peas and basil in it. So yummy. Apparently you can also put red capsicum in it, but we all know how I feel about that.


Fantastic Dijon Potato Salad from The Garden of Vegan. Fantastic indeed - this thing is five stars of awesome! This is not a creamy potato salad, rather the dressing is made up of oilve oil and red wine vinegar with dijon and garlic. And lots and lots of dill! Nom. The recipe calls for 14 small new potatoes but I found this made a teeny amount when you are wanting to serve for a crowd (to be fair the recipe does say this makes 2-4 servings). I doubled the amount of potatoes, but still used the original amount of ingredients for the dressing - it makes more than enough to go around the extra potatoes!


Here is my plate - with some baby spinach and some cooked onion as well. It was nom.


For dessert I pulled out the mighty Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and I made Brooklen Brownie Cupcakes. These were lucky to make it to cupcake form - the batter of these is fantastic and I could have just eaten the whole lot with a spoon! It contains melted chocolate, enough said! It also has black cherry preserves. I could only find really chunky jam with whole cherries, so I just gave it a quick blend up with the hand held to make it smooth, as the cherries are there for depth of flavour rather than actual cherriness. I had to leave out the bourbon/whiskey, as I found we did not have any and there was no time to head out for some. I got a bit confused with the making of though. It says in the introduction it makes 15 cupcakes, and not to overfill the liners or they will sink. But in the instructions it says to fill the liners full with batter. Following the instructions only gave me 12 cupcakes, and once cooked the tops were quite spread out. So maybe next time only fill three quarters full! The Chocolate Brownie Frosting make about twice as much as you need to top the cupcakes. I just used pecan halves rather than chopped walnuts to top them. The result is an insanely rich, decadent brownie. Keep a glass of water next to you!


Well, it was the Wild West. And in the story we were all gathering to attend a hangin'. I wonder what the graduation bear did??

And finally a random food photo, which was actually my lunch for that day. I had a big weekend of cooking and baking going on, which you will see more of the results of in my next post. I started cooking on Friday to get everything ready in time. All this prep work makes a girl hungry!


Sleepy Sunday Morning Scramble and Cajun Tomato Potatoes from La Dolce Vegan. Yummy! The tofu in particular gets a great flavour.

Stay tuned for the results of my mammoth bake-a-thon for the next day!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


What would a halloween post be without a black cat? It is my Dim Sim! Who is in no way a giver of bad luck if she crosses your path, that's just silly. Dim Sim dislikes halloween because I make her stay in side for a couple of days because I am a paranoid mother and worry about sickos out there looking for black cats. She also dislikes Friday the 13th, where I do the same thing. Maybe I am crazy, but at least I know my baby is safe. ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sydney part 4 - Sunday.

So I totally fell at the final hurdle for VeganMoFo, coming in at 18 posts... so close, so far! But I have a really good excuse, I promise! The last couple of days of October for me were a mad rush of baking, socialising and eating! So no time for blogging. I have really enjoyed participating in AusNZVeganMoFo and VeganMoFo this year, and it really has got me back into the blogging mood! I hope to continue blogging at least two or three times a week from now on.

I had one more Sydney tale left to tell. Sunday morning came along and Di and I were up early (the others were sleeping off the afterness of a bad night of badness... e.g alcohol and a late night) to head back to Naked Espresso for more brunch - hurrah! We had already decided that Sunday would be PANCAKE DAY!


I started my brunch with some hot chocolate. I don't drink coffee, it's gross and makes me feel sick. Hot chocolate at Naked Espresso is an experience! When the barista came over, he had a glass filled with some brown sludge on the bottom. WTF? Melted chocolate, my friends! He then proceeds to half fill the glass with hot soy milk, pausing for you to stir it up, and then fills the glass all the way and tops it off with some freshly shaved chocolate sprinkles... AWESOME! And delicious. :)


Now for the pancakes, how gorgeous are they? A delicious stack of buckwheat pancakes with fruit layered between them and maple syrup drizzled all over. Nom, nom, nom. But I knew early on this wouldn't be enough to sate my hungry vegan appetite! So, what is better than a stack of pancakes?


A stack of pancakes with Redwood bacon, extra maple syrup and hashbrowns on the side! Oh yeah. This sounded so good that Di ordered it as well. The result? Absolutely delicious!


And here is our experiment: Pancake, hashbrown and bacon in a stack covered in maple syrup. Pretty darn good! We suggested they could serve a pancake, hashbrown and bacon stack with fruit on the side for future brunches. ;)

After this we caught a bus down to Circular Quay for the Sydney Opera House Open Day. At about this time it started absolutely bucketing down rain! Even with my umbrella my shoes were soaked through and the bottom of my pants were wet! Thankfully the waiting area to get in was undercover. We did the behind the scenes tour, which was pretty nifty though kind of claustrophobic - it is a rabbit warren in there. Were the people who designed it on some sort of crazy drugs? There were also a lot performers roving around... musicians in the stairwells and goblins and gargoyles traipsing the halls. Pretty fun!

When we got out it was still raining... only HARDER! More soggy feet and pants followed, though it was worse for the others that didn't have an umbrella at all!


The Sydney Harbour Bridge on a grey and drizzling day. Still pretty!

After this we hustled on down to City Extra, a cafe at Circular Quay. Not really vegan, but when the lovely waitress asked what I would like I ordered a strawberry milkshake with soy milk and no ice cream, no dairy of any kind. She was very good and clarified exactly what I wanted in it - strawberry and soy milk only! My drink came and I took a great big sip... only to regret it as soon as I had swallowed. I checked and my drink was suspiciously thick and when I stirred it a bit glob of white floated to the top. I asked the waitress who went and asked the kitchen and she was mortified to tell me they had put CREAM IN IT! Blergh. After about 5 minutes my stomach decided I needed to take an impromptu trip to the bathroom. As a result, the restaurant comped the bill for the whole table. Which was a bonus for the others but didn't really help me. The poor waitress seemed to be copping the blame for it, but she took such meticulous instructions I can't see how it was - it wasn't her fault the moron in the kitchen can't read.

So home we went, and I reclined on the sofa feeling all rather ill and disgusting. To take my mind off the misfortunes of self-induced lactose intolerance (hello nine years no dairy) and that crazy irrational guilt I feel after accidental consumption of animal products I introduced myself finally to 30 Rock. Hilarious!

But my salvation was at hand. Normally when I go to Sydney we all get together for a massive yum cha at Green Gourmet. But recently information has come to light indicating that Green Gourmet has been LYING about the animal content in some of their mock meats. In fact if you go and buy them in the store next door, they have simply blacked out the egg and dairy ingredients. *sigh* So to make up for it the wonderous Leigh was going to make one of her famous Mexican feasts for me!


From left to right - multicoloured corn chips (yellow corn, blue corn, spinach and I can't remember what the red ones were), refried beans, guacamole, jalapenos and queso (made with the famous casheeze). Also pictured my peppermint tea for tummy soothing properties.


And from left to right again - Mexican not-pork, stir-fried cactus, salsa and olive salsa.

It was a fantastic and delicious feast! And totally revived me and made me feel human again. Apparently she didn't have enough time to make as much as she wanted to - how big could such a feast possibly be?? Nom, nom, nom!

That was my last night in Sydney. The next morning I was up and off to Newtown to stock up on Larabars, then to the airport and home. It was a wonderful weekend, I love my Sydcoats and cannot wait to do it again!

On another note, for about three days after my dairy experience I was mildly nauseous and felt extremely sluggish and often lightheaded. I wondered if this was how I felt before I went vegan, but I was just used to it and didn't realise? Anyway, I am happy to report that I am all back to my happy happy self now.

Cute Kitten Photo of the Post


All the boys - Fray, Wesley and Caleb. I had this bay window in my room, which the cats loved to sit on and watch the world go by!