Monday, 24 January 2011

Goodbye Little Brother... Again.

Last year my little brother moved to London. He came back for Christmas and stayed for several weeks. I have already posted about Christmas, but there were several other fun times to be shared.

Cooking for Melissa and Tnee

Greg's best friend Tnee and his wife, Melissa, came over for dinner with their little bub Ella. Greg put the menu together, and I helped out as well.

The main part of dinner was Pasta Norma, which was a naturally vegan recipe from an omni Italian cookbook Greg brought home from London, which was a big plate of penne pasta with tomatoes and eggplant. Very yummy! The eggplant, instead of being cooked in the sauce, was sauteed separately and mixed in at the last minute, and retained a great texture and taste. Greg chose to serve Cos lettuce leaves as well and we made the Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette from 1000 Vegan Recipes. Also on the plate, from the same trusty tome, are some Mushrooms Stuffed with Spinach and Walnuts, which were lovely. However the stuffing seemed to make two to three times more than would fit in the mushrooms!

Dessert was Grilled Orange and Strawberry Skewers from 1000 Vegan Recipes. I wasn't able to grill in the American sense, so I grilled in the Australian sense, which is broiling in the American sense. Delicious fruit marinated in Grand Marnier and then cooked, which I served with ice cream.

A Fleeting Moment In Time - Greg's Concert

My brother is an awesome jazz musician, and he is considered a 'son' of the Brisbane Jazz Club. He had one gig when he was back in the country, and this was it. The BJC itself is situated on the bank of the Brisbane river, and was swamped in the floods, so the event was held at a venue in the Valley. Hopefully lots of money was raised during the night to help them with rebuilding.

Before the gig, my parents and I went to Loving Hut for some vegan pre-show noms.

We started with a plate of Hearty Nuggets, which are just crispy tasty little morsels of vegan protein.

I also enjoyed my favourite Loving Hut drink, the Iced Chai. Delicious!

My mum had the Seven Seas Delight, which is one of my favourites. Vegan protein wrapped in seaweed and smothered in a lively sweet/salty sauce. Served with rice, chilled broccoli and pickled vegetables.

Dad had Crispy Chow Mein, beefy-style protein and vegetables in sauce serve over crispy noodles. Yummy.

I tried something new on the menu - lasagne! And it was goooooood. The creamy sauce was so tasty. I love a vegan lasagne! Not pictured here is my dessert, which was a passionfruit cheesecake. My favourite of their flavours.

Then we headed off the to the gig, which was awesome. It is very special seeing your brother playing so well in front of a packed out venue. Oh, and remember how I said we had his friends Tnee and Melissa over? They happen to also be amazing jazz musicians - Tnee on instrumentals and Melissa with her amazing voice! Check out Melissa's website to find out more!

Here he is, playing on his bass. Super cool.

Farewell Dinner

I made Greg a farewell dinner for his last night. Given his love of Italian food, I chose the Italian Menu from 1000 Vegan Recipes.

First up was Classic Crostini with Black and Green Olive Tapenade. I added some chopped tomato to some of them for a bit of a change. The crostini is essentially baked (toasted) baguette slices. The tapenade is very easy to make (according to my mother who made it, I had to duck into the clinic for a cat emergency).

I couldn't make the salad required by the menu, because I could not find any radicchio. Woe. So instead I made a salad of baby greens and cherry tomatoes and served it with this Italian Dressing from Vegan Vittles, which was light and tangy and a little sweet. Good stuff.

The main was Ziti with Abruzzese Vegetable Ragu, which was loads of penne (I made the whole pound because there were five eating, with lots left over, normally I would use 250g pasta and just have it extra saucy) served with a red wine and tomato sauce with onions, carrots and yellow capsicum - yes, capsicum! Chopped small and stewed the yellow kind is not too bad and didn't hurt my tummy.

Dessert was Sweet Polenta with Grilled Pineapple and Strawberry Sauce, which was very handy to make ahead. The sweet polenta is cooked then chilled in a pan for several hours. I actually grilled the pineapple early in the day on the George Foreman grill and then reheated it in the oven with the polenta. The polenta did not go golden brown, even with a slight increase in temperature. Also, the strawberry sauce takes about three seconds to make.


And then he was gone. *sniff* Here he is heading off at the airport to his flight. The upshot of this is that I was up at 4am today to get him to this flight. I am looking forward to a good sleep tonight!

To console myself, I made this Tapenade and Tomato Pizza from 1000 Vegan Recipes for lunch. It used some left over tapenade and is on one of the yummy fresh vegan pizza bases I get from the local deli. It was nom.

So there he goes, off for another year. Right now he should be approaching his stop over in Korea.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Our sweet old boy Possum, stopping to smooch some violets in the front yard. Too beautiful.

(% '1000 Vegan Recipes' Blogged: 8.9%)

Information on QLD Flood Relief.


  1. I saw you at Loving Hut on Saturday night - I knew you looked familiar but I couldn't place you! :) My hubby tried the lasagne too and thought it was quite nice, although he thought the eggplant was fake meat and so was disappointed. I tried a little of it and thought the sauce was really nice.

  2. That iced chai looks incredible. Sad that your brother had to leave! Do you ever get to visit over in London?

  3. Impressive spreads for your brother!

  4. Everything looks absolutely delicious- but that kitty pic is one of the best!

  5. You're just adorable. Meet me Upstairs, girl, where I'll kiss your feet. God bless.

  6. That's the sweetest picture of the kitty. Mine have just dug up all my native violets!!