Saturday, 10 November 2018

Eating Out: Two Tables Cafe (Pizza for Dinner edition)

I've posted before about my love of Two Tables Cafe. They recently changed their opening hours during the week from breakfast/lunch to dinner time. The highlight of their dinner menu is definitely the pizzas! There are three flavours, plus their garlic bread. The menu also has burgers, acai bowls, desserts, and there are normally a couple of pasta specials. But let's talk about pizza.

First up, their garlic bread. Which is basically a garlic pizza. This is lovely, salty, and garlicky. It is basically an entire pizza on it's own though, which can be challenging if you are one person eating this and another pizza, but I can report that leftovers are excellent. All pizzas from here pass the important leftover test (they are excellent cold the next day).

Garlic Bread at Two Tables Cafe


My favourite pizza of all is the Melanzane. This has BBQ sauce, eggplant, pumpkin, and onion on it and it is divine! One of the best pizzas I have ever had. This is the one I definitely recommend that everyone must eat.

Melanzane at Two Tables Cafe


The Pomodori is a classic combination of tomato, olives, and sesame cheese. It is savoury and salty, with the sesame cheese giving a lovely creamy contrast.

Pomodori Pizza at Two Tables Cafe


And finally, the Carciofi. I got this to take away when they had a two for one special on World Vegan Day, so I got a couple of pizzas to take home to my family. This one is artichokes and mushrooms with pinenuts and aioli, and is really great.

Carciofi Pizza at Two Tables Cafe


This is my favourite cafe. They know me by name, we have good chats, the atmosphere is lovely, the food is great! I'll have a lot more posts about their food in the future, because they is the place I go to the most!

Two Tables Cafe - 475 Sandgate Road, Clayfield

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo


There's been a lot of Dim Sim talk with all her recent surgeries, but the first of November would have been Gizmo's birthday. I still miss her so much.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Garden of Vegan

One of my earlier cookbooks, The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. You can see what else I have blogged from this cookbook here.

Carrot Ginger Muffins: These muffins are reminiscent of carrot cake, though they are not that sweet. This makes them a good snack. The recipe says it made 6 muffins, but I got 10. I assume they must be using a giant muffin tin. These are also nice split and spread with a little butter when they are warm.
Rating: :)

Carrot Ginger Muffins


Apple Streusel Muffins: If you promise me streusel topping, I want streusel topping. So I scaled up the streusel ingredients from 2TBS sugar as a base to 3TBS. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp on top of each muffin, and you have a nice, crunchy, sweet topping. Again, I assume they made theirs in a big muffin tin, as I got 12 muffins instead of 6.
Rating: :)

Apple Streusel Muffins


Nana Marg's Bran Muffin Mix in a Jar: This quick mix gives you enough for three batches of muffins, though a note it does need to be stored in the fridge. I scaled down for one batch of muffins. It is an equal mix of bran and flour, with cinnamon and other spices and raisins.
Rating: :)

Nana Marg's Bran Muffin Mix in a Jar


Nana Marg's Quick Mix Bran Muffins: Take the above mix, make into muffins. The recipe does involve a mashed banana, apple sauce, oil, and water to be added. I did make 6 muffins with this one, but it filled my regular muffin cups right to the very top and they ended up very big! They are also quite substantial. Now that I write this, maybe the others were made in normal sized muffin tins, they just make them so they overflow when baking for big muffin tops.
Rating: :)

Nana Marg's Quick Mix Bran Muffins


Blueberry Muffins: This is turning into quite the muffin edition! Though this is the last muffin for this round-up. These muffins also have rolled oats in them to make them a little more substantial. I used frozen blueberries, I almost always use frozen berries for these sorts of things. I made this 6 muffin recipe into 10 'normal' (or maybe snack would be the better word) sized muffins.
Rating: :)

Blueberry Muffins


The Most Amazing Chocolate Pudding: This pudding is based on silken tofu, though uses cocoa powder, sugar and olive oil rather than chocolate chips to bring the chocolate. The olive oil was just noticeable, but gave a nice flavour. It is great with some fresh berries.
Rating: :)

The Most Amazing Chocolate Pudding


Chocolate Mint Mousse: Chocolate and mint are not so much my thing, but this one was pretty good. It falls into the silken tofu and melted chocolate category of mousses, and as such was very thick. I used the lesser amount of the mint extract, and also added some maple syrup to mellow it out.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Mint Mousse


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim fast asleep


Dim Sim had her surgery on Tuesday and came home on Wednesday morning. She slept so hard!!! And wanted to spend a lot of that sleeping time on my lap. She is the sweetest. She seems to be dealing well with recovery, still a bit wobbly, but otherwise her normal happy self and not bothering at her stitches. Hopefully we will get the results back this afternoon, and hopefully they will say all clear!

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Eating Out: Grown

I have now been to Grown a number of times, and it is always a lovely experience. Often when I have gone, it has just happened to be cold and rainy, and sitting inside sipping a hot drink is delightful. Also, my mum loves this place, specifically their scrambled tofu. So we've been a few times on a Sunday morning (Saturday mornings are very hard to find a park because there are some markets on down the road) to enjoy the menu. You can see some of my other visits to Grown here.

I mentioned hot drinks, and Grown has a nice selection. I don't drink coffee, but they have lots of options. Here is a Dark Hot Chocolate and a Spiced Chai, both on soy milk. The hot chocolate is particularly amazing, and another one of my mum's favourites.

Dark Hot Chocolate and Spiced Chai at Grown


Here is the famed scrambled tofu, which is served with toast and smoked sesame cheese. Also a hash brown added on, because you should always potato.

Scrambled Tofu and Hashbrown at Grown


I was curious as what their homemade Vegemite would be, so I ordered toast and Vegemite. It was nice, but not Vegemite. It was some sort of sesame based product again, but didn't have that strong salty flavour that I want from when I am having Vegemite.

Homemade Vegemite on Toast at Grown


I enjoyed this lovely dish of polenta and braised french lentils. It was warming, and the flavour was lovely. They've recently redone their menu for summer, and sadly this has been taken off. Hopefully they will bring it back at some stage.

French Lentils and Polenta at Grown


My dad tried the Housemade Hash Brown the one time he has come with us. While they do have the option to add a hash brown as a side to anything, they also make a feature meal of it. It had roasted tomato, avocado, greens, cannellini beans, and capsicum sauce. They have changed the accompaniments slightly in the new menu.

Hash Brown at Grown


While there is a regular toastie on their menu, sometimes they have specials. I got this amazing Tempeh Toastie, which had sesame cheese, spinach, caramelised onions, and aioli in it... and I got a hash brown on the side of course!

Tempeh Toastie Special and Hashbrown at Grown


Grown is a lovely place, and I definitely recommend it. I've been a couple of times since these visits as well, and I am hoping to make it back sometime soon for their dinner menu.

Grown - 21 Buchanan Street, West End - 07 3036 7213

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim has been such a good perfect girl with her stitches, she hasn't been bothering them at all. Unfortunately the results came back to say that they couldn't be sure that the tumours were completely removed. So next week she will go back to the clinic, but will have to have a full general anaesthetic to remove more tissue. She will also have another lump on the back of her neck removed, and her teeth cleaned up, given that if we are going under we are going to do everything that needs doing. She has the best team of vets looking after her, but I am still a very worried mum.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Easy Vegan Cookbook

Generally these days I stay away from more 'basic' vegan cookbooks. Not a slight on them, I just have so many cookbooks now that I don't really need the same recipes over and over again, I look for something with a bit of a different take. But I saw some reviews on other blogs about The Easy Vegan Cookbook by Kathy Hester and it looked like it had some interesting recipes. Though once I got it, I found it hard to get inspired and I didn't anything for ages. I have made a few things, and there are definitely some more I want to make. I haven't done a round-up from this book before, but I did make some blondies from it for a bake sale once.

Maple Walnut Sausage Patties: Breakfast sausage isn't really a thing here in Australian (sausages at breakfast, yes, but not in the US sense). So this recipe is actually really handy as a fast way to make some breakfast sausage patties. I wanted them for some breakfast sandwiches, and a 1/2 recipe made three biscuit-sized patties. The recipe says it makes 16 sausage patties, so I imagine they must be very small. These were fairly sweet, so you may want to cut down on the maple a smidge.
Rating: :)

Maple Walnut Sausage Patties


Mapo Tofu: I had some leftover silken tofu to use up, so I made a half batch of this recipe. Of course, I cut way back on anything spicy to just a teeny smidge of sriracha. Although I made a reduced amount of the solid ingredients, I still made the full recipe of the sauce because I like things saucy. This sauce was really lovely, tangy, and gingery. Served with some rice and baby spinach, I got two serves.
Rating: :)

Mapo Tofu


Broccoli with Spicy Garlic Sauce: This vegetable based stir-fry claims to serve four, but I got only two serves from it over rice. I added some cashews as well, and I think some tofu would be a great addition. I made the sauce not spicy by leaving out the chili flakes. The sauce was a little sweet because of this, so I might decrease the amount of agave if you are taking this route, but it was nice and made plenty.
Rating: :)

Broccoli with Spicy Garlic Sauce


Ann's Vegetable Fried Rice with Tofu: The reason this looks so dramatically dark is because I used dark soy sauce, which made everything very very moody. But it was still a delightful dinner. I used brown basmati rice as my base, as that is what I had leftover from another dinner. I replaced the capsicum with grated carrot, and used 2 packs of the Soyco Japanese marinated tofu that I love. I also cooked the scallions with the onion rather than adding at the end, as raw scallions don't always suit my tummy.
Rating: :)

Ann's Vegetable Fried Rice with Tofu


Veggie Quinoa Drop Biscuits: When life gives you leftover quinoa, make biscuits. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of either vegan butter, shortening, or coconut oil. I used a jar of vegan onion lard (that didn't have any coconut oil) that I got from a Cruelty Free Shop mystery box for this, as I needed somewhere to use it. These biscuits are very tasty, but also quite soft (maybe because of the lard?). I also froze some of them and, after defrosting, reheated them at 180dC in the oven for 20 minutes and then they went very crunchy!
Rating: :)

Veggie Quinoa Drop Biscuits


Pecan Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars: I made these fun bars for a bake sale. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, or apple puree for an oil free option. I used slightly less than 1/2 cup of canola oil (mainly because I couldn't be bothered melting down margerine). The recipe calls for whole-wheat pastry flour, which can be hard to find here, so I used a mix of wholemeal spelt and regular plain white flour. The batter has pecans, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut mixed through it (I added some extra coconut). While I do have a mixer, which the recipe is written for, I did it by hand and it was easy and fine. I did need to bake it for an extra 5-10 minutes, though that is not unusual in my oven.
Rating: :)

Pecan Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars


Applesauce Spice Cake: I made this for some work snacks. The batter, which includes a hefty amount of applesauce as well as a lovely mix of spices, tasted amazing! Unfortunately this was lost a bit once it was baked. It was still good, but I expected more from the batter. I didn't have a 9 inch cake pan, so I used an 8 inch one. I was expecting it to rise a lot, as the recipe calls for a tall pan, but it didn't rise much at all and was quite dense.
Rating: :)

Applesauce Spice Cake


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim had surgery yesterday. Last week she had her senior check and vaccination. Thankfully her blood results came back showing that her kidney disease is pretty stable, but she had two skin lumps and cytology on one came back as a mast cell tumour. Yesterday she was the bravest girl, and had them removed with just sedation and a local anaesthetic. Hopefully the results will come back from the lab showing clean margins, otherwise she will need to have a full GA to cut out more. So fingers crossed!

Friday, 26 October 2018

Eating Out: Brewski and Miss Bliss (a tale of two jackfruit burgers)

Another little combination post. Jackfruit is a fickle friend. In the right hands it can be made awesome, but sometimes it just falls flat. Jackfruit in burgers is definitely a trend at the moment, and I don't mind at all. A good BBQ jackfruit burger is a delight. Here are two I tried, from two very different places.

Brewski:

I've been to Brewski a couple of times before, it is less than 10 minutes walk from my work, or an even shorter drive. The menu there runs the range from omnivore to vegan, so it is a good place for mixed groups. It is a bar, with a large beer selection if that is your thing. The last time I went (on a Tuesday for their $10 burger special), they had changed the menu a bit and introduced their Pulled Jackfruit Burger: Stout infused & applewood smoked jackfruit, rainbow slaw, and smokey BBQ sauce on a maple toasted bun. It was so good! Though very messy, as these things tend to be. But I loved the flavour on the jackfruit and the crunchy slaw. With some fries on the side, of course. I highly recommend.

Pulled Jackfruit Burger and Fries at Brewski


Miss Bliss:

By contrast to the Brewski pub vibe, Miss Bliss is a 'wholefoods' cafe in West End. Again, this is not all vegan, but always has some sweet and savoury vegan options. I've been there once before. Each menu has a Herbivore Burger, and this was the version from earlier this year. They have since changed the menu, and I cannot remember all the particulars, but I feel that it had a mushroom, rocket, jackfruit, pickled onions, and aioli. Served with some sweet potato fries. It was OK. The jackfruit here was in bigger chunks, and was just kind of tomato-ish and didn't have a huge flavour. It was a nice enough burger, but clearly came in second place in this story.

The Herbivore Burger at Miss Bliss


I also had a Pumpkin Spice smoothie while I was there, which was fun. I'm afraid I can't remember exactly what was in it... pumpkin and spices I imagine!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie at Miss Bliss


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

Miss Bliss Wholefoods Kitchen - 85 Vulture St, West End, 4101 - (07) 3844 3208

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Silly adoption kitties


A follow on from the silly adoption kitten series.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Abundance Diet

I love The Abundance Diet by Somer McCowan. I love the focus on fresh vegetables, and Somer's recipe for gooey melty cheese is so quick and easy and tasty, you will love making it. You can see what else I have blogged from this book here.

Annie's Da Cherry Bomb Smoothie: The book has a lot of green smoothies in it, so I will just highlight a few in each post. This one is a bit more brown than green, thanks to a whole lot of delicious cherries. This also has a hefty dose of cinnamon in it, which I love. Somer suggests using stevia to sweeten in all the smoothies. I rarely use any sweetener, as I find the fruit sweet enough. Also I would never use stevia, as I don't like it. This was lovely without anything added.
Rating: :)

Annie's Da Cherry Bomb Smoothie


Ginger Zinger Smoothie: One of my favourite juices is carrot, ginger, and apple... and this is a green smoothie version of that. It calls for carrot juice, which is super hard to find here, so I did use some bottled carrot/ginger/apple juice instead. But it is also made creamy but adding silken tofu, oat milk, banana, and peaches. Plus a ton of ginger! I left out the flaxseed and the sweetener. This was very filling.
Rating: :)

Ginger Zinger Smoothie


Island Bliss Green Smoothie: This is well named, and is very tropical! Based on coconut water, it is a refreshing drink. I used all spinach for the greens instead of spinach and kale, because I just rarely like kale in smoothies. My mixed frozen tropical fruit blend had mango, honeydew, pineapple, and strawberry in it. Definitely no need to any sweetener with that blend! I used some LSA blend rather than ground flax.
Rating: :)

Island Bliss Green Smoothie


Apple and Chai Spice Muesli: I love chai, though tend to avoid the caffeinated black tea ones. I couldn't find chai spice, so I took the option of simmering some rooibos chai loose leaf in oat milk and then straining. I absolutely hate grating apple, so I just finely chopped it. I quartered this recipe to get one serving, and I used some dark agave to sweeten rather than making date paste. As well as oats and apples, it also has raw almonds in it for a protein boost. I soaked mine overnight for a quick breakfast the next day. I didn't find it too filling at first, but I felt full a bit later.
Rating: :)

Apple Chai Spiced Muesli


Quinoa Berry Banana Bowls: I wasn't the biggest fan of the quinoa in this, it was all just a bit bland. It uses pre-cooked quinoa, that is topped with milk, berries, bananas, and hemp seeds (which I forgot). I think it would be better if you had cooked the quinoa with some spices and sweetener to make it come together a bit more.
Rating: :|

Quinoa Berry Banana Bowls


Cream of Mushroom Soup: This is an old favourite, and a great lunch. I made a half recipe, which gave me one good serve. It is made creamy with cashews, and nutritional yeast gives it a slight cheesy hint. Vegan sherry is very hard to find here, so I used some Chinese cooking wine instead.
Rating: :)

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Tomato Basil Bisque: Another old favourite, but made a little fancy. It makes mug size servings, rather than big bowls, if you are following the four servings guide. It is not that filling, so definitely be sure to make a grilled cheese to go with it.
Rating: :)

Tomato Basil Bisque


Moroccan Lentil Stew: I love lentil stew, but this one needs a few tweaks for my preferences. I found it overwhelmingly lemony, and not many of the other flavours came through. It makes a huge amount, so definitely go easy on the lemon!
Rating: :|

Moroccan Lentil Soup


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Silly adoption kitties


Here's a closer look at one of the kittens from the last post, being a very silly girl but really enjoying a good stretch out!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Eating Out: Suburban Cafe

West End has so many vegan options, sometimes places get overlooked. But I am glad that I took the time to try out Suburban Cafe. Located right next to Vegerama, it is definitely worth walking those extra few steps to check out. Especially as they have recently revamped their menu to have several more vegan options.

The first time I went, I was meeting a group of people who were not all vegan. So this is a good place for groups with mixed dietary needs. This was back with their old menu, that only had a few vegan options on there. I tried the Vegan Fritter Stack, which was was nice and fresh, though I have no memory of what any of the special bits about it were. I also got the Iced Vovo Smoothie, but on almond milk rather than coconut milk.

2018-02-24 12.31.01


Vegan Fritter Stack at Suburban Cafe


Another person ordered the vegan burger, which had a chickpea patty.

Vegan Chickpea Burger at Suburban Cafe


It was several months before I went back there again, lured in by the promise of the pancakes on their new menu. These are SO GOOD! They have a pineapple glaze and salsa, with a lemon sorbet (that is not coconut ice cream). The pancakes themselves were fluffy, thick, and filling. And it was the perfect mix of not too sweet and just a little bit savoury. The sorbet was a bit of a letdown in terms of texture though. It was rock solid, so instead of melting into everything I had to cut it with a knife and fork! But still I highly recommend these pancakes! I also had a Raspberry and Pitaya smoothie, made with coconut water, which was so refreshing as I'd been to yoga that morning.

Pancakes at Suburban West End


Pitaya and Raspberry Smoothie at Suburban West End


The good news is that I will definitely be back soon to try more of their vegan options. Because I won a thing! So weird to have two posts one after each other about winning things, when I don't normally win things. And the posts ended up being close completely by chance. But I won a $100 voucher to Suburban in an Instagram competition! Yay Instagram competitions! So there will be lots of new menu trying in the near future.

Suburban Cafe West End - 220 Melbourne St Shop 4, West End, QLD, 4101

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Silly adoption kittens


A flash back to some of our adoption kitties being very silly!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Taste For Life

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Taste For Life, a cookbook put out by Animals Australia in an Instagram competition. The only thing better than buying a new cookbook is winning one, am I right? The first part of the book is set up as an introduction to veganism, with some information on reasons for veganism, suggestions for getting started, very basic nutrition, some easy substitutes, eating out and converting familiar meal suggestions, as well as the basics of kitchen ingredients and equipment. It is a nice little overview, though does tend towards greatly simplifying some of the health benefits. But for those of us who are all up to speed, I am happy to report that the recipes included go far beyond just the basic standards of beginner vegan cookbooks (though there are lots of old favourites as well). I have made some truly lovely things, and I have many more marked.

Ultimate TLTs with Avocado: I am a big fan of any sort of BLT variation, and this is a cracker. The bacon in this case is slabs of marinated and fried tofu. I cut mine a but too thick to really go crispy, but still so yummy. I served mine on regular bread, lightly toasted, rather than Turkish bread rolls.
Rating: :D

Ultimate TLTs with Avocado


Passion for Greens Smoothie (Mango Variation): Of course all vegan cookbooks must have smoothies, and this has a page of suggestions. I made the mango variation of their green smoothie (the original version had passionfruit in it and I am just not a huge fan of passionfruit in smoothies). It is based on coconut water, making a nice refreshing and hydrating post yoga drink. Some ginger added to it would be nice.
Rating: :)

Passion For Greens Smoothie


Caesar Salad with Herb-Roasted Chickpeas: First up, I made this with all cos lettuce and some baby spinach, rather than having kale in the mix. Raw kale, even when massaged, doesn't suit my tummy too well. Besides the salad ingredients, this recipe has two components - the dressing and the chickpeas. The dressing is based on cashews and include aquafaba (handily from the chickpeas you use for roasting), and is lovely. I used garlic powder rather than raw garlic. I also just blended all the ingredients together at once, rather than drizzling in the oil, and it was fine and very creamy. The chickpeas are roasted with a bevy of dried herbs and spices, and are so tasty. They do go a bit soft when folded through, so don't give the crunch of croutons, but the flavour is great.
Rating: :D

Caesar Salad with Herb Roasted Chickpeas


Chinese Mushroom Hotpot: I love mushrooms! I used a mix of oyster, shiitake, shimeji, and black fungus, as well as white mushrooms and some left over portobello stems that I sliced. I got three served of this, served over rice and some steamed spinach. The sauce includes hoisin sauce and five-spice powder, which are two of my favourite ingredients. I added the optional silken tofu, which was a lovely addition.
Rating: :)

Chinese Mushroom Hot Pot


Vegie Stir-Fry with Coconut Red Curry Sauce: For my veggies I used cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, bok choy, green cabbage, and snot peas, but 100% left out the capsicum. The sauce is based on pre-made red curry paste (there are a couple of vegan varieties in Australian supermarkets, I use Thai Gourmet), and was quite mild. I served this with jasmine rice, and got four serves. However, it wasn't super filling, so I would recommend adding some tofu or cashews.
Rating: :)

Vegie Stir-Fry with Coconut Red Curry Sauce


Curried Udon Noodles with Tofu: This was meant to be made with Hokkien noodles, but I had udon so I used them. This was delicious, with a mild curry sauce (I used 2 tsp of mild curry powder instead of 1 tablespoon) and a lot of soy sauce and mirin. They suggest using either tofu puffs or a marinated tofu recipe from the book, I used my favourite quick and easy Soyco Japanese Marinated Tofu from the shops. I left out the capsicum, of course, but also the water chestnuts (I am not the biggest fan) and replaced them with some celery for the crunch.
Rating: :D

Curried Udon Noodles with Tofu


Smoky Southern Black Beans with Coconut Rice: Another wonderful meal! I scaled it down a little to use 1 and a 1/2 tins of black beans, rather than two whole cans, though I still used the full amount of tinned tomatoes. I also halved the amount of rice from 1 cup to 2 cups, and cooked it in my rice cooker with a combination of light coconut milk and water. This gave me about three serves. Really nice.
Rating: :D

Smoky Southern Beans with Coconut Rice


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim is suspicious of the close up camera!