Friday, April 20, 2018

Eating Out: Tea Master

Tea Master has been a Valley fixture for many years, and yet I had never been there. I was so busy going to my favourite Kuan Yin that I never quite had time for it. Even after Kuan Yin closed, I still didn't make it in there for ages. Until the end of last year. I was going to a cat comedy show with a work friend, and it all lined up for us to try it out. She is an omni who had never eaten mock meat or in a vegan restaurant before, but she was excited to try it out. The best attitude!

They have a large selection of exciting drinks at Tea Master, so I started with a Passionfruit Bubble Tea with added Lychee Jelly (as well as pearls, of course). The jelly was a bit off, it was in a large piece rather than in little bits, so I had to stab it a lot with the straw to break it up so I could drink it. But very refreshing!

Passionfruit Bubble Tea with Lychee Jelly at Tea Master

We decided to share a bunch of dishes, which meant we got to sample a lot of entrees. Not everything there is vegan, but everything that is vegan is very clearly marked on the menu, so there is no confusion. Hannah jumped right into the mock meat world with some satay chicken skewers. We also got some spring rolls, and some steamed dumplings, because you should always get dumplings!

Satay Skewers at Tea Master

Spring Rolls at Tea Master

Steamed Dumplings at Tea Master

I was excited because they had two of my favourite things on the menu - radish cakes and beancurd rolls. Unfortunately, neither were what I was hoping. The radish cakes were small and weirdly fried. And the beancurd rolls were filled with some sort of mock stuff, and were small and hard and not saucy enough. Regular readers will know what I mean when they see them, given the number of times I have posted perfect beancurd rolls on here.

Radish Cakes at Tea Master

Bean Curd Rolls at Tea Master

We also shared a main, the Roasted Duck Noodles. I am not normally one for vegan duck, I find it too oily, but this had come recommended by Jojo, and I trust her judgement. It didn't fail, being a tasty savoury dish. And yes, the duck was a bit too oily as I knew, but the flavours made up for it.

Roasted Duck Noodles at Tea Master

I ended sweetly with another drink, this time a Strawberry Bubble Tea, with pearls but no extra jelly.

Strawberry Bubble Tea

I enjoyed the visit to a new to me restaurant, and I was happy that Hannah enjoyed her first vegan restaurant as well. Overall I am still a little mixed on Tea Master (the ruination of radish cakes and bean curd rolls sits heavy with me), though it definitely has some tasty dishes. I have been back a couple more times since then, and I will share those visits in due time.

Tea Master Vegetarian Cafe - Shop8/115 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley - (07) 3257 0038

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sleepy Dim Sim

My sleepy miss had a check up last week to make sure her bloods were stable, and I am happy to report that they are. Her liver enzyme is still a little elevated, but the nature of her sort of inflammatory liver disease in older cats is that it is a chronic issue. As long as she is clinically well, which she is, that is the main thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Hearty Vegan Meals

Hearty Vegan Meals For Monster Appetites, by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, is now sold under the name Home Cooked Vegan Comfort Food. Whatever title you have it under, it is full of decadent and filling meals. I've already done a few round-ups from this book, so be sure to check them out for more recipes that I have made. Today's post starts with a salad, but then is pretty much all about dessert! As I wrote this, I realised that all but one of the desserts have marshmallows. There was a time when I had a bunch of marshmallows and marshmallow creme that I brought home from the US to use up. I guess this was that time!

East Cost Meats West Coast Pasta Salad: This salad is packed full of tofu, artichokes, red onion, broccoli, olives and tomatoes. I left out the pepperochinis. The dressing uses quite a lot of oil, I always sub some out for water mixed with guar gum otherwise I feel a bit icky, but is tanky (lots of balsamic and Dijon) and makes for a lovely salad. I used half the amount of pasta, but the same amount of vegetables (you could even use more), and decreased the dressing quantity a little. Rating: :)

East Coast Meets West Coast Pasta Salad

S'more Pie: This is a very rich treat - a biscuit crust (I used Digestives as graham crackers are not a thing here), with a chocolate/tofu/cream cheese/marshmallow cream filling. Oh my! The base was a bit crumbly, especially up the edges, so might need a touch more melted butter to firm it up. The base is baked, then cooled, then the filling is added and it is chilled in the fridge. The final touch is to top with more marshmallow cream, and then caramelise it using a kitchen torch. I have a torch, but it doesn't work, so I took the option of using the grill (which is what we call the broiler in the oven in Australi), but I wouldn't recommend it as the filling also started to melt a little!
Rating: :)

S'more Pie

Grasshopper Pie: I am not a huge fan of mint myself, but I made this for a mint-mad friend. A buttery Oreo base (we don't have Newman O's here, so Oreos it is), filled with a cream cheese and marshmallow filling. Unlike the S'more Pie, this one uses melted marshmallows rather than marshmallow cream. The filling has one teaspoon of peppermint extract in it, which was very pepperminty for me. But I still enjoyed a small piece, plus then I had minty fresh breath after.
Rating: :)

Grasshopper Pie

Sugar Rush Cereal bars: These look a little ugly, but they are a gooey and sweet treat. The cereal in question is a crispy corn cereal, suggested is either Cap'n Crunch or Gorilla Munch. The Cap'n has never made it to our shores, but I was able to find some Gorilla Munch. The box was a little less than the 12 ounces required, which probably added to the gooey-ness! As well as cereal, these have butter, marshmallows, and chocolate clips.
Rating: :)

Sugar Rush Cereal Bars

Red Eye Treats: These have coffee in it, so I was making them for a friend. I only tried a bit, as I don't coffee, and I did find the coffee taste to be quite strong. Though I didn't have any coffee powder, only coffee granules, so they may not have melted into the mixture quite as well. I didn't want to buy coffee, so I just used whatever Mum had in the cupboard. This also had peanut butter, puffed rice, and lots of syrups.
Rating: :| (but my friend liked them, I just don't like coffee taste much)

Red-Eye Treats

Graham Cracker Cake: Well, really a Digestive Biscuits Cake, but whatever. Delicious! Biscuit crumbs are part of the cake mixture, which is then topped with Dandies and baked. The recipe says to bake for 30 minutes, the I needed 50 minutes. The Dandies came out of the oven puffed up and quite hard, but then they softened overnight. An excellent treat.
Rating: :D

Graham Cracker Cake

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Pound Cakes: I made these for a bake sale, and they were well received! The recipe says it makes 8 mini-loaves. I only have 6 mini-loaf pans, so for the rest I used a Texas-style muffin tin (which took the same quantity of batter)... and I still got 12. 8 loaves would be pretty big! There was meant to be dandiesin the batter, but in a tragic twist something ate into my bag of Dandies. Devestation, so I had to leave it out of the batter but was able to put some on top of each portion. The muffins took 35 minutes to bake, and the loaves 30 minutes.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Pound Cakes

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim is shocked. Shocked, I tell you. This photo was taken shortly after I manually removed some calculus from her tooth (read, cracked it off using my thumbnail), and she wasn't quite sure what to make of it!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets April 2018

Another second Sunday of the month, another morning Brisbane Vegan Market! I couldn't eat too much this time, as I was having some appetite issues due to some medication. But I still tried my best!

Starting off with my beloved Green Street Foods! They had a new menu item, The Aussie Burger. A homemade bun (that is GF), beetroot ketchup, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion, a Veef patty, cheese, and pineapple relish. It was delicious! The only logistical problem was that the ketchup soaked through the bottom bun and it broke in half pretty quickly, so I had to finish eating it with a fork.

The Aussie Burger from Green Street Foods at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I also got a large Apple, Mint, Ginger, and Lime juice from a lemonade stall there.

Apple, Mint, Ginger, and Lime juice at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I wasn't feeling too hungry after that, so I went straight for dessert at I Should Coco. The special of the month was 'Cloudy With A Chance of Sprinkles' - white chocolate, marshmallows, and sprinkles. I asked for mine with regular chocolate sauce, so I have dubbed it 'Stormy With A Chance of Sprinkles'.

Stormy with a Chance of Sprinkles from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I rallied a little bit after that, and had some Tofu Satay Skewers from Malaysia Nonya House.

Satay Tofu from Malaysia Nonya House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

My friends also ordered from Green Street Foods, including two favourites - Mac and Cheese, and the Krabby Burger. Tracee also got some bao from Nonya House - one satay, and one 'super vegan'.

Mac and Cheese from Green Street Foods at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Krabby Burger from Green Street Foods at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Satay Bao and Super Bao from Malaysia Nonya House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

For my take home treat, I deviated from the norm. I am not normally one for cupcakes, but I do like supporting new vegan businesses. Pippa's Pantry was having their first markets, and had a lovely array of cupcakes. I picked a Jam Doughnut, and it is the best cupcake I have had in a long time... maybe ever. The cake part was sweet, vanilla, and moist. The icing was not too sweet, and balanced by the jam and a perfect coating of crunchy cinnamon sugar. Delicious!

Pippa's Pantry at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I won't be going to the May markets, because that is the same morning as Eurovision. So I will be up early, live tweeting, and ready to vote for that! But I should be back to the markets in June.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Ball of silent rage

She has a bit of a curious face on because of the camera, but before I took the photo this little chocolate delight was a silent ball of rage, disgusted at the fact that she had to stay in boarding and was not at home. So cute in her fury! She mellowed out by the end of the two days she stayed with us.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cruelty Free Shop April 2018 Vegan Mystery Box

This is the second last box of my 6 month subscription, time goes so fast. Can you believe that we are in April already? You can order your very own box here. Let's see what was in the April box!


  • Go Organic Chocolate Ginger Chews: Pretty excited for these, and they are pretty great! Chewy with a nice blend of chocolate and ginger flavours, including that ginger heat that I love.
  • Melinda's Chocolate Fudge Mug Brownie: I've had these before, and they are nice. A very quick dessert when the craving hits!
  • Nature's Charm BBQ Jackfruit: Now I don't even need to cook jackfruit before I add it to a sandwich! The future it now.
  • Nakd Berry Delight Bar: I have been a big fan of Nakd bars for several years. This is my second favourite flavour (the first is Rhubarb Custard).
  • Happy Caramel Popcorn: Regular readers will know that I am not a huge fan of either popcorn or caramel, however the caramel flavour on this comes entirely from brown sugar, and I do like brown sugar.
  • Coconut Choc Chip Clif Bar: I am a die hard peanut butter fan when it comes to Clif Bars. The other flavours are just always too sweet and not quite what I want them to be. Another reason I stick to the peanut butter flavour is that the chocolate chips in Clif Bars are not FEP approved.
  • Sweet William Easter Bunny Face: I just hate Sweet William chocolate with a fiery passion. I gave this too my dad.
  • Riega Veggie Fajita Seasoning: We got the Dal version of this in last month's box. I am planning on cooking up some veggies for a lunch with this at some point, hoping that the chili in it is very mild!
  • Moo Free Easter Bunny: I am meh on this brand of chocolate, but at least it is FEP approved!

So, definitely not as good as last month's box. Though that was one of the greatest boxes ever! Still, a couple of things I am happy for, the rest I am a bit meh on. I hope next month finishes up strong!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

ET Phone Home

Sometimes at work, we make our own fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Greens 24/7

How about some more greens? I do love greens! I was pretty excited to find a copy of Greens 24/7 by Jessica Nadel on sale for $10 at one of those book stands in the middle of shopping centres. They actually had quite a few vegan cookbooks there, which was nice to see! And I had a nice chat to the sale person about vegan food. So all around good. This book is filled with recipes highlighting greens, with chapters including Smoothies and Breakfasts, Green Sides and Small Bites, Green Soups and Salads, Green Main Meals, and Green Cakes and Desserts. I have made a lot of the smoothies, of course, so I hope you will indulge me with this post that is half smoothies!

Tropical Green Smoothie: This is sweet and tropical, with mango and banana. The liquid is meant to be a mix of pineapple juice and water, though I used a blend leftover juice from some tinned pineapple and coconut water.
Rating: :)

Tropical Green Smoothie

Chocolate Superfood Smoothie: This smoothie needed to be colder and thicker for my preference, the only frozen thing in it was banana. It gets its name from raw cacao powder, cinnamon, chia, maca, and a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Superfood Smoothie

Cherry-'Kale' Quencher Smoothie: I used spinach instead of kale, I am just not a huge fan of a lot of kale in smoothies. This is a tart and refreshing smoothie, and perfectly cold and thick if you use frozen cherries like I did/ I reduced the amount of avocado in it to 1/4, rather than a 1/2, because too much avocado in smoothies makes me feel a little queasy. This uses coconut water and pomegranate juice as the liquid, making it an excellent post hot yoga breakfast.
Rating: :)

Cherry-Kale Quencher Smoothie

Back to Basics Green Smoothie: This is pretty much similar to my regular smoothie mix, though using strawberries instead of mango. I used all frozen fruit, to make it cold and thick.
Rating: :)

Back to Basics Green Smoothie

Peachy Keen Green Smoothie: This smoothie was so yummy! Peaches, celery, cos, and banana make a creamy and sweet delight. The recipe needs a small amount of apricot juice, and I didn't feel like buying a whole big tin of nectar, so I just soaked some dried apricot in water overnight and added that. I could taste the lettuce a bit in the aftertaste, but overall it was superb.
Rating: :D

Peachy Keen Green Smoothie

Bubble and Squeak: This is a mix of mashed potatoes in cabbage that is fried, baked on the stove, and then grilled. Mine didn't really get firm or crispy enough to slice and serve, I had to scoop. Though I don't have a cast-iron pan, which may have contributed. I would have liked some more cabbage in it, but I will never complain about lots of potato! It said is serves four, I got three serves as a side to some scrambled tofu.
Rating: :)

Bubble and Squeak

'Spicy' Peanut Noodle Bowl: Of course, I left out most of the spicy, using just a small bit of sriracha to bring a gentle heat. I also decreased the amount of soba from 450g to 180g, and added 200g of Japanese marinated tofu, which gave 3-4 serves. I changed the order of events a little. I blended the sauce before cooking the noodles, then stir-fried scallions and tofu, added the cooked noodles and greens (broccoli, snow peas), added the sauce, and then cooked through to head.
Rating: :)

Spicy Peanut Noodle Bowl

Ginger Bok Choy and Sweet Peas with Miso-Glazed Tofu: This attracted my attention immediately - miso and tofu are two of my favourite things. The tofu is smothered in a miso and mirin mixture, then grilled. It is meant to be 450g tofu sliced into 12 slices, though I found I only had enough of the glaze to cover 8 or 9 slices, so I made some more. The end taste is subtle, but nice. I couldn't find snap peas, so I used snow peas, and I served it over an ancient grains blend rather than just quinoa.
Rating: :)

Ginger Bok Choy and Sweet Peas with Miso-Glazed Tofu

Creamy Spinach Curry With Tofu Paneer: This is so simple and fast to make, and very tasty. The saucy sauce is a mix of pureed tinned tomatoes, light coconut milk (the recipe called for full fat, but given my coconut fat sensitivity I only ever use light), and spices. Tofu cubes (I used a medium-firm tofu, and 250g rather than 175g) are simmered, before spinach is added. I couldn't find any bunches of spinach, so I used all baby spinach leaves. Served over brown basmati rice, that soaks up all the sauce.
Rating: :D

Creamy Spinach Curry with Tofu Paneer

Moroccan Tagine with Apricot Couscous: This is a big mix of vegetables, chickpeas, and spices that is served over couscous soaked with diced dried apricots and cinnamon. I had to add some extra water to the vegetables for the simmering time to get everything soft. It was a lovely combination of ingredients, though I wish ths sauce just had a little bit more depth.
Rating: :)

Moroccan Tagine with Apricot Couscous

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Leilu blep

This sweet girl is a boarder at work. She loves to go 'blep'!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Eating Out: PingAn Veggie Time

While there are many vegan-friend Thai places around, Brisbane also has its very own 100% vegan Thai Restaurant. PingAn Veggie Time is a small, cheery restaurant that is serving up some lovely food. There is a big menu, so you are sure to find something good. It is over the other side of town from me, so I have only been twice so far.

The first time I went with my mum for lunch one Saturday. I am happy to report that they have some excellent fun drinks to choose from. I had a tart and refreshing pomegranate juice with basil seeds, and Mum had the tamarind juice.

Pomegranate Juice with Basil Seeds and Tamarind Juice at PingAn Veggie Time

We shared some entrees. The Chicken Drumsticks are that fabulous, wrapped yuba style, deep-fried drumstick goodness. One was enough for me, as they are quite fried, but they are definitely fun. We also got some Roti with Peanut Sauce, which ended up being a pretty big serving! We definitely filled up on roti. It was lovely though, and the peanut sauce was great.

Chicken Drumsticks at PingAn Veggie Time

Roti with Peanut Sauce at PingAn Veggie Time

Mum ordered the Special Red Curry with Duck, Lychees, and Pineapple. This reminded me of one of my favourite dishes from Green Palace Thai in Sydney, though I could only eat a little as it was a bit too spicy for me these days. But it was good, and Mum adored the sauce.

Special Red Curry with Duck, Lychees and Pineapple at PingAn Veggie Time

I ordered my favourite - Pad See Ew. Happy to report that this was a very nice one! A bad Pad See Ew is a tragedy.

Pad See Ew at PingAn Veggie Time

I went back once for lunch on a weekday. This time I tried a Pandan Juice with Chia Seeds, which was mostly just sweet without too much flavour. They also do lunch specials, so I got some Tofu and Veggies with Satay Sauce. I enjoy their peanut sauce. The rice was the cutest little dolphis shape, it was hard to ruin it with my fork!

Pandan Juice with Chia Seeds at PingAn Veggie Time

Lunch Special Todu and Veggies with Satay Sauce at PingAn Veggie Time

Definitely worth a visit! Due to a roster change, I will get a chance to have lunch here a bit more often. I am looking forward to it!

PingAn Veggie Time - Shop 3/708 Sandgate Road, Clayfield, QLD - (07) 3262 6056

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


My beautiful Gizmo. It's been over six years since she left us, but always in my heart. Here she is sitting on the half made bed, not letting me finish pulling the doona up, and giving me a slightly concerned look.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Greenilicious

I love greens! And what better way to enjoy them than with Greenilicious, a lovely book by my wonderful friend Leigh Drew. I tested for this book, but I still love exploring new recipes or revisiting some old favourites. This book has the most inventive selection of delicious green smoothies you will ever find! Leigh is a serious vegan talent!

Baby Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms Stir-Fry: This is a fast, simple, yummy dinner to make. Dried shiitake mushrooms, scallions and baby bok choy are the main components, but you can see I added some five-spice tofu as well for a bit of extra ooomph. I've made this twice, once in testing phase and once the other night. The sauce is a mix of tamari and mushroom soaking water, which initially I found a bit salty. But when I made it the other night I accidentally forgot to save the mushroom water, so I just used mushroom oyster sauce instead of that and the tamari. This made two serves, over rice. It would also be nice with some cashews.
Rating: :)

Baby Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushroom Stir-Fry

Choy Sum and Cashew Stir-Fry: Technically this is also meant to have chillies in it, but no no no! I left them out, and also used some Japanese marinated tofu. Instead of using just soy sauce, I used a mix of soy and mushroom oyster sauce, and I served it over rice and spinach. Another super fast dinner! Rating: :D

Choy Sum and Cashew Stir-Fry

Tofu Florentine with Bernaise Sauce: Once you've made the sauce, this comes together so quickly. The tofu is crumbled and pain gried with some garlic, but I also added some salt, pepper, and nooch to give it a bit more flavour. The sauce is based on white beans and tarragon vinegar. There are instructions for making tarragon vinegar yourself (using ACV), but I had some tarragon white wine vinegar kicking around that I used. I did find that this made it a bit too vinegary, so I added some extra nutritional yeast. The sauce makes heaps!
Rating: Florentine :), Sauce :)

Tofu Florentine with Bernaise Sauce

Ethiopian Greens with Spiced Chickpeas: This is an interesting dish, with the spiced chickpeas being made into a paste rather than served whole. I did find that I needed to add some extra water when blending it, as it was a bit dry otherwise. Instead of spinach and rocket, I used a mix of kale and baby spinach for my greens. I also cooked the onion for about 10 minutes, rather than just 2, to cook it down a bit more. Instead of just serving the greens with the spread to top, I ended up mixing some of the spread into the greens in the final minute of cooking, and then still had some to dollop on the top. Served with a rice and quinoa blend.
Rating: :)

Ethiopian Greens with Spiced Chickpeas

Baked Fettuccine with Silverbeet and Sage: This is a little bland, but in that comforting, pleasant way. It does have quite a few steps, but is easy enough. The recipe says 20 minutes of prep and 1 hour of cooking, but of that hour only 20 minutes is the casserole in the oven. The rest is active cooking time. I used 250g of spinach fettuccine (rather than 400g), which made a nice amount. Enjoy with some nutritional yeast on top.
Rating: :|

Baked Fettuccine with Silverbeet and Sage

Baked Fettuccine with Silverbeet and Sage

Corn and Celery Soup: This was so good! I love getting sweet corn soup at Chinese restaurants, but this beats them and is easy to make at home. It has such a lovely sweet corn flavour, as well as being full of vegetables. This says it serves 4-6, which it would if it was served in little bowls as a starter. But I served this for dinner, 2 serves with some cheese toasties. Perfection.
Rating: :D

Corn and Celery Soup

Pina Colada Green Smoothie: I made this once the book came out, not as a tester recipe, so I made some modifications that I knew would suit me better. I used baby spinach, instead of kale, skipped adding coconut oil, and used a mix of oat milk with a bit of coconut extract added rather than coconut milk. I used frozen banana and pineapple to make it cold and thick, the way I like my smoothies. I didn't have any pineapple juice, so used some pear juice diluted with a bit of water. Refreshing!
Rating: :)

Pina Colada Green Smoothie

Jaffa Cake Green Smoothie: So yummy! A mix of cocoa, mango, orange, and refreshing greens (cucumber!) The OJ and milk split a little, but that did nothing to detract from the awesome taste.
Rating: :D

Jaffa Cake Green Smoothie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara's 9th birthday

Leigh loves cats, because she is an excellent person. She had a very special love and worship for Sahara, and you know that Sahara loved the attention and adoration!