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!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Conference Food: Science Week (bonus Eating Out: Kuan Yin)

The second conference I went to was for Science Week, a three to four day vet conference held down at the Gold Coast. I attended two days, a feline masterclass day on the Wednesday and the feline stream on Thursday, the first day of the conference proper. Despite being near so much amazing vegan food, breaks weren't long enough so I had to rely on the conference.

I should mention that any time I go to a conference, I am fully stocked with noodle cups, bananas, and snack bars. I take no risks in going hungry.

Morning tea came around on the Wednesday and there was nothing marked vegan. Sigh. I found a catering person to ask, and was directed to something amazing. A strawberry danish! That was vegan! For some reason, instead of putting a vegan sign on them, they just put them on a black slate tray. Surrrrrre... Anyway, no complaints.

Morning Tea - Strawberry Danish at Science Week QT Hotel


Morning and afternoon tea were catered just to our small feline masterclass, but for lunch they sent us down to the main restaurant. Two years ago, at the same masterclass and the same venue, the vegan option was literally salad and fruit. This day, I was directed to a designated area that had pad thai, fried rice, roasted vegetables, and the ubiquitous salad. Plus little vegan strawberry and chocolate tarts! I filled my plate, and went back for seconds on the pad thai and vegetables, plus a few more sneaky tarts.

Lunch - Salad, steamed vegetables, fried rice, pad thai, and chocolate strawberry tart at Science Week QT Hotel


Afternoon tea was a couple of gorgeous apple muffins. I was so full from lunch, I only ate one. But took the other one home with me to freeze for a future work snack.

Afternoon tea - Apple muffins at Science Week QT Hotel


On Thursday, the full conference had started, so morning and afternoon tea were on the main conference floor with a lot of people milling around. I was hopeful after Wednesday, and I was not disappointed. Apricot danishes! So great to see a venue realise that vegans love pastry, and that you can buy vegan pastry really easily, and make delicious morning teas for vegans! I 100% ate four of these.

Morning Tea - Apricot Danishes


Lunch down at the restaurant was a little more disappointing this time, though still filling. Vegan options were ratatouille (which was oddly spicy, and I had to carefully scoop around giant chunks of capsicum when serving myself), and some bland polenta. And salad, of course. Thankfully, they still had the chocolate strawberry tarts, as well as a lovely fruit plate, so I sugared up! Those chocolate strawberry tarts were soooooo good.

Lunch - Salad, Polenta, Stewed Vegetables at Science Week QT Hotel


Afternoon tea was a little confusing, as they had some things labelled and other things not labelled. There were some savoury things that may have been vegan, but I contented myself with a little bliss ball. I didn't want to fill up too much, for reasons that will soon be apparent.

Afternoon tea - Bliss Ball at Science Week QT Hotel


Afterwards, on my drive home, I took advantage of being on the Gold Coast and stopped into Kuan Yin at Southport. Kuan Yin used to have a restaurant in Fortitude Valley, which was one of my favourite places. But they closed and switched to a home delivery service, which was nice but not as good. But the Southport version continues to operate, with the same menu. Which meant it was time to order my favourites. I had a standard order there - Taro Soy Milk Bubble Tea, Fried Dumplings, and Sweet & Sour Pork Bento. Normally I am not a sweet and sour fan, but theirs is so good. A proper, thick, sweet and sour sauce smeared on it, rather that the super sweet red sauce you see so often.

Dumplings and Taro Soy Bubble Milk Tea at Kuan Yin Southport


BBQ Pork Bento Box at Kuan Yin Southport


Kuan Yin Southport - 2/152 Scarborough St, Southport QLD 4215 - (07) 5511 5121

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Peek a Boo


Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Conference Food: Palliative Care Conference

Sometimes, I go to conferences. And as you know, vegan food at a conference can be pretty hit and miss... always take snacks! I have been to two conferences this year, with surprisingly reasonable vegan food!

The first one I attended this year was a one day conference on veterinary palliative care. A cheery topic, but such an important one. Palliative and geriatric care, helping make end of life decisions, and helping animals on their way are not the most glamorous parts of veterinary medicine. But they are so crucial. As someone who has not only helped many cats cross that rainbow bridge, but as someone who has said goodbye to my own cats, it is an area that really needs attention and care given to it.

So anyway, FOOD. Right? That's what we are here for. It was a one day conference, with morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea. Remarkably, a few of the conference organisers themselves were vegan (it is so rare that I find any other vegans within the veterinary community!), so they made sure we would be catered to.

Morning tea for vegans was some nice little salad finger sandwiches. The bread had been lightly toasted, so they were nice and solid and hadn't gone soggy.

Morning Tea - salad sandwiches


At lunch, everything was vegan except for one flavour of wrap and the aioli. So I of course took some of everything... and then went back for some seconds. Bruschetta, cous cous salad, veggie wrap, and hot chips. Always give me hot potatoes!

Lunch - Bruschetta, vegie wrap, cous cous salad, and fries


Afternoon tea had some non-vegan cakes, and some fruit platters. Yes, fruit is not the most inventive. Though I had eaten so much at lunch that I was glad for a lighter, fruitier snack!

After the conference I went to my friend Amy's house and she made us some delicious vegan pho. Also this amazing dessert that was called chocolate crack and was something involving salty crackers and melted chocolate and it was aptly named. I know I will always have great food and good company (plus cute cats) at Amy's.

Pho made by Amy


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gumdrop and Layla


Gumdrop and Layla were another two of our recent adoption kittens. They both got a home together!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Superfoods 24/7

This is my first round-up for Superfoods 24/7 by Jessica Nadel. Honestly, I don't really buy into the whole superfoods thing. They seem to chop and change and at some point almost everything is a superfood in some way. But this book has a fun, healthy slant that I enjoy. Plus is you know me, you know I love using silly ingredients! Though most of this book is pretty accessible to make, with not that many hard to find ingredients, which is nice. See, all food is super!

Pretty In Pink Strawberry Hemp Smoothie: This is a mix of strawberries, peaches, hemp, and liquid (I used oat milk). I used both frozen peaches and frozen strawberries, so mine ended up being super thick. Too thick to drink out of a glass, so I turned it into a smoothie bowl and topped it with some coconut, flaked almonds, and more hemp seed. Sweet, and definitely a pretty pink.
Rating: :)

Pretty-In-Pink Strawberry Hemp Smoothie


Citrus Chia Pom Smoothie: This is based on orange juice and pomegranate, but thanks to a frozen banana in the mix it was not too citrusy for my stomach. I used the option of pomegranate juice and frozen raspberries, rather than pomegranate arils. It also has some chia seeds in the mix, to help thicked it up a bit.
Rating: :)

Citrus Chia Pom Smoothie


Blissful Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie: Oats, blueberries, yoghurt, and non-dairy milk make this like overnight oats in a smoothie. It was nice, but I would decrease the amount of milk called for (I used oat milk) as it ended up being a bit on the thin side. I like my smoothies thick.
Rating: :)

Blissful Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie


Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats: This is one filling breakfast. It says it serves two, but normally that means it just serves me. So I made the full amount, but ended up having to leave a bit over for a snack. Oats, chia, and maca powder are the base. I served mine topped with more blueberries and some almonds.
Rating: :)

Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats


Apple, Beetroot, Broccoli Slaw: When life gifts you with yellow beets... I hardly ever see them here, so when I cam across one I scaled this recipe down for one serve to use my precious beet. The salad is a mix of shredded yellow beet, broccoli stalk, Granny Smith apples, and chickpeas. It has a lovely, creamy turmeric dressing on top. I served this with some roasted broccoli florets, a sauteed veggie sausage, and some avocado toast for a lovely dinner.
Rating: :)

Apple, Beetroot, Broccoli Slaw


Picnic Sweet Potato Salad: A lovely salad using a blend of sweet and regular potatoes, as well as some diced celery for crunch. Plenty of dill and pickles (I didn't have a dill pickle or dill pickle juice at the time, so I just used some gherkin relish and added extra flesh dill), and a creamy mayo-based dressing. I left out the raw onions, as they do not agree with me.
Rating: :)

Picnic Sweet Potato Salad


Udon Soup with Broccolim Kale, and Sweet Potato: This warming wintery soup gave three dinner sized servings. It has a lovely broth, with soy and sesame oil. I used 270g dry udon noodles, rather than 400g of fresh, and I added them in to cook for 10 minutes. I also added a bit of extra kale.
Rating: :)

Udon Soup with Broccoli, Kale and Sweet Potato


Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Herbs: I love Brussels sprouts most ways, but roasting is definitely my favourite. I used 400g of small sprouts for this to make 2 side serves. Once roasted, they are tossed with fresh herbs. You can take your pick, I chose some fresh dill.
Rating: :)

Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Herbs


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Freckles


Because of MoFo themes, I haven't had much of a chance to share our latest bunch of adoption kittens. I am happy to say that they all have homes now, but they are super cute, so you should enjoy their photos. This is Freckles, check out her amazing ear floof!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Eating Out: Smug Fig and Let Minnow Cafe

Hello, and welcome to a post MoFo world. I am looking forward to easing back into regular blogging life and frequency. Which is to say, as I feel like it. But I still have lots of content to share, and I am continually adding to it. I need to keep on eating, after all!

Today's post is two restaurants that I visited out of interest. I always like visiting when there is a vegan option. For different reasons, I won't be hurrying back to either. So I figured they'd do well to share a post.

Smug Fig

I visited this place one day post yoga, as it is just a few minutes walk from my studio and I'd seen some people recommend it on Instagram. Their vegan options are pretty standard - avocado toast variation, acia bowl, chia coconut pudding, and a bowl. I got the bowl, which had an assortment of roasted vegetables and hummus. It looks like they have changed the contents according to their current menu. It was a nice bowl, with nice flavours. But I really needed some bread or something a bit more carby and solid with it, or a bit more protein, as it didn't really fill me up. I also had a strawberry, apple, and mint juice. If your non-vegan friends suggest going here, you know that you have some options. But nothing that would jump out at me to go back again.

Roasted Veg and Hummus at The Smug Fig


Strawberry Lemon Apple Mint Juice at The Smug Fig


Let Minnow Cafe:

I'm not in a rush to go back here for a different reason. This place is only about five minutes walk from one of our clinics, so I thought I'd give it a try and duck out to grab lunch one day when I was working there. Alas, there was no ducking out about it. I waited for 40 minutes for my food to arrive after ordering! I was so stressed, I was about to cancel my order and leave as I had to get back to the clinic, but then it came. I know somedays kitchens run more behind than others, and I'm normally willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But I'm afraid to say all that waiting and I was severely underwhelmed by my Kickstarter Bowl. It claimed to have tofu scramble, citrus kale, winter vegetables, pickles, a pakora, and beetroot hummus, and I ordered a baguette on the side. The scramble was basically just salt and pepper on soggy tofu, the vegetables were soggy steamed broccolini and asparagus, barely any kale, a lukewarm pakora.... the hummus was OK but not really beetroot flavoured. The pickles were the best bit. And the baguette. I also got a Coral Trout juice, which had carrot, apple and ginger juice with frozen beetroot juice cubes. They do have some other vegan options (again, avocado toast, a burger, bircher muesli, a mushroom burger), and I have heard better reports about it than mine. But given that there are so many other amazing vegan friendly places in the area, I'd rather go somewhere that I know will satisfy.

Kickstarter Bowl (tofu scramble, citrus kale, winter vegetables, pickles, pakora, beetroot hummus) and bagette at Let Minnow


Coral Trout Juice (carrot, apple, beetroot cubes, ginger) at Let Minnow


Smug Fig - 999 Stanley Street East, East Brisbane 4169 - (07) 3392 2033

Let Minnow Cafe - 57 Park Ave, Clayfield QLD 4011 - (07) 3357 8771

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


After a month of having to share photos with other cats on the blog, Dim Sim would like to remind you of her preferred state. The only cat.