Wednesday, 16 January 2019

2018 Pizza Challenge Part Two

Continuing on with the second half of last year's goal to make pizza once a month!

Meatball Pizza from Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson: I actually made this twice. The first time was not such a success, because I used the Ikea veggie balls and they are just too sweet and not right for this kind of thing. The second time I made it using the Gardein meatballs, and it worked much better! I only made a half quantity of the sauce both times. The first time I tried to get it all on, which ended up making the base (I used a ready made for this attempt) too smooshy. The second time I used just what I needed, so there was some sauce left over, and it worked out better. That time I used the base recipe from the book. Definitely recommend using a meaty meatball and being careful with the sauce!
Rating: :) (second attempt)

Meatball Pizza

Meatball Pizza

Cheeseburger Pizza from Cook The Pantry by Robin Robertson: I really went for some meaty and cheese pizzas last year. I used the pizza dough recipe from the cookbook (it makes enough for two bases, so I froze half for the next time), and it was a super easy dough to make. This recipe uses a cashew cheese sauce on the base, though it could have been a bit thicker. I was worried it was all going to run right off the base! It is topped with some TVP (which I soaked in beef flavoured stock rather than water for more flavour). I also garnished with ketchup, mustard, and gherkin relish.
Rating: :)

Cheeseburger Pizza

BBQ Chickpea Pizza from Cook The Pantry by Robin Robertson: This is a very easy pizza to make. The base is topped with a mix of chickpeas mashed with BBQ sauce, tamari, and mustard (also chiles, but I subbed that with some diced celery). The topping uses two tins of chickpeas, but really you could halve it as it led to an incredibly thick layer. Although not mentioned in the recipe, I topped it with some FYH mozzarella. I'm glad I did because otherwise it would have been a bit samey. I accidentally overcooked the base a bit (in both this recipe and the above one the base is baked for a bit first), but it worked in my favour given the topping was so heavy and a bit sloppy!
Rating: :)

BBQ Chickpea Pizza

Muffuletta Pizza from Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson: Base, tomato garlic sauce, olive salad and garlic salad. The olive salad is a mix of three different olives, capers, giardiniera (I used some home made one from 1000 Vegan Recipes as all the store bought ones had chillies in them), and herbs. I found it to be a bit too salty, but I didn't have the right mix of olives (not enough green) so I think the kalamata overpowered it a bit. I also used water rather than olive oil, but even so I found it a bit oily overall (even with leaving off the extra olive oil it suggests to garnish!). The pizza needed some freshness. I only made a half recipe of the olive salad so I could use it all up on the pizza, the recipe says it makes a lot so you will have some left over if you make the whole batch. I did add a little bit of my beloved Fenn smoked sesame cheese on the base before adding the rest of the ingredients, so that adding a nice creamy counterpart to the saltiness.
Rating: :|

Muffaletta Pizza

Meat-Free Lover's Barbecue Pizza from Taste For Life by Animals Australia: The recipe as written makes two pizzas (including the dough), I halved it for one. The pizza is topped with a mix of tomato paste and BBQ sauce, then cheese (in a shocking twist, I used the Daiya blend shreds), hot dogs (I used Field Roast Frankfurters), and red onion. It is also meant to have chopped sun dried tomatoes, but I realised I was out when I went to get them from the fridge. Garnished with some chives for colour, you can also garnish with a herbed sour cream that I did not make. This was a good pizza, I love BBQ pizzas, could have had some pineapple. But that's just me.
Rating: :)

Meat-Free-Lovers BBQ Pizza

BBQ Pineapple Pizza from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli: Yes, more BBQ pizza! I skipped the dough recipe in the book (I had made it once before and found it to be kind of runny and sticky) in favour of a pre-made pizza base. I can't get the pre-made dough that the US cookbooks all seem to talk about, and finding vegan pizza bases that are actually good can be tricky as well (WHY ALL THE MILK IN THEM?), but I have found a base that I like now. This is topped with BBQ sauce, BBQ sauce roasted tofu, caramelised onions, and pineapple. No cheese. I knew my base was going to be smaller than the one the book would make, so I just made a half recipe of the BBQ sauce, but still piled on on the toppings! It was a nice combination, especially with the caramelised onions.
Rating: :)

BBQ Pineapple Pizza

And there endeth the challenge. It was a fun challenge, because I love pizza but I don't make it enough. I got to try a few different recipes for pizza dough as well!

So what does 2019 hold in store for my food blogging challenge? I had a number of thoughts. But then I decided my goal was to have no goal at all. My year hasn't gotten off to the greatest start, so the idea of just being able to go with the flow and not be locked into anything specific is very appealing. But of course I'll still be cooking and eating and blogging!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Pizza cat!

Pizza Cat!

Monday, 14 January 2019

2018 Pizza Challenge Part One

For 2018, I set myself the challenge of making pizza once a month. This is the first six months of that challenge. Please excuse my inability to take pretty photos of pizzas! They all kind of look the same.

Spinach, Onion, Mushroom, and Sausage Pizza from Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson: This is in the book listed as Pepperoni in the title, rather than sausage, but I took the option to use the sausage crumbles. I made the pizza base, tomato-garlic sauce, and sausage crumbles all from the book. The result was excellent! It also has spinach, mushrooms, red onion, and mozzarella (I used FYH). It all combined perfectly, the cheese melted into the sauce deliciously, this was a fabulous pizza!
Rating: :D

Spinach, Onion, Mushroom, and Sausage Pizza

Garlic, Sausage, and Onion Pizza from Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson: Another solid pizza, this uses tomato-garlic pizza sauce and the dough from the book. I took the option of using sliced vegan sausages (Vegie Delights BBQ sausages) rather than the sausage crumbles for this one. It also has onion and garlic on it, as the name would suggest, and more FYH mozzarella. I left off the optional jalapeno.
Rating: :)

Garlic, Sausage, and Onion Pizza

Meaty Cheese Pizza from Veganize It by Robin Robertson: This pizza was super! The dough is not as easy as the one from Vegan Pizza, and I found it ended up a bit sticky, but it was still great. This book has options for DIY or store-bought, and I used a mix. I made the pepperoni from the book, and used the Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce as well. But I used some tofurky beef crumbles and FYH mozzarella in place of from scratch recipes. This pizza, as you can imagine, is very filling!
Rating: :D

Meaty-Cheesy Pizza

Pizza with Zucchini, Artichokes, and Soy Mozzarella from The Complete Vegan Cookbook by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay: The pizza dough recipe in this book is a little fiddly, so I made it on the dough setting in my bread maker and it worked great. A very puffy dough! This pizza was topped with artichoke hearts, zucchini (which I sliced into rounds rather than into strips), FYH mozzarella (I love it), garlic, and onion. The recipe gives instructions for grill or oven, I used a pizza stone in my hot oven. It was a bit gooey in the middle, it could have baked for a little longer, but was a nice combination.
Rating: :)

Pizza with Zucchini, Artichokes, and Soy Mozarella

Pizza with Baked Garlic and Grilled Eggplant from The Complete Vegan Cookbook by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay: This pizza was a bit on the bland side, it definitely needed more seasoning. Roasted garlic mashed into a paste forms the 'sauce' for the pizza, and I thing this would have benefited from something added to it. I roasted the eggplant, then finished it off with a quick grill on the George Foreman for the pretty marks. The recipe calls for grilled red and green capsicum, but I ditched that in favour of tomatoes and corn. The recipe encourages experimenting with different vegetables. No cheese on this one, and while I have no problem with cheeseless pizza, I feel that would have helped a bit with the flavour. Or just season things better!
Rating: :|

Pizza with Baked Garlic and Grilled Eggplant

The Meat Hater's Pizza from Now Vegan by Lynda Stoner: Another meaty and cheesy style pizza. The dough for this ended up being very bready and thick, I prefer a thinner crust. I only made a half recipe of the tomato sauce (using onion powder instead of chopped onion), and it was the right amount of the pizza. The toppings include BBQ sauce, vegan cheese (you know by now what I used!), and a selection of different mock meaty, tofu, tempeh, and mushroom suggestions. I used some sliced Vegie Delight BBQ sausages, chopped Tofurky Smoked slices, diced Japanese Flavoured Tofu, a chopped Fry's schnitzel, and sliced mushrooms. Topped with some sliced tomato. The filling toppings along with the thick crust made for a very filling, heavy, pizza.
Rating: :)

The Meat Hater's Pizza

Stay tuned for part two!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

The beautiful face of Gizmo

Today is seven years since I had to say goodbye to Gizmo. It still hurts, as it should. I miss her so much.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

New Year, Same Me

I'm not one to get excited about a new year. Honestly, it is just the passage of time. I never stay up until midnight, and I don't do long lists of resolutions. I am the New Year grinch. But I still have a few food traditions that amuse me around this time. So here it is, from 2018 to 2019.

New Year's Eve Eve

Normally I make pizza and pie on New Year's eve. However this year (last year?) my brother and his girlfriend were arriving from London on NYE in the evening, so that was going to be its own thing. So I did my tradition a year early. In the past I have made two pizzas, but this year I just made one.

BBQ Hawaiian Chicken Pizza: I guess this can technically be I made a thing, but really it is just I put some stuff on a pizza. I used a pre-made pizza base, topped it with BBQ sauce and Fenn Smoked Sesame Cheese, then layered on some chopped Vegie Delights schnitzel, pineapple chunks, black olives, and Daiya cheddar. Once it was out, I sprinkled it with some bacon bits and some chives. It was really satisfying, and really easy.

NYE BBQ Hawaiian Chicken Pizza

Apricot Frangipane Tart from Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky: I love apricots, and we are having a really good apricot season at the moment. My pastry skills are still pretty amateur, but I was pleased with how pretty this turned out! The pastry was easy to make, though I found it was a bit thick and tough (which could be due to me, I need more practice). The filling was delicious - almond meal and sugar and things, it was like a perfect non too sweet soft marzipan, topped with the sliced apricots. The filling called for 1TBS flaxseed, which you then grind. I skipped that and just used ready ground flax. This was a lovely taste, and kept well for a couple of days.
Rating: :)

Apricot Frangipane Tart

New Year's Eve

We decided to go with a spread of snacks for the actual NYE. By the time they landed, got through customs, and my parents drove them home, it was almost 8pm. So I was glad we hadn't planned for anything more complex. There was crusty bread, water crackers, veggie sticks, and GF rice crackers to go with Fenn Smoked Sesame Cheese, Kehoe Beetroot Dip, and Tartex Mushroom Pate. It was my first time trying the beetroot cashew dip, and it was surprisingly tangy. It is probiotic, so I guess that is why?

NYE dips

Rounding out the spread we had some dolmades, kalamata olives, left over tart, cherries, grapes, watermelon, and some vegan GF rosemary, cranberry, and sea salt biscotti. There was only one non-vegan thing on the table, which is hiding behind the star. It was stuffed mini capsicums, which to be honest I probably would have starred out even if they were vegan because you know how I feel about capsicum!

NYE spread

I stayed up way later than I normally would on NYE, but was still asleep before midnight. Everyone else stayed up to eat 12 grapes at midnight, which is a Spanish tradition. My brother's partner is Spanish. Dim Sim and I were asleep.

New Year's Day

Vegan Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes from The Abundance Diet by Somer McCowan: My brother eats mostly GF, so I made some GF pancakes for my traditional New Year's Day pancakes. Somer has a GF flour blend you can make in the book, but I used a smidge of leftover Bob's Red Mill and the rest just some Coles GF flour I picked up at the supermarket. They turned out so well! These pancakes are delicious, and I was silly not to make a double batch. I got 11 pancakes using a scant 1/4 cup as a scoop, and there were 5 of us, so we savoured what we had. Rounded out with some leftover fruit from the previous night. I used regular brown ground flax rather than golden, because that is what I have and who can tell in chocolate pancakes anyway. I also used maple syrup instead of stevia, because stevia is gross. But do you know what is not gross? These delicious pancakes! SO GOOD MAKE THEM!
Rating: :D

Vegan Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes

Black-Eyed Pea & Collard Stew with Spicy Tahini from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook by Matt Frazier and Stephanie Romine: Technically this should be called borlotti bean & silverbeat stew with tahini, because I made some changes. Collards are not available here, so I used silverbeet instead (and added their chopped stems to the stew when I added the carrots and celery instead of capsicum). Tinned black eyed beans are also not available here (they were for like, two minutes, but no longer) and I didn't have energy to make some from scratch (yes, I know it is super easy but sometimes you just need a tin), so I used borlotti beans instead. The stew also has pearl barley in it (I soaked it for a few hours before as recommended in the recipe so it cooked perfectly in time) and tinned fire-roasted tomatoes. They are super expensive and hard to find here, so I used regular tomatoes and added some smoked paprika. The tahini drizzle is lovely with lemon, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. It is meant to have sriracha, but I left that out and just had sriracha out for people to add if desired. The stew itself made a lot (served 5 people easily), though was quite liquid. I served with coriander on top instead of scallions because I was using stuff up.
Rating: :)

Black-Eyed Pea & Collard Stew with Spicy Tahini

So hello 2019, I guess. Also, I am also super behind on catching up on reading blog posts, but I am getting there! This year has already started off with some pretty big challenges, so I haven't been on my laptop quite as much.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

All I want in the new year is to spend time with her.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Cruelty Free Shop December 2018 Vegan Mystery Box

I got another 6 month subscription to the Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box for Christmas, and the December box was ready and waiting for me to open on Christmas day.


  • PureFit Peanut Butter Choc Chip Bar: I had some PureFit bars when I was in the US, and I loved them! The peanut butter ones anyway. So super stoked that we can get them here now, and that I got one in this box.
  • Nestar Christmas Chocolate Almonds: Almonds coated in chocolate dusted in cocoa powder.
  • Tinned Banana Blossom: I have previously used a tin of this to make a recipe from a cookbook, but not sure what else to do with it. A lot of the recipes for tinned banana blossom (including the one that was included with the box) involve deep frying it like a fish and chips deal, which super does not appeal to me. Bit I am sure the internet will provide a suggestion.
  • Ape Lightle Salted Coconut Curls: I don't cope well with coconut fat, coconut in other forms is OK. So I am interested in these. Probably not to snack on, though, but as a topping for salad or baked goods.
  • Gluten Free Food Co Gravy Mix: This company makes a lot of vegan mac and cheese and sauce mixes that I have never tried because they are all coconut based. However this gravy mix seems to be coconut free, so yay. I like a quick gravy mix.
  • Hazer Baba Rose & Lemon Turkish Delight: I like rose flavoured things.
  • J Leuhders Red Berries Soft Candy: I'm not much one for lollies, but if I do then berry flavour is always my pick.
  • Kewpie No Egg Mayo: An old standby. Handy, as my local Asian grocery store has been out of the vegan version for a while.
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim with presents

Ending my Christmas posts with a Christmas Dim Sim.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Assorted Christmas Eats (with bonus I Made A Thing)

Believe it or not, my Christmas wasn't all eating out. And while we didn't do the traditional Christmas lunch this year, there were still a few things that I made.

Midsummer Salad from Bowls of Goodness by Nina Olsson: While all my US friends were deep in winter, here we are in summer. For my witchy pals, that means Yule in the Northern Hemisphere, but Litha down here in the Southern Hemisphere. This salad seemed appropriately named to make on the longest day of the year (or close enough, I think I worked all day on the actual day). Potatoes, lots of dill, spinach, cucumber, capers, chives, and some apple were all mixed in with a creamy mustard dressing. The apple was a wonderful addition, as its sweetness went great with the tangy dressing. The recipe calls for red onion, but as I don't do raw onion I added some celery for the crunch and it was great. This book is not all vegan, but has a vegan option for everything. The vegetarian version had eggs, which it says to leave out for vegans. I added some white beans to the mix as well instead. Served over some chopped baby cos.
Rating: :)

Midsummer Salad

Party Nacho Platter from Vegan Yack Attack On The Go by Jackie Sobon: The last few years I have taken to making nachos for dinner on Christmas Eve. This year, that was delayed until Boxing Day as I was unwell on Christmas Eve and couldn't cook. But I had all the stuff, so I was glad I could still make it at some point! Corn chips are topped with a Buckwheat Taco Meat, queso (made using a Butternut Cheese Sauce base with some extras added in and some pinto beans, and I left out the jalapenos), tomatoes, avocado, coriander, and sour cream (I used natural almond yoghurt, which I forgot to put on until after the photos. I also left off the radishes and cos lettuce that the recipe suggested as they aren't my preferred nacho toppings. I also served them individually rather than on a big platter, so that my parents could top as they desired. I found the buckwheat taco meat a little underwhelming, I had to add extra water and cook for extra time to get it soft enough, so perhaps the flavours got too diluted. But it worked well witht he stronger flavours of the nachos.
Rating: :)

Party Nacho Platter

Banana Eggnog Pancakes from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: I made these for breakfast on Boxing Day, as there was no morning yoga class and I had a bottle of delicious, locally made nutnog in the fridge. The stars aligned. These had a lovely, sweet, mild flavour and were a fabulous way to start the day. I used a 1/4 cup as my scoop (rather than 1/3 cup) and got 11 pancakes (rather than 8). Served with some dried cranberries and some maple syrup.
Rating: :)

Banana Eggnog Pancakes

Nutnog Overnight Oats: Bonus recipe from me! Not that overnight oats really count as making a recipe? Anyway, I thought it would be a fun way to use my nutnog. And it was. I consulted the internet oracles for some inspiration, as well as following my own heart. This is what I did.

Mix 1C of rolled oats, 1TBS of chia seeds, 1.5C of your vegan nut/eggnog, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (you can add more or less, I probably added more because I am a cinnamon fiend). Leave overnight to soak and get delicious. In the morning, top with slivered almonds, pomegranate arils, and nutmeg. Eat! I don't add any additional sweetener, but you could mix in some maple syrup if you like things sweet.

Eggnog Overnight Oats

And the other stuff...

Of course there were some delicious other eats as well. Such as this plate of cherries and vegan stollen (I love stollen, thanks Aldi!), with a glass of nutnog. And my first ever viewing of Die Hard.

Die Hard, Stollen, Cherries, NutNog

A ham and cheese toasted croissant, using Tofurky Ham and Fenn Smoked Sesame Cheese. Other non-pictured things I made with the Tofurky included a ham and Daiya smoked gouda toasted sandwich, and also out traditional Christmas sandwich of ham, sweet mustard pickles, cheese (a Tofutti cheese slice), and a bit of Nuttelex.

Ham and Cheese Toasted Crossant

And of course, some Christmas Pudding with Custard. I actually bought the pudding in January on a 50% off sale. It had a really long expiry date, so why not save some dollars and buy it super early. This pudding is delicious, especially with loads of custard.

Christmas Pudding and Custard

There were of course other snacks and bits and pieces, but these were the most Christmas-related of them all. So, until next year... this year... whatever. Until next time it is Christmas.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo under the Christmas Tree 2011

Gizmo looking like the perfect present under the Christmas tree. This was also her last Christmas. What I wouldn't give to wake up one morning and find her under there again.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Eating Out: The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

For the last few years, The Green Edge has held a special menu Christmas dinner the weekend before Christmas. I went last year with my friend Melanie, and this year we went again.

The tables were cute and Christmas themed! And when we got there, we were given a little sampler of their Gingerbread Frappe.

The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

Gingerbread Frappe Shot at The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

The menu ended up being exactly the same as last year, though last year there was also a cheese platter option for the dessert. I've heard that they are planning on revamping the menu for next year (this year now?), which would be fun to change things up.

The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

We both got the same entrees that we had last year. I had the delicious Arancini with Pesto and Garlic Mayo, and Melanie had the Avocado Prawns.

Arancini at The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

Garlic Prawns at The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

Last year we both had the stuffed butternut roast, and this year we both tried the festive seitan roast. The pieces of the roast we smaller, but it was quite heavy so that was good. With vegetables and gravy and mashed potato.

Seitan Roast at The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

For dessert, we both had the sticky date pudding (which is what I had last year). It came with whipped cream and coconut ice cream, but I just asked for mine with the (soy based) cream. Last year I had made the mistake of ordering a very sweet Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate at the same time as dessert, which ended me with too much sugar. This year, after sipping a kombucha during dinner, I skipped any other drink options and stuck with the dessert. It was delicious!

Sticky Date Pudding at The Green Edge Christmas Dinner

Melanie and I are keen to make a Christmas dinner tradition between us, but we are hopeful that next year the menu will be changed up a bit so we can try new things!

The Green Edge - Shop 2b 229 Lutwyche Road, Windsor, QLD - (07) 3861 1132

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara on Christmas

Sahara, on her last Christmas. Christmas is a lot harder when you are missing loved ones who are no longer there. This was my second Christmas without her.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Eating Out: Easy House Vegetarian (Christmas Day edition!)

Hello friends, and welcome to the new year. I hope the last week and a bit has been good for you, however you celebrated or didn't. My Christmas Day started as per usual, with a 7.30 bikram yoga class followed by a fruit platter at the studio. It was a fun class, and watermelon never tastes as good as when you have just done 90 minutes of yoga in a hot and sweaty room!

Normally we do a Christmas lunch at home, but this year we decided to buck tradition and had a reservation for lunch at Easy House Vegetarian. Regular readers will know that I love Easy House, and have enjoyed yum cha there many times. They are always open on Christmas Day, so why not?

It was me and my parents, so that made for three. Three is the perfect number of yum cha, as almost every little plate comes has three on it. So we were able to eat a lot! Starting with these Pan Fried Dumplings and Radish Cakes (I love radish cakes!).

Pan-Fried Dumplings and Radish Cake at Easy House

Food comes out fast at yum cha, and soon we had a full table. Another two of my favourites are the BBQ pork buns and the bean curd rolls, seen here with the satay skewers and black bean eggplant.

Satay Skewers, BBQ Pork Buns, Beancurd Rolls, Black Bean Eggplant at Easy House

Rice Paper rolls are always lovely and refreshing, and we also had some broccoli dumplings. Somehow we only had one plate of steamed dumplings during this visit, normally I get a few varieties.

Rice Paper Rolls at Easy House

Broccoli Dumplings at Easy House

They had a few specials for Christmas Day, including some lovely cabbage rolls with glass noodles and some steamed wontons.

Glass Noodle Cabbage Rolls at Easy House

Steamed Dumplings at Easy House

I also tried another dish I hadn't seen there before, bean curd skin. Simply a roll of sliced bean curd skin in a delicious sauce. So good! I love yuba. Mum and Dad also shared some XO noodles, which I skipped as they are too spicy for me. I didn't get a photo of those because they fell on them before I could! In their defence, I may have been distracted by my bean curd skin.

Bean Curd Skin at Easy House

We finished up with a few sweet treats. The steamed custard buns, and the mango pudding. I love the buns, but the mango pudding is my absolutely favourite. It is cold and sweet and the perfect way to end a whole lot of eating.

Steamed Custard Buns at Easy House

Mango Pudding at Easy House

It was an amazing lunch, and we were full for ages afterwards. The only downside was the driving. On the way down, there was a lot of congestion due to some previous accidents, so it took almost two hours! The way back was the usual 55 minutes of clear sailing, though I wanted to fall asleep thanks to all that delicious food I ate!

I have a bunch more Christmas, New Years, and wrap up posts in the works, so get ready for a lot of food!

Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant - 8/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters, QLD - (07) 5572 8808

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Meowy Catmas

Meowy Catmas!