Thursday, 21 November 2019

Midweek Munchies

More random things.

A while ago I spoke about how Cha Time, a bubble tea place, had soy milk options now. I had tried a strawberry milk tea with red beans, very nice. But my favourite flavour of bubble tea is taro milk tea with pearls. A lot of places have the taro already pre-mixed with cows milk, but Cha Time can mix it with the soy milk. I was excited. Then I was sad. I think maybe they didn't mix it well? It was very grainy and didn't have that wonderful cookie flavour that I associate with taro milk tea. In the future, I'll stick to my strawberry.

Taro Soy Milk Tea with Pearls from Cha Time

Popping back to those blessed frosty days of winter, oh how I miss them. And this lovely bowl of pumpkin soup topped with bacon bits.

Pumpkin Soup with Bacun Bits

When I am exhausted or sick or overwhelmed, instead of cooking I might get a delivery from my trusty nearby Superoll. As always, I get the Tofu Hustle, with tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables in a mushroom sauce. It never fails me.

Superroll Delivery

Alpro yoghurt is here in Australia! And it isn't coconut! This is very exciting! I enjoyed this mango flavoured almond yoghurt, and they also have a strawberry almond yoghurt that was good.

Alpro Mango Almond Yoghurt

Behold, this silly drink. I drank it when I was sick, a lot of the above photos were from one of the many times this year I have been sick. I had hoped it would heal me. It did not, but it was fun.

Silly Turmeric Drink

I think I've mentioned that I've been eating a lot of tofu scramble for lunch lately. This was some leftover scramble from a previous dinner, mixed with cheese sauce and served with toasted olive and thyme sourdough and avocado.

Leftover scramble with cheese sauce and avocado toast

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the catmax

Poor Dim Sim, it is still often too hot and/or there is too much smoke haze (because Australia is on fire at the moment) for her to be out in the cat max as often as she'd like. But here is a photo from one of the times she has been able to go out and enjoy the sun.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Eating Out: Loving Hut Brisbane

It's been a while since I've posted about Loving Hut in Brisbane, which in part is because it has been a while since I've been there. I used to eat there all the time, I worked my way through most of the menu, but then I needed a bit of a change. With so many other vegan and vegan friendly places popping up all over, it is only natural that I would need to branch out and explore. Lately, however, I have been in the vicinity with limited time and in need of a yummy lunch, so Loving Hut has been back on my radar. You can see some previous posts about Loving Hut visits here.

My favourite of the mains is the Beijing Black Bean, which has beefy style TVP strips in a delicious savoury sauce. Also in this photo you can see the Salt and Pepper Mushroom, which is a whole field mushroom battered and fried in salt and pepper style. The S&P can vary, but thankfully this was a good one. And I love the pickles they serve it with.

Salt and Pepper Mushroom; Beijing Black Bean at Loving Hut

The Summer Rolls are probably my favourite thing on the menu. They are so light and delicious, served with a hoisin sauce.

Summer Rolls at Loving Hut

They have occasional specials, like this Vermicelli Salad. I got the Gluten Free version, not because I am gluten free but because the gluten free version came with tofu and I will always choose tofu. This was great for lunch on a hot day.

Vermicelli Salad (GF version) at Loving Hut

Sometimes, you just need potatoes. They serve potato wedges with tartare sauce. But I must remember not to get these again. The wedges were not very well cooked, and I needed lots more sauce.

Potato Wedges with Tartare Sauce at Loving Hut

Finally, their Steamed BBQ Buns. I love these! There's are on the smaller side, but still have lots of flavour. For some reason they serve them with sweet chilli sauce, which seems like a weird combination even if I did like spicy stuff. So I skip that and just enjoy the buns.

BBQ Buns at Loving Hut

Loving Hut - Shop 2/1420 Logan Road, Mount Gravatt, Queensland

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Recipe Round Up: Vegan Yack Attack On The Go

Vegan Yack Attack On The Go is the second cookbook by Jackie Sobon. It's a fun book, with chapters designed to fit a busy lifestyle. Chapters include quick breakfasts and snacks, prep-ahead, lunch box stuffers, 30 minute meals, bulk cooking, food on the go, and staples. This is the first round-up I've done of this book, but I have posted about some recipes before. This round up includes mostly breakfast foods, from the breakfast and prep-ahead chapters.

Cheezy Chickpea Scramble: For a change of pace, this scramble uses chickpeas instead of tofu. They are sauteed with onion, nooch, greens (I used baby spinach rather than kale), mushrooms, and tomatoes. The recipe uses a smidge of black salt for that eggy flavour, and also uses aquafaba from the tin of chickpeas to help in the cooking process. I made a half recipe, and got one serve and one snack. I served it with tater tots and avocado.
Rating: :D

Cheesy Chickpea Scramble

Recovery Smoothie: As someone who does bikram yoga, I always enjoy coconut water based smoothie recipes as a fun way to rehydrate after a sweaty class. While it says it serves two, it really serves one hungry and thirsty Susan. It has frozen bananas to make it thick, some dates to sweeten (I decreased the number bit because I find dates intensely sweet), some cinnamon, and some cocoa powder (I used cacao). Also just a smidge of salt, excellent for replacing electrolytes lost from sweating on a yoga mat.
Rating: :)

Recovery Smoothie

Fresh Fruit Yoghurt Sundae: While this is in the breakfast chapter, I had this as an after lunch snack. I scaled the recipe down to make one serve based on a 150g tub of natural almond yoghurt. The recipe calls for banana, strawberries, and grapes to top it with, though I went seasonally and had bananas, papaya, and blueberries. It is then topped with a quick chocolate ganache and some salted peanuts. The recipe also suggests maple syrup, but I skipped this.
Rating: :)

Fresh Fruit Yoghurt Sundae

Green Peach Smoothie: This is a non-dairy milk based smoothie (I used oat), that packs the greens courtesy of spinach and zucchini. Frozen peaches give it a nice sweetness, and it also has some ginger and turmeric in it. The taste was okay, the zucchini was very mild, but it gave me raw zucchini tongue. This is why I don't eat zoodles. I know most people are thinking 'what is raw zucchini tongue?', but if you know, you know.
Rating: :|

Green Peach Smoothie

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding: I only have chia seed pudding for breakfast if I know I am going to be eating a decent morning tea soon. I find that they don't fill me up very long, and then all of a sudden my blood sugar crashes out and I get hangry and shaky. I made a half recipe for my snack breakfast. I found my chia seeds had clumped up in there overnight, so be sure to give it a good stir. This recipe is fairly simple, with apples added and used as topping along with pumpkin seeds.
Rating: :)

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight Peach Pecan Oats: This is designed to eat out of jars if you are on the go, but I was not. I made a single recipe for a single serve (instead of two serves, you know I need a lot of oats to keep me full). I added the peaches and the pecans as topping in the morning, rather than the night before, as I was serving in a bowl and I wanted to keep the nuts crunchy and the peaches from going brown. I'd suggest decreasing the amount of milk called for a bit in this recipe, as I found it didn't have that nice thick texture I enjoy. You can see in the photo that there is a bit too much liquid.
Rating: :)

Overnight Peach Pecan Oats

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My baby girl.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Midweek Munchies

Coincidentally, the things I am sharing this week fall into three categories - two things spotted in supermarkets, two things celebrating berries, and two gyoza tastings. Let's get into it!

A while ago I mentioned that I had found some tasty vegan bacon bits at The Cruelty Free Shop. Well, good news, I have since spotted them in Woolworths, along with the rest of their range. The Caesar Bits are not vegan, but everything else is.

Crunchy Bits at Woolworths

I was also poking around in an IGA a while ago and saw these. I didn't buy any, because I was on my way to a physio appointment and didn't want to have fridge stuff kicking around on a hot day. Also, like almost all new vegan meaty products, they are super expensive. But if I saw them on sale, I wouldn't mind trying the chicken style sausages. Burger options abound, but I don't think I've seen any chicken style sausages in other brands.

Seen in IGA

I love strawberries, they are my favourite fruit. Also my favourite flavour. In Australia, winter is peak strawberry time. In summer, they go mouldy before you can even get them out of the shops. It was a good strawberry season this winter, and I ate a lot. I loved having them as a change from blueberries on toast with peanut butter and banana.

Peanut Butter, Banana, Strawberries on Toast

And they are wonderful chopped up on top of granola and yoghurt! Along with some blueberries as well in this bowl. Berries are the best!

Berries on Granola

Finally, some gyoza. I set out to try all lots of the different vegan versions available during the cooler months, they make a nice lunch. For these vegetable gyoza, I tried the steaming method.

Steamed Gyoza

And for these ones, I tried the pot sticker method. Both were good. Oh, and I served both of these doused in my favourite black vinegar, of course.

Potsticker Gyoza

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Portrait

Dim Sim, being thoroughly nonchalant about her stunning portrait. Typical cat.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Eating Out: Easy House Vegetarian (birthday edition, with cheesecake)

Last week was my birthday, I'm 38 years old now. My birthday was on Thursday, which happens to be cheap plate yum cha day ($5.90 per plate every Thursday) at Easy House Vegetarian. The law dictated that I must go and have yum cha for lunch, so I went down with my parents (three is the magic number for yum cha participants) and we ate a glorious amount! Because there weren't many people when we got there, they weren't bringing trays around. A bit sad, because I love that part of yum cha. But we just ordered off the yum cha list, and they made things fresh for us. Everything was delicious, as always. Regular reading friends will know that this is one of my favourite places, and you can see some of my previous visits here.

BBQ pork is a big theme, with some beloved Steamed BBQ Pork Buns. We also got some Roasted Pork Buns, which is the same BBQ pork but wrapped in a flaky pastry.

BBQ Pork Buns at Easy House

Roast BBQ Pork Buns at Easy House

My mum's favourite is Noodles in XO Sauce, which tends to be a bit spicy for me. But my parents enjoyed it! I nibbled some of the noodles on the end that didn't have the hot sauce on them, I love how thick they are.

Noodles in XO Sauce at Easy House

Dumplings are a must! We had a variety - Chicken & Bok Choy, Mushroom, and Coriander.

Dumplings at Easy House

And of course, my favourite beloved - Radish Cakes and Steamed Beancurd Rolls. We got two plates of each! I just love these so much.

Radish Cakes at Easy House

Steamed Beancurd Rolls at Easy House

Of course, birthdays need cakes. I ordered an Apple Crumble Cheesecake from local vegan cake maker The Little Vegan & Co, and it was glorious.

Apple Crumble Cheesecake by The Little Vegan and Co

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

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Portrait

For my birthday, my mother commissioned this wonderful portrait of Dim Sim. It is stunning and I love it! It is done by a wonderful local artist, and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Without Borders

Robin Robertson is one of my favourite vegan cookbook authors. She is extremely prolific, having written countless tomes (many of which I have on my shelves) filled with so many recipes! Vegan Without Borders is her international cookbook, with recipes from around the world. You can see my other posts about this book here.

Seitan Jagerschnitzel and Halushki (Eastern Europe): I served these two dishes together, which made for a lovely dinner. The halushki is a simple dish of onion, cabbage, and noodles (I used 8 oz of linguine), along with some herbs (I used fresh parsley and dried dill). It needs a fair whack of seasoning, but made a great backdrop for the stronger flavours of the jagerschnitzel. I used Lamyong mushroom chunks, sliced thinly, rather than seitan, which added a great flavour. This stew has a mushroom and white whine sauce, with lots of seasonings and spices, and made creamy by sour cream. I found it to be quite soupy, even after adding the cornstarch to thicken, so I'd suggest adding less stock to make for a thicker stew.
Rating: Jagerschnitzel :). Halushki :)

Seitan Jagerschnitzel and Halushki

Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou (France): This is a simple dish to make, just roast a bunch of vegetables and make the basil pistou. For the vegetables, I didn't use any capsicum, and I roasted the cherry tomatoes separately. I also added a tin of white beans to make it more of a meal. For the basil pistou, I made a half recipe which was plenty for the ratattouille. Unlike a pesto, it doesn't have any nuts or cheese. The book recommended serving with baguette, but I served with spinach and brown rice because that's what I felt like.
Rating: Ratatouille :), Pistou :)

Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou

Portuguese Kale Soup (Spain and Portugal): This is a solid soup, nothing outstanding, but savoury and satisfyinbg. As well as kale (obviously), it has onion, potato, and white beans in it. I only used one tin of beans (rather than two) and added extra kale because I had a large bunch. I also left out the chili flakes. This would be a good sick day soup.
Rating: :)

Portuguese Kale Soup

Orzo and Chickpea Salad (Greece): This makes a big salad, excellent for hot day dinner or lunches. As well as the title ingredients, it is full of tomato, cucumber, olives, celery, and herbs, and topped with toasted pine nuts. Also scallions, though I substituted them for chives, and I didn't have any parsley so I left that out as well. The dressing is simple and lemony, I used my water and guar gum sub trick instead of the oil because oily dressings make me feel a bit queasy, and I used garlic powder because my tummy doesn't like raw garlic anymore.
Rating: :)

Orzo and Chickpea Salad

Jackfruit Gyros (Greece): These made a lovely, light dinner, served with the above salad. The jackfruit is shredded (I used the food processor) and cooked with lemon and lots of herbs, then shoved into warm pita with spinach (which I used instead of lettuce) and tomato. The recipe also calls for a batch of Tzatziki Sauce, though the one in the book calls for yoghurt and sour cream and I didn't have sour cream. Instead I made my own quick version with greek yoghurt, cucumber, dill, garlic powder, and salt.
Rating: :)

Jackfruit Gyros

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup (Africa): This was a good, hearty soup with a nice flavour. Chickpeas and lentils make it a protein-filled dinner, though I still got three servings out of it rather than the 4-6 the book suggested (perhaps those were for serving as a soup course, not as a whole dinner). It does have some harissa in it, and hilariously I did try and make a less hot version of harissa (I made this back when I still did a little bit with chili), though it didn't work too well. So I just used a teeny drop. Served over some baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Mellow Doodles Portrait

Something a bit different today. Check out this gorgeous family portrait I got done of my and my sweet babies by Mellow Doodles

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Midweek Munchies (lots of soup)

Hello friends! So this week's midweek munchies isn't all soup, but involves a lot of soup. These are from back in winter, when a bowl of soup for lunch seemed perfect. Now we are in summer, and a bowl of soup sounds horrifying!

But first up, this lovely slice of asparagus quiche that I got at a vegan bake sale.

Asparagus Quiche from ALQ Bake Sale

Soup number one is this discounted packet of chickpea and vegetable soup. And it was fine. Nothing spectacular, but hit the spot.

Soup On Sale

Again on the non-soup front, a new brand of vegan biscuits (what we call cookies here in Australia). Monte Carlo's are an old favourite, with raspberry and vanilla filling. These ones were very nice! Much fancier than the old Arnott's ones I used to eat in my pregan days, and much easier than making them myself.

Monte Carlos

Vegans were excited about this brand of soup this winter, which has several vegan flavour options. Most of those options have chilli though, this was the only one that didn't. It was a bit bland, so I added some nutritional yeast, which improves most things.

Cauliflower Cashew Soup

I bought these sweet potato bites to serve with some salad I was making. They were nice and tender, and very easy to heat up. A nice change from falafel, and a quick and easy addition to dinner.

Yumi's Sweet Potato Bites

And finally, some tomato soup. Heinz Big Red Ready-To-Serve tinned tomato soup is vegan (make sure you get the regular one, not the creamy one), and it is my favourite tomato soup. The flavour is spot on what I want when I crave tomato soup, it is so easy to make, it is perfect served with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Tomato Soup with Cheese Toastie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim, she is just so beautiful.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Eating Out: i like ramen (plus art, dinosaurs, bubble tea, and Puffs)

Vegan ramen restaurant i like ramen is a place I have eaten at a number of times before. They started as a Gold Coast pop up, then a Brisbane pop up, then moved to a Brisbane and Gold Coast restaurant, then just a Brisbane restaurant. They have recently closed their Brisbane restaurant, with plans to re-open a restaurant down at the Gold Coast. However, I did have a couple of visits before they closed, which let me round out my menu experiences with them. Always a good thing to feel like you haven't missed out on trying something you really wanted to! Both these visits coincided with other reasons for being in the area, so I will share a bit about those fun adventures as well.

I went after work one Saturday afternoon, for an early dinner and to do a few other things in the area. First up, I wanted to go and see a small art exhibition put on by Cute Girls Art Club at a nearby bar. It was really nice, with lots of cute art, often with a witchy theme (which I love). There were a lot of gorgeous pieces, but I was especially taken by this sweet black cat painting.

Art at Cute Girls Art Club

Then it was on to dinner! The last time I had been, I was disappointed with my Chick'n and White Miso Ramen, and envious of my friend's Tokotsu Ramen. This time, I finally got a delicious bowl of Tonkotsu all to myself! And it was outstanding. Yellow ramen noodles, confit cherry tomatoes, marinated bamboo shoots, spring onion, sprouts, nori, and sesame seeds in a rich and creamy broth. It was so good! The confit cherry tomatoes were out of this world!

Tonkotsu Ramen at i like ramen

Afterwards, I headed out to B Lucky & Sons Arcade and Bar, just a short walk away. I had seen someone post an IG story of themselves there, and I spied a Jurassic Park game in the background! It is a bit fancy, you have to walk through an area where you have to buy and load a card with money so you can play the games. I was a bit nervous at first, I am used to eating out on my own, going to galleries and movies and things on my own, but an arcade seems like a group activity. But then I thought, meh, I wanna play the dino game, so I did. Set after the events of JP3, it foreshadows the events of JWFK as you have to rescue dinos off the island before a volcano erupts. Key word rescue, I didn't want to be killing. I chose the T Rex event, but sadly even though I did finally rescue the T Rex, they make you shoot a lot of other dinos in the process. They claim it is a tranquilizer gun, but at various times I had grenades or ice bombs and you saw them blow apart! Oh no! Sadness! Lies!

Jurassic World Arcade at B Lucky and Sons

They have some fun drinks there, including some non alcoholic bubble teas. They also have a vegan pizza there, it looks spicy, but I had already eaten something delicious and non-spicy. But I did get the Sweet Melon Bubble Tea - watermelon and Vanilla syrup shaken with peach tea, coconut jellies and fruit pearls. It was sweet and yummy, but had so much ice in it that the peals and jellies all got trapped underneath, and it was quite the tactical exercise to get them out using only a straw.

Sweet Melon Bubble Tea at B Lucky and Sons

But enough random stuff, back to the food. The next (and, unbeknown to me final) time I was at i like ramen, I was there for a pre-show dinner with my friend Amy. We started off by sharing some of the Panko Mushrooms - crumbed mushroom pieces in sour cream and onion seasoning, served with aioli. I have had this before, and it is always good.

Panko Mushrooms at i like ramen

Amy kept the mushroom theme going with the Mushroom Ramen (shiitake and soy mushroom broth with ramen, shiitake and king oyster mushrooms, spring onions, shallots, nori and sesame seeds) with some tofu added.

Mushroom Ramen at i like ramen

I was tempted to get the Tonkotsu again, though decided to try the Mean Green. I hadn't tried it before, and I was under the weather so getting lots of greens seemed like a wise decision. It had spinach ramen with a clear vegetable broth, pak choy, wakame, seared broccoli, spring onion, sprouts, sesame, nori, and I added some tofu as well. This was delicious, and exactly what I needed.

Mean Green Ramen at i like ramen

The play we saw wass Puffs the Play, which is honestly the best play I have ever seen. And if you ever get a chance to see it, see it a million times!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Garden Gizmo

Unlike Dim Sim and (especially) Sahara, Gizmo was not much of a tree climber. So I don't have a photo of her in the tree from when we lived in Sydney. But I do have this sweet photo of her posing in the garden.