Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Eating Out*: Tea Master


This was my last time eating out before things got serious. I haven't eaten out since! Had I known, I would have picked somewhere else for my last time eating out in months, but how could we have known? Anyway, I had a friend visiting Brisbane for a conference, and we met up at Tea Master for dinner after she finished one day. You can see my other Tea Master posts here.

They have a large selection of fun bubble teas. I got Passionfruit Juice with Basil Seeds and my friend got Black Tea with Pearls.

Passionfruit Juice with Basil Seeds and Tea with Pearls at TeaMaster

We shared some starters - the radish cakes and beancurd rolls. The beancurd rolls are very different from the ones I love, the ones here are filled with some sort of mock meaty thing. The radish cakes are pretty nice, they are chopped small and deep fried. I still prefer the pan-fried version.

Radish Cakes at TeaMaster

Bean Curd Rolls at TeaMaster

Not everything is vegan, but it is clearly marked on the menu what is. We both got a set meal, which came with rice, vegetables, and a pudding cup. We got a Roasted Eel set meal and a Roasted Duck set meal, and we shared our mock meats. The eel was not bad, the duck was nice but quite oily as I find mock duck tends to be. You don't get to choose your pudding cup, I ended up with coconut but my friend swapped with me so I had her green tea one.

Roasted Eel Set Meal at TeaMaster

Roasted Duck Meal at TeaMaster

After dinner we hugged goodbye (oh, hugs, I miss you)!

Under current easing restrictions, Tea Master is now open for dine in, but only 10 people at a time given their space. They are still available for take away.

So, this is the last eating out post I have. But don't fear, I will be continuing this theme but instead highlighting the deliveries we have been getting at least once a week and the very occasional takeaway I have got if I have had to go out for other reasons.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim and her reflection

I love this photo of Dim Sim sitting by the pool (on her harness when we went out for a walk) with her reflection showing in the water.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Artisan Vegan Cheese

New book alert! Well no, not a new book to me. I've had Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner for several years, but this is the first time it is appearing on the blog! The idea of making your own cheese is very appealing, however the combination of fear of rejuvalac (I worry I will somehow poison everyone), some recipes involving quite a lot of coconut oil, and also not having idea conditions for air drying cheese have meant that I haven't really made much from this book. My friend Amy has in the past giften me some rejuvalac she has made, so I was able to experiment with a few easy cheeses, as well as trying a few other things. While the first several chapters of this book revolve around different methods and styles of vegan cheesemaking, there is also a small plates, main course, and dessert chapter using recipes from the book.

Basic Cashew Cheese: The first cheese recipe in the book is a very simple cashew cheese, made simply with cashews, salt, and rejuvalac. I gave this a two day culture at room temperature (scary stuff), and then left it for three days in the fridge. It says the flavour becomes deeper and sharper as you leave it, and I think I would definitely leave it longer as it had kind of an odd, meh flavour on its own. It was very soft, so I ended up using it as a creamy dollop on top of some assorted leftovers, and mashed it up with some avocado to go on some bread. However, this recipe is the basis for some other cheeses, which you will see.
Rating: :|

Basic Cashew Cheese

Basic Cashew Cheese

Cashew Chevre: This was much better. You take the basic cashew cheese cultured for a few days, then mix it up with some nooch and more salt before setting. This was much nicer, still soft, but had a lovely cheesy flavour.
Rating: :)

Cashew Chevre

Cashew Chevre with Lemon Zest and Peppercorns: This again starts with the cultured mix of rhte basic cashew chevre, then has lemon and nooch mixed in before being coated with peppercorns. While I do like pepper, turns out whole peppercorns are just a bit too much for me. But the cheese lemony bit was good!
Rating: :| (but :) without the peppercorns)

Cashew Chevre with Lemon Zest and Peppercorns

Sharp Cheddar: This is legit amazing! It is based on cashews and rejuvalac, but with a lot of nutritional yeast, somemiso, and some other things added. I made a half recipe and got two small blocks. I popped one in the freezer for later, and one in the fridge. Sadly after a couple of days my fears came true and I had to ditch the one in the fridge as it had become mouldy! Slimy red stuff all over it. The recipe says it will keep for up to four months in the fridge or freezer, so I guess I did something wrong along the way. So when I defrosted the one in the freezer I used it up fast, and it was delicious! Note, it is still quite a soft cheese.
Rating: :D

Sharp Cheddar

Pub Cheddar With Chives: This is similar to the base of the sharp cheddar, but with the addition of beer (I used pale ale) and chopped chives. Some of the recipes use agar and/or carrageenan powder for setting. While I have both, I used agar flakes in this one. This firms up very well (thanks agar), and has a good flavour. You can slice it, put into a grilled cheese, or melt it down to use as a sauce over veggies.
Rating: :)

Pub Cheddar with Chives

Pub Cheddar with Chives - Melted

Meltable Mozzarella: This needs no rejuvalac, hurrah! It uses yoghurt, and while it calls for preferably homemade (there is a recipe in the book) I used Kingland Natural Soy Greek Yoghurt for ease. After blending, you need to culture for up to 24 hours, then you thicken it, and scoop it into a cold brine. That part is pretty fun, as it firms up almost instantly into little balls of mozzarella. I did find that it did taste a bit yoghurty. This photo is of it slice up, before I made a toasted sandwich with it. It melted pretty well!
Rating: :)

Meltable Mozzarella

Dates Stuffed with Lemon-Scented Chevre This recipe was meant to be made with figs, but I hate figs and figs hate me (fresh figs give me ulcers), so I used dates instead. Much better. This uses either Cashew Chevre or Basic Cashew Cheese, I used the Cashew Chevre as I much preferred that. Mixed up with some lemon juice and zest, stuffed into some dates, topped with walnuts and drizzed with agave. Fancy!
Rating: :)

'Figs' Stuffed with Lemon-Scented Chevre

Pizza Margherita: This used some of the Meltable Mozarella I made. The whole recipe makes two big or six small pizzas, I made a half recipe for one pizza. Miyoko includes a pizza dough recipe, that I halved to just get one base. It is a really easy recipe, and I finally got around to falling in love with the dough hook on my KitchenAide. The dough isn't left out to rise, as soon as it is kneaded it is tightly wrapped and into the fridge for at least two hours (or up to two days if you want to make it ahead of time), and it rises in the oven. My pizza was a bit thicker than intended, as I can never make a pizza base into a 14 inch circle... I really need to get a pizza peel for this! So my bases tend to be about 12 inches. I very much enjoyed this base. It was topped with marinara sauce (I used Leggo's pizza sauce), sliced mozzarella, and slivered basil leaves. I did have to pop it under the grill/broiler in my oven for a couple of minutes at the end to get the cheese to melt. The cheese as mentioned tasted a bit yoghurty, though when I had a piece cold the next day it was excellent.
Rating: :)

Pizza Margherita

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sunshine Dim Sim

Dim Sim is a professional sun seeker, and she knows that the first place the sun hits in the sunroom is on the sofa in there.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Dad's Birthday (Menu: Valentine's Day For Two from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen)

Yesterday was my dad's birthday - happy birthday Dad! As always, I made a special dinner based on his request. He requested Italian (which he also requested last year), and like last year I turned to Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen (see my other posts about this book here). After presenting him with some options, he picked a pasta dish that belonged to the Valentine's Day For Two Menu, though obviously it can be made anytime and the recipes make enough for however many you wish. The one thing that we changed was the cake. The menu has a red wine chocolate cake, but he wanted an orange chocolate chip cake. And what the birthday person wants, the birthday person gets!

Paremsan Topping: This was the first thing I made, as it was a component of the vegetable side dish. This recipe is... weird. It is almonds, nutritional yeast, and salt processed up... fine. But then it has... maple syrup? As Food For Dissertating recently experienced with a maple syrup heavy mayo, maple syrup in parmesan doesn't belong. It was too weirdly sweet for me, but my mum really liked it!
Rating: :|

Parmesan Topping

Paremsan Roasted Asparagus: The parmesan was to go on this. This recipe is simple and classic. Seasoned roasted asparagus topped with a squeeze of lemon and parmesan. Next time I would use a saltier parmesan!
Rating: :)

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Pasta in Pink Sauce: This is a lovely pink sauce based on crushed tomatoes and cashew cream. I halved the recipe as I was cooking for three, using only 250g of bucatini. Because I had such a small amount of cashews and water to blend, and my blender is regular size, I did puree it with a bit of the crushed tomatoes so there would be some more liquid for the blender to work with (it is high powered, but itty bitty volumes in it don't go the best... I wish it had a mini jug as well!). This is really simple but really lovely, and I love the thickness of bucatini as well.
Rating: :)

Pasta in Pink Sauce

Herbed Garlic Toast: I went a bit rogue with the bread on this one. Instead of using thinly sliced baguette, I used a thick slices of a mini wholemeal stone baked batard. I cut a slice for each of us, and I made a half batch of the topping which spread over this amount of bread nicely. Instead of raw garlic I used garlic powder, as my silly body can only deal with fresh garlic if it is well cooked. This also has some nutritional yeast in it. This is salty, cheesy, garlicky, herby goodness.
Rating: :D

Herbed Garlic Toast

And here it is, all plated up.

Valentine's Day Menu

And now for the cake!

Orange-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: This recipe calls for a 12-cup Bundt pan, but I only had a 6-cup ring pan. So I figured I'd halve the recipe so it didn't explode everywhere in the oven, which I did. But it ended up one very flat little doughnut looking cake. So I am guessing that I could have used the whole recipe with my cake tin and it would have ended up looking more like a cake, less like a cake-sized doughnut. Regardless, it pretty cute and tasted pretty amazing - a great orange flavour through the cake. To fancy it up a little as it was looking a little tiny, I added a quick marmalade glaze (just simmered some marmalade with a smidge of water for a few minutes and brushed it over the cake), and topped it with some grated orange-infused dark chocolate.
Rating: :)

Orange-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the cat max

Dim Sim would like to remind you that after several posts of non-Dim Sim photos, she is still here and wishes to be adored. Here she is enjoying a little rest out in the cat max yesterday morning.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Midweek Munchies

Munch munch munch....

These are some rice paper rolls I made for lunch one day when I was in isolation, using up some random stuff. I used some coconut rice (leftover from a takeaway the night before), leftover hoisin miso tofu, cucumber, and carrot. I rolled them terribly, but they were really yummy. Served with a quick peanut sauce I made with some peanut butter, hoisin sauce, Vegenaise, and a touch of hot water to thin it a little.

Leftovers Rice Paper Rolls (coconut rice, hoisin mizo tofu, veggies) with peanut sauce

The joys of a silly juice! Though the main ingredients in this were pear juice, followed by some pineapple juice and guava puree. It was a bit tangy, I assume from the lime, and maybe the slightest hint of mint, but the flavours were mostly pear.

Silly Juice

I bought these vegan mushroom Tortellini on sale. They were OK. Pretty dense and the mushroom filling didn't have a very strong mushroom flavour. I served them with some bechamel sauce, that you will see turning up in another blog post eventually.


On first glance, and first taste, these crackers seem like a great snack all on their own. But after the first one, it becomes apparent that they need some sort of dip to go along with them as they are quite thick and a little bit dry.

White Sesame Crackers

A jackpot of my favourite chocolates! And both these brands are on the Food Empowerment Project's approved chocolate list, so no child slavery. Win win!

Chocolate Goodness

I had a box of Well & Good Mushroom Mac & Cheese in the cupbord from a CFS Mystery Box. I'd tried them previously and wasn't a big fan, so one day I decided to use this up by doctoring the heck out of it. I added some leftover pesto, peas, grated carrot, sauteed sausage, and baby spinach to make a passable lunch.

Well & Good Mushroom Mac and Cheese with pesto, spinach, sausage, peas, carrots

I will now put anything on a baked potatoes, including these leftovers from a Chinese delivery. I topped it with some fried shallots for crunch. Very good.

Leftover Chinese Tofu and Veggies on baked potato with fried shallots

Finally, some vegan store bought guacamole. Getting avocados in our grocery delivery has proven to be a futile effort. They always come over ripe and have been severely bruised in transit. So sometimes if I am making something that I would normally make guacamole for, I will get this in the order instead. It is really nice! It does have a smidge of chilli in it, but nothing I can taste. I enjoy having a decent vegan-friendly guac to buy, as a lot of the others in the shops have dairy in them.

Obela Guacamole

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Marigold is full of goofy faces.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Eating Out*: Paper Moon Coffee House and Wild Spice Kitchen


Earlier this year I went out for brunch with my brunch friends at a spot that we'd heard a lot about but never tried. It was definitely time to! Paper Moon Coffee House is an all vegan coffee house, they have a cute interior with boardgames and a pool table, a very chill vibe, and they also do functions there. Their menu is entirely drinkbased, with a few vegan treats. However, right next to them they have created a permanent space for Wild Spice Kitchen, a vegan food cart. You can order drinks at the cafe counter, but you need to go out to the cart to order and pick up your food.

It was a hot day, so I skipped what would have been my default choice of a turmeric latte and tried an Iced Chocolate once I confirmed that they use So Good vanilla ice cream in it (yay) and not a coconut based one. They have a bunch of plant milks to choose from, and I chose Oatly. I also got the option soy whip on top, because why not go all out?

Iced Chocolate Oatly at Paper Moon and Wild Spice Kitchen

My friend loves Mac and Cheese, so she had to get that. They have a build your own mac and cheese option, where you pick pasta (regular or gluten free), your sauce (original cheese, turmeric and cheese, or french onion cheese), a vegetable (roasted pumpkin, sauteed mushrooms, or the vegetable of the day), and a topping (garlic thyme panko, smoky panko, flaked almonds). She chose regular pasta, original cheese sauce, mushrooms, and smoky panko.

Mac & Cheese (Curly, original, mushrooms, smoked panko) at Paper Moon and Wild Spice Kitchen

Her partner got The Varenne, which was a savoury mushroom mince with tomato, avocado, baby spinach and turkish bread toast. This was high on my list of options, however he said that the mince was very heavy with tomato paste and not much mincey mushroom flavour.

Varenne at Paper Moon and Wild Spice Kitchen

I had the Prince Lui, a salad with hoisin tofu, rice noodles, satay sauce (no chilli in it!), cabbage, pickled carrots, and herbs. It was so lovely and fresh and yummy. I also got a side of their hashbrowns with lemon thyme aioli because you should always have potatoes and brunch, and a side of their turmeric and carrot hummus because I just really wanted to try it.

Prince Lui, Hashbrown with Lemon Tyme Aioli, Carrot and Tuermeric Hummus at Paper Moon and Wild Spice Kitchen

Some chips were also ordered, with a side of chipotle aioli (I didn't try that aioli!).

Large Chips with Chipotle Aioli at Paper Moon and Wild Spice Kitchen

And here is a photo of all the food together. Where we were sitting was pretty dark, so we took our food temporarily to this nice sunlit table that was in front of ours, before returning to our more comfortable table. Ha.

All the foods at Paper Moon and Wild Spice Kitchen

During high times of COVID here, Paper Moon and Wild Spice both switched to takeaway only. Wild Spice was making ready meals for, as well as getting weekly deliveries of vegan bread and pastries, so people could stock up for a while. As restrictions ease, they are now both open again for dine in (as well as take away still available) in line with government restrictions. Wild Spice is still getting weekly deliveries of bread and pastries, but I believe they are no longer doing take home meals and have reverted to an updated version of their regular menu.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


This little doofus is Marigold. Being back at work means adoption kittens! Her head is not actually as big as it appears here, she was just being extra goofy trying to sniff my phone while I took the photo!

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Appetite For Reduction (Handheld edition)

Popping back into Appetite For Reduction with some final photos to share. The last chapter of the book is called The Importance of Eating Sandwich. It has a number of sandwich and wrap combinations using components from throughout the book. Additionally, there is also a Taco Bar and several baked potato toppings. These are their stories. As previously, I'll just rate the overall sandwich, etc. Reviews of components can be found in my previous posts for this book.

Buffalo Wrap: Buffalo tempeh and cool slaw in a wrap. I added some lettuce. I also served it with some greens and some mac and cheese (which I had leftover from serving with the tempeh and the slaw the night before).
Rating: :)

Buffalo Wrap

Open-Faced Portobello Reuben: Sliced Grilled Portobellos with Caesar Chavez Dressing mixed with ketchup on dark rye, sauerkraut, and a dill pickle on the side. I had a bit of salad on the side as well, topped with some leftover dressing. This was nice, though not quite what I think of when I think of a reuben. An interpretation of a reuben.
Rating: :)

Open-Faced Portobello Reuben

Caesar Chavez Wrap: Cos (aka romaine) lettuce with sauteed seitan (I used some seitan I had leftover from another book), sliced black olives, and Caesar Chavez Dressing. This was nice and crunchy, with some strong flavours.
Rating: :)

Caesar Chavez Wrap

Thanksgiving Leftovers Wrap: Oof, that's a bad photo. But it is simply some Veggie Pot Pie Strew wrapped up with some cranberry sauce.
Rating: :)

Thanksgiving Leftovers Wrap

Taco Night: There is a range of recipes from the book that are suggested for your taco spread. From the list, I used Guacamame, Unfried Refried Beans, Portobello Chimichurri, and Fresh Tomato Salsa Dressing, along side some lettuce. I served them with some chard taco shells for nostalgia, they are the taco shells of my youth. Other suggested additions that I did not include are Chili-Lime-Rubbed Tofu and Steamed Plantains. I loved the combination of all these flavours together!
Rating: :D

Taco Night

Taco Night

Baked Potato #2: With Surefire Seitan, Sauteed Kale, and gravy (I used gravy from a gravy mix, but the recipe in the book is for Silky Chickpea Gravy).
Rating: :)

Baked Potato with Seitan, Kale, and Gravy

Baked Potato #4: With black beans, sauteed spinach, and Red Velvet Mole.
Rating: :)

Baked Potato with black beans, sauteed spinach and Red Velvet Mole

Baked Potato #5: Buffalo Tempeh, Caesar Chavez Dressing, and roasted zucchini (which I used instead of grilled).
Rating: :)

Backed potato with Buffalo Tempeh, Caesar Chavez Dressing and roasted zucchini

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Neighbourhood cat

I've mentioned that we have a few neighbourhood kitties that come through out yard, this one of our more recent visitors. A very cute little white cat with tabby splotches. Yesterday, I saw them right up on our deck and peering in our back door! The audacity! Thankfully Dim Sim was snoozing in her chair cave, blissfully unaware of this invasion.