Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Eating Out: Harajuku Gyoza

This is a follow up to my eating vegan in the Brisbane CBD post from last week. Harajuku Gyoza is a Japanese chain that has a location in the CBD, and I met up with my friend Amy for lunch there one day after my appointment had finished. They have a few vegan options marked on the menu.

It can get pretty busy at times, but we had no problems getting a seat on a Wednesday lunch time. Check out the cute plates!

Cute plate at Harajuku Gyoza

We decided to order one of almost every vegan dish, of course. We started with their namesake, some vegetable gyoza.

Vegetable Gyoza at Harajuku Gyoza

And of course, what sort of vegans would we be if we did not order some edamame?

Edamame at Harajuku Gyoza

These were some fun open gyozas. They don't seem to be on the menu anymore, so I can't remember exactly what they were called. But they had tofu and cabbage in them, the wrapping was crispy.

Tofu Open Gyoza at Harajuku Gyoza

The eggplant tempura came out in two giant pieces, but was exceptional. My favourite!

Tempura Eggplant at Harajuku Gyoza

To finish, there was the Original Raindrop Cake, an agar-set concoction. It was more fun to play with than it was to eat, it jiggled hilariously! It was served with some sweet sauce and soil, which gave a bit of flavour.

Raindrop Cake at Harajuku Gyoza

Harajuku Gyoza - Albert Lane, 141 Queen Street, Brisbane

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


This little sweetie is Joanie, who was one of our adoption kittens. Joanie was born with a little bob tail, and is so sweet and clever and plays fetch! Happily, this little girl was adopted by some amazing clients!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Food52 Vegan

Another new entry into my Recipe Round-Up rotation! Food52 Vegan by Gena Hamshaw is a lovely book of 60 healthy but tasty recipes. The book has a photo for every recipe, which I know is important for some, so you can definitely picture what you will be ending up with!

Muesli: This is a simple, sweet, overnight oats recipe. The full recipe makes four servings, I made a generous quarter of the recipe (probably closer to a third) to get my breakfast, served with fruit. I used raisins, cashews, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds, which made this a filling way to start the day.
Rating: :)


Green Smoothie with Avocado: I love avocado, but I am suspicious of it in smoothies. Sometimes I find that it just doesn't suit me. Happily, this recipe uses just enough avocado to give a good boost of healthy fats, but not enough to give it that weird blended avocado smoothie taste. It also has frozen bananas and frozen mango in it, making it extra thick and cold and creamy, just the way I like my smoothies! There is a touch of vanilla extract in it, which was nice.
Rating: :)

Green Smoothie with Avocado

Parsnip (and Carrot) Fries with Spicy Harissa Mayonnaise: This was great! The recipe was meant to be all parsnips, but I ran out so I added some carrots as well. My oven has roast and bake features, so I gave them 20 minutes at 230dC on the roast, then again on the bake to get them at least a little crispy (the recipe said only 25 minutes all up, but they were not crisping). The mayo, which is based on cashews, is thick, creamy and delicious! I used a little bit of a very mild harissa paste that I had made from another cookbook, and added the teeniest amount to give just a very mild heat, and I left out the cayenne all together.
Rating: :D

Parsnip (and Carrot) Fries with Spicy Harissa Mayonnaise

Creamy Tomato Soup: I made a 1/2 recipe of this, which gave my one serve (with some grilled cheese on the side). The creaminess comes from a mix of cashews and non-dairy milk (I used oat milk), and I also left out the red pepper flake. Because I was making a half batch, I used a golden shallot instead of an onion as it was smaller.
Rating: :)

Creamy Tomato Soup

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew with Kale: I feel like peanut butter, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes make for a pretty great soup base. This soup also has loads of kale (obviously), but also some red lentils to help thicken and bulk it up. I used the tinned tomato option for this, rather than fresh tomatoes. I got about 3.5 serves from this.
Rating: :)

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew with Kale

Heirloom Tomato and Golden Beet Panzanella: This one time, I chanced upon some golden beetroot. They are super hard to find here! And I was excited, so I made this recipe. It was just me eating, so I scaled it down to a half recipe for one serve (though I used slightly less bread that required). This was a great salad, though I felt like maybe there was a bit too much tomato in the balance of flavours.
Rating: :)

Heirloom Tomato and Golden Beet Panzanella

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese: Of course I make the mac and cheese! This recipe had a lovely sweet flavour from the butternut, but I think it could have been cheesier. I like things cheesy. I decreased the amount of pasta from 450g to 250g, and increased the broccoli from 2 cups to 4 cups, and I used panko for the dry breadcrumbs to top it with. Served over spinach, and with a vegan BBQ sausage on the side. This recipe said it would serve 6-8, and with the full amount of pasta it would, but my changes made for four serves.
Rating: :)

Butternut Squash Macn and Cheese

Butternut Squash Macn and Cheese

Kabocha Squash and Tofu Curry: A simple curry, based on red curry paste. Though of course I cut down on the red curry paste from 3TBs to a dessert spoon scoop. Apparently I accidentally doubled the sugar in the recipe, making it a bit sweet, but it was still good. I only had 350g of kabocha, so I made up the extra 100g with carrots, and I added some peas rather than capsicum. I also mixed some coriander through, instead of just using it for garnish, as I had a bunch that I needed to use up. Served over some baby spinach and brown basmati rice.
Rating: :)

Kabocha Squash and Tofu Curry

Eggplant Tagine with Millet and Preserved Lemon: This was quite remarkable! At the end of cooking, the tagine has the most wonderful savoury and saucy broth, that is great soaked up by the millet. It has a mix of eggplant, chickpeas, and olives... also capsicum, but I used peas instead, and I added some coriander. I used some preserved lemon that I had made a while ago from another book and had stored in my freezer.
Rating: :D

Eggplant Tagine with Millet and Preserved Lemon

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sweet ginger boy

This sweet ginger boy made himself a cave while waiting for his dad to come and pick him up.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets October 2017

Another month, another two Brisbane Vegan Markets! October saw me attending both the morning and twilight markets.

The jacaranda trees were blossoming beautifully the day of the morning markets.

Jacaranda Tree

The days were starting to get hot, so I refreshed myself with a passionfruit juice from Pepper Pot Curries. I have heard that a lot of the food here is pretty spicy, so I have never eaten here. But I loved this drink.

Passionfruit Juice from Pepper Pot Curry at Brisbane Vegan Markets

One of the most exciting new stalls at the markets in October was Raijin, a Japanese stall that created an all vegan menu for the vegan markets. I ordered the Dry Ramen, which was delicious and savoury with some fabulous coated tofu on top. We also shared some gyoza. The good news is that Raijin now seems to offer there vegan menu at the regular weekly Boundary St Markets as well!

Dry Ramen from Raijin at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Gyiza from Raijin Japanes at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Tracee and Jamie shared some fish and chips from Happy Fish, a vegan fish and chips stall. Vegan fish and chips is not appealing to me at all, but they said it was good and lots of people love it, so if you are into that sort of thing it sounds like you will be pleased!

Fish and Chips from Happy Fish at Brisbane Vegan Markets

And, of course, I Should Coco to finish off. Their special for the month was The Big Yes, as marriage equality was trying to get passed in Australia (it finally did, hurrah!). The Big Yes was a giant sized ice cream with strawberry sauce, rainbow sprinkles, rainbow popcorn and rainbow lollies. Popcorn and lollies are not my thing, so I had a regular cone with strawberry sauce and sprinkles in the spirit.

Ice Cream with Strawberry Sauce and Spinrkles from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

For the twilight markets, we again met up when they opened at 12pm for lunch. I started off with a Bliss Me drink fro a weird drink shop, I cannot remember the name. It was kava, passionflower, cinnamon, avena sativa (aka oats), fresh mint, orange blossom, and turmeric iced tea. It was kombucha based, so was slightly fizzy. It had a bit of a bitter taste, but was OK. Super weird and hippy!

Bliss Me from weird drink shop at Brisbane Vegan Markets

There was a new pizza kid on the block in the form of Pachamama Pizza, and I was excited! I decided on the Sol Shine (organic pineapple, organic corn, organic red onion, cashew cream cheese, vegan parmesan, organic tomato base, leave off the capsicum for me), which was nice. I love pineapple on pizza! Jamie tried the Goodness (organic sweet Potato, organic red onion, organic kale dipped in olive oil, toasted cashew cream cheese, rosemary, chilli, drizzled with fresh cashew cream cheese and organic tomato base). The only thing with these pizzas is that the bases are HEAVY, I think they are spelt? So while the pizzas are quite small, they fill you up fast. So bear that in mind if you are wanting to eat a lot of other things.

Sol Shine from Pachamama Pizza at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Goodness from Pachamama Pizza at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Of course, no visit is complete without a stop by Green Street Foods (the only reason there is nothing from them for the October morning markets is because they had another engagement that day and were not there). Tracee decided to do a side by side comparison of the original mac and cheese and the truffle mac and cheese, and I tried the black bean nachos. The nachos have a bit of spice to them, but I was able to manage.

Mac and Cheese from Green Street Food at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Black Bean Nachos at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Jamie also had a hot dog from the Farm Animal Rescue stall.

Hot Dog from FAR at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Then it was I Should Coco time. Tracee got the Chocolate Timmy (vegan tim tams and chocolate sauce), and I got the Cookie Wookie (with chocolate sauce instead of caramel, and choc chip cookie dough). Yes, I got it in a cone. The day before I had burned the bejeezus out of my mouth, and after carefully munching my way through the nachos (delicious, though painful with those hard corn chips), I decided to skip the crunchy cone. Just this time.

Cookie Wookie and Chocolate Timmy from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

For some take home treats, I of course got my Strawberry Flan from Flour of Life, but I also tried something new from Bliss & Co, which is a raw food dessert place. Normally I avoid raw desserts due to the coconut oil, and because I find baked desserts are just so much better. But they had these peanut butter cups that were coconut oil free, so I gave it a try. It was delicious! Not to sweet, super peanut buttery. Excellent.

Peanut Butter Cup from Bliss & Co, and Strawberry Flan from Flour of Life at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

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More Dim Sim toes!!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Eating out: Brisbane CBD

Life has taken me into the Brisbane CBD for appointments several times over the past year (and will continue to do so this year), so that means that I have had ample opportunity to try different vegan options for lunch.

VegeRama Myer Centre: VegeRama has two outlets in the city, and the one I have visited the most is the one in the food court in the Myer Centre. It gets so busy there at lunch time! I highly recommend the lasagna (though I have to pick out the capsicum) if you can handle the amount of Daiya that they put on the top. I once tried the Moussaka, which was OK but not as good. They have other options there as well, a few are only vegetarian but most is vegan. They also have salads. My favourite is the Dill and Mustard Salad, which you see in all the photos below (the takeaway box has a second salad as well, but I can't remember what it is).

Lasagna with Dill and Mustard Salad from Vegerama at Myer Centre

Moussaka with Dill Mustard Salad from VegeRama

Takeaway Salads from Vegerama

VegeRama Post Office Square: The second location of VegeRama is in Post Office Square. I think this location is all vegan. They have a lot of similar things to the Myer Centre one, but they also do burgers. I went there once to meet up with a friend, and got a piece of their Vegan Quiche with a side of Veggie Boost Salad, and a CABALA juice (carrot, three types of apple, beetroot, lemon).

Vegan Quiche and Veggie Boost Salad with juice from Vegerama

Comuna Cantina is a Mexican spot that is tucked away, but has a few vegan options on the menu. I had the naturally vegan Abundance Bowl, which had quinoa, black beans, mixed salad, roasted sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, crushed tortillas, and pickled onions. They can also do some of the vegetarian tacos as vegan leaving off the dairy. I also had a refreshing Strawberry, Elderflower, and Lime Agua Fresca, though the lime juice dominated the other tastes.

Abundance Bowl at Comuna Cantina

Strawberry Elderflower Lime Agua Fresca at Comuna Cantina

Vegeto: This is a vegetarian Indian place in the food court of Queens Plaza, that has some vegan options. Eating out, Indian is not my favourite as I am sensitive to spice levels and a lot of these pre-made ones are too spicy for me. I was assured that this Potato and Pea Curry and Daal were mild, but my mouth said no to this. I am so ridiculous. They also sell FoodMill cakes there, including this excellent carrot cake.

Curries (Potato and Pea and Daal) and Carrot Cake from Vegeto

Thr1ve: The address for this is in Post Office square, but don't go looking for it in the underground food court. It is above ground, flanking the park. They specialise in bowls. At the time I went, the only vegan bowl option on the menu (which has since changed) wasn't that enticing, so I made a custom one. And spent a million dollars accidentally. Pricey! Anyway, this one had rice, mixed greens, turmeric cauliflower, pickled cabbage, avocado smash, and tofu.

Custom Bowl from Thrive

Graze & Grind: This is also in Post Office Square, down in the underground food court part. They have some vegan bowls, salads, and smoothies there, as well as a lot of non-vegan stuff. I can't remember exactly what this bowl was, but it was a warm mushroom bowl with rice and quinoa, pickled cabbage, and salad greens. I also tried a not-particularly sweet turmeric smoothie, but it had almond milk in it so I didn't love the texture.

Warm Mushroom Bowl and Turmeric Smoothie from Graze & Grind

Spudbar: Spudbar is a baked potato bar chain, and it is located in the Wintergarden food court and the bottom floor. There are two vegan options, and they can also make a vegetarian one vegan by leaving off the dairy. I had Fresh Veggie, with baby spinach, tomato, corn, carrot, peas & hummus. You can choose between regular potato or sweet potato, or you can have half of each if you are undecided (like I was).

Fresh Veggie from Spud Bar

Guzman y Gomez and Coco Bliss: These are both also located in the Wintergarden food court. I got the veggie burrito bowl made vegan (no dairy), which sadly had a lot of capsicum to pick out, and I also got a Black Acai Smoothie (with charcoal giving it the black colour). Don't panic the next day if you have had charcoal the day before!

Burrito Bowl from Gomez and Charcoal Smoothie from Cocobliss

Ms Chi Qi: Yet another offering from the Wintergarden food court, this is a good place for some tasty rice paper rolls, and have three vegan options there. Sorry for the blurry photo!

Blurry Rice Paper Rolls from Miss Chi Chi

Raw Energy: This is located a couple of blocks away from Queen St Mall, but very easy to get to. Again, a 'healthy place' that has a few vegan options. I had the Liver Cleansing Juice (beetroot, pear, carrot, lemon) and the Vegan Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Kale Fritters, that come with roma tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, avocado salsa & warm napoli.

Liver Cleanser Juice (beetroot, pear, carrot, lemon) from Raw Energy

Vegan Quinoa Fritters with tomato, spinach, avocado, mushrooms and napoli from Raw Energy

Noosa Chocolate Factory: If you are after a sweet treat, the Noosa Chocolate Factory is the place to go! They have two shops, both close to each other on Adelaide St. One is a shop that sells the chocolate, and the other is a cafe (The Dark Chocolatier) where you can get hot and cold chocolate drinks, as well as some of the chocolates themselves. All of their dark chocolate goodies are vegan, which includes the most amazing rocky road in the world.

Noose Chocolate Factory 90% iced chocolate and chocolate covered cherries

Noosa Chocolate Factory

So if you find yourself in the Brisbane CBD for any reason, rest assured there is plenty to keep your belly full! There are some other places I still want to try, so I'll report back on those soon!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

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Dim Sim's teeny little front feetsies.