Monday, 30 July 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Nut Butter Universe

Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson is a fun book full of, you guessed it, a range of recipes using nuts and nut butters. This title is now out of print, but has been revised into The Nut Butter Cookbook. Any nut butter other than peanut butter is super expensive here, and buying the nuts themselves to make a butter is not much cheaper, so I have used this book sparingly so far as a result. You can see my other recipe round-up from this book here.

Fire Ants on a Log: This is a fun take on the regular ants on a log. The celery is filled with a mix of almond butter, maple syrup, and cayenne (I just used the tiniest smidge), and then topped with cranberries. I had three sticks of celery, and made 1/4 of the filling, which was the perfect ratio. This was a great snack.
Rating: :)

Fire Ants on a Log

Vegetable Cashew Korma: This recipe was delicious - big servings that were super creamy and super yum. This recipe uses homemade cashew cream, and a homemade onion/ginger/garlic paste. You were also meant to add some jalapenos to the paste, but I didn't. It was a bit odd, because when I started blending the paste, it turned turquoise! Was I about to poison myself? The internet said no, and the colour didn't come through in the final dish. This is full of potato, broccoli, chickpeas, spinach, and peas. So good!
Rating: :D

Vegetable Cashew Korma

Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream: Another winning recipe! The avocado cashew cream is amazing, though the flavour gets a bit diluted with the hot pasta. But I would make this cream for all sorts of things. Salads, nachos, dipping, whatever. Because avocado sauces don't tend to last well as leftovers, I halved this recipe to serve two. I also, as per usual, downsized the amount of pasta I use. The original recipe calls for 12-16 ounces, I used 8 ounces. I also added some peas and spinach to the vegetables (which included carrot, broccoli, and zucchini). I didn't have any fresh basil for garnish, so I used parsley.
Rating: :D

Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream

Szechuan Stir-Fry with Fiery Peanut Sauce: Regular readers know, this sauce was more a smolder than a fire. The strong flavoured sauce is based on peanut butter, with a bunch of other tasty condiments and seasonings added. Cooling it down was easy, just cut back or omit the red pepper flakes. The stir-fry itself is full of tofu, onion, broccoli, shiitake, cabbage and carrot (in place of capsicum).
Rating: :)

Szechuan Stir-Fry with Fiery Peanut Sauce

Buckwheat Noodles with Ginger-Peanut Spinach: This is an easy recipe, with a peanut butte rand ginger based sauce served with buckwheat soba and wilted spinach. Instead of 12oz of buckwheat soba, I used 8oz of regular soba (with wheat, as I don't need to worry about gluten). I also added extra spinach, peas, and some Japanese marinated tofu because that is how I roll.
Rating: :)

Buckwheat Noodles with Ginger-Peanut Spinach

Mushroom-Cashew Breakfast Burritos: This lovely creamy tofu and mushroom scramble is cooked in a sauce cashew butter and almond milk (though I used oat) mix. These worried me a little as it starts off looking very soupy in the pan, but it did cook down to a great sauce. However, it did take a bit longer to get there then the 10 minutes the recipe stated, I started at higher heat and then decreased it as it started to thicken. I served mine wrapped in a large wholegrain wrap, with some spinach stuffed inside as well. Apologies for the terrible photo, I suck at photographing wraps to begin with, and this mix was delicious but not photogenic.
Rating: :)

Mushroom-Cashew Breakfast Burritos

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the morning

Dim Sim sleeps under the covers with me every night, and often doesn't get up until after me. Then she emerges, with a series of small mrows. Here she is, fresh out of the covers, fur a little ruffled, and her little morning face. I love her!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Eating Out: Greenhouse South Brisbane

Greenhouse is a vegan restaurant that has had various locations down at the Gold Coast that I've visited a few times through the years (which you can see here), but they recently opened a location in South Brisbane... right next to West End where all the vegan food seems to be these days! One Saturday after work, I went and got a hair cut (from a vegan hairdresser who is amazing!), and went to meet my friend Tracee afterwards for an early dinner to try out the new location of Greenhouse. I should mention that their menu is the same regardless of location.

We sat down and perused the menu, starting with some drinks (a housemade lemonade for Tracee and a ginger kombucha for me). I would need that kombucha!

Ginger Kombucha and Lemonade at Greenhouse South Brisbane

And then we ordered everything on the menu. OK, not really... but kind of. The food menu is split into two sections - small eats and large eats. We ordered everything off the small eats menu, minus the antipasto plate (which is quite large and is for sharing, I have had one before at the Miami location). So that is... nine items. But to share between two of us. Fine, right? I'm posting a screen shot of the menu here, so you can read all the things and what they are, and then I am going to post them in order of least favourite to most favourite! (PS, you will see that there are often spicy bits involved, we got some of it on the side, though the rest was not too spicy for me, thankfully!) Oh, and sorry for the weird light in the photos. The lighting was very dim, and somehow things ended up looking green.

2018-06-09 21.59.32

Both us felt that our least favourite dish was the Chickpea Fries. There were some texture issues, with the inside just being weird and smooshy and not very satisfying. This was the only one of the dishes I didn't really enjoy, the rest were all good. But I have to rank them somehow!

Chickpea Fries at Greenhouse South Brisbane

The Mushroom Taco was a definite step up from the fries. But just by virtue of being a bit deep fried and smooshy, it lands the second last spot on the list.

Mushroom Taco at Greenhouse South Brisbane

The Sticky Pineapple Polenta was fun, though a bit messy! I sure did take of that bit of chilli. I think I would have prefered it if things had bee a bit more finely chopped for the topping, as you didn't really get to taste all of the flavours at once.

Sticky Polenta at Greenhouse South Brisbane

There is a Nut Mince Taco underneath all of this! This had more classic taco flavours, and was fun and chewy from the nut mince.

Nut Mince Taco at Greenhouse South Brisbane

The Zucchini Flowers were a surprise hit. Initially we were a little underwhelmed, until you get to the inside of the blossom and bite into a delicious almond feta. More feta, less stalk please! The dill cream was also very nice.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers at Greenhouse South Brisbane

The Raw Taco was so lovely and fresh and light. The chipotle cheese didn't seem at all spicy. Definitely by pick of the tacos.

Raw Taco at Greenhouse South Brisbane

Getting to the pointy end of the list now. Coming in third were the Mushroom Arancini Balls, with a cashew parmesan. These were so satisfying, warm, and crispy. I love a good arancini!

Arancini at Greenhouse South Brisbane

A surprise second place went to the Buffalo Cauliflower. I was most concerned about this, because I was worried that it would be too spicy. But it is negative spicy. Really, it is not buffalo at all. I guess they do say housemade tomato relish on the menu, but the expectation of buffalo is spice. It is a beautiful, almost slightly sweet tomato sauce coating the cauliflower, with a pleasant and creamy (though not really ranch) dressing. So it isn't really what it says it is, but it is really yummy.

Buffalo Cauliflower at Greenhouse South Brisbane

And finally, edging out by a whisker, the Mac and Cheese. Sorry to be predictable. I would like to say that the top three were so close, it was really hard for me to rank them. But it had to be done.

Mac and Cheese at Greenhouse South Brisbane

So there you have it. Go along, have your own buffet, and see what you like! I wish I could say that we finished everything, but in the end we were defeated by three chickpea fries. We just didn't really enjoy eating them. And when you are that full, making yourself finish something that you don't enjoy just for pride's sake is silly... right? I did wrap them up in a napkin though so it gave the appearance that we did it. Heh.

BTW, welcome to my 2018 eating out posts! I finally got here! Though I have jumped over a bunch to post this adventure. Maybe I'll finish blogging my 2018 eats by the end of next year?

Greenhouse Canteen and Bar Brisbane - 68 Manning Street, Brisbane - 3724 2761

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Blue brings out her eyes!

Friday, 20 July 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Naturally Lean

Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts for my dad. After two and a half weeks, he is out of hospital and on the mend!

Naturally Lean by Allyson Kramer is a fun little book. It is divided up into chapters based on ingredients (such as nuts, grains, fruits, legumes, etc), rather than traditional chapters. You will notice that I talk often about how the serving sizes were far too small for me. This book is designed to have 300 calories or less for each serve, which I suspect is why some of them seem small. I don't count calories, so I just eat what makes me feel satisfied. Just bare that in mind if you are cooking for a crowd from this book. You can see what else I have made from this book here.

Popcorn Tofu with Beyond Good BBQ Sauce and Cucumber, Mango, and Radish Salad: This was a fun little dinner. The tofu is frozen and thawed, coated, and then baked. I found the chickpea-flour based dipping liquid very thick, so when I then rolled them in almond meal it got pretty sludgy. They baked quite nicely, but I had to increase the heat in my oven to get them to go golden. I The BBQ sauce was fairly easy to make, though initially had too strong a tomato taste for BBQ sauce, I added some extra brown sugar, and once it had time to sit a little the flavours melded better. I also left out the chili, used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, and I didn't have any celery salt. The sauce also has some jam in it, and I used strawberry jam. The salad made a lovely side - it was so sweet and refreshing! My radishes were very little, so I cut the cucumber slices into quarters to make the sizes more equal.
Rating: Popcorn Tofu :), BBQ Sauce :), Salad: :)

Popcorn Tofu; Better Than Good BBQ Sauce; Cucumber, Mango, and Radish Salad

Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie: It is cute when smoothie recipes say they serve 2, when they clearly only serve 1. Or is that just me and my big smoothie appetite? This is a lovely, pleasant smoothie. I used frozen strawberries to make it extra thick (along with the frozen banana), and I only used 1 date (rather than 2) so it wasn't super sweet. The recipe recommends almond milk, but I used oat. I used baby spinach as my greens.
Rating: :)

Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Chip Green Smoothie: I am iffy about mint and chocolate together, but this one had a really nice flavour. Definitely because it uses fresh mint rather than mint extract. And the unsweetened cocoa powder and cocoa nibs for the chocolate component, sweetened with 2 dates. I used both dates in this one, and it was the perfect mix of not too sweet. It isn't pretty to look at, it is murky, but a nice way to start the day.
Rating: :)

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Goji Overnight Oats: A half recipe of this made a good breakfast (it says the full recipe serves 4... not on my appetite). A mix of goji berries, pecans, and cinnamon are mixed with rolled oats. She suggests only soaking rolled oats for an hour, but I did it overnight (as I normally do with overnight oat recipes), and the texture was fine for me.
Rating: :)

Goji Overnight Oats

Cherry Overnight Steel-Cut Oats: This is a variation of the above recipe, using steel cut oats. I was suspicious about how uncooked steel cut oats would be in the morning. They certainly did soften with their overnight soak, though were still quite chewy. I prefer the texture of rolled oats for this sort of thing. I switched this version up by replacing the goji and pecans with dried cherries and almonds, which was a nice combination.
Rating: :)

Cherry Overnight Steel-Cut Oats

Cinnamon Bun Milkshake: I made this for a snack, and a half recipe made one regular size glass (a whole recipe is meant to serve four, it would be pretty small serves!). I love cinnamon, and this recipe was so sweet and yummy, a great afternoon pick me up!
Rating: :)

Cinnamon Bun Milk Shake

Creamy Tomato Bisque: This is a super easy recipe to make, blending up tinned tomatoes and soaked cashews, though I found it overall was a little bland. I would have liked it to be creamier... some nutritional yeast added in was a nice cheesy flavour boost. I made a half recipe, which made one big mug for lunch, served with some grilled cheese. I didn't have fresh tarragon to use, so I used a pinch of dried.
Rating: :|

Creamy Tomato Bisque

Lemony Lime Chia Pudding: I don't know in what universe 1/4 cup of chia seeds would equal four serves of pudding, but not in mine. I made a whole recipe for me. There is quite a lot of liquid in it, so it almost felt more like a chia drink than a chia pudding. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup maple or palm sugar, I used maple but cut it down to one Australian TBS (20mL), which was sweet enough for me. I also left out the zest, as I was using pre-frozen cubes of lemon and lime juice, and I didn't add coconut cream on top.
Rating: :)

Lemony Lime Chia Pudding

Tempeh and Snow Peas: I cut this recipe down to be a single serving, served with some rice and some spinach. I wasn't a huge fan of the marinade, which I found to be very salty. There was some pineapple juice in it, but any sweetness was lost. I kind of wished I had some pineapple chunks in the stir-fry itself. I would also recommend crisping and browning the tempeh first in some oil after marinating, because when you just add it with the marinade and the snowvpeas it was just a bit mushy.
Rating: |

Tempeh and Snow Peas

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim on her lead

Seeing as her catmax is out of action while we are renovating, I bought Dim Sim a harness and a lead so I can take her out in the yard for a little bit. I wasn't sure how she would take to it, being an 18 year old cat, but turns out she took to it just great! Though mostly she just wants to be able to drink out of the pool, and I have to keep encouraging her to enjoy other spots in the garden!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Eating Out: Netherworld

The cool kid in Brisbane is undoubtedly Netherworld, a arcade and bar where the menu is vegan by default. Though people can add animal products if they must, they often have to pay extra for this. As well as food and beverages, there is also a huge library of board and card games, and a room full of fun arcade games. I had been meaning to go for ages, but never quite got around to it. Until suddenly I went twice in one week, both times for birthdays. This was at the end of last year, I am finally all done with my 2017 eating outs! Anyway, the menu has changed a bit since then... more than once... so I have made notes on what is still available.

The first time was for my friend Tracee's birthday. It was a lot of fun! As well as food, we also had a great time playing pinball, and then I reconnected with my youth with some Mortal Kombat II. I am pleased to see my technique of just mashing all the buttons together still seems to work. I enjoyed smashing the patriachy a little, until my character finally succumbed to another woman.

I have an acquaintance who seems to be here several times a week, and they highly recommended the Burgatory as the best burger ever in the world, so I had to get that. It is a cheeseburger, but also has onion rings on it. And it was very nice, a very good burger. Didn't quite live up to the hype, but I would recommend it as a solid cheeseburger option. This is still on the current menu, and it looks like they have a double version as well!

Burgatory at Netherworld

Tracee's partner had the Tanuki Tofu Burger, which had tofu, slaw, and BBQ sauce on it. He said it was good. This isn't on the current menu.

Tanuki Tofu Burger at Netherworld

Tracee had her favourite mac and cheese. They actually use udon noodles, so it is a slurpy cheesy experience. I tried a little bit, but their cheese sauce has sriracha in it and was too spicy for me. One of the downsides for my sensitive self is that the menu has a lot of spicy in it. This is still on the menu, though they have moved it from the bites to bowls section. I doubt they'll ever that this off!

Mac and Cheese at Netherworld

We also shared some Tofu Critters, lightly spiced fried tofu with sriracha mayo. The mayo was a bit spicy, but the critters were OK. They were good! These are still on the menu as Popcorn Critters, but with chipotle mayo.

Tofu Critters at Netherworld

Three days later, I was back for another friend's birthday! This time, there were a lot more people, so we ended up playing a card game. It was like CAH Against Humanity (which I have never played) but with memes, targeted at young millenials and I hated it so much. I confiscated some of the cards for being in too poor taste, because apparently that is who I am now. Oh well.

We shared some food between us so we could try some more things. First up, the Loaded Fries. These had BBQ jackfruit, cheese, and BBQ sauce on. Also a pineapple and jalapeno salsa, which we had on the side. However, what ever was in the seasoning on the jackfruit was really very spicy for me! They seem to still have a version of these on the menu, but with chili beans instead of jackfruit.

Loaded Fries at Netherworld

We also shared the Mushroom Tempura with Wasabi Mayo. This was outstanding! While I have issues with chilli, I have no issues with Wasabi. I love it! And while I am not a fan of too much deep fried, these little nuggets managed to stay crisp and crunchy and not too oily for a prolonged snacking session. These are still on the menu as Munchkin Mushies (I hate that name!), and I highly recommend!

Mushroom Tempura at Netherworld

Finally, the Gwisin Bowl. This was a chilled salad of soba noodles, vegetables, and peanut sauce, surrounded by warm Tofu Critters. It was light, refreshing, and not spicy. This isn't on the menu anymore.

Gwisin Bowl at Netherworld

I have been meaning to get back to Netherworld since then, but it is now six and a half months later, and they have been through several menu changes. Some of the burgers I had wanted to get are now gone. Their new menu has a couple of bowls I wouldn't mind trying (the Wampus Waffle and The Rodan), but we'll see how I go!

A final bonus food photo, for my friend Ashleigh I made a birthday cake. It is a double layer cake, using a few different recipes. The cake itself is the Vanilla Birthday Cake from Chloe's Kitchen, and it was filled with a layer of the Salted Caramel Icing from Chloe's Vegan Desserts. Then the whole thing was covered and decorated with Peanut Butter Cream from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. It got a little smooshed in transit to Netherworld, and is far from a professional job, but I was pretty chuffed.

Ashleigh's birthday cake

On a personal note, it has been a while between posts. My dad has been in hospital for the last week and a half, so I try and visit him on days when I am not working all day, and by the time I get home I tend to just watch Netflix and go to bed. But I am still here, and will be slowly continuing to get through my hilariously huge backlog of places I have been eating and cookbooks I have been cooking from!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo and Sahara

I had a dream a couple of nights ago where I came home from holidays and had to pick up Sahara and Gizmo from the clinic, they both had UTIs. But they were easily treatable. And I was going to be able to take them home and hug them. I miss them always.