Friday, 30 November 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets November 2018

It had been a couple of months (September I had something else on, October was very rainy), but November saw me back at the Brisbane Vegan Markets with my friends Tracee and Jamie. It is now heading towards the time of year when it is almost too hot for markets. They started at 9am, and even by 9.30 the heat was evident. Their Christmas market is on in just over a week, so we shall see how the weather fares. Anyway, food! Oh, and you can see my previous market visits here.

Tracee and Jamie for a plate of mixed momos from Tibetan Momo House.

Mixed Momos from Tibetan Momo House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

And Tracee and I both got some Char Kway Teow from Malaysia Nonya House. This is mine after I had picked out all the capsicum already, hence why it looks a little messy.

Chaw Kway Teow from Malasian House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Drinkwise, I got some Rose and Lychee iced tea in my awesome new insulated Montii smoothie cup that I got for my birthday. And also a chocolate milk from Nutsy. Nutsy accepts all their empty bottles back to be cleaned and reused, how great is that!

Chocolate Milk from Nutsy and Iced Tea in smoothie cup at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I also had a BLT from the Farm Animal Rescue stall. It was a classic, tasty BLT. Though one of the slices of bread was hilariously thick at one crust! Jamie also had a Veef burger from the FAR stall, but he ate it before anyone could take a photo. Twice. But he liked the burger enough to eat it twice in one morning, so take that as an endorsement.

BLT from FAR at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Finally, an ice cream cone from I Should Coco. Friends, since they took Berry Merry off the menu a few months ago, I have struggled to find any other flavour that I love as much. This time I tried a Cookie Wookie, but with strawberry sauce instead of caramel (I normally get it with chocolate instead of caramel, I don't like caramel much). It was nice, though their strawberry sauce is so runny. Come back Berry Merry!

Cookie Wookie with Strawberry Sauce from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in our new room

Yesterday I posted a photo of Dim Sim looking a bit wary about being in our new bedroom. Last night, I was watching Riverdale and eating dinner and she jumped out of her chair cave in the sunroom and wandered past. Where did she go? I was looking for her for her meds before we went up to bed. Upstairs I went and where did I find her? On her blankie on our bed in our new room! I was so happy, she seems to know this is where we sleep now. And that she still wants to be where I am for sleepy snugs.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Eating Out: Two Tables Cafe (In Memoriam)

Sad news just came in, my friends. My favourite Two Tables Cafe announced yesterday on Instagram that they were closing, effective immediately. It was a small family business, and the adult children are now off doing their own things in the world. Which means, no more Two Tables. I am very very very sad. I had wanted to go there for my birthday dinner this year, but things got in the way, and I didn't get a chance for a final goodbye. Woe. It is strange how important a place can become to you. I guess good food and amazing people will do that. So, for the final time, here are some of the things I had eaten there in some recent visits.

I went with some friends for brunch once rainy Sunday. I had been planning on getting the pancakes, but I was in a savoury mood and went for the Big Vegan breakfast as well. Pumpkin, mushrooms, roasted tomato, a Fenn Veef patty, a hashbrown, baked beans, tomato relish, and their housemade bread. This was delicious and satisfying, but without being too overwhelming.

Big Vegan from Two Tables Cafe

My friend did have the House Special Pancakes, and I was able to snaffle a few bites. Their pancakes are so good, and the house special version is loaded with fruit. I had planned on having these instead of cake at my birthday dinner. Alas. Anyway, check out these beauties, and then weep that you will never get to have them.

House Special Pancakes from Two Tables Cafe

Another time I had been meant to meet some friends there for brunch, but they forgot. But a trip to Two Tables was never wasted, and I was happy to be able to eat there. I had their delicious green smoothie, and their tofu burger. The burger has pineapple and satay sauce on it, and came with their perfect chips.

The Greenie at Two Tables Cafe

Tofu Burger (with Satay Sauce and Pineapple) at Two Tables Cafe

Several weeks ago, they introduced the Graze concept to their Friday and Saturday nights. While they still had their regular menu available, they also had a special pre-booked menu. I was lucky enough to be able to make it there for their first one. Pesto Pizza Bread with Caponata, Sesame Cheese and Pearl Cous Cous stuffed Baby Field Mushrooms, Creamy Linguine Carbonara with Panegrotto, and Heritage Tomato and Rocket Salad. A beautiful meal. They are the masters of knowing exactly how much food is enough to leave you satisfied, but not uncomfortably full. This was such a great dinner.

Pesto Pizza Bread and Caponata at Two Tables (Graze)

Baby Field Mushrooms stuffed with Pearl Couscous and Sesame Cheese at Two Tables (Graze)

Creamy Linguine Carbonara with Panegrotto and Heritage Tomato and Rocket Salad at Two Tables (Graze)

Farewell my beloved Two Tables. I wish them all the very best in all their future endeavours. And if there is ever another Two Tables in the future, count me in.

You can reminisce and see my other visits to Two Tables Cafe here.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in our new room

Speaking of changes, Dim Sim and I moved into our new bedroom yesterday. Here she is on the bed, with our new quilt cover. She is a bit concerned by it all.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Great Vegan Protein Book

The Great Vegan Protein Book by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes has your 'where do you get your protein from' needs covered. No weird protein powders, just tofu, seitan, tempeh, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Let's get ripped! Or whatever it is all this protein people are so obsessed about is meant to do. You can see other recipes I've made from the book here.

Butter Bean Gravy: This gravy is very thick and hearty, involving a full tin of pureed butter beans, but I found it a bit bland. And this was even after I blended in some mushrooms. You soak shiitakes in broth to get a mushroom flavour to it, and I just added in the mushrooms themselves to the gravy as well. A splash of soy sauce definitely helps with the flavour. It also has shallots, garlic, nutritional yeast, and fresh herbs (I used sage).
Rating: :|

Butter Bean Gravy

Broccoli and Mushroom Freekehzotto: This uses a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms (I used a 'gourmet' mix), as well as freekeh as the grain. I took the option to use cracked freekeh, and it cooked in about 30 minutes (the recipe says 40 minutes for cracked freekeh). This is made creamy with a blend of nutritional yeast and cashews, and is filly, creamy, and tasty.
Rating: :)

Broccoli and Mushroom Freekehzotto

Do the Cocoa Shake: A full recipe of this uses a full block of silken tofu, but it is easy to scale down if you just have a bit of silken tofu that you'd like to use up. I made a one third amount, which was a small single serve (the full recipe says it makes four serves). It also has frozen banana and peanut butter, which gives it a sweet flavour.
Rating: :)

Do the Cocoa Shake

Fiesta Scramble: This bright and colourful scramble has scallion, red onion, drained fire roasted tomatoes (I didn't have quite enough so I used some chopped fresh tomatoes with smoked paprika to make up to volume), corn, and coriander. It made quite a bit, and has a lot of corn in it, so decrease the corn if you are not such a fan. I took the head down bu omitting the jalapeno and just using a scrape of adobo sauce.
Rating: :)

Fiesta Scramble

Reuben Scramble 'Wiches: I'm a fan of the Reuben. This version uses a seasoned tofu scramble, that includes sauerkraut . It is served open faced, on toast spread with dijon and topped with spinach and dill pickles. Certainly not really a Reuben in the traditional sense of ingredients, but still fun and tasty. The onions and tomatoes in the scramble added a nice sweetness to is as well. I left out the capsicum, of course.
Rating: :)

Reuben Scramble 'Wiches

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Kitten blep

Kitten blep! I was trying to take a pretty posed photo of our adoption kitten Sabrina, this is what I got. Sabrina, as well as her three brothers, have already been adopted into their new homes!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Eating Out: Grill'd

Burger chain Grill'd has long been a haunt of vegans, with the ability to make some of their burgers vegan by leaving things off, and especially for their delicious chips. But Grill'd has lately really embraced the vegan revolution. First up, they introduced a 100% vegan veggie burger with salad. Not the most exciting, I know, but really delicious. But this year they also announced two new burgers - the all vegan Vegan Cheese Burger, and the misleadingly vegetarian but not actually vegan Hemp Therapea burger. To make way for these two new burgers, they did take some other vegetarian burgers off the menu. So there are currently three veg*n burgers (one 100% vegan and two easy to veganise) on their menu. Plus their chips, did I mention their chips?

Vegan Cheeseburger:

This burger actually had to be retinkered, into a vegan cheeseburger 2.0. The first version had a super weird patty, that was kind of chalky. It was not the greatest, and I honestly don't know how anyone ever approved it in the first place. It is the first photo below, and you can see that the patty looks a bit dry and weird. In an amazing turn of events, Grill'd actually listened to their consumers and reformulated their patty, so now all the cheeseburgers are the 2.0 variety. The new patty (which you can see in the second photo) is much better, though still not quite as good as a lot of the other burger patties out there (such as Fenn and Fries). It is a bit soft, and relatively thick. If they smooshed it a bit flatter to get a better grill and crispy edges, it would be better. But still good. The burger also has ketchup, mustard, vegan cheese, vegan mayo, onions, and dill pickles. Get extra pickles.

Vegan Cheeseburger and Chips with Tomato Relish from Grill'd

Grill'd Cheeseburger 2.0

Hemp Therapea Burger:

When they announced the new vegan cheeseburger, they also announced this burger. They were prominently advertised as plant based, however it turns out that in the original form this one is not completely so. Early on, several vegans got caught out because it has a non-vegan tzatziki on it. You need to request them to use vegan mayo instead. It was quite misleading marketing on their part. The patty on this is hemp and pea, and is quite nice and sweet. It also has avocado, lettuce, beetroot, basil, and vegan mayo when you ask them to make it vegan. I had it on good authority that it is best with pineapple added, so that is what I did. I really enjoyed this burger, it is a nice fresh change from the cheeseburger. And I like the pea in the patty. This time I foolishly tried their sweet potato fries, which are always overcooked and soggy. I don't know why I ever stray from their perfect perfect potato chips, see above photos.

Sweet Potato Fries and Hemp Therapea Burger (with pineapple) from Grill'd

Veggie Vitality (RIP):

This was actually my favourite burger, but just in writing this post I have discovered that it is off the menu. So consider this in its memory. It was a patty made from beetroot, sweet potato, spinach, and quinoa, and also had avocado, pineapple, carrot and cos lettuce. This was before they had vegan mayo or vegan cheese. I would add some beetroot and some pickle to it as well. It was just such a lovely fresh burger. And now, it is no more. RIP, my burger friend. (A moment silence as well for the falafel burger and mushroom burger that also have gone. I didn't eat either of them, but I have friends who miss them).

Veggie Vitality Burger (with Pickles) and Chips from Grill'd

Garden Goodness Burger:

This is one of their original vegetarian burgers. A veggie patty with beetroot, avocado, salad, relish, mayo, and cheese. As a vegan, you would take of the mayo and the cheese. So, I haven't actually had this burger since they introduced vegan cheese and mayo. In my head, I thought the veggie vitality was still on the menu, and this one had gone. But writing this post has taught me otherwise. As a vegan, you would now be able to get vegan cheese and mayo on it. Before they introduced veggie vitality, this was the main burger I got from them. And it is a good veggie burger. At some point, I will try it again with the vegan options on it. Here is a badly lit photo of the burger from a time I had it before (minus cheese and mayo). With pineapple and dill pickle added, of course!

Veggie Burger (with pineapple and dill) and chips at Grill'd

Grill'd has lot of locations, check their website.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Cute kitten

We had this little kid in at work a couple of weeks ago and they were just too cute!

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Great Vegan Grains Book

The Great Vegan Grains Book is a fun adventure through all sorts of grains. From the common, to the more unusual. However, you are also able to sub in easier to find and cheaper alternatives for most of the recipes. Fancy grains can be expensive, and sometimes impossible to get! You can see my other round up from this book here.

Teff and Amaranth Porridge: When the shops give you both teff and amaranth on super sale, this recipe is a great way to use them! This recipe says it gives two large serves, but it was really one serve. Rather than using coconut milk, I used oat milk with a smidge of coconut essence. Filled with raisins and spices (I used cinnamon), and topped with strawberries, coconut flakes, and slivered almonds, it was a tasty breakfast and there is something fun about eating tiny grains.
Rating: :)

Teff and Amaranth Porridge

Apricot Oats: This recipe uses steel cut oats, and comes together pretty quickly on the stove. It has chopped dried apricots and apricot jam mixed in to give a good apricot flavour. I made a 1/2 recipe, which is meant to be one serve. It was a smallish serve, fairly filling initially, but I was hungry again soon after. So consider the whole recipe for one serve.
Rating: :)

Apricot Oats

Creamy Amaranth Polenta with Marinara: I made a half recipe of the grain, but a full recipe of the sauce with this. I added some broth powder to the water when I cooked the amaranth, which then has a creamy cashew carrot sauce cooked through. Rather than chopping and steaming carrots to blend into the sauce, I just grated a raw carrot and added a little bit of extra cashew cream to blend up a lovely smooth sauce. For the marinara sauce, I left out the capsicum and added some kidney beans. I took the option of adding Italian seasoning (the other suggestion was Herbes de Provence, and I topped it with some baby capers rather than mincing capers. A nice contrast with the creamy amaranth and the savoury sauce. With spinach, I got two serves.
Rating: :)

Creamy Amaranth Polenta with Marinara

Chickpea Millet Curry: This recipe says it makes 2-3 servings, and I got 2.5 serves. I did decrease the amount of millet by half though, so if you made the full amount you'd be closer to 3-4 serves. I left out the jalapeno and capsicum, of course, and I added some peas. The recipe calls for 1 cup of chickpeas, but I used the whole tin (about 1 1/2 cups) to bulk it out. I also used light coconut milk. Because I am sensitive to spice, I did decrease the amount of curry powder in it, so it ended up being a bit bland. If you need to make it like me, probably add some extra spices and seasoning in as well.
Rating: :|

Chickpea Millet Curry

Creamy Pesto Asparagus Barley: This recipe is meant to be made with einkorn, but I have never found that grain so I took the more common alternative suggested. I had some pre-cooked barley in the fridge, so this came together very easily. The recipe calls for red onion to be added to the grain in the last few minutes of cooking, but as I had precooked grain I sauteed my onion in the pan. The asparagus can either be roasted or steamed before adding it, so of course I roasted it. The sauce is a mix of pesto and cashew cream, for a nice coating. I was using up some jarred pesto, so it was a bit oilier than I would have liked. I also added some cannellini beans to make a more complete meal.
Rating: :)

Creamy Pesto Asparagus 'Einkorn' (Barley)

Saucy Peanut Eggplant and Brown Rice: This was another grain substitution, the original recipe calling for freekeh. At the time, freekeh was proving a bit hard to find (and also was super expensive), so brown basmati rice provided a great stand in. Of course tasted lovely, anything with peanut sauce would! As well as crunchy peanut butter, the sauce also has tomato paste, lime, and seasonings. I got three serves of this, rather than four.
Rating: :)

Saucy Peanut Eggplant and Brown Rice

Quinoa and Veggies Stir-Fry: Straight up, this has fairly simple flavours (tamari, garlic, sesame oil), but the garnishes help bring it out a bit. I left out capsicum from the veggie mix, but I also added 250g of smoked tofu for extra bulk to the meal. I used ume plum vinegar, sesame seeds, scallions, and pickled ginger as my toppings. This recipe uses pre-cooked quinoa, so comes together very fast.
Rating: :)

Quinoa and Veggies Stir-Fry

Easy Cheesy Baked Grits: These are so good. I used regular polenta (I know that is different from grits, but I can't get grits here, and the recipe says you can use polenta). The polenta is cooked in a creamy cashew based sauce that also has sauerkraut, miso, and nutritional yeast in it. I subbed garlic and onion powder into the sauce instead of using fresh. Then you bake it, and it comes out amazing! I served it with some steamed broccoli, and these vegan chicken strips that were new in the supermarkets but were kind of terrible. Thank goodness I had these amazing grits to make up for it!
Rating: :D

Easy Cheesy Baked Grits

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim's results are back and looks like we have the all clear!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Eating Out: Two Tables Cafe (Pizza for Dinner edition)

I've posted before about my love of Two Tables Cafe. They recently changed their opening hours during the week from breakfast/lunch to dinner time. The highlight of their dinner menu is definitely the pizzas! There are three flavours, plus their garlic bread. The menu also has burgers, acai bowls, desserts, and there are normally a couple of pasta specials. But let's talk about pizza.

First up, their garlic bread. Which is basically a garlic pizza. This is lovely, salty, and garlicky. It is basically an entire pizza on it's own though, which can be challenging if you are one person eating this and another pizza, but I can report that leftovers are excellent. All pizzas from here pass the important leftover test (they are excellent cold the next day).

Garlic Bread at Two Tables Cafe

My favourite pizza of all is the Melanzane. This has BBQ sauce, eggplant, pumpkin, and onion on it and it is divine! One of the best pizzas I have ever had. This is the one I definitely recommend that everyone must eat.

Melanzane at Two Tables Cafe

The Pomodori is a classic combination of tomato, olives, and sesame cheese. It is savoury and salty, with the sesame cheese giving a lovely creamy contrast.

Pomodori Pizza at Two Tables Cafe

And finally, the Carciofi. I got this to take away when they had a two for one special on World Vegan Day, so I got a couple of pizzas to take home to my family. This one is artichokes and mushrooms with pinenuts and aioli, and is really great.

Carciofi Pizza at Two Tables Cafe

This is my favourite cafe. They know me by name, we have good chats, the atmosphere is lovely, the food is great! I'll have a lot more posts about their food in the future, because they is the place I go to the most!

Two Tables Cafe - 475 Sandgate Road, Clayfield

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


There's been a lot of Dim Sim talk with all her recent surgeries, but the first of November would have been Gizmo's birthday. I still miss her so much.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Garden of Vegan

One of my earlier cookbooks, The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. You can see what else I have blogged from this cookbook here.

Carrot Ginger Muffins: These muffins are reminiscent of carrot cake, though they are not that sweet. This makes them a good snack. The recipe says it made 6 muffins, but I got 10. I assume they must be using a giant muffin tin. These are also nice split and spread with a little butter when they are warm.
Rating: :)

Carrot Ginger Muffins

Apple Streusel Muffins: If you promise me streusel topping, I want streusel topping. So I scaled up the streusel ingredients from 2TBS sugar as a base to 3TBS. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp on top of each muffin, and you have a nice, crunchy, sweet topping. Again, I assume they made theirs in a big muffin tin, as I got 12 muffins instead of 6.
Rating: :)

Apple Streusel Muffins

Nana Marg's Bran Muffin Mix in a Jar: This quick mix gives you enough for three batches of muffins, though a note it does need to be stored in the fridge. I scaled down for one batch of muffins. It is an equal mix of bran and flour, with cinnamon and other spices and raisins.
Rating: :)

Nana Marg's Bran Muffin Mix in a Jar

Nana Marg's Quick Mix Bran Muffins: Take the above mix, make into muffins. The recipe does involve a mashed banana, apple sauce, oil, and water to be added. I did make 6 muffins with this one, but it filled my regular muffin cups right to the very top and they ended up very big! They are also quite substantial. Now that I write this, maybe the others were made in normal sized muffin tins, they just make them so they overflow when baking for big muffin tops.
Rating: :)

Nana Marg's Quick Mix Bran Muffins

Blueberry Muffins: This is turning into quite the muffin edition! Though this is the last muffin for this round-up. These muffins also have rolled oats in them to make them a little more substantial. I used frozen blueberries, I almost always use frozen berries for these sorts of things. I made this 6 muffin recipe into 10 'normal' (or maybe snack would be the better word) sized muffins.
Rating: :)

Blueberry Muffins

The Most Amazing Chocolate Pudding: This pudding is based on silken tofu, though uses cocoa powder, sugar and olive oil rather than chocolate chips to bring the chocolate. The olive oil was just noticeable, but gave a nice flavour. It is great with some fresh berries.
Rating: :)

The Most Amazing Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Mint Mousse: Chocolate and mint are not so much my thing, but this one was pretty good. It falls into the silken tofu and melted chocolate category of mousses, and as such was very thick. I used the lesser amount of the mint extract, and also added some maple syrup to mellow it out.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Mint Mousse

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim fast asleep

Dim Sim had her surgery on Tuesday and came home on Wednesday morning. She slept so hard!!! And wanted to spend a lot of that sleeping time on my lap. She is the sweetest. She seems to be dealing well with recovery, still a bit wobbly, but otherwise her normal happy self and not bothering at her stitches. Hopefully we will get the results back this afternoon, and hopefully they will say all clear!

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Eating Out: Grown

I have now been to Grown a number of times, and it is always a lovely experience. Often when I have gone, it has just happened to be cold and rainy, and sitting inside sipping a hot drink is delightful. Also, my mum loves this place, specifically their scrambled tofu. So we've been a few times on a Sunday morning (Saturday mornings are very hard to find a park because there are some markets on down the road) to enjoy the menu. You can see some of my other visits to Grown here.

I mentioned hot drinks, and Grown has a nice selection. I don't drink coffee, but they have lots of options. Here is a Dark Hot Chocolate and a Spiced Chai, both on soy milk. The hot chocolate is particularly amazing, and another one of my mum's favourites.

Dark Hot Chocolate and Spiced Chai at Grown

Here is the famed scrambled tofu, which is served with toast and smoked sesame cheese. Also a hash brown added on, because you should always potato.

Scrambled Tofu and Hashbrown at Grown

I was curious as what their homemade Vegemite would be, so I ordered toast and Vegemite. It was nice, but not Vegemite. It was some sort of sesame based product again, but didn't have that strong salty flavour that I want from when I am having Vegemite.

Homemade Vegemite on Toast at Grown

I enjoyed this lovely dish of polenta and braised french lentils. It was warming, and the flavour was lovely. They've recently redone their menu for summer, and sadly this has been taken off. Hopefully they will bring it back at some stage.

French Lentils and Polenta at Grown

My dad tried the Housemade Hash Brown the one time he has come with us. While they do have the option to add a hash brown as a side to anything, they also make a feature meal of it. It had roasted tomato, avocado, greens, cannellini beans, and capsicum sauce. They have changed the accompaniments slightly in the new menu.

Hash Brown at Grown

While there is a regular toastie on their menu, sometimes they have specials. I got this amazing Tempeh Toastie, which had sesame cheese, spinach, caramelised onions, and aioli in it... and I got a hash brown on the side of course!

Tempeh Toastie Special and Hashbrown at Grown

Grown is a lovely place, and I definitely recommend it. I've been a couple of times since these visits as well, and I am hoping to make it back sometime soon for their dinner menu.

Grown - 21 Buchanan Street, West End - 07 3036 7213

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim has been such a good perfect girl with her stitches, she hasn't been bothering them at all. Unfortunately the results came back to say that they couldn't be sure that the tumours were completely removed. So next week she will go back to the clinic, but will have to have a full general anaesthetic to remove more tissue. She will also have another lump on the back of her neck removed, and her teeth cleaned up, given that if we are going under we are going to do everything that needs doing. She has the best team of vets looking after her, but I am still a very worried mum.