Thursday, 25 July 2019

Midweek Munchies

Hello friends, I hope you've been having a nice week, with some good food. This will be my last post now until MoFo starts next week, I have a lot of prep to do! But first, some random food.

First up, these Bark Bites (I ripped into the packet before taking the photo). I was gifted these by my brother, and they were really yummy. I love the tartness of the goji berries and the crunchiness of the coconut. They have some other flavour as well I'd like to try some time, though they are pricey so I'll wait to see them on sale.

Bark Bites

Vegan bacon bits have been hard to come buy here. I have a very treasured packet of Wayfare Pig Out Bacun Bits that I brought home from the US once that I have been rationing out carefully, or I make my own using TVP (I have a number of recipes). But these crunchy treats from the Cruelty Free Shop are excellent and fill the void nicely.

Bacon Bits

So Delicious almond yoghurts hit Woolworths earlier this year. They are made in Australia, so I guess So Delicious is expanding. I hope they expand their ice cream making over here then so we can have less expensive pints! Anyway, the yoghurts come in three flavours - strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate coconut. I just got strawberry and vanilla. They are nice, good texture, though the Impressed Almond Milk Yoghurts are still my favourite. I have since tried the chocolate coconut one as well, which I grabbed on a super sale, just to try. It was just borderline for too coconutty for me, but was nice and tangy.

So Delicious Almond Yoghurts from WW

Finally, a fancy cheese! There are a lot of very fancy (and very expensive) vegan cheeses these days, even in Australia. Unfortunately most of them just seem to be made from coconut oil, which means I don't try them (good for the wallet!). But when cashew-based Dilectio came out earlier this year, their Camembert was coconut oil free! They also have a blue cheese, but that does have coconut oil. I bought this very small round of cheese for the grand price of AU$17. And... look, it was good. But I think it turns out that I am more a brie girl than a camembert girl. It was a bit...something for me. But I still enjoyed it, and my omni mum said it was indeed a good camembert, so I think it would be good for cheese platters!

Dilectio Camambert

Dilectio Camambert

Dilectio Camambert

Hope everyone has a good week, and I'll see you on the 1st of August for VeganMoFo!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Remember all the kittens in the basket? Well, they all got homes fairly quickly, except for poor little Panko. He was all on his own for a bit. But in excellent news, this week he found his forever home! He will be very happy there.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Eating Out: Taro's Vegan Ramen (and Taro's Ramen)

Taro's Ramen, as advertised, as a ramen place that has a few locations around Brisbane, only one of which had a vegan option (their South Brisbane restaurant). Then... a gift. Their inner city Taro's Express was rebranded and Taro's Vegan Ramen - with a full vegan menu of mains, desserts, and drinks. Hurrah! But, as things are given, so they are taken. A few months later, the building it was in closed for redevelopment and they closed. A crushing loss, as it was my favourite place in the city even though I'd only got to go there three times. Oh well, in memory, here is what I ate.

Of course I had to get the Vegan Ramen, because it was a ramen place! It comes in three levels of heat, and I clearly got the classic with zero chilli. This was really good, probably the best ramen I've had in Brisbane. The tofu in it was exceptional, so well seasoned and I could have just eaten a plate of it. With a side of seaweed salad because I love that stuff.

Classic Ramen and Seaweed Salad at Taro's Vegan Ramen

With heady plans of working my way through the menu (or at least, the non-spicy things on the menu), at visit two I moved down to the next item - the Cold Noodle Soup. This was a lovely soy-milk based broth, with a lot of five spice in it. There were some chilli things in it on the menu, so I got them to leave them out. This was lovely, but so filling! Also with some seaweed salad on the side.

Cold Noodle Soup at Taro's Vegan Ramen

I don't drink matcha often, because the caffeine in it makes me weird (I don't drink coffee or black tea either), but I couldn't say no to a matcha soy milkshake once I found out that they used soy ice cream.

Matcha Soy Milkshake at Taro's Vegan Ramen

Then, all plans were dashed when they announced that they were closing. Thankfully I was able to go one more time, on their last day. I debated whether I should try something new again on the menu, but at the end of the day I just had to go back for their classic ramen. Oh, what's that on the side? Might be some seaweed salad!

Classic Vegan Ramen from Taro's Vegan Ramen

I also got some dessert - a Strawberry & Cream Dora. Two dense little pancakes with sweet red beans, fresh strawberries, and soy ice cream.

Strawberries and Cream Dora from Taro's Vegan Ramen

So, RIP Taro's Vegan Ramen. But all is not lost. They have added their vegan ramen to their other city restaurant as well as continuing it in their South Brisbane one, but the Ascot store has nothing vegan. They also have opened up another restaurant in Stone's Corner that has the vegan ramen and one or two other vegan things, and they mentioned planning on possibly having a monthly vegan special at this store as well. Very handy as it is very close to where some friends live! While I wish they had opened this new location as another all vegan one (Taro's Vegan Ramen was packed out every time I went in there), at least I can still get delicious ramen! Which is what I did! Please enjoy yet another photo of the Vegan Classic Ramen. Plus some edamame this time. They didn't have any wakame salad, but they did have a different type of seaweed salad (I can't remember what it was called), but sadly it was not as good. Wakame seaweed salad forever!

Vegan Classic Ramen at Taro's Ramen

Taro's Ramen Stones Corner - 16 Old Cleveland Rd, Stones Corner, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim sleeping comfy

We were on the sofa watching Veronica Mars (got to be ready for when the new season drops on the weekend - so excite!), and Dim Sim was snoozing next to me on her pinkie. She did a little stretch, and then just continued sleeping with her head hanging over the side. Yep, looks super comfy to me! She had another bout of urinary issues over the weekend, but seems to have settled back to normal thanks to the wonderful healing powers of antibiotics.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Pie In The Sky

I have to confess, I am not a big pie maker. I love the idea of them, I love getting a slice of them if I ever see one out and about (a fruity one preferably), but I find I have little patience for pastry. Also little skill, but I guess that is in part due to lack of practice. Sweet pies are not a huge thing here in Australia, when we think of pies we normally think of savoury pies. The meat pie is an Australian institution, and there are a few vegan versions around, but really anything savoury and saucy can be stuffed in a single serve pie. Vegan Pie In The Sky, but Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, is 100% in the sweet category of pies. I have only made a few recipes from this book, so this is my first ever recipe round up, but I definitely hope to make more

Basil Peach Pie: This pie called out to me from the moment I bough the book, but I only made it very recently. Frozen peaches aren't a thing here, so I had to wait for peach season. That season being summer, I rarely thought to make a pie while it was so hot and humid, and so the years passed. But finally, I cranked the air con and I was so glad I did! This uses the Buttery Double Crust recipe from the book, and my efforts were a bit messy but overall delicious. The photo in the book has a fancy lattice top, I kept it simple with your basic pie lid. The peaches need to be peeled, and the easiest way I have found to do this is to pour boiling water over them, drain, and let cool. Then it just slips off. I had to bake this for an extra 15 minutes in my oven to cook properly. The basil flavour was quite subtle, you could up it a bit, but all round this pie was amazing.
Rating: :D

Basil Peach Pie

Basil Peach Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tartlets: Chocolate and peanut butter really are a match made in perfection. I love it, my friends love it. This recipe is perfect to share, because it makes adorable little individual tarts and they are also really rich so a little goes a long way. The base is a pressed chocolate cookie crust, topped with a peanut butter based filling and then a delicious ganache on top. The recipe for ganache uses coconut oil, but you can leave it out.
Rating: :D

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tartlets

Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Cheesecake: As advertised, the base of this cheesecake is a fudgy brownie baked into the bottom of a pie pan. This book doesn't use any vegan cream cheese in the cheesecake, instead basing them on silken tofu, nuts, and/or bananas. This one had peanut butter, mashed banana, and silken tofu. The banana taste was strong in the peanut butter layer, which was still nice but did through off the expected flavour a bit.
Rating: :)

Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Mousse Tart: I made this beauty for my Mum's birthday a few years ago, a birthday meal that I apparently never got around to posting about. A Chocolate Shortbread Tart Shell is filled with chocolate mousse and then chilled. The book calls for the mousse to be chilled first and then piped in using a pastry bag into a big spiral, but that sounds exhausting and might look like a certain emoji, so I opted to just scoop the filling straight from the food processor into the tart shell and give it a gentle swirl on top. I think it still looks lovely! The mousse is very rich, made from silken tofu and a lot of melted chocolate.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Mousse Tart

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Yoga Kitty

I met this cutie goof at yoga. They were obsessed with rolling around in this little pothole in the carpark, and even let me rub their belly as well! Unfortunately, said pothole was right in front of my car, so I did eventually have to encourage them gentle out of it.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Midweek Munchies

Let's get munching!

Or... sipping? Another fun drink I found a while ago was this pretty green apple probiotic water. It was nice, like apple juice with a tiny bit of fizz. Why is it I can only handle a bit of fizz when there are probiotics involved?

Imbibe Apple Probiotic Water

I got these pizza crackers in one of my mystery boxes, and they were great. Very savoury and crunchy. They were quite filling, so a handful at a time was enough. Would have been fun to dip them into something, but I just ate them as is and they were still awesome.

Pizza Crackers

The next two photos were taken at my friend's baby shower. We are blessed with several custom vegan cake makers in Brisbane, but my favourite is The Little Vegan & Co. First up, this chocolate peanut butter cake!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from Little Vegan & Co

She also got the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake. While the cake is very good, even if icing is not my thing, the cheesecakes are amazing! This was delicious!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake from Little Vegan and Co

Back to the more mundane. I picked up some bagels from The Bagel Boys. This is one of their Everything Bagels, topped with Nutty Bay Tomato and Basil Cashew Cheese, cucumber, and tomato. Everything Bagels taste great, but they are very messy. Seeds everywhere!

Everything Bagle with Nutty Bay Tomato Basil Cashew Cheese, avocado, tomato, and cucumber

Finally, some chocolate. I love the AlterEco brand, and they are on the FEP chocolate list. As friends know, I like my chocolate dark. 'Dark, bitter, and angry with the world' is how I describe my chocolate dreams. I had had their 85% cocoa Blackout bar before, but I was excited for the 90% Super Blackout Bar. Oh yes, this fills all my dark chocolate dreams! I also really like their Sea Salt bar. While not as dark, they have an excellent amount of crunchy sea salt in there. I am always so sad when salty chocolate isn't really salty at all.

Alter Eco Chocolates

Well, that's all for this post! Keep on munching!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara in bed

It has been quite cold the last few nights. Sahara used to sleep between my knees, sometimes under the cover. She was such an extreme heat generator, that I normally ended up sweating no matter how chilly things were outside of the blankets.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Eating Out: Yavanna

Over Easter, a friend from Melbourne was up in Brisbane and we made plans to catch up. Of course, visitors get to choose the location! They are also vegan, and as regular readers of this blog will know Brisbane has a lot of options for a hungry vegan to choose from! Ultimately, they settled on Yavanna. I was keen, as I hadn't had a chance to get there on a weekend to try the breakfast menu. You can see my other visits to Yavanna here.

I had been to hot yoga that morning, so a cooling Turmeric Soy Latte seemed the best way to start.

Iced Turmeric Latte at Yavanna

I chose the Sesame Mushrooms on toast, which came with avocado and some smoked sesame cheese. This was really nice. Satisfying, without filling me up too much.

Sesame Mushrooms with Smoked Sesame Cheese at Yavanna

The ordered the Big Breakfast, which had mushrooms, scramble, toast, beans, tomatoes and spinach, potato gems, and they also added a side of smoked sesame cheese.

Big Breakfast with Smoked Sesame Cheese at Yavanna

We spent several hours chatting, and the day ended up being grey and rainy, so I ordered a soy hot chocolate to warm my hands and my tummy. Yes, they are some little marshmallows!

Hot Chocolate at Yavanna

Finally, we got some baked goods to take away. I got a jam doughnut and a pain au chocolat.

Pain au Chocolate and Jam Doughnut at Yavanna

Yavanna has released a new menu since then, with different breakfast options and ever more dinner and lunch options to try out.

Yavanna - 9/2 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


I'm getting another cute family portrait done of my and my three girls, which meant looking through photos to send to the artist for reference. Sahara was such a stunning, striking looking lady. I miss her a lot.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan On The Cheap

Vegan On The Cheap is one of my favourite cookbooks by Robin Robertson. It has a great range of recipes, with a eye to being budget friendly in mind. She also has some options for 'splurging' if you feel like adding a little extra. I've posted about this book a number of times, and you can see those posts here.

Mu Shu Burritos and Thai-Style Pineapple Rice Salad: This is a nice combination (suggested in the weekly menu section of the book) of a warm burrito and cool salad. The mu shu filling is shredded seitan (I just chopped it finely), carrot, and wombok aka napa cabbage (which I accidentally turned to mush because I had my food processor shredding blade the wrong way around so it got the fine grate treatment... sigh) in a lovely hoisin-based sauce. The filling was quite liquid, I suspect due to my unfortunate cabbage smooshage, so I used a slotted spoon before putting it on the wrap. The recipe says it fills eight 7-inch tortillas to serve 4. I was serving two people, and I used a large wrap for each of us and had plenty leftover. I scaled down the salad a bit, and used jasmine rice that had been cooked, frozen,and defrosted. I suspect the texture of the rice would have been better if I had used freshly cooked and cooled, but we use up what we have. The salad has pineapple, carrot, peas, coriander, and peanuts in it. I left out the green onions and chile. I think the salad would also work well turned into fried rice! Certainly I combined the leftover salad with leftover burrito filling and heated them up for dinner the next day and it was great.
Rating: Burrito :), Salad :)

Mu Shu Burritos; Thai-Style Pineapple Rice Salad

Mu Shu Burritos

Comfort Loaf with Creamy Mushroom Gravy: Winter calls for 'meat'loaf and gravy. This comfort loaf was delightful, with onions, carrots, celery, tofu, beans, oats, walnuts, and breadcrumbs (I used panko because they were there), as well as other bits and pieces. This made a large and satisfying loaf. It stuck a little the the bottom of the loaf tin, so grease it extra well, but it is delicious. Also, leftovers made fabulous sandwiches! I served it with the Creamy Mushroom Gravy. I made a 1/2 recipe, which was enough for three serves. This is a great savoury gravy, and is easy to make.
Rating: Loaf :D, Gravy :)

Comfort Loaf; Creamy Mushroom Gravy

Peanutty Pumpkin Stew: This comes together easily, using a tin of pumpkin puree as the pumpkin base for it. It also has other vegetables, peas, peanut butter, tinned tomatoes, and kidney beans. I left out the curry powder and the chiles, but I added some spinach and about 3/4 cup of brown rice.
Rating: :)

Peanutty Pumpkin Stew

Call It Cassoulet: Delicious beany tomato stew! This recipe uses white beans (I only used two tins rather than three), diced tomatoes, vegetables and herbs to make a very satisfying cold weather dinner. There is the option to add some chopped pepperoni (recipe in the book), I used some chopped Field Roast hot dog instead, which was a lovely addition. It also is topped with some toasted croutons. I used one slice of wholemeal bread, which was enough for two servings. They were nice and crunchy. Overall the stew made four serves (I kept two as leftovers, which is why I didn't make croutons for all the serves because they would just go soggy), served over some baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Call It Cassoulet

Skillet Hash: Onion, carrots, potato, seitan, herbs and spices. A lovely, quick, tasty dinner. The potatoes need to be cooked before adding, and I used my favourite new trick of cooking them in the microwave using the potato setting. For the seitan, I used a leftover bit of red seitan from Viva Vegan, which had it's own nice seasonings to add. I took the splurge a little option of adding a bit of FYH mozzarella, though I only had a sprinkle left in the bag so it didn't get too cheesy. I also added in some baby spinach. Served with ketchup, which was great. Avocado would also be awesome on this.
Rating: :)

Skillet Hash

Seitan and Mushroom Goulash: This recipe is in the slow cooker chapter of the book. Somehow, when I was planning to make it, I totally missed this important fact until it was 4pm in the afternoon, so I delayed its making until the next day when I had lots of time to give my slow cooker some action. It smelled wonderful! It has onion, seitan, mushrooms, and sauerkraut (I used the Polish kind in a jar), as staples of paprika, caraway, white wine, tomatoes, and sour cream. I used both the Tofu Sour Cream recipe and the Simple Simmered Seitan recipe from the book. The seitan recipe is easy and gives a nice, savoury seitan that goes well in lots of different dishes. It is a forgiving recipe, as I mucked it up twice (firstly by not adding enough gluten flour, so I had to add more in after I had mixed in the liquids, and secondly I had boiled the cooking broth before adding it). The sour cream is based on silken tofu, and the tofu taste is quite strong initially but then mellows with time. I made a whole recipe of the sour cream, which claimed it would make 2 cups, but it only made one and a half. The goulash was nice, but even better as leftovers once the flavour had time to meld. Served over spinach fettuccine and baby spinach.
Rating: Goulash :), Seitan :), Sour Cream :)

Seitan and Mushroom Goulash

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Please enjoy this very fancy Instagram Flat Lay-style photo of the top of Dim Sim's head and her cute little ears.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Samhain and Yule 2019

Following on from my post last week, here are my food celebrations for the other two sabbats that have already been and gone this year. If you missed the last post, have a quick read to see what they are all about and what they mean to me.

Samhain (April 30th, 2019)

Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere is October the 31st, which everyone knows as Halloween (which has its origins in Samhain). Samhain is considered the new year of the wheel of the year. You can have a lot of fun with food for this, there are traditional foods but you can also go the fun Halloween route if that is your thing. Though given that it is not Halloween here for another 6 months I generally just go with something more traditional.

Punk-Kin Pasta from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer: I got the idea to make this from Bianca's blog, she always posts about her sabbat feasts and I often search on her blog for some witchy food inspiration. This is a simple but tasty little dish, with a very easy sauce made from a tin of pumpkin puree. I did thin it out a little but adding some pasta water, a splash of oat milk, and a sprinkle of stock powder. The sauce also has sauteed chunks of sausage in it, and I used Field Roast Apple Sage. An excellent combination. Sprinkled with a bit of FYH Parmesan. I used 250g of pasta, which was enough for 3 serves.
Rating: :)

Punk-Kin Pasta

Jen's Raisin Soda Bread from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer: I had planned on making some sort of cute fancy dessert, but ended up going for something simple with a quick soda bread recipe. This is quite dense and doesn't rise as much as some other soda breads that I have made. I had planned on using currants instead, as I am not the biggest fan of raisins (I just find them very sweet), but then I discovered that I was out of currants and only had raisins. This also has caraway seeds in it, though I misread and only added 1/2 tsp instead of 1/2 tbs. This was good with a bit of butter, and as the recipe said was even better the next day.
Rating: :| but only because of the raisins, otherwise would be :) if it had currants (or even sultanas)

Jen's Raisin Soda Bread

Yule aka Winter Solstice (22nd June, 2019)

Normally Yule is the sabbat where I make the biggest effort food wise. I love making either Christmas or winter menus from my cookbooks, and I had planned to do something similar this year. But then I was working late on the actual day,and I then I was super sick. So I went for very simple, and even then it had to wait a week. Oh well!

Portobello Pepper Steak Stew and Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: I am a huge fan of the caulipots recipe with AFR, which is mashed potato and cauliflower. Not because of any caloric concerns, but just because it is tasty and a fun way to get some cauliflower into your life. The book has several flavour variations, and while I had made all of them I hadn't actually ever made the original one. But now I have! And I topped it with this lovely warming stew, that has slices of seitan and portobello mushroom. It is meant to have red and green capsicum, but I used carrot and celery instead. And I left out the chili flakes. This had a lovely, savoury flavour. Really it was only three serves with the caulipots. I have saved a bit of the leftover stew to make a wrap out of at a later time (it is currently in my freezer), which Isa suggests and a fun way to enjoy it as well. This was a great combination, served over some baby spinach.
Rating: Stew :), Caulipots :)

Portobello Pepper Steak Stew; Caulipots

Baked Apples from The Joy Of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: This is a very simple recipe. I halved it to make two apples as I was only serving two people, and I used granny smith apples. Apples are cored (but still leaving some flesh at the bottom) and half-peeled, filled with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, ad baked. After baking the apples were lovely and soft, and the filling was very runny! I served it with some So Delicious Snickerdoodle Cashew Ice Cream (my favourite ice cream).
Rating: :)

Baked Apples

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Speaking of witchcraft and Samhain and Halloween, have a black cat! She is pretty magical! Did you know that even to this day, black cats are the hardest to adopt out because people some people still think they are bad luck? I have met several people who say that black cats make them nervous. Obviously this is ludicrous! So give a black cat a home, or at least a pat if they want it. Black cats are awesome!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Eating Out: Greenhouse Canteen

Greenhouse Canteen is one of my favourite spots for dinner in Brisbane. They have three locations, two on the Gold Coast and one in Brisbane, so of course the Brisbane one is my spot of choice. I've only been a few times, but each time has been outstanding. You can see my previous visits here. For this post, I went out to dinner there with a couple of friends to try out their new menu (which is about to change again I think).

I almost always get a ginger kombucha when I am there. It is nice and dry and not too fizzy or sweet.

Ginger Kombucha at Greenhouse Canteen

We shared a couple of starters. Firstly, the Stuffed Zucchini Flower, filled with almond feta and served with spinach puree, pickled onion, and dukkah. This is hard to share, because there it only one!

Stuffed Zucchini Flower

We also shared the Cauliflower Wings. I love these because instead of being buffalo spicy, they are coated in a delicious smoky relish. Served with ranch still, of course.

Cauliflower Wings at Greenhouse Canteen

One of my friends had the Mac and Cheese, which is a lovely creamy cauliflower sauce with smoked mushrooms, cashew parmesan, and kale. I've had this and it is really nice.

Mac and Cheese at Greenhouse Canteen

My other friend had the Beetroot Burger, a towering meal. The 'bun' is made out of large tempura mushrooms, and it is filled with a beetroot and black bean patty, cashew brie, caramelised onions, sweet potato crisps, and crispy kale. I haven't had this one before, but everyone who tries it says it is amazing.

Beetroot Burger

I was excited to try the Eggplant Parmigiana, a massive slab of baked breaded eggplant topped with napoli sauce, cashew brie, and cashew parmesan. Served with sweet potato fries (and aioli for dipping) and a salad. This was delicious and huge and so filling. The only downside was the salad, which was a bit dry and was mostly large pieces of some sort of spiky lettuce blend. But to parma itself was amazing!

Eggplant Parmigiana at Greenhouse Canteen

Although out tummies were pretty full, we had to split some dessert. For research and science! We shared the Chocolate Brownie with Pandan Cashew Cream. The brownie was warm and fudgy and delicious. The cashew cream was nice, though I couldn't taste much in the way of pandan so it seemed to be mostly used for colour. Oh, Greenhouse and Flora are owned by the same people, so you will notice that Greenhouse too puts a pea sprout garnish on everything. Even the brownie. It amuses me.

Brownie with Pandan Cashew Cream at Greenhouse Canteen

I am definitely looking forward to going back again sometime, they are now open for lunch on Friday and Saturday. Everything I have been here has always been a great experience.

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

Cute Kitty Picture of the Post

Kittens in a bag

Following on from Kittens In A Basket, I present to you Kittens In A Bag! Panko (ginger) and Atom (grey) are the last two of our kittens still looking for a home. They are very cute, and full of kitten energy and mischief!