Sunday, 29 September 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Planet Revised Edition

My last recipe round-up was about the original Vegan Planet, and how I would be retiring that copy for this one - the revised edition Vegan Planet. Truth talk, in general I am not a huge fan of buying new editions of cookbooks I already own. Because I have already spent the money, and now I need to spend it again for a few extra recipes and some changes? That's why I don't have the new VWAV or Vcon. But I bought this some time ago as part of a support campaign. There are 50 new recipes, and some of the recipes have been changed. I won't be remaking recipes I have already made, unless they have had significant changes made to them. But there were still lots of recipes that I hadn't made yet, as well the new ones, so I have much to cook from in this book still. This is the first round-up I have done of the revised edition, but you can see all my posts about the original edition here.

Piccata-Style Cauliflower Steak: I love piccata sauce, and cauliflower has become my favourite way to serve it. The recipe as written serves four, though I was making it for one. I used one cauliflower steak, but still make a half batch of the sauce (but only used one lemon slice in it). This was lovely, the cauliflower is so sweet against the tangy sauce. I served it over some spinach and rice/grain mix.
Rating: :)

Piccata-Style Cauliflower Steaks

Penne and Butternut Squash with Kale Pesto: This was a delicious combination. I used extra butternut (I had a 500g packet) and I roasted it rather than just cook it with the pasta. This was a key adjustment, the sweet roasted flavour was so good. The pesto is made with kale, walnuts, and a few other bits and pieces, and I also added 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (again, a great adjustment). Additionally, there is also a red onion sauteed before you add the cooked pasta, pesto, and butternut. I loved this. You could also add a tin of white beans if you wanted to bulk it up a bit, or some chopped Apple Sage Sausage would be nice too.
Rating: :D

Penne and Butternut Squash with Kale Pesto

Drunken Noodles: Rice noodles with tofu, broccoli, red onion, and a dark soy sauce. I left out the chile, and I also added some bean sprouts I had that needed using up. This was nice, though I think the sauce was missing something. I feel like some lime juice or a lime wedge to squeeze over would have lifted the flavour.
Rating: :)

Drunken Noodles

Smoky Maple Black Beans and Kale: I made a half recipe of this for two serves. The smokiness comes from liquid smoke and smoked paprika. There is also the option of using some chipotle in adobo as well (I did not). I only used a sprinkle of liquid smoke, and doubled the smoked paprika. Served over rice with some avocado.
Rating: :)

Smoky Maple Black Beans with Kale

Banh Mi Sandwiches: These were a lovely, fresh sandwich. I used Soyco Japanese marinated tofu as my tofu, which was sliced thin and spread with hoisin. I left out the sririacha from the lime mayo, and the pickled jalapenos, though I would have liked to have added in another pickled element.
Rating: :)

Banh Mi Sandwiches

Chocolate Banana Shake: This is simple, using frozen banana, chocolate ice cream, and oat milk. I used So Delicious Cashew Chocolate Truffle ice cream, which has extra little chocolate pieces through it. I had to add an extra splash of oat milk to make it pourable and drinkable, otherwise it was super thick.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Banana Shake

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim prawn

My sweet girl has had a bit of a rough time the last few days. Not exactly like her usual UTI routine, but some issues with the litter. We had a much better night last night, so hopefully she is on themed. Here she is sleeping like a little black prawn.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Midweek Munchies

Some more random things I have put in my mouth at some point.

Cha Time is a bubble tea place that recently added soy milk options to their menu. Yay! This is a strawberry milk tea with red beans. So yummy, and very pink.

Strawberry Milk with Red Beans from Cha Time

Coles (one of the big supermarkets) has had some vegan gyozas as part of their in-store frozen vegan brand for a while. They are good to keep on hand, and they can be cooked in the microwave for when you have zero energy for anything else. I always douse my gyoza with black vinegar.

Coles Vegan Gyoza

A client thoughtfully gifted us a box of vegan chocolates to say thank you for looking after her kitty during his life. They were from a place I hadn't heard of before, Chocolate Moments. I found out that they had a shop in the city, so one day when I was in there I stopped by and picked up a few things. The chocolate covered mandarin segments were the best.

Chocolate Moments

At a vegan bake sale, I bought a little tub of this delicious smoked salmon and dill cream cheese. They used carrot to make the smoked salmon. This was smoky, creamy, dilly, and so good.

Carrot Lox and Dill Cream Cheese

I spread it onto a warm garlic bagel and topped it with some cucumber for an amazing lunch.

Bagels with lox and dill cream cheese and cucumber

Finally, Treat Dreams is a Sydney-based vegan chocolate company. One of their products is the vegan cream egg, and every Easter they always release three limited edition flavours. Normally they are sold in a six pack with two of each flavour, but that is expensive and they are very sweet for me so I didn't buy one. But then I saw them being sold individually, so I picked up a passionfruit one. I liked the tangy passionfruit cream, but it was still very sweet.

Treat Dreams Passionfruit Dream Egg

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim eating

During the day, Dim Sim accepts deliveries to her chair cave of her pureed wet food for her to snack on. For some reason, the other day she had her tail sticking right up the back of the chair!

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Eating Out: Greenhouse Canteen (Art Edition)

I love Greenhouse Canteen, which is a very lovely, slightly fancy, definitely pricey vegan restaurant that I have posted about a few times before. This post is about two recent visits.

They are now open for lunch on Friday and Saturday, with a special lunch menu. I hadn't managed to get in there, but thankfully one day I found myself nearby on a Saturday and popped in. I always get a kombucha there, normally ginger, but they had some new flavours so I had to try the turmeric. It's definitely my new favourite. I also got the Loaded Fries, which was sweet potato fries loaded up with relish, cashew brie, almond feta, piquant cheese, and herbs. It was lovely!

Turmeric Kombucha at Greenhouse

Loaded Sweet Potato Fries at Greenhouse

I popped back in there for dinner last week. Mid-September marked my Veganniversary, and it was my 19th this year. So a fancy dinner seemed like a nice treat for myself. You'll have to excuse the lighting in these. Because I was on my own, I was seated near the bar. The bar that has a green neon 'Botanical Bar' light, that looks super cute but made all my food look like it was trying out for a lead role in Wicked. It got worse as the light outside faded, I did the best I could.

This time I tried the jasmine kombucha, which was nice, but I definitely love the turmeric the most, followed by the ginger. Oh yes, Greenhouse is a fan of the pea shoot sprouts on everything.

Jasmine Kombucha at Greenhouse Canteen

To start, I had the Banana Blossom Krab Cakes with Cashew Ranch, Lemon, and Dill. OMG, these were so good! I would just order and eat a giant plate of them if I could. They were crunchy on the outside, had no seafoody flavour (which I am not a fan of), and the sauce was so good. I want more!

Krab Cakes at Greenhouse Canteen

I tried out the Chickpea Crepe Cannelloni for my main. As advertised, thin chickpea crepes were wrapped around a filling of tofu and kale ricotta, and served with napoli sauce, crispy kale, and piquant cheese. This was really tasty, and filling. I am not a huge fan of their crispy kale though, I suspect they crisp it in a big of coconut oil maybe? It is something I have noted before, but I keep forgetting to ask. The other thing was I wish the napoli sauce had been hot, it was room temperature and was just a bit strange.

Cannelloni at Greenhouse Canteen

Finally, for dessert, I decided to try the S'mores Brownie with ice cream (they use soy ice cream). This I was a bit disappointed in, because it cost $10 and as you can see it was a tiny brownie! The brownie was good, but the marshmallows were quite burnt on top. Last time I was there I had a regular brownie, and it was full sized, bring back the full sized brownie!

Smores Brownie at Greenhouse Canteen

If you want to know just how green that light was turning out in photos, here is the original photo I took of the brownie. The one above I ended up turning around and sticking out my hand to take a photo like a great big weirdo. But otherwise, so green!

Smores Brownie at Greenhouse Canteen

Before I went to dinner, I went to the art galleries to see a Margaret Olley exhibition at GOMA. It was really lovely, so I have shared a few of my favourite pieces here. The first one is called 'Susan With Flowers'.

Susan with Flowers 1962 by Margaret Olley

Delphinium and Cherries 1976 by Margaret Olley

I also stopped in to see a lovely Japanese exhibition at the Art Gallery (no photos from that), and then had a wander through there for a bit as well. You know what I noticed in all my art gallery wanderings? An appalling lack of cats. But thankfully I found this cute pair of ceramic cats from the 19th century in one of the displays. Dear art galleries, MORE CATS PLEASE.

Pair of Cats 19th Century at QAG

In Brisbane, the Art Gallery is right next to the Queensland Museum. And one cannot be in the vicinity without stopping into the museum to say hello to the Muttaburrasaurus, it would just be rude not to. She's been part of the museum for as long as I can remember!

Muttabuttasaurus at QLD Museum

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

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim on my lap

I am on two weeks holidays at the moment, and I can't tell you how happy I am about it. They were much needed. I am not going anywhere though, my main plan is to mostly hang out at home with Dim Sim. On our first day, she was all for the lap snugs!

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Planet (Original Edition)

Vegan Planet was my very first Robin Robertson cookbook, many many years ago. A few years back, I bought the Revised Edition. The new version has several new recipes in addition to the original ones (several of which have been updated for ingredients as well). I certainly haven't cooked all the way through the original Vegan Planet (though I have cooked a lot, and you can see those posts here), but this is the last lot of photos I had to share from the original edition. From now on I will be cooking from the revised edition. Because I am a giant cookbook nerd, I need to do a lot of cross referencing between books, so I can get all relevant recipe notes from the original into the revised copy, so my original copy will still be around for a while. And even then, I'll probably still keep my copy of the original, is that weird to do? Perhaps one day I will gift it on, because it is a wonderful book that has brought me a lot of cooking joy and cookbooks are expensive, so someone else could give it a good home with lots of use (and hopefully will appreciate all my scribbles and thoughts about the recipes). All these recipes are from the breakfast section, so let's get into it. Oh, these are very old photos as well, it has taken me a long time to share all these recipes with you, so please excuse the worse than usual photography!

Spicy Soy and Vegetable Scramble: Or not spicy, in my case. Just leave the chili flakes and cayenne out of it! Also the capsicum, but you can sub in some grated carrot if you want. Otherwise just go basic with mushrooms, tofu, and soy sausage. I chopped up three of the Vegie Delights BBQ sausages. Lots of protein and very tasty.
Rating: :)

Spicy Soy and Vegetable Scramble

Tomato-Zucchini 'Frittata': I struggled with the end product with this because it did not set after baking, so on serving looked more like a scramble. Perhaps because I mixed the veggies through the tofu rather than layering the tofu on over the top? My tofu mixture never really got smooth in the food processor, it was still a bit crumbly, but when I made this I was using my old food processor so perhaps my new one would do a better job. I added nooch to the tofu mixture, and you could definitely add more vegetables as well.
Rating: :)

Tomato-Zucchini 'Frittata'

Spanish Tofu 'Omelet': This is definitely more of a scramble than anything resembling an omelet. It is simple to make, with onion, tofu, and seasoning to create the 'egg;, then served (I put mine on avocado toast) and topped with salsa. I only got three serves out of this, not four.
Rating: :)

Spanish Tofu 'Omelet'

Flax-Berry Pancakes: These are a straight up pancake, with some ground flax added and some blueberries. I used frozen thawed blueberries.
Rating: :)

Flax-Berry Pancakes

Soy-Salsa Breakfast Wraps: Scrambled tofu (leave out the capsicum or sub it with grated carrot, and leave out the chili powder), with tomato salsa and coriander, all wrapped up in a giant tortilla. I just served these with lots of leafy greens.
Rating: :)

Soy-Salsa Breakfast Wraps

Bagels-For-Breakfast Spread (Savoury): This is a simple but delicious combination of silken tofu, miso, and tahini. It is quite salty and strong, but awesome with tomato and avocado, and add a slice of cheese if you want.
Rating: :)

Bagels-for-Breakfast Spread (Savoury)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Lil Bob

Check out this stunning photo of Lil Bob that one of our clients took. She took a whole bunch of gorgeous ones, so I'll share some more down the track no doubt. Happy to report that Lil Bob and Lil Steve both have found homes now, so all our Lil kittens are with their new families.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Midweek Munchies

More random things that I have put in my mouth.

These vegan friendly pastry rolls would be a fun addition to a party, or in my case a fun lunch. The pastry was good, and the filling is tasty. The onion is quite strong in it though, so be prepared!

Patties Vegan Rolls

Veef is a locally made vegan beef burger, that has recently gotten into nationwide distribution in Woolworths! Hurrah! I have had them before at various places, but this was my first time making them at home. They hit the good midway point of being beefy, but without being too realistically meaty. I just made a very simple burger with some pickles and ketchup.

Veef Burger

A friend gifted me these lovely Loving Earth eggs. The inside 'caramel' was more creamy than gooey, and not too sweet, so I enjoyed them a lot.

Loving Earth Boobook Chocolate Eggs

Normally I am a straight up soy tempeh kind of woman, but I nabbed these friends on super sale from Woolworths one day. I tried them in assorted different things. They were nice, but very fragile compared to the soy tempeh. In both cases I used them as crumbles, which was good. I think if I had tried to use them as slices they would have fallen apart. I'll stick with my basic tempeh.

Organic Village Tempeh

I also got this nice little cheese and crackers snack pack on sale. The cheese has coconut oil in it, and was just on the border of a bit too much for me, so I was glad that it was only a few slices. It was also a bit on the rubbery side.

Cheese and Crackers

Remember a few months ago when Dim Sim was having a lot of UTI issues and I mentioned that she had a noise-induced seizure? That is the packet that induced that seizure. So sure, strawberry marshmallows coated in chocolate are fine. But I will never eat them again because I see them and I remember that moment. If you don't have traumatic associations with them though, go ahead, they are tasty.

Evil Strawberry Coated Marshmallow Bites

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim SIm

Dim Sim had her check up yesterday and yes, she has lost a bit of weight. But her kidney disease is stable, and her liver issues are under control. We are going to need to change the dose of her thyroid medication a bit (which could help with the weight loss), but overall good and my boss (her vet) said that she looked good for her age on her exam.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Eating Out: 5 Dogs

5 Dogs is a vegan-friendly hot dog place that has been in the Valley for years, however recently opened up a sit down restaurant in Mount Gravatt. This is quite close to me, and to one of our clinics. I had driven passed several times with lunch plans, but there was never any parking so I kept on going. But I finally got in there for dinner one night. A short post, as there are just a few vegan options on the menu and my friend and I both ordered the same thing.

We both ordered the Vegan Kielbasa Hot Dog, I got mine with caramelised onions and kraut as well as ketchup and mustard. They also have a vegan beer brat, though with the same topping options. It was fine. I am assuming they use Tofurky sausages, which I do like.

Vegan Kielbasa at Five Dogs

We also each got a side of the Vegan Poutine, which I was particularly excited about. Again, it was fine. Very salty. And because it was served in a tall box, the gravy just made the top chips very soggy while the bottom chips remained untouched. They put some sort of grated cheese under the gravy, so it got slightly melty.

Vegan Poutine at Five Dogs

So overall, it was fine. I wouldn't rush to go there again, especially given the pain in parking in the Mt Gravatt location. And if I am in the Valley, there are much more exciting places to eat that I would rather go.

5 Dogs Mt Gravatt - Shop C/1303 Logan Rd, Mount Gravatt QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim is going in tomorrow for a check up. She gets her bloods checked regularly, but I am a bit worried this time because she has lost some weight. Please send good thoughts!

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Father's Day (Menu: Athens via Astoria, Queens from Vegan Eats World)

In Australia, Father's Day is the first Sunday in September (I know it is different in the US). As per usual, I made a special dinner for my dad, guided by his choices. It used to be Indian menus every birthday and father's day, but in the last few years he has started exploring the world through food a bit more. So for this meal, he picked Greek. I hit the cookbooks and picked out a menu from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero that met with his approval. You can see other stuff that I have made from this book here.

Cucumber Tzatziki: This was amazing, with a combination of cashews and vegan yoghurt (I used natural almond yoghurt) as the base. I only made a third of the recipe, which I regretted because I would have happily drank all the leftovers! It has the usual tzatziki components of garlic (I used powdered instead of fresh), cucumbers, and dill (sadly I couldn't find any fresh, so I did have to use dried here). Quadruple the recipe and pour it in a glass! Or put it on stuff, whatever.
Rating: :D

Cucumber Tzatziki

Greek Eggplant Lasagna (Pastichio 'Vegani'): I love pastichio, so I was happy to make it for this recipe. The full recipe makes a huge amount, so I halved it to cook in an 8 x 8 inch casserole. Weirdly, while the name of the recipe says eggplant, the recipe itself is mushrooms only but then has a variation where you add roasted eggplant listed after. I added the roasted eggplant because of course you should. There are three components to this recipe: A slightly cheese pasta, a mushroom/eggplant/tomato filling, and a cashew and silken tofu bechamel sauce. They came together so well, cooked perfectly. Also, leftovers are good hot or cold! Please enjoy the slightly messy inside shot as well, so you can see some of the layers. The book has a prettier photo.
Rating: :)

Greek Eggplant Lasagna (Pastichio)

Greek Eggplant Lasagna (Pastichio)

Braised Greens with Lemon and Olive Oil: This is a simple dish, very easy to make while your pastichio is resting. I made a half recipe, and I used baby spinach because that is what was easiest for me. A nice side dish, also good cold as leftovers.
Rating: :)

Braised Greens with Lemon and Olive Oil

These are some dolmades. I didn't make them, I got them out of a tin. I just thought that they would be a nice addition.

Dolmades from a tin

And here is a plate, all full of Greek goodness!

Athens Via Astoria, Queens Menu

Walnut Spice Sticky Cake: Of course there had to be dessert! This cake is lovely and moist, with a wonderful orange kick to it. The recipe says you can bake it in either a 9 x 13 in sheet tin or a 9 in round tin, I did the round tin. Once baked, the cake it covered in syrup and left to soak. I poked holes all over the cake prior to tipping on the syrup. At first I was worried there was too much syrup, but it soaked in after a few hours. I made the cake in the morning, and served it at night, so it had lots of time to soak in all the syrup.
Rating: :)

Walnut Spice Sticky Cake

Overall, this menu was fairly relaxed to put together over the course of a day. I made the cake first, then the tzaziki. Then I made the pastichio filling and the bechamel sauce. Then I had several hours to chill out and watch a Sunday afternoon movie with my mum. Finally, about an hour before dinner I made the pasta, layered it with the other pastichio bits, and popped it in the oven. And I made the greens right before serving, as the pastichio was resting out of the oven.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My baby has another UTI. Poor girl. It came on Wednesday night. Thankfully I have pain relief and antibiotics on hand so I was able to get that into her straight away. She seems OK now, though will be on antibiotics for a bit longer.