Thursday, 28 November 2019

Beltane 2019

See this post for the meaning of the sabbats for me, and see my food celebrations of the other sabbats this year here.

Beltane (31st October - 1st November, 2019)

Beltane is one of the major sabbats of the year, the point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, the peak of spring. Traditionally, it has always been one of my favourite holidays, I used to love spring. However now, when Brisbane is just summer about 80% of the year, I find that I now yearn for cooler months. In the Southern Hemisphere, Beltane falls on what is culturally Halloween (which has origins in the sabbat Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere, which is on the 31st of October). Halloween has become a little more popular in Australia every year. So it is a bit of mind trip celebrating Beltane while a lot of Halloween stuff is going on!

My way of marking the sabbats and the wheel of the year is through food, so this is what I did.

Basic Creamy Garlic Sauce from The Everyday Vegan by Dreena Burton: Beltane food is based on spring, which means lots of spring vegetables. Also baby sheep, but they are not food, they are friends! Don't eat them ever. I made this spring based pasta dish, using some fresh vegan chickpea linguine, roasted asparagus, peas, portobello mushrooms (save sheep, eat a mushroom), and this basic creamy garlic sauce. I made half batch of the sauce, which is based on roasted garlic. It uses a lot of garlic, and my tummy no longer handles large amounts of cooked garlic (and no raw garlic at all), so I did decrease the amount down to six cloves. It is a simple sauce once the garlic is roasted and pureed. I didn't have any fresh herbs, so I used some dried thyme, and I used nutritional yeast instead of vegan parmesan. It was tasty, though I don't know that I would call it creamy? Still, a nice spring based pasta dish.
Rating: :)

Basic Creamy Garlic Sauce

'Honey' Mustard Vinaigrette from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton: Honey is another traditional food of Beltane, but honey belongs to bees, not to me. I made a lovely spring salad with this dressing, which uses agave instead of honey. I made a third of a recipe, for one salad, and used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. I also used a mix of water with a pinch of guar gum instead of the oil, not because I think oil is bad, but because oily dressings can make me feel a bit ill. I tossed it through a salad of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and roasted asparagus.
Rating: :)

'Honey' Mustard Vinaigrette

Spring Salad with 'Honey' Mustard Vinaigrette

Raisin Bannocks from Wholegrain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes: Oatcakes known as bannocks are also traditional for Beltane. This recipe uses a blend of oat, spelt, barley flour, and pastry flour. I halved the recipe to make two bannocks rather than four, and baked them in my cute 10 cm springform cake tins. These are very dense little cakes, and not too sweet, making them excellent for any time of day. I had one fresh with a cup of tea. The second one I had the next day, sliced, lightly toasted, and spread with a smidge of Nuttelex and strawberry jam.
Rating: :)

Raisin Bannocks

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


This little sweetie is Pansy, who is hanging out in their tunnel in this photo. I have to confess, Pansy is my favourite. She is a chonky little floof of black and white. She has a cute little white spot on her butt, which you can kind of see here.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Eating Out: Carina Leagues Club

Typically, your local leagues club isn't a place you'd think would have anything for a vegan to eat. Things are changing, slowly, but more places are starting to offer options. Still, not necessarily somewhere I would go unless I had to for something else. A few months ago, I had to go to Carina Leagues Club for a work thing. One thing I did know about them was that they had vegan doughnuts - I saw them advertising them as I drove past once and that is a bad thing to distract a vegan driver with! The non-vegans at work had platters of things like party pies and mini quiches and what not. But myself and another mostly vegan vet were given their standard vegan menu to order off.

Their are only three vegan options on the menu, and they are pretty much what you'd expect. The other vet picked the Tofu Stir-fry, which comes with a choice of rice or rice noodles. Why did I not pick this one? Because it had a chilli sauce all over it. She said it was very good.

Tofu Stir-Fry at Carina Leages Club

Deprived of tofu, I went with the Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto with pumpkin and no parmesan for vegans. Yeah, risotto. It was actually not bad. I didn't eat all of it, because I had already had dinner a couple of hours earlier (because I really didn't trust that I would get much at all). I wanted to take my leftovers home, but they said that they legally weren't allowed to do that. Ugh. Anyway, I just went to my car and grabbed a container and put it in there myself and took it home anyway. I'm not going to let a whole bunch of food go to waste. Now, I realised that I was very silly and forgot to take a photo of it! So please enjoy this photo of leftovers that I took for lunch the next day. I added the spinach and the peas. Imagine the risotto on a nice plate, with a big wedge of pumpkin on it.

Vegan Pumpkin Aparagus Mushroom Risotto from Carina Leagues Club

Dessert for everyone was doughnuts. And it turns out that they were all vegan doughnuts, so I ate away! They were really good. I tucked a couple up in a napkin and also took them home illegally as well. I am a rebel!

Cinnamon Doughnut at Carina Leages Club

If you are wondering, the third vegan option on the menu is a Roasted Pumpkin Salad (minus the ricotta to make it vegan). So the vegan food options are solid, but basic. But the doughnuts are very fun! There are way better places to go, I wouldn't go to eat there just for the sake of going there, but if you ever need to go there for a work or family or other event, rest assured you will at least be satisfied.

Carina Leages Club - 1390 Creek Rd, Carina, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Meet Tulip, one of Petal's kittens. Tulip is a sweet little tuxedo floof. She loves sleeping in this box of syringes in pharmacy. Very comfortable, she says!

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Yum Yum

One day I was gifted with the book Vegan Yum Yum by a friend who was clearing out some of cookbooks. This book, by Lauren Ulm, is a treasure trove of lovely recipes. I've only posted once briefly about it before, this is the first round up I've done for it on the blog.

Broccoli Almond Sweet and Sour Tofu: I am not always a fan of sweet and sour, I find a lot of the sauces tend to be too sweet. This one, however, was not. It was nice and tangy, with a hint of sweetness. The recipe calls for '1 tub extra firm tofu, pressed', with no weight given. I used a 375 g block of tofu (the kind that is vacuum packed in the fridge, rather than in a tub). The tofu is coated and fried, then coated in the sauce and before serving with steamed broccoli (and jasmine rice). This recipe does use a few pots and pans, but overall comes together quickly.
Rating: :)

Broccoli Almond Sweet and Sour Tofu

Dal Makhini: This is a really simple but tasty dish, as daal/dal/dhal/dahl (which one?) tends to be. It is a comfort food sort of dish. This uses masoor dal, or you can use green lentils (which I did). I soaked my lentils first to shorten cooking time a bit. There are tomatoes and several spices in this, and it also has a cashew cream mixed through and then drizzled on as well. Served over some roasted cauliflower and rice, I got three servings.
Rating: :)

Dal Makhni

Italian Rice and Beans: This is a simple recipe but it is oh so delicious! Rice, dried herbs of choice, beans, spinach, and some sundried tomatoes and pine nuts. Plus some balsamic vinegar and, the magic ingredient, some lemon zest. I don't always enjoy zest, but it is fantastic in this. This recipe says it serves 2-3, which is accurate. I served it with some salad.
Rating: :D

Italian Rice and beans

Rainbow Rice and Beans: Another winner, this book knows how to do some good rice and beans. Peas, carrots, and corn bring some colour, black beans bring the protein, plus several spices and a mix of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce (there's a recipe for this in the book if you can't find a vegan one to buy). It says it makes two huge servings, and they weren't lying - they are definitely big!
Rating: :D

Rainbow Rice and Beans

Soy-Mirin Tofu with Snow Peas and Peanut Sauce: Tofu and peanut sauce? Make me swoon! I also love mirin. The peanut sauce is simple but delicious, with the option to use coconut milk or coconut water as the liquid - I used coconut water and it made it was lovely. The tofu is cooked and then glazed with a soy sauce and mirin mixture. This is served over brown rice, and I also served it over some baby spinach.
Rating: :D

Soy-Mirin Tofu with Snow Peas and Peanut Sauce

Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans: Yes, more rice and beans. They are endlessly versatile! This recipe says it makes two serves, but I got four out of it. The sauce itself is very tangy, but I didn't get much of a lemon flavour from it. Perhaps decrease the vinegar and soy sauce in it, or increase the lemon juice, to make that flavour come through more. This rice is mixed with black beans, seitan (it was meant to be 6 oz but I only used 2 oz as I had a teeny bit left over after another recipe), kale (I used spinach), and carrot.
Rating: :)

Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans

Cute Kitty Photos of the Post


A couple of weeks ago, we had a mumma and kittens surrendered to us at work for rehoming. I'll be introducing them to you over the next several posts. But firstly, here is the sweet mumma. We named her Petal. She is so beautiful and sweet at lovely! And while we now have homes lined up for all of them, Petal was the first to be reserved! It is so rare that mumma is the first to get a home, most people are just in it for the kittens. So this was lovely. She's going to an amazing home where she will be very loved.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Midweek Munchies

More random things.

A while ago I spoke about how Cha Time, a bubble tea place, had soy milk options now. I had tried a strawberry milk tea with red beans, very nice. But my favourite flavour of bubble tea is taro milk tea with pearls. A lot of places have the taro already pre-mixed with cows milk, but Cha Time can mix it with the soy milk. I was excited. Then I was sad. I think maybe they didn't mix it well? It was very grainy and didn't have that wonderful cookie flavour that I associate with taro milk tea. In the future, I'll stick to my strawberry.

Taro Soy Milk Tea with Pearls from Cha Time

Popping back to those blessed frosty days of winter, oh how I miss them. And this lovely bowl of pumpkin soup topped with bacon bits.

Pumpkin Soup with Bacun Bits

When I am exhausted or sick or overwhelmed, instead of cooking I might get a delivery from my trusty nearby Superoll. As always, I get the Tofu Hustle, with tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables in a mushroom sauce. It never fails me.

Superroll Delivery

Alpro yoghurt is here in Australia! And it isn't coconut! This is very exciting! I enjoyed this mango flavoured almond yoghurt, and they also have a strawberry almond yoghurt that was good.

Alpro Mango Almond Yoghurt

Behold, this silly drink. I drank it when I was sick, a lot of the above photos were from one of the many times this year I have been sick. I had hoped it would heal me. It did not, but it was fun.

Silly Turmeric Drink

I think I've mentioned that I've been eating a lot of tofu scramble for lunch lately. This was some leftover scramble from a previous dinner, mixed with cheese sauce and served with toasted olive and thyme sourdough and avocado.

Leftover scramble with cheese sauce and avocado toast

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the catmax

Poor Dim Sim, it is still often too hot and/or there is too much smoke haze (because Australia is on fire at the moment) for her to be out in the cat max as often as she'd like. But here is a photo from one of the times she has been able to go out and enjoy the sun.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Eating Out: Loving Hut Brisbane

It's been a while since I've posted about Loving Hut in Brisbane, which in part is because it has been a while since I've been there. I used to eat there all the time, I worked my way through most of the menu, but then I needed a bit of a change. With so many other vegan and vegan friendly places popping up all over, it is only natural that I would need to branch out and explore. Lately, however, I have been in the vicinity with limited time and in need of a yummy lunch, so Loving Hut has been back on my radar. You can see some previous posts about Loving Hut visits here.

My favourite of the mains is the Beijing Black Bean, which has beefy style TVP strips in a delicious savoury sauce. Also in this photo you can see the Salt and Pepper Mushroom, which is a whole field mushroom battered and fried in salt and pepper style. The S&P can vary, but thankfully this was a good one. And I love the pickles they serve it with.

Salt and Pepper Mushroom; Beijing Black Bean at Loving Hut

The Summer Rolls are probably my favourite thing on the menu. They are so light and delicious, served with a hoisin sauce.

Summer Rolls at Loving Hut

They have occasional specials, like this Vermicelli Salad. I got the Gluten Free version, not because I am gluten free but because the gluten free version came with tofu and I will always choose tofu. This was great for lunch on a hot day.

Vermicelli Salad (GF version) at Loving Hut

Sometimes, you just need potatoes. They serve potato wedges with tartare sauce. But I must remember not to get these again. The wedges were not very well cooked, and I needed lots more sauce.

Potato Wedges with Tartare Sauce at Loving Hut

Finally, their Steamed BBQ Buns. I love these! There's are on the smaller side, but still have lots of flavour. For some reason they serve them with sweet chilli sauce, which seems like a weird combination even if I did like spicy stuff. So I skip that and just enjoy the buns.

BBQ Buns at Loving Hut

Loving Hut - Shop 2/1420 Logan Road, Mount Gravatt, Queensland

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Recipe Round Up: Vegan Yack Attack On The Go

Vegan Yack Attack On The Go is the second cookbook by Jackie Sobon. It's a fun book, with chapters designed to fit a busy lifestyle. Chapters include quick breakfasts and snacks, prep-ahead, lunch box stuffers, 30 minute meals, bulk cooking, food on the go, and staples. This is the first round-up I've done of this book, but I have posted about some recipes before. This round up includes mostly breakfast foods, from the breakfast and prep-ahead chapters.

Cheezy Chickpea Scramble: For a change of pace, this scramble uses chickpeas instead of tofu. They are sauteed with onion, nooch, greens (I used baby spinach rather than kale), mushrooms, and tomatoes. The recipe uses a smidge of black salt for that eggy flavour, and also uses aquafaba from the tin of chickpeas to help in the cooking process. I made a half recipe, and got one serve and one snack. I served it with tater tots and avocado.
Rating: :D

Cheesy Chickpea Scramble

Recovery Smoothie: As someone who does bikram yoga, I always enjoy coconut water based smoothie recipes as a fun way to rehydrate after a sweaty class. While it says it serves two, it really serves one hungry and thirsty Susan. It has frozen bananas to make it thick, some dates to sweeten (I decreased the number bit because I find dates intensely sweet), some cinnamon, and some cocoa powder (I used cacao). Also just a smidge of salt, excellent for replacing electrolytes lost from sweating on a yoga mat.
Rating: :)

Recovery Smoothie

Fresh Fruit Yoghurt Sundae: While this is in the breakfast chapter, I had this as an after lunch snack. I scaled the recipe down to make one serve based on a 150g tub of natural almond yoghurt. The recipe calls for banana, strawberries, and grapes to top it with, though I went seasonally and had bananas, papaya, and blueberries. It is then topped with a quick chocolate ganache and some salted peanuts. The recipe also suggests maple syrup, but I skipped this.
Rating: :)

Fresh Fruit Yoghurt Sundae

Green Peach Smoothie: This is a non-dairy milk based smoothie (I used oat), that packs the greens courtesy of spinach and zucchini. Frozen peaches give it a nice sweetness, and it also has some ginger and turmeric in it. The taste was okay, the zucchini was very mild, but it gave me raw zucchini tongue. This is why I don't eat zoodles. I know most people are thinking 'what is raw zucchini tongue?', but if you know, you know.
Rating: :|

Green Peach Smoothie

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding: I only have chia seed pudding for breakfast if I know I am going to be eating a decent morning tea soon. I find that they don't fill me up very long, and then all of a sudden my blood sugar crashes out and I get hangry and shaky. I made a half recipe for my snack breakfast. I found my chia seeds had clumped up in there overnight, so be sure to give it a good stir. This recipe is fairly simple, with apples added and used as topping along with pumpkin seeds.
Rating: :)

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight Peach Pecan Oats: This is designed to eat out of jars if you are on the go, but I was not. I made a single recipe for a single serve (instead of two serves, you know I need a lot of oats to keep me full). I added the peaches and the pecans as topping in the morning, rather than the night before, as I was serving in a bowl and I wanted to keep the nuts crunchy and the peaches from going brown. I'd suggest decreasing the amount of milk called for a bit in this recipe, as I found it didn't have that nice thick texture I enjoy. You can see in the photo that there is a bit too much liquid.
Rating: :)

Overnight Peach Pecan Oats

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My baby girl.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Midweek Munchies

Coincidentally, the things I am sharing this week fall into three categories - two things spotted in supermarkets, two things celebrating berries, and two gyoza tastings. Let's get into it!

A while ago I mentioned that I had found some tasty vegan bacon bits at The Cruelty Free Shop. Well, good news, I have since spotted them in Woolworths, along with the rest of their range. The Caesar Bits are not vegan, but everything else is.

Crunchy Bits at Woolworths

I was also poking around in an IGA a while ago and saw these. I didn't buy any, because I was on my way to a physio appointment and didn't want to have fridge stuff kicking around on a hot day. Also, like almost all new vegan meaty products, they are super expensive. But if I saw them on sale, I wouldn't mind trying the chicken style sausages. Burger options abound, but I don't think I've seen any chicken style sausages in other brands.

Seen in IGA

I love strawberries, they are my favourite fruit. Also my favourite flavour. In Australia, winter is peak strawberry time. In summer, they go mouldy before you can even get them out of the shops. It was a good strawberry season this winter, and I ate a lot. I loved having them as a change from blueberries on toast with peanut butter and banana.

Peanut Butter, Banana, Strawberries on Toast

And they are wonderful chopped up on top of granola and yoghurt! Along with some blueberries as well in this bowl. Berries are the best!

Berries on Granola

Finally, some gyoza. I set out to try all lots of the different vegan versions available during the cooler months, they make a nice lunch. For these vegetable gyoza, I tried the steaming method.

Steamed Gyoza

And for these ones, I tried the pot sticker method. Both were good. Oh, and I served both of these doused in my favourite black vinegar, of course.

Potsticker Gyoza

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Portrait

Dim Sim, being thoroughly nonchalant about her stunning portrait. Typical cat.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Eating Out: Easy House Vegetarian (birthday edition, with cheesecake)

Last week was my birthday, I'm 38 years old now. My birthday was on Thursday, which happens to be cheap plate yum cha day ($5.90 per plate every Thursday) at Easy House Vegetarian. The law dictated that I must go and have yum cha for lunch, so I went down with my parents (three is the magic number for yum cha participants) and we ate a glorious amount! Because there weren't many people when we got there, they weren't bringing trays around. A bit sad, because I love that part of yum cha. But we just ordered off the yum cha list, and they made things fresh for us. Everything was delicious, as always. Regular reading friends will know that this is one of my favourite places, and you can see some of my previous visits here.

BBQ pork is a big theme, with some beloved Steamed BBQ Pork Buns. We also got some Roasted Pork Buns, which is the same BBQ pork but wrapped in a flaky pastry.

BBQ Pork Buns at Easy House

Roast BBQ Pork Buns at Easy House

My mum's favourite is Noodles in XO Sauce, which tends to be a bit spicy for me. But my parents enjoyed it! I nibbled some of the noodles on the end that didn't have the hot sauce on them, I love how thick they are.

Noodles in XO Sauce at Easy House

Dumplings are a must! We had a variety - Chicken & Bok Choy, Mushroom, and Coriander.

Dumplings at Easy House

And of course, my favourite beloved - Radish Cakes and Steamed Beancurd Rolls. We got two plates of each! I just love these so much.

Radish Cakes at Easy House

Steamed Beancurd Rolls at Easy House

Of course, birthdays need cakes. I ordered an Apple Crumble Cheesecake from local vegan cake maker The Little Vegan & Co, and it was glorious.

Apple Crumble Cheesecake by The Little Vegan and Co

Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant - 8/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters, QLD - (07) 5572 8808

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Portrait

For my birthday, my mother commissioned this wonderful portrait of Dim Sim. It is stunning and I love it! It is done by a wonderful local artist, and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page.