Sunday, 30 August 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Blissful Basil

Continuing on with rounding up some recipes from Blissful Basil by Ashley Melillo. Last time, I posted all smoothies, but now we can move into some other things. I was going to say all solids, but there are some soups here! You can see all my previous posts from this book here.

Bright Morning Citrus Salad with Herbed Syrup: This is a bright and tangy way to start your day, or have some fruit for a snack. The citrus is orange and grapefrui, and the syrup has fresh rosemary and herbs in it. I made a half recipe of the syrup and used one large orange and one grapefruit. It was a lovely combination, espcially over some oats and vanilla yoghurt.
Rating: :)

Bright Morning Citrus Salad with Herbed Syrup

Avocado Toast with Burst Heirloom Tomatoes and Balsamic Drizzle: A fancy take on your usual avocado toast, except I made it a bit less fancy by just mashing the avocado onto the toast rather than slicing and arranging it an a fancy fashion. The tomatoes are sauteed in a mix of dried herbs, though I did need to gentle smoosh them a bit to help them on their way to bursting. It is then drizzled with a very easy to make balsamic reduction (make sure to give it time to cool if you are making it the same day to get the best flavour), and sprinkled with fresh herbs. It was meant to be basil but I only had fresh chives, so chives it was. I made a 1/4 recipe to put onto one piece of toast, but I would recommend at least two pieces for a decent serving.
Rating: :)

Avocado Toast with Burst Heirloom Tomatoes & Balsamic Drizzle

Blueberry Muffin Energy Bites: These are you standard sort of bliss ball, though with the fun addition of dried milberries in the mix, as well as dried blueberries. They also have some hemp seeds in them, which I could definitely taste in the finished product. But otherwise they had a nice flavour, and not too sweet. I appreciate that, as most bliss ball type things I find super sweet. The recipe said it makes 12, but I got 15 balls following the instruction. Hurrah or bonus balls. Hee.
Rating: :)

Blueberry Muffin Energy Bites

Creamy Cauliflower and Turmeric Soup with Smoky Shiitake Bacon: This sounds like it should have been amazing, but it was kind of meh I'm afraid. The recipe calls for some vinegar, and the flavour of that just really overpowered the soup. Leave it out or decrease it by a lot. Thankfully I was able to salvage it by adding a load of nutritional yeast, the saviour of everything. The shiitake bacon is yummy and easy to make, though it goes soggy the instant it hits to soup. But is still a nice flavour.
Rating: :|

Creamy Cauliflower & Turmeric Soup with Smoky Shiitake Bacon

Carrot and Coriander Bisque: A much more successful soup. I made a half recipe for this and had it with a toasted cheese sandwich for dinner. Part of the liquid is orange juice, which gives it a nice tang alongside the sweet carrots. It took a while for this to blend smooth, but it did happen and then it was so nice and velvety. I definitely recommend the optional coriander and pomegranate seed garnishes.
Rating: :)

Carrot and Coriander Bisque

Buckwheat, Green Apple, Cranberry, and Avocado Salad: A half serve of this made for one big satisfying dinner (along with some sauteed slices of Apple Sage Field Roast sausage that I added after the photo). The salad calls for peppery greens like rocket or water cress, but I used baby spinach because that is better. It has a lovely lemon and mustard vinaigrette which is great with the sweetness in the salad and the creaminess of the avocado.
Rating: :)

Buckwheat, Green Apple, Cranberry and Avocado Salad

Mediterranean Millet with Lemony Hummus: The start chapter of the book is really the bowls chapter. This particular bowl is wonderfully refreshing, with a millet salad full of cucumber, olives, parsley, tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, and sunflower seeds (I left out the raw onion) and doused in a herby vinaigrette, topped with a big splodge of lemony hummus and some pita.
Rating: :)

Mediterranean Millet with Lemony Hummus

Flourishing Fiesta with Taco Crumbles, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, and Shiitake Bacon: This bowl requires a bit of advance preperation, as you need to make Shiitake Bacon, Cilantro-Lime Crema, and Walnut Taco Crumbles (plus Quick Pickled Jalapenos if you wish, I did not) before you can get started. But it is well worth it for the lovely combination of flavours. The base of the bowl is a cilantro-lime brown rice, which is then loaded up with all the above toppings and more. I just used some shredded lettuce for the greens, and didn't bother with the rocket or cabbage, and I left off the red onion from the pico de gallo.
Rating: :)

Flourishing Fiesta Bowl

Comforting BBQ Pulled Hearts of Pale, Crispy Kale, and Parmesan Polenta: This is a really great combination. I don't use hearts of palm often, as they are hard and expensive to get here. They were a bit hard to shred, but this was a nice way to use them. I also served this over some spinach, which is underneath the cheesy polenta. One thing I will mention for this and the above bowls, while the book says they serve four they really only serve three.
Rating: :)

Comforting BBQ Pulled Hearts of Palm, Crispy Kale & Parmesan Polenta

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim would like to have a word with you...

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Midweek Munchies

As I continue in my recovery, I feel pretty normal most of the time. But one thing is that my appetite has been quite sluggish. Normally I am so food motivated! I am still making sure I eat, and slowly I am starting to get hungry again and starting to think about certain foods longingly. Here is a look back to some munchies from the before times!

Let's start with the bad. This peanut butter cup. What a lie. It was awful. It didn't taste anything like peanut butter, the filling was sort of gritty, I ended up giving the second one in the packet to my dad because it was just too disappointing. Even if I wasn't expecting a peanut butter cup, I still wouldn't have liked whatever this was. Justin's forever!

Not a Peanut Butter Cup

Thankfully these new sauces from Coles were a much better buy! You'll see them turning up in future posts. But a rundown is that the Cheeseburger sauce is sort of a ketchup/mustard/pickle combination and the vegan burger sauce is like a Big Mac/special sauce. Both very good and do recommend.

Sauces from Coles

I was pleasantly surprised by this frozen Ruffie's spaghetti and meatless ball meal. It was small, as they always are, but tasted good and I enjoyed the meatless balls. All pitiful three of them. Vegan are hungry, gimme more balls! But I have also heard from a friend that she hated this. So, I guess it depends. After I tooked this photo I also added some FYH parmesan (shaker bottle variety) on top which was a very nice addition.

Ruffies Spaghetti and Meatballs

Always on the look out for savoury snacks, these Big Red Tomato veggie rings grabbed my eye in the shops, plus they were on a 50% off sale. They are teeny tiny little rings, so you eat these by the handful. They were nice, though reminded somehow of tomato-y creamed corn, because corn is one of the main ingredients. There's a corn cob right on the cover! I don't know that I would get these again myself, but they are worth trying.

Big Tomato Veggie Rings

I bought these vegan gnocchi for a recipe I was making (that will eventually appear here). A lot of the packaged gnocchi do tend to be vegan, but I thought I'd spend the extra two dollars to get this fancy one with vegan on the cover. They are really good! The recipe I made required them to be cooked then roasted, and they were absolutely delicious to snack on! These are definitely a bit of a splurge gnocchi, they are more expensive than the other ones, but I really liked them.

Vegan Gnocchi

Finally, a very adult snack I made myself one afternoon for a post-work snack. Celery sticks filled with peanut butter and sultanas, and a strawberry soy milk. I'm a grown up!

A very adult snack

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Snoozy Dim Sim

Dim Sim would like you to know that while she takes her carer duties very seriously, it is also tiring work and she needs to get her naps in where she can.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Eating In: Ramen, stir-fries, platters, bentos

I live! Thank you for your kind words pre-surgery. I was just in hospital for the morning, and have been spending my time since recovering at home. I had a laparoscopy, and my tummy has been a bit tender! But I am able to now sit at my desk for my laptop for a little bit now, hurrah! I had a lovely time catching up on everyone's blog posts, and now for a little blog post of my own.

In an effort to support local restaurants, we have been getting delivery once or twice a week for the last few months. Which is why these posts are all about eating in. Although restaurants are open with COVID safe plans in place, I still haven't been ready to eat out yet. Thankfully I have lots of deliveries to share with you in this spot over the coming weeks. I spent a lot of time searching around looking for places with vegan options to find some fun new places to add into our rotation. I find that searching for vegan doesn't bring up all the results, and if you search for vegan friendly a lot of the places have nothing at all vegan on offer! So checking out individual restaurants is time consuming, but has been rewarding.

Like finding a place with vegan ramen! Ramen Danbo offers a delicious vegan miso ramen option, as well as vegan gyoza.

Vegetarian Ramen and Vegan Gyoza from Ramen Danbo Sunnybank Hills

I have posted a few times before about local restaurant Superoll, my favourite was the Tofu Hustle. Little did I know that this Tofu Hustle would be my last ever. They unexpectedly sold the business, and now it is a non-vegan Thai restaurant. They do have a vegetarian/vegan section of their menu but as they do not deliver I haven't tried anything. Plus I'm still heartbroken over the loss of Tofu Hustle and a totally vegetarian/vegan restaurant.

Tofu Hustle from Superoll

My parents enjoy ordering non-vegan dishes from local (as in right up the road from us) restaurant Michael's Oriental, and they started offering a vegan menu a while ago. I have posted about it previously. I am a bit ambivalent about ordering from here, they don't have any non-spicy tofu dishes for me to order and you know how much I just want to order tofu. But they have a few things that are OK. The Cashew Chicken is fairly basic, but it is nice enough.

Cashew Chicken and Vegetables from Michael's Oriental

Another new to me place was Pazar Grill, a Mediterranean restaurant. I got the Vegan Platter, that was meant to come with falafel, dolma, dip (I chose hummus), salad (I chose kale and cous cous), and a side (I chose chips because always choose potato). I realised when I got it that they had substituted the dolma for some sort of fritter, which I ate. But then I checked their website and realised that the fritters were vegetarian, not vegan! Eeep! I sent them a nice email just letting them know about it, and they responded to say that they were having issues with their dolma suppliers, but that they had made the fritters vegan for the vegan platter. So that was nice and good!

'Vegan' Platter from Pazar Mediterranean Grill

A lot of the places we order from only deliver through Uber Eats, which I know has some significant issues with it. But one place that orgasnises its own delivery is Kuan Yin Home Delivery. I've posted about it before, as well as the previous brick and mortar restaurant they had that I used to love so much. But I had sort of forgotten about the home delivery until it came to isolation time. I was thrilled when I googled to see that they were still running! Of course I got my favourite order for them for this first time - pan-fried dumplings (they do the best dumplings) and sweet and sour pork bento.

Fried Dumplings from Kuan Yin

Sweet and Sour Pork Bento from Kuan Yin

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

As everyone knows, a good nurse is essential to recovery. Thankfully Dim Sim has been providing me with many gentle snuggles and hugs. She only stood on one of my incision sites once, and that was an accident. I am very lucky to be under such excellent care.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Midweek Munchies: Made With Plants Bacon

Hello friends! Tomorrow I am going in for some surgery, so this might be the last post I post for a while, or I might post a bunch during my recovery, who can tell. It is just a day procedure, and then I have a few weeks off from work to recover.

But anyway, bacon. Made With Plants Bacon to be specific. I picked up a packet of this on sale from Woolworths a while ago. Made With Plants is a vegan brand that supplies Woolworths with ready meals, sesame cheese (though they have devestatingly discontinued the smoked one and replaced it with sweet chilli... what even is the point of life anymore?), vegan bacon, and more recently some vegan mince (stay tuned to see about that, I have some of it in my fridge right now). According to sources (I almost wrote sauces, heh) this bacon is either the same or very similar to the Next! vegan bacon that is available in Coles, and which I posted about here. I think I liked the Made With Plants one a bit better, but maybe that is just my mind playing tricks on me!

Made With Plants Bacon

There are five thick slices in a packet. I did a few different things with it, including two sandwiches (which you will see here) and using it in a soup (which you will see when that cookbook recipe round-up comes about about a million years from now as the cookbook starts with V). First up, frying it up in the pan. Comparing my photos from the previous post, it actually does look really similar to the Next... right down to the two streaky bits of white!

Made From Plants Bacon

This one didn't get as crispy as the Next did, comparing photos. But it still cooked up fine.

Made From Plants Bacon

Of course the first thing I made with it was a BLAT, the ultimate sandwich! This was on a cibatta roll, with avocado, spinach, bacon, tomato, and Vegenaise. Delicious!

Made From Plants BLAT

I had some Daiya cheddar slices I had frozen and they completely crumbled when I defrosted them and tried to pull them to bits, so I ended up dumping some of the crumbles into a saucepan to melt into a cheesy sauce, and then used it to make this cheesy bacon tomato roll. It was very satisfying.

Cheese and Bacon Sandwich

Normally I am not a fan of store-bought vegan bacons, but I do like this one enough that I bought it again (currently in fridge awaiting a delicious fate). Both it and the Next are similar to the vegan bacons that you can buy in the Asian grocery stores, that are really good. Though tempeh and tofu bacon will forever have my heart, these are a fun grocery store buy!

A bonus photo, not involving the bacon, but involving the rest of the Daiya cheese slice crumbles. I melted it down again to make a cheesy sauce, and used it to top a baked potato with baked beans and bacon bits. Cheesy comforting goodness.

Cheesy Baked Bean Baked Potato

See you on the other side of surgery!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Did you know it was Black Cat Appreciation Day on Monday? Dim Sim would like to remind you that everyday is Black Cat Appreciation Day. I know I certainly appreciate her every second!

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Eating Out: Farine Bakery

This is kind of an eating out/eating in... in that it is a bakery I go to, but then I bring the stuff home or to work.

Can you believe that I only found out recently that a super vegan friendly bakery has opened up right around the corner from work? And they have been there since December? And I have missed out on months of deliciousness! I only found out when an omni co-worker told me about it because she saw it on her Uber Eats app and kindly noticed it had a bunch of things labeled vegan. The place in question is Farine Bakery, and I have since rectified this horrible oversight on my part by trying out much of their vegan range.

Like this cinnamon doughnut, which is huge and delightfully covered in cinnamon sugar and is very good.

Cinnamon Doughnut from Farine

They also have several flavours of filled doughtnuts, and I got this amazing cherry jam doughnut. It was filled with sour cherry jam, and had whole bits of cherry inside.

Cherry Jam Doughnut from Farine Red Hill

I've tried both the cherry and blueberry danishes, which are both lovely.

Cherry Danish from Farine

Blueberry Danish from Farine

To go along with the pasties, they have vegan croissants as well! Plain, almond, and chocolate. I got a chocolate croissant.

Chocolate Croissant from Farine

They sell these vegan cinnamon rolls, which are not like the big puffy bready cinnamon rolls, but have a more dense pastry scrolled up. They sell them in these cute little foil pie tins. I am having difficulty describing them, but they are SO GOOD! The cinnamon swirl in them is so strong.

Cinnamon Scroll from Farine

This was the place that I got the vegan challah bread from. I have never had challah (vegan or otherwise) before, so I am not sure how it compared. But I enjoyed it. It had a nice flavour, and was very good eaten on its own or spread with things.

Vegan Challah from Farine

This place is very easy to pop by on the way to or from work to get some goodies, and I am definitely looking forward to eating more of their delights. They had some vegan cheese and bacon rolls a couple of weeks ago that I missed out on because I wasn't at work that day, so I really hope they have some of those again! And whatever other delicious vegan offerings they wish to create.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Jed and his belleh

Jed was so thrilled about the vegan-friend bakery around the corner from work, he was quite overcome!

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Blissful Basil (Smoothie edition)

We'll be spending the next few recipe round-ups with the lovely book Blissful Basil by Ashley Melillo. I've posted about this book a few times before. It is a very lovely book, and I love the inventive recipes within. It also is wonderful for lots of fresh, colourful, and healthy recipes. Not surprisingly, it has a whole chapter on smoothies, and I am going to be rounding up a lot of them in this post. So I hope you like photos of drinks in glasses!

Energising Carrot Cake Smoothie: This is very strong of the lovely spices used in the smoothie, not so much of the carrot itself, but spices are pretty important in a carrot cake. Even though it is only sweetened with one medjool date, I found it a little bit sweet for me. I would also add a bit less vanilla extract next time, as it overpowered the flavours a little.
Rating: :)

Energizing Carrot Cake Smoothie

Zippy Pineapple and Fennel "Juice": I don't have a juicer, but have done juicing in the blender before, though I cannot be bothered straining it most of the time. Anyway, I turned this into a smoothie by using the bender, not straining, and adding some coconut water to make it extra refreshing. And refreshing this is! Cucumber, pineapple (I used frozen to thicken up the smoothie), fennel, and coriander - it is quite a lovely and different experience. It also called for jalapeno, but I left that out.
Rating: :)

Zippy Pineapple & Fennel 'Juice'

Double-Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie: From the fresh and green to the dark and decadent, this smoothie was also meant to have Espresso in the title but I left out the coffee because ewwww. It has frozen bananas as the base, and then cacao powder and toasted hazelnuts, which give it a subtle Nutella flavour. It uses 3-4 dates for sweetness, but I only used one because I find dates just so sweet, and that was enough for me.
Rating: :)

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie

Original Almond Butter Maca Madness Smoothie: This smoothie has three versions, as you will see, and this is the original one. I love how maca gives kind of an earthy caramel flavour to smoothies. Even with two frozen bananas in it, I didn't find this very filling, but it is nice for a sweet afternoon drink.
Rating: :)

Original Almond Butter Maca Madness Smoothie

Cacao Crunch Peanut Butter Maca Madness Smoothie: This is a variation on the above, though I used peanut butter instead of almond buutter. This is the same base but has raw cacao powder and nibs added.
Rating: :)

Cacao Crunch Peanut Butter Maca Madness Smoothie

Vanilla Chai Spice Almond Butter Maca Madness Smoothie: This takes the base smoothie and adds a lovely blend of spices, which give it a nice and subtle chai flavour.
Rating: :)

Vanilla Chai Spice Almond Butter Maca Madness Smoothie

Sunshiny Citrus Smoothie: This is a lovely blend of mango, banana, orange, grapefruit, and lime. As well as using frozen bananas, I also used frozen mangoes, which meant that it cam eout extremely thick! Even with adding a little bit of extra water. The recipe calls for fresh mangoes. It was too thick to easily drink from a glass, but it was perfect for a smoothie bowl! I added some pepitas, slivered almonds,and dried cranberries to the top for fun. The recipe also calls for optional baobab powder, but I haven't heard of that before let alone have any so I left it out.
Rating: :)

Sunshiny Citrus Smoothie Bowl

Hello World Green Smoothie: Of course, you cannot have a smoothie chapter without at least one green smoothie! This was thick and refreshing, with frozen banana, baby spinach, frozen pineapple, fennel, and fresh ginger. I couldn't really taste the fennel in this one.
Rating: :)

Hello World Green Smoothie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Basket of Kittens

Could I interest you in a basket of kittens? These two are some of our adoption kitties.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Isolation Baking

During my two months of isolation, I did some baking. Not uncommon under the circumstances, as long as there was flour to be found! I didn't make bread, I stuck to baked goods. But I also didn't do that much baking, I ended up relying on store-bought biscuits and treats a lot because motivation was hard to come by. But still, this is a little post for the things that I did actually bake during that time.

ANZAC Biscuits from World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan: ANZAC day fell during my time at home, and one must have ANZAC Biscuits on ANZAC day. I decided to try this recipe, which was good. Instead of 24 little biscuits, I made 12 big ones and baked for a little longer. They came out chewy and tasty. The recipe says you can use agave nectar or golden syrup, but any Australian knows that golden syrup is the ONLY choice!
Rating: :)

ANZAC Biscuits

Easy Applesauce Snack Cake from The Abundance Diet by Somer McCowan: In the early times, we were able to get grocery deliveries but they only offered a limited amount of products and they would automatically sub if they were out. So one day instead of getting my nice regular flour, I got some Coles brand gluten free flour. Sigh. I made this applesauce cake that was meant to be made gluten free, using my gluten free flour instead of making Somer's gluten free flour blend in the book. The Coles GF flour is not great, it is pretty much just rice flour, and definitely gives things a certain texture. This recipe also had a lot of baking powder, and I could taste it coming out of the oven. Let it sit overnight, it is much better the next day. I used sweetened apple sauce and a mix of date and maple syrups, and I left out the stevia because that stuff is gross. I also used mixed spice instead of cinnamon because I had run out - horror of horrors! This is good sliced thick and spread with peanut butter, and maybe a scoop of ice cream if you want to make it dessert-like.
Rating: :) (but leave it until the day after baking to eat)

Easy Applesauce Snack Cake

Walnut Brownies from I Can Cook Vegan by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Truthfully, I am not that big a fan of walnuts. But I am a fan of being able to buy crumbed walnuts that are ready to add into things without chopping. I vastly prefer pecans, but they need chopping and sometimes that is just energy one does not have. I made a half recipe of this brownie recipe in a 4 x 8 inch pan, and cut it into five brownie slices. Isa loves her damn coconut oil, but I used Nuttelex instead. This has melted chocolate as part of the batter, so you know it is going to be fudgy and delicious, even with walnuts!
Rating: :)

Walnut Brownies

Bananana Cinnamon Swirl Muffins from I Can Cook Vegan by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: This recipe makes 6 jumbo sized muffins, so pull out your big capacity muffin pan. I only had enough spare banana to make a half batch, so three muffins. Again, I had to replace the coconut oil - this time with canola oil. The muffins are made by layering batter with the cinnamon swirl (again, I used canola oil for the cinnamon mix, not coconut), and then swirling. It was meant to have a total of four batter layers, but I found I only made three layers. Regardless, these are wonderful and the cinnamon swirl was a delight.
Rating: :)

Banana Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

Chocolate Tahini Quick Bread from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: Tahini provides the fat and oil content for this not-too- sweet bread. I used regular flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour and skipped the optional coconut milk powder. This rose very high in the 4 x 8 pan I used, I might look at using a 9 x 5 instead. It said to bake for 65 minutes, but mine was done after 55, which is unusual for my oven to be done ahead of time. I like the flavour of this, though I did find it a bit dry.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Tahini Quick Bread

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim sleeping

More sleeping Dim Sim, such a sleeping beauty.