Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Eating In: Vietnamese

I love Vietnamese food, it is often nice and fresh and can easily have vegan options. Whether restaurants choose to is another matter, but I have been exploring through some of the options that deliver to me.

Bun is my favourite Vietnamese place, and a place I have ordered from often. It has appeared on the blog several times. Most recently, I ordered a serve of their Tofu rice paper rolls and their Avocado rice paper rolls. I ordered these for dinner on the day of my surgery, when I wasn't really feeling that hungry. In the colder months, their Vegan Pho is also a firm favourite of mine.

Rice Paper Rolls from Bun

Vegan Pho from Bun

A newer discovery was Pho Hung Vietnamese. They do not have as many of the lovely fresh vegan options that Bun has, but they have a few. The first time I got some tofu rice paper rolls... which were HUGE! And they were nice. And I also got some Ho Fun Noodles with Tofu and Veggies, which had a great amount of tofu and veggies but were unfortunately just extremely oily. My mum also got a noodle stir-fry from them and hers was also just so oily. The next time we ordered I got the Tofu Bun (vermicelli salad), which was much better and had an extremely generous and filling amount of tofu on top!

Ho Fun with Veggies and Tofu and Tofu Rice Paper Rolls from Pho Hung Vietnamese

Tofu Bun from Pho Hung Vietnamese

The most recent place we tried was Crackling Viet Home. They do have a tofu and avocado bun I want to try, but this particular night I was feeling my basic vegan cravings of tofu and veggies and rice. So I got their stir-fried tofu and veggies and rice. It came with an absurd amount of rice, I only ate half of it and the rest of the rice is in the freezer for future rice uses. When you look at it here, it looks like there are hardly any veggies and tofu, but that little portion of the container held a lot and it was a nice dinner.

Tofu and Veggies with Rice from Crackling Viet Home

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim's feets

I love Dim Sim's feetsies, and I know you do too. Such delicate and velvety little paws.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Blissful Bites

Today I am finishing up sharing the recipes I have made from the lovely book Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan. You can see my previous posts on this book here.

Laotian Tofu Larb: Thisis a simple dish made with steamed and crumbled tofu, and then mixed with carrot, wombok, coriander, and sauce. I left out the capsicum. It is eaten chilled, and I served it over some greens. I'd recommend eating this on the first day it is made, it doesn't keep well like other tofu dishes and started smelling a bit funky after 24 hours. But it is nice, so you'll be happy to eat it all up quickly.
Rating: :)

Laotian Tofu Larb

Tropical Three Bean Salad: With mango, tomato and avocado, this salad is a perfect summer-time dish to make. The beans are kidney, white, and chickpeas. Served over greens this is a wonderful filling and refreshing salad.
Rating: :)

Tropical Three-Bean Salad

Pan-Fried Tofu with Carrot-Ginger Sauce: This is easy to make, but put it on a platter and it looks fancy! The tofu is marinated in a OJ-based marinade, pan-fried, and topped with an orange-ginger-carrot sauce. Initially the sauce tastes strongly of organce, but it mellows with cooking into a nice well-rounded flavour. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli.
Rating: :)

Pan-Fried Tofu with Carrot-Ginger Sauce

Tofu with Almond-Coconut Cilantro Sauce: The tofu here is simply sliced and fried until golden, a simple canvas for the remarkable sauce. Seriously, the sauce is amazing! It has almond butter, coconut milk (light if you are me), and loads of fresh coriander (as well as other delicious things of course, like ginger and mirin to name two). You will not regret making this!
Rating: :D

Tofu with Almond-Coconut Cilantro Sauce

Un-Tuna Salad: A classic chickpea tuna-style salad. I made a half recipe of this, which made enough for three thick sandwiches. The ususal suspects are here: mayo, carrot, celery, and pickles. I added the optional kelp grnaules which gave it a nice taste of the sea. Not fishy exactly, which is good as I don't like fishy, but that nice seaweed taste.
Rating: :)

Un-Tuna Salad

Zucchini Bread: This recipe uses a mix of barley and brown rice flours, which resulted in a tasty but quite fragile loaf. I also found that the batter was extremely dry when I first mixed it, so I had to add a splash of soy milk until I got the right consistency. The recipe itself has no liquid except for some vegetable oil, apple sauce and the liquid from the zucchini, so I do wonder if that was an oversight.
Rating: :)

Zucchini Bread

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes: These are made using a mix of all-purpose and kamut flour... very happy to find a way to use some of the kamut flour I have after goign through my 'buy all the fancy weird flours phase'. They have a great lemon flavour. Mine were quite dense, because I realised afterwards the I forgot to add the oil It was written at the top of the recipe because it also had the extra to grease the muffin tin as the first instruction (which I didn't even need as I was using cute wrappers), and then in the instructions later on it says to mix the wet ingredients my eyes didn't wander back up to the top of the list (above the dry ingredients) to remember the oil. Ooops! The recipe also has a lemon and coconut frosting using silken tofu, but it also used 1/2 cup of coconut oil and even though I was making these for a bake sale, I don't keep that sort of Susan-killing coconut oil still around in general. So I made a lemony cream cheese frosing for it instead.
Rating: :)

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Strawberry-Mint Limeade: This came out with a very strong, sour lime taste, so I would suggest reducing the amount of lime juice a little, or increasing the amount of maple syrup a little. It may also vary dependingon how sweet your strawberries are. It is a very refreshing drink for hot days.
Rating: :)

Strawberry-Mint Limeade

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Adoption kitten Sweep

Adoption kitten Sweep decided that the way the scratcher was set up was boring and he decided to make his own fun with it.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Ostara 2020

Ostara aka Spring Equinox (22nd September, 2020)

Spring has sprung. Actually it sprung awhile ago. In Australia, our seasons start based on the months, so Spring starts on the 1st of September. Where as in the Northern hemisphere seasons seem to start based on solstices and equinoxes, which I like. Anyway, three weeks into our official Australian spring, and Brisbane cranked it up to summer with a few hot, humid days. Thankfully it has cooled off a little bit now. I am very jealous of all my Northern hemisphere friends posting all about Autumn (or Fall, I guess) at the moment. Seeing all those cosy posts... cosy is my happy word.

Many parts of the celebration of Ostara have been folded into the traditions of Easter, which makes sense season-wise if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. In Australia Easter is in Autumn. It is a celebration of new life and fertility. Hence why eggs are one of the featured foods. It is sad that int his modern world, this celebration of life centres so much around products of the trauma and exploitation of chickens. I am so glad as vegans we can avoid this.

Now, onto the food!

Sunday Supper Frittata from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson: Honestly, who needs eggs when you can have tofu! This is a pretty simple frittata to make: sautee some veggies, blend up the tofu mixture, combine, bake. For the veggies, as well as the called for potato, onion, mushroom, and spinach, I also added some broccoli and grated carrots, and some FYH cheddar shreds and bacon bits because why not. I also realised that I have not been processing my tofu mix enough when I have made frittatas in the past. I don't know how, but this time I gave it some extra time (plus my food processor is pretty powerful these days), and it came out so nice and smooshy. The recipe says to put the tofu mix on top of the sauteed veggies, but I mixed it all together before I put it in the pan. I used a 9in springform cake pan. It baked up and held together really nicely, and as a bonus I have an extra piece to take to work for lunch tomorrow. I served it with some roasted asparagus (lovely spring greens), and after this photo we drizzled on some ketchup.
Rating: :)

Sunday Supper Frittata

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Everyday Vegan Eats by Zsu Dever: A carrot cake is a pretty classic way to welcome Spring, with the bonus being that I love carrot cake. This recipe was super simple to make. I baked it in a 9 inch square baking dish, and while the cake doesn't rise super high it is an excellent size for a snack or dessert without being overpowering. The flavour of the cake is really nice, and not too sweet. The cream cheese icing is also not to sweet, and has that great cream cheese tang to it. I skipped the nuts on top. This cake was great on the first day, but might I suggest that leftovers are even better? After being in the fridge overnight, the flavours really melded that the frosting took on an almost marshmallowy type texture.
Rating: :)

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara with her Panda With Cookie Pirate Carrot

I cannot talk about carrot cakes without thinking of my own little carrot cat. Sahara, my cinnamon Abyssinian queen, posing here with the carrot toy I brought home from the US for them one year. Sahara and I shared our carrot-top colouring. I miss my baby red.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Midweek Munchies: Pie edition

The weather is rapidly warming up here, so days of a hot pie for lunch are probably behind me for a while. But I did enjoy several hot pies over the cooler months, and these are there stories. A note for all the savoury pies seen here, after their photo I liberally doused them in ketchup, which is the correct way to eat a hot savoury pie.

The Mushroom Mornay Pie from vegan bakery Flour of Life was a lovely, savoury, creamy, mushroomy filling. Would get again. Their pastry is really nice as well.

Flour of Life Mushroom Mornay Pie

Also from Flour of Life, I present the Cheesy Bolognese Pie. This was also very good, I loved that it was properly cheesy. Flour of Life makes really good pies, and I look forward to trying some of their other ones. You can buy them cold so you can just stick them in the freezer to have a nice stash.

Cheesy Bolognese Pie from Flour of Life

This Live Chef Savoury Christmas Pie (from a health food shop) was just OK. It was a bit dry in the middle. The premise was a turkey, gravy, and cranberry filling. But all smooshed up in the filling it lost something. I think the sweet cranberries overpowered it a lot.

Christmas Pie

I got this Vegan Delish Apple Pie from IGA. It was pretty meh. The pastry was savoury, and the apple filling was flavourless. Thankfully the So Delicious Cashew Snickerdoodle ice cream I served it with saved the day. I wouldn't bother again when I can get delicious Nanna's Vegan Apple pies from the freezer section at most supermarkets.

Vegan Apple Pie

The final pie is the Fry's Country Mushroom Pie, which I got from IGA. Damn I love Fry's, and this pie was no exception. They also have Pepper Steak pies, and Curry pies.

Fry's Mushroom Pies

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Goodbye Hug with Jed

Our sweet clinic boy Jed is leaving to move to Melbourne with his mum, who is one of our nurses. I will miss them both so much. This photo was the last day I spent with him, and I am crying a little bit in it. The clinic is going to be very empty without them both.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Eating In: Pizza, Burgers, Kebabs

Welcome to another edition of Eating In! Food that I have had delivered to my house. This post is a nice carby post, full of things you eat with your hands. Unless you are a person who eats their pizza with a fork.

We have ordered dinner twice from Gustos Gourmet Pizza. They have vegan cheese and lots of vegetable options. The first time I got their Vegetarian Pizza (onion, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, pineapple, olives, herbs, and garlic), no capsicum and use vegan cheese. The second time I got the Margherita Pizza with BBQ base instead of pizza sauce, cherry tomatoes, vegan cheese, basil, and I added on pineapple, olives, mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms. Both were good and I would definitely order from there again!

Vegetarian Pizza with Vegan Cheese from Gusto's Gourmet Pizza

Pizza with BBQ base, cherry tomatoes, basil, pineapple, mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, olives from Gusto's Gourmet Pizza

Oporto is one of the many chain restaurants that have added a vegan option to their menu. Their vegan burger has a pea and herb patty, avocado, tomato, and lettuce. I got them to leave off the tomato and capsicum relish, and I added pineapple. I really liked this burger, it was a lovely veggie patty and the whole thing was quite fresh and not heavy. I also got some of their chips and a side of grilled corn, and their creamy lemon and herb dressing that is vegan.

Vegan Burger, Chips, Corn from Oportos

Vegan Burger, Chips, Corn from Oportos

I had heard about Taksim Kebab and Pizza from some vegan groups, a Lebanese place with vegan options including vegan meats! Although very close to me, I never had a chance to go there pre-pandemic, but thankfully they are now doing delivery. I got a kebab with vegan lamb in it, and it was very good. Also a huge serving of chips. I am very keen to also try some of their vegan pizzas, and their vegan snack pack (which frustratingly does not appear as a vegan option on UberEats).

Vegan Lamb Kebab from Taskin Kebabs

Finally, another delivery from Grill'd. Although Grill'd is my favourite burger place, sadly they are not great to order from as everything arrives so cold. I perked the chips up in the microwave at least. This time I got a build-your-own burger with a field mushroom, pineapple, mayo, BBQ sauce, cheese, and pickles. It was nice, though the mushroom has not been cooked through and was raw around the stem. Thankfully I have no issues with raw mushrooms.

Grill'd Mushroom Burger and Fries

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo's 13th Birthday

It has been a while since I have posted a photo of my sweet Gizmo. I still miss her every day.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Blissful Bites

Still Blissful, but a different cookbook. No more basil, all bite. This is Blissful Bites, by Christy Morgan. A book I love! I have used it so much, the pages are coming away from the binding. Good times are to be had. I have posted about this book several times before.

Southwest Tofu Scramble: A solid scramble with veggies and spices. I used some paprika instead of the chili powder. It also has cumin and nutritional yeast in it. Veggie-wise, it has carrot, zucchini, and mushrooms, but I also added some baby spinach to wilt into it. I did find that this scramble was a little on the dry side, it could have done with a splash of some sort of extra liquid. I served it with some thinly sliced potato that I roasted, and some store-bought guacamole.
Rating: :)

Southwest Tofu Scramble

Red Quinoa Salad: I made a half recipe of this fun red salad. Despite what you might expect, it does not specify for red quinoa to be used. I used tricolour because that is what I had. It has beetroot and carrot in it, as well as avocado and toasted sunflower seeds. Even though I halved the recipe, I still used the whole amount of beetroot. The basil gives it a lovely fresh flavour, and the salad itself is sweet and earthy. The roasted sunflower seeds are also delicious.
Rating: :)

Red Quinoa Salad

Macro "Mac and Cheeze": This is a delicious mac and cheese recipe that uses silken tofu, miso, butternut pumpkin, and nutritional yeast in the sauce. It is truly wonderful. I just used half the amount of pasta, so 250g, which was just right for my sauce preferences. Served with some steamed broccoli and BBQ sauce-glazed chick'n strips.
Rating: :D

Macro 'Mac and Cheeze'

Macro 'Mac and Cheeze'

Quinoa with Toasted Pecans and Dried Cherries: This is a nice combination that also makes for a good festive kind of salad. The salad is tossed with some Lemon Miso Dressing, which I have spoken about before. A great dressing, but I'd recommend using more of it than the recipe recommends because it doesn't go very far.
Rating: :)
Quinoa with Toasted Pecans and Dried Cherries

Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice: This recipe uses pineapple juice reserved from the tin of pineapple chunks to simmer carrots and asparagus until tender. And interesting technique but I found it had some sort of weird flavour from/in the asparagus. I think asparagus should be either roasted and stir-fried. I also found the flavour of this a little bit lacking, needed more pineapple and tamari flavour. Nothing a little douse of soy sauce wouldn't fix. But all in all, this one was a bit off. I served it with some steamed broccoli and some grilled tofu.
Rating: :)

Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice

Land and Sea Soba Salad: This is a great salad, whish is in the sea vegetables chapter. There are so many fun ways to use seaweed. This salad uses either hijiki or arame, I used arame. This also has carrot, cabbage, broccoli, and tofu. The dressing is easy to make, and tastes fantastic.
Rating: :D

Land and Sea Soba Salad

Tofu Salad (Eggless Egg Salad): This is a pretty classic tofu egg salad recipe, with mayo and carrots and celery. The tofu in this recipe is steamed first before crumbling into the salad, which gave it a nice extra texture. I served this over lettuce for lunch, and got two servings out of it.
Rating: :)

Tofu Salad (Eggless Salad)

Lentil-Coconut Curry: This is a damn delicious curry! I always soak my brown lentils overnight, and then it still took them about 30 minutes to cook through enough. You don't want them to cook too much though, as the do some more simmering in the curry. I ditched the coconut oil for grapeseed oil to sautee the veggies. The recipe has an extra one cup of water reserved to add if you need to thin it out a bit because things are sticking, but I didn't need to use it. The coconut in this does not come from coconut milk, but rather from shredded coconut that is simmered in with it. It is so good! I served it with brown rice and baby spinach.
Rating: :D

Lentil-Coconut Curry

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

The other day she fell asleep holding onto her back paw and it was just so very sweet and cute.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Father's Day 2020

Hi friends, I had to take a little blogging break because I lost all energy and motivation. Still kind of struggling with that, but trying to get back into regular habits again. I am back at work now as well, which is not helping my energy levels!

But on to happier things. The first Sunday in September is Father's Day in Australia. So, as usual, I made my dad a special dinner of his choosing. He picked Mexican, but then as I dreamed about all sorts of delightful beans and rice and totillas I checked in and he was thinking more along the lines of the cheesy/sour creamy 'Mexican'. But also nothing he had to eat with his hands. So enchiladas it was!

Spinach and Bean Enchiladas with Cilantro-Lime Cream Sauce from Everyday Vegan Eats by Zsu Dever: These hit the spot of cheesy, while also allowing me to use some beans and even some spinach, yay! The enchiladas are filled with a mix of onion, tomatoes, pinto beans, baby spinach, and cheese (I used the Daiya mixed one). For the spices, I left out the chili powder and used a mix of regular andsmoked paprika instead. I have zero luck with corn tortillas, so I used some nice little flour ones and they rolled so nicely. So, technically this says it serves 4-6, but the three of us ate it all! It is served with a lovely cilantro-lime cream sauce, which is cashew based and super easy to make. The lime is not overpowering either. I needed to add an extra splash of soymilk to mine to loosen it up a bit enough for pouring. Because my mum is avoiding citrus, I served it on the side rather than pouring it onto the top of the enchiladas after baking. I also served this with a chopped salad (no green leaves, as per my dad's request), of grated carrot, cucumber, celery, tomato, and corn.
Rating: Enchiladas :), Sauce :)

Spinach and Bean Enchiladas

Cliantro-Lime Cream

Spinach and Bean Enchiladas with Cilantro-Lime Cream Sauce

Chocolate Mousse from Tofu 1-2-3 by Maribeth Abrams: For dessert he requested a chocolate mousse, which is what my mother wanted for her mother's day dinner as well. I need more adventurous people to make weird desserts for! Anyway, this time I tried a recipe from my Tofu 1-2-3 cookbook, which was that classic combination of silken tofu blended with melted chocolate. This is RICH! I served it topped with a scoop of So Delicious Vanilla Cashew Youghurt, and some sliced strawberries.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Mousse

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

The sun is coming up earlier every day, which makes for a very happy little black cat.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Eating In: Noodles, spring rolls, soups, tofu

Welcome to another edition of foods we have had delivered because I can't go out to eat anymore because of the pandemic!

Part of my trawling through UberEats looking for places with sneaky vegan options uncovered Wok N Toss, which a few things clearly marked vegan on the menu. Yay! Of course I just went straight up classic with the Vegetarian Delight with Cashew Nut and Tofu. And it was delightful! I also tried some of their vegan spring rolls.

Vegan Spring Rolls from Wok n Toss

Vegetarian Cashew Delight with Tofu and Coconut Rice from Wok n Toss

I was feeling icky one day so when Mum wanted to order from Michael's Oriental, I just went super simple with some vegan chicken and sweet corn soup, and some Chinese greens in garlic sauce. As well as a little bit of rice. Their garlic sauce is kind of meh, but I have found that if I mix in some vegan oyster mushroom sauce from my fridge, it perks it up fantastically.

Chicken Sweetcorn Soup and Asian Veggies and Garlic Sauce from Michael's Oriental

I had posted previously about being underwhelmed by Kinn Thai's offerings. But gave them another shot, especially once I found out that the Pad See Ew could be made vegan. I love Pad See Ew! And the Pad See Ew was alright! But we also tried the vegan Garlic and Chive Dumpings and the Corn Fritters. The fritters were fried but soggy. The dumplings really just dough that had been cut and then super deep fried so that it was just greasy. So still very meh.

Garlic and Chive Dumpings, Pad See Ew, Corn Fritters from Kinn Thai

My random scrolling also uncovered that a Noodle Box has a specific vegan section on their menu as well! I ordered the Vegan Black Bean with Rice Noodles. I ordered the large, and it was HUGE! My parents ordered the regular for their dinners, which looked really small until you opened the box and tipped it out and there was plenty in there. I ended up saving half of mine for leftovers because I couldn't eat it all. We also got some vegan spring rolls.

Vegetable Spring Rolls from Noodle Box

Vegan Black Bean Rice Noodles (large) from Noodle Box

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

After sitting on my lap for a while, Dim Sim quickly decided that paying attention to feline medicine conference lectures was for me, and she moved onto her blankie pile and promptly went to sleep.