Monday, 31 May 2021


A non-food post. I mentioned a few posts back that I had been down to the coast for a special reason, and this was the reason.

Those who follow my on the socials have already met Abby. If you don't... well, this is Abby.


Abby came into my house just five weeks after Dim Sim passed. Too soon really, but I needed someone to get up for, to look after. Abby is five years old, and she has been in foster care almost her whole life. She was rescued off the streets with her mum as a teenager kitten, and she was very anti-social. Her carers put amazing work into making her blossom into the sweetie pie smoochy pants that she is today. However, she is an incredibly shy scaredy-cat, so no one was very keen on adopting her.


Her little face in her profile photos was so sweet, and I felt that maybe this shy little girl and my broken heart could take our time to form a bond together. When I went to the meet and greet with her, all I did was peek at her from where she was hiding on top of the kitchen cupboards at her carer's house. We mostly chatted about Abby, and I patted some of her other cats. But I just felt like if Abby was willing to take a chance on me, I was willing to take a chance on Abby.


In a twist no one saw coming, Abby was coming out for pats with me within the first week. We had expected it to take months. She's still a shy girl, she is just coming around to my dad, still hiding from my mum, and doesn't go downstairs. But with me she is a total love bug. She doesn't like to be cuddled or restrained (I pick her up occasionally for a quick hug if she doesn't squirm away and she is starting to tolerate it better), but she loves loves loves getting pats.


Abby has been a very brave girl, having a dental a few weeks ago to take some sore teeth out. She was really good at the clinic! And she was very forgiving of me when we got home. For all her wariness, she doesn't hold a grudge. She loves to play with her mousies, eat her food, get all the pats, and she sleeps on the bed. Though not all night, early morning is for loud playing with the mousies.


Opening my heart to Abby has been hard. Not because she makes it hard, she is so sweet and full of love towards me, but my heart is so broken and obviously no one can replace my girls, who were my soul mates. But I do love her, she is a wonderful sweet little friend, and she has made my life better at a time when I thought I couldn't go on. So, official blog welcome to Abby!


Friday, 28 May 2021

Mother's Day 2021

Mother's Day came around again this year, as it always does, and I made a fun little dinner for my mum.

Smoky Maple Baked Beans from Kindness Community Vegan Cookbook: Despite the name, this recipe involves no baking. It is all done on the stove, and it doesn't take that long. The beans are a mix of butter beans and borlotti beans, and they are simmered in a mix of tomato, smoked paprika, maple syrup, and vegan Worcestershire sauce. They were quick and tasty. I served them with some roasted broccoli, potato gems, and some Rough Rider BBQ Sauce that I had made from Vegan Diner (another cookbook) to serve over the top as my mum loves that sauce. The recipe says it makes two serves, but we got three serves out of this, which worked well as there were three of us!
Rating: :)

Smoky Maple Baked Beans

Chocolate Fudgy Puddin' Cake from Cookin' Crunk by Bianca Phillips: Colder nights call for warmer desserts, and this was a pretty easy one. I love a good self serving pudding! The only issue I had with this was the recipe calls to cream room temperature vegan margerine with soy milk... I've had a couple of other recipes call for that as well and it never works, the butter just goes a bit chunky through the milk. So I added half the flour and continued to beat and it all combined nicely, then mixed in the rest of the dry. This baked up with a delicious warm chocolate sauce bottom, and was great served with vanilla soy ice cream.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Fudgy Puddin' Cake

Chocolate Fudgy Puddin' Cake

But wait... there is more! Well, a little flash back. My mum's birthday is early December, but last year that was only about a week and a half after Dim Sim passed, so I didn't make her a big special dinner, because I could barely feed myself. But I did want to do something, so I made a chocolate pudding cake... but a different one to the one above. It made my feel a little better to be able to do something nice for someone I loved.

Chocolate Puddin' Cake from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer: This recipe was a little easier in that it didn't involve margerine so there was no beating involved. Just mixing. The only change I made was to replace the walnuts it called for with chocolate chips, to make it extra chocolately. Please enjoy a very similar photo to the one above, but it was a different recipe!
Rating: :)

Chocolate Puddin' Cake

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

While I am still getting the motivation to dive back into my proper big recipe round-ups, let us do another mini one from 1000 Vegan Recipes. You can see my previous posts about this book here.

Penne with Creamy Asparagus Sauce: This recipe has an asparagus-based sauce made creamy by the addition of white beans and soy milk. At the end, more asparagus is mixed through. The sauce only calls for one cup of white beans, and there are more than that in the tin, so I added the leftovers into the pasta when I was mixing through the asparagus.
Rating: :)

Penne with Creamy Asparagus Sauce

Fusilli with Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomato: I don't use fennel enough, because I always enjoy it when I do. This is an easy sauce of sauteed fennel with tinned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil. I added a few splashes of pasta cooking water to the sauce to thin, as it got very thick. I decreased the amount of pasta required by half, and added a tin of red beans at the end.
Rating: :)

Fusilli with Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Carbonara-Style Sapghetti: Tempeh bacon crumbles and a creamy tofu and soy milk-based sauce are used here. The sauce also has a hefty dose of nutritional yeast added. I did use a the whole 450g (one pound) of spaghetti here, but I would recommend decreasing it because although it seems saucy at first, it quickly absorbed into the pasta. I would have liked it to be a bit saucier while eating. This is topped with home-made parmasio, fresh parsley, and more tempeh bacon crumbles.
Rating: :)

Carbonara-Style Spaghetti

Farfalle with White Beans and Roasted Asparagus: This is very simple! Roast asparagus, warm and season beans, mix into cooked pasta! I used 250g of pasta rather than one pound, and I got two large serves as I was pretty hungry!
Rating: :)

Farfalle with White Beans and Roasted Asparagus

(% 1000 Vegan Recipes blogged: 30.7%)

Saturday, 22 May 2021


I'd never ordered from a meal delivery service before, mostly because I like to make stuff. But with all that went on after Dim Sim, it seemed like a good time to try some, especially with some discount codes. I have tried two, and I will talk about the first one today (the second one will need to wait until I finally finish the last one I have in the freezer).

HerbiDoor got me with their targeted advertising, which had a 25% off your first order code. The thing I liked about Herbidoor is you do not have to sign up to a recurring plan. You can buy things individually, or get a 10 pack of your choosing for slightly better value. I went with the latter. I got nine meals, and one dessert. My options with any sort of ready meals are limited because I have to filter out anything with chili or coconut cream, but Herbidoor still had a good selection. Most had 8 days until they expired if kept in the fridge, but you could also freeze them. I wasn't eating them all in a row, so I froze a lot of them. They all reheated well. There was not a lot in the way of vegetables though, so you will see I added greens (mostly baby spinach) to them. I'll do my best to remember how things were!

2020-12-21 17.53.09

Creamy Kale Fettuccine: Not as creamy as I would have liked, it had a bit of a vinegar tang to it. I like vinegar, but this was a little out of place.

Herbidoor Creamy Kale Fettuccine

Eggplant Katsu Curry: The ingredient didn't specify chilli, but there was chilli in this. I realised later they just said 'curry powder', and I had been scanning for chilli specifically, so the sauce was too spicy for me. However, I scraped it off and can say that the eggplant cutlets were delicious.

Herbidoor Katsu Curry

Ayuverdic Healing Kitchari: This wasn't anything flash, but it was nice and comforting. Which is what kitchari was supposed to be. It came with the roasted potatoes, I added the spinach and some peas.

Herbidoor Ayuverdic Healing Kitchari

Spinach and Herbi-Cotta Canneloni: This was nice, though was not very filling. More a lunch than a dinner. It had a nice mix of herby tofu-based ricotta, and was topped with some tomato sauce and cashew cream.

Herbidoor Spinach and Herbi-Cotta Canneloni

Sunday Roast Yorkies: For all the appearance of a mediocre reheated frozen roast dinner, this was really yummy! A seitan-based roast, roasted vegetables, peas, gravy, and those great little yorkshire puddings. It was very satisfying.

Herbidoor Sunday Roast Yorkies

Cashew Cream Lentil Lasagne: This was one of the gluten free range, and it was... not good. The pasta had that really heavy, grainy gluten free texture. And the rest of it was just very dry.

Herbidoor Cashew Cream Lentil Lasagne

Lentil Shepherd's Pie: This was nice. I enjoyed that it had a sweet potato mash on top. Nothing special, but nothing bad. The green beans were added by me because I was out of spinach.

Herbidoor Lentil Sherpherd Pie

Bangers and Mash: This meal has been rotated out for some new options (they seem to do this with a handful of meals every few months, keeping things fresh). I didn't add anything extra to this, it came with the peas. And more of their yummy gravy! I don't remember what the sausages were, I recall they were some brand, and they were OK. I guess being microwaved they were a bit smooshier than if you had pan-fried them, but this meal was all about comfort.

Herbidoor Bangers and Mash

BBQ Cottage Pie: I liked the creamy yet crunchy potato topping on this, and the insides were good too. You cannot really tell, but there is a bit of vegan cheese that was included in the topping, it has just melted in the microwave. The filling was lentils and vegetables and apparently silken tofu but maybe that was blended into the BBQ sauce because I couldn't tell. It was a little bit dry, so I did add some more BBQ sauce for eating.

Herbidoor BBQ Cottage Pie

Did I mention dessert? I sure did.

2020-12-21 17.53.22

I got a two pack of sticky date puddings, yum! You can eat them cold or warm, so I ate the first one straight out of the packet with some custard and it was good! The second one is still tightly wrapped in my freezer, waiting for a good cold winter night to heat it up and have it with some ice cream.

Herbidoor Sticky Date Pudding
Would I order from Herbidoor again? Yes!

Friday, 21 May 2021

Eating In: Rolls, Drinks, Bakery

Some more food that I picked up to bring home when I had been out. At some point I just started needing to get out of the house, because being in it without her was almost harder. But I didn't want to commit to doing anything major, so I would just go to the grocery store and maybe pick up something to bring home for lunch.

Though this one was actually a delivery from Roll'd, a Vietnamese chain that recently opened up near me. I got a cup of their mushroom and tofu vegan pho, three tofu soldiers (rice paper rolls), and some sweet potato chips.

Small pho, 3 tofu soldiers, sweet potato chips from Roll'd

At the end of December, I drove down to the Gold Coast for a reason I will talk about in a later post. But on the way home, I stopped at Flour of Life and picked up a cheese and basil scroll of lunch, as well as a strawberry tart and a mini fruit flan.

Cheese and Basil Scroll from Flour of Life

Tarts from Flour of Life

Loving Hut is an old standby. I went back to work on very reduced hours in mid-January, and one day after working the morning I stopped in to get some of my favourite Rice Paper Rolls. I love these. They also had a fancy limited edition bubble tea menu, so I got a strawberries and cream drink.

Summer Rolls from Loving Hut

Strawberries and Cream Bubble Tea from Loving Hut

Another Saturday at work, I finished at 4pm and decided to stop by Garden City to pick up some sushi for dinner. I got this ready-made vegetarian box from Sushi Hub. I've had it a couple of times since, it is filling and really nice. A fun assortment of sushi rolls (see, I made the roll theme from the title stick... even if they were sliced... it counts!).

Vegetarian Box from Sushi Hub

I also stopped by Huey's to get a drink. I had just ordered a Matcha Cococane (unfortunate name, it means a blend of coconut and sugar cane juices) when I saw they also had a special for Chinese New Year that was mandarin sugar cane juice with asam plum. So I got that as well. They were both nice, though the mandarin one was super sweet!

Matcha Cococaine Juice and Mandarin Asam Plum Sugarcane Juice from Huey's

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Midweek Munchies

There's ready made meals and then there's meal components that you can just put together quickly. Eventually, I had to start doing a little bit of cooking because I had these things that were going to go out of date. And I hate food waste. So I started getting back into the kitchen a little bit, with the easiest things I could.

Case in point, this packet of vegan Boston Baked Beans by Maggie Beer. I had bought these a while ago when they were on a super sale, because normally they are like $8 for one serve of beans. Their used by was approaching, so I heated them up on the stove, stired through some baby spinach, and microwave baked a potato. Also a put a blob on hummus on top. I wouldn't bother buying these again, especially for the regular price, but they were good in a pinch.

Maggie's Boston Style Smokey Beans

Maggie's Boston Style Smokey Beans

These four ingredients were the basis of two different meals. One cold, one hot. In both cases, I used the miso soup to serve on the side. I made a salad with some chopped lettuce, cucumber, and grated carrot (all prepped by my mother), the Japanese tofu, and topped with the dressing and the Seaweed and Soy topper. The hot meal was a pot of 40 second microwave brown rice, some microwave wilted baby spinach, microwave heated Japanese tofu (no shame in the microwave, ever) and this time I used the dressing as a sauce and sprinkled the seaweed and soy on top. Easy ways to make some slightly different meals out of the same main ready made ingredients.

Japanese-Flavoured Soup and Salad

Japanese-Flavoured Soup and Salad

Rice, spinach, Japanese Tofu, Japanese dressing, sprinkles

This packet of Alternative Bolognese Sauce was about to expire in the fridge, so I ordered some of these Nature's Kitchen fettuccine noodles. They are a fresh pasta, and only take a few minutes to cook, and the sauce was also easy to heat up. Topped with some FYH parmesan. I don't really remember much about the sauce, so I guess it was fine. I am pretty sure maybe I chopped up that carrot and celery to go in it, so go me for using some effort. But I loved the pasta. It is so nice, and I have bought it again.

Nature's Kitchen Spinach Fettuccine and Alternative Meat Co Bolognese

Finally, a hilarious concoction using these. I decided to make a bolognese potato bake kind of thing, layering bechamel and potato slices and the bolognese sauce. I topped the whole thing with some extra cheese sauce, that was meant to thicken as it was baking but it did not so the whole thing ended up kind of being soupy, but it tasted nice. I topped my serve with some of the Smoky Maple Parm. I was sparing with it, because they use a coconut base instead of nuts, and I was right to do so. Because it is not nice. At least the rest was good!

Potato Bake Lasagne

Potato Bake Lasagne

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Midweek Munchies

Back to some of the hardest times, when I was still needing things that involved little to no effort if I was going to eat.

Snack balls and bars are great things to have on hand for these sorts of occasions. Keep It Cleaner is a mostly vegan brand that has a lot of different options. The Acai Berry ball is nice and fruity and sweet. The protein crunch bar is also pretty good. Chocolate and cherry is one of my favourite combinations! It could have a stronger cherry flavour though.


This Super Vegan Wellness Bowl was pretty meh. The plant-style protein was a bit flavourless, and the whole thing just lacked a strong flavour. But it had grains, veggies, and protein in it, so while I wouldn't get it again, it did what I needed it to do at the time.

Super Nature Super Vegan Wellness Bowl

A friend posted these accidentally vegan cookies on her IG stories, so I ordered them in our next Coles shop. They are really lovely, and I highly recommend.

Coles Apple Pie Cookies

As I mentioned previously, keeping hydrated was a big challenge. Even in normal times I don't tend to drink enough, but in the darkest grief times it was even more of a struggle. These coconut waters were a nice easy way to get some liquids in. The pink coconut water had a really nice almost malted flavour to it.

Coconut Waters

More snack balls! Keep It Cleaner came out with these nut butter stuffed balls. The Cinnamon Roll Cashew Butter one was nice, quite sweet though. My favourite of course was the Double Peanut Butter one, I still get these regularly. They make a great quick snack. The choc orange poppy seed balls were not my favourite. Normally I love chocolate and orange together, but these left a weird after taste on my tongue and I also found the poppy seeds annoying.


I've posted about these before, but steamed dumplings are always a great meal when I have no energy or motivation. I always put plum sauce and black vinegar on them.

Shiitake Dumplings

Woolworths had a number of special Christmas things last year, including these Mushroom and Cauliflower Wellingtons. I got some on special after Christmas. They were... OK? The flavour was nice, but they all just stuck to the baking pan (they came in an alfoil one), the pastry didn't cook through all the way, and then they completely fell apart. It was pretty funny. The red wine sauce was nice.

Woolworths Cauliflower and Mushroom Wellingtons

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Mabon and Samhain 2021

Two more Sabbats have passed this year. For us in the southern hemisphere it was Mabon and Samhain.

Mabon aka Autumn Equinox (19th March, 2021)

Autumn Equinox is often still very warm here. Brisbane's seasons tend to run towards the majority of the year being some sort of summer. For previous Mabon's I have made salads, but it was a bit cooler this year!

Cranberry Chili from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I have loads of frozen cranberries that I have hoarded in my freezer. They are rarely if ever available here and when they are I tend to buy loads and then am reluctant to use them so I can 'save them'. A fine thought, except for freezer burn. So time to get using them. This is an unsual chili that is a mix of frozen cranberries and kidney beans. This recipe called for a tiny bit of tequila, which I didnpt have so a web site suggested a mix of lime and water as a potential sub. I would not use lime again, as my cranberries were very tart. Next time I'd just leave out the sub all together and add a smidge extra agave. Because I am me, I of course did notuse actual chili powder in my chili, using paprika instead. I had to rapid simmer it at the end for about five minutes to get it to thicken up enough. I served it that night with spinach and roasted sweet potato, which was a nice side. I had some leftovers which I reheated with some corn (for sweetness), celery and spinach and served over a baked potato.
Rating: :)

Cranberry Chilly

Cranberry Chilli

Pumpkin Spice Bread from Forks Over Knives The Cookbook (recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz): This recipe is full of autumn flavours, with pumpkin, apple butter (I'll be doing a future post about this), and lots of spices. You can only get tinned pumpkin puree here from online, so I used homemade butternut puree (which I prefer anyway). This recipe has the option of adding raisins and walnuts, but I left them out. The bread itself was a touch gummy, but it was really nice and smelled amazing. I ate this a number of ways. On it's own, smeared with apple butter, or one day with some leftover ice cream and blueberry sauce.
Rating: :)

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Pumpkin Spice Bread with rosemary ice cream and blueberry sauce

Samhain (April 30th - May 1st, 2021)

Samhain is on the 31st of October in the northern hemisphere, which is the same time as Halloween. Here it is at the end of April, so I don't really go for Halloween-type food. Samhain is traditionally considered the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and is the new year on the wheel of the year. It is a time for honouring those that have passed. I ate my dinner in silence, and lit a candle for everyone who has passed... which this year included my sweet Dim Sim, as well as so many others.

Autumn Stroganoff from Cafe Flora Cookbook: This is a wonderful stew that has roasted pumpkin (it called for delicata which I cannot get, so I used butternut) and roasted mushrooms (I had a mix of cremini and portobello), with caramelised onions. You start by making a mushroom essence, a slow simmered mushroom stock, which is further reduced by simmering in this recipe. This recipe is not written vegan, but is super easy to make vegan by using vegan butter for the butter (I used Nuttelex) and I used Kingland Natural Soy Yoghurt in place of the creme fraiche. It is served over noodles, and I used the Nature's Kitchen fresh spinach fettucine from Coles. Served over some baby spinach, I got three very satisfying serves.
Rating: :D

Autumn Stroganoff

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf from Forks Over Knives The Cookbook (recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz): I had some leftover butternut puree in my freezer, so decided to dip back into FOK for another yummy load. This time it is butternut and chocolate (cocoa in the dry mix and chocolate chips folded through the batter), full of spices. I also added some plump apple-juice sweetened semi-dried cranberries. I needed to bake this for an extra 15 minutes to cook it through.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf