Saturday, 31 July 2021

Yule 2021

Here in Australia, we celebrate the winter solstice in June. While all my US friends are welcoming summer, we are having our shortest day. You can see my other posts about celebrating sabbats here.

Yule aka Winter Solstice (21st of June, 2021)

Traditional Yule food is similar to what might be considered a typical Christmas dinner, given that in the Northern Hemisphere Yule was coopted into Christmas. Food might include roasts, winter vegetables, apples, dried fruits, nuts, warming spices, and certain baked goods (like fruit cake and yule log). But for me these days, Yule food is about cozy winter warming.

Mushroom Miso Barley Soup from Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw: This recipe is easy to make and just perfect for a dark winter night. I always soak my pearled barley overnight to help it cook quicker. This recipe has onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and tofu in it (I used some Soyco Japanese Tofu), as well as barley (or course) and greens (the recipe called for kale, I used baby spinach). I made a half serve, which gave two big servings.
Rating: :)

Mushroom Miso Barley Soup

Apple Butter Drops from Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes: Winter is made for filling the kitchen with warm baking smells. I meant to make these as the apple ginger variation, but I forgot to add the ginger at the start, so mixed it in to the dough before baking. But I couldn't really taste any ginger. These make big cookies, and they are quite soft. They are not very sweet, so they are great for a snack any time of the day. They are filled with apple butter, and then another dollop of cookie dough is put on top to partially cover.
Rating: :)

Apple Butter Drops

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Midweek Munchies

Kicking it off with some using stuff up burgers! Veef chicken patties are something that only recently became available to buy for the public, before that they were only available to restaurants. I had tried them, and they were good. Now, anyone can buy them! Though they are only available at specific stores, not widespread supermarkets. I had some other stuff to use up, so I made these fun burgers. Some Sheese cheddar slices, sliced pineapple, sauerkraut, and some Vegan Special Sauce that I had got for free because it was a day past its best before date. Also not pictured in the initial photo, but you can see on the burger, some A&T vegan bacon slices. All on some of the Fry's Brioche buns, which are now my favourite way to bun a burger. It was a really great comination! Glad I didn't pay full price for the vegan special sauce, because it was just a bit bland. Needed stronger flavours. But with everything else, this was a good burger.

Veef Chicken and Bacon Burgers

Veef Chicken and Bacon Burgers

Abundance is a new addition to brands of frozen meals, and this is their vegan option. I really liked the flavours in it. The only downside is that while my mouth loves edamame, my tummy doesn't always. There was also some capsicum to pick out. I also added some chopped Japanese flavour tofu to this, because it was screaming out for tofu to me.

Abundance Japanese Stir-Fry

My final packet of this stevia (blergh) sweetened pudding mix. This time I used a mix of sweetened rice cream I had frozen in my freezer for ages, and oat milk. The rice cream made it whip up very thick. I also served it with some blueberry jam. Trying to take away the stevia taste by smothering it with sugar and other sweeteners! This was probably the best version I made of it. Glad to have finally gotten rid of them from my pantry, and will not be buying again.

Strawberry Pudding and Blueberry Jam

I found some Keep It Cleaner Chocolate and Peanut Truffles on super sale clearance in the fridge section. They were just OK. Super hard it you eat then straight out of the fridge though, you need to let them warm up a bit. The peanut was not a very prominent flavour. A few weeks later I found some of the plain chocolate ones on clearance sale, and they were much nicer. They had almost a malted chocolate flavour to them.

Keep It Cleaner Chocolate and Peanut Truffles

I got some of these Suzy Spoon Seitan Fillets on sale at The Green Edge. As much as I know that seitan is pretty easy to make, sometimes I just want to cut out the extra step. These are pretty good and handy to have, and they have a good taste and texture. They'll be appearing in some upcoming meals.

Suzie Spoon Seitan Fillets

Finally, just some lovely toast. I had peanut butter, defrosted frozen raspberries, and cinnamon. It was a great way to start a day, but also makes a good afternoon snack as well.

Peanut Butter Raspberry Cinnamon Toast

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Mooloolaba Part 1

A couple of months ago, I did something I hadn't done in several years. I went away for the night. Two nights, even. I hadn't been away from home overnight for a long time, because I didn't want to leave Dim Sim. Sadly, things change. I had the opportunity to go up to stay at Mooloolaba at the Sunshine Coast for two nights, one with my parents and one night alone. I haven't been to the Sunshine Coast even for a day trip for longer than I could remember. It is further away from me than the Gold Coast and all it's amazing vegan options. The Sunshine Coast is not without its fair share of great vegan food though.

I got started on my food adventures before I even got to the hotel, stopping in at Cafe Vie in Buderim for some brunch. I had been wanting to go here for a very long time, and it didn't disappoint!

Cafe Vie

I tried a Char Char Latte, because of course I did. It had activated charcoal, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and coconut blossom. To be honest, it tasted mostly just like slightly sweet soy milk, but it had to be done.

Char Char Latte at Cafe Vie

For food, I had the Vrioche. Which was a brioche bun with tofu scramble, house sausage patty, facon, onion, tomato relish, aioli, and baby spinach. I forgot to ask them to leave off the raw onion, so I did have to pick that out. It was also impossible to eat in one piece, everything slid out of that bun. But it tasted great! The only thing is that the tofu scramble is not so much cheesy as it is more like slighty curried. I also got a rosti side, because you should always potato.

The Vrioche at Cafe Vie
Cafe Vie also has a bakery case and a small collection of vegan groceries. Plus the people who run it also run the Mini Tails Sanctuary, which I hope to visit some day. But back to that bakery case. They have some pies and sausage rolls, as well as a selection of sweet things. They stock Black Lemonade cookies! I got a lemon sandwich cookies, which was lovely. So tangy and light! As well as a Lamington cookie, which was amazing. It had chocolate chips, peanut, coconut, and cherries in it.

Lemon Sandwich Cookie and Chocolate Lamington Cookie by Black Lemonade Bakery

Then I headed in to meet my parents at the unit. This was the view. Very pretty, but very sunny!


After a lazy afternoon of reading and looking at the sea from the sun-safety of the unit, we decided to order dinner. I had just done a big drive, so didn't really feel like driving out to get food again. Though there were a number of vegan options around, so I ordered some delivery from Bella Venezia, an Italian restaurant. They have a vegan menu, though unfortunately not everything on it was available for delivery. I really wanted to try their roasted dutch carrots with pumpkin and macadamia puree. But I wanted to not go out even more. I opted for their Pumpkin, Spinach, Mushroom, and Avocado Pizza (hold the capsicum). It was a really nice little pizza, good flavours. I also was craving some veggies, so I ordered some seasonal vegtables. These ended up being broccolini, though they came absolutely drenched in oil!

Pumpkin Pizza and Vegetables from Bella Venezia

After dinner, Dad and I went for a walk to get some night ice cream. There was a place just up from the hotel that had some vegan sorbets. But when I got there, turns out they also have vegan frozen yoghurt! Frozen yoghurt is of course pay by weight, but I had to try a bit of all the vegan flavours, minus the coconut one. I got American Cream (like a creamy vanilla and maple), green apple, strawerry, and Black Hawaii (charcoal... again). Topped with some granola and strawberries. All the flavours were really nice! Just a note about charcoal. It is fun, but if you eat or drink it make sure it is at least two hours either side of any medications you take, because it does decrease absorption.

American Cream, Green Apple, Chocolate, and Black Hawaii with strawberries and maple nut granola from Yoghurt and Gelato World

There are several smoothie and juice type places pretty much right outside the place we were staying, so the next morning I popped out and picked up a Siren Smoothie from The Nectar Bar. This place has juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and also some wraps and slices (only some of those are vegan). I got the Siren Smoothie, which was an apple pie smoothie. It had apple, spinach, oats, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, banana, lucuma, and almond milk. It was really lovely.

Smoothie from Nectar Bar

I took my parents back to Cafe Vie for brunch. We all got a hot chocolate to drink, and it came on a beautiful tray! They serve their hot chocolates in little heated pots and you pour it over the marshmallow in your glass. There is more than one glass worth of hot chocolate in the pot as well. With three arranged in a tray, it was a very pretty hot chocolate party!

Hot Chocolates at Cafe Vie

My mum ordered the Benedict, which was cheesy tofu scramble (though again, more curry than cheesy), facon, hollandaise, and baby spinach on a croissant. With a side of rosti, because of course!

Benedict at Cafe Vie

Dad got the Yiros Welcome, a wrap with braised mushroom meat, tabouli, hummus, and herb aioli.

Yiros at Cafe Vie

And I got the... Avocado Toast. Yes, I am that vegan. But the 'Avo You Seen This' is not just any avocado toast. It was organic sourdough, with black tahini, smashed avocado, greens, pickled daikon, and mustard cream. It was a tower! A delicious tower. And I also got a rosti on the side. Duh.

Avocado Toast at Cafe Vie

On our way there, we drove past a park that Mum mentioned they had visited before, as it was very beautiful with a cathedral of trees. So we stopped there on the way back. It is called Wirreanda Park, and it has a beautiful area flanked and canopied by giant trees. It was a cool and peaceful place.


We also saw some bird friends! This kookaburra was giving me some cheeky looks, and there was a family of bush turkeys. I got a photo of one enjoying a little dust hole.


Bush Turkey

That's all for this post, but I will have a second part coming up some time soon!

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

While I work on the energy to post my next proper round-up, let's dip into a mini round-up from the never ending backlog of recipes I have from 1000 Vegan Recipes. See my other posts about this book here.

Baked Pasta Shells and Broccoli: You need to make a mornay-style cheese sauce ahead of time, but then this is pretty simple to put together. I doubled the broccoli and used the entire sauce amount of 4 cups (rather than just 3 cups as the recipe calls for).
Rating: :)

Baked Pasta Shells and Broccoli

Wild West Pasta Bake: This is a mix pinto beans, salsa, spices, and tomatoes. Half is mixed through pasta (I used 250g rather than one pound), and the other half is pureed to pour on top of the bake. Topped with some chopped pepitas.
Rating: :)

Wild West Pasta Bake

Wild West Pasta Bake

Szechuan Sesame Noodles with Asparagus: This has a lovely sauce made from sesame paste, soy sauce, and black vinegar (which I love), and you can add some chili paste to your liking. I used 250g of linguine rather than 12oz, and served with some baked tofu to round it out.
Rating: :)

Szechuan Sesame Noodles with Asparagus

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Green Beans: A lot of spicy here, but you can adjust or remove to your liking. This recipe should have had green beans and capiscum, but I used green beans, broccoli, and carrot. Served with baked tofu as above, which is a lovely way to round-out this sort of meal.
Rating: :)

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Green Beans; Soy-Glazed Tofu

(% 1000 Vegan Recipes blogged: 31.5%)

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Midweek Munchies

Some fails, some fine foods, and a favourite.

I need to really give up on trying to find decent cheesy vegan chips. These Cheezie Straws promised cheezy delights, but the flavour just wasn't very strong and seemed to mealt off and disappear almost instantly.

Cheezie Straws

This chocolate was not so much a fail, just a bit of a letdown. I was super excited for this Black Cherry and Raspberry Ganache Truffle (with schisandra, whatever that is, for a bonus bit of silly), but it was just really underwhelming in terms of flavour and texture. I mean sure, it was fine, but for the cost of these little things (almost AU$6!) I wouldn't buy it again.

Loco Love Chocolate Cherry Truffle

Coles released their own brand of vegan cookie dough! I hadn't bought it, but I saw they had these on clearance for AU$3 (instead of AU$7) so I couldn't resist. I sampled some of the cookie dough raw, which was pretty good. And then I baked up a batch of cookies, which were nice! Could have been a bit more peanut buttery. I also made the cookies bigger and baked them for a bit longer.

Nature's Kitchen Dark Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Nature's Kitchen Dark Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Nature's Kitchen Dark Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

I've posted a lot about granola before, but here is some muesli I bought that was quite nice. I generally soaked it overnight to make overnight oats, but I think that is technically what you do with bircher anyway .

Carmen's Bircher Museli

Everyone was super excited that Veganz pizzas were coming to Australia! I was no exception. I ordered the Tricolore Pizza, which has tomatoes, basil, cauliflower sauce, and cheese. It was pretty nice as far as frozen pizzas go! It is available in some supermarkets as well now (in a few different flavours), so that is fun.

Veganz Tricolore Pizza

Veganz Tricolore Pizza

Ending on a high note! So Delicious Australia keeps forever changing their youghurt flavours, which is extremely frustrating, however they have introduced this delicious (hah) Vanilla and Hazelnut nutmilk yoghurt. It is SO GOOD. Unfortunately of late the space in the shops where this should be has been empty, so I hope they are not getting rid of it.

So Delicious Vanilla Hazelnut Youghurt

Monday, 19 July 2021

Eating Out: Grown

Australia is in the middle of a big COVID concern at the moment. Sydney and Victoria are locked down as I type. We have a mask madate up here. So this is back in prior times, in May, when my friend Amy and I went out to dinner with our friend Theresa who had come down to Brisbane for a few days. She got to pick the restaurant, and she chose Grown. I have posted about Grown a number of times before, and it is a place I love and will always recommend to visitors.

I was super excited to order some of their sesame cheese and greens dumplings... but that was the only thing they had sold out of! Heartbroken! Instead I ordered the Charred Broccoli with Warm Pickled Potato Salad. It may look simple, but it was really lovely. They got so much flavour into that broccoli!


Theresa ordered the Gobi Manchurian with Saffron Amasake and Crispy Fried Rice.


And Amy ordered the Housemade Gnocchi with Fresh Corn, Jalapeno, Coconut, and Herbs.


We all ordered the same thing for dessert, the Housemade Chocolate Cheesecake with House Burnt Marshmallow. Of course it came out and they were describing it an mentioned coconut oil and I mentally kicked myself for not checking. But I decided to just commit to it, and eat it before I could regret it. Because it looked amazing! And it was amazing! I could maybe taste a little bit of coconut in it initially, but it faded fast. The beautiful cheesecake was topped with some plum jam and then this toasted marshmallow that was divine. I drank a lot of water to help flush out any coconut oils, and I felt a little icky for a bit, but nothing bad or lasting, and it was kind of worth it for this delight!

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Housemade Burnt Marshmallow at Grown

Please enjoy Amy's professional hand modelling in the above photo!

Grown - 21 Buchanan Street, West End - 07 3036 7213

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Dad's Birthday Dinner

My dad's birthday is at the start of July, and as per usual I made him a special birthday dinner. He surprised me with his choice of asking for something with couscous and lots of vegetables for the main, but I was happy to oblige!

Seitan Coriander Cutlets from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero: The couscous recipe I picked out (from another book, see below) called for chickpeas, but I know my dad's favourite is seitan so I thought I'd make some to use instead. Seitan is something that always seems like an effort to make, but then once I make it I remember it is generally pretty easy. This was no exception. It has a lovely flavour from the cumin in it (there are also some other flavour variations you can try), and was easy to mix and knead. Cutlets are wrapped in foil and baked, and it ended up having a great texture. It made a bunch, so I had some leftover to freeze for other recipes.
Rating: :)

Seitan Coriander Cutlets

Seven Vegetable Couscous from Vegan Fire & Spice by Robin Robertson: Behold the couscous! The seven vegetables here are onions, sweet potato, carrots, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and peas. I made it eight by also using some baby spinach. As mentioned, I added some chopped and browned seitan from the recipe above in place of chickpeas. The vegetable stew part itself was quite watery, I'd use less vegetable broth next time. You don't want to boil it off too much because the vegeteables will turn totally mushy. It is served over some couscous with sultanas and parsley mixed through, which was nice. This recipe is meant to be served with Harissa sauce, though we skipped that but, but that made it a little bit bland overall. If you are doing it chili free, like I did, I'd suggest upping the spices and salt a bit more.
Rating: :)

Seven Vegetable Couscous

Finally, a birthday must have CAKE! My dad was wondering what other sorts of cake there were besides chocolate and vanilla. Ummmm.... like... a million different types. After I spent several minutes going through all sorts of cake flavours, he settled on apricot. Which was excellent because it meant I finally got to make a recipe I'd been eyeing off for ages...

Apricot Crumble Cake from Vegan With Bite by Shannon Martinez: I've been wanting to make this cake since I first got this book, especially after hearing so many other people raving about it. And it does not disappoint. It is a spiced cake, topped with apricot halves, then topped with a crumble and baked. The recipe calls for tinned apricots, making it super winter friendly. I did have to bake my cake quite a bit longer to get it cooked through. Instead of sprinkling it with icing sugar on top, I sprinkled it with some chair-spiced raw sugar I have for a great crunch and flavour. This cake was awesome! I served it on the night with a dollop of Vanilla Hazelnut yoghurt, and some of the leftover apricot halves. It also keeps well for a few days.
Rating: :D

Apricot Crumble Cake

Apricot Crumble Cake

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Midweek Munchies

Some fun adventures today!

You know by now that I am a fan of 'bangers and mash' with gravy. I had these Fry's sausages, which I already know that I like, and I served them with mashed potato, peas, and Celebrate Health Vegan Gravy. The gravy was just adequate, so many of these vegan gravies just do not get the proper umami rich depths I crave.

Sausages and Gravy

Sausages and Gravy

I saw this vegan quiche recipe from the wonderful Tammy on Instagram. It used some of that Flora Plant Cream, which I still had kicking around at the time. It also uses Orgran Easy Egg, like a Vegg-stule egg powder for making scrambles and the like, that I had lurking in my cupboard as well. It uses ready made puff pastry, and has asparagus and Tofurky Ham Deli Slices in it. Also topped off with some Sheese mozzarella shreds. Delicious!

Quiche from Instagram

Quiche from Instagram

I got these pies from a Cruelty Free Shop order when they were having a free-shipping special for their 20th birthday. They are pretty good, nice pastry, and a nice filling.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Pie

I always check out the plant-based meat sections of the supermarket to see if there is anything on sale, because that stuff is expensive and I generally don't buy it full price. This was a successful trip, as I found this Plant Asia Roast Pork marked down. I also picked up this nice Passage To Asia Hoisin and Garlic stir-fry sauce, so I could make a quick dinner one night. The pork was actually pretty good, it already has some flavour added to it. And has that nice sort of red outer layer. The sauce was also nice. I stir-fried it all up with some mushrooms, carrots, snow peas, and bean shoots. Served over rice.

Hoisin and Garlic Pork Stir-Fry

Hoisin and Garlic Pork Stir-Fry

Hoisin and Garlic Pork Stir-Fry