Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Date night

We went to Abyssinian and shared the vegetarian banquet. You can't really tell from the picture below but this is huge and took up most of our table for two. We couldn't finish it. Unlike previous
Ethiopian restaurants we have been to the dishes weren't overly spicy and I was reminded about how much I really love to eat with my hands. This restaurant can be summoned up in one word in terms of the service, decor, taste etc as:


Afterwards we went to a lake in
Moonee Ponds for a little walk only to discover that half of the lake is missing as they are doing work on it. It didn't stop us discovering and appreciating these cute creatures though:

We also went to the drive-in where I snuck in a small tub of Mr T's favourite
gelato flavour: bounty from Fritz gelato.

The Abyssinian
277 Racecourse Rd
9376 8754
Mon-Sat 5.30-10pm

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Random Stuff

  • My back is feeling a thousand times better thanks to heat packs, heavy duty pain killers, and a couple of visits to physio. I've decided that physiotherapists are probably my fav profession right now. The difference in the pain from just one visit was amazing from excruciating pain to very weak pain and the spasms have completely stopped. I've also had acupuncture and have a special thing to put on my seat and have this tape on my back that reminds me not to slouch.
  • I've discovered this really cool Esty store that is both eco friendly and feminist friendly. It features recycled clothing (t-shirts, hoodies, cardigans etc) that has been screen printed with images of inspiring women such as Emma Goldman, Gloria Steinem, Frida Kahlo etc. She also uses water based paints and recyled cereal boxes for the tags. The creator also appears to be vegan. The difficult part is choosing just one to buy!
  • Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe is on to something great: peanut butter in salad sandwhiches. As soon I read it I knew I had to try it and it was perfect.
  • Mr T and I have started date nights where we take it in turns in suprising each other which awesome dates. It has got to be one of our best ideas yet. Most of the time when we eat out it is with friends or in a kind of last minute I can't be bothered cooking let's go here. So it's been a nice change and it's so exiciting planning and being suprised by each other. It's my turn tonight and I can't wait to see his reactions. I'm sure I will be blogging about more details soon.
  • There is a raw potluck next sat that a friend is hosting. If you are interested in coming and haven't been to a potluck yet you can email me at bluerthanpink (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll let you know the details. I'm looking forward to experiementing with raw recipes, something that I haven't really done before.
  • Can you guess what this movie is:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Moonlight Mini Potluck

Unfortunately tickets to the moonlight cinema sold out before the gates even opened, but that didn't stop Mr T and I sharing food and having a great time in the botanical gardens with Cindy and Michael from where's the beef. I was probably the least prepared that I have been for a potluck and Mr T didn't have time to make anything as it was a weeknight and we only realised on Monday that it was the following night (my fault, I thought it was on thu). I made the five minute coconut fudge from my sweet vegan which I was pretty happy with. But it took me two times as the first time I added regular sugar instead of icing sugar. Any idea what to do with fudge like mixture with regular sugar?

And my savoury muffins which were under cooked and I think might need some more tweaking. I added more basil this time and rice milk but they weren't as good.

I also baked some chickpeas with salt and nutritional yeast which would have been great if they weren't soggy or if they had more time in the oven. Apparently 30 minutes isn't enough in a really old oven. And I brought along some turkish bread, olive oil and dukkah. Since we were going to see slumdog millionare which is filmed in India, I decided to bring it all in a tiffin. I wish I had thought of it earlier, I might have made it an Indian themed night.

Cindy and Michael made tempeh and tofu sushi which was very yummy and might even inspire me to try to make sushi in the future:
and some sort of cardamon spiced biscuits which were shaped in adorable moose shapes:

They also took us to Markov Place which I was so impressed with that I might have my birthday drinks there.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lentil Tacos

One of my favourite things about reading other food blogs is the great ideas for meals that I get. The other day I was thinking about what to make and was really stuck for ideas when I read about lentil tacos on Yeah, that "vegan "shit . I've had bean, tofu, mock meat, and even potato gem tacos but have never thought about lentils in tacos.

I had canned lentils which made it a pretty quick meal. I can't justify buying taco seasoning so I made up some of my own:

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin

I drained the canned lentils and added them to a pot with a tiny bit of water and some of taco seasoning and then adjusted the amount of taco seasoning to it seemed right. Then added some taco sauce, cheezly, lettuce and tomato. It was such a quick meal and was so yummy. Lentil tacos might not be authentic but I think I might even prefer them to my normal bean tacos that I make.

On an unrelated note, does anyone know how to successfully copy and paste something into blogger and then change the font. I have tried changing the font with my previous posts and even copying and pasting it into word changing the font and then copying into blogger but nothing seems to work. I want to make the earlier posts not so ugly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun4Paws - Dog respite care for bush fire victims needed

Forwarding this email that I received in hopes that someone can help:

Fun4Paws is currently offering emergency respite care to the animals
affected by the bush fires, however there are many more animals than we have

There are large numbers of owners with nowhere to place their dogs. If you
are able to offer a place to a dog in your home, please contact myself of
Lynne Fitzsimmons and we will coordinate.

Luke - 0415 104 044 contact@fun4paws.com.au Lynne - 0428 844 810 or

If you are interested please let us know when your home would be available
(dates) and if you have any other pets for us to consider when placing.

Dog Listeners Australia wide have pledged $1000.00 the assist in the costs
of food, petrol etc. so we hope that all costs of looking after a dog will
be covered.

Please assist us by forwarding this email on to all of your contacts so that
together we can help the hundreds of dogs in need of temporary homes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A confession

We went back to the tofu shop last week.

I swore it would never happen after he hassled Mr T about veganism last year but it was a tue night and we originally tried to eat at trippy taco only to discover that they were closed. We then tried to go to Bodhi but they were also closed. So we decided to go past and if the horrible manager wasn't there we would go in. He wasn't there and so we ate there. I wish I could say that the food sucked but we loved it. It has got to be on of the healthiest vegetarian cafes in Melbourne and yet the food is still so tasty, especially the homemade tofu dishes. I do feel guilty though!


On a non food related note, my heart goes out to the poor victims of the bushfires. I donated what little money we had to red cross, and will be donating clothes and blood soon too. I might also be helping out through our workplace but wish there was more that I could do!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Can't be stuffed cooking

I love Lolo's post about low cook or no cook recipes we regularly make her soy-mirin tofu but over rice (or in our case noodles) with peanut sauce. And while I don't have any of my own recipes to contribute I thought it might be a good idea to discuss some of my favourite dishes to make in this crazy heat we have been having. For the most part we try not to cook, because it's hot enough in our non- insulated place without adding any more heat from cooking. So lately we have been eating out or cooking bulk so that it lasts for a few days worth of meal on the slightly cooler days. Anyway on to the dishes that we do often make (sorry there is no pics but my camera is not working): The first two my friend Erin introduced me to and since she doesn't blog about food I don't think she will mind me sharing the recipe love:       Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad
5 servings
1 large russet potato, peeled & quartered 1 large sweet potato, peeled & quartered 1 cup corn kernels 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons lime juice 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1 clove minced garlic 3 tablespoons canola oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced into thin half-rounds 1/2 red onion, sliced thin 1/4 cup finely chopped dry-roasted unsalted peanuts Put the russet potato pieces into a large saucepan, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and cook for 5 minutes at medium. Add the sweet potato pieces and cook an additional 20 minutes. Test each potato to see if cook (slightly firm but not breaking apart). Add corn kernals and cook 30 seconds more. Quickly drain in a colander. Fill the saucepan with cold water (a few ice cubes wouldn't hurt) and return potato/corn mixture to the cold water for 5 minutes (this stops the cooking process on the potatoes). In a large bowl, combine the mustard, lime juice, cilantro and garlic; whisk. Slowly add the oil while whisking; add salt & pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Drain the cooled potato/corn mixture in a colander again. Now cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Add the potatoes, corn, cucumber & onion slices to the vinaigrette. Mix well and serve chilled with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. The recipe is from here     Sesame Noodle Salad 2 packages 3-minute noodles, broken 1 Tbsp sesame oil 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 Tbsp soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 2 oz (57g) fresh snow peas, blanched, cut into thin strips 1 large carrot, coarsely grated 1/2 cup smoked tofu, cut into thin strips 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds 2 green onions, thinly sliced) fresh coriander leaves for garnish Cook noodles; drain and rinse. Toss immediately with 1 Tbsp sesame oil to keep noodles sticking together. Combine vinegar, veg. oil, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small microwaveable bowl. Heat on high, uncovered, for 30 seconds. Or bring to a boil in a small saucepan and cook for 1 minute. Combine vinegar mixture w/ cooked noodles, toss and add onions, snow peas and shredded carrot. If not serving immediately, refrigerate. Just before serving, toss w/ toasted sesame seeds and top w/ tofu strips and fresh coriander leaves. I'm not sure where the original recipe is from. but we love it!   Happy Tuna Salad (No cooking if you used canned chickpea) from the amazing veganmania
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas 1 cup finely chopped celery 1 tbsp. chopped sweet pickles 2 tbsp. sweet pickle “juice” (brine) 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise 1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning 1 tbsp. prepared mustard pinch of dried kelp powder
Pulse the chickpeas in your food processor until they are just broken up into little pieces (not mushy). Transfer them to a mixing bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Serve on a bed of lettuce, or in a sandwich, or on crackers, or any other way you can think of. Will keep 3-4 days refrigerated.
Serves 6-8.
We also love to make the perfectly amazing pasta salad (but with cream cheese) and auntie bonnies chickpea salad both from The Garden of Vegan.
And I used to love making the laziest burritos with refried beans, salsa, soy cheese and avocado with the sandwhich press but I make them so much that Mr T now hates refried beans.
The last couple of days I have tried a few new dishes both of which I already love.
The first is incredibly lazy and also requires only 3 minutes of cooking but was just the thing after a long first day back at work. It involves making a sandwich out of shredded carrot, store bought capscium pesto, tomato and a really thick layer of white bean aioli (minus the garlic because I burnt it) from veganomicon.
The second dish I found at vegalicious . Here's the recipe:
Quinoa Beet Salad
Serving Size: 4
for the salad:
4 beets 1 cup quinoa 1 vegetable bouillon cube 2 cups water 2 red onions olive oil handful fresh mint leaves hanful of chopped walnuts
for the dressing:
1/4 cup miso 2 tablespoons mirin (or other sweetener) 1/8 cup water 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon tamari (Japanese soy sauce) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 teaspoon sesame oil  
Clean and cook the beets, allow them to cool, and cut them into small bite sized pieces. Wash the quinoa well with cold water or allow it to soak for 15 minutes in warm water and then rinse well, to remove the bitter oil from the outside of the quinoa. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water with the vegetable bouillon cube. When the qunioa is cooked, remove from the heat, allow the quinoa to cool, with the lid on the pan, it will absorb the steam and excess water. Mix the cooled quinoa and beets together well to make sure that the quinoa has become a pretty rosy pink color. Mix the salad dressing and pour over the salad. Allow the salad to season well for at least 1/2 an hour. Shortly before serving, mince the mint and mix into the salad witht eh chopped walnuts. Serve on a bed of salad leaves (shown here are fresh beet greens and baby field salad).  
I didn't wait very long to allow the flavours to marinade and it was already a very interesting variety of flavours.
So what do you like to make in this weather?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grumpy's Greens

Mr T and I recently went to Melbourne's newest veg restaurant. I was impressed with the couches and the general feel of the place. On Tue night they have $10 mains. Unfortunately though they only have 4 mains to choose from: eggplant parma, pizza, risotto and veg burger. We decided on the risotto and veg burger.

The burger is listed as having cheese and with mustard mayo and they make it vegan by removing both rather than replacing it with vegan versions which left for a relatively bland burger, I ended added tomato sauce to it (that we asked for). The patty itself reminds me of the veg patties you can get in the supermarket which I'm not a huge fan of.

The pumpkin and asparagus risotto is listed as having cheese on it and they also remove that to make it vegan but this time it doesn't appear to affect the taste, it is still quite tasty.

It's disappointing that they don't offer vegan cheese, as I imagine the eggplant parma and pizza won't really be the same without it either.

I've heard rumors that they want all the ingredients to be from Victoria and I understand the wanting to be green, but how green do you think dairy is? I also think relying on cheese in veg meals is just so boring!

I do have small hope for the entrees menu though- the chickpea battered vegetables and marinated tofu skewers sound good but it would be good to see this place have some more interesting vegan choices. Also there are no real vegan breakfast options such as scrambled tofu. At the moment I think I will tend to treat this place more as a bar than a cafe until it hopefully lifts it's vegan game.

Grumpy's Green
125 Smith St
9416 1944
Tue-sun Midday to late
Vege 2 go

Last time I visited vege 2 go I wasn't overly impressed but Mr T and I recently went back and enjoyed it.

We got take away:

Radicchio Pear salad and pesto pasta salad

Zucchini salsa salad and garlic tossed broccoli

Polenta Bake with SalsaStuffed capsicum

And their vegan tiramisu (not pictured) is the greatest!

Our crazy potluck wedding party

Ok, this is long, but I wanted to include everything.

We had a 'it takes a village...' style wedding. I swear I stole that term off offbeat bride, but I can't find where. Basically instead of gifts we asked everyone to contribute in whatever way they wanted, which meant lots of different things. For most of our veg*n friends it meant bringing food to share (including a fancy looking cake), we had a friend play guitar to sea of love by cat power as we walked toward everyone, a cousin did a reading, a friend made gorgeous table runners, another brought flowers and supplied vases, others helped to decorate, many brought drinks, one made 200 jelly shots, my aunt compiled kid pics of Mr T and I and matched them up according to age and/or theme in our guestbook, a few people took amazing photos and much more.

We had the ceremony at my mums house, which is not in the greatest suburb, or the best house or even the greatest garden but up until about a year ago it was my nans house and my mum done a great gob of getting it back to a pretty good standard in the few months notice that I gave her. The important thing about the place though it has a lot of memories and was meaningful to Mr T and I. We had the reception at a community hall around the corner from my mums place which was decided at the last minute. We also decided to have a flowergirl a couple of days before the wedding. She borrowed a relatives dress and basket and didn't throw flowers but instead carried the rings down for us in her very cute way.

We got rid of most of the wedding traditions, no flowers, no being given away, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no bouquet toss, no white dress, no speeches except for our joint speech, no garter, no confetti or rice, (but we did have bubbles) no cake cutting, no first dance, no bucks or hens night. We only included one chinese wedding tradition as Mr T hated most of them. Here is info about it:

In homage to this legend and to Mr T's Chinese ancestry, the couple will share wine from nuptial glasses tied together with a silken red cord [or red satin ribbon in our case].

This is the essence of a Chinese wedding ritual called tuan yuan or "completing the circle." The red cord tying the couple's souls together now forms a circle around their hearts, uniting them forever in this life and the next. The sharing and mingling of wine is symbolic of a harmonious married life."

It was important for us to try not to spend lots of money because we simply didn't have it and we hate the wedding industry and wanted to try to keep it as ethical as we can. We spent more money than we intended to but that's because everything added up and often the more ethical choices cost a little more. However compared to most Aussie weddings which cost on average $30,000 we spent very very little. All of our clothes, shoes (Mr T's shoes were white canvas shoes), food, wine and most of the beer was vegan, my dad had to have a small amount of VB which is not vegan. We also tried to stay eco-friendly in several ways. A lot of things were second hand including my dress, Mr T's jacket, my shoes, and I even got glasses to use as candle holders from an op shop. My mum and nan even got on board and all of the cutlery and glasses they either owned or were purchased from op shops. I didn't want anyone doing too many dishes, so opted for a small smount of disposable plates and bowls and got some biodegradable ones. Mr T's ring was locally made from silver. My ring did travel but is also silver and was made by an ethical jeweler I found on etsy. Neither of us had diamonds due to the ethical issues with diamonds.

I have had people ask if I regret not getting a lot of gifts and I really don't. The way everyone pulled together and made a great wedding was so much more amazing to us. The memories of their hard work, thoughts and efforts is going to be much longer lasting than some material items. The few gifts that we did were quite special and unique like
Michael giving us a best buddy with Timmy (my fav animal) with a cute little note about Timmy being his representative since he couldn't attend, relatives donated to charities and my brother gave us a very generous flight centre voucher because Mr T's family couldn't afford to attend and we spent our money that was going towards saving to visit them on the wedding.

It did mean that there was probably a lot more stress prior to the wedding with worries such as will there be enough food, wine, how to decorate etc. Unfortunately some people pulled out of doing things at the last minute which was quite disappointing and a little hurtful but others really stepped up and some people were simply amazing. My mother for example, made several dishes including two types of lasagne, veggie patties, a pasta bake, pumpkin and soy cheese salad and purchased and prepared spring rolls, samosas, potstickers, pastizzis and lots more. She also made modifications to my fascinator, and made Mr T a button thingy out of ribbon to match my dress and a thousand other little things. Rachel upon hearing that we might not have enough food made fairy bread (which was bit hit) and took along some ninja vegan items along with her contribution of drinks. And the potluckers made huge quantities of yummy food.
Cindy made mini sausage rolls, homemade BBQ sauce and choc rosewater mousse slice covered in hearts, Lisa made both pasta and couscous salads (and filmed the event), Emily brought along plenty of la panella sausage rolls, Pip made bulgur wheat salad, Lidia made peanut butter cookies and Caroline's other half made mini onion tarts. And there was plenty of other yummy food from non bloggers: lemon slice, rice paper rolls, chocolate covered strawberries, chilli chocolate puff pastries, 3 different types of cupcakes and much more. I only wish I had pics of the savoury food to show you.

Apart from the celebrant and the makeup artist (who only uses vegan cruelty free products) we did everything else ourselves and we ended up with lots of food leftover. In fact, we were able to give plates of dessert out to several people at the end to take home and we were eating desserts for almost a week afterward. All of the food was vegan and I was so impressed that my 15 year old male cousin veganised my nans banana cake (and then wrote with cinnamon K heart's T) and another relative googled vegan cake recipes and made a chocolate cake.

Mr T and I made food too, he made his signature neat balls from veganomicon with orange rind instead of lemon although unfortunately they ended up being quite salty as the tomatoes also had salt in them and we made heat shaped spritz cookies and covered them with white chocolate and dark choc sprinkles. Lesson for the year- don't make spritz cookies in super hot weather, the dough melts and then the cookie press doesn't work. We had to made two batches and had to leave it in the refrigerator overnight to get it to work.

Mr T did most of the music and put it on to a laptop and an ipod (as backup) that was hooked up to borrowed speaker (thanks Emily). About a week before the wedding we got together with a small bunch of friends and brainstormed songs. Mr T arranged it to so there 30 min blocks of family friendly music like (YMCA, grease songs, girls just want to have fun etc) and music we liked. I'm glad that we did have so much family friendly music as we learnt that most of music obsessed friends don't really dance much. That didn't stop us though we were determined to enjoy ourselves and throughout the night there was either Mr T or myself on the dancefloor if not the both of us. It was so much fun to dance in silly ways with so many people.

We had a thousand little things go wrong prior to the wedding, but towards the end I learnt to just accept them and not let them build towards more stress. Although that might have also been the Bach's rescue remedy that a friend got me on to. The only small thing that did bother me was my earrings. I got cat earrings because Button is part of our family and I really wanted to include something related to her but couldn't actually get them in my ears before the ceremony. But hey, it the scheme of things, I really can't complain!

There was so many amazing memories from the night, Mr T looking into eyes and seeing that he was genuinely touched during our vows, the flowergirl accidently holding my hand instead of giving the basket to my sister, Mr T dripping wine down his chin when we conducted the chinese cermony where we drank wine with our arms interlocked, dancing and singing away to le tigre with a few friends, watching our 4 year old flowergirl instantly learn the moves to rocky horror show song and so many more.

It was really a horrible week before the wedding and if it nothing else it taught Mr T and I that we really are a awesome team and get through anything. Also that we have some super amazing family and friends.

We might not be able to eat or drink out for a little while because we are super poor right now, but it was so worth it. But we wouldn't have changed a thing.We had so many people, many of which are non wedding people say it was the best wedding that have every been to.

We didn't write out vows but did choose them and so they had meaning to us and our celebrant was quite non traditional and funny yet warm. Anyway here our vows:

Mr T, will you take Kristy to be your wife

Will you love & respect her

Be honest with her, and stand by her through whatever may come

So you can genuinely share your lives together?

I, Kristy, call on the people here

To witness that I take you,

Mr T, to be my wife

I will try to be a loving husband

I promise to respect you as an individual

I intend to develop as a person in partnership with you

I want to love you

Through good fortune and adversity

For the rest of my life

Kristy, take this ring and try not to lose it (all of the other options didn't really suit us)

My cousin did a reading from the alchemist:

When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke – the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing.

Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

And here are some of the desserts:

Ok, next I'm back to regular food blogging I promise!
( btw, I don't know how to fix the font, but will keep trying).