Friday, December 31, 2010

EBC Breakfast

We went to the East Brunswick Club (EBC) with Troy and Bec when I was still eating gluten. EBC is an omni pub with has been doing a large variety of vegan options for a while, including the famous vegan parma which apparently Pink ordered. They started doing breakfast recently which Vicki has blogged about twice.

I couldn't resist the Elvis pancakes, with fake bacon, peanut butter, maple syrup, banana and ice cream. Crazy right? But keep in mind that they don't open til 12 so it's really lunch! Excuse the blurry phone pics!

The fake bacon went surprisingly well with the sweet pancakes, I suspect because they fried it with maple syrup. I loved this, but it did make me feel quite sick at the end. That might have been all of the sugar or all of the gluten or both. I'm glad I got to try it though. The pancake texture was awesome, I really need to perfect gluten free pancakes!

Toby tried the big vegan breakfast, which included scrambled tofu, fake bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach and some toast. The tofu was quite garlicky but we enjoyed it. Size wise though it was disappointing, it wasn't really big at all.

Troy got the breakfast parma which comes with scrambled tofu, bacon, tomato and chips and salad on the side. He enjoyed it and allowed us to pinch some of his chips.

East Brunswick Club
280 Lygon St
East Brunswick
9388 9794

I wanted to get this post done today because I want to start the new year with this blog being mostly gluten free. We will no longer post gluteny recipes or dishes we make at home since our home will thankfully be g/f. So the only gluteny dishes featured will be the occasional ones Toby samples when we go out.

Soy Curls

After entering countless blog competitions I finally won something-soy curls from the generous Miso for Breakfast. While i've read about soy curls on various blogs I'm never tried them because they aren't available here in Australia.

First we tried them in some bean nachos, we simply added the soy curls to the pot of bean chilli mid way through cooking.

The texture was quite interesting kind of like soggy seitan, but I discovered that most of the recipes consist of frying them first.

So we tried frying them and then added it to a mixture of fried noodles with some fry's strips and vegetables. This was much better, the texture was still similar to seitan but less chewy, also it's gluten free!

Overall, we enjoyed them and Toby loved the protein factor. Although I'm not sure if we have fully adapted to the texture or managed to cook them properly. We won't rush out to order them from overseas but would buy them again to experiment further if they were available in stores here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cafe Lalibela

I went to Cafe Laliebla recently with Eve, it's a Ethiopian omni restaurant in Footscray but with plenty of veg options. It's close to the Footscray station and Savers which is handy, although I'm not sure if I would recommend going there at night. Footscray while much better than it used to be, still attracts some interesting characters. We both chose the vegetarian banquet for only $12 each which contains all but one of the vegetarian dishes. The one dish that it doesn't contain is ful which is the only non-vegan option. So that works out very well!

It was served on top of injera which is a spongy slightly sour type bread. Injera is traditionally made with teff flour which is gluten free but sometimes they add in other things and I didn't check. The dishes served included a salad, stewed vegetables, lentil stew, split bean stew, and a stew with pea flour. One of the curries was quite spicy, but the rest were quite mild. My favourite was the tangy split pea curry. If you hadn't had Ethiopian before it's lots of fun to use the injera to scoop up the dishes on top.

It was all delicious and quite filling. We couldn't quite finish it:

Cafe Lalibela provided prompt service, a tasty, cheap filling meal, so I will certainly visit again when I'm in the area. Although if I had to choose Abyssinian might get my pick even though it is more expensive because they have an amazing chickpea style gravy in their banquet.

Where's the beef, Lisa and Foodscrazy have also given it glowing reviews.

Cafe Lalibela
91 Irving St
9687 0300

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

US Trip & New Limit on Eating Out

There are cheap flights to the US at the moment and the dollar conversion is awesome, so we decided to book a trip to the US. The flights should be confirmed tomorrow but it looks like we have 3 weeks in total and will visit New York, San Fransisco and Portland in June.

I'm super excited but overwhelmed looking at the eating options and trying to figure out what is g/f friendly. So if you have any recommendations please leave a comment!

To be able to afford the trip though we need to make some drastic cuts in our usual spending. We worked out recently that most of our money goes on eating out so in an effort to save, we are going to trial eating out only once a fortnight. This is quite a massive change from our normal eating out which involves eating out most of the weekend and one weeknight. 

On a completely unrelated note, look what Toby made with lego. It's the Melbourne Heart logo, which are his new favourite soccer team.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 in Review and Xmas Dishes

It's been both a  great year and a hard year in many ways personally:
  • I finished my thesis and studying finally and started working in my field
  • I got an article published in a journal
  • Toby become injured, had an operation and spent some time in hospital. He is thankfully ok but will never be able to do martial arts or contact sport again.
  • Between the two of us we lost 3 grand parents this year.
  • I paid off my car loan
  • I spent most of the year with some sort of minor illness or just feeling really blah.
  • I started jogging and yoga and ended up stopping due to the above.
  • It was recently Toby's 5 year anniversary of moving to Australia, it's gone so quickly!

Food wise:
We are planning on eating out less next year and looking forward to making lots more yummy meals and conquering some g/f adjustments to my favourite dishes.


Here's what we made for xmas this year:

After sampling the little fruit fudge puddings that Cindy made, I decided straight away that I had to make them for my family on xmas day because they were both cute and delicious.

I made a few adjustments by accident that ended up working quite well. I added a more orange juice and I used a combination of the gingernut biscuits and the orgran itsy bitsy bear biscuits. This resulted in some of them being more fudge like and they had slightly less ginger flavour. Also I skipped the cherries and oil and only used currants.They were gobbled down quite quickly by family on xmas day and I don't think any of my dark chocolate hating family detected the dark chocolate.

Xmas pudding bites (which were originally sourced from here)

1 cup raisins, chopped (I used more currants)
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of orange juice or rum (I used orange juice)
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
300g vegan and gluten free cookies
200g dark chocolate
100g white chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil(I skipped this)
pistachios and cherries  to garnish

In a small saucepan, stir together the raisins, currants, brown sugar and orange juice.  Simmer the fruit for 3 minutes, then set it aside to cool.

Blend the almonds to a coarse meal in a food processor.  Mix them together with the biscuit crumbs in a large bowl, then stir through the cooled fruit mixture.  Gently melt the dark chocolate and add it to the bowl, stirring to combine.  The mixture should have formed a firm and slightly crumbly dough.

Roll inch-diameter balls from the pudding mixture, place them on a lined tray and refrigerate until firm. (I skipped this and just added more orange juice til they held together a little better)

Finely chop the red and green garnishes.  Gently melt the white chocolate and oil together so that they're silky and quite liquid.  Drizzle the white chocolate over the pudding balls and sprinkle over the garnish.  Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, and continue to store them there until serving. 

And I made a g/f free version of our family Vegemite Gravy recipe, I found a similar looking recipe here which I copied.

    2 tbsp margarine
    2 tbsp plain flour (I used orgran gluten free flour)
    500 ml stock, heated (I think I may have used a little less)
    1 Tbsp Aussie mite (g/f version of vegemite) (start with 1 teaspoon and taste)
   1.  Start your gravy in a saucepan by melting the margarine. Sprinkle margarine with flour, and stir over a gentle heat to colour it, but be careful of burning. When it is really grungy-looking, after about five minutes, add the hot stock slowly, stirring quickly to incorporate the cooked flour.
   3. Add the Aussie Mite and stir well. If it's too thin, continue to simmer and reduce in volume. If it's too thick, add more stock or water. At this point, taste for salt and pepper. If it's just right, strain and serve in a warmed sauce boat.

I had issues with lumps as you can see but the flavour was pretty similar. Don't be deceived by the aussie mite (or vegemite) it adds a depth of flavour without being obvious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I saw my friend Katie Carot today and she gave me this amazing present. It made my horrible day so much better.

She said that she is behind in blogging at the moment but will post some of the recipes when she gets the chance.

The detail on the chocolates is just so awesome. I adore the look of the zombie brains but all of them are so damn cute. See the detail on the little men?

They are different flavours too including peanut butter, strawberry and caramel/marshmallow and of course white xmas and they are all incredibly delicious!

Thank you x 1000!

Edited to add: recipes are now up here and here

Arancini Experiment

I had my grandmothers funeral yesterday and have been stressing about what to make for the wake for days. I'm only sharing this in case you are crazy enough to google 'gluten free vegan wake food', like I did. I found nothing and so then I googled 'wake food' and 'wake dishes' and 'what to make for a wake' and still didn't find much that was helpful!

My mother arranged lots of finger food, sausage rolls, pies etc for the wake. So I wanted some sort of g/f vegan finger food. All I could think of was rice paper rolls, but wanted something warm since it has been freezing in Melbourne lately. Emily on twitter suggested rice balls which I thought was a great idea but maybe a bit too unusual for my family, this eventually lead me to the idea of making risotto balls which are also called arancini. Thanks Emily!

I saw the Melinda's packaged risotto cakes in store and decided to make them and my own arancini and compare the two.

I was skeptical about packaged food but they were surprisingly great. They can be dairy and egg free options, so I used cheddar cheezly and egg replacer. You still need to cook the mixture on the stove before adding it to the oven, but it was much quicker and easier than making my own.  I think the flavour of the cheezly gets lost, vegan cheese is too subtle. However, Toby and I really enjoyed them, particularly the little bits of vegetables.

And then we ended up making our own. I followed Pip's recipe except I replaced the mushrooms with sun dried tomatoes, used corn flake crumbs and I baked them. I took them to the wake because I was sure that they would taste even better, but they were a tad bland. Yes surprisingly the packaged ones were actually better. I think getting rid of the mushrooms was a mistake. Also, I think I didn't put enough stock powder or something. I meant to serve them with some marinara sauce which I forgot to take. So we ended up serving them with sweet chilli sauce.

Sun Dried Tomato Risotto Balls from Fairest Feed

(Makes about 25)
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 clove garlic, crushed
400g mushrooms, finely chopped (I used sun dried tomatoes)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 - 6 cups water or stock
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 cup rice flour or breadcrumbs (I used corn crispy crumbs-Organ brand) 
oil for shallow frying

Preheat oven to 180°C

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until soft (about 10 minutes). Add the bay leaf and mushrooms (or sundried tomatoes) and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms are soft. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in oil. Add a cup of the liquid and stir until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, cup by cup until it has all been absorbed and the rice is tender. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the thyme, nooch (if using) and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
When the risotto is cool enough to handle, use your hands to form golf ball sized balls. Roll them in the flour or breadcrumbs and bake til they are crispy, roughly 20 minutes.

I didn't take a picture though since I was up at 11pm the night before making it and it seemed wrong to take food pictures at a wake.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Candy Cane Fudge and Mushroom Tarragon Pate

So it turns out we don't have any pictures of Toby's ice cream dish or his xmas potluck dish. Yes we had two potlucks this weekend! A ice cream one on Saturday and xmas themed potluck on Sunday. For the ice cream potluck Toby made a super alcoholic large version of the frozen margarita pie that I made last time. Except this time he made the ice cream using the lime recipe from vegan scoop. For the xmas potluck he made this:

 Mushroom and Tarragon Pate using this recipe from BBC.
  • 50g margarine
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 leek finely chopped (he used a regular onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms , finely chopped (he used button mushrooms)
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms , finely chopped
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche (see vegan version below)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon plus extra to garnish(he used dried)
  1. Heat butter in a large frying pan. Add shallots, leek and garlic, then gently fry for 7 mins until softened.
  2. Increase the heat, add the chestnut and the shiitake mushrooms, then cook for 10 mins, stirring, until the juices have evaporated and the mushrooms are tender. Stir in the mustard and crème fraîche, then season well. Cook for a further 2 mins then stir in the chopped tarragon.

Almond Creme Fraiche loosely based on recipe for cashew cream fraiche from Vegan Epicurean.

Makes approximately 20 tablespoons (he made much less)


1 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (start with half)
1 pinch of salt (optional)
approximately ½ cup of water to process


Place the almond meal,  half the apple cider vinegar and salt in your blender and turn the machine in. Add water slowly until the cashews have just been liquefied. Stop the machine and taste the mixture and adjust the flavors to your taste. Refrigerate until needed.

I quite liked the pate despite my mushroom texture issues and Toby loved it.

I was exhausted by Sunday so I opted to make something which I thought was easy and quick for the Xmas potluck. This Candy Cane Fudge from A profound Hatred of Meat.

 I loved the simple idea of adding crushed candy canes on top. I had all sorts of issues with the fudge though. First, I almost the burnt the coconut milk, then had to use the kitchen aid to mix it together but it was still too dry. So I ended up adding more and more coconut milk and then in the end you couldn't get it out of the pan. It also results in way too many dishes for such a simple dish. I think next time I would opt to make the five minute fudge from my sweet vegan and just add the candy canes to that.

Check out what fat fueled vegan made for the ice cream potluck, and Lisa's post about the her dish at the xmas potluck and hopefully there will be more recipes posted online!  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

G/F Chocolate HoneyComb Ice Cream Cake

Cindy had a ice cream potluck for her birthday on Sat. So I made her this gluten free chocolate honeycomb ice cream cake with chocolate crackle base. I took inspiration from two online non-vegan, non-gluten free recipes and combined them. The chocolate crackle base idea was from Koali's life blog and the inclusion of honey roasted nuts was from the Eat Drink Live version of nigella's cake.

First I made the honeycomb, unfortunately I had tried a few more honeycomb recipes which all failed. Maybe due to the humidity before finally returning to the original recipe that I made last time. I covered in chocolate again and cut it into small chunks.

To make the chocolate crackle base. I simply copied Koali and followed the same recipe but substituted the chocolate for dark chocolate and the rice bubbles for g/f version of rice bubbles. YES STUPIDLY REGULAR RICE BUBBLES AREN'T G/F!

1 250g dark chocolate
roughly 1 1/2 cup of g/f rice bubbles
1. Line a 20cm spring form cake tin with baking paper (I didn't do this but it didn't seem to matter)
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler
3. Add rice bubbles a large serving spoonish at a time. Mix through until you get the consistency of chocolate crackles. You want enough chocolate to set but enough rice bubbles to give a constant crunch.
4. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the cake tin.

Then I made honey roasted nuts, but instead of roasting them or using honey. I followed this recipe from the sweet and salty life for agave walnuts and substituted peanuts:

Agave Glazed Peanuts

4 TBSP Raw Agave Syrup
2 TBSP Margarine
1 Cup Peanuts

Pour it all into a medium pan and sauté on medium heat.
When the Peanuts are hot, lower the flame and allow the nuts to simmer until the glaze has become thick. You will know the Walnuts are ready when there is no liquid in the pan and the nuts have completely soaked up the Agave and Earth Balance. Let them cool and then store the nuts in an air tight container to keep them soft and moist. I then cut them into chunks too.

For the ice cream, I just followed the vanilla ice cream recipe in Vegan Scoop but instead of adding vanilla essence I added a whole vanilla pod and cooked it with a combination of rice and coconut milk.  I don't think the vanilla was needed though and probably wasted with alll the other flavours combined.

In the last few minutes in the ice cream maker I added the chopped honeycomb and nuts. Then spread it over the chocolate crackle base.

And decorated it by making a C with some honeycomb and nuts that I had put aside.

I was pretty happy with the end result, especially given that it was a big experiment and I wasn't sure how it would all go together.  It was pretty sweet and had loads of crunch. I think you could easily reduce the nuts and/or honeycomb and just get rid of the chocolate crackle base or the nuts if you wanted to.

Instead of taking pictures like I normally did, I just relaxed and ate and ate and ate. There was so much amazing ice cream and g/f penguin waffles! Toby will talk about his ice cream dish next.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Coeliac Diagnosis Confirmed

I found out on Monday night that the biopsy confirmed that I have coeliac's disease. If you haven't been following my blog for a while you might not be aware that most of this year has consisted of me trying to find out. I actually had another biopsy at the start of the year which didn't show anything. I then ate gluten free for months before another specialist insisted that they test again.

The strange thing is that when I was eating gluten initially there was no obvious side affects. It wasn't like I ate bread or even gluteny mock meat and felt sick. I just some random bad days. Also when I went gluten free for a few months I didn't really feel much better. But when I returned to eating gluten for the second biopsy I spend most of the month feeling bloated at random times and sometimes for days at a time and just feeling really blahhh. Also almost the entire time I had a cold or nausea, or some sort of minor things wrong with my health. So I suspected that I had it but wasn't sure if it was just placebo effects.

I still haven't ruled out fructose malabsorption, but my specialist suggested that I wait 6 months and then if I am still not feeling better have the test which is fine with me!

My specialist can't explain why the biopsy results  changed, since they were only about 6 months later. But he did say that someone people have negative biopsies and then years later they have another biopsy and have it. Almost like people are pre-coeliac or something. I have mixed feelings about it, it's good to finally have an answer to what's wrong. Also after eating gluten free for a while I know that I can do it. But I'm a little disappointed too because I do have to be strict forever to prevent some serious health problems in the future. And eating out is a little inconvenient most of the time. Also, I'm not sure how I will be able to eat in Hong Kong, when we return to visit Toby's family since most of the vegetarian restaurants are based around gluteny products and wheat is in soy sauce and most sauces. Anyone know of other vegetarian coeliac who have travelled to Asia and managed to eat out?

So from now all of the recipes on here will be gluten free again. Although I still have a few gluteny restaurant reviews to get through first.

I joined the coeliac society straight away, and received this pack which also includes some optional extras that I paid for like the gluten free travel guide. I'm most looking forward to using the Coles discount card. Unfortunately it does contain a few items which aren't vegan like the bread and chocolate biscuits. So if you want them please let me know.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tuxedo Strawberries

One of the vouchers for the langham high tea was for my grandmother, who is unfortunately in hospital at the moment so couldn't attend with us. So I really wanted to recreate part of the experience for her. I showed my colleague pictures from our high tea and she commented that her friend had made her the tuxedo strawberries once. This led me to do a google search and discovered that it was possible to make them.

It took a little practice to get it right and there was plenty of reject looking ones but I think if you had a proper piping bag instead of trying to use toothpicks (which didn't work at all) or a ziplock bag it might be easier.

I took one into my grandmother who surprisingly was able to eat it and loved it. And then took the rest to a friend's mahjong playing gathering, I finally learned how to play mahjong. Thanks Eve!

Here's the rough recipe:

Tuxedo Strawberries

2 punnets strawberries
1 and 1/2 blocks of sweet william white chocolate
1 cup dark choc chips

Wash and pat dry strawberries, make sure they are dry or the chocolate won't stick.

Melt white chocolate, dip strawberries in white chocolate and set aside or in fridge to set.

Melt dark chocolate, dip in one side, and then another, so you have a v shape. I found this amusing youtube video helped to understand.

Use piping bag filled with dark chocolate to pipe bow and buttons onto each one.

The white chocolate kind of balances out the bitterness of the dark chocolate so I think even people who hated dark chocolate would enjoy these. They are fiddly though and had Toby and I quite stressed and running late. Also, as we learned the hard way you need to use something small and deep like a glass so you can properly dip the strawberries and it ends up using way more chocolate than you think, but i've tried to estimate for the recipe!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

High Tea at Langham Hotel

Warning: this post contain pics of some non-vegan food, a first for this blog but I wanted to demonstrate the differences between the options and ask how I can replicate the chocolate things. Also, these pics were taken by a camera phone so a bit small and blurry.

My brother got my mum, my sister and I vouchers to have high tea at langham last year for xmas, and with them about to expire we had to use them soon. We finally used them today since I had the day off work for my biopsy. So I had the biopsy at 9am and high tea at 2pm. What a mixed up day!

I was a little sceptial about whether I would be just given salad and fruit but was pleasantly suprised when this arrived.

On the bottom there was 3 different types of sandwiches, cucumber ones, avocado ones and one with eggplant, tomato and lettuce.

Then on the middle there was a range of expected fruit.

My fav layer though was the top was strawberries covered in drak chocolate and an amazing sago dessert. The sago dessert was unlike any other sago dessert I've had, it had a berry coulis, mango, and some sort of other flavour that reminded me of vanilla but was something else. I asked my mum who works in catering and she couldn't pinpoint it either. I suspected that the white substance was coocnut cream/milk but couldn't taste any coconut flavour so not sure what it was. There was so many flavours in my tiny dessert, it was truly great.

My mother and sister chose the langham classic high tea which comes with sandwiches, scones and a range of desserts. And my sister's friend chose the chocolate indulgence which was the same except all of the desserts included chocolate and it come with a chocolate brulee on the side.

This is the classic:

and this is the chocolate:

Mine lacked the outstanding level of detail on the desserts like this white and dark chocolate covered strawberry:

and this mini chocolate eclair:

I was in abosulte awe of the presentation of their desserts, which left me wondering where can I get vegan desserts that look so pretty or how can I make desserts that even closely resemble those?  Overall though I was pleasantly surprised and impressed that they could manage to do a vegan high tea even if it wasn't as pretty.

Aria Bar at Langham
1 Southgate Ave
VIC 3006

Monday, December 6, 2010

G/f Blogging rant

I've having my biopsy finally tomorrow to find out if I have coeliac disease which reminds that I have wanted to talk about the gluten free blogging community for a little while. When I first g/f I started reading loads and loads of g/f blogs around the world, not just the ones on my tool bar! However, I'm continually surprised and disappointed that there doesn't seem to be quite the sense of community that I find in the veg blogging world.

It really really gripes me when people don't link to other blogs when they have visited a cafe/restaurant that others have blogged about. I know I'm not alone in that thought, Lisa has talked about being a good link citizen  and fitzroyalty has talking about in regards to blogging ethics. I think it's pretty rare in the Aus veg blogging world at least but g/f bloggers never seem to do it which I personally think is rude.

I've also noticed that many g/f bloggers don't even have links to other blogs on their side bar or if they do it's just the super famous ones generally from overseas which is another pet gripe. It also made it hard for me to find heaps of local g/f blogs when I first started. Whereas, if you find most veg blogs you will generally find a large number of links to other local and non-famous veg blogs.

There are a few exceptions to g/f sense of community like Book of Yum's adopt a g/f blogger but I really haven't come across much else.

Why do you think it is? Has anyone else noticed it? I'm happy to be proven wrong and discover that there is a real strong g/f blogging community which I haven't come across yet. I have met other coeliacs in life and been excited to share info and tips with them so I don't get it. Is it because being vegan or vegetarian is a choice and g/f isn't?

On a g/f food related note, I am addicted to these g/f pretzels and actually prefer them to regular pretzels now, I particularly love them covered in chocolate.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shakahari 3

Last week we went to Shakahari to celebrate my graduation and discovered that the menu has changed again since I last blogged about it only a few months ago. They still have an incredibly large number of g/f dishes, I think all six of their entrees and half of their mains are g/f. I was relieved to discover that they had kept a few of their classic dishes too like the avocado magic, satay legend and the croquettes. I managed to try everyone's dishes as well as order my own.

Toby and I shared the quinoa gnocchi (g/f), which doesn't look or taste much like gnocchi but was still delicious. The favour and texture reminded me a little of chinese style turnip cakes.

I couldn't resist ordering the croquettes de chine which are sadly not g/f but contain mashed potatoes, yam, macadamia nuts, pickled tunips with are served with kimchee, greens and an amazing tangy ginger sauce, these are still my favourite! My teenage sister enjoyed her share of this too I think even more than her own dish.

My mother ordered the satay legend, skewers with tofu, veg and seitan, served with rice greens, and pickles. She polished the plate and said that she loved it.

Toby ordered the laksa which comes with crispy tofu and tempeh. He requested for them to make it mild and I didn't get to try much of this but he said that it was rich in coconut flavour and that he really enjoyed the protein filled dish. It's a pricey laksa though at $19.50 but at least you can guarantee that's it vegan.

My teenage sister ordered the g/f pasta, which come with a pesto sauce, soy cheese and plenty of mushrooms. She ate it all except for the mushrooms, because she hates them. I enjoyed my tasting of this and thought the pasta was awesome for g/f pasta.

And we were intrigued by the soy almond panacotta dessert.  This was served with almond toffee, strawberries and a sweet orange coulis. I loved it but worried when I shared some with my sister that the soy flavour would be too much for her but she said that 'it tasted like real panacotta but a little less creamy'. I've never had real panacotta before so had nothing to compare it to but thought it was similar to the old tofu caramel in it's creamy smooth texture and loved the flavour combination.

It was a great success, everyone loved their meals and it's not everyday that I can manage to get a teenage omni to enjoy an upmarket vegetarian restaurant which doesn't offer chips.

I'm so hungree blogged about it recently, you can also read reviews based on their menu a few months ago here and here or our first review here.

201-203 Faraday St
9347 3843 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gluten Free Frozen Margarita Pie with Tequila- Vegan Mofo Day 30

I really wanted to finish vegan mofo with something original and awesome and I think this easily fits the bill.

Toby gets the credit for finding this recipe after I stomped around the house saying that we need to make something amazing for the last day of vegan mofo last night. I found plenty of recipes but they all required a visit to Radical Grocery or the Asian supermarket and both were closed by this stage. This recipe actually comes from the examiner and rocks. Am I getting to old to say 'rocks'? It's salty, sweet, sour, alcoholic, creamy, crunchy all in one!

We used Eskal brand gluten free pretzels which I am addicted to. I hated them when I first went gluten free but now prefer them to gluteny pretzels. We also halved the recipe which made enough for four small ramekins and used less tequila but next time will use the full amount. Part of me thought I might hate this but it was fantastic and I think I am hooked on the idea of salty pretzels in desserts!

Gluten Free Vegan Frozen Margarita Pie with Tequila
 For the crust:
- 2 ½ cups of small salted pretzels, finely crushed (use a rolling pin or put them in the food processor)
- ½ cup vegan margarine, melted
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the pie filling:
- 6 cups So Good vanilla nondairy frozen dessert
- ¼ cup tequila
- 3 tbsp frozen margarita mix (or limeade mix) ( I just used more lime juice mixed with a teaspoon of icing sugar)
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Directions for Frozen Vegan Margarita Pie
To make the crust, stir together the crushed pretzels, sugar, and melted margarine. Press into the bottom and against the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze the crust for at least an hour. We only put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes but it didn't seem to matter.

For the filling, let the vegan ice cream soften so that it is easy to work with. Stir in the tequila, margarita mix, and lime juice and blend everything very well. (You can do this in a food processor if you like.) Spoon into the frozen pretzel crust, cover with waxed paper, and freeze until firm.

Let the pie stand for a few minutes before serving so it’s easy to slice.
Vegan Mofo has been a blast, we have managed to blog every day for a month, that's 27 posts by me and 3 from Toby, but who's counting? It has forced us to be way more creative and try more recipes than we regularly do and has been a nice distraction when other things have been stressful. But I now look forward to having a few days off blogging, having slightly more time on my hands, checking out some of the other mofo blogs that I haven't already and making tired old favourites that we have previously blogged about.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pepper and Chive Crusted Cashew Cheese-Vegan Mofo Day 29

I like the look of the pepper crusted cashew cheese from vegetarian times but the whole idea of waiting 2 days to make something is crazy to me. So instead I opted for the Affairs of living version which in comparison only takes 4 hours waiting time.

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Cheese with Herbs 
yield: 2-3 cheese wheels, or roughly 1 1/2 cups cheese
If you don't tolerate pepper, feel free to garnish with minced herbs instead. It will still be delicious and beautiful!  See note at end of recipe.

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals (or 2-3 tsp lemon juice)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
optional: 1 tsp chickpea miso 
water, as needed
2 Tbsp minced fresh herbs (I used chives)
2 tsp coarsely ground fresh black peppercorns
fresh chive flowers 

Place cashews in 4 cups of water and let soak for 4 hours.  Drain and rinse well.  Place in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade or a high powered blender (like a Vitamix). Process until coarsely ground, then scrape sides and garlic powder, vitamin C crystals, salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and miso, and continue to process until smooth, adding water by the 1/2 teaspoon as necessary for it to come together.  Once smooth, add fresh herbs and additional salt/pepper to taste, and pulse a few times to incorporate.  
Use the cheese as is as a tasty spread, or to make lovely little wheels continue to the next step!
Line a 1/2 or 1/3 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap, smoothing the bottom as much as possible, and leaving at least 2 inches of plastic wrap around the edges.  If you use a 1/2 cup measure, you will end up with 2 wheels and some leftover cheese. If you use a 1/3 cup measure, you can get 4 slightly smaller wheels.  You could also form one big ball (or a bunch of smaller ones) and just roll it in peppercorns.  Whatever, the choice is up to you.  :)
Once lined, sprinkle in black pepper to fully coat bottom of cup, then pack cashew "cheese" firmly into the cup.  Lift gently on edges of plastic wrap and pull out wheel, wrap well, and refrigerate until ready to serve, or at least 1 hour. It will become firmer as it cools.  When ready to serve, gently peel off plastic wrap and place on a plate. If desired, garnish with chive flowers.
HERB GARNISH VARIATION: to make pepper-free, omit pepper from the recipe, and use 2-3 tsp of finely minced fresh herbs in the plastic lined measuring cups.  Your cheese wheel will have a lovely green top!
ROASTED GARLIC VARIATION: omit garlic powder and add 3-4 roasted garlic cloves while processing.  So tasty!

I used a combination of black pepper and plenty of chives to coat the wheels.  I would have loved to use chickpea miso, has anyone seen it in Australia? I increased the lemon juice and salt. I also pulled them out of the fridge before they had completely set because I am impatient!

And then mixed the rest of the cashew cheese with even more chives into a spread.

While it is not going to convince anyone that it is cheese, it is delicious in it's own creamy tangy way. I was impressed with how smooth it became too. It would make a great picnic snack.

What's your favourite nut cheese?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fudge Babies and Sandwiches- Vegan Mofo Day 28

I stumbled Chocolate Covered Katie's Fudge Babies and was intrigued, exactly how good could cocoa powder, dates and cashews combined taste?

Katie has various flavours on her blog, so I made a double batch of the hot chocolate fudge babies so I could experiment with a couple.

Hot Chocolate fudge babies
  • 30 grams cashews
  • 80 grams dates
  • 5 grams (1T) dark cocoa powder ( i used regular cocoa powder)

1. Chop/blend all the ingredients, using a food processor, Magic Bullet, etc. 
2. Roll into cutey-pie little balls or make sandwiches.  (Use plastic wrap if you need to.)

First I just followed the standard recipe above and used bunny cookie cutters to cut out bunnies.

Then I added some peanut butter and made sandwiches. They did look cute but I felt like the date flavour kind of overpowered the other flavours.

So then I made two types of balls or 'babies' as she calls them.  First I added choc chips and simply rolled into balls. For the last batch I put the mixture with the choc chips back into the food processor and added as sprinkling of cinnamon and golden syrup. The last batch was by far my favourite. The cinnamon and golden syrup watered down the date flavour a little and the choc chips were cut down a little which meant that there was more chocolate bits. It just resulted in a such a nice combination. I think maple syrup would have been good too but we didn't have any. They are definitely a lot healthier than other desserts I normally make and they do remind me of lara bars. I think these would make a great traveling snack too.