Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ganaeshaas Villas

I'm back, I've finished my thesis so I've finally going to have a bit more time on my hands to catch you up on lots of yummy food adventures.

First up, a long long time ago, a small group of us went out for vindaloo against violence, we wanted to go to veg nirvana but it was booked out, tried to go to ganesh on st georges rd but it had closed down. So we went to Ganaeshaas Villas.

It's a tiny slightly run down looking place that is all vegetarian but I was pleasantly suprised by how g/f it was. They were also to ensure that we only had vegan dishes.

Most of us had the combo deal below. It was tasty and super filling and not too spicy even for us mild eaters. I can't believe that the masala dosa was g/f, so yummy. I'm a little rusty on details since it was so long so I'll let the pics doing the talking, but I will certainly go back.

(this one clearly wasn't g/f but the rest is)

Ganaeshaas Villas
4B Cramer St
9471 9399

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hong Kong: home of mock meat & vegan yum cha

It's kind of a cruel twist of fate that I am blogging about the wonderful gluteny world of Chinese vegetarian food in Hong Kong now that I won't be able to eat any of it. But Toby and I met in Hong Kong and it's also the place where he spent most of his life, so of course I will always have a soft spot for the place, and the food is just another reason to love the place well for vegetarians who can eat gluten. We had vegetarian yum cha almost every day that we were there! Toby speaks Cantonese though and always did the ordering so I'm not entirely sure how hard it would be without him to ensure that everything is vegan. (Toby also said he is not too sure if the staff are 100% sure if the mock meat contains whey or egg white) It was a long time ago that I lived there but I managed ok, although I did resort to using the translations in that vegan passport a few times.

For a relatively small city, there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants and we ate at lots of different places but have decided to blog about our favourites.

When Toby and I used to live in Hong Kong, we used to a frequent this place called 佛有緣素菜館 (Fat Yau Yuen) which I referred to as the 23 place because that is how much their meal deal was, back in 2003, in HK dollars (roughly $3.30). Toby used to eat there twice every day and so when we returned to their new restaurant, the staff chatted with him excitedly.

It's a super cheap place and the new location (Level2, 10-12 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai) doesn't even have a sign. It's situated next door to a butcher, and there are no English menus. However, there is a picture menu so you can point at the pictures to order, or possibly get toby to write out some instructions for you.

To give you an idea of how much we loved it, we went 3 times in the one week we were there.

My favourite dish hands down was the "pork" or as toby translates is actually called "roast suckling pig", it consisted of crispy gluten with an amazing BBQ type sauce

I couldn't resist eating my all time fav chinese dish radish cake or turnip cake again and again. At most meals we shared a plate of some sort of asian greens such as gai lan or chinese broccoli. I like to think that it helped to balance all of that deep fried goodness:

Tofu with black bean capsicum sauce over thick rice noodles was absolutely delicious:

I can't even remember what this dish was but I remember it being tangy and kind of sweet and sour:

Roast "duck" with fermented tofu sauce.

Shredded "duck" with rice noodles:

Another place that we went to is Kung Tak Lam. They have branches in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui (where you can see the "million dollar harbour view" perfectly). It's kind of the opposite of the $23 place, it's an upmarket vegetarian restaurant. We went there twice with Toby's family. The first time we went to the branch in Causeway Bay (where I once lived), and we had:

Fried rice with seaweed and pine nuts, it was a dish that we used to have all the time, I was really looking forward to it, and it was ok but not quite as great as the hype that Toby and I build up in our heads.

soya bean fillet with pepper sauce, one of my faves.

Deep Fried "Fish" or yam, I can never really get into mock fish but everyone else seemed to enjoy this.

Ma Po Tofu, with just the right kick of chilli

For dessert we shared red bean pancakes, otherwise known as deep fried deliciousness. On the right crystal buns with contained chinese custard but weren't vegan.

The second time we went we had:
Shanghainese cold noodles with various sauces, we actually had this both times. I loved this dish and the idea of being able to choose how much and what you wanted to go with your noodles. The options included: chilli sauce, chilli oil, sweet sauce, soya sauce, vinegar, sesame sauce, crushed cashews, pickled beetroot, and capsicum. I always added all of the possibilities except for the chilli options but kept playing with the variations.

Shanghai fried noodles with tofu and vegies.

We had spring rolls and pan fried dumplings. Toby's dad thankfully shares my love of unhealthy deep fried dishes. These were my fav spring rolls in HK.

We also had this pretty looking dessert called Eight Treasures rice which consisted of sticky rice, red rice, red bean paste, lotus seeds, lotus and syrup with some sort of edible flowers. It was like nothing I have had before, so yummy.

We went to this place in causeway bay called Harmony Village (shop 1, 7-11 Irving st, Causeway Bay) with Toby's sister. It's a small cafe that appeared to be constantly busy.

Toby swears that these were fried massive vegie dumplings but I remembered them being more like curry puffs. That's what happens you when you wait too long to blog, but whatever they were they were deep fried and yummy.

Fried rice with yam

Deep Fried "chicken" with Chinese greens

Roasted "Duck" with pineapple and preserved ginger which tasted similar to a sweet and sour sauce. This was our favourite dish there.

After we went to got dessert in a small desert place. I got red bean soup with walnuts and toby got red bean soup, I love chinese desserts especially since lots of them are accidentally vegan and I do have a red bean obsession.

Our all time favourite yum cha place is a place called Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant﹕1/F, 395 King's Rd , North Point, we went there 3 times. The last time though we had all of my favourites like turnip cake, spring rolls, BBQ "pork" buns, coriander "prawn" dumplings and lots more. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Toby introduced me to this dish for the first time and i was kicking myself that I hadn't tried it before, it was AMAZING! Stir-fried rice rolls with soy sauce or chung fan. The rice rolls were soft and super tasty and it comes with amazing peanut sauce and sweet sauce.

I tried turnip cake or law Bok Gow at almost every restaurant we went to but this restaurant certainly had the best that I have ever had, it was just oily enough, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and was full of flavour.

Dim Sum order form, this might be a little difficult if you don't read Chinese.

Hong Kong is a crazy crowded place and it's a little too easy to get caught up in the world of non stop shopping and overwhelming crowds. I think the key to surviving it it going to fruit based places like Hui Lau Shan (They are called Creations in US):

Coco de Mer desert with fruits and Nata de Coco

mango sago with fresh mango juice and more fruit

There are generally have both english and chinese menus plus pictures.

The prettiest place that we visited and ate at was Nan Lian Garden (The extention of Chi Lin nunnery, 60 Fung Tak Rd, Diamond Hill.) The vegetarian restuarant Long Man Lau ( sits under a waterfall). There is a strict no photos rule but you can see the photos in the 32 reader reviews on There is a minimum charge of HKD 85 per head (about AU$12) and you must book in advance. This is Toby's favourite and the most vegan-safe place. Some pics from the nunnery:

HK also have lots of vegan shoes, I got a custom made pair of non leather brogue shoes made from this shop:
Toby's mum made us desert (soup) almost every day. My favourite is the mixed bean sweet soup, we generally had it for breakfast. Thanks again Angela! Steph, what would you call it?

(Kudos to Toby who looked up English name/address/reviews of restauranst and correct names of obscure ingredients like Coco de Mar.)

I miss you gluteny Hong Kong, you do rock!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

G/F Potluck and Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

I can't believe it has taken me so long to blog about this potluck, but I have had a few distractions like getting super close to handing in my thesis and trying to put together a journal article submission, finishing up at two different offices (I've got a new job) and of course doing all of the cooking/housework, I miss your cooking Toby! To say things have been hectic would be an understatement. I'm also trying to complete the couch to 5km running plan, anyway enough whinging, just please excuse me if I'm not super attentive to your blogs for a little while.

Anyway, the potluck was awesome, it was so good to be able to eat everything and I didn't get sick afterward so no-one accidentally poisoned me :-) Several of the bloggers have already blogged about it including: Steph (twice), Cindy, Michael, Vicki (twice) and Johanna. As many of the other potluckers have pointed out, the original theme was cheese but changed to gluten free when I tested positive to coeliacs disease but some people did both themes.

I made blueberry iced rooiboss tea

Toby made goats cheese from vegan soiree, I've never had goats cheese before, but didn't like this at all, it was too sour for my liking. The texture was more like a loaf as a few people commented.

To make up for it, I tried to make another 'cheese' using this recipe from rawmazing at the last minute. This also didn't work out very well either, but I didn't soak the cashews.
The one dish that I was proud of was the blueberry cheesecake ice cream, the recipe is from a vegan ice cream paradise and was thick creamy and pretty damn yummy:

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

2 c. Silk soy creamer (I used soy milk)
1 c. vegan cream cheese
¾ c. sugar
1 T. lemon juice
½ c. soy milk
2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla

1 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/8 c. sugar
splash lemon juice

Combine soy creamer, cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Heat and mix contents. It will take some whisking to break up the cream cheese and get it to dissolve. While heating, combine the ½ cup soy milk and 2 tablespoons arrowroot and set aside. Once the pan’s contents are boiling, take from heat and add soy milk–arrowroot mixture. The liquid should thicken quickly. Add vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

Combine blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat until boiling and some blueberries have burst. Set aside to cool.

Freeze cream cheese mixture according to ice cream maker instructions. Add blueberries 5 minutes before end of freezing cycle.
Now on to the other dishes.

Cindy made raspberry coconut ice cream that was amazing:

Ivan made these healthy sweet balls that were made from dates and all sorts of other healthy things but were also yummy.

Vicki made sweet and moist carrot cake cupcakes
and "Cheese" and spinach rolls, Toby is so jealous that he didn't get to try one because I keep raving about them

Bec made a peach or pear pie, I forget but it warm and creamy

Craig made gluten free potato cakes because I keep telling him I have missed them and I have been craving more since then, so so so awesome!
Carla made a rice salad with sun dried tomatos, smoked tofu and all sorts of other lovely flavours and cupcakes which I didn't get a pic of.
Jo made pate and it even had a jelly layer on the top, so fancy and yummy and olive tapede. I want the pate recipe Jo please!
Shawna made brownies, so rich and delicious!!!!
Johanna also made brownies but made pumpkin cheesecake brownies, so unique and delicious:

Anikee made Italian rice and beans from vegan yum yum one of my favourite dishes and quinoa salad, or did someone else made the quinoa salad?

Michael made "colby cheese" and vegetarian sausages, I never thought I could eat another veg sausage and was super relived to find out that g/f versions exist:

There was so many dishes I didn't get pics of like the caramel slice, that was so amazing and Steph's delicious nacho cheese dip because I was too busy eating and eating and eating and eating. Thanks everyone for making it an inclusive potluck for me, it meant a lot!