Monday, October 25, 2010

Vegan MoFo

We have been a little slack with posting at the moment, and have a huge backlog of posts. But I figure I'm saving up all of my energy to participate in Vegan Mofo which starts on November 1st.

The idea of Vegan Mofo is to write as much as you can about vegan food for one month. MoFo: stands for month of food.

Yes, we normally write about vegan food, but it's different. Last year a small group of us Australian and New Zealand blogger made up our own OZ Vegan Mofo one month earlier and I managed to blog about 25 times in a month which is far more than my average. Since there are now two of us blogging I figure we should be able to do even more this time.

Head over to the Vegan MoFo blog for more details and check out the other 360 bloggers participating around the world.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

BBQ potluck

We hosted a BBQ potluck today, except there was only 2 things actually put on the BBQ so maybe we should call it a picnic potluck. I ate a ridiculous amount of food, in true potluck form and had fun chatting with everyone. Thanks for a great day!

I made mint ice cubes, simply add mint to ice cube trays, add water and freeze, don't they look pretty?
Which I put in pomegranate lemonade, it was pretty watered down and subtle, no way near as sweet as lemonade I normally made. But great for washing down food to allow more room in my belly. Pomegrante Lemonade recipe from here, I made a double batch and everyone seemed to think it was iced tea:


* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1 cup pomegranate juice
* 2 1/2 cups water
* Crushed ice


1. Combine sugar and lemon juice. Stir well to dissolve.

2. Pour lemon mixture and pomegranate juice into a pitcher, and stir well.

3. Add 2 1/2 cups water.

4. Add crushed ice as needed to each glass.

and cheesecake. I had big issues with this, because I combined two different recipes and probably used the wrong side dish too, so ended up with loads of crust and hardly any actual cheesecake filling. To make up for it, I added a whole jar of jam mixed with lemon juice and some blueberry glaze. The excess fruit overpowered the tiny cheesecake part which is a shame because surprisingly the MILLET filling worked quite well and it was actually gluten free.

Crust recipe is from Manifest Vegan:

* 2 cups almonds
* 1 cup dried Medjool dates

To make crust:

Blend almonds and dates in a food processor until finely chopped. Press mixture very compactly into the bottom of a spring-form pan. I copied her and used the bottom of a glass to press the crust down.

The millet type 'teasecake' is from the ultimate uncheese cookbook but it got it from vegalicious:

the filling:

* 1/2 c. uncooked millet
* 2 c. water
* 1/2 c. raw cashews
* 1/3 c. lemon juice
* 1/3 c. agave or maple syrup
* 2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 tsp. lemon extract (I didn't use it)

For the filling:

1. Bring the millet to boil in a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
2. Once the millet is boiling, turn the heat down to simmer and cook with the lid on until the liquid is absorbed, this will be 30-40 minutes longer. I did not peek, but until after 30 minutes, and the millet was done.
3. Meanwhile, puree the cashew nuts, with the lime juice, syrup and vanilla. I used my blender. Puree until it is a very smooth creamy liquid.
4. When the millet is done, add millet and blend as creamy as you can get it.
5. Sample the mixture and adjust according to your taste. You may want it a bit sweeter, or more of a citrus flavor, however I found it perfect and not needing any adjustment.
6. Allow the millet mixture to slightly cool.
7. Once your crust has cooled, pour into the crust and allow to sit for 30 min at room temperature.
8. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Toby made the ultimate BBQ tofu from vegan dad which is a version of the same tofu that he made for another BBQ potluck, we ran out of time to freeze it though. I enjoyed this but possibly not as much as last time we made it.

- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp mustard
- few dashes of hot sauce

1. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for 15 mins, until onions have cooked down and are nicely browned
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to bubbling. Simmer for 15-20 mins, until sauce thickens and gets a nice deep red colour.

Putting it together:
- 1 pkg firm or extra firm tofu, sliced into 8
- 1 recipe Sweet and Sticky BBQ sauce (but finely dice the onions)

1. Bring ingredients for BBQ sauce to bubbling in a saucepan. Add tofu, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 mins.
2. Remove tofu and place in a Pyrex dish. Cover with sauce, cover, and place in the freezer. Let freeze completely.
3. The day before you want to eat said tofu, place in the fridge to thaw. Or, just thaw in the microwave before grilling.
4. Grill tofu on a hot grill 3-4 mins per side, then rotating 90 degrees and repeating. Baste regulalry with the BBQ sauce. If you like, set aside some sauce and thicken in a saucepan on the stove, then slather over the grilled tofu.

Sarah and Adam made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing:

Anikee brought along this salad which was made by Raq but hardly got eaten because we were so full by that stage.

Eat More Vegies blogger made this yummy fudge:

and lemony asparagus risoni salad which was perfect summer/spring food:

Keira made lemon cheesecake with proper cheesecake to crust ratio, which was very lemony (in a good way) and kind of refreshing.:

Shawna made this healthy but yummy coriander rice/bean salad:

Zac made chocolate peanut things which were filled with peanut butter and extra peanuts, so good:

Cindy made vanilla slice which I think stole the show:

Michael made Kentucky BBQ ribz which surprisingly didn't kill me and tasted great, Toby said this was his favourite dish:

Lisa made chocolate mocha cupcakes:

Fat fueled vegan blogger made corn bread which was slightly sweet but savoury, and crumbed tofu with tartare sauce which I didn't get a photo of but loved:

Craig made curried pasta salad, the curry powder went surprisingly well with pasta salad:

and extra crunchy roasted potatoes:

Bec and Troy made mini tacos with homemade corn tortillas which were inspired from these tacos and were held together with toothpicks and rosewater and pistachio cupcakes. Both were awesome:

made grilled kabobs which I think were from this recipe , she used rosemary branches in place of skewers which i think is genius:

which was served with muhammara sauce:

which we brushed on with the cutest brush:

Also not pictured but equally tasty: Danni's pizza slices, Jo's salad and Johanna's salad.

If I have forgotten something or someone or gotten something wrong please correct me, I look forward to seeing lots of the recipes posted on your blogs people.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood

Disclaimer: The photos are pretty shitty because we didn't have our proper camera and I hate taking flash photo in restaurants.

East Brunswick Club has been looking after Melbourne vegans' pub meal craving for a few years. We love EBC for their one and only vegan parma, 'cheese burger', '
Philly Cheese Steak' and decadent vegan desserts. EBC is probably the only pub in the world that you can eat a vegan parma while listening to The Feelies' Crazy Rhythm.

So, when Kody (ex-EBC's manager) announced on Mess+Noise that his partner and him were starting a new vegan-friendly pub in Collingwood and posted the menu, I was very excited. The premise used to be the well-known Irish Pub
Father Flanagan's and was renamed Gasometer, the building's original name in the 1800s.

Last Wednesday, K and I went there for dinner. We were welcomed by Kody's friendly smile when we stepped inside. It wasn't as packed (and not as many punks in black) as EBC but pretty busy for a new pub/restaurant on a weeknight.

There are many vegan options on the menu: stuffed fried olives (with vegan roasted pepper cheese, Spanish style mushrooms, smoked tofu strips with spicy buffalo sauce, areapas with shredded red chilli seiten, vegan chorizo burger, vegan mac and cheese, Spanish roasted pepper salad, seasonal sauteed greens and
vegan pumpkin pie. I overheard the V word from both tables next to us. It doesn't take vegans long to catch on to new vegan friendly places.

K and I wanted to try as many dishes as we could but we only have two bellies. K dislikes mushrooms and olives, so we have smoked tofu strips with spicy Buffalo sauce($12) for entree:

There were two options on the menu: spicy or "brutal"(!!!!!) but they made it mild for me (wuss). I liked it a lot but K wished it was spicier (my bad). The house made ranch dipping sauce got the thumbs up from both of us.

Following up was vegan chorizo burger($15) :

The Chorizo pattie was easily the best vegan pattie I've ever had, served with yummy roasted capscium, fried onion and chimichurri aioli. We also liked the perfectly crispy chips a lot. It was almost like they were battered.

We also shared a bowl of vegan mac and cheese ($8):

it was a little bland for my liking and K thought it is not creamy enough.

We saved enough room for dessert and ordered
the vegan pumpkin pie with gingerbread vegan ice-cream ($12):

We were not too sure about the pumpkin pie. We only had pumpkin pie once before last Wednesday night and could not get over the idea of pumpkin in dessert. I guess it is an acquired taste.

On the other hand, we both loved gingerbread vegan ice-cream a lot. I wish I can have a big bowl of it. By big, I mean a pint.

Both K and I liked the food would love to go back and try the
other dishes, especially the seitan dish. I am very happy that we now have one more vegan-friendly pub. It kinda of reminded me of our visit Yulli's in Sydney with Cindy and Michael, a hip gastropub with good beers.

For the coeliacs,
gluten-free options are not available at the moment but I heard that they are working on it and there will be a few g/f dishes and a vegan g/f dish!

Edited to add: there are now g/f options on the menu, see the comment from Annalee for more details

484 Smith St, Collingwood
9417 5538

On my Walkman:
Strange Tourist by Gareth Liddiard

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Day Rising

After Lisa tweeted about the 'CLT' and vegan scones at New Day Rising, our problem of where to eat brunch on Sat was solved. New Day Rising is a tiny veg cafe that I blogged a vague description of here. Their menu seemed to have changed slightly although still mostly resolves around various toast/bagel options. I was intrigued by the CLT ($10), and couldn't resist trying it. The 'C' actually stands for coconut,which is marinated and smoked with what I imagine to be loads of liquid smoke. It is served with rocket, avocado and tomato on a bagel. I think they deserve double points for this original idea and I really enjoyed the smokey coconut, it almost felt like I was eating mock meat with a slight coconut flavour. Toby said that he wasn't sure he was sold on the combination, although I can't help wondering if it was the lack of protein.

The other dish that we shared was the special: corn tortillas, corn cakes, black beans and avocado salsa. It normally comes with cheese but they veganised it by omitting it. It was really filling and very tasty. The corn cakes provided a nice crunchy addition. They can't quite compete to Trippy Taco, but who can?

We also took home a piece of vegan banana bread. It was delicious but contained raisins which had me convinced that maybe it was a tad too healthy for me :-)

Also, they had a little thing on the bottom of the menu which states 'gluten freedom on all items- $1'. Great to have more vegan gluten free options available!

Half True Cat Food posted a pic of their menu here and of course Three Thousand blogged about it when it first opened.

New Day Rising
221d Blyth St
East Brunswick
Sat and Sun 8am-5pm

Saturday, October 16, 2010

BBQ potluck

We are thinking of having a vegan BBQ potluck next Sunday in a Brunswick park if the weather is ok. If you are interested in coming then please leave a comment or email us at inthemoodfornoodles (at) (gmail) (dot) (com) and I'll send you the rest of the details.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Empire Cafe

As I announced a little while ago, Empire has a new vegan menu and sells Mr Nice Guy cupcakes. Steph has already blogged about it here. Sadly they were out of cupcakes when we went but we did get to try one thing from their breakfast menu and one thing from their lunch menu. Toby ordered vegan HCT- ham cheese, tomato toastie from their lunch menu:

They use tofutti cheese slices which I'm not normally a big fan of but it works with the 'ham' and tomato. I know that they would could probably make this at home, if we knew what 'ham' they used but it's kind of nice to just be able to order a vegan toasty out without doing any of the work and we both really enjoyed it.

I couldn't resist ordering the french toast and they allowed us to order off the breaky menu even though it was 2pm. I agree with Steph that their french toast is good but not as amazing as Monk Bodhi Dharma, but much closer in distance to me and still very satisfying . It is sprinkled with cinnamon and served with plenty of maple syrup. I also ordered a delux vegan smoothie with banana and strawberry which was delicious.
Here are some pics of the menu, click on the pic for a proper look:

So great that there are vegan breaky options so close to Radical Grocery and where we live.

Empire Cafe Gallery
295 Sydney Rd

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Peace Harmony Strikes Back, Sydney

I was pretty stoked to find out that Sydney has a vegan Thai restaurant. My eating crew and I had a pretty good dinner at the last night of our trip. K and I decided to have lunch there again with Bec and Craig since our flight was canceled. It is a 99.9% vegan restaurant. The only non-vegan thing is the soy milk (with milk solid).

Their lunch menu is smaller than the dinner one but still pretty big. We couldn't really decide what to get. We settled on two Mixed Entree plates ($7 each) to share between the four of us.

The satay skewers and Thai style spring rolls were pretty good but I've never been a big fan of money bags or curry puffs. Tod Mun, a pakora-like deep fried entree, was the best on the plate.

Our first plate was the lemongrass stir-fry ($12.8):

It is a double protein meal: tofu and mock meat ('chicken', I guess) with some colourful vegies, in lemongrass special sauce. It was my favourite dish of the meal.

Next dish was 'Crispy KFC' ($12.8):

When I saw the menu, I thought it will be fried battered mock chicken with the 11 secret herbs and spices, like what Vegansaurus! made before. However, it turned out to be deep fried mock meat with a sweet chill soy sauce on the side. It wasn't bad but not what I expected.

We also ordered a roasted 'duck' or 'chicken' dish($12.8):

I can't recall the name of the dish nor can I locate it on the massive lunch menu. It was a nice typical roasted 'duck'/'chicken' dish : crispy gluten with a tangy sauce.

Finally, Kristy insisted that we have Pad Thai ($12.5) again:

She liked it a lot but I agreed with what Michael said - It was enjoyable but not amazing.

So, this is the last installment of our Sydney Eat-A-Thon. Michael also blogged about our dinner there. Read what other people think on Brunch, Lunch and Munch and Diary of a Ladybird.

Peace Harmony
44 Erskine Street, Sydney
(02) 9262 2247

On my turntable:
Illuminations by Buffy Sainte-Marie

Monday, October 11, 2010

Iku Wholefood

Iku is a vegan cafe that sells healthy style prepared dishes, there are 12 stores in total in Sydney. We visited a store in the CBD which was situated in a food court but I noticed that they had actual stores that I walked past in Bondi and Darlinghurst.
They sell a whole range of vegan dishes including lasagne, burgers, laska, cassaroles and salads and desserts. They try to use organic and local produce and are very g/f friendly too. Toby and I didn't actually have room for an actual meal so decided to share a snack pack which allowed us to sample a variety of the snacks that they sold including: a rice ball, rice paper roll, nori roll, tofu pocket, polenta slice, beetroot salad and two dipping sauces-tahini and chilli. It was either mostly g/f or all g/f. Everything was delicious, although it was all served cold. The tahini dipping sauce was great and I don't even like tahini, and the chilli was moderately spicy. The rice balls were probably our favourite. Although, next time I'm keen to try the lasagna though after Ingrid's glowing recommendation.
We also tried a friand which was g/f and made basically from almond meal, rice flour, tofu and maple syrup, it was ok but perhaps a little too healthy for me, I do like my super sweet unhealthy desserts.

I could see if I worked in Sydney CBD that this would make a great lunch option, if Sydney can have 12 stores, why can't Melbourne have 1? It would be great to have a healthy vegan cafe in the CBD!

Iku Wholefood-MLC Centre
Shop 6, Food court
19a Martin Place
Mon-Fri 8am-5.30pm

I struggled to find many blog reviews of Iku, so if you have blogged about it let me know and I'll show you some link love. Lisa mentioned their snacks here, and a cupcake or two mentioned their salads here. Edited to add Theresa's review here

Only 1 more post from Toby to complete our Sydney series.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Vegan friendly places in Geelong or Queenscliff?

Does anyone know of vegan friendly brunch places in Geelong or Queenscliff that is opened on Sunday?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Basil Pizza & Pasta

As we made our way to the airport I commented to Toby that the only place I was slightly sad about missing out on was Basil Pizza. We arrived at the airport and discovered that our flight was cancelled so was given the option to get a refund and make our own way back or get on a flight the following day and our accommodation would be reimbursed. We decided to abandon Cindy and Michael and stay an extra night since it was going to work out to be a financial loss if we made our own way back. Also, it meant we got to stay and have Pizza with Bec and Craig. After our massive breaky and yum cha, Toby and I were originally planning on going without dinner but since we were in Sydney for another night we planned to make the most of it.

Naked Expresso is a omni pizza place at night, which offers several vegan pizzas. While the guys popped out to get beer, Bec and I were given ordering responsibilities. We didn't hesitate in ordering the Hawaiian pizza with 'ham', pineapple and a decent amount of cheezly, it was exactly as I remembered Hawaiian pizza and I'm really not sure why more of the vegan friendly pizza places here don't put 'ham' on their pizzas, this was the group favourite:
We also ordered the 'Sheree and Neridah' with dijon mustard, artichoke hearts, roasted red capsicum, olives and sun dried tomatoes. It was tangy but worked well together as a combination:

We also ordered some garlic 'pizza bread' which kind of reminded me of crisp focaccia:
We were impressed with how straight forward their pizzas were, no strange combination or fancy sauces just simple old fashioned pizzas with a vegan touch. They have g/f bases too!

Also see Cupcake Kitteh1 & 2, Tropical Vegan and Vegan Underground.

Basil Pizza & Pasta
126 King St
02 9519 4880

Btw, we discovered after a couple of trips via public transport back and forth between Newtown and the CBD that it is actually really cheap to get a cab and might work out better if there are 4 of you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yum Cha at Bodhi

It really is amazing that we managed to fit in so many yum cha dishes, but we did. It was such quick eating that I can't really do a comprehensive run down, but here is what I remembered:
Spring rolls and spinach and tofu rolls. I loved both of these and was sad that the spring rolls didn't come around again. The spinach and tofu rolls were like spinach/cheese pastries.
Beetroot ginger dumplings were kind of weird according to Toby, but I think Bec liked them
Veg dumplings
These sausage rolls were surprisingly good, with home-made pastry, like 'sausages' in batter.
One serving of Cheung fun (it's called fresh rice noodle fold on the menu) with 'prawns' and one with vegies. I liked the veg one and Toby liked the 'prawn' one which he said was like the omni one that he grew up with.

Spicy tofu and crispy tofu skin

BBQ 'pork buns' were a fav and we got a few serves, whereas only Toby liked the steam rice in lotus leaf in the background.

Veg with tofu skin

Crispy wantons
siew mai

Tofu skin and tomatoes stuffed with salad. These two were disappointingly cold and just pretty average.

For dessert, we had
Baked custard sago, chinese doughnuts filled with yellow bean paste and crispy sesame balls with sweet peanut. I enjoyed all these. Toby was super excited about the baked custard sago but was disappointed that there was no lotus seed paste as a filling.

There was a fast rotation of food and was great to have the proper yum cha experience where they bring you dishes and you say yes/no instead of ordering off the menu, but Toby was particularly disappointed that it was quite pricey and he thought that nothing really stood out apart from the cheung fun and dessert. I really liked the outdside dining aspect but agreed with Toby that our previous dining experience ordering off the menu was more enjoyable.

Here is a picture of the menu (click on photo for proper view):


See Cindy's take here.