Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Some News...

I'm pleased to announce that I recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Needless to say, we will be on temporary hiatus at least til we get a bit more sleep and are a bit more settled.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Green Global Vegetarian Food Mart

Hi, remember me? 

Despite living in the west for 9 months, I had never really heard much or come across green global vegetarian food mart until recently. It's situated in Braybrook which is close by but a surprising destination, close to sunshine and west footscray. It seems it was originally opened near the vicmarket. It's a small shop situated on a rundown strip of shops. 

It's quite similar to vincents vegetarian foods, except it is smaller, but has slightly more variety. It sells all sorts of regular Asian mockmeats as well as funky pies, I'm guessing the ones next to it are la panella pies and sausage rolls. They also sell vegusto, notzarella, nakd bars and much more.

Also lots of tofutti products.

 And lots of vegetarian sauces/pastes. I wish the tom yum paste was msg free. Excuse my blurry phone pics.

More importantly though its' cheap! My cheezly was only $5.95. I'll certainly be stopping by to get more cheezly and marry me ice creams.

105 south road
9939 8566
Monday-Sunday 9-6pm.

It's also been blogged about by veganpolous

Also if you live in the west you should join cruelty free guide to the west on facebook.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Aangan- West Footscray

I swear it feels like the baby might be part Indian, I've never been so obsessed with Indian food.

Aangan is a fancy Indian restaurant which always seems busy, and despite it's large size, it's hard to get a table without booking in advance. It's the only Indian restaurant I have been to which has both Indian and non Indian staff. The customer service is excellent and the waitress was very knowledgeable about vegan and gluten free options. The website states that aside from their breads and a few entrees the entire menu is gluten free.

The outside area has a marquee and fairy lights and is generally quite pretty, shame people were blocking the view for this picture:

We went on Saturday night with my mother. We ordered onion bhajis which were quite large, covered in chickpea flour batter and served with a tamarind sauce. I could have easily eaten a whole plate of these crunchy tasty fritters as a main. In fact I'm sure I filled up way too quickly but munching down several of these before the mains come.

Toby couldn't resist a proteiny dish so ordered the dal tadka ($14.50). This was tangy and delicious. I wish the dhal I made at home tasted more like it. I would definitely order this again.

I ordered the baigan bhartha, roasted eggplant curry. It was tasty and mild but I was expecting the smokiness that sometimes comes with Indian eggplant curries. I think next time I'll order the Aloo jeera (potato curry) which is also vegan.

I was so ridiculously full by the end of it. My mother loved her super spicy meat curry too, my mother has a a very high chilli tolerance which generally surprises people as she often out spices many Indian people but she found something which matched her tolerance level quite well even at level 10 spiciness. She and Toby enjoyed the huge non spicy samosas too. Toby said that the pastry reminded him of apple pie.

559 Barkly Street
West Footscray

If you know other great Indian restaurants in the inner west with excellent vegan and gluten free options let me know.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jellybread- West Footscray

Jellybread is a small kid friendly cafe filled with retro laminate mix-matched tables and chairs. They have a small menu mostly consisting of breaky options or sandwiches but they are quite vegan friendly, offering soy milkshakes, nuttelex and clearly marked vegan options. 

Excuse these photos!

Kids have their own indoor play area

I opted for a strawberry milkshake and when I enquired about whether their soymilk was gf she agreed to make it with gf soymilk since the regular one was not gf. I love that attention to detail and customer service.

I got some gf toast with baked beans and a side of avocado. I also asked for nuttelex, I think its the only cafe I've seen it listed as an alternative option. With an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper, this was a great breakfast. The baked beans were not spicy as advertised but contained veggies and red kidney beans and were tasty enough. The other vegan option I could see was avocado, tomatoes and rocket on toast.

They also had a vegan cake option and separate gluten free brownies.

I have read that they have a nice outside area where kids can be found playing on warm days, this is the place to go if you have kids and I look forward to returning once bub comes along. I'm always looking for more breaky options in the inner west, let me know if you have other suggestions.

Jellybread has been blogged about by little eats, hey bambini, and fill up on bread.

561 Barkly Street
West Footscray
Monday- Sunday 9am-4pm

Jellybread on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Salaam Namaste Dosa Hut- West Footscray- 2

Unfortunately staff have since confirmed that they use ghee so that their dosas are not in fact vegan!!!!!

I'm pleased to announce that I'm feeling a lot better, no puking for 10 days now. Still experiencing nausea and dependent on meds but they seem to be working the closer I get to 20 weeks. I've started eating out again and just enjoying life and had to blog about my latest obsession.

About my third meal out after a long hiatus I suggested dosa hut to my mother. My mother has been a saint spending most saturdays with me to keep me company and taking me on little outings when I started to be well enough. I was scared about how curry may make me feel sick but that's what I felt like eating and foods with strong flavour are preferable to all the bland ones that I ate whilst I was sick which I still can not eat. Still I was nervous.

Dosa Hut is a small cafe and its not the fanciest place but it does serve what I believe to be authentic food. My mother and I were the only non Indian people when we went at lunch time. The main street of West Footscray seems to be filled with Indian restaurants but Dosa Hut always seems busy.

I ordered a vata, a spiced lentil  flour patty which was tasty and quite hard and I was a little disappointed that they serve them cold, but at $2.50 can not really complain.

I also ordered a masala dosa. Now this really is the best thing I have tasted in a long time. I'm since been obsessed despite eating a wide range of foods since but this really is perfection. Nice crepe type crunchy consistency, most addictive potato curry inside and served with two curries, the one on the far right is a tiny bit spicy but not too bad for me and I can only handle mild range of chilli and also served with coconut cooling sauce.  My mother loved her chili and cheese dosa.  At $8.95 the masala dosa is such an affordable meal. A can of sprite washes it all down wonderfully.

Here's an inside shot:

My stomach has shrunk a little so I couldn't finish it. Next time I'll just order just a dosa but I remember last time I wanted two.  I'm pleased to report they didn't make me sick and I've been dreaming about going back since, trying to convince Toby to go tonight.

See my previous review here. I couldn't see any new reviews since last time we went.

Salaam Namaste Dosa Hut
604 Barkly street
West Footscray
9687 0171

Salaam Namaste Dosa Hut on Urbanspoon

Edited to add: I have heard reports of one person being advised that they use ghee despite them denying it when I asked. I'm really hoping this isn't true but hoping that someone from South India can confirm.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Morning Sickness Hell

I know this is a food blog, but I had to share something a little more personal in hopes that it might help someone else in a similar position one day. I'm 13 weeks pregnant but there is a but....!!!!

Let me first start with a disclaimer, I'm very lucky to have got pregnant naturally and not have had a miscarriage during the fragile first 12 weeks. I'm so thankful of that. I know whats it's like to want to be pregnant so much that it hurts and I also experienced a few miscarriage scares which were heart breaking. I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to have miscarried or to have lost a child.

The but...... is I've had severe morning sickness or hypermesis gravidarum (HG) since about 5.5 weeks into the pregnancy and here for a public service announcement to say that it is hell. I'm 13.5 weeks along now and its still going. It's like sea sickness that never goes away with lots of vomiting. Or perhaps like gastro or food posioning that goes on for months. Also just when I thought it wouldn't get any worse it did, I went from having a few good days a week to none. I haven't been able to eat anything substantial and even plain bland-ish food becomes hated after vomiting up several times so far I've been turned off: rice crackers, rice cakes, corn cruskits, rice, congee, mashed potato (I know!!!), chips, peanut butter, corn chips, ginger beer and more. I think in the future that gastro, food poisoning, any type of nausea/vomiting will be a walk in a park because at least it generally only lasts 48 hours not months!!!!

I've lost about 8 kilos and I was on the smallish side to begin with so everyone at work has commented that I look super pale and they have noticed that I have lost weight. In fact when I announced it a few people said they were so relieved because they thought I was dying or there was something seriously wrong. I'm super weak and its an effort to shower and I can rarely brush my teeth without making myself vomit and I've stopped brushing and drying my hair.

I love food and its such a crucial part of my life that feeling sick leaves me completely disconnected, not wanting to read blogs, not being able to go out for meals or allow Toby to cook. He once cooked onion and it woke me up vomiting! It feels isolating too since I can't go out at all without vomiting and really haven't been able to see friends. I miss that the most because I'm such a social person and it feels like everyone is having these amazing lives, hanging out with each other, baking, going to festivals, while I'm stuck in jail. I also miss going for walks and just living. If your reading this and don't feel those things count yourself lucky!

Two weeks ago I was in peak hour traffic (thankfully) and had to vomit at my steering wheel with my sick bag (very handy things) and some jerk behind me beeped because I didn't move a tiny bit and then when I indicated to get off the road he beeped again and I seriously contemplated throwing the sick bag at him and I never get road rage. I think it's a waste of energy.

It certainly helped me to decide to only have one child. It's been mine and Toby's mantra or rather coping statement, over and over and over again. There is also no way I can look after myself let alone being this sick and having to look after another child. I can't even feed my cat. I haven't been a good wife, friend or anything for a long time. As one of my twitter friends wisely put it HG: survival mode.  I've been completely dependent on Toby and mum to 'babysit' me, to do grocery shopping etc.

It's miserable. Everyone has tried to cheer with me up with comments like 'you will forget', 'it's worth it' and 'it's a good sign' which do not help at all. In fact they have made me cry on a few occasions, while I've asked myself what is wrong with me? am I just selfish? It's also made me feel super alone, am I the only feels this way? Am I weak or something? But then I realised that its easy from the other side to make comments like that.  Try being in my footsteps right now and see if you can hold that optimism every day, week after week .with you head in a bucket for the 7th time that day. I did google once though and read about women who have abortions because they are too sick to care for their other child. Also if I somehow forget how dreadful, relentless this is I've told my friends to hit me if I talk about doing this a second time. I'm serious! Some women with HG go on to have second or third child and I admire their strength but could never do it. Not knowing that I am in for hell again and not being able to be there for child number 1 at all.

I really didn't realise how bad it could be. Some people have HG even worse! Why don't people talk about it? I think because it is related to pregnancy, its minimalised so much. I do wonder if men had it, wouldn't there be more research into what causes it or better treatment. I also think that women and mums in general must be bloody tough.  I know Kate Middelton had to go to hospital but I have to admit that I thought it was just because she was royalty.

I've tried everything, eating before getting out of bed, trying to have small amount of food in my stomach at all time, ice poles, maxalon, vitamin b6, ginger,  lots of acupuncture, wearing press stud needles in my arms (kind of like sea sickness bands), a music therapy mp3 which is supposed to help, getting enough sleep and more. But nothing works!!!!

I think i've finally found some relief at 13, that a combination of zofran and maxlon taken every 4 hours x 4 times a day reduces the vomiting a lot but still doesn't get rid of the nausea or stop the vomiting. But it's keeping me out of hospital at least. Zofran is generally used for chemo patients and is not subsidized for morning sickess so it costs about $60 for a packet of 10 and you need to take 4 a day. That's almost $180 a week. I had to fight to get zofran though and some doctors would only prescibe one box- 2.5 days worth telling me only to take it on my bad days but as soon as I miss even 1 tablet the non stop vomiting returns.

The house is a mess and Toby had cleaned more buckets that one needs to in a lifetime. I've used up all of my sick and annual leave and now force myself to go to work, generally vomiting before and afterwards. Some days at work too and some times on the way home. I've also had to vomit in public a lot with strangers staring on too. Vomiting and nausea really is the worst feeling in the world. I think pain is preferable.

I wanted this baby soooooooo badly but didn't expect this. In addition to being super sick I've been depleted and so dehydrated was advised had to get iv drip at hospital multiple times but mostly fought it. If it happens to you and suspect your dehydrated, don't fight it!!!  Feeling dehydrated and exhausted and emotional and sick really does equal hell. I feel like fainting a lot and have started having showers with the door open in case I pass out.

I really feel for people who go through chemo and become this sick, at least there is a good reason underneath mine.  One of the recent doctors I went to was amazing and reminded me when I begged her that I can't go on like this for another week or two just to keep dragging my feet one foot at a time and that I was doing an amazing job. Every day feels like a week when you feel this bad and it really is hard to enjoy anything.

Thanks for letting me vent and I hope this helps someone one day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Berrissimo Frozen Yoghurt

My colleague Steph told me about this magical Frozen Yoghurt place Berrissimo on Brunswick St that do vegan options.

They have two vegan flavours (and yes, they are gluten-free!) each week.  This week's flavours are watermelon and yellow peach.  I was going for the small yellow peach with no topping ($4) but K said the whole point of having fro-yo is the fun of adding toppings.

So, I decided to go hard and picked yellow peach pieces and two types of buba ($5.5 with three toppings).
It is even better than the  TCBY fro-yo I had back home in my pre-vegan days.  And yep, picking toppings for your fro-yo is fun! :-) K loved it too, she said it had a great sweet-sour flavour.

Address: Shop 2, 360 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Ph: 03 9041 2177
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 12pm to 9:30pm, Friday – Saturday 12pm to 10:30pm

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mr Nice Guy BakeShop- Ascot Vale

At the end of a busy day!

I've been to Mr Nice Guy's in ascot vale several times, in fact at one stage it was almost a weekly thing but never got around til blogging it til now. It's an all vegan bakery with tons of gluten free options. Their gf options seem to grow each week, I swear. I have tried and loved their gf raspberry bread, gf cupcakes, banoffee pie,  raw chocolate cupcakes, pumpkin choc chip donut and so much more. It's a smallish cafe with limited bench seating options.

Heres some recent pics:

Pecan pie. It was my first time trying pecan pie and it was super rice, I probably should have eaten half of it in one setting but it was too good. The gf base was quite good too, not too hard or cardboardy with mild flavour.

Peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. Since when do I resist pb chocolate combination? I had to go past on a weeknight determined to ensure I didn't miss it.The cheesecake itself was great with slightly salted peanut butter but I wasn't a huge fan of the brownie base. I prefer their traditional cheesecake bases, either the baked cheesecake or the berry ones.

I'm yet to try their savoury jalapeno cornbread muffins but will be in again soon.

Their customer service is awesome too, when I got the pecan pie, they didn't have any plastic forks and I explained that I wanted to go eat it in the car as a friend who was meeting me had a sleeping baby and they loaned me a regular fork.

Mr Nice Guy BakeShop
151 Union Road
Ascot Vale
Tue- Sat 8am- 6pm
Sun: 9am- 4pm.
Follow them on facebook for awesome pictures and updates to their menu which is constantly changing.

Mr Nice Guy Bakeshop has also been blogged about by wheres the beef, veganopolous (multiple times), new international students, live blissful, consider the source, appetite affliction and Melbourne with Rocket.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dos Diablos Mobile Cantina

Dos Diablos is another food truck that travels to the north and western suburbs. It seems to be often at the yarraville gardens. I went last weekend and discovered their 100% gluten free sign. Yay for gf options, they have three taco options. There is quite a gap in the window compared to other food trucks so you feel like you need to yell your order or stand on toes to pay and collect food.

I got a small serving of  the papas fritas or seasoned fries. They were thinly cut, lightly spiced with smoked paprika and contained a slight chilli flavour in the sauce. They were perfect, next time I will get the bigger size though!

I also got their bean taco which is vegan without making any adjustments. It is filled with black beans, mushrooms with corn salsa and salsa verde on a soft corn tortilla. These were good but not amazing. I wanted more salsa and verde and no mushrooms. At $6 a taco, I think next time will need to order at least two with fries.

Dos Diablos Mobile Cantina
mobile food truck
check out their facebook or twitter page to see where they are

Dos Diablos has also been blogged about by Consider the source. I'm sure others have blogged about the dos diablos but when I search, it only comes up with the American food truck. Please let me know if you have blogged about it and I'll add your post.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Raw Double Layer Chocolate Fudge with Cacao Nibs

A few weeks ago I was invited to a picnic and decided to take along some raw fudge. I finished making it and then realised that I thought was a bit of cocoa powder in the cocoa oil was actually mould after I tasted it. I'm not one to give up on a recipe though so I decided to make it again for another gathering.

This is crazy rich, so cut into tiny bits. But everyone seemed to enjoy it. I'm warning you though its not a cheap recipe to make but quite easy with a food processor. Also is maple sugar not raw???

Raw Double Layer Chocolate Fudge with Cacao Nibs by Gourmante in the kitchen

2 cups/ 224g raw organic cashews
2 cups/ 240g unsweetened organic shredded coconut
240g (about10 large) very soft medjool dates, pitted
1 cup/ 100g raw organic cacao powder
½ cup/ 120ml organic maple syrup
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup/120ml organic maple syrup
1/4 cup/60g extra virgin unrefined coconut oil
1/2 cup/50g raw organic cacao powder
Pinch of fine sea salt
¼ cup/30g of raw cacao nibs for topping (I used only a small sprinkle)
1. Place cashews in the bowl of food processor and grind until very finely ground (be careful to not
over process the nuts into butter)
2. Add the shredded coconut and process until well combined and fine in texture. Add the pitted dates
and process until a soft paste forms. Add the cacao powder process again.
3. Finally add the maple syrup and a pinch of salt and process to combine until a creamy texture is
achieved scraping down the sides as needed.
4. Press firmly into a parchment lined square or rectangular pan or mold.
5. Place in fridge while making the ganache topping.
6. In the food processor, blend together maple syrup and coconut oil until well combined.
7. Add in cacao powder and a pinch of salt and process until smooth scraping down the sides as
8. Pour over fudge base and spread out evenly over the top. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and return pan
to fridge to set and firm for at least one hour.
9. Cut into squares and serve the fudge cold. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge

I failed at getting a picture but here is a picture afterwards: Go check out the original post for pictures. Its  quite pretty in its original state.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shark's Tail Fish and Chippery, Sunshine West

I used to love potato cakes, even slightly dodgy ones from food courts that had been sitting there for hours. This love may have started in my first part time job as a teenager in a fish and chip shop. When I first was diagnosed coeliac I started craving them even more. I did indulge once when a friend made some gf ones for a potluck but aside from that have kept craving them. Unfortunately we don't deep fry at home so that wasn't an option. Thankfully there is a fish and chip shop which makes gluten free potato cakes and they use vegetable oil and a seperate fryer for gf items.  They have been offering gluten free options for about 4 years.,

I went today and got two gluten free potato cakes. The batter was super crunchy and oh so perfect. I doubt anyone would ever guess they were gluten free. I also got some minimal chips which was a generous serve and had the perfect ratio of crunchy and soft chips. I had two colleagues help me finish the chips who gave them a thumbs up.

Everything with an asterisk can be made gluten free, plus lots of fish of course. I will be trying their onion rings and pineapple or banana fritters in the near future. I'm thinking a quick visit her before or after the beach on hot summer days.

They are located close to a ring road exit but doubt they are close to public transport.

Shark's Tail Fish & Chippery
shop 1/136 the avenue
West Sunshine
Open 7 days
9360 5522

For more possible gf options at fish and chip shops check out Gluten Schmooten's list.