Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fettucine with Zucchini, lemon, tofu and almonds.

I borrowed this recipe from a lovely book my mum got me for Christmas (Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion). The original recipe is called 'Fettucine with Zucchini, Lemon, Ricotta and Fried Almonds' on page 716. I've just edited it to suit our vegan lifestyle :) Most recipes in the book are vegetarian, which is nice.


Your choice of vegan margarine (I use Nuttelex Lite)
1/3 cup flaked almonds
Fettucine pasta (I used spinach)
2 large zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken style stock (I use Massel)
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 block of tofu, diced really tiny
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Put pasta on to cook.

Fry the tofu until crispy in some margarine. Remove from pan and  drain on paper towel. Using the same pan (you may need to put more margarine in) lightly fry the almonds until light brown. (I burnt mine by accident but it was still good). Remove from pan and drain with tofu.

Put the rest of the ingredients except the parsley and half of the lemon zest into the pan. Bring to a simmer and let cook until pasta is ready, or until zucchini is tender. Stir in the tofu, almonds, parsley and remaining lemon zest and heat for a minute before serving.

This is a light and summery meal that qould have been perfect to eat outside with candles or something. However, it is STILL raining, and we don't have anywhere to eat outside anyway :)

Obviously the tofu cubes replace the ricotta cheese. I was going to go all out and make up an actual tofu ricotta (I always use the recipe from Skinny Bitch) but I couldn't be bothered getting out my blender. It would be fantastic with it though :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's been over a month since my last post!

Oh no, I appear to have forgotten I have a blog to update!

Haha, actually I've been busy settling in to my new job to really cook anything truly exciting. I've been cooking up big pots of curries and pasta and eating it for days, and it's mostly been all re runs. However, everything is all good now so I'll be able to cook nice things on the weekends and post :) Hooray.

For now I'll post about our Christmas food, and afterwards get back into it.
First up. On Christmas Eve we went and celebrated with my girlfriend's mum (she had to work on Christmas day). She likes to cook up a spread (even though there's usually only two or three people eating!). I contributed Beetloaf and she made various other bits including: Roasted potato, sweet potato and pumpkin, Roasted beetroot cubes with parsley and olive oil, pea and zucchini salad with spinach leaves and a garlic and olive oil dressing, cos leaf salad with fresh tomato and basil pesto dressing.

And of course we had dessert! Strawberries and mulberries soaked in balsamic vinegar, a chocolate fruit cake, raw vegan cashew ice cream and some vegan meringues. (I may review these later). The berries particularly were to die for.
On Christmas day we trekked to my mum's house for breakfast. Everyone usually eats bacon and eggs and hasbrowns, so we just took some tofu to make scramble and some Sanitarium BBQ sausages to have while others ate their dead pig :) Also on the menu were barbecued hash browns, tomatoes and mushrooms. (Except they cooked the mushies with butter so I rescued the stems and put them in our scramble).
We saw a little frog in mum's pool (which I really wanted to swim in but it was freezing cold and raining, big surprise) and it couldn't get out so my sister rescued it and put it on a nice wet rock.
And finally, after hanging out at mum's for a while we drove up to dad's house for Christmas dinner! It was yummy Sanitarium vegie roast which we pretty much only ever eat at Christmas time so it's a bit of a treat, with roasted parsnip, carrot and potato, and steamed peas, brocolli and cauliflower and a shredded salad.

I didn't take a picture of my dessert because it looked like vomit! (Don't worry, I made it so I can say that).
This is it before we demolished it - vegan trifle! I don't really have a recipe. I use the sponge cake recipe from Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman, whatever brand of vegan jelly crystal packet the local health food stores are selling at the time, canned peaches in juice and I follow the recipe for custard on the custard powder packet except I use soy milk (and this time I used half soy and half coconut milk). Then layer as follows: sponge, peaches, custard, jelly - until you get to the top or run out of ingredients. Top with cream! (I made whipped coconut cream. Just refridgerate two cans of full fat coconut cream over night. In the morning carefully open each can and scoop out the cream part on top (it separates) add sugar and vanilla to taste and beat and beat til thick. I added a tablespoon or so of coconut oil so it remained solid in the fridge. Worked a treat and was divinely rich!)

We also had some chocolate crackles that my step mum made :) Mmmm. You can find that recipe on the side of any rice bubbles packet!

So Christmas was a success I think! Now to lay off the sugar and get back to being healthy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

School's over!

As the title implies, I finished my last class at tafe today! Hooray! Now I have a Certificate 3 in Horticulture (assuming it gets sent to me in the mail) which is very exciting. It means I'm qualified...for stuff. Hmm. It was quite an anti climactic end to the semester. We don't get a 'graduation' or anything. Oh well - I passed and that is all that matters. What am I supposed to do now? There's nothing to procrastinate for! Relax, I suppose.
I do have a job - I've left the fruit shop and got a job at a large production nursery up north a little ways. It's not particularly exciting (I'm a nursery hand on the maintenance team - weeding, pruning, you name it) but I really like it. It's hard labourious work usually in the full sun, but I enjoy a challenge. Never drunk so much water in my life. At the moment I'm doing 2 days per week but I'm almost 100% sure I'll be full time after the little holiday we are going to take. I should find out the major details of that tomorrow :)

Anyway enough of the boring stuff.
My sage is starting to look lovely! Almost as soon as I potted it when I bought it it pretty much died. It just shrivelled away and now it's just suddenly exploded with lovely leaves which smell and taste amazing.

My tomatoes have all got little tomatoes hanging off them now. Some even have 2 or 3! I'm very excited for a tomato. It's been windy lately but none have toppled over yet. Though today I will stake them I think, just in case the wind gets worse. I don't want to lose them before I get to eat them!
Nadine cooked the other night and made this amazing 'Peanutty Pumpkin Stew' from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. This book wins the prize for being the most used recently! This stew was so good. So so good. She made it with black quinoa as a base but we had leftovers another night and I cooked up some millet grain as the base instead for something different. Both went equally as well with it. It's basically this very spicy satay-y delicious mess of vegetables and chickpeas. Yum. 

I also made a yummy dessert recently but I'll put it in a separate post because otherwise there will be too much on this one. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nadine's birthday food :)

I decided to make a recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Barbecue Book by Susan Geiskopf-Hadler. However, I forgot to buy mushrooms! So I used eggplant instead. And regular white potatoes because there weren't any red potatoes at the farmer's market on Sunday. (The recipe was 'Red Potato and Mushroom Skewers' by the way.)

So I cooked up some pasta (I was hungover and bought like 6 packets of different kinds of pasta for $1 each!) with some homemade basil pesto . This time I used my own homegrown basil and parsley as they are going nuts in this heat right now, and I also used pine nuts as we had some from a recipe we made ages ago. Then I mixed the pesto through the pasta with a little bit of the cooking water and topped with skewers that had the potato, eggplant and some kohl rabi on it. I had marinated the eggplant in some red wine vinegar and soy sauce for about 10 minutes before I made them. The eggplant soaked it up straight away.

The whole combination was rather delicious :)

And of course I had to make a birthday cake! This is a red velvet cake dyed with beetroot pulp and juice, with vegan cream cheese icing. I made a red velvet cake because the last time I attempted one (also Nadine's birthday) I didn't own an electric blender and it turned out an utter failure (I made 4 cakes stirred with a fork! Long story.). And tasted of food colouring. People at the party demolished it though! Ah, alcohol.

The picture came out way darker than it actually is! The cake was really a deep red/purple colour. Our cocoa powder also seems really dark so I used half the amount the recipe called for but it didn't seem to make a difference.

Anyhow it was still a rather good cake (and I really hate chocolate cake). I was going to cut the cake in half and put icing in the middle but the whole thing deflated to about half it's size! I am not sure why. Maybe because the recipe was for muffins. I just doubled it and stuck in a cake tin and baked it for ages. :)

I used this recipe from BitterSweet blog. The icing is just a basic cream cheese icing (¼ cup vegan cream cheese, ¼ cup vegan margarine, 2 cups icing sugar). Delicious but so sweet. I apologise to my teeth. I made double that because I thought I was going to ice the middle, so now we have leftover icing in the fridge. We almost managed a whole piece! Nadine liked it which is the main thing! Don't get me wrong I liked it too, but I'm not going to rush to make another one :)
 We ate it with this coffee substitute my step mum Margaret got us on to. Well she has Caro at home but this stuff was half the price for twice as much and had the same ingredients. It tastes a bit like coffee to me. I really like it, it's something a little bit different.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Custard tarts!!

Oh my god these are amazing. We ate them all in about 2 days flat.
OM NOM NOM. They held together fantabulously.

I happened across the recipe at Heathen Vegan. Oh yum.

I accidentally made twice the amount of custard (I measured up a pint of each milk rather than 1/2!) so I got a couple of extra tarts, and ate a crap load of custard. Mmm. I'll be making these again and again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Vegan on the Cheap'

Bought myself a new cookbook because I felt like it! Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. It's a great book! It's full of heaps of awesome tips about living cheaply but well. It's very handy :)

Tonight was Nadine's turn to cook so she decided to make 'Dan Dan-Style Linguine' on page 124. Basically a spicy peanut and tahini sauce with mixed veg and crumbled tofu on pasta. Delicious :) Very simple and very filling.

Last night was my turn and I chose something with chickpeas because I'd just cooked up a whole heap. I picked Moroccan Chickpeas and Couscous. I had every ingredient I needed except a can of tomatoes and raisins, but they only set me back about $2. I'm pretty sure I'll be making this, often. Very yummy :)

So the book was a good investment I reckon.

I also splurged on a soy milk maker! I am honestly sick of buying carton after carton at the supermarket (we buy at least 4 a week) and then just chucking the damn thing out. As much as we love our Sanitarium So Good Lite, I love the trees the cartons are made from more.

So today I trialled a batch :) I bought 2 glass bottles from the supermarker to store it all in, in the fridge. Mmm...it was OK. It smelled good, which is a good start. It tastes just fine which is also great. It's a little bit watery but that is easily fixed in the next batch.  However it had a bit of pulp in it, which we could get used to but I'd rather just not have it there.

Trial and error! I am very excited to try to make rice milk. I used to buy it when I went off soy milk for a while, but the commercial brand all have SO MUCH sugar in it (and some even seem to have corn syrup) so I refuse to buy it. But if I make my own plain rice milk, it'll be just fine.

The only thing is, our Santiarium stuff was fortified with B12 and calcium - so we're going to have to up the ante on other aspects of our diet to incorporate it. Lots of brocolli, I think. We haven't eaten that for a while. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I made a couple of recipes from the PPK :)

I stumbled upon this recipe for 'Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes' on the Post Punk Kitchen blog and had to try it. I'm always on the look out for ways to eat tempeh that isn't disgusting. This is definately one of them.
Look how disgusting tempeh looks! It's like congealed set vomit with lumpy bits, and not cooked properly that's kinda what it tastes like. This one was actually the cheapest one in the store - I got it at $4.75 for 125g. I chose it because it had chilli bits in it as you can see, and I thought that'd probably make it taste better again. Another thing wrong with tempeh is that it's so damn expensive. Last time I used a tofu-tempeh mixed block which was a good stepping stone (and cheaper at about the same price for twice as much), this time we were ready for the real stuff.

Man these cake things were good. As you can see from the top picture I served it with steamed mixed veges (carrot, home grown beans, farmer's market white radish, a very sweet yellow squash and some asparagus) and some steamed-then-grilled potatoes. Oh, and a chunk of extremely delicious organic avocado I couldn't resist picking up at the same store I got the tempeh from.
The little patties were very easy to form (I think they would make a good burger pattie or sausage if rolled into the right shape). I made mine smaller than the recipe did because I made 14 instead of 10. We had enough to eat for lunch today :) I also made heaps of the veges and reheated them today as well.

Yum. Pretty sure that I'll be using this recipe quite a bit as I start to be able to afford tempeh a little more often :)
This is another thing I made from the Post Punk Kitchen blog - Chickpea Picatta. It's a very simple dish of chickpeas (duh), garlic, onion, capers and white wine. I was so excited at finding a recipe with chickpeas that WASN'T a curry that I couldn't wait to make it and it didn't dissapoint. Though the greens I chose to serve it on (I bought some chicory at the farmer's market as I'd never had it before) were a little too bitter for the dish it was still really delicious overall. Nadine didn't mind the bitter though. I also decided to serve it on mashed potatoes as the recipe suggests - but since I don't like mashed potatoes I mashed in a parsnip with it, and it worked.

Unless you can find a really cheap vegan white wine to use in this recipe, it's not THAT cheap to make (well, compared to other recipes I make) but we just drank the rest of the bottle with dinner so there was no wastage! Well I had beer, someone else finished all the wine ;)

I cooked up a massive batch of chickpeas (they take so damn LONG) and have frozen the rest to use later. I'm using some tonight as a matter of fact, in a recipe from a cookbook I just bought myself, I am very excited about trying a recipe.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I baked some muffins today! these Carrot Spice Muffins from FatFreeVegan blog. They turned out perfectly! I had heaps of carrots in the fridge to use before they went bad (I bought a 2kg bag at the farmer's markets because we usually use carrots in everything! Haven't used them once. I resorted to taking carrot sticks to work.) Anyway really yummy muffins. Make them. They are tasty AND healthy.

I made this DELICIOUS loaf for dinner tonight. There aint nothing like a good vege loaf. I think I've found my Christmas dinner :) It is Beetloaf by The Stripey Cat. It held together really really well even though I cut it almost as soon as I got it out of the oven. We had it with steamed corn, brocolli, carrots and beans from the garden.

It's a little blurry but the loaf is bright pink and yummy.

And Bob looked too cute today, dozing (literally all day) on the spare bed. :)


Excuse me while I take a break from cleaning my disgusting unit and drink my coffee and tell you how much I love bicarb soda!

It made the top of my stove white again. You know, you spill red sauce on it once and are too lazy to wipe it straight away then weeks later you have an orange baked on mess around every single gas element? Yum!

I tried using un diluted eucalyptus oil first because I didn't really want to scratch off the top of my stove with the bicarb (I don't feel like paying for a replacement when we decide to rent elsewhere) and it worked to an extent. It got most of the actual stains off but it was still a mess so I sprayed the hell out of it with a white vinegar/water/eucalyptus/tea tree oil mix (we use this for general surface cleaning) and sprinkled on liberal amounts of the magical white powder, left it there for about half an hour while I scrubbed the grime off the sink and then came at it with a dish cloth.

Shiny! And not scratched. Good selling point. Not scratched that I can see.

Disclaimer: our house isn't THAT disgusting. Well it's not 'how clean is your house?' feral...but it's getting there (joking! ha). We clean once a week, but within seconds our cats tuft bits of fur all over the place and we are back where we started. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carribean Curry - Black eyed peas and sweet potato

I have been so broke this week because I spent all my money on Christmas presents (I got in early this year) and a few...quite a lot rather, new things for me! I shouldn't be allowed to spend money. But I now have enough vintage dresses to last me my whole life! Almost.

Anyway very very cheap meals have been on the menu. I don't really ever make expensive meals, this IS a cheap food blog for students such as myself after all, but you really can't get any cheaper than lentils and rice.  Last night I made a dal type thing which was quite yummy, though looked like vomit so I won't post the picture. Only thing is I keep forgetting to put carrot in my cooking, which is annoying because I have almost 2kg in the fridge going soft. I might just make a carrot cake.

Tonight I made this Carribean Curry with black eyed peas and plaintains from Post Punk Kitchen.

Black eyed peas are pretty much my new favourite legume. I don't know what a plaintain is, and I've never seen one so I used sweet potato which I think was suggested as an option. Though if I do see one I'll probably buy it - it does look rather intriguing.

Anyway! This recipe was pretty damn good - fluro yellow, from the curry powder I bought - but very delicious.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fruit of the Month - Tamarillo

Tamarillo! I have had one of these before, ages ago, probably in New Zealand, but I couldn't remember what it tasted like. Though I did remember that I liked it, which was the main thing. (Then again, I remember liking corned beef but I doubt I'll ever pick some up in the supermarket just to recap ;)).
I wasn't sure how to eat it. Do I just bite into it like an apple? Hmm. I eventually decided to just cut it in half and eat it like a kiwifruit.
Yuuuuuuuummmm. I just scopped out the inside bits with a teaspoon and ate it. You just sort of swallow it (lots of seeds) rather than chew. It's a lot like a passionfruit. It even tastes a bit like a passionfruit. The one I bought was still a little bitter, but I don't mind. It's part of the Solanacae family, ie, the same family as tomatoes so it does have a little bit of characteristic tartness.
First I started just eating the seeds then decided to just eat the whole lot. Not sure if the skin is edible but I think it is gathering from just the introduction on this website. If only I could afford more of them! I'd love to try it in muffins. Unfortunately they cost $1.94 each at the moment, and I'm pretty sure I can't justify buying a whole heap. Damn.

Friday, October 29, 2010

More homemade ravioli

A week or so ago I cooked up some pumpkin and spinach (I think I used silverbeet) mush to put inside ravioli and promptly froze it. I finally decided to make the actual ravioli the other day, and since I still had some of those beetroot left from the farmers market I juiced it and used the juice in place of water in Bryanna Clark Grogan's homemade pasta recipe. It totally worked =D I've been wanting to make bright purple pasta since forever, so this was the perfect oppurtunity.
Also, I made the pasta out of whole meal flour, but I think next time I'll go 70% whole meal/30% white or half and half - it didn't hold together quite as well as usual. Though that also could have been influenced by the chopped herbs I added to the dough - I think I didn't chop them small enough.

Anyway, the beetroot did add a slight beetroot taste to it but not enough to not match the rest of the dish. I was worried it wouldn't 'go' with the tomato sauce or even the pumpkin filling, but it was fine.

Because it was all whole meal flour it took a fair bit longer to cook than normal too. But that's ok :)

We just had it with herbed bread and a basic tomato sauce. Pretty much the same one I always make except I used tinned tomatoes because my wirst was still hurting yesterday! Unfortunately it feels better so I think I'll be going to work this weekend ;)

I still have almost a litre of the pumpkin/silverbeet mixture so I think I'll make some more ravioli soon. Maybe green? or orange? I have heaps of carrots to use...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monster Salad and cake

I don't tend to like salads very much. I love potato salad and pasta salads though, nice big bowls of carby goodness! When I go out to a restaurant for dinner, I usually assume that a salad will be the only vegan option - usually even salads aren't a vegan option, they are either covered in eggy milky mayonaise, creamy dressings, cheese, or pieces of decomposing cows, chickens, pigs and or ducks! Who puts meat in a freaking salad? Don't even get me started on the other vegetarian options so loaded with cheese you'll have a heart attack just looking at it...!

ANYWAY, today I was planting some beetroot seeds in the garden (I planted some a few weeks ago just before the rains came so I think they rotted before they sprouted) and I noticed 1 radish was ready to be eaten, and that I had millions more butter beans since yesterday! So I harvested it all and wanted to eat it. There's no better way to eat freshly picked radishes and beans than raw, so I decided to make it into a salad.

And damn was it GOOD!

The massive bowl full includes: kale, a large handful of butter beans, 1 sliced spring onion, 1 cob of fresh corn stripped of it's kernels (best way to eat corn!), the 1 tiny radish, 1 tomato, the leaves of the radish, 1 tbsp avocado oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and some black pepper.

Argh I just remembered I was going to put some fresh parsley and basil leaves in it too but I forgot. It was still delicious without them though! The avocado oil and corn mix really well.

I was struggling to finish it by the end, but I managed :)

Since it'll be summer soon, I'm going to try and eat raw at least once a week, or every lunch or something like that. There's nothing quite as refreshing (except perhaps a mojito in Spain) and if I keep getting beans, this type of salad will come up often :)

Yesterday I had a bit of an accident while riding to tafe on my bike! I thought I would make it over this tiny little gutter (actually I knew I wouldn't make it but went anyway) and I hit it at the wrong angle and completely stacked it on the concrete! I've ended up with a twisted wrist, bruised shoulder bones, bleeding knee and bruised swollen ankle. What a freakin pain the the ass!

I still made it to school and all the way home on my bike though which is good. Apart from the falling, it felt really good to ride all the way. I've been trying to ride to school a few times lately, but it's mostly failed. The first time I tried I nearly fainted and died (time of month = very low iron levels), the next time I got too hot and ended up with a little bit of heat stroke...so on and so forth. But this time I just kept going! (There's a huge big hill, but once you get over it it's all downhill from there!) So falling and hurting myself has ruined my endeavour to ride to school every day this week. I'll have to start again next Tuesday. Argh!

SO I decided to stay home from school today (I think driving would hurt my shoulder) and I baked myself a big ass banana cake.

I have used this recipe maybe 4 or 5 times now and it's still amazingly good. Everyone I've served it to loves it. I don't even like cake! Or bananas! I found it somewhere on the internet. It's a pretty basic recipe that I have tweaked a tiny bit.

Vegan Banana Cake
Serves 8 (or 2 pigs like us!)


2 cups whole meal flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw sugar (this time I used about 1/2 cup raw vanilla sugar* and filled the rest up with dextrose**)
1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (this is the type that tastes like coconut)
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essense


In one bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda.

In another bowl, whisk or beat the sugar and oil together. Mash in the bananas and add the water and vanilla. Stir well.

Plonk the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stir until combined. (Mixture may be quite thick - every time I've made this I've used a different type of oil. This one is the best so far.) Pour into a lightly greased springform cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, in an oven at 180 degrees C.

Let cool for minute and serve!

Sometimes I make up a 'cream cheese' icing using tofutti better than cream cheese, or simply sprinkle icing sugar (powdered sugar) on top. It doesn't need any topping at all unless you feel like it :) The cream cheese one is the nicest, though, but my local supermarket stopped carrying tofutti, which is probabaly a good thing...

*When I buy vanilla beans to use the seeds I just put the pods in a jar of sugar. It will taste of vanilla almost instantly!
**I'm trying to use up the last of my dextrose because I want to use real sugar again...or stevia or something. Dextrose is a bit too processed for my liking. I'll have to research it a bit more I think!

I had this a little while after my monster salad with a cup of freshly brewed Italian plunger coffee with a glob of So Good Vanilla Bliss ice cream in it :) I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I like it with cakes and muffins and cookies etc. I also usually drink it black with no sugar but my lovely Nadine bought me the ice cream last night when I was in my invalid state :) Aawww <3

Monday, October 25, 2010

A pictorial update of my garden - busy busy :)

Sweet basil - is very very healthy and happy right now :)

Soy bean flowers! Aren't they adorable?

Most amazing thing I've ever seen - huge angry wasp diving straight for a huge caterpillar on my soybeans that I didn't even see. It laid it's eggs in it. That is a beneficial.

First beans of a season :) They were tasty.

First purple climbing beans will be ready soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fruit of the month!

I always like to try a new fruit or vegetable every now and then, and now that I work at a fruit shop with a pretty good variety of exotics, I can just pick something up!

This one is called a Wax Jambu (or jambo as the sign at work spelled it ;)) and it is the fruit of a species of Lilly Pilly (Syzigium samarangense). This website has a little bit of information about it.

I have eaten other types of lilly pilly fruit in the past, and liked them, so I just had to buy these and try :) (For some reason the first search that came up was a vegan website lol).

The wax jambu is like eating a star fruit (or carambola) but without the acid. It's freakin delicious, and today if I get to work early I'm going to buy more. One for every day of the week!

The neighbours have lined their fence with small-leaved lilly pillys (second link) and they just went into flower, which means - fruit! Their trees happen to be dropping over MY fence therefore they are up for grabs. Unfortunately, I think the possums have gotten to the blossoms...they have stripped the other neighbours avocado tree of it's flowers, and the other neighbours mango tree of it's flowers (me = very sad) so it wouldn't surprise me if the lilly pilly flowers are gone too.

So worth the $8.99/kg price ticket. It's not that expensive - they barely weigh anything.

I knwo of a few quandong trees in a public space that I may be able to get fruit off, too...at least I'm sure I can gather the fruits that have fallen to the ground. Muaha.

I had this randomly delicious meal for lunch today. I wasn't expecting it to taste so good :) It's basically brown rice, Fry's Chicken Nuggets, and sautee'd kale, beetroot stems, sliced ginger and garlic with vegan butter and a blob of vegan tom yum soup paste. I drizzled soy sauce over the top, but may have put too much because it was a bit salty...I even managed to get in a bit of weights work while I was waiting for the rice to cook! Not much, but it was something. I've been quite slack lately. Usually only managing a couple of sun salutes in the mornings, which is better than nothing I suppose.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies + new kitty :)

I tried to make choclate chip cookies today :)
As you can see they are really more like choclate chip cakes! Delicious, but not cookies! It might be the applesauce I used instead of half the oil...here is the recipe anyway :)

Chocolate chip cookies cakes
Makes about 26


1 cup flour (I used wholemeal)
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup oat bran
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (Woolworths home brand is the only one I can find with no added sugar)
3/4 cup dextrose (or 3/4 cup sugar, I just have dextrose to use at the moment)
3/4 cup dextrose + 1 tbsp molasses (or 3/4 cup brown sugar)
Seeds of one vanilla bean
2 tbsp flaxeeds, ground and mixed with 4 - 6 tbsp hot water
1 cup chocolate chips of choice (I used 150g packet of Sweet William milk chocolate chips)

First, grind your flaxseeds and mix them with the water. I use a mortar and pestle, good arm work out! Haha. Set aside to thicken.

Mix flour, oat bran, wheat germ, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl beat together the oil, applesauce, sugars and vanilla bean seeds. Add in flax egg.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture into the oil mixture. Once combine stir through your chocolate chips.

Set oven to 200 degrees celcius. Drop tablespoon sized blobs of cookie dough on a baking tray that is either greased or has baking paper on it. Flatten them down with your fingers or a fork (fingers works better). Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool on the tray for a while, then transfer them to a wire cooking rack or plate to finish. If you try to move them while they're still hot, a) you'll burn yourself and b) they'll fall apart!

While not exactly what I wanted, they still taste damn good :) I've eaten about 6 already and now I feel sick. Surprise surprise! I really shouldn't bake when I am at home alone :)

We got our second cat a couple of weeks ago! She's so tiny, but apparently she is 3 years old. Her name is Charlee (that was her name from her previous owners, who I think had to surrender her because they could no longer look after her). She loves to play with catnip filled toys and toys in general, and likes to sleep on our bellies at night.

She and Bob have had their fair share of tiffs so far (I came home one day to find Charlee had missing chunks of fur on the back of her neck!) but they are getting used to each other. There's a bit of hissing but it's lessening haha. They even both sat on our bed this morning at the same time!

Bob likes to get in my way. She's getting a bit fat. We'd feed her less but she eats Charlee's food as well :S

Charlee likes to watch me update my blog :)

It's extremely windy today. Beautiful clear blue skies and lots of sun, but very very windy. The neighbours tree snapped just before. It's pretty tall and thin. It's some type of melaleuca. I should go get my washing in before it ends up in Perth.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lemon-scented myrtle

These are the freshly picked leaves (the top one is dried) of a lemon scented myrtle or Backhousia citriodora. Crush them between your fingers and smell the strong lemon scent it's name describes!

I have been drinking infused lemon myrtle leaves for ages, bought from the supermarket in packets! I never knew it just grew...on trees :S silly me. Anyway, I'll never buy it again. All you do is pick a few leaves (I usually use two or three per cup) crush them up and put in your tea infuser or teapot as you would regular tea leaves, and infuse until it's as strong as you like! I now know of a few big trees I can sneak some leaves off discreetly...however, when I have a house with a yard, the first tree I'll plant will be a Backhousia citriodora, unless one happens to already be there!

I always drank this because I liked the taste. I didn't know of the health benefits it also has! This website explains well.

It apparently helps relieve cramps, spasms, headaches and fevers, strengthen the immune system and fight cellulite, of all things! You can have it as a tea hot or cold, crush it and add to foods as a dried herb for a lemony flavour...I especially like the adding to your water bottle suggestion. Plain water gets boring.

I usually just leave the leaves out on a shelf and use them as I want them. I could put them into an air tight container once they are fully dry but I never bother, though I might now as it's getting hotter and more humid.

My garden is thriving...

...after the straight week of lovely rain we've had!

It amuses me, this rain phenomenon. There has been a loooongg drought here for the past few years (I'm not sure how I'd put a number on it) but this year (and the year before last) our wet season is a wet season again.

When it rains here it bloody pours, and keep pouring until the sky runs out! Floods everywhere, a fair amount of destruction, wondering whether the end of your street is under water and you'll be able to get to work or not..! For me, this year was tame. I didn't once have to call work to say I couldn't drive through the gushing water! (Though if I had I would have been quite ashamed - a lady I work with had to drive for 2.5 hours to make it to work on time, in a 4wd, through flood water. Yes.) However, the year before last I was living in another flat (though in the same suburb) and a dam or creek or river broke it's banks in the sheer amount of rain that we were having! I wasn't home, but my flatmates car got filled with water and actually floated away. Ha. Lucky I wasn't home because my car would have floated away too! (The neighbour was saved by an old fridge that was under the block of units that had floated/crashed through his fence and lodged itself over the stairs by his front door!

Anyway enough about that stuff. The point was that the garden loved the fresh water.

Butter beans and their flowers are growing strongly!
I am so excited to have my own vegetables. It's going to be a tiny but productive little garden plot.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kebab sticks with peanut sauce

This is one of the best meals I have made lately. Basically kebab sticks with eggplant, button mushrooms, asparagus and tempeh. Serve it on top of rice with peanut sauce! We also drank a glass of rose wine with it too. Instead of actual tempeh, I bought this tofu-tempeh which was 80% tofu and 20% tempeh. We don't realllly like tempeh (hate it haha, It's revolting) so I thought this would be nice as a transition to help get used to it. It's not too tempeh-y but still has some of the health benefits that tofu alone doesn't have.