Saturday, December 8, 2012

Melbourne food post #1...Vegie Bar.

Well it has certainly been an age since I typed anything in here. Last time I did I believe it was freezing cold. Now it's practically Christmas, which is a scary thought in itself.

Anyway, Nadine and I went on holiday a couple of months back to Melbourne. We often go to Melbourne (well this is the second time together, and I'm sure there'll be many more trips there in the future). I love Melbourne for the food, the cute little old houses and the fact that it is as flat as a pancake. (Likewise I love Brisbane for the cute big old houses and it's hills). We spent almost our entire holiday budget for Melbourne on food and alcohol. Almost, because on the first day there we had to buy warm jumpers because we were idiots and took cardigans that didn't even have full sleeves. We also hired a car to drive out to Hanging Rock where we drank nice wine and had a picnic.

Anyway onto some food. Vegie Bar is always a winner because it is so cheap, the meals are huge and it's always delicious. We went a couple of times this trip.
Nadine had the burrito. Barely managed to finish it.

I had the nachos, which were indeed the biggest plate of nachos I have ever eaten. They don't really skimp on anything, this Vegie Bar place.

We also had a carafe of sangria this time too, since we were eaten Mexican food. It was good sangria but not as nice as my own recipe. That might be because of the amount of vodka I pour into it.

We went to vegie Bar again just before the end of our trip, since we were running out of money and I didn't have anywhere to access the internet to look up other vegan friendly establishments...And I was so desperate for food this time because I'd just gotten a new tattoo and on the tram trip up the road there it hit me that I'd just had needles scraping my wrist and therefore felt a little faint.

Our starter was the dumplings. I love dumplings. I should make my own again one day soon. Can you get gluten free dumpling wrappers? Or does anyone know a good recipe for me to make my own? These ones were filled with some sort of vegetable/mushroom/tvp(?) mixture and had a soy sauce dip.
Nadine ordered the faux duck stir fry, which was delicious and spicy and oily, but I avoided too much of it since by this point in the trip I'd eaten so much gluten my intestines were about to wrench themselves out of my gut to put themselves out of their misery.
I ordered...I can't remember really, also can't remember if it was technically gluten free, but it was thick rice noodles with lots of different types of mushrooms (and as far as I can recall, no fake meat things). It was delicious. Savoured every last bite.

So that was our Vegie Bar experience this time. No desserts were sampled because there is no way we would have fit them in! Maybe next time. I would also like to try them for breakfast - we wanted to this time but the day we chose they were closed.

Next installment will be pub food! Yes, pubs in Melbourne have vegan stuff. I was floored. Vegan parma? Bring it on.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chia, it's what's for breakfast.

2 tbsp chia seeds, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1 heaped tsp cocoa powder unsweetened, vanilla essense, banana, coconut and molasses. Mix together and leave overnight in the fridge or just until all the liquid is absorbed.

After one gets used to the texture this stuff is pretty good :) Slimy tapioca.

2 tablespoons of chia seed has 8g protein, about 9000mg of omega-3, 3500mg omega-6, 20g fiber, and almost 40% of your daily calcium. Sounds good.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


White beans, basil and miso paste make one damn tasty pesto.

From Quick Fix Vegan. Instead of pasta we found some rice noodles which were just the right width to use instead. Gluten free pasta is essentially rice flour anyway, this just costs a fraction of the price.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Some eats and new stuff

We found cous cous made from corn at the supermarket. It costs about the same as regular wheat cous cous (which makes my stomach hurt like a mofo) and you cook it the same way. It's nice, but itsn't much like actual cous cous. I think it tastes like as if I had got a bit of frozen corn, defrosted it and blended it til it was chopped up. Nadine thinks it tastes like the crumbs on the outside of nuggets. It's a good quick standby grain but I won't be running to the shops to buy more...
Speaking of corn I've mostly been eating polenta porridge for breakfast. Cheaper than the quinoa stuff. This one is just polenta, strawberries, banana and lots of homemade applesauce.
At $6 for 300g of pasta this is Not Cheap. In fact, it's even MORE expensive because even though it says it serves 4 on the packet, I think it'd be stretching to serve 2. However it is damn delicious, chewy like gluteny pasta, and doesn't go mushy. It was divine. Special Treat Only I think.
I'm going to stick to my regular gluten free pasta I buy at woolies. Can't remember the brand but it's in a green bag and costs about $3.50 for 500g. In this picture I just roasted some potato, brussels sprouts, capsicum, onion and garlic in a little oil, and just before they were done I mixed in some lemon juice and a crap ton of black pepper. Served on GF pasta. It was pretty damn good.
Microwave self saucing pudding certainly self sauced here! Next time I make it I'll write it all down and take a better picture to share. It's so good and makes a nice quick dessert when you want something just that little bit extra after tea.
We went over to my sister's new house to have tea and she made us this delicious Japanese curry with potatoes, peas, carrot and chickpeas. I wanted to eat seconds but she had a apple and raspberry crumble in the oven. Which was pretty amazing too =D

Well there will be lots of cheap bean-and-rice type meals over here in the near future since apparently I have to get the clutch in my car replaced soon. Ah the joys of modern living. Good thing I really like rice and beans =D A good eat cheap tip I always liked was to eat in season. For example cauliflower is not in season in the summertime, so why spend $5 on one tiny cauli? At the moment it's about $1.50, since it's in season. And they are rather large. Buy in season.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hello July!

It is, indeed, July already. People are already buying Christmas presents, either doing their tax returns or throwing it in the too hard basket, and shivering under MANY MANY BLANKETS AND/OR DOONAS.
BECAUSE IT IS SO COLD. Actually it's not so bad right now because it is raining, foggy and humid. Our cats have the right idea - Charlee finds the hot water bottle and sits on that part of the bed. Hogger.
It was BLOODY FREEZING when we got up for the half marathon. A lot of people wear jumpers they don't want while they warm up them throw them to the side of the road when done with them. They get collected for the red cross or some other charity I think. Pretty sure I'll do that next year. This year we palmed ours off to Nadine's mother who gallantly got up with us at 4am for support!
I managed to run 15 of the 21.1km (in hindsight this probably wasn't the greatest idea I've ever had, considering the lack of training) and managed to finish in 2:48:34 - 15 mins faster than last year. And it took only a couple of days for my legs to start working properly rather than the week it took last year. I was quite chuffed =D

This Sunday coming we are running the 5k Jetty to Jetty in Redcliffe, hopefully the rain ceases...
In other things, I was nominated by Theresa at the Tropical Vegan for the Food Stories blog award which asks that we share a random fact about ourselves and then pass it along to 5 other bloggers.
Yay! Thank you :) I like to get awards. I dunno about my story telling though, it's mostly just babbling...

So here is my random fact:
I miss my long hair (longer than this picture, I could sit on it but I couldn't find a photo), and the red, and my eyebrow piercing. I've still got the ponytail I hacked off just before my yr 12 formal (considering selling it - how does one go about that?) Can't really get another eyebrow thing cuz there is scar tissue on both and it'll hurt like hell, besides, one got infected and the other...I walked into a door and that was the end of that. I'm going to try dying my hair more naturally with red henna because bleach is just Not Good. I may even keep growing it - we'll see how long it gets before I crack the shits and get the clippers out.

Now for the 5 other bloggers: I nominate anyone who reads my blog to go ahead and do it if you want :)

I promise there will be food in the next post! I found gluten free cous cous! Nadine has been cooking yummy things this week! My sister had us over for a delicious Japanese curry with apple and raspberry crumble for dessert!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gluten, gluten, oh how I love thee...

Hey y'all! I haven't really been up to date in blog land for a while. There's been a lack of motivation and busy-ness and all that jazz :)
Brain food: Laksa stir fry with lots of colours.
This is what my life tends to look like evenings after work. I've enrolled in college! Yay! Back to school again for Emma. I'm doing an Advanced Diploma of Nutrtional Medicine and so far it's pretty interesting. I'm doing 3 classes at the moment because I still need to work full time to pay rent and feed the cats and all. I haven't actually got up to the nutrition part yet. So far I've started Anatomy and Physiology 1 and Chemistry...I thought chemistry would be a lot more daunting but as it turns out the elements are the same in the garden as they are in our bodies so I already recognise a lot of the themes. I'm also doing a communication class to get it over and done with...already had a panic attack and burst into tears at the thought of doing roleplays so we'll see how it goes! I do that class in the evenings on Tuesdays on campus. The others I'm doing online which is textbooks and I can take a long as I need to.

Well that's that, other news is that I am (oh joy) gluten intolerant! Fun times lay ahead. It's not too bad. I am currently trial-and-erroring what gluten I can and can't handle...unfortunately oats, as in porridge, make me feel and look pregnant. I eat ate oats pretty much every day!! Oh well.
I decided I'd try some quinoa flakes instead of oats to make a porridge like meal for breakfast.
Following the directions on the packet, however, turns it into a textureless watery mess (though tasty). So I experimented a little bit and found that if I mixed equal parts of liquid and the flakes in a bowl and zapped it in the microwave for one minute it made an almost porridge texture (I eat mine really thick). So quinoa will do as a substitute - it's a bit expensive though. I might try rice flakes and see if they do the same thing. I'm also going to try rolled spelt and see if it upsets my stomach (I may also try rolled rye).

Apparently the gluten in each grain is slightly different and it all depends on your body as to whether you can handle it or not. Some things are easier to substitute than others (I've found a good bread mix to make in my breadmaker, and I've been eating gluten free pasta for ages).
Pastry was a hard thing...but I found a good recipe online that I liked the results of. You can find it here.

It rolled out nicely like a regular gluteny crust and baked up nice and soft like a proper shortcrust. (Rice flour based pastry goes rock solid). The strips I used in the lattice were a bit fragile but they did the job! It tasted good and texture was delicious, though a teensy bit dry. I didn't measure my margarine so that may have been the reason. I reccommend this recipe if you want to try your hand at a gluten free crust :)
When we cut the pie it fell apart a little...cutting it straight out of the fridge the next day had far better results :P oh well, was still delicious. It's just a raspberry and apple pie by the way, with a bit of homemde vanilla ice cream from the Veganomicon cookbook. I like that ice cream better than store bought soy stuff but it tastes  little tofu-y to someone not used to the taste. I'm wondering if steaming the tofu before making the ice cream would do anything?

It's good to be back in blog land. Unfortunately my unmotivation stretched into my half marathon training so I definately won't be running the whole thing in two weeks time. I'll run as far as I can though! I'll pick it up again for the Bridge to Brisbane methinks.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I grew it myself :)

Monday, May 21, 2012


I made these up on the spot tonight because I wanted some sort of energy snack to eat before I run/exercise (and to stop myself from just eating the delicious organic fresh dates I'd bought to make them all at once). These are probably very similar to a million other recipes on the internet.


1 cup raw almonds
1 cup sultanas
10 fresh dates, pitted
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp spirulina powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tahini

Pulse the almonds until they are evenly chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined. If the mixture doesn't stick together, add a tablespoon or two of water until it does. Form into balls and keep in the fridge until ready to eat!

Spirulina tastes like what it looks like - Green. I like the taste, some people don't like the taste of Green. If you're not sure, perhaps start with a smaller amount :) I put it in my porridge everyday with cocoa powder and it looks like disgusting grey sludge but tastes pretty good. Green, I mean, spirulina, is full of iron, B12, calcium and other good things. As a plus it is easily absorbed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meal planning!

Every week we try our best to write a meal plan and stick to it. This saves us a helluva lot of time and money. Time because it means we go to the shops once, and money because we aren't tempted to buy random stuff.
I either go for cookbooks or blogs first. Blogs I tend to use if I see something really inspiring or something that sounds particularly delicious. This week I went for cookbooks (mainly because Nadine bought me a new one - Quick Fix Vegan).
This week I picked out three - depends on how many I can be bothered looking through :)

Then we flick through and pick 2 salady things for work lunches, and dinners to cook every other night with leftovers in between. This way our fridge doesn't keep piling up with leftovers and we don't have to cook every single night. I also write the shopping list as I go so I don't miss anything. It generally isn't very long because I try to keep staples stocked in my pantry (tin tomatoes, beans, rice etc.) 

So this weeks food:
Snow balls in Hell from Quick Fix Vegan. Very tasty, though the balls were a little dry and ther ecipe didn't make much saue really. I'd double the sauce next time.

Moroccan Spiced Couscous from Quick Fix Vegan. This was for lunched and SO SO GOOD. I love cous cous salads and the combination of all the flavours made it pretty amazing. I like to look forward to my lunches while I'm at work.
Fettucine Alfonso from Ultimate Uncheese.  I can't really remember this. It wasn't bad :P
Vegetable Biryani from the Oxfam vegetarian cookbook. Now this one fed us for days - and tasted better the next day then even better the day after that! We used quinoa in it instead of whatever was supposed to be...rice I think. I was sad when it ran out.

Another salad for the week was Soba Slaw also from Quick Fix Vegan. No pictures but that salad was so incredibly good. I could have eaten it all day.

So there you have it. How we organise our kitchen time :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Lately we have been enjoying a basic bowl of cooked whole grains for breakfast. Once a week I'll cook up a cup each of whole oats and brown rice, mix them together and it lasts us a few days. I'll generally use 2/3-1 cup of the cooked grain as a serving. In this bowl I;ve got oats and rice, raw almond milk, tahini, banana, chopped dried apricots, chia seeds and molasses. I usually heat up the grains and then pour cold milk on top.

It tastes good, has a good texture and is very filling without being too heavy. I like that in a breakfast.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Autumn is kicking in

Our favourite afternoon snack since regular, reasonably priced bread is out of the question temporarily: Baked sweet potato fries and decaf coffee. I just cut a sweet potato into large fry-like pieces, coat them in a few tsp of rice bran oil (depending on how much I'm making), liberally apply fresh cracked sea salt and bake in the oven at 220 degrees C for about 45 minutes. I like to make the edges a little bit burnt so I sometimes just leave it in til the coffee has finished brewing or something. At (still!) 49c a kilo, this is one cheap snack, that's much better for us than our toast with margarine and jam :)

Now, about the gluten thang.

Nadine decided she wanted to the Quantum Wellness Cleanse (a book by Kathy Freston, find it here on FishPond) so naturally I would do it with her (makes food prep easier and all that) which is basically going without sugar, alcohol, gluten, caffiene and animal products for 3 weeks. Why not? I'm sure my body could do without those for a while, particularly the caffiene. We weren't going to do the gluten part in the first place, but then I heard from a coworker that someone she knew (who wasn't a celiac, OR intolerant OR allergic to gluten/wheat) decided to try going gluten free to fix up her skin which was dry and excema-y. And of course it worked very well and her skin cleared up really quickly. So I thought, hmm. My hands and forearms are covered in dermatitis. And it hurts. And it's really gross. Maybe gluten could be the problem.

So there you have it, I'm seeing if gluten is aggravating the dermatitis. After the three weeks if it has cleared up (I am starting an indoors job soon so that should help too) I will start eating gluteny things again and if it flares up, well, then I'll know. It'll suck, but it's a small price. Who knows, it could be soy, or sugar, or some random unlikely fruit or vegetable. (I could just go to the doctor and get tested, but I don't want to, and they tend to just prescribe cortisone - been there done that, don't want to have to use that again.)

So anyway, today's lunch was just delicious. I made the curried pumpkin soup I found on Scandi Foodie and splurged on some gluten free bread to eat it with.
I was going to make my own bread but I got a bit lazy.
You have to spend a little bit more to buy gluten free bread that is also vegan. A lot of gluten free bread uses eggs and milk - I believe it helps with binding and rising. I say pish posh to your eggs and milk. Unecessary.

This loaf is pretty good, and the ingredients are nice excpet one - palm oil. I mean, really? That'll be my motivation to bake my own when this loaf runs out ( I predict tomorrow). It toasted up really well, though I tried to defrost one piece just to eat as bread and it kind of went all squishy in the microwave. Maybe if I just leave it out until it's ready...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

ABC of Me.(a survey)

I haven't done one of these since forever, so I thought why not? Found it at Tahini Too.

A is for age: I am 22 but my birthday is days away :)
B is for breakfast today: Cooked oat groats and brown rice heated up with some soy milk, raw almonds, banana, chia seeds and molasses.
C is for currently craving: Something chewy and gluteny. Like a huge bowl of pasta. Or a loaf of bread. (more on this later).
D is for dinner tonight: The quinoa puttanesca from Appetite for Reduction. I added some beans and a zucchini and used 1x400g can of tomatoes plus 4 large fresh ones (instead of 1x800g can). I also didn't use wine.
It's a terrible photo but it's the most delicious thing I've had for a wile. I love capers.

E is for favorite type of exercise: I'm getting into running at the moment. Though we had a larger weekend than normal and the motivation has fallen a little..
F is for an irrational fear: I have recurring nightmares about being trapped in a hospital when a ginormous tornado is coming. I'd MUCH rather a cyclone or hurricane. Or flood or earthquake. Did you know Arkansas was pronounced Are-can-saw? Learn something new everyday.
G is for gross food: Soggy sandwiches. Disgusting.
H is for hometown: Tauranga, NZ.
I is for something important: A positive attitude.
J is for current favorite jam: Homemade marmalade:
K is for kids: My cats are my kids. I get stressed out when others' children are being irritating (which is pretty much always) imagine if they were mine!
L is for current location: My loungeroom.
M is for the most recent way you spent money:
Shopping for various gluten free flours ^
And fruit and veg. Sweet potatoes were still only 49c/kg!

N is for something you need: I don't really need anything. I do need to go for a run though.
O is for occupation: I am in between jobs - just resigned as a nursery hand and have a job to start next week as an office gopher/phone answerer/and data entry-er.
P is for pet peeve: I have so many it's hard to list them all. People eating with their mouth hanging open is a big one. Charlee's licking. People who talk loudly on mobiles on public transport. The neighbours who stare at me when I whipper snip. Plus many more.
Q is for a quote: Yesterday you said tomorrow.
R is for random fact about you: My big toes on both feet do not have joints. It creeps people out. Hahaha.
S is for favorite healthy snack: Hummus =D I make it every week.
T is for favorite treat: Home made biscuits or bread or ice cream.
U is for something that makes you unique: I have a scar on the top of my head that Nadine found when she shaved it. I don't know how I got it.
V is for favorite vegetable: Pretty sure I like them all. I go through phases.
W is for today’s workout: I'll get off my ass and go for a run in a minute, and then do some weights (since I'll no longer be lifting heavy things all day at work I'll have to keep on that!)
X is for X-rays you’ve had: Teeth/mouth and I've had an echo-cardiogram. That one was fun :)
Y is for yesterday’s highlight: My lunch:
Homemade gluten free wrap bread with lettuce, grated carrot and home grown sprouts on it with a vegie burger patty. My other ones had the baked falafel from Appetite for Reduction on it. Yum. 
Z is for your time zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time. I think.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday: An ooolllddd crochet project

Here is another installment of WIP Wednesday! This one features a very simple striped crochet blanket I made way back in 2006/07. Pretty sure it was my first crochet project, though I could find another one on my unpacking travels. It's just a basic stripe using 2 colours, blue and orange, with a bit of a fancy embellishment - see the heart? I figured out how to do that all by myself! Not that I could tell you how I did it now.

It was just a throw rug/blanket but the cats have claimed it as their own. This thing has been through the washing machine so many times I'm surprised it hasn't fallen to pieces yet.

Anyway, it's been a WIP for pretty much 6 years now and I finally finished it one day! All I wanted to do was this:
Edge the damn thing! It looks SO much better and I can't believe I put it off for 6 years. I did it over two days but it probably only took up an hour of my time. It's just two rows of single crochet stitch all the way around, then I did a slip stitch around the heart to make it stand out. Now it's nicer to look at on the couch, and it should last many more runs through the washing machine now there's no raw edges.

I've also finished two of my curtains:
The first one took forever to do because I hemmed the patterned material and the backing fabric before sewing them together THEN top stitching. (That one is on the left - it's a bit wonky and it has way too much ugly stitching).
This time I've just done ONE hem all the way around up front with a little bit of reinforcing at each tab. Worked way better, it isn't as wonky (thought still a tiny bit!) and took about 1/4 of the time to finish.

Now I can do the third one knowing it isn't going to take me all week...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes

Potatoes are the food for students and those with smaller budgets and everyone in between. They are pretty much almost always cheap (I picked up a 2kg bag of organic potatoes from Woollies for $2) particularly if you buy the unwashed ones. I usually prefer to buy potatoes with red or purple skin because of added health benefits compared to regular white potatoes which are a little bit more expensive but sometimes you can find them at a good price (my local fruit shop had purple skinned potatoes for $2.99/kg for weeks so that's what I was buying). Sweet potatoes are also excellent and often cheap - I just picked up one sweet potato that was as big as my head for 59c/kg. Potatoes won't make you fat, by the way. Silly myth.
Want to know a really easy cheap meal to make showcasing potatoes? Curry. Pretty much any kind of curry can have potatoes in it. This one is the Potato and Pea curry from Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman. All it is is potaotes (duh), frozen peas, onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, coconut milk and garam masala powder. We didn't have to go to the shops to buy anything for this meal (which made 4 large servings) because all the ingredients are basics that I always have. If you don't have garam masala just use curry powder. Or throw in some random Indian spices like coriander, cumin and chilli.

I need to buy a couple of plain white plates I think. Photographing yellow food isn't all that fun when it's on a yellow plate. Under yellow light.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Roasted pumpkin soup

Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Serves 7 as a starter

650g butternut pumpkin (weighed without skin)
350g kent pumpkin (weighed without skin)
1 whole head of garlic
2 small onions
2 cups chicken style stock (or veg stock)
coconut cream and reserved pumpkin seeds for garnish


 Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.

Chop pumpkin into 2 inch chunks. Cut onions into quarters. Put into a bowl with the pumpkin and mix in a bit of sea salt and cracked pepper, and two teaspoons of any neutral cooking oil (I use rice bran). Spread in a single layer on a baking tray. Cut the top off the garlic and peel off the papery part of the skin. Wrap it up in tin foil and stick on the tray with pumpkin. Bake for about 40 minutes or until pumpkin and garlic are soft.

Once cooled a little, put into a food processor (if yours is gigantic you could do it all at once but I had to do mine in batches) with the stock and blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan.

For the pumpkin seeds you could leave raw or wash all the pumpkin pulp off them and dry fry them in a pan until toasted and then chop into pieces.

Heat soup just before serving. If you want it thinner add more water or stock. Garnish with pumpkin seed pieces and a tablespoon of coconut cream :)

 We had this as an entree last night at dinner. My garlic wasn't quite roasted enough so it was very garlicky. Perhaps put the garlic in the oven for 5-10 minutes before the pumpkin. Also my coconut cream was pretty much milk by the time I spooned it on. I'd suggest putting a can of coconut cream in the fridge overnight and using just the thick cream from the top of the can :)

The beauty of pumpkin soup is that it can be a started to pretty much anything and you can add any other seasonings you want (curry powder, italian herbs, etc). I find it quite filling so I try to make sure my main course (especially if dessert is a third course!) a fair bit smaller than usual so as my stomach doesn't explode.

I did have a dessert third course: Chocolate and vanilla ice cream sandwiches! Best idea ever by the way. I made the homemade vanilla ice cream from Veganomicon, and baked the Mocha Mama cookies from Vegan Cookies etc.
I bought the wrong kind of tofu for the ice cream but I just blended it a bit longer and it worked perfectly fine. I am so glad I only made enough ice cream sandwiches for everyone because I'd have eaten any leftovers all at once =D

One tip...make sure your cookies are pretty cold before putting the ice cream on them. Refrigerating would have been a good idea! As you can see it melted a bit. Still good though.