Saturday, 21 August 2010

brunch at green tambourine, brunswick

At the beginning of July, posters started appearing on poles around Brunswick. Green Tambourine! Middle of July! Well, middle of July came and went, and finally, at the very end of July, Green Tambourine opened up on Albion Street.

Just after it opened I had wandered in, on a quest for vegan muffins (they are closer to my house than A Minor Place), which they allegedly had, but they had sold out, and I promised myself that I could go there earlier in the day eventually. But funnily enough, I don't really go out for brunch that often, unless I have a reason. I rarely organise to meet people for brunch just because.

And then, Danni's parents came to town for the weekend! So it seemed like a confluence of events! A SIGN!

beans at green tambourine

I went for beans. The beans come all on their lonesome, so I ordered some toast to go with it. I totally didn't need the toast! The beans were so filling and delicious on their own (though the toast was quite nice too), that the bread was nothing but a delightfully unnecessary aside! But I ate it all up anyway - I do wish, however, that it hadn't been plain, which I assume is a side effect of asking for no butter. The beans were filled with chickpeas, white beans, and kidney beans, and had a mild tomatoey flavour. Lovely!

mushies at green tambourine

Danni went for the mushrooms, without the feta. The mushrooms were also very lovely, nice flavour.

All in all, a nice experience. The decor and ambiance is fun, too - a wood fire in one of the rooms, and the cabinet filled with goodies by the door. Lots of outdoor tables, too, for milder, less cold days.

Prices were ok. My beans cost $9, which is a bit pricey for a bowl of beans and no toast, but given how filling it was, I'll forgive it. Will definitely return again (I still have to try the muffin), especially as it's so close to my house!

Meveg at Eat More Vegies has also reviewed Green Tambourine!

Green Tambourine
179 Albion St

gf available

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

carmel valley chocolate

While I was in Perth, I took the opportunity to stock up on one of my favourite chocolate brands, Carmel Valley Chocolates. Carmel Valley is a locally made Perth chocolate, which I have not been able to find anywhere else. All of their stuff is vegan and gluten-free. They make cocoa chocolate, and carob chocolate, but I far prefer the cocoa chocolate.

Sadly, when I ventured in to Fresh Provs to stock up, they only had a couple of cocoa varieties, and a whole stack of carob varieties! I ended up going with three: my old favourite the hint of orange; and two new flavours, lime and coconut, and pistachio and mandarine.

delicious chocolates

Choc Mint: this is an old favourite, it is delicious. It has just the right amount of orange to chocolate flavour for me.

Lime and Coconut: I liked the coating of dessicated coconut over the top, that was a nice touch; sadly it tasted like cough medicine, and the block has been languishing in the pantry, as neither Danni nor I can bring ourselves to finish it.

Pistachio and Mandarine: the mandarin is so subtle as to be indistinguishable, but the chocolate is nice enough to carry it through, and the pistachio additions are nice. Without the pistachio additions, though, I suspect that this would be a bit bland.

Hannah has also reviewed the coffee bean chocolate.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

happy meat served up by the greens; or, on not leading by example

On Sunday I ventured down with Danni to the Australian Greens' fundraiser at the Noise Bar in Brunswick. There were some nifty bands, and I had been a bit excited in advance to know there was vegan and gluten free food available. Some of it was provided by Anikee at Radical Grocery! Awesome!

Anyway, given they're the Greens, I was a bit disappointed to find out there was also meat being served. The MC spent a while talking about how great this organic, free-range meat was, and where you could purchase it, and then was all 'also, Radical Grocery' without mentioning its awesomeveganness, and I know it's all about outreach and not alienating people but seriously. The organisation I work for is filled with people who get really sulky when the catering is all vegetarian, but nobody complains because it's always prefaced with, 'this event is vegetarian so that we're a bit better for the environment,' so if they can do it, why can't the Greens?

I am sure everyone is sick of us dirty filthy vegan hippies going on about how great it is for the environment to cut out animal products (or at least meat), so here is just one link! It is all about science! At Science Daily, Conscious Choice of Food Can Substantially Mitigate Climate Change, Research Finds. OH YEAH.

OH GREENS. It would not have been difficult for you to set an example! Debunk the happy meat myth!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


I know this won't come as a surprise to anyone, but: Pampered pigs 'feel optimism'. PIGS are capable of feeling optimism and pessimism, depending on their environment, a UK study revealed overnight.

As you know I was in Perth recently! So I blogged a vegan to-do list at Vegaroo!

Hey, so do you like Planet Veg Mel? Now you can like Planet Veg Mel on Facebook! Yeah, we're nerds. What of it?

At Vegansaurus: Surprise! Another quest for “ethical eating” ends in an omnivorous diet.

Monday, 9 August 2010

in house easy malaysian cookery

Danni was recently away for a bit. I didn't really cook very much, because in the middle of it I went to Perth, but when Danni's away I almost always just spend the whole time eating Malaysian food, cooking experimental dishes, and/or eating corn not-on-the-cob, the latter of which Danni doesn't like.

I started with a char kuay teow, because it had been a while and I love ckt.


I've cooked this and blogged ckt approximately fifty bazillion times, but if you're looking for a recipe I've got one here.

The night before I went away, I spent a while emptying the bins, using up leftovers, and psyching myself up to head across town for a late-night gig at onesixone (my friend Alwyn is in a Perth band, Boys Boys Boys!, and the band was in town for one night only!).

I had some rice, a tomato, and some mushrooms, so it seemed like a good time to make tomato fried rice.

tomato fried rice

Here is an important thing to remember: tomatoes are not really in season in Melbourne at the moment. As a result, this rice was not that good. SADFACE.

For your interest, if you've never made tomato fried rice before, it's pretty simple: slice your tomato in to wedges, and throw in first with whatever else goes first (carrots, if you have them, and a little garlic maybe). When the tomato goes soft, throw in the rice, as well as some tomato sauce (translation: ketchup, not soup or paste or anything), pepper, and a tiny smidge of ketjap manis, fry it around until it's all the same colour, then you're done.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

adventures in utopia, northbridge

I was only in Perth for five days, so it was hard to see everyone that I wanted to see. With that in mind, I organised a drop-in dinner at Utopia in Northbridge. I've posted about Utopia previously, and have mentioned before that people either love Utopia, or they hate it. It is all fake meats and deep-fried mushrooms, and karaoke, if you're in to that sort of thing. It's a very Taiwanese place, and everyone loves their bubble tea, though you should be wary of the milk in some of their tea products. And the whey in some of the beef products - to be on the safe side, I never order mock-beef at Utopia.

ANYWAY, Utopia. I used to go at least every second Monday with my friends Alex and Liz, and we'd order approximately the same things every time, and then Alex would proceed to eat everything in large quantities. As a result, I started ordering on reflex when I got to Utopia, even though Alex and Liz couldn't join us!

We all shared, of course, because that's the way you do Chinese food.

I started by ordering us a whole lot of salty fried 'chicken' and crispy fried mushrooms, because that's always my primary reason for eating at Utopia. The salty fried chicken is, well, salty and fried and crispy mock chicken pieces. They are sort of like the LotF nuggets, but a lot crispier and thinner. The crispy fried mushrooms are so soft and squishy when you bite in to them, coated in a crispy batter. It is my favourite, and Liz and I are both on a mission, from opposite sides of the country/planet from Utopia, to try and work out how they do it. Because it is the best.

salty 'chicken' FRIED MUSHROOMS

Also the best: the spicy houtou mushrooms. The I love how spicy these mushrooms are, and I always fight over the cashews at the end because they're so delicious.

spicy houtou mushrooms

Other things we shared included more mushrooms, some bok choy, some curry, an assam 'fish,' and a laksa and a char kuay teow. The ckt is ok, but the laksa is pretty good, and it was fun to share. The laksa is a see-through-time sort, so be warned if you can't take it!

laksa for sharing ckt

Oh Utopia, how I have missed your mushrooms and your crispy 'chicken.' You continue to be delicious. If slightly expensive. I worried for half a second that you had changed your menu, but my fear was for naught: I don't think you ever will.

utopia square
shop 14 (upstairs)
109 james street

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

roasted nomliciousness at the perth squid house

When I was in Perth, my Mum was not the only person to cook for me! Towards the end of my sojourn in Perth, and a mere four hours after my good friend Dr G had returned from European Adventures, I meandered across the city to have dinner with Dr G, Gilli, Paul, Kandace and Rick, and sleep over the night. Sleepovers are the best!

ikea is the best

We sat around and chatted for ages, before we sent Rick off to the kitchen to prepare a roasted feast, for which I had (in advance) declared my desire. Rick is an excellent roaster of noms, and on this occasion he was no less excellent than usual.

roasted noms oh yeah

Our roasted feast featured potatoes, pumpkin, field mushrooms, and carrots, with some last minute peas for some extra colour. We also went old school, with some white bread and thick lashings of, well, in my case, nuttelex, but I believe in their cases some sort of dairy containing margarine.

I love a good roast, and the potatoes and pumpkin were perfect oh yeah. Coincidentally (or not, actually, it's just a good place for a story), it was Dr G who first introduced me to the joys of roasted field mushrooms just over a year ago. Since that initial introduction, I have not looked back, roasting field mushrooms with every roasting opportunity, though Dr G continues to make fun of me for always taking the stem off first (I find it tastier, as the stem can roll about in the pumpkin juices this way).

roasted and ready to nom

After a brief pause, we moved on to dessert. Kandace had modified a lemon and poppyseed recipe for her first attempt at vegan cupcakes, and I am pleased to report that these were a success. We ate these with mango sorbet and chocolate soya (the soya was from the Junction Icecreamery, which remains my favourite icecreamery ever). We conducted some tests to determine the exact proportions of icecream to cupcake necessary to get a hint of icecream flavour without overwhelming the cupcake, a task at which I think all of us succeeded. It was a pretty delicious taste combination.

dessertalicious in exact proportions

Sleepovers! I highly recommend them. Also roasted noms.