Monday, 27 September 2010

cupcake central, hawthorn

(please note: this post contains blurry photos)

On Thursday, I found out that this new cupcake place, recently opened near my office, sells a vegan cupcake! I wasn't at work again last week, so I then spent the whole weekend watching as what seemed like everyone in the world adventured over to try this vegan cupcake! My jealousy grew.

So today, even though we were full from our spud lunch, Emilly and I ventured through the rain for cupcakes.

There is only one vegan cupcake currently available at Cupcake Central: the red velvet cupcake.

vegan red velvet cupcake from cupcake central
i know it's blurry icing - it's focused on the cake!

I have never had a red velvet cupcake before, though I know that many people love them, so I can't really compare it to that. It was nice. I had been warned that it was a bit dry, but the icing helped with that, as I sort of mushed it in to the cake.

Speaking of mushy, whilst I try to open my mouth wide in order to fit the whole cake, icing and all, into my mouth, here is what Fi does:

fi's method of eating tall icing


The cupcake was good, though it could be more flavoursome, but at $3.80 a cupcake, probably only an irregular treat. Which is good, as it's right beside the train station and I'd have to walk by it EVERY DAY.

I'm thinking of baking my own red velvet cupcakes so I have something with which to compare it.

Cupcake Central
Shop 7, 672
Glenferrie Road

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

exclusionary language; or, we're not all coming from the same place

Being an outrageous vegan, I am against the slaughter of animals. I am hip to all those rallies and I am all there for signing your petition. I am already boycotting those shitty animal products, and I am talking about the crappy things done to animals. But I can't get behind the language that is frequently and commonly used, that is exclusionary, sensationalist and othering. Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's overt, but it is always totally unnecessary, and demonstrates just how easy it is for single issue vegans to gloss over the fact that there is diversity amongst us.

For example, this petition currently up at The Australian Government Must Ban Brutal Ritual Slaughter Right Now. I can ignore the odd and slightly unprofessional presentation of this petition, because to expect perfect grammar from everyone would be for me to assume that everyone has the same level of education as me, which is classist (for example); or to assume that nobody can be ESL or be unfamiliar with my dialect of English.

What I cannot ignore is language like this: NO, instead it allows this abhorrently cruel ritual slaughter to continue, a practice that should never have been accepted in Australia in the first place. When this language is used in a discussion of religion, particularly in discussion of a religion that is currently being maligned, marginalised and attacked in the media and constructed as a religion of foreign otherness, it creates the suggestion that the religion itself doesn't belong here. More directly, it ties the act (barbaric slaughter) to the religion (Islam), and finishes with the phrase 'should never have been accepted in Australia in the first place.' You can claim all you like that it clearly talks about the practice, but the reality is that it is an othering, unnecessary addition to the petition, and it assumes that all in AR are coming from the same place.

In addition, it ties this practice with 'foreign' in a way that is not necessarily correct - there have been some pretty shitty slaughtering practices in Australia, unrelated to slaughtering for halal, and to claim these practices only exist in Australia because of those dirty filthy foreigners is presumptious.

It is hardly the first AR campaign to do so, and it is unlikely to be the last. There was the PETA 'Save the Whales' campaign, that clearly came from a place of assuming that no veg*ns are fat, and that fat is shameful.

Veganism and the AR movement are often seen as white/Anglo-saxon, middle-class movements, and stuff like this just contributes to it.

After all, there's a reason why I use 'single issue vegan' as an insult.

s.e. smith wrote a blog post a while ago, I Used to be That Annoying Vegan, that talks about the baseline assumption that everyone has the same access to things, and the same social class, and the same privileges.

On ableism, there was some discussion in the comments of this post at VoC that really highlights it - lots of people basically erasing the experiences of people with disabilities by saying 'well you were doing it wrong,' rather than acknowledging that not everyone is operating from the same base level.

Royce posted at VoC on resisting invocations of coloniality, on the way in which the AR movement often approaches indigenous groups re: treatment of animals; ie, in a really shitty way.

One of the earliest posts on this blog was about the exotification of non-Anglo cultures in the vegan movement, and the othering use of language.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

puppy farm awareness rally

i'm planning to go to the puppy farm awareness rally being held tomorrow (sunday 19th) at parliament house, melbourne.

anyone else planning to go?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

tofwd + crumbs organic bakehouse

Crumbs Organic Bakehouse is located in Ascot Vale, if you need to google it. I've never been there, and I don't know if they sell direct to the public, but I do know that they stock the cake displays at both Friends of the Earth and TOFWD.

oh yeah chocolate cake

During Worldcon I brought some friends across to DeGraves Lane in order to introduce them to the wonders of cakes as provided by Crumbs. I love this chocolate and sour cherry cake most of all: it is usually moist and rich and super delicious. They also do a citrus cake, and a tropical cake, and all three of these cakes are gluten-free and vegan. They are expensive pieces of cake, but they are totally worth it!

If you are looking for a nice piece of cake, I definitely recommend the cakes provided by Crumbs. They are good. Very Good.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

enlightened cuisine for lunch; or, things about noodles


The reason why Em and I ended up at Wagamama eating crappy soup noodles was because we reaaaaally wanted soup noodles, and we'd walked all the way to Enlightened Cuisine only to discover they don't do lunch on Sundays! SUPER SADFACE. We really wanted soupy noodles! Really truly!

So the next week, when I spent five days in the MCEC for Worldcon, I took the opportunity to visit Enlightened Cuisine on a quest for soupy noodles as many lunchtimes as possible! In the end, this was two.

laksa at the ec

Buried in the depths of my gross cold, I decided to try EC's laksa on my first lunch visit. This was spicy, which was excellent, but not quite assam-y or coconut-y. I did really enjoy the soup, and drank it up until my tongue was numb from spicyness. Oh yeah. Pleasant, and would eat again; but my search for the perfect vegan laksa in Melbourne continues.

wonton noodles at ec

On the second lunch visit, in the company of my friend Dr G, I tried the wonton noodle soup, which regular readers of this blog might recall that I adore. These wontons were pretty good, but I think the wonton noodles were the egg-based kind, which was unfortunate, and impacted my mood for the rest of the day. I may have lost my Awesome Vegan Powers! (temporarily) The broth was good, though. I would order this again, but swapping the wonton noodles out for rice noodles or something.

On this visit, Dr G ordered the cha siu noodle soup. This looked delicious, but due to my cold and potential contagion I elected not to steal any.

Oh how I love soupy noodles. They are great, especially when you're sick or sad or anything, really.

Previous visits: one; two.

Enlightened Cuisine
113 Queensbridge Street

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

urban burger, richmond

a post that is not about noodles! (it is but a brief respite only, dear readers; there are noodles approaching upon the horizon)

urban burgers

I've now been to The Corner Hotel to see gigs twice; most recently, to see The Whitlams. How I ♥ The Whitlams. And do you know what they opened the show with? I make hamburgers! HOW CONVENIENT. ETA: CRUELLY, Danni has pointed out that they in fact opened with 'I will not go quietly,' thus undermining THE ENTIRE PREMISE OF MY PARAGRAPH. Whatever, I love that song. ("That's a salad roll, I said, and we started going out.")

Convenient because, before the show, there was some Urban Burgering. They've got a vegan burger; they've also got a couple of vego burgers that are easy to veganise, and still pretty tasty (unlike certain vego pubs I could mention).

And the chips were nice! Also it was pretty quiet for a Friday night, so the service was fast.

Would nom again!

Urban Burger
174 Swan Street

Monday, 13 September 2010

wagamama, cbd

A tale of disappointing noodles:

very boring noodles

I'm not sure why I thought Wagamama in Melbourne would be any better than Wagamama in Perth, as it's a chain, and just as bad the country over. The vegan options are severely limited, and the only soupy noodles on the menu come with zucchini and ratty, tatty beanshoots. Zucchini, one of the most inappropriate vegetables ever. Would a little bok choy or gai lan be that hard to come by? The zucchini just didn't work at all with the broth. And I know that beanshoots get gross really quickly, but these ones were just bitter and taily and yuck. The broth was a bit boring too, we had to sauce it up with soy sauce and chilli.

Regretfully, the service was also terrible; though the juice was adequate.

We never would have ended up at Wagamama if Enlighted Cuisine wasn't closed for lunch on Sundays, truly a learning experience and a tale of woe.

83 Flinders Lane

Sunday, 12 September 2010

discobeans cafe and artspace, northcote


Em and I went to Discobeans for dinner. I was, I will admit, slightly inebriated on half priced margaritas from Taco Bills, but we were both reaaaalllllyyyy looking forward to trying it out, especially as it had been talked up by Toby. Delicious Japanese food! Fun space! Oh yeah!

I am sad to report that both Em and I were so disappointed by our meals that we decided not to risk it to try the dessert.

noodles at discobeans

Em went for the soba noodles in soup (swapped out for rice noodles). We love noodles in soup! And yet - so disappointing! These were the saltiest soup noodles ever. It was as if an entire cup of soy sauce had been poured in to the broth. I have seen Em drink up the soup after finishing her noodles, but not this time.

the belly plate at discobeans

I ordered the belly plate (I think that's what it's called). This dish was ok, though the rice+quinoa combo was dry and the vegetables were bland. The tempeh was nice, as was the peanut sauce. The black beans were also a bit average. So yeah - okay, but nothing special at all.

SADFACE! Good service, though. And nice that they have gluten-free options. Just - sad about the food. :o(

Discobeans Cafe and Artspace
238 High St

gluten-free available

Thursday, 9 September 2010

a whole lotta slice

Danni's parents came to town, and Danni's mum declared a preference for having some goodies baked by me, as it had been some time.

So I went for the newest standard, the coconut jam slice.

coconut jam slice by request

I really enjoy baking this. I've been happy with this since the first iteration, easily veganisable even with the original having all that egg; the simmering jam; all that coconut. And it always works, so long as you bake it for the right amount of time, but even that's pretty flexible. It's good! So it's a standard.

I wanted a failsafe, because Em suggested this lemon squares recipe, to which I made a couple of mods, and about which I was not sure.

lemon slice

It was gooey, sweet and tart, all at once. It was delicious! Would definitely make again. I had been concerned that it wouldn't work, but it did. Hooray!

Lemon Squares
modified from vegweb


1 cup plain flour
7 tablespoons of Nuttelex/margarine (I found 5 was not enough)
1/3 cup castor sugar

filling one
1 pack of vegan cream cheese (I used tofutti, which I think is 400g but I could be wrong)
1 tsp lemon zest
about three tablespoons of icing sugar

filling two
3 egg replacements
almost 1 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
half tsp baking powder
shake of salt
zest and juice of one large lemon (it was a really big lemon)

Combine the base ingredients, and mix together (perhaps with your hands!) until it's all bread crumble-y. Press into a pan of about 20cm square. I don't actually know the sizes of my pans and trays, I just tend to guess. Anyway, bake this base! I baked this for 13 minutes at 175C.

After 13 minutes, pull it out of the oven (keep the oven going, though!) and let the pan sit on your stove top whilst you beat together the first filling layer, and then the second filling layer. Don't beat them together! Mournfully look at all the dishes you have created. Then pour the first filling layer, and spread carefully out; follow this with the second filling layer, also spreading it carefully out. Doesn't it look delicious?

Now shove it all back in the oven and bake for another twenty minutes.

Leave to set in the pan before cutting.

Next time, I think I'd like to top it with some lemon zest shavings or something like that.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

isms in our vegan

glass like dreams?

Vegans of Colour summarised the Morrissey thing really well, but in case you missed it, Morrissey declared Chinese people to be a subspecies, on account of the way they* treat animals, which I guess he thinks is much better than the way, say, the UK or the USA treats their animals? I don't know, I'm just guessing. He could be thinking anything. And I'm Chinese, so I probably beat my penguins. Or something.

I always enjoy reading about hypocritical people! It totally makes my day!

Here is my pull quote from the VOC article:
Probably my two biggest gripes about these near-sighted race politic expressions of animal rights are that:

1) they really perpetuate, particularly amongst people of color, the misnomer that veganism can only be narrowly defined as a white, middle-class subculture and that;

2) vegans of color are further marginalized within the discourse of animal rights whether or not we cry foul at the egregious white-supremacist twists on these representations of animal rights politics.

As with Morrissey as well as the rest of the white animal rights crowd, here’s a itsy-bitsy tip when attempting to articulate a discourse about animal rights: a little nuance goes a long way in figuring out where the root of the problem lies and where the solution can begin. The intersection of race and ethnicity between veganism is much more complex than you might make it out to be.
The comments to the VOC post include a charmer about how China should be wiped from the earth is...well, that's lovely, but until you wipe every other country from the earth I'm just going to sit here and try to dull my hatred of hypocrisy, you know?

I'm working on a post about classism in the veganism and ethical food movements (I know you can't wait, you're just lucky I've been sick), but in the meantime, here are some tumblr and other links that you might be interested in reading:GOOD TIMES!

Leave exciting linkies in the comments.


reloving vctotw with almond cupcakes

So, it turns out I really like baking.

And one afternoon I was cruising about the Australian vegan blogosphere and came across ML at Drossolaila baking the apricot glazed almond cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and I thought about them constantly for a couple of days. I think it was the photo, which tells you the importance of good photography!

So when I was inspired to do some baking a few days later, I knew exactly what I wanted to bake.

almond cupcakes from vctotw

These were good! Not too difficult to make, though I had trouble with an ingredient or two and had to make substitutions. They held up to the ravages of time, and were still tasty three days later, which I like in a cupcake. And they looked cute! It didn't make as much batter as I thought it would, and they were very sweet, but I liked them. And it was nice to come back to VCTOTW, which I avoid for long stretches of time between failures or disappointments, and have something nice.

Maybe I will add dried apricot pieces to the batter next time, though that might make it over-apricoty.

They're in green pattycake papers because I baked them the day before the federal election, and I had hopes for the Australian Greens.

A++, would make again!