Sunday, 31 October 2010

world vegan day

it's today! if you're in melbourne, you could brave the rain and venture out to abbotsford convent for (hopefully) lots of fun times.

i am going to wander around, and then i'm on the friends of the earth stall from 1 - 3 so come visit!

i really really want a mustache badge from mr nice guy vegan cupcakes

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

方便面 from global green

I picked these instant noodles up from Global Green Vegetarian, beside the Queen Vic Markets. Global Green has a great array of stuff, and all the vegan stuff is clearly marked. It's sort of a cross between a vego grocery store and an Asian grocery store, I picked up some frozen bao and a bag of dried black beans, and they sell la panella pies and sausage rolls in double packs.

packets of noodles

I love instant noodles so much it's unreasonable. I miss my Maggi Oriental noodles so much (ps, this week is International Nestle Free Week). This brand is expensive in comparison to other brands, but not bad. I didn't really enjoy the yellow packet very much, but I quite liked the tomato flavour. This could have been to do with preparation - I did the yellow one with the broth, and Amanda (who made the tomato one for me) drained the the broth from the tomato one, which gave it a nice squishy flavouring without being overwhelming.


Other reviews of Global Green Vegetarian: around the world vegan and at where's the beef.

Global Green Vegetarian
Shop 1/33 Peel St
West Melbourne

Thursday, 21 October 2010

dangerously close cupcakes at cupcake central, hawthorn

Recently, due to a random conflation of circumstances, I started drinking coffee.

Also recently, as I blogged about previously, Cupcake Central opened near my office, and sells at least one type of vegan cupcake a day.

So every now and then, I drop by to pick up a coffee and/or a cupcake. They've got bonsoy going on, too, which is just the best.

I'm trying to restrict myself to one cupcake a week, but I will be honest, some weeks you just need more than one, and this was one of those weeks.

my new habit

Monday I picked up a soy latte and a peanut butter and chocolate gluten-free and vegan cupcake. I took a mug from the office kitchen, because I don't have a keep cup, and they were a bit confused about me having a mug! But that was fine, and then it rained in my coffee on the way back to the office.

Fi has a post (to which I can't link, as LJ appears to be down) about the chocolate peanut butter cupcake, and how it was nothing special. I absolutely must disagree. I thought the peanut butter to chocolate ratio was just perfect, and the icing complemented it wonderfully. To work out who is right, and decide which cupcake is better (the peanut butter chocolate or the red velvet), we have decided that we have to adjourn to Cupcake Central and sample them both at the same time; however to do this Cupcake Central would have to make them both on the same day. Maybe if more people eat vegan cupcakes they will do this?

moar chocolate

Last night I had to go to a work thing until 2030, so I allowed myself a consoling late afternoon cupcake (and then, later, a cone of poutine from Lord of the Fries). Available was the chocolate chocolate (gf), which is a good, serviceable cupcake.

I am really enjoying having Cupcake Central so close: I just wish they'd bake more than one vegan flavour per day, so I could have a choice!

previous visit.

Cupcake Central
Shop 7, 672
Glenferrie Road

Monday, 11 October 2010

easy bean + potato curry

One of the things I love the most is curry. I love simple curries that require nothing further than throwing some things from jars into a pot, and I love complex curries that require me to start thinking about it a full day in advance, and are a lot of physical effort. I love sampling new curries at restaurants, and curries at new restaurants. I love them all.

bean + potato curry

I threw this potato and bean curry together when I was feeling a bit down and just wanted a whole lot of delicious things, and didn't have to put in too much effort. There was no grinding involved, no pounding together to make a paste; it was fast and simple, with a handful of ingredients and some time simmering on the stove. It was something I made up, and I am definitely going to make it again. I loved the sauce especially - three days later as I was eating the leftovers, it was super delicious.

This curry is medium spicy.

easy bean + potato curry

1 brown onion (diced)
2 clove garlic (minced)
a small amount of ginger (grated or minced)
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala (make your own if you need the meal to be gluten free)
1 teaspoon tumeric
2 small tomatoes (diced)
4 medium sized potatoes, white or red, scrubbed well and diced
a handful of snake beans, tailed and chopped in to halves or thirds
1 can coconut milk
some stock or water (a few cups at least)

Fry the onion in some oil until it's getting soft, then add the garlic. Follow this with the ginger, coriander, cumin, garam masala and tumeric, and quickly fry until fragrant, then throw in the potatoes. Let them fry for a minute, before adding the tomato and some water. Bring to a boil, then reduce and put on the lid. Simmer for ten fifteen minutes, until the potato starts to soften, then add the beans. Add more water if necessary, then simmer for another ten minutes. The potatoes should be super soft. Add the coconut milk, simmer another five minutes, and then you're done!

Serve with lots of mushy rice.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

back blog: election day sushi

Many weeks ago we had a federal election! As is my preference, I headed off to an election night party, to eat food and watch Mr Anthony Green (Australia's most awesome election commentator) talk about the results as he analysed them live to air.

Unrelated to my love of Anthony Green, but related to my love of the Australian Greens, I made green sushi to take with me to this election night party!

green sushi for election day

I was worried that this would be weird, but in fact it was not. It didn't change anything about the sushi, except imbued them with awesomeness.

These sushi were also filled with some green things, such as avocado and cucumber, and some non green things.

Friday, 8 October 2010

mister nice guy cupcakes

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, whilst at Empire I picked up two Mister Nice Guy cupcakes for later consumption.

cupcakes by mr nice guy

I had previously tried a mini (I think) vanilla cupcake at the Puppy Farm Rally, and was totally underwhelmed. Danni came away going on about how awesome the Mister Nice Guy cupcakes were, and I just had to disagree because I had found it bland and uninspiring.

However, given they were right in my eye line throughout breakfast, and given how everyone had been so impressed by them, and given that they sold out at World Animal Day, I thought that I would give them a second chance. And I'm glad that I did!

I took home a jaffa cupcake (front) and the key west (rear). Empire also had plain chocolate in stock. Even though I know (via facebook) that they were the previous day's cupcakes, they were still delightfully soft and squishy. The key west had this wonderful combination of lime and coconut, with crisp toasted coconut on top, and I thought that this light cupcake was delicious, and would be the superior. However the jaffa cupcake was just as light and fluffy, with just the right amount of chocolate, and though I thought it could stand to have a hint more orange flavour the combination was still delightful.

Anyway, now I don't know which was my favourite! These cupcakes will surely just have to undergo further rigorous testing.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

new vegan menu at empire cafe, brunswick

The news is all over the internets - Empire on Sydney Road has a new vegan menu in place! So this morning, I ventured down Sydney Road and met up with J for breakfast.

The vegan menu is excellent - it is its own separate menu, breakfast and lunch, with lots of yummy looking options. I deliberated for a while, drawn by the idea of the Spanish eggs (without the eggs), but in the end went for the French toast, with ice cream and a vegan honey and the most giant strawberry perched on top. I supplemented this with a serve of hash browns, because I can never go past potatoes.

french toast

The French toast was massive. Ordering the side of ice cream (Tofutti) was the right choice, as I smothered it in the vegan honey and then added the ice cream - the toast was crispy and had a subtle flavour (could maybe have done with a little bit more cinnamon), but the combination of toppings and french toast was oh yeah. Deliciousness. Not as O M G as the french toast at Monk Bodhi Dharma, but deliciousness and no where near as far to travel.

sides to breakfast

The hash browns were great too, freshly deep fried and crispy and oily.

'ham' 'cheese' and tomato toasted sandwich

J went for the 'ham,' 'cheese' and tomato toasted sandwich. I sampled this, and it was really good. Melty cheese, and (we think) the Redwood ham, and it was good.

Prices are a little up there - $10 for the toastie, and $19 for my toast + icecream + hash browns, but worth it for a breakfast treat. Would nom again. And they gave us our coffees on the house! Which was nice (Empire uses Bonsoy).

Empire keeps all its vegan cooking separate from its meaty cooking; and they're stocking Mr Nice Guy cupcakes (I bought key lime and jaffa, but have yet to eat them so a review later).

Previous visits: here.

Empire Cafe
295 Sydney Road

Open from 10am weekdays, and from 8.30 on weekends
Closed Tuesdays

Friday, 1 October 2010

shakahari v

My friend Matthias is in town, and I went to meet him at his hotel in Carlton...sadly there was no booking for him! But he was fresh off the plane and really hungry, and had to lug all his stuff around until he could find a new hotel, so we stayed close to Carlton and nabbed a table at Shakahari last night.

I was super excited to find out that next week is a new menu, and they are easing it in! The old menu has some items crossed off, and we were presented with a hand-written replacement! It was a bit hard to read, fair warning, if you go there before it gets typed up.

new couscous main at shakahari

Off the new menu, Matthias ordered the new couscous dish, which featured really delicious chickpeas in a great sauce, with almonds, roasted tomatoes, and a lot (A Lot) of parsley. This dish was really tasty, and I look forward to ordering myself some time.

risotto potpie at shakahari

I went for the risotto pot pie (gf), which has been on the menu for a while but I had yet to actually sample. I really liked it! Not an overly exciting flavour, but the addition of pine nuts made it really fun, and it was a nice dish. The accompanying vegetables were good, except for the mushrooms, which were half cooked and not that nice to eat.

vegan almond panacotta at shakahari

For dessert we both ordered the vegan almond panacotta (gf), which is new to the menu. This was an interesting dish. I liked the flavour of the panacotta, which was very mild, but it had a gritty texture which was a bit unexpected, and not at all like the beautiful smoothness of the tofu caramel. The panacotta is accompanied by an almond toffee and a very sweet citrus sauce. Both of these were way to sweet for me - I had to very lightly drizzle the sauce, otherwise it was too much for me, and I barely ate any of the toffee.

Overall, the new additions to the menu seem interesting, but there are still more things to try off it. The new dessert is fun, but I'm not sure it's really my thing. If you want to try the panacotta out, I recommend sharing it, it's a bit overwhelming on its own.

Previous shakahari visits one, two, zero, zero prime, three, four.

201 Faraday St