Saturday, 29 November 2008

maggi mee (fried instant noodles)

maggi mee

Maggi mee is a subset of devotion to instant noodles, preparing the yellow mee in water, frying vegies, then adding mee, curry powder and soy sauce to the wok. Some people use the flavour packet from actual instant noodles, but I find this flavour overwhelming. Maggi mee makes a great quick snack, or easy breakfast or lunch. This morning I made it for breakfast to use up some choi sum I have loitering in my fridge.

I love saying "instant noodles" in Mandarin, because it is 方便面,or 'fangbianmian.'

Maggi Mee

There is no proper way to make maggi mee. Every hawker stand will make it differently, and everyone has a different favourite combination of things. You don't even have to use Maggi brand noodles - any yellow mee will do.

2 noodle cakes of yellow mee
1 garlic clove (minced)
some vegies (such as choi sum, carrot, beansprouts)
some tofu
2 shakes dark soy
3 or 4 shakes light soy
half tablespoon of curry powder
1 small squish of lime juice

Prepare the yellow mee by boiling or soaking in boiled water until soft. Drain and set aside. In a wok, using a small amount of peanut oil, fry the garlic until fragrant. Add the vegetables (unless you are using beansprouts, in which case add after the noodles). The vegetables should have been prepared in the usual stir-frying way. If you are only using leafy greens such as choi sum or bok choi, add a little bit of light soy at this point. When the vegies are cooked through, add the tofu if you are using any and heat through and squash, then add the noodles, the rest of the soy sauce, and the curry powder. Squash through, add the lime juice, and serve.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

curry mee (or curry laksa)

curry mee/curry laksa

Laksa is a Malaysian staple, but there are several variations across the regions. In Penang we have the curry mee, and also a style of assam laksa called Penang laksa. I've spent years of my life sipping the soup of the curry mee, or sitting opposite my mum as she steals my vegies to add to her mee, and I was so delighted earlier this year to nom a whole lot of curry mee, which I rarely get to do if I don't first make it myself.

I am pretty easy going with my curry mee, but then, so are all the hawkers: I put potatoes in it this evening (nobody tell my mum, the addition of potato definitely wanders in to curry rather than laksa territory), and didn't have a chance to go see my Chinese grocer so didn't end up with any doufu (tofu) in it, though it usually does.

Curry Mee

This is a very simple curry mee. You can subsitute the galangal for ginger if you really can't find any.

3 red chillis (with seeds) sliced
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 small piece of galangal, minced
1 tbl coriander seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cashews
some dried chillis

soup and so on
stalk or three of lemon grass
lime juice
1 can coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
1 cup and a half of stock
1 carrot, julienned
snake beans (halved or in thirds)
snow peas
bean shoots
choi sum (leaves shredded, stalks in lengths of five to ten cm)
faux prawns and fishballs

yellow mee (like the noodles you get in maggi packets) and beehoon (rice noodles)

Pound together the paste ingredients.

Prepare noodles. I like to soak the beehoon in hot water until soft, and boil the mee on the stove.

Over medium-high heat, fry the paste until fragrant. Add lemongrass, carrot, capsicum and snake beans. Continue to fry for about five minutes, then add coconut milk, stock, coconut cream, and lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until all the vegies are soft and tasty. Add the choi sum stalks. In the meantime steam the snow peas. Add snow peas, bean shoots, tofu, choi sum leaves and any faux seafoods to the pot. Heat through.

When you serve your laksa, remember to drown your noodles! The only reason my noodles aren't drowning in this picture is because it was the second serving, so I didn't have the proportions quite right.

Monday, 24 November 2008

breakfast for dinner

roti pisang

Tonight I made my own roti from scratch. It was super easy, but rather than stop there I made roti pisang, or banana roti. My cooking time is slightly off, so I am going to give it another go before I share the recipe with you. Just wanted to share my excitement at my first roti-from-scratch!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

loka cafe, perth

mexican special and pizzette at loka

Loka is a fair trade and organic cafe attached to Fair Go Trading, on Brisbane Street opposite the Hotel Northbridge. D and I wandered down there for lunch this afternoon, having just found out about it earlier this week.

There weren't many items left the in glass display case, but there was a vegan quiche made from tofu and a vegan pizzette. Special of the day was a Mexican mix plate of refried beans, salsa, guacamole and quesadilla. We had it with nachos, as the quesadilla contained cheese of some description. The people at Loka were really great about swapping it, and the refried beans were really tasty. The pizzette was fantastic, soft delicious bread and olives, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, sun-dried tomato, and pumpkin.

There is allegedly usually some vegan cake, but this time, alas, there was none to be had. They also do gluten-free.

D says: A++ would nom again.

Loka Cafe
199 Brisbane St
Tues-Saturday, 0700-1600

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

leda choculence

leda chocolate biscuits

I miss timtams something ridiculous. That chocolatey goodness, using them like a straw to drink up my milo drink, these were the things I used to love. Leda Choculence aren't as good as timtams, but they make a tasty substitute.

You can find them in the healthfood section at Coles/Woolies/IGA etc.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

aloo masala pies

Aloo Masala is often the filling in a dosa. Using it as the filling for a puff pastry pie was tasty, though nothing like eating dosa. But now that I'm happy with my aloo masala, the next step is of course to attempt making my own dosa.


Aloo Masala Pies

4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2 green chillis, deseeded and sliced width-ways
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
some coriander
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon red chilli flakes
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 large sheet of puff pastry

Boil the potato until half cooked, then drain. Fry the green chilli, onion and garlic, until the onion is golden and soft. Add cumin, tumeric, coriander, mustard seeds and chilli flakes, then tomato. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, then add potato, and mix through until covered. Leave to simmer until potato is cooked through and all liquid has rendered down, stirring occasionally. Stir in the coconut.

Spoon mixture into four ramekins, and cover with one quarter of the puff pastry. Brush with buttery thing, and bake at 190C for 15 – 20 minutes.


Monday, 10 November 2008

the juicy beetroot, fremantle

tofu burger from the Juicy Beetroot

We ignored Melbourne Cup day last Tuesday by adventuring down to Fremantle to visit the Juicy Beetroot for lunch. Happy Cow tells me that Juicy Beetroot is ‘vegetarian-friendly, not 100% vegetarian’ but I’ve never seen anything available there that isn’t vegetarian. They do gluten-free cakes and allegedly vegan cakes, though I’ve never seen any of the latter.

D and I shared a tofu burger and a large bowl of mixed curries. The large really is very large, and the burger was massive. I enjoyed both the beetroot-ness of the burger and the fact that it was a giant chunk of tofu, something of which I am not usually a big fan. The curries included an aloo muttar-y thing, a dahl and some mixed veggies. They were very tasty curries. We also had a couple of mixed juices, I had an orange and ginger, as I often do, and D had the house juice without the celery, which was pretty tasty. All up it cost us about $30ish dollars, which was cool for a big, tasty, vegan meal.

mixed curries from the Juicy Beetroot

The Juicy Beetroot
Tum Tum Tree Lane
132 High Street

Saturday, 8 November 2008

carrot and pistachio muffins

carrot and pistachio muffins #2

Last night I decided to bake some muffins to take as snack sustenance over this weekend of archery + lots of dancing, so I thought I'd better give the carrot and pistachio muffin recipe a go!

Carla posted the recipe (for me!) here. Originally I had wanted to bake this recipe without any substitutions, a task which is a challenge for me at the best of times, to see exactly what Carla had created. But soy creamer is allegedly difficult to procure in Australia, so thanks to Mandee I thickened some soy milk with cornflour. I did manage to find plain pastry flour (not wholewheat). It also turned out that I didn't have any apple juice, so I used a tiny bit of orange juice, a little bit of apple sauce, and some water. Also used golden syrup instead of maple syrup, because I live in Australia, not Canada. ;oP

Anyway, the muffins are very tasty. The muffins are carrotlicious. This being the first time I've tried pistachios, I'm not sure I'll use them again, but I will use this recipe again so next time I might substitute walnuts instead.

Thanks so much, Carla!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

pistachio and carrot muffins, a recipe for me

steph's carrot cake

I have not eaten a lot of carrot treats in my life. The above was the first carrot attempt in years, and it was tasty but not especially carroty.

Excitingly, Carla at Year of the Vegan has developed a carrot muffin recipe for me to try! They are carrot and pistachio muffins! I am very keen to try them, though now I have to try and find pastry flour, which I've never seen in Australia, HMMMM. Also soy creamer. Okay, this may be harder than I thought, but my challenge is to not substitute anything! We will see how this goes. Do any Perth vegans know what soy creamer is, and where I can buy it?

I'm going to give this a go next week, after the big weekend of swing dancing. Thanks so much, Carla! I can't wait to try cooking them!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

strawberries from the swan valley

strawberries from the valley

A present from my mum - less than ten dollars for the lot! <3

I believe these came from the Midland Farmer's Market, which has always been my favourite.

Monday, 3 November 2008

soul tree cafe, glen forrest

D and I decided to take a couple of days off work this week, mostly so we can avoid the extravaganza and hoopla that is the first Tuesday in November (ie, Melbourne Cup Day). This morning we went for a jaunt up the hill through my old stomping grounds, past Bilgomen Pool and down Hardey Road to the Soul Tree Cafe. Soul Tree is an organic store and cafe, with lots of great vegan and vegetarian things on the menu. They do an all day breakfast that I'd like to try out one day, with tofu, tempeh, and seasonal vegies. But today we went up there specifically to try out the burgers.

chickpea burger from soul tree cafe

I ordered a chickpea burger, and D ordered the vegan burger with a salad. The burgers were great, though I wish the menu had mentioned that the chickpea burger came with beetroot, so I could have asked for it without. The vegan burger is really juicy and tasty. The salad was a bit odd, it had a flavour that I found quite displeasing, so I didn't steal too much of D's salad.

D says the tropical juice (freshly squeezed) was perfect, containing pineapple, coconut and orange. I ordered a chocolate smoothie, which was a bit watery - I thought there would be icecream in it, though D argues icecream is not a given in smoothies, an argument I protest, surely milkshakes are no icecream and smoothies are icecream or yoghurt...

chocolate and beetroot cake from soul tree cafe

Took a piece of chocolate and beetroot cake home for later nomming. The cake was not too rich, and it was tasty. They also do gluten-free cakes.

All up came to $45, a little pricy for a Monday lunch (the small juice was $4.00!) but about expected for an organic eatery. Overall it was a good lunch! My Perth friends can expect an invitation to a day trip up the hill for lunch, followed by Junction Icecream, in the near (though warmer) future.

Soul Tree Cafe
Shop 6/3-5 Railway Parade
Glen Forrest

Saturday, 1 November 2008

world vegan day post - store-bought snacks

Today is World Vegan Day! I am not doing anything especially vegan today, aside from continuing to be one. I even have an offer for a birthday party for a vegan, which I am very naughtily not attending! (Sorry, Nevryn) But this post of store-bought snacks is in celebration of being a vegan. Sometimes it's nice to have a quick, trashy snack.

yao chao guai

Yao chao guai (or you cha kueh) is a breakfast or dim sum food, but I like to eat it as an afternoon snack, I used to always eat it after school, and I'm glad I can still eat it now. Yao chao guai is made of wheat flour and looks like it's been fried. I bake it in the oven for ten minutes until it's crispy, then eat it straight away, often burning my hands in the process. A good yao chao guai has to be crispy, or it's no good. It's sometimes served with char siu sauce or chilli-in-soy sauce. It's available from the fridge section of your local Chinese grocer, but only when the lady who makes it isn't on holidays. There's usually a delivery once a week or so.

mixed gram

Mixed gram is a tasty combination of gram flour, rice flour, rice flakes, nuts, and spices (so it might possibly be gluten free?). Mixed gram can be quite hit or miss, depending on the provider, very spicy, not so spicy, and so on. My favourite at the moment is provided to me magically by S, apparently it is made by an Indian lady somewhere South of the River (where I dare not go, being from North of the River). It is available from your local Indian grocer (though I have previously picked up some mediocre mixed gram from my local Chinese grocer).

anzac biscuits

Coles makes an Anzac biscuit that is slightly soft and a little bit chewy, rather than tough and crunchy. It leaves a hint of a buttery aftertaste, and doesn't contain as much in the oats department as I would like. They make it all year around (not just in April), and it's a nice take on the old Anzac. Available from the Coles bakery.


In Australia, the plain Oreos are vegan-friendly. I recommend checking the packet, though, as people have been caught out by it before. Also I don't think the wafers are suitable for vegans. It's nice though to have a cheap cream biscuit that I can just pick up from the local shops. I've never been a huge fan of the oreo, but I'm beginning to appreciate its chocolate biscuit-bits and its white cream filling. Available in the biscuit aisle of most supermarkets.

smiths plain chips

Smiths potato chips. I used to love the Gobble-Gok Monster, with its cry of CHIPPPIEEEEE. It's really annoying that all of the flavoured chips contain milk solids (UGH). Note that these chips are crinkle-cut, this is because thin/original cut is not as awesome. I am sure that you agree. Available from the chip aisle of supermarkets.

dried mango spears

Dried fruit is a great alternative to jelly lollies, they're just as sugary and just as jelly-like and chewy, but they're just fruit, not gelatine! Yay! These dried mango spears are from Kakulas Brothers in Northbridge, they're sold by weight and you pull out of canvas bags, surrounded by dried strawberries and paw-paw and banana. Kakulas also sells nuts, coffee, grains, rice, beans, all sorts of dried things, by the weight. I love Kakulas! Last week I was scooping out dried chilli flakes, that was awesome.

soy curls

I've only been getting into the soy curls for the last week or two, but they're pretty tasty! These plain ones are from Kakulas, they also have flavoured ones but no ingredients list. Based on experience at other shops, I'm willing to assume that the plain ones are okay, but not going to risk it re: the flavoured ones. Which is a shame, because my favourite soy curl flavour so far is the chilli and lime one - it sounds odd but it's really great! You can also buy these in packets from supermarkets, or from health food stores.

watermelon (and banana)

Fruit is tasty. This is some early season watermelon, it was not fantastic which is unsurprising as the season in the Swan Valley doesn't actually start for another six weeks. When it starts, though, it's about eight weeks of the most amazing watermelon and grapes you can imagine. I will post about this more indepth as the season proper approaches, but if you live in the WA metro area it is well worth your time to trek out to the vineyards and growers along the Great Northern Highway to buy the grapes and melons directly off the growers, so cheap and so incredibly tasty.