Sunday, 26 December 2010

yong green food ii, fitzroy

When Yong Green Food opened just over a year ago, I raced out and dined there almost within that first week. Even though the menu was limited, everything was fantastic and I knew I wanted to go there again. Yet it has taken me a full year to return.

Last week I met up with some friends for dinner, and we were pleased to see so much choice. We each began with a cacao raw milkshake. Mine was quite banana-y, which I really enjoyed (J's, by comparison, was more cacao-y). We followed this with a shared portion of gyoza. These were okay, but nothing special, and needed a little more steaming to really soften the wrappers.

teriyaki chicken at yong's

Lisa's recent post of top eats of 2010 was at the forefront of my mind, with chicken teriyaki listed at the top of her post. So I decided to order it! This was delicious, it really reminded me of when I used to eat meat and would over indulge at Nagano Japanese, just down the road from my house in Crawley. I loved the teriyaki flavour.

My dining companions chose the rawsagna and the dragon bowl. I've heard good things about the dragon bowl, but my sampling of the dish didn't blow me away. J enjoyed the rawsagna, but commented that there could have been less cashew cream and more tomato flavour.

raw cheezecakes at yong's

We rounded out the meal with two cheezecakes between the three of us, and we went for the green tea and the blueberry. These were just as good as I remembered, with a wonderful nutty + dried fruit base, and delicious cake-y bits. So delicious, so worth it.

Definitely glad I made the effort to return to Yong. I hope that my next visit won't also take another twelve months!

There have been heaps of reviews of Yong Green Food, this is not even all of them: Wayfaring Chocolate (an out of town review!); The Big V; MEL: HOT OR NOT (it got a HOT); Where's the Beef?; In the Mood for Noodles; Aduki; Fitzroyalty.

Yong Green Food
421 Brunswick Street

Not open Mondays

GF options available

Saturday, 25 December 2010

discobeans cafe + artspace ii

You may remember my previous visit to Discobeans, where I had expected deliciousness and ended up with saltiness. However, the good reviews continue, and I decided to give it a second go.

Katie goes all the time, and we ordered to share, based on her experience. We ordered some miso soup each, as well as edamame and tempeh to start.

trying out the discobeans again

The tempeh was delicious. I really enjoyed the flavour of the sauce, and munching away on these little tempeh slices. The miso was not too salty, and the edmame was just right.

okonomiyaki at discobeans

For mains we tried out the vegan okonomiyaki and the soba noodle salad. The okonomiyaki was super delicious, and I would definitely order it again. The salad was fine but not really my thing, too vinegary for my tastes.

So second verdict: much better than the first. And we got to sit outside in the back courtyard! Which was very nice.

238 High St

Friday, 24 December 2010

high tech burrito ii: adventures in substitution

I've blogged previously about High Tech Burrito in Glenferrie and, embarrassingly, that review is actually up on the front window at High-Tech, above a giant sign calling for the attention of vegans and vegetarians: all their burritos can be made vegan or vegetarian.

My most recent forays to High-Tech have been an expedition to find out how well these meaty burritos translate to vegan.

thai chicken burrito (with tofu instead of chicken + no cream)

My first modified burrito was, on recommendation from the counterhand, the Thai Chicken burrito, subbed with tofu and with no cream. This burrito, served in a tomato flavoured tortilla, was amazing. The curry had a great flavour, and was a little spicy, and I loved it. It was just like eating a red curry from the local Thai restaurant, but in a burrito. I definitely want to eat this again.

salsa + cornchips

Also on this visit, I once again sampled the salsa and cornchips, mostly because I think one particular lunch companion, who ordered them, is obsessed with them. The chips are made on the premises, and there's something about them that is totally delicious.

at hitech to try another burrito

My second burrito attempt was the Yellow Curry Shrimp, with veggies and tofu subbed in. This was okay, but nothing exciting. The curry flavour was a bit mild and the vegetables didn't really suit it. Probably won't try this one again.

Also on this visit, I discovered that people who work on Glenferrie Road get a discount! And also that there's a special, cheaper menu for students.

I'm so pleased with this whole substitution thing, and am definitely looking forward to future visits where I explore these options more.

GF options are available

High-Tech Burrito
838 Glenferrie Road

Monday, 20 December 2010

mr nice guy neopolitan cupcakes

One of the new Mr Nice Guy cupcake flavours is neopolitana, so of course I raced out to eat it, and then failed to blog about it.

Mr Nice Guy Neopolitana Cupcake

I really like this cupcake! The chocolate is good, and the strawberry icing is not too sweet or overwhelming, and the vanilla sets it all off nicely. I like it!

You can win a dozen Mr Nice Guy cupcakes via Beat magazine right now, and on the competition page you can also see my photo! The photo is fine, it is a shame the icing had gotten squished on the way home from Empire.

Previous Mr Nice Guy cupcakes in my mouth: jaffa + key west.

Other people eating the Neapolitan: Pip eating at New Day Rising.

Mr Nice Guy Cupcakes
Address: at a handy cafe (I go to Empire on Sydney Road)

Saturday, 18 December 2010

plush pizza vi

It has been a long time between visits for me to Plush Pizza, about five or six months. I went there twice recently, and as I gazed upon the menu I realised I had never, in all my visits, tried the margharita pizza!

margharita at plush

It was good, but nowhere near a favourite, and I will be honest I picked most of the greenery off, and found that the garlic was a bit overwhelming. And with the owners selling, at this point no one knows if it will continue as an amazing vegetarian eatery, or change in to omni hands, so for now I will continue stuffing as much satay pizza in to my mouth as possible.

Previous visits: one, two, three, four, five.

Plush Pizza
85 Burwood Road

GF options (including bases) available

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

announcing: potluck (a food carnival of intersectionality)

I love talking about food. And reading about food, and people's experiences with food. So Glass_Icarus and I, inspired by some recent posts (including but not limited to gross, weird, inedible (redux) by vi, Doodh se Dhuli by deepad, and seven things by troisroyaumes), have decided to start an ongoing food carnival, looking at multicultural and intersectional discussions of food.
There are no real limits on theme; however, the focus of the carnival is on thoughts and experiences around food through various topics that you might see around the social justice blogosphere, including but not limited to food discussions intersecting with disability, gender, sexuality, fat, animal rights and of course cultural and racial issues. We welcome you to share your recipes as well as your thoughts and experiences, but we ask that you do not submit posts with recipes only.
Wow, how much stuff did I forget to include in that list? Heaps! This is what happens when you write a blog thing when your headspace is somewhere else (writing learner guides for courses on education for sustainability). Sorry! There are many more various topics that should have been included on that list! And I want to write about them all! Well, I want someone to write about them. I probably can't write about food + being trans, or food + religion, or food + disability. FOR EXAMPLE.

The theme for the first potluck is holidays. Submissions can encompass anything you like, including holidays you might be celebrating nowish (Christmas, Hannukah), or recently (Eid al-Adha), or soon (Lunar New Year), or ages ago. Any holiday or festival.

You can submit in the original announcement post, or via email to glass_icarus AT dreamwidth DOT org, who will be hosting the first edition.

Please feel free to submit links to your own posts or to someone else's. You may submit multiple links. Links will be included at the discretion of the host. We welcome anyone to participate from any blogging platforms. The deadline for submissions for the first edition of Potluck is JANUARY 21, 2011.

This is totally relevant to you, vegans and vegetarians who read my blog! Write about intersectionality and food. DO IT.

oranges and mandarins are like gold

Monday, 13 December 2010

easy brown lentil salad

As the weather warms up (not that today is that warm), I've been making some salads. My salad making has become distinctly influenced by the salads made at Friends of the Earth in Collingwood, which is not a bad thing at all; the focus at FoE is on really simple, roundly nutritional salads, and it's exposing me to all sorts of salad combinations I'd never previously considered!

lentil salad

Twice now I've made this lentil salad at home. If you use canned lentils (which - this was my first time!), then it's fast and easy, and delicious! It goes well as a side with pies, or puff pastry triangles.

easy brown lentil salad

1 x 400g can brown lentils, rinsed well + drained
1 carrot, peeled + diced tiny
half a punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
handful spinach, rinsed + torn
half an avocado, diced
1 - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, preferably fresh but does not have to be

method: combine all the ingredients. serve or eat from the bowl.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

red velvet cupcakes

I'd seen mentions of red velvet cupcakes around the place before, but until the cupcakes at Cupcake Central, I'd never had the opportunity to eat one. They were tasty (and I've eaten them several times since), but nothing AMAZING; I'd felt misled by the internets, which had proclaimed how amazing red velvet cupcakes were.

For fairness, I thought I would give baking them on my own a go, to keep on trying for what was supposed to be the greatest cupcake in the world.

red velvet cupcakes

I googled for a while, and checked out my books, for a variety of recipes. Eventually I used this recipe at Mac + Cheese. I ended up having to make two batches, because I didn't notice the tiny (but critical) 'makes about 22 cupcakes' and so made the full batter. This worked out ok, because the batter sat just fine in the fridge for a couple of days, and meant I kept myself in cupcakes for almost a week.

The batter was interesting. It was easy to mix, and fun to look at. It looks grossly awesome!

red velvet primodial batter

Baking was excellent - I didn't need to change anything about the timing or temperature, the cupcakes were just in and out with no adjustments, and the baking was perfect. A perfect rise, and very nice and soft.

The icing was a tad difficult, and I required assistance. The task was not aided by the hot weather, which led to the icing sliding off the cupcakes. I took to keeping them in the fridge.

icing the red velvets

I found the texture, especially after keeping them in the fridge, very pleasant. The cupcakes were firm but light, and the icing was perfect. The flavour of the cupcakes was a tad tart, I suspect this was due to the apple cider vinegar. Next time I might reduce the amount a little, and see how that changes the flavour, because I didn't enjoy that after taste, though I did enjoy the flavour of the eating.

Overall, a good experience! Not the world's greatest cupcake flavour by far, but delightful, and I would bake these again.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

empire iii: wherein i order too much food

coffee and the vegan menu at empire

Went to Empire on Friday with Lisa, who had yet to try out the new vegan menu.

Having heard so much about them, I finally got around to ordering the Spanish eggs with no eggs. Although I had been warned that it would be massive I still ordered a side of hashbrowns; in the end, the serve was really big, and I couldn't quite finish it. I didn't even attempt the bread, though I bet it would have been great. Happily Lisa had just enough room to sample some of the remaining beans, but I still felt folorn at leaving some behind. The spanish no-eggs are beans, mushrooms and vegan cheese in a rich and flavoursome napoli sauce. Mine was topped with avocado, which was just perfect, but usually it's topped with more vegan cheese.

It was delicius, and I will definitely order it again - and for $12, with such a massive portion, I think it's good value.

spanish eggs without the eggs

I love Empire. Tamara is great fun, and always accomodating of vegan requirements, and they stock Mr Nice Guy Vegan Cupcakes! I like to buy one or two to take home. And I'm going there again on Friday.

previous visits: one and two.

Empire Cafe
295 Sydney Road

Open from 10am weekdays (but give them time to set out the tables), and from 8.30 on weekends
Closed Tuesdays

Monday, 29 November 2010

me + usacentrism + monday morning links

I saw Frente yesterday! Everything else that happened over the weekend pales in comparison. Even the odd election (did you get to vote? I know people who couldn't get to any voting points because of the flooding!).

I realised that, two weeks after the fact, I had yet to post a link in my other blog about my intersectionality talk being up at The Scavenger, so I just did that, and took the opportunity to ramble a bit about the USA-centricity of AR (and other social justice topics) online. If you wanted to come over and weigh in, or give me your thoughts, that would be great! intersectionality 101: addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism (a talk) + USA-centrism.

This slightly odd article has been doing the rounds: The Rise of the Power Vegans. It's an interesting enough read, but I found it odd and I'm not sure why.

Unsurprising but interesting to have in a study: Animal-welfare news sways meat consumers:
News coverage of animal-welfare issues causes U.S. consumers to cut back on meat purchases and spend their money instead on non-meat items, a study indicated.
Cows, Goats Escape from Slaughterhouse, Only to be Forced Back In

I meant to link this a few weeks ago, but: Poultry producer's workers claim intimidation. Miscellaneous worker intimidation might not seem that relevant, though it is in a chook production facility, but I've started collecting these sorts of articles in Australia. One of the barriers to effective AR in Australia (I've found) is that all our information for back up comes from the USA or from Europe, so I think it's important to document the patterns (whether they are similar to those famously documented overseas or not) in order to have solid evidence.

One of the things that frustrates me about working in the environmental/climate change sector, as a vegan, is the fact that people are often really invested in not being vegetarian. This article frustrates me: Eco Friendly Fur or No Such Thing? Not necessarily because I'm like 'no fur no fur!' (though I am): but because an argument that starts with 'but they're a rodent! and they're doing environmental damage!' ignores the suffering aspects. Here is my confession: I totally prioritise reducing environmental damage. And I am very critical of introduced species. But humans, you know, did the introducing! So maybe it is our responsibility to not kill them in the usual painful methods used for getting fur. I'm there for reducing their damage on the environment, but pain is not really the answer.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

mushroom + roast pumpkin lasagna

The weather has suddenly jumped from long coats and scarves to ice creams and trying to stay cool, but one of the last things I wanted to do before the weather changed was to cook a lasagna. Lasagna is not really a great thing to cook in summer, not only because it needs to be baked in the oven; this lasagna featured roasted pumpkin, so it required an extra long oven time.

mushroom + roast pumpkin lasagna

This lasanga is a sum of things that I love in lasagna, and rather than overwhelming with flavour, I found that the textures and flavours worked together to make something totally delicious. There are two distinct layers, a fried mushroom layer and a roasted pumpkin layer, and these two layers are padded with lasagna sheets, sun-dried tomato pesto, and a tomato sauce. So it goes sauce, pasta, pesto (spread thinly across the entire sheet/s), mushrooms, sauce, pasta, pesto, roasted pumpkin sliced, sauce, pasta, and the rest of the source. This was all topped with a mixture of Cheezely and nutritional yeast.

It wasn't too complex; the sauce was a very simple one, made using about 800g (two tins) of tinned tomatoes and some fresh and dried herbs, though I do wish I'd used maybe an extra half a can. Ordinarily I'd make the pesto, but I'd picked up some pesto from world vegan day, and worked that in. Roasting pumpkins is always a delight, and it's no trouble for me to slice and fry the mushrooms.

I sort of wish I'd made some sort of cheeze sauce, combining the Cheezely and the nutritional yeast with some tofu and milk or something, just to make it a little more moist; but the Cheezley and nutritional yeast combination was a perfectly serviceable last minute topping.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

single issue / protest voting: don't do it

There's a line in the talk I gave at the Animal Activists Forum. It was a last minute addition to my talk, but I included it in my edits for the Scavenger because I think it's really important and I feel very strongly about it.

This Saturday is the Victorian state election, and the Coalition Against Duck Shooting is spearheading a voting tactic to 'vote Greens first and Labor last,' based on Labor's policies (or lack thereof) regarding animals. I heard Laurie Levy speak on this at the Animal Activists Forum, and he said that this tactic was based on the success of the Shooter's Party (or something, I can't remember the name) campaigning and voting as a bloc to get things done. He said that this was specifically a campaign targeting the four seats that could potentially fall to the Greens: Northcote, Brunswick, Melbourne and Richmond. And the idea is literally to put the Greens first, and put Labor last. And that's it. That's the strategy.

Protest voting on a single issue is dangerous. It is too simplistic, and too short term. And one that is so targeted as this - it's targeted at these four electorates, as 'vulnerable' electorates, but there's no way to prevent a message like this from spilling over boundaries. And it assumes that - well, specifically, it assumes that the Coalition's promises on animal stuff can be trusted (it can't - look at their history, even just recent history), and it ignores the impact that the Coalition's environmental policies have on habitats, and it ignores all the other issues. It's single issue! If you put the Greens first and the ALP last because of the ALP's failure to act on animal rights issues, you're ignoring every other issue and every other impact.

Vote with your ideology. Vote for someone because you think they might be able to speak for you. Vote for someone because you want them to speak for you, or because the things they say resonate with you. Maybe not all of the things, but most of the things. Don't just do it for one of the things. And your second preference is often just as important as your first, so think about that, too. It's not just a throwaway number in a box. If you want to put the Greens first, do it. And if there's someone else you want to put after them, because they speak to what you believe in, then absolutely do it. This isn't about me making fun of your political party. You vote for who you need to. But don't protest vote. It's dangerous, and it doesn't work. Tactical voting can easily backfire.

Think about your vote, don't just protest it.

Monday, 22 November 2010

eggplant chips at the ebc

deep fried deliciousness

Found this deliciousness on the EBC's menu; I'd never noticed it before, and was excited to try eggplant chips. I expected something cut more like wedges, but instead we received these thin rounds, coated in a batter and deep fried. They were greasy and really oily, but very crisp and the eggplant held this amazing flavour. Shared these with some friends (and, of course, had the parma). Big recommend.

previous EBC visits: one; two; three; four, five.

East Brunswick Club
280 Lygon Street
East Brunswick

Thursday, 18 November 2010

yet another scrambled tofu

I must scramble tofu at least once a week - in fact, I have some tofu in the fridge which needs using up, and maybe there'll be scrambled tofu in my near future. I've blogged about scrambled tofu before, and given the weekly occurrance of tofu in my kitchen I don't usually blog about it, but I loved this one because of the colours.

colourful fuscram, plated

There was some purple cabbage and some coriander amongst the half used veggies rolling around the bottom of the fridge, and they turned out beautifully. I chopped the cabbage in to fine slithers and started by sauteing that before adding the other ingredients (to give it some extra time to wilt), and threw some coriander in at the last second, before using a little extra as some garnish. Beautiful colours, and a great flavour!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

[product] be natural muesli bars

I get grumpy the hungrier I get, to the point where I'm unable to function and it's pretty unpleasant. So I like to have things floating around for me to emergency snack on, and these Be Natural muesli bars have become my favourite, especially for flights and, as it turns out, single bite snacks whilst engaging in sports.

favourite snacks

Not all of them are vegan, but about half of them are (none of the chocolate ones, sadly!). My favourite is the purple one pictured here, which contains pepitas, currents, berries, and some kind of nut.

These are available in my local supermarket, which makes them easy to find!

Monday, 15 November 2010

intersectionality 101: addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism (a talk)

As you may remember I went to the Gold Coast for a couple of days to present at the Animal Activists Forum. I presented, with Katrina Fox on intersectionality in animal rights. It was mostly a primer, a basic introduction to intersectionality. Going in, I assumed that it would all or mostly be new concepts for people, which is why I made it really basic and really casual, lots of chatty examples and things. No jokes, because I'm not very good at that sort of thing.

If you're interested, the text of my talk is up at The Scavenger: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism.

Overall I was quite happy with it. It was very condensed, as we only had thirty minutes between the two of us, so there were lots of leaps and gaps and so much covered, but still, I understand it's the first time this sort of topic has been brought up at the forum, and lots of talking came out of it, and I hope that it's a conversation that can filter through AR in Australia and keep moving, because I find that intersectionality is severely lacking in Australian AR.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

halloween cupcakes

Speaking of Halloween (as I was just yesterday), I went to a Halloween party and at the last minute I made some cupcakes, which were themed with my costume.

halloween cupcakes to match my costume

I didn't have time to do anything fancy with the decorating, because I arrived home at five and had to bake and ice the cupcakes, as well as finish making my costume, including painting my nails, before leaving at seven. So cardboard cutout bats it was! Actually I think they turned out quite well.

Shame about the cupcakes themselves, which were a bit dry because I converted a recipe to gluten-free and forgot to increase the liquids, but oh well! I will know better for next time.

Also: thanks to Aldi for lots of ridiculous lollies that just so happened to be vegan!

Friday, 12 November 2010

world vegan day

Two Sundays ago, I ventured out on a wet and windy day to Abbotsford for World Vegan Day! It was wet and windy, and to be honest I didn't get much of a chance to do stuff, as I was mostly there to hang out on the FoE stall.

myspace doughnut

I did, of course, find some time to sample some food. From Crumbs I picked up a pizza (AMAZING) and a chocolate doughnut (heavy, with a tart after taste). The doughnut is pictured above - please note my nails, all done up for Halloween.

Before getting stuck at the FoE stall, on a whim I decided to enter the raffle. And then, later in the afternoon, when I discovered I'd won a raffle prize, I headed over...

i won a raffle!

only to find this giant basket waiting for me! So I left pretty soon after that, so I didn't have to carry the basket around! I'm not even sure what I'm going to do with all this stuff, but it's pretty exciting!

Does anyone want some curly hair shampoo?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

hanging out on the goldcoast

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Animal Activists Forum, which this year was held on the Gold Coast! I plan to talk more about that when I can get the words right, but for now I want to talk about the food that we ate.

We stayed at the Tallebudgera Active Recreation Centre. Part of the centre is a generic sports and rec centre, with public swimming pool and sporting facilities. The rest of it is a gated centre run by the Queensland government for camps and retreats. It's got climbing facilities, and a couple of conference rooms, and a whole lot of basic shared accommodation. What this meant was that, aside from the conference dinner, all of our meals were cooked by the chefs at the Centre.

I didn't take photos of everything, but amongst the breakfasts, lunches and morning and afternoon teas, food included: pancakes, toast, a big cooked breakfast, noodles, rice and vegetables, dumplings, and burgers. Afternoon teas included muffins and biscuits and a whole lot of fruit. And all of it was vegan!

a perfectly serviceable lunch deconstructed burger

I know the organisers were concerned about mixups, given they'd never catered for a fully vegan group before, but aside from honey on the first day (honey was put on the condiments table, and honey-os were included with the cereal options), and one instance of a carton of cow milk being hidden amongst the several cartons of soy milk, everything was good! Nothing was mind blowingly tasty, but some things were good, and everything was vegan, and we were separated from the other groups staying at the Centre so we didn't even have to see their animal products! So it was quite satisfactory.

banana boat

There were two evenings unaccounted for, though: the conference dinner, and the night before it all started, when there were only a few of us loitering around. I wanted to use this opportunity to try at least one of the vego-only restaurants along the Gold Coast, so on the way from Brisvegas R dropped in to Threeworlds Organic Pizza Cafe. All the pizza at threeworlds is vegan and organic and made on bases of spelt. At threeworlds they also make their own cheese, and although I'm not sure what this cheese is made from, consensus on the evening was that it's probably nutritional yeast.

pizza from 3world pizza

I know they look the same, but there are three different pizzas under there! J ended up ordering the Mediterranean pizza, the pesto perfection, and (I think) the satay sensation. My favourite was the pesto perfection, I really liked the pesto and pumpkin combination, and the broccolli on the pizza was a pleasant surprise. I didn't really enjoy the flavours of the Mediterranean. The spelt bases were okay, but nothing special.

Also a pleasant surprise was the roar (sic) desserts that R bought to accompany the pizza. These were so delicious that R, a stringent dissident when it comes to raw desserts, was completely won over by the berry cheezecake! I also found the berry very delicious, and the orange was also very tasty. I can't remember what the third one was (the white one in the photo below), but it wasn't very nice and in fact remained unfinished.

some raw desserts

Overall: threeworlds was nice, and handy to have nearby, but I would choose Plush over it any day.

The conference dinner was held at Zullaz Restaurant in Burleigh Heads. Zullaz is not a vegetarian restaurant - my understanding is that, although there were a small handful of vegetarian restaurants within walking distance of the accommodation, none were able to accommodate the number of people required. So we went to Zullaz and, as far as I could tell, everything worked out okay! We had a buffet specially for us (everyone else in the restaurant was ala carte), and it was just generic, mostly South Asian food in the usual way, with a dessert of bread and 'butter' pudding (which was actually really tasty.

dinner at zullaz dessert at zullaz

Zullaz is mostly GF and dairy-free, which is a good start for getting some vegan food if you're in the area. It was perfectly fine, but nothing special, and there is a Govinda's and a vegan raw restaurant just around the corner, so maybe just if you really need to (as we did for the size), or want somewhere that serves cocktails.

Threeworlds Organic Cafe
2558 Gold Coast Hwy
Mermaid Beach

Zullaz Exotic Cuisine*
21a /50 James Street
Big B Arcade
Burleigh Heads

*I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that exotic is a word that is usually totally inappropriate, because it works to effectively and efficiently other anyone who doesn't fit in to an anglo-discourse. And that is exactly what it is doing to this restaurant!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

[book review] thanking the monkey

I came to Thanking the Monkey with some skepticism. Karen Dawn was recently in Melbourne giving a talk as a fundraiser for Edgar's Mission, and at the last minute I decided to go, prompted by some enthusiasm from J. I liked the talk well enough; I wasn't blown away by it, but I decided to pick up a copy anyway (all the profits for the copies sold on the night went to Edgar's Mission, too!).

I like to think I know a lot about animal issues, but some of the stuff I was reading totally astounded me. I had to start bookmarking, and now my copy is filled with post it notes and little sticky bits (which I'm going to remove as I type this, so I can lend the book out).

Dawn has an interesting, conversational writing style. She talks up her book as an accessible gift book, and certainly it is very accessible. The book is illustrated with pictures and comics, on the premise that even if you give the book to someone who can't bring themselves to read it, they might flip through and see some of the comics, and take away at least a part of the message.

Thanking the Monkey was written as an all-around animal rights book: at some times it's an introduction, covering the basics, and at other times it's quite in depth and confronting.

There are lots of suggestions of other books to read, as well as video and other online links. The book is heavily (though inconsistently) referenced, which I always enjoy. It's also very easy to pick up and put down, as it's filled with lots of separate sections. This means I felt comfortable putting it down for a week and a half and then coming back to it again.

The chapters are set out in a nice way, too: there's an introductory chapter, one on pets, animal entertainment, clothing, as food, animal testing, green/conservation groups, and 'compassion in action.'

One big thing for me was that, it led to me revising my opinion on zoos. I've always struggled with zoos, not liking the voyeristic/trapped components of it for animals, but recognising the need for conservation. Halfway through the section on zoos, I changed my mind. I'm still there for the conservation efforts, but why do we need zoos to fit in to urban areas? Anyway, me and zoos are definitely over.

The book does have some problems. Like many vegan / animal rights texts, there's some fatphobia. At some points there's an undertone of cultural cluelessness. There's also a sort of something, for certain people. "And some human mothers will hand over a baby for a vial of crack," (pg 254) for example, is a statement that I would like to challenge. The book frequently uses terms like 'normal,' which regular readers of this blog will know I dislike, as it positions some of us as not-normal.

However, I learnt a lot of things that I didn't know. I don't know if it was naiveness or overlooking or what, but as the book went on I was blown away by how much I was bookmarking. A small sampling:
  • "...unlike other mammals, dolphins are not automatic breathers; every breath is a conscious choice, and when life becomes unbearable they can choose to take no more. They commit suicide. He says that much of the early mortality rate of dolphins in captivity is a result of suicide: "We literally bore them to death."" (pg 84)
  • There's type of fur (from lambs - not sure why it's not wool), where the baby lambs are killed at a few days of age, and sometimes even the skin of unborn lambs is used. I'm not sure why unborn lambs horrifies me more than born lambs - maybe because the mother has to be killed too? (pg 107) In the USA (not sure if this extends beyond the USA) coats with less than $150 worth of fur don't have to be labelled as having fur (pg 110).
  • Farmed salmon requires about 2.5 times the same amount of wild fish as food.
  • The WWF, as a conservation society, sometimes positions itself squarely against animal rights (pg 295) - this was cool to read because then, when I was talking to the Wilderness Society people at World Vegan Day, I was able to ask so many questions I'd never previously have considered.
Another thing: Stephen Colbert has an adopted turtle daughter: her name is Stephanie Colburtle. Adorable name!

One final benefit of reading the book, for me, was being able to quote from it for my recent talk at the Animals Australia Forum. I gave a talk on intersectionality, and I had wanted to give examples of why intersectionality is needed in AR. Advised against this, I went the other way: I used Dawn's 2005 article ' Best Friends Need Shelter Too,' reproduced in the book, as an example of how intersectionality takes things in to account. So that was nice.

I recommend the book. It's an interesting read, and I learnt a lot, but I recommend reading it with caution. I'm not sure I would give it as a gift book to people who weren't already interested in AR/AW.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

ooh it's melbourne cup day

one of my least favourite holidays. at least now that i'm in melbourne, and it's a public holiday, i don't have to find excuses to not go to work / not join in the "celebrations" (i used to hide in my office whilst everyone else ate chicken and watched the race).

instead of making a bet on the cup, maybe you could make some sort of appropriate donation, or sign the pledge to never bet on cruelty.

at the punch, ward has written about the brutal truth about the horse racing industry; and up at vegaroo, sharon has a list of other alternatives you can do today (including options for cities other than melbourne). there's a protest picnic near flemington (with free mr nice guy vegan cupcakes!).

or you could post one of these links on your facebook wall, and see if it starts a verbal fisticuffs, like it already has for some people. :o)

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

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