Wednesday, 21 September 2011

eggplant salad

emilly made an eggplant salad as her savoury contribution to the planet vegmel picnic. it was super tasty, and filled the house with the smell of eggplant that was a) delicious and b) not cooked by me, which i like (cooking eggplant makes me nervous). she is not really a food blogger, so i have volunteered to blog the recipe on her behalf!

eggplant salad by emilly

eggplant salad

this is a little bit inspired by greg + lucy malouf's soused zucchini recipe, so you could probably make this a zucchini salad, if you were that kind of person (i am not. well, not in salad).

1 medium sized eggplant
lots and lots of salt
olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon castor sugar
2 teaspoons sumac (plus some extra, if you like)
fresh coriander and/or parsley

cut up the eggplant. thinnish slices is best but emilly did it in chunks, and was then cursing the chunks during the entire cooking process. put the eggplant into a colander with lots of salt on each surface; put a plate on the top and some cans to weigh it down and press the eggplant, and leave for at least half an hour.

rinse the eggplant off, pat it dry with a paper towel, and then get more paper towel ready so you can drain the eggplant. fry with what seems like a painful quantity of oil. if you sliced it, you could probably brush each side with some oil so that you don't end up using equal quantities of oil and eggplant, but it cooks nicer and faster with plenty of oil.

for the dressing, combine lemon juice, sugar and sumac. mix together the eggplant and the dressing. this can all go in the fridge if you have prepared it in advance! then when it is time to go to the picnic/serve the salad, add some chopped parsley and/or coriander and sprinkle it over the top!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

chocolate caramel slice

For the Planet VegMel Picnic (more on the picnic later) I made chocolate caramel slice, originally seen on Johanna's blog. I had quite a different experience than Johanna. She worried that the base was too crumbly, that she might have overcooked the milk because it didn't look right, and too liquidy a chocolate layer. I on the other hand had a lovely time. The base pressed in quite well, and I've never used condensed milk of either the dairy or soy variety previously, so had no idea if it was working and just went with it; and the chocolate was a perfect consistency. And it turned out well! Very crunchy, and the base was a bit high (I used a 20x20cm tin instead of 20x30, and that was a mistake), but overall it was an easy and delicious experience. And at the end of the picnic there was only one lonely piece of slice left!

I also made this gluten free, with a direct substitution of Orgran's GF flour for the flour in Johanna's recipe. I didn't even add extra liquid the way I usually would with a GF conversion, and it turned out just fine.

This is a picnic submission for that recipe seems very familiar...

caramel chocolate slice

chocolate caramel slice
originally at Green Gourmet Giraffe

1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup brown sugar
quarter of a container of nuttelex (125ish grams)
1 cup GF flour

caramel layer
330g soy condensed milk (or 1 tin)
2 tablespoons or so of golden syrup (I didn't measure, just squeezed the tube until I got bored of squeezing)
30g nuttelex

chocolate topping
150g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Base: mix all the ingredients and press into a lined tin. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes.

While the base is in the oven, in a small saucepan over a lowish medium heat, constantly stir all of the caramel ingredients until it has thickened and is a light golden brown. Hopefully the base will be ready just as the caramel is, because then you can pull it out, spread the caramel over it, and shove it back in the oven. At the same 180C temperature, bake for 10 or so minutes until it's a deep golden brown. Mine went very brown, but it wasn't burnt and it was all okay. Set this aside to cool and go about your business.

When it's cool, melt the chocolate and mix in the oil. Spread it over the caramel layer, and leave it in the fridge to set. I left mine over night. I then brought it to room temperature before cutting.

Cut it small because it's quite sweet!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

moroccan soup bar

It took me two years, but I finally made it to the Moroccan Soup Bar!

at moroccan soup kitchen

I have been hearing about it for years, and I was very excited to be going! Most people to whom I've mentioned it since my recent visit have been astounded that I'd never before been, but I'd been intimidated by rumours of needing to line up at half five (almost true: the line started at about 17:50 and was full by 18:05), and had just never made it there.

It was totally worth it, even with the queueing in the cold wind.

minty tea

Moroccan Soup Bar has a 'spoken menu', so Katie and I didn't have much to peruse as we waited for the arrival of our friends. We did have a delicious cup of this mint tea to warm us as we idled, a little sweet with a lovely subtle flavour.

When we were all four assembled, we went for the vegan banquet for all. This was amazing!

entrees to share

We started with a shared entree plate, with a variety of dips (one made from broccoli) and marinated carrots and things, served with bread. After this we moved on to a large selection of shared plates, each with a grain (mostly rice, though one cous cous) and a curry. Most delicious was the pumpkin curry, but there were also lentils and potatoes and eggplant and all sorts of tasty things.

delicious turkish delight

Stuffed to bursting, I passed on the coffee and nearly passed on the Turkish Delight, but Gen made me try it. I'd never before had Turkish Delight, and the stuff at Moroccan Soup Bar is pretty nice.

I rolled home, uncomfortably full but so satisfied. I'm already planning a return visit!

Moroccan Soup Bar
183 St Georges Road
Fitzroy North

a little step up, ordering happens at the table but payment happens at a high counter. tables are a bit higgledy piggledy and close together. lighting is okay. gf available. bookings taken for 6 people groups. otherwise you have to queue in the cold! seatings are at 6pm and 7.20pm (or at least they were the night i was there).


Good Morning Vegetarian Melbourne! I hope to see you in a few hours at the Planet VegMel Birthday Picnic! There will be badges and a zine, and lots of delicious food! from 1pm at the Edinburgh Gardens, near the bandstand. Bring a picnic blanket and a (vegan, maybe gluten-free) plate!

Friday, 16 September 2011

now vegan: chips at grill'd

It has long disappointed me that I was unable to try Grill'd's chips, hailed as delicious and amazing, but coated in beef tallow before they were fried (groosssss). So it was with delight that I recently heard the news that all the chips in all of Grill'd's stores are 100% vegan.

So of course I raced out to try them (accompanied by Fi).

here chippy chippy

They are chunky. And salty - giant globs of salt. And very herby. Not the best chips in old Melbourne Town, but pretty tasty!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

ninja bread wars: a diptych

the ninja wars

a ninja good time

made using the ppk recipe for gingerbread, staging by Danni and Emilly

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

that recipe sounds very familiar... part one

It's Planet VegMel's 2nd Anniversary! Happy Anniversary, Planet VegMel! It's been an exciting two years for the Planet, I think, as it's grown as a resource. And there are still lots more ways in which it can grow, not just in number of blogs subscribed, but lofty goals for mapping and referencing and all sorts of exciting things.

As part of the birthday celebrations, I am super proud to host the 'That Recipe Seems Very Familiar…' blog event. A number of VegMel bloggers have remixed the recipes of other VegMel bloggers, ranging from minimal alterations to huge variations of deliciousness.

The recipes linked below have been submitted in advance of Planet VegMel's 2nd Anniversary. But if you've got something to submit, this doesn't close you out! I'll be making a second round up post next week, some time after the Birthday Picnic Potluck (this Sunday at Edinburgh Gardens), so that anyone who wishes to remix something for the Potluck can do so. And I hope to see you there! (keep an eye on the Facebook event if the weather looks grim, for the backup plan)

In chronological(ish) order!

Mel at Veganise This has remixed the haggis (and haggis pizza) originally posted by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe.

Cindy and Michael remixed kari kapitan, originally blogged by Steph (me!) at Vegan about Town.

I remixed the potato boston bun, also originally by Johanna at GGG.

Cindy and Michael remixed cottage tofu, originally by Johanna.

Cindy and Michael remixed the very familiar baked cherry/berry cheesecake, seen previously at Gretal Getting Fatter, Easy as Vegan Pie, and vegan about town! (it's totally an amazing recipe)

K remixed salted caramel ice cream, adapted from Cindy and Michael.

I remixed lemony snickerdoodles, originally at Sugar Spoons.

Johanna remixed the baked beans recipe, previously seen at veganise this! and where's the beef, and originally from Veganomicon.

Mel remixed delicious tofu with steamed vegies, adapted from In the Mood for Noodles. And then Johanna remixed it too!

Cindy and Michael remixed cauliflower and caramelised onion tart, originally made by Carla at Easy as Vegan Pie, and previously remixed by Lisa.

In news of more noodles, K remixed a meegoreng originally seen at vegan about town.

Cindy and Michael remixed Toby's Singapore noodles; and two days later, so did I! (because we all love noodles)

Cindy and Michael remix hash browns, originally by Vicki Vegan.

I remixed lemon pepper cashews, dubbed "cashew crack" by Cindy and Michael.

K tries out apricot delight, seen on Green Gourmet Giraffe.

K remixed Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna, originally seen on Vicki Vegan.

Em made almond jam slices, a somewhat a remix of my coconut and jam slice.

Thanks to everybody for participating in this event! It allowed me to rediscover some old favourites, and discover new things (lemon pepper cashews are AMAZING).

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

lemon pepper cashews

I was bouncing around the house on Sunday night, all my chores completed and mainlining some television, when I thought I'd give this recipe for a cashew snack by Cindy and Michael a go. I wasn't sure about the lemon-salt-pepper-sugar combo, but their blog declared them 'universally addictive' and who am I to go past a description such as that?

They're so amazing that I left the container on the table with an airy instruction to Danni that she could try a couple, if she wanted; when I got back from my adventures in town, I discovered she'd eaten over half! It's a good thing they're easy and fast to make. A brilliant and delicious snack!

This is another remix for that recipe seems very familiar...

moreish cashews

lemon pepper cashews
originally at Where's the Beef

1 cup raw cashews
quarter cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste (generous portion - I was a bit timid and it definitely could have done with more)
zest of a medium-sized lemon

In a frypan over a medium-high heat, start stirring the cashews and the sugar. When the sugar starts to melt, lower the heat and keep stirring until the sugar is completely melted and the nuts are a lovely golden brown and completely covered in sugar. Turn off the heat and crack through some salt and pepper, then stir through the lemon zest.

Spread the cashews out on a lined baking tray and leave to cool. The baking paper is important, as the sugar will have started to caramelize and you don't want to lose any of its deliciousness from being stuck to a tray! Store in an air-tight container. Or eat them all.

Monday, 12 September 2011

"that recipe seems very familiar..." blog event update

Just a reminder that Planet VegMel's 2nd anniversary is this week! It officially falls on the 14th of September, giving you just two days to get your remixes in for the original anniversary deadline! On Wednesday I'll be making a round-up of all the recipes that have been posted.

However, there is the Birthday Picnic coming up on Sunday the 18th, and I know many VegMel bloggers are planning to remix something for that picnic. With that in mind, there will be a part two post for these remixes about a week after the picnic, giving everyone time to blog about their remix.

So don't worry about desperately needing to meet this Wednesday's deadline! There is still a lovely amount of time left to remix something from another blogger.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

toby's singapore noodles

I was reading twitter yesterday morning, blearily trying to wake up, when I saw that Cindy and Michael had remixed Toby's Singapore noodles. I was torn, because I had wanted to post about it and suddenly I worried I'd look like a copy cat! But several people remixing is part of what remixing is all about! And also we all love noodles, and it's nice to share.

So here it is, my remix of Toby's Singapore noodles, for that recipe seems very familiar... Like Michael, I skipped the sesame seeds, but not because I didn't have them, because I forgot them (even though they were on the kitchen counter).

toby's singapore noodles

Singapore Noodles (Toby Style)
originally by Toby at In the Mood for Noodles

2 sticks of rice vermicelli
100 grams smoked tofu
1 medium carrot, julienned
a hunk of capsicum, similarly sliced
half a white onion, sliced
3 tablespoons curry powder
half a teaspoon chilli flakes
quarter of a cup of vegetable stock
some vegetable oil
a splash or three of sesame oil
a splash or three of light soy sauce
some tumeric powder

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for five to ten minutes. Don't oversoak them, because then it will all fall apart and there will be maifun-related tears. In the meantime, marinate the carrot and the capsicum in the soy sauce, chilli flakes and the sesame oil.

After you drain the noodles, heat up the wok until it's very warm and fry the onion in some oil. Fry it until it softens, then stir through the curry powder and the turmeric, and follow it up with the carrot and capsicum mixture, including all the liquids. Leave to fry until the carrot starts to soften. Add a little dash of water and put the lid on to let it fry and steam for another minute or two. Throw in the noodles and mix through, adding the stock, a little extra soy sauce, sesame oil and some cracked pepper until the stock is cooked off (the wok should be hot enough that this will take about thirty seconds). I love sesame oil, it is amazing.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

lemon snickerdoodles

Over the weekend I was compelled to provide some sort of baked treat for a short-notice afternoon tea, and remembered this lemony snickerdoodle recipe that was originally posted by Em. A quick glance revealed I had all the required ingredients and, clad in my pyjamas, I felt ready to tackle this baking need.

lemon snickerdoodles

I made a few modifications to this recipe. Chief amongst them is that I didn't finish with lemon icing, it was more of a lemon glaze - I suspect that the '3/4 of a lemon' that Em used was a little smaller than the lemon I picked up from the corner shop, because I tripled the icing sugar in the recipe and it was still gloopy. I ended up brushing the glaze onto the snickerdoodles, but don't fret - it all ended well. And now I have three quarters of a cup of lemon glaze in my fridge, if anyone has any ideas.

These went pretty soft very quickly - good for the day of, but not as amazing by the end of the second day. Just have to eat them quickly, what a hardship!

This is my second submission for the that recipe seems very familiar... blog event.

lemon snickerdoodles
originally from sugar spoons, modified from vegetarian times

the dough
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30 grams nuttelex, softened
a smidge over a quarter of a cup of soy milk (with a few drops of vanilla extract mixed through)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
quarter cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

the glaze
zest + juice of most of a medium to large lemon
a whole lot of icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Em suggested lining one baking tray, but I needed two (and got about 20 snickerdoodles out of it).

Beat together the nuttelex until it's soft, then beat in the sugar, followed by soymilk and vanilla essence. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, corn flour and baking powder, then slowly mix this all into the liquids until smooth. You may need to use your hands! Set aside to sit for ten minutes.

In a bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Form the dough into 1 inch balls, roll into the cinnamon sugar, and place it on the tray. Flatten the cookies! Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are starting to go a little golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for a bit.

Make the glaze! Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, and icing sugar until you're happy with the consistency. Brush (or dollop, if it's thick enough) onto the snickerdoodles, then sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar on top.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

potato boston bun

When Emilly and I were invited to dinner with Ger + Em and asked to provide some dessert at short notice, I was stricken with indecision. But with the blog event for VegMel's 2nd birthday, it seemed fortuitous to tackle one of the recipes I've had bookmarked for months.

a boston bunening

My first recipe for the birthday blog event (you should participate too!) is this potato boston bun recipe, first blogged by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe. Ever since Johanna first posted it, I had been intrigued and definitely willing to give it a go. I love boston buns, and I love potatoes, how could this not be a great combination?

I made only a few minor mods to this recipe, increasing a few proportions and decreasing a few others, but mostly keeping it all the same. It was delicious on the day, and still delicious this morning, with a little nuttelex.

potato boston bun
based on the recipe at Green Gourmet Giraffe, originally from the ABC

ingredients for the bun
2 small white potatoes, peeled and mashed
three quarters of a cup of castor sugar
2 cups self raising flower
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 cup mixed fruit

ingredients for the icing
three quarters of a cup of icing sugar
three quarters of a cup of desiccated coconut
a few drops of vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of hot or even warmwater
1 tablespoon nuttelex

the method of bunening
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Mix together the potato and the sugar. Mix in the flour, mixed spice, and soy milk. When it's all smooth (though there can be a few potato lumps), add the fruit and loosely combine. Pour into a lined circular tin and smooth the top around.

Bake for about 50 mins until golden brown and firm to the touch. When you put the skewer in to test, it can be a little not-quite done, it'll cool deliciously.

Remove from tin and allow to cool.

For the icing, mix together the icing sugar, coconut, vanilla essence, nuttelex and the hot water. Mix it thoroughly until a spreadable paste is formed. Add more hot water if necessary. Spread it over the top of the bun.

Cut and eat, oh yeah.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

sissi & co, malvern

Last weekend was so beautiful and since I've never eaten at a single cafe, restaurant or eatery in Malvern (where Emilly lives), we decided to go on a brunch adventure. It was a lovely amble through Malvern, critiquing architecture and gardening choices, on our way to Sissi & Co, on Malvern Road.

the sugar

Sissi & Co is cute, with a design style that delights me and the benches and glass cabinets filled with food I can't eat but that looks cheerful, and lots of bright colours. This sugar pot, found only on the outside tables (along with pots of flowers and plants climbing the walls in the courtyard), took my fancy.

tomatoes and avocados

There was nothing immediately vegan on the menu for me to eat, but they were happy to remove the feta on my avocado and replace it with slow roasted tomatos, and not charge me anything extra for the privilege. And the slow roasted tomatos were delicious, and the avocado with a little sprig of thyme was excellent. A lovely brunch adventure!

Sissi & Co
1290 Malvern Road