Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Eating out: Brisbane CBD

Life has taken me into the Brisbane CBD for appointments several times over the past year (and will continue to do so this year), so that means that I have had ample opportunity to try different vegan options for lunch.

VegeRama Myer Centre: VegeRama has two outlets in the city, and the one I have visited the most is the one in the food court in the Myer Centre. It gets so busy there at lunch time! I highly recommend the lasagna (though I have to pick out the capsicum) if you can handle the amount of Daiya that they put on the top. I once tried the Moussaka, which was OK but not as good. They have other options there as well, a few are only vegetarian but most is vegan. They also have salads. My favourite is the Dill and Mustard Salad, which you see in all the photos below (the takeaway box has a second salad as well, but I can't remember what it is).

Lasagna with Dill and Mustard Salad from Vegerama at Myer Centre

Moussaka with Dill Mustard Salad from VegeRama

Takeaway Salads from Vegerama

VegeRama Post Office Square: The second location of VegeRama is in Post Office Square. I think this location is all vegan. They have a lot of similar things to the Myer Centre one, but they also do burgers. I went there once to meet up with a friend, and got a piece of their Vegan Quiche with a side of Veggie Boost Salad, and a CABALA juice (carrot, three types of apple, beetroot, lemon).

Vegan Quiche and Veggie Boost Salad with juice from Vegerama

Comuna Cantina is a Mexican spot that is tucked away, but has a few vegan options on the menu. I had the naturally vegan Abundance Bowl, which had quinoa, black beans, mixed salad, roasted sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, crushed tortillas, and pickled onions. They can also do some of the vegetarian tacos as vegan leaving off the dairy. I also had a refreshing Strawberry, Elderflower, and Lime Agua Fresca, though the lime juice dominated the other tastes.

Abundance Bowl at Comuna Cantina

Strawberry Elderflower Lime Agua Fresca at Comuna Cantina

Vegeto: This is a vegetarian Indian place in the food court of Queens Plaza, that has some vegan options. Eating out, Indian is not my favourite as I am sensitive to spice levels and a lot of these pre-made ones are too spicy for me. I was assured that this Potato and Pea Curry and Daal were mild, but my mouth said no to this. I am so ridiculous. They also sell FoodMill cakes there, including this excellent carrot cake.

Curries (Potato and Pea and Daal) and Carrot Cake from Vegeto

Thr1ve: The address for this is in Post Office square, but don't go looking for it in the underground food court. It is above ground, flanking the park. They specialise in bowls. At the time I went, the only vegan bowl option on the menu (which has since changed) wasn't that enticing, so I made a custom one. And spent a million dollars accidentally. Pricey! Anyway, this one had rice, mixed greens, turmeric cauliflower, pickled cabbage, avocado smash, and tofu.

Custom Bowl from Thrive

Graze & Grind: This is also in Post Office Square, down in the underground food court part. They have some vegan bowls, salads, and smoothies there, as well as a lot of non-vegan stuff. I can't remember exactly what this bowl was, but it was a warm mushroom bowl with rice and quinoa, pickled cabbage, and salad greens. I also tried a not-particularly sweet turmeric smoothie, but it had almond milk in it so I didn't love the texture.

Warm Mushroom Bowl and Turmeric Smoothie from Graze & Grind

Spudbar: Spudbar is a baked potato bar chain, and it is located in the Wintergarden food court and the bottom floor. There are two vegan options, and they can also make a vegetarian one vegan by leaving off the dairy. I had Fresh Veggie, with baby spinach, tomato, corn, carrot, peas & hummus. You can choose between regular potato or sweet potato, or you can have half of each if you are undecided (like I was).

Fresh Veggie from Spud Bar

Guzman y Gomez and Coco Bliss: These are both also located in the Wintergarden food court. I got the veggie burrito bowl made vegan (no dairy), which sadly had a lot of capsicum to pick out, and I also got a Black Acai Smoothie (with charcoal giving it the black colour). Don't panic the next day if you have had charcoal the day before!

Burrito Bowl from Gomez and Charcoal Smoothie from Cocobliss

Ms Chi Qi: Yet another offering from the Wintergarden food court, this is a good place for some tasty rice paper rolls, and have three vegan options there. Sorry for the blurry photo!

Blurry Rice Paper Rolls from Miss Chi Chi

Raw Energy: This is located a couple of blocks away from Queen St Mall, but very easy to get to. Again, a 'healthy place' that has a few vegan options. I had the Liver Cleansing Juice (beetroot, pear, carrot, lemon) and the Vegan Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Kale Fritters, that come with roma tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, avocado salsa & warm napoli.

Liver Cleanser Juice (beetroot, pear, carrot, lemon) from Raw Energy

Vegan Quinoa Fritters with tomato, spinach, avocado, mushrooms and napoli from Raw Energy

Noosa Chocolate Factory: If you are after a sweet treat, the Noosa Chocolate Factory is the place to go! They have two shops, both close to each other on Adelaide St. One is a shop that sells the chocolate, and the other is a cafe (The Dark Chocolatier) where you can get hot and cold chocolate drinks, as well as some of the chocolates themselves. All of their dark chocolate goodies are vegan, which includes the most amazing rocky road in the world.

Noose Chocolate Factory 90% iced chocolate and chocolate covered cherries

Noosa Chocolate Factory

So if you find yourself in the Brisbane CBD for any reason, rest assured there is plenty to keep your belly full! There are some other places I still want to try, so I'll report back on those soon!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

2018-01-18 20.09.37

Dim Sim's teeny little front feetsies.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan

Eat, Dink, & Be Vegan is my favourite of Dreena Burton's many books. I've already shared a lot of things from this book, which you can see by clicking here. This post has some that I realised I hadn't shared yet. Apologies that some of the photos are not great, some of them are quite old and were taken with a previous camera.

Kid's Dynamo Hummus: Dreena loves making hummus-inspired dips. This one is designed for kids, it is meant to have a mellow flavour that is full of nutrition. Cashews and chickpeas make up the base, and it has some nooch in it as well for cheeziness. It has some flax oil in it, and I have discovered that I am just not a fan of this oil. I could taste it quite strongly. It might be better with some more lemon juice to cancel it out.
Rating: :|

Kids' Dynamo Hummus

Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus: This was some amazing dip, combining both green and kalamata olives. It also has a heft dose of raw garlic, though the flavour mellowed a bit with sitting. (This was before I started becoming intolerant to raw garlic, sad face.) The recipe calls of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, but I am not a fan of those (they are always too oily), so I used rehydrated vacuum packed tomatoes.
Rating: :D

Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Palak Soyabini Pinira: This is a version of Palak Paneer, an Indian spiced spinach and cheese dish. The recipe uses tofu seasoned with lemon juice and tamari in place of the cheese, which would make a tasty snack all on its own. Unfortunately, the overall dish was just a bit bland, granted I did skip the jalapeno. But I would like to think that the spices in this would have help up without the chili. Dreena suggests keeping some of the tofu aside for snacking, because she prefers the dish with less tofu, but I used it all to bulk up the meal and add more flavour. I got 3.5 serves out of this, with lots of rice.
Rating: :|

Palak Soyabina Panira

Sweet & Sour Chipotle Tempeh: This was made back in the days when I could tolerate more spicy than I could now, so it was made with the full dose of chipotle! It had a lovely and smoky flavour, and was not too sweet. As well as tempeh it had sweet potatoes and pineapple, and was meant to have green capsicum, but I used zucchini and peas.
Rating: :)

Sweet & Sour Chipotle Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes

Veggie-Sizzle Burritos: These are packed full of beans, zucchini, mushroom, and onion. Also capsicum, if you follow the recipe, but I left this out. Using a large burrito, a 400g tin of beans and 4 large portobello caps, I had lots of filling to go around! The filling would also be tasty just served over rice or greens.
Rating: :)

Veggie-Sizzle Burritos

Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies: Dreena excels at recipes for cookies that are a little on the healthier side, though let's not fool ourselves - they are still cookies. These cookies use barley flour (though there is the option to use plain white flour), with maple syrup and raw sugar for sweetening and a range of spices for a lovely flavour. These cookies were delicate coming out of the oven, so be careful if you move them before they have completely cooled. The unrefined sugar gave them a slightly crunchy texture as well. Rating: :)

Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies

Chocolate Chip Melties: These cookies used spelt as the flour, but also had most of a chocolate mint bar chopped up and mixed through the batter, plus some left for decoration on top. I am not normally a huge chocolate-mint fan, but these were nice and a good way to use the chocolate bar.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Mint Melties

Drink Your Greens Smoothie: This is a versatile recipe, using OJ and water as the liquid, frozen banana and avocado for creaminess, and your choice of melons or mangoes (I used frozen mangoes). It is lightly sweetened with a touch of agave. It calls for kale as the green, but I am not a fan of kale in smoothies, so I used baby spinach. I decreased the amount of avocado slightly, as I find too much avocado in smoothies makes me feel a bit icky (though I can eat avocado in other ways non-stop). This was a lovely, creamy and fruity start to my day.
Rating: :)

Drink Your Greens Smoothie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sweet kitty

This sweetie was in hospital for a few days, following an accident. She was the sweetest little girl. She just wanted your pats and love, and we were happy to give them!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets September 2017

September came around, and once again I made a visit to both of the Brisbane Vegan Markets. First up, the morning markets (on the 2nd Sunday of the month). I love corn on the cob, so was excited to try Corn Star, which had a range of fun flavoured cobs. I can't quite remember what this was called, but pretty sure it had some sort of ranch coating, with herbs and sunflower seeds. Normally getting corn on the cob at an event means getting them to leave the butter off, and just salt and pepper. I like that too, but super nice to get a fun coating!

Ranch Cob from Porn Star at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Of course I can't not get something from my favourite Green Street Foods, and this day I tried their Gyros. It is completely gluten free, they made the 'lamb' and the wrap themselves, and it was outstanding. They work magic!

Gyros from Green Street Foods at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I tried the Pork Specia Rice (vegan pork, rice, vegetables) with some lemonade from the Malaysian Nonya House stall. The pork was tasty, though so fatty! I forgot that sometimes they put weird fatty gel layers in some mock meats. A bit greasy for me overall.

Pork Belly Special and Lemonade from Nonya Malaysian House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

And of course, my favourite Berry Merry from I Should Coco to finish it off.

Berry Merry from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I say finish it off, but obviously I mean except for the treats I took home for myself for later! A strawberry flan from Flour of Life, a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake from Koko Cakes, and a Turmeric Almond Milk from Genki Milk Co. Genki Milk Co is a local business that makes the most amazing almond milks! Normally I am not an almond milk fan, they taste like watery sawdust to me, but they make theirs so wonderful and creamy. It is the best!

Fruit Flan from Flour of Life; Peanut Butter Cup from Bliss & Co; Golden Milk from Genki Milk Co at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I was back again for the Twilight markets (4th Sunday of the month), but for the first time I went in the actual evening. It was the weekend of Brisbane OzComicCon, so I headed down to the markets for dinner afterwards. I was going to meet up with my friend Ashleigh, but she was running a bit late, so I started off with some snacks. A Street Taco from Green Street Foods (sadly these are currently off their menu), and a steamed BBQ bun from September 18.

Street Taco from Green Street Foods and Steamed BBQ Bun from September 18 at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets

I was feeling like something a bit more substantial, so I decided to try a burger from Gatherer's. I can't remember the exact specifics, but I know the patty had chickpeas and peanut butter in it. The patty was good, though the rest of the burger was a bit subpar. Crappy roll, single slice of hard biocheese, and I think some aioli that wasn't strong enough. It was meant to come with fries, but they had run out by that time.

Burger from Gatherers at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets

This time I picked the Super Dooper from I Should Coco, which was a granola and nut mix with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Super Dooper from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets

Because it was almost the end of the night, the lovely person at the Flour of Life stall gave me two of my beloved strawberry flans for the price of one! I also grabbed a Matcha Almond Milk from Genki Milk Co, which was another winner.

Strawberry Flans from Flour of Life and Matcha Almond Milk from Genki Milk Co at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Cute cat

This hilarious cutie pie was in boarding a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eating Out: Pu Kwong and Su Life

This post is a mash up of a few visits to Pu Kwong, and one to Su Life.

Regular readers will know of my love for visiting Pu Kwong! You can check out my other visits here Of course, no meal at Pu Kwong is complete without some bean curd rolls and steamed BBQ buns to start!!

Beancurd Rolls at Pu Kwong

Steamed BBQ Bun at Pu Kwong

My favourite dish there, that I have ordered frequently at recent visits, is the mixed mushrooms with tofu. A giant plate of soft roasted tofu and mixed mushrooms in a great savoury brown sauce. While I am partial to bok choy, I if they replaced it with broccoli it would be the ultimate dish for me.

Mixed Mushroom and Tofu at Pu Kwong

Tofu and Mixed Mushrooms at PuKwong

We almost always order the Greens In Ginger Sauce as well, because vegetables are important!

Greens in Ginger Sauce at Pu Kwong

My mum is a huge fan of salt and pepper eggplant. While I find most salt and pepper things a bit too deep fried to eat more than a couple of pieces, my mum gives their version of it a thumbs up!

Salt and Pepper Eggplant at Pu Kwong

Mum has also ordered the Sizzling Mongolian Lamb a couple of times. It has a lovely sauce, and the vegan lamb chunks are a good texture.

Sizzling Mongolian Lamb at Pu Kwong

Dad ordered the Combination Chow Mein once, which came with lots of different mock meats. I steered well clear of the mock seafood (I just don't like it), and I prefer the noodles once they have softened a bit in the sauce. But my dad really liked it.

Combination Chow Mein at Pu Kwong

Last time we went, my mum tried a crispy chicken dish. I think it was called Shangdong chicken, but I can't find the menu online anymore and it isn't in my takeaway menu, so I am not sure. Anyway, it was crispy fried chicken strips on top of crispy fried greens with a sweet sauce. A lot of fried, even for my mother. Definitely a dish for sharing with a crowd!

Crispy Chicken thing at PuKwong

It has been a while since I have been to Su Life. We used to get take away from there fairly regularly, though not for ages. And I have only actually been there a couple of times. You can see my other Su Life experiences here. Su Life can be quite hit and miss, so if you find a dish you like there, it is best to stick to it and keep ordering. The one thing they do that is consistently amazing is their Pan Fried Dumplings. They are great, with a tasty filling and a nice sauce. Mum and I had lunch there a while ago, so we of course started with some of those.

Pan-Fried Dumplings at Su Life

I thought I'd try something light, with the Mini Miso Steam set. It ended up being pretty big! Also the soup was so hot, and there was a flame underneath it that just would not let it cool down. I burnt my tongue so bad! I almost thought I was going to scar my oesophagus and stomach, it was so hot, no matter how much I tried blowing on the spoon!

Mini Miso Steam Set at Su Life

Mum stuck to her favourite, the Spicy Crispy Chicken. This is probably the most famous dish that Su Life has. The spice level can vary widely, from a bit of heat to super hot, though I always brave a piece or two to see if it is too much for me. I really like the celery and the cashews in it!

Spicy Crispy Chicken at Su Life

Pu Kwong Vegetarian Restaurant - 2796 Logan Road, Underwood, Queensland - 07 3841 8999

Su Life Vegetarian Restaurant - 4/2120 Logan Rd, Upper Mt Gravatt QLD 4122 - (07) 3349 5995

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

I am not sure what I did to deserve this judgmental look!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Eat Like You Give A Damn

This is my first round-up from Eat Like You Give A Damn, a fun cookbook written by Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten of Portland's The Herbivore Clothing Company. This is a shiny little book, with lots of pictures and some tempting recipes. This round up will mostly look at breakfast recipes that I have made from it.

Herbivore's Tofu Scramble with Go-To Greens and Tahini Sauce: This tofu recipe is so simple, and is reminiscent of the amazing tofu served in Austin at Bouldin Creek Cafe. The tofu is coated with nutritional yeast and seasonings, and comes out with a great, crunchy, cheesy crust. The book has many options for their go-to greens, which are steam-fried, and I used silverbeet (swiss chard). I did have to drain it at the end, there was quite a lot of liquid. All topped with the amazing Tahini Sauce, which comes together so quickly and is amazing. When I made the sauce this time, I used smoked garlic, which added a great flavour.
Rating: Scramble :), Greens :), Sauce :D

Herbivore's Tofu Scramble; Go-To Greens (Silverbeet); Tahini Sauce

Ranch Scramble with Cream Biscuits: This was a great, herby tofu scramble, with broccoli and tomato (though I could have done with even more vegetable!). When it is all cooked, the recipe says to top in the pan with some sour cream and cover, and it will melt into scramble. It didn't melt into it, I ended stirring it through. You can see I topped it with some more sour cream as well. The cream biscuits are very easy to make, using cashew cream or soy creamer. I used some soy creamer for these. The recipe makes 8 biscuits, I made a half recipe and shaped them into three biscuits, which cooked in 18 minutes. This served three people for brinner.
Rating: Scramble :), Biscuits :)

Ranch Scramble; Cream Biscuits

Apple & Peanut Butter Smoothie: I loved this smoothie. I made a half recipe, which made just over one large glass. I added extra peanut butter (of course) and added an extra splash of milk (I use oat milk). As well as apples and peanut butter, it also has bananas, molasses and cinnamon (with some other stuff), that just made a delicious, creamy, not-too-sweet start to the day.
Rating: :D

Apple and Peanut Butter Smoothie

Minty Spinach-Pear Smoothie: This recipe is meant to have kale as the greens, but I just am not a huge fan of kale in smoothies. Sorry. I much prefer baby spinach, so I used that. I made a half recipe, which made one large glass. This was sweet, minty and refreshing.
Rating: :)

Minty Kale-Pear Smoothie

Sage Gravy: While this doesn't look attractive, it sure was tasty. And so fast! I had a single leftover biscuit, so I just made a 1/4 recipe of the gravy and it came together in a few minutes. The recipe called for either AP flour, white whole wheat flour, or spelt flour, and I used spelt.
Rating: :)

Sage Gravy

Souk Scramble: This recipe was inspired by Middle Eastern markets, and has tomatoes, olives and spinach as well as a blend of herbs and spices. The tomato was a particularly nice, fresh addition.I made a half recipe (with 250g of tofu), cooking only for myself, and got 1.5 serves when I served it with some more spinach, pita bread, and hummus.
Rating: :)

Souk Scramble

Survival Scramble: This scramble honours the cabbage, which apparently would be a safe food to eat in a nuclear war as the outer leaves act as a barrier. Of course, if there is a nuclear war my plan is to die in the first wave, so no need to forage for cabbage. But I do enjoy cabbage in my regular, non-nuclear war life. I made a few changes here, using some scallions instead of onion and some carrot instead of capsicum. The scramble also has potato, and I salute anything that comes with potato built in. The seasoning is based on mustard and fennel. Overall it was a bit dry, but the flavour was good. I got just over three serves from it.
Rating: :)

Survival Scramble

Sausage Biscuit Breakfast Sandwiches: This recipe calls for the cream biscuits again, but made into 4 large biscuits rather than 8 small ones. You need them big because they are your bread! I used some sausage patties that I made from another book (breakfast sausage patties are not really a common thing here), and I had some cashew cheese left over that I made from Artisan Vegan Cheese that I used instead of cheese slices. The sandwiches also have some wilted spinach. They are big and filling! Served with some potato gems and roasted Brussels sprouts, they were an excellent brinner.
Rating: :)

Sausage Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich

Savoury Breakfast Grain Bowl: Most of the recipes from this chapter I actually made for dinner, but this was a great quick breakfast. I love savoury breakfasts! This is a very versatile recipe, that lets you use up whatever grain you might have left over and choose you own fruit and nuts - I used jasmine rice, cranberries and walnuts. It also has spinach, and while the recipe calls for a TBS of oil, I left it out. Mixed through with some soy and nooch, so quick! I also topped mine with some avocado and some leftover serundeng.
Rating: :)

Savoury Breakfast Grain Bowl

Ruby's Tomato Soup: A change of pace from breakfast foods. This recipe is so simple, reminiscent of tomato soup from a can but so much better. It is creamy, a little bit cheesy, and a little bit tangy. A great blend of flavours. I got three serves from this, served with some grilled cheese and some salad.
Rating: :)

Ruby's Tomato Soup

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

A super pensive little Dim Sim. That is my arm that she is resting her head on. I wonder what thoughts she had going through that perfect little head.