Saturday, November 28, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Greenilicious

I was lucky enough to test for my friend Leigh Drew's cookbook Greenilicious. I was super busy at the time, so didn't get to test as much as I would have liked, but I did make almost all of the amazing green smoothies that she created as well as a few other things. But there is far more to this book than green smoothies, it is packed full of delicious and clever recipes using all sorts of greens! Chapters are divided based on the family of green used in the recipes, with a final chapter about green smoothies. But back to those smoothies, they are worth the price of the book alone. Testing turned me into a die hard green smoothie fan, and Leigh's smoothie recipes are still the most fun and delicious smoothies I've ever come across!

A note, most of these recipes I made during the testing phase, so I will mention if there have been any changes in the ingredients or recipe between testing and publication.

Stuffed Baby Bok Choy: This is a cute and fun recipe. The recipe calls for 8 baby bok choy (approx 150g each), but I had three large ones that were all that would fit into my steamer and also took most of the filling. I left out the chili because of not liking things too spicy. The stuffing is based on grated tempeh, which is ridiculously mince like, how did I not grate tempeh for so long? The published recipe calls for an extra 50g of tempeh compared to the tester recipe, so you will end up with some more filling.
Rating: :)

Stuffed Baby Bok Choy

Citrus-Glazed Pumpkin over Garlic Sesame Wilted Choy Sum: This is a lovely dish, using either Jap or Grey pumpkin (I used Jap). It makes quite a lot of pumpkin! After baking, leftover marinade can be heated a little to thicken, and then drizzled over the pumpkin when served. The published recipe calls for almost double the amount of choy sum, and more greens is always a good thing. I served mine over some red rice.
Rating: :)

Citrus-Glazed Pumpkin over Garlic Sesame Wilted Choy Sum

Cauliflower and Fennel Pate: This is super yum, I devoured most of this over one afternoon because I just couldn't stop going back for more. It is quite soft, but that doesn't matter too much when you are scooping it up and shoveling it in to your mouth. The vegetables are roasted before being pureed into the pate, so you know it is extra special.
Rating: :D

Cauliflower and Fennel Pate

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip: Creamy and yummy, it is great warm out of the oven served with veggie sticks and crackers, but I also had fun stuffing leftovers into baked potatoes. The recipe calls for 450g artichoke hearts, which is what came out of two 400g tins of hearts once I drained them. I didn't use the full amount of crumbs, as I prefer a thinner crumb layer.
Rating: :)

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Celery Stuffed with Walnut Cheese: This is a super cute party food. In testing, I noted that the cheese was a but too strong with lime juice, and there is now less lime and more nooch in the published recipe. It makes a lot of cheese! As well as walnuts, the cheese is based on either pumpkin or sunflower seeds, I used sunflower.
Rating: :)

Celery Stuffed with Walnut Cheese

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Tempeh Croutons: This is a satisfying soup on a cold day. I really like the addition of the tempeh croutons, but don't expect them to get super crispy. This soup is also lovely cold, or with nooch mixed in to make a cheesy cauliflower soup.
Rating: :)

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Tempeh Croutons

Sherbet Lemon Green Smoothie: This is a really nice but very intensely flavoured green smoothie. Leigh's recipes all say they make two large or four small, but I often drank most or all of a smoothie in one sitting. I think this would be one to share. It has a beautiful, jewel green colour! It also separates quickly, so is not a good one to store for later.
Rating: :)

Sherbet Lemon Green Smoothie

Peanut Butter Caramel Green Smoothie: This is a beautiful, rich, almost dessert-like smoothie. I loved this! It is based on spinach and kale, though I used a bit more spinach than kale. This would not be out of place as a decadent but healthy way to finish off the end of your day! Smoothie for dessert? Heck yes!
Rating: :D

Peanut Butter Caramel Green Smoothie

Strawberry Shortcake Green Smoothie: aka My Favourite Green Smoothie in the History of Smoothies. I can't really explain how amazing this smoothie is, and when I tell people it has bok choy in it they look at me funny. But for reals, do it! This smoothie does has a little bit of coconut sugar and agave in it, though I can leave these out and go with the sweetness of the fruit. But for reals, best ever smoothie. Buy the book for this alone. Make it all the time!
Rating: :D :D :D (yes!)

Strawberry Shortcake Green Smoothie

Blueberry Pancake Green Smoothie: I found this smoothie a bit bitter on first tasting, but if you let it sit for five or ten minuites it mellows out and is lovely. Just drink it all at once, because it will separate on standing. And don't try and freeze it, it turns into sludge (I was experimenting with different methods of storing smoothies).
Rating: :)

Blueberry Pancake Green Smoothie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara awaits, starving

Leigh loves cats, and she loves both my girls, but she has a particular adoration for Sahara. Here is Sahara. At the time I took this photo, I had gotten home late for her afternoon tea. I was greeted by this very unimpressed face!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Midweek Munchies

Time for another MidWeek Munchies! If you'd like to join in, head on over to My Blissful Journey and link up with you've been snacking on.

Last week I had a meeting with my research supervisor, and I went straight from bikram yoga class to the meeting (after a shower of course). I knew I would be pretty hungry, and didn't feel like driving out of the way to find some food on the way to her place, so I packed myself this little snack box. Two mini tortillas rolled up with Vegemite, nooch and cashew sour cream, some grape tomatoes and some dried apple slices (which are one of my favourite quick snacks), plus a chilled thermos full of green smoothie.

Midweek Munchies

Speaking of green smoothies, I recently got my very own Froothie Optimum 9200A, which is super exciting! My old Breville blender was completely useless and frustrating, I love my new super blender!

Midweek Munchies

I have come into possession of some nice chocolate over the last several weeks. So far I have only had the Whittaker's Peppermint block, which my dad gave me for my birthday. Normally I am not a huge fan of mint chocolate, because it tastes like toothpaste. However this has regular chocolate but inside each square is a delicious peppermint cream and it is SO good! I ate it very quickly. The Mandarin and Ginger one, which I bought in Melbourne, is also nice. Subtle citrus notes with a spicy ginger kick!

Midweek Munchies

Spring has more than sprung, and we are practically in summer. Which means lots of yummy fruits are now in seasons. Like blueberries, apricots, and grape tomatoes. OK, the tomatoes are available year round but they are better in summer. And blueberries are also available year round but I refuse to pay $7 for a tiny punnet in the middle of winter.

Midweek Munchies

Speaking of summer approaching and hot days, how good is watermelon? It is the best!

Midweek Munchies

I am looking forward to seeing what other people have been munching on!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara in her bed

Sahara in her basket with her ladybug. She has a bit of bed head here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook is a trusty volume that I often head to when I am feeling the need for something a little bit lighter, but not lacking in flavour. I have also done a round-up for this book before. Here is some more from it!

Chinese Brown Sauce: This sauce comes together quickly, and has a rich and garlicky flavour. I never have date molasses and found myself unexpectedly out of rice syrup, so I used some maple syrup mixed with a touch of water instead. This is a base for several recipes in the book, but is also handy for a quick stir-fry sauce on its own.
Rating: :)

Chinese Brown Sauce

Spicy Tropical Green Smoothie: I was not a big fan of this, and I normally love green smoothies. I found this thin (even with frozen fruit), kind of grassy and it had an odd smell. I used the lime juice option, and added a sprinkle of cayenne as suggested.
Rating: :/

Spicy Tropical Green Smoothie

Chilean Bean Stew: This was nice, though quite sweet because it has a lot of corn and is also based on pumpkin. It has basil stirred through which gives a lovely accent. It is great with nooch added to make it a bit cheesy.
Rating: :)

Chilean Bean Stew

Brown Lentil Stew with Avocado Salsa: It is funny how some dishes you remember because of what happened while you were eating them. I had just sat down to a bowl of this when a large glass door panel shattered. Not the fault of the stew, of course, which was exactly what I needed to get through. I needed to add an extra cup of water to get the lentils to cook all the way through, and I left out the capsicum. I doubled the salsa, which you will definitely want to do as well. Served with quinoa, baby spinach and a side of glass-door related angst.
Rating: :)

Brown Lentil Stew with Avocado Salsa

Bean and Mushroom Chili: I made a half batch of this (a full recipe says it serves six), and I got one dinner and one lunch out of it, so I think I eat more than they think you should eat. I served it with avocado, some nooch, a baked sweet potato and baby spinach. After simmering covered, I had to simmer for a bit longer at the end without a cover to thicken up.
Rating: :)

Bean and Mushroom Chili

Penne with Spicy Eggplant: This was yum. I used only half the penne (so 250g instead of 1 pound... 1 pound of pasta makes too much for me, and I like my pasta on the saucier side) and added a tin of kidney beans and some frozen peas, and served over spinach. Even with only using half the pasta I still got five serves out it! The recipe says that full amount of pasta will serve 4!
Rating: :)

Penne with Spicy Eggplant

'Penne' with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants: When I was shopping for this recipe I could have sworn that I had penne at home in the cupboard, but when it came time to cook it turned out that it was rotini. Oh well! Still good. Once again I used 250g pasta, rather than 1 pound, and I added kidney beans. I didn't have fresh thyme, so I used dry. I also sliced my shallots in quarter moons rather than dicing them small. Overall this was a little lacking in flavour, so I added some veggie stock to it and topped with nooch and it was good. I would suggest adding veggie stock powder to the reserved pasta water when it comes to that step.
Rating: :)

'Penne' with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

Sicilian Cauliflower Linguine: This recipe again calls for 1 pound, I happened to have 12 oz/375g left in my cupboard so I used it all, but it was really a bit too much pasta for the sauce, I would use 250g next time. I also added in some chopped spinach as well for greens. This has a nice flavour, with lots of garlic and miso in the sauce.
Rating: :)

Sicilian Cauliflower Linguine

Stir-Fried Noodles with Spring Vegetables: This uses a recipe of the Chinese Brown Sauce from the beginning of this post. it calls for onion, carrot, asparagus and snow peas, I also added some sauteed tofu. I got three and a half serves of this, serving over wholewheat noodles because I couldn't find the brown rice ones the recipe called for.
Rating: :)

Stir-Fried Noodles with Spring Vegetables

Peanut Noodles with Broccoli: Peanut sauce, noodles and broccoli have to be one of my favourite combinations. The sauce here is super awesome, using refreshing coconut water as a base. I served this over baby spinach leaves. Highly recommend.
Rating: :D

Peanut Noodles with Broccoli

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim hiding

A few weeks ago Dim Sim had to go to the clinic because she was off her food. Everything ended up being fine! But I popped out of the room to go pay my bill and when I came back had a moment of panic - where was Dim Sim? She was hiding under the flap of my bag, but poked her nose out when she realised I was back.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eating Out: Byblos Portside

The day after my birthday I went with my mum to see a screening of the National Theatre Live production of Hamlet at a theatre over in the Portside complex. The screening started at 1pm, so it seemed sensible to have lunch first. Initially I wanted to go to a Japanese place there, but they opened a bit too late, so instead we went to Byblos, a great Mediterranean restaurant that has vegan options.

I opted for the vegetarian platter made vegan ($33, Mum had the vegetarian platter which is $32, but they add an extra dollar for the vegan upgrade... it's OK though, it is actually an upgrade!). To make it vegan, they take out a couple of the non-vegan pastries and give you extra vine leaves and falafel (with a tahini sauce), but you also get a delicious pile of Batata Harra, lemon and garlic potatoes. On the menu these say they are made with butter, but they do it in oil for vegans. Honestly, I think the vegan version is definitely an improvement on the vegetarian version, I wasn't sad to be missing out on the pastries at all!

Byblos Vegan Platter

It also comes with some great hummus and a fresh tabbouleh, as well as some pita bread. This is a delicious and hefty meal, I could tell I was getting full but could not stop eating. The potatoes were definitely my favourite, but it was all good, and I dunked everything in hummus and ate so much pita bread. Glorious! If you eat here I would definitely recommend this, or if you are eating with a group you can get most of these in larger servings as well.

We had a booking for 11.30 on a Sunday, and there were quite a few other bookings coming in that time as well. I had asked about vegan options when I booked, and when we got there they had made a note and went through everything on the menu with me without my having to ask. We ate in the dining area, but it also has a lounge and bar area and an outside area that overlooks the river (which was empty that day as it was pouring rain!). There are bathrooms inside the restaurant itself (down by the bar). It is a pretty atmosphere, which would be nice for fancy meal or for a fun party in the lounge area (the first time I went here was for a friend's goodbye party on a Saturday night).

Byblos Portside - Portside Wharf, Hamilton, Brisbane - 07 3268 2223

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Silly kitty

This little guy came in to get castrated, and when he woke up he made himself this adorable little nest under his blankets.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Eat, Drink and Be Vegan

I've rounded up quite a bit from this book before, and it is definitely my favourite book from Dreena Burton.

Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry with Cucumber Mint Raita: This curry is full of vegetables (sweet potato, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans) and gives four hefty servings over baby spinach and rice. The recipe calls for whole seeds for some of the spices, but I subbed powdered for fenugreek and coriander because I didn't have the seeds and the flavour was still good. For the raita I used the Kingland Soy Yoghurt, which is the only natural unsweetened yoghurt I can find that isn't coconut based. It is strained overnight and then has stuff mixed into it and was a pleasant addition.
Rating: Curry :), Raita :)

Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry; Cucumber Mint Raita

Black Bean and Orange Hummus: Dreena is the master of hummus (or other bean based hummus-inspired dips, as in this case), there is a whole hummus chapter in the book! This is great, fresh dip based on black beans entirely (no chickpeas) and with a fresh orange kick.
Rating: :)

Black Bean and Orange Hummus

Rawsome Nut Dip: Almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts are in this tasty dip, that is great with veggies or in sandwiches. It does call for 1/2 cup of fresh capsicum, I used under 1/4 cup of roast capsicum that was kicking around and it did not have an overpowering flavour.
Rating: :)

Rawsome Nut Dip

Tamari-Roasted Chickpeas: This is one of my favourite recipes ever from any book in the history of all time. So simple, but so amazingly tasty. Have it with a meal (great with mac and cheese) or as a snack (take it to the movies instead of popcorn!), have it all the time.
Rating: :D :D :D (yes, three!)

Tamari-Roasted Chickpeas

Warm & Cheesy White Bean Dip: White beans and cashews are the base of this cozy dip. I found the end result to be quite lemony, which was fine, but I wanted a bit more cheesy so next time I would increase the nooch.
Rating: :)

Warm & Cheese White Bean Dip

Monkey Minestrone: This comes together quickly, is tasty and will give you five big bowls worth. I had some leftover tiny assorted pasta shapes, which were fun. The book suggests serving with polenta croutons, which I have made before and are amazing, but I served with some sourdough toast.
Rating: :)

Monkey Minestrone

Thai Coconut Corn Stew: Corn-based stews often look a little less than appealing, but generally make up for it in taste. This has a host of different herbs and spices, and I used light coconut milk so as not to over-coconut-fat myself. Served over brown rice.
Rating: :)

Thai Coconut Corn Stew

Nice Krispie Squares: Faced with a slightly stale bag of Dandies (hot tip, they never go off even if they get hard!), this was the obvious choice. it took a bit of stirring to get them to all melt together, but then I was blessed with these beautiful, sweet, sticky squares that were a big hit at the party I made them for.
Rating: :)

Nice Krispie Squares

"You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate" Cookies: Dreena is also a cookie queen. These tasty morsels have barley flour and raw sugar in them, so they are practically a health food... right? Hee. The baking time was spot on, and I got 12 yummy cookies (the recipe says it will make 10 to 14).
Rating: :)

'You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate' Cookies

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Clinic kitty Eve

Eve is a girl who lives at the clinic now after her person developed health issues. She isn't a clinic cat that hangs around the front counter talking to people, she is shy and most clients will never ever know we have her, but she is happy hanging out up the back in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Eating Out: Pu Kwong (Birthday edition)

Pu Kwong has been around for years, and it quite close to my house, however I have not been there in a very long time because it used to be pretty hit and miss in terms of both quality and service. However, I recently found out that they changed management awhile ago, and now I only ever hear good things about them. So for my birthday dinner with my parents it seemed like a good chance to try them out again. And I am glad I did! Pu Kwong is all vegetarian, but does use milk and eggs in some things (even though their menu says no animal products on it when referring to the 'meat'), but most of the egg dishes are clearly marked and if you let them know you are vegan they will look out for you.

For a starter we shared some Steamed Bean Curd Rolls ($5), which were lovely. The yuba was wrapped around a great mushroom filling.

Steamed Bean Curd Rolls

The Singapore Noodles ($11.90) were my dad's pick. They were tasty, though a little dry. It does contain vegan prawns, which I really don't like, but Dad was happy to eat all of them for me!

Singapore Noodles

Mum picked the Duck in Plum Sauce ($14.90). Sometimes I find vegan duck to be too fatty, and while this was certainly on the fatty side it wasn't overwhelmingly so. The sauce was sweet but tangy, and it was served over greens.

Duck in Plum Sauce

I picked the Tofu and Eggplant Hot Pot with Special Sauce ($16.90), because I cannot say no to tofu and eggplant hotpots ever. This was my favourite of the three dishes. The eggplant was perfect! I am not sure what was in the special sauce, but it was a little sweet.

Tofu and Eggplant Hot Pot with Special Sauce

I was really happy with Pu Kwong, it is greatly improved since the old management! I look forward to eating there again. The restaurant itself is not fancy, but is cheerful and clean. And the service was good. I'll be back!

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

Another bonus birthday edition photo! This year my mum made me a vegan cake! She veganised a recipe I used to love when I was younger, which is a Mississippi Mud Cake recipe from an old Australian Women's Weekly Cakes and Slices cookbook. This is a serious mud cake, it is so dense and fudgey without being too sweet. It was lovely to have a birthday cake. :)

Mississippi Mud Cake

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Close-up of Sahara's face!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Recipe Round-Up: Cookin' Crunk

I am a long time reader of the blog Vegan Crunk, written by Bianca Phillips, and I was excited when she released a cookbook Cookin' Crunk, full of great southern recipes. This book is a lot of fun, and I would definitely call it a go-to for comfort food recipes. I have so many recipes bookmarked to make, but today I will be sharing some of the recipes I have made so far.

Creamy Cashew Mac and Cheese and BBQ Dry Rub Seitan Ribs: Mac and cheese is my favourite, and this version is amazing. The sauce is fantastic! I ended up blending all of the soy milk with the rest of the sauce ingredients, rather than only a quarter and adding the rest later. The ribs are made from scratch, with lots of flavour in the seitan itself, and then coated in a dry rub. I think this was my first time having 'dry' ribs, apparently the wet vs dry debate rages on in Memphis! Rating: Mac and Cheese :D, Ribs :)

Creamy Cashew Mac and Cheese; BBQ Dry Rub Seitan Ribs

Boozy Baked Beans and Caramelised Brussels Sprouts with Pecans: I made the baked beans for my mum, who loves baked beans, and these were a good version. The booziness comes from beer, I used some Coopers stout, but it doesn't overpower the dish at all. This said is made 4-6 servings, we got three-ish servings. I guess we are boozy beer hounds! The Burssels sprouts were sweet but also garlicky and crunchy from pecans.
Rating: Beans :), Sprouts :)

Boozy Baked Beans; Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

Some-Like-It-Hot TLT: Technically I made this as a Some-Like-It-Mild TLT. I only used half the sriracha in the marinade, which imparted a very gently heat. The marinade was really nice, and included hoisin sauce. The recipe calls for an 8oz (I used 250g) block of tofu sliced into 4 equal slabs, which makes for thick slices! But that just meant a very satisfying sandwich.
Rating: :)

Some-Like-It-Hot TLT

BBQ Tofu Spaghetti: Spaghetti, BBQ sauce, mushrooms and broccoli (which I used to replace the green capsicum), how can things be wrong? They can't. I had extra mushrooms in the sauce, and also served it over some kale. I used the BBQ sauce recipe from the book, which had a great tang to it.
Rating: Spaghetti :), BBQ Sauce :)

BBQ Tofu Spaghetti

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Tofu: Spaghetti squash is an ingredient that has only recently become available to me, and is still only sporadically available, so I am still finding my feet with it. Unfortunately I did slightly overbake it here, so it was a bit smooshy. The recipe calls for adobo seasoning or seasoning salt, and I used the American Seasoning from American Vegan Kitchen here. I needed to add a fair bit more seasoning than the recipe called for. Served here with baby spinach and bread rolls.
Rating: :)

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Tofu

Cheesy Burger Mac: So this may not look pretty, but it sure sounds pretty. Macaroni is blended with the book's recipe for Ground TSP Beef and Basic Cheese Sauce recipe to create a comfort classic. The sauce is based on nooch with no cashews. It was nice but I definitely preferred the sauce from the mac and cheese recipe. I made a half batch of the TSP recipe, which made just over a cup (the recipe says the full version makes a cup). My soy sauce was not reduced sodium, so it was quite salty, so next time I would dilute with some water. And when you put it all together into the mac, it is a great combo. Served over kale because greens. Superb with ketchup.
Rating: Mac :), Sauce :), TSP :)

Cheesy Burger Mac

BBQ Tempeh Pizza: This recipe uses the basic cheese sauce, BBQ sauce (I used some left over from another cookbook), tempeh, spinach and a pre-made base. The cheese sauce is used as the base for the pizza, but I had some extra so I drizzled it on top as well. This was a tasty pizza, though next time I would add pineapple because everyone knows that pineapple should be on pizza and it would go especially nicely with this one.
Rating: :)

BBQ Tempeh Pizza

Nutty Mushroom Quinoa: This is a great, earthy dish that I made in the end throws of winter. I cooked the quinoa in the rice cooker because sometimes I can be exceedingly lazy. It was nice.
Rating: :)

Nutty Mushroom Quinoa

I definitely recommend this book, and checking out Bianca's blog. I have a lot that I still need to make from here, including some amazing sounding breakfasts and delectable desserts!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

One black princess, sitting on the sofa and thinking about life.