Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Choc-orange pudding pops and Molasses-Vanilla ice cream with candied walnuts

Last weekend was full of pot lucks. WTB holding an ice cream pot luck on Saturday and Lisa a Christmas themed one the next day.

I decided to make two dishes for the ice cream pot luck. If one of them was crap hopefully the other one could make up for it. For weeks I had my heart set on making the "choc-orange pudding pops" from Vegan Soul Kitchen, but was lazy in tracking down popsicle molds. I eventually found some cheap ones at woolworths on Friday, but I'd already decided to just make the "molasses-vanilla ice cream with candied walnuts" by then. However, I eventually managed to twist my own arm into doing what I had originally intended and made both dishes.

Chocolate-Orange pudding pops

This is just the recipe for choc-orange pudding, but you freeze it, after placing it in molds, rather than putting it in the fridge.


6 tbs coconut millk
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 tsp orange extract (I made my own using this recipe)
1/2 cup cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
340 grams silken firm tofu (I used the joyce brand from woolworths)

  • Whisk everything but the tofu together in a saucepan and bring to a boil and then simmer for a minute.
  • Blend in tofu.
  • Let cool and pour into molds.
  • Freeze until frozen ;)

I struggled to get these out of the molds in one piece, but there was success later in the day when I took some over to an MVS training session, where the skilled ice cream hands of my friend Dan pulled out the excalibur of popsicles (pictured above).

Molasses-Vanilla ice cream with candied walnuts

3 cups coconut milk
2 tbs arrowroot powder (I was tricked into buying tapioca powder thanks to tricky labelling, but seems to work okay)
6 tbs agave syrup
1 tbs black strap molasses (probably could/should have used carob molasses)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup candied walnuts (toast walnuts for 8 mins, rub off skins through sieve, mix in EV olive oil, agave and raw sugar and stir constantly in a frying pan on med-high heat until liquid has mostly evaporated)

  • Mix 1/4 cup of cocount milk with arrowroot powder.
  • Heat rest of coconut milk with agave, molasses, vanilla and salt with the coconut & arrowroot mixture.
  • Refrigerate until totally chilled.
  • Pour into ice cream maker and hope for the best. Add nuts in the last minute of freezing. Place in freezer for a couple of hours until it firms up.
The flavour of this was quite interesting, tasting a bit like licorice with an occasional kick of sweet candied walnut. A different type of molasses would probably add a milder and fruitier element.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Black bean salad

    My continuing relationship with black beans is, er, continuing, and rather than making a dish that involves mashing the beans, I opted for the simplicity of a salad.

    This recipe is based on the one in La Dolce Vegan, substituting white onion for red because the ones at the supermarket are always rotten. 1 tsp of cumin, a Tbs of oil and 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar ensures the salad will be dressed for success. The pic will show you what else goes in.

    This may not be of interest to those who are not etymologically inclined, but the word "salad" comes from the Latin word for salt, sal, so I encourage you to add plenty to this dish.

    Required soundtrack - Salad days by Minor Threat

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    choc ripple cake

    At WVD I saw a cooking demonstration by Yahvinah from soulveg, who also has the website, The cheapest Vegan. She cooked up quite a few tasty dishes, with many that included tofu cream. After tasting some of this cream, I knew I had to make some for myself. You can find the recipe on her site. Basically it involves blending a soft tofu and adding sugar and vanilla to taste. If it is still too thin, add some oil. I used the Joyce silken firm tofu and this was perhaps too soft as no matter how much oil I added it wouldn't thicken up enough.

    As you may have guessed by the blog title, I was looking to make a choc ripple cake. Arnott's choc ripple biscuits are vegan and convenient for someone who doesn't feel like making a bunch of chocolate biscuits. They also come with a handy recipe on the back of the packet that is easily cruelty-free-ified so there is no real reason to post the recipe as it is fairly self-explanatory.

    Since my cream wasn't quite thick enough, I assembled the cake in a small plastic container, making little cream sandwiches with all the biscuits and pouring the left over cream on top. After leavin it in the fridge over night, I raised the classiness of the dish by sprinkling raw cacao powder on top of it.

    I don't think I've ever had a choc ripple cake before, so I had nothing to compare it to, but it was pretty good and I could have eaten all of it in one sitting if it were not for my strict discipline in controlling my calorie intake. It probably could have had more sugar though.

    Recommended soundtrack - "Cream" by Prince and The New Power Generation from the album Diamonds and Pearls

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Eggplant Bharta and Roti

    K's tweet about her search for roti a couple of days ago got me thinking about Indian food and when I think about Indian food I think about eggplants. I flicked through my cookbooks and found a recipe for eggplant bharta in La Dolce Vegan. I also made some roti bread.

    Eggplant Bharta


    • 1 small eggplant
    • 1 small onion
    • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 5 cm ginger, grated
    • 1 tbsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne
    • 1 small hot pepper
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (Excluded as I couldn't remember what cilantro was (coriander leaves according to wikipedia) and couldn't be bothered looking it up)
    Combine eggplant, onion and stock in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, until eggplant starts to soften and reduce. Add everything else, except tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and add tomato and cilantro, re-cover, simmer for 5 minutes.

    Kramer suggests serving over rice, but I just ate it with roti bread.

    Roti bread

    • 2 1/2 cups wholegrain flour
    • 1 1/4 cup water
    Make a well in the flour and gradually pour in the water and mix until dough is formed. Knead for about 8-10 minutes, or less if you can't be bothered. Cover and let dough rest for about 30 mins.

    Heat up your frying pan. Put a handful of flour on a plate. Break dough up into about 6 balls. Dip ball of dough into flour and roll out into a thin circle, about 15cm in diameter. Place rolled out dough into your frying pan. Start preparing your next roti. By the time that one is ready, your roti should start bubbling a bit which means it is time to flip it over. Same deal on the other side, but now you can press down firmly on the edges of the roti with a spatula to make the roti puff up (This is the coolest part of making roti bread). The bread is done after that. Set it aside and brush with margarine.

    Perhaps the coriander leaves would add more to the flavour, but it wasn't that bad without it. Eating it with the roti was the ideal combination and I'll definitely be making roti more often.

    Soundtrack - Bob Dylan at Budokan

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Swedish Chocolate balls

    Any vegan who has been to Sweden, or has met a Swedish vegan, is familiar with Delicato balls and their chocolatey, coconutty goodness. Alas, these seem to be unavailable outside of Sweden. Not even at IKEA.

    Thanks to my Swedish friends, over at veganfitness.net, I discovered that delicato balls are just a commercial version of the Swedish treat, chokladboll. Armed with a recipe, I whipped up a quick batch a couple of nights ago. I took some to work, where they went down quite well, and opened the floodgates for a days worth of jokes about balls.


    • 3 1/4 cups oats
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 6 tbsp cocoa (I used cacao powder)
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar (I used the Hoyts brand) or 1 tsp  vanilla extract, added with the coffee
    • 2/3 cup margarine (nutellex)
    • 6 Tbsp  cold coffee
    • flaked coconut


    • Mix oats (Instant Oats will give a better texture and flavor and is recommended), sugar, vanilla sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl.
    • Using your hands or a potato masher, incorporate the margarine into the dry ingredients until the dough has an even consistency.
    • Add the coffee and mix until incorporated.
    • Fill a small bowl with flaked coconut.
    • With your hands, roll the dough into 3 cm diameter balls.
    • Roll each ball in the coconut or pearl sugar and place on a tray.
    • Chill chocolate balls for at least one hour before serving.

    Required soundtrack: Anything by Roxette 

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Tofu fingers with tartar sauce

    My fridge is full of tofu at the moment because I just can't resist buying the joyco "nigari hard tofu" as it's so cheap and stuffed with protein (55 grams per pack).

    With so much of it available to me, I knew that I had to make a tofu dish for the BBQ potluck. The vegan table came to the rescue with it's "Tofu filet with cornmeal crust and tartar sauce". I did a practice run on Friday and it went well, so I made it again on Saturday.


    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup polenta
    • 3 teaspoons mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, oregano and sage)
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1 cup vegan milk
    • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    • 1 block joyco tofu (325 grams)

    Mix all the dry ingredients together and in another bowl whisk the mustard into your vegan milk.

    Cut tofu into 1cm slices and heat oil in a frying pan.

    Dip tofu into vegan milk and dredge in the flour mixture. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until perfectly brown and crispy (just like in the photo).

    For the tartar sauce, mix in finely chopped parsley, pickles and capers into some vegan mayonnaise. I used the Praise 97% fat-free mayonnaise.

    Check out K's write up of the potluck to see pictures of all the great stuff other folks made and of my sweet cornbread.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Black bean burgers from hell and blackened tofu slabs

    There aren't many things that are more awesome than veganism or heavy metal music, unless of course you combine them both into an online cooking show. Tim Hogarth has done this with his heavy metal vegan cooking website and youtube channel. The videos are really fun and the recipes are not too difficult to make. I've made the apple pie and black bean burgers so far.

    Check out the video and recipe for the black bean burgers.

    The only mildly difficult part about this recipe was cooking up the black beans, since I'm not willing to pay $5+ for a can of beans no matter how convenient it is. I buy my black beans, and most of my dried beans, from D'Souzas at Preston Market.


    Just when you think it can't get any cooler, I pull out a recipe from "vegan soul kitchen". Having experienced the "watermelon with basil sea salt" a few years ago while at a friend's place, and flicking through their copy, I knew that I needed to get it, and I finally did.


    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 1 tablespoon coriander
    • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon white pepper
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 kilo extra-firm tofu (I used the joyco nigari hard tofu that you can get from safeway), frozen, thawed, pressed and patted dry, cut into 3 even widthwise slices

    Combine everything, except the tofu, in a small bowl and transfer to a large plate. Brush the tofu with  olive oil and dredge in seasoning. Fry until crisp (2-3 mins each side).

    Typing up the recipe has made me realise that I actually put in too much cayenne, which explains its dominance, but that is the kind of dominance I don't mind.

    Having made too much of the seasoning, I mixed it in with some margarine and used it as a sandwich spread. It's a keeper.

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    One pie to rule them all

    After trying the Linda McCartney pies a few weeks ago and being bitterly disappointed with its complete lack of flavour, I decided it was time to create a record of all the pies I've tried and rate them on their taste, presentation and all that other stuff food critics write about to help fill up their word count.

    Funky pies

    My first encounter with these was at last year's world vegan day, and unfortunately they were still frozen in the middle when I dug into a few of them. I wasn't blown away by them as they seemed to be too heavy on the oily pastry rather than the fillings. The fillings were also too chunky, with massive morsels of "chicken". All the flavours are good, but the chilli-non carne is one I won't be trying again. My favourite item from the funky pies people is not a pie at all, but their bacon and mushroom quiche. The brownies are pretty good too.

    I was lucky enough to make a visit to the actual cafe in Bondi last year and sampling the rest of their menu was a pure delight and judging by k's recent post, they have raised the bar even higher.

    Funky chunky

    Rating - 3.5/5

    Linda McCartney country pies

    How excited I was to find out that these were available in Melbourne after remembering a pleasant experience with them when I was in England a couple of years ago. It was, however, a distorted memory, clouded with tasty potatoes and gravy that covered up for the flavourlessness of the pie. After the first few bites I felt a slight confusion. "Where is the flavour?", I asked myself. I ate a little more and realised that there wasn't any.  I finished it, but the taste of betrayal lingered for a few more hours.

    Like most things in life, parallels can be drawn with the entire Wings catalogue. Linda McCartney foods have put out a few good things, I admit that the sausages are nice, much like Wings' "Live and let die", but there are a lot of things that went wrong (e.g. sausage rolls and all the lacto-ovo stuff/the rest of Wings' records, excluding "Band on the run" and, depending on my mood, "Mull of Kintyre").

    Rating - 1/5

    Primal pies

    While in Sydney last year I checked out most of the must try eateries and sampled two of the pies on offer at Naked Espresso. While I feel they are closer to my ideal pie than the Funky and Linda McCartney ones, they lack a crucial element, structural integrity. The photo below demonstrates this.

    As you can see, there is no unity between the filling and the pastry (and it's not just because of the way I'm holding it ;) ). It looks like it has been deflated.  One wrong move and you can say goodbye to all that filling. It's a strange problem as it was a non-issue when I experienced my first vegan pie all those years ago at a humble Preston bakery/cult-ery.

    Rating - 4/5

    La Panella

    Going to La Panella is like visiting an old friend who has become slightly whacky, bleached their hair and made a million friends who are willing to give them large sums of money to set up their own T.V. network, but they still know how to make a nice pie. The pastry is thick enough to hold the filling together, maintains its structural integrity once bitten into and has the perfect T.V.P., gravy and vegetable ratio. True, sometimes I can't tell the difference between the plain vegetable and mushroom pie, but there is such amazing synergy between the core ingredients that I can easily disregard it.

    Besides the unbeatable value, the biggest plus for these pies is that they can make carcass munchers unconsciously make an ethical food choice for once in their otherwise heartless lives.  Luckily(?) the supreme master's followers are growing so there may be more of this type of thing happening around the place.


    Rating - 5/5

    Special mention: Janet's pies in Newtown make a couple of vegan pies with only vegetables!?! in them. Nevertheless they are filling and borderline healthy. Here's a succinct but informative blog post by a sydneysider.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    "Cheese burger" pizza

    I was thinking about pizza throughout most of the day and decided to make one when I got home from work. I used a recipe from Sarah Kramer's "la dolce vegan".  It's very easy to make.


    • 1 pizza crust (I used the herbed crust from the same book. Basically add a teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano to a regular dough)
    • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
    • 1-2 pickles thinly sliced
    • 1/4 small onion, thinly sliced
    • 300 gm sanitarium vegie mince
    • 1 cup cheezly
    • 2 tbsp mustard

    Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Spread sauce on crust, then place onions, mince, cheese and then mustard (I just squirted the mustard on). Bake 15-20 mins and you are good to go, after allowing to cool for a few minutes.

    This was a great pizza and strangely I was unable to finish the whole thing.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Un-Beet-able chocolate cake

    Chocolate beetroot cake

    Thanks to meveg's post about choc beetroot cupcakes, I found Phillipa O's recipe for chocolate beetroot cake and it is a great one. It is very easy to make and to overeat. Finishing off the leftover raw beetroot reminded me how much nicer fresh beetroot actually is in comparison to the tinned stuff. Is this my first step into raw foodism and "super health"? Hell no!

    Roasted eggplant and caramelised onion marinara on Nutmeat

    After buying an eggplant and not knowing what to do with it, I turned to my current favourite cook book, Vegan Yum Yum. It supplied me with a kick-arse recipe for the fanciest sauce I have ever made. The challenge was to incorporate it into a protein packed powerhouse of a meal, rather than with the pathetic pasta the book suggested. Rather than using the Fry's chicken-style strips, I opted for a more budget conscious, high protein, choice and went with nutmeat. I fried up a whole can and smothered it with the sauce.

    Creamy Polenta with mushrooms

    Last week I bought a copy of Colleen Patrick Goudreau's, "The Joy of Vegan Baking", so I decided to make something from her other book, "The Vegan Table".

    This is another relatively easy recipe. Basically, make polenta and mix in some soy milk, herbs, margarine, and pepper. Fry up some onions and chuck in the mushrooms and saute until they begin to go limp. Splash in some tamari and set aside. My winesauce (minus the wine) was a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with margarine melted into it. So easy and delicious. The only problem I had was trying to work fast enough so that the polenta didn't harden up too much by the time the mushrooms and sauce were done. But I can live with that.

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Sour times


    Last week I started my first batch of sauerkraut. I used red cabbage, an insult to traditionalists. It is really simple to make and there are many slight variations that people make. I used this instructable as my guide. I basically shredded half a cabbage and added about 3 tbs of salt into my trusty old pickle jar. I then pounded it by hand to release the cabbage juice. I used a water filled jar to weigh it down and then put a loose lid on the jar and put it away in a quiet corner. Here it is after 6 days:

    French sticks

    A couple of weeks ago I found a simple sourdough recipe in an old library book. I tested it out a few days ago and was blown away by how tasty it was. It had an excellent chewy texture and crust.


    1 cup sourdough starter
    1 tbsp vinegar
    1 tsp salt
    3 1/2-4 cups whole grain flour (original called  for white, which would probably be even nicer)
    3/4 cup water body temperature (more is needed if using whole grain flour)


    Mix together sourdough starter, vinegar, salt and 3 cups of flour. Add water and mix until dough comes off the sides of the bowl. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Knead for 10-15 minutes, adding flour when necessary.

    Form into ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place until double, triple in size or you can't be bothered waiting any longer (About 90 mins). Punch it down and let rise again for about an hour.

    Punch down again and divide dough up into desired pieces. I split it into six pieces and rolled them out into about 30x15cm rectangles and rolled them up cigar style and then firmed and shaped it up a bit with some more rolling.

    Place on oiled and semolina dusted baking tray. Cover with a tent-like setup so the loaves remain untouched and let rise for an hour.

    Slash loaves with a sharp knife and place in an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees and dropped to 190 degrees when placing loaves in. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven.

    Bake until golden brown or until loaves sound hollow when tapped with a knuckle (40-50 mins)

    Cool on rack or in upright position to allow air to circulate.

    Spicy Tomato Chickpea soup

    I flicked through vegan yum yum today and decided to make this easy looking soup. The addition of chickpeas almost qualifies it to be a supermeal but it's still a bit too low in protein.

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    Tempeh and eggplant pie and sweet cornbread

    After buying a bunch of tempeh earlier in the week, fate drew me to Vicki Vegan's blog, where she posted about her tempeh and eggplant pot pies using a Colleen Patrick-Goudreau recipe from epicurious.com

    I have to agree with Vicki on the biscuit part of the dish. It is delicious and so simple to make and really boosted the dish up a few notches. The taste varied quite a bit depending on how hot it was. Eating it straight out of the oven was best, but I only tasted it as I had to go to training. When I returned it was still a bit warm, but the flavour of the capers was more prominent. I didn't really like that.


    Today I made some sweet cornbread, slightly modifying the recipe from vegan lunchbox. I only took a photo after it was nearly all gone.


    • 1 cup oat milk
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 2/3 cup maple syrup (I didn't have enough so made up the difference with agave and rice malt syrup)
    • 1 cup whole grain flour
    • 1 cup polenta
    • 1 tbs baking powder
    • 1 tsp sea salt

    Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine and mix well. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick can come out cleanly.

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    World Vegan Junk Food day: My journey into caloric surplus

    Last week I took part in World Vegan Junk Food day (WVJFD). It was a new event that was created by the good folk at veganfitness.net. There is a bit of history to this event. Last year the MVS  and VSTG crew held an eatathon, seeing who could eat the most calories in 16 hours. The MVS team won convincingly. In organising this year's event we decided to expand it to include other countries. One thing led to another and WVJFD was born. The eatathon was optional.

    As is usual with any type of challenge, there were alot of people bragging about how much they could eat and how easy it would be for them to get 10,000 calories in. You soon find out that these people are delusional and full of crap, as they conveniently find an excuse to pull out of the event. Pathetic.

    Here is what I ate:

    1 packet of corn chips and 500gm hommus - 1933.63 calories
    3 chocolate bars - 759

    1 tube of oreos - 723.47

    4 vita wheat - 90.34
    3 moser roth dark choc bars - 447
    1/2 tub ice cream - 385
    1/3 pack of marshmallow - 240
    2 vita wheat - 45

    1/2 tub ice cream - 385
    2 fry's burgers with 30ml tomato sauce - 390

    4 oreos - 202.66
    hot choc (soymilk - 310, cocoa - 116.1) - 426.1
    marshmallow - 240

    7.00pm: marshmallow - 420
    corn chips - 500

    3 moser roth choc bars - 417
    ice cream - 770
    corn chips - 650

    50ml olive oil - 403
    1 oreo - 50.63

    50ml olive oil - 403

    3 tablespoons peanut butter - 382.88

    100ml olive oil - 806

    45 grams almonds - 250.59

    Total - 11319.36 calories

    Over 7,000 calories more than my body requires daily for maintenance and my bodyweight today is the same as it was before WVJFD. I must have a super metabolism.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    World Vegan Junk Food day 11/7/2010

    I occassionally indulge in a few servings of junk food every now and then. But I often think to myself, "Am I really helping the producers of these fine products enough?" What we need is a day where we can acknowledge the contribution that junk food has made to the vegan movement. A day where we eat as much as we can with no regard for the consequences. That day is near.

    World Vegan Junk Food day 11/7/2010

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Souper meals

    I'm a big fan of randomness when it comes to cooking as I rarely have all the ingredients for a dish I would like to make. When this is the case I usually just chuck stuff together and hope for the best.

    A recent one was this chickpea scramble that contained a tin of chickpeas, spinach, chopped frozen vegies, passata, turmeric and nutritional yeast. It didn't taste too bad.

    Tonight I faced a similar problem. Wanting to make a cottage pie, I was short on potatoes and carrots. I sauteed some onions and garlic and let my imagination run wild. I came up with a tasty bean soup.


    • 2 onions (chopped)
    • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
    • 1 litre of vegetable stock (ALDI brand)
    • 1 tin of white beans
    • 1 tin of red kidney beans
    • 3 vegan sausages (sliced)
    • 2 cups of the cheapest frozen mixed vegetables you can find (I went with safeway's home brand)
    • Olive oil

    Heat up oil in pot and add onions and garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients once onions are translucent. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

    I also baked a nice loaf of sourdough on the weekend that I was quite happy with.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Sprouted bread and one night of gluttony

    Although they are not my all-time favourite cult/sect (check out this for my favourite), the Essenes did some pretty cool stuff when it came to food and that was making bread from sprouted grains and baking it on stones in the hot desert sun.

    I occassionally bought some of the Essene bread from health food shops, which is pricey, but discontinued after finding out about biodynamic farming methods, which produces the main ingredients of these loaves.  This is a shame as sprouted breads are really a nutritional powerhouse compared to regular bread. For a long time I always intended to make some for myself but was put off by my failed attempts at sprouting various grains and pulses. However, over the last month or so, I've gotten the hang of this sprouting thing. I've been using an old 2.5 litre pickle jar and a muslin cloth secured with a rubber band successfully with chickpeas, quinoa, wheat and lentils. I knew I was now ready to have a crack at making essene bread. Here's my "recipe":


    - Sprouted wheat (as many cups as required)


    - Mince the sprouts with a food processor.
    - Knead for about 8 minutes until it starts to kind of resemble normal bread dough. Cover and leave for an hour.

    - with wet hands shape into loaves
    - bake in 160 degree oven for about 80 minutes

    This is quite sweet and sticky stuff and it came out with an almost freshly baked cookie texture which was quite similar to the stuff I used to buy. It also stuck to the bottom of my baking tray so I had to do a bit of scraping to get it off. I will probably make this again and play around with a few different grains.

    Yong's X 2 + Vegie bar

    Yesterday afternoon I met up at Yong Green food with my lawyer friend, Dan, and we loaded up on some tasty vegan food. I had a vanana (vanilla, banana, almond milk) smoothie, gyoza and chickpea wrap. Dan had the pumpkin soup and gyoza.

    The gyoza were great but the pita bread on the chickpea wrap was a little over toasted. My smoothie was also grainy with bits of almond still floating around in it. I think last time I was there the almond milk was strained. It still tasted good, but not as good as their cacao smoothie.

    After that we headed over to the Nova to watch Food inc. I had heard this was kind of lame and I was not disappointed. This was mostly due to the prominence of the hero of the happy meat movement, Michael Pollan, author of "The omnivore's dilemma" (turns out there is no dilemma. Here's a good review of his book). There was so much crap spouted out by him, the crazy pig and chicken murderer and the organic yoghurt billionaire. There is no nice way to kill an animal, as could be seen by the audience's reactions to all of the murder scenes, even the happy meat one. They are right in saying factory farming is unsustainable but are wrong in claiming that peddling organic body parts and secretions is the answer. This requires a massive reduction in the human population yet none of them advocate humane cannibalism, where we would only eat people who have lived nice, stress-free, lives.

    After the film we decided to go to Yong's again. I ordered the "chicken" skewers and daikon salad. Dan had the miso soup and nut burger.

    The daikon salad is a favourite of mine with its chilli and sesame oil dressing, but it was my first time with the skewer. It was probably one of the tastier vegan meats I have had. I wonder where they get it from?

    I was in the mood for cake so we headed over to the vegie bar for some of their chocolate cake. Dan decided to grab a vegan supreme pizza as well. This is a really good pizza and a step up from the last time I've had a pizza from there. Who would have thought walnuts could be so tasty on a pizza? Chocolate cake was great, as usual.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Sourdough success

    I succeeded in making my first loaf of sourdough bread on the weekend using my 10 day old sourdough starter that I mentioned in a previous post.

    Fresh out of the oven

    I attempted to follow the directions from sourdoughbaker.com.au and it didn't really go to plan. Despite not matching the instructional pictures at any stage, once out of the oven it looked like a proper sourdough and had a solid crust. Most importantly it tasted awesome. Strangely one loaf was quite salty. Have to work on my kneading technique :)

    The starter a few hours after refeeding


    Some of you may have seen or heard about a story on a current affair last week profiling a new product called quorn.  The quorn company is evil beyond comprehension. All of their "mycoprotein" (a fungus product they claim is similar to mushrooms, truffles and, don't forget, athlete's foot) products contain animal secretions, or eggs and dairy products in animal abuser speak.  In the U.K, Quorn has basically crushed all of their opposition out of the supermarkets, buying out all the shelf and freezer space where vegan friendly foods once resided. In fact I would say it is easier to get redwoods products in Melbourne than in London or other big cities. This was certainly the case when I was there in 2008.

    The ACA story shows that quorn are ready to splash the cash around in promoting their product and this is bad news for the animals, vegans and all potential vegans i.e. everybody.  If your local woolworths/safeway is not stocking Frys products, you should contact them regularly to encourage them to begin stocking it. Even though I like to buy most of my vegan meats from Radical Grocery, I like to buy something from Safeway every few weeks to continue creating a demand for the Frys products. This small effort will help make the transition from violence-based eating that much easier for others.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Insert seitan pun here

    After discovering the veg*n for dinner blog a few weeks ago, I've been wanting to try out her recipe for seitan filet mignon. Last night I managed to gather all the necessary ingredients, thanks to radical grocery, after a week or so of scouring local supermarkets for gluten flour with no luck. I replaced the corn meal with polenta (U.S.A. foods apparently stocks it, but I wasn't willing to go all the way to Moorabin for it).

    This was my second attempt at making seitan. Several years ago I used a recipe from 'La Dolce Vegan' that turned out quite rubbery. This recipe had pictures included so I would know if something was going wrong. At the the stage just before boiling, my seitan didn't resemble the picture and looked a bit brittle. A small amount came off whilst cooking and turning it over, but they ended up quite solid in the end.

    Just out of the pot

    I ate some straight away and was pleased, but there was a slightly overpowering herbiness to it. I chucked them in the fridge overnight and had some today with steak sauce (with a side of sprouted chickpeas) and they tasted even better with a much meatier texture. Only dissapointment is that it didn't look much like the pics from the original recipe.
    Overall, the recipe is a bit time consuming but I will definitely make it again.


    Had lunch in the city today at the food court near the corner of King and Collins st. Found a place called 'Simply Indian' and all their vegetarian curries were vegan and the guy knew what he was talking about as I asked him if there was butter in the curry and he said, "We don't use butter, ghee or flour in our curries. All the vegetable curries are vegan." So I told him to give me all of them. 3 curries and rice for $9.95. Pretty good value. I had the spinach and tofu, chickpea and potato and cauliflower curries. Solid meal.

    $9.95 worth of deliciousness

    Simply Indian
    Shp4g/ 546 Collins St, Melbourne

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Cultured cakes in a cup

    Okay, it is more of a mug cake, but I'm a sucker for alliteration.  I stumbled upon a site, instructables.com, whilst looking for tips on making sourdough starter. It's crammed with DIY info on anything you could imagine and has heaps of vegan recipes. I found an interesting recipe for 5-minute chocolate cake which was later veganised in the comments section of the post. It didn't turn out exactly to plan, as I strayed slightly from the recipe, but it was edible nevertheless.

    • 4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
    • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 squares of lindt 85% chocolate chopped up (original vegan version called for 2 tbs cocoa)
    • 3 tablespoons soy milk
    • 3 tablespoons oil
    • 3 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips
    • dash of cinnamon

    Mix dry ingredients together in a mug then add wet ingredients and mix into a cake batter consistency. Microwave for 3-4 minutes.

    As you can see, my mug was a bit too big and I could have doubled the quantities. Also probably nuked it for too long and burnt the chocolate a bit.

    Now to the eating. This was a little dry in parts but was cakey enough to rise above the standards I've randomly set for 5 minute cakes.  I didn't let it cool long enough so could have burnt my mouth if I didn't have a glass of soymilk on standby. Overall, this is an ideal item for anyone craving empty calories but is unwilling to go to the trouble of baking a proper cake.

    Also, for those who were paying attention earlier, I've started growing a sourdough starter using the instructions from here. I'm using whole grain Atta flour that should hopefully have enough bacteria in it to get the job done and lead to loaf after loaf of deliciousness.

    I'll update the progress whenever there is a significant change.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    F'n'B 30th and LOTF

    I checked out Edinburgh Gardens on Saturday for the  Food not Bombs' 30th birthday celebration and to enjoy some tasty vegan food. I didn't take any photos but there were some nice pumpkin pasties and a variety of rice and pumpkin based dishes and the obligatory green salad. I met up with Toby and Kristy of In the Mood for noodles fame and also briefly met Shawna of words@random.

    Later in the day I met up with Toby and Kristy again at Northland LOTF and ordered the chicken burger and onion rings with vegan mayo.

    The onion rings are a new menu item and GF. I'm not much of an onion ring connoisseur but these were good enough for me to quickly devour them with no thoughts for the consequences.

    We also scored some free nuggets with Filipino banana tomato sauce. The only logical thing to do was put one in my burger.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    A meal fit for a king

    Wise men say, "Only fools rush in," but I couldn't help falling in love with the fool's gold loaf.

    Legend has it that Elvis, while entertaining some Colorado police types at Graceland, had a craving for the famous sandwich and decided to take his private jet to Denver, where he was met at the hangar by the  restaurant owner and 22 loaves of the tasty sandwich. Three hours later the loaves were gone!

    The most authentic recipe I could find required: 1 stick of butter, 1 jar of peanut butter, 1 pound of bacon, 1 jar of grape jelly and 1 loaf of bread. This could all be easily veganised and the ingredients were readily availble, except for the grape jelly, which was a bit of a challenge. Regular supermarkets don't sell grape jam so I had to find a source for the most American of all fruit based spreads. My source was USA foods in Moorabbin, where I found a 2lb jar of Smucker's Concord grape jelly. I was now ready to begin.


    1 unsliced loaf of bread (La Panella)
    Organic Mountain margarine (enough to cover loaf)
    460gms of Redwoods fakin' bacon
    450gms of Grape Jelly
    1 jar of smooth peanut butter

    Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Spread margarine over the loaf of bread and then put it in the oven for 15 minutes. While loaf is in the oven fry up the bacon.

    Once loaf is done, and all the margarine has melted through, cut it in half lengthwise and hollow it out on both sides. Put the jar of peanut butter in one side and the jelly in the other. Pile the bacon onto the bottom half of the loaf and close it up.

    Slice up and enjoy.

    I overestimated the ability of the jelly to stay together and it just went everywhere. Wasn't thinking when I spread it on the top half.

    Now to the eating. This is actually quite tasty. However, it is so sweet that you can only handle a little bit at a time. I only managed a slice and a half before I had to take a break for half an hour before having another go and only getting a few mouthfuls.

    Estimated macronutrient breakdown: Protein >220gms, Carbohydrate >500gms, Fat >270gms
    Total calories = >5040