Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eating out in Melbourne...the reason I gained weight...

Eating out in Melbourne you have an abundance of delicious veggie options. We try not to eat out too often- the budget doesn't really allow for it and it tends to be less healthy too. But it is very very yummy! was how I got through my crazy assessments this year. I tried to take photos (apologies for the bad phone pics) so here's a jumble of the food I didn't cook this semester and most likely the reason I gained weight!

I love the luxury of getting juice out. Our local organic grocer does a delicious veggie juice. This one was assorted greens, beetroot and lemon.  It's just lovely to sit outside and read the paper sipping on juice. 
Gopals on Swanston st. is another great value veggie staple. It's about 10 bucks for a HUGE plate of assorted yumminess. It's cafeteria style cuisine from the Hari Krisha's so everyone's always lovely and friendly and knows what's vegan. I usually get the plate which has 1 grain (rice/buckwheat), 2 mains (veggie curries, koftas, stews, shepherds pies, stir fries etc.) and 2 Salads (green, chickpeas, beet/carrot slaw, bean shoot salad, pasta salad, cous cous salad, potato salad etc.)
This one was a delicious plate of buckwheat, shepherds pie, a kofta ball, brown chickpea salad and carrot and beetroot salad with tahini dressing... close up of the shepherds pie
And a close up of the wheat based Kofta Ball in it's spicy tomato curry sauce.
This one was rice with a samosa, veggie curry, asian style veggies, green salad and potato salad with tahini dressing.
Close ups of the veggie curry, potato salad with tahini dressing and asian style veggies...

This was lemon rice (really good), beetroot and carrot slaw with tahini dressing, veggie curry and tempeh and veggies.

So there you have it, some of the many many options at gopals... if you're in Melb and get the chance, try their dal soup too, it's awesome.

We gave in one night and ordered pizza from Crust Gourmet Pizza. They were good, but expensive! That was the one and only time that will be happening (despite the fact that my husband adored them and keeps reminding me how good they were!) On the up side they had a gluten free base and lots of options to make your own vegan pizza.
Cashews, potato, capsicum, spinach, eggplant.. I forget what else.. a tomato base?
Pear, rocket, potato, balsamic glaze, garlic base... I think.

Veggie Bar in Brunswick st. is one of our favourite places to eat out. It's all veg and has heaps of vegan options and lots of raw varieties. I LOVE it. Unfortunately so does everyone else and you can't book for less than 8 so you better come early and be comfy sitting close to strangers! It also has a great variety of yummy juices (sorry I forgot to photograph) that will get your imagination going. 

These dumplings are delish- not your traditional asian flavours/ingredients but still delish!
This raw entrée of veg and seed crackers and tomato dip was amazing. I now want a dehydrator kind of amazing. The crackers were veg pulp with sesame, sunflower seeds and something else that tasted great, maybe herbs? and the tomato dip was lovely and rich even though it's raw (potentially made with dehydrated tomatoes?)
This entrée is my husband's favourite- Dal, salad and roti, how can you go wrong? It's quite big so if you're just looking for a light meal this is enough. You can also sample this dal in their curry main....
The aforementioned dal with a creamy coconut chickpea curry, brown rice, roti and salad with soy yoghurt. Really really good. But also huge- veggie bar really is good value, huge portions, cheap, delicious.

This stack of deliciousness is a stuffed mushroom with sweet potato/quinoa mash, tomato sauce and salad. Really REALLY good.
This raw spaghetti bolognaise was supremely awesome. I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. Nut based bolognaise? my nonna would scream! but this was delicious. The zucchini carrot 'pasta' was coated perfectly and the rocket base added that kick of flavour. The cashew 'parmasan' was divine- I've got to try and make some!

They do seriously good desserts... this chocolate royale cake is warm death by chocolate with toasted coconut, warm chocolate icing and cold soy ice cream. All kinds of unhealthy decadence. My husband and I struggled to finish it (seriously, don't attempt it alone) it's soooooo chocolatey. There are also smaller more sensible options like mini raw berry cheesecakes, raw carrot cakes, sticky date puddings, raw macaroons etc. which are a much more sensible size! 

Chocolate Buddha in Federation Square is another regular. I've already mentioned their delicious food in this post but this is one of their more hearty offerings- the perfect comfort food after a long week. You can't really see it but there are large silken tofu cubes along with rice and an abundance of delicious vegetables with a veggie miso soup on the side. Great value, super filling (I usually share the rice with my husband) and reasonably healthy.
The Cider House on Brunswick St. fed me some delicious edamame and this quinoa tabouleh- it was zingy, packed with fresh herbs and delicious! Not to mention their non-alcoholic cider options were a wonderful treat and highlight. They also had a mushroom barley soup that I tried another time but forgot to photograph (sorry) that was delicious too.

I think that's quite enough food for one post don't you? I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my treat meals over the last semester, there really are some great places to eat and lots of cheap veg options in Melbourne!
Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stewed Apple 'Ice cream'

By now you must all know how deep my love for fruit 'ice cream' is. I've got enough versions to keep anyone going for a while. I've begun branching out into cooked flavours of fruit 'ice cream' now! This version has an amazingly intense flavour of cinnamon, lemon and sweet cooked apple. Simply perfect. I just know you'll enjoy it too!

Stewed Apple 'Ice cream'
Makes 4 serves
4 Apples
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cinnamon
stevia to taste
water to simmer apple (as little as possible)
  • Chop and core apples
  • combine lemon, cinnamon, stevia
  • cook until tender
  • cool and freeze
  • thaw for approximately 5 minutes (be nice to your blender)
  • blend well until smooth- remembering to scrape down the sides
  • Enjoy! in soft serve consistency or re-freeze to harden
  • Keeps perfectly in the freezer for months
Love and Smiles,

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WINNERS of the Triple Happy Herbivore give-away...

Cee, Terri Cole and Bex!

Please email me at skinny(dot)vegan(dot)food(at)gmail(dot)com
letting me know:

1. Which book you would like

2. If you would like a hard copy or ebook

3. Your delivery address/ebook reader details

So that I can send you your copy :)

Thank you so much to everyone who entered- I hope you've had a wonderful holiday full of love and smiles!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Stuffing Crumble

I've never been much of a stuffing person, my memories of it were always soggy, fatty, over seasoned mush that came with roast chickens... not exactly appetising. However since stuffing is so well loved I thought I would appropriate it into a delicious savoury crumble side dish to say Happy Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful day x
Ok, back to the food. This holiday stuffing crumble is a delicious side or stand alone meal if you are so inclined. I'm sure it would make a delicious stuffing for seitan but you'll have to test that and let me know. This dish is packed with holiday flavours, the smoked tofu and mushrooms bring a depth of flavour while the herbs keep it light and fresh while being a carby satisfying concoction.

Christmas Stuffing Crumble 
This dish is a much better version of my distant memories of stuffing, I love it and even the fussy vegetable hating husband enjoyed this one so I know it must be good! remember, if there's a certain ingredient you don't like, just change or omit it.
Makes 4 serves
1/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Almonds

1/4 cup Pine Nuts
Handful fresh Sage
Handful fresh Rosemary
Handful fresh Thyme
1 shallot or 
1/4 Onion
1 clove of Garlic
1/2 cup Smoked Tofu
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Celery
1/4 cup Dried Mushrooms
1/2 cup Carrot
Water/Stock as required (approximately 1 cup)
2.5 cups Potato
1 tbsp Soy sauce
3 tbsp Nutritional yeast

  • Chop in cubes and cook potato
  • Preheat oven to 180c
  • Rehydrate dried mushrooms in boiling water until tender (keep the mushroom stock produced!)
  • Chop mushrooms, celery, carrot, rosemary, garlic and onion finely
  • In a large pan dry fry onion until golden
  • Add garlic, rosemary, celery and carrot and cook until tender- adding stock or water as needed
  • Add soy and nutritional yeast and combine
  • Chop smoked tofu, nuts, thyme and sage
  • Add and stir to combine well
  • Add cooked potatoes and squash slightly so the mixture clumps
  • Season to taste
  • Transfer to a baking dish
  • Bake for 15 mins at 180c or until topping is golden
  • Enjoy!
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and enjoy some yummy meals!
Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Creamy' Pesto Tartlets

These cute little quiche-esk bundles of yum are another glorious use of vegan pesto. They are seriously yummy. I try to find Guinea pigs for my recipes whenever possible and I fed these to others so I'm not alone in this- they really are that good!
The crisp grain crust is a great alternative to pastry and the smooth decadent 'creamy' filling is deceptively healthy. They taste perfect warm or cold and are surprisingly satisfying as they're so high in protein. I topped mine with mushrooms as they go so splendidly with pesto but any vegetable you like would taste good in this recipe. They take a little longer than my usual meal to make so I make a batch when I have time and then eat them for lunches for the next week. 
You can use any tin you like, the bigger the longer they'll take to cook but I tried a variety of cases that all worked perfectly. I really hope you give them a go!

'Creamy' Pesto Tartlets
Makes 12 tartlettes or 6 muffins and 4 tartlets Crust:
1/2 cup Millet
1/2 cup Amaranth
2.5 cups stock
(Using the vegan pesto recipe from my earlier post)
1/2 cup pesto
1 packed of silken tofu
2 tbsp mushroom deglazing juices
Topping: 2 cups mushroom slices- dry fried
  • Cook (overcook grains- you want them to be mushy)
  • Allow to cool
  • Spoon into tins and press up into the sides (make it thin!)
  • Cook at 180c for 30 mins (or until golden and crisp)
  • If not already made blend pesto ingredients
  • Blend 1/2 cup pesto + silken tofu
  • Slice and cook mushrooms (dry fry until half their size)
  • Fill crusts with 'creamy' tofu pesto filling + top with mushrooms
  • Cook at 180 for a further 15 mins
  • Enjoy!
  • These taste perfect warm or cold and keep in the fridge for a week

I hope you're all enjoying your food,
Love and Smiles,

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm going More Raw/High Raw!

Breaking News: I'm going more raw!

I've been thinking about this for a while now, reading, researching, finding delicious recipes, mulling things over in my mind and I've come to the conclusion I'd like to share this rawsome journey with you. 

I've decided to commit to eating more raw foods. I eat pretty close to high raw (80%) anyway, especially in the warmer weather and now I'm making it official. As of 12.12.12  (because it was such a special date) I'm increasing the amount of raw food I'm eating. 

I'm hesitant to label myself because I really just want to go MORE raw but I think I'll be aiming for high raw, so at least 80% raw. I'm not sure if this is 80% of the day, meal, volume or calories but I'm going to take a relaxed approach, eat as much rawderful food as I can and enjoy my meals.

I started this rawmazing journey a while ago now by incorporating veggie juices and green smoothies in my diet, then eating one meal a day raw, then eating raw before dinner and now I'm eating mainly raw aside from the things that I can't like condiments/spices and beans/grains for ease- although I'm experimenting with sprouting at the moment! I'm not aiming for 100% so I'm still going to have the occasional cooked meal, or more likely cooked component of the dish.

What does this mean for the blog? Not much really, you'll be seeing more rawvelous recipes but I'll still include some cooked foods as I do cook for more than just me and the 80/20- balance will still feature some cooked ingredients.

I know I'm only week in but I'm already feeling rawrrific! I've noticed positive differences in my quality of sleep, mood and alertness but on the down side I think I'm detoxing because my skin is breaking out! eek.

And in-case you missed it on twitter the winner of the Rhythm Superfoods kale chip give-away was...Mary Kate! Congratulations your Ranch and Zesty Nacho flavour kale chips are on their way to you.

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vegan Pesto

I love pesto. It tastes divine and is a wonderful way to incorporate more greens in your diet. It's great to have on hand in the fridge and/or freezer. In our house it's always a winner- on pasta, toast, in sandwiches, as a vegetable dip, sauce, flavouring addition to a recipe or straight off the spoon! 

Pesto freezes perfectly in ice cube trays to allow for super easy pasta meals. If you've got the money pine nuts taste best but for grad students like me it's usually almonds, cashews and walnuts we have on hand... either way this recipe never fails- simply adjust to taste and texture!

Vegan Pesto
Pesto (makes 2 cups- need 1/2 cup for the recipe)
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup nutritional yeast
4 bunches/cups of herbs (I used coriander/cilantro for a change but basil or parsley tastes amazing too)
4 cups spinach (optional)
Water - drizzle as desired to thin
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
  • Blend nuts until they form a crumb
  • chop herbs (including stalks) finely
  • add all other ingredients to the blender
  • adjust seasoning to taste
  • add water to thin to your desired consistency (I like mine thick)
  • Enjoy! in recipes, as a dip, spread or flavoured nut butter...
  • Keeps well in the fridge for a week or months in the freezer
This is another more recent batch of spinach pesto, that we actually had some pine nuts for! As you can see the more water you add to augment the consistency the lighter it becomes...
All the best,

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vegan MoFo 1- What is agar agar?

I was looking for this post from October for the ratios and realised it had somehow disappeared. How, I have no idea but I had to go searching through the google reader archives to find it!
 Now it means you get to see it again. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Happy Vegan MoFo!
My MoFo will take  a slightly different style to last years. This month I'm going to share with you some of the delicious ingredients that I get inspiration from in the Asian grocer. Continuing from my What is Jackfruit? post I thought I'd use this MoFo to show you some of my favourite and slightly more unusual of my Asian grocer purchases and the recipes they can be used in. I'll also be revisiting my Vegan MoFo posts from last year for those that need a bit more of an intro to veganism focus. You can find my first Vegan MoFo post on my journey to veganism here.
What is Agar agar? 
 Agar agar (sometimes just called agar, Kanten or E406) is a gelatinous seaweed or red algae extract- Gleidium purpurascens- that acts similarly to gelatine but is eight times stronger!
Agar Agar Algae
All natural, 80% fibre, ridiculously low in calories (2g = 6 cals), high in iodine, antibacterial and practically tasteless it has many wonderful uses. 
It's used predominately in Asain jelly desserts like the Kueh above, puddings and custards but can also be found in jams, 'cheeses' and ice creams. It makes a great thickener in savoury dishes like soups and sauces too. Agar agar sets in 1hr at room temperature (or quicker in the fridge) and has a jelly like texture which it much more pleasing than gelatine. You can find it in dried strips, flakes or as a powder from the health food store (green packet pictured) or Asian grocers (blue, white & red packet pictured) for much cheaper! 
The general ratio used is 2g agar agar : 500ml liquid but if you're using acidic ingredients you will need much more. When cooking with agar agar you need to dissolve it completely while stirring and bring it to a simmer (approx 5 mins). Unlike gelatine agar agar can be boiled and remelted if need be. To test your consistency you can place a drop on a saucer and wait for 30 seconds- if it's too runny rain in more agar or too thick add more liquid.
You can find all my agar agar recipes here! I really enjoy using agar agar as an ingredient. You can find it in myFruit trifle

Additional Resources:

History and additional details of Agar agar 
Agar agar Botanicals 
Molecular Structure
Scientific introduction and uses for agar agar 
Wikipedia Agar agar

I hope you give agar agar a try, it really is a wonderfully versatile ingredient to have in your cupboard!
All the best,

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