Monday, May 17, 2010

Buddha's Day and Multicultural Festival 2010

Alternate title: Yumyumyum!

I remember seeing Cindy & Michael's post last year about the delicious food at Buddha's Day, so I really wanted to go this year. Everything was fun, but the food! So good! Lemon chicken! Hooray! I'm not 100% sure if everything was vegan, but I shall say again, it was SO GOOD!

Busy busy! But most food was ready to go, so the queues weren't very long.

Mock prawns! I have avoided these until now, because I was never a big fan of the real deal, but these were great. Some vegies (I think carrot & radish?) plus water chestnut (crunchy!) wrapped in yuba & noodles & deep fried! Great! I actually tried to replicate these last night with not so much success - oh wells!

These were cooked by Buddha’s Light International Association of Victoria.

LEMON CHICKEN!!! By Fo Guang Shan Melbourne, which I believe is a college run by Buddha's Light. I think they have vegetarian classes. Yummm.

Beef noodle soup! I can't remember who made this deliciousness, I actually really loved the broth, but the noodles weren't so great, and the mock-beef was a bit too beefy... hmm.

And... sticky rice balls! Okay this was more of a rice log, and it doesn't look like much, but it was filled with a long stick of some kind of fried gluteny mock-chicken type thing, toasted sesame seeds, and some teensy bits of mock-pork. So good! So sticky! (I got it all over me). This was also by Buddha's Light.

The food was all so delicious, and if I could figure out if Buddha's Light ran cooking classes, I'd totally be up for it!

If you want the food, you can go next year, or try Fo Guang Yuan in Melbs.

Fo Guang Yuan
Buddha's Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Global Vegetarian, Ormond

Global Vegetarian is a little bit of a mainstay for Monash Uni students - it's on the famous(ish) 630 bus line and it's cheap, so when I was at uni I used to go there a lot. Some people LOVE it, I was never so much of a fan.

Basically the thing you either love or hate is a salty seasoning they use, I don't know what it is, some kind of stock powder maybe? but they use it in every dish so they all taste very similar. So a mee goreng tastes similar to a laksa which tastes similar to a pasta...

We had a mee goreng and a laksa. The mee goreng... I know I've had it before, and should know what to expect. It was fine, noodles, sauce, vegies - but there was really very few flavours other than soy and their salty flavour thing. A bit of chilli would have been nice?

The laksa was nice. Kind of like a green curry soup, lots of noodles, steamed vegetables, tofu & gluten chunks. Good for comfort food. And each main is only $9.80, so that's quite comforting too.

Global Vegetarian
499 North Road
03) 9578 9566

Monday, April 12, 2010

tempeh & baby corn noodles

We have an electric stove so I find it very tricky to cook stirfries. I have devised a method which works well for tempeh & tofu stirfries - For this one I fried some onion, garlic & tempeh for awhile. I then carefully and slowly added some plum sauce, kecap manis, mirin and soy sauce. If I add them slowly on my stove then it goes okay, if I add them too fast, because my stove doesn't get very hot the whole thing just starts to stew. Ew.

So, when the liquid had burned off I added some baby corn, bok choy & noodles and twiddled them around for awhile.

Then with salad on top. This is the pre-salad shot so you can see the tempeh.

And I am so sorry about the photos. Daylight savings is killing my food photography.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

tempeh burgers!

Primasoy tempeh is definitely my favourite tempeh - I love getting it at the market because you get to speak to the makers directly, it's always fresh, and they sell their yummy tempeh goreng (tempeh deep fried in an awesome pea-flour batter). You can buy little sachets of the batter mix at the market, which I did.

And clearly I'm getting really into this cold weather, with no raw dishes for ages! Oh well.

Our burgers contained:
Tempeh goreng

So good! We went to Brumby's bakery to get bread rolls - I don't usually buy bread, so it was such a novelty to be asked if I wanted to buy 6 rolls which meant I got the 7th free? Of course! Hooray free things! This was a mistake. I have now eaten far too much crappy white bread and am going wheat-free for awhile so my digestion recovers.

You know what they say. Once you've been macrobiotic for 3 months one Summer you can't go back to wheat & dairy & nightshade without paying.

Friday, April 9, 2010

barley & lentil soup

Yum! It's just a simple vegie soup, barley & lentils cooked with vegetables including fried onion & garlic, carrot, celery, parsnip & potato. With lots of fresh herbs, pepper & ginger.

This soup came around because I went to the St Kilda Farmers Market. I hadn't been for awhile and needed to stock up on bulk Mount Zero lentils (I love them because a- sometimes the cute Mount Zero guy is there, b- they always cook really well, and c- they're locally grown - in Tottenham, cute name!). So I was a little sad that all they had left was lentil & barley mixed together - apparently that morning, in the dark, they had a little accident, so it was cheap!

I'm always suspicious of unhulled barley because usually when I've tried to cook it it's still been really tough, but the Mount Zero one is fabulous! I soaked the lentils & barley overnight and then cooked for for maybe 30 mins before adding to the soup - very good!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

leftover sushi plus vegie box resolutions

So, as you may have gathered, we get a weekly vegie box full of lovely organic vegies & fruits. When we started getting it I was always very enthused about thinking up what to cook, but lately it's been slipping a bit, and last week there was a sad incident involving a bunch of spinach, half a bunch of silverbeet and the compost bin.

So, I used up all the leftovers (plus some tempeh) and made sushi, and vowed to have all future vegies end up in my (and Chris's) tummy and not the compost. So, I finished up all our old vegies in sushi form! So we could begin vegie box resolutions afresh.

Sushi type A contains tempeh fried with carrot & lots of fresh chilli, with teriyaki sauce.
Sushi type B contains silverbeet & onion with soy sauce.

The next morning I bought tempeh! At the St Kilda Farmers Market!
And this is our new vegie box.

I know this is all getting a little confusing, I really need to do posts the day I take the photos!

New posts this week featuring celery, capsicum, beans, carrot, zucchini, onions, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, banana, apple & pear! Mmm.

And finally. This is embarrassing. Chris and I tried to go dumpster diving because I have never been before and really wanted to go - we went to 3 places and their dumpsters were all locked away! Better luck next time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

curry chicken noodles!

So it's been a long time since I actually ate chicken, I'm not sure what it really tastes like anymore, so I'm guessing that Fry's Chicken Strips (which my local supermarket just started stocking) are more in the tastes-like-chicken food group that so very many ingredients seem to fall in to?

Anyway, these were kinda good! Like when you watch teevee and see an ad for KFC and you kinda want the KFC but you're vegetarian/vegan - let this be your new KFC. They tasted totally junky, so the part of me who really appreciates macrobiotics and raw food was appalled, but the part of me that gets sucked in by television advertising was totally into it.

Chris cooked. The bowl contains:

Rice noodles,
Onion & carrot cooked in red curry paste & coconut milk,
Chicken strips! and spring onion cooked in a bit of the oil that floated to the top of the red curry (the rest we scooped off, ew),
Pickled ginger.

And it was SO GOOD! I have been bugging Chris to cook it again. Maybe I will go bug him now. Oh and we squeezed lime juice over the top too.

Friday, March 26, 2010

pickled ginger (beni shoga)

I put this ginger on top of most things - noodle dishes, soup, stir fries... I used to buy the bright pink ginger from the grocery store, but I like making it myself because I know exactly what's in it.

I pretty much followed these instructions, with some editing (and way less sugar)...

I did 100g of ginger, which is a nice amount. I also use a lot less sugar than most recipes state - I guess this means it won't keep for as long in the fridge, but should last at least 3 or so months.

100g ginger
1 tbspn sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tspn salt

First comes the fun part - chopping the ginger! Okay, when I say fun I mean not-so-fun... Peel the ginger and break off the knobbly bits, so you have nice easy pieces to slice. For the small pieces just use a little knife and slice finely, for the bigger pieces try a grated or something like that.

Next, sprinkle the salt on and rub it through the ginger with your fingers. Sit for 1 hour.

After an hour, the ginger should be turning slightly pink and will be a lot more limp. Pick it up in your hands and squeeze so lots of the juice comes out. If you prefer you can pat dry with paper towel.

Finally, put the sugar and vinegar in a saucepan and heat on low until the sugar has melted. Pour over the ginger and push the ginger down - you may want to add a tiny bit more vinegar so that the ginger is covered.

That's it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

vegan banana & fig cake

We've been getting lots of bananas almost every week in our organic vegie box - I'm not a big fan of raw bananas, so I've been baking a lot. I love this recipe! Works great in a loaf tin, or as cupcakes. It's not too sweet... mmm.

I have had this recipe so long, and keep on editing it to suit my less sugary tastes.

Vegan Banana Cake

1/3 cup oil (I use a fruity extra virgin olive)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tspn cornflour mixed with 1 tbspn water
1 tspn baking powder
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
few drops of vanilla essence

250g plain flour
1/2 tspn baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tspn cinnamon powder
1/2 tspn allspice (or a mix of ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves)
1/2 cup milk with 1 tspn lemon juice added (I use soy milk)
7ish dried figs, chopped finely.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Mix together sugar, oil, cornflour mix, banana and vanilla well, until it's all smooth and pastey (this is not a chunky banana cake people!)
Sift in the dry ingredients and lemony milk, mix together until it's all just mixed (don't overwork your cake mix please!) Add the figs and mix through.

Pour into a greased loaf tin or cupcake cups.

For 1 cake- bake for about 45 mins.
For cupcakes- bake for about 20 mins.

Test with a toothpick type device - it will be cooked with the toothpick comes out dry, but with some moist crumbs sticking to it.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Vegan Bento 5

Another Vegan Bento! Sometimes I find it relaxing to plan what to have in a Bento Box... Takes my mind off work!

This one contains:
Onion and silverbeet/rainbow chard lightly braised with soy sauce & sesame,
Short grain rice with nori stars,
Apple & tomato (the tomato is hiding at the bottom),
Pumpkin and puffy tofu in teriyaki sauce.

So good! I find the trick with Bento is to balance everything - fresh & cooked, salty & sweet, colours, textures etc.

Action photo! (Chris took the photo, I'm not that skilled at one handed photography.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I love yakisoba, but I've never cooked it that successfully before. But, I was determined - I googled and settled on this recipe. I substituted the capsicum and bean shoots with puffy tofu and carrots, and I didn't add the lemongrass paste (I've never heard of that in yakisoba before??). I also subbed fried onion flakes for sesame seeds. But other than that I followed the recipe faithfully, and it was delicious!!!

I mentioned a few posts back about not overcooking the soba noodles, and defo keep that in mind. I cooked them until they had just started to go floppy, but so they were still very firm - they absorbed the sauce and the dish was quite dry and delicious.

So good!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shyun, Carnegie

Most days I have to take a walk to the Post Office in Carnegie, and if I'm feeling peckish I get a little Teriyaki Tofu Don from Shyun. The staff are all so lovely, the service is fast, and the tofu don is only $7!! They do other good things too, but I really think that Tofu Don is one of my top 5 favourite meals.

Apparently their actual teriyaki sauce is not vegetarian, so this one has a miso sauce. So good. $7. Awesome.

126 Koornang Rd

Sunday, March 14, 2010

vegan hamilton island

Chris and I went to Hamilton Island for Chris's brothers wedding, which was lovely! Pool bar- woo!

Unfortunately Hamilton Island is not super vegan, but these cocktails are! Mostly we ate bread rolls with hommus and vegies, but that's not such an exciting photo, I know.

The pool bar is awesome. You can stand up in it, so you wade over to the bar in the middle. They have Happy Hour twice a day too. The purple cocktail totally tasted like purple!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

rice paper rolls

Perfect food to eat when it's humid & warm (I ate this yesterday!) I felt like something raw(ish) so I had them without noodles.

Clockwise: big bowl of warm water (to soak the rice paper in), sliced carrots, rice paper, fried onion, puffy tofu & capsicum with kecap manis, another rice paper, bowl of Vietnamese mint & sliced spring onion, bowl of shredded lettuce.

In the middle: hoisin sauce, okonomi sauce, shichimi togarishi.

Construction (excuse the light, Chris would sit in the way!)

Voila! They're a bit wobbly looking, but I was too hungry to take care :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

miso noodle soup

Pretty much all I have been eating this week is miso noodle soup & rice paper rolls. I really am not a great candidate for having a food blog, usually I eat the same thing for a week or so at a time then switch. Chris is not such a fan, but I really enjoy it!

This week is miso noodle soup, so easy!

1 cup water
sliced onion
pumpkin chunks
puffy tofu
Simmer until the vegies are tender

handful of soba noodles,
little bit of soy sauce
a bit more mirin
Cook for about 3 mins, until the noodles are still a bit hard

Some miso paste that you've thinned in some water
Simmer for 30 secs

That's it!
Put in a bowl with cherry tomatoes & spring onions, and some shichimi togarishi.

Obviously you can use whatever vegies you like, but it's important to not cook the noodles for too long, as they will turn soggy in your bowl.

Do you like my new bowl? My grandma gave it to me!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saigon Orchid, Glen Waverley

We went to Saigon Orchid with the family. I've been here a few times before, and it's been consistently fairly good, and we enjoyed it a year or so ago for someone elses birthday, so I was expecting just a nice, fun night.

I would say this time it was average. The restaurant, whilst having a few vegetarian / vegan dishes, is obviously not trying too hard in this area. All the meat-eaters enjoyed their meals, so obviously they're doing some dishes right!!

Chris and I ordered spring rolls to start. The spring rolls were inexpertly rolled, and seemed to have been fried on too low a heat. The non-veg ones looked great, so I am not sure what happened with ours, but the ends of the spring rolls seemed to unravel a little so that when fried they absorbed HEAPS of oil. I had to mop the oil off with my napkin. Hmm. The filling was nice though, pillowy pieces of silken tofu and fresh vegies, but spring rolls shouldn't make you feel ill!

Chris got soft fried egg noodles with veg. This was the only veggie noodle dish on the menu... it was a little bland. I know that usually this dish is bland, but this one was ultra-bland.

I got red-cooked vegetables (with rice on the side). I admit, I had no idea what red-cooked anything was, so while we were ordering I Googled it on my phone. Google told me it was a richly sauced dish, so I was a little disappointed at what tasted like your very bland standard takeaway / food court bean curd & vegetable stir-fry with a bit of bright red sweet & sour sauce added.

So, overall - vegie dishes were average. The staff were all lovely, though.

Spring rolls were $7ish per serve,
Mains were $12ish per serve.
Plus rice, drinks etc.

Saigon Orchid
179 Coleman Pde
Glen Waverley 3150 VIC
Phone: (03) 9561 5055

Saturday, February 6, 2010

simple things

Just olive oil, organic onions, zucchini, tomatoes & basil from the garden. A bit of salt & pepper, and spaghetti.

So good. Tastes like Summer!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wood Spoon Kitchen - Collingwood

I was totally inspired by this amazing review of Wood Spoon Kitchen by Ms Fat Feminist Foodie, so Chris & I went there for my birthday. It was great! Hooray! I'm going to start by saying what she said - go there and have the tofu!!!

We went for drinks around the corner at Birdman Eating first, hooray! Then at Wood Spoon Kitchen I started with Umeshu (plum wine). Delicious.

Next up, Okonomiyaki (this isn't vegan, so try not to get too hopeful). It was a lot denser and less full of vegies than most okonomiyake I've had, but despite being dense it wasn't too heavy or doughy. It was like eating a really amazing pizza dough, and realising that all the pizza doughs you've had until now have been terrible excuses for pizza dough. So, it was good.

This is the tofu! Excuse my awful photo, clearly in my excitement I forgot to take my finger off the lens... but this Agedashi Tofu was so very good! The sauce was thicker than you'd usually have on agedashi tofu, it was like a sweet chilli / teriyaki combo. The tofu was so lovely & fresh, and all crunchy on the outside. And the beans & eggplant were great! The tofu wasn't that oily, so the eggplant was super welcome, and the beans were nice and fresh.

Go there and eat this!

They don't look it, but the onigiri in the Onigiri Set were massive. They come with edamame (yum!!) and pickles (meh). We got the three vegan onigiri - Sweet Potato, Seaweed & Sansai (mountain veg). They were each about the size of my fist - big onigiri. The sweet potato one was great! The sweet potato tasted almost candied, and the onigiri was studded with toasted black sesame, mmm.

The other two I found a little average - the seaweed one was rice & the standard seaweed salad mix, and the Sansai was a little bland. Basically this was a nice, comforting, filling (very filling) dish, but it wasn't spectactularly tasty.

Finally, we ordered two small miso soups. Yum. The broth was full & flavoursome, and didn't taste too seaweedy (or suspiciously fishy). I loved all the vegies that were in the soup - there were also big pillowy chunks of soft tofu, and little pieces of fried tofu. The soup was quite thick, but wasn't overly salty. Whenever I've made miso soup (I make it a lot) I have never managed to achieve this consistency - go there for the miso soup too!

You can see all the prices etc on their website - it's all very reasonably priced! We were too full for dessert, I guess that means another visit is in order.

The staff were all super lovely, great decor, and we had a good time. You'd better make a booking though - it's pretty small :)

Wood Spoon Kitchen
88 Smith St,
03) 9416 0588

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

vegan chocolate cupcakes

Birthday cupcakes! I love this recipe, I cook it a lot, and it's very forgiving. I often add extra things and change it around, and it always seems to work out! Normally I make a big cake, but this time was cupcakes.

The little cupcake cups are from Cake Deco. Yay!

Vegan Chocolate Cake (or cupcakes!)

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup oil (I use a nice olive oil)
1 cups water / juice
1 tablespoons vinegar or lemon/orange juice
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

This time, I used a cup of liquid comprising 1 tbspn orange pulp (from a boiled orange) and the rest of the cup full of water. I also added about 1tbspn choc chips, and I used 1 tbspn orange juice (instead of vinegar). Yum!

In a large bowl, mix the oil & sugar. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients.
Mix in the dry ingredients, and beat until just smooth.

Pour into cupcake cups, or a greased cake tin (about the size of a loaf tin).

Bake at 180C - cupcakes for 20 mins or cake for 40 mins.

This recipe is adapted from Grandma's Eggless Butterless Milkless Cake. Mmm.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

plum tomato tofu

Following on from my plum sauce success, I've been trying it out in dishes. We only had a little bit of tofu left, which I chopped up (rather inelegantly) and marinated, then broiled with some veggies & tomatoes. It was so good! Kind of like a scrambled tofu, without the scramble.

Plum Tomato Tofu
250g tofu
1 tbspn plum sauce
1 tbspn soy sauce
1/2 tbspn tahini
1 tbspn olive oil
2 - 4 spring onions, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 zucchini, sliced (or, whatever veggies you like)
1 large / 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

First, chop up the tofu and marinate in the plum sauce, soy sauce & tahini for at least 10 mins.
Grill it on a flat frypan (reserving the marinade) with the olive oil until the tofu develops a nice golden colour.
Add in the spring onions, carrot & zucchini & fry until the vegies are just starting to cook.
Add the chopped tomatoes & leftover marinade, turn down the heat and let the dish cook for about 10 mins.

The tomatoes should break down and start to disappear, and the tofu should develop a crunchy crust (I thought it ended up tasting slightly bacon-y, in a good way).

I served mine with rice & dumplings (momos).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

stephanie alexander's plum sauce

Hooray! We have a winner! Since we moved into our current house with a large plum tree in the backyard, I've been searching for the perfect plum sauce recipe. I'm not a huge eater of sweet things, so I don't really do jam. I think this Stephanie Alexander recipe is the best plum sauce I have tried!

I used 1 less cup of vinegar and 1/2 less cup of sugar than the recipe stated - I have no idea what variety of plums we have, but they are a lot more watery & less fleshy than a blood plum. I also didn't actually chop up the plums at all, I just chucked them in whole and cooked for a bit longer. I am a lazy preserve maker.

Anyway, if you have a plum tree, make this sauce! Mmm.

Oh, I also found the recipe made around 1 litre, not 2.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Super Easy Pizza

I always think of homemade pizza dough as being rather labourious, so I was happy to see some on Where's the Beef that promised to be dead easy. Hooray! Chris & I gave it a go, and it really is!

You can see the recipe here, we followed it exactly, but let the dough rest for about 30 mins, allowing it time to double in size and get all nice & puffy. The dough on the left had been sitting for about 10 mins, and looked almost exactly as it did when we made it - giving it that extra 20 mins was a good idea.

Our toppings were nice & simple, and made use of the incredibly large bunch of silverbeet we'd received in our vegie box.

Tomato Pizza:
Olive Oil

Sprinkle the tomatoes & garlic with a pinch of salt & let sit for 10 mins (to release excess tomato juices & get rid of garlicky garlickness).
Pour off the excess liquid.
Mix in olive oil & basil - voila!

Silverbeet Pizza:
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Artichoke hearts
Pine nuts

Blanch some silverbeet in boiling water then cold water.
Squeeze out the extra juices.
Slice the silverbeet finely, then add some lemon juice, oregano & olive oil.
Put it on the pizza, and top with the artichokes & nuts.