Thursday, September 28, 2017

Eating Out: July Brisbane Vegan Markets

Do you know what is more amazing than Brisbane having a monthly vegan market? Brisbane having TWO monthly vegan markets. In July, Brisbane Vegan Markets debuted a second, twilight market. Of course it did ridiculously well, so now we get the morning markets on the second Sunday of the month, and the afternoon markets on the fourth Sunday of the month. Pretty amazing, right? Since July, I have been to every single market!

First up, the regular morning market. I headed in straight after a bikram yoga class, so this pretty and refreshing drink was very lovely. I can never remember the name of the stall, but it is some sort of pea flower tea and mine was peach flavoured.

Pretty Drink at Brisbane Vegan Markets


I also got to try my first and only Vurger... They only did the markets for one month! We are all sad they are gone (though they are now doing a weekly pop up event, hurrah!). This burger was SO GOOD. Like the most amazing cheeseburger. The patty and bun and sauce were all made from scratch. I want it back!

Vurger at Brisbane Vegan Markets


I also tried some sweet potato gnocchi from Gatherers. This was nice, but I wish it was a bit less oily. It has mushroom and sage in it as well.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Gatherer's at Brisbane Vegan Markets


And of course, we had to get ice cream from I Should Coco. My friend got the Cookie Wookie (warm choc chip cookie dough and caramel sauce), and I had the PB&J (with amazing, salty, smooth peanut butter).

Cookie Wookie and PB&J Sundaes from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets


I also picked up a beautiful Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes from Cloverly Cupcakes. Katie started Cloverly a few years ago, and she really brought vegan baked goods to the mainstream in Brisbane. While I am not the biggest cupcake fan (you know my frosting issues), this was Katie's last stall ever, so I couldn't pass up one last chance. This chocolate cherry cupcake was lovely, and happy to report that the frosting was not too sweet at all.

Chocolate Cherry Cloverly Cupcakes at Brisbane Vegan Markets


I also attended the first ever Twilight markets, though I got there when they opened at 12pm to avoid the crowds. For my beverage, I picked up a yummy strawberry cashew milk from Nutsy. So good! They also give you a fifty cents back if you bring back your bottle, and then they are able to sterilise and reuse them. Perfect!

Strawberry Cashew Mylk from Nutsy at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets


I picked up a couple of things from one of my favourite stalls, Green Street Foods. First up, their Mexican Street Corn Taco, which is a lovely mix of avocado, jackfruit, roasted corn and pickled onions. They also had a BBQ Mac and Cheese Burger, with BBQ jacfruit, so of course I had to get that as well! I was so yummy! The only thing is that they are all GF, so the GF bun was not quite as good as a gluteny one would have been, but everything still tasted great.

Mexican Street Corn Taco from Green Street Foods at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets


BBQ Mac and Cheese Burger from Green Street Foods at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets


My friend got some dumplings from the Tibetan Momo Cafe stall, and I snacked on a couple.

Momos from the Momo Place at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets


And of course, I ended with a cone from I Should Coco. This time I got my favourite off the regular menu, the Cherry Merry (cherries, chocolate, coconut).

Cherry Merry Cone from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets


I also snaffled a couple of cheesecakes to take home from Koko Cakes. They are cashew based and baked, though do have a bit of coconut oil in them, so I shared them. The Vanilla Berry was nice, but my favourite was the Chocolate, Pistachio, & Pear one.

Vanilla Berry and Chocolate Pistachio Pear Cheesecakes from Koko Cakes at Brisbane Vegan Twilight Markets


Tomorrow I am heading off to Sydney of OzComicCon (there will be some future post on Brisbane and Sydney OCC eats), and when I get back it will be October. And October means VeganMoFo time! I will be participating following the monthly prompts. I have some posts ready to go out for while I am in Sydney, and I have been doing a lot of planning for it over the past couple of months. Can't wait to see what everyone is doing for it!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim SIm in bed


Sometimes Dim Sim just tucks herself into bed beside me if I am reading.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Recipe Round-Up: Cookin' Crunk

Today we are delving back into Cookin' Crunk by Bianca Phillips. I've followed Bianca's blog for a long time, and I had the absolute delight of spending time with Bianca at VidaVeganCon in Austin two years ago. Her cookbook is a lot of fun, full of very satisfying and delicious food. You can see what else I've made from this book here.

Baked Tofu Fish Fry with Hush Puppy Corn Muffins: Tofu is marinated in a slightly fishy marinade (it has dulse flakes) and then is breaded (also with dulse) and baked, making yummy and crunchy savoury triangles. I didn't taste much fishy in the finish product, but it was still great. I appreciated that the breading mix made almost the right amount - there was not much waste (unlike a lot of other recipes calling for breading). The tartare sauce is a simple max of mayo, horeseradish and pickle relish, and was lovely. Bianca suggests serving with the corn muffins. These are fun, using tinned creamed corn in the batter. I made a half batch. I found that the batter seemed a bit dry when I was putting it in the muffin pans, but the finished product wasn't dry at all. I also skipped the minced onion and used some onion powder, which may have made the batter a little dryer as well. Served with some broccoli.
Rating: Tofu :), Muffins :)

Baked Tofu Fish Fry; Hush Puppy Corn Muffins


Sausage Gravy with Sage: I unearthed a tube of Gimme Lean Sausage from my freezer that I have brought back from the US to make recipes from this very cookbook. In order to stretch the tube across all the recipes, I made a half batch of this. This gave me two serves, with some biscuits and a side of cheese kale. This gravy is so savoury and rich!
Rating: :)

Sausage Gravy with Sage


Breakfast Lasagne: This was another Gimme Lean recipe, and again I halved it. I got three servings from it this way. I still used a whole medium potato though, because I like a thick potato layer. This has layers of potato, tofu scramble, sausage and cheesy sauce. I just made each layer in order, put it in the casserole, and then started on the next one.
Rating: :)

Breakfast Lasagne


Sweet Potato-Sausage Balls with Cheesy Dipping Sauce: These are so much fun! This used the last of my Gimme Lean, and again I hlaved the recipe. The dough was quite sticky and quite soft, I found it easier to roll with slightly damp hands rather than floured hands. The balls sort of flattened and spread a little while baking, so they are more bites or patties, kind of like a mini-scone. Instead of the Spicy Cheesy Sauce, I made it a smoky cheesy sauce by mixing in some smoked paprika rather than chilli powder. All served with some rice and broccoli.
Rating: :)

Sweet Potato-Sausage Balls with Cheesy Chili Dipping Sauce


Cauliflower Creole: This is a nice, comforting, vegetable stew. My cauliflower was huge, and I used it all, so perhaps it should have been a but more saucy, but I liked it this was. I left out the capsicum and the hot sauce.
Rating: :)

Cauliflower Creole


Hopping John with Sausage and Brown Rice: This recipe uses Gimme Lean as well, but I didn't have any left, so I just three Fry's sausages that I cooked and chopped and it was really nice. The recipe starts with dried black-eyed peas, but I had cooked, so I changed it up a little. I used 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, 3/4 cup of water, 1 bay leaf, and thickened for about 15 minutes, then continued with the recipe. I also threw in some grated carrot that needed using. Served over brown rice and some baby spinach, I got three big serves.
Rating: :)

Hoppin' John with Sausage and Brown Rice


Holy Mole Chocolate-Chile Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream: I made these for a bake sale (that I wasn't organising), and they are quite lovely. The recipe calls for grinding ancho chiles, I used a TBS of chipotle powder in the liquid mix and added a sprinkle of hot chili powder when mixing, and it gave a lovely gentle heat. The frosting was not too sweet, and made the perfect amount to frost all the cupcakes with a decent swirl from the piping bag. I used a blend of wholemeal spelt and white all purpose flour. I actually got 13 cupcakes out of this, so a perfect dozen for the bake sale and one for the cook!
Rating: :)

Holy Mole Chocolate-Chile Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Aurora


The good news is that little Aurora is doing wonderfully in her new home. But we are very excited that she will be coming to board with us for a few days next week. I miss her sweet face! Here is a photo from when she still lived here. One day we put her in my hoodie and she loved it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets (March and April)

The Brisbane Vegan Markets debuted in November last year, and have quickly become a regular event. I blogged about attending the first one, but it was a couple of months before I went back again. That first one I went to was on a very,very hot day, and it was so crowded with very little seating on shade. But I am happy to report that they have addressed those issues that they can, and now that it is a regular event the crowds are a little easier (though I still always get there early before they build). The weather they can't control, which I think is why I missed the next few during the particularly oppressive summer months. I've been back now many times (it's become a regular event for me in the last couple of months), but today I will share with you my eats for March and April (I know, I am way behind).

In March I discovered that the nice thing about the morning markets is that I can do a yoga class, have a quick shower at the studio, then it is just a short drive down to West End! Unfortunately for the March markets, the night before I had eaten had a huge, greasy meal that wasn't so great and sat heavily in my stomach even the next morning, so I was not able to manage much. Thankfully they had some light options for me. I picked up a refreshing Green Tea Soba Salad from the September 18 stall, and a passionfruit lemonade from the Get Vegan with Jadda stall.

Soba Salad from September 18 and Passionfruit Lemonade from Vegan With Jadda at Brisbane Vegan Markets


This was also the only time in history that I did not get an I Should Coco Ice Cream... I just needed something a bit less indulgent. My poor tummy! I was going to skip dessert all together, but they did have these ice cream sandwiches from a place called Nice Slice, though I haven't seen them there since. I got the strawberry vanilla. While it did have a bit of coconut cream in it, it was mostly cashew based so didn't make me feel gross. And it was nice and not too sweet.

Strawberry Vanilla from Nice Slice at Brisbane Vegan Markets


The April markets came around and I still wasn't all that hungry... don't worry, in future markets I will make up for it! I was craving something with veggies, and they had a nice Ethiopian stall called Mother Africa (I think) that had a selection of non-spicy stews served on a 'sour bread pancake', so injera. The stews were pumpkin and coconut, lentils, and vegetables. It was really nice, though I haven't seen them there lately. Which is a shame.

Mixed Plate with Sour Pancake from Mother Africa at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Here's a bonus shot of my friend's bag of fried stuff from September 18 - some of their chicken drumsticks, and something else on a stick.

Chicken Drumsticks and other fried thing from September 18 at Brisbane Vegan Markets


With my veggies and lentil urge sated, I was definitely in the mood to hit up I Should Coco for some ice cream! I got the Mallow Out, which was their special for that month, with chocolate syrup, mini marshmallows and ground hazelnuts. Due to a tragic mouth burning incident on some too hot soup the day before, the thought of a hard and crunchy cone seemed perilous, so I had to make do with a cup. Still good.

Mallow Out (Chocolate Syrup, marshmallows, ground hazelnuts) from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Flour of Life, my favourite vegan bakery, also had a stall. I got my very favourite strawberry custard flan. These are LIFE!

Strawberry Flan from Flour Of Life at Brisbane Vegan Markets


As mentioned, I've been several more times, and I will share those adventures in a later post. We get into some serious eating, so be prepared!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Nose and toes.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eating Out: Vegan Day Out Brisbane

The Cruelty Free Shop organises two Vegan Day Outs each year in the cities where it has a shop (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra). The shops tend to be in very vegan-friendly areas, so they organise a range of deals and specials with surrounding businesses over a weekend for you to enjoy. They also have HUGE sales in their actual shops, with lots of good deals. To participate, you just need to stop into the CFS and pick up a map with vouchers, then head out and explore.

This happened a couple of weeks ago, and my friend Ashleigh and I decided to take advantage of some of the deals on the Saturday, while also seeing an exhibit at the art gallery. We picked up our maps, and headed out.

For breakfast, we headed to Miss Bliss to try a couple of their vegan specials. It turned out that VDO coincided with the first weekend of spring, so the 'specials' were just the regular vegan options on their new menu, and the regular price. Oh well, they were still pretty! We shared the black sesame waffle with peanut sesame crumble, yuzu pearls and lemonbalm, with the matcha coconut yoghurt on the side. Also the white chia and tapioca pearl pudding with mango jam, coconut juniper jelly, pickled watermelon, grapes and pineapple chips. I was worried the pudding might be too coconutty for me, but shared with Ashleigh it was not too much. I loved the fresh bursts of flavour from the fruits, and the pineapple chips were chewy and sweet and amazing. The waffles were good too, though a bit dry. The coconut yoghurt is meant to be served on top, we got it on the side because of my issues. It indeed was way too coconutty for me, and also kind of bitter. Ashleigh, who can eat coconut fatty things, was not a huge fan either.

Black Sesame Waffle from Miss Bliss


Coconut Tapioca Pudding from Miss Bliss


After breakfast, we strolled down to GOMA to see the Marvel exhibit on its last weekend. Even though I haven't see all the movies, it was pretty cool. Lots of costumes and props! Of course, Loki is the best and I won't hear a word against my Marvel husband.

Avengers


Loki


I am Groot


On our way out, we took a quick stroll through the Queensland Museum to visit the Whale Mall and the Muttaburrasaurus - both have been there since I can remember and both make me very happy to see!

Whale Mall


Muttaburrasauraus


Then it was back for some more food. Vege Rama at West End had 10% off all vegan food for VDO. We started with some fun Tumeric Shots, and Ashleigh also had an Immunity Shot. I got the Kale Of A Ride green juice, which had kale, spinach, kiwi, coriander, apple, lemon and coconut water. Just the kind of silly drink I like! It was good, though definitely tasted very green!

Tumeric and Immunity Shots from Vegerama


Kale of a Ride Juice from Vegerama


For food, they were tragically out of the ravioli, so we ordered a huge piece of vegan lasagne. I've had the lasagne at their city shop, and I imagine it is probably the same recipe, but this tasted better! We also had the Artichoke Pizza (Artichoke, Spinach, Mushroom, Broccoli, Mozzarella, Napoli Sauce, Balsamic Dressing), which was delicious. The only downside was that they were very filling, and both had a heap of Daiya on them, so we were so full afterwards that further eating at VDO specials seemed unlikely.

Lasagne from Vegerama


Artichoke Pizza from Vegerama


But not impossible. Because nothing will stop me in my quest for ice cream! I Should Coco had a $5 cone special for their amazing non-gross coconut based soft serve with the sauce of your choice. I chose strawberry.

$5 Cone with Strawberry Sauce from I Should Coco


Afterwards we were so full, and so we headed home with our bulging bellies. I still managed to fit in a trip to Pu Kwong that night for dinner... so full....

On the Sunday the CFS was hosting a vegan bake sale for Coast To Coast Animal Friends, and I was dropping off some stuff, so I headed in very briefly after yoga to drop things off. They had an amazing spread, so many choices!

C2C Vegan Bake Sale


Of course, since I was there, I took the chance to enjoy one more VDO special. Smashing Berries Superfood had some $10 vegan bowl specials, and I got the Chocolate Protein Peanut Butter Bowl (Base: banana, cacao, almond milk, peanut butter, pea protein // Toppings: chocolate buckini, banana, cacao nibs, peanuts, peanut butter)... it was so yummy! I also had a beetroot latte, they have one of the nicer ones that I have tried!

Peanut Butter Protein Bowl and Beetroot Latte from Smash The Berry


So VDO was pretty fun, though I do find that a lot of the specials/deals for the Brisbane one are a bit meh compared to the larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but that is not entirely unexpected. You can still have a lot of fun! I look forward to the next one in the new year.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Zulu


Cat in a harness! Cat in a harness! When I was dropping off bake sale goodies, I got to meet Zulu! His mum was taking him for a walk, and he was so cute. He didn't pose very well for photos, but he did give me kisses!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Recipe Round-Up: Cook The Pantry

I do love my Robin Robertson cookbooks, and Cook The Pantry by Robin Robertson is no exception. It's another one of her books that focuses on easy, quick to make recipes, with the focus on ingredients you should mostly be able to find in your pantry. This is the first time I have posted about this book, and here's what I've been making!

Pantry Pasta Salad: This salad is packed full of beans, artichokes, peas, olives, tomatoes and capers. It also calls for roasted capsicum, but of course I left that out. There are a range of suggested extras you can add, I added extra peas, grated carrots and avocado. I didn't have any celery at the time, but that would be a great addition to give it some crunch. I don't like oily dressings, so I subbed the oil in the lemon-based dressing for some water with guar gum to thicken it a little.
Rating: :)

Pantry Pasta Salad


Chunky Chickpea Sandwiches: I do like chickpea sandwiches. In this case I left out the onion (raw onion doesn't aggree with me) and added in some grated carrot to go along with the celery, I also increased the amount of smoked paprika. It was a little let down by using a sub-par vegan mayo (I had a bottle of Melrose from a vegan box, normally I always use Vegenaise). I enjoyed it on a toasted sandwich with avocado, cheese, spinach, tomato and mayo. It says it makes 2 sandwiches, I had enough filling for 3. It is also nice as a dip with celery sticks.
Rating: :)

Chunky Chickpea Sandwiches


Dinnertime Scramble: This tasty scramble calls for 1 cup of frozen onion and capsicum pieces, I just used 1/2 cup of raw onion and no capsicum. As well as onion, it has mushrooms, cheese (I used FYH cheddar shreds) and chopped bacon (I used some Uptons I had in the freezer from a previous US trip). This claims to serve 4, but I got two and a half serves, serving it with some potatoes, greens, tomato and kraut.
Rating: :)

Dinnertime Scramble


Quick Quinoa Pilaf: I like a higher vegetable to grain ratio in my pilafs, so I decreased the amount of quinoa from one and a half cups to one cup, which provided three big servings. The veggies are onion, pees, carrots and scallions, but you could add other things as well. The toasted almonds give it a lovely crunch, and herbs (I used coriander) give it some freshness. I served this with some baby spinach, roasted green beans and Tofurky chick'n.
Rating: :)

Quick Quinoa Pilaf


Lemongrass Jasmine Rice with Asparagus: I found that the lemongrass flavour got a bit lost in this, it was very subtle if you really thought about it. I tend to be cursed when it comes to cooking stovetop rice dishes, so I needed to add an extra cup of water and cook for an extra 5 minutes for the rice to cook all the way through. I added some peas, and served it with spinach and tofu, and I got three serves.
Rating: :)

Lemongrass Jasmine Rice with Asparagus


Pantry Bulgur Pilaf: This was a bit bland, but was quite good with some nooch mixed in. Bulgur is mixed with carrots, scallions, cranberries and almonds. I added some peas and chickpeas for bulk, and served it with some spinach. I used 3/4 cup of bulgur rather than 1 cup, and adjusted the stock accordingly.
Rating: :|

Pantry Bulgur Pilaf


Tofu and Broccoli Stir-Fry: I love tofu and veggies. I added extra broccoli, grated carrot and peas, used raw onion instead of frozen and skipped the capsicum, and used bamboo instead of water chestnuts. I doubled the sauce (though used the same amounts of oil and sugar), which led to quite a saucy dish! Served with baby spinach and brown rice.
Rating: :)

Tofu and Broccoli Stir-Fry


Tuscan Chickpea Frittata: This says it serves 1-2, and I ate the whole thing. It is chickpea flour based, and I have terrible luck with flipping large chickpea pancakes. As always, it broke up so I ended up portioning it up to finish cooking it. I also added parsley to the batter, as well as the tomatoes, olives and spinach.
Rating: :)

Tuscan Chickpea Frittata


Black Bean Picadillo: I love the mix of olives and raisins in picadillo, and this was no exception. I left out the roasted capsicum, but everything else was made as is. I got three servings, rather than four. This tends to be a theme... I guess I have a big appetite!
Rating: :)

Black Bean Picadillo


Red Beans and Quinoa with Chipotle Queso: The star of this recipe is the cashew-based queso, which is very nice. I used a sprinkle of chipotle powder, rather than an actual chipotle, so I could keep the heat mild. It did get a bit thick and overheated in my super fast blender, so I thinned it out with a bit of extra milk. Again, I decreased the amount of quinoa from one and a half cups to one cup (adjusting the stock accordingly), and I left out the chiles. I added a bit of parsley for colour, as I had some that needed using up, and I served it with green beans and spinach.
Rating: :)

Red Beans and Quinoa with Chipotle Queso


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Aurora


Aurora, living up to her Sleeping Beauty inspired name. She went to her forever family yesterday! We miss her around the clinic, but so happy that she has found her home.