Tag Archives: chocolate

Christmas doesn’t have to end yet- Chocolate bark

So I couldn’t fit this post in before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy chocolate any time of year (amiright?). Obviously. I made these for colleagues for Christmas- my boss can only enjoy Gluten Free goodies and it’s easier to make something that’s gluten free for everybody. Last year I made fudge.

This was surprisingly easy to make. I got a bit nervous about working with chocolate, but it was not difficult at all. I found that a glass bowl helped (I bought one for the occasion but have been meaning to for years). If you want this to be GOOD, use the best possible chocolate you can afford. I used some cheaper white and dark chocolate, and thought it shows. The milk chocolate was divine and make the almond bark great.

It really is simple: Melt chocolate, spread into a pan lined with baking/grease proof paper (no oil or spraying needed). Press goodies on of your choice into the chocolate (I had one with almonds and the other with candy canes) and let set in the fridge. When firm (doesn’t take long at all) melt a second (different) chocolate and spread this over the top. Put back in the fridge. When set, break into large chunks.

Naturally, if you use vegan chocolate, it will be vegan and if you check your candy canes or other mix-ins are gluten free, then your bark will be gluten free.

I made a dark chocolate, almond and milk chocolate bark (definitely the best- the quality of the milk chocolate shone through) and a dark chocolate, candy cane and blogs of white chocolate “snow” one. I also made one serious “block” of chocolate, broke it in half and gave it to good friends at work. I gave these in little noodle boxes wrapped with curling ribbon. I would also try some different mix-ins. You could add mini marshmallows, coconut and glace cherries/turkish delight and make rocky road style bark, or lolly bananas and peanuts (yum!), or dried fruit if you want to be Christmas festive. Don’t you just think you could throw a chunk or two of this into hot milk?! Maybe when it’s colder!

I was hoping to make this for family as well as colleagues, but here’s the thing: it’s too bloody hot to make chocolate gifts in Australia if you’re not sure about refrigeration! Baking something is much easier.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, luckily it’s still nice and cold and this will keep out of the fridge if you wish.

Enjoy!

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ORAWGI

So I’m in love. I love raw food places because you can feel the care in the food. I’m serious! Nothing can be “slapped together” in a raw food cafe because everything is a process- blending, chilling, dehydrating, marinating, etc.

Orawgi (meaning Organic, Raw and low GI) is run by the supremely talented Jamie Louise Stevenson. I like to think her parents read her Treasure Island as a child. It’s actually located inside another building- BioSolar- on Ipswich Road in Wooloongabba. Their Facebook page is here and the owner also runs the yoga studio next door.

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The decor is white and bright but a lot of fun. I forgot to take a picture of the wall that was just black and white photo frame wallpaper with the staff’s colour photos stuck on it, but it was very cute. There were quite a few people there and the three staff were bustling and busy.

Ethics is the name of the game here. Everything is vegan (except for honey in smoothies) and organic and made in the store. It’s not cheap, but when you consider the labour that goes into making an organic dehydrated pizza base or quiche or bagel, it’s worth it! Take away containers are biodegradable and non-plastic wherever possible.

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I oggled the display cabinet but decided upon the pizza straight away. I think most of the meals were $15 but a lunch deal is $20 and includes either a drink or something sweet. I ordered The Jefferson Special smoothie (walnuts, protein powder berries and honey) with my lunch and it also came with salad. I had the garden salad and the kale salad (although you can just have one or the other if you want). This might not look like a huge serve, but I was FULL by the time I’d finished.

That is not a real orange. It is my "magical orange" which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

That is not a real orange. It is my “magical orange” which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

The salads were tasty- the kale one had purple carrots and a Asian soy-ish flavoured dressing with lots of sprouts and seeds. Fresh.

How do I describe raw pizza? Hmmm… well the veggies included tomato, capsicum and florets of broccoli (trust me when I say that broc on a pizza can work!) on a crispy base. The base is made from nuts that are made into a “dough”, rolled thin and then dehydrated (dried without cooking) until crispy. The sauce was amazing- it tasted like sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps capsicum buzzed up in a Vitamix blender until super-fine and smooth. There was also a drizzle of cashew sauce- cashews, garlics and I’d have to guess perhaps some nutritional yeast- which serves as the “cheese”. This is not Dominos people, this is nutrient dense food that tastes great.

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I also ordered a brownie to take away but they were all out so I had the chocolate and salted caramel tart. It’s a hard life. Even though it has coconut oil/butter in it, it lasted all the way home via the fruit and veg shop without turning into a gloopy mess. I don’t know what I liked more: the base or the toppings.

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The verdict?

Can you marry a shop?
Orawgi on Urbanspoon

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Lazy Sunday

So I spent a very leisurely 4 and a half hours having lunch with a friend from my old workplace today. We’ve kept in touch because, even though we are very different ages, she’s a kindred spirit.

We ate: homemade beetroot dip with goat’s cheese and Portugese sheep’s cheese (from the Swiss Deli at West End) with pits chips for nibbles, pumpkin and chickpea curry with spinach and coriander and a side of rice for main and chocolate and coconut tart for sweets.

UH MAY ZING.

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Plus a beautiful garden and sunshine to sit in. Plus Jade the dog. Can’t forget Jade.

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IMAG2468Excuse the knees 🙂

 

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Brownie in a Mug

So for ages I looked disdainfully upon those who would dare to do something as silly as make a single serve dessert. That’s not what life is about, right? Until I had my own massive chocolate craving and had to do something about it that didn’t involve going to the late night store. Pinterest saved the day, dammit (and you can follow me, Bris VegasVego on Pinterest if you so desire).

So now I’m a brownie in a mug convert. I kind of hate myself for admitting it, but here we are.

Here is my favourite recipe. I like it because it has no eggs and, with vegan milk and margarine of your choice, is easily made vegan. I’m not going to pretty up my photos like you see on pinterest because a) who has time for that? b) I’m lazy and c) no self respecting chocolate eater would wait for their brownie to cool while prettying up a perfectly good brownie. So yeah, these pics are ugly but real. I mixed it all up in the mug so you don’t waste a precious scrap.

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GET:

1/4 cup flour

2 tbls butter

2 tbls milk

2-3 tble cocoa

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

tiny dash of baking powder

2 tbls sugar

2 tbls choc chips (or nuts, etc. But really, add chocolate).

DO:

Mix all together in a large mug. Microwave for 50 seconds. More will make it drier, less will make it gooier. You may need to tinker with your microwave for best results. I like the outside drier and the middle gooey. This also has gooey islands of choc chips, so don’t be stingy on them.

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EAT, DAMMIT!

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Farewell MUD dessert restaurant

So someone told me that MUD in Bulimba was closed, and Urbanspoon confirms this (please tell me if I’m wrong, but the website is also down), so farewell MUD. I adored eating here with friends because you could try lots of different things easily. It could get crowded, they seated people in a little too tightly, but it had some beautiful desserts and packed a sugary punch. Here’s some of my MUD memories.

That’s restaurant life.
Mud Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

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Raw Brownies

I love chocolate. A lot. Like, a lot. So when I discovered a super easy, good for you brownie, I knew life had changed. Rather than posting the recipe myself, I’m going to direct you to Sarah at My New Root’s brownie recipe. I’ve made it a dozen times now, it’s a killer Gluten Free offering, freezes well and really hits the spot when you need chocolate but don’t want to eat a whole block. Or maybe you do. Either way, go check them out and try them. You just need a food processor. I often make this recipe and make smaller balls (nearly 2 dozen) so I have a calorie controlled snack (because this many nuts can be very calorific).

Sarah is one of my favourite food bloggers (you’ll be able to see why from her funny yet informative writing and amazing photography) and is preggers, so wish her all the best while you’re there.

I have imagined this being pressed into a spring form pan as the base of a naughty cheesecake one day, but am not yet ready the take the plunge.

Enjoy! (And ‘scuse the toes in the picture!)

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CHOCOLATE HIT!

Think chocolate can’t be good for you?

Wrong.

One of my post work out smoothies:

Banana (chuck it whole in the freezer before you go. The longer you work out, the more frozen it is)

1 tsp Honey

2 heaped tsps Raw Cacao

Protein powder (optional)

1 cup of milk (I used soy, but plan to make my own nut milk these holidays)

Local, organic honey tastes a million times better than supermarket stuff

Raw Cacao is not heat treated like cooking Cocoa. It is HEAPED full of more antioxidants than goji berries, green tea, and all the usual antioxidant superheroes. There is an element in cacao that inhibits calcium absorption, so consume in moderation.

 

This smoothie is a great post workout drink. Not everyone will want protein powder, but I’m recovering from some injuries so I add it. A more natural alternative would be spirulina, but it WILL turn your drink green (and can be an acquired taste).

 

Chuck it in the blender. Drink it.

So, so good.

 

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Oh Yes IT’S LADIES NIGHT

So as stated earlier, I went out last night with Ze Girls, which was really nice as one has just returned home from overseas and one is a new mum and hasn’t been really out and about yet. We went to Kapsali in Southbank, which was really nice considering that they had written the wrong booking time down, were crazy busy and still had us seated before anyone else who arrived at the same time. It’s not the best Greek you’ll ever eat, but it was nice. We had a variety of the menu but for us vegos, there were fewer options than most Greek places in Brisbane.

I ordered Spanakopita (which was a side dish) with a side of Greek salad and a piece of haloumi. To their credit, they didn’t muck up the specialised order despite the crowd, but my Greek salad had grated carrot on top and floury tomatoes. The price was good, and three of us (there were 5) ordered a very well priced bottle of wine to share. Since when you buy a bottle of wine from a restaurant for under $30?! I forgot to take photos as we ate very late and fast!

There was also live music, a belly dancer (Greek…?) and some Greek dancing with diners. Was it as veg friendly as some Greek? Probably not, although it did have a pumpkin and spinach ravioli for $25 and a fried ricotta and char grilled vegetables dish for about the same. My vego friend and I were expecting a haloumi dish, or dolmades with salad. There was an antipasto platter with meat that could easily have been edited for vegos and there were lots of vege side dishes that you could piece together, like we did (my friend ordered the haloumi entree and garlic cheese pizza bread).

Some of the girls had to leave, so sweet things were had at Max Brenner. Now, I have nothing at all against Max Brenner chocolate shops… except the lines. I don’t understand why people line up that long and I wouldn’t have except that a) I had suggested it, and b) I was with friends, which makes the line ride a lot more fun than normal.

So we all had sugar overload. No regrets, no excuses. The first picture of chocolatey goodness and addiction shows my mate’s chocolate souffle and my Italian hot chocolate in a hug mug. The novelty is lovely but I freak myself out thinking that everyone who’s had that mug has used the EXACT same spot from which to drink. Luckily, it’s such good hot chocolate, even over-imaginative freak outs can’t stop me from enjoying it. The chocolate souffle was cold, delicious, but cold, which surprised us a little. They all came out at different times, but the staff are really lovely and handle all the crowds with a smile and good professionalism that reminds me that I’m glad I only did waitressing for two years!

You can also see the brownie with ice cream (ever so slightly warmed up), which I had to admit, tempted me for a while when we were standing in line (although the Sensual Chocolate Dome or whatever it was called did NOT call to me through time and space in the same way…).

And then we all felt overly-full and sick, even though we didn’t think we had eaten that much at dinner. Luckily, a waddle down to West End fixed us up a bit and we had cocktails as Sling bar, which had an outdoor area out the back which I never knew was there and the BEST wait staff who a) knew their cocktails and b) all seemed to be English. And here I was thinking the Brits were all about cider and pie.

I took a photo of my espresso martini (not on the Lord of the Rings trilogy length menu but my base line for cocktail excellence) but it was just so ambient and dark, you can’t see it properly. I followed it with a mojito special. One of the girls had a Polish Prince with vodka and apple juice, and the other had something the waiter made up and something I can’t remember now (you must remember, we’d had a long night by now!). One of the girls went home, and my long lost friend and I crossed the road to the Rumpus Room, where she was immediately picked up. Three times. In an hour. Geez. Excellent ego booster, but makes it hard to catch up on serious. life. stuff. Like caravans and English pubs. Finally, after toddling home, Ben was passed out on the couch, unmovable, so I got the bed all to myself. Excellent end to an excellent night.

Cheers.

Kapsali
Kapsali Mediterranean on Urbanspoon
Max Brenner
Max Brenner on Urbanspoon
Sling
Sling Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

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