Tag Archives: vegan

Morning Sunshine!

So I try to be healthy, but I am terribly lazy. Living in an apartment also means I don’t feel like turning on the blender or juicer at 6 in the morning. I want my neighbours to like me. So when I saw this raw cacao chia pudding recipe on Pinterest that requires no equipment besides a tablespoons and a jar, I knew I had to try it.

I’ve never used chia before. I knew that when you soak them, they swell up and go gelatinous. Well they certainly did! They reminded me of tomato seeds with the gel sack around them. My breakfast gets made while I’m asleep and I can eat it at home or take it to work. Chia is so darn good for you, I can’t believe I haven’t tried it before. I think I’ve found a good 2014 breakfast to obsess over.

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CHOC CHIA PUDDING

INGREEDIENTS:

2 tbs chia seeds (I used white chia, which is actually grey)

1 cup milk (I used homemade almond milk [always using Sarah B’s recipe] but you don’t have to be that committed).

I tbs raw cacao (I used two because I apparently can’t read recipes)

Sweetener of your choice (I used raw honey from Stanthorpe but of course you could use a vegan option)

Add-ins of your choice (I used banana and coconut, but will be buying blueberries and strawberries soon. I would also add sunflower or pepitas or chopped almonds, but I already added almond pulp, as you can read below).

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My other variation:

As I had just made almond milk, I added two tablespoons of the almond pulp leftover from that. It adds some bulk and nutrients and means that the almond pulp doesn’t go to waste (although it’s a great addition to hummus as well).

 

DO:

Stick everything but the fruit/coconut in a jar. Shake well (very well!). Leave in fridge overnight and then add fruit or other add ins of your choice. Use a bigger jar than me. I was adding sliced banana bit by bit. I’ll have to find a good sized jar to take this to work in.

What does it taste like?

Hmmm… well as I said, I added too much cacao, so it had this intense, dark chocolate flavour. The bitterness of the cacao was perfect with the sweetness of the banana. I’d use less cacao just to stretch it further next time. You can never hoard too much cacao.

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Enjoy!

 

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SWAMPDOG FISH AND CHIPS

So fish and chip shops are not normally the most veg friendly places. Have you ever been to the typical FnC shop and seen the vegetarian fare? Potato cakes, pineapple fritters and, if you’re lucky, a sad vegetarian pattie passing for a burger. I was sitting with a friend who had ordered food at Swamp Dog and realised I had to go back.

A few days later I was sitting with Ben trying the fresh huge salads and yummy chips with housemade aioli.

We ordered the mixed salad- half Greek salad, half Asian salad. They were both delicious.

There was so much food we had to take some home.

Fresh food from a fish and chip shop? Hell yeah.

Swampdog Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

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DAKBLA

So I have no idea what “Dakbla” means, but in West End, it means nice Asian and Vietnamese food.

I first went to Dakbla with friend as a table of four and we had four meals and two entrees for less than $80. Impressive. Dinner also came with green tea from the manager, who was lovely.

Ben and I went back recently for lunch on a hot day. We felt like something light and full of veggies.

I immediately ordered a coconut water, as did Ben. These are the real deal and even come with young coconut pieces to fish out of your glass and chew on. So yum.

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Like many Asian cuisines, there are vegan options if you’re careful to avoid fish sauce.

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I ordered the Rice Paper Rolls with Tofu and Ben ordered the Temple Delight. Another vegan warning is that the tofu is made with egg, so vegetable dishes might be the way to go.

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Our meals arrived together, but the service was very slow. We think it was because it was lunchtime and only one other table had people at it, so by having us sit by the window for a long time, we looked good for business. This is a shame as we had very speedy service the first time we came here and the food really is lovely and affordable (most vego dishes hover around the $14 mark).

my Rice Paper Rolls were perfect: light and filling with a great dipping sauce. Ben’s dish was more filling and substantial and also delicious.

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My suggestion: If you don’t want a drawn out lunch (we were there for over an hour start to finish) eat here for dinner or at busier times.

Here’s another gratuitous coconut water shot, because it was a hot day and I was thankful for it:

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Dakbla Vietnamese and Asian Cusine on Urbanspoon

Enjoy.

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CAFE CHECOCHO

So if you go to Cafe CheCoCho on Hardgrave Street, you must not sit at the Hobbit Table.

What is the Hobbit Table, you may ask? Well, frankly, it’s my table. Okay not literally but it’s decoupaged in dozens of pictures taken from Tolkien stories and as someone who has read “The Hobbit” over a dozen times and “The LOTR” about six, I feel compelled to sit there and sad when I don’t. Don’t worry, the other tables are just as charming and skillful. I’m also partial to the vintage ladies table when the Hobbit is occupied.

So enough about tables.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

Ok, one more thing about The Hobbit table: You can see Middle Earth in the background.

I passed Cafe CheCoCho (Chess, Coffee, Chocolate) for years before I finally went in. I’m sorry I didn’t go earlier. Until the move this year, we went there while our laundry was washing up the street on a Sunday morning. It was a ritual we had. Although I don’t miss lugging laundry to a laundromat, I do miss that ritual!

CheCoCho does a standard-ish cafe menu really well. You’ll find some lovely vegan options for breakfast and drinks and they make a mean bowl of chips.

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The All Day Breakfast, vego option.

The best breakfast option is by far the $9 All Day Brekkie. The veggie option comes with roast veggies instead of bacon, which sounds unusual but works so well. This time, I ordered The All Day and Ben ordered an omelette. Ben got a latte and I got a chocolate milkshake. Vegan milk options are happily used.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

Omelette you look at that for a while.

I love how consistently excellent the poached eggs are here. I really can’t recall getting a bad one and as regular readers will know, I eat a fair few poached eggs in and around Brisbane. Just after this breakfast, I took a good non-vego friend here who also ordered the vego All Day Breakfast and she loved it. It was totally satisfying sharing the poached egg love.

I’m also happy that there are a few places left that serve milkshakes in metal canisters. Does anyone else remember getting them when you were little? I loved that. Or, at a close second, in a milkshake glass with the leftovers in the canister and both served to you. I’m getting flashbacks to this diner from my childhood in Victoria called …something “Park” which served milkshakes this way and HAD A SMOKING SECTION (Today, there is no smoking in any Australian shopping centre or food service area). So very old. I digress. Here’s our drinks (Ben always enjoys the coffee here and orders a huge one):

Don't spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it's on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Don’t spill your drink on The Hobbit table. Unless it’s on Mordor. No one likes Mordor.

Seriously, just eat here. It’s old, it looks a little grubby at times, it’s not air conditioned but it’s really affordable and it sells books for $2 (Such a cool and varied selection as well). It’s just very West End.

Yoooooooolk.

Yoooooooolk.

Ooey gooey.

EDIT: The owners have had to get rid of most of their decoupage tables except for the big indoor one because, due to age and rain, they had gotten gummy and were peeling. This means the Tolkein Table is gone and I am sad forever, but I’m sure I’ll adjust to eating on a non-fantasy epic table. In time. Perhaps.
Checocho on Urbanspoon

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RAW ENERGY

So Ben and I have been to Raw Energy since forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but certainly ever since there has been a branch at Cotton Tree. There are also branches at Mooloolaba, Peregian Beach and Noosaville. We like Cotton Tree on a Sunday morning. This time, I went with my mum on a Monday morning.

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Despite the name, Raw Energy doesn’t have a lot of raw products outside of its juices. Until recently, they had almost no vegan food either, but this is starting to change. There was a vege stack that was vegan on the day we went there and they sell some energy balls that are vegan. I’ve had the avo and tomato toast when I was vegan which is really yummy.

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal :)

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal 🙂

I opted for my “usual” juice: Green With Envy. It’s apple, pear, celery, broccoli, spinach and something else (I’ve forgotten) but the best part is you can’t taste the veggies! Mum had a Tropical Twist, which is orange, pineapple and ginger. I also ordered the lentil and three cheese triangle and two chialicious balls to take away for later.

These are my new favourite thing. I'm so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

These are my new favourite thing. I’m so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

This place can get hectic on the weekend and service can become slow, but today was a Monday and things were speedy. We sat at the communal table and read “Vogue” while we waited.

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My triangle was delicious. The lentils had a tasty tomatoey sauce they were cooked in and although I couldn’t name the “three cheeses”, I really enjoyed the meal and the wee bit of salad on the side. Our juices were great- they always are. There’s a huge juice and smoothie list to stare at while you order or wait.

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Overall, this meal was delicious and boosted our spirits. We went and browsed the shops and then sat in the shade behind the public pool overlooking the Maroochy River mouth. Very relaxing.

Be patient on weekends and you’ll be rewarded!

Raw Energy on Urbanspoon

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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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Why vegetarians shouldn’t have to get over it or put up with it.

So I was reading an article the other day that was about someone preparing a dinner party for vegetarians and accidentally using chicken stock. You can read the full article here. His premise was that, just as you wouldn’t fill a Ferrari with inferior fuel because it’s, well a Ferrari and an amazing vehicle, you wouldn’t make risotto with just any stock if you care about food. You’d naturally make it with the best ingredients you have to hand- in this case, homemade chicken stock.

It’s all in the stock. Apparently.

There are so many vego and vegan foodies out there that I can’t even link to a few of them without doing an injustice to the others. But I thought we’d gotten over the idea that vegetarians and vegans can’t be foodies. I have crossed town for wanky spices, purchase stinky cheeses and keep saying “quinoa” correctly even when those around me don’t. I’m just going to say it: I am vegetarian and I am a foodie.

But it’s not as simple as that for the author of the article. He also argues that chicken stock contains less than 5% actual chicken anyway and his was a fancy organic free range chicken. Not even 5% cruelty.

I have to say, that I was not really angered by this article, just saddened. I have had numerous people cook for me over the years accidentally using chicken stock, soy cheese that wasn’t vegan (when I was vegan), Worcestershire sauce and other more or less sneaky ingredients that pose as culinary landmines for the vego and vegan. I get it. We all make mistakes. Even vegetarians. Especially vegetarians (There. I said it).

“I maintain that it is very impolite to straight-up refuse something someone has taken the time to make for you (and the other, probably carnivorous people present) because of your personal preference.” stated the author. I agree with this statement to a point. If a vegetarian or vegan wanted to eat his risotto, fine. If they didn’t and nommed on sides dishes or dip all night, fine. That’s not rude, that’s making the best of a situation that the host put them in. Gracious guests realise the effort made but should not have to compromise an important part of themselves. Gracious hosts should be aware of this too.

The author states “I am aware that those herbivores who possess a strange, almost metaphysical fear of contamination will remain impervious to my logic.” I thought about who those herbivores are. Are they the ones who don’t want to pick ham off their pizza, or send back a pasta covered in cheese? Is there anything wrong with that? If one was Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Jain or perhaps Buddhist, one would have dietary restrictions and recommendations which would also stop them from ignoring it or picking it off.

“This corn bread just tastes so much better made with bacon fat. I’m aware you can’t eat it for spiritual reasons but the fat is only a small percentage and it’s not gracious to the host if you refuse” said no one ever to a Jew or Muslim (I hope).

Just as religion is more than going to a house of worship once a week, being a vegetarian, for many, is a complete lifestyle. It’s a belief system. We are all in it for different reasons but we believe, based on either research, experience or emotions, that being veg is best. We’re not asking you to prepare our food using only unicorn-horn utensils (we’d hate that anyway) or facing east while doing a handstand, or even source kosher or halal ingredients, we’re just asking for no meat. Chicken is a meat, therefore chicken stock is a no-no. If you can’t do that, order out. Or make toast. We’re supposed to be your friend, we’ll eat breakfast for dinner with you.

But before vegetarians and vegans with veg-friendly mates relax and think “at least my friends are nice”, take stock (Ha! Had to use that somewhere) and note this from the author’s parting paragraph: “Which is why, in the end, perhaps the tried-and-true model of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is the best policy”.

Oppressive and secretive military policies as a strategy for cooking for guests?

What a gracious host.

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Holidays and NUDE DELI CAFE

So I’m on two week holidays.

And I celebrated with:

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  • Many long walks (the view above is from my 8 km loop standing on the Storey Bridge)
  • Super vegan enchiladas with Maple quinoa hazelnet muffins with friends
  • Making long phone calls to people.

I also went to the Cotton Tree Sunday markets with Ben and a friend and had brekkie. The place was packed. It’s on King Street and even thought it’s a tiny market with lots of clothes, it’s worth a lap and near to lots of places to eat, the Maroochydore beach and the parks near the river. It’s increasingly busy, but with locals unless it’s the school holidays.

We found a table at Nude Deli Cafe. My first impression was that it was expensive. Lots of brekkies were $13-$16 plus, including an avo and tomato toast! I ordered Eggs Your Way and got poached. Ben ordered a soy latte in a mug (he doesn’t do big breakfasts) and my friend wasn’t eating. It was $15.30 for the eggs and coffee.

I’m not quite sure what makes this a “Deli”. Possibly nothing? Although it was busy, the service was fine and although not speedy, not a big wait. Ben’s coffee came out first and he thought it was ok. My eggs came a little later. I thought they were well poached but very small eggs and served on two slices of buttered thick white toast.

It was all fine, but not good enough value to tempt me away from Raw Energy (same street but closer to bowls club) or Envy (around the corner). We finished with a stroll around the markets and I discovered the bestest Frida Kahlo bag ever.

After returning to BrisVegas, I tottered off on a walk around the river with a good friend (completely destroying my feet in the process) and found that there was new art down by the river at Kangaroo Point. A bunch of these:

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Covered in things like this:

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Which to me looked like they were out of a botany book (I didn’t photograph the bugs!)

We were rewarded with this on our way home:

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The sky is on fire.

Nude Deli Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Raw Cashew Cream Dreamcake

So I know I’ve covered Raw Brownies recently, and maybe this will be the last raw recipe for a while. This is yet another recipe from the clever Sarah of My New Roots. Making this was my sister’s idea. It was a good one. I’ve included my, lesser quality pictures here, but the recipe is here on Sarah’s website. The pink layer comes from berries and the base is nuts and dates. It’s great vegan recipe and could be a great summer birthday cake.

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Best tip: Cling wrap lining the tin. Makes it come out of the pan easily if you don’t have a spring-form pan.

IMAG1434Serve with berries (ours are still frozen but no less delicious).

IMAG1438All the pretty layers. Ok, so ours isn’t as pretty, but it’s still good eating.

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And none for Gretchen Wiener.

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Guest Recipe- Vegan(ish) Peach Cobbler

So I love chocolate sweets, yet who can resist seasonal fruit? In Australia, it’s winter, and thus not peach season, but here’s a post that will remind us southerners of summer and can be taken advantage of by my northern hemisphere readers at the end of peach season.

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This recipe was made by my sister and I; a bit of kitchen cooperation we’d never tried before. Rather than re-type it, I’ll leave it in her charming handwriting (although she’s accidentally written “pears” instead of “peaches” in the recipe.

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We ate it for breakfast and snacks for the next few days and even savoury-tooth Ben enjoyed it served with the tartness of a good natural yoghurt.

Putting on the topping. Cooperating and shit.

Putting on the topping. Cooperating and shit.

 

And finally: YUM. It’s super easy and as sister-dearest writes, honey can easily be swapped for agave or a similar substitution. It’s gluten free as the crumble has no oats, only nuts. Obviously, if you have a nut allergy, this isn’t the cobbler recipe for you!

 

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OM NOM.

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