Tag Archives: vegetarian

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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LADY MARMALADE

So in order to catch up with a friend before Christmas, I just HAD to go to Lady Marmalade at Stones Corner for lunch AND they just won map magazine’s best lunch 2013 award. Life is tough.

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The hardest part was deciding what to eat, as there were lots of vego options and even a vegan option with greens, sweet potato, black beans, tofu and dukkah. I ummed and ahhhed and went for the mushrooms with mojo verde (a tangy non-basil pesto?) on brioche with goats’ cheese. I ordered a potato and feta hash on the side. My friend was going to go for the haloumi (because obvious) but ended up having the herbed avo toast with tomato and a SIDE of haloumi. Genius. This is why I have such great friends. Because they piece together brilliant meals.

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The café was busy but not full and we got quick service and meals. My mushrooms were well cooked and came with spinach but didn’t appear to come with the goats’ cheese. Instead, there was a yoghurt looking but cheesy tasting sauce under my mushrooms. It was still delicious and as long as no one mayo-bombed me (I don’t like mayo [but like aioli]) I didn’t mind. The potato feta hash was really good- I find that sometimes the cheese taste gets lost but you could actually pick it as an ingredient and I didn’t want to add salt to it. My friend was really happy to discover her tomatoes were in a really nice dressing and although she couldn’t pick the herbs in her avo, I think there was mint, coriander and possibly basil.

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We paid less than $30 total for our brekkies including sides and my soy iced latte. I really liked the attention to the flavours in each item- whether it was a main or a side it worked well and didn’t need heaps of salt and pepper. We even got to see a guy ride past in a plastic canoe/bicycle thing. Value.

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Lady Marmalade Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Oh Snap!

I love a picnic, especially when I didn’t have to make the food! These mouth-watering quiches (olive and feta, and goat’s cheese) are from Pamela’s Pantry on Caxton Street and eaten in the city gardens.

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I could really get into quiche if it was like this every time.

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LITTLE LARDER

So when my sister recommended The Little Larder recently I was taken back to stories from my last job where a colleague would Facebook photos of her all day breakfast with lewd tomato sauce messages written on her plate by her friend the waitress. The waitress and the colleague have moved on, but the story remains and makes me laugh.

Even though it was the weekend and busy, we were served promptly and our meals didn’t take too long. My sister ordered pesto scrambled eggs with salmon, so I didn’t photograph it, but I ordered the mushroom polenta with avo and poached eggs and a beetroot, carrot and orange juice.

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The poached eggs were a little undercooked in my fussy opinion but the polenta was superb and with the balsamic, cherry tomatoes and hot sauce, was truly interesting and yummy. You’re going to pay New Farm prices here with most hot brekkies over $15 each. We finished with a stroll around New Farm, acting like complete tossers and behaving in a way that only sisters could probably understand. If you and your sister swear a lot and talk about Brisbane gigs, architecture, libraries and boys.

So exactly like you and your sister.

Little Larder on Urbanspoon

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Christmas Eve Update

So I’m often at my happiest when I’m pottering around. As a vego, no one ever expects me to do anything for Christmas lunch (which is good because I couldn’t do meat) and so, with my gift wrapping done and a fair whack of my friends caught up with, I have time between now and Christmas Day to relax.

So today I’ve:

  • Done more yoga badly on the balcony. This is one of my favourite things.
  • Gone for a jog. When will my face stop looking like a lobster?
  • Gone for a walk with Ben (see photo below).
  • Spent far too long trawling through apartment therapy just because I can.
I can't believe this little pocket of green is in Highgate Hill opposite the University of Queensland. Brisbane really is an amazing, natural city!

I can’t believe this little pocket of green is in Highgate Hill opposite the University of Queensland. Brisbane really is an amazing, natural city!

This year, for the first time in over 6 years, I will be spending Christmas morning and evening with my parents. We will start the drive soon. Ben and I have traveled a lot over the Christmas breaks past- to New Caledonia, to Europe (how I miss Christmas in Berlin!) and twice to volunteer at Woodford Folk Festival- not to mention Christmases we spend with Ben’s family, so this is very special to me! We are still spending Christmas lunch with Ben’s family but the change to spend time with my mum and dad is precious.

I will be taking a blogging break between now and the New Year, although I can’t resist scheduling some posts with seasonal photos plus a delicious savoury baked brie I whipped up when friends came over for Christmas Eve’s Eve. Look out for them over the next couple of days. I have a couple of great restaurants to review and some recipes that sure, should have been posted before Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be Yule time to enjoy chocolate bark and other goodies. I also have some musings about the New Year and what that will have in store. Ben and I are also going away for three days to Hervey Bay with friends. This is the first time we’ve had a holiday since Europe, unless you count last NYE’s camping disaster, which we don’t. We really don’t.

I know that for many, Christmas is a stressful time, so I hope you grab any quiet moments that come by, breathe deeply and enjoy.

Ben and I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, so I will wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Super Solstice (summer, not winter down here!) and all the best.

See you in the New Year!

xo

Bris Vegas Vego

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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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DES ALPES

So for Ben’s Big Family Pre-Christmas Dinner Instead of Doing Gifts Bash, we went to Des Alpes in Mitchelton.

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I used to live around the corner from here but NEVER ate here because I didn’t think they had any vego food judging by the walk-past menu. Turns out they have a vego AND a Gluten Free menu online AND can cater for vegans. Admittedly, that meant for three years we went to the awesome Mexican place across the road (which also happily caters for vegans) and Delicatezza next door which did a mean pot of soy chai and had the loveliest owner ever. Anyway, I digress.

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Nine adults and two kids turned up and, I have to say, I was impressed. Admittedly, they brought out a seafood pancake instead of a vego one and I had to wait for my meal to be cooked again, but they handled out big group well.

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Ben and I shared the cheese fondue for an entrée. Ok, it wasn’t the one we ate in Paris (at a place call Pain Vin Fromage if you ever want to go!) but it was pretty good and fun to eat. I had the vego pancake which came with ricotta, spinach and walnuts with a tomato sauce and cheese on top. It was ok, but I was blown away with the potato rosti that was served with it.

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Ben ordered the French Rosti that came with pear and blue cheese. Yum. He loved blue cheese and enjoyed his meal.

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This place is not cheap- I think the food and drinks Ben and I ordered came to $75ish (one entrée for two, two mains, a German beer and corkage for Ben’s local beers), I really liked the restaurant overall and would come back to try their creamy mushroom vego pasta, to eat more rosti and to umm and ahhh over their amazing sweets menu. Perhaps just with Ben for a romantic date?

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Des Alpes on Urbanspoon

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PLOUGH INN

So I’ve been here years ago for an engagement party and for the odd drink, but never to seriously eat. A friend asked me along for a catch up with people and, I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I’d looked at the menu and you could get breads, chips, a salad or two, vege lasagne and a vege platter for two. Not particularly inspiring, especially for the prices.

But I was surprised and really enjoyed my food.

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I only have the one picture that’s semi decent as we had to get tucked into this straight away, but for $34 we got crumbed brie (ermagerd), stuffed greed olives, field mushrooms with feta, bread, sweet corn, haloumi and spring onion fritters, and beer battered potato scallop with house made relish, avo salsa and chive creme fraiche.

Everything was delicious, surprisingly filling and we fought bitterly over the brie. Twas an epic battle.

Plough Inn on Urbanspoon

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AROMAS

So when you’re trekking through the city, either on a shopping expedition (I wish!) or for whatever reason brings you to the CBD, there can feel like limited places to go. There are lots of places that serve vegetarian food, but Ben and I are quiet people at heart and enjoy somewhere to sit and relax.

It’s a damn shame that the Regent Theatre was shut down, but I’m so glad the foyer has been saved and that Aromas is still there. It’s one of the few places that feels away from the hustle and bustle of the street, even though it’s on busy Queens Street Mall.

There’s a limited menu and a lot of it is made off-site, but it’s good for a toastie and a huge iced coffee. Seriously. Huge.

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Recently I wanted something substantial so I ordered the spinach and cheese roll with salad and relish. It’s not going to win awards, but it was hot and nice and served with fresh greens. It perked me up and was washed down nicely with a huge soy iced latte (although there chai is nice too, and made with real tea).

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There is NOT a trendy crowd here, but it’s cool and dark and if you’re really good, I’ll buy you a packet of afghans. Holy caramel latticed chocolate biscuits, Batman, they’re good.

Aromas on Urbanspoon

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