Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Event - A special presentation by Philip Wollen, 3rd August

I am a little late with this, so apologies for the short notice. This event will be taking place THIS FRIDAY, 3rd August, at Fremantle Town Hall. Check the image below for details. 

Also, have a watch of this video clip below in which Philip Wollen debates For "Animals Should be Taken off the Menu".  Simply put, his presentation and argument  is informative, logical and clear.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Cafe: CNR

This cafe is situated on Lake Street in Northbridge, under the big screen in the plaza. My partner and I went to check it out after we heard good things about it by vegans and raw food vegans.
The interior is spacious with tables, chairs, and a sofa or two. There is also an outdoor dining area. The service was prompt and friendly. And the food? Oh the food!

Firstly, let me just say that although this is not a vegan or even vegetarian cafe, I do like the fact that their menus are organized in a way that if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you only need to look down one side of the menu instead of having to scroll through the whole thing.

I was in the mood for a vegan breakfast so went with that. This consisted of roasted field mushrooms, tomatoes, fries, macadamia cheese, gluten free toast, house baked beans, and onion jam. Let me just say that those baked beans were the best I have ever tasted! The macadamia cheese was a real treat but be warned - it is very rich!
The portion size was just right and I felt I got value for money.

My partner ordered the Sunlover smoothie which we shared. It was sooooo smooth, having just the right consistency. We had to pace ourselves with it, so not to down it all at once. There is quite a range of drinks available with most suitable for vegans.

To go with the drink, my partner ordered the Major Mushroom Burger which is a tempeh based burger with vegetables and a side of fries. He enjoyed it immensely, finding it to be delicious and filling.

A special mention of the fries : they appeared to be roughly handcut and were so delicious! Next time I go to CNR, no matter what we order, we are also having a side order of these.
We will definitely be going back to CNR as there are so many other vegan options to try out, including the raw food.

Their opening hours are:
Mon-Fri: 7.30am to 3.30pm
Sat-Sun: 8am to 4.30pm

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Recipe: Peasant Cabbage Soup

Winter has been a great excuse for me to finally try out all the new soup recipes I have been collecting over time. This one has to be one of the easiest ones I have tried. Finding a tin of haricot (navy) beans proved to be surprisingly hard. I ended up finding some at an organics store. If you have trouble finding them as well, just substitute with cannellini beans instead.

What you will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
Quarter cabbage, finely shredded
1 red bell capsicum, chopped (optional)
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tin haricot (navy) beans
1 litre vegetable stock
1 bay leaf

Heat oil in a pot and add onion, carrot and potato. Saute,  stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer gently for approx. 30 minutes. Serve.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Recipe: Country House Soup

Where I got this recipe from is a mystery to me, but what I can tell you is that it is delicious, easy and chunky, with root vegetables forming the basis of it.

What you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped (optional)
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 large turnip, cut into chunks
1 large swede , cut into chunks,
1 parsnip, cut into chunks
1-2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
Half tsp dried marjoram
Half tsp dried basil
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
Half cup dried small macaroni ( I use gluten free)
1 can (400g) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large pan and add onion, cooking over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables, canned tomatoes, tomato puree and dried herbs.
Pour in stock and bring to boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add pasta and bring to boil, stirring and then simmer, uncovered for 5-10 minutes, so the pasta is cooked.  Add beans and cook fir further 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add parsley. Serve hot.

I have topped my bowl of soup with a product called Rawmesan which is a vegan version of Parmesan. It is made by Gopal's Healthfoods, of which I have blogged about before. Their Rawmesan is delicious on soups and gives that cheesy flavour. It is gluten free and although it is not cheap, it will last you quite a while. I got mine from Alive Organics.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Eden's Vegi Cafe - Subiaco

My partner and I were meandering through Subiaco a few days ago, when we stumbled across this cafe. We had never noticed it before and as we were in the mood for some lunch and the sign had 'Vegi' in it, we thought we would enter and investigate.

The cafe is mostly a salad bar, where you can choose to dine in or takeaway, and choose the amount of salad you want and what exactly goes into it.  We grabbed a large bowl each and proceeded to fill it up with various ingredients - all which looked fresh. Not all the ingredients were vegan - there was some dairy based sauces and cheeses available. I got the impression that the cafe was at the very least, vegetarian but to my dismay, at the end of the salad bar, I came across some cold deli meats. What a surprise and shame.

 Still, we continued on and also ordered some patties, all which were vegan. I had the Lentil & Vegi patty which turned out to be tasty and rather spicy. The sides to it were so fresh looking that I made sure those went down the hatch too!

As we ate, we studied the menu and were pleased to see it was clearly marked as to what was Vegan and what had a Vegan Option. Also, for those with allergies or intolerances, Gluten Free was another label used on the menu.

Along with the salad bar and a la carte items, there were also a range of drinks on offer, including organic teas and coffees, soy smoothies and juices.

We shall definitely be returning to this cafe.

Address: 151 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Open: 8am - 3pm Mon-Fri

Recipe: Herb Roasted Potatoes

The following recipe is a blending of two similar ones  that I found in the books “Vegan Brunch” and “Vegan with a Vengeance”  which are both by the amazingly talented Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
I love potatoes and roasted is a personal fave. This recipe is super easy and so very delicious. I used a red potato variety as suggested and found them to be especially good for roasting, as they get all crispy on the outside but are super creamy on the inside.

What you will need:
1.3 to 1.5 kg small red potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered, depending on size
2 tbsp olive oil
Half tsp sea salt
2 tsp paprika
Half tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Cover large baking tray with baking paper or oil well.
In a large bowl, place the potatoes and add oil and salt. Mix. Add the paprika, cumin and rosemary. Mix.
Place in oven and roast for 35 minutes. Remove and toss potatoes.  Put back into the oven for a further 20 minutes. Times will vary depending on potato piece sizes, but what you are looking for are browned outside and tender inside. I test with a sharp knife before removing.

Product: Robern Apricot Balls

I think I must have passed this product in the supermarket (Woolworths) about a hundred times and never given them a second glance. Then a vegan co-worker brought them into work and I tried them out. OH, YUM! They taste like white chocolate with apricot and coconut thrown into the mix. I was hooked after my first one.

Like I said, these are available in Woolworths. Just look in the section that sells the dried fruit and nuts. One word of warning, though, these are NOT gluten free so vegan folk like me who have an intolerance, limit your intake. I treat myself to no more than one or two every few days.

Recipe: Coconut Creme Brulee

Whilst reading cover-to-cover an issue of the excellent Australian magazine‘Living Vegan’ I came across this dessert recipe and thought I’d give it a go. The recipe originally featured in a cookbook called
“Vegan Cooking – Recipes for a Peaceful World” by Amanda Quinn and Diipali Lilburne.
 Now, I don’t own one of those hand held mini torches you need to melt sugar over the top of each serving, to give that golden, toffee effect, so I approach this recipe as if it were a pudding.  The results were mixed.  In regards to flavor, this recipe is on a winner. It is its texture where the problem lies. I found it too be a bit too firm. The word ‘rubbery’ comes to mind, when it was ‘creamy’ that I was hoping for.
So, the next time I give this one a go, I shall aim to perhaps reduce the amount of corn flour I use and for how long I cook it for.  Below, I have shared the original recipe (with a few minor changes) but if you feel your results are like mine, perhaps try the suggestions above next time you give it a go.

What you will need:
Quarter cup soy or rice milk
Quarter cup corn flour/starch
2 cans coconut milk
Half cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Half tsp ground ginger
Half tsp ground nutmeg
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (Or a drop of two of vanilla essence – that is what I used.)

Mix together soy/rice milk and corn flour/starch. Use fork and be thorough.
In a saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and  heat over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat and slowly add corn flour/starch mixture. Whisk continuously as mixture cooks and thickens. This should take no more than 5 minutes. Turn off heat and mix in vanilla.
Place into serving dishes/glasses and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Then place in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight before serving.

If you are going to do the torching step, read on:
One hour before serving, remove from fridge. Sprinkle small amount of sugar onto each serving and give a little shake so the sugar grains spread evenly. (About 2 tsp for each dish should do.)
Hold torch 5-7 cms away from surface and melt sugar until it bubbles and turns slightly golden in colour. Move torch back and forth continuously so that brulee does not burn.  Let cool for a few minutes and then serve.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Product: Passion Pasta Sauces

A while ago, I posted here about Passion Pasta. At that stage, I had only tried out their dry gluten free pasta. I have now tried their pasta sauces and was greatly impressed. These are also gluten free and all you need to do is warm them up a bit and stir them through. There is no added vinegar or sugar, which can often overpower the flavour of a sauce. All their sauces are vegan.
My favourite is the Roasted Pumpkin and Basil which has such a smooth flavour, that I found myself totally wolfing it down before I even realized what I was going - yes, THAT good!

So far I have only seen Passion Pasta Sauces at Fresh Provisions, but if you contact the company via their website, they can let your know the closest stockist to you. Well worth searching for!

Product: Goody Good Stuff sweets

I have never been much of a fan of gummy sweets, so I didn't really miss them when I went vegan. (They contain gelatin so are not vegan.) My partner, however, did like them and so when he discovered Goody Good Stuff's products, he was quite pleased. Out of curiosity, I tried a few and was really taken by the flavours! With natural fruit juices and extracts used, plus no artificial colouring, these sweets actually taste like they are suppose to.  Oh, and they are gluten free, too.

They come in a variety of  flavours, some which I have not yet seen in the shops yet, but I suppose it will just be a matter of time.

My absolute favourites are the Cola Breeze ones. They are shaped like little cola bottles and to me, they taste like lemon and lime bitters, which I absolutely love.

You can find some of the varieties at PAWS and some health food stores, such as Optimum Health Foods.