Monday, 28 May 2012

Hanging with some locals

Hello Monday morning, where did the weekend go?

On Friday evening, I had a long overdue haircut. My hairdresser Rebecca, left yesterday to go on a 5-week holiday to Europe – needless to say, I’m jealous. I got home, and warmed up the vegan empanada I bought from Northcote Bakeshop. Really delicious. I put it in the oven on 200°c for 15mins and it was perfectly toasty and filling. For $5, it is a pretty good price. It did fall apart a bit, but that’s not an issue for me!! I’m looking forward to heading back to the Bakeshop to check out their other offerings.

Northcote Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

Sunday morning, I had to run some errands. I also stopped via a specialty Indian grocer and bought some fenugreek leaves. Judging by the size of the box, I don’t think I’ll run out anytime soon!!

$2.99 for 100g box!

Sunday afternoon, L-whack and I went for a leisurely walk in the local parklands. Whilst we were there, we hung out with some of the locals!

It’s pretty awesome seeing wild kangaroos so close, and also so close to the city. Although for international readers, kangaroo’s do NOT jump down the street, nor do we keep them as pets. ‘Roos are pretty dangerous animals, and if you ever come across one – just let it be.

I came across an injured little bird (with bloody sharps claws - he managed to get my finger!) so L-whack and I gently bundled him into a shoe box, wrapped him in a towel and took him to the nearest animal shelter. He wasn’t able to fly, and had injured his foot (claw?) so it was a relief to take him somewhere that would be able to help, and properly care for him. They were optimistic of his recovery, and were going to pass him on to a wildlife shelter once the vet had looked at him in the morning. It sounds stupid, but I was really sad to leave this little guy, I didn’t get to say goodbye to him!! So to Mr Birdy, wherever you are – I hope you’re back flying with your homies soon!!

It was pretty cold, but it was lovely coming into a warm home and being greeted by a delicious warm bowl of Soul Food Winter Vegetable Stew, courtesy of the delight Miss Vegie Head!! This is seriously such an easy recipe – I guarantee it tastes awesome!! I may have had 1.5 bowls of it… hehehe!!

Accompanied with a glass of organic, vegan red

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Trivia, sourdough and Downton Abbey!

On Tuesday evening, I went to my first vegan social group event!! It was a trivia night at Whole Lotta Love on Lygon St in Brunswick. Being the nervous nelly I am, I was quite scared going in there on my own, but once I got my glass of wine and spotted an empty spot at a table, I took a deep breath, made a beeline and introduced myself!! It ended up being an enjoyable night (even though my team lost miserably – we came second last – hahaha!).

On the way home, I came across my first tram surfer. I cannot comprehend how anyone could be so stupid.

Yesterday was a truly fun day! For the next couple of weeks, I’m taking Wednesday off work to spend some time with my nieces (long story) and it was such a beautiful day.

I arrived to 2 gorgeous girls excited about the day ahead. We played some chasey and hide & seek, before heading down to the local park where we played on the play equipment and had lots of fun. We came back and played some more, before settling down into doing some watercolour painting. My artistic skills are lacking, however I enjoyed doing some painting with Z-monster, whilst S-monster was happily playing with some toys.

Best painting of a butterfly in the history of the world :o)

After I said goodbye to them for the day, I had to run a few errands and decided that I would swing by a couple of foodie places to see if they had something that tickled my fancy. And I was in luck!

I stopped by Northcote Bakeshop, which is a new bakery in the ‘dead’ area of High St, Northcote (if you drive along Darebin Road and didn’t turn at the T-intersection you would pretty much drive into the shopfront!). Their selection looked amazing, and so fresh. I ended up picking up a loaf, as well as a vegan empanada (which I will have for dinner tonight!). Their prices are very reasonable, almost TOO reasonable – I really hope they’re not introductory prices!! The loaf was $5 and the empanada was $5. I will post a pic of the empanada in the coming days.

7 grain sourdough from Northcote Bakeshop

After stopping by there, I kept driving up to Piedmonte’s which is on St George’s Road in Fitzroy North. They stock Tofutti, and I was in luck as they had replenished their stock!! I bought a pint of Vanilla Almond Bark, and Wildberry Supreme – yum! Of course, after that I drove home (dying from the delicious smell of fresh bread!) and eagerly sliced into the sourdough for a few pieces. It was YUM!

Of course after this, I had to go to the gym (for my impending food baby) so off I went to huff & puff and sweat my brains out!! It felt good, but I was pretty knackered by the end of it.

Last year, I missed watching Downton Abbey on TV. So I bought the DVD from eBay and caught up that way. Then I got impatient and ordered series 2 on DVD. So that’s when Channel 7 announced it was airing series 2. Oh well. My copy arrived on Tuesday, so I am revisiting series 1 before I get into series 2. I much prefer watching TV shows on DVD anyway – no ads, you can pause as you like, and watch as many episodes as you like in one sitting. I have a number of series lined up – Grey’s Anatomy (season 7), Mad Men, Brothers & Sisters. Woot! I’m almost done with Glee (season 2) and L-whack and I are about to start on season 2of Modern Family. So I think I’m all set for the long winter ahead of us…

Monday, 21 May 2012


Holy moly it was COLD this morning!!

My alarm went off at 6am (boooooooo!) and I got up, readied myself for a run along the beach before going to work, having a shower and feeling ready to tackle the day the best I can.

I jumped in my car (it was 3°c), picked up L-whack and drove through ‘peak hour’ even though it was only 6.30am (it is ridiculous how much traffic is on the roads at that time. I once attempted Hoddle Street thinking it would be a decent run as it was so freaking early – never again). We arrived at L-whacks place so he could change into exercise clothes before our walk.

At that point, the plan went pear shaped……. Next thing I knew, we were curled up in bed, having a bit more of a snooze before my alarm went off, and I begrudgingly rolled out of bed and went to work. Boo.

Silver lining?? Vegie Head’s ebook is up and running, and available at the ridiculously cheap price of $7!! (even cheaper if you’re not in Australia – our dollar has dived in value)

I am SO excited that it is finally here, ready for our eyes (and tummies!). I’ve been reading through it, and I cannot wait to start cooking up a storm!

You can get your copy here, and I truly mean it when I say it is a fantastic resource and the recipes are super easy to follow, even for the cooking challenged…

Just a couple of examples of what’s in the e-book

Mexican black bean Posole

Better than Reeses Peanut Butter 'Cheesecake'

Vegan Pho

I for one cannot wait to get cooking.

In other news, my nieces came over and Saturday afternoon and as they were coming inside, Z-monster started shrieking with excitement. Once she finally calmed down, she showed us what got her so excited.

“There might be fairies Nana – the fairies!!”

It is so wonderful to see such joy. Brings the biggest smile to your heart. 

Although the toadstool itself gives me the creeps. No idea why, but it just did!! (Perhaps it has something to do with my irrational fear of uncooked pumpkin - that's a story for another day)...

I also had another visitor yesterday. I went to the local organic fruit shop and bought some rainbow chard to make some soup. I haven’t taken a photo of it yet, but as I was soaking the chard to get rid of the dirt, a little tiny visitor came out of the bunch and paid a visit!!

Little snail (Rex) is now safely roaming the garden

I also made some lemon blueberry muffins yesterday. I used this recipe as a base, however added some fresh lemon juice to make it more lemony. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 1 ½ cups SR wholemeal, ½ cup white SR flour)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 lemons (use zest of both, and juice of just 1)
1 cup sugar (I used ¾ brown sugar, ¼ castor sugar)
1 cup milk (you can use non-dairy milk, I used soy)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups fresh OR frozen blueberries (I used frozen)

·         Preheat the oven to 180°c (375F). Place patty pans in muffin tray.
·         In a medium bowl, combine together flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
·         In a large bowl, combine the sugar, milk, oil, juice, and vinegar. Mix well.
·         Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stir until just combined. Don’t over stir.
·         Gently fold in the berries.
·         Fill the muffin tins about 2/3rds full.
·         Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 24 minutes.
·         Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. After that remove the muffins from the tins and cool on a wire rack.

nom nom nom

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I asked for a strong soy flat white this morning, and I got one!!!

I don’t know why, but sometimes coffee is a little like alcohol for me (well, from what I remember as I rarely drink these days). Sometimes I have a cup, and I become wired, giggling and unable to concentrate. Other times, it does nothing. Strange, but highly amusing when I get affected by it!

Last night I roasted a beetroot. I have never cooked beetroot before, but I bought one last week and I thought I’d better do something with it before it gets old. So I peeled it, quartered it and wrapped it in foil and roasted it for an hour on 180*c. I’m really not sure what I’ll do with it (I put it in the fridge once it had cooled down) but I’m sure that it’ll be tasty. Maybe beetroot hummus, maybe I’ll add just a little balsamic and eat it on its own.

Oh, I took a photo of a piece of banana chocolate cake I baked for mother’s day. I didn’t bother to sprinkle any more icing sugar on it, but I easily could have.

Mmmmmmmm cake!

I was recently ‘invited’ to join Pinterest, and I’m having fun using it. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s ok – I had no idea what it was until about a month ago. It’s considered a social media tool (but I like to use it as a friendly reminder tool for my often forgetful and overloaded brain!). You pretty much ‘pin’ things on to your board. Sounds kinda lame-o, but it’s actually quite enjoyable. As Pinterest explains it;

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.

So I’ve come across a heap of new recipes, amazing beaches to discover, and cute pictures of animals – like below!! If you’re on Pinterest, feel free to add me (follow me? Pin me??).

Maldives - amazingly divine!
Hip Hop Kitty

Motivation when I just can't be assed...

Dreams... :o)

(what is this formatting thing on blogger? Sorry about this scmemozzle of a mess, but you can't format your pictures easily - if you know how, then please let me know!!)

I’ve also found my dream home. It’s located in Malibu, California and costs a mere $15 million. Haha! If you would like to donate to the cause, please let me know as all donations are more than welcome. You may even score yourself an invite to the housewarming!! HAHA!!

Le sigh. How I would love to be sunning myself on a beach somewhere warm and tropical at the moment.......

Update: As you can probably tell, I enjoy my cooking. And I have FOREVER wanted a beautiful KitchenAid mixer. Well there is a vegetarian website called Delicieux that is doing a giveaway, so to get an entry I need to give them a free plug - so here is the plug!! Now fingers crossed and I'll start dreaming about which colour I would like...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Mother's Day cake!

Last Friday, I had a long overdue catch-up with some friends who I used to work with at the MCG. We get together a couple of times a year; have a good dinner, a good laugh, and just a general good time!

We met up at the North Fitzroy Arms pub, and I was a little unsure of whether there would be a vegan friendly option on the menu – fortunately there was!! I enjoyed the orrechiette shells with sautéed broccolini, garlic, chilli and extra virgin olive oil. I just requested they leave out the anchovy paste and cheese on top (they use nuttelex, not butter). We also all shared a couple of plates of bruschetta (and got a couple of pieces minus cheese) – so I did not go home hungry!!

Jess (& Dan!) are expecting their first baby in a matter of weeks, so it was an exciting time to catch up – good luck for the coming weeks guys!

On Saturday, I baked a chocolate banana cake for Mother’s Day. The recipe originally calls for castor sugar and white flour (and no cocoa) but I like to mix it up a bit!! This recipe is passed onto me by L-whack’s mum, and I’m afraid I do not have a source to credit.

125g nuttelex
1 cup brown sugar
3 bananas, mashed
1 egg replacer
1 ½ cups wholemeal SR flour
½ cup soy milk
½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
Dash of vanilla
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa

1. Cream together the nuttelex and sugar, then add egg and bananas. Mix well.
2. In a cup, combine soy milk, bi-carb and vanilla.
3. To the wet mixture, mix in ½ cup flour then 1/3 of milk mixture. Mix in another ½ cup flour, 1/3 milk mixture. Mix in final ½ cup of flour, 1/3 milk mixture. Sift in cocoa, and mix until combined.
4. Pour into a lined cake tin, and put in 180*c oven for approx. 50-55mins (may need a little longer, check cake with a skewer)
5. Allow to cool, then sprinkle cake with icing sugar. Eat!

I forgot to take a photo, so you’ll just have to imagine… sorry!! It was tasty, and everyone enjoyed it for afternoon tea on Sunday. I just placed the cake in an airtight container overnight, and then sprinkled the icing sugar just before serving.

I had planned on making soup yesterday as well (it was such a miserable day, rainy and cold) but I ended up having the afternoon tea with my mum, sister-in-law and nieces (my brother was working, boo) followed by a later afternoon tea with L-whack and his family! So by the time I got home, I couldn’t be bothered to do any cooking, and will instead make the soup tonight. I might ask my niece Z-monster to help out, she is great at cooking and loves to do it. One of her favourite shows is Masterchef (and yes, she’s not quite 4yo!!)

Here is a lovely photo my sister-in-law just sent me of the little monkey’s, sharing lunch.

You can see why they bring a massive smile to my heart.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A new week...

Oh man, Monday’s SUCK!!! Especially this one – it hasn’t started well. But there was a cute dog outside the café who gave me cuddles, so it has improved slightly.

Metro Trains – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!!! This morning, my train arrived at Southern Cross station 14mins late. Since the new timetable came into action about 2 weeks ago, my train has been at least 5 minutes late every day.

So now if I want to be a good employee, I’m going to have to start getting the earlier train just because Metro can’t get their shit together.

End rant.

How was your weekend?

Mine was good. Quiet, but good. I ended up making some ribollita again on Saturday (YUM!) and used some lovely organic kale!! I took some to L-whack (who is STILL unwell!) and being the nerds we are, we spent the evening playing Trouble!!

After I got home, I whacked all the ingredients for slow cooked chilli beans into my new slow cooker, and awoke on Sunday morning to a delicious aroma. I went for a brisk morning walk, before getting home and toasting some sourdough bread and eating the chilli beans on top. YUM!

In the afternoon, I spent time with my gorgeous nieces. I hadn’t seen them in weeks (they went to Queensland to visit relatives) so it was so lovely to spend time with them!!

I have a bowl of (stinky) soaked chickpeas waiting for me to use (as I ran out of puff yesterday) so I’m not sure what I’ll make. Maybe hummus? Maybe soup? Perhaps burgers??

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Why do chickpeas smell like farts?

No, really. Why?

I eventually got my butt into gear on the weekend, and organised myself enough to know I would be cooking something with chickpeas on Sunday so on Saturday evening I put some dried chickpeas in a bowl and let them soak overnight.

The next morning (or early afternoon by the time I got motivated to cook), I drained them to discover they stank real bad.

I guess it goes into the same series of questions like “why does asparagus make your wee smell?” and “why does cabbage make you fart?”.

Yep. I’m hitting the hard questions today!

Fortunately chickpeas are nutritious and DELICIOUS so once you move past the unfavourable smell, there is SO much you can do with them.

It is a miserable day here in Melbourne town – rain, cold and more rain. Lucky me once again got stuck with train delays (Metro, get your act into gear PLEASE) and then a lack of trams meant I had to walk 2.2km to work in the rain. So after a soggy start, I think I’m nearly dry and am nursing a soy cappuccino.

So last week was ANZAC day, and it was once again a freezing day. This year, L-whack and I did not attend the dawn service so to mark the day, I decided to bake some ANZAC cookies!! I used a basic recipe from BBC Foodonline, and they turned out pretty well. Instead of butter, I substituted it with nuttelex. BAM vegan friendly!

Lest we forget... by eating cookies!!

It was moving watching the live broadcast of the dawn service in Gallipoli, and the Last Post brought a tear to my eye. It does every time. Although I did have to giggle when they played the national anthem of Australia, and all the aussies in the crowd patriotically sang their heart out – until the second verse… then there was lots of confused faces and silence. For those non-Aussies reading this post, NO ONE knows the words to the second verse of our anthem. Except PM Julia Gillard (who was singing at this service – at least she gets ONE thing right…). I guess it’s not deemed important enough to teach us in primary school, and it’s rare when the second verse is sung so no one has made the effort to learn verse 2!

Poor L-whack then came down with the flu. So being the world’s best girlfriend that I am, I made a tasty batch of ribollita soup on Saturday afternoon, which is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes I’ve ever made. So big up to Vegie Head for creating such a delicious, nutritious and simple recipe! GET ON IT!

On Sunday, I met up with Litha for brunch at The Mercy Seat in Collingwood – I’d heard some good things about it, so I was keen to check it out. It’s a fully vegetarian café, and obviously have vegan options.

Litha and I started with a coffee, which was given extra credit for the art on top when it arrived!! A decent strength shot, and they use Bonsoy which is a bonus. However I was a little meh about them charging extra for soy. I mean, it’s a vegetarian café so I would say that at least half of their clientele would opt for soy over dairy milk.
Coffee love

For food, Litha ordered the scrambled tofu on toast (after lots of umming and ahhing!) and I had the bircher muesli with coconut yoghurt.

I must say when they delivered our food to the table, I nearly died at the miniscule size that my muesli came. It was in a small tumbler, and only filled half the glass. HOWEVER, it was delicious and very filling so it hit the spot. Perhaps $10 was a little steep but it's not often I eat out so...

Litha enjoyed her scramble, and didn’t make it through the whole plate!

Scrambled tofu

Bircher muesli with coconut yoghurt

We decided to lash out, and share a Mister Nice Guy cupcake. YUMMMMMMMM!! Ladies and Gentleman, please introduce yourself to Betty White - Coconut frosting on chocolate cake, topped w toasted coconut flakes + chocolate ganache. Delish.

Betty White rocks!

Once Litha dropped me at home, I went through a pile of recipes that I had bookmarked for cooking, and settled on a Curried quinoa, chickpea and red lentil curry. A dish full of protein that’s also healthy, nutritious and budget friendly!

I am SO glad I made this, it is seriously yum!

Curried Quinoa, Chickpea and Red Lentil Soup
2 tsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped (I used 1 whole onion)
4 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp promite (or soy sauce) (I used soy sauce, and added an extra tbspn or so)
1 tsp seeded mustard
1 tsp chilli paste
Shake of smoked paprika
1 cup dried red lentils
5½ cups vegetable stock
2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes (I needed to use up some passata, so I added 400ml of passata and 1 400g tin of tomatoes)
2 cups of cooked chickpeas
2½ cups cooked quinoa (I used white)
Small bunch of parsley, chopped

Heat the oil in a stockpot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until soft - about 15-20 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients (except parsley) and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 10-15 minutes til the lentils are cooked. 

Add parsley right before serving.

Nom nom nom...

And finally, Jessica Simpson finally had her baby (yesterday's totally random post was ironic timing). Man, it felt like she was preggers for AGES! Imagine what it must've felt like for her......

The Mercy Seat on Urbanspoon