Saturday, October 31, 2009

Veganmofo Final Salad and Caturday

So here it is: The last post of VeganMoFo III. I have enjoyed the blogathon, but feel that I wasn't able to keep up with everyone else's posts. I promise to stop by your blogs in the near future and read through any posts I missed.

Here is my final food post:

This is a salad that we had a little while ago. There is falafel, vege seafood sticks, Changs noodle salad, home grown radishes, pasta salad with home-made pesto dressing, pita bread, hommous and waldorf salad. All of it was good and fit with my ongoing salad obsession.

Caturday: Berry on the rolltop desk

Last week I showed you a picture of Switch asleep on the top of our rolltop desk. This is her sister Berry, showing how she approaches napping on a desk. As you can see, she is a sprawler!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin and Lentil Soup

A little while ago, I decided to make pumpkin soup for dinner again. However, I wanted to make sure that we had a bit of protein to make it more filling. What to do? Add red lentils!

Pumpkin and Lentil Soup


1 small pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped into 5 cm pieces (butternut is very good)
1 large onion chopped
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
1 cup dry red lentils
water sufficient to cover (over 1 litre)
2 vegan stock cubes (I used Massel Chicken Style cubes)
1/4 teaspoon dry ground ginger

  1. Heat margarine in a soup pot. Add onion and sweat until translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook 30 minutes or until pumpkin and lentils are tender.
  4. Blend until smooth. I used a stab blender in the pot for convenience.
  5. Serve with bread and enjoy.
Happily, everyone loved it, including the normally lentil averse children. The dominant flavour is the pumpkin, with a hint of creamy lentil savouriness. It hit the spot on a cold night. I would happily serve it to omnivorous guests.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Way too much gravy...

This picture shows my crazy love of Isa's Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy, from Vegan With a Vengeance. It shows roast vegetables, cauliflower gratin and Sanitarium Roast, all smothered with the amazing gravy. There is also a bit of cranberry sauce on the roast.

Try this gravy if you dare. It is seriously addictive.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quick Lower Fat Garlic Bread

Who doesn't love garlic bread? Buttery, garlicky, savoury carbs. Mmmmhhh (Homer Simpson drool).

As a vegan, there are very few options for pre-packaged garlic bread. I also think that most contain a bit too much fat (including trans fat) to be a good food choice. So, I make my own all the time.

Basically, I split a roll, spread it with Nuttelex and crushed garlic and sprinkle it with herbs. I then pop it under the grill until it is lightly browned.

Everyone in the family loves it. Omnivores love it. It is a universal favourite. It's great as a side dish with pasta, salad or BBQ food.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quick and Easy Red Thai Curry

This is a very simple curry. I used a Maesri curry paste, coconut cream and vegan fish paste to create the sauce. In the curry is tofu, mushroom, zucchini, carrot, bamboo shoots, tomato and capsicum. I used a whole tin of the curry paste. It was a bit hot, even though I like hot food, and not creamy enough for me. Next time I would use half a tin and freeze half.

We served it with rice for an easy spicy dinner.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Saturday was hot, so I decided to make an easy Vietnamese style noodle salad. This is so simple and easy to make. It is fresh, easy and doesn't need the stove to be turned on. With all the herbs, it is bursting with flavour.

Unfortunately, all my boring children picked out the herbs, but liked the noodles and tofu.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Serves 6 generous or 8 small serves


1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoon Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander (from a jar is fine)
100g bean or rice noodles
300-500g recooked tofu puffs (or fry off some tofu)
100g bean sprouts
1 carrot
10 green beans
several sprigs each vietnamese mint, mint, basil and coriander. (You can skip one or more of these, but it is good with all of these) Reserve a couple for garnishing.
1 medium green chilli, finely sliced (optional)
1/4 deep fried shallots
1/4 cup crushed peanuts

  1. Reconstitute noodles according to packet directions.
  2. Heat lime juice and sugar. It is convenient to do this in a microwave, for 30-60 seconds. Mix to dissolve sugar. Heat and mix again until necessary.
  3. Add chilli sauce, soy sauce and minced coriander to lime mixture. Put in fridge to cool.
  4. Once noodles are soft, cool in cold water and drain.
  5. Take a bowl for each person. Put some noodles in the base of each bowl.
  6. On top arrange grated carrots, sliced beans, bean sprouts and herb leaves. Pile tofu in centre.
  7. Drizzle each salad with some dressing.
  8. Top salad with fried shallots, peanuts and garnishing herbs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tofu Scramble

This morning I decided to make tofu scramble. This is a vegan standard. Every cookbook author has a version. I usually just make my own mediterranean-style version. However, this time I decided to use Isa Chandra Moskowitz' recipe. I replaced the mushrooms and carrots with zucchini and tomato, because that's how I roll today.

It make 4 serves. No-one else wanted any, so I will have delicious leftovers for work lunches. Tofu scramble is usually great reheated or in sandwiches.

I liked it. I used the Healtheries Brand Nutritional yeast. I should have used another brand, as the Healtheries is a bit strong for this recipe. However, I happily ate the scramble and will enjoy the leftovers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tapas night and Caturday

As you may have noticed, around once a week our meal involve little snacks, placed in the centre of the table. Each person can help themselves. I find that the younger two children try new items more easily this way. There is less pressure to like it. They also eat more vegetables when it is their own idea to try them.

Of course, Mr BrisVegan, J and I all love to try new foods and enjoy variety, so we love it too.

This meal was tapas influenced. Clockwise from the top, you will see pita bread with hommous and baba ganouj, store bought polenta, baked plain and with a sweet chilli sauce glaze, eggplant baked with tomato pasta sauce and a slice of herb and garlic Cheezely, potato gems (tots for the US audience), mixed baked olives, dates baked in a Redwood Cheatin' ham strip, strawberries with balsamic vinegar and non-alcoholic red lambrusco (yeah, grape juice, basically).

Based on Susan's wonderful example, I have decided to try to put a cat photo up once a week. I will aim for one each Caturday, oops, Saturday. So here we go:

Caturday Photo: Sleeping Switch

Here is our adorable Switch, fast asleep on top of our roll top desk (a favourite perch). As you can see, she has an extremely cute habit of resting the top of her head on her sleeping spot, with her nose tucked under.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another salad night

Here's another salad from last week. On the plate are Changs Noodle salad, simple pasta salad, skillet asparagus salad and Vegetation's White Bean Cutlets.

The pasta salad is a favourite of Z's. It is simple cooked cooled pasta, bottled salad dressing and olives.

Skillet Asparagus Salad

Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 bunches of asparagus (I used 1, but it had around 12 thin stalks)
10 grape tomatos, halved
1/2 zucchini cut into 2 cm dice
2 tablespoons pine nuts
12 pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  1. Snap woody section from bottom of asparagus. Wash the stalks.
  2. Heat olive oil. Add remaining ingredients, except balsamic vinegar.
  3. Heat for 3-5 minutes until tomato collapses slights and pine nuts brown slightly.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Cluster asparagus on a plate. Pile remaining mixture accross the asparagus.
  6. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
This was very Mediterranean. I love asparagus, so I loved it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Veganomicon Portobello Salad

Another Veganomicon recipe today.

In the heat last week, we had salad several nights. One night I made the Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard dressing from Veganomicon. This salad has marinated baked portobello mushrooms, with a lovely sweet tangy mustard dressing. For my salad, I kept the portobellos, dressing and greens, but skipped the remaining ingredients. I added tomatoes and sliced zucchini. It was delicious.

The mushrooms are baked in a lovely wine, soy, garlic, balsamic and olive oil marinade (recipe is in the book). I have found that the marinade makes more mushrooms that the 2-4 suggested. I have also frozen and reused the marinade after baking. The mushrooms also freeze well, so you can make a lot and have some for later.

I have made the actual recipe before and found it was very good. The dressing is wonderful on almost any green salad. If you have Veganomicon, try this one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Veganomicon Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry

This was one of our dinners last week. It was the delicious Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry from Veganomnicon. It was an impulse decision to make it, so I used a packet simply called "Gluten" which I had bought from the White Jade Lotus Vegetarian Supermarket, in place of the seitan cutlets. I simmered it in a bit of soy sauce and pinch of sugar. I swapped the broccoli for carrot and beans. The younger two children did not fancy the smell of the curry sauce, so they ate theirs without sauce.

This was the first time I had made a brown roux. I have made white sauces before, but have never used a darker roux. For some reason I thought that it would be hard, but it was easier than I thought. I will try various New Orleans recipes with confidence now.

This is a really tasty recipe. We enjoyed the savoury curry sauce. The leftovers were even better the next day for lunch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Asian Influenced Feast

This is a dinner that we had a few weeks ago. You can see a quick stir fried vegan Char Siu and vegetables, szechuan eggplant, store bought spring rolls and Changs fried noodle salad. Not pictured is steamed rice, which is always a favourite with my children.

The fried noodle salad is the one on the back of a Changs Fried Noodle packet. It is not authentic anything, other than a device to sell fried noodle. We use the gluten free noodles, as there are no doubtful ingredients that I could see. Mr Brisvegan, J and Z all love it at the moment, so it is showing up in a lot of dinners. I have tweaked the recipe a bit to reduce the fat. To make it as I do, you use 1/2 wombok, 6 spring onions, 1/2 packet Changs Fried Noodles, 1/4 cup each sugar, white wine vinegar and olive oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 small dash sesame oil. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar by heating them in the microwave for 1 minute and stirring well. Add olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil and mix well. Add to finely chopped wombok and spring onions and mix well. Just before serving add fried noodles. you can also add slivered almonds, but I usually don't bother. My version has half the oil and fried noodles of the original recipe, but we don't notice the difference.

The stir fry is just vegan char siu, with onion, carrot and bok choy. To make a simple sauce, I added about 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, around 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

The Szechuan eggplant was from a recipe book. It was an excuse to use my new Szechuan peppercorns. It was very similar to this recipe from Jes of Cupcake Punk, who I have just discovered through googling Szechuan eggplant. Like her, I would add more than the recommended szechaun pepper.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Larabar Review and Vegan 100

Larabars are rare creatures in Queensland. I usually get them by post from the Cruelty Free Shop. However, when I was at Mt Tambourine recently, I found them on the shelf in a pharmacy in the small restaurant and shop strip near the local library. They had Cinnamon Roll, Jocalat (chocolate, obviously) and Pecan Pie (eatan and not photographed). I was very pleased.

All three options were very pleasant. I have also tried key lime pie, which is my favourite. They are delicious little bars, packed full of the dried fruit and nuts which are really their only ingredients. The flavours are usually somewhat reminiscent of the named item. They are not sickly sweet, though their high fruit content means they are fairly sweet. The only down side is that they are pretty high in calories, which may be a concern for some people. If you see them and don't have any food allergies or calorie concerns, give them a go.

The wonderful Bazu of Where's the Revolution? has posted her version of the Vegan 100 on her blog. Basically, this is a list of foods that are worth a try. You show which you have tried by bolding items. I notice that a lot of this list is very US centric, with NY items or US versions of produce. Here is my version:

1) Copy this list into your blog or social networking site profile, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out or italicize any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Optional extra: Post a comment on this post linking to your results.
The Vegan Hundred:

1. Molasses
2. Cactus/Nopales

3. Scrambled Tofu

4. Grilled Portobella Caps

5. Fresh Ground Horseradish

6. Sweet Potato Biscuits

7. Arepa

8. Vegan Coleslaw

9. Ginger Carrot Soup

10. Fiddlehead Ferns

11. Roasted Elephant Garlic

12. Umeboshi

13. Almond Butter Toast

14. Aloe Vera

15. H and H Bagel NYC

16. Slow Roasted Butternut Squash

17. White truffle (in oil form- does that count?)

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Freshly ground wasabi

20. Coconut Milk Ice Cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider

23. Organic California Mango (I think it is fair to substitute a local Qld version. There are mangos growing in our local parks, but I have also enjoyed local certified organic ones.)

24. Quinoa

25. Papaya Smoothie

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet or Habañero pepper (grow my own habanero chillis)

27. Goji Berry Tea

28. Fennel
(Only vegetable of which I am not a fan)
29. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie (made my own from Isa's recipe - too good!)
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread (not yet, but sounds good)
31. Starfruit

32. Oven fresh Sourdough bread

33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
34. Sauerkraut
35. Acai Smoothie

36. Blue Foot Mushrooms

37. Vegan Cupcake from Babycakes nyc (unlikely without serious travel)

38. Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
39. Falafel

40. Spelt Crust Pizza

41. Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms

42. Jicama Slaw

43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings
44. Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne

46. Fuyu

47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup

48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich

49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice...with Extra Ginger
50. Grilled Seitan

51. Prickly pear (Once as a kid, these are considered weeds here)
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk

53. Concord Grapes off the vine

54. Ramps

55. Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut

56. Organic Arugula
(Grow my own)
57. Vidalia Onion

58. Sampler of organic produce from Diamond Organics

59. Honeycrisp Apple (Not available here)

60. Poi

61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores (Smores are not an Aussie thing at all)

62. Grape seed Oil

63. Farm fresh-picked Peach

64. Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus

65. Chestnut Snack Packs

66. Fresh Guava

67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

68. Raw Mallomar from One Lucky Duck, NYC

69. Fried plantains
(For my Brisbane friends, you can get plantains at the West End markets in season. I fried my own)
70. Mache

71. Golden Beets

72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles

73. Liquid Smoke (Love it - get it from VVSQ!)

74. Meyer Lemon

75. Veggie Paella

76. Vegan Lasagna

77. Kombucha
78. Homemade Soy Milk
(Too lazy)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini

81. Tempeh Bacon

82. Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh

84. Vanilla Bean

85. Watercress

86. Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
(Must go and pull some from my garden this afternoon)
87. Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie

88. Flowers (Nasturtiums from my own garden are great, but have also tried lavender, chamomile, violets, and roses)
89. Corn Chowder

90. High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate

91. Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi

92. White Flesh Grapefruit

93. Harissa

94. Coconut Oil

95. Jackfruit

96. Homemade Risotto

97. Spirulina

98. Seedless 'Pixie' Tangerine

99. Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought

100. Fresh Plucked English Peas

I bolded 63. That's not too bad. There would be more if I substituted Australian fruit varieties for the US versions. Please let me know if you fill this out. It would be cool to see what you highlight.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Ah, pasta, the perennial favourite. Easy to serve omnis, a favourite with children, how many meals has it saved?

Here is a quick spaghetti bolognaise that I made the a few nights ago.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Serves 8 - 10 (halve for 4)


1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions
4 cloves garlic
2 tins of Sanitarium Casserole Mince (or 3 cups reconstituted TVP)
1 grated zucchini
1 400g tin diced tomatoes
200 g tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 generous tablespoons fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
500g spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil.
  2. Add onion and fry gently until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to pan.
  5. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer 20 - 30 minutes.
  6. Prepare 500 g spaghetti according to packet directions. (We use 500 g for 5 people, which lets the boys have seconds. I suggest 60g each for small serves, up to 125 g each for large serves of pasta.)
  7. Once the pasta is ready, place desired amount of pasta on plate or in bowl. Add 1 large ladle of bolognaise sauce to each serve. Enjoy!
My children and omni husband love this. I am however hesitant to serve it to other omnis, as I find that TVP and similar products simply taste "fake" to the omnis that I know. (This may be entirely in their head, but I do recall disliking vegetarian burgers, sausages and so on when I first went vegetarian.) If you have more broad minded omnis in you life, they may enjoy the familiar texture and rich flavour.

Friday, October 16, 2009


This was a quick and easy dinner that we had a few weeks ago. At our house, nachos let everyone exercise their creativity and make their own dinner. Everyone likes the chips and avocado. Some go deluxe and some are very basic. The weirdest topping in the house is M's love of nachos with mayonnaise on them (wrong, I know!).

This was mine. On the usual corn chips are Cheat's Chilli, store bought salsa and Cheezely. Because I love the toppings (and am a bit of a guts), I put a thin layer of chips, toppings and then more chips and toppings. That was put in the microwave until the Cheezely melted (3 or 4 minutes from memory).

After microwaving, I added lettuce, tomato avocado mash and olives, because I like salad.

Yes, they were as good as they look.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nasi Goreng

To go with the gado gado, which I posted last night, I made a quick nasi goreng, which is Indonesian fried rice. It is easy to make.

Nasi Goreng

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups white rice (replace with brown if you wish)
1 small diced carrot
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons oil, e.g. rice bran oil or peanut oil
1 small diced onion
1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
hot sauce to taste (1-3 teaspoons)

Cucumber, tomato, crushed peanuts, deep fried shallots and bean sprouts to garnish

  1. Cook rice, carrots and peas according to rice packet directions. I use the absorption method (Water equal to 1 and 1/2 times the rice, brought to a boil and then simmered until the rice is tender, around 12 minutes after reducing to a simmer.)
  2. Ideally, you should make the rice the day before and refrigerate it overnight. however, you can skip that step if you don't have time.
  3. Heat a wok or high sided skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook the onion gently until translucent.
  4. Add the remaining oil. Bring to medium high heat. Add rice, kecap manis and hot sauce. Stir fry until the rice is well coasted an lightly fried.
  5. Turn rice into a service dish and garnish with garnishing items to taste.
My small children find this too spicy, so I make some for them without the chilli. Mr Brisvegan, J and I all like this one. The salad items in the garnish cut trough the rich chilli flavour for a burst of freshness, which is very appealing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gado Gado

Gado Gado is a delicious Indonesian salad. It is relatively quick and easy to make, especially if you use a pre-made peanut sauce.

This one includes caramelised tofu, shredded wombok (Chinese cabbage - underneath), bean sprouts, cucumber, carrot, tomato, beans, radish, sautéed mushrooms, boiled, cooled potatoes, and a handful of Vietnamese mint. Over it all, I drizzled a store-bought peanut sauce and sprinkled a handful of crushed peanuts.

If you wished, you could also use cold noodles and other herbs or salad vegetables of choice.

We served this with a choice of plain steamed rice or nasi goreng. The younger children loved the tofu and picked at the vegetables. The rest of use enjoyed it very much. It is a naturally vegan traditional Indonesian dish (vegetarian if you include the traditional boiled egg), so it is something that can easily be served without scanning as too weird.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Z's guest blog: Amazing Mango Iceblocks

I hand over to guest blogger Z who says:

At school, for a homework assignment on inventing, we to invent our own iceblocks, so I made Amazing Mango Iceblocks. I invented them all by myself. I made mini ones for school, in little cups and ice cube trays. We had some big ones for our family.

Everyone that ate them said they were 10 out of 10, even the teachers. They are delicimundo and healthy. Children will love them as snacks.

Here is the recipe:

Amazing Mango Iceblocks

Makes 8 ice block size and 28 large ice cubes


1 cup Weis Mango Sorbet
800g mango slices in juice (you will need both the mangoes and the juice)
1 cup Vitasoy Soy Milky Lite soy milk
1 tablespoon sugar

  1. Put all ingredients into a large jug (if using immersion blender) or blender.
  2. Blend everything until it is smooth and there are no lumps.
  3. Pour into ice cube trays or containers. Put toothpick in each iceblock.
  4. Freeze 24 hours in your freezer.
  5. Pull carefully our of mould and enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crumbed Mushrooms

I like crumbed things. You will have seen from my earlier posts that I have crumbed a cauliflower gratin and mushrooms. Here is my recipe for crumbed mushrooms.

Crumbed Mushrooms

Serves 4 as a side dish

12 - 16 small - medium mushrooms
1 egg worth of egg replacer
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup crumbs (Pictured are cornflake crumbs, which is why they are so gold, but panko or normal bread crumbs are good)
1-2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (more if you are a fan)
1/4 teaspoon each crushed dried rosemary, paprika and salt
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and dried sage
Dash pepper
Cooking spray or olive oil to drizzle

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Clean the mushrooms.
  3. Mix the egg replacer, milk and olive oil together.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients, other than the final oil.
  5. Using a wet hand/dry hand method,* dip the mushrooms in the egg replacer mix and then toss until well coated in the crumbs.
  6. Put slightly spaced on a oiled or parchment paper covered baking tray.
  7. Spray with cooking spray or drizzle with oil.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned.
These mushrooms are succulent, slightly moist and crunch. I adore them. Mr BrisVegan and J also like them, though my younger two are not mushroom fans.

* Wet hand/dry hand means that you use one hand to put the item in the wet ingredients. Using the wet hand, you take the item out of the wet mix and drop it into the crumb mix. Using your dry hand, you toss the item in the crumbs. This is easier if you use the dry hand to cover it in crumbs before touching it. You then lift the item out with the dry and and put it in your cooking implement.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dinner at the Loving Hut

Yesterday, we had a crazy, hectic day. It included shopping for new school shoes, looking for some summer clothes for children, a visit to the orthodontist and delivery of Z to a birthday party at Lazerforce (an indoor lazer shooting game place). We snatched snacks and drinks on the run, but didn't really have a proper lunch.

So, we decided to have an extra early dinner (just before 6.00pm) at Loving Hut, a wonderful vegan restaurant at Shop 2, 1420 Logan Road, Mt Gravatt. Loving Hut has excellent food in a simply decorated casual restaurant. The staff are friendly. As it is affiliated with Supreme Master Ching Hai, there are televisions playing her news channel around the restaurant. However, they are not overwhelmingly obtrusive.

The food is always top notch. Here are some of the dishes that we tried:

This is the dumplings (one missing already, thanks to Mr Brisvegan), a little bolognaise on my plate and the 10 Wonders dish, which is rice with salads, gluten and a delicious sweetish mild chilli sauce.

This is the Loving Wrap, a yuma (bean curd) skin roll with tofu, mushrooms etc inside, served with rice and stir fried vegetables. This was savoury and light, with a texture almost like omelette. It was Mr Brisvegan's favourite.

This is my iced coffee. If you go to Loving Hut, you need to try the iced coffee, chai, mocha or coffee. They are just like the ones I had to give up when I become vegan. The "cream" is coconut based and surprisingly delicious with the soy milk. There is also So Good ice-cream lurking under the cream. Z said his iced chocolate was better than "real milk", which is high praise, since he does not like soy milk as a rule.

Not pictured are a deep fried mushroom cutlet and inari sushi. I forgot to photograph them, as I was very hungry and we ate them quickly. The mushroom was a big portabello mushroom crumbed and deep fried, served with a salad that included some tangy pickled vegetables. I am on a mushroom kick at the moment, so the crispy coating and succulent mushroom was my favourite part of the meal. The inari had tofu, and vegetables mixed through the rice. I liked them, but M said that she prefers plain inari with simple sushi rice.

We took slices of strawberry and chocolate vegan cheesecake home. They were also delightful. The strawberry is lightly fruity with a jellied strawberry coating, which is tangy and sweet, but not sickly sweet. The chocolate, which J requested, was much better than most chocolate cheesecakes. I usually find the tanginess of the cheese conflicts with the chocolate bitterness. The Loving Hut version is creamier than usual, with a rich ganache glaze that works very will with the cake. M kept trying to help everyone eat their piece of it.

Loving Hut is probably the best vegan restaurant to use to introduce Brisbane omnis to vegan dining. It is very good value. It has both exotic dishes and familiar items like bolognaise and sweet and sour. The deserts are luscious and The bolognaise is wonderful and is probably the best vegan spaghetti bolognaise that I have ever had. It is child-friendly, with child palatable food like the spaghetti, nuggets and fries and a small play area for toddlers in a back space. However, don't expect fine dining.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cauliflower Gratin

How do you get young children to eat their cruciferous veggies? Crumb them!

As you will have seen from this blog, I make this gratin regularly because the kids love it. It is a special favourite of Z's. He usually takes seconds and thirds of this one, despite the fact that he usually dislikes most green vegetables.

Cauliflower Gratin

Serves 6 - 8 as a side dish


1/2 cup strong vegan stock (I use 1/2 Massel large chicken style cube with 1/2 cup water)
10-12 large cauliflower floret or equivalent smaller pieces (enough to fill a medium casserole dish)
1/3 cup crumbs (Pictured are cornflake crumbs, which is why it is so gold, but panko or normal bread crumbs are good)
1-2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (more if you are a fan)
1/4 teaspoon each crushed dried rosemary, paprika, dried sage and salt (if using unsalted stock)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Dash pepper
Cooking spray or olive oil to drizzle
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  2. Place cauliflower in casserole dish with stock.
  3. Bake covered until cauliflower is just tender, about 1/2 to 3/4 hour. To speed up the dish, you can microwave it for 10-15 minutes at this stage.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients other than the oil. Place on top of the cauliflower.
  5. Spray well with cooking spray or lightly drizzle with olive oil. You want to just moisten the top layer or crumbs to assist it to brown. You do not have to have all of it covered with oil, especially if you are drizzling with oil.
  6. Return to oven. Bake until golden, about 20-30 minutes.
This is very good as a side dish, especially with other roasted or baked items.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Z's chocolate pretzels

Last week, my children were on school holidays. Z decided that he wanted to bake. He checked out his cook books (my children all have several cookbooks of their own). In one called Cook for Kids by Jean Pare, he found some Chocolate Cookie Pretzels.

This is not a vegan cookbook, but Z is creative. He showed me the recipe and suggested that we could replace Nuttelex for butter, Tofutti cream cheese for cow cream cheese and dark chocolate for milk.

Here are his masterpieces:

Of course, the shape and consistency of the dough did lead an almost 10 year old boy to suggest some other shapes, that you can see lurking in this picture:

I laughed at them, because apparently I have the sense of humour of an 8 year old.

They were delicious and unusual. The use of a full tub of tofutti cream cheese meant that they were rich and delightfully soft and chewy, but not overly sweet. Very good baking from Z!

Z is watching me blog. He says to tell you "It was fun!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Roast Medley

This was a medley of roast potato, cut into wedges and sprinkle with vegan "fry sprinkle" carrots cut into battons, green beans, capsicum, onion wedges, a few vegan sausages and stale sourdough torn into pieces and tossed with olive oil and garlic.

It was served with Massel vegan gravy, cauliflower gratin and a quick toasted spinach and vegan cheese pita. It was pretty good on a cold night a few weeks ago. It also made 7 sausages stretch into a meal for 5 people, without the kids noticing that they didn't get 2 full sausages each.