Thursday, 29 December 2011

Recipe: Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Recently, I tried out a recipe from the cook book "Vegan Brunch" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Well, here is another one that turned out to be quite a winner, especially in this summer heat we are enduring at the moment.

I tested out my brand new food processor on this recipe, but you can use a blender if you wish. What you will end up with is the creamiest potato salad. You should aim to make this salad close to when you want to serve it. You can refrigerate but not for too long, as it will brown.

What you will need:
1 kilogram of potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
2 ripe avocados
2 tbsp lime juice
half tsp salt (I use himalayan)
1 tomato, chopped
half continental cucumber, diced very small
quarter tsp ground cayenne, or paprika
1 small red onion (optional)

Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to boil. Then lower heat to a roiling boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Potatoes should be tender but not falling apart. Drain and cool.

Split avocados in half, scoop out flesh and place in food processor. Add lime juice and salt, and puree until smooth. Add cayenne, tomato and onion (if using). Pulse until they are incorporated but not completely blended. you should still be able to see the tomato and onion.

Combine in a large bowl, the cooled potatoes and the cucumber. Add the the dressing and mix well.

Store: Absolutely Organic W.A.

I heard about this store in a roundabout kind of way. When my partner, a friend, and I bought some food donations for Sea Shepherd, one of the drop off points was this store.

Then a bit later, I attended the Stirling Farmers Market where there was a stall by this store. I ended up buying some desserts from them, pictured left. Both were raw, organic and vegan. And delicious! I later tried their raw vegan fudge which was also super yummy.
I then eventually was able to head into the store itself, which is situated on 782 North Beach Rd (cnr Karrinyup Road), Gwellup.
 Now, don't go in there expecting everything to be vegan - it isn't, though I really wish it was! Everything is organic, however, as this is their focus. They sell fresh fruit and vegetables, cleaning products, fairtrade craft and foods, skin and hair care, gardening items, etc. There are gluten free and vegan items on sale, including some hard to find products like canned black beans.

At the front counter there is a selection of desserts and food to go, such as the aforementioned treats. At the back, there are an array of drinks and other refrigerated products.

Their opening hours are a bit limited if you work full time:
Mon-Fri 9-5pm (except Thurs open until 6pm)
Sat - 9-1pm
They are also at the Subiaco Markets every Saturday, at the Subiaco primary School on Bagot Road.
The store does not seem to have a website, but they do have a Facebook page, although it does not appear to get updated very often.

Overall, it is a nice enough store, with enough vegan products in it to have me coming back as an occasional shopper. I do hope they increase their vegan stock, as I know there is a big cross over between the organic and vegan clientele. I would also LOVE to be able to buy some of the wonderful vegan cheesecake creations I have seen on their Facebook page. That would make me a constant shopper in that store, alone!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Event: Keep Talking 2012 Event

What is Keep Talking?
Based in Perth, Keep Talking was founded in response to the treatment of our cattle in Indonesian Abattoirs, as exposed on ABC’s 4 Corners, episode Bloody Business. In July 2011, Keep Talking raised funds to assist Animals Australia’s media campaign to help Ban Live Export. This fundraising effort brought together people from all walks of life, animal welfare organisations, businesses and politicians. KT  intend to continue raising funds, holding events and promoting Animal Welfare Events to raise the profile of Animal Welfare in WA.

The Keep Talking 2012 Event will be held on the 22nd of July at the Hyatt, Perth. 
Tickets will include a 3 vegan course lunch, inspirational speakers, Fashion Show, entertainment and fundraising. 

Confirmed Speakers:

Dana Campbell: Voiceless, CEO. Dana cannot be here herself but is sending us a recorded talk for the event
Dawn Lowe: Australian Representative of Animals Angels
Carole de Fraga: Australian Representative of Compassion in World Farming
Kris Farley: Live Export of Greyhounds (tentative)
Sandie Rawnsley: Stop Live Exports, Campaign Manager. 

(2 more very exciting speakers to be confirmed soon)
Keep Talking have huge sponsors, great prizes and wonderful food. So put the date in your diary and make sure you grab a ticket!!!!!
For more info join the Keep Talking Page on Facebook or watch this space, as I will be posting up more info closer to the date.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegan Chili

This is a recipe that I got in a round about way - the partner of a friend of my partner. I tweaked it to suit my tastes. A note on black beans. They feature in a lot of Tex/Mex cooking but finding the dried variety can be tricky here (Australia) and the tinned even harder. I was fortunate, however, to find some in deli/import/specialist stores such as Absolutely Organic WA and Fresh Stop. I have yet to see tinned black beans in any regular super markets in Perth. If you really can't find them, use kidney beans instead. The black beans certainly have a flavour and texture of their own, but kidney beans are a good substitute.

What you will need:
2 cans black beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable broth ( I use this vegan and gluten free broth)
2 tsp cumin
half to 1 tbsp chili or cajun powder mix (I like it mild, so add more if you are brave)

Rinse the tinned corn and beans and place in slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients and stir.
Cook on high for 5-6 hours. Serve with plain corn chips.

You can't get easier than this!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Recipe: Basic Scrambled Tofu

"Vegan Brunch" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a beauty of a book. So many doable recipes in it, and most can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. This author has written quite a few vegan cookbooks, all worth checking out.

It is from this one that I attempted vegan scrambled tofu. The process was easy and the outcome delicious. There are several 'add-ins' you can use. I opted for sliced mushrooms, which I added into the pan when the tofu went in. I served it up with some gluten free bread, toasted, and some steamed kale on the side.

What you will need for the tofu:
3 garlic loves minced (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
500g extra firm tofu, drained and rinsed
quarter cup nutritional yeast

What you will need for the spice blend:
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
half tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan)
3 tbsp water

Blend the spices and the salt together in a small cup. Add water and mix.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat and saute the garlic (if using) in olive oil, for about a minute. Break the tofu apart with your hands, into bite size pieces and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the spice blend and mix. Add the nutritional yeast and cook for additional 5 minutes.

Apart from mushrooms, you can add other things such as broccoli (cut into small florets), chopped spinach, sliced olives, or a small, grated carrot.

Recipe: Mushroom Broccoli Quisotto

A quinoa version of risotto that is tasty and quick to make. I got this recipe out of the book "Quinoa 365: the everyday superfood" by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. This is not a vegan cookbook but they do clearly mark out which are vegetarian and most of these can be veganized easily enough.

Earlier in the month, I posted a quinoa recipe which included a bit of information about this grain and why it is so super healthy for you. I do hope you give this recipe a try. Quinoa is not all that hard to find. Naturally, health food shops have it but you can also find it in supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths.

What you will need:
2 tbsp olive oil ( I use cold pressed)
a small to medium head of broccoli cut into bite size pieces ( I use the stems too as they are the yummiest. Just makes sure you cut those a bit smaller. OR you can use fresh asparagus instead of broccoli.)
2 cups (or more if you wish) of chopped white button mushrooms
half cup of white onion (optional)
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic (optional)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock (I used this gluten free, vegan stock that you can buy in health food shops)
pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
quarter cup chopped fresh parsley
a few dashes of vegan parmesan (I use this product which you can buy at PAWS)


Heat the oil in the pan and saute the broccoli, mushrooms, onion and garlic (if using) until tender - approx 10 mins, stirring frequently.
Combine the quinoa, stock and nutmeg (if using) in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until tender - approx 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for 6 minutes to allow residual heat in the pot to complete the cooking.
Add the cooked quiona to the broccoli and mushrooms. Stir in parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Pure 'N' Healthy - RAW juices

Pure 'N' Healthy are a Perth business that produce fruit and vegetable juices. I came across them at the Stirling Farmers Market, recently. (This market, by the way, is on trial at the moment and will be open every Sunday morning 7.30am-11.30am until the end of February. I do hope it will be here to stay, as I thought it had real potential. I shall keep my ears open for any news on that in the near future.) I am not sure which stores stock their products, but their business is located at 313 Stock Road, O'Connor. The manager informed me that although they do not currently have a website, one is in the works. I do look forward to seeing it and perhaps linking to it as well.

Anyway, at the market, I taste tested a few of their various juices and purchased a few.

I do love lime and was hoping they had a drinkable lime mix. They didn't but had straight lime, which although you can't drink as is, you can use in mixed drinks and in cooking. I also purchased the orange juice and my partner opted for the Go Troppo which was a mix of different tropical fruits. I think, because of its purity, he found it a bit strong so he watered it down a little. The green drink you see in the photo above, contains kale. Now, anyone who has been reading this blog, will know all about my love for kale. Here it was in a drink. I HAD to try it. It is a mix of kale, apple, lemon and banana. Yes, the kale in it is a bit chewy, which I don't mind. There is a lovely banana after taste, too. I thought perhaps, it needed a little less lemon, but otherwise, I enjoyed it. be warned, however, this particular drink is high in fibre and will 'clean your pipes' out, if you know what I mean.

These RAW drinks are sold in glass bottles (which I love) and juice is not a concentrate, not pasteurised and does not contain any preservatives. What you see is what you get - a fresh, tasty and very REAL juice. I shall hopefully find the Pure 'N' Healthy stand at the market, tomorrow, so I can try out some of their other juices.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Recipe: Meaty Balls

A friend made these and passed on the recipe to me, which she got from "Vegan Vittles" by Jo Stepaniak. I have used this cookbook before and have posted up various recipes I have tried out, on this blog.

My partner had a go at making them. They were delicious, though he commented that he did have a bit of a problem trying to roll them into balls. That didn't matter, as they still tasted great. Problem was, there weren't enough of them! So, for the second go at making them, he doubled all the ingredients. So, if you have a copy of this book, double the amounts, otherwise, if you use the recipe from here, just go by what I have passed on.

What you will need:
2 cups of TVP (textured vegetable protein) granules or flakes
half cup rolled oats
1 tsp each of dried basil, oregano and parsley
1 tsp each garlic and onion powder (optional)
half tsp dry mustard
1 and a half cups boiling water
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp peanut butter other nut butter
half cup flour (any kind)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cover baking tray with baking paper.
Place TVP, oats, herbs, mustard and if using, garlic and onion powders, in a medium sized bowel. Stir.
In a small bowel, combine boiling water, ketchup, tamari and stir. Pour this mixture into the TVP mixture and stir well. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Add the peanut butter and mix in well. Stir in flour and nutritional yeast flakes. Form into walnut sized balls and arrange on baking dish. Mist balls with olive oil spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning over midway.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Genesis in the Hills - Veg Cafe/Restaurant

On the weekend, I headed out to Genesis in the Hills which although tags itself as a vegetarian eatery, also caters to vegans. I know a few vegans who have eaten there before  and so was curious to see what the place was like for myself. There aren't many vegan friendly places to eat in Perth, so when you hear about one, you want to try it out.

The setting is lovely - bushland surrounding you, whilst sitting on a deck with fans spinning high above you. There is a resident dog who just likes to hang out, getting up and lying next to people's chairs and tables. No begging, no barking, just casual adorableness. She was so cute I just *had* to take a photo of her.

My partner started out by trying the homemade lemonade which I had a taste of. It was seriously delicious. It tasted how real lemonade should and it being a hot summer's day, it went down well.

As I perused the menu I was very pleased to see items marked as 'vegan', 'wheat free', etc. I opted for the Quinoa Salad, whilst all my companions chose the Burgers.

Then we waited.....and waited.....After about 30 minutes, we started to wonder if they had forgotten us. We were noticing that other people who had arrived after us were being served their food before us. Hmm...this wasn't good. We ended up asking about our food and after 15 more minutes or so, it finally arrived.

It wasn't so much a 'burger' as it was an 'open sandwich'. I was told, however, that it was tasty.

I was so hungry after the wait, that when my Quinoa Salad arrived, I had to stop myself inhaling it. I'm glad I did, as it really was to savor. All the vegetables were so fresh and those that were cooked, were done so they were just crisp. Loved the asparagus and sweet corn kernels that were fresh and not tinned. The quinoa that was used was the red variety, which I had not tried before.
My one criticism was that there just wasn't enough on my plate. I certainly got quality but for the price I paid for this dish, I felt I should have gotten more on my plate. There really should have been more quinoa, for starters.

I finished my dish still feeling hungry, so considered having some dessert. After perusing what was on offer, I found that only one of the cakes was vegan - a pear and dried fruit cake which I really was not in the mood for. So, no dessert was had.

Even though I was not thrilled with my experience at this venue, I would consider going back another time - I'll just have to remember to order more food.

Location: 124 Croyden Road, Roleystone

Genesis in the Hills is open Thursdays to Sundays but take note that they will be closed from  19 Dec 2011  to 9 Feb 2012.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Social networking for vegans in Perth

There are a few networking sites and groups available for vegans in Perth. Some are exclusively online, whilst others use their online accessibility to help organize regular face-to-face events. Both types are important, I feel, as vegans can often feel isolated due to our smaller numbers in comparison to the general population, in a society that is geared around omnies.

Facebook: Vegans in Perth is a closed group. Created in July, it is still small but slowly growing.

Yahoo: ClubVegPerth is a group for Perth vegetarians and vegans. Although it is a group for socializing, there are also elements of activism, general information sharing, recipes, etc.

Google groups: VegansUnitePerth is for vegans and vegetarians and membership application approval is required before you can become a member.

Meetup: Social Vegans and Vegetarians Perth is a group for vegans, vegetarians, and raw food enthusiasts in Perth, whether they just be curious or 100% committed. The group organizes regular social events for its members. Up coming is their Vegan Christmas Lunch, which will be on the 18th of December.  Check out their group for more information on that.

So, if you are feeling a bit isolated as a vegan in the most isolated city in the world, consider joining some of these groups. You can socialize with people who 'get it' and can relax and enjoy a meal that won't involve you having to avert your eyes as someone at your table is tucking in to a slab of animal on their plate.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Store: One Earth Outlet. Products: Wotnot, and the Environmental Toothbrush

Word of mouth is a great way to find out about products and stores. I was chatting to a co-worker some time ago and although she is not a vegan, she is rather supportive and I know she reads this blog. (Hi Leanne!) She is the one who gave me the heads up about Lush's Toothy Tabs and I think that is how we got around to talking about the Environmental Toothbrush which is a toothbrush that is made from biodegradable bamboo. Bamboo grows quickly and is self renewing so does not lead to deforestation. These toothbrushes are more environmentally sound than using plastic toothbrushes that after 3 months, go into landfill and basically never break down.

The toothbrushes were invented by an Australian dentist and are available to buy in Adult and Children's sizes and different bristle types - Soft or Medium. I have been test running this toothbrush for the last few months and give it the thumbs up. They are very light weight and are good to use for about a month or so. You can buy them in packs of 12 and they are inexpensive.
See here for a list of stockists in Western Australia, and around the nation.
I picked up my supply at One Earth Outlet. Now, let me just say that although this store does not stock exclusively vegan friendly products, you WILL find plenty of products in there that are suitable for vegans. I think I could have spent hours in there, peering at their stock. There was so much to see.There were cosmetics, personal care products, clothing, homewares, etc. The staff were friendly and I left, feeling confident that I would return for another shopping trip soon. 

Whilst there, I picked up a make-up brush kit by Wotnot. This company concerns itself with environmentally friendly, cruelty free products for men, women and children. The make up brush kit I picked up consisted of 8 brushes which have lightweight but strong bamboo handles and soft, synthetic fibres for the brush parts - no animal bristles whatsoever, so perfect for vegans. In general, all their products are not tested on animals, and as for containing animal ingredients, they state: WOTNOT products are free from animal extracts where possible. Our sunscreen includes beeswax to provide water resistance.

Recipe: Nutty Quinoa Hash

My partner found this recipe via the site vegweb which is a site that is absolutely bursting with information and - get this - over 15,000 recipes! And to think people ask "But what do vegans eat?" and think that we are 'depriving' ourselves. Pffft! I highly recommend you check this site out, as you will be inspired in the kitchen, even if you are a bit of a 'non-cookery enthusiast' like me. Heh.

Anyway, back to the recipe....For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa (pronounced (kin-wa),it  is from South America and contains a high percentage of protein - an average of 16.2 %  infact, which is higher than rice (7.5%), and wheat (14%). It is easy to digest and versatile. You can find it in healthfood shops and in some supermarkets.

This recipe is pretty easy to follow and the results are pleasing. Give it a go!

What you will need:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
2 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 small green bell capsicum, chopped (optional)
1 small zucchini (chopped)
1 can corn (about 350g)
seasoning of your choice (cajun will do nicely)
3 tbsp of peanut butter - crunchy or smooth. 

Now, my body doesn't cope well with peanuts, so I subsituted with Eskal Free From Nuts Peanut Butter which I found in the healthfood section of a supermarket. The Crunchy variety contains honey but the Smooth does not. However, it does contain emulsifier 471 which may or may not be derived from animal fats.  I didn't discover this until AFTER using it. Grr! But I have contacted the manufacturer to find out what the deal is here and will report back with what I find out. In the meantime, those who like and can eat peanut butter - go for it - just check that everything on the ingredients list is vegan. Otherwise, just leave the peanut butter out altogether. 


Bring water to boil in a saucepan, over med-high heat. Add quinoa and return to boil, then cover and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer until the water has been absorbed and then set aside.

In a large pan (I prefer a wok pan), heat olive oil on medium heat and then add potatoes. Stir and cook until cooked and slightly crispy. Add onion (if using), celery and capsicum. Cook until slightly soft and then add zucchini and corn. Cook until zucchini is soft and corn heated through. Add seasoning and remove from heat.

Add peanut butter to quinoa and stir until blended. Add this mixture to the vegetables and mix well.

Tuck in!

[Update on the 'Is Eskal "Free From Nuts Peanut Butter" vegan or not' issue. I didn't get a straight answer. What I got was this" "Thank you for your email regarding our Eskal Freenut Butter. The trans
fats come from the emulsifier (471). This is a highly processed form of
hydrogenated oil." I guess that it IS vegan (ie 471 is ffrom plant not animal fat scource) ??? Either way, I have found out hydrogenated oil - plant or animal - is pretty bad for you, so I may be giving this product a miss in the future, anyway. I may try Almond butter by Melrose (or any other brand that produces vegan nut butters), instead.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Living Vegan - Magazine Review

There is a new Australian vegan magazine out called  Living vegan and I have to say that I loved the first issue. For once, I read a magazine from cover to cover and actually found the ads just as interesting! I don't think there was one word in this magazine that I did not read. And all the content is relevant to Australians.
In this first issue are interviews with vegans, information of vegan businesses and organizations, a related movie review, an animal rescue story, general articles, product reviews, recipes, and lots of gorgeous photography of animals, food and vegans. By far, my favourite part of this issue is the 'Vegan Cheat Sheet', which is a double sided sheet you photocopy and tuck into your wallet. It lists a whole lot of products from food to cleaning to hygiene products,  that are vegan, including a list of those dreaded 'E numbers'. My partner and i have already been using this list whilst shopping in supermarkets and it has made life a lot easier by reducing the amount of time we have to spend peering at ingredients lists and wonder what was what. Word is that this cheat sheet will be expanded upon in the next issue.

The magazine is a quarterly and if you are a member of ALV, ARA, Uproar or Vegan Society of NSW, you will get it as part of your membership. Otherwise you can subscribe directly via the magazine's webpage.

Whether you are an Australian long term or new vegan, a vegetarian or just mildly curious, I would definitely recommend this magazine! I can't wait for the next issue.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sea Shepherd Food Donations - update

Here is an updated flyer for the Sea Shepherd Food Donations drive:
Note the new drop off information.

Yesterday, my partner, a friend and myself managed to get down to a Cash And Carry and bought bulk containers of:  Vegemite, flour, herbs, spices, rice, tinned beans, tinned fruit, tomato sauce, coconut cream and milk, and various other things. We made sure we checked all the ingredients, so that there were vegan. All those numbers can get a bit tricky, but thankfully we had a guide with us that we used to help us sort out what was what.

Yes, that is a photo of me holding a huge tin of pineapple pieces. I'm standing next to the trolley we managed to fill. Buying in bulk is seriously surreal but also a lot cheaper.

We will hopefully be dropping this food off tomorrow.

And for your viewing pleasure, have a looksey into the world of one Sea Shepherd chef:

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Recipe: Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower and Cannellini Beans

I found this recipe in the book "The vegan girl's guide to life" by Melisser Elliott. It is super easy and the results are yummy!
What you will need:
1 medium sized cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 can of cannellini beans. Make sure to drain and rinse well.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
1 tsp rosemary (optional)
half tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 205 degrees Celsius .
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary and salt. Add the beans and cauliflower and mix well, so the vegetables are coated.
Spread the mixture onto a large baking sheet and bake for approx 35 minutes. The beans should be slightly crispy and the cauliflower tender and browned.
This recipe is good as a side dish or even eaten on its own.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Event recap: Human Chain across the Stirling Bridge, Fremantle

Last weekend, my partner and I headed on down to Fremantle to take part in this visually effective protest, to make people aware that the fight against live export was not over. The location was perfect, as it was a high traffic area, so we had a lot of people seeing us and our message. Also, it was right near where the disgraceful deed of loading animals onto the ships, happens.

By the time we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of participants - men, women, teens, elderly, children and even babies. Almost all were dressed in black had signs around their necks, with most indicating their professions and the fact that they opposed live animal export. I saw: students, teachers, academics, secretaries, shopkeepers, managers, librarians (I HAD to get my photo taken with them!), chefs, etc.... There were also vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters there. We were all united in our call to finally end this barbaric 'trade'.

There was a police presence, including water police below the bridge, several photographers, and media from radio, internet and TV groups.
So, for half an hour, we stood, arms linked or holding hands, being battered by the wind and making a stand.
Apart from a few negative reactions from passing motorists, we got many waves, cheers, applause, thumbs-up, and horns being honked.
The experience was very positive, well organized and peaceful.

For more photos from this event, check this set on my Flickr account.

A short news report video on the event, available here.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Event recap: Sea Shepherd Fundraiser, plus Appeal

Last weekend, I attended the Perth Sea Shepherd Fundraiser. I have to admit, I am pretty new to Sea Shepherd, having only heard of them a few years ago and only now getting to know more about the amazing work that they do.

The fundraiser was held at the Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley, amongst  the chaos of the Beaufort Street Festival, so parking was a nightmare, as was dodging the crowds to get to the venue. But nothing was keeping me from getting there.

The venue was packed and the merchandise table was doing a roaring trade which was good to see. I picked up a wrist band and one of the new ladies T-shirt designs. (Pictured to the left.)
 I managed to catch up with several like minded, wonderful people I know and headed in. To our delight, every couple of seats had a LUSH gift bag full of wonderful vegan friendly goodies.

There were several speeches made during the night, and musical entertainment, and whilst they were informative and entertaining, we were there to hear Captain Watson speak. So, when he stepped up to begin, the crowd went wild. I learnt a lot from the captains speech, and felt inspired and empowered. I was surprised, given the nature of what Sea Shepherd do, by how funny the captain was. The story of how he initially names one of the ships Gojira (Japanese for Godzilla) had me chuckling. By turns, what Captain Watson had to impart had me feeling outraged, shocked, and deeply saddened. His story of his very first 'hands-on' encounter whilst in Greenpeace, trying to stop Russian whalers, was very powerful and moving. There is no doubting that this man is a great speaker.

After his address to his audience, he was then interviewed on stage which was very insightful, especially for a relative 'newcomer' as me.

Door prizes were won, raffle tickets drawn, and an auction held. My friends and I left that night, with conviction in our hearts. Sea Shepherd, as one supported has said to me, 'get shit done'. They often put themselves on the line, in environmentally hostile places and dangerous situations. And all without the backing of any governments or funding other than donations....which brings me to:

I was delighted to learn that the crew consume only vegan products.

All donations (apart from fresh food) can be dropped off at Sen. Scott Ludlam’s Office, 8 Cantonment Street, Fremantle; Manna Wholefoods; and Absolute Organic, 782 North Beach Rd, Gwelup.

If you have access to F.A.L./ Cash and Carry stores, you can buy in bulk and save $$.  Balcatta: 8 Geddes St..&  Canning Vale: 218 Bannister Rd.
ABN holders and RAC members can shop at these stores.

Items need to be dropped off by the 3rd of December at the very latest.

I plan to do a big shop very soon!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Event recap: Cruelty Free Festival, Perth 2011

Some time back, I posted about this event. Last weekend, I attended it and had such a great time! There was an amazing turn out and so much to see and do. There were cooking demos, live entertainment, heaps of stalls selling cruelty free products and of course, vegan food stalls. The 'not-dog' stand was a massive hit, with the 'not-dogs' selling out within about 2 hours! The delicious pies also sold out soon after. (I had the corn mornay and it was seriously tasty!)

My partner and I volunteered on the day, which involved handing out flyers to the event at the Subi Farmers Markets down the road, selling raffle tickets, and some general roaming around, relieving people of their duties for a while. We happily had time off to look at stalls, buy lots of things, hang out with friends, and generally have a great time.
To the left is a photo of some of my purchases for the day. I found the ARA stall to be my favourite because they had so many cool items for sale, plus lots more that were free.

I did purchase raffle tickets and drooled over the great prizes that were up for grabs, but sadly it doesn't look like I won anything. Ah well!

I managed to sample the best ever raw vegan pizza I have ever had and splashed out on this cool T-shirt.

It did rain a bit on the day but the event was most certainly not a wash-out. All in all, I just loved the general vibe of the event - being surrounded by so many vegans and vegan-curious people! It made me realize that there is a sizable vegan population in Perth and I am not alone. With so many compassionate people around, lots of happy dogs, and good food..well, it was a very special day and I cannot wait for next year's event!

If you would like to see the photos I took on the day, please go here.

One more photo to leave you with:

These were all the freebies that I got on the day. Vegan chocolate samples were included, but they got eaten before they could be photographed. *grin*

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Olive The Rabbit Pet Portraits

At the Wet Nose Day event at the Cat Haven, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to  local Perth artist Roseline Lau who was there, selling raffle tickets for one very lucky person to win a free custom portrait of their animal companion/s. I was blown away with the quality of her work, so thought I'd blog about it here. (And besides, someone who donates $, time and effort to an animal shelter deserves support! I do hope she managed to sell lots of tickets and raise some much needed funds for the Cat Haven. I bet she did!)

Check out her website for examples of her work and costings. My fave, without a doubt, is of the cat  Tochi, though the one of Max the dog is also a winner! And special mention goes to the painting of Hamish, the Scottish terrier who is sporting a rather nifty tartan - talk about attention to detail in that piece!

I talked to the artist and found that she works from photos of her subjects but also likes to hear about their personality traits, quirks, activities, etc. This helps her come up with ideas on how to best represent them, that captures their essence. However, if the client has a definite idea on how they want their animal companions represented, that works for her too!

Sadly, I didn't win the raffle but that just means I will have to save my pennies and commission a piece for my two cats. I'll look forward to that!

Event recap: Wet Nose Day at the Cat Haven

A little while ago, I posted about this event. Well, it has come and gone for another year, now. The difference this year, however, was that I decided to volunteer. Being someone who has worked in libraries for years, I thought it would make sense to help out with the book stall. This ended up involving a friend, my partner and myself, and  numerous other volunteers having to sort items into genres and boxes, and pricing them.

There were SO MANY books (and dvds, cds, magazines, etc) and there were some really amusing ones in the mix, as you can see from these photos.

On the day, a few more friends stepped up to help with manning the counter, which meant that my partner and I could go off and look around. Unfortunately, we were not able to get down to the Dog's Refuge Home Wet Nose Day event down the road. Still, we placed bids on two items at the silent auction (didn't win), bought raffles rickets (didn't win), and DID win on two bids at the auction! We managed to get the exotic cat bed and the huuuge cat tree. Our cats spoiled? Nahhhh... ;)

My partner baked some vegan and gluten free goodies for the bake stall and was very chuffed to find out all had sold. Yay!

All up, we think the book stall made over $2000 which broke last year's record - what we were aiming for!

Best news of all was that 29 cats and kittens were adopted that day.

All in all a very rewarding experience. I highly recommend volunteering for not-for-profit, charity organizations. I hope to be able to help out at the Wet Nose day again next year.

If you would like to see photos I took during this event, please go here.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Event: Human Chain across the Stirling Bridge, Fremantle

I shall be participating in this and highly recommend you and your friends and family do too.

Please, if you can, also bring flowers to toss into the water, as a memorial for all the animals who have already suffered and lost their lives through this cruel trade.

The fight to ban live animal export is not over!

Vegan MOFO is over for the year

 This was my first time, participating in Vegan MOnth of FOod. I found it to be quite a challenge- especially after about half way through. The idea was to blog for at least 20 days during the month October, about vegan food. I took it up a notch at decided I would blog EVERY day - ie 31 days. I found the difficulty kicked in around day 20. My biggest problem was that the blog posts had to be about vegan FOOD. If it had included other vegan related topics, I would have been fine. I am by no means a foodie, with mad cookery skills.

Despite this, I am so glad I participated! The biggest positive I got from this challenge was that it forced me into trying new recipes, trying new products and trying new ingredients - and that can't be a bad thing. One thing I noticed about being a non-vegan, was how limited my diet was. I am by far more adventurous now and my interest in cooking as increased. So has my knowledge in nutrition.

So, all up, I am very happy and dare I say PROUD to have successfully participated in Vegan MoFo 2011. I will look forward to doing so again next year.
Thanks to all who read my posts, tried the products I recommended and had a go at the recipes I shared. Big thank you to those who also left comments on this blog. <3

Monday, 31 October 2011

So Delicious Dairy Free

Oh, wow. Here is another alternative the to dairy beverages that blows  pus ridden cows milk out of the water. So Delicious Dairy Free offer coconut milk and soy milk products like sorbet, icecreams, beverages, and even yoghurts. And - get this - they are all vegan and gluten free!

I had the great fortune of tasting their Chocolate Coconut Milk, which was simply divine! No other way to describe it!  I would love to try out more of their range, but being a specialist imported item, this may prove to be a bit of a challenge.

I found this chocolate coconut milk at Good Life health food shop in the Dogswamp Shopping Centre. I dare say some of their other branches may stock this brand. It is certainly worth asking for if they don't already.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Linda McCartney Foods

I have only just fairly recently started trying out Linda McCartney Foods and have been impressed with the quality of the products on offer, which range from meat-less sausages, pies and burgers, to lasagna, cannelloni and escalopes. Not all the products are vegan, mind you - lot of them are vegetarian - and the packaging and labeling often does not help. For example, some products are described as 'vegetarian' whilst they are actually vegan. So, time to peer at the ingredients list again.

Just recently, I tried out the Vegemince, which had a great texture and flavour. It is textured soy protein which is lightly seasoned. You can use it as you would meat mince - in lasagnas, spaghetti bolognaise, chili non-carne, etc. I especially enjoyed the chewiness of it and found it to be very filling. Visually, it also looks a lot like its meat counterpart. I really do not go in for the mock meats, but did enjoy this product.

I found some of the Linda McCartney Foods range at Fresh Stop in the Dogswamp Shopping Centre, some at PAWS and some at Fresh Provisions. It is all a bit hit and miss, shopping for vegan foods, at times but by keeping your eyes peeled and making it a point to investigate as many stores as you can, you soon learn which ones are more than likely to cater to your needs.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Recipe: Kale chips

I just tried out this super simple little snack recipe from  and I think I am on a winner. It is pretty quick to make too. Washing and cutting the kale is probably the longest part, but even that is not all that hard or laborious.

As mentioned in a previous post, kale is super packed with vitamins and minerals and tastes good, to boot.

So far, I know kale can be bought at the Wanneroo Markets, Fresh Provisions, and Fresh Stop at Dogswamp Shopping Centre. I dare say some other groceries might have it too. None of the major supermarkets seem to ever stock it though.  Hunt it down whilst it is still available. It is worth the effort.

What you will need:
a bunch of kale (about 4 cups worth)
1 tbsp olive oil (I use cold pressed extra virgin)
a dash or two of sea salt, herb salt or Cajun spice

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
wash the kale and cut out the stem. Then cut the kale into pieces. Not too little, as they will burn, but don't make them too big, as they won't cook fully. The right size will be a case of trial and error, I have found. But once you got it, you got it!
Toss the pieces in a bowl with the olive oil until coated and then arrange in a single layer on a baking tray.
Roast for 5 minutes and then turn with tongs. Roast for another 10 minutes. kale should be beginning to turn brown, crisp and brittle.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with seasoning and eat straight away.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Dairy-Free Milk - Delicious!!!

Whoah! This drink is soooooo delicious! Made by Pacific Natural Foods, whose all non-dairy beverages are  vegan friendly. It doesn't say 'vegan' on the packaging but by studying the ingredients list and then searching through their website, this has been confirmed. Their FAQ's, infact, are very informative.

I have never had hazelnut milk before. I was expecting a much nuttier taste. Instead, what you get with their Hazelnut Chocolate milk is a cream, smooth, real chocolate tasty. Chilled, this beverage is divine! And it is gluten free, contains no GMO's and is fortified with vegan friendly vitamin A and D.

This American company also produces hemp milk, which I have yet to find and try but really want to. They also do almond, rice, and oat dairy-free milks, too.

Apart from the non-dairy milks, Pacific Natural Foods also offer vegan soy drinks, iced teas, creamy soups and broths. Some of these also gluten free.

I found the Chocolate Hazelnut Milk at a health food shop, along with a few of their other products. I recommend you look in your local health food shop and if they don't stock this brand, as them to! I most certainly will be asking for the hemp milk.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Funky Pies

Finally! I have found vegan and gluten free pies! Woo hoo! Funky Pies are from Sydney but I found them here in Perth  at PAWS.  These guys do regular and gluten free pies. I tried the No Wurry Curry which had organic lentils and chickpeas in a coconut curry sauce. It was delicious, moderately spicy, and very filling. Just pop into the oven and heat up. Too easy.

Others to choose from in the gluten free range include: Mexican Magic, G'Day Satay, Mediterranean Veg, and for something sweet - their  apple pie.

Their 'regular' (ie still vegan but not gluten free) range is quite extensive and includes rolls as well as pies, and more desserts.

On top of all this, this company also uses biodegradable packaging. Oh, and did I mention that their pies are handmade, too?

Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and try these out! You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Got veggie stock?

Sometimes, when it comes to a recipe that says 'use vegetable stock', I am kinda lazy and just use water. My problem with 'stock' is that more often it isn't gluten free and it isn't vegan.

Well, the other day, the bf managed to find a product by Marigold Health Foods that is both.
In a health food shop, he found their Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder which we used in a soup, but you can also use in casseroles, stews, sauces, etc. VERY tasty. Adds an 'oomph' to the overall flavour of what you are cooking. It contains no GMO's or MSG and I love the fact that it has 'vegan' clearly visible on the container. Some products, even if they are vegan, either say 'vegetarian' or have no statement/label at all. Very frustrating!  

The directions on the container are not to be trusted, however. Halve or even use only a quarter of what they suggest in the water to powder ratio, otherwise you will end up with very salty stock! Speaking of which, this company does do a Salt Reduced variety that is also vegan and gluten free. There are other vegan products available by this company, though not all are gluten free. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Recipe: Corn and Sweet Potato Soup

The boyfriend made this one for us and it was delish. Make sure you include the lime juice, as it really goes well with this soup. As you can see from below there is a lot of 'optional's. Basially, you can make this soup as flavoursome, spicy, or mild as you like and it will still come out tasty.

What you will need:

1 tbsp oil
1.75 litres of water or veggie stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1  onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 can corn kernals (about 400g)
lime wedges to serve


If using, fry onion in heated oil, until soft and then add garlic and chilli. Fry for 2 minutes.
Add 1 and a quarter cup veggie stock and simmer for approx. 10 minutes.
Add cumin,  diced sweet potato, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add rest of stock, the corn and simmer for 10 minutes.
Using a hand blender, process the soup but not too thoroughly, so there is still some chunks.
Serve with the lime wedges to squeeze into the soup.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Recipe: Mock Tuna Salad

Found this super simple recipe from the book 'Foods that cause you to lose weight' by Neal Barnard. 

Although I was not the one to make this (the boyfriend did that), I was the one to taste it and it got a thumbs up from me.

You can use this as a dip or as a sandwich spread, with lettuce and tomatoes.

What you will need:

1 can (400g) chickpeas
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated (optional)
2 tsp Dijon mustard or vegan mayonnaise (you can get this in healthfood shops and even in some supermarkets like Coles)
1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
quarter tsp salt (optional)


Mash the chickpeas with a fork, leaving some chunks.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.