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.