Saturday, 27 October 2012

Loving Hut- East Victoria Park, Perth

After having lunch at Loving Hut in Victoria Park, my partner, a friend, and I had to check out the sister restaurant in East Victoria Park.
Again, the decor was light and pleasing, and the staff were friendly.
We had a hard time to choose what we wanted for entree and mains, as there was so much choice.
Between us, we had the spring rolls, the steamed dumplings and samosas.

All were delicious and gone rather quickly between us. I don't tend to drink while I eat, but my partner ordered a drink which I tasted and enjoyed. it was the 'Golden Sunlight' which is mixture of pineapple juice and coconut cream, with a scoop of vegan vanilla icecream on the top. It was heavenly!

For the main meal, I opted for the Special Fried Clear Noodles which consisted of cabbage, shitake mushrooms, carrot, tofu and noodles. They were tasty and presented beautifully. My partner ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara which I eyed off enviously, given its creamy sauce and mushrooms. This dish also came with a salad on the side. Our friend chose the Satay Tofu which had capsicum, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot in a peanut sauce, with steamed rice on the side. She said it was enjoyable.

Having polished off our mains, we found that we were too full to fit in dessert but the cakes at the front counter just looked soooo good! It was lucky for us that they did takeaway, so we asked for a slice of the vegan tiramisu, to take home. That cake was a slice of heaven! It was big enough for my partner and I to share and enjoyed it to the last crumb! Sadly, I was so intent on trying it, that I forgot to take a photo of it! But here are some photos of the mains we had...

Loving Hut, East Victoria Park are situated on 64A Etwell Street and are open Wednesdays through to Sundays, 5-9pm. 

Again, my only gripe about this place is that it is too far from my home but I have to admit, they are worth the trip.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Recipe: Agave mustard glazed potatoes and string beans

I found this recipe in the book "Vegan with a vengeance" by the amazing Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The original recipe uses maple syrup but I substituted with agave because that is what I had on hand and it worked out fine.
I think the casserole dish you use is important for this recipe. I used a deep one, which meant that some of the potatoes did not sit in the sauce enough, and so did not get cooked as well. So, I recommend that you use more of a shallow dish to cook this in.

What you will need:

900g small potatoes, peeled and halved or cut into thirds if they are little bit bigger. Aim for 2.5cm pieces.
225g runner/string beans, ends cut off and then halved.
2 gloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp maple or agave syrup
3 tbsp Dijon mustard (I use Organicville Dijon Mustard which is vegan and gluten free. Can be found in some health food shops, and at Fresh Stop, at Dogswamp shopping centre.)
2 tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Place vegetables in casserole dish.
In a bowl, stir together the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the vegetables and mix until everything is coated.  Cover and place in oven. Bake of 25 minutes, remove from oven and toss everything. Use a spoon to drop sauce over the vegetables.
Turn oven down to 180 degrees Celsius and cook for another 25 minutes, uncovered.
Remove from oven and toss again. Cook for another 25 minutes, uncovered. Check for tenderness of potatoes and then serve.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cafe: Loving Hut, Victoria Park

Loving Hut is an international chain of cafes and restaurants that are completely vegan. The eastern states have had Loving Hut for some time now, and I had been hearing good things about them. This year was Perth's turn, with a Loving Hut cafe opening in Victoria Park.
My partner and I scooted down there soon after they opened, and had lunch. The cafe is small, but there are tables inside and out. The decor is bright, light and welcoming. There is also a 'mini-mart' at the cafe, selling vegan food products - a lot which we have never seen before. The staff are friendly and courteous. We definitely good a good vibe from this establishment.

As for the food...there was a lot to choose from. Infact, I could not choose, so I opted for a plate with a little bit of four different dishes on offer!
There was a coconut friend rice, a spaghetti dish, a tofu and veggie stur fry and a ginger and pumpkin curry. All were delicious!

My partner opted for a plate of spaghetti and a sausage roll, plus a 'meat' pie. Not a bit of greenery in sight! Tee hee. 

I was too full to have dessert but I did have a taste of his soft serve chocolate icecream in a waffle cone. It was so delicious! Smooth, creamy and the cone itself was yummy, too. There was also a berry variety on offer and I have heard that there is now  'cookies 'n' cream' , apricot, and raspberry flavours available. These may be for a limited time, however, so get in quick for them!

Loving Hut cafe is situated on 366 Albany Highway, in Victoria Park. Their opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm.
There are gluten free, organic and raw vegan options available and they also do beverages. 
My only complaint about this cafe is that it is not situated closer to where I live! 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Product: Moo Free vegan chocolates

If you don't like dark chocolate, there are other vegan alternatives to dairy milk chocolate. Here is one that I found at PAWS.
Moo Free are a UK company that produces a range of chocolates that are vegan and gluten free. No wheat, no lactose and no cruelty.

I tried their Organic Rice Milk Chocolate Bar which turned out to be very tasty indeed, with a full flavour and just the right amount of sweetness.

Their website lists other products, such as pralines (I LOVE pralines!) and various different fruit and nut bars. I would love to see these on the store shelves here. I guess I will have to keep my eyes peeled.

As just mentioned, this product is available at PAWS, but there are a few other stockists in Perth, as listed on their website.

Oh, and don't you just love their packaging designs? So cute!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Recipe: Caramel nut popcorn

A nice little treat to make.  Recipe found in the cookbook “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell . The original calls for the use of corn oil which I just could not find. I did some googling and read that safflower oil is a good substitute. The trick is to substitute with a light tasting oil. Olive oil is not suitable as it has too strong of a taste. I got the safflower oil at a health food shop. 

What you will need:
½ cup popcorn kernels (try the organic ones that you can buy from health food or organics shops, and taste the difference!)
Vegetable oil spray
½ cup agave syrup
½ cup brown rice syrup (avail. in health food shops)
1 tbsp safflower oil
½ tsp salt
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 165 degrees Celsius.
Pop the popcorn in an air popper. Sort through the popped corn and remove the unpopped kernels.
Coat baking tray with sides, with vegetable oil spray.
Mix both syrups, oil and salt in a measuring cup and then pour over popcorn. Add nuts and toss gently to mix. Spread mixture on the tray and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and reverse position of the tray. Bake for about 10 minutes more.
 Scrape immediately into a storage tub and let cool a bit before eating or cool completely, uncovered before storing tightly covered at room temperature. Will keep for up to 1 week, though it tastes so good, I doubt you will find it lasting more than 1 day!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Recipe: Middle Eastern ratatouille

This is a very simple dish from the cookbook “Veggiestan” by Sally Butcher.  I altered it a bit to suit my tastes. For example, I left out the bell peppers because I am not keen on them, but include them if you are a fan, of course. And although the garlic and onions are ‘traditional;’ in this dish, my body is intolerant of them, so have omitted them too and the dish still tasted good without them.
This dish can be served with garlic bread or rice. Or you can just eat it on its own, like I did.

What you will need:
1 or 2 eggplants, cut into 3-4cm chunks
2 zucchinis cut into 3-4cm chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into 3-4cm chunks
1 green pepper, cut into 3-4cm chunks
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped (optional)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (optional)
4 tomatoes, quartered
3 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place all the ingredients into a casserole dish and mix. Add a splash of water  - just enough to cover the bottom of the cooking dish. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours or until the vegetables are tender.  Sprinkle on some salt to taste and serve. It is as easy as that!

Event: Wet Nose Day, Cat Haven & Dogs' Refuge Home - 28th October 2012

It's back! Wet Nose Day is on a little earlier than last year. At the Cat Haven, there will be fun activities for the kids, raffles, plant and clothing stalls, bric-a-brac for sale, items up for auction, and more.

I will yet again be running the book/dvd/cd stall. Last year, this stall raised the most funds out of all the stalls on the day. There were THOUSANDS of items for sale and I dare say it will be the same this year! I am actually taking a week off work, so I can dedicate some time to sorting and organizing donations for the stall, so expect so method to the madness when you come down and have a look. (ie books, cd's and dvds will be organized into genres, fiction/non-fiction, kids, etc. ) 

This year there will be a sausage sizzle, I am told. Ideally, I would like to see an end to the offering of meat products to raise funds at animal charities. It makes no sense to me to exploit animals to help others. Perhaps that is something Cat Haven can embrace in the near future. In the meantime, I am told there will be food on offer for vegans and vegetarians, which will involve the use of a separate BBQ and equipment. What exactly will be on offer, I don't know, but I will be keen to see.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Event: Seminar on animal welfare, 16th October at UWA

A little late notice, but I hope to be able to attend and maybe see you there!

VENUE: FOX LECTURE THEATRE (G.59 - in Arts Building), University of Western Australia

WHEN: Tuesday October 16th, 5pm sharp - 6.30pm (including informal Q&A session)

WHAT: "Does Animal Protection Law Protect Animals?" - a seminar on animal welfare.

Just because we are at the top of the food chain does not mean animals belong on the bottom.

Interested in the cruelty and treatment of animals? UWA cordially invites you to a talk about how law treats animals, its history, and possibilities for future developments in this area.

This lecture is open to the public, so you don't need to be a law student or even a university student in order to attend. But you DO need to have a passion for animals and an interest in their welfare.

Seminar begins at 5:00pm sharp, intended to run for 1-1.5 hours. Questions are welcome (speakers will gladly answer related questions, so bring yours along!)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Raw Kitchen Cafe - revisited

Earlier this year, I visited this cafe in Fremantle but had only had a dessert there. As lovely as that was, I knew I had to go back to have lunch.

This time, I was keen on trying their raw zucchini pasta. I am glad I did! When my order arrived, a large bowl was set in front of me, filled with a delicious looking pile of goodness. The zucchini noodles were long, and tender and mixed in with mushroom, kalamata olives and a rich marinara sauce. The fresh basil and the macadamia 'parmesan cheese', topped it all off very well.  (Note that in the photo below, I had already started eating before I remembered to take a shot of it! That's how keen I was to try it out! Oops!)

For drinks, I sampled the 'Choc it to me' smoothie which was thick and tasty with its banana, raw cacao, agave and almond milk.

I was pretty full but then had to have a bite of a raw 'cherry ripe' - type of slice. It was yummy but perhaps a bit too sweet for me. My partner, however, had no problem demolishing it!

I know that I will need to pay The Raw Kitchen another visit soon, as my friends orders the Nachos and it looked so good, that I knew I had to come back to try that! 
What a work of art!

For opening times and location, check out their website.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Recipe: Roasted tofu and veggie curry with coconut gravy

Here is another super easy recipe I found in the book “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell.  I found all but one of the ingredients for this dish, at the local supermarket. Brown mustard seeds were not available (they only had yellow) so I had a look elsewhere.  Gourmet type stores, international food stores such as Kakulas, and perhaps health food stores, are probably your best bet if your supermarket does not stock this variety of mustard seed.
This recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic, sliced. I have omitted this, as I am not a fan of garlic, and found this dish to still be delicious without it. But if you are a fan – go for it.
The recipe also instructs to press the firm tofu.  This is a certain technique used to give the tofu a tougher, chewier texture. Quite frankly, I am lazy and did not bother and this dish still turned out fine. Just make sure you use firm and not silken firm tofu. There is a big difference.

What you will need:
340g firm tofu, cubed
170g cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium turnip, cubed
1 large carrot, thickly sliced
1 parsnip, thickly sliced
120ml coconut milk
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds or a dash or two of ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a large roasting pan, combine tofu, cauliflower, turnip, carrot, parsnip, coconut milk, curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and salt. Toss to coat.
Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir. Pierce vegetables to check for tenderness. If soft, put the pan back, uncovered until vegetables are browned slightly. (approx. 10 minutes more.) If vegetables are still hard, roast for another 15 minutes, covered, before uncovering. These times may vary, so see how you go.
When vegetables are tender, stir and then serve.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Recipe: Saucy Vaishnava Veggies

I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but I gave it a go a few nights ago and am glad I did.  My kitchen smelled divine as it was cooking.  It is also super easy to make!

What you will need:
1 400g can diced tomatoes, with their juices
2 potatoes, chopped small
½  tsp chili powder
2 tsp curry powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
½  tsp turmeric
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 carrot, diced
¾ cup frozen peas
¼ tsp salt

Combine tomatoes, potatoes, chili powder, curry powder, cumin and turmeric in a large pot.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium high heat.
Add chopped cauliflower, carrot and peas and cook for approx. 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Make sure you stir occasionally and turn heat down if needed.

Season with salt and serve with salad or rice…or both!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Recipe: Party sausage rolls

I am a subscriber to the Australian magazine “Living Vegan” and in their 3rd issue, I came across this recipe which they got from the book Wrapped in pastry” by Leigh Drew. 

 My partner has made these little beauties a few times now, and they have been a hit with us and with our friends.  I have to admit that the puff pastry that we used was not gluten free.  I have found from experience that vegan, gluten free puff pastry is hard to find (though not impossible!) and it doesn't really puff all that well.  As I am not a celiac but just sensitive to gluten, I can tolerate some gluten, so treat myself with these now and then.

This recipe also calls for vegan Worcestershire sauce. We actually found some in Coles, called 'Spring Valley Worcestershire Sauce'. Not only is it vegan, it is also gluten free.

Note that I have slightly altered the recipe to my tastes. If you want the original, subscribe to Living Vegan or buy the book mentioned above.

What you will need:

4 sheets of vegan puff pastry – we used Pampas Puff Pastry ready rolled sheets.

Half cup red or white quinoa
1 and a half cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 and a half cups onion, finely chopped (optional)
3 tbsp garlic, minced (optional)
2 cups brown lentils, cooked or canned
3 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dried sage
Half tbsp paprika
Half tbsp dried marjoram
Quarter tsp nutmeg
1 third cup tomato paste
1 cup water
1 third cup besan (chickpea) flour
1 third cup nutritional yeast
Half tsp salt

Filling Preparation
Rinse the quinoa and place in a medium sized saucepan with vegetable stock. Cover and bring to boil and then reduce heat to minimum. Simmer, stirring now and then, until quinoa is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed. Set to one side.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent and tender. Remove half a cup of the onions and set to one side.
Add garlic to remaining onions and sauté for another minute. Pour in cooked quinoa and brown lentils. Stir to mix. Add vegan Worcestershire sauce, herbs, nutmeg and stir. Add tomato paste and cup of water and stir.
Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring now and then, until liquid has been absorbed. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Pour mixture into large bowl and set aside to cool.
When cooled to tepid (approx.. 20 minutes), spoon into a food processor or use a hand held blender and blend the mixture until smooth. Pour back into the bowl and stir through the retained half cup of sautéed onion, besan  flour, nutritional yeast, and salt. Set to one side and cool completely.

Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or Gas Mark 6. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Defrost puff pastry sheets.  Slice in half. Place mixture down the centre third of each half sheet. Carefully roll one side over the mixture and then over to the other side to form a rube. Cut each tube into six pieces. Place on baking paper and put into oven.
Bake until puff pastry is golden and puffed and filling looks dry. Approx 20 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce. They taste great hot and cold as well.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Recipe: Kale, vegan sausage and potato soup

This recipe has been sitting in my folder for a very long time. Where I got it from is a bit of a mystery to me.  I do know that it was not from a vegan or vegetarian cookbook, as the original calls for chorizo sausage. I have substituted that with a vegan sausage  and there are a fair few options out there such as Sanitarium’s Rosemary, Sage and Parsley Sausages , which are what I used in this dish.
There aren't too many ingredients involved and yet the flavour is there. Give it a go!

What you will need:
225g kale, stems removed
225g (or there about) vegan sausages
675kg red potatoes
7 and a half cups vegetable stock
Pinch chili pepper

Place kale in a food process and process for a few seconds to chop finely.
Cook vegan sausages according to packet instructions and then slice into fairly small pieces.
Boil potatoes for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a bowl. Mash, adding a little of the cooking liquid to form a thick paste.
Bring stock to boil and add kale and then sausage. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the potato paste gradually, and simmer got approx. 20 minutes. Season with chili pepper and serve.
This soup tastes even better reheated the next day.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Recipe: Cauliflower and chickpea curry

This is a delicious and simple curry I found in the book “River Cottage Veg Everyday” by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall which although is not a vegan cookbook, has vegan recipes and marks them as such for quick reference.

What you will need:
1 medium to large cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped (optional)
Garlic clove, chopped (optional)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 star anise (optional)
400g can of chopped tomatoes
400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp garam masala
Handful fresh coriander, chopped

Cut the cauliflower into medium florets and put into a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to boil. Take off the heat straight away and drain well.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add onions, garlic and ginger.  Sauté for approx. 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add ground coriander, cumin, star anise and a dash of salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and chickpeas and stir well. Add cauliflower and pour in enough cold water to almost but not quite cover everything. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until the cauliflower is tender.
Stir in the garam masala and half the chopped coriander. Serve on rice with the rest of the coriander scattered on top.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Event: Art for the Ocean, 17 November, 2012

Note this one down in your diaries if you live in Fremantle, Perth, or thereabouts.
See below for details, plus the event's webpage for more information.
(Pardon the clumsy look of this post - the image will not show the details clearly if made smaller to fit on page.)

Event: Human Chain, 18 November 2012

I attended this event last year and hope to attend this year's. Let's keep up the pressure. Let's stay visible to show our federal government and all other politicians that we abhor this disgusting 'trade' and that we will not  stop until a ban is put into place, once and for all.
If you live in Perth, Fremantle, and surrounds, I hope to see you there!
See below for details.

The Juice Beetroot Cafe

A coworker told me about this cafe, telling me how good it was. She warned me that if I went, I should go by noonish, as it is quite popular and by the afternoon, there is not much food left.

 It took me a while to find the time to get down to Fremantle on a weekday ( and it had to be a weekday, as they are only open Monday to Fridays - 10am to 4pm), to check it out.

It is easy to miss, as it is situated in a lane way, called Tum Tum Tree Lane, off High Street. The sandwich board sign by the road helped us to spot it, though. Was pleased to see it mention so many appealing things on it.  We quickly scooted in to see what was on offer for lunch. There was already a queue but that was okay, as it allowed us the eyeball the many types of salads at the counter, plus check out what hot foods were available.

Both my partner and I opted for a large bowl each of various salads. Let me just say that we were rather taken aback by the size of these bowls. They honestly did not look that large until they were filled - and they were filled to brimming fullness!

On offer were a noddle based salad, roast veggie salad, chickpea salad, pasta salad, rice salad, and so very much more. (There was a vegetable lasagna but this was vegetarian and not vegan.)

There were curries and tofu burgers on offer but the salads just took too damn fresh and good to pass up so we had as little bit of almost all of them between the two of us.

They were delicious! I had so much in my bowl that I only managed to eat half of it and the rest I had put into a container and took home for later.

It is a pity this cafe isn't open on weekends, but if you find yourself in Fremantle on a weekday, I recommend you pay them a visit. Just make sure you get in early!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Recipe: Kieran's favourite rice

I am not sure who Kieran is but she has great taste, as this rice dish is delicious! I found the recipe in the book “How it all Vegan” by Sarah Kramer.There is a great blend of ingredients to this meal – all of which can be found in your local supermarket.

What you will need:
1 large onion, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
Half tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
550ml tomato juice
450g firm tofu, cubed
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
400g can kidney beans
Half tsp dried basil
Half tsp dried oregano
Dash cayenne pepper
350g rice (basmati or jasmine)
120-250ml water if you don’t have enough liquid to cook rice
50g green or black olives
2 medium tomatoes, chopped

In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic and salt in the oil on a med-high heat until onions become translucent. Add tomato juice, tofu, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and beans. Stir gently.
Add basil, oregano, cayenne pepper and rice. Stir gently. Add a little water if you think there is not enough to cook the rice.
Cover with lid and bring to boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for approx. 25 mins or until rice is cooked.  Add fresh tomatoes and olives. Stir and cover and let simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork before serving.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Recipe: Cuban black bean soup with cabbage

This is another recipe I found in the book “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell . It is simple and oh so very tasty. As usual, I had to search for a tin of black beans. You can use other beans such as kidney, if you can’t find them, but it is well worth looking for black beans, as they have a flavour unique to them.  Organics and import stores are your best bet, and then perhaps health food stores. When you find them, stock up!

What you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 cup diced onion (optional)
1 garlic clove, chopped (optional)
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
Half tsp dried oregano
2 cups vegetable stock
400g can of black beans
400g can diced tomatoes
Half tsp salt

Heat oil in a large pot, over medium heat. Add cabbage, onion, carrot and celery. Saute, stirring, until the onion is golden , about 5 minutes.
Add cumin, garlic, and oregano. Stir for 1 minute and add stock, beans, tomatoes and salt.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Serve. Taste great reheated the next day.