Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Tofu garden vegetable salad

This is a versatile recipe, in that it can be serves on its own, as a side salad, as a sandwich filling, or as a stuffing for tomatoes.
I found the amount of mustard  in the original recipe to be a bit too much, so I have reduced it. Feel free to double it if you want it stronger.
This recipe comes from “30-Minute vegan” by Mark Reinfield and Jennifer Murray.

What you will need:
450g extra firm tofu, crumbled (this is the stuff that is solid as a brick, NOT the silken firm variety, which is softer)
½ cup diced celery
½ cup seeded and diced red bell capsicum (optional)
2 tbsp diced kalamata olives
½ cup vegan mayonnaise ( You can find this in some health food shops or the health food section of some supermarkets. PAWS also stock it. I prefer the Plamil brand.)
1 tbsp fresh minced parsley or dill
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp minced garlic (optional)
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
Dash sea salt and pepper
½ cup grated carrot
1 tsp turmeric powder

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix gently.

Refrigerates well and tastes just as good the next day.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Sunny Summer Salad

This recipe is from the book “Quinoa 365” by Patricia Green. It is not a vegan or even vegetarian cookbook but there are quite a lot of vegan recipes in there, many that I have tried and quite a few that have become favourites.
This gluten free salad can be made and eaten straight away or can be prepared the night before. I have left out the use of bell capsicums because they just don’t agree with me, but feel free to use them, as they would add a nice colour to this salad. There is a strong contrast between the sweetness of the currants and the sour of the lemon juice. I found the use of a 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice to be a bit too strong, so I suggest taking it down to a ¼.

What you will need
1 1/2 cups water
¾ cup quinoa
3 cups finely diced zucchini
1 cup finely diced red bell capsicum
1 cup finely diced yellow bell capsicum
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried currants
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp minced fresh garlic (optional)
½ tsp salt
Pinch each of cayenne pepper, ground cumin and ground turmeric

Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit with cover on, for about 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork and let cool.
Place zucchini, capsicums, sunflower seeds, currants, parsley and coriander in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa.

Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and spices in a small bowl. Pour over the salad and gently toss. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Pasta and Kidney Bean Salad

This recipe is based on one that I found in the book Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman. I just fiddled around with it a bit to suit my tastes.
You will be surprised as to how filling it is and how well the ingredients go well with each other. I found adding some small cubes of Vegusto vegan cheese to be just right for this salad. You can get this at PAWS. Use either the No Moo Mildly Aromatic or the Piquant varieties.

What you will need:
2 tins of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
225g cooked pasta. Macaroni is good, but spirals, penne, etc are fine too. I use gluten free vartieties by Orgran
4 sticks celery
85g walnuts, chopped roughly
sea salt and black pepper to taste
4 tbsp safflower oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
a couple of handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves
a few slices of vegan cheese, such as Vegusto, cubed or vegan feta

Toss together the pasta, beans, celery, lettuce and walnuts. In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. Pour onto the salad and toss. Add the vegan cheese cubes and serve.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mebourne: Las Vegan

Las Vegan is a small cafe and bakery, situated on Smith Street, Collingwood, in Melbourne. It was walking distance from the CBD and happens to have two vegan shoe stores very close by (one just up stairs, infact!), so we thought we would hit all three vegan establishments in one go. (More about the vegan shoe stores in another post.)

The food on offer had a home cooking feel to it, which was nice. There was a choice of various wraps, burgers, salads, calzones, desserts, drinks, and various hot meals.

My partner opted for the 'Fish the Dish' Burger, which featured battered vegan fish, lettuce, cucumber tartare sauce and mayonnaise - all vegan of course! The buns used are baked daily and are available in white or brown.

Whilst he got stuck into that, I tucked into my meal of mince on rice. This was a plate full of mushroomy mince over brown rice, with a salad on the side. Sounds like an odd combo, but I loved it and cleared my plate.

I definitely aim to eat there again next time I am in Melbourne. They are open Tuesdays to Sunday. For full details on their hours, check out their website, which also includes more information on their menu.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Asian inspired coleslaw

With the hot weather hitting us in Perth, recently, I thought I'd give this recipe a go. Simple, with not too many ingredients and no turning on of ovens or stovetops required!
I found this one in the book "River Cottage Veg Everyday" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which is a vegetarian cookbook with some vegan recipes included. The original recipe called for honey but I substituted that with agave syrup, to keep in vegan.

What you will need:
1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced (optional)
4 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1 small white cabbage, shredded finely

For the dressing:
2 tbsp soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 garlic clove finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lime
a handful of chopped coriander

If using, put the sliced spring onions in a bowl, add coarsely grated carrots and shredded cabbage. Combine.
For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together and pour onto the vegetables, tossing thoroughly.
Add the lime juice and coriander.
Leave for 20 minutes to soften and 'relax' and then serve.

Melbourne: Vegie Bar

When looking up places to visit while in Melbourne, one of the names that kept coming up was The Vegie Bar, so my partner and decided that we would go there for lunch one day. We were warned that they get very busy and to have to queue up and wait to be seated was not unusual, so we got in there a bit before noon. When we arrived, there were already patrons in there but we were able to be seated straight away.
I wasn't really keen on the decor. It had a strong rustic look about it which I am not keep on, but it was quite spacious, at least.

The Vegie Bar is a  vegetarian cafe but has lots of vegan options, including raw vegan. There are also gluten free options. Their menus cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts.

We opted to share some avocado on gluten free toast, off the breakfast menu. Simple but delicious.

Then I had Baked Field Mushroom dish which was vegan and gluten free. This featured a marinated field mushroom, filled with roast sweet potato and quinoa mash, topped with vegan cheese. It also came with a tomato, onion and olive stew and a rocket and beetroot salad.  Needless to say, I enjoyed it very much!

I forgot to make a note of what my partner ordered, but as you can see from the photo, it looked pretty good and involved corn chips, guacamole, rice, salad and I am guessing a Mexican bean concoction. He definitely enjoyed it.

The Vegie Bar is located at 380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy which is walking distance outside the Melbourne CBD.
Their opening hours are 7 days a week. Check out their website for exact opening times.
We will definately be going back the next time we are in Melbourne!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Living Vegan magazine : Issue 05, 2013

It is back! After a long hiatus, this Australian vegan magazine is finally back! Inside, there is an apology for its lateness and a statement that one more issue will be coming out for 2013 and then back to 4 issues a year for 2014. 
So what is in this latest issue? Lets's see...the cover is related to the main article of this issue - the misleading 'free range' label and RSPCA approved pig farms and what a fraud they really are. Enough in there to open eyes and propel us to action. 

Then on the flipside is a piece about Australia's first ever vegan bnb BedandBroccoli, which we had the pleasure of staying at for a few days recently. (Stay tuned for a full review coming soon.)

The Vegan Cheatsheet is back and even bigger than before. Listed are food products and other items that are vegan suitable and where you can buy them, including mainstream shops and supermarkets. This cheatsheet is very useful to have on hand when grocery shopping because it helps cut back on time spent studying ingredients lists and directs you to products that you may have reject offhand in the past, as not being vegan. 

There are interviews with vegan cyclist Robin Tullett and Lee Coates from Cruelty Free Super, plus lots more, including a recipe section.

To get a copy, or a subscription, visit the Living Vegan Magazine website.

Event Recap: Festival for the Earth

I had the pleasure of being able to attend this event on Sunday the 3rd of November. It was held at the Earthwise Community area on Bagot Road, Subiaco.
The event was organized by the group Animal Amnesty and held to raise awareness on how to live a cruelty free life and being environmentally aware. 
There were activities for children, including story telling and face painting, plus live musical entertainment, a raffle and cooking demonstrations.
Roaming the grounds were several greyhounds up for adoption,  plus the cutest rescue rabbit who had his own little space in the shade.

Naturally, all the food stalls present offered vegan food. 
There was the Yumeeme Persian food stall that offered delicious sweet and savoury vegan food, with gluten free options.
 We tried the Potato Curry Puffs. They were delicious! We really liked that they clearly labeled the ingredients of their foods.
Down the other end, we visited Awesome Rawsome stall, which had all sorts of raw vegan foods and drinks on offer. After seeing one of our friends eating a raw vegan falafel with hummus on top, we thought we better try one for ourselves. They were very tasty and quite substantial. Loved the hummus on top!

After that, we just HAD to have dessert, which was a veganized Cherry Ripe ball, which we picked up at the Animal Amnesty stall. 
Wow! So delicious and yes, it really does taste like a Cherry Ripe - minus the cruelty of course!

Aside from the food stalls, there were other stalls selling clothing, giftwares, and natural body care. There was also a stall by Sea Shepherd, Animal Rights Advocates, Australian Justice Party and a few others.

I was particularly pleased to see that there was a stall by Greener Pastures Sanctuary, where they were selling some of their brand new promotional items. My partner and I bought a t-shirt each and we have both already worn ours. A lovely design with prints both front and back, in women's fitted styles, men's styles and children's sizes.

Thank you, Animal Amnesty, for organizing this event. There was such a lovely, relaxed vibe to it and it was great to see some familiar faces and to chat and hang out with like minded people.

Melbourne: Lord of the Fries

Vegan fast food at its best! Lord of the Fries (gotta love that name) is a vegetarian fast food outlet that has lots of vegan options. There are several in the Melbourne CBD and a few in the suburbs. There is even one in Sydney now and we hope the franchise makes its way over to Perth! There is certainly a market for it here.
They offer chips, burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, nuggets, chilli poppers and all sorts of sauces. Most of these are straight out vegan or come with vegan options.
You can choose between wholemeal or white buns and I believe there are also gluten free options available.
No palm oil is used and the oil they use is then reused as biodiesel for their delivery vans.
The company is Australian owned and has won numerous awards over the years. 
Is it any wonder that the first thing my partner and I did on arriving in the Melbourne CBD, was to make a beeline for LOTF?

I opted for the Fries with French Canadian Sauce, which was shredded vegan cheese and hot gravy.

I felt kinda naughty eating it but ...yum! My partner had the Fries with the Mexican sauce which was salsa and vegan sour cream.

Before we left Melbourne, we made sure to go back and try out some more of their food. I'm not a big fan of hot dogs or burgers but looove chips, so this time I went for the Fries with the London sauce, as did my partner. I had actually finished mine before I remembered to take a photo of them and my partner was half way through his, hence the less than great photo of them, but trust me, they were seriously tasty!  The London sauce is a vegan mayo special sauce. It had a tang to it, but not too strong. Thumbs up from the both of us.

And finally, my partner indulged in some onion rings. I am not a fan of onions, so I passed but he assured me they are great. (Again, he was so keen to eat them, that a few disappeared before I managed to take a photo!)

So, if you find yourself in Melbourne (or Sydney), indulge in some vegan fast food. The staff were friendly, efficient and certainly knew what was vegan friendly and what wasn't, so there were no 'nasty surprises'. Also, I must make a note of the saltiness. None of the items we tried were overly salty, like you would normally find at 'regular' fast food outlets. LOTF definitely rely on their sauces for the flavour boost rather than drowning everything in salt.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Melbourne: Trippy Taco

My partner and I went on a short vacation to Victoria recently, and we were determined to visit as many vegan or vegan friendly stores and cafes as we could manage in the short time of just a few days. Before we went, I did some homework and had a list of places to go to in Melbourne. Oddly enough, I missed out on hearing about Trippy Taco. A local told us about it while we were over there. I was a bit dubious, as we all know how much cheese and meat is involved in Mexican food, but I was assured that this place was vegetarian with lots of vegan options. So we decided to check it out.

Trippy Taco is situated on 234 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. (We discovered a lot of the stores and cafes we wanted to visit were in that vicinity.) It is a very small cafe, with a little bit of outdoor seating. We were lucky enough to nab a table for two and the whole time we were there, there was a constant line of people waiting to order.

The menu was a pleasant surprise. No meat, plenty of vegan options, and gluten free options, too. We had a choice of nachos, several types of tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tamales, and taquitos. Both my partner and I went with the last option - the taquitos. Gluten free and vegan, these 3 crispy, rolled up corn tortillas were presented to us, topped with guacamole and salsa. There was also a lovely and unique salad on the side. Inside the actual rolled up corn tortillas was a bean mixture and I was happy to say that the meal wasn't too hot. Infact, we saw bottles of chilli sauces around the cafe, of various strengths, being used by patrons. Our guess was that they left each patron to add the hotness to their meals, as they saw fit.

Trippy Taco also do a breakfast menu, with vegan options - Breakfast burritos, quesadillas, tacos and huevos rancheros. There are also a few sweets on offer, though not all are vegan. Oh and if you are into booze, they offer a few different beers, tequila, sangria and margaritas. 

They do phone orders and takeaways, as well as dine in. We SO wished we had a Trippy Taco here in Perth! 

For the full menu and opening hours, check out their website.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Spinach Casserole

I found this recipe in the book "The 4-Ingredient Vegan" by Maribeth Abrams, and as the name suggests, it is a simple dish, with few ingredients. If you want to jazz it up a bit, I suggest adding some chopped mushrooms and maybe some herbs and spices. Chilli powder comes to mind, but maybe that's just me?
This recipe is NOT gluten free, alas, as I have yet to find gluten free phyllo pastry.

What you will need:
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
600g (approx. More if you like) chopped, frozen spinach
6 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp salt
16 sheets of phyllo dough ( I used the Antoniou brand, which is available in supermarkets.)
spray on cooking oil

Boil a pot of water over high heat and add potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
Drain and return to pot. Mash.
Thaw spinach according to packet instructions and then add to potatoes. Also add nutritional yeast flakes and salt, and stir.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Spray a large baking dish with olive oil.
Place a sheet of phyllo on the bottom of the dish and spray with oil. Repeat process for a total of 8 sheets.
Then spread the potato filling over the phyllo and lightly pack it in and smooth it out on top.
Lay a sheet of phyllo over the top of that and spray with oil. Repeat the process for a total of 8 sheets.
Spray the top with oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and flaky.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Root Vegetable Casserole

Time to get the slow cooker out again. This recipe is a combination of slow and 'regular' cooking, as you will see. The ground spices really 'make' this dish, as does the sweetness from the parsnip and sweet potato. And it smells delicious as it is cooking.

What you will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 swede, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
2 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, and paprika
1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp fresh coriander

Heat oil in a large pan and add celery. Saute for 3 minutes and then add carrots, swede, parsnip and potato. Saute for 5 minutes.
Add ground spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
Add lentils, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to boil, stirring and then transfer into slow cooker.
Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours. Stir in fresh coriander and serve.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Rich Vegetable Hot-Pot

This dish takes a bit of effort, as there is a fair bit of chopping involved, so set aside about 30 minutes for preparation work and then 45 minutes for cooking in the oven.
There are a fair few ingredients involved but none are hard to find and they all compliment each other so well.
I suggest using a VERY large pot during the prep. stage and then a very large ovenproof dish. There is a lot to pack in!

What you will need:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped (optional)
2 small - medium eggplants, cut into small cubes
3 zucchinis, cut into small cubes
1 cup frozen peas
handful of green beans, cut into pieces
450g new potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
11/2 cup vegetable stock
sliced black olives to garnish

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot and cook onion (if using) until golden. Add eggplants and cook for 3 minutes. Add zucchinis, peas, beans, potatoes and the spices. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour mixture into a large oven proof dish and level the surface. Pour stock over the top.

In bowl, mix together both the fresh and tinned tomatoes, 1 tbsp oil, and the parsley.
Spoon over the eggplant mixture.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for approx. 45 minutes.
Serve with sliced black olives on the top. This adds a salty bite to the dish.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate has to be one of the very best raw, vegan chocolate I have every tried. It is handmade, organic, contains no dairy or any other animal products and is low GI and gluten free. Oh, and it is DELICIOUS!

There are several varieties available:  Mint, Orange, Rose, Nuts, Cinnamon, Coconut and Goji, Raw Cacao, 80% Cacao and the new Sour Cherry and Vanilla - which I just tried and loved!

If you tend to shy away from dark chocolate because of bitterness, you have nothing to worry about here. This chocolate is neither bitter or sickly sweet. It has just the right balance. Also, it is so very smooth in texture.

The bars are small and quite expensive, so I just treat myself to a square at a time - the way it should be, really. Pop a square into your mouth and savour it!

Pana Chocolate is available in several healthfood shops, cafes and organics stores.
Their website has an extensive list of suppliers in Perth. Just pop in your postcode.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Thai Rice Noodles with Lime-Basil Sauce

I found this recipe in the cookbook "Big Vegan" by Robin Asbell. I used it as a 'base'. In other words, I changed a fair bit of it to suit me and the results were more than favourable.
The rice noodles I used were the Trident Rice Stick Noodles but any will do. You can find them in regular supermarkets. I tend to soak them in boiled water for longer than what is usually advised - about 10-15 minutes.
This recipe is gluten free - just make sure to use tamari and not soy sauce. again, I have had no trouble finding tamari at supermarkets. Sometimes it will be shelved in their 'health foods' section. 
Agave syrup can be found in health food shops or organics stores. If you want, you can use sugar, instead. 
You will find that as you are cooking this, the vegetables will give off a fair bit of liquid, but don't be concerned, as when you add the noodles, they will take up a fair bit of the sauce created.

What you will need:
Approx 250g dry rice stick noodles
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
small broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium carrot, julienned
4 spring onions, diagonally sliced (optional)
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp of light agave syrup 
2 tbsp tamari
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
a few leaves of basil, slivered
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped (optional)

Place dry rice stick noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Soak for at least 10 minutes and then drain.

In a wok pan, heat the coconut milk over medium high heat and add tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and (is using) spring onions. Bring to a simmer and add lime juice, agave, tamari, ginger and garlic (is using). Stir while cooking. How long you wish to cook is up to you. Some prefer the vegetables to be firmer, whilst others prefer them to be tender. Taste test ever few minutes until vegetables are to your liking and then add the noodles. Stir to coat with the sauce and heat thoroughly.
Add basil and peanuts (if using) and toss.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

LaZuppa Classic Bowls

I am finding that more and more vegan friendly products are showing up on our supermarkets, which is great. My latest discovery is the LaZuppa Classic Bowls range. These are available in Coles and Woolworths, found in the same section that has the canned and packet soups. Whilst not all the range is vegan, a lot of it is.

The portions sizes are perfect for lunch, as they are the equivalent of a good sized bowl of soup. I have been having one a week for lunch at work, during the cooler months. All you need is microwave oven and about two minutes. Easy.

I have tried all the vegan varieties and they all get the 'thumbs up' from me: Spinach and Chickpea; Pumpkin; Minestrone; Ribbolita Tuscan Vegetables;  and Moroccan Pumpkin with Chickpea. They are as close to home made tasting soup that I found on store shelves, so far.
And they are also gluten free!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Mung Bean Casserole

One of the things I love about being vegan, is trying out new things. Before giving this recipe a go, I had never eaten or cooked with mung beans or fenugreek seeds. I had no idea what they would taste like, but I thought what the hell, I will give them a go.

I found this recipe in the cook book "Veggiestan : a vegetable lover's tour of the Middle East" by Sally Butcher. I tweaked the original recipe a bit to suit me. I must admit it took a fair bit of looking to find the mung beans. There were none in the supermarkets but I did find some in health food shops. The same went for the fenugreek seeds. I would imagine that stores like Kakulas would stock both, so next time I am there, I will stock up, because I have every intention of making this one again. Yes, it was a success!

What you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
2cm knob fresh ginger (finely grated)
Dash or two of chilli powder
1 onion, chopped (optional)
2 capsicums, chopped (optional)
2 medium potatoes, chopped into about 2cm cubes
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups mung beans, washed (no need to soak)
1 litre water or veggie stock
250g fresh spinach, roughly chopped or thrown in whole
3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot or wok pan and sprinkle in the fenugreek and cumin seeds. One minute later, add garlic, ginger, chilli, onion and capsicums, if using.  Saute until onions are translucent, stirring often.
Add potatoes and turmeric. Minute later, stir in mung beans and add water.
Bring mixture to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.
Add tomatoes and spinach and cook for 10 minutes. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

You can serve this up with rice or bread but I found it very filling on its own.

Monday, 16 September 2013

International Vegetarian Food Fair 2013

I went to this event last year with a friend and rather liked it, so I decided to go back this year, with my
partner. As before, a lot of the food on offer was vegan and was marked clearly as being vegan. In fact, all the signs also listed the ingredients in each dish, which was great.

We didn't arrive at the venue (South Perth Community Center) until several hours into the event, and discovered that some of the foods were already sold out. I missed out on the savory Vietnamese pancake which I really wanted to try this year. Drats!

The place was quite busy - even more so than last year, which was great to see.

We had a walk around the stalls, having a look and deciding on what we wanted to try. Most of the food appeared to be Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Certainly, all of it was Asian. There was a fair bit of mock meat dishes, some deep fried items, some fruity desserts and my favourite - the Green Papaya Salad. (More on that soon.)

The boyfriend decided to first try the Bean Curd and Seaweed Rolls which contained tofu, carrot, seaweed and mock ham made of soy. I wasn't a fan of the ham as it tasted way too much like the 'real thing' but the boyfriend seemed to have enjoyed it.

We then tried a sample of Fried Coconut Cake. We were won over and bought a pack to take home.

After loading up with some Taro and Sweet Potato Rolls and some Samosas, I thought I had better try something that wasn't deep fried  - the Green Papaya Salad.
Never before had I eaten green papaya and certainly not in a salad that combined it with tomatoes, soy sauce, peanuts, carrot, chilli, lemon and something called 'salted bean'.

I was asked how spicy I wanted it and I opted for 'not very'. I watched as the ladies at the stall added the ingredients into very large mortar and pestles and started pounding away at it. Before I knew it, I was handed the salad in a container. When I tried it, I was so impressed. The taste sensations! A bit spicy, a bit salty, juicy, crunchy, and the tomatoes went so well with it all. I did not eat it all in one go. I ate half and then the rest a bit later, and  I have to say that it tasted even better once it had 'stood' for a while. I will have to try and track down the recipe for this!

I am definitely planning to go again next year but earlier next time, before some of the dishes on offer disappear!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Zafferano Restaurant

I had never been to Zafferano Restaurant before, it being out of my price range, but a small group of friends and I won some vouchers to dine there, so we got together for lunch. We rang and booked a table in advance and made sure to mention that we were all vegans and asked if they were able to accommodate us. The answer was 'Yes', so when we arrived, we were presented with a menu that they had specially put together for us, which included entree and main options.

For the entree, I and a few of my party, opted for the sweetpea risotto, which featured fresh garden peas, bound in a saffron risotto and garnished with extra virgin olive oil. Oddly enough, this dish had a 'fishy' flavour to it - so much so, that we had to check with the chef that it was, indeed vegan. We were assured it was, and it was suggested that its 'fishy' flavour came from the stock, which took a week to prepare. whatever gave it that flavour, it wasn't a favourite with us.

Thankfully, my main was a delicious pasta dish, which included chilli, rocket and fresh herbs, in fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil.

Others had the mushroom risotto which featured slow roasted field mushrooms, and I was told it was very tasty.

Also meeting approval was the pumpkin salad, which was made up of roasted pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and rocket, in an almond and poppy seed dressing. 

As there were no desserts listed in our menu, the chef came out and spoke to us, offering a few suitable options. These were basically sorbets with either strawberries, peaches or bananas, preapred in various ways. We all tried a bit of all three of these and it was hard to pick a favourite!

All in all, we enjoyed our lunch. The staff were friendly and helpful and the chef was accommodating and happy to come to our table and discuss our options.
The view we had from our outdoor table, was lovely, as the restaurant is situated right on the Swan River.
The downside to the restaurant is that it is very expensive (on average, the entrees cost $12 to $27, the mains up to $40, the desserts around $15) and the portions on the small side.   
But if you can afford it, and want a 'finer'dining experience, then by all means give this restaurant a go - just make sure you give them sufficient notice that you will be requiring a full vegan menu.

Zafferano Restaurant is situated at 173 Mounts Bay Road (Old Swan Brewery) in Crawley. 
They are open Monday to Sunday Noon to late. Breakfast available on the weekends 8am .