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.