A week in Sydney

Every now and then Husband gets some great cheap-as-chips offers for accommodation and when we can find some budget priced flights, it seems like a good idea for a short family holiday. We were fortunate to get a good deal on Sydney accommodation in Darlinghurst which is a fantastic location for exploring, so we booked a sortof-last minute holiday.  DeeW had never been on a plane before and insisted on packing most of her wardrobe (which, of course, I unpacked).

We pretty much did the typical touristy stuff with a focus on the kids.  The Powerhouse Museum is really good:


This piece of rock is 3.9 billion years old, older than 99% of rocks on earth:




We also went to the Australian Museum, another great visit for the kids but you know, I was oohing and aahing over the old woodwork:



Arthur and I went to the Maritime Museum and got to check out some sea vessels, and whacky maritime humour:


Arthur thought this bath plug was hilarious:


I like the faces on this Vikings chess set:



Arthur and I went to the Sydney Observatory. I WANT ONE:



Then we wandered around The Rocks for a bit and I bought some veg gyoza from the Japanese stall after being assured there was no animal content.  I didn’t take a photo because I was too hungry:


Husband wanted to take the kids on one of those jet boat rides.  I declined, because of the crazy price and the fact I hate being on any kind of boat.  Even the short ferry ride from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay made me feel sick.  I have photos of the kids going in to the boat, looking all excited.  Then photos of them coming off the boat, with their hair dripping wet and looking very unimpressed.  They did enjoy it though, particularly the fast spinning around bit:


We did a lot of walking around with my taking the standard tourist photos.  We didn’t go to the top of this tower, though I think I went up when I was a little kid:


Sydney Opera House and a closeup of the tiles:



Sydney Harbour Bridge, aka ‘the Coathanger’:


This was pretty much the route we took when walking to/from our hotel near Hyde Park:




The hotel was around the corner from Grandma Takes A Trip.  Wallpaper!  Old stairs!



DeeW loved this spiral fountain at Darling Harbour:


Sydney is the oldest city in Australia and is full of stunning buildings:



I bought some nut-seed cookies I’d made from home and trail mix type stuff and I’d buy fruit too, to avoid buying meals all the time.  For one of my non descript lunches I went to an Indian outlet in a food court somewhere:


and I enjoyed this delicious chocolate sorbet from a gelateria:


After my boycott of the Iku Wholefood store in Darlinghurst, I wandered around looking for a smoothie/breakfast/brunch place I’d passed but forgotten to note the location.  Instead I came across this little sustainable fair market and got a lovely fresh juice.  The juicer-women and I had a laugh about the healthiest juices looking the ugliest.  It was nice to start the day with a fruit-veg juice:



Sydney is a fantastic city to explore and like Melbourne, there are great options for vegans. I’m very glad to be back home, even if it means many loads of washing…

Chickpea Pumpkin Seed Burgers from Let Them Eat Vegan!

I’ve tried a couple burger/patty recipes using cooked chickpeas as a base and both Arthur and DeeW have managed to eat them without complaining.  Arthur has rated them around 60% which is fine by me– as long as he eats something full of goodness I’ll take that 60%.  My aim here is to find a healthy recipe both kids will eat.  Even if I have to do the “you can have dessert after you’ve eaten all your vegies” bribe now and then.  You know, the kinds of food bribes all the child psychologist parenting expert people say you should avoid.  And before your kids were on solids you swore you would never ever subject your child to the dessert bribery.  Or childrens TV.  Or Barbie.  And then you find yourself watching ‘Arthur’ with the kids before going off to look for vintage Barbie clothing on eBay.

Today I decided to try the Chickpea Pumpkin Seed Burgers from Dreena Burton’s “Let Them Eat Vegan!”, one of my favourite cookbooks.  These burgers are made up of canned chickpeas, nutritional yeast (yay!), basil (I used the dried option), onion, cooked brown rice, oats, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, ground flax, garlic, pumpkin seeds and of course S&P.  The recipe also calls for Annie’s Goddess Dressing which I don’t have (I don’t even know if it’s available in Australia) so I just did without.  Also, the recipe allows either ground flax or ground white chia seeds.  And red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.  I also used half the amount of dried basil suggested as I find dried basil very strong.


Oh… I just realised the recipe gives you an alternative if you don’t have the Goddess Dressing.  I didn’t see it.  Whoops… well, the burgers turned out great anyway!  Arthur and DeeW gobbled theirs up and didn’t complain.  I think this is because apple pie was in the oven.

This is such a great recipe and one I will have as a regular go to.  Everything is mixed in a food processor so if you’re lazy pressed for time like me, this will appeal.  Look at those ingredients!

Thank you Dreena for yet again making my life easier!

Brickventures, more adventures and smashed peas at Wide Open Road


(and lots and lots of photos)

Brickventures was held at the Royal Exhibition Building this weekend.  This was our nice leisurely stroll up to the entrance doors:




I’d love to live inside a place like this.  I’d call it “Crash Landed Mothership from Planet Rubiksoid”:

…and this was our view when we turned the corner.  Totally brilliant idea of mine to arrive early and get a spot near the doors, out of the sun.  Tootes brill:


Scenic shots park shots shots of flowers shots of random stuff BLAH BLAH BRING ON THE LEGO:







You know that scene in Flying High/Airplane where the woman is hysterical and everyone is lining up?







Mega coolness (that includes the tie and the pinafore). How cool to score a modelling gig like this:




When we left, Husband took Arthur and DeeW off to my in laws for the rest of the day so I could go home and get some work done without interruption.  But you know how it is with beautiful sunny days and an open door to an op shop:







I was starving and decided on Wide Open Road for brunch.  I’ve been wanting to go back to try the smashed peas dish ever since I visited WOR and tried those delicious slow cooked beans.  I walked in and noticed about five people with the smashed peas on sourdough with wild rice tabouleh and maple walnuts.  Pretty good stuff obviously!  And it did not disappoint:


Absolutely delicious!  I left the maple walnuts until last.  I’m so in love with maple walnuts.  Everything was juuust right.  So with a nice full belly I waddled to the tram stop because I suddenly felt too happy-lazy to go to Savers.

So all in all, a fabulous morning with hundreds of fellow geeks, followed by fabulous strolling about town with camera in hand and finished with a fabulous meal.  Fab fab fab!

May your news be fab news, and good day  🙂

Foody bits and pieces this week

What a week!  Lots of social events, visiting people, catching up.  I have the day at home today and boy do I need it.  House to clean, crumble to cook, my frizzy boofhead to manage before I head off to a vegan ‘do tonight.

This week DeeW turned 5, without my permission I might add.  She chose to have her ‘party’ at the Icehouse, which is an indoor ice skating venue in Melbourne.  We met up with some other homeschooling families.  I don’t skate at all and if I tried you can bet I wouldn’t take my hands off that metal helper thingy:



(I picked this dress up for a few bucks from Savers last week, hand made, looked unworn).

I made practice pineapple-mango upside down cakes as she requested this for her  birthday.  The practice cakes were great.  The actual birthday cake didn’t turn out at all and was quite awful.  Whoops.  Oh well, the kids stuffed themselves on strawberries and some liked the Christmas stollen I bought from Aldi.  And my vegan sausage rolls were a hit with two of the guests who were walking around with their little squirrel cheeks all bulging out with sausage roll.


At my mum’s house, I had her Greek pilafi rice (she makes it vegan now, yay!) and a Greek style peas and potatoes dish.  Hopefully I’ll get the recipe up soon:

pilafi and peas

Here’s a raw smoothie from Brendan Brazier’s “Thrive” book.  It’s made with pomegranate, hemp protein and banana with a pinch of cayenne pepper:


More Not-Butter-Chicken from The Kind Cook.  Yes, this is a dreadful photo:


Cauliflower ‘popcorn’ from Eat Raw, Eat Well.  I think I way over dehydrated this but it’s so delicious.  You toss cauli florets in some olive oil, nooch and a bit of salt then dehydrate:


Pecan Banana Cookies also from Eat Raw, Eat Well:


And we put up the Christmas tree.   It’s rather lopsided.  I prefer to say it’s really chilling out.  This is what a tree looks like when kids decorate it:


Some gorgeous vintage kitchen stuff I picked up for next to nothing.  LOOK AT THE HANDLES YOU GUYS!


I tried a packet mix of a mock meat rendang curry and added some potato.  Yum:



Banana bread-cake for playgroup yesterday, where we discussed the merits of dipping cake in to tea/coffee.  I’m a dipper/dunker:


And speaking of tea, I’m outta here.  I have the house to myself so today’s music selection is Tori Amos and G’n’R.  Yeah!

Vegan Sausage Rolls

My son, named Arthur on this blog,  is a very fussy eater.  Getting him to try new foods involves bribery, corruption and lots of fibbing.

This week I decided to try some of the Linda McCartney vegan sausage rolls.  I don’t usually buy that kind of stuff but I thought I’d give it a go.   Better that than me slaving over a homemade batch to have him say “these taste 30% good but 70% poopy”.  Anyway he loved them and asked me to buy more.  “Buy?” I said.  “You mean you want me to MAKE more”.  I’m sneaky this way.  I’m happy to take the credit.  And then he said “hey Mumz, how do you make a sausage roll?  Just GIVE IT A LITTLE PUSH”.  And I was all very funny sweetheart but please don’t talk with your mouth full of flaky pastry because now we need to vacuum the floor again.

So my challenge was to then make my own vegan sausage rolls that would taste enough like the Linda McCartney variety.  My vegan buddy swears by the recipe over at Where’s The Beef, so I decided to give that a go.

The hardest part of this recipe was trying to find my pastry brush.  I looove recipes where things are thrown in to a food processor because I’m lazy.

Bring forth the roll of no-sausage and bathe it in Heinz:

Critic Review Time.  This is where I get nervous.  Like Iron Chef.

Me: “these are amazing and would absolutely fool anyone who indulges in high fat offal tubes.  If I had this before I was vegan, I would believe it if you told me they came from Fergusson Plarre”.

Husband: “these are good.  I just need a bit more sauce”.

Arthur: “these are 100% delicious out of 100.  See this Superman S on my t-shirt?  The S stands for Sausage Roll Man”.

DeeW: “can you make me something else to eat?” Let us strike her opinion from the record on the basis of Puff Pastry Refusal.

This is a fantastic recipe.  Trust me, you can NOT taste the tofu.  Husband was sitting there peering inside the rolls to see what he could make out.  Fooled good and proper, which always gets a thumbs up from me!