In My Kitchen, July 2014

I look forward to Johanna’s ‘In My Kitchen’ posts at Green Gourmet Giraffe.  I often have all these kitchen blog post ideas floating around but they kinda never seem to fit other posts I make (or don’t make, especially lately!). Inspired by Johanna, I thought I could put everything together in an In My Kitchen Post. The In My Kitchen series is hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

I very much enjoy stickybeaking in to other kitchens though I’m cringing a little at showing my own, because it’s a bit poxy. We are planning a renovation but no idea when it will actually happen. My house was built in 1930. The previous owners updated the cabinetry and put in a small oven-stove combo, but the food prep area is still original shoebox size and incredibly frustrating to work in. Both Husband and I have cracked our heads on the wooden mantle you see in the photo. To give you an idea of how small the kitchen is, two people can’t stand side by side at the sink.  And I took this photo from the doorway (the kitchen table is behind me). If you stretch your leg out from where I’ve taken the photo, you can almost touch the dishwasher.  You can’t see the contents of a pot on the rear stove burners clearly, unless you stick your head in the alcove.  I did this once, some oil suddenly splattered right near my eye causing me jump up and I banged my head hard. The chimney mortar also falls down so the stove gets covered with gravelly bits, so I always have to cook with lids on.

So, in my kitchen I have “charming original features” that I smack my head on often. I have a set of anodised canisters that hold dishwasher tablets, all kinds of tea bags and the ‘random stuff’ canister for things that don’t seem to fit anywhere else.  I found the old coffee jars in my dad’s garage.  The red striped jars come from both my dad’s garage and op shops (thrift stores).  When I see the striped ones I can’t resist buying them. I don’t get natural light in the kitchen so I’m not that concerned about keeping stuff out on the shelves. I also love my pink whistling kettle you see on the stove.  My grandmother always had a whistling kettle when I was growing up.  I think my tea always tastes better when the water comes from a happy little whistling kettle. I like to pause when turning the flame off, because the kettle does this final little high pitched whistle and it reminds me of looking forward to that sound when I was a child in my grandma’s kitchen. DORK:

1930s kitchen

A little rearranging here, so you can see these sweet little sweet packets my sister in law bought from overseas and a little tea tin:
kitchen mantle

In my kitchen my latest addition is a cast iron frying pan (skillet).  I really do love how you can get crispy tofu without needing to use stacks of oil. The thin mental spatula is from an op shop:

cast iron pan

Thanks to Doctor Who, Arthur wanted to try fish fingers and custard.  I bought these fish fingers by Making Waves from the Cruelty Free Shop.  I never liked fish fingers at any time in my life but I thought these did the trick for a fish fingery vegan alternative. Arthur says he prefers them with tomato sauce than custard.  Somehow, I’m not surprised:

Making Waves fish fingers

Also from the Cruelty Free Shop is this delicious caramel slice. There was no label on the packet so I don’t know who makes it but it was really, really good. This is the last bit left, I ate most of it before remembering to take a photo:

caramel slice from Cruelty Free Shop

In my kitchen is the blue cheese variety of Cheezly vegan cheese.  Although I was never much of a cheese lover before I was vegan, I did enjoy a blue cheese pasta now and then.  This Cheezly has the same sharp stinky cheese kind of taste.  I’ll have to look up some non-pasta recipes so I can figure out how to use it.  I usually cut a tube of Cheezly in to thirds and freeze it:

Cheezly blue cheese

I received a packet of Twinings Chai and vanilla scented teabags as a gift.  I love chai and this Twinings flavour is quite nice:

Twinings Chai tea

In my kitchen is my trusty sandwich press.  When it comes to sandwiches toasted in a grill, I have to get the bumpy grill. No flat plates for me, I have to get the grill marks. Now and then I buy a packet of tortillas then stuff them too much and get impatient so I press the lid down and end up with tortilla guts everywhere:

exploding tortilla

In my kitchen is this jar of cashew butter I bought from Terra Madre in Northcote.  I know I can make my own but sometimes it’s just easier to have someone else do it for me:

 Terra Madre cashew butter

In my mum’s kitchen is this tomato kasundi my sister brought. It was pretty good and although I was just using it as a dip, I think it would be really nice mixed through chickpea and lentil dishes:

tomatokasundi

In my kitchen is (was… I ate it all) this cashew cheese, made following a recipe given to me by Cate from Green Renters.  The recipe calls for miso and apple cider vinegar which I forgot to put in and I had doubled the amount of nutritional (savoury) yeast.  It was fantastic:

vegancashewcheese

I had planned on including a few more food items but realised I’ve already mentioned them on the blog before. And thanks to this post, I’ve realised I really should clean my oven door…

The Cruelty Free Shop in Melbourne

Melbourne is such a rocking city for vegans. It’s awesome full stop but vegans have a great number of options, which appear to be increasing all the time.

Today I was most chuffed to pay a visit to the Melbourne branch of The Cruelty Free Shop. It opened three weeks ago and I’ve been hanging out to visit. There’s a lot of awesome in there. I chatted a bit wtith Paul from the store and he kindly said I could take some snaps. There was Botanical Cuisine, Vegusto, CoYo, Cheezly, Redwood Cheatin’, Tofurky, Pana Chocolate and more in the cold section. As well as food, the store stocks footwear, bags, wallets, books, goodies for your fur babies and personal care items.

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I needed a new wallet and gladly walked out with this Matt & Nat number:

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Congrats to all involved on such an awesome shop!

Melbourne’s Cruelty Free Shop is located at 385 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. It’s right near Lord of the Fries which means near other super vegany-option places.

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New Places and Random Stuff

I’ve taken pics over the past few months but never blogged about where I went, what I did, what products I received for Christmas and so on.  I always meant to write up stuff but time got away from me so now I must lump it all in to one blog post.

Okay, new places!  In Melbourne we have a new vegan store in town called Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery in Preston.  The Facebook page for Mad Cowgirls has more info so check there first. I visited back in December but a lot of stuff had sold out and not able to be ordered back in for a while as suppliers were closed for Christmas.  Compared to a place like Radical, Mad Cowgirls is much smaller in size and naturally, the selection of products wasn’t as extensive but the business is still in its early days.  I asked about a couple of things and the owners said they would look in to stocking it, which was much appreciated!  Service was friendly too, always a plus!

Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery

Aaaages ago, I went to Shokuiku on High Street in Northcote.  It was a quick visit more to see what they had in there, as Husband and the kids were waiting in the car.  I’m a bit on the fence about my experience.  The place was not busy at all (one table had a couple seated, after I placed my order two more customers arrived for a take away order, so not busy at all).  I asked for a piece of the raw mocha choc cake in the fridge display to take away, paid, and then proceeded to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  There was absolutely no reason for the delay apart from the staff person just taking their time… which ended up being eleven minutes.  Eleven minutes of me standing there as useful as a half sucked jellybean as my mate T would say, with the cake right between myself and the staff member, who took her sweet time serving others after me instead of just taking twenty seconds to put my cake in the box. Just as I was about to ask if she could please do it now (instead of wiping down the counter area!) she decided it was time to get my cake.  I’ve since had people tell me how painfully slow the service was for them too, so yep… not really a place I’d go to again, despite being a fan of what they had on offer.  The cake was great though:

Shokuiku cake

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Now for gift ideas!  When my sister asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said a 1kg tub of tahini.  I use it all the time and I love it, so to me it was the perfect present:

1kg tahini

I love Botanical Cuisine’s products and I bought the Lemon & Dill raw vegan Cheese from Mad Cowgirls.  Oh my goodness.  You know how there are some foods that make your eyes roll back with how good they are?  For me it was THIS:

Botanical Cuisine lemon dill cheese

When browsing those specials aisles in Aldi, for things I never really need, I saw these fruit jellies.  Husband likes them so I bought a packet.  Got home and realised they’re vegan!  No gelatin!  Well… I’m hoping they’re vegan.  The ingredients list looked completely vegan:

fruitjellies

I went to a real deal op shop recently.  Real deal as in cramped, over crowded, dirt cheap and musty smelling.  Look at this amazing score for ONE DOLLAR:

icecubetraysI looooove cutesy ice cube trays, that can double as chocolate moulds, and these are divine!

I also loooove the green tea flavour of Nushie’s ice cream.  My sister bought this for me and kept it in mum’s freezer for my next visit:

nushiegreentea
I’m really pleased at how vegan offerings in Melbourne seem to be increasing all the time, ditto for raw food.  I think I’m more pleased about those ice cube trays though!

A What-I-Ate-And-Forgot-To-Blog-About-Again post

I’ve been crazy busy baking lately.  I decided to give out tasty vegan treats for Christmas this year.  The grand plan was to bake things I could freeze before hot weather kicked in, so I wouldn’t have to bake closer to Christmas if the weather was foul (as in hot).  Now the big problem with this grand plan, in case you can’t see it (though I think it’s big enough to fit the orbit of a small planet) is this.  TREATS.  FREEZER.  Now what do you get when you walk to the freezer to remove said treats?  You get TREATS FOR OTHER PEOPLE EATEN. So I have to keep baking.

This year I’d planned to decorate the house more Christmassy, do crafts with Arthur and DeeW and make a fabric wreath for the front door.  None of that happened because our short getaway got in the way of all that.  The kids decorated the tree.  Yes, that is a small patch of paint that has come off thanks to blu tack.  Toad is this year’s Christmas star ornament and there’s also an angel (that purple thingy) DeeW made:

Our Christmas tree

Decorations from when I was little:

vintage Christmas decorations

DeeW likes to decorate with her toys:

our Christmas tree

Our mantel in the lounge room:

Christmas mantel

…and what you see when you zoom out a little:

Christmas mantel

With our family holiday this month, I’ve been forgetting to blog about what I’ve eaten.  I did manage some photos here and there.

First up: VEGAN POUTINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some may remember my rather pissweak attempt at poutine on Canada Day.  Welllll as it turns out, Lord of the Fries serve vegan poutine.  It’s not my fault they only call it ‘French Canadian” on the sauces menu.  I would have noticed poutine and pounced otherwise.  Anyway, LOTF’s poutine was deeeelish.  I know where I’m going next Canada Day.  Gosh I hope they didn’t give me dairy cheese, I did specifically ask for vegan but you never know.  Disgusting looking photo:

Lord of the Fries French Canadian Poutine

 Speaking of fries, the Philips Air Fryer has been faithfully churning out chips.  I use a teaspoon of oil, even though the instructions say use a tablespoon.  Still tastes fine to me and the less oil the better I say.  We call these air fries:

air fries

I went to Divine Realm Veggie Delight and got a serving of their tofu and veg curry, a mock meat with green beans and I asked for a few pieces of the mock duck with sauce.  I went well after the lunch rush was over, nobody was around, so I think they pretty much gave me what was left.  Which meant a massive serve.  I’m confused though, did they change their name from Chan House?  Or was it always like this with two names?  Anyway, food is yum:

divinerealmmeal

I made some chickpea patties that weren’t popular with anyone but me. At least DeeW ate all the veggies on her plate:

chickpea patties with veg

I can’t even remember what this is… I think it was based on the Cambodian Noodle Salad from The Kind Cook:

 Noodle Salad

The Classic Baked Tofu from Isa Does It plus some garlicky cashew topped noodles:

basked tofu cashew noodles

I think this may have been the Sizzling Mongolian Kantong packet mix, with veggies and mock duck on brown rice:

Kantong Mongolian with veg and mock duck

Vegan pizza time with Notzarella, which I really like using:

vegan pizza with Notzarella

I think I just roasted some veg and tofu here and mixed it all up.  Nothing flash:

mixed veg tofu

Husband and I went to Zaatar and I got my usual.  This costs about $4:

zaatar pizza

I’ve been making lots of juice in my new juicer.  I’m so happy that Arthur and Husband will drink a juice made with greens.  I add some sweet fruit to theirs, like orange and apple:

Fruit and greens juice

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green juice

A berry smoothie with hemp oil:

berrysmoothie

Green smoothies of some sort, with a bit of chlorella.  Which makes it sound like a diseased drink:
chlorellasmoothie

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DeeW loves a Planet Box with fruit:

Fruit Planet Box

Some time ago I bought this sweet coconut spread.  It’s okay but I don’t know why I bought it.  It was on sale and I must have been in a “buy something on a whim” mood:

coconutspread
I picked up this Wot No Dairy? dessert, to use in a cake that called for vegan yoghurt.  Must admit I tried really hard to like it, but failed:

wot no dairy
This was the cake, but ah, I don’t even remember what recipe I used:

some kind of cake

My mum had made an apple rhubarb compote and I plopped some on the plate with my cake:

some kind of cake

Last night we thought we’d be clever and drive in to the city to see the Myer Christmas windows.  We thought surely it won’t be busy on a Sunday evening.  The queue was looong and when we lined up an attendant told us this was the middle of the queue.  The end of the queue was waaaaaay down there.  Over an hour long to wait.  So we decided to go and get dinner instead.

DeeW liked this big door:

big red door in the city

These are the Melbourne Bike Share hire bikes:

Melbourne bikeshare

The Christmas tree in the city square.  It was raining and I didn’t want to jaywalk to get a better photo:

Christmas in Melbourne 2013

Bourke Street Mall all dressed up:

Bourke Street Mall

Bourke Street Mall

Melbourne Town Hall:

Melbourne Town Hall

And this was the sky when we got home:

sunset

Hope you’re all having a peaceful lead up to the holidays  😀

Another whoops-I-forgot-the-What-I-Ate-posts Post

Whoops indeed.  I’ve been pretty busy lately and neglecting the blog a bit.  This is the time of year where I start mapping out next year’s schooling plans so most of my computer time has been spent doing that.

First up, many happy returns to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop!  I tried their maple facon bun, yummm.  We also got a free mini cupcake to celebrate the happy birthday.  Here’s to many more birthdays!

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Mini pumpkin pies and pecan pies!

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I have a new toy!  Yay for credit card reward points. And blu tack on the walls to hold up recipe printouts:

juicer

One of Arthur’s favourite meals is Dreena Burton’s BBQ Sunflower Tofu.  Yes, there’s a lack of vegetables.  He drinks them instead (but don’t tell him.  I just call it ‘juice’):

bbqsunflowertofu

I picked up this packet of mac and cheese from Bed and Broccoli’s stall at World Vegan Day.  My mac and cheeze attempts have always been a little mehhh but this was nice.  I wish the rest of the family would eat mac and cheeze:

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My mum made yemista (stuffed Greek vegetables) with roast potatoes:

yemista

I made some chocolate sweet potato brownies:

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Late night munchies: refried beans in tortillas cooked in the frying pan.  I really don’t like canned refried beans:

refriedbeans

Arthur usually asks for porridge (oatmeal) with a little golden syrup:

porridge

I went to Lord of the Fries and took this bad picture:

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I opted for some vegan mayo sauce on the fries.  Whenever I get a sauce I think nope never again (I don’t like too much sauce) but when I get plain fries, I always wish I got a sauce.  WHAT TO DO:

lotf1

 

Mama’s making Kantong with frozen vegetables.  I have to say it, I really dislike the taste of frozen vegetables.  Do you think they have that frozen-veggies taste?  Anyway, I used some mock duck and soy nuggets with a packet of Kantong.  It was okay but those packet sauces have a fair bit of sugar:

kantongsomething

Some satay buns I bought from Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart:

buns2

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A can of gigantes (large beans, Greek style).  This photo is awfully red but I don’t think there’s any red food colouring involved:

gigantes

I tried these Redwood burgers and decided that if I go to a bbq and want a burger, these will be it.  Much nicer than the Fry’s burger in my greedy opinion:
redwoodburgers

I made a Thai style curry using some soy slices.  The slices come dried and you have to rehydrate them.  These were awful and had a really strong soy milk taste.  I mean, obviously, they’d taste like soy, being soy.  But I don’t like the taste of soy milk in anything other than my cornflakes.  I don’t want my Thai curries tasting like soy milk.  The soy nuggets I use (in the picture above somewhere) don’t have the soy milk taste:

soyslices

Honest, we eat fruit and vegetables and healthy stuff.  I just forget to take photos of those!