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

shokuiku1

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!

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Lots of vegan goodies I’ve tried recently

In recent times I’ve been trying out some vegan food products so I thought I’d blog about them of course.  Let’s go!

First up, we have a jar of Tiramisu-ish by Botanical Cuisine. Oh mannnn, do you know how hard it is to stop eating this?  Now, it’s called Tiramisu-ish because it’s not like your traditional tiramisu (which, of course, is not vegan)… but there’s enough in it to make it tiramisu-like.  It’s also raw!  So I think Tiramisu-ish is a great name.  It has all those tiramisu flavours but feels really decadent.   The sort of thing that could be served in a really fancy restaurant, with an artful dribble of chocolate fudge.  And it would be gushed about in all the gourmet food mags.  At around the $10 mark it’s not cheap but mine was a present  😀

tiramisuish1

tiramisuish2

Co Yo Yoghurt is up next.  Think yoghurt consistency with coconut flavour.  If you don’t like coconut and you want a non dairy yoghurt then this may not be for you even though I personally don’t find the coconut flavour overly strong.  Then again I love coconut and it’s not unusual to see me opening the jar of coconut oil for no other reason than to smell it.  Co Yo is lovely and thick and so so much better than any soy yoghurt I’ve tried.  I’m sorry soy yoghurt, but you pretty much all suck in my experience.  Co Yo has a variety of flavours and this one is the passionfruit.  I like that it isn’t as sweet as soy (and dairy) yoghurt I’ve tried in the past.  For me, Co Yo is a winner but not something I would buy often as it’s pricey:

coyo1

Notzarella is the first vegan cheese I’ve used which acts the most like its dairy counterpart.  I never liked mozarella much and  when it came to pizzas, I felt like I was eating plastic. I sometimes ordered pizza with only a little mozarella, because otherwise I’d be picking off great greasy, plastic blobs.  Whenever I made a lasagna or pizza in my pre-vegan days, I hated using mozarella because of the whole plastic thing.  Yuuuuuck.  But now, I still want a melty vegan cheese for certain dishes.  Notzarella fits the bill there.  And I had a laugh at the FAQ on Notzarella’s site: “Is Notza good for you? No. It’s loaded with salt and fat. It’s not a health food in any respect. It was designed to give the best pizza experience possible for those who can’t (or don’t want to) eat dairy cheese”.  They get points for that kind of honesty!

My first big Notzarella experiment was a home made pizza topped with pepperoni (see below), red onion, olives, rocket, basil and the Notzarella.  The Notzarella melted and compared to a mozarella, I find it quite thick on the tongue and roof of my mouth.  Which is probably a really dumb description.  The amount I used, which you can see in the photo below, was way too much.  So much so that I didn’t want to eat any more.  I’m not keen on making my own pizzas at home because nobody eats the stuff I make but I would use the Notzarella sparingly in something like lasagna.  Note to Veganopoulous: don’t put the rocket and fresh basil on the pizza until you take it out of the oven:

pizza

Syrup waffles!  When I lived in The Netherlands I got hooked on stroepwafel.  Then I got sick of them quickly.  Then I got my sister hooked on them because I’d sent her food packages every now and then.  I spotted these Billy’s Farm Organic Wheat Syrup Waffles recently and decided to get some for my sister’s birthday… but I couldn’t resist eating one.  They’re nice, but not something I’d buy for myself.  Still, I got to reminisce about my times overseas so it’s all good:

wheatsyrupwaffels

I haven’t had fairy floss (cotton candy) in YEARS.  Probably at least ten years.  So when I saw this tub of Spun Fairy Floss I pounced.  It’s so delicious that when I dropped it all on the floor of the car, I picked it up and ate it:

spunfloss

I don’t like meat substitutes as a meat replacement.  I’ve never had a meat craving or “geez I miss chicken kiev” moment.  It’s just a thing of the past.  I am however very curious about vegan pepperoni slices.  The curiosity about pepperoni is courtesy of growing up watching American tv shows because pizza was always pepperoni pizza.  Sure, I’ve had pizza with salami and I did try pepperoni pizza once when I was a non-vegan in the US.   But vegan pepperoni was something I wanted to try.  I saw these Redwood pepperoni slices [somewhere] and because I was planning on making a pizza, I thought why not?  I’d never buy them otherwise so this was more an experiment.  They were okay, with a bit of heat and worked well on the pizza but as I’ve never really been interested in salami type stuff even before becoming vegan, I won’t buy it again though I recommend you give it a try:

pepperoni1

pepperoni2

Many, many years ago I was a big fan of Bounty bars.  They’re basically sugar loaded coconut bars covered in chocolate.  I also loved Coconut Roughs.  I did give up chocolate/candy bars about ten years ago and never reacquired a taste for them and so any coconut chocolate craving would be satisfied by something, you know, gourmet posh like.  I turned in to a big chocolate snob.  Even now I’m not a chocolate lover but when I see something like the coconut Bonvita Bonbarr, I try it just to see what it’s like.  Had I still had a Bounty craving, I’m sure the Bonbarr coconut flavour would make a a great substitute:

bonbarr

Next up is the luvju mint flavour raw chocolate by Loving Earth.  I bought the small packet, not being a chocolate fan much as I said, though peppermint in chocolate was my favourite after coconut in chocolate.  This is just right for me, not too sweet:

luvjuchoc

Enjoy!