Soy Beans and Nuts Master class with Green Renters

Today I attended a fab master class workshop put on by Cate and Chris of Green Renters. I’ve never made my own tofu, or the numerous cheeses I planned to make when I purchased vegan cheese cookbooks a long time ago.  Same with vegan yoghurt, I always meant to make it (I even bought a yoghurt maker on sale… which isn’t necessary for making vegan yoghurt) but felt a bit too information-overloaded when I’d look up different vegan yoghurt making websites.   So I thought that for my first efforts, I’d prefer to have an expert show me.

We started off with making tofu.  Soy beans were cooked up and then strained/drained but the strained liquid is what you want, not the actual mooshy beany part (which can be used for other things):












Next up was almond milk. Retro blender!!!


Coconut bacon on the stove (I’ve made mine in the oven before), with liquid smoke, tamari and molasses (I’ve used maple syrup in the past but I liked the molasses):


Vegan butters, oh my:



Some vegan butters Cate brought along:


We split up in to small groups and made a variety of different cheeses.  My little group, which included Linda from The Lentil Institution, made a mozarella, which I put in the fridge there and forgot to take home:


One of the cheeses made by another couple in the class:


I’ll need to go over the instructions for the yoghurt again but here is some barley and quinoa a-sproutin’:


Apple cider vinegar added to soy milk to make it curdle:



These vegan yoghurts were used in the process:


We had to give these a shake and now at home it still hasn’t really appeared to work unfortunately!


Kitchen hustle-bustle:


Cate and Chris provided an awesome feast.  For morning tea there were Portugese custard tarts and a banana cake with a cashew icing.  Yes I asked for a second tart and I was very tempted to ask for more cake but I think I may have wound up on some blogs, in the context of  “I met Veganopoulous and man WHAT a greedy guts”:


Anyway, below is a coconut peppery cheese on the left and a basil pesto cheese on the right:






Some really, really good bread.  Made even better when Cate said she would send me the recipe and it’s no-knead.  I love it more already:


My plate.  It looks polite and demure but I went back for way more bread and the cheeses (which you see on the bread).  That Veganopoulous, mannn what a greedy guts:


And then 4pm rolled around a little too quickly. My bus stop was nearby and although it was a pleasant day, my icy hands and ears were not impressed to see I missed the bus by five minutes and I had a forty minute wait for the next one.  Silly Sunday timetables:

While sitting on the bench at the bus stop, I saw this sign on the footpath.  From a distance, I was saying to myself “why did they spell school as scool? Are they trying to be all totes cool with the lingo? Appeal to the kids with the whacky spelling? And if so, why did they spell school correctly in the bottom triangle?”  So I was sitting there doing armchair psychology on the person who came up with this sign, then when I got up to take the photo I realised the second triangle doesn’t actually refer to the word ‘school’.  That Veganopoulous, man what a whiner:



Here are today’s efforts now safely at home (minus the mozarella and my Tupperware).  Also missing from the cheese-butter platter photo is a red capsicum cheese one of the other couples made.  Because I dropped it right before taking this photo.  So here it is, cleaned up a bit but still not edible:



I’m very glad I went, everything was great and I’m now super confident about going off in to the wild to make my own tofu, cheeses, butter spreads and yoghurt!


Thank you to Mister Nice Guy and a few ‘what I ates’

We haven’t visited Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop in quite a while.  Well, to be fair Husband did take the kids recently but he forgot that the Bake Shop is closed on a Monday, doh.  After the kids beat him up for it, they took it well.

Arthur’s birthday is this week and it appears he has refused my order to stop growing up.  I don’t think that will stop him writing stories for me on my birthday with titles such as “how to cook a butt” (actually that one was a graphic novel complete with recipe instructions).

For a pre-birthday treat, Husband took Arthur and DeeW to Mister Nice Guy’s today and he came home bouncing around in excitement, because of this lovely thoughtful gesture:


Arthur was given a cinnamon bun for his birthday-in-advance and declares it one of the best presents he’s ever received.  I haven’t had a cinnamon bun myself in ages so asked Husband to get one for me and it was every bit as delicious as always:


A very mega thank you to Mister Nice Guy and the Bake Shop crew!  Best customer service ever!

Okay, here are a few “What I ate this week” tidbits.  There aren’t many because I’ve been sick with no appetite and when I felt okay to eat all I wanted were the oranges and strawberries and bananas.

First up, the Mushroom Pecan Burgers from Dreena Burton’s ‘The Everyday Vegan’. I’ve never been lucky with things made from mushroom.  I like whole or sliced mushrooms but if it doesn’t look like a button shape to begin with, I won’t eat it.  I can’t bring myself to eat enoki, it falls too much in to the category of alien space food.  I’ve never been interested in turning mushrooms in to something else (like a burger), instead just preferring them sliced and tossed through pasta or on a pizza.  And that’s really about it. Arthur and DeeW won’t go near mushrooms so I thought I’d be sneaky and whiz them up and put them in burger form.  The recipe was very easy and contains tahini and hoisin sauce.  I used oats instead of the breadcrumbs:


I liked them but the kids weren’t keen which was pretty frustrating as this is a really good recipe.  I suppose they may have eaten them in a bread bun but I want to avoid giving them bread (or gluten, specifically) wherever possible.  It’s worth noting Dreena includes a ‘version 2’ recipe in her book Let Them Eat Vegan and you can see those burgers here.

Still, it means I got to have the leftovers to myself, this time in corn tortillas with salsa and vegan sour cream with coriander:



For the first time ever, I made myself tofu scramble.  Up until now I was never truly convinced that ‘tofu’ and ‘scramble’ belong in the same sentence.  Kind of like apricot chicken.  Or any of those ‘fruit’ flavours in the Cadburys family block.  I had some tofu that had been defrosted and pressed (I think it was firm tofu) so I just crumbled it and fried it up with a pinch of curry powder and black salt.  I haven’t used my black salt much and boy when I added it to the tofu scramble, could you smell egg!  It smelt and looked so much like scrambled eggs that I had to sit there for a few minutes trying to will myself to eat it.  I added some of the coconut bacon I’d make and some rocket (I love rocket, yeah-eh) along with a little bit of vegan mayo. Delicious!


More burgers from Let Them Eat Vegan!, this time the Lentil Walnut Burgers.  The recipe calls for green lentils but I only had brown and they still tasted great.  There’s also diced apple (though I grated it) which adds a little sweetness without being too sweet.  I really liked these:


I saw these green curry soups at Aldi.  I love green curry but not as a soup so I put most of it (but not all the liquid) on brown rice.  It wasn’t very good, a bit too sweet and the vegies too blergh looking and I gave up after a few spoonfuls.  Then felt a bit crappy because I’d put a couple of these soups (the red curry variety as well) in a bag of goodies for my sister’s birthday:

Woolworths sell these pakoras in their freezer section and they were over a dollar off so I grabbed some as a snack to have back at my mum’s house.  They tasted fine enough but were too dry when reheated:


I made the Pecan Date Nibblers from Let Them Eat Vegan! as an experiment for a short family holiday we have coming up.  The sweetness comes from the dates and maple syrup though next time I will cut the maple syrup way down as they were pretty sweet.  Arthur loved them, DeeW not really.  I added pumpkin seeds to the mix:


I made my sister a lemon slice using Mel’s recipe but because I was plain old lazy I didn’t include the dairy free margarine and instead just dumped the condensed soy milk in without heating it.  I’ve never used the vegan version of condsensed milk and like the dairy version it’s basically massive sugar overload in canned form.  Does it stop one from having a big spoonful?  Not usually:


I’m hoping that my food blog posts (well, my cooking I should say) for September will be far more interesting because of Vegan MoFo.  I’m looking forward to trying lots of recipes from my cookbooks, especially raw recipes.  See you then!

Rocket, YEAH-EHH!

Rocket, YEAH-EHH!

Coconut Bacon and Stuff You Need To Know

I made coconut bacon yesterday using this recipe from Fettle Vegan.  It turned out the way I’d hoped it would turn out, though I was very wise to put half the amount of liquid smoke called for.  I like liquid smoke but in the most minimal of amounts.  Anywhere, here are some lessons we can all take away from my experience, yours of course may vary!



I bought mine in a nuts shop.  As in, a place that sells nuts, legumes, spices, etc etc.  Friends, when you see the price is $6.95 per kilo, do not scatterbrainedly say “I’ll have a kilo please” then turn your gaze to your phone to read text messages while you wait.  Because if you do, you will see that once you return your gaze to the person filling a bag with 1kg of coconut flakes, IT WILL BE A GIANT BAG.  And then you will have to apologise and ask them to put most of it back in the jar.


Set a timer for every three minutes.  This stuff will burn easily if you don’t keep your eye on it.


Baking with liquid smoke will STINK YOUR HOUSE OUT.  As in, when the Australia Post delivery guy comes to your door, he will sniff the air with a wrinkled nose and comment on the smell.  I kid you not, you could smell my kitchen from the letterbox.


It is never a good idea, in my house at least, to seat your child at the kitchen table with their school work while you cook the bacon.  Because, if they’re like Arthur, they will hold their nose closed, make gasping choking sounds with their free hand clutching at their throat and use the strong smell as an excuse to get out of doing maths.  [Yes, that’s ‘maths’ with an S on the end.  In Australia we don’t say math.  As in “I have math homework from my math class”.  We say “I have maths homework from my maths class”.  I… don’t know why.]


You know when you’re at the beach or in a pool and you somehow do a weird half nose half mouth exhale, so that the water ends up in your nasal passages?  Don’t do a weird kind of cough when you’re eating the coconut bacon because then your nasal passages will be filled the fumes of liquid smoke, and it’s not pleasant.


Now obviously this one will depend on the individual and their innards.  But ah, be mindful that hours after the smell has left your house, it  maaay stage a return… as in, your partner may enter the bedroom and say “oh gross, can you not eat that bacon in here?   It stinks of liquid smoke”.  And you’ll be all oh, errr, umm yeah sorry about that.  Let’s just say it puts the ‘smoke’ back in liquid smoke.

Anyway… I made some bagels today with a gluten free flour (not worth blogging about as they weren’t that great) and tried my own version of a coconut bacon-lettuce-tomato:

bagelVery tasty indeed! I don’t think I’d be making this often at all but it’s nice to know I can easily prepare a batch if I need some.

Finally: coconut bacon at New Day Rising

Yayyyy!  I got to try coconut bacon- facon!  Fiiiinally!  In the CLT bagel at New Day Rising in Brunswick.


As has been noted by other bloggers, New Day Rising is very small.  Husband and I showed up well after lunch hour and there was one other person there, and two more who arrived for a takeaway order.  So Hubs and I sat on the stools at the window and oh my goodness my CLT bagel was really, really good:


(I know I should have picked up that little piece of facon but honestly, I wanted to get the photo over and done with so I could eat.)

The coconut bacon was soooo smokey.  And salty tasting.  But soooo good.  The bagel itself was great, you know how some bagels are just blergh and all the wrong kind of chewy?  This bagel, wherever it came from, was great.  But the real star here was the coconut bacon and there was a good amount of it.  It went beautifully with the rocket and avocado.  Extreme closeup time!


Husband had the haloumi bagel and he said it was really good but too small for what we paid, which was… $21 for the two bagels.  But he’s a bit greedy, so… grain of salt.  I loved my CLT and very glad I tried it.  Now I have to find some flaked coconut because all the usual places I find it at seem to be out of stock.

Another good thing about my visit to New Day Rising was seeing this article in the newspaper.  I blogged about noise levels when I visited Chin Chin, and Chin Chin was actually used as an example in the article (an example of the noise level being on par with a jackhammer).  I’m justified, and ancient:


New Day Rising has been blogged about at Where’s The Beef and In The Mood For Noodles.

New Day Rising is located at 221d Blythe Street in Brunswick.  It’s right near the Nicholson Street intersection.  We drove past it the first time, so look for the tables and chairs outside.  That we missed.  Try to visit at a non-crazy hour!