Bust the Budget March and dinner at Chocolate Buddha in Federation Square

Husband and I, along with thousands of others, attended the Bust the Budget march to show our opposition to the federal government’s proposed budget. These marches are being held around the country.  I can’t begin to describe how awful this proposed budget is and how seriously it will hurt people who are already struggling. In a nutshell, it is cruel+unfair+discriminatory+harmful. We met up with some friends and marched together.  Our friends today, and others, will be so negatively affected by this budget.  They will struggle to pay rent and put food on the table because they’re doing it tough now as it is and this budget will make things worse.  It’s that simple.

The weather was perfect:

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The march started at the State Library and ended up at Federation Square:

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After saying goodbye to our friends, we decided to try out Chocolate Buddha at Fed Square.  I’ve heard some vegans recommend it as a place to take both omnis and veg*ns.  The menu had the vegetarian options marked but I asked quite a few questions.  Service was great and very helpful, though I was disappointed to learn that the curry had a little cream in it.  In the end I went for the ‘Tofu Ankake Don: silken tofu simmered with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, carrot & ginger with shredded nori over Japanese rice’.  I enjoyed my meal and wish I could make this at home, though I probably wouldn’t return for it unless I was the only vegan in a group of people wanting to eat dinner there. Don’t get me wrong, it was good.  But not great enough to get me back there on my own.  Please forgive the awful lighting, I was using my phone to take photos:

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Chocolate Buddha is located in Federation Square.  Head in the opposite direction from the outdoor stage area, going slightly uphill. http://chocolatebuddha.com.au/

We sat outside and it was such a beautiful night for this time of the year.  Alas, my photos of Fed Square turned out awful so I’ve cheated here and applied some ‘artistic’ filters to the images!

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Homemade Japanese curry fizzer

After my delicious Japanese curry at Yong Green Food last night, I decided to try making my own.  Before I became vegan I used to buy a pre-packaged Japanese curry mix from the supermarket.  I think it’s vegan but last time I looked at the ingredients list it was full of nasty flavour enhancers and other scary looking stuff.

A cookbook I hung on to from my omni days is Curry Cuisine by a number of authors and published by DK, which features curry recipes from all over.  Japanese curry was the one dish I’d order in restaurants and it contained a crumbed meat.  I’m a sucker for anything crumbed/breaded and fried til crispy.

So I pulled out Curry Cuisine today and looked up the Japanese Curry recipe.  I made this a couple of years ago and really liked it.  Today I had a bunch of veg I wanted to put in and I decided to toss some cubed hard tofu in cornflour and fry it first so it went all crispy-like.

Because I had so many veggies I doubled the recipe but also made a few here-and-there changes.  The recipe calls for a cooking apple which I didn’t have and shoyu, which ran out recently and I keep forgetting to replace it (remember folks my walls aren’t filthy, they’re burn marks and stains that can’t be removed):

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I left out the mango chutney because I wanted to avoid adding too much sweet stuff and the recipe has tomato sauce (ketchup) in it.  In the end though I felt it needed a bit so I stirred it in after a taste test.

The consistency turned out great, nice and thick.  I made this as a last minute decision and if I’d been more organised I would have used home made veggie stock (I used vegan beef stock as it’s all I had on hand), bought the shoyu and a proper Japanese curry powder (all I had was Keens…).

The recipe has you prepare a roux first.  Here’s what mine looked like:

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Here’s the curry roux and curry sauce part of the recipe.  The rest of the recipe is about cooking non-vegan  🙂  Once the veggies were finished cooking, I put my tofu on a mattress of rice and spooned the veg curry on top.  I know I go on about my bad photos so how about another example?


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Katsu Curry (minus the katsu bit) from Curry Cuisine, 2006 published by DK

For the Curry roux:

* 2Tbs vegetable oil

* 2Tbs butter (I used Nutellex)

* 1 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

* 3/4inch – 2cm piece fresh ginger, grated (I used minced ginger)

* 2Tbs mild Japanese or Indian curry powder

* 4Tbs all purpose flour (I used brown rice flour)

* 1Tbs mango chutney

* 2Tbs tomato sauce/ketchup

* 2tsp shoyu (I used tamari)

To make the curry roux, heat oil and butter in a frying pan, add onion and reduce heat to low.  Fry for 30-40 mins or until onion is soft and brown [I couldn’t be bothered waiting so long].  Stir in garlic, ginger, curry powder and fry for 2 minutes.  Add flour and stir to absorb the oil.  Add chutney, ketchup and shoyu and mix well.  Remove from heat and set aside.

For the curry sauce:

* 1Tbs vegetable oil

* 1 onion, thinly sliced

* 14oz – 400g button mushrooms, halved or quartered [I used a heap of veggies and no mushrooms, see photos]

 * 1/2 cooking apple, grated with skin [I didn’t include this]

* 1 small carrot, peeled and grated

* 1 stick celery, finely chopped

* 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

* salt and ground white pepper

Heat oil in another frying pan and fry onion for 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and fry until soft [I just dumped in all my veggies at this point]. Add apple, carrot and celery and fry for 5 minutes over med-low heat.  Pour in stock and bring to a boil then stir in curry roux little by little and add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and leave to simmer gently, stirring occasionally.

I think following the recipe will produce a better result than my hack job  🙂