Preston Market with a vegan twist

I was introduced to Preston Market a couple of years ago, when my vegan friend T shared her secret with me: buy the old brown spotty bananas and other fruit right before closing time when the prices are dirt cheap.  A tray of fruit, past its best but still fine for freezing or smoothies, can be found for $1 or $2.  I’d pick up many kilograms worth of old bananans for a few dollars and use them in my smoothies.  The greatest discovery by far though was the hot jam donut van because they’re vegan.  Brilliant!

I went back to Preston Market a few days ago to see what it offers for vegan shoppers.  I stopped in at The D’Souzas for some amchoor (mango) powder.  Of course, whenever I go in “just for one thing” I end up with many things.  The D’Souzas store always has what I need and service is always smiley and friendly:

Preston Market

I picked up some soy beans from Preston Market Health Foods.  There were many elderly Greek shoppers here, looking for dried chickpeas for their ‘revithia’ (chickpea) soup and lentils for their ‘fahki’ soup:

Preston Market

Preston Market

Of course, there are a number of fresh produce stalls with prices cheaper than the big supermarkets:

Preston Market

Preston Market

I walked around looking at all the stores inside the main market area but didn’t see any other veganny-options kinds of places.  There were bakeries, continental delicatessans and lovely looking cakes but unfortunately none appeared to offer anything vegan, from my quick browsing.  I looked at the food stalls and alas, nothing vegan there.

I was pretty hungry so I headed for the Cornutopia van.  I’ve been there once before and enjoyed my vegan burrito so I ordered that again. The burritos (regardless of filling, it appears) are $10. Action shot:

Preston Market

The final stop (the most important of all): the jam donut van!

Preston market hot jam donuts

Preston market hot jam donuts

Overall, Preston Market is great for well priced fruit and veg, especially for those bargains right before closing time. You can find your nuts, dried beans, lentils and so on and different kinds of flours. More vegan options in the way of food would be great but I must confess the only food I go there for are donuts. Still, it would be nice to go there and have more of a selection of vegan food to chose from.

Preston Market
Preston Market
Preston Market

Preston Market

Preston Market

These are my purchases. I’m sure that’s the cheapest I’ve seen this particular vanilla extract.  As for the clove oil, I need some to help with minor mould problems around the house. I’m sure I paid double $3.90 for one of those teeny bottles in pharmacies! I also picked up some quinoa, curry powder (I like to try different kinds) and amchoor powder, which always seems to be in recipes I want to try then when I buy the stuff, I can’t find the recipes:

Preston Market purchases

If there are other markets out there you love for vegan shopping, please leave a comment!

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Trippy Taco: The Return

Since my recent visit to Trippy Taco, I’ve been looking for an excuse to go back. The other day we made a spur of the moment decision to go out to eat so I chose Trippy Taco, knowing Arthur and DeeW would at least eat the fries and Husband would probably go for the vegetarian nachos.

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I was a bit wrong on most counts. Husband ended up getting fries and DeeW didn’t like the seasoning so she had nothing. While we wait for our food when we eat out, we break out the cards:

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I liked the fries, they were nice and crunchy and the smoky seasoning was good:

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I got the mixed taco meal, which was one tofu asada taco and a black bean taco.  Delicious, but really messy to eat (though that’s probably just me, I’m not elegant in that arena):

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For dessert I had to get the sweet corn tamale again, though I don’t know what happened to the puddle of maple syrup I had last time.  It didn’t seem to make an appearance today.  DeeW ate most of the ice cream:

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I got the vegan nutella melt (which didn’t taste of hazelnuts, just a chocolate spread) as well, thinking Husband would go for this (which he didn’t), so Arthur and I shared it.  Using our hands, we found it hard not to make a huge mess.  I’m embarrassed about the amount of paper napkins we used to clean our faces and hands:

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I’ll be going back and Arthur says he’d go back for the fries and the vegan chocolate melt.  That’s my boy, super fussy about main meals but has no problem with dessert!  Hnnnngggghhhhhh.

Trippy Taco is located at 234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. http://www.trippytaco.com.au/

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Trippy Taco on Urbanspoon

Dinner at Trippy Taco, Fitzroy

I finally, FINALLY got to go to Trippy Taco.  I still can’t believe I’ve never been there.  Now that I have been, I’m really going to make up for lost time!

I had been doing stuff in Fitzroy and planned to go straight home when I realised I was right across the road from Trippy Taco. Awesome or what?! I was there well before dinner time and there were only two other customers.  Perfect!

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I took my time reading the menu but eventually settled for the tacquitos. The description was ‘three crispy, rolled up corn tortillas with black bean filling topped with guacamole, (vegan) cheese, salad and lime’.  The salad was kind of basic to be honest but remember, Veganopoulous will probably never be convinced that iceberg lettuce belongs in a restaurant.  After I polished off the tacquitos, which were very tasty (I wish I had more), I mixed the salad up with the the remaining saucy bits and guacamole:

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Dessert! Remember, making up for lost time here folks. I got the ‘sweet corn tamale with icecream, bananas and maple syrup’. This was like a soft, moist, sweet cornbread.  The ice cream was basic– using something like Zebra Dream would really make a difference (to the price as well probably!)– but the tamale itself was really good.  Bananas and maple syrup are just that, but I thought they were perfect with this.  Whenever I’ve made cornbread it has been dry and blergh.  I really liked this dessert and would definitely get it again.  In fact, I’m going on a mission to try and replicate it at home.  Too bad I don’t have a Star Trek replicator:

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The toilet is located outside Trippy Taco, up the little lane and at the back of the restaurant.

Trippy Taco is located at 234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. http://www.trippytaco.com.au/

I’ve been forgetting (or not bothering) to take my camera out and about lately so here are some snaps from my phone.  The colours in Melbourne at this time of year are beautiful.  Enjoy!

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Nirvana Enchilada Casserole by Isa Chandra M

There’s much excitement in vegan homes around the world because Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a new cookbook out called Isa Does It. I’m hanging out impatiently for my copy to arrive and I’ve moved my other Isa books around to make room for the new arrival.

Isa has put some of the recipes up on The Post Punk Kitchen blog, along with videos.  Because I was drooling the whole way through the video for Nirvana Enchilada Casserole, I figured I better make it FAST.

This meant a trip to La Tortilleria in Kensington to pick up some handmade corn tortillas:

tortillas

Of course, whenever I set out to make such a grand recipe, there’s always a hiccup.  This time I thought I had two cans of black beans (the recipe says pinto but I like black beans).  Turns out I only had one can.  The only other can of beans I had were cannellini so I used those along with my one can of black beans.

This recipe does take a fair bit of prep work and I had to make sure Arthur and DeeW were properly occupied for at least an hour while I chopped and roasted the potatoes, cut up onions, garlic and mushrooms and kept an eye on the enchilada sauce, the other eye on the roasting spuds and the other eye (?!) on the filling.  All the while doing my ‘clean as you go’ kitchen dance.  Which is where I have to clean up while I prepare and cook because my kitchen is so teeny tiny that I literally run out of room. I’d prepared the cashew cream earlier and you can also prepare the enchilada sauce in advance.

Let me tell you now that a sizeable amount of the filling did not make it to the casserole.  I couldn’t help it, the crispy potato mixed with the beans, mushroom, onion, garlic and lime juice was just too divine:

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Isa isn’t kidding when she says the smothering-tortillas-in-sauce bit is messy.  It’s messy but I wonder how much of that has to do with my being a complete klutz?

All baked-y:

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This is a big casserole so share the love!  And thank you to my hometown of Melbourne for having cold casseroley autumn weather even though summer is less than three weeks away.  

Vegan MoFo 2013: Day 6. Where Veganopoulous starts losing the plot.

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My MoFo posts so far have been heavy on the side of BOOOOORING and I hope I find some MoFo mojo soon.  I did plan on lots of cooking and raw food prep but I’m finding it hard to drum up the energy for it.  Also, in the mornings I like to keep things simple where breakfast is concerned and stick to smoothies.  Today’s breakfast was another recipe from ‘Eat Raw, Eat Well’.  It’s the Cacao Strawberry Smoothie.  It was nice, though I’ve never been a fan of the whole chocolate-strawberry mix.  Or chocolate with any fruit.  I never liked Jaffas or any other choc-orange combination.  Anyway, this smoothie was made with nuts, strawberries, cacao, banana, date and I add in pumpkin seeds:

strawberrycacaosmoothie

I bought some canned black beans recently and I was keen to repeat my burrito inhaling after pigging out in Sydney so I made the Home-Style Refried Beans recipe from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero.  I made it oil free by adding splashes of water to the pan for the frying stage.  Now to be honest, I’m not gaga over refried beans on their own but a recipe like this that is mixed up with a heap of other stuff in a burrito is perfectly okay by me and my burritos would definitely feel sad without refried beans.

I also made Terry’s recipe for Cilantro-Lime Rice in the rice cooker with brown rice but I got the measurements wrong (faulty memory there… or lazy because I should have checked the rice cooker manual) so the lime rice didn’t taste limey at all as I’d put in way too much water.  I froze it in batches anyway to use in later recipes.

I was too lazy to prepare my own salsa so I used an organic salsa-in-a-jar with some Tofutti sour cream.  It was just yeah whateverrr.  Certainly nothing delicious like a properly prepared burrito from a burrito experts establishment but that’s probably because the brown rice was kinda overpowering with its blandness:

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And then later on in the day I realised I had one more of my mum’s stuffed capsicums to eat.  And then it was a case of “what do you get when you cross a tortilla with a stuffed capsicum and a lazy blogger?”.  You get this:

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It wasn’t very good, despite the attempts to de-Greek it by adding fresh coriander and sprinkles of cumin and the sour cream.  But this is REAL LIFE.  This is the kind of crappy concoction you come up with when you are hungry and lazy and fast running out of interesting stuff to put on your MoFo blog.

See you again tomorrow… please?