Vegan Black Metal Chef, Isa Chandra M, Terry Hope R and dinner at the Corner Hotel in Richmond!

Plenty of vegans around the country are super pleased right now because we have just been bombarded with vegan chef amazingness.  All in the form of Vegan Black Metal Chef, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  In fact, some interstate vegans are super pleased enough that they traveled to Melbourne for tonight’s vegan cooking demonstration and Q&A, held at the Corner Hotel in Richmond.

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I rocked up on my own and because I was way early, I decided to get a meal there at the Corner Hotel.  To be honest nothing on their online menu really appealed to me but I grabbed a menu from the bar anyway.  I’m so glad I did (I had been thinking of walking around a bit to find something), because there was this fantastic vegan menu for the night (I think it was just for tonight, that’s what I overheard someone saying).

Straight away, one meal jumped out at me: the roast vegetable soba bowl.  The description to me seemed like they were making Isa’s exact recipe from Isa Does It.  This really appealed to me because I have made it before but mixed up ingredients and it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Purely my fault of course.  Anyway, I figured that if this indeed was Isa’s recipe, then I best try it because it was made by a real live proper chef person.  The other options were a black eyed pea burger with mango salsa and wedges; vegan Southern style fried chicken and a vegan shepherd’s pie.

You guys.  I am SO GLAD I chose this.  The dressing sauce was fantastic and I think… I think I now love the miso-tahini combination.  I neverrrr thought I’d be saying that, not this year at least. Previously, the miso-tahini combination kinda brought on the vommies a little. As soon as I go and buy some cauliflower, I’ll be making this following Isa Does It exactly:

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After hanging out taking my time reading newspapers and stuff, I noticed people going up to Isa and Terry to sign their books.  Isa and Terry were a few tables away and I talked myself out of asking them to sign.  Because having social anxiety can really suck.  But I had taken along Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, hoping to get them signed for DeeW and Arthur respectively seeing as they looove those books.  When I finally did go up, Terry wasn’t there but Isa kindly signed the books for my vegan cupcake lovin’ cookie scoffin’ kids.  My claim to fame for the night is that I was the only person in the audience to have visited Omaha, where Isa now lives and will be opening her restaurant.

 

Once inside, the stage was set up for Black Metal Chef who was up first.  I feel like such a dork now, because I’m not sure if I correctly remember what everyone cooked!  Black Metal Chef made a spinach potato curry, followed by a dish with udon noodles, seitan, mushrooms and capsicum:

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Yes, he really does cut with this:

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Please forgive the crappy quality of my photos, by the way.

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VBMC signed my guitar pick and took a photo with me.  The photo was for Arthur, he really likes watching VBMC’s videos.  Then Arthur walks around in a deep scary voice saying stuff like “Mummy… cook the tofu… be careful not to burn it…”:

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Terry Hope Romero was up next, making a lovely sounding cashew dressing for her to-be-released-soon cookbook called Salad Samurai.  She also cooked up some tofu which smelled amazing.  I had a seat front and centre, best spot in the house:

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Isa made her red pepper Mac and Cheese recipe, one I am determined to make very very soon.  She also made some breaded tofu which was torture, because by that time I was getting hungry again and the divine smells weren’t helping:

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I had a great night, got that ooooh lovely bass-pumping-out-of-your-chest from the live music, and of course I got to meet Isa and Black Metal Chef (not Terry, waaaah).  I’d say I did pretty well!

 

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Sliiiight skinnying of the arms…

Lemon Blueberry Cake from Isa Does It plus some Isa+Terry PB cookies

We had some company over last week so I decided to make a cake and some biscuits.  The Lemon Blueberry Cake from Isa Does It was the logical choice because the photo looks so scrumptious. Of course, once I started mixing things together I discovered I had no applesauce.  I’m guessing this is why the cake turned out a little too dry but taste wise it was great.  Lovely and lemony!  I didn’t bother with the lemon glaze drizzle because there was enough sugar as it was:

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Arthur has been nagging me forever to make the Peanut Butter Crisscrosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I was in a peanut butter kind of baking mood so I was happy to oblige.  These certainly satisfy a peanut butter cookie craving:

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As a bit of an indulgence (I consider using white flour and sugars an indulgence!) these were great.  The problem with the biscuits was stopping at one… dozen.

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It’s officially autumn! Which means baked treats and decoratey things

Yay! It’s the first day of autumn here.  My favourite time of year, where our grapevine starts sporting those beautiful autumn colours.  When our grapevine gets too long I just trim it all back but, genius of all genius, I’ve realised I can make wreaths from the vines.  I feel proud that in this area I am quite literally millennia behind the times.

I’ve always wanted to decorate my house with seasonal crafts, mostly nature crafts.  The problem is I lack the creativity gene.  My sewing is as basic as you can get.  I lack patience too when I’m learning a new skill because I want to know it all NOW.  I want the autumn colours NOW but everything is still green.  And it makes me hop around all annoyed like and thinking chlorophyll is totally overrated.

DeeW was feeling a little bummed out because Arthur was off at a birthday party, so we made some gingerbread in autumn shapes.  I used the gingerbread cut-outs recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I love my leaf cutter shapes but some of them are rather small and better suited to things like dough craft or cutting out pastry shapes for a pie:

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I have other larger cutters so now we have acorns, apples, teddy bears and a squirrel from an Ikea set.  No icing, there’s enough sugar as it is:

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So many north American blogs I read feature autumn and woodland crafts.  People decorate their homes inside and out with autumnal displays and I sit there reading the blogs all happy like.  I love it and wish things were the same here.  Because autumn ROCKS and I love acorns, though I lack patience to do something lovely like this.  I don’t know about you guys but I just wanna wear this as a sash when I walk down to the shops:

The park near us has some oak trees so DeeW and I went and looked for acorns on the ground, along with other treasures.  Argh, flash!

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I googled for autumn nature crafts and was all stunned at the cute stuff one can make with leaves and acorns.  Remember folks, MILLENNIA behind the times here at ziggurat Veganopoulous.  Look at this sweet little fairy tea set!  I used air drying clay for the saucers, handles and spouts, then used a hot glue gun to stick all the bits together… badly, as the coffee pot will attest:

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I have some more autumn crafts coming up (I hope).  Check back and see how someone totally useless at crafts and sewing fares. And I foresee some apple pies in my near future with pastry leaf cutouts!  And lots of crafty disasters.

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Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies: second attempt ROCKS

So the other day I made the Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies from ‘Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar’, which is Arthur’s favourite cookbook.  I wonder why… Anyway, as I mentioned in that blog post, they turned out way too sweet for me, though my using different sugars may have contributed to that.  I have just started baking with coconut sugar and need to read up on it a little more.

Yesterday I made the recipe again, however this time I halved the amount of sugar and used only coconut sugar.  I also made the blondies gluten free by using Ricki Heller’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (as in, you make this mix up yourself based on Ricki’s recipe).  This time I added in some white choc chips.

These were really very good.  To quote Arthur, “these get a 100% satisfaction rating, even 110%”.  I am so pleased because now I have another treat I can bake,with ingredients like sweet potato and flours like millet and chickpea. I used the exact same amounts of flavourings (vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg) listed in the recipe though I slightly increased the baking powder. They did seem a little drier the next day and more cake like but still very good 🙂

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Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

(subtitled ‘Where Veganopoulous steals from the children’)

Tomorrow we’re going to a small event with a few other families, where the invitation says to bring a plate to share.  I immediately thought of a fruit platter but someone beat me to it.  So my mind wandered to the roast sweet potatoes I’d just pureed and was getting ready to freeze.  I’m going to start using sweet potato more in my baked treats, but that’s a blog post for another day.

Anyway, I remembered a sweet potato recipe from Isa Chandra M”s and Terry Hope R’s ‘Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar’, specifically, the Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies.  I had all the ingredients available except chocolate chips, though these are listed as optional.  I also omitted the pecans (or walnuts) as I avoid using nuts when taking food somewhere involving children, unless I’ve been told nobody present has an allergy and that nuts are okay.  Instead of the nuts and optional choc chips, I added sultanas.

This recipe was super simple to make.  I did change the sugars– I used a combination of coconut sugar and raw sugar.  My cooking time took quite a while longer but I would blame my oven, not the recipe:

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The taste is great and I love the coconut sugar.  But when I cut off the edges to eat them myself, the blondies were just waaay too sweet.  Sweet enough for me to decide not to serve them to kids.  Perhaps changing the sugars is to blame but next time I make these, I’m going to halve the sugar, maybe more.  They do taste good though and I would be happy to make a far less sweet version again to serve to kids (I’d make a gluten free version as well).  I’d probably play around with cutting the oil down as well.