Thursday, September 3, 2015

perfect borscht

Borscht. That gleaming red blood soup. Blood building soup. I lost a lot of blood this year through a couple of different surgeries and needed to rebuild my blood. I have not stopped eating borscht. It is so incredible.

I studied Chinese medicine and Shiatsu last year, full time, and it solidified a lot of other teaching I had sought through out my life. So I went back to healing myself with food, lots of Spleen supporting foods like soup. There will be so so many soup recipes coming.

I experimented with quite a few borscht recipes but this is the best one, trimmed down to the essentials so I could make it quickly. Serve with some tofu sour cream. I also threw in some gnocchi to really bulk this up but when I have time I also make pierogies (recipe coming soon).

adapted from this recipe

3 medium beets, peeled
3 tbsp of nuttelex
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small leek, sliced
1/2 bay leaf
1.5 litres of vegie stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into a small dice
1/2 cabbage shredded (I used homemade sauerkraut when I didn't have fresh)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
a couple of grinds of pepper

1. Dice beets into 1cm cube bites. Melt the Nuttelex in a large pot and soften the onions over a medium heat.

2. Once onions have softened add the carrot, leek, beets and bay leaf and stir well to coat with the marg. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little stock if the bottom gets too dry and the vegies start to stick.

3. Add the stock and potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes then add the cabbage and garlic. Cook for a further 10 minutes,

4. Add the vinegar, sugar, pepper and a pinch of salt to taste. Serve with sour cream and fresh dill.

Monday, August 17, 2015

kimchi buffalo cauliflower with simple slaw

Wow well December 18, 2012 was the last time I posted a recipe on this blog. How time flies. It's close to 3 years later - how ya been?

Things are well with me. Crazy as ever. I've been cooking up a storm the past year and experimenting with lots of different things. Mainly making everything from scratch. Stock, pasta, sauces, preserves - I've been getting my inner Mormon on. It's been wonderful to get back to basics and has improved our health to no end.

We get a box from Ceres each week and I love the ways you have to experiment with using things up. We went through a time when we were getting a lot of cauliflower so here we are.

I tinkered with this original recipe but felt using 2/3 of a cup of hot sauce was such a waste of resources and an expensive ingredient. The amount of kimchi, blended, isn't an exact science but neither is a 'medium head' of cauliflower. Use your judgement if the sauce looks took thin - up it, too much - save some for a dipping sauce.

I should say this didn't go too 'crispy' for me. It was more like sauce covered wings. Still delicious though.

kimchi buffalo cauliflower
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup of chickpea flower
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup of hot sauce
3/4 cup of vegan kimchi

1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees celcius

2. Mix chickpea flour and water to create a batter.  Toss cauliflower in batter, get a good coating on it.

3. Bake cauliflower bites in the oven on a non stick pan - tossing half way through to roast evenly. Repeat battering and roasting process if you would like an even fluffier batter.

4. Toss roasted cauliflower in the hot sauce mix. Bake on baking sheet for 25 minutes. Serve with celery sticks and veganaise.

simple slaw
1 half head of cabbage, shredded (you can use a mixture of cabbages)
2 carrots, shredded
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch salt

1. Toss ingredients together. Use additional seasoning to taste.

Friday, June 6, 2014

yong green food - fitzroy

Raw cheese platter: herbed garlic cashew cheese, nut bread, tamari olives, balasamic figs $20
 Quinoa Fritters: Fried organic quinoa patties, mixed with vegies and spices served with coconut chilli sauce $12.50

Raspberry white chocolate cheesecake: cashew, raspberries, agave, cacao butter, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes $8

Long time no speak. Believe me it's not because I haven't been eating. I moved to Fitzroy 3 months ago and my life consists of making very difficult lunch decisions, daily.

I thought living closer to the city would be so much easier, and it is. But it's also made me lazy. I catch cabs ALL the time now and barely cook anymore. It's lethal to be able to get delivery. Especially from Madame K's.

And yet, time after time, I keep coming back to Yong. It's like a siren song; a lovers call, a mothers embrace. I honestly think Yong is the most interesting and consistently amazing vegetarian restaurant in Melbourne (and yes, I've eaten almost the entire menu at Smith and Daughters).

The raw cheese platter was new in March when I took these photos, so not so new now but hopefully it's still on the menu. Freaking AMAZING. The quinoa patties I wasn't that into, but my wife-for-life who is behind that plate of deliciousness, loved it to death so I include for posterity. Sometimes things just don't get me.

I honestly believe the secret ingredient is love. All of their dishes are so SO considered. They hand make many of their ingredients (including the most delicious kombucha), every flavour packs a punch. Even the plain macro food has that something extra. Soul food. Whenever I feel sad I beeline for their pho. It's like my mums hugs.

All of Yong's dessert are ridiculous. Just go there for dessert. Get dessert takeaway. Get it into your face.

And please check out their nifty website (I don't know when it went live but it has to have been recently). You can sort the menu via dietary requirements. I HAVE NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE. SEE YONG! PIONEERS!

deets: 421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy web: yong green food
 $$: as above

other voices, other times:
metwothree, four, five
green gourmet giraffe
where's the beef?
wayfaring chocolate
in the mood for noodles
hot: mel hot or not
eat and be merry for tomorrow we diet

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

yearly melbourne roundup - music

I just saw this sitting in my drafts. I also wanted to do a yearly gig/music roundup (most of this info is for me to record through the blog). I don't want to rank and file so will just present these gigs are all being awesome (except the Presets - that was a total bummer).

St Vincent and David Byrne (dream come true seeing David Byrne live)
The Drones
Einsturzende Neubauten (Blixa - another dream come true - saw them twice)
My Disco (saw them twice - ATP and Dark Mofo)
The Presets
You Am I
Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes

and my best album of the year was The Knife - Shaking the Habitual. Hit the 2013 tab for my yearly roundup of other thangs. There was plenty of books too - I read about 40 and now I have an ereader I'm reading all new released which is very exciting. Perhaps this year I'll have a new release book list.

the cornish arms - brunswick

vegan double down - two chicken fillets with bacon, cheese, token lettuce leaf, special sauce, slaw and wedges

Definitely file this under "I can't believe I ate the whole thing".

It was actually super delicious - the crispy, spicy batter was unreal and definitely sated that hankering for KFC batter I always have (I know - why?!?!). The slaw was great - fresh, crsipy and creamy. I could have probably done with only a smidge of dressing as I really needed the raw food to help break down the gluten meat. The wedges were so so, nothing special but not boring either.

I'd be interested to know if The Cornish Arms are making their own fillets - as they could halve the size of them and the meal would still be too much food. All in all for a total, disgusting, vegan, it loosely can be labelled food, pig out it was AWESOME. I still feel shame looking at that photo though. Would I do it again? YES but I would share it with someone else.

The Cornish are getting there I feel (food wise) but they totally winning the vibe. It's a lovely local and this was one of my last meals in Brunswick before I moved so its giving me extra warm and clogged artery fuzzies. I will deffo be back to sample some more of their I can't believe its not food.


Reader poll: Does anyone ACTUALLY prefer Toffuti slices to Cheezly? This is a genuine question.

deets:  163A Sydney Road, Brunswick web: the cornish arms
$$: 20

other voices, other times:
where's the beef? one, two
ballroom blintz (the lovely Hayley has already documents our trip)
the goodhearted

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

pun pun - chiang mai

 mushroom tempura with satay and tamarind dipping sauces
sweet and sour vegetables with brown rice

I was pretty pissed by the time I found this little moment of tranquility. And pissed in the American sense of the word.

Lets just say this - I rely on Googlemaps almost entirely when travelling. Of course there are places so remote where it just doesn't work but I wasn't expecting that to be Chiang Mai. I mean I was staying in the jungle in Koh Phengan and the clubs/bars were listed on FOURSQUARE as "Eden Bar - rocky outcrop underneath Bamboo Huts" I mean these are places that don't even have addresses, anyway.

So the day before I cycled out to Pun Pun - about 7 kms out of the city in a pretty industrial area. I knew the second I got there I was in the wrong place. Another place called Pun Pun but not the sustainable, vegetarian cafe I was looking for. Had to cycle back, hungry, another 7kms to have a defeated meal at Bodhi Zen. The Pun Pun I was looking for is not even listed on Googlemaps.

So I had to do some digging. Read a lot of forums, found out that Pun Pun had a large farm at the bottom of the mountain and were recently (well according to the forum) opening up another cafe in a monastery. Well I cycled 10kms to the bottom of the mountain and spent a fruitless hour roaming the streets trying to find this place. Eventually I gave up but read in a forum about the monastery so thought I'd give it a shot as it was on my way back into Old Town. I got there. Fruitlessly cycled around this stupid monastery for about 15 minutes trying to find the cafe, extremely uncomfortable and aware that I was in shorts and a singlet and covered in tattoos of tits. Finally a young monk took pity on me and lead me to where the cafe is.

Later I found out that they had sold the cafe at the bottom of the mountain about a year ago and it's name had changed.. which is why I couldn't find it (though according to their website its new and still there - this is the level of information available generally). This is very very typical of almost all my experiences of trying to find things in Chiang Mai (or they were closed for the holidays).

By then I just couldn't care less. Chiang Mai is a difficult place to get around. Googlemaps does not work, the streets/addresses aren't labelled properly anyway, all the forums are very outdated and directions/comments can't really be trusted. Most businesses do not have websites or if they do they are incredibly outdated. At this point I just decided to stick to Old Town for my remaining few days left in Thailand and eat at places that were open and just try and relax.. because getting around was proving to be fruitless for me.

So to the food. It was incredibly delicious. The menu is vast, interesting and varied. If it wasn't so far from my hotel and I hadn't had such a shit time trying to find it I would have eaten there everyday. The cafe is outdoors entirely, so avoid if raining.

My advice for Chiang Mai is try and find the most up to date information possible. I should have gotten the Nancy Chandler map that Gill mentions in her post. Chiang Mai is very much an analogue city so a printed map would have probably gotten me out of a lot of trouble. Also using locals/tuk tuks would have worked a lot better too I'm guessing - but I prefer to cycle.

Overall definitely hit up the monastery. If you find it first go (which you should now) you will discover a gem in the crown of Chiang Mai. Hopefully it's still open by the time you go.

deets: Wat Suan Dok temple (on Suthep Road between the Suan Dok Gate on the moat and the Chiang Mai University) web: pun pun
$$: was about 200 baht including 2 iced teas (about $7AU)

other voices, other times:
gills blog alerted me to pun pun and many other chiang mai highlights for her

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

code black - brunswick

mille feuille - crispy, glazed puff pastry layered with house made coconut yoghurt, berry jam, orange & berry compote


Code Black, the new main player on the cafe block in Brunswick, has been killing it for some time with their vegan options. All interesting and going way above your beans and avocado fare (though they do have that too if you want it - served with pistachio and chia dukkah).

And by 'new' I mean Code Black has popped up over the year I took a break from blogging but has also firmly supplanted Wide Open Road for me. Wide Open Road's menu really took a dive when they got a new chef on board - I don't connect with the flavours or textures at all. But lets face it, they could be bringing Henry's Beans back in the game and I would find it impossible to resist Code Black's siren song.

The mille feuille was basically what I remembered from my non vegan days, but much more tart with the orange and berry compote. I found the compote too sweet (but I find most things too sweet these days) so perhaps I will ask for half the amount next time. Because there will be a next time, and a time after that and a time after that.

Their coconut yoghurt is impressive. The overall menu is impressive. There's over 10 items on the menu that are fully veganiseable (not just having things taken out - with full flavour and texture considered replacements). Gluten free is also catered for just as well - with a clearly labelled menu. I'm also impressed with their use of beans, wholegrains and chia seeds, all filling proteins - you never feel hungry or cheated eating at Code Black.

The only downer is the service. Everyone is friendly enough and you get seated quickly even when there is a line out the door but there is a consistent lack of care. Two times previously I had to send my meal back because it was almost cold, compared to my companions pipping hot one. This time I ordered a soy chai (with the vegan mille feuille, so double cue) but was served a milk chai, that's fine accidents happen. Then I got the soy chai which was luke warm at best, I couldn't flag anyone down within 5 minutes so had to walk up to the counter myself and get a new one. The new one came but it was just warm, not hot. I gave up.

Also one final bummer were the three vases on our communal table. The water looked like it hadn't been changed in a week - there was stank, mould and scum all up the insides of the vases and on the flowers. We had to make a concerted effort not to look at then. When I mentioned it to the waitress she brightly said "yes! they haven't come in about a week, it looks gross doesn't it!" *facepalm*.

deets: 15-17 Weston Street, Brunswick web: Code Black Coffee
$$: 13.90

other voices, other times: 
where's the beef? , two

Sunday, February 2, 2014

bodhi zen - chiang mai

 chinese style wok greens with tofu
fried rice with bbq mushroom "meat"

I spent two weeks of the Christmas break in Thailand. It was magical. Completely magical. I have never had such an instant love affair with a country. The last 5 days was spent in Chiang Mai, which is a shame really - I should have done it in reverse as mostly everything was closed in the first week of January.

I spent most days riding kms out of Old Town to places that were shut for the holidays. In the end I gave up and just ate in and around Old Town, getting foot massages, sleeping and reading a lot.

I ate at Bodhi Zen almost every day. It was also the point in my trip where I had been living on Starbucks and white sticky rice for almost a week (I don't know why I eat so terribly sometimes when I'm travelling) so I was in dire need of just plain food (vegetables and rice). Bodhi Zen filled this need very well.

Wander in from the front dining room, climb the rickety stairs to the top and its a really lovely, huge open dining room. The menu has many different cuisines - most I was unwilling to try (being I just wanted plain food). Reviews are mixed on Foursquare and Trip Advisor but I would recommend going. More Chiang Mai posts to come.

Gills post on Chiang Mai was invaluable. It's such a shame I was unble to do almost all of the things because they were closed! I'm looking forward to going back to Chiang Mai. I think you need to spend 2-3 weeks there just exploring the north. It was a great taster anyway.

deets: 18/5 Ratvithi Rd., T.Sriphum web: no website
$$: all meals we're under 200 baht (including a couple of drinks) 

other voices, other times:
 dining out in chiang mai 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

yearly melbourne roundup - film

Second last list for 2013. There's still quite a few films I want to see but I don't consider them top five contenders (except for maybe Rush - with how much enthusiasm Hayley had for it, and Only God Forgives.) I didn't have much patience for film this year. I don't know why.

Couple that with doing the smallest amount of films I've ever done at MIFF (11) and it was a light film year. But not light on magic. 

2013 - 38 (2012 - 51,  2011 - 59)
silver linings playbook
your sisters sister
cloud atlas
the imposter
sleep walk with me
my best day
mood indigo
valentine road
what maisie knew
the punk singer
The canyons
vic+flo saw a bear
frances ha
I am divine
much ado about nothing
monster pies
behind the candelabra
side effects
blue jasmine
the bling ring
alpha papa
the paperboy
the worlds end
enough said
american hustle
star trek into darkness

left to watch
(beyond the hills, the way way back, the stranger by the lake, kill your darlings, august osage county, 12 years a slave, the railway man, the secret life of walter mitty, philomena, trance, blue is the warmest colour, only god forgives, short term 12, mud, rush, captain phillips)

drum roll.

  1. frances ha

2. gravity

Hilariously Bret Easton Ellis posted on Twitter he knew the person involved in audience testing and the number one feedback comment was "where was the monster?".

3. behind the candelabra

Here's a piece I wrote earlier on it.

4. much ado about nothing

This list is typical "me". I probably could have written at the beginning of the year bar Gravity. Tempted to put the new Star Trek in there as well as it was totally kick ass. But it makes me happy that all my faves are still creating completely gorgeous work. And smashing it as well. This is all their best work to date. And sadly Sodeberghs last.

I've stopped writing worst five because Id prefer to talk about what I think is good and just ignore the rest but I need to say that both David O Russells films this year were utterly utterly boring. SNOOZEFEST. American Hustle was even bordering on completely shit, Silver Linings wasnt devoid of charm but I'm at a loss as to why the mentally ill have to always redeem themselves through dance. His films are LAZY. What a waste of time and energy. /rant.

Friday, January 24, 2014

yearly melbourne roundup - telle

I watched an insane amount of television last year. I spent almost 3 months in bed, that's a lot of tv watching time. I had no patience for film as you'll find out soon:

hit and miss (season 1)
dowton abbey (3 seasons)
house of cards (twice)
top of the lake
the walking dead (4 seasons)
mad men (season 6)
ru pauls drag race (season 4 and all stars)
the check out
veep (season 1 and 2 twice)
game of thrones (season 2 again, season 3)
dead set
black mirror (season 1 (again) season 2 (twice))
how tv ruined your life
the fabulous beekman boys
a touch of cloth (rewatched 1, 2)
girls (season 2)
the killing (danish version - season 1)
american horror story (asylum and coven)
battlestar galactica (2-4 - finally finished it after 3 years)
Family tree
firefly (again)
True blood (season 6)
freaks and geeks (season 1)
louie (3 seasons)
news radio (3 seasons)
the kids in the hall (rewatched all 5 seasons)
saxondale (rewatched 2 seasons)
weeds (ALL 8 SEASONS)
dexter (season 8)

My top five new shows (though I haven't watched a lot I would probably consider contenders for this list based on my friends recs - namely Masters of Sex, Broadchurch, The Americans, The Fall):

1. Rectify

Stunning. Jaw dropping. The first television series from the Sundance channel and it's the same kind of exhilaration you felt with Six Feet Under - like this shit is changing tv forever, for real.  And Aden Young is so ridiculously hot I thought I was actually going to die, I was dreaming about him constantly. This is submerged. A whisper, a ghost. It's primal, and has so many shocking and amazing moments in it I felt like I was going to cry and puke all at the same time. I'm pretty jaded people. So for something to actually blow my mind is incredible. Watch.

2.  Top of the Lake

Holy Hunter is officially my power animal. I can't talk about this without contorting my face and bursting into tears. Beauty. Forever.

3. Orange Is the New Black

A prison drama consisting of mainly lesbian characters AND NATASHA LYONNE. This was always going to be a contender but it was so much more than that. The scene where Piper is in shu and gives the speech to Healy I have never felt more culturally vindicated EVER than that moment. I was screaming. So good I watched the whole thing twice. And  then finally bit the bullet and watched all 8 seasons of Weeds because Jenji Kohan.

4. House of Cards

Kevin Spacey deliciousness. I'm not into White House dramz but this was insanely good and even better on a second viewing. Can we just take a moment for Robyn Wright? I mean really. Absolutely incredible. Season 2 February 14.. I know who's going to be MY valentine.

5. And this place is hard to define as technically I only have one more brand new show I watched and that was Family Tree - the new HBO show for Christopher Guest which I enjoyed immensely. Good ole Guest is getting sentimental in his old age. But also I guess technically ASH Coven is a new show as its an entirely different setting and characters each season... AND IT IS SOO GOOD, I mean Angela Bassett jesus. And then finally Ru Pauls All Stars - again not technically a new season but also not continuing from the original. Season 6 is about to start - start your engines.

So finally in terms of old tv with new seasons - Mad Men definitely had their best season yet, it was so SUBTLE, so much AMAZING psychodrama especially between Betty and Don. LOVED IT. Dexter season finale was a serious fail, Louie was a joy to finally get into (I had watched Lucky Louie and HATED IT so never went back into Louie amazingness). Finally finishing Battlestar Galactica I feel like I should get a medal.

And of course my Charlie Brooker obsession deepened this year - I really liked season 2 of Black Mirror (not as much as the first) and the second episode of A Touch of Cloth had me CRYING - found this awesome interview with him at the Edinburgh TV Festival (he is such an adorable, bumbling, genius).  How Videogames Changed the World, Weeklywipe and 2013 Wipe all brilliant. I hope he never stops - he seems to be going from strength to strength. I finally watch Dead Set this year and absolutely died over it. But any man who sets up a very very serious drama about the Prime Minister having to fuck a pig on television wins my heart forever.

And last of all... Andy, ANDY BOTWIN. I have never had a character completely steal my heart as his stoner jewish muffin bum. Andy Botwin forever.

Would love to hear any recommendations if you got em xx
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