Sunday, 29 January 2012

Green Chilli Tandoori, Clifton Hill

Green Chilli is my favourite place to order from on a lazy hungover Sunday when there are no fresh veggies in the house and no motivation to get out and buy some. These guys are very friendly and super-helpful when it comes to identifying what on the menu can be made vegan. My favourite thing on the menu is the Mushroom Karahi - it is super-flavourful, nice and rich and the mushrooms have a great texture to them - it's kind of like Indian comfort food.

My new second-favourite menu item is the Pumpkin Masala. I ordered this for the first time recently, and it is lovely. The pumpkin is cooked perfectly - sweet and tender and lightly spiced. The roti (no butter) is as good as roti with no butter can be, and even better if I add a bit of Nuttelex while it is still warm.


The pakora is very nice - not too much batter, so it's not too heavy...and goes great with the provided tamarind sauce. The rice is perfectly cooked - light and fluffy. Their prices are more than reasonable, the price of a veg curry being only $8.90. They deliver at the same time they say they will, delivery is free, they bring the food in an esky to keep it warm, they label the vegan items and they put the vegan food in a separate bag. Yeah, I love these guys.


Green Chilli's website does not seem to be operating as of yet, so the only way to have a look at the menu is to go past and grab one. They are located at 149 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill. Their number is 9481 2345, and they're open seven days a week from 17:30.

Green Chilli Tandoori on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Raspberry Balsamic Sparkle Pie

One of the lovely presents my mum sent me for Christmas was a copy of the amazing Vegan Pie in the Sky. Luckily I had a dinner party to attend last weekend, and so had an excuse to make pie! Firstly, I will tell you how difficult it is to find pie-making supplies in Melbourne. I couldn't find a 9" pie tin to save my life, and everyone seemed to be out of or non-stocking of pastry cutters. So I had to settle for a small disposable pie tin from Coles and a knife to make my lattice. It turned out fine in the end, but I will be scouting out for proper supplies this week.

The pie I chose was the Pucker Up Raspberry Pie - it consisted mainly of a whole lot of frozen raspberries and some balsamic vinegar. The vinegar seemed to heighten the raspberry flavour, making the pie "very raspberry-y" (according to a friend). It was very simple to make, with only 10 ingredients in the whole thing. The filling was so sparkly and yummy-looking! It tasted great, too.


I have no hope of finding a crust protector in the shops, so I had to make my own from foil.


I'm looking forward to making lots more yummy pastry items in the future!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Middle Easterny Vegetable Stack with Cannellini Bean Mash and Polenta

Though a bit of preparation is involved in this dish, but it's easy preparation and fairly pleasant as well. It's great for a healthy weeknight dinner! Serves two.


  • A bunch of polenta, prepared

For the vegetables:

  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1/8 of a pumpkin
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander (ground)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt
  • pepper

For the beans:

  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 2 small cloves or 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup liquid vegetable stock
  • a tbsp or so of olive oil

First, follow the directions on the pack to make the polenta, using half a cup of the dried stuff. When cooked, pour into your favourite vessel and spread it around the until it is even on top. (I used a bread tin) When it has stopped steaming, put it in the fridge and forget about it for awhile.

To make the vegetables, slice the pumpkin into large squares or triangles, the eggplant and onion into large circles and the zucchini into long strips. Leave the mushrooms whole. Place all on a baking sheet in one layer. Lightly salt. Next, make up a solution of the olive oil and the coriander, cumin and chili powder. Brush onto all the veggies and put your tray(s) in the oven. Cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes to an hour. The zucchinis need only around 20 minutes. While your veggies are cooking, make the beans.


These beans are modeled after the beans served at A Minor Place. They may look simple, but they are awesome! First, drain and rinse your cannellini or white beans. Put them into a medium-sized saucepan and add the vegetable stock, garlic and olive oil. Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes, mashing with a fork every ten minutes or so. They are done when they are the consistency of guacamole - not pureed, but nice and soft and mashed. If they're too liquidy, continue to cook and mash until they thicken up.

Get your polenta from the fridge and slice. Fry the slices in a frypan with a bit of spray oil (and flip!) until they are nice and crispy on both sides.

When your veggies are cooked, assemble your plate. Stack your veggies with the mushroom on the bottom (I hid my zucchini because I cooked them too long and they lost their beautiful green colour!), make a pile of white beans with a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sumac. Throw the polenta on the plate and you're ready to go.


Garnish with a handful of rocket leaves if you have some. I served mine with a wedge of lemon and side of oven-roasted cherry tomato halves with olive oil and balsamic, for a bit of extra acidity.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Yong Green Food

Yong Green Food is just over a year old and still going strong. We stopped in a couple of Saturdays ago before a friend's birthday drinks to grab something to eat. The last time I was there I was so overwhelmed by the many interesting choices on the menu that I didn't know what to order. This time I was so hungry that I just picked the first thing that I saw - the Teriyaki "Chicken". My bf picked the Korean BBQ "Beef".

Our food came out very quickly and it looked GOOD. The chicken was cooked and then smothered in a really light but flavourful teriyaki sauce and served on top a large bed of brown rice. It was accompanied by some steamed cauliflower, carrot and broccoli. Despite the large portion of gluteny mock-meat, this dish tasted very fresh and healthy. The only thing I could improve would be if the veggies matched the temperature of the rest of the food - the cauliflower and carrot were almost cold. (I think it was intentional but kind of strange nonetheless.)


My bf's beef dish was equally as yummy. The cold kimchi was served on the side and was very tasty.


The beef had a great texture and flavour and was also accompanied by veggies, salad and a decent amount of brown rice.


We were very happy with the meal - it was quickly served, healthy, yummy and a fair price. (Combined, the total was less than $30.) I was up for dessert but wasn't really in the mood for raw cheesecake so we stopped by the Vegie Bar and inhaled some of their beautiful vegan chocolate cake. Despite what Tom Stanislavski seems to think, the suburb of Fitzroy is well capable of spoiling a vegan for choice.

Yong Green Food on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Last weekend the bf and I ventured out of the house for breakfast. We tried Mixed Business but they were still closed for the holidays. The next closest cafe being Mitte, we headed there. I was hoping to find some avocado on toast and, lucky for me, they had some on the menu! (I believe the only other vegan option on the menu besides toast is fruit salad sans yoghurt.) We ordered some coffees and waited for our meals to arrive. It took ages, as the place was so busy people were waiting around 15 minutes to get a table. There's not room for much more than two waitstaff, and I can't imagine their kitchen being very large, so I wasn't really bothered by the wait.


When the food finally came, my dish was a perfectly acceptable half an avocado sprinkled with flake salt and ground pepper, with a small bowl of dijon mustard, two wedges of lemon and three slices of various organic sourdough breads. The breads were lovely and my tummy was filled by the time I was finished eating, but for $10, I would prefer to spend slightly more and get the yummy beans at Mixed Business - it's just a more interesting brekkie for the price.

Mitte on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Vegan Brunch

I love brunch. I love everything to do with brunch - I love mushroom, I love hashbrown, I love coffee. I love toast, I love onion, I love waffles. That is why Vegan Brunch is probably the best cookbook in the world. If I have a lazy weekend morning and happen to have some soft tofu in the fridge, I will. make. that. omelet. This morning it turned out nearly perfect - not too thick, not too thin, cooked to perfection and with some of that awesome Sheese-brand smoked cheddar and balsamic-cooked veggies.


Served with my Dolly Parton mug filled with instant coffee and it's Weekend Heaven. (That's a new place, I just discovered it.)



Thursday, 12 January 2012

Homemade Tofu-Mushroom Burger That Actually Tastes Good

Though I've been vegan for about 12 years, I have never attempted to make a veggie burger at home. I have no idea why. I also don't know why the mood suddenly struck to try it out. (It might have something to do with my new food processor making it easier to make almost everything!) This burger actually turned out very well, without much trial and error at all. It is also (aside from the frying) quite healthy. My bf even said he liked this better than any store-bought version!

The first batch I made was without the egg replacer as a binder and the burgers did not stay together all that well. (To be honest, they fell apart all over the place!) The egg replacer worked well as a binder, but you could probably use other alternatives (ground flaxseed, etc.) as well. Makes about 6-8 burgers.


  • 225g medium-soft tofu 
  • 3 med-large portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 stalks spring onion, sliced
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs plus extra as needed
  • egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
  • 2 drops liquid smoke
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts or sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp dried vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs

Combine the tofu, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until mixed well and ingredients are well combined.  Add liquid smoke, herbs, vinegar, veggie stock and breadcrumbs and mix with a spoon or spatula until well combined. Add egg replacer and stir again until combined. Fold in shredded carrot, sliced spring onion, and sesame seeds. If the mixture seems too wet at this point, add more breadcrumbs.

Allow the mix to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so.

Using breadcrumbs so the mixture doesn't stick to your fingers, roll out balls about two inches in diameter, then flatten to form a patty. Fry with some vegetable oil and serve on a bun with a side of pickles. Some toppings I have tried with this burger:

  • a sauce mixture of vegan mayo, dijon mustard and horseradish
  • homemade tomato relish
  • homemade beetroot relish
  • avocado
  • caramelised onions
  • tomato from my garden
  • spinach


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Snag Stand, Melbourne Central - UPDATED

Update: I received an e-mail from a Snag Stand rep regarding my review. I would probably return for another try if they did decide to add a vegan menu option:

Hi Louise,

I have read your blog about the service offered at our Melbourne store and would like to apologise on their behalf for not offering any further help with the menu.

In regard to our Vegetarian offer I would like to clarify further,
We import our Vegetarian Sausages from the USA because these were the best, that do not pretend to be meat with great flavour and texture. The intent was to offer a range of Vegetarian Haute Dogs
While we have recently been aware of the vegan approved status of this sausage we are yet to develop a Vegan Haute dog. Initially something that not considered given the volume meat product on our menu.
At present the only item that is certified Vegan approved is our vegetarian sausage while all other relative items are considered Vegan friendly.  I must admit that I do not know whether this fact is of importance to yourself and the Vegan population and would certainly welcome your feedback on this.
Current confirmed Vegan friendly menu items are below

Gluten Free Bread
Vegetarian Sausage – Apple, Potato, Sage and Ginger – ( Spicy Chipotle version arriving soon )
Baby Rocket
Semi Dried Tomatoes
Greek Salsa-Tomatoes, Olive Tapenade, Red onions
Fresh Tomato Salsa – Fresh tomatoes and seasoning
Heinz Tomato Ketchup
Beerenberg Tomato sauce
Fig Balsamic glaze
Gherkin Relish
Beetroot Relish

If you wish to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact me
Kind Regards

Grayson Forbes
Store / Operations Manager

After reading on Where's the Beef? that Snag Stand did vegan sausages, I was excited to see if they matched up to the LOTF Chicago Dog I tried a few weeks ago. I didn't get the chance to find out.

I asked for a veggie sausage to be done vegan, and after a quick discussion with her colleague, the lady taking the orders told me the sausages are vegan but the mushrooms and onions are cooked in butter. I wasn't offered any other options and frankly (pun intended), if the employees have so much trouble understanding what is vegan, I would be reluctant to sample anything. (Why even bother having vegan dogs if you can't actually cater for vegans??)


In the end, my meat-eating companion told me his dog wasn't worth $10 and he preferred the Lord of the Fries option. I popped a note in their feedback box and we decided the next time we're in the mood for some hot dogs, we will visit LOTF or try the new Massive Wieners in Prahran.

Snag Stand on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 5 January 2012


I couldn't wait to try out my new food processor on a batch of pesto. Thinking today about the pesto I would make in the evening, I decided I wanted to include some extra protein and iron to make this pesto a super-healthy, super-yummy sauce for pasta. (Of course, it can also be used as a dip or a pizza base as well!) Makes enough for six serves of pasta.


  • 1 can of cannellini beans (400g can)
  • 1/2 can of butter beans (half of a 400g can)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup liquid vegetable stock
  • 1 heaping cup basil leaves
  • 1 giant handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like your garlic!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 100g pine nuts
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste if necessary)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (plus more to taste if necessary)

Put the cannelinni beans, half the stock, garlic, basil and spinach into your food processor and pulse a few times until it is blended together. Pour in your olive oil, pine nuts, butter beans, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. At this point, you can add more vegetable stock to obtain your desired level of creaminess. If you find the stock is too watery, just blend in some more beans and it should even it out.


To add something extra to the dish, I threw some quartered button mushrooms into a pan with a bit of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar and let them cook for about 40 minutes in the oven on low heat, stirring every 10-15 minutes. I served these on top of the pasta and sauce, with a side of corn and a piece of garlic bread.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Summertime Soba Noodle Salad

After a month's absence, I am back. I had a lovely month of Dolly Parton, Uni reunions, Christmas parties and a trip to Tasmania. It was so busy - I hardly had time to cook (much less cook anything interesting!) so I didn't have much to post. Hopefully now that things are a bit quieter (and I am up one awesome food processor!) I can get back into it. In my last post I mentioned an upcoming "Picnic Fortnight" - this will be delayed until I know I have enough time to do it properly.

Today it is 40' Celsius outside (that's around 104' fahrenheit), and though I am sitting in my nice cool house watching movies, it is still lovely to eat a nice cold meal rather than something hot. Here is one of my favourite summertime recipes, also great for picnics!

Ingredients for the "salad":

1 pkg soba noodles (3 bundles)
1/2 block tofu (the fresh kind from Asian grocers), drained, pressed, then cubed
1 small red capsicum, thinly sliced
4 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp peanuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
a few grinds of black pepper
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Ingredients for the "dressing":

2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
splash of light soy sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green chili pepper, thinly sliced

Cook the soba noodles as per the directions on the package. Once cooked, rinse them with cold water and set aside to fully drain. In the meantime, chop your veggies and compile your sauce. For the sauce, just combine all the wet ingredients by whisking them together. Add the garlic and chili, stirring to combine.

Put the drained and cooled soba noodles in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with a bit of sesame oil and toss with a fork, until the noodles are lightly coated in oil. Throw in the red pepper and green onion and toss again. Now pour in your dressing, little by little, until it coats the noodles. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for a few hours. You can eat it sooner, but it tastes best when it has had a chance to cool and the flavours have had a chance to combine. 

Once it has been in the fridge for a bit, I would recommend trying some and adding extra soy/vinegar/lime/etc. to taste. Before serving, toast your peanuts and sesame seeds in a small frypan - garnish with this, black pepper and coriander.