Tuesday, 25 October 2016

[singapore] well dressed salad bar [chinatown]

I'm in Singapore at the moment, on a three month residency. I've totally been failing at keeping you updated, but I promise I have been eating a lot of amazing vegan food.

Well Dressed Salad Bar is an all vegetarian, mostly vegan cafe on South Bridge Street, down near Kreta Ayer end. It specialises in salads, of which I've had zero. It is, however, about half an hour walk from where I'm based, so I've been going there a bit.

On my first visit, I was all by myself. I chose the curry with rice and 'chips'. The curry was spicy and excellent. The rice was fine (I smushed it all into that bowl of curry). The chips are nori strips coated in what I think is besan, and then fried. I must eat them all, immediately, and plan on making them ASAP (ie, as soon as I get to my kitchen in Australia). I had with this a fresh watermelon juice, and I took home a slice of chocolate brownie cake. They have a window of cakes at the entry, and it's full of terrible temptations that I can never move past.

On my second visit I brought a friend. I was feeling under nourished, mostly due to the large amount of stir fried noodles I tend to eat for breakfast and lunch (more on that in a subsequent post about my love of hawker centres and the fact that Singaporeans don't use their kitchens), so I had the udon noodle bowl. This was a really simple bowl of udon noodles with fresh soy beans, purple cabbage, carrot, lettuce and shredded nori. To go with this I had a juice that contained beetroot. Long time friends (and new friends, in fact), will note that I loathe beetroot, but I talked myself into this juice and it was actually really beautiful, a combination of apple, beetroot, carrot and something else that I can't quite recall at the moment.

I finished the meal off with this AMAZING avocado, brownie and choc chip ice cream cake, which was served with a chocolate sauce and a few small pieces of fruit. When this ice cream was described to me, I was expecting more of a chocolate thing, and so when it came out I was very worried about it. Whenever I hear about ice cream with avocado in it, I think about that time Cindy and Michael made avocado ice cream and I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to . So I was concerned! However it turns out I needn't have worried, as this was delicious and I would DEFINITELY eat it again. My only wish is that there'd been more fruit to go with it.

On this occasion I took home a slice of passionfruit cake, which was light and lovely with a tart passionfruit syrup on the top. A++ would eat again.

On my third visit it was specifically to pick up a box of donuts. Once a month Zenna takes orders (over instagram) for donuts. They're six to a box, minimum six for an order, $2 per donut. The flavours vary every month. I went for 2 x dark chocolate almond, 2 x oreo, 1 x blueberry and 1 x dark chocolate cranberry. Every mouthful was a delight! I hope I'm here still for my final order. Because they're mini donuts, it was no trouble for me to polish them all off, and they made up slightly for missing World Vegan Day in Melbourne over the weekend.

Since I was there anyway, and I'd been tortured by two hours of family time with no actual food I can eat (My Auntie told another vego the popiah were vegetarian; spoilers, he spat it into the bin cos there was prawns IN POPIAH), I paused for dinner. The all day breakfast comes with coconut waffles, housemade sausages (containing rosemary), housemade vegan feta, avocado, tomatoes, AMAZING mushrooms, and totally unnecessary alfalfa. It's accompanied by a juice or soup. Obviously I went with juice, because it's the best, and obviously I chose watermelon, because watermelon juice, freshly squeezed, in Southeast Asia, is one of life's true joys. The waffles were savoury, the feta was pleasantly salty, and the mushrooms were juicy, pan-fried portabellos, and oh how I have missed them. So that was very nice, too.

Well Dressed is a little pricy by Singapore standards, but the service is fast, everyone is friendly, and there's lots of vegetables served in raw and interesting ways, which is not necessarily how you get vegetables in Singapore. I probably shouldn't eat there twice a week, but it is very nice.

Well Dressed Salad Bar
282 South Bridge Road
Chinatown (South of Sri Mariamman Temple)

There are a variety of buses that stop on North Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, or the Chinatown MRT is about a 7 minute walk. There's a step to enter the shop. The unisex toilet is down the back of the shop but from memory it's accessible. Takes credit card yay.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

[canberra] a bite to eat

I was skeptical about the menu at A Bite To Eat, until I got to the little bit about almost all dishes being able to be made vegan on request, and I decided to take them up on that offer.

I ordered the Raja, a mild coconut curry, eggplant, broccoli, sticky rice, with chilli, coriander and crispy onion. It comes with poached eggs but I don't remember what they replaced it with, in part because I was so distracted by the rice - it's a crispy sticky rice. It's sticky rice that I think has been compressed and lightly fried, and it is the greatest rice side I have ever experienced, please let me eat it again immediately.

The hash brown on the side is house made and vegan, which is so unusual and also delightful and delicious.

The coffee (2 x soy flatties) was smooth and delicious and perfectly warmed (not burnt), and the service was lovely, and my friends enjoyed their meals (meaty, both), and we sat in the winter sun for three hours and didn't get kicked out, and everything was delightful.

A Bite To Eat
Shop 8, Eggleston Crescent, Chifley
Our Nation's Fair Capital

I was driven there by a friend
Ramp to enter
Eftpos available
I didn't check the toilets

Saturday, 6 August 2016

[Maylands] Little Shop of Plenty

This is my first ever entry in Maylands! That's because there's never been really great vego options in the area, though, so I'm super excited that I can make this post!

This afternoon I met my cousin near his house and we ventured in the rain to the Little Shop of Plenty, this lovely-sized cafe on Railway Parade directly opposite from Maylands station.

The Little Shop of Plenty is vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free. The menu is very paleo and raw heavy, which is fine but it was raining and the weather made me want something more hearty and warm. So I was excited to discover Huevos Mk II ($18.50) on the menu. This defaults to egg, but the staff told me that the specials are almost always veganisable. So my huevos rancheros featured tempeh (to replace the eggs), spiced corn meal hash, black beans, corn, tomato salsa, avocado cashew cream sauce, fresh chilli, fresh coriander, and it was so delicious I ate all the coriander despite hating coriander. It was so good. SO GOOD. I only wish there was more avocado cream, but I suppose I can't have everything I ever want.

I also drank a beautiful almond matcha latte ($6.50, I'm in Perth, that's totally reasonable). I don't think they were using a whisk, but it still had a beautiful smooth flavour.

The staff was really lovely and friendly and delightful; the cafe sells metal and glass straws about which I am chuffed; and I will definitely meander back through on my visits to Perth.

The Little Shop of Plenty
217 Railway Parade, Maylands

Get there on the Midland Line to Maylands Station
Ramp is default entry
Eftpos available
Didn't check the toilets
Well lit (day visit only)

Sunday, 15 May 2016


I'm a little bit obsessed with this jambalaya that I modded from The Gumbo Pages. No photo because it's not attractive, but it's so tasty and not that involved and makes heaps and it's so good. SO GOOD. Being Azn-Australian I dunno how proper/right my version ended up being, but it was really tasty so here's hoping.

Vegan Jambalaya
modified from Creole-style vegetarian jambalaya at The Gumbo Pages

Takes just over an hour; serves 8-10 portions.

half cup olive oil
1 brown onion, diced small
1 red onion, diced small
1 red capsicum, diced small
half butternut pumpkin, peeled, cubed
2 carrots, diced small
2 cups worth of sweet potato, washed but not peeled, cubed
1 zucchini, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tins crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chilli paste (or MORE if you think your housies won't notice)
some paprika
some salt
half teaspoon dried thyme
half teaspoon oregano
4 cups jasmine rice
several cups vegetable stock (6-8)
half cup tomato paste
300 g soft tofu, cubed
3 vege sausages, chopped

Heat the oil over medium heat, add onions and garlic and saute for five in SO MUCH OIL; then add capsicum, pumpkin, carrot, potato, zucchini for another five. Then add all the spices and the bayleaves, fry up, then add the tomato paste, followed by a bit of stock to deglaze. Add all the tomatoes, bring to a boil, then add the stock and the rice and the tofu and the vege sausages.

If you don't have a pot big enough to contain ALL OF THIS DELIGHT, leave the rice out, and just add as much stock as needed to cover what's in the pot. When you're prepping your rice in your rice cooker, add a scoop from your cooking pot to the rice water. This will help carry some of the flavour across.

Cook the mix for about 35 minutes, without stirring (this is especially important if the rice is in the pot!).

Remove from the heat and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

kylie kwong's cripsy skin duck (for cny)

For the end of the Chinese New Year festivities, I wanted to go fancy and ridiculous, so I veganised Crispy Skin Duck with Blood Plum Sauce from Kylie Kwong's heart and soul book. It was so good. SO GOOD.

I especially wanted to go duck because CNY isn't the same without duck. When I went home for the first night of CNY this year, my fam and all the meat-eating family friends got to eat duck, and I don't want to miss out on that luck! (In CNY symbolism, duck means fidelity, but also duck in Australia is expensive so sometimes it's wealth via showing off)

I made a bunch of modifications, mostly because a) the shape of vegan cake, and b) I couldn't find blood plums anywhere that day. But I will definitely be making this again and again and again. I want to try it with a bit less liquid and turned into duck pancakes, and I want to eat it on its own, just like this again.

Also at this party: Cindy and Michael made lo bak go and peanut cookies.


a vegan duck (i used a 800g one from the cruelty free shop)
1 tablespoon sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons salt
a bunch of plain flour
veggie oil

the sauce!
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
250g ripe blood plums (I used oranges - kylie says the order is blood plums, blood oranges, oranges)
2/3 cup fish sauce (I use Vincent's vegan fish sauce) (I would use less of this next time - too liquidy)
6 whole star anise
2 cinnamon quills
juice of 2 squished limes

what to do

Grind together sichuan peppers and salt until it becomes a 麻辣 salt. Rub the salt into the duck, and leave to marinade in it for a few hours.

Bring water and sugar to the boil, reduce to simmer for five minutes. After it's reduced a little, add plums/oranges (quartered if plums, eighths if oranges), fish sauce, and spices and simmer for a few more minutes. Kylie says just to simmer for one minute but I wanted to reduce it a little more. Stir through the lime juice and take the whole thing off the heat.

Slice your duckie into fingers, and toss in flour. Heat vegetable oil in wok until a clean chopstick pressed to the bottom starts to bubble. (This is a family trick to tell if the oil is hot enough) Deep fry a few pieces at a time until they're crispy and looking good, then drain a little. Arrange prettily and spoon the sauce over it. Don't through it over in an ugly mess because you're in a hurry, as I was.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

[fitzroy] pavlov's duck

Just a quick one before I mosey on off through to Singapore for family time. Visited Pavlov's Duck for a quick breakfast on Sunday. I'd forgotten that PD does hoppers on weekends and public holidays, so this was a delightful and fairly straightforward order.

Crisp hoppers (3) with beautiful squishy base, a lovely and slightly spicy dahl, marinated and caramelised onions (chilled). The hoppers are cooked at the front of the cafe, so you pass them as you come in, and how can you resist their charms? (You can't.)

A delicious addition to my South Asian weekends (dosa at Mukka). All I need now is for someone to make idli and I'll be content.

Previous visit: the pol roti

Pavlov's Duck
401 Smith Street

Entry is via a little step, ordering occurs at a high counter. Eftpos available. We didn't check out the toilets.
Get there on the 86 tram (not an accessible stop), the Rose Street stop.
The website is hard to read

Friday, 6 November 2015

[fitzroy] mukka indian restaurant

I can't even be reasonable in this review, for tonight I did the thing Australia so often fails to give me:

Dosa a short walk from house. Look at that beautiful thing. Crispy all the way, a heavy and spiced masala aloo, and a dal sambar that was so good I kept eating after all the dosa was gone - which I never do!

And the mark of a good dosa is how sad I am when I'm finished it and there's no more, though I'm full to bursting and shouldn't eat anything else. (I was sad indeed)

Housemates Bella and Alex were first time dosa eaters, and were both very happy with their dosa. Bella had the masala dosa also (listed on the menu as the 'classic'); Alex had the eggplant and pea dosa, which I briefly sampled and had a very mild smokey flavour.

Our eyes were massive, so I insisted on ordering the vegetable biryani and a dish of momo for sharing also. The biryani was excellent, interestingly minty but very moreish. The momo were also excellent and I will eat them again for sure.

I also had a mango and pistachio cooler, which is basically a lassi but with almond milk. I chose to have mine with added coconut rum. It was good but it wasted precious tummy space. Maybe on a beautiful summer evening.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free are all clearly labeled on the menu. The staff are really friendly, and as Mukka just opened, they're having a discount until 12 November. I plan to eat there this Sunday lunch time, not cos there's a special but because dosa for lunch is one of the greatest reasons to exist on this planet.

I just made my mum jealous on the phone by describing to her in loving detail the distance between my house and this dosa. (Always remember that the way to make a Malaysian mother annoyed is to tell her you're having better food than her)

My only complaint is that I wish the biryani was a little spicier. D:

Mukka Indian Restaurant
365 Brunswick Street

Totally failing at remembering if there's a step to get in. Low tables, mixture of stools and chairs with back. Inside is well lit, ordering happens at the table. Payment over a high counter. Toilet is down a dark narrow path. Takes cards and cash.

Get there on the 96 or the 12 tram. Please don't bring a car into Fitzroy if you can help it, it's so annoying.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

kering tempe

My housemates think I'm levelling up in tempeh, but what's actually happening is that I'm getting more South East Asian in my tempeh prep and cooking. It's so great! Let me tell you how.

Tempe kering (or kering tempe) is just tempeh that has been shallow fried and deliciously flavoured. The important elements are to slice the tempeh thin, to fry it in heaps of oil at a high temperature, and to add a delicious flavour with it.

One of my favourite comfort foods is pictured here to the left, a more traditional kering tempe served as part of comfort food maggi mee. To cook this I started frying the tempe in a whole lot of sunflower oil (which is my favourite vegetable oil at the moment). After I'd done both sides once, I added a paste mixture comprising of grated palm sugar, kecap manis, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin and chilli. Sometimes I use fresh stuff and pound it together, and sometimes I just use a whole lot of already ground ingredients. I usually guess proportions based on my mood, but about a teaspoon of each and a whole lot of kecap manis to go with about half a pack of tempeh.

To be totally traditional, this should be fried with peanuts, but I usually don't have peanuts in the house so sad for me. It's still good without!

To the right is a modification I'm really happy with. I roasted half a butternut pumpkin, skin on. This pumpkin was coated in sunflower oil and maple syrup, before going into the oven for about 35 minutes, turning halfway.

When the pumpkin was cooked I drained off the marinade and poured it straight into a fry pan, where I proceeded to add some extra oil and then fry the tempeh until it was in crispy sizzle town. I then poured the pumpkin in, fried it all around, and served it as a side dish. It's amazing!

Fried tempeh is a gift to us all.

It's important not to use olive oil when you're making kering tempe, because you need very high temperatures to get a beautiful, crispy tempeh. Use a canola, sunflower or peanut oil instead.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

[wa] community gardening and vegie good times

On a really quick visit to Perth last week, and the highlight was probably visiting the community garden at my childhood church.

This used to be a whole lot of junky, empty land out behind the church. Pat, a member of the congregation, went to a Living Smart course - a course I used to facilitate (!!!), Living Smart is a series of workshops about living sustainably in your community in WA, and was designed by Earth Carers and is totally excellent. ANYWAY, during the course of the course, they all agreed that 'community gardens' was an essential component of supporting and growing one's community. And Pat was all 'we have this empty land, it could totally hold a garden', and this community garden was born.

I love this garden so much! It's maintained in conjunction with the Swan View Community Association, and uses this unused space, and builds community. The produce goes to another local church, who have a soup kitchen twice a week (though of course people working in the garden take some bits and pieces home). It has pushed this aging church community out into the wider community, and also brought some of the wider community into the church community. There's also some involvement with the local high school (Swan View Senior High). And it's so adorable, to see these people (and this building) that I've known since I was a wee penguin in a different light.

This photo to the right is my mum harvesting kale, a vegetable she's never before cooked. On the day I visited, they were having a sustainability fair as a part of Sustainable Open House Day. I'm actually having a word with them, because their sausage sizzle was Classic Bunnings (white bread, cheap meat sausages), and their crochet was Classic Church Fete (crocheted coat hangers and crocheted tissue boxes) and their apple pies were only $3, and I may not believe in their God but they are adorable and I definitely want them to make crochets that the hipsters would want to buy. ANYWAY, way adorable.

If you're a Perthie in the Greenmount/Swanview/Midland area, you can visit the garden on Tuesday mornings (and the church, Uniting, on Sundays at 9:30, if that's your jam).


The rest of my trip to Perth was mostly food. Visited Mt Lawley staple Veggie Mama for a delicious plate of curries and salads, and took myself out to breakfast at Swan Valley Cafe. Both are exclusively vegetarian. Swan Valley Cafe has always specialised in teas but has recently branched out to include matcha lattes, and it was a lovely one. My breakfast there was beans on toast - their bread is all gluten free, and really lovely, and the beans were EXCELLENT. There was zucchini and capsicum in them, and they were served on one trillion cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves, with lots of avocado. My only complaint was how quickly it went cold.

At Veggie Mama I always get the 'Mama's Curry' as one of my curries, with a beautiful creamy potato and fried tofu mix of amazingness, as well as whatever other curries catch my eye. Veggie Mama specialises in fresh juices and fantastic salads, and always has something interesting going on in the sweets department.

Good Perth times, except for the rain, what is UP with that. (Ans: climate change)

Veggie Mama
Cnr Beaufort + Vincent
Mount Lawley
Get there on any bus going along Beaufort Street to the city
There's a seated area that's accessible, but ordering takes place at a counter that's up a half-flight of stairs. Takes CC. Never been there at night but during the day it's so well lit.

Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe
990 Great Northern Highway
Get there in your automobile, and drink at some wineries on your way out again. Lots of ramp access, both into the restaurant and around to the garden in the back. CC available. Well lit and very quiet. Includes an attached tea shop and nursery.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

[fitzroy] cider house

very rice-y, vegetable-y nasi gorengRolled into The Cider House this arvo, looking for a place to take my out of town friends. I haven't been there in an age and I wanted to try some of the vegan goodness on their menu.

No regrets, my friends. I had the nasi goreng and it was so good. I never order SEAzn food from "modern Australian" kinds of restaurants, because I'm always disappointed; they're a little too fusion and not enough wok hei as appropriate for my tastes. This was worth it, though. The tempeh was so perfect kering tempeh (and there was a lot of it), there was so much sambal and it was spicy, it was all flavoursome and delicious. I will totally eat it again. It made me very happy. My only sadface was that it was a little toooo saucy (like me).

I also ordered the sweet potato wedges and though it was an awkward combination, my only regret is that I was too bao le to finish them.

Cider: Cheeky Rascal Raspberry + Apple

Cider House
386 Brunswick Street

Get there on the 11 tram, stop Leicester St. I am pretty sure there's a step into the restaurant, lighting is good during the day and poor during the evening. The tables are awkwardly close together and there's a high risk of couches with low tables. CC available.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

damona cheezes

I am obsessed with the Damona cheeses, after friend Ju brought the brie to my birthday and I made my first ever cheese platter. IT WAS AMAZING. After you get used to the faint coconut aftertaste (it's a very coconut-based cheese) it's so gooooood. So brie-like, perfect at room temperature and great with some figs on some gluten-free crackers.

Anyway so I purchased the brie, the mozzarella and the pepperjack because they were onsale this week at the Cruelty Free Shop in Fitzroy. Brie, amazing at room temperature spread on pumpkin sourdough. Highly recommend.

I used the mozzarella in a tomato-based pasta sauce, added to my bowl after all was done. The mozzarella has sun-dried tomatoes through it, and it was melty but added a bit too much of a coconut aftertaste to my pasta. I won't use it again on my pasta, but I am going to give it a go on pizza soon.

Today I made cheese toasties out of the pepperjack. It's not peppery at all, and melted really beautifully into the sourdough. Again with the coconut aftertaste, but I'm looking forward to making a tomato and cheese toastie in the very near future.

Overall, I'm a big fan of the Damona cheeses. The brie remains my favourite, but I'm enjoying the pepperjack a whole lot. I remain mixed on the mozzarella.

Damona cheeses are made in Coburg! What a good, local cheese.

Friday, 21 August 2015

[fitzroy] pavlov's duck

In easy walking distance of the house is Pavlov's Duck, a cafe "infused" with Sri Lankan flavours. Of course I was going to give it a go.

The Pol Roti
Miss Bella and I both tried the Pol Roti, a coconut roti with lentils and an onion chutney. It was so good. Not really a roti and more a pancake, it was definitely Sri Lankan in its flavours and was a really lovely and filling start to a Friday morning in a hurry.

The beverage menu is also quite extensive, with both Bella and myself trying variations matcha: I went a matcha latte, and Bella went the matcha smoothie. Latte was acceptable; turns out I'm not a fan of cold matcha, which I could have guessed but might be your jam.

The vegan-ness of the menu is not extensive, but I'd return just for the roti and someone to make me matcha that I didn't have to whisk myself.

It's quiet and easy on a Friday morning, with fast service and an easy atmosphere.

Pavlov's Duck
401 Smith Street

Entry is via a little step, ordering occurs at a high counter. Eftpos available. We didn't check out the toilets.
Get there on the 86 tram (not an accessible stop), the Rose Street stop.
The website is hard to read

Saturday, 8 August 2015

parmageddon at the cornish arms

We're all very familiar with the vegan parma available at the Cornish Arms in Brunswick. Important for your info, though: cheap speciality parmas are available Friday lunch, and Sunday lunch and dinner. These parmas are $14 (maybe $12?), and come in a variety of styles including poutine and something with pesto and pepperoni. AMAZING.

Featured here is the poutang, a parma topped with facon, chips, cheeze and gravy, on a bed of chips, with a garden salad. ACTUAL PERFECTION. Go there tomorrow - it's Sunday.

Friday, 20 March 2015

lemon myrtle and macadamia nut biscuits

Housemate Bella has some AMAZING biscuit recipes up her sleeve, and this is one of them. It's one of my favourites because a) LEMON MYRTLE, b) we have a lemon myrtle tree. If you don't have a lemon myrtle tree, you can just buy them ground. No pictures because they didn't really turn out but you must eat these ASAP. I'm eating one right now. 

Lemon myrtle and macadamia nut biscuits

You will need:

200g vegan margarine
100g white sugar
225g macadamias (chopped)
225g flour
some lemon myrtle leaves (fresh or dried)

If you're not using a blender, chop the macadamias and lemon myrtle leaves first. 


Preheat your oven to 200°C

Cream margarine and sugar (in a blender or with a whisk). Add your macadamias and mix until all the pieces are blended in. Mix in your lemon myrtle leaves. Add your flour. Mixture should be a bit crumbly but stick together well. 

Roll into balls roughly the size of a golf ball. Put them on a tray greased or lined with baking paper.

Bake for 10-15 mins, until they're a little bit brown on top. Wait until the tray is cool, then put them on a cooling rack.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

misc christmas party noms

The flattie (Bella) and I hosted a Christmas party last night! We did minimal catering because we were too busy and I only got home at 1700 and our first guest arrived at 1805 (as per our invites), but I did prepare a few things.

I made crunchy chewy clusters, which I've been obsessed with ever since Cindy first introduced me to them (at the same time as I introduced her to If You Are the One, so it was a fair trade). HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

I basically only sort of use Cindy and Michael's recipe, and what I made last night was so amazing that when I tried to pack the last handful away, Ral scooted up to me and shoved them all in his mouth.

I melt 100g of dark chocolate couverture. While it's melting I combine a cup worth of dried fruit, usually goji berries, white mulberries, and 3 or so dried bananas (note these are like liquorice rather than banana chips), diced small, with a third of a cup of cashews. When the chocolate is melted I add a pinch of salt and a third of a cup of desiccated coconut, then mix the fruit and nuts until they're all covered. Put them on a baking tray that has baking paper on it (important! for non-stick), and then fridge them for an hour. Done. Delicious. So much yum.

I also made pizza pinwheels, ginger and five spice biscuits cut into sharks and penguins, and gluten free Swedish jam thumbprint cookies, and that's a recipe I've been using forever and highly recommend.

There's no picture of the food, so here's a picture of us in our Christmas party clothes.