Thursday, 26 March 2009

Dualing with shoes

As a fifth-year graduate student with an increasingly angsty dissertation advisor and a research grant that didn't quite pay my rent, I didn't have time for me - at least not live ones. Unfortunately, the dead ones could be just as frustrating as the live ones.
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig

Somtimes you feel like something rather fancy...

How about a vegetable stack with a polenta base then topped with eggplant that got a bit shy (hence the fact it's hiding under the greenery), baby spinach, mushroom and tofu with roasted kumara and capsicum round the edges to make it super fancy?! Cool!

It's now only a few more days to go until
The Dual. Feeling rather anxious but after a good training run out at the Hunua Ranges on Sunday I'm not feeling quite as bad as before. The question will be what footwear to use 'cause the terrain is just at that kind of middle-point between running shoes and off road shoes...which brings me to my new shoes!

Forgive the dirt splatters on my legs - it was after my run. I actually can't believe I took a photo of my feet but still, these are awesome shoes specially for off-road adventures. This is the
Inov-8 Roclite 285 and 'cause they're red they must be fast!

A view from the lookout overlooking the Mangatawhiri Dam.

Anyway, it's definitely starting to get colder round here and there is a chill to the air once the sun starts to slip away. Winter, my friends, is well and truly on its way. One of the things about the colder weather is it makes me crave comfort food.

Like mac n'cheez (with stir-fried veges to give the illusion of a healthy meal!)...

Or nachos (with way too much sheese 'cause I got carried away when I was grating!)...

Or my absolute favourite, satay tofu which is going to be my dinner the night before the race this weekend. Not sure which is more exciting, the race or the tofu (okay, it's not that close to call...really)!

And lastly, you can never go past a good soup to warm you up...

This is leftovers from last night's dinner - Roast Pumpkin, Kumara and Peanut Butter soup. Delicious.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Bar baaa

‘I was a celebrity,’ droned the robot sadly, ‘for a short while on account of my miraculous and bitterly resented escape from a fate almost as good as death in the heart of a blazing sun. You can guess from my condition,’ he added, ‘how narrow my escape was. I was rescued by a scrap-metal merchant, imagine that. Here I am, brain the size of…never mind.’
Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams

Tonight we are off to see Coldplay!!!

Moving on...

J has a small obsession with
torpedo7 ever since we got our mountain bikes. This does have its benefits though as he spotted they were selling clif bars for an insanely cheap price for a couple of days. We ended up getting several packs (there was only one flavour - Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch).

J's description: "I thought that bar was yummy by the way. Still tasted kinda ‘healthy’ i.e. not a chocolate bar, probably coz of the protein and stuff but still pretty good. No raisins!!" He doesn't like raisins (obviously). They haven't lasted long as we are already halfway through our order. Pity they're sold out now.

I've found them great for before evening orienteering events or afterwork training as they're not too filling/not too light. Just make sure you drink plenty of liquid with them as they're a bit dry (not that it's a problem since I've got to down a fair amount of water beforehand anyway).

Then today my chiropractor told me that the
New World (one of the big supermarket chains in New Zealand) across the road was selling Lara bars in one of the checkouts so I had to go see for myself! They're stocking, maybe, 5 flavours in total?

Of course, I had to get some while I was there!

Anyway, I actually managed to squeeze in some excuses for some baking recently! First up was my orienteering friend's birthday so I made carrot cake from
Damn Tasty Vegan (this is one awesome recipe) which we devoured at a night orienteering event at Ambury Farm Park. I love how the animals' eyes light up under your headlamp!

The following night I had some of my cousins round for dinner which was a challenge - one of them can't have gluten or any vegetable from the nightshade family. I think I wracked my brains until they exploded to think of something that fitted all requirements
and and still tasted good!

Here we have corn bread (adapted from the recipe in
Damn Tasty Vegan so that it was completely gluten-free), stir-fried veges with chickpeas and kidney beans topped with a cheezy sauce and rice salad (made by my cousin). It was actually surprisingly good!

Last up on the cooking agenda were some cookies for J and his friends to take to the beach. I settled on the Chocolate Peanut Butter Shells from
Damn Tasty Vegan (again! Yep, this book got quite a workout that week!). You can find the recipe here but I find that the dough mixture ends up being too sticky to work with so I add another 1/3 - 1/2 cup of flour. Maybe our flour is more moist...?

This is a pretty shocking picture (these were the leftovers a few days later) but they were, well, damn tasty (I had to have a sample before I sent them off with J - quality control you understand).

We're off to see Coldplay!!!!!!

That's all...

Friday, 6 March 2009

Food to Revel in

And now, at last I had found the way, or thought I had. At the next darkness of the moon I would find out whether my years of study had been in vain. I would realize my heart's desire or I would find my hopes dashed to pieces...
The War of the Flowers by Tad Wiliams

I have a new find!! There is this cafe on K'Road called Revel and they have heaps of vegan food! I can't believe it! The worst of it is that I used to live just round the corner from this cafe and walk past it every day on my way to work and I never even went inside!

I didn't really look at the menu but the cabinet was filled with delicious vegan delights. I spent ages trying to decide what I wanted (okay, to be honest, what I really wanted was to have ALL of it!). In the end I decided on this...

A mini chocolate cake with berries and a lush chocolate icing. It was divine. I cannot even begin to describe how delicious this was.

The next time I stopped by I was in need of a takeaway lunch and their vegan sandwich caught my eye.

Filled with a decent amount of veges and hummus, it was perfect heated slightly in the microwave at work.

I couldn't go past a sweet treat too...

...a Chocolate and Pumpkin cupcake! It had a kind of a jafa flavour to it which was cool.

I got an apricot and almond cupcake another time I popped past Revel which was pretty good (although there was something about the taste that was a bit weird...too much almond flavour perhaps?).

Now, beans on toast always remind me of this old TV ad about being a poor student living on baked beans and weetbix and many weekend lunches as kids of baked beans in our toastie pies. I'm guessing it was probably a Watties ad but I can't remember. Anyway, I was in Revel this morning and feeling rather down and in need of a good breakfast and I was faced with a choice and one of them was beans on toast. Normally I would pass this by because it always seems to sound so boring but after Moira from An Auckland Vegan gave them such a highly favourable review on her blog I thought I'd give them a chance (after all, she did say it was the best vegan brunch in Auckland which seemed like pretty high praise).

So what did I think? Actually, I think it might quite possibly be one of the best breakfasts I've ever had! Sorry about the bad photograph but basically it's a mixture of several different kinds of beans in a delicious sauce of some kind sitting on deliciously thick grainy bread and topped with a whole lot of different toasted nuts. I cannot even begin to describe its awesomeness! Definitely improved my morning! Eat this if you are ever anywhere near Revel okay?

By the time I'd finished breakfast it was hosing down with rain outside and I wasn't really that keen to head out on my way so I picked up a sweet treat to look forward to once I got home.

This is their Midnight Chocolate Cake (well, it's more of a tart really but hey, names aren't really that important). Very rich but oh so good. Chocolate could brighten my day just about any time!