Thursday, 27 May 2010

Yay yay yay!

He gave me a dark look, patted his pockets like men do, just to make sure they have everything. It was an oddly human gesture, and it touched me in a way I couldn't even describe to myself.
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Yep, there are three things to 'yay' about in this post...well, for me anyway.

Number One
I used to have a favourite burger to order when heading out with friends to our favourite burger chain,
Burger Fuel (they had 4 vegetarian burgers, one specifically vegan even and the buns are wholemeal...crazy!). Anyway, it was called the Combustion Tofu Burger. Just ditch the aioli and you're good to go.

Tragically it dropped off the menu a while ago (so long ago I don't even remember) and I'd had to resort to eating lesser burgers! Because we live in crazy times, there are in fact, 2 groups on Facebook dedicated to bringing back this clearly quite popular burger:
here and here. Madness!

Anyway, the night I was enjoying my satay tofu burger down in Queenstown, The Chef was enjoying a satay tofu burger up in Auckland which mystified me...'cause where were you supposed to get one of those these days since they took it off the menu at Burger Fuel? When I asked, it turns out it's back on the menu again in Auckland (I'm pretty sure it's just at the Auckland joints but I could be wrong)...temporarily.

So I'm sure you all can guess what I had for lunch the next day...

...oh yes! I have to admit I had fairly high expectations (it had been built up pretty high in my imagination) and unfortunately didn't quite live up to them but hey, it's back!!!

Number Two
I got sent cookies! Who knew boys could bake (well, obviously The Chef can...but he's a chef funnily enough so I'm not sure he counts)? M sent me a batch of chocolate cookies with a cool peanut buttery filling. Awesome! I am predictably easy to please!

They kind of stuck together in transportation but really that doesn't matter when they taste as good as they do (which is super delicious). I guess this means I have to bake something equally delicious for my team for the race next weekend as payback.

Number Three
I'm off on the plane tonight to good old Christchurch for good food, awesome friends, challenging rock climbing and crazy racing (24 hours!!!). It's going to be one hell of a weekend!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Sugar to break your teeth on

He had raised taxes and burned a few villages on general principles, just to show everyone who they were dealing with. It didn't seem to have any effect.
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Yeah well, sometimes (always?) I'm not too good at this blogging thing! I am getting really good at forgetting to take my camera along when I go and eat awesome food. Take today for example. My lovely cousin D and I went out for lunch at Kokako today and I had a really delicious tofu scramble...and it looked really beautiful too. The light coming through the window in the cafe was perfect as well so it would have been a great photo. But I didn't have my camera so you'll just have to imagine it...even though I haven't exactly been very descriptive of it either. I guess you'll need some imagination (make it up, it's okay...pretend it's the tofu scramble of your dreams. It wasn't but that would make for a more exciting story).

Anyway, I do have
some food photos so all is not totally lost!

A few weeks (months?) ago the Safe store on K'Rd started selling the Go Max vegan chocolate bars everyone's been talking about (everyone being a very loose term). Anyway, they were heinously expensive so I just picked 2 to try.

I ended up picking the Twilight and the Jokerz (can't pass up something with peanuts!) but decided I'd wait to try them until I really felt like one rather than just because they were there. Of course, I never felt like one when they were around but I craved them at times when I was away from home (mostly when I was in Otago in the cold and in need of chocolate to warm myself up!) so they sat around for, um, ages?!

Anyway, I thoughtfully packed one for my recent trip to Queenstown and low and behold, those chocolate cravings came so I finally got to try one!

The Twilight bar is supposed to be like a vegan version of the Milky Way bar or something like that. I wouldn't know. It was good as far as a super sweet chocolate bar goes but it appears my taste buds aren't such fans anymore which was a bit disappointing. I found it so sweet that it felt like it'd crack my teeth.

So yeah, I'd give you my view on the other Jokerz bar but I suspect it might sit around for a little while yet before I feel like a sugar hit to break your teeth on.

But food that I have enjoyed (I can't believe I'm implying that I didn't enjoy a chocolate bar - what's with that?!)...

Now that we've made it to winter, Blue Bird has started serving up soup again. I am a real sucker for a good, thick soup when it's cold outside.

I can't remember what kind this one was (split pea and something maybe?) but it was delicious. Yep, that's a rather ridiculous amount of olivani they gave me for the bread!

They also sometimes have my favourite...the tofu, spinach and kumara chip pie (or whatever it's supposed to be called). I keep promising to make this myself (we have a couple of their cookbooks lying around our flat that have the recipe) but I'm slack. So I get all excited when I see this pie sitting in the cabinet waiting for me.

This time it was the last one left...clearly my lucky night. I do think I repeat myself sometimes...I'm sure I've blogged about this pie (among many other things) over and over again. Guess that means I must really like it!

And they served my tea in the most adorable cup even has a lid on it to keep it nice and hot and I liked how they left the tea bag in...'cause I like my herbal teas really strong!

And to finish up ('cause I still had a sweet tooth craving something...), a ginormous piece of vegan chocolate cake.

They served it with vegan vanilla ice cream on the side which was a bit of an overkill really (I mean look at the size of that thing) but it was very sweet of them since I couldn't have the cream they normally serve it with. My stomach survived.

Now, moving on to other food (I love Blue Bird but you can't eat there all the time) about a delicious vegan wrap/sandwich thingy from
Harvest Wholefoods? I can't remember what was in it except for yummy things like hummus, roast pumpkin, baby spinach and sunflower seeds but I do remember that it was wickedly delicious.

But I'm also quite capable of making my own awesome sandwich...

Fuel after racing...hummus, avocado, tempeh (marinated and fried), grated carrot and tomato all inside an organic spelt bagel from the bakery next door to Harvest. So, so good (there is something about homemade sandwiches that I can't describe. I like them...which probably went without saying!).

I think I might have had a bit too much sugar in my drink with lunch...feeling a tad hyperactive and scatterbrained. Oh dear! Anyway, that is all for today.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

And then the rain stopped...

But stop, stop your iron pelt of words, lest you flay us all alive, and yourself too!
Orlando by Virginia Woolf

So, it didn't flood while I was in Queenstown. In fact the weather was pretty amazing (well, it was freezing but it is basically winter so you can't have everything). The lake levels were definitely up (some of the trees on the lake edge were under water) and buildings on the waterfront were barricaded with sandbags but the rain had stopped by the time I arrived. Below is the view from the deck of the apartment (I got a similar view from my bedroom on the floor below). We were working up here too so when things got too stressful I snuck a peak out the window and it was quite refreshing.

As far as food went, we ate out every dinner but I was mostly out with my boss so I wasn't in picture-taking mode (he thinks I'm weird enough as it is I think!). But I did get one night to trip to Queenstown is complete without a visit to
FergBurger. This is the Holier Than Thou burger which is tempured tofu with a spicy satay, coconut, coriander sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion and alfalfa (it also comes with aioli but I got them to ditch that).

Yes, the burger is massive...that is a dinner plate it is sitting on. I'm not sure what possessed me to order chips since they give you enough to feed a small army (I ate quite a bit more than what is pictured and still hadn't made it through half). This time I couldn't even finish all the burger. I got about three quarters of the way through before giving up and just eating the filling. I was so full I could barely move (I swear I cannot eat the amount that I could not that long's weird).

Anyway, to avoid this post being devoid of much food (and just generally lacking!), I will present you with food I've eaten since getting back from Queenstown!

My mate B was up from Christchurch for the weekend so I dragged him over for dinner on Saturday along with The Chef. While I made satay way (there was a debate about this at the supermarket), the boys prepared dessert. Anyway, my satay tofu on brown rice is quite possibly one of my favourite meals ever and definitely my favourite pre-race meal (I had a race on Sunday morning) so I made a huge batch which gave me leftovers to have cold for lunch the next day.

Dessert was gluten-free crumble as The Chef was on the last couple of days of his diet thingy. While B peeled the 5 apples (there was a funny debate about whether to have 4 or 5 apples at the supermarket too!), The Chef whipped up an awesome topping. I think it was made from buckwheat flour, chopped almonds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon and oliviani...but I can't really remember). Once the apples were all chopped, they added frozen blueberries and a truck-load of sugar (no wonder crumbles taste so sweat and delicious in restaurants!) and chucked it in the oven while we ate dinner.

SO good!

Sunday was Mother's Day so after a day of orienteering (my parents both compete too sometimes) and a quick blat round the mountain bike park my brother and I trouped off to my parents' house for dinner. Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie and salad...awesome winter comfort food.

I was going to make a fancy dessert (I really want to try and make sweet potato (kumara) pie with maple syrup) but time was never going to be on my side so instead I made crumble...yep, crumble 2 nights in a row!

Apple and berry crumble with a crumble topping made with rolled oats, wholemeal flour, chopped almonds, coconut, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and olivani. So good! And Mum sent me home with leftovers which I ended up eating for breakfast the next day (she also sent me home with homemade bread she had in the freezer so I didn't have to worry about lunch)!

Ah, mothers, what would we do without them?! ☺

Monday, 3 May 2010

Packing bags with maple syrup

'We guesses, precious, only guesses. We can't know till we find the nassty creature and squeezes it. But it doesn't know what the present can do, does it? It'll just keep it in its pocketses. It doesn't know, and it can't go far. It's lost itself, the nassty nosey thing. It doesn't know the way out. It said so.'
Th Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Right, this is going to be a bit all over the place...which is a bit like my brain right now as I attempt to pack in a record amount of time before my shuttle arrives. I'm off to Queenstown today for work and from what I've heard the weather is so bad that it's even been flooding. Fun times!

Firstly, if anyone is interested about whatever mad adventures I get up to, you can read all that
here. This is mainly so my family can keep track of me but you're welcome to visit too ☺

Next, good food...

The Chef cooked up the most delicious dinner the other night (oh, and last night but I forgot my camera so I don't have a photo which is disappointing because it was very pretty)...

Roasted pumpkin, capsicum and mushroom topped with slices of tofu baked with lemon, a giant falafel and homemade tomato sauce with steamed broccoli on the side.

Then, because I am special (!), he'd got me a slice of vegan chocolate cake from
Blue Bird because I'd really wanted one the other night but had decided to go for the crumble instead (but still wanted the chocolate cake even after I'd eaten crumble!!).

Chocolate craving successfully satisfied (and stomach successfully over-full)!

And lastly, because I know you all want it, here it is...the recipe for
Maple Syrup Tofu!!

I didn't want to post it until I'd actually had a chance to make it...but that hasn't happened yet so leg me know how it goes if you do make it! Hopefully when I get back from Queenstown I'll whip up a batch.

3 Tbsp oil
300g tofu cubed into 2 cm pieces
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup soy or tamari
1 Tbsp minced ginger
juice of half a lemon
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp minced herbs (e.g. corrander,basil, mint)

Saute the garlic,ginger, and herbs in olive oil for 1 minute then add the cubed tofu and coat all the pieces.

Pour soy or tamari over and stir. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice and maple syrup. At this stage the mixture will be quite watery.

Saute until the tofu had absorbed all the liquid, about 4-5 minutes or longer if you like a crunchy texture.