Thursday, 25 November 2010

Beautiful world

'One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.'
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

I'm now back in Auckland and the weather is as unpredicitable as ever. Earlier today it was super sunny as I wandered down the street but it's gone all grey now! I am looking forward to a summer down south.

Anyway, here is just a little snapshot of food from the first few days down south. More to come. My flight down to Christchurch arrived just in time for me to be really starving and in need of dinner so M whipped up a mean green curry...the first of many (perhaps too many?) in a row!

I supplied the dessert...2 pieces of mint slice from Revel up in Auckland after we discovered the magic the previous weekend.

I now have to work out how to make my own version. This might even top the ginger crunch from Soul Food but I think I need to do a few more taste tests before I reach a final conclusion! Plus I need to do some more "sampling" research before making it myself!

The next day it was a long car trip north to Nelson. We decided to go via Kaikoura where we stopped for lunch. M's sister used to work up there and suggested we try
Hislops Cafe.

I got the lentil burger which was pretty tasty but I was really hungry so it could have done with two slices of bread instead of just the one on the bottom.

After making it to Nelson just in time for our races we needed dinner so M and I ventured into town in search of
Poppy Thai after a recommendation from a local.

We started off with spring rolls. I love spring rolls!

I couldn't decide what I wanted for my main course until M pointed out the pineapple curry and I was sold. I added tofu to the vegetarian option and it was really delicious. Leftovers were eaten cold for lunch the next day.

Nelson is pretty...

Lake Rotoiti the following day was even more amazing.

I live in a most beautiful country.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

And it was all ginger

'I fear, to thy peril, my good Annette,' said Emily; 'for it seems his verses have stolen thy heart. But let me advise you; if it is so, keep the secret; never let him know it.'
The Msyteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

So you want to make your own ginger crunch? So you want it to be awesome? So you want it to be so gingery that it knocks your socks off?

We went to a potluck round the road last night and poor M had to carry steaming hot vegan lasagna fresh out of the oven. It was delicious so therefore worth his hard work.

Anyway, back to talking about ginger, being the awesome person that I am, I had made a super gingery ginger crunch, braving the use of the oven despite ridiculously hot temperatures (what was with that? It's back to being grey and cool today). I still think I can make a better ginger crunch (I've mainly been focused on the icing and not the base which needs some work since it's mostly just the Edmonds version) but here we go since
some people have been getting impatient!

Ginger Crunch*

125g vegan margarine, softened (
olivani is good)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger

Ginger Icing
150g vegan margarine
2 Tbsp ground ginger**
7 Tbsp golden syrup
3 cups icing sugar
crystalised ginger, chopped

Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy (or as long as you can be bothered especially if you only have egg beaters which are tedious). Sift the flour, baking powder and ground ginger together and mix into the creamed mixture. You might want to use your hands to get it all mixed in nicely. Press the mixture into a greased 20 x 20cm cake tin or something similar. Bake at 190C for about 20 minutes or until light brown. Just try not to overcook the edges as I did. Top with ginger icing as per below...

Ginger Icing
Melt the margarine, ground ginger, golden syrup and icing sugar together in a saucepan and mix well. Then pour over the base and sprinkle the crystalised ginger over the top (it will sort of sink into the icing). Chill until firm before cutting into pieces (a hot knife works best). I cut mine into about 20 pieces*** but then again I was trying to feed the masses at the potluck.


*It's pretty hard to get this recipe wrong...let's just say I was baking in a kitchen where I couldn't find any measuring cups or scales so I improvised. It worked out fine.
**Just as a note, New Zealand tablespoons (Tbsp) are 15ml whereas I think Australian ones are 20ml.
***This way you can eat several pieces without feeling bad! Not that you should feel bad anyway...ginger is good for the stomach.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hot and gingery

Where a battering ram cannot work, really good short-crust pastry can often break through.
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Oh my gosh!! Look what we have here...

...ginger crunch from Soul Food. It's SO exciting! So yes, I'm hanging out in Christchurch and eating good food (among other things).

More to come soon...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Am I ever home?

"The world is lighter," he said, "because of you."
Winter Of Fire by Sherryl Jordan

I am off to Christchurch tonight. Exciting!! Anyway, while I was starting to pack the other night I thought it was ridiculous just how many pairs of shoes I had to pack for this trip (umm, 6 pairs of sports shoes including climbing and cycling shoes, a pair of jandals and some sneakers - it's a busy trip). I'd only just unpacked from going to Rotorua last weekend...some days I think I should just live out of a bag. Oh wait, I've done that before too. If you are getting the idea that I am pretty much never home then you might be right!

Anyway, like I said, I was in Rotorua over the weekend for a
race. M flew up on Thursday night and, after feeling too lazy to make our own breakfast we headed off to find food. I heard via the grapevine (well, you know, through an auckland vegan's blog) that the Vegan Revellers was back on the menu at Revel and since I remember it being delicious and I hadn't been to Revel in ages anyway I thought I'd drag M along there for breakfast.

It is slightly different to the old version in that it has fried tofu in place of the falafel but otherwise I can't think of anything different about it. Still delicious. Still awesome. Still super filling. Yay!

But we still needed dessert (yes, even at breakfast time). I sent M up to the counter to get me a slice of their peanut butter pie...

...but he also came back with something else, vegan mint slice. Oh man, this was so amazing we debated going up and getting a few more pieces but since the guy serving us already thought we were crazy for eating so much sugar we decided against it but I really wish we had!

Unfortunately the ginger crunch at Revel (pictured in the background) isn't vegan so that was for M but I will definitely be stocking up on it when I get to Christchurch!

The drive to Rotorua takes several hours so we had to stop along the way for a picnic lunch. I'd made big Blueberry Ginger Spelt Muffins from
Vegan Brunch but with extra crystalised ginger 'cause we both love ginger.

I'd also made some sweetcorn and bean fritter things roughly adapted from the Edmonds sweetcorn fritter recipe (using cornflour instead of normal flour, a mixture of ground flaxseed and water instead of the normal egg, added sweet chilli sauce and a tin of cannellini beans, mashed up). I served this with a random chutney we'd bought at the supermarket and a whole lot of grapes. Much healthier than our car food!

I had no idea what we were going to have for dinner so we just wandered round the supermarket in Rotorua hoping stuff would jump out at us.

In the end I cooked up some pasta with a box of
Fry's Vegetarian Chicken Style Strips ('cause it seemed amusing at the time) with some veggies and a bought pasta sauce. It was surprisingly good.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Chocolate karaoke

'Well, yes, but it's not about the football.'
'You're saying that football is not about football?'
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

A few weeks ago (because I'm so organised like that) I went out to dinner with my awesome NZ brother (as opposed to the American brother 'cause going out to dinner with him might be a bit hard). I don't know that many people who are into Indian which is pretty sad so this was the perfect opportunity to hit up
Satya on K'Road again 'cause I hadn't been in ages.

We ordered an entree to share and I'm really trying to remember what it was called but I have no idea, even after trying to decipher it from the online menu. No idea how to describe it. It was okay but a bit weird., I have no words that fit.

Anyway, onto my main which I think was the Vegetable Koorma but don't quote me on that. It was really nice though. You do need to ask the waiter which items on the vegetarian menu are vegan though because only one is labelled.

Along with rice, I had my koorma with a good old roti. Nothing special but really good for dipping (and making a mess everywhere).

When we went up to pay my brother was a bit embarrassed as the guy at the desk said to us, "you're the vegan table right?"

We were pretty full but I was craving chocolate sorbet despite already eating a fair bit of chocolate that afternoon (I blame the cravings on having recently gotten (got?) concussion) so we walked down into town to

This stuff is like paradise on a spoon. Although you do have to put up with the crazy karaoke coming from inside while you eat!