Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Eating is good

"You cannot hide me, or hide from me," she is said to have told her accusers, "because you cannot find me. I was lost when I first drew breath."
Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

So while I'm off galivanting the countryside I thought I'd leave you to see a couple of cafe meals that M and I devoured the weekend before Christmas (then next time you can see my awesome tofukey I made for our family Christmas party also that's become quite the party tradition!).

First up, Saturday lunch at
Cosset after a bit of ridiculously hot rock climbing. Cosset is an all vegan cafe in Mt Albert and since I was last there the food as definitely improved. First up we went for their berry smoothies in an attempt to cool down a little...I would recommend these smoothies. The best thing is that they are thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Their menu is apparently always changing...M picked the filo spiral which was filled with curried vegetables and chickpeas. I stole a bit and it was definitely delicious.

I decided on a piece of the filo pie...and managed to snag the last piece. Definitely a good choice. It was nice and light (filled with veggies) but filling at the same time. Pretty much perfect for a hot day.

We were so taken with our filo meals we have decided we have to try recreating our own.

The cakes on the counter looked way too amazing to pass up on despite the fact we were going to be eating our weight in food that evening so we shared a piece of the cricket cake which was served with caramel sauce and vegan cream.

Oh man, this cake was amazing...a cricket cake is, apparently, a chocolate, orange and caramel cake and I think what really took it from just being another piece of cake to being something amazing was the caramel sauce as well as the soy cream.

Next up was Sunday lunch at Revel on K'Rd. This cafe is definitely up there on my top cafes for their unfailingly awesome food and their super range of vegan baked goods. Anyway, I thought I'd try something new on the menu (or at least something I'd never tried before), the Tofu Satay Salad.

Lots of veggies and spicy, peanuty tofu on top of a bed of salad leaves is a pretty much an ideal summer meal. I hope this stays on the menu for a while yet.

Of course, we couldn't pass up on their mint slice for dessert...

...but you could always make your own as per my
previous post!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Minty Christmas!

The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.
Neuromancer by William Gibson

The dessert place at our Christmas lunch...

I have a thing for peppermint chocolate so it wasn't surprising that
I fell instantly in love with Revel's mint slice. So what better way to spend Christmas Eve than trying to concoct my own version!!

Mint Slice

125g margarine, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup coconut thread

Mint Filling
3 Tbsp margarine, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint essence
1-2 Tbsp milk (oat, soy, rice etc)

Chocolate topping
250g (1 block) Whittaker's Ghana Peppermint Chocolate (or any block of chocolate really but I only had this one on hand...)
1 Tbsp margarine

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 x 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Cream together the margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the rest of the ingredients until just combined and then press into the prepared baking tin. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

Mint Filling
Beat the margarine until light and fluffy and then slowly add the icing sugar whilst beating. Add the peppermint essence and milk until you reach your desired consistency. Spread the filling over the top of the cooled base.

Melt the chocolate and the margarine together and then spread gently over the mint filling. Chill until firm enough to cut into slices (about 20 pieces...).


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Magical summer

"...we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome."
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Summer has well and truly arrived and it is glorious.

What better way to finish a stressful day at work than to come home to the smell of the fire going outside in the garden. Finding your flatmates preparing the most amazing kebabs ever and cooking them over the mini outdoor BBQ. Sitting outside in the sun whilst the rabbit frolics around at your feet and you have one of your flatmates cut your hair. Eating the kebabs (which tasted like the most amazing pizza on a stick!!) and enjoying awesome company.

Then washing the kebabs down with homemade lemon cordial mixed with crushed strawberries and mint (followed by
Rochdale Ginger Lime Cider...SO good). Watching hilarious juggling attempts and sharing stories of summers gone by.

And what better way to spend a beautiful summer night than lying on the grass listening to music, the sounds of the birds in the bush and the animals in the zoo down in the valley below while watching the sky slowly change colour and the stars come out one by one.

Summer is amazing...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The satay of greatness

"A few weeks ago I'm sitting on a three-ply tea chest which some enemy had left at my place for kindling"
Half Gallon Jar by Hori

So, umm, I did a
race a little while ago, hence my travels down south (and before you know it I'll be heading south again...yay!). It was quite a long race (24 hours anyone?). So long in fact that I even took some satay tofu (and rice) with me!

No, not
that much! But I did cook a rather epic amount so was eating it for days...literally (well, 3 days). We even made some of it up into a pasta dish for the night before with some added veggies...

I would give you a recipe but really it just consists of cooking up some veggies and then throwing in a disturbing amount of peanut butter (okay, slightly simplified but I'm sure you can imagine it...right?). I did actually once try to write it out for my lovely cousin D but I got a bit thrown when it came to amounts of stuff. So basically, I'll just tell you what I normally put in it and you can do the rest...

This particular one was a lot plainer than normal since I was going to be eating it on the go but normally I'd cook up a whole heap of veggies like onion, red capsicum, grated carrot, broccoli etc. Drizzle in a little soy sauce/tamari and sweet chilli sauce. Then start scooping in big spoonfuls of peanut butter (and I mean BIG). I normally add one spoonful at a time with a little bit of water. You can also add a big handful of raisins or sultanas (or even chopped dates) at this stage. Crumble in your tofu. Add some more peanut butter and water. I'll be totally honest here and say I can easily use over two thirds of a 300g jar of peanut butter for a whole block of tofu. That's why it tastes so good! Then chuck in a big handful of cashews and voila!

It's awesome on rice, pasta, toast, quinoa...anything really. I've eaten it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, middle of the night, snacks...oh, and it's also great unheated later on. I've even made it with cashew butter instead!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Late night mumbling

"Bring me apples, Danby, and chestnuts too. Run, Danby, run. Bring me crab apples and horse chestnuts before it's too late, and get some for yourself."
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Well here I am, up far too late cooking black beans because I, well, didn't get on to it earlier! I also just pulled a loaf of banana bread (the one from Veganomicon if you were interested) out of the oven and am now procrastinating writing this post while I gchat with M. You see, life has been a little crazy lately. Oh fine, my life is always crazy...but I love it!!

So basically, it's been a couple of weeks since I got back from Christchurch but I still haven't told you about our awesome dinner at
The Lotus Heart...because you can't really go down there and not have a fine dining experience!

We got a starter to share which, because I am a bit bossy, I chose...cashew cheese and crackers. The menu describes it as house cured cashew cheese served with grapes and rosemary almond flax crackers and it's raw!

SO good. I just wish you got more. I loved the cashew cheese. It was so creamy and awesome! Of course, I had to get their ginger beer because it is truly awesome as well...I need some new words to describe all the awesomeness!!!

For our mains we got a couple of dishes to share. I've pretty much tried everything on the vegan menu so they weren't anything new but that doesn't make them any more delicious. First up, the Portobello Magic which is portobello mushrooms served on golden brown potato rosti with wilted greens and grilled vegetables (I stole that description from the menu too!).

It is so ridiculously filling and delicious although perhaps a little overboard on the orange sauce. And then we had to get pizza...the veganio pizza in fact with its delicious cashew nut aioli. They clearly work magic with cashews here.

Anyway, I almost wished we'd got the large size so we could have taken the leftovers home. I love pizza! But you can't come all the way to The Lotus Heart and not have dessert. I mean, there is more than one vegan option on the menu! In fact, there are, like, 3 (out of 4) vegan options!!! First up, (raw) banana-nut pie with raw vegan ice cream.

I remember ordering something of the same name here a couple of years ago and it being okay but this time it was incredible. And there is no words to describe how good this raw ice cream was. We also got a slice of vegan chocolate cake, also served with the rather incredible ice cream.

I love cake! Anyway, basically The Lotus Heart makes the most awesomest of food and I can't wait for my summer holiday and the next trip there.