Friday, 29 June 2007

The Catch Up - Part Deux - The Return of Sugar!!!

Howdy. It was a mega sh*t day at work today (End of Fin Year) so I need something to cheer me up (and prepare me for a weekend of study) - sugar!!!

I've had a few celebratory occasions of late, a friend from work went overseas for a year (and if I didn't bake, not only would there have been nothing for me to eat, there wouldn't have been a celebration at all!) and my middle nephew turned four. He's REALLY into pirates at the moment (who isn't???) and I ended up buying him the exact same book as one of my brothers!! I went to Dymocks today and got him a different pirate book and a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. I know it's a bit girly, but dammit, he is going to have the classics forced upon him (that's the Arts degree talking)...

Firstly, Theresa (Ms. Tropical Vegan in Townsville - link on the right 'cause I'm lazy - yay for Tez!) posted about some amazing looking hot chocolate a few weeks ago. We found a Cadbury Hot Chocolate in Coles (the mint flavour) that we think is vegan! Cam loves it (I'm not in love with the mint)... I always add a bit of cinnamon - it adds extra pizzazz!
Hot Chocolate

Don't you love the swirly action? I thought it was mega cool (listen to me talking like a teenager - I've been watching way too much Clueless for Mr. Thesis!!)...

Cam made Margarita Cupcakes for a work BBQ (I skipped them 'cause I was on my sugar break). His work mates thought that they were very manly with the sprinkles!
Margarita Cuppers

He invented a cool way of transporting them though - another muffin tray on top (upside down) secured with zip ties (see, it is handy having a handyman around the house!):

Cupcake Holder

And last, but certainly not least, feast your eyes on this!
Tasty Tower
Tasty Tower 2

Starting from the top:
4 Gingerbread cupcakes (VCTOTW), topped with melted chocolate and a piece of crystallised ginger

Second row:
Strawberry chocolate thumbprint cookies (VWAV).
Bottom row:
5 Gingerbread cupcakes
9 Carrot Cake topped with Cream Cheese Icing
All were AMAZINGLY good! I have to say that my favourites were the Gingerbread Cupcakes - OMG so tasty. Plus they had a crunchy top (and the chocolate matched perfectly).
Here are some cupcake closeups for extra p0rn....
Ginger Cupper 2

Ginger Cupper 1

I had Cream Cheese icing leftover that day, so I made another carrot cake batch & took to Ma & Pa's for my nephew's birthday. I decorated with three sultanas so they looked like a flower. Scrumptious!!!

Carrot Cake
Hope everyone enjoyed today's post. I have a friend coming over tomorrow for vegan baking - I'm not sure what I'm going to attempt yet - maybe a lower fat gingerbread cupper? I could replace half of the fat with applesauce... Any suggestions? :)

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Catch Up - Part One - Savoury Dishes

Let's cut the c**p and just say I'm a lazy blogger (and a lazy thesis writer - up to 2600 wds).

I'll do another update in a few days - the sugar kick lasted all of a week and a half - HA!

So here's what we've been a cookin' lately:

This was a roast dinner that we made - the roast is the brand spankin' new Sanitarium one (you'll find it in the cold 'health food' section at Woolworths/Coles in Australia). It is fairly tasty, but I'm sure I could do something better with homemade seitan. We had it with Rosemary ordinary & sweet potatoes, onions and mushrooms (and a mix of steamed veggies) covered with vegan gravy (the Orgran brand)... Mmm mmm mmmRoast Dinner

Next we made Tofu Tacos from The Everyday Vegan. This recipe made A LOT of taco mix - we were eating with tacos and then with tortillas for the next three days! I added a lot of chilli, so it burned, but Cam likes it that way. I served with guac and refried beans (we were too cheap to add cheeze)...
Tofu Tacos

Finally, Cam found a recipe for dahl on the PPK recipe listing (somewhere, I don't know exactly which one). It was pretty tasty, but we needed to grind the spices a little more. It was good the next day as the flavours had developed.....
Curry & Rice

And one more thing..... We went to my parent's house for dinner tonight (it was my middle nephew's fourth birthday (I ended up buying the same book that my brother bought - there appears to be only one picture book about pirates????)). Anyway, I snapped my mum's cat Nancy (aka Nancy Fancy Pants, Pantsy - we have a weird thing with animal names) curled up next to a decanter of port (it was right under the heater - it's COLD in Brisbane!!!) I want a fur coat (I mean I want one instead of skin - duh)..... Check it out!!!Drunken Cat

Stay warm everyone! I'm off to bed to cuddle up to a hot water bottle (well, it's actually a bag of wheat that you microwave, but serves the same purpose).

Visit in a few days to see the mountain of sugar I've prepared - you'll enjoy!!!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

In which Amy pulls her finger out...... (and goes on and on..............)

And posts something on the blog. Hi everyone! I've been sick and hella busy for the last week or so, so I've been neglecting the blog. I went to a friend's wedding on Saturday, which was lovely. AND I finally got some work done on my thesis (10% down, 13,500 words to go!). But here's what you've visited for - THE FOOD!

I baked two batches of seitan on Monday afternoon (the recipe was Lachesis' ultimate baked seitan from the PPK boards). One was the original Seitan O'Greatness and the other's flavour was inspired by the VWAV tempeh recipe (the recipe I normally use to make Tofu Bacon in BLTs). I didn't bake the original Seitan O'Greatness for quite long enough, but it turned out to be really useful for use as a 'mince' substitute!

So on Monday night (which was pretty cold here in Brisbane) we curled up on the couch with a huge glass of red wine each and watched two episodes of the Sopranos and ate Italian food!

Garlic Bread (oh man, this was so garlicky & tasty!):
Garlic Bread

And Seitan Stroganoff:
Seitan Stroganoff

To make:
Fry up about half a batch of Seitan O'Greatness with garlic(I'll leave the quantity to your own taste, we end up using about 3 tablespoons everytime - we like garlic breath), a chopped onion in olive oil. After the onion is transparent, add your pasta sauce (I make a bastardized version of Isa's pizza sauce & add more tomatoes). Serve over pasta.

Cam really loved these two recipes - I think I need to make more pasta sauce before adding the grilled seitan.

Going back in time now.....

On Sunday night my brother (who lives with us & works for a rockin' deli in a local suburb - their olives are the best) brought home about ten punnets of strawberries for us! I love strawberries (my favourite way to eat them is to cut them into pieces and eat with a fork)! So, we just HAD to make waffles! I made the Ginger Pear Waffles from VWAV, but we didn't have any pears, so I did it with apples.

Apple Ginger Waffles with Choc IceCream & Strawberry Sauce

We served with Strawberry sauce and Chocolate Soy Ice Cream. The batter made LOTS of waffles, so I basically snacked on these while writing my thesis (the sugar assisted greatly!).

Waffles 2

On Tuesday, after what can only be described as the worst working day in my career thus far, I needed tasty food. Voila! Vegan Fajitas!

I marinated the seitan in a sauce made with Smoky Barbecue Sauce, Refried Beans (the only thing I could think of that would impart a 'mexican' flavour) and a lime-chilli paste.

Fajita Fixins

I had to post a pic of the sauce - what is it with actors and sauces? Paul Newman has his salad dressings, etc and now Jack Thompson has a BBQ sauce? LOL.....

Seitan looked like this when it was marinating:

Marinated Seitan

And when it was served with guacamole, refried beans, fried onion and mushroom, tomato and lettuce, it looked like this!

Seitan Fajita

I think that's it for now..... We went to the Alibi Room on Saturday for breakfast - if it is possible, it was better than the week before!

One last thing, I'm going on a sugar-free kick. Yes, I know this means no cookies and cupcakes, but I'm getting tubby and more than a little concerned about my sugar intake (I really don't want diabetes). So Iron Chef Cookie will have to wait a few months.

Hope all the Aussies aren't freezing their arses off right now (I'm wearing four layers!) & hope everyone in NSW is doing okay after all the rain. **End Communication**

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Breakfast at The Alibi Room

A friend told us about this place - OMG it was so good!

Here's what we had (Cam and I shared), The Kombie Driver's Breakfast (the $30 lovebirds plate):

It is indeed an ungodly amount of food:
Food 1
Food 2

The food was (clockwise from the top): Asian Inspired Scrambled Tofu, Hash Browns (they were mega tasty & spiced just right), Mushrooms and Spinach (drool), two Fried Tomatoes, Nuttelex (damn flash), Vegan Bacon (Cam loved it, but I have to say I prefer my Tofu Bacon over this, but it was smoky and tasty... Okay, I loved it too), half a dozen pieces of Sourdough toast (yummo!), and Baked Beans. I think my favourite thing was the mushrooms, but it ALL tasted great! The food was enough to keep us bursting for the next six hours (so we went and bought a Playstation 2 - long story).

You also get a tea/coffee and a juice. We screwed up and ordered shakes! Cam had a chocolate soy shake:
Choc Shake
I had a strawberry soy shake:
Strawberry shake

I also got a green tea - they had a cool tea infuser, so I took a photo of that too:

I was so proud of us, we finished the whole plate (there was seriously enough food for about four people on the plate):
Piggies empty plate

They had a few purty pictures around the place (the atmosphere was awesome). I took a pic of this one:
The Alibi Room is a funky cafe/bar in New Farm (720 Brunswick Street - that serves omni and vegan food. They've made a real effort to have vegan friendly options on their menu, so please give them a try next time you're in BrisVegas. The staff were really cool, they had tatts and cool t-shirts! Atmosphere was great - they had lots of paintings (as above) & the vibe was cool, not yuppyish (as you sometimes get in New Farm).

Checkout their online menu - they do mexican & vegan pizza with Cheezly! According to Cam, who heard from a friend who heard it from his housemate, the bacon is made by the same guys that make Cheezly. That would be Redwood: