6

Trang Bakery, Melbourne CBD

I have so many places on my to-do (well, to-eat) list and haven’t really had much time at all to go and check them out. But with a stroke of good luck, some city errands took me right near Trang Bakery in Hardware Street. Bingo!

Having seen and heard lots of raving oohs and aaahs about Trang Bakery’s vegan banh mi options, I decided to order the lemongrass tofu first, before I walked in. My thinking was that I will keep on returning until I try all the options. But one look at the vegan board and I faltered… eggplant tempura? Mock roast duck? Everything sounded SO GOOD and then the staff told me to try the new vegan bbq pork banh mi. That did it for me, problem solved, mock bbq pork ordered.

I went well after lunch hour so I was the only one there. The white bread rolls had sold out, which was fine as I would have ordered wholemeal anyway. I’ve heard that during busy times the queues are well out the door.

All I can say is that my mouth was watering while trying to take the photo. I was in a hurry so I couldn’t sit down and eat, so passers by were treated to a mad woman shoving her head in to a paper bag:

Trang Bakery CBD

This is the bakery in Hardware Street (not the Hardware Lane end):
Trang Bakery CBD

It’s easy to see why Trang Bakery attracts vegan customers! Although it’s not a vegan establishment, the vegan options are insanely good. Don’t just take my word for it, check out reviews by Where’s The Beef and Quinces and Kale. I’ll definitely return to try every vegan option 😉

Trang Bakery

Hardware Street, city (also at 382 Smith Street in Collingwood)

https://www.facebook.com/trangbakery

Trang Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

6

Week In Review: Buddha’s Day in Melbourne

buddhasdaymelbourne7

This past week was a welcome quiet one. Arthur and Husband had super busy schedules but DeeW and I were able to take it easy at home. On Saturday we went down to Federation Square in the city to check out the Buddha’s Day festivities. Melbourne switched on perfect weather!

buddhasdaymelbourne1 buddhasdaymelbourne2 buddhasdaymelbourne3 buddhasdaymelbourne4 buddhasdaymelbourne5 buddhasdaymelbourne6  buddhasdaymelbourne8 buddhasdaymelbourne9

I’d hoped to get something to eat. There were lots of foods marked vegetarian but nobody was able to give me a guarantee about vegan options. In the end I gave in to DeeW’s big googly puppy eyes (maybe because I was making the same eyes) and got one of these twisty potato things. I was told they were cooked in oil and that was it. I was starving, I’d never tried one of these before and they smelled soooo good. Only later did I learn from a fellow vegan that these twists are often pre-dipped in a non-vegan batter:

potato twist

Here’s a random house near Melbourne Uni, snapped while DeeW and I were waiting for the tram:

terrace house

 

News time!

* Vegetarian Victoria will be celebrating their birthday on Saturday July 11th, 7:00pm at the 5th Brunswick Scout Hall on Weston Street, Brunswick. The event will be child friendly and alcohol free. Prices are $15 for adults and $7 for children under twelve, including food and drink. There will be prizes, a monster raffle, giveaways and competitions. More details to come but for now please check out the event page on Facebook, especially if you have dietary requirements. All food will be vegan. Fun times, please invite your friends!

vegetarian victoria stall

 

Have you heard the cover of Don’t Dream It’s Over by Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus?

I’ll leave it there for this week. Please enter my current giveaway (Leigh Drew’s Veganissimo! and Greenilicious) if you have an Australian mailing address. It’s a pretty sweet giveaway, if I may say so!

 

37

Giveaway, Review, Author Interview: Veganissimo! and Greenilicious

This giveaway has now closed

Veganissimo! and Greenilicious

I often read my vegan cookbooks like a novel from cover to cover, rather than looking for specific recipes. I grab some pieces of paper for bookmarks, put my feet up, lower the cone of silence then read through the recipes. One of my favourite read-it-like-a-novel cookbooks is Veganissimo! Beautiful Vegan Food by Leigh Drew. Another favourite is Leigh’s Greenilicious: 101 Ways To Love Your Greens, with Queensland based dietitian and nutritionist Amanda Benham contributing to the nutrition information sections. Leigh and Amanda were brought together to create Greenilicious and this book is also frequently consulted in my home!

Check out some of the gorgeous photos from both books (thank you to Arbon Publishing for allowing me to use these images)! Here’s the Spiced Chocolate and Zucchini Cake with Macadamia Icing from Greenilicious:

Greenlicious_SpicedChocolateZucchiniCake

Hint of Mint Cheesecake from Greenilicious:

Greenilicious_HintMintCheesecake

Soft Molasses Gingerbread Cake from Veganissimo!

Veganissimo_GIngerBreadCake

Rocket Frittata from Greenlicious:

Greenilicious_ROCKETFRITTATA

Scallion Pancakes from Veganissimo!

Greenlicious_ScallionPancake

Fennel, Asian Vegetable and Fresh Fig Salad from Veganissimo!

Veganissimo_AsianSalad

There are some fantastic cheese recipes in Veganissimo! and I love the Chive and Cashew Cream Cheese (I’ve also made it with dill instead of chives). This is one of my favourite photos from Veganissimo!

Veganissimo_DipsAndCheeses

Broccoli Fritters from Greenilicious:

Greenilicious_BROCCOLIFRITTERS

Filled with loads more beautiful photos, both Veganissimo! and Greenilicious were created here in Australia. I asked Leigh some questions about her background, future plans and the cookbook creation process. You can find my reviews and photos of dishes I’ve made from both Veganissimo! and Greenilicious further down. Check this interview out, I very much enjoyed reading Leigh’s responses!

Please tell us about your culinary background!

I started cooking for the family (of 2) when I was about 9 years old. My mother was working a lot and I perfected the muffin pizza for a quick dinner for us. It’s been all wins since then! I worked in a French restaurant and studied cheffing for a while in my early twenties, but I didn’t really hit my fall-in-love-with-cooking state until I became vegan in 2003. I suddenly had to relearn everything that I knew, and a whole new world opened up for me!

I started blogging, then managed to convince Sydney Community College to let me run vegan cooking classes, which led to my first book being published by aduki (a Melbourne vegan indy publisher), which led to me becoming involved in running naked espresso and apt in Newtown, as well as ongoing involvement as a cooking demonstrator at various vegan festivals around Australia.

I have mostly concentrated on writing cookbooks in recent years, with an occasional foray into hospitality (I helped out at Revolution Foods Café in Enmore for a while), and have been lucky enough to have great support from Arbon who have published my last two books.

What does writing a cookbook generally involve, from start to finish?

My experience with writing a cookbook (and this may differ from other experiences) is to first determine the theme of the cookbook, then do some research to see if there is much out there in the same vein (or if there is a trend coming up).

Second task is to create the shape of the book – chapter titles/concepts etc, and then build a recipe set that reflects the theme of the book and the chapter concepts. When the recipe set is finalised and a skeleton recipe is written for each of dishes, then I get my recipe testers and taste testers involved.

I cook the dishes, making changes to the recipes I’ve already written, and present them to my taste testers. I incorporate the feedback from that experience into the draft recipe, and then post it for my recipe testers to make. They’ll come back with further feedback and based on that, I’ll finalise the recipes and present them to the publisher.

After that there is editing, looking at design for the book and, if I’m really lucky, sitting in on the photoshoots for the chosen recipes. I might also be writing the introductory chapters (non-recipe chapters) at the same time as all of the above is happening. There is also the process of choosing the cover, which is always lots of fun and very difficult!

Finally, I get to hold first proofs of the final version of the book in my hands, and then the first print run. I always get overwhelmed with a combination of pride, happiness, slight confusion and a feeling of “how did I write this beautiful thing?” when I see my books.

Do you have any standout favourites from Veganissimo! and Greenilicious?

Oh wowsers. It’s always hard to choose!!

From Veganissimo…. I love the Coconut, Ginger and Lime Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis; the Lemon Self-saucing Pudding; the Soft Molasses Gingerbread Cake; Tandoori Cauliflower Cheese; Thai-style Yellow Curry with Coriander Dressing; the Cashew Cheese with Roasted Garlic and Smoked Paprika; the Vegan Meatball Subs; and the Pikelets with Whipped Maple Crème.

From Greenilicious…. I love the Raw Tex Mex Tacos (was so chuffed that they made the cover!); the Green Crepes stuffed with Chilli-spiked Cream Cheese; the Broccoli Fritters; the Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip; the Mushrooms Rockefeller; and the entire Green Smoothies chapter.

There are so many others, but today, these are my favourites 😀
When you have an idea for a recipe, do you run with it? Or do you have to make sure nobody else has done it first?

There are so many creative, prolific vegan bloggers and recipe creators out there that I definitely try and see if anyone has already created the dish I’m thinking of making! If there are lots of example of the dish out there in existing cookbooks or on the internet, I may go back to the drawing board, or I may look at ways to tweak it to make it identifiably my creation.

So if it’s a version of an already popularly veganised dish, such as the Reuben Sandwich in Veganissimo, then I’ll do some research on the different ways that people have approached the dish and adapt my recipe accordingly so that I can bring something hopefully new to it.

Always research, because firstly, there are great techniques out there that you may not have thought of, and secondly, occasionally you find that no-one else has done anything like your recipe idea in any way 😀

Do you have a meal at a restaurant (or friend’s house, festival etc) that blew your mind?

Oh, regularly! Most recently it was probably at Green Mushroom in Glebe (all veg*n Indian restaurant) – everything we had was top notch. Cannot wait to try the other half of the vegan dishes on the menu!

Brunch at Smith & Daughters made me cry with happiness – a griddle full of veges and beans and nopales topped with cheese sauce, soft corn tortillas on the side….

Oh! The vegan gorgonzola pizza at Sfizy Veg in Berlin was amazing. Actually, everything at Sfizy Veg in Berlin is amazing. Their brunch… OMG.

I’ve been getting lunches from My Little Panda Kitchen in Sydney and their cinnamon bun is mouth-wateringly good.

And my boyfriend makes the best – BEST – roast potatoes.

What are your plans for the short and long term future?

In the relative short term, I’m writing a new cookbook, which is exciting. I’m hoping to do some travel in the near-ish future, and hopefully keep writing and speaking on how to be a well fed vegan!

Mostly my plans are to be the happiest vegan I can be. And to learn to swim.
If you could have one culinary superpower, what would it be?

Hmmmm. Making the washing up magically happen without my having to do it isn’t really a *culinary* superpower, is it?  To turn slightly melty vegan cheese into bubbly, stringy, stretchy vegan cheese. Vegan cheeses are getting better and better, but sometimes I just miss the whole “hold pizza at arm’s length from face and have the cheese stretch across the chasm” experience.

 

Leigh has packed 120 recipes in to Veganissimo! which range from marinades to baked goods, from cheeses to sandwich style foods, from stews to desserts and more– it’s all there and I have no doubt you’ll find something you’ll enjoy. The Lemon Self Saucing Pudding is my family’s favourite and frequently requested!

As well as the recipes, Leigh provides some information on the vegan lifestyle and a vegan diet in Veganissimo! The chapter ‘Building Blocks of Vegan Cuisine’ covers equipment basic, pantry items, legumes, nuts and seeds (including a table for soaking and cooking times), whole grains, soy and wheat products, nondairy milks, dairy substitutes and egg substitutes.

Here are some of the fantastic recipes I’ve made from Veganissimo! and I have loads more I want to make.

I loved these Vegan Meatball Subs and I was over the moon that my fussy ten year old loved the (no)meatballs. I made my own bread rolls (using spinach, hence the green) and filled them with some greens, the meatballs, the Chunky Onion and Tomato Sauce and the Cheese Sauce which you can make using either oats (my choice) or sunflower seeds. The meatballs are made with tofu, walnuts and brown lentils. The recipe calls for green olives in the mix but I didn’t have any, though I think they worked perfectly without. These are now my go-to meatballs:

Veganissimo! Meatball Subs

The Angel-hair Pasta with Creamed Eggplant and Avocado Sauce gives you the option to use chickpeas instead of eggplant. Here I went with the eggplant (though I made too much pasta!). I think it would taste just as good with the chickpeas, which is what I will try next time. I didn’t have the ingredients to make the Gomasio recipe called for, so I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on top:

Veganissimo! Angel Hair Eggplant Pasta

The Overnight Breakfast Cups are made with quinoa flakes and apple. I often have overnight oats so this was a nice change:

Veganissimo! Overnight breakfast cups

The Aragula Salad with Cranberries, Butternut Squash and Orange is another favourite of mine and one I would make as the star salad if I was cooking for a lot of people:

Veganissimo! Aragula Orange Salad

The Pikelets with Whipped Maple Cream recipe was another good choice. The kind of good where you’re really impatient to eat them but you have to wait until you’ve taken a photo (where the jam and cream kinda plop everywhere by the time you get the dish outside):
Veganissimo! Pikelets

Another favourite recipe is the Reuben Sandwich, using a tofu bacon that’s marinated in a spiced soy. This spiced soy, with cinnamon and anise, adds a really nice flavour to the marinade. Like the meatballs, this tofu bacon is now my go-to bacon/facon recipe. This sandwich looked so good that I set up camp outside and enjoyed it all nice and peaceful like:

Veganissimo! Reuben Sandwich

I’ve previously made the Thai Style Yellow Curry with Coriander Dressing and rate it as a favourite. Loaded with coriander (cilantro), this is a definite winner for coriander-loving me. The recipe calls for tofu but I was all out so I used some chickpeas and leftover pumpkin:

Veganissimo! Thai Yellow Curry

DeeW wanted to help me make a cake for Mothers Day so we went for the Moist Beet and Chocolate Cake (in a heart shaped tin of course!). DeeW requested no glaze as she’s not a fan of icing, so we sprinkled over some icing sugar. I could barely detect any beetrooty taste in the cake (I’m not a huge fan of beets) and what I could pick up was no problem at all. As the name says, this cake is moist and chocolately. The colour was gorgeous and I will definitely make it again:

Veganissimo! Moist Chocolate Beet cake

I’ve previously made the Chocolate Mousse Tart with Raspberries which disappeared quick smart at a family Christmas lunch:

Veganissimo! Chocolate Mousse Tart with Raspberries

 

Greenilicious contains 101 recipes to ‘love your greens’ and in all honesty this is one book (along with Veganissimo!) where I want to make just about everything. There are alternatives given if you want to omit an ingredient or try different flavours. I especially love this book because I am very guilty when it comes to serving my greens in the most lazy, minimalist way possible. In other words, I throw all my greens in to a blender and drink them. Now sure, green juices and smoothies can be awesome but Greenilicious has loads of wow factor recipes (go back and look at the official book photos above! Those cakes!!!).

From Greenilicious, I’ve made the Pesto Broccolini Pizza. The polenta base is a very welcome change from your standard pizza dough:

greenilicious_pesto broccolini pizza

The Ethiopian Greens with Spiced Chickpeas recipe is another favourite of mine:

Greenilicious Ethiopian greens

I really enjoyed the Tofu Salad with Shredded Cabbage, Peanuts, Chilli, Mint and Miso Dressing. Here I’ve added some hemp seeds:

greenilicious_tofu salad cabbage

There are a load of green smoothie recipes with worthy names like Baklava, Sesame Halva and After-Dinner Mint. One of my faves (both the name and smoothie!) is Cooper’s Cherry Pie:

greenilicious_coopers cherry pie smoothie

Giveaway Time!

Arbon Publishing and Leigh are offering up a copy each of Veganissimo! and Greenilicious for one lucky Australia based reader of Veganopoulous to win. That’s right, the winner will receive these two books! To enter, please leave a comment below telling me which recipe shown here appeals to you most. The winner (remember, Australia only!) will be chosen by a random number generator. Be sure to use an email address where you can be easily contacted (this won’t be made public). This giveaway closes on Friday May 29th 2015 at 23:59. Good luck!

If you’re not the winner, you’re still in luck! Arbon are having a May special where you can purchase both books for a total of $50.00 by using the code VEGANAU. $10 will go to Vegan Australia.

 

**This giveaway has now closed**

27

Giveaway: Delicious Skin Lip Salves

Image from deliciousskin.com.au

[Image from deliciousskin.com.au]

* This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering! *

Skincare is one of those areas where I previously never really had a standout favourite. I always bought one brand at a time, or received gift packs as a present. Nothing ever really jumped out and grabbed me as being awesome for my skin, until I tried Delicious Skin.

I recently reviewed Delicious Skin and I’m still loving the beautiful smelling products. My skin has improved and I can’t see any signs of the dry skin I’d get on my forehead, which used to make it close to impossible for me to wear a powder foundation. You can read my review here.

Delicious Skin

Nicola Marie created Delicious Skin after researching all the nasties that go in to so many skincare products. Delicious Skin is 100% vegan, palm oil free and cruelty free. I’m only using a fraction of the products compared to what I’d use with other brands. To give you an idea, I required one big pump of my previous brand’s moisturiser to cover my face (and even then I had to add a little rosehip oil to make it feel like it was ‘working’). With Delicious Skin I only need less than a pea sized amount of the moisturiser.

The Deliciously Silky Lip Salves from Delicious Skin come in little tins rather than a traditional lip balm tube. Nicola Marie has chosen to use the tins in an effort to reduce plastic usage and to make sure empty packaging can be recycled or re-used. Due to health regulations, lip balm tubes can not be refilled or recycled so they end up as landfill. There is also concern with plastics and BPA leeching in to products. Happy Delicious Skin customers come up with interesting ways to re-use their empty jars!

Image from deliciousskin.com.au

[Image from deliciousskin.com.au]

Delicious Skin’s lip salves come in three gorgeous flavours: Cocoa Vanilla, Peppermint Vanilla and Chocolate Mint. I have the Cocoa Vanilla and love the smell. This is the first lip salve I have used where I can put a little on in the morning and don’t need to reapply for ages. At bed time, I put some on and wake up without the dry lips I’d often get from other lip balms.

You can order direct from the Delicious Skin website, or check for stockists. The Delicious Skin Facebook page is frequently updated so check in there to find out the latest! You can also catch Delicious Skin on Instagram.

Delicious Skin is very kindly offering two Deliciously Silky Lip Salves to one lucky Australia-based reader of Veganopoulous! To enter the giveaway, please visit Delicious Skin’s website and leave a comment here below telling me which Delicious Skin product you’d like to try. Remember, Australia wide only! This giveaway closes in one week (on May 17th 2015 at 23:59) and I will select the winner randomly using a random number generator. Please use an email address (which won’t be published) where I can get in touch with you. Good luck!

www.deliciousskin.com.au
www.facebook.com/delicious.skin.au
www.instagram.com/deliciousskin_

* This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering! *

Image from deliciousskin.com.au

[Image from deliciousskin.com.au]

8

Week In Review

melbuni6

It’s been one of those mostly-at-home weeks but still busy. Why can’t at-home weeks not feel so busy?!

Arthur and I attended a Voiceless Animal Law Lecture Series presentation/panel. Keynote speaker Professor Steven Wise spoke about the work that the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) have been doing in order to change the legal status of some chimpanzees to ‘person’ instead of ‘thing’. Some religious idols, mountains and rivers have legal status as ‘person’… so why can’t animals have the same? We will learn the outcome of the current case (which is before the court) on May 27th. I was also very happy that Arthur got the opportunity to hear Philip Wollen speak. On the walk back to the tram stop, Arthur and I discussed the lecture and why the work of the NhRP is so important. And why it’s important children learn about this too:

voicelesspanel

I went to Melbourne University during the week for a lecture, which was great timing because the University of Melbourne Animal Protection Society were holding their Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale to raise funds for Big Sky Sanctuary:

umaps vega nbake sale

I’m late this year with taking autumn photos. Argh! Here’s what Melbourne Uni is looking like this week:

melbuni1 melbuni2 melbuni3 melbuni4 melbuni5

Articles and Interesting Stuff:

The World’s First Vegan Mini Mall. I wanna go to Portland!

New Zealand bans animal testing for cosmetics!

Nick Cave in Dr. Seuss style!

My Hopes, Dreams, Fears For My Future Black Son

 

Melbourne (and then some) News:

– Melbourne has scored a new raw vegan cafe! Woohoo! Fare in Collingwood offer gourmet raw food cuisine. The menu looks great and so do the food photos I’ve seen. I’ve got my brain set on the raw Snickers…

Gardein products will be available in Australia!

– This is like, so last century news *cough* Smith & Daughters will be opening a deli style grocer and sandwich shop called Smith & Deli. I still haven’t been to Smith & Daughters for dinner (just brunch) which is rather criminal, but I’m planning to get to Smith & Deli as soon as they open. There may be a vegan smoked salmon sandwich, which I’m keen on trying because the number one thing I hated pre-vegan was smoked salmon. I ate some by accident once and nearly embarrassed myself by vomiting over everyone at a work function. I’d definitely try a vegan version though, because pre-vegan I never liked gravy. Aaaand now I love vegan gravy. So I’m going to put myself to the test here! Blog research, and all.

A Vegan Smiles are running vegan cooking classes in Preston. Click here for booking info. A Vegan Smiles make the most awesome ‘kale muenster’ cheese. I love their parmessan too.

– Melbourne has a new vegan cheese range in town! Damona Divine Cow make pepperjack, brie, bocconcini and a butter. I’ve had some samples and it’s all great.

 

From Other Bloggers:

– Susan from Kittens Gone Lentil is a fellow Aussie vegan blogger. She posts great reviews of recipes she’s made from cookbooks (which always makes me want to go and buy the books I don’t have), as well as cute kitty photos!

Vegan Miam have this great writeup of vegan eats in Melbourne.

– Heading to Japan? Cindy and Michael from Where’s The Beef? have posted some helpful info after their trip. I can’t wait to go myself. No idea when, but I’m going!

 

Food:

I’ve been cooking up a storm this week from Veganissimo! by Leigh Drew, which is one of my favourite cookbooks. Review to come soon but here’s a pic of the Reuben sandwich I made:

Veganissimo! Reuben

Listening To:

– I’ve been wasting time watching YouTube clips that serve no purpose to me. Like watching a singing coach giving her tips on how to sing certain songs. I don’t sing, I can’t sing, but I’m such an expert now.

Hope you all had a fab week, with a better one to follow!