Vegan Mofo 2015 #30: Fusion Challenge


Well now Marilla, this is a bit embarrassing. It’s the final day of Mofo and our prompt is Fusion Challenge! Aaaaand I didn’t have the time today to make one final Mofo dish. I had planned to make something with the Szechuan pepper I recently bought but didn’t get around to brainstorming ideas. And then I was struck with a bit of brilliance: why not show you all a simple snack that I was once obsessed with? In fact, it’s a fusion of things I’m obsessed with: tahini and a sandwich press. Seriously, if it can go in a sandwich press I will do it just to get those pretty grill marks.

Okay so we have tahini. Which can be your Middle Eastern flavour. Then we have chocolate, which can be, like, from everywhere. Then we have some kind of wheat wrap like a tortilla or roti or whatevs– totes fusiony!

And then you just spread some tahini on the wrappy thing, throw on some chocolate, roll it up and stick it in the sandwich press. And you get something that looks utterly crap but tastes fantastic (so that’s a kind of fusion thing in itself: Craptastic). Throw some token flowers on the plate, take a photo with your phone and voila:

tahini choc wrap

And just like that *finger snap, hair flick* Vegan Mofo is over for another year. Waaaah! It has flown! When I first heard about the changes to Mofo this year, with following prompts instead of choosing our own themes, I admit I was a little ho hum about it as I’d been looking forward to my theme. I also loved some of the themes last year and loved reading them every morning, so I was a little bummed I’d be missing out on that.

I have to say though, the prompts made Mofo much easier for me this year. When I saw the prompts I did have some anxious moments about how I would keep up with them. It didn’t turn out to be a problem at all, in fact it was so good to have days where I didn’t have to cook anything and I was able to prepare some dishes before Mofo began. Last year I enjoyed my Will My Kids Eat It? theme (which I will confess now was slightly sanitised– the uncensored version included lots of quotes from my kids with the word “testicles” frequently being used). But I ran out of puff last year because I was trying to make a Mofo dish for nearly every day of the month and some days I just couldn’t be bothered (even if my kids were boosting my humour levels by referring to some of my efforts as “fetid bladder infection”… WTF?)

There were some bloggers this year that stuck with a theme, or merged their planned theme with the Mofo prompts. I really enjoyed those and kinda wished I saw more themes. But at the same time, I was proven wrong about the daily prompts being a little mehhh in comparison to a fixed theme. I like both equally!

There were so many blogs I enjoyed reading this Mofo that it’s hard to choose stand-outs but I have to tip my hat to the following:

– Lysette from Vegan Varg has inspired me to grow shiso

Rosalie from Quinces and Kale ate her way through the sandwich menu of Melbourne’s Smith & Deli which is a magnificent effort

Jennifer from One Raw Bite wrote about Korean Food 101. I want to watch some of those tv shows!

Joey from Flicking the Vs made fritters in a sandwich maker. I have to try that, stat!

– Emil from Hasta La Vegan had me peeing my pants for yet another Mofo with the wafflizing of everything.

There were so, so many things I enjoyed. The kitchen tour prompt is a standout, as well as the focus on a nutrient prompt. I got some good info that day! The make something inspired by book/film was a lot of fun! I followed along as much as I could on Instagram too and enjoyed seeing what people came up with.

Those ‘select the pictures that contain [whatever]’ anti-spam measures were sometimes a pain in the bum.  There’s one that says “select all images that show donuts”. Well one of the supposedly donut images were actually bagels. Pffft!

I’ve followed some new blogs and social media accounts. I tried to respond to every comment on the blog, which is much easier than on Instagram– sometimes I went to respond on my my Instagram then would press a wrong button on my phone and lose what I was writing and where I was writing it, or I’d clear my phone notifications before realising I was clearing the notifications of who tagged me or commented etc. I’m still learning Instagram but didn’t really have the time this month to sit down and work it out (Instagram frustrates me!) So my big apologies to people who left comments on my ig but didn’t receive a reply.


Thanks to all involved with putting on Mofo! See you all next year! Or better yet, stick around followww meeeee! I got some changes planned for the blog and hope to make it better! Mwahhh!





Review And Giveaway: The Plant-Based Journey By Lani Muelrath

This review includes a giveaway for readers in the US and Canada. Please read on!

The Plant-Based Journey Book Cover

I’m very happy to be a stop on the blog tour for Lani Muelrath’s latest book, The Plant-Based Journey. Lani is an award winning teacher, speaker and mindful living and plant based lifestyle coach. Lani’s website and blog are great– I especially like her blog entries focusing on animals and her travels!

Lani appeared on CBS TV recently and you can catch the five minute segment here:


My own vegan journey began nearly four years ago primarily for health reasons. I’d been stocking up on the animal protein when I was weight training as I believed, like many, that I needed a meat and egg filled diet to increase my muscle mass. My friend and trainer was vegan and pointed out the benefits of plant based eating and suggested some resources to read. Soon after reading those resources, I made the decision to stop eating animal products.

Since then, I’ve always been on the lookout for new resources I can recommend and pass on to people to help encourage them to make the shift to plant based living. Similarly, I look for resources that vegans and plant based dieters can use too if they feel their diet habits need improvement, especially with moving towards including more whole foods. Lani’s book is a great source of information that I happily reach for to share with others and to give myself a refresher course.

The Plant-Based Journey is subtitled A Step-by-Step Guide for Transitioning to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight. The sections in the book are laid out in a very user friendly way and present information in an easy to understand manner that helps you both begin and maintain a plant based journey of your own. Lani mentions that when people seek out her help for moving to a plant based diet, she finds they need help with setting up their kitchen but also with giving consideration to their previous ways of thinking and eating. I see this echoed all the time in conversations I have, or exchanges I read online and there are many stories of people who did try but felt information-overloaded or they had a lot of the knowledge ready to be put in to action but didn’t know how to put it all in motion! I particularly liked the chapter on navigating social and family situations and encouraging children to get on board, a challenge I face in my home from time to time.

Lani is also known for her fitness education work and she includes an informative chapter on the importance of physical movement. Lani also writes about mastering strength of mind and building the foundations to support you mentally on your plant based journey. There are reader stories throughout the book too.

There’s a recipe section, with some of the recipes being more for quick meals that you can get on the table in around ten minutes (those recipes are marked with a symbol). The recipes don’t have photos and that’s fine with me as this is an educational, information sharing resource and not a cookbook in the traditional sense. I’ve made a few of the recipes, first up the Pumpkin Muffins. These are oil free and sweetened with dates, raisins and applesauce. We took these outside and enjoyed them with some stewed rhubarb and apple ‘jam’ (I often call home made sugar-free stewed fruit ‘jam’, works in my house!). I swapped the flour for a combination of wholemeal spelt and wholemeal flour (the recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour, which I don’t believe we can get here in Australia):

The Plant-Based Journey pumpkin muffins

l love love love these Lime Chipotle Chickpeas. They’re my new favourite way of eating chickpeas. I made the roasting option but forgot to drain off the marinade. Which didn’t bother me one bit because it’s all delicious! I made some corn tortillas and anticipate this being on regular rotation for me:

The Plant-Based Journey lime chipotle chickpeas

I also made the Portobello Pot Roast, using home made vegetable stock instead of the stated wine. This was really tasty and a great way of using up those mushrooms which I always buy with good intention but kinda forget about!

This is the kind of book I would have loved to have available when I became vegan. I often hear people say things like “I’d like to go plant based but it seems too hard”. My personal experience is that it isn’t hard at all, so I think Lani’s book is incredibly useful for people who need a bit of guidance and the confidence with making the switch.

If you would like to catch up with the previous stops on the blog book tour, here they are:


Thanks to BenBella books for having me as a stop on the book tour and for providing a hard copy of The Plant-Based Journey for a giveaway! This giveaway is for readers in the US and Canada.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below telling me your favourite quick and easy way of upping the veggie content in your meals– or do you drink your veggies in smoothie/juice form like me?!

The giveaway runs for two weeks and will end on October 14th at 23:59 AEST.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of The Plant-Based Journey from BenBella Books. All opinions are my own and I happily recommend this book to you!


Vegan Mofo 2015 #29: Vegan Road Trip

Today’s Mofo prompt is What would you bring on a vegan road trip?

Given the happy news (because I’m a nerd) I woke up to this morning, there’s only one destination for my road trip!


Of course, I need a pilot:


“No, Veganopoulous. We can’t sacrifice rocket fuel for more nooch.”

And a happy co-pilot [edit: I’d spend the trip to Mars educating this particular pilot given his recent comments in the news…]astronautmatt

“I’m going to have to vegan the shit out of this!”

Now given how badly the Earth has been screwed by animal agriculture, Mars is going to be an all vegan planet. I’m fascinated with how plants will grow on Mars and really chuffed to be living in a time where new discoveries like Martian water are being made, though I’m always a bit bummed I don’t live in a time that is essentially all Star Trekky.

Okay, so what would I pack? Well let’s pretend we don’t have the pesky problem of my food floating everywhere when we’re en route to Mars. There’s some nice artificial gravity going on.


– popcorn, for the nooch.

– For kicks, we would have a bike attached to a blender so I’d have a big supply of coconut water and protein powders (hemp protein and Prana ON protein powders are my favourites) along with dehydrated fruit and veg that I can put in the smoothies.

– For snacks, I’d have a good supply of pretty much anything that contains tahini and chocolate. Maybe some spacey freeze dried chocolate halva ice cream (I did get some astronaut ice cream in a packet once, unfortunately it wasn’t vegan and I’ve been bitter about it ever since). And protein kinds of bars which contain tahini.

– kale chips and flaxseed crackers with some kind of space friendly dip.

– Cinnamon buns.

– Somehow, I can rehydrate beans and legumes to make hearty stews so I’ll be doing that too. Seriously, is there anything better than eating a steaming bowl of chilli when gazing out a space shuttle window when you’re going to Mars?






Review: Street Vegan By Adam Sobel

Street Vegan Cover

[image source: Penguin Random House]

The Cinnamon Snail Food Truck from New York has a well deserved reputation for superamazing food. The first all-vegan all-organic food truck in the US, they’ve won awards, been featured twice on the front page of the New York Times dining section, received super accolades and moooore. Here in Melbourne, I’d be reading blogs from North America and seeing people making a point of visiting The Cinnamon Snail on their holidays. I know people from Melbourne who have gone to NYC with a visit to Cinnamon Snail at the top of their list and came back raving about it. So when I heard that chef Adam Sobel was releasing a cookbook I figured this may be the only chance I have to get close to trying the food for myself, as an NYC trip isn’t something that will be happening for me any time soon!

This is one of those books where I was turning every page and loving what I saw followed by a quick thought process of just how soon I can get over to the US and try the food myself, then doing a desperate hand wringing wail that I’m you know, on the other side of the planet. Okay enough tales of woe, on to the food!

So seitan is one of those things I don’t like to make much because it always seems too mushy. Even if I reduce liquids, I feel it’s too soft inside which always makes me feel it’s not cooked. I also have a habit of incinerating overcooking it just to be sure it is properly cooked and reduce that mushiness. I loved the photo (crispy bits!) and the description of the Seitan with Maple Mustard Glaze. The recipe calls for tofu in the seitan but I used some canned butter beans instead as well as swapping the stated raw garlic for some I’d already roasted. I also did a bit of an experiment and cooked the seitan two ways: first, pan frying in oil as stated in the recipe and second with my air fryer. I wanted to try an oil free method of cooking too, though I did lightly spray the seitan strips with some coconut oil before putting them in the air fryer. Because the seitan strips were going to be tossed in the maple mustard glaze, I didn’t mind too much about the strips being too dry from the air fryer. I made these the night before breakfast and let them sit in the glaze overnight and although the air fried strips were a little on the dry side, they were still fine enough. The best bit was these didn’t have the too-soft-too-mushy factor my previous homemade efforts have suffered.

I loved these strips and they weren’t difficult or time consuming to make. I got up early and made some bread before breakfast, chopped up some spinach and grilled red peppers and wondered if refusing to share makes me a bad parent:

Street Vegan maple mustard seitan

Another recipe from the breakfast chapter is the Cashew Oat Waffles with Caramelised Apples. These involve making some oat flour (from rolled oats) and grinding up some raw cashews in a food processor. While the waffle batter was resting for the twenty minutes specified, I made the caramelised apples. I didn’t follow the recipe 100% here with the cooking of the apples (only because I’m, you know, lazy and impatient) but it was almost exactly the same. With the waffle batter, I used aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas) in place of the oil as I try to avoid using oil wherever possible. They turned out great and I loved the sweetness of the cashew in the waffles. Here the waffles are topped with the apples and I added a little coconut yoghurt. They toasted up fine the next day as well. Here are two days of waffles:

S treet Vegan Oat Cashew Waffles with Caramelised Apples

The Cranberry Brazil Nut granola was really easy to make. And eat. I love Brazil nuts but don’t often use them and I found a stash in the freezer looking all forgotten. This granola is flavoured with cinnamon and orange. I used quinoa flour in place of amaranth flour and I baked it much longer than the recipe stated because I wanted to get as much crunch as possible. This granola is great with coconut yoghurt or on top of a smoothie bowl. Best granola I’ve made:

Street Vegan Cranberry Brazil Nut Granola

I figured I cooked enough from the breakfast chapter and that it would only be fair to make something non-breakfasty. Hmm, nah. Strike that, reverse it and get your face in to the Almond Milk French Toast with Raspberry-Grapefruit Coulis and Smoky Roasted Almonds! I had to plan for this, like tell Husband the ruby red grapefruit I bought for him ages ago, that he failed to notice in the fruit bowl in the middle of the table where we eat every day, was not to be touched after all. I made the coulis the day before, ditto for the roasted almonds, though I did mostly pecans and a little of the almonds because as usual, when I go to make a recipe I am often out or almost out of something that features in the recipe’s title. Making the coulis and nuts in advance was a big time saver when it came to assembling everything. The nuts were soooo good (maple syrup! Liquid smoke! Nutmeg! And more!) that I’ll be making a huge batch around Christmas and giving them out as gifts. The only bread in the house was a little on the heavier side, and cut unevenly *cough* so next time I’d use a regular style loaf for pretty triangles:

Street Vegan Almond French Toast

Now I confess I always skip the Soups chapter and leave it for last. I’m just not a soup person. I won’t even order a laksa or a pho if there are other chewy things available. So ah, I left the soup chapter of Street Vegan til last. But when I read it, I was all FEED ME SOUP. I had all the ingredients for the Maple Butternut Squash Soup so I went off to the kitchen and made it on the spot. This soup is full of great flavours: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, star anise, maple and more. It was awesome the next day. Let’s take this outside, soup!

Street Vegan maple butternut soup

I had to try something from the sandwiches chapter. As soon as I saw the word ‘gomasio’ I was sold. Well, it is also truthful to point out I was extra sold on seeing ‘five-spice’. Do you ever have one spice you buy with the best of intentions, but you never use it? Then when you find it in the pantry it’s two years out of date so you bin it and buy another to replace it, but then don’t use that one either? That’s my relationship with Chinese five-spice powder. So the recipe for Miso Teriyaki Seitan with Grilled Onions and Five-Spice Fried Sunflower Gomasio had me all yeahhhhhhh time to rock out that five-spice from the back of the shelf. Party time, excellent! Okay so I did change the recipe a little but only a wee bit. It calls for seitan (whether you make it yourself or buy it) but I chose to use the Gardein chickenless tenders. I didn’t chop them up and mix them with the onions and miso teriyaki sauce like the recipe says, I just spooned the sauce over the tenders. I also didn’t have the wasabi mayo which I really think would ramp this sandwich right up. Still, I’m hard pressed to choose whether I liked the gomasio or the miso teriyaki sauce more. This sandwich is full of fabulous flavours. I’m in love, even though I served it on a cheapie bread roll and not a baguette. You can shove a round roll in your mouth more easily which is what I did with this sandwich. The intro for this recipe says “this sandwich has developed a cult following”, and yep I can sure see why:

Street Vegan miso teriyaki gomasio sandwich

And because that sandwich was so good, I had to try another one. But first, let me tell you about the time I was reading various articles along the lines of “things food bloggers do that piss people off”. One of those things was referring to food as amazeballs. But I’m a rebel at heart because I deliberately go in the opposite direction to the pointy arrows at Ikea and so I’m going to say, in an all-caps show of defiance, that the Thai Barbecue Seitan Ribs with Pickled Thai Basil and Onions and Smoked Chile-Roasted Peanuts was AMAZEBALLS. There are a few things to prepare but I saved some time by making the smoked chile roasted peanuts the day before. I’m not a big lover of roast peanuts but it was so, so hard you guys to resist eating all these before I made the sandwich. I did screw up a little with seitan and following the order in how it got cooked with the barbecue sauce but it all turned out alright. I knew I HAD to make this, I love Thai basil but of course I couldn’t find any in the shops. I had to go to Bunnings (one of those giant hardware and gardening stores) and buy some Thai basil in a pot. With teeny tiny leaves, but I was desperate. I didn’t use a baguette either but the bread was fancy enough. This sandwich is full of brilliantly combined flavours and textures. The crispiness of the seitan, the nice soft pickled onions and the crunch and sweetness of the roasted peanuts (not to mention the smokiness) equals AMAZEBALLS:


There are great sweet recipes in Street Vegan but I resisted them all but in the name of research, you understand, I did have to make at least one for the blog. I went for the Pine Nut Friendlies because I’ve always felt sorry for pine nuts. They seem to be relegated to being toasted and thrown on to pasta or put in pesto. At least in my house… anyway, pine nuts rule in these cookies and each bite is pine nutty deliciousness:

Street Vegan Pine Nut Friendlies

Sometimes when I review cookbook recipes, I kinda wince when I mention modifications I made in case the author reads it and is all objection! What has that criminal done to my recipe!?!? and shakes a fist at me. This is such a time. See, it was early morning, my head all stuffed up from a cold and me not learning that past experience dictates when I’m tired and sick and not thinking clearly, maaaaybe, just maybe, that’s not the best time to make substitutions. I did make a fair bit o’ subs for the Mint Matlock Takes All His Clothes Off mint chocolate cookies. Like using aquafaba in place of the coconut oil and egg replacer. And spelt flour instead of plain. Aaaand coconut sugar even when I know that’s taking a big risk. But hey! These turned out all lovely minty chocolately pillow like anyway! So while they deviate from the Matlock cookies, they’re still close enough to be in the same TV lawyer-detective category. Or maybe more along the lines of Remington Steele. No photos, as they probably look nothing like how the recipe should turn out, but we scoffed them down anyway.

Street Vegan is full of awesome. It’s rocketed straight in to my most fave cookbooks evahhhh list. IT HAS A DONUT CHAPTER. The recipes are brilliant but I especially love the stories Adam Sobel has included. He talks about starting out with the Cinnamon Snail food truck, community outreach, problems they experienced with law enforcement, challenges they faced with providing food to gazillions of people and more. I smiled and snort-laughed a lot reading this book, especially during the recipe intros (bwahaha at the intro for the granola recipe!). It’s one of those books I would be happy to leaf through over and over, even if I’m not looking for something to make.

At first glance, I can understand why some may find some of the recipes a bit too involved or a fair bit of work. However I learnt my lesson when I had written off other great cookbooks in the past, thinking they were a bit too fussy. Seriously, don’t let that deter you. If you think these recipes look great but take ‘too much time’, just give it a go when you do have that extra time (and really, sometimes it’s an extra fifteen minutes). When I read a cookbook I always make mental notes of how long I think something would take, could I make it when the kids are home (and always needing something as soon I start working!), should I make something at night and leave it for the next day, and so on. So while yes, there are recipes in this book where I feel I have to have some more free time and uninterrupted peace and quiet to blast an embarrassing CD while I cook, it’s nothing a bit of time management won’t fix. This book is definitely worth it.

Keep up to date with The Cinnamon Snail‘s locations via their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.



Vegan Mofo 2015 #28: Tacos VS Burritos

Today’s Mofo prompt is Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue?

TEAM BURRITO. All the way! It’s like that one time when someone asked me “Team Edward or Team Jacob?” and I was all DUDE. I am TEAM CHARLIE. That’s how I feel about burritos. They’re a snug cosy blanket stuffed with goodness! As much as I like tacos, wellll they kinda remind me of when I’m trying to wrap myself in my bed blankets but they’re on crooked so my butt is flopping out and goes cold right away. Plus with tacos I always make a mess and that kinda takes away from the enjoyment of a meal.

When I want a burrito fix, I go to Zambrero:


I’ve used the Spicy Nacho Bean Balls from Colonial Farms (found in the freezer section of some supermarkets here) to make my own. This was one of my favourites, I really like the Bean Balls:

nacho bean ball burrito

The Cornish Arms here in Melbourne have a wicked awesome vegan menu, serving up common ‘pub grub’ meals. They had this Mexican popcorn chicken wrap as a special a while back. The popcorn chicken was really excellent. Terrible photo:

cornish arms mexican wrap

I did have some tasty tacos at Trippy Taco in Fitzroy but my heart belongs to the burrito. Let us travel back to a time where I thought flash photography of food was a perfectly okay idea (in my defence I did recently break out the flash in a dark restaurant because my family were waaaaaiiiiiiiting for me to take proper pics but I couldn’t get it right so I went with the Auto setting with flash):

Trippy Taco

Burritos for the win!