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Very Good Falafel in Brunswick

Very Good Falafel Brunswick

Shuki and Louisa, famous for their falafel and dips, have today opened their Very Good Falafel shop in Brunswick. I’ve been a fan of their falafel in pita for a while now, happily queuing for fifteen minutes at their stall on Wednesdays at the Melbourne University Farmers Market. It’s a fifteen minute queue sometimes, because so many people are fans and shows you how popular this very good falafel is! This is my usual from Shuki and Louisa’s market stalls:

shuki louisa felafel

So, I’m around Sydney Road more often than Melbourne Uni and I reacted with much glee to the news that Shuki and Louisa were opening a falafel shop in Brunswick. There are other falafel options around that area, but seeing as I make the trek to Melbourne Uni just for their falafel, I already pegged Very Good Falafel as my number one felafel place to visit in this area. Inside, there are some tables with bench style seats and stools, as well as the benches along the serving area and front window:

Very Good Falafel Brunswick

I met up with Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe for a falafel lunch. We took a look at the platters of food on display (beautiful looking potatoes!) and asked about the serving options. You can have your falafel in a pita (like the photo up above) or on a plate with sides and/or salad. The menu isn’t all vegan and the vegan options are, I believe, the falafel in the pita or on the plate with the sides. I like the falafel in pita so much that I was tempted to get it even though I’ve had it many times now, but I ended up getting the plate option. This was made up of three falafel balls with a tahini sauce, those beautiful potatoes, sliced fennel and radish salad and cooked leafy greens with flaked almonds. I got a pita on the side as well. A really satisfying and delicious lunch and so good to have yet another tasty vegan option available in the Brunswick/Coburg area. Johanna and I got the same meal with the pita and it totaled $26:

Very Good Falafel Brunswick

Shuki and Louisa’s website lists their stockists and the markets they will be at. The website also mentions the use of locally sourced ingredients, including chickpeas from Louisa’s family farm.

Very Good Falafel Brunswick

With fresh ingredients and falafel that, for me, are just right with their crunchy outside and soft insides, I see quite a few return visits to Very Good Falafel happening. Either that, or you’ll find me in the queue at farmers’ markets 🙂

Very Good Falafel Brunswick

Very Good Falafel

629 Sydney Road

Brunswick

http://www.facebook.com/ShukiAndLouisa

http://www.shukiandlouisa.com/

16

Loving Hut Northcote Visits

loving hut northcote katsu don special

Loving Hut in Northcote is a favourite of our family. I’ve never disliked a meal there and service is always friendly and helpful. I’ve reviewed Loving Hut Northcote in the past, but I’ve had so many return visits that an update is in order!

The layout has been pretty much the same since it opened, with the large open seating area towards the back. The freezers (and some empty space) are at the front of the restaurant. Vietnamese rolls are available during the day and made fresh for you. The space makes it family friendly as there is room for prams and strollers. It’s also a good choice for a large group gathering.

Loving Hut Northcote inside

So for a long time I was only ever ordering the home made curry with tofu and veg because I like it so much. On a recent visit, I ordered something else but encouraged my sister to get the curry 😉

Loving Hut Northcote home curry

The chilli basil fried rice is fantastic. Not spicy hot if you’re worried about the chilli:Loving Hut Northcote chilli basil rice

Another great rice option is the Nasi Goreng, again not spicy if you’re concerned about that:

Loving Hut Northcote Nasi Goreng

The lemon chicken tastes exactly like the non-vegan version and for me is definitely a fool-the-meateaters dish:

Loving Hut Northcote Lemon Chicken

I don’t care where I am, if I see a vegan Japanese katsu curry on a menu I’m getting it. This was on the specials board for $14 in April. The options were duck, tofu or eggplant and I chose the duck. This was really good. Look at the crumbs!

loving hut northcote katsu don special

I rarely order noodle dishes when I go out but on this visit I got the char kway teo. The veggies were done very well:

Loving Hut Northcote Char Kway Teao

For appetisers, we’ve had the rice paper rolls with lemongrass beef:

loving hut northcote rice paper rolls beef

… and the vegan sushi:

loving hut northcote vegan sushi

There are some bakery style slices and sweets in the display cabinet. Other times there are desserts like cake and pudding style cups, or cheesecakes in cups. The mango cheesecake was nice, no photo unfortunately. If you’re familiar with La Panella in Preston, the baked goods in the display are the same. The jam donuts are always popular. They also have jam donuts covered with icing and custard filled donuts:

loving hut northcote jam donut

Loving Hut Northcote is a place we’re always happy to return to and I’m confident that if I order something new, I’ll enjoy it. They’re going to be introducing pizzas this year, so keep an eye out for that!

Loving Hut Northcote outside

Loving Hut Northcote

377 High Street

Northcote

http://www.facebook.com/LovingHutNorthcoteAu
Loving Hut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

20

In My Kitchen May 2016

cat with pumpkin

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. I’m submitting this blog post of mine for May 2016. While not a vegan-specific event, anyone can join in and you can also discover new blogs, recipes, products, etc!

With my favourite season here (it’s autumn!) comes the slight feeling of panic where I think it’s nearly halfway through the year and so many plans I had for things to have achieved by now have just pretty much gone noooowhere. My blog is a little on the neglected side lately and the plans I had for it have had to take a backseat for the time being. There’s so much stuff that needs doing around the house that it has sapped a fair bit of my energy. We have some major plumbing work that has to happen and I’ve been procrastinating a bit there too.

But because it’s autumn, and I have cats, everything is otherwise groovy. In My Kitchen I have a big pumpkin and a big pumpkin shaped cat. The pumpkin will form the base of some stews and I see a fair bit of veg and chickpea curries in my immediate future.

In My Kitchen are these beautiful apples I picked up at the Coburg Farmers Market on the weekend. I blogged about that visit here. These apples are from the Three Bridges Apples stall:

three bridges apples

I also picked up these chestnuts and plan to roast them. I did briefly consider purchasing a chestnut roasting pan, because I’m a sucker for things like that but life experience has shown me that such a pan would be used once. So I’ll just poke some holes in foil or something instead:

chestnuts

I visited the Coburg Farmers Market a fortnight ago too but it was a quick visit. I picked up some jams and a relish at the 2&5 Foods stall. Bad camera focus:

Coburg market 2&5 jams

In My Kitchen are some vegan products sent to me from the US. I participated in a Vegan Box Swap and received a bunch of goodies including Cinnamon Bun and Peanut Butter flavoured Oreos. I’ve only ever tried the original flavour here in Australia and the chocolate, plus the orange flavoured Halloween special last year, but not really a fan. I love anything cinnamon bun and peanut butter and so these were much nicer than the flavours I’ve tried:

vegan box swap Oreos

I also got these peanut butter flavour Nutter Butter bites. I’m glad it was a small packet, I’ve seen big packets of these and would have had a hard time not eating them all quickly. I don’t like peanut butter sandwiches but I love peanut butter anything-else:

vegan box swap Nutter Butters Bites

My swap partner also sent me this maple bacon flavoured Kettle popcorn. I love smoky maple kinds of flavours so this was great. I want to learn how to make my own smoky maple seasoning for popcorn. The Cracker Jack caramel coated peanuts and popcorn was another favourite, I rarely have caramel popcorn and keep it for a special occasion but this was eaten in one go:

vegan box swap popcorn

I loved these sweet Maui onion macadamias. The seasoning tasted exactly like those sour cream and chives chip flavours that sadly aren’t vegan so I’m going by memory. Sour cream and chives, or sour cream and onion was always my favourite chip flavour. The Skinnygirl water enhancer is like a syrup that you add to water to flavour it. I haven’t tried it or the bubblegum yet:vegan box swap

I asked my swap partner for a bottle of Hampton Creek Just Mayo, which isn’t sold in Australia. It’s really nice, out of all the bottled vegan mayos I’ve tried this is the nicest. I only found out this week we have these Tasty Bite microwave meal pouches in Australia but I’d never actually seen them, I always make dal from scratch but some days I have a craving for it NOW but never have any handy. I’m also looking forward to trying the two little cans there, one is a taco filling and the other a fishless tuna:

vegan box swap

In My Kitchen is this garlic salt I picked up from the Coburg Farmers Market two weeks ago. I’ve been using it over plain pan fried tofu:Harmony garlic salt

Not In My Kitchen, but out on the street is a neighbour’s olive tree with a worried olive on it:worried olive

Quite a bit of stuff in my kitchen this month (though most of the treats have been eaten). I’ll be tackling that pumpkin tomorrow!

backyard plants

4

What I Ate These Past Few Weeks

spinach noodles pesto

Now that we’re well in to autumn, I’ve been putting slightly more effort in to cooking. I still meal plan for myself, often cooking for about three or four days in a row. I’m trying to be a little more creative as well, in the hopes of finding a dish both kids like. So far, not much luck. I can only dream of a one pot meal the whole family will like that involves minimal effort on my part!

Pasta with different kinds of sauces is one thing I wish the family would like. DeeW will only eat one kind of pasta sauce. Arthur won’t touch sauce on his pasta, but will tolerate chopped up tofu and some nutritional yeast. Me, I go for anything. I found these spinach noodles in Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart in Braybrook and made up a sauce with whatever veggies needed to be used up. The base was made with a heap of tomatoes I roasted. Even with roasting the tomatoes and garlic, the sauce was blergh and bland and the colour of kaka thanks to all the spinach. I made it more interesting with a blob of home made pesto. Photo up the top there!

I like the Explore Asian brand of noodles like the black bean spaghetti. They’re gluten free and higher in protein and I use them for my meals as the kids don’t like them much. Here I just chopped up a heap of veg for a simple pasta sauce, topped it with a little coconut bacon and spinach pesto I’d made:

black bean spaghetti

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe recenty posted a recipe for a pumpkin and kale soup with tempeh crumbles. I’ve written off tempeh mostly, the only way I enjoy it is sliced as thinly as possible, marinated bacon style and incinerated. Howeverrrr I had gone to Smith & Deli some months back and ordered their Maury Ballstein meatball sandwich and they put the crumbed tempeh shnitzel in by mistake instead of the meatballs. I only noticed halfway through and seeing as I loved that first half I guess I can say that there are *some* ways I will eat tempeh. Like not knowing I am eating tempeh. Okay so anyway as soon as I saw the tempeh crumbles in Johanna’s post I crossed my fingers and hoped I would find a sneaky packet of tempeh in the freezer. I didn’t, so I used some tofu instead. I also left out the kale part because I didn’t have any (I did stir through some baby spinach) but next time I’ll follow the recipe exactly, tempeh and all. I also mixed in a brown rice-quinoa blend I’d made and was wondering what to use it in. This is a great soup, with lovely smokey flavours:

soup from Green Gourmet Giraffe

We made pizza at home and I made this little one for myself with some Redwood Cheatin’ ham slices, red onion, sundried tomatoes, olives and a little Daiya cheddar. One day I will master the secret of rolling out pizza dough to form a circle:

vegan pizza

Victorian Marine Animal Defenders held a vegan sausage sizzle at Brunswick Bunnings (one of those massive home garden hardware type stores). I got a Tofurky kielbasa with onions. For those not playing at home in Australia, a sausage sizzle is usually a fund raiser where you get a sausage on a piece of white bread, onions optional:

VMAD sausage sizzle

I bought some fantastic apples from a stall at the Coburg Farmers Market (now held weekly on Saturdays). I made this apple crumble for the kids, which I give them for breakfast. I make my apple crumbles without any sugar in the filling. The filling is just the apples with a little cinnamon and lemon juice. That’s sweet enough so sugar isn’t necessary. For the crumble topping I use oats, coconut, almond meal (which I didn’t have this time), a little maple syrup and aquafaba so it’s oil free too. I started making this when the kids suddenly decided they both hated porridge and I wanted them to have something fruit and oaty for breakfast. Fortunately they’re back in to porridge:

low fat oil free apple crumble

I often buy loads of bananas that end up going spotty, so I either freeze them or make a healthier kind of banana bread for the kids. By healthier I mean cutting way down on the sugar and making it oil free. I use aquafaba and well, although the kids like the end result it’s not something I would serve to guests because it has Health Food Taste. You know? Anyway, so I’m on a bit of a mission to use up stuff in the pantry before buying anything else. I didn’t even measure for this banana bread, I just threw in this and that like black chia seeds, ground flax, lots of spotty banana and the liquid from a can of brown lentils. I didn’t bother writing anything down as I thought this would be crappy but it actually turned out well:

vegan banana loaf

Non-food pics! Pics of the week, including my cat Punky (named after Punky Brewster. My daughter was watching the show at the time we got the cats) squeezing himself in to a small box. He did manage to lie down with his front paws hanging out:

big cat in small boxvmadsausagesizzle2

 

If I’m on time, I’ll see you back here in a week with the next What I Ate!

7

Vegan Shopping At Coburg Farmers Market In Late April

Peninsula Fresh Organics at Coburg Farmers Market

Hurrah for the Coburg Farmers Market now being held weekly! Previously I’d be waking up on a Saturday planning to go then realising it wasn’t on that day. Then I’d forget to go the following week. And so on and so on. I last blogged about my visit to the market back in mid 2014 so it was time for an update.

The stalls do seem to change a little as I went a couple of weeks ago and some stalls were not there today (or some stalls today weren’t there last time). Today was ace market weather though, one of those perfect windy autumn days.

As this is a vegan blog, I’m only showing the stalls that would appeal to vegan shoppers or people wanting plant based products. Being a farmers market there are of course non-vegan stalls but yep, it’s all a-vegan here in Veganopoulous town!

Coburg Farmers Market

Sprouts, salad mix, grasses at Urban Caterpillar Microgreens. I was very tempted by the mustard and buckwheat salad mix but went for the pea shoots instead. These are all grown in Newport, a suburb not too far from the Melbourne CBD (it’s the suburb next door to Williamstown):

Urban Caterpillar at Coburg Farmers Market

I was glad to see Three Bridges Apples were back. Beautiful juicy apples, not like the tasteless chalky balls of disappointment I’ve bought from the supermarket recently. I’m assuming these are grown in Three Bridges, which is about a one hour and forty-five minute drive east of Melbourne:

Three Bridges Apples at Coburg Farmers Market Three Bridges Apples at Coburg Farmers Market

I also picked up some chestnuts. Now I can live my dream and play conkers! Whatever the hell that is, all I know is that it involves strings and kids saying “I say!” a lot. Enid Blyton story kids played conkers. And seemed to spend a lot of time walking over stiles:

chestnuts from Three Bridges Apples at Coburg Farmers Market

Apple Cider from Snakes & Ladders. I haven’t tried it yet but will next time. The fruit is all grown, mashed, fermented and bottled in the Goulburn Valley region:

Snakes & Ladders Apple Cider at Coburg Farmers Market

Mandarines from, I think, Doron Talmi Citrus though the fellow working on the stall mentioned the business name is Sweetease(?). They also sell freshly squeezed orange juice, including blood orange. The fruit is grown in Colignan, just south of Mildura:

Sweetease mandarines at Coburg Farmers Market

Some really nice balsamic vinegar and sauces from Sticky Balsamic. The fig is really nice (I ended up buying it). The salted caramel coconut is vegan too and used as a dessert sauce. All produced in Geelong:

Sticky Balsamic at Coburg Farmers Market

Fresh berries, syrups and jams from Kookaberry Farm in Wandin. The Kookaberry Farm website lists an impressive number of medal placings for their products:

Kookaberry Farm at Coburg Farmers Market

Weyhill Farm Garlic. These looked beautiful in the sun! All grown in the hills of South Gippsland. On their About page on their website, Weyhill’s owners say “we fell in love with the place on after taking a wrong turn on a weekend drive”– love it!

Weyhill Garlic at Coburg Farmers Market

Olives and olive oil from Lisadurne Hill. The Hojiblanca contains honey according to the website (I just checked it now), at the time I took the photo I was assuming it was oil without non-vegan products so vegans, please keep that in mind as there are samples on the table for tastings. The olives are brine cured:

Lisadurne Hill at Coburg Farmers Market

2 & 5’s website says “we are a social enterprise set up to address food insecurity in the Northern Suburbs of Geelong by improving access to affordable, sustainable, fresh and healthy food. This is achieved by providing high-quality fresh produce through production and retail. Corio and Norlane are seen as areas of socio-economic disadvantage and the residents have been identified as being at risk of food insecurity in research done by the State Government Neighbourhood Renewal Project. We believe that by making fresh fruit and vegetables more accessible, food security can be dramatically improved.” Great stuff! We have quite a few jars of this jam at home, as well as the tomato relish and today I added the green bean mustard pickle to my collection. 2 & 5 also sell vegetables:

2 & 5 Fresh Produce at Coburg Farmers Market

Update: I don’t know why my pictures of Flinders Sourdough didn’t make it here and I didn’t notice I’d left them out when my post was published! Here are the vegan loaves, the buns weren’t vegan but all these were. I bought a loaf of the fig sourdough:

Flinders Sourdough at Coburg Farmers Market

Beautiful herbs and produce on display at MKD Services:

MKD Services at Coburg Farmers MarketMKD Services at Coburg Farmers Market

Peninsula Fresh Organics had loads of brightly coloured veggies (the carrots in the top photo are from their stall). All certified organic and grown in Baxter on the Mornington Peninsula:

Peninsula Fresh Organics at Coburg Farmers Market Peninsula Fresh Organics at Coburg Farmers Market

I hope I have all the photos correct, I have a sneaking suspicion I have mixed up some of the stall holder names.

Coburg Farmers Market is held on Saturday from 8am to 1pm at Coburg North Primary School. Entry is by gold coin donation. There’s ample parking around the side streets or you can catch the 527 bus which stops right outside the school. Bell Street is a short-ish walk away so the market is also accessible via the 903 bus, 513 bus and 55 West Coburg tram.

Coburg Farmers Market at Coburg North Primary School

180 O’Hea Street

Coburg

Market held on Saturday from 8am to 1pm

Gold coin entry donation to support school projects

Coburg Farmers Market