Mantra Lounge Vegan Cruise


What a fab evening on board the Victoria Star, thanks to Mantra Lounge hosting their first vegan cruise! As someone who hates being on boats, gets motion sickness easily, can’t swim and once went to a fancy dress party dressed as Gilligan, I might have had enough reasons not to go. But… VEGAN CRUISE. So of course I was there, even if I had to rock up solo (minus Gilligan costume).

We were treated to some presentations by Mark and Jason (both vegan) from Vegetarian Victoria, and a talk on food and consciousness by someone whose name I didn’t catch unfortunately (I’ll edit this when I find out his name). Lots of laughs and interesting information!

And the food, of course, was awesome:

mantraloungecruise1 mantraloungecruise2 mantraloungecruise3mantraloungecruise4


Check it out! The menu was loaded lasagna, nachos, mesclun salad (or cous cous salad), salsa and a cashew(?) cream. I love big servings of lasagna! Mantra Lounge prepared a lot of food so people were able to go back for seconds, but I was full enough and wanted to leave room for dessert:



MANGO. CHEESECAKE. Big serves!!! Bad photo:


Some of the view:

seashepherd southernstarwheel1

After dinner there was the raffle draw, some music, Q&A and then time to go home. I didn’t get any photos of the music performance as the light was really low and the pics didn’t turn out.

Mantra Lounge will hopefully make this a yearly event which would be awesome! You can check Mantra Lounge’s Facebook page for future updates. Or go in to Mantra Lounge for a meal, because the food is fantastic.

Thank you and well done to everyone involved in hosting this cruise!




I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

I was in Moonee Ponds today right near Puckle Street, which meant I finally got to visit I Dream Of Sushi. Whenever I’ve been in the area, it’s been after they close so today I wasn’t going to miss this lunch opportunity!

I’ve heard a few vegans saying how much they like I Dream Of Sushi. It’s quite a small place inside, with some stools along the window and side wall plus some extra seating outside on the footpath. They were full when I arrived, with a few people arriving to buy takeaway meals:

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

I asked the friendly staff for the vegan options. I was able to choose from the vegetable gyoza, tofu salad and tofu don. I didn’t ask about the ready-made fried eggplant miso handroll I saw in the display (the veggie handroll had egg). I ended up getting the gyoza (four dumplings for $6.50) and the tofu don ($12.50).

The gyoza were pretty good and I always appreciate a bit of a crunch to the base when they’re fried:

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

The tofu don was a really big serve and I couldn’t finish it. Four decent sized pieces of soft tofu (I was delighted to find the fourth piece under the veggies!), topped with a bbq sauce (not too much), carrot, beans, lettuce, spring onion and nori pieces. Plus a heap of steamed rice! I had to have mine in a takeaway (takeout) container as the family and I were on the way home. Before the lid was put on, my tofu don was really piled high and looked beautiful. I think it looked just as tasty when I ate it in the car while the fam were off getting their own lunch. Close up!

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

Husband bought some non-vegan handrolls and said they were very good. I really enjoyed my tofu don and would happily get it again. I Dream Of Sushi isn’t veg*n but this is one really tasty vegan option. When I’m around that area there aren’t many vegan options for me, so it’s good to know I now have a place where I can score a tasty Japanese meal!

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds

I Dream Of Sushi (located opposite Moonee Ponds train station)

6 Margaret Street

Moonee Ponds


I Dream of Sushi on Urbanspoon

I Dream Of Sushi, Moonee Ponds


What I Ate And A Trip Back To Loving Hut Northcote

cornmeal waffles

I ran out of bananas this week. As a dedicated banana-in-daily-smoothies fan, life felt wrong somehow. I won’t have smoothies unless I have banana! Same with my overnight oats. No banana? No oats. Running out of bananas is as bad as running out of nutritional yeast!

Wednesday is known as Waffles Wednesday here. The family love the cornbread waffles from Vegan Brunch, shown above. I usually make a batch and separate it in two. One for Waffles Wednesday and the other for Special Saturday Breakfast.

I made the tofu quiche Johanna blogged about at Green Gourmet Giraffe. I didn’t read the recipe properly and blended up the tofu-besan flour filling, instead of putting the besan on the stove with oil. I think it turned out fine but next time I’ll read the recipe! I also made it without a crust. My fillings were some veg and the leftover Tofurky smoked ham slices. I’ll definitely make this again:

tofu quiche and veg

One of my favourite meals is one I prepare for about four days in a row: brown rice with mixed beans and veg with Mexican style flavourings. Awesome with a little lime juice and loads of fresh coriander and avocado when they don’t cost a thousand dollars each:

bean veg stew

Here’s a huge plate of food for DeeW. I knew she wouldn’t eat a quarter of it but I wanted her to try everything! She ate the peas, cherry tomatoes and the broccoli dipped in tomato sauce. She might have had a piece of potato but the sweet potato, tofu quiche, falafel and Borg’s vegetable pastries (they’re vegan!) remained untouched. In better news, my vegetable hating son ate the sweet potato, which I’d sprinkled with a little cinnamon. He really liked the pastries, had a little falafel before giving up, was too full to try the quiche and potatoes and of course ran away from the tomatoes and green stuff. DeeW was once the child who tried everything, even the fresh mint when we’d get Vietnamese spring rolls at Loving Hut. There’s been a role reversal, with Arthur now being the one to try everything and DeeW sticking to some favourites (fortunately, broccoli is a favourite!):

vegan kids dinner

Speaking of Loving Hut Northcote, we hadn’t been there in ages, so that was this month’s special dinner out. I got the mushroom filled steam rice rolls. I don’t remember them being so filling, I was stuffed after this and glad it was all I’d ordered. Arthur loves the Southern Fried Chicken (DeeW got plain rice). We always take home the leftovers. I’d love to know how to make an oven baked version of these:

Loving Hut steamed rice rolls
Loving Hut Northcote vegan southern fried chicken


My kitchen is full of bananas again so life is good!


Week In Review And A Potluck Picnic!

sleepy kitty

Aaaaand another week has flown by (and where I realise my last blog post was a week ago and think how did that happen?)!

Up top here we have our cat Maltesers (Malteezies, Maltshitskis, etc etc) who lists sleeping and eating as two of his favourite habits. Like me, really.

So I’ve just waddled back home after going to a potluck picnic hosted by Cindy and Michael from Where’s The Beef? to celebrate 2000 blog posts and over eight years of blogging. Great weather, great company and of course great food! I got to catch up with some fellow veg*n bloggers and meet others I’ve followed for ages but never met in person. Check out the awesomeness:

Banh Mi made by Cindy and Michael’s friend Clamps. Faaaaaaantastic!

vegan banh mi

Linda and her daughter from The Lentil Institution made these chocolate cupcakes. I took one with the plan of taking it home to share with the kids. But I ate it:

choc cupcakes

Angie made a chocolate ripple cake. Is this cake known outside Australia? I’ve always thought of it as an Aussie icon. Plain chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with cream (vegans can use whatever cream alternative they favour), left in the fridge overnight and the next day the biscuits are all soft and awesome. Many people consider leftover chocolate ripple cake a perfectly suitable breakfast food:

chocolate ripple cake

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe brought these chocolate zucchini brownies topped with coconut bacon. Johanna and I did a swap with our leftovers and even though I’m really full, I still snuck a piece in because I love the coconut bacon with the chocolate:

choc zucchini coconut bacon

Rosalie from Quinces and Kale made brownies too, I did manage to sneak a piece back home to share with the family but I’ve already eaten half of it and tempted to eat the other half and not tell them:

rosalie brownies

Someone (I’m sorry Someone, I don’t know who you are!) made this awesome salad:

tofu salad

I made the Chive and Cashew Creme Cheese recipe from Leigh Drew’s Veganissimo! but used dill instead as that’s all I had. This is a great recipe with either chives or dill and there wasn’t much left!

dill cashew cheese

I also made my vegan Greek no-honey walnut cakes (‘Melomakarona’) and you can find the recipe for those here:

vegan melomakarona

Look at all this food! I wish I could have tried everything but I was so full. I did have the famous Where’s The Beef? sausage rolls, some dips, salads, caramel slice and chocolate covered coconut bars (like Bounty bars). So much good food that I’m doing that regret thing of “okay so I was really full but WHY didn’t I try this and this and that and that”!

picnic potluck

Melbourne and Victoria News:

The Mantra Lounge are hosting a four hour cruise on March 29th! Food! Entertainment! Speakers! Are you going?

– A new vegan friendly wholefoods store has opened in Sale! The Nutrition Pod also provides prepared meals, including prepped meals for competitions. Check out their Facebook page for more info and photos.

– And we have a new bulk store in Brunswick! The Source Bulk Foods have opened on Sydney Road and I’m hoping to get there soon to check it out.


– For all my plans, I ended up doing nothing for St. Patrick’s Day as I had forgotten Husband and Arthur were going to be out. Well, I did have a green smoothie and DeeW had some broccoli… anyway! I love this Potato and Facon Pie recipe by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe.

– I really need to use up the dried bean curd skin that’s been sitting in my pantry forever. I love the roast crispy mock duck from Divine Realm in the city but when I bought a prepackaged version from a supermarket I didn’t like it much. I might try this recipe for Buddha’s Roast Duck with Yuba by Bryanna Clark Grogan.

From Other Bloggers:

– I really enjoyed reading this recap by Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen about winning a Gardein competition. What a fabulous prize! We don’t get Gardein products in Australia but I see them mentioned all the time on blogs from North America.

– Have you all heard about making vegan meringue from canned chickpea or bean liquid? WHO THOUGHT OF THIS??? I shake you warmly by the hand. There was some discussion at the potluck today about the beany aftertaste, though perhaps some flavourings can be added to kinda overpower the beany taste?

Articles and Other Interesting Stuff:

Study finds that scrunchies are being used to keep wildlife from being killed by cats. Personally, I think it’s great for cats who wished they live in Elizabethan times.

We Should Do More For Pets That Need Our Help. So many animals are put down and not enough time or effort is given to try and find them homes :(

– Lynch syndrome carrier speaks out as Australians are urged to become aware of family cancer history.

– I bookmarked this page for a gorgeous magnetic spice storage idea. I still want to do it one day.


– not as much this week, it seems the days have flown by. I did pick up a bunch of home decluttering/organisation books from the library, but they’re hidden underneath piles of stuff I need to sort…

Listening to:

– whatever’s on the radio. It seems like the same songs are playing every time I switch it on! Previously I was listening to one of the oldies stations, with music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. You’d think with such a huge catalogue I’d hear something other than We Didn’t Start The Fire every day. Gahhh!


I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week, with a better one ahead!


Week In Review


I don’t know if I am happy about doing these Week In Review posts, because they make me realise how fast the week has gone! Am I the only one who thinks time has moved too fast since about 2000?

I’ll start the posts in this Week In Review series with a cat photo. I know I’m not the only one out there who goes all squeaky at the sight of kitty paws! Up here we have what typically happens every time we break out a game. Punky insists on sitting all over the board, grabbing the counters and trying to swipe cards. Here he’s taking a break from cheating.

When I’m walking around Melbourne I always seem to take photos of the same stuff. Maybe that’s because I take the same route… One thing I do is look up. Always look up! I love our old buildings, our trees, everything here in Melbourne. When I worked in the city I don’t know if I looked up anywhere near as much as I do now:

Flinders bridge

We spent some more time at Library at the Dock. I love this building:

library at the dock

I met up with a lovely bunch of people for dinner at Yong Green Food. I got the Japanese curry again and really want to replicate this at home:


Arthur and DeeW had some friends over. Why walk down the street normally when you can be zombies?


There was a community event called Music For The People at a park in West Brunswick. We checked it out briefly but it was a bit too hot and the kids all wanted to zombie walk to get ice cream:


Articles and Other Interesting Stuff:

– Did you know you can search the records of the Old Bailey online? On this day in 1730 “Mary Gardener , of St. Peter’s Cornhil , was indicted for privately stealing a Watch, Value 4 l. from the Person of William Fan , the 15th of March last”.

– Sad news indeed with the deaths of Sam Simon and Terry Pratchett. Here’s an article Terry Pratchett wrote about being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

– Some great images of cute little bugs and insects taken by photographer Ken Lawson.

– How many animals have you saved by being meat-free? I don’t know how this is calculated, but check out this calculator. For 36 months my result is 606.

Inflatable regatta down the Yarra! Will you be going?

Employment letter from 1939 shows workplace sexism.


Melbourne News:

For the past three days, Melbourne has been hosting the Arnold Classic, an international bodybuilding and sports event named after Arnie. I got to cheer on my coach (vegan of course!) Christiane Carvalho as she placed fifth in her category, and then watched her set a chinups record at the event. Here she is talking to the host and here’s his face when she said she was vegan. Ha ha! But he was good about it (I found myself bracing for some silly comments but it was all good):



– I’ve had this recipe for Coconut Belgian waffles bookmarked forever.  I have a Cuisinart Belgian waffle maker and I’m not very happy with it as it keeps burning the inner corners but the outer corners aren’t as cooked. So I’m keen to try this recipe as the waffle maker used is just about identical to mine.

– Another recipe I’ve had bookmarked forever is this Rainbow Rice Cake. Doesn’t it look brilliant!

– Angela from Oh She Glows is always coming up with fantastic recipes. Check out her 3 Layer Nut-Free Dream Cups. Then wish you could pluck them right out of your screen!


What I’m Reading:

I’m still on former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s book My Story. Apart from that, just my usual reading pile of cookbooks!


Listening To:

Nothing in particular, just whatever’s on the radio. I’m hearing a lot of Madonna’s new song and wondering whether I should see her live. Then again, who knows if she’ll pull out of coming to Australia (again)! Help me decide you guys: should I put “see Madonna in concert” on my bucket list? I’m leaning towards going, no matter how much the tickets cost, because I’ll probably regret it if I don’t go. I didn’t see Prince when he was here and I regret it!


As I sit here I realise that yet again I have failed to meal plan for the family’s week of food. Tomorrow is set but I need to work out the rest of the week tomorrow. Arthur is now trying every single thing, everywhere, including wasabi and sriracha!!! Sure, he spits out about 90% but it’s fantastic progress. I’m going to break out the big guns this week and make some rice. He won’t go near rice, so this will be a great experiment!