What I Ate: The Night Markets Edition

For my last What I Ate of 2016, I’m finishing up with a lot of eats from summer night markets. But first, I made the Thai Barbecue Seitan Ribs from Street Vegan, one of my most loved cookbooks. I screwed up the amount of tofu so the seitan was way mushy but gosh Adam Sobel knows his way around complementary flavours. This sandwich includes smoked chili roasted peanuts (I used half peanuts half almonds because not enough peanuts) and pickled Thai basil onions.

I had the leftover seitan, sauce, pickled onions the nuts with some rice the next day:

To market to market! First up, the Coburg Night Market. I haven’t been in a very long time and Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe mentioned some great Indian nachos she had there. So I went on the final night to try them but alas they weren’t there. I did however try the vegan option black bean taco from Perla Tacos which was a nice snack before going to pounce on more vegan options:

Since becoming vegan my eyes have evolved to have little laser beam thingies shoot out and target any sign that says ‘vegan’ on it. And so it was that I found myself lining up for gluten free gnocchi in a Napoli sauce from the Ardor Food Co stand. I’ve never had gluten free gnocchi, well apart from a forgettable home made attempt using sweet potato, but this was truly excellent gnocchi. Light and fluffy and just lovely. I’d say the nicest gnocchi I’ve ever tried:

In fact it was so good I lined up again for another bowl, this time with the vegan pesto sauce. While the pesto flavours were very good, it was way heavy on the oil for me (I know I know it’s pesto) because of how I’m oil-free at home. So if I had this again, I’d definitely get the tomato based sauces. I was very pleased to see Ardor have stockists near me:

It was fun watching Chef Vince Lotito prepare the gnocchi:

On to the Queen Victoria Market summer night market! I anticipated packed crowds and coming home smelling like a bbq and I was right on both counts. I headed straight towards the Rice and Dice stall to get the Indian nachos because I’d figured out where Johanna bought them from and they were pretty good and far more filling than I had thought:

For a second course I got the vegan momo dumplings from Nepal Dining Room:

When I see an interesting looking food I have to try it if there’s a vegan option and despite being full, I had to have the dhal hopper from Hopper Man’s Stall, part of Drums Cafe at the Queen Vic Market. The ‘bowl’ and the lid you see are crepe-like and made with coconut milk and (I think) rice flour. A chef was telling a customer the ingredients but it was hard to hear but I think she said rice flour. What a fun meal, I disassembled it a bit for the photo but it was like a bowl and lid. I had seen people walking around with these and I was all WOT IS IT I WANT IT so I was most pleased to see the vegan option:

I’ll finish off with scenes from both the Coburg Night Market and the Queen Vic summer night market. The little Christmas tree photo at the top with the beautiful wooden ornaments is from the Birdhouse Collection stall, where I picked up a sweet carved snowflake ornament.


What I Ate Over The Past Month

Late again with the ah, weekly What I Ate. Sometimes I just forget, other times I think I’ll take photos of the leftovers tomorrow (then forget) etc etc…

I’ve been having some tummy troubles in recent times that seem to be getting worse and I’ve booked in to see a vegan dietitian in a few weeks. I’ll have to go on one of those four to six week low FODMAPs diets which I’m actually looking forward to because plenty of times I might be eating a meal, like at a restaurant, then by the time the meal is over my stomach has blown up to about four times its normal size and I can barely get in the car (and when I do, I need to unbutton my jeans and I swear it’s like an airbag just explodes everywhere). Not to mention other stuff. If I do Vegan Mofo I might have a vegan low FODMAPs diet as my theme. Not very exciting but I think it could be helpful to others! In the meantime though, I’m back to WFPB (whole foods plant based) as much as possible with lots of raw veggies and turning down offers of going places for lunch/dinner (which kinda sucks). And November is the month where lots of places seem to hold their vegan degustations like Maha *cry*  But I need to work out these health issues and try to lower my cholesterol even more.

Speaking of cholesterol, mine was super high before I was vegan. It was about 8.9 (which in Australia is really high and doctors tell you to take medication for it. I’m not sure how numbers work in other countries). Three years in to being vegan I had another blood test, all confident my cholesterol would have dropped way down. I was shocked to see it was about 8.8! Around that time I had read a comment by a vegan dietitian talking about the links between cholesterol in vegans and consumption of oils like olive oil and coconut oil. Also at that time I started a HCLF (high carb low fat) meal plan, and I had the absolute minimum amount of oil in my food after that, often no oil at all when I cooked at home. A year and a half or so later, my cholesterol dropped to 6.7. Which is still considered high, in fact my doctor said “we need to talk about your cholesterol” and when she told me the number I was really happy! After telling her how high it used to be, she was happy too. Having a vegan friendly doctor is such a relief. So that’s another goal for me, to get my cholesterol down even more to the recommended range of below 5.5.

Enough waffle (waaah WAFFLES!). One of my latest favourite cookbooks is Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! which I borrowed from the library (but have ordered my own copy because it’s a great cookbook). This is the Red Velvet Beet Smoothie, minus the cashew cream topping:beet cacao smoothie

Another recipe from the cookbook is the Eggplant Meatball Sub. I loved the eggplant balls though I used quinoa instead of amaranth. Actually, I made this recipe before I started back on WFPB which is why there’s bread, but the eggplant balls and sauce are something I’d still have: eggplant meatball sub

Lunch pretty much looks like this now, a raw veggie bowl with some protein and a little avocado fat thrown in. Avocados are cheaper here now:healthy vegan bowl

Another veggie bowl lunch, same as above but with a garlic lemon zaatar dressing and a rice-lentil mix:zaatar veg bowl

Dinner is something like this, baked tofu with roast sweet potato and veggies. Token carrot there is a leftover from the day before:tofu veg healthy

Breakfast is always a smoothie. This one has some leftover broccoli, peas and carrot in it. With a banana and Prana On protein, you can’t tell (from the taste!) there’s veg:leftover veg smoothie

Last week I made a lentil veg curry and some green curry paste marinated tofu. The tofu was leftover from another meal so I just mixed it all up:lentil veg curry with tofu

…and I’ll finish up with snaps of one of my favourite places to be, Sydney Road in Brunswick.sydney road sydney road sydney roadsydney road


What I Ate

vegan Japanese bowl

Here’s a look back at stuff I’ve eaten over the past couple of weeks. Mostly pretty simple as I’m low on cooking mojo lately! Above is a simple Japanese bowl, with plain pan fried tofu (with a little sesame oil), sushi rice, vegies and a crumble made with kale pulp from the juicer, plus some sesame seeds and five spice powder. All drizzled with a bit of citrus soya sauce by Saori (who will be back at World Vegan Day Melbourne this year). This is a really quick and simple bowl and I love it.

My usual breakfast smoothie has banana, porridge blend of oats and other stuff, plant milk, leafy greens, pumpkin seed and in this one I added some powdered peanut butter. I love that stuff, so this was a peanutty tasting smoothie despite all that green:

pb kale smoothie

We visited Coburg Farmers Market one Saturday and I got myself the falafel in pita from Very Good Falafel/Shuki and Louisa:

very good falafel

My son and I had gone to the Queen Victoria Market and I’d forgotten to pack a water bottle, so we sat down for a fruit juice at Invita Living Food:Invita fruit juice

Another great lunch out was at Supercharger in the city:

Supercharger city

We had quite a few events on in the city this week, fortunately on the sunnier days where I had some time to take a few photos.

Flinders clock tower
vic market lane  Yarra River

Stay groovy, folks.


What I Ate

With the cooler weather comes breakfast porridge. I usually always have an oat-banana based smoothie for breakfast but sometimes I don’t want to use the blender when the fam are still asleep. Which is really an excuse for me being too wussy to have colder smoothies when I’m in a chilly kitchen. The kids have a love-hate thing going on with porridge and currently one child is in the love stage. I make my porridge with either oat or soy milk with some raisins and topped with coconut sugar. I wanted this photo to look all nice and melty with the sugar but ended up using too much, which didn’t melt, and gave me a blergh too-sweet breakfast:

coconut sugar porridge

A snack for the kids: my oil free almond pear muffins and a Pink Lady apple from Three Bridges Apples who are often at farmers markets around town:

autumn apples

I’ve been a bit sniffly so made a juice with orange, banana and a beetroot that was more white with a little purple through it. I always add greens but was all out this time:

beet smoothie

I made the Orange You Glad I Made Tofu recipe from the Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook. I really like this, one child hates tofu and the other declared it “okayish”. Which in my books means “thinking it’s okayish means you’ll eat it without complaint from now on”. For the kids I’d used soba noodles but my dish here has plain accompaniments of brown rice and steamed veg. Some days I just prefer plain and unfussy:

orange ginger tofu

I met up with Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe to check out Good Days in Brunswick, which I blogged about here. This is another pic of the delicious mushroom pho:

Good Days Brunswick vegan mushroom pho

After our lunch Johanna and I went down to Pachamama, a grocery store with a small cafe area at the back. They have quite a few raw vegan slices for sale and we chose to split this raw chocolate hazelnut slice ($8). Good call, because we both agreed a full slice would have been really hard to polish off. This was nice, though the top layer was quite coconutty from coconut oil (or butter):

Pachamama cafe Brunswick

I’ll finish with some street scenes of Sydney Road at the Brunswick end.

Sydney Road BrunswickSydney Road Brunswick Sydney Road Brunswick  Sydney Road Brunswick



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


Market held on Saturday from 8am to 1pm

Gold coin entry donation to support school projects

Coburg Farmers Market