12

A Few 2017 Epic Fails In The Kitchen

I had a lot of fun putting together last year’s post on my epic kitchen fails in 2016. I anticipated another would be forthcoming for 2017 and I have a few to share. I didn’t really cook anything new this year as it was a very full on, busy year so I stuck with what I knew would work.

There was time for experimenting though.

Like the time I decided to use up the remaining leek and zucchini to make a leek, potato, zucchini pizza. I made a tasty leek base full of flavour. What’s missing from this picture?

It was only when I took a bite of the most disgusting bland pizza ever that I realised the leek mix was still in the frying pan. Add to that uncooked potato and the worst pizza dough base. One of the grossest things I made all year.

Closely matched by this… cake? I can’t even remember what I was going for here but I know I wasted a heap of almond meal. I ate the crusty properly cooked bits, because I refused to be defeated:

Here are my every-vegetable-in-the-fridge-plus-lentils sausage rolls. A mooshy filling which oozed out everywhere and tasted totally gross. Oh and I had flipped them too as the tops weren’t cooked but the bottoms were too dark:

Here’s a challenge for you. Go to YouTube and look up videos of how to make lasagna rings. Note how easy it looks. Then go make one yourself, with no help,and take a better photo:

 

As it’s New Years Eve here, I wish you all a fab end to 2017 and an even better beginning to 2018!

4

What I Ate: Greek Easter 2017 Edition

Easter Sunday lunch was a quiet affair at my Mum and Dad’s. Usually I like to make something special but this year I pretty much had zero energy to think of what I could make from scratch. Instead, I headed down to Prahran Convenience Store and came back home with a Field Roast and I put in a request for my sister to buy some Funky Pies when she went to (the store formerly known as) Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart in Braybrook.

Mum made her usual roast potatoes and pumpkin and of course, gigantes (Greek baked beans. You can find my recipe here):

My plate has a distinct lack of green. We had tossed up making a salad (boom tish) but decided mehhh, we had enough food already. I had the Mexican flavoured Funky Pie and the Field Roast:

For dessert, Mum made the vegan version of kourabiethes, which is pretty much a Greek shortbread made with almonds. I really need to blog this recipe but I’m terrible with shaping the crescent shapes, so I’ll have to wait til I go to Mum’s so I can photograph the process (and wash my tea cup properly):

Preston Market had a Greek Festival Day the week before Easter, with some food stalls, music and dancing. One of the stalls was Honeydee Loukoumades. Loukoumades/loukoumathes, or Greek donuts, are traditionally finished with honey and walnuts but Honeydee responded to customers asking about vegan options and provide a cinnamon sugar option. These were delicious:

Some pics of the dancing with traditional Greek costumes: No visit to Preston Market is complete without the hot jam donuts, but I was likely too busy stuffing my face to take a proper photo.

28

A Very Veganopoulous Year In The Kitchen

I like to think my food photography and cooking skills have improved this past year. Being a non-profit hobby blog, I don’t set the shots up to make everything magazine quality, with diffusers and reflectors and such. My reflectors are often tissue boxes. Instead, my process goes like this: 1) find the cleanest spot with natural light. 2) Get rid of the cat hair. 3) Get the cats out of the room. 4) Work out the best way to carry a heap of stuff to the natural light spot without tripping over the cats. 5) Try and barricade the door because the cats have worked out how to bust through it at a fast run. 6) Try and keep the cats away from the food. 7) Hurry up and take the damn photos cos the family is waiting to eat.

I don’t always succeed at keeping the cats away.

cat photo bomb

And then there are those times when no styling or faffing around is necessary. You just grab the camera and take a food photo with flash.

Onwards!

THE TOFU CHEVRE ‘LOG’

Ah, logs. I followed the directions for this tofu chevre log. It was a nice log shape until about ten seconds after it entered the oven. And then when I took it out my son came in and said EWWW WOT IS THAT and I’m like eh, a tofu LOG. And he was like DIDN’T I TELL YOU LOG IS ANOTHER WORD FOR POO.tofuchevrelog

 

THE ‘HEALTHY’ JUICE PULP CAKE

When I make juices, I like to re-use the pulp wherever I can. This was my first experiment with juice pulp cake. I used pulp from apple, pears, carrots and beetroot here. I also completely screwed up and doubled the liquid ingredients by mistake.

I even made a little bridge from an icy pole stick. I wanted the bridge to span the Hollow Sea, the Abyss of Broken Dreams.sloppycake1

A cross section of this geological marvel.sloppycake2

 

SESAME ‘CRUSTED’ TOFU

Don’t you just love foods with a crumb? Or a crust? I love sesame crusted tofu. Everything is made better with a crumb of some kind. Right?!

I think that only applies when your crumbs are on the actual food.sesametofu

 

THE PLUM CUSTARD CAKE

So one time I had this smart idea for using up a heap of plums. Why not use the semolina custard from my vegan galaktoboureko recipe in a pie! And make a healthy oil/fat free crust? The end result was plums on the bottom, goopy custard and a dry shitty crust. plumcustardtart

 

PINEAPPLE INSIDE OUT DOWN CAKE

Because we all need a poorly risen pineapple upside down cake that sticks to the tin right when you’re about to serve it to visitors. That’s when you improvise and call it pineapple pudding, but you don’t really fool anyone. Completely salvageable with ice cream, so all is not lost.

pineappleupsidedowndisaster

 

BERRY BROKEN HEART CAKES

Baked moosh was a recurring theme this year. I followed a recipe for these berry heart shaped cakes. They didn’t rise and after half an hour they were just hot dough destined for the bin. What a waste of berries. Fortunately they were frozen berries, not the fresh berries that cost a million bucks a punnet.mooshyhearts

 

GEOLOGIST’S DREAM ‘HEALTHY’ BANANA CAKE

You know those times when you secretly dream of being a geologist? And your secret dreaming comes out in your banana cake that you’ve tried to healthify? Look at the tell tale bottom layer of compacted moosh that somehow extends halfway up the cake. I can’t remember what the hell I did here. But that’s okay, because I don’t want to.

mooshbananamaltcake

 

THE PUMPKIN PIE FRENCH TOAST THAT COULDN’T

Look at me! I’m oil free! No vegan butters either for frying but I REALLY want to try that pumpkin French toast recipe. I know! Let’s be all healthy and smug and use the PANINI PRESS!

frenchtoastdisaster

 

TRUFFLES A LA POOP

What do you make your sibling when it’s their birthday? How about the chocolate truffle balls you both enjoyed as a kid? A packet of plain biscuits, dessicated coconut, cocoa powder and coconut condensed milk. Sounds good! Eeeexcept in this case you start mixing the stuff before realising you’re way waaay low on the coconut. So you try to be clever and add some coconut flakes before realising that’s a most rubbish move because the chewiness is awful. And the truffles lose their shape fast and flop when you take them out of the fridge.truffles

 

THE PAPADUM CREPE

You know those times where you’re like, I really want a crepe with the crunchiness of a papadum! I’ll go and watch Prancercise videos on YouTube and forget all about my crepe in the pan! Works every time.

crackercrepe

 

HEALTH HAZARD COCONUT FLOUR PANCAKES

Ah, coconut flour. I hate coconut flour. It’s one of those things that always makes my food turn out rubbish. Even though I love coconut. Here I am trying to create a gluten free coconut pancake recipe. These pancakes just fell everywhere and were burnt on the outside, mooshy wet on the inside. And I couldn’t swallow them so I had a coughing fit.

coconutflourpancakes

 

SPACE ALIEN MUFFIN

Could this be intelligent life that formed after the Big Bang (which was me dropping the tray of muffins when I took them out of the oven, scattering baked treats and lounging cats everywhere)? The intelligent life that spent its first two weeks wedged between the side of the oven wall and the bottom rack and treated us all to a game of What’s That Smell? every time we used the oven? It was only when I decided to actually bend my butt down Attenborough style and check what the hell was going on inside the oven that I made this discovery.

 

Let’s wrap this up with dessert. Because everyone loves baked apple guts.

explodeyapples

May you all have a wonderful end to 2016 and an even better start to 2017!  I’m sure I’ll see you back here same time next year with round 2 of my kitchen failures…

8

A Merry Christmas Newtonmas Family Lunch

A very happy December 25th to you all! I hope your weather was better than Melbourne’s– we had a top temperature (in the Melbourne metro area) of 35.5C (95.9F). Adelaide was worse with a top temp of 40C (104F). That’s Adelaide’s hottest Christmas since 1945. We’ve had some ridiculous Christmas weather over the years, about four or so years ago it was in the 30s at lunch time then the temperature dropped rapidly and we ended up with a massive hail storm that smashed many windows and damaged many cars across Melbourne.

We spent a quiet Christmas Day at my sister and her partner’s house, about an hour drive outside Melbourne. Just us plus mum and dad. It was too hot to go for a walk after lunch like last year (we had jackets on in 2015 because it was cold!) so we chilled out in the nice cool house.

So, Christmassy food! On Christmas Eve I try to honour the food requests in the house. The kids asked for home made pizza followed by lemon self saucing pudding. My absolute favourite recipe for the pudding is from Veganissimo! by Leigh Drew. It’s a never fail recipe. This time I doubled the sauce so it would go all lovely with the So Good vegan ice cream:

For Christmas Day I made Leigh’s Cashew Cheese with Roasted Garlic and Smoked Paprika, also from Veganissimo! This is my new favourite baked nut cheese:

We always have roasted vegetables at family gatherings:

I made a simple green salad with cranberries, avocado and cherries using the lime tahini dressing from Green Gourmet Giraffe. I would have added toasted pistachios but I forgot them on the stove this morning and burnt them all:

A couple more salads including mum’s usual garden salad and some simple coleslaw in the back. My sister also made a separate coleslaw with a sesame oil dressing:

And because we clearly didn’t have enough salad for the five salad eating eating adults, my sister made this delicious quinoa watermelon salad:

My main meal contribution was a loaf, using the Stuffed Thanksgiving Burger recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen as the filling. The filling was great but assembling the loaf with the pastry braid in a hot kitchen on a hot day was close to impossible. The pastry all stuck together and was a nightmare to work with. So I did what most fancy chefs do and cut out pastry shapes to cover up all the hideousness. I also made the Silky Chickpea Gravy from Appetite For Reduction to go with it:

We also had this vegan Greek pita by Irene’s. It’s sold in a blue packet as ‘vegan nistisimi pita’. Remember folks, we’re Greek here and six adults and two kids means you cook for fifty times that amount:

We agreed we wouldn’t be making dessert this year. Clearly this means something in cake like form because mum made a batch of amazing veganised kourabiethes, also known as Greek shortbread. They’re actually made with oil instead of a vegan butter. When I find out where she got the recipe I will link it here:

I suppose one good thing about summer is summer fruit. We had this platter with some banana peanut butter nice cream we whipped up:

It was great to have such a nice quiet Christmas just hanging out. My sister put up some Christmas decorations including some little retro-vintage decorations from when we were little:

   

And here’s Punky doing something totally ridiculous with his fang. I don’t understand it. Maybe he did that thing where you bite your lip which is why his face is all screwed up looking?

I hope you all had a fantastic day, full of good cheer and great food (and hey, we don’t need Christmas-Newtonmas for that!)

 

10

Melbourne Vegan Eats Brew And Food Fest

half pint dairy line

This time of year is ace if you’re vegan/plant based in Melbourne (even if you’re not, of course!) because of all the awesome events going on that include vegan food. I’m sitting out quite a few this year but when I heard that Melbourne Vegan Eats were holding their first Brew & Food Fest in Brunswick, there was no way I was going to miss it, not when it’s just down the road (by public transport)!

The line up included (copied from the official event page)

Tramway Hotel
Baking Bad
Young Henrys
Six Parallels South
Ray
St.Gerry’s
Hop Nation
Hawthorn Brewing Company
Cavalier Brewing
Stone & Wood Brewing
Brown Brothers Winery
Remedy Kombucha
Wide Open Road
The Cornish Arms
Tahina
Halfpint Vegan Dairy
Lord of the Fries
KAIJU Beer
Golden Axe Cider

We got there just before the opening time of 11am and started off at the Half Pint Vegan Dairy stall. My son and I decided on a sausage roll and the cheesy mac, swapping halfway through. A few people were already sitting down along a fence with their Half Pint purchases:

half pint dairy stall

I’ve been wanting to check out Baking Bad for a while now and finally got to try a little of a chocolate cupcake with a vegan honeycomb topping. Only a little, because my son was making those sounds like when you give a dog their food and they can get growly at you if you’re too close:Baking Bad stall

I was really pleased to hear that St. Gerry’s make vegan Greek donuts (loukoumathes). Loukoumathes are traditionally made with a honey coating once the donuts are removed from the cooking oil. St. Gerry’s provided three vegan alternatives: cinnamon sugar, rasbperry jam and maple with walnuts:stgerrysstall

We didn’t have a lot of time so it was pretty much eat and run unfortunately. There were so many tempting options at the food stalls (I don’t drink much but water so I can’t comment on the stalls selling drinks) and by the time we left, which wasn’t long after the event started, more people were arriving.

Even though our visit was really short (and so is this blog post as a result) because we had plans, we enjoyed our food and the selection of stalls. We considered going back later in the day and looking now at photos of what other people had, I’m kinda regretting that we didn’t return! If there’s another event, and I sure hope there is, we’ll be back 🙂

You can find Melbourne Vegan Eats on Facebook and on Instagram.

melbourne vegan eats brew food fest2016