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.

8

What I Ate: Greek Easter Sunday Edition

The Greek Orthodox Easter was on May 1st this year. My parents always have lunch at their house so this week’s What I Ate is based on that, because there were quite a lot of leftover dishes!

For Easter lunch my mum made ‘yemista’, which are stuffed vegetables. She makes them vegan for me, but people make them plant based during the fasting ‘nistia’ period of the Greek Orthodox calendar, like Lent. If a food is said to be ‘nistisimo’ it is deemed to be suitable for the fasting periods, however this does not mean it is vegan. There are cheeses sold as nistisimo that contain casein. Some people still eat  honey and shellfish during fasting but others may give up olive oil. So it’s not a vegan-as-we-know-it thing.

vegan yemista Greek stuffed vegetables

Mum also made ‘gigantes’ which are like a Greek version of baked beans. You can find these in cans at supermarkets and continental delis but really, home made is so much better. I find the canned ones too sweet as well. I’m hoping to make these with Mum soon so I can put the recipe up on the blog. They’re just so good:

vegan gigantes

Roast beets and carrots with herbs:

Roasted veg

I make ‘healthy’ potatoes at home which basically means I use a drop of oil for chips in the air fryer. When cooking at home I use little to no oil most of the time, so Mum’s Greek roast potatoes are a special treat. Lemon, oregano and lots of oil to get them really crisp:

Greek roasted potatoes

Aaaand speaking of oil, Mum made this delicious Greek halva dessert with semolina. And oil. That’s cinnamon on the top, not paprika! Thank you overzealous Auto Colour Enhance and lazy me. I love love love semolina desserts from Greek to Indian and the variations in name, ingredients and cooking technique. Mum reduced the sugar in this old family recipe, so it was just right:

vegan semolina Greek halva

Easter leftovers made for great lunches:Greek Easter leftovers plate

Breakfasts are usually always smoothies. Here are beets, pumpkin seeds, baby spinach, banana and frozen strawberries:

beetberry smoothie

Another batch of this pumpkin kale soup with tempeh crumbles by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe:

pumpkin kale tempeh soup from Green Gourmet Giraffe

And finally a couple of pictures from around Sydney Road. Around Melbourne, a lot of signal boxes are painted. Here’s the box outside the Brunswick Tram Depot:

tram depot signal box sydney rd scene

16

Week In Review And Our Easter Sunday

sleepy cats

Yes, that’s Punky up there wanting to fit inside the cat carrier with his brother. They LOVE the cat carrier and if we don’t put it back up on the high shelf, both cats insist on using it as a bed. Except they both can’t fit in it, so this is as good as it gets for one of them.

My parents have Easter Sunday lunch at their house every year. Yesterday was Greek Orthodox Easter and that is the day my parents celebrate. My sister and I take along a dish and this year we did our usual planning of who was to take what, then changed our minds a few times then ended up making the first thing we’d offered!

Greek Easter Sunday table setting

My sister is now officially in charge of all the roasted vegetables: sweet potato, potato and pumpkin:

roast veggies

I made a stromboli and filled it with Tofurky pepperoni, Cheezly and sundried tomatoes. Being Easter Sunday, my sister named it Holy Stromboli. We agreed that if I make it for Christmas lunch, it must then be called Holly Strombolly. Here’s one of the unholiest stromboliest pictures you’ll see. There was just no making this look pretty!

vegan Holy Stromboli

We also threw in some falafel and a handful of Borg’s Vegetarian pastry triangles (which are vegan).

My sister also made a portobella mushroom dish from the Oh She Glows cookbook and my mum also made marinated mushrooms. Clearly we didn’t communicate about mushrooms well enough! Here’s my plate. You may notice a lack of green. Halfway through our meals, my mum realised we’d forgotten to assemble the salad. The greens were still sitting in the colander over the sink:

Greek Easter Sunday lunch

Mum also took charge of cooking for the non-vegans. She made two non-vegan desserts but made me a special vegan version of her dessert called ‘saraili’. That’s how we pronounce it (“sah-rah-i-LI”). It is a filo pastry sweet, similar to baklava, that Turkish people make too. It’s your basic nuts-in-filo recipe with syrup poured over once cooked. I’ll be posting a recipe for this soon. I haven’t eaten saraili in ages so this was a nice surprise:

saraili dessert

We had an interesting table discussion about how these days we’re finding we can’t eat as much as we used to. In previous years we would eat what was on the plate, then go back for seconds and a bazillion desserts would be later. Family celebrations for us always involved eating a heap of food, then eating more even if you weren’t hungry (especially dessert)! My mum, sister and I can’t do that anymore as we just feel pretty sick straight away. We do struggle a little with pulling back on the catering though. Even if it’s a small gathering we tend to prepare too much food!

Last week was a fairly quiet-ish one. Here’s the Library at the Dock. Upstairs is an area where kids can play games (board games and electronic). We’ve attended classes here (often free) and there’s also the Makerspace where you can use the 3D printer:

library at the dock library at the dock library at the dock

We saw two live shows by kids comedian Matty Grey. Arthur and DeeW had a great time, especially when Arthur was selected to shoot Husband with a nerf gun. Arthur was instructed (by the performers, not me) to shoot Daddy in the testicles. Of course Arthur was very happy to do as he was told! The shows were held at the Northcote Town Hall:

northcote town hall

After the show, Arthur and I walked around a bit and headed down to Fitzroy:

northcote building

This scene cracked me up when I was waiting for a tram and looked above my head. I haven’t seen this in ages– sticking your tv antenna out the window to get a good signal! That, or being the youngest child in the extended family and being made to stand in awkward positions holding the antenna so your cousins get to watch Wonder Woman…

fitzroy tv antenna

fitzroy street art

We saw these free persimmons. I took one and still haven’t eaten it:

persimmons

The trip to Fitzroy was so that I could pick up my new pair of vegan socks (I didn’t buy them in Fitzroy, just went to pick them up from the person that ordered them online from the US):

vegan socks

Articles and Stuff:

US Federal Report says vegan diet is best for the planet“A federal panel that helps set federal dietary guidelines is recommending Americans eat less meat because it’s better for the environment, sparking outrage from industry groups representing the nation’s purveyors of beef, pork and poultry.”

Top 5 misconceptions about food: a doctor’s daily experience

Where disadvantage and industrial decline meet: youth unemployment in Melbourne’s north

 

I’ll wrap it up here for this past week in review. Time is just slipping away too fast lately, though I suppose that’s a good thing when you’re waiting for the next season of Doctor Who!

4

A Really Slack “What I Ate” Moment

I’ve been slack AGAIN with my ‘what I ate this week’ posts.  Meal planning has gone out the window for another week because of Husband’s unpredictable work schedule.  I did manage to take some pics of various this-and-thats!

Kale and chickpeas dressed with lemon juice and nooch:

kalechickpeas

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Arthur and DeeW are eating porridge.  I get to cook ONE BIG BOWL then serve it out.  Bliss!  I had some with currants and golden syrup.  With toasted coconut, I call it ‘ANZAC Biscuit Porridge’:

porridge

Bad photo of the vegan packet rendang mix with leftover potato and sweet potato mixed in:

rendangveg

In the week before Greek Orthodox Easter my mum made vegan ‘koulourakia’.  Koulourakia are bready-biscuitty things served alongside coffee and tea.  Mum’s usual recipe has butter or cream but this version is made with oil.  Everyone makes their koulourakia differently.  My maternal grandmother made big hearty versions but my paternal grandma made hers sweeter and heavier.  My mum makes hers somewhere in between:

teakoulourakia

Speaking of Easter, here are the flowers Mum had on the table for Easter Sunday lunch:

easterflowers

For lunch Mum made rice with veg.  My sister made the roast veg and a leek potato soup.  Due to an unfortunate miscommunication, there was no vegan dessert.  It didn’t matter though as I was pretty full anyway:

easterlunch

One of my favourite smoothies is made with orange, lemon and frozen bananas:

citrussmoothie

I made a walnut basil pesto which was delicious.  I tried some gluten free rice macaroni.  The first time I cooked it according to the instructions.  Sat down to eat and the pasta was still hard (yes I’d tried a piece before turning the stove off!).  It was so hard I threw everything away and made a second batch.  I had to cook the second batch for double the amount of time stated on the packet and the piece I tested had turned to moosh.  Sat down to eat the second time and some of the pieces were still too tough and I’m not talking al dente!  I ate it  because I was starving but I’m never buying it again:

ricepasta

A Lebanese zaatar bread from Zaatar on Sydney Road in Coburg:

zaatar

I went to lunch at Zaatar and ordered their falafel zaatar focaccia, which they assure me has no animal content at all.  It was delicious and I could barely finish it all:

falafel

My mum’s vegan ‘yemista’, which are Greek stuffed vegies.  Mum always uses rice but this time she used burghul:

yemista

I had a voucher for Lord of the Fries so I treated myself to their Spicy burger.  I forgot to take a photo until I’d demolished it:

mostlyeatenveganburger

…and this was my view as I ate my burger at LotF near Flinders Street Station:

lunchview2

lunchview1

It was a beautiful day and I had my camera with me, so I’ll leave you with some snaps of my super home town  🙂

citywalk1

citywalk2

citywalk3

citywalk4

citywalk5

citywalk6

citywalk7

citywalk8

citywalk9

citywalk10

And home again:

citywalk11

o/

8

Hot Cross Buns from Mister Nice Guy

With Easter approaching, that means hot cross buns are everywhere.  Our big supermarkets came under fire from church organisations for stocking hot cross buns right after Christmas.  I must confess I’m not really a hot cross bun fan.  I mean, they’re okay but I just get over them really quickly.  Every year I say I’ll bake my own and I might still do that for the Orthodox Easter which is still weeks away.

Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop have hot cross buns this week.  So you know where we headed off to, right?

These hot cross buns are more along the line of what I prefer in a HCB.  A sticky glaze (apricot jam) and not just a boring eggy/milky wash.  Light and fluffy and no overdone fruit inside.  Big too  🙂

hcb1

Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop is located at 151 Union Road, Ascot Vale and very close to public transport.  Here is their stockists web page:

http://www.misterniceguy.com.au/stockists/