18

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

10

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!

14

What I Ate And Open House Melbourne

nacho bean ball burrito

I have so many blog posts in my Drafts folder that are getting waaaay old now. Starting with Open House Melbourne from the last weekend of July. For that one weekend a year, some of Melbourne’s buildings are open to the public for tours (or some are only open with a ballot system) that don’t happen at other times. You get to see what goes on behind the scenes as well as learn more about the history of a particular building. I went along to some buildings last year as well.

So for this year, my sister and I began our day at the Finders Keepers Market, then brunch at Smith & Daughters. Our first Open House stop was the Royal Society of Victoria. This pic was taken in the waiting area as soon as you walk in. We were waiting for the tour to start but my sis and I were all oooooooh don’t you wish you could live here:

Royal Society

We discovered that the Burke and Wills expedition was planned in the room below and it also started there the day Burke and Wills departed:

royal society

The OCD part of my  brain was getting really fidgety when we were in this room below, because all I could focus on was my burning desire to fix the tassels and make them fall straight. Like this one time I went for a job interview and one of the women interviewing me had a torn hem at the bottom of her trousers with bits of thread hanging everywhere and my brain was all ARGHGHGHGHHHHHHHHHH GET ME ONE OF THOSE MINI PORTABLE SEWING MACHINES:

Royal Society of Victoria

Next stop was the State Library of Victoria. I worked here briefly a long time ago and yes I got to sit in the librarian’s dock thing in the middle here. I can’t remember what I said, probably “HEAR YE HEAR YE NOW HEAR THIS” cos it was after hours and after a workplace party and I guess we weren’t really supposed to go in there:

state library victoria

The State Library has a fantastic rare books collection. This John James Audubon ‘Birds of America’ book is apparently worth millions:

state library victoria

More awesome very-very-old books:

state library victoria

state library victoria

state library victoria

state library victoria

There’s even a comics display:

state library victoria

‘Midget Library’:

state library victoria

Music, looong ago:

state library victoria

After the State Library we walked down to the Melbourne Town Hall for their open house:

state library victoria        melbourne town hall melbourne town hall

melbourne town hall

Where the Melbourne City Council sits:

melbourne town hall melbourne town hall

We had planned to see more buildings but the hours raced by before we knew it. Next year I’ll be more organised! The next day Arthur and I went to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for their tunnels tour.

Now for a What I Ate, though again I’ve found photos from the past month. Some leftovers from a MoFo experiment:

hummus zaatar plate

I made a chilli with black beans and kidney beans, lime rice, guacamole and shoved it in a tortilla with shredded Daiya and the leftover Spicy Bean Nacho Balls (frozen food product by Colonial Farm). Addictive stuff, photo is at the top of this post.

Another lunch at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Waterdrop Tea House Restaurant I Have No Idea What The Real Name Is. This was my third visit and the same waitress has served me each time. On this third visit, I asked my usual “is it vegan” question and was told “vegan means no gluten”. Uh oh. Though I am sure (I hope…) none of my meals there were non-vegan as the waitress had gone to the kitchen to check when I asked about egg and dairy specifically. Enough boohoo. Pictured below is the roti with curry sauce and the steamed buckwheat bbq buns:

fo guang yuan roti

fo guang yuan dumplings

Once more, with flashy insides:

fo guang yuan

One of the emergency foods at home is Fry’s shnitzel. I’m not crazy about them to be honest but every now and then I don’t mind a shnitzel sandwich:

frys shnitzel

Eggplant (mooshed up) and lentils:

lentil dhal rice

Lord of the Fries currently have a Western Burger special. You get two onion rings inside the burger. I love onion rings but never get them because of the greasy oily factor making me feel sick, but having a couple in a burger works for me:

lotf western burger

We went to Loving Hut in Northcote and I ordered the BBQ soy skewers and Vietnamese fried rice. I ended up taking the leftovers home for lunch the next day as picky-eater-family didn’t like it:

lovinghut northcote bbq soy skewers loving hut northcote vietnamese rice

A vegan gourmet style pizza from Eat Fresh Pizza in Maribyrnong. We love this place:

Eat Fresh Pizza

I’ve also been a little slack in introducing our cats. We adopted them back in June and they were about five months old. Arthur and DeeW got to choose a name each so Arthur chose Maltesers (his favourite chocolate) and DeeW chose Punky. Yes, after Punky Brewster. She wanted to name the cats Punky Brewster and Henry Warnimont. We Just Said No (bwahaHA get it, Punky fans?) because they were only allowed to choose one name. Anyway, our new babies get up to lots of mischief. They broke a vase but it was an Ikea cheapie and secretly I was glad because it was a bit fug. Here they are, taking over the dolls’ bassinet:

cats bassinet

Okay, I’ve got a load of veg that isn’t juicing itself. Better go do it. Have a great weekend!

6

Lunch at Loving Hut in Northcote

Loving Hut in Northcote is has recently reopened for lunch again: HURRAH! Great news for my family, seeing as we go there enough for dinner but we much prefer lunch hours.

I’ve taken my sister to Loving Hut before and so she and I decided to take mum. The plan was to order the southern fried chicken– that is ALWAYS the plan, so you can imagine my face when I was told they didn’t have any on the day (Sunday).

The other plan was to try something different. I always get the homemade curry with white rice because I like it so much. Then I’m all okay I’ll get something different next time, but the next time always involves getting the  homemade curry “one last time”.

My something-different entree were the steamed rice rolls with mushroom mince ($7). Oh my, these were delicious. Not stingy on the filling at all.  Mum, my sister and I really enjoyed them:

Loving Hut Northcote mushroom rolls

Loving Hut Northcote mushroom rolls

My sister went for the crispy wontons ($8). To me, wontons are pretty much okay, not resulting in those oh-man-these-are-great feelings like I had with the rice rolls:

Loving Hut Northcote crispy wontons

For her main, my mum ordered the curry laksa ($12). Mum really liked this and my sister and I tried a bit and agreed it was good. Mum would have liked more heat in hers but for me it was just right:

Loving Hut Northcote curry laksa

My sister ordered the homemade curry ($13. Ha, I still got some after all!). It tasted the same as the one I had on Thursday night but my sister’s had more veggies in it. This was good because as much as I like it, sometimes the amount of veggies are hit and miss:

Loving Hut Northcote homemade curry

Our server recommended I try the Broken Rice ($13). Wow, what a great recommendation.  I loved this plate of (vegan!) egg, sliced ham, chicken, potato, carrot and of course the broken rice, along with nuoc mam dipping sauce. I’d order this again and I was glad I went for the something-different to my usual:

Loving Hut Northcote broken rice

Here’s the southern fried chicken I had last week. Boy did I love the leftovers the next day:

Loving Hut Northcote fried chicken

These are the tofu bites, soft tofu sprinkled with rosemary salt. I liked these but they weren’t a hit with the family and I wouldn’t order them just for myself again:

Loving Hut Northcote tofu bites

The sweets display has treats like walnut slice, custard tarts, apple turnover pies and jam tarts. These look identical to those made by La Panella Bakery in Preston. I asked if the sweets were from La Panella and was told that the same people own La Panella and Loving Hut Northcote and that they make those sweets there at Loving Hut but the recipes are the same used at La Panella. My sister and I got a custard tart each to take home. I didn’t take a photo because they got a little squished but these were good, not that sickly sweet kind of non-vegan custard tarts you find in bakeries everywhere.

Although I was assured the Loving Hut custard tarts are vegan and that they use the La Panella recipe, some Melbourne vegans have reported that La Panella do not label their custard tarts as vegan (La Panella sell vegetarian and vegan goods). So make sure you ask about the custard tarts there at La Panella.

Here’s a piece of hazelnut peanut cake I bought last week from Loving Hut. I don’t remember how much it cost but wow it was one nice cake. I don’t know if they make it on the premises or if they buy it off someone else, but it was the first and only time I’ve seen a non-La Panella style sweet there:

Loving Hut Northcote peanut hazelnut cake

Loving Hut Northcote has a bit of an odd setup, which doesn’t appeal to all. The freezer section and shelves, selling vegan products, are at the front of the restaurant when you walk in so when you’re walking by outside, you don’t see tables and chairs right there.  I’m sure Loving Hut have their reasons for this (too bright/hot in summer perhaps) but I can’t help wonder if they’d attract more passers by if they moved the dining area right by the window. Some people aren’t fans of the big sliding door either, especially if your hands are full.

I was discussing this with mum and my sister and mum commented on how clean and open the place is and she much prefers that than a smaller cramped space. I also really like the open space. If you’re there as part of a large group and many of you have prams, I’m sure there’d be enough room. It’s a great size for holding a function and I think families would like it too, because if your children want to get up and walk around the table (hello DeeW) there’s enough space so that they’re not bumping in to chairs and ticking people off.

When we’ve gone there as a family for dinner, we usually go around 5:30 as that’s the time we’re driving through Northcote. We’re usually one of about three or four tables. Today during lunch we and another table of two were the only people in the restaurant, though a few people came in for takeaway.

The toilets are to the rear of the restaurant. There is a single men and women toilet each, plus a disabled/family toilet with a lot of space. The hand basins are in an open area for everyone. The toilets and basin areas have always been clean when I’ve used them.

There’s a big tv screen which sometimes plays nature style videos or is switched off. I have not seen any Supreme Master videos playing, like you see at Loving Hut in Richmond. Music is kept to a low volume.

Service has always been friendly, though we have had a couple of orders misinterpreted or missed. No biggie, everything was fixed right away.

Loving Hut Northcote

377 High Street, Northcote

9077 1335

http://www.lovinghutnorthcote.com.au/

 

14

What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition, part II

Last week I blogged about what I ate, with a weight loss slant.  I continued with my oil-free cooking (ie not using oil from a bottle), no bread/pasta/crappy carbs eating this past week as well as continuing to cut out sugars (apart from fruit), watching my portion sizes and not giving in to my ‘inner Labrador’– that woofy voice that tells to me sniff around the kitchen for tidbits all day long.

So last week I was pretty happy with my loss of  1.5kg/3.3lbs (I’m recording my weight here weekly for interested parties!) but I’m not a person who goes much by numbers on the scale.  I care about how my clothes fit, how I feel and how un-bloated I look!  Scale readings can be dodgy from one day to the next, though I have been weighing daily in case I one day decide to put those numbers up publicly somewhere for some reason.  Truthfully, I don’t care for daily weighing, happy to do weekly but for me monthly is where I would probably get a more accurate idea of how I’m going.  I’m also not counting calories, weighing or measuring food at this point while I do have quite a lot of body fat to lose.  Once my stupid feet injuries are history and I begin training again when I have (hopefully!) lost lotsa fat, that’s when I’ll begin paying more attention to eating for fuel and recovery.  For now, I’m just getting myself back in to healthier eating habits that I can maintain daily long term.

This week I have lost 900g (1.98lbs), making a total weight loss of 2.4kg (5.2lbs) in two weeks.  I’m not doing anything strictly though I do prefer to use fruit in smoothies at breakfast time and not during the day. I’m avoiding using oil and throughout the day I keep a mental note of where I’ve eaten fats. I’m drinking more water too and not eating sweets though as you will see below, going out to dinner is the exception to the rule!

Okay, this week’s foodie goodness!

On Monday we had Easter lunch at my mum and dad’s house.  I’m avoiding things like rice and potatoes at home but I put a little on my plate along with some black pepper tofu.  Look at me having an okay portion size.  In other words, measly. Mum had made some stuffed vine leaves and dip made with roasted red peppers, eggplant, walnut and garlic:

dolmades

easterlunch

Dessert was the Banana Coconut Pie I made from one of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books:

thrivebananacoconutpie1

thrivebananacoconutpie2

That morning’s early breakfast was a smoothie made with a hemp milk, banana, a few greens, orange and lemon:

breakfastsmoothie1

On Easter Sunday DeeW fell over at a park and broke her arm in one, possibly two places. Husband and I decided that DeeW and I should stay with my parents for a couple of days, just to allow her to chill out a bit more and also be closer to the hospital if she needed to go back for some reason.  This meant I had to go back home and scramble fast, like Goose and Maverick, to get all my gear together for a sleepover.  This included taking one of those big plastic storage tubs on wheels, carrying my blender, meals I’d cooked for the week, nooch, hemp protein, dressings, stuff from the veggie crisper drawers and canned beans.

I had (over) sauteed some kale and pak choy in water then added in a small batch of red quinoa I’d previously cooked and frozen.  I wanted to add this to meals throughout the week.  First up was a variation of the Pizza Bowl from Isa Does It.  I roasted some eggplant using only a little olive oil spray and well, this makes the eggplant turn out all dry and blergh.  I already had a little amount of pasta sauce in the fridge I’d made for DeeW, using an Aldi ‘Just Organic’ pasta sauce with some spinach and lentils added.  To that, I followed the Isa Does It recipe for the sauce and I add a small handful of raw cashews, a bottled roasted red pepper a tablespoon of tomato paste that had been in the fridge for almost-too-long, veggie broth and lemon juice.  I forgot to soak the cashews, because when I use my power blender I don’t have to soak.  But I forgot I was using my food processor when I threw cashews in to the mix, so they didn’t mix well (couldn’t mix them in the blender because there wasn’t enough sauce and it would have gathered under the blender blades).  The Isa Does It recipe uses vegan sausage but I used the roasted eggplant and some of Johanna’s Tomato Nut Roast with Buckwheat that I had frozen.  This was quite a filling meal though next time I’d want to follow the Isa Does It recipe to the letter… because here you can see the bits of cashews that didn’t whizz up well:

pizzabowl

Another Isa Does It recipe was the Citrus Tahini bowl.  Here, I marinated some firmer tofu overnight in sesame oil (less than what the recipe states, a couple of drops were enough for flavour), orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger (I leave out the sweet stuff like agave or maple syrup). The leftover marinade is mixed with tahini and used as a dressing. I served this over those overcooked greens and the not-very-good roasted eggplant.  Yum!

citrustahinibowl

A breakfast smoothie was made with fresh figs, banana, plant milk, cinnamon and hemp protein.  I can’t find my photo but it was delicious.

Mum cooked up some big bean things with carrot and potato.  I wasn’t very hungry when I ate this because I’d just had those dolmades, so this isn’t my usual dinner.  Because there’s not enough of it:

greekbeans

I asked Mum if she could make some of her Greek lentil soup without oil and with all the leftover veggie bits we had.  So this soup is made with brown lentils, onion, a bit of garlic, carrots, broccoli stems and kale. I admit that taste wise, this isn’t that fab because the olive oil is what adds that spark.  But I kinda feel that every now and then I need something that’s just a simple healthy food, without needing loads of flavour.  I need to break out of the mindset I have when it comes to food, I want everything to be fantastic and hate bland boring stuff, even if I know a dish is really good for me.  In other words, I’m a spoilt foodie brat.  As in, if I’m really hungry and whining about having nothing to eat because we’re going shopping the next day, Husband will suggest I eat toast. And then the scene looks like this:

groverblue

Anyway, here’s the soup.  I had this many times:

kalelentilsoup

I’ve been in a quiche craving mood lately so I decided to try these fab looking Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  After reading through the comments I decided to use a packet of the Morinaga tofu that you find in the non-refrigerated aisles.  It seems that using soft or silken tofu that we get here in Australia would not result in a ‘set’ quiche.  I thought I had the same problem when I tried to take a quiche or two (or three…) out of the mould after they’d cooled down to warm, but when I let the rest cool completely they came out of the moulds fine.  I really liked these but predictably, my fussy family didn’t.  I’m going to use the filling recipe as a base for lots of other stuff.  I have some vegan vol au vent cases that may work:

minitofuquiches

This is the non-weight-lossy bit.  Friday was ANZAC Day here in Australia and we usually always make ANZAC biscuits.  Traditionally they contain butter which can be replaced with a vegan alternative, but this year I looked up healthy vegan versions online.  I found one using almonds and coconut oil, but I won’t link to it because it was a bit blergh.  I ended up adding some Nutellex because the amount of coconut oil wasn’t enough and I didn’t want to use up the little bit I have remaining.  This year I used maple extract instead of vanilla, just for something different.  I wouldn’t call them ANZAC biscuits at all, as ANZAC biscuits are something that stand on their own and healthier versions like this are just too different to even call themselves ANZAC biscuits.  I’d say the ones I made should be called coconut almond biscuits:

notquiteanzacs

Another non-weight-lossy bit was dinner at Loving Hut on ANZAC Day.  All healthy bets are off when it comes to meals out!  Though I did factor in what I’d eaten that day and that I had about four meals worth of lentil-veg oil free soup at home to make up for it all a bit!  I had some of the fried entrees (spring roll, crumbed prawns.  I ordered Husband the wrong spring rolls and he had one and didn’t like it much so I had the two leftovers…)  Then for my main I decided on the spicy lemongrass chicken with vermicelli noodles and a lemongrass dressing.  The bowl was loaded with mint and coriander which I love and some some salad ingredients.  The flavours were great but it was pretty spicy.  The ‘chicken’ was layers of (possibly) bean curd sheets and was quite chewy. I only ate a bit because I was already full and took the rest home to have for lunch the next day.  Aaaaand I maaaay have ordered the salted caramel coconut ice cream by Zebra Dream…

lovinghutlemongrasschicken

I saw plantains in a supermarket and decided to try them out.  I’ve never had them before and see so many American recipes using them:

plantains1

I had no idea what to do so I followed instructions for slicing the plantains in to 2mm slices, spraying with a little oil, then a little salt and lemon juice then bake.  They looked nothing like the photos of roasted plantains.  I didn’t like them at all so I think an expert has to prepare them for me next time:

plantains2

Okay, that’s about it.  I’ve just realised I haven’t got any meals prepared in advance for this week and I haven’t sat down to flip through cook books.  Apart from that lentil soup.  I have one plantain left so I guess I should do something with that as well as all the veggies.  I’ll probably end up with a veggie and chickpea/bean curry and I’d love to replicate the meal I had up there at Loving Hut.

Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!