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

Vegan Eats At Preston Market: Gluten Freegan, Gringo Paella and Hot Jam Doughnuts

Gluten Freegan

A few weeks ago I visited Preston Market to do some grocery shopping, but also to go and check out the newer vegan-option stalls at PAM (Preston Artists Market) Lane. First up was Gluten Freegan. There are quite a number of vegan options such as apple custard friands, mixed berry coconut friands, little tarts with assorted fillings and a lovely pistachio raspberry cake with rosewater custard, shown at the top there.

Gluten Freegan Gluten Freegan Gluten Freegan Gluten Freegan

Gluten Freegan are at PAM Lane Preston Market during market hours on Wednesday to Saturday and at St. Andrews Market on Saturdays.

http://www.instagram.com/gluten_freegan/

* * *

Gringo Paella have a vegan paella chock full of seasonal market veggies and mushrooms. It’s sold as the vegetarian option for $12:Gringo Paella Gringo Paella Gringo Paella

Gringo Paella also operate during Preston Market hours.

http://www.instagram.com/gringopaella/

http://gringo-paella.squarespace.com/#eat-together-marquee

* * *

The donuts at the Hot Doughnuts van at Preston Market are vegan (I KNOW RIGHT??!) I seriously think that Preston Market need to put up a sign leading you to the van because I always, always get lost:

Preston Market hot jam donuts Preston Market hot jam donuts

Preston Market Hot Doughnuts operate during market hours.

http://www.facebook.com/Hot-Doughnuts-Preston-Market-1039684786061392/

* * *

Long in the past I had a vegan burrito from the Cornutopia van, but I haven’t been able to go and search it out again in recent times but keep an eye out for it in case that’s another vegan option.

Preston Market hasn’t had much in the way of vegan friendly meals (though when there are hot jam donuts, I prefer to skip looking for a meal and instead go buy a six pack of donuts), so it’s good to see we now have a few more options available.

Keep an eye out on PAM Lane’s Facebook page for updates to stalls!

http://www.facebook.com/prestonartistmarketlane

http://www.pamlane.com.au/

19

Toastie Temple at PAM Lane, Preston Market

Toastie Temple - Little Earth Bakery

Update September 18th 2015: Toastie Temple is no longer operating at Preston Market but they’re available for catering and will also pop up around the place! Please keep an eye on Toastie Temple’s Facebook page for updates.

Preston Market is a place I visit every now and then for cheap fresh produce, but I’ve always wished there was a greater variety of vegan lunch options there. Market trips were always followed by heading off to lunch somewhere else most times. Well folks, there were a lot of fist pumps around here this week when I read about Toastie Temple, a new pop-up vegan, gluten-free and organic food stall right there in Preston Market from the creators of Little Earth Bakery, the makers of most excellent gluten free breads. Yay!

PAM Lane (Preston Artist Market) has just been launched by the team behind Fitzroy’s Rose Street Market. The space is designed to feature independent and small business makers, designers and artists–of course that rightfully includes food! Goods are made and sold on site and are available during the Preston Market‘s opening hours on Wednesday to Saturday. Officially launched just this month, there are over twenty spaces available for short, mid-term and long-term leases.

Toastie Temple has a colourful setup, though once the toasties were on the grill plate and smelling awesome, I thought I could have just followed my nose instead of looking for signs!

Toastie Temple - Little Earth Bakery

Toastie Temple serves up the most delicious vegan, organic and gluten free toasties, using the Little Earth Bakery breads and melting cheese by Damona Divine Cow Non-Dairy Cheeses. The quality and flavour of the ingredients are paramount, with the full flavoured gluten free breads also being sugar free and yeast free as well as packing a nutritional punch. Everything is made locally by hand using quality organic grass roots products which is a winner for me, not only because I know the ingredients are top notch, but also because my money stays local and supports small business.

All toasties are $5 and the filling options include tomato and cheese with pesto on rice and arame bread; grilled eggplant, roast capsicum, olive tapenade with sundried tomato mozarella on sweet potato and chia bread, and the field mushroom, baby spinach, brie and cranberry sauce on pumpkin and amaranth bread. How ace does all that sound?! I ordered the grilled eggplant toastie and it was toasted to perfection with those lovely little brown bits of melty cheese and bread. I also got to try the field mushroom toastie, shown in the bottom right of the topmost photo.

The size of the toastie is smaller than your standard slice of bread but this is far from a plain old loaf of bread from the supermarket– these handmade supercharged breads are really in a league of their own and are among the nicest gluten free breads I’ve tried. The Damona Divine non-dairy cheese is also made locally from quality ingredients.

Toastie Temple’s owner-operator Rishi is open and responsive to customer feedback and a deluxe size toastie will be available for those wanting a larger size (the price for these will be higher). There are also plans to introduce some extras to the menu like kale chips, cheesy bites and new toastie combos and the possibility of having a regular gluten bread in the future.

Toastie Temple - Little Earth Bakery

When I arrived there was a group of vegans there trying out the toasties. I love how word gets around in vegan town and people head straight for a new vegan business:

Toastie Temple - Little Earth Bakery

Toastie Temple is currently the only store to sell ready-to-drink Tonantzin hot chocolate. Also produced locally from quality ingredients, Tonantzin is easily the best hot chocolate I’ve tried. Look at the photo below and see how thick it is. THAT is what you drink. No mixing with milk to get the thin hot chocolate most people are familiar with. I got a cup for $3.50 and will definitely be buying it again wherever I see it:

Toastie Temple - Little Earth Bakery

As Melbourne continues to increase its number of vegan eateries or food options in non-vegan cafes and restaurants, I’m really happy to see that this is happening in suburbs further away from the well known vegan-friendly areas like Fitzroy, Northcote and Brunswick. I’ve noticed the change in Coburg over the past few years, so it’s great to see Preston, and other areas, joining in the fun.

Toastie Temple will be at World Vegan Day Melbourne this year so if you can’t make it to Preston but plan on heading to WVD, you know who to look for!

PAM Lane is a little tricky to find. I started at Preston train station then walked to the Aegean Foods store you see from the station carpark (on the market side). PAM Lane is right near there.

Toastie Temple on Facebook

Little Earth Bakery website

Little Earth Bakery on Facebook

4

Preston Market With a Vegan Twist

I was introduced to Preston Market a couple of years ago, when my vegan friend T shared her secret with me: buy the old brown spotty bananas and other fruit right before closing time when the prices are dirt cheap.  A tray of fruit, past its best but still fine for freezing or smoothies, can be found for $1 or $2.  I’d pick up many kilograms worth of old bananans for a few dollars and use them in my smoothies.  The greatest discovery by far though was the hot jam donut van because they’re vegan.  Brilliant!

I went back to Preston Market a few days ago to see what it offers for vegan shoppers.  I stopped in at The D’Souzas for some amchoor (mango) powder.  Of course, whenever I go in “just for one thing” I end up with many things.  The D’Souzas store always has what I need and service is always smiley and friendly:

Preston Market

I picked up some soy beans from Preston Market Health Foods.  There were many elderly Greek shoppers here, looking for dried chickpeas for their ‘revithia’ (chickpea) soup and lentils for their ‘fahki’ soup:

Preston Market

Preston Market

Of course, there are a number of fresh produce stalls with prices cheaper than the big supermarkets:

Preston Market

Preston Market

I walked around looking at all the stores inside the main market area but didn’t see any other veganny-options kinds of places.  There were bakeries, continental delicatessans and lovely looking cakes but unfortunately none appeared to offer anything vegan, from my quick browsing.  I looked at the food stalls and alas, nothing vegan there.

I was pretty hungry so I headed for the Cornutopia van.  I’ve been there once before and enjoyed my vegan burrito so I ordered that again. The burritos (regardless of filling, it appears) are $10. Action shot:

Preston Market

The final stop (the most important of all): the jam donut van!

Preston market hot jam donuts

Preston market hot jam donuts

Overall, Preston Market is great for well priced fruit and veg, especially for those bargains right before closing time. You can find your nuts, dried beans, lentils and so on and different kinds of flours. More vegan options in the way of food would be great but I must confess the only food I go there for are donuts. Still, it would be nice to go there and have more of a selection of vegan food to chose from.

Preston Market
Preston Market
Preston Market

Preston Market

Preston Market

These are my purchases. I’m sure that’s the cheapest I’ve seen this particular vanilla extract.  As for the clove oil, I need some to help with minor mould problems around the house. I’m sure I paid double $3.90 for one of those teeny bottles in pharmacies! I also picked up some quinoa, curry powder (I like to try different kinds) and amchoor powder, which always seems to be in recipes I want to try then when I buy the stuff, I can’t find the recipes:

Preston Market purchases

If there are other markets out there you love for vegan shopping, please leave a comment!

4

Cornutopia Taco Van at Preston Market

I was at Preston Market the other day (hello vegan donuts!) and, by some amazing coincidence, I was really hungry.  I was thinking about what to eat when I looked up and saw this:

cornutopia1

A food truck!  A Mexican food truck! I am yet to try one of the food trucks around Melbourne.  Can you believe it?  I had fifteen minutes to myself to do a quick bit of shopping.  I used ten of those fifteen minutes to buy something from Cornutopia.

I asked if there were vegan options and was told that certainly, I could have things made vegan.  I needed something I could eat while walking so I opted for a vegan burrito.  It was filled with corn, beans, lettuce, a lovely rice with a lemon or lime tang and homemade chipotle sauce.   It would have been nice to sit at the chairs and tables provided but I had to get back to the family waiting in the car.  So here’s a messy action photo:

cornutopia2

I managed to eat half and left the rest for later in the day as it was very filling.  It cost $10 which I think is the same price as the meat tacos.  I was kinda hoping the non-meat taco would be cheaper.  It was delicious but I do feel $10 was a bit too much.  That may make me sound stingy but… you know.  It’s just that I can put this together myself, with home made tortillas, for much less.  Still, it was something nice to try in that “I’m gonna pop some food, I got 20 dollars in my pockeeeet” child free fifteen minutes of quiet way, before the “where are the donuts I want a donut where’s my donut HIS DONUT IS BIGGER THAN MINE I WANT A BIGGER ONE THAN HE HAS” onslaught.

Cornutopia rocks up to the Preston Market but check their facebook and twitter pages for updates on their location. http://www.cornutopia.com.au