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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!

2

Lunch at Lankan Tucker in Brunswick West

Lankan Tucker is tucked away in a strip of cafe restaurants in Albion Street, Brunswick West. I’ve tried their food before at a night market stall and loved it, so I was keen to try out the cafe version.

I had planned on visiting a couple more times to show you more photos and meal variety but I won’t be able to return for another couple months (doing a nutrition experiment which eliminates eating out, arghghgh) so here’s a brief review.

I ordered the Sri Lankan Staple ($17) which was ‘rice OR house made Red Rice Flour Stringhoppers served w Pineapple Curry, Mung Beans, Coconut Sambol, Lentils and Spinach, Apricot Chutney & Pappadums’. This was a pretty filling meal with a little spice– just right for me. 

Service was friendly and knowledgeable about vegan requirements and the menu is marked with vegan options/what can be made vegan. I really want to go back but given the nature of this nutrition experiment I’m doing, it rules out eating away from home. Argh!

The menu can be found at

http://www.lankantucker.com/menu/

Lankan Tucker

486 Albion Street

Brunswick West

 

1

Recipes From Doing It Vegan With Ris and Jules

Doing it Vegan with Ris and Jules is a series of YouTube videos with simple no fuss recipes. I’ve bought food from Rissy before, which I blogged about in my review Mrs Monagle’s Ethical Fine Foods.

There are a few things I love about the Ris and Jules videos. They’re from near-Melbourne, the recipes are really easy, and both Ris and Jules are laid back casual and funny. You can find their channel by searching YouTube for ‘doing it vegan with ris and jules’.

Because I loved the ravioli Rissy made when I ordered from her, that was the first Doing It Vegan recipe I tried (the roast pumpkin ravioli). I did my usual thing of starting a recipe then realising halfway through I don’t have enough of a key ingredient. This time, flour. But I had some spelt and the dough still turned okay. My lazy arse loves that the dough is all made in the food processor. For putting together the ravioli I did it by hand, after using a pasta dough roller machine thingy, because I don’t have a ravioli plate or special ravioli rolling pin. I do however have a ravioli cutter-sealer wheel which I used. I also made up my own cashew cheese and used the same dough to make tortellini. You can find this recipe in the roasted pumpkin ravioli video. To serve them, I coated some chopped fresh sage leaves in a little cornflour then fried in Nutellex to crisp them up.

The second recipe I made was from episode 1, the leek and mushroom pies in puff pastry. These were super simple and seasoned with salt, pepper and nooch. That’s all that’s needed. Loved these:

The eggplant parma was great, though I used my own cashew cheese (and too much of it). I love the walnut parmesan topping which is made with a little sesame oil. I ate most of it with a spoon:

These are easy, no fuss recipes that are great for beginners (even the ravioli).

I’ve made an extra batch of the pies and have them in the freezer, they cook beautifully from frozen.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Ris and Jules come up with next.

4

Olivia Spring Vegan Cafe in Moonee Ponds

Olivia Spring Cafe has recently-ish opened up in Moonee Ponds. It’s a vegan cafe, located right opposite the big bus and tram terminus, not too far from Queens Park.

My first visit was very quick and I didn’t have time to eat in, so I got a bbq pork banh mi to take away. Excellent, and this action photo doesn’t do it justice:

I made time for my second visit and got the broken rice plate. Another great meal:

For the next visit I went all out and got the rice paper rolls, which were pretty large and filling and didn’t leave much room for my main. The sauce was excellent:

I ordered the peanut Japanese noodle dish, which was piled high with delicious noodles, beetroot, sprouts and carrot. Wow:

Service has always been great and the cafe itself is nice and quiet. I want to go back a few more times as the menu is pretty enticing.

Olivia Spring is located on that main busy part of Mount Alexander Road where there’s no parking. I’ve always been on public transport when I’ve visited which is easy, because of the tram and buses opposite. For parking, you might be lucky to get a spot on Puckle Street or Hall Street or across the road in the parking bay, but there’s always the carpark for Moonee Ponds Central, a short walk away.

My apologies for the lack of pricing or info on gluten free options, I had jotted everything down but misplaced my notes. The prices are reasonable though and there are GF options. Definitely worth a visit!

Olivia Spring Cafe

637 Mount Alexander Road

Moonee Ponds

http://www.facebook.com/OliviaSpringCafe/

 

4

Many Visits to Handsome Her in Brunswick

I’ve been to Handsome Her on Sydney Road a few times now so it’s time to blog about it! I kept going back to get ‘one more photo’ for the blog.

This is old news now in the Melbourne food scene but for the benefit of non-local readers, Handsome Her burst on to the scene with a bit of ‘controversy’. I put that in quotes because it was all pretty ridiculous the way some people reacted and left fake negative reviews everywhere (feel free to safely ignore those).

So, Handsome Her is not just a fully vegan cafe. It’s also a space by women for women and, to quote the Facebook page, is a ‘community based cafe focusing on female empowerment, social responsibility and environmental justice’.

The bit that got everyone talking (and leaving negative reviews) is that men are invited to pay an 18% surcharge to reflect the gender pay gap. This surcharge is voluntary and goes straight to a women’s service. It resulted in a bunch of clearly fake negative reviews which, funnily enough, backfired a bit as I spoke to quite a few people who  saw all this complaining and went to Handsome Her to check it out (and loved it).

I really like the vibe at Handsome Her. It’s a safe space for women and is laid back with friendly staff. The menu is pretty amazing though and I always have a hard time deciding what to get. On my first visit I got the Michelle Obama brownie hotcakes ($20) with peanut butter mousse, salted caramel brittle, strawberry baobab icecream (pictured at the top). Quite nice, and I’m not really a brownies fan.

For my second lunch visit I met up with Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe and after some deliberation, we both ordered the special which was the Kelis jackfruit burger. This was a winner for me:

I also got a warm peanut butter chocolate brownie slice which was so good. I mean look at all the peanut butter!

My son and I went on another visit. I got the peanut butter chocolate cake pop (cakesicle I think) and my son got the cheesecake slice. Both were great:

I went back today as the new summer menu is out. Again, I had a hard time deciding what to get but I knew I wanted savoury. I ordered the Frida Kahlo which was a most excellent cheese and bacon bagel with beetroot and edamame and was just so.fricken.good:

I apologise for not taking better photos of everything (I only had my good camera on the first visit, all the rest are phone pics) or better note of the prices but they’re around/above the $20 mark. Gluten free options are clearly labelled.

The meals are just beautifully presented each time. As for coffee, there are no environmentally unfriendly takeaway cups– you either bring your own cup, or you’re given a mug from the stash hanging on the wall.

For more pics of meals, check out Where’s the Beef? here and here, as well as Quinces and Kale.

Handsome Her
206 Sydney Roadd, Brunswick
http://www.handsomeher.com.au/