Watercress Coconut Lumpia Spring Rolls from ‘Vegan Eats World’

‘Vegan Eats World’ by Terry Hope Romero was a book I pre-ordered with much excitement.  Vegan food, world cuisine– I’m sold!  When the book finally arrived I waited until I had a completely uninterrupted few hours just so I could sit down on the couch and really take my time looking through it.

The way I usually look through a new cookbook is like this: I look at pictures first.  Then I flip through the pages from the start and get a rough idea of the recipes.  Then I go back to the very start and read everything properly, the dedications, thank yous etc.  I then get a stash of little strips of scrap paper to use as bookmarks so I can come back to those pages.

With ‘Vegan Eats World’, I had to run and get myself some more little scrap paper bookmarks.  One recipe I made sure to note were the lumpia, or spring rolls.  I’ve never really wanted to make stuff fried in oil so I was pleased to see the recipe gives an option for oven baking.

Terry’s lumpia are made up of dried coconut that gets toasted, carrot, potato, cabbage, watercress, onion and garlic.  That stuff gets cooked up then you fill spring roll wrappers and roll them up and fry or bake.  I went for the fry option this time, just as one of those “I never do this otherwise, so why not try it”.  And truthfully, I wasn’t sure if they’d turn out in the oven.

The filling has vinegar in it (the kinds of vinegar are listed in the recipe) but I left it out entirely.  I also left out the onion because of pure laziness.  I just couldn’t be bothered dicing an onion.  That’s me.  There’s a dipping sauce recipe listed but I just used sweet chilli sauce instead.

I was surprised that these turned out great.  Not that I doubted Terry at all.  It was more this pattern I have, where I put effort in to a recipe and then somehow it doesn’t end up the way I think it should be so I’m all mehhh won’t do that again.


I ended up making another batch in the oven just to see how they turned out.  Baking does not give them the nice even browning and I found they went too crunchy.  Still, the kids ate them all up:


Since the initial experiment I’ve made them a few times and added chopped kale to the mix. The only problem with them is you can easily eat the entire batch in one sitting…


Chickpea Sensation Patties from ‘Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan’

As part of my push to get back in to meal planning, I went through a small pile of cookbooks to try out new recipes.  The kitchen table was cleared for me to work and I got Arthur to sit down and do some of his English grammar work.  He complains and moans about it being the most boring thing on earth.  That is why I know he is up to no good when he is intently scribbling in his workbook:


That’s my boy.  Did any of you pick up on the hip hop dude’s hand in the conductor’s bum?  (the “AHHHHH” is supposed to be a scream of surprise…)

Today’s recipe choice was the Chickpea Sensation Patties from Dreena Burton’s “Eat, Drink & Be Vegan”.  I am yet to go wrong with a Dreena recipe.  I love her books and read through them often.  Dreena recently wrote a blog post on finding a balance between motherhood and working.  It’s a good read and I found myself nodding along here and there.

Back to the patties.  They involve a food processor which always get a thumbs up from me!  The most time consuming part was chopping the onions and celery then frying them up a little.  In other words, not much work at all.  You just moosh everything up in the food processor then fry the patties.

The patties reminded me of the stuffing you’d make for a Christmas dish (without the rosemary).  The kitchen was full of warming smells.  I really liked them but the kids didn’t, as I expected.  Tthat’s okay, they much prefer bland foods and I was an adult before I could handle thyme and rosemary.

I steamed some cubed potatoes then fried them up with a tiny bit of oil and a generous pinch of good Spanish paprika.  For Husband, I put some raw carrot, snowpeas and green beans on his plate because that’s the way he eats them.  Being a believer in the benefits of raw food, I’m not complaining!



Lunch at RUSU Realfoods (again)

Last week I blogged about my lunch at the RMIT University Realfoods Cafe.  I was in the same part of town today and knew exactly where I wanted to go for lunch!  Actually, I had planned on going to Wonderbao but forgot the address so decided on Realfoods this time (then worked out I had practically walked past Wonderbao, doh).

The lunch rush was well and truly over and the only thing left at Realfoods was vegan pizza and desserts.  I got one of both  😉


The pizza was really tasty. But the raw tiramisu I bought for $7.50 (it’s my last hurrah dessert as I’m about to start a ‘diet’) was amazingly amazing.  Oh my goodness.  If you ever thought eating raw meant you miss out on desserts, you are so so so wrong.  You’re from Planet Wrong.  It was simply divine and that’s all I can really say about it.  It was very thick and rich and so good that I couldn’t put it down to take another photo.  It’s $7.50 well spent but I advise you to savour it.  Not shovel it in like I did, because I was in a bit of a hurry.

I also took some photos around town.  I do have to wonder: since when did being a uni student involve dressing like one is going to a fashion show?  Back in my day it was all about the jeans, flanny shirt and Blundstones.  Maybe I’m just old?

Here are some pics from around RMIT:



The State Library of Victoria:


Australia On Collins:


The Shot Tower at Melbourne Central:



Other stuff in Melbourne Central:



The Block Arcade:



Pretty trams all in a row:


Random here-and-there:





Mercifully, the temperature has dropped in Melbourne so it was perfect weather to walk around and take my time about it!



Baked Tofu and the Birdmen

For me, baked tofu is one of those things where I love it for a little while, then I’m over it.  Weeks later I remember it again and make some, then I’m over it.  And so the cycle continues.

I was digging it this week so I marinated some pressed firm tofu in kecap manis, garlic, ginger and sesame oil then fried it on a griddle pan.  I made lettuce leaf wraps with spiralised raw carrot and zucchini:


And for the the leftover tofu I made a simple salad with the Asian Miracle Dressing from Vegan Lunch box, which is made up of balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil and maple syrup:


Let me explain the flag that DeeW insisted be in the photo. Husband had taken DeeW in to the city and they lasted ten minutes at the Moomba parade (because of the heat and crowds, although I secretly believe Husband couldn’t handle the tacky element).  Moomba is an annual festival held in Melbourne, first celebrated in 1955.  My goodness, I just read the Wikipedia page and had no idea about the buttocks theory.  Anyway, when I was young, the highlight of Moomba was the Birdman Rally, where people would create some ‘flying’ contraptions (more like things that involved flapping one’s arms) and then seeing who could jump off a platform and ‘fly’ the furthest.  Most of the time people flew straight down in to the Yarra River.  I don’t know you guys, Moomba these days just doesn’t seem to have the magic it once did.  Although after reading the Wikipedia bit about bums, I think the magic may be back.



Vegan Moussaka

Moussaka is probably one of the first dishes people think about when asked “can you name a Greek dish”.  Growing up though, my mum didn’t make this often as there’s a fair bit of work involved.  Instead, she’d make pastitso, which is a baked pasta with beef mince, covered with bechemel sauce.  Much easier and less time consuming than moussaka!

For my moussaka, I first began by slicing eggplant, salting it and then rinsing/patting dry.  I also sliced up some potatoes.  Both the potatoes and eggplant were shallow fried in oil (something I don’t like to do often!):


My mother in law had given me some tomatoes so I made a quick tomato, onion and garlic sauce.  Ideally I would have like to chop the tomatoes more, or pureed the whole thing but I hadn’t washed the blender:


For the meat layer, I used the walnut-cauliflower meat recipe from Diet Dessert and Dogs.  I used half walnut and half pecans. For the dried spices I used about a heaped teaspoon of paprika and dried oregano.  For the layering, I think I did potatoes, eggplants, sauce, ‘meat’, potato, eggplant, ‘meat’, sauce.  Yeah, I screwed up the order a little.


For the cream layer on top, I whizzed up raw unsalted cashews and pine nuts with some water, juice from a medium lemon and a good dash of nutmeg (salt and pepper to taste too):

I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  This is something I’d make on a special occassion.  And a bigger stove so I could fry everything at once. Bad photo with twee background:


Next time I’d like to add more flavour to the cashew-pine nut cream but overall I was happy with how it turned out 🙂