20

In My Kitchen September 2016

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. Maureen is taking a break for a bit and the official In My Kitchen linkup will be back soon, though a bunch of bloggers are still doing their monthly writeups (because this is a fun linkup!)

First a little news announcement: Vegan Mofo (Month of Food) will be running in November! It’s a FANTASTIC event where bloggers/social media users publish content about, well, vegan food basically. You don’t have to be vegan but whatever you include for Vegan Mofo must be vegan/plant based only. It can be new recipes, foods you ate, following the supplied prompts or choosing your own theme… it’s really a lot of fun and some of the stuff people have made in the past has been superb and also downright ridiculously heroic. Check out the official Vegan Mofo 2016 page for more info. One of my favourites will always be Hasta La Vegan’s 2014 theme of Bizarre and Outdated Cookbooks. Check this one out! Or Prune Gnocchi.

Even if you don’t participate you can still follow along as there will be (I assume) an official participant’s list put up before Vegan Mofo begins so you can add blogs to your feed and such. I’m not sure if I will join in this year for every day and the theme I had decided on last year seems kinda mehhh to me now. We’ll see. My theme for 2014 was Will My Kids Eat It? which surprised me in that more people were following along than I had anticipated. I had sanitised my kids’ opinions a little. Oh wow, I just read all my 2014 Mofo posts (complete with flash photos of food) and I said “I’m still on that mission to get Arthur and DeeW eating mashed potatoes”. That was on September 20th 2014 and they’re still not eating mashed potatoes. Hmmm… now I’m wondering if I should do Will My Kids Eat It? Round 2: Unedited. DO IT DO IT. I might try and distract them with the Fancy Dish technique again.

So, I have a bit of a cheat IMK this month because there’s a bit of In My Mum’s Kitchen. So, in my mum’s kitchen she has this homemade eggplant sortof-pickle. I guess its technically a pickle as it involves vinegar? But it doesn’t taste vinegary at all. It’s great to spoon some of this on to pasta or in a sandwich:

mumseggplantpickle

Also In My Mum’s Kitchen is this quince sweet she made. In Greek it’s called “gliko”. Gliko can be made with other fruits like unripe figs and orange peel. Lots of sugary syrup so I can only have a teeny piece or two and I’m done:

quinceyliko

In My Kitchen and my Mum’s Kitchen was the last of the Simple Vegan Tzatziki I made. Mum gave it the thumbs up though said she would have added a bit more lemon. I was really pleased when she said she couldn’t detect any tofu taste (I used a silken tofu base). I’m cheating here and using a photo from the recipe I put up a couple of days ago:

Simple Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

So I was visiting my mum one day and she said “did you hear that that KA Pies place won the national pie competition and beat over 1700 other entrants?” and I replied pffffft as IF they’ll have anything vegan. We actually drove past and I didn’t bother going in. Well it was humble Thai red curry pie for me because the winning pie was in fact vegan. Some people apparently kicked up a stink that the winning pie wasn’t meat. KA Pies are now planning more vegan pies as this one has been a roaring success. In fact, the first few times I went to buy one from the bakery outlet in Sunshine, they were sold out within half an hour. The first pie I had tasted great but I was surprised at the sort of mooshy filling. I had expected more bite from veggies so I was a bit disappointed. Strangely, the second time I had this pie there were more chunky veggies so I much preferred that second pie:

kathaicurrypie

Healthier stuff! I had a load of pulp  left over from juicing carrots, beetroot and greens so I put them in rice paper rolls with some tofu I had marinated in orange and sesame dressing:

juicepulprolls

We went to the Coburg Farmers’ Market yesterday and got 2kg of pink lady apples plus this 100% apple juice which is really nice. I also bought this packet of vegan jerky from Glencoe Farms. It has a nice sweet sundried tomato taste. I really like the Glencoe Farms pasta sauces, which I blogged about in my last IMK. My daughter chose this blueberry jam as our jam supplies were low:coburgmarkethaul

In My Kitchen are the remains of the wholemeal sourdough loaf on the bottom right, purchased from the Sourdough Kitchen stall at the market:sourdoughkitchenloaves

For a while now I’ve wanted to try this Irene’s ‘nistisimi’ pita. When you see the word ‘nistisimi’ it refers to the religious fasting period in the Greek Orthodox faith. However it doesn’t mean vegan (some products contain honey or casein but are deemed suitable for fasting). So if you are vegan and only wanting vegan foods, don’t assume a ‘nistisimo’ product means vegan! Greek fasting cheeses and your casein, I’m looking at you. Aaaanyway, the pita was okay though mum and I agreed it could have done with a wee bit more flavour but I’d still happily serve it up. This is the packet, I got mine from Supa IGA on Sydney Road in Brunswick:irenesnistisimopita2

And this is what it looks like baked:irenesnistisimopita

Finally, In My Kitchen was this Vego vegan milk chocolate style bar. Now, I heard loads of people saying this is the most milk chocolate-like vegan chocolate evahhh and so I was like okay yeah we’ll see. Big skeptic. Seriously though folks, this is indeed the most milk chocolate like vegan chocolate I’ve ever tasted. The texture is lovely and I’m a big fan of hazelnut chocolate so it helps. I would love to see this in a plain variety though. It cost heaps though it’s a biggish size. I’m not really in to chocolate but oooh this was good:

vegoveganchocolate

Here are some of the lovely flowers at Coburg Farmers’ Market yesterday, unfortunately not In My Kitchen!

coburgmarketflowers1 coburgmarketflowers2

 

12

In My Kitchen July and August 2016

I’ve just realised I haven’t posted an In My Kitchen for July. I could have sworn I did but a search reveals that’s not the case and there it is in my Drafts folder. Argh! So here’s an In My Kitchen for July and August 2016.

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. Maureen is taking a break for a few months and the official In My Kitchen linkup will be back in September, but a bunch of bloggers are still doing their monthly writeups.

First up, these Field Roast vegan sausages. This is the Italian flavour which was quite nice. The Mexican sausages are way too spicy for us but the smoked apple sage were nice:

field roast italian sausages

I love the Japanese sauces by Saori. Saori makes these products in Melbourne and she’ll be back at World Vegan Day Melbourne this year. Just love all of these:Saori Japanese sauce

When someone brings you presents in the form of Melbourne vegan ice cream Zebra Dream! Two more lovely flavours to try:zebra dream ice cream

In My Kitchen are some buckwheat pasta spirals, purchased from The Source Bulk Foods in Brunswick:buckwheat pasta

My mother in law gave me a packet of this pumpkin seed meal. I often put pumpkin seeds in my smoothies so this meal has been very handy:pumpkin seed meal

Lots of fruit, mostly from the farmers markets (not the bananas though!) Since discovering the apple stalls at my local farmers market, I’m never going back to anything else. I never really liked apples all that much until I bought them super fresh directly from the growers. In the background there is a chair covered in a cheap pillowcase, thanks to the cats using the chairs as scratching posts. You can see the pillowcase has sustained some feline damage. Cat hair on the apples:lots of fruit

My daughter had a project where she must prepare a meal from scratch for her family. She chose to make pasta. This was exciting for me because back in about 2003 my sister had asked what I wanted for Christmas and I HAD to have a pasta roller.  I wanted it so much that it first got taken out of the box, like literally in July 2016. My old retro kitchen table is too thick to be able to clamp the roller down which was a nuisance! We chose to make orange pasta, using the pulp from juicing carrots. We ended up with a pretty yellow colour instead. I have pulp from kale and beetroot so we’ll use those for coloured pasta, and I want to try using black sesame seeds and some of that pumpkin meal:

homemade carrot pasta

I’ve really changed the way I spend, in the effort to budget and cut down on mindless spending. In the past if I needed something like bowls I’d look at something and go yeah that will do. Now, I do the Konmari Method thing of asking myself “does it spark joy?” I have this little vision of my home eventually being filled with stuff that makes me happy to be around. Currently, it’s more like loads of crap lying around pissing me off. There’s no sparking of the joy there. Aaaanyways, moving on, earlier in the year I bought myself a pretty bowl and plate from the Made In Japan shop at the Queen Victoria Market. I’ve gone back a few times since to look at things. I was lingering over these bowls and was told the large size were the last bowls anywhere in this design so the deal was done. I love these bowls (two large and two smaller inside) and the plate too. Do they spark joy for me? You bet! Though they shall spark fury if someone damages them. SERENITY NOW. Spot the reflection peace out sign:made in japan bowls

I enjoyed these two pasta sauces from Glencoe Farms. I bought them from Coburg Farmers Market, though Glencoe Farms are stocked in some stores and at different farmers markets. I prefer to make pasta sauces from scratch but it’s too much effort because the family don’t like tomato based sauces. So I got these to myself:

Glencoe Farms pasta sauces

My mother in law gave us all this massive grapefruit from their tree. I don’t eat it so I tend to give most of it away (because Husband says he’ll eat them but never does so I have to give them out before they spoil):

grapefruit

In My Kitchen (but not hanging up) is this picture I found in Brunswick Savers. My daughter likes anything to do with Paris and France so I thought $9 for this was a bargain as it looks hand painted. I had glanced at the picture before turning it over to check the price, then saw it was an old frame backing (you know, because of all the old tape holding it together). And a hand written (but faded) message on the back has a date of 1967. Look at the cars and the clothes! We went to Paris in 2002 and I’d love to go back (though Japan gets first dibs on our next overseas holiday):

vintage Paris 1967 picture

Finally, some July scenes around Sydney Road in Brunswick!

sydney road brunswick scenes

 

19

In My Kitchen June 2016

My favourite season is over and we’re now in winter (my second favourite season. Summer comes way last). Except I feel like there wasn’t much of an autumn, or perhaps I just didn’t get out as much as I hoped! In autumn I like to go and take photos of the trees, especially in the gardens around Melbourne but just like the National Gallery of Victoria, or the State Library or whatever, I always end up forgetting and then when I go to do something, everything is over. Same thing happened with the recent David Bowie exhibition here, gahhh!

In My Kitchen for June is some malt extract. I have always loved malt flavours and wish there was a vegan version of Milo, a popular malted milk drink in Australia. I actually planned on buying powdered malt extract but this isn’t sold in supermarkets or bulk stores and in the end I was going to purchase from home brewing supplies websites. But I passed the regular syrup-like malt extract in the shops and ended up getting it instead. I regret not getting the powder as it is really frustrating getting the malt extract out of the tin to measure, especially now in our colder weather! I’ll use this malt in a recipe for this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe:

maltextract

Also In My Kitchen this month are these green cha soba noodles. I haven’t seen this variety before from this brand. I buy the soba and ramen noodles but this is the first time buying the cha soba:

chasobanoodles

I saw these kale spirulina corn chips in Aldi recently and decided to give them a try. They’re okay, but have that ‘green’ aftertaste that bothers me after a while:

kalespirulinacornchips

We’ve almost finish this jar of green bean and mustard pickle from 2&5. I bought this from their stall at the Coburg Farmers Market recently:

2and5greenbeanmustard

I tried this ‘vegetarian chicken’ that I found in the freezer section at Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart in Braybrook. The business name has changed but it still says vegan and vegetarian on the storefront:

vegetarianchicken

Now, a question that pops up often, even in vegan/vegetarian circles is “why on earth would veg*ns want a fake meat product!” Well, there are many answers to that! For me personally, I don’t view the mock meats as a meat substitute because I have no desire to eat meat. For me, I view the mock products as food. Mock meats are often made from wheat gluten or soy so in those cases I look at it as a soy based or wheat gluten based food. Same with the vegan cheeses– there’s no desire for me to eat cheese, being dairy intolerant, so I look at the vegan cheeses as a nut based product (or whatever else it is made from).

Other veg*ns eat mock meats because they didn’t give up meat due to hating the taste or texture– they gave it up because of an ethical decision they made not to eat animals anymore. Others like it as a transition kind of food, or because they like the texture in certain meals. Some people can’t stand the sight of it as it reminds them too much of meat. It’s different for everyone!

There’s a vegetarian (with vegan food) restaurant here in Melbourne called Enlightened Cuisine and the following appears on their website:

The concept of using a mock-meat replacement isn’t new. In the early Chinese Imperial dynasties, prior to the Emperor performing his annual prayer for The Kingdom’s prosperity, he was required to practice strict vegetarianism for seven weeks. 

The Royal Court’s skilled chefs created extraordinary vegetarian recipes with the appearance, texture, and taste of the all of the Emperor’s favourite meat and seafood dishes as a substitute for his normal carnivorous diet. 
 
Over the years the skill has been passed down and developed further by Chinese monks, who were required to emulate meat for the Emperor when he visited their temples because they were not permitted to serve real meat to anyone inside the temple.

 

So there’s a whole fascinating history there too with the mock meat products and some of my favourite meals with mock meats are here in Melbourne’s vegan restaurants.

In My Kitchen is this hazelnut spread by Pure Harvest. I often put a thin spread of this on some bread or in a wrap with banana and toast it up for the kids. Just saw the cat hair on the lid there:

coco2pureharvestspread

And In My Kitchen, always when I’m cooking and doing a million things at once, is my baby boy Punky. He’s really sweet but also a very naughty boy. He was born with a little stumpy tail (as was his other brother, but the brother we have and a sister have regular tails). When he is startled and the fur stands up, his tail turns in to a pom pom:

catloafing

And here’s his brother, who has a variety of names really. You know how cats or dogs sometimes see a carrier, and they know it means GOING TO THE VET so they run away? Not our boys. They love this (rather rusty) carrier, as soon as they see it on the floor they race to be the first inside it. They both juuust fit but still try to sleep in there together so one of them is half hanging out. They purr away in the car too, which is a nice change from our old cat years ago who used to runny-poo-poo in the car out of fright:

catloveshiscarrier

 

Unfortunately my kitchen is the least cosy room in the house because it’s so cold in there (no heating in that part of the house unless we put a portable heater on). When I cook in winter I’m often wearing my jacket and ear muffs because the slightest bit of cold gives me earaches. It sucks to have cook wearing ear and headwear designed for the snow we don’t get in Melbourne!

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. I’m submitting this blog post of mine for June 2016. While not a vegan-specific event, anyone can join in and you can also discover new blogs, recipes, products, etc!

I often have problems leaving comments for some blogs running on Blogspot. I had got things working but then things screwed up again. I try to reciprocate all comments left here by commenting on other blogs but unfortunately some of my comments don’t seem to make it through, or the comment form keeps kicking me back to a login screen where I’m already logged in, or it defaults to a user profile I don’t want to use despite selecting my proper blog profile, etc etc. So I do apologise for not being able to leave comments on all the blogs!

30

In My Kitchen May 2016

cat with pumpkin

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. I’m submitting this blog post of mine for May 2016. While not a vegan-specific event, anyone can join in and you can also discover new blogs, recipes, products, etc!

With my favourite season here (it’s autumn!) comes the slight feeling of panic where I think it’s nearly halfway through the year and so many plans I had for things to have achieved by now have just pretty much gone noooowhere. My blog is a little on the neglected side lately and the plans I had for it have had to take a backseat for the time being. There’s so much stuff that needs doing around the house that it has sapped a fair bit of my energy. We have some major plumbing work that has to happen and I’ve been procrastinating a bit there too.

But because it’s autumn, and I have cats, everything is otherwise groovy. In My Kitchen I have a big pumpkin and a big pumpkin shaped cat. The pumpkin will form the base of some stews and I see a fair bit of veg and chickpea curries in my immediate future.

In My Kitchen are these beautiful apples I picked up at the Coburg Farmers Market on the weekend. I blogged about that visit here. These apples are from the Three Bridges Apples stall:

three bridges apples

I also picked up these chestnuts and plan to roast them. I did briefly consider purchasing a chestnut roasting pan, because I’m a sucker for things like that but life experience has shown me that such a pan would be used once. So I’ll just poke some holes in foil or something instead:

chestnuts

I visited the Coburg Farmers Market a fortnight ago too but it was a quick visit. I picked up some jams and a relish at the 2&5 Foods stall. Bad camera focus:

Coburg market 2&5 jams

In My Kitchen are some vegan products sent to me from the US. I participated in a Vegan Box Swap and received a bunch of goodies including Cinnamon Bun and Peanut Butter flavoured Oreos. I’ve only ever tried the original flavour here in Australia and the chocolate, plus the orange flavoured Halloween special last year, but not really a fan. I love anything cinnamon bun and peanut butter and so these were much nicer than the flavours I’ve tried:

vegan box swap Oreos

I also got these peanut butter flavour Nutter Butter bites. I’m glad it was a small packet, I’ve seen big packets of these and would have had a hard time not eating them all quickly. I don’t like peanut butter sandwiches but I love peanut butter anything-else:

vegan box swap Nutter Butters Bites

My swap partner also sent me this maple bacon flavoured Kettle popcorn. I love smoky maple kinds of flavours so this was great. I want to learn how to make my own smoky maple seasoning for popcorn. The Cracker Jack caramel coated peanuts and popcorn was another favourite, I rarely have caramel popcorn and keep it for a special occasion but this was eaten in one go:

vegan box swap popcorn

I loved these sweet Maui onion macadamias. The seasoning tasted exactly like those sour cream and chives chip flavours that sadly aren’t vegan so I’m going by memory. Sour cream and chives, or sour cream and onion was always my favourite chip flavour. The Skinnygirl water enhancer is like a syrup that you add to water to flavour it. I haven’t tried it or the bubblegum yet:vegan box swap

I asked my swap partner for a bottle of Hampton Creek Just Mayo, which isn’t sold in Australia. It’s really nice, out of all the bottled vegan mayos I’ve tried this is the nicest. I only found out this week we have these Tasty Bite microwave meal pouches in Australia but I’d never actually seen them, I always make dal from scratch but some days I have a craving for it NOW but never have any handy. I’m also looking forward to trying the two little cans there, one is a taco filling and the other a fishless tuna:

vegan box swap

In My Kitchen is this garlic salt I picked up from the Coburg Farmers Market two weeks ago. I’ve been using it over plain pan fried tofu:Harmony garlic salt

Not In My Kitchen, but out on the street is a neighbour’s olive tree with a worried olive on it:worried olive

Quite a bit of stuff in my kitchen this month (though most of the treats have been eaten). I’ll be tackling that pumpkin tomorrow!

backyard plants

33

In My Kitchen April 2016

I’m glad summer is over (summer… blergh) and that we’re in autumn but I’m also in that semi-panic mode of realising it’s already April and there are a few things I had planned to have done by now that haven’t really happened. Oh well, don’t sweat the small stuff I say! I’m back in to that constant state of decluttering and if you’re on Instagram, there are quite a few people using the hashtag #4monthpurge. I’ve been doing a bit of Konmari method cleaning and sorting and let me tell you folks, it sure is handy to have the clothes folded and displayed Konmari style. Better than digging through layers of clothing in a drawer looking for my geek Zork t-shirt!

Blurry cat here is always hanging around In My Kitchen. Here he is doing his innocent head-on-the-side pose, except the camera wasn’t on the correct setting. Then he moved his big head:

blurrycat

In My Kitchen this month is some Mexican oregano. Finally, I found some in Prahran Convenience store. They also have quite a few dried chillis there and are overall a great store for plant based meats and dairy-style foods. I have a few recipes that call for Mexican oregano and to date I’ve been using regular dried oregano. Now I feel my recipes will be that little bit more authentic…

mexicanoregano

I have a bunch of raw chocolate from The Chocolate Yogi (based in Sydney) but alas, they’re not for me. This is my favourite raw chocolate, but with my order here I received three free truffles. One disappeared before I took the photo. Funny that!

chocolateyogibars

In My Kitchen, for a very short limited time, was this new flavour by local vegan ice cream makers Zebra Dream. I’ve tried most of their flavours and love them all, especially the strawberry baobab but I admit I was a little skeptical about this lemongrass caramel. I love lemongrass, I love caramel, but together? Not so sure. I shouldn’t been skeptical at all because this was fantastic and that combination really works:

zebradreamlemongrasscaramel

You will always find a bottle of this Kirkland grade A pure maple syrup in my kitchen. You can find these at Costco and they’re about $18AUD for a one litre bottle. That’s the cheapest I’ve seen pure maple syrup anywhere. The teeny bottles in the supermarket cost much more. Woolworths have a 100% pure Canadian maple syrup which is $6.79 for a 250ml bottle. Of course, you need a Costco annual membership to shop there but I tag along with my parents and use their membership:

kirklandmaplesyrup

Field Roast vegan products are now available in Australia and I tried the Mexican Chipotle sausage. Wowweeee these are spicy hot! Tasty, but too hot for me to use for the family:

fieldroastmexicanchipotle

Things have been kinda quiet and uninspired on the kitchen front lately. I go through phases where I am recipe testing or whatever and then boooommmm I’m just over it and don’t want to cook anything other than our standard fallback meals here at home. Fortunately I have some two-bean chilli in the fridge to last a few days, thanks to that Mexican oregano 😀

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up now hosted by Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef. I’m submitting this blog post of mine for April 2016. While not a vegan-specific event, anyone can join in and you can also discover new blogs, recipes, products, etc! 😀