Saturday, March 29, 2008

Squiddy cooks: Pumpkin 'roni and cookies!

I've been way, way into cooking this year. Since returning to school -which I love, by the way- my number one method of escapism (read: procrastination) has been getting into the kitchen and cooking up a storm. I'll do it all, soups, bakes, stir fries, sweets! And my new penchant for farmer's markets and organic foods (thanks again, school!) has meant the fridge is always full of fresh produce begging me to hack it the hell up and expose it to high temperatures.

Also I got a machine.


This, boys and girls, is what is known in the overexcited housewife trade as a "Thermomix". It's basically a blender on steroids, in that it chops ANYTHING in seconds - be it breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs, ice, mills grains...bla bla. It also can heat things up, make icecream/sorbet, knead dough and kinda sorta cleans itself. It has a timer, and also levels of chopping speed and intensity. I like it best for making soups because you dont need to transfer to a blender, and I also use it for things like dips, pesto, crumbling up tofu, chopping nuts, mixing up muffins/cake/cookie dough and what have you.

Yes, revolutionary indeed.

BUT this is not the homeshopping channel, so lets resume with last nights dinner!

First up

Pumpkin 'roni with sage breadcrumb topping and a side of kale with garlic and capers and white beans and zucchini


Basically, it's two Veganomicon recipes (oh god how I love it). The pumpkin ziti, well I had no ziti so (gluten free) macaroni it was! I also topped it with breadcrumbs made with rye caraway bread so they were extravagantly tasty!

The green bit is done by replacing escarole (whata?) with kale in one of the recipes. YES I FOUND KALE! After days that seemed like years of searching, I located it at a farmer's market yesterday (the brand new Docklands one, check it out!) It's a brilliant recipe, quick and so healthy, and I love kale so much I must get more. I also topped it with "Liquid Gold" dressing recipe from Becoming Vegan nutrition book. Apparently it supplies you with wonderful doses of Omega 3 fatty acids and B12, and is also wonderful!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Look at this little cookies all lined up like soldiers prepared to die for their country, ie MY STOMACH.

This recipe was from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreen Burton. YUM! Maple syupy, chewy, easy cookie goodness.

Yes. I'm going to end this post now, as its started to sound like I have multiple sponsorships from all manner of cookbooks and spaceship like cooking machines!

End now.

Ancient stuff from old digicam (R.I.P)

So I swapped the 1 gig storage disk from my old camera into my new camera, y'know, for the days when I really eat alot and need the extra room both in belly and in picture storage.

Subsequently, I found a couple of bits of really old food pornage, so I'll post it here without too much fanfare just to get it out of the way!

Laksa Me

I'm big into laksa, huge into it, so I was really looking forward to visiting an establishment that actually wanted to laksa me! I'd turned up once and it was shut, and heartbreaking as that was, it was nowhere near as disappointing/ed as I felt when it was open.

To ease you in, let's start with the entrees? We had them, and they were incredible!

Coming out on a fancy schmance platter were little veggie filled money bags, and the second thing, not sure what, kinda samosa looking memory escapes me, but it was six months ago!



Now these entrees were up there with the best of them, easily comparable to the stuff you get at Shakahari, but cheaper. Special looking, beautifully presented and delicious.

However, I was here for the laksa, and felt much glee at seeing it on the table in front of me...that is until I dug in.


This was more of a swampy quagmire than a laksa, truth be told. It was very, very heavy on too soggy rice noodles and very light on veggies and tofu. The soup was awfully spicy hot, and I'm no chilli baby either, but I could not handle it! Also it had a kind of grittiness to it, not like sand..more like undissolved icing sugar. I like my laksa juice smooth and fully liquidized thankyou!

I dont want to get too snitchy, it may have just been a bad day on the laksa front, or perhaps I just dont know good, authentic laksa? I was well and truly bummed. And jealous of Rocket's pad thai, which was amazing, by the way. No photo though.

Laksa Me
Shop 1, 16 Liverpool St


So I went on a drive with my mother, and somehow we ended up at Montsalvat. Montsalvat was originally an artist's community, but now its mainly used for seminars, weddings, exhibitions and other such activities.

There is a cute little restaurant on site though as you can imagine, the vegan options are scarce so I ended up with the mixed mushroom pizza, drizzled with truffle oil and topped with lots of deliciously fresh rocket leaves. Hold whatever trendy cheese it also contained.


Mmmm it was so good! The mushroom mix was something I've never had before, so many strong tastes and interesting textures, each mouthful was slightly different. However, I will have to keep my adoration under wraps, as the price was (if I remember correctly) close to $20. I guess thats the price you pay to eat in a location once inhabited by starving artists.

If you do come, make it a sunny day. Then you can go for a swim at the most excellent swimming hole down the road, Laughing Waters. Be aware that it is the Yarra though. And there's snakes. Apart from that, good!

7 Hillcrest Ave

Friday, March 28, 2008

And I'm back with a BANG!!

....quite literally, you could say!

The good news is twofold. This morning began with me picking up my brand spanking new (BLUE!) camera (if only I could use it to take a photo of itself you would be so enamoured with it! Stupid physics) aaaand within that same half hour, I was sitting down to a delicious breakfast preceded by some eager and crappy amateur (food) photography.

Bomb Cafe in Abbotsford was the carefully selected establishment in question. Many moons ago (last year) I resided just behind Bomb Cafe, the residence itself was actually a real life hovel, and the only good thing about it was the location. Well that and the possum that died in the cavities of the walls and produced odours and maggots. But if I had to choose one thing, it would definitely be the location!

Despite Bomb Cafe being so close to my house, it took me quite some time to visit it. You see, it looks really mysterious, one of those places that takes guts and determination to initially enter. On a strip of Johnston St, largely full of abandoned laundromats and old European man style coffee shops and no signage (except a little wingdings bomb) it took a fair few walks past to actually suck it up and go in. Anyway to cut a meanderingly long story short, I did go in! And discovered that they actually have the word "vegan" on the menu! As in, vegan fry up and vegan scrambled tofu!

Okay, onto this most previous visit! Probably the best thing about walking in after a years absence (besides the thought of tofu scram made by someone other than me) was being asked where we had been for the last year. It's nice to feel memorable!

So..the scram! We shared tofu scramble with sides ($8.50 ish) of avocado, mushrooms and spinach ($2.50-$3.50 each). For the tofu haters out there, you can choose to have a vegan fry up, a plate full of fried tomato, mushrooms, spinach and other assorted breakfastish vegetables.

But anyway...this is the scram:


And this is the bev. Long black and soy chai:


And it was allllll delicious! The scramble, big enough to share between two! Slices of sourdough bread soaked with tofu scramble juices (much better than it sounds), firmly crumbled tofu with sweet caramelised red onion, mushrooms and sizable quantities of spinach and avocado. The chai blend was just right as well.

Bomb Cafe are also more than happy to whip you up a vegan lunch! You can have a massive baguette filled with roast and marinated veggies (ask for the mega garlicky artichoke spread, dont forget!), and apparently they also do a mean risotto if you ask real nice.

There is a whole bunch of seating as well! Front inside is nice and cosy, and chatty if you want it to be as well, there is a middle ish area to spread out with your paper or buddies and make a good couple of hours out of it, and a gorgeous courtyard (that almost backed onto my hovel, exciting stuff).

And I forgot how to conclude these things, so here's a picture of my dog.


Bomb Cafe
229 Johnston St
Ph (03) 9486 0699