June 30, 2015 0

Oh Lordy! Lord of the Fries Hits Sydney Central

Address: 10A Henry Deane Plaza, 18 Lee St, Haymarket, NSW

Website: www.lordofthefries.com.au

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you know me IRL or follow me on Twitter, you would know that a good portion of the time I am whinging about not having immediate access to Lord of the Fries. When LOTF hit Sydney you probably noticed that whinging decrease, well now it’s about to decrease a little more because Lord of the Fries have opened another Sydney location.

Just inside Henry Deane Plaza, on the Haymarket side of Central, you will find this little slice of fast food heaven. It has all of your LOTFF (Lord of the Fries Favourites) like burgers, munch boxes and fries (duh) plus now they’re offering breakfast and shakes, yay!

The Lord invited me to the opening of the new store to check it out and grab a feed, so I made the 3 hour pilgrimage for the ultimate in vegan comfort food. The BBQ Cheeseburger with Fakin’ is a limited edish menu item so naturally I had to shove that in my gob. A soy beef patty, vegan cheese, mock bacon, pickles and BBQ sauce are sandwiched between a soft bun to create the ultimate flavour sensation. Team that with some shoestring fries with the tangy sauce of the month, Kazakhstani Sour Cream and you’ve got yourself a very satisfying meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Knowing that all train journeys can begin or end with a trip to my favourite vegan-friendly fast food emporium will make each trip much more bearable, plus plenty of meat eaters I know have sampled the work of the Lord and have been converted so the people of Sydney have much to look forward to.

So, if you’re keen to stuff your face with deliciousness, now is the time to see the light and head on over to the new LOTF store. I’ll meet you there in 3 hours.

June 23, 2015 0

S’mores Tart

Difficulty: Medium

Serves 8-10

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It has taken me a little while to recover from my trip and get back into the kitchen but you guys know that when I take a break, I come back with something hella sweet for you, right? Now that it’s winter, I wanted to make a dessert that suits the climate and nothing says winter like s’mores! I added a little sophistication to this classic treat by turning it into a tart that looks so good you can take it along to any winter function. Making your own marshmallow sounds extremely daunting but trust me, it’s easy as pie… or tart.

Ingredients

Base

  • 18 Digestive biscuits
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine, melted

Chocolate Filling

  • 500 grams vegan chocolate
  • 1/2 a cup full fat coconut cream

Marshmallow Topping

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agar agar powder
  • 3/4 cup glucose syrup
  • 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method

  1. Grease a loose bottom quiche/tart tin with spray oil and set aside.
  2. Make a the base by blending the Digestives in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the melted margarine and process again until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into the base of the tin and press evenly into the base and sides of the tin with the back of a spoon.
  4. Time to make the chocolate filling! Break the chocolate into pieces and throw into a medium sized saucepan with the coconut cream. Stir constantly over a medium heat until the chocolate has melted completely.
  5. Pour chocolate filling into the tin and smooth out evenly before placing in the fridge to set while you make the marshmallow topping.
  6. In another medium sized saucepan, whisk the water and agar agar over medium heat until the agar agar powder has dissolved.
  7. Add the glucose syrup and caster sugar and turn up the heat to high, constantly whisking.
  8. Once the mixture begins to boil, continue to whisk for a few more minutes and remove from the heat (be sure not to let the mixture boil over).
  9. Immediately pour the mixture into the bowl of your electric mixture and gradually build the setting up to high. After a few minutes, add the vanilla and continue to mix until the mixture resembles egg whites (this can take up to 15 minutes).
  10. At this point you have to move quickly. Remove the tart from the fridge and fill a piping bag with the marshmallow mixture.
  11. Quickly yet carefully pipe the mixture onto the tart in blobs. This doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure there’s no chocolate filling showing.
  12. Allow to set completely in the fridge before using a chef’s blow torch to toast the top of the marshmallow until it’s golden.
  13. Best served immediately.

Here’s a photo of the inside for good measure…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

June 10, 2015 0

Like a Vegan Abroad – Paris

Everybody calm down and stop missin’ me because I’m back in the land of Vegemite and kangaroos. I’ve not yet spiralled into post-holiday blues but maybe check in with me next week when I’m back at work.

The final destination on our trip was Paris and was the location I predicted I would have the most trouble with when it came to food. I was right (I usually am, just FYI) but that doesn’t mean I didn’t track down some delicious eats.

Vegebowl was our first stop for a late night dinner after our journey from London to Paris on the Eurostar. This is a little Asian joint is a little gem serving mainly vegan dishes and was a convenient 10 minute walk from our hotel. I wasn’t overly hungry and was unsure of the portion sizes so I opted for the Tom Yam soup for 4€ and the Satay “Beef” for 6,50€. The soup was fresh, light and full of flavour thanks to the selection of vegetables and mock meats. The satay was super tasty but had a little more of a barbecue flavour than a nutty flavour which I was expecting, still super tasty though! The portions are quite small yet so are the prices, so if you’re a big eater you could still get your fill for a good price.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After a morning walking around The Louvre, we selected the closest place available for lunch that had vegan options. Le Pain Quotidien is a chain with locations around Paris and other cities across the world, serving predominantly bread-centric meals. I was excited by the beet caviar listed amongst other dips and breads on the Vegan Ménage à Trois but was deeply disappointed when the meal came out without it! We were told this was an error with the English menu but even online this is still listed as a part of the dish. The bread was lovely and the rest of the dips were fine but this is something I could get just about anywhere and I wouldn’t order it again however there were plenty of other vegan dishes available so would go back in the future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Due to its proximity to our hotel, we returned to Vegebowl again, this time to sample the set dinner menu for 15€. There were some options when it came to this menu so I selected the house salad, “chicken” with cashew nuts, Cantonese rice and the jelly almond dessert. The salad was modestly sized but delicious with a slightly tangy and creamy dressing. The main course was awesome, the “chicken” was in a garlicky sauce and the Cantonese rice was just like a great fried rice. The dessert was not what I was expecting but was really nice once you avoided the weird skin that formed on top!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

While sightseeing around Paris, we jumped off at a stop that I knew had some options nearby for lunch. Bioburger was unexpectedly closed so we went across the arcade to Vegitai. I wasn’t that excited about it because I had pumped myself up for a tofu burger but I was pleasantly surprised when I was served my vegan wrap, which was presented and tasted more like sushi. It was stuffed with seaweed, quinoa and pickled vegetables and was followed up with a vegan cake that I think may have been chocolate, cherry and maybe spirulina?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Rather than go back to Vegebowl for a third night in a row, we decided to try something different and went to Tibetain Tashi Tagye which was just around the corner. While it does serve meat, there is a vegetarian section on the menu which I had hoped would mean that asking about vegan options would be a lot easier than it was. I was told the few things that were vegan and chose the tsel paktril (battered and fried vegetables) for 5,20€ and the ngoetsel (vegetable curry) for 9€. The tsel paktril was HUGE and basically tasted like Indian bhajis, which are always delicious. Regrettably, the curry was nowhere near as satisfying and was basically a selection of limp vegetables in a watery sauce. I probably wouldn’t go back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During a huge day of shopping, we took a lunch break and popped into EXKi near Galleries Lafayette. From what I had read, I was expecting more vegan options than were available but there were some soups and a few salads to choose from so I picked a pea and lentil salad. I wasn’t very hungry so this was a great choice and had some tanginess thanks to the pickled onions and a hint of spice thanks to the chilli. I spotted quite a few EXKi locations around Paris so if you’re ever stuck for food, you can always find something here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

For our final night in Paris we decided to try for some real French cuisine done vegan and La Potager du Marais had just the menu we were looking for. As most serving sizes in Paris throughout our stay had been quite small, I had prepared myself for the same and ordered an entree and a main but you could most definitely get away with eating an entree if you wanted to save cash or didn’t have a huge appetite. My entree of mushroom pâté (8€) was lovely and served with great wholemeal bread and a tangy salad. The breadless quinoa burger (18€) I had for the main was SO good and covered in vegan cheese, plus was served with more salad, I think some kind of kelp/seaweed and some buckwheat (even though I had asked for mashed potato). Due to the unexpected size of the meal, we decided to share a crème brûlée (8,50€) for dessert which had an awesome toffee top and gingery., creamy bottom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

So here’s my final wrap up for this trip!

Where to Stay

We stayed at Millennium Paris Hotel Opéra, which was a great location in terms of food, shopping and sightseeing. We were close to several metro stations, shopping like Galleries Lafayette, restaurants and the Paris Opera. While this hotel was quite pricey, the location and atmosphere were fantastic and I would stay there again.

Getting Around

We did a lot of walking due to our location and getting the metro is super easy and inexpensive. Taxis are reasonable and easy to get but the traffic is totally cray so be prepared for a lot of fast paced driving and slamming on the breaks!

Best Eats

Vegebowl is the place to be for inexpensive, tasty vegan eats while La Potager du Marais is your choice for a fancier, French affair.

What to Do

DISNEYLAND! Really though, if there’s a Disneyland in any city I am going there. This is without a doubt the worst Disneyland I have been to in terms of vegan options so take some food along just in case you’re unable to communicate effectively. Again, hop on/hop off buses are great for knocking out a great deal of sightseeing in a short amount of time and to get your bearings in a new city. The shopping is also fantastic and places like the Champs Élysées and Galleries Lafayette are fun for any budget.

Now… where should I go next?!

June 1, 2015 0

Like a Vegan Abroad – London

With only 3 nights in London, I had to fit in as much sightseeing, shopping and of course food as humanly possible in a very short space of time. After coming from Vienna, land of stumbling across amazing vegan options 24/7, London was surprisingly a little more difficult to navigate vegan-wise but I still managed to find a bunch of cool eats.

Whilst shopping around Piccadilly Circus, I was excited to spot a Whole Foods (I once asked to be buried there). Warning: UK Whole Foods is nowhere near as good as US Whole Foods, well this particular one anyway. There were quite a few vegan options available from the buffet but none of them were as inspiring as the options in the US. I opted for a chana masala, stir fried vegetables and a chickpea salad plus I grabbed a packet of chips as well. The epic crowd in the shop meant that by the time I got to actually sit down and eat, most of my food was cold and it tasted just ok.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That night we decided to make our way to Manna in Primrose Hill. Such a cute little venue that was very busy so luckily they were able to find us a small table out the front. I was feeling like some variety so opted to “build my own meal” by picking 4 side dishes for 14£. I chose the bread with hummus, beans of the day (spiced black beans), potato wedges and crispy marinated tofu. Everything tasted amazing but was so big that I couldn’t finish it, I also regret that I didn’t try something with a little more freshness like greens but that just means I’ll have to come back, right?! Even though I was full I was conscious to leave some room for dessert and went for the petit fours for 5£. This was a selection of cookies, berries and truffles that all tasted lovely and were the perfect end to the meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

All Bar One is a chain that just so happened to have a location right by our hotel off Regent Street. They had several vegan items on their lunch and dinner menus and were easily able to make their vegetarian breakfast vegan by omitting the eggs and butter from the toast. For 6£ I got toast, tomato, mushroom, baked beans and veggie sausages that tasted super vegetable-y and meaty at the same time, yesss! Plus a cup of tea (I think this may be the rate for weekdays only but on weekends it’s only a little more).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Taking a break from a rainy day of sightseeing, we got off our Big Bus tour back at Regent Street to pay Tibits a visit for lunch. Again, this is a large vegetarian buffet with plenty of vegan options and you pay based on weight. My meal was about 9£ with a cider as well so I didn’t think the price was as bad as others have said in reviews. Then again, I wasn’t that hungry so had a modestly sized plate of salads, onion rings, wedges and some bread. All were really great, especially the snake bean salad!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was told that Mildred’s was the place to be in London and a lot of others must have heard that too because it was hella packed. They don’t take bookings so we had to wait about an hour at the bar before we were seated at our table. I was still kind of full from lunch but decided to have a burger of the day for 9.35£ that I was unable to finish but absolutely loved! For some reason I still find it a novelty when a restaurant pops vegan cheese on a burger and the patty itself was definitely full of vegetables but still tasted really hearty. I’m still a bit sad I wasn’t able to finish it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Before jumping on the EuroStar to Paris, we decided to pub it up and head to Norman’s Coach and Horses in Soho. Tell me a pub in Newcastle where I can get tofush and chips with minted peas and I’ll meet you there tomorrow! This stuff was super tasty, light and not super oily,  so I decided to back it up with a coconut milk panna cotta with rhubarb and brandy snaps. Whoa baby! I’m going to have to try and make something like that real soon. I think all up this meal cost around 15£  so it wasn’t cheap for a pub meal but well worth it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As always, here’s my little breakdown of old London town!

Where to Stay

I stayed at Saint Georges Hotel because it was the cheapest place I could find that was still in a great location. It was the most expensive of all the hotels on this trip and while the hotel was nice enough, you’re definitely forking out for the location. You’re just off Regent Street so within walking distance to a bunch of shopping and attractions as well as being super close to major bus and underground routes.

Getting Around

Because much of the stuff we wanted to do was within walking distance of our hotel, we mainly walked around although we were incredibly close to the tube if we ever wanted to get it. I also caught a couple of cabs and Ubers but they were quite expensive so when I return I think I’ll stick to walking and public transport!

Best Eats

I would love to go back to Norman’s Coach & Horses to sample some other menu items and their roast! For a special meal, Manna and Mildred’s are both also excellent options and I will definitely hitting them up again next time I’m in town.

What to Do

With only a few days to get things done, getting on a hop on/hop off tour was a given so that I could tick off all the major sights. I did get off and do the Tower of London but for 20£ I wouldn’t necessarily say that was worth it. Shopping on Regent Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street is a great time with plenty of well-known stores and a couple of lesser-known ones too plus I would definitely recommend going to see a show if you get the chance!

Time for me to say cheerio to London now! Next time you hear from me, I’ll back back in Newcastle and telling you all about Paris!

 

 

 

May 29, 2015 0

Like a Vegan Abroad – Vienna

If everybody could just stop what they’re doing and book a trip to Vienna right now, I can guarantee you’ll be thanking me shortly.

Full of the coolest buildings you’ll ever see, dogs chillin’ in department stores an of course an epic selection of vegan food. I’m not kidding, I hardly had to check Happy Cow or my notes because vegan places just kept popping up before my very eyes!

Our first night in Vienna we wanted something quick and tasty so we walked the 10 minutes from our hotel to Pizza Pinocchio. I was thinking that for 7€ the pizzas must be kinda small, so we ordered two. No. That was a stupid thing to do because they were massive! One pizza could easy sort out two regular people for dinner but it was still nice that we got to try two: the Provinciale and the Salami. The salami was what you would expect and tasted absolutely sensational, while the Provinciale was a little different, covered in mock meat, green chillis and corn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A rainy first day in Vienna called for some shopping at Wien Mitte – The Mall. I wasn’t that confident that I would find something suitable for lunch but Vienna put its thing down, flipped it and reversed it and we came across Ra’Mien Go – an Asian restaurant in the food court with vegan options clearly marked on the menu. Now I can’t remember how much it cost but it was quite inexpensive for the amount of food we got which was a miso soup, 10 gyoza and a bowl of chilli eggplant stirfry with rice (which then also came with a little bean shoot salad and melon). An awesome and tasty little gem in the most unexpected of places!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The night after EUROVISION (yep, I went and it was so excellent. 12 points to Eurovision). We were pretty exhausted so the first meal I ate for the day was ice cream at Veganista. If you want a straight up fact, here it is: this is the best ice cream you’ll have in your entire life and that is both amazing and terrifying because it’s SO FAR FROM HOME. I had the peanut butter ice cream which was a special and the cookies flavour, both were so delicious that I returned again a few days later and couldn’t bare not to have them again. Oh, and it’s like 2,50€ for two massive scoops so this is the world we are now living in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After a light lunch (haha) we decided on a more substantial dinner and went to Xu’s Cooking for an epic Asian mock-meaty feast. For 14,90€ we each had the Menu for One which includes a soup (I chose miso), mini spring rolld, crispy “chicken” with vegetables, chicken sweet and sour with garlic, rice and dessert. What the actual heck. This meal was HUGE, I barely made a dent and had to explain to the lovely waitress that it was amazing but that I was way too full to finish it. The dessert wasn’t that great but to be honest I could barely touch it anyway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Whilst checking out the museums, we stumbled across Yamm, a pay by weight vegetarian buffet with plenty of clearly labelled vegan options. It was a great opportunity to sample lots of bits and pieces and the below plate cost around 9€. I opted for a very salad/veg heavy platter as I felt like I needed it and everything was very fresh and pretty tasty. Because I was quite modest with my lunch I decided to go for the hazelnut cake which was freakin’ amazing and full of creamth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Just across from our hotel we spotted Nice Rice, a cute little vegetarian place of the main shopping strip Mariahilferstrasse. The waitress was very helpful with letting me know what was vegan and I went with the samosa which came with yellow rice and a soy yoghurt topping. It was a super hearty, comforting meal which I needed as it had been raining for most of our stay!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For our final night in Vienna (boo-urns) we headed to Rupp’s, a vegetarian Irish style pub a little further out from where we stayed. With a very extensive menu, most options were vegan and I went with the wienerschnitzel burger plus some potato cakes. It wasn’t the best burger I’ve ever had but it most definitely wasn’t the worst, perhaps I should have been a little more adventurous with my ordering? There was a hella cute dog sitting next to me the whole time though and that was just amazing.

Here’s my Vienna breakdown for ya:

Where to Stay

We stayed at the NH Wien City which had a super reasonable rate and the room was HUGE. I’m talking a massive lounge room, spacious bedroom, plenty of storage space and a bath. The location was premo, located on Mariahilferstrasse and within walking distance to the Museums Quartier and a bunch of other attractions plus it was just next door to a Denn’s Bio Markt where I basically had a pastry and soy yoghurt for breakfast everyday.

Getting Around

Vienna is probably the most walkable city I’ve ever been, with exciting stuff to see just about everywhere. There are also a lot of trams and trains if you want to get public transport, plus whenever I used Uber it was hella cheap.

Best Eats

I want to cry because I want to eat Veganista everyday for the rest of my life! Xu’s is going to be a place I wish we had in Newcastle for all eternity plus that pizza from Pinocchio has stuck in my mind (and tastebuds) too.

What to Do

Everything! There are SO many museums to check out that you could never really be bored. Like in Berlin, we hopped on a hop on/hop off tour to check out the main sites and then built our activities from there. The Prater is super cool for kids and also adults with loads of rides and attractions and shopping along Mariahilferstrasse is an excellent way to blow some euros.

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be hollerin’ atcha from London. I’m only there for a few days though so it’ll be a teensy post!

 

 

May 24, 2015 2

Like a Vegan Abroad – Berlin


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hallo from Vienna! Soz it has taken me so long to get this first post going but the internet at the last hotel caused a few issues with my laptop.

We touched down in Frankfurt last Saturday after a loooong flight and hopped straight on a DB Bahn ICE train to Berlin. For some reason this ended up being at least $1500 cheaper than flying direct to Berlin, plus it was a nice opportunity to see another part of Germany. The Frankfurt train station is FULL of awesome vegan options which are labelled on the menus, so if you’re going to be stopping there at any stage you won’t have any trouble eating. I grabbed a pretzel (naturally) and jumped aboard for our 5 hour train ride.

I didn’t really know what to expect from Berlin and I think that was probably for the best. Some of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen standing right next to some of the ugliest. The green spaces are freaking amazing, with trees lining just about every street, even in the middle of the city and just so many other awesome things to see and do. But let’s get real and talk about the food, that’s what you’re here for, right?

For our first dinner we decided to find somewhere within walking distance of our hotel as we were just about ready to collapse after the 24+ hours of travel. We stopped at Lucky Leek, a fancier place in Kollwitzplatz. As we hadn’t made a reservation we were told we could only have the Daily Special menu (around 34€), which was fine by us so we took a seat and waited. First was an amuse bouche consisting of smoked tofu with vegetables and a little cheesy puff thingy. Both were delicious and fresh!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next up was probably one of the most delicious soups I have ever tasted and to be honest I can’t tell you exactly what it was. I feel like it could have been mushroomy? Anyway, it was awesome and the menu changes often so if you front up you’ll probably get a different amazing soup!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The main course was tomato filled pasta with a roasted capsicum sauce, cabbage roulade and baked crispy “feta”. Now this was a taste sensation! That fetta was creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside and the sauce was full of flavour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Dessert was a little combo plate of a chocolate and blackcurrant cake, cookies and cream ice cream, a little biscuit and a crunchy chocolate cluster. The cake was beautifully layered with different flavours and smooth textures, the ice cream was a little icy but delicious. The biscuit and the cluster were both tasty as well but since they weren’t on the menu I don’t exactly know what they were.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On our first day of sightseeing we took a lunch break at Samâdhi for some Malaysian eats. The place itself was pretty cute and just around the corner from the Holocaust Memorial, so if you’re checking that out it’s worth stopping in. We had the Gemüse – Tempura (vegetable tempura- 10.90€) and Samâdhi’s Vorspeisen für 2 Personen (basically a mixed entree for two -17.90€). To be honest the tempura was nothing to write home about as it was super oily but the mixed entree of spring rolls, gyoza, “chicken” drumstick, corn fritter and salad was really awesome. Next time I would probably get that and a stir fry dish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We chose Viasko, a cute little bar and restaurant for our dinner that night and I ordered the Panini Viasko (10.50€) ciabatta stuffed with seitan piccata, garlic cashew cream, avocado and salad. This thing was FILLING but it was full of flavour too. A great hearty option if you’re looking to sink a few drinks as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’re ever in need of a quick and easy bite, stop by a Kamps bakery and grab yourself a delicious pretzel for less than 1€) I did this on a few occasions when there was nothing nearby and it saved the day! These pretzels actually taste like the little crunchy snacks we have at home except they’re bigger and breadier, it’s crazy! They also have a list of vegan products here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As a pizza fan, I tried two pizza places while in Berlin; Sfizy Veg and Zeus Pizza and Pide. At both places I had a Hawaiian style pizza for under 10€ with vegan cheese, mock ham and pineapple and both were truly delicious however I think Zeus may have won this round due to the crispier base, better mock meat and the fact the pizza held together really well. the below photo is from the still delicious Sfizy Veg as I didn’t have my camera on me at Zeus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’re on the hunt for a burger, go no further than Yellow Sunshine Burger (cute name, awesome burgers). This has a semi-Lord of the Fries vibe but like 10000 more options so I went for the bacon cheeseburger with fries for around 8€. Plus I grabbed some Seitan Currywurst for 2.80€ because you can’t really go to Germany without having currywurst, right? The burger was a modest size and easy to handle with a delicious mock meat patty and crispy cheese on a soft, toasty bun. the wurst was hella meaty and super saucy which made it crazy amazing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dolores is kind of like Guzman Y Gomez if they tried a bit harder with their vegan options. There are a few different menu items to choose from and two types of mock meat to add to the dishes and I opted for the Vegan Lover burrito stuffed with smoky corn soy meat, peanut sauce and a bunch of veggies for 7€. They are SUPER filling so thats a pretty solid bargain right there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not too far from Lucky Leek you’ll find an LPG Biomarkt (like a health food store) with a cafe attached. Before browsing for some snacks, we stopped into the cafe for a quick lunch. There were quite a few vegan options available and I went for a broccoli curry. To be honest it wasn’t that great but at least it was cheap, for around 7€.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s so refreshing to see an abundance of clearly specified vegan foods at airports and train stations here. Even in our small departure area at Tegel airport, there were several vegan options available so I grabbed a vegan baguette from Marché. The bread was delicious and it was stuffed with antipasti vegetables and salad. A great way to end my time in Berlin.

Here’s a little breakdown of how I did Berlin!

Where to Stay

If you want to be close to the action, Alexanderplatz is probably where you wanna be. This will put you close to shopping and the major transport interchange. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Alexanderplatz and was stoked with the location and service. I had a couple of issues with the free wifi but it was free and for the most part worked fine. Breakfast was also included and while it was a very meaty/cheesy affair, there were breads, jams and fruit available.

Getting Around

As we were only in Berlin for a short period, we usually used taxis or Uber to make our way around when we weren’t walking. Most Berliners choose to use the U and/or S Bahn or ride bikes, which are available to rent from many places in the city.

Best Eats

Yellow Sunshine Burger and Zeus were definitely my faves when it came to junky, mock meaty indulgence but if you want a special night I do highly recommend Lucky Leek.

What to Do

Jumping on a hop on/hop off tour bus may sound super lame but it’s actually an awesome way of getting acquainted with a new city and knocking over a bunch of the must-see sights in a short period of time. The Neues Museum houses some amazing artefacts from Ancient Egypt and Rome and is located right neat Berliner Dom, a freaking awesome cathedral that is quite possibly the most bitchin’ building you’ll ever see (inside and out). Berlin is a crazy amazing city with so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored and more importantly, you’ll never be hungry!

Auf wiedersehen for now, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more regular updates and stay tuned for my Vienna post in the coming days.

May 1, 2015 0

BBQ Jackfruit Buns

Difficulty: Medium

Makes 12 large buns

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’ve ever hit up a yum cha restaurant, you would know that the BBQ pork bun is a menu staple. As a seasoned yum cha eater, I’ve sampled a few vegan versions in my time but thought it was about time to make my own. I’ve always been a fan of using jackfruit as a pulled pork substitute and thought I would use it as an ingredient in this dish. These buns are quite large but you could always adapt depending on the occasion.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 2 x 550 gram cans young jackfruit in brine (do not get ripe jackfruit in syrup!)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice

Method

  1. Make the dough by first whisking together the caster sugar and warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, whisk in the dry yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then add the baking powder.
  3. Next, sift in the plain flour and salt before bringing together into a dough with your hands. Once a nice, wet ball of dough is formed, cover the ball with a tea towel and allow to rise for an hour.
  4. While the dough is rising, make your filling by first draining the jackfruit before breaking the pieces apart and squeezing out excess moisture. Discard any seeds or particularly hard pieces.
  5. Heat the sesame oil in a large wok before adding the garlic, ginger and jackfruit. Stir in the wok for a few minutes and as the jackfruit begins to soften, add the spring onion and remaining ingredients.
  6. Cook for a few more minutes before allowing to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  7. Once the dough has risen, lightly knead into a smooth ball before cutting into 12 equal pieces.
  8. Roll each piece into a ball before using a rolling pin to roll into 18cm discs.
  9. Place 3 tablespoons of the filling into the middle of each disc before bringing the dough together at the top and giving a little twist.
  10. Add each of the buns to a steamer lined with baking paper and steam for 20-30 minutes until the dough is cooked through.
  11. Serve immediately with soy sauce and chilli sauce.
April 28, 2015 0

Inika Face in a Box

Price: $99.00

Where to Buy: www.inika.com.au

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You guuuuys, Mother’s Day is just around the corner (May 10th) and if you haven’t sorted out a gift for the main lady in your life then I may just have you sorted. The guys at Inika sent me through their Face in a Box recently and due to my success with Inika products in the past, I was stoked to give some more products a try.

The Face in a Box contains the essentials you’ll need to create the perfect skin base for any make up look. At $99.00 it’s the perfect introduction to Inika’s range of cosmetics without buying the full size, individual products but if you or your mum are already an Inika lover, this will make the perfect make up travel kit so you can take your favourite products with you.

The Pure Primer (4mL) is a beautiful smelling base to kick off your beauty routine. It absorbs into the skin quickly and creates a nourishing canvas for a long lasting day or night of makeup. It’s a lot lighter than other primers I have tried and leaves a more dewy finish than matte finish.

The Liquid Mineral Foundation (6mL) is another item included in the kit. Much like the primer, the liquid foundations creates a more dewy finish which is perfect for a fresh-faced look and provides a good amount of coverage. Apply using the Vegan Contour Brush which is also included in the kit. Team that with the Natural Perfection Concealer (4mL) and you’re left with a fresh, flawless and long lasting look.

In my last Inika post, I talked about how awesome the Mineral Foundation is, especially when used in conjunction with the Vegan Kabuki Brush. The awesome news is that both of these products are in the Face in a Box. I think I should also let you all know that since using the Mineral Foundation, my daily makeup routine has halved in time and the quality of my skin has improved. I can’t credit the foundation entirely but in conjunction with a new skincare, my skin is clearer and less prone to breakouts. The smaller 3 gram size is going to be perfect for my upcoming trip to Europe too!

Finish off your face with the Sunkissed Mineral Bronzer (3.5 grams) to create a warm glow and depth to your skin before tucking all the items away in the pouch included in the pack.

I recently wore all of the products included in the Face in a Box kit and once again was stoked with the quality of the products as well as how well they lasted long into the night. While Inika products are on the pricey side, the quality of the products make them well worth the cost as Inika products are free from harsh chemicals, talc, genetically modified ingredients, parabens and other nasties. If you’re looking to introduce your mum to the wonderful world of vegan cosmetics, Inika’s packs are a great place to start.

In addition to Face in a Box, other packs such as the Beauty Essentials Mineral Make-up Kit and the All About Eyes Kit are also available. And hey, if you’ve already got your mum sorted, why not treat your bad self with some awesome cruelty free products!

April 20, 2015 0

Choc Mint Macarons

Difficulty: Medium

Makes 12

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You thought your macaron days were over, right? WRONG! Call in sick to work, cancel your lunch date and turn your phone off. It is mandatory that you drop everything right now and make some of these bitchin’ choc mint macarons. Thanks to the magic of the humble chickpea, you add these little French treats to your all-vegan baking repertoire. BRB eating them all.

Ingredients

Macarons

  • 1 cup almond meal (use the one without brown flecks)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup liquid from canned chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon peppermint essence
  • 2-3 drops green food colouring

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 300 grams vegan dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the almond meal and icing sugar. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the chickpea juice on high speed with an electric mixer. As it starts to thicken, slowly sprinkle in the xanthan gum.
  3. Once soft peaks start to form, add the caster sugar one teaspoon at a time.
  4. Add the peppermint essence and food colouring once hard peaks have formed and continue to mix for another minute or so.
  5. Gradually and gently mix the almond meal mixture into the meringue until well combined.
  6. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into circles (about 4cm in diameter) on macaron trays or baking trays lined with baking paper. If you want to be super finicky (like me), you can use a clean pair of scissors to cut the little peaks off the top so the macarons will sit flat once filled.
  7. Allow to sit for half an hour while you preheat the oven to 140°C.
  8. Firmly tap your trays on the bench to remove air bubbles before placing in the oven.
  9. After 15 minutes, check on the macarons and allow some steam to come out of the oven. Place back in for another 15 minutes or until the outside of the macarons are firm.
  10. Remove and allow to cool completely.
  11. To make the filling, melt the chocolate and coconut cream together in a saucepan over medium heat.
  12. Once melted, transfer to a container and pop into the fridge until soft but firm (it cannot be runny).
  13. Fill a piping bag and squeeze about a tablespoon of ganache onto the flat side of one of the macarons.
  14. Gently press the flat side of another macaron to sandwich the ganache. Press until the ganache is just about to the edge.
  15. Serve the same day.
April 13, 2015 1

Oh My Chai – Review & Chai Cake w/ Maple Walnut Glaze

Price: From $4.95

Where to Buy: www.ohmychai.com.au

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t drink a lot of hot drinks but this recent cool snap has me downing several cups a day. When the guys from Oh My Chai offered to chuck a bag of their organic masala chai my way, it was simply an offer I could not refuse.

Oh My Chai Masala is a hand blended loose mix of 9 spices like cinnamon, fennel and ginger and is lightly sweetened thanks to our old friend dark agave. It’s smooth, subtle and can be made on your favourite non-dairy milk in no time.

This blend is available in 1kg or 250g bags but if you’re not quite sure that Oh My Chai is the right tea for you, they have 30g sample bags available too so you can give it a little chai (SORRY, SO SORRY).

I decided to spend my lazy Sunday baking and thought what better ingredient to use then Oh My Chai! This Chai Cake w/ Maple Walnut Glaze is the perfect treat to enjoy on an autumn afternoon plus it’s refined sugar free, so it’s kinda better for you than a regular cake I guess.

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 8+

Ingredients

  • 3 heaped tablespoons Oh My Chai Organic Masala Chai
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup sultanas

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a cake tin.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk and chai to a simmer before removing from the heat, straining and allowing the chai to cool.
  3. Chuck the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves into a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the apple cider vinegar into the chai and allow to sit for a few minutes before adding /3 cup coconut oil and 3/4 cup maple syrup.
  5. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry and combine well so there are no lumps.
  6. Fold in the sultanas and pour into the greased cake tin.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.
  8. While the cake is cooling, make your glaze by simply blending the walnuts and remaining coconut oil and maple syrup.
  9. Once the cake has cooled completely, drizzle the glaze onto the cake and serve!