sjh - mountain biking running linux vegan geek spice - mtb / vegan / running / linux / canberra / cycling / etc

Steven Hanley hackergotchi picture Steven
Hanley

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Wed, 06 Apr 2011

Found in the oven - 11:14

Cupcakes and Bread (fullsize)
I was worried last week I may need to buy bread, I had not done that since early December. My wrist was sore enough from paddling that kneading bread dough seemed to make it worse. In the end I just made bread anyway and thus have still not bought any since December.

Last night I managed to pull the loaf of bread and 24 apple cupcakes pictured out of the oven, all of which is yummy and vegan friendly. I had already tucked into the bread by the time I took that photo.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 27 Jan 2011

Brisbane cafes, start here maybe? - 18:25
So with a bit of free time between the end of the sessions today and the beginning of the conference dinner I decided to go looking for a cafe for a good coffee and maybe some other food. My criteria was vegetarian friendly, and I started looking around the west end as I had heard there was a good scene there.

Due to that I am now having a Monteith's Crushed Pear cider, soy mocha and vegan raspberry cheese cake at The Forest Cafe on Boundary Rd. The food and coffee I am trying is pretty good, I should try their other food some time later in the trip if I can, maybe Saturday sometime.

Tomorrow morning I will have breakfast out (to keep up with my normal Friday morning tradition), with MRD, Mikal and Crash here in the west end somewhere before heading in to QUT.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 17 Dec 2010

Bread - 15:56

Ready to bake (fullsize)

Baked (fullsize)

Cooling (fullsize)
So it has been a few years since i made bread, previously I tried it for a while just to see what varieties I could make and what it was like. Recently I was in the mood to do it some more. Going from scratch using the flour, yeast, water, salt and I also use a bit of sugar and oil.

It took a few loaves to get the hang of it, and also reading up on the process once more rather than my first attempt from memory and failing on a few key aspects. Now however I find the process fairly quick and easy. Total time to bake a loaf of yummy fresh home made bread is around 15 minutes. This is spread over a large period of time. I mix the ingredients and knead it a bit. Leave it to rise over night. Punch it down before I head out for exercise in the morning and place it in the loaf tin to let it go through the proving/second rise. When I return home to get ready to work I can pop it in the oven and have fresh bread hot out of the oven 30 minutes later.

I had been baking it on a flat tray and due to the shape of the bowl the rise happened in was making cobb loaves, however I decided I wanted a bread tin, so yesterday went to the Essential Ingredient in Kingston and they had the rather nice, heavy good quality tin pictured here. This worked a treat for the loaf I made overnight last night. Now I just have to remember to ensure I have bread flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar and oil at home and I no longer have to get over to Bakers Delight all the time for bread.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 03 Mar 2010

Some comments on a book - 14:53
Back in December I ordered a copy of a book I wanted to read, the shop I ordered it from (local) never managed to get it from the distributors, why I have no idea. Eventually I got sick of waiting and on Friday wandered in to the Co Op Bookshop on campus and bought a copy they had on the shelf. The book is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, I finished reading it last night.

In the past I have avoided really talking much about my dietary choices. I choose to remain a Vegan as I am convinced it reduces the environmental footprint of my diet as much as possible. In the book he uses figures suggesting it is less than 1/7th the environmental footprint of omnivorous diets. I try to put to the back of my mind (as Foer describes it learned forgetfulness) how animals are treated in the modern world to provide the increasing meat craving the world seems to have. Reading the book is a stark reminder of how disgusting and horrible factory farming is, not just for the animals but also for the environment anywhere near factory farms.

In the hope that the book was somewhat US centric and maybe the Australian food industry was not so bad yet I spent around 2 minutes googling and reading and rather quickly learnt that pigs, poultry and to a large extent other meat animals in Australia are factory farmed to a similar extent. Another glaring point he makes is that the increase in waistlines and meat consumption widens the global poverty gap more every year, or more obviously the starving from the obese all around the world.

Foer points out again and again how we have a picture in our heads of farming and animal agriculture where the farmer knows all their stock by sight and farms according to traditional images of farming, this simply is not the case anymore around the world, less than 1% of consumed animal product in the western comes from non factory farming environments (and other parts of the world are trying to play catch up). I do not have the book with me at work just now as I write this so can not refer to it just now but it is definitely a reminder to me that I should be happy with my own dietary choices.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 24 Nov 2009

Easy Chocolate Cakes - 11:21

Vegan Chocolate Cakes with Soy Cream Cheese Chocolate Icing (fullsize)
Last night I whipped up two vegan chocolate cakes, and because I had some vegan cream cheese left from Friday I made chocolate cream cheese icing for them. These are incredibly easy to make and have a very basic recipe. I used something very similar to this Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe though made the icing with Cream Cheese, Nuttelex, Icing Powder and Vanilla.

Anyone rocking up to the evening at Tilleys tonight will be able to sample these.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 12 Nov 2009

Yummy vegan lasagna, Lentil and Leek - 22:33

Lentil and Leek Lasagna (fullsize)
I was in the Oxfam shop a little while ago and while there noticed an Oxfam Vegetarian Cookbook. It looked interesting and I like buying Oxfam stuff so I bought a copy. Home sick today I was having a read through it and liked the look of the Lentil and Leek lasagna pictured above.

It is indeed a delightful dish, I enjoyed my dinner tonight. I did not use cheese (I instead spread some sesame seeds and olive oil on top of the white sauce. For the white sauce I used soy milk, whole meal flour and nuttelex rather than milk and butter). I highly recommend this lasagna.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 30 Sep 2009

Disappointed to learn that purple Vitasoy is not vegan - 16:33
I was somewhat pissed off at Vitasoy/national foods last week when I learned that the calci plus (purple container) Vitasoy is not vegan friendly. Some time in mid 2008 they changed the packaging slightly saying it had vitamin D added. I paid no attention to this, however some vegans are far more alert to this sort of thing than I am.

Last week I was looking for some information about the new Vitasoy cafe milk that is appearing in many cafes, I happened to come across some discussion on vegan forums about the calci plus not being vegan friendly. The vitamin D they began adding to the product some time last year is from a lanolin derived source (sheep/wool production industry), the forums referred to it as a D3 additive, suggesting Vitasoy if they felt the need to add vitamin D could put the effort into finding D2 based vitamin D which is not from the animal industry. Response from Vitasoy when they were contacted about this is that many of their other products remain Vegan friendly and they are investigating a reliable source of D2 for this milk.

Apart from them changing the packaging but not noticeably making it clear in any other way I am somewhat annoyed at a soy milk product with vitamin D added making it non Vegan. Anyone needing some vitamin D should go outside from time to time and get a bit of sun for crying out loud. I am unfortunately somewhat addicted to Vitasoy by choice and as they have stopped producing Vitasoy heart (yummiest soy milk around) I had since then been drinking calci plus. On my most recent shopping trip however I went to buying the green carton Vitasoy (fibre), I guess it would be better to try a few non Vitasoy products and see if there is one the behaves nicely (does not clump up) tastes better than So Good and costs less than Bonsoy.

I like the term a friend I was telling this to came up with, if they feel the product needs vitamin D as people consuming it do not have enough Vitamin D it should be called "Cave Dweller Vitasoy".

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 21 Aug 2009

The final product of yesterday's baking - 12:24

Vegan Tiramisu cupcakes, finished product(fullsize)
The photo on the left is of the 24 finished tiramisu cupcakes mentioned yesterday. They were a hit. Yummm.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 20 Aug 2009

Ahh cupcakes - 12:26

Vegan Golden Cupcakes pre Tiramisu (fullsize)
Will anyone ever tire of a cupcake? I doubt it. Here are 24 fresh (baked this morning after I got home from swimming before going to work) vegan golden cupcakes (from the VCTOTW book), this is the plain cupcake recipe, however tonight I will be making them into vegan Tiramisu cupcakes. Last time they were spectacular so I expect similar results this time, and I was able to get the dark chocolate coated coffee beans at the ANU Food Co-Op yesterday too so they may even be better.

This is of course pre preparation with the Kahlua at the ready for when I get home to do the vegan vanilla cream cheese icing and Kahlua/coffee mix. I am going over to a friend's birthday dinner tonight and offered to bring a vegan friendly dessert.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 12 Aug 2009

Dessert! - 15:37

Fresh Warm Chai Latte Cupcakes (fullsize)
Last night D, G and I went over to M and A's place for dinner. A asked me to do dessert. Before that request I had been considering making Vegan Sausage Rolls, with the Dessert request I decided on the rather wonderful Chai Latte Cupcakes from The Post Punk Kitchen. Pictured to the left are 22 cupcakes fresh from the oven last night. Everyone liked them so only one or two remain now. Yum.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 23 Apr 2009

How many problems are ignored - 12:29
So I just opened a tub of soy life soy yoghurt and found a large chunk of mold inside the sealed container, the tub is still well inside the used by date. However it would require so much effort to return it to place of purchase or send it in to the company that either produces (in this case) or imports it that I have chucked it in the bin and ignored the issue.

I do wonder how many people tend to do this, unless you get a repeat failure from some brand a few times it is far easier to simply go on with life and not spend the time making a customer complaint with such a small value item. It is only as the value of a failed item increases or the ease of making the complaint decreases that you would make the effort. Of course everyone will have a different graph of where these things go and the area under which you would make the effort.

[/leisure/food] link

Sat, 18 Apr 2009

Some Sydney food - 19:17
As it was Jane's birthday recently I thought I would find the first weekend I could and head up to Sydney to hang out with her for a weekend. As Jane is a big fan of breakfast out and as I liked the chance to find some more Vegan friendly eating while up here we have eaten out for breakfast and lunch today.

First off we headed to a place in Newtown called Macro Cafe, the coffee was alright, although it was not a Vegetarian place they did have scrambled tofu for breakfast. Jane had a mushroom dish which had goat cheese and some other stuff, according to her it was remarkably not good for the ingredients. My scrambled tofu was alright but something was off about the spice or way it was served and it was not as good as I come to expect in many Melbourne Cafes.

Lunch on the other hand was had in Glebe at Iku Wholefood on Glebe Point road, a chain of stores around Sydney (10 all up), they are a Vegan cafe, with a whole variety of interesting and yummy mains and desserts ("cheesecake" made vegan with tofu and other yummy ingredients for example). I had a rather yummy tofu pocket and a pasta based fritata. Jane had a bean and rice dish with two different flavoured pinto bean dishes, the sweet potato and arame was really good and the pinto bean tomato casserole was also enjoyable. Yummmmmmm.

I wonder what we will do for breakfast tomorrow...

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 20 Jan 2009

Sirens Vegetarian restaurant in Hobart - 15:08
With no formal conference related stuff on last night I thought it was a good chance to try out Sirens Vegetarian restaurant in Hobart. Stewart and Davyd (also Vegans) came along and bought friends (a bunch of mysqlers and some of Davyd's friends. Also Donna and Peter joined in with Andy, Pascal and some locals in tow).

I took some photos there last night but they really do not show off the place well. It is a nice location on Victoria st down near the water, the restaurant decor is very north african feeling (morocco, egypt, or even turkish I guess). The food was really good.

We started off with a fresh baked flat bread accompanied by fresh made dips. I had an Asian inspired (with a miso soup or something) mushroom dumpling dish for main and then had a vegan Trifle for desert. Others had a roast much room with avocado tequila dish, or a pasta dish that looked good (though was not vegan) or a few other options.

They also coped well with a sudden large influx of people they probably did not expect on a Monday night, I booked for 10, we had maybe 20 all up on top of the non conference people that would have been there anyway. Anyway if you are looking for some good food in Hobart give it a try. They have no web site however are easily found via google.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 07 Jan 2009

Tiramisu Cupcakes - 18:29

Tiramisu Cupcakes (fullsize)
Yet another recipe from the Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World book. These Tiramisu cupcakes looked heavenly. Which Kahlua and Coffee dribbled into them and a vegan cream cheese vanilla icing and covered in chocolate shavings and cinnamon, cocoa and coffee beans they really were quite divine.

[/leisure/food] link

Sat, 20 Dec 2008

Marbled Cupcakes with Blueberries - 08:51

Marbled Cupcakes (fullsize)
So someone on p.l.o.a (who is also vegan) suggested it is the time of year for baking. Who am I to argue, this photo is of a batch of Marbled cupcakes with buttercream icing and blueberries on top from the Vegan cupcakes book I got the other day.

As vegetable shortening is not readily available in Australia (unless I buy some Crisco from David Jones, imported by USAFoods in Melbourne) I decided to simply use Nuttilex in the icing. The other option is mixing in some Copha (which is a coconut oil product, solid at room temperature) however it seems the icing has turned out alright, maybe a bit runny but it worked.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 27 Nov 2008

Filling the void somewhat - 19:38
For many years one of the best restaurant's in Canberra was Bernadette's at Ainslie shops. This was a true vegetarian cafe/restaurant. Not simply an imitation meat place like Au Lac or Kingsland, sure I like both of those places, however the food and dining experience is very different to that of a place like Bernadette's or in Melbourne Veggie Bar or Soul Food.

The sad thing is Bernadette's closed a few years ago leaving Canberra with greatly decreased vegetarian dining options. The good news is in the last year two new places have opened that bring back the Cafe experience (breakfasts and lunches), one of those is Satis at Watson shops and the other is My Rainbow Dreams at Dickson shops (between the post office and Hudsons) run and owned by Sri Chimnoy students. I of course am used to Sri Chimnoy from the racing side of things.

Though I like Satis, it does not stand out, maybe because they are not incredibly vegan friendly, who knows, though I like it, I do not feel the need to visit there regularly. Rainbow dreams on the other hand is really good. They always have a variety of yummy sweets (cakes, cookies, chocolates) that are vegan. They have vegan ice cream and can do smoothies and milkshakes. Their scrambled tofu is really tasty and so far every time I have had it I have enjoyed it.

On top of their standard menu they often have a yummy vegan bake of the day, they have a number of different soups and curries and pies available for take home meals. You can also read a bit about Sri Chinmoy there and buy some of the books (plus they have other interesting items to buy unrelated to Sri). Also you can buy ice cream cones from them which should appeal to more than just the Vegetarian crowd, maybe that will help hook them.

I also have had a few good talks with the people working there and am glad to hear they are enjoying doing the vegan cooking and baking, also they are interested in trying new recipes and I will probably exchange recipes with them from time to time. After all more Chai Latte Cupcakes being made anywhere would rock.

Every time I have eaten there (I have tried to get there once a fortnight for a while now) I have enjoyed the food and been greeted by friendly staff. I really would recommend it to anyone, not only vegetarians, they make an effort to show how good really healthy food can taste for anyone. I am happy to see My Rainbow Dreams successfully bringing some really good vegetarian/vegan food back to Canberra.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 21 Oct 2008

Another great few days of food in Melbourne - 22:26
Although we are blessed in Canberra to now also have My Rainbow Dreams at Dickson for vegetarian/vegan/ceoliac eating (along with the limited selection elsewhere in Canberra for dedicated vegetarian friendly eating). As I noted after my last trip to Melbourne they really have it good down there for a huge variety of great places to eat.

Arrival was Saturday afternoon, stayed with friends and had home cooked food, then Sunday morning brunch was had at Invita (scrambled tofu and a number of yummy cakes/muffins were eaten/sampled), dinner that night I wanted to go to Lentil As Anything again however the St Kilda restaurant had run out of food by 8pm and it was too late to get to another. Fortunately there was a Mr Natural (the pumpkin pizza and vegan pizzas were both tried, both with Vegan cheese on top also) vegetarian pizza outlet across the road. They have vegan cheese and all was well. Their pizzas were good, though not as spectacular as I had hoped.

Monday morning brunch was at Soulfood (Vegan big breakfast and a number of muffins and cakes were sampled/eaten) which was good, then dinner at Soul Mama (I had the medium, which allowed me my choice of rice and 4 of the dishes to be served with it, all I tried were very good) in St Kilda (on the waters edge in the baths complex) which was large, vegetarian, fantastic view sitting looking over Port Phillip bay and a large variety to choose from at pretty good prices. Lots of yumminess.

This morning I met up with an mtb friend for breakfast, once more at Soulfood, then had a soy chai later in the day at Invita again, then I had lunch at Vegie Bar (Mee Goreng which is hokkein noodles, tofu, mushrooms, tomato sort of sauce with some chile, veggies and a peanut sauce) before flying back to Canberra this afternoon.

Oh and I had the chance a few times over the trip to go past Lord of The Fries again and actually was able to try out the vegan nuggets, definitely yummy and highly recommended.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 18 Sep 2008

Pip... - 18:41
So I am not sure this should be in a leisure category, however it is about food. Recently the mandarins available changed, where before the loose skinned, seed free, or close to seed free and tasty mandarins were readily available everywhere. In the last few weeks these have disappeared at most fruit shops, or where they are still available have been bordering on being bad (ripe, or rotten, or something else wrong).

In their place is a larger variety of mandarins, however most of them seem sour. There are large mandarins, small mandarins most of them seem to have tight fitting skin and they all seem to contain a lot of seeds. Today 2 of the 7 pieces of fruit/veg I had on my desk at work to eat during the day were mandarins of the sour, small, tight skinned and many seeded variety. I was amazed to find there were 20 seeds in a piece of fruit so small when I ate my first, so it was even more surprising to find there were 30 seeds in the second mandarin today. How can there be so many seeds in such a small piece of fruit and still have any fruit surrounding them.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 11 Aug 2008

Chai Green Tea with a Penguin - 11:22

Chai Green Tea (fullsize)


With a Penguin (fullsize)

A little while back I noticed a new organic food shop near ANU, the mob from the Belconnen markets, As Nature Intended had opened up another shop in one of the new building developments near the Rydges hotel. They have some good (though expensive) supplies for cooking, and they have a cafe (also a little expensive) with very good coffee served.

So breakfast was had yesterday at the cafe, the Vegan Big breakfast on their menu (it may be downloaded), really good home made baked beans, marinated tofu and roast veggies (they had run out of mushrooms alas) all with toast. After breakfast looking around the shop there were many tempting things. I mostly restrained myself until I saw the item pictured to the left.

As a Linux geek, someone who enjoys green tea and someone who has been drinking a lot of chai recently I was unable to pass up buying this box of tea bags. It is a penguin propped open in half with a guy drinking tea in the middle and it is chai green tea. I almost suspect I will need to keep the box in my office once I finish drinking the tea contained within. How cool.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 05 Aug 2008

Roti round 2 - 16:01
Yesterday I mentioned my first attempt at Roti, last night to help finish off a rather nice pumpkin, spinach and chickpea curry I thought I would take to heart some of the lessons learnt and information gleaned online. So I made more Roti.

This time I used a heavy base stainless steel pan, not quite a Tawa, however I think it is the closest easily available item I had to use. I added a little bit (a few dribbles) of oil to the dough mix before starting to add water. The pan was cleaned off between the cooking of each individual Roti. A quick spray of canola oil was used on the pan surface between each Roti rather than excessive amounts floating in a wok as happened in round 1. Oh and I used self raising flour wholemeal flour.

The bread tasted and felt a lot healthier than round 1, less oil throughout. The bubbles appeared during cooking once the pan base was hot enough, the first two or three Roti were cooked before the pan was hot enough I think. The main problem this time was the bread was not as flaky as good Roti often is when you get it at a restaurant, this may mean I need to fold it over some dribbles of oil once the dough is made as some sites suggested. The other even more annoying problem was that the good bubbly Roti was awfully dry, so it cracked when handled and bent a lot rather than a nice malleable bread you can easily tear and scoop with. I wonder if making the dough just a little moister will help with the dry feeling.

As yummy as it all was it took a lot longer and was more labour intensive to make Roti than simply heat or cook some brown rice, thus I think I will keep Roti for occasional meals and when eating out and stick to brown rice with most of my curries and other Roti friendly dishes.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 04 Aug 2008

Roti round 1 - 16:32
Last night to accompany the curry for dinner I tried my hand at making Roti, I followed the directions on one of the first google hits for Roti Bread recipes (here), however this did not specify the amount of oil to cook with, or the need for a pan or griddle like a Tawa (heavy cast iron, thick base sort of thing). Also the lack of backing soda or SR Flour means they did not bubble much.

On the whole they were still yummy and very enjoyable with the curry to eat and scoop the curry with. However I think too much oil was used in the cooking, and I used a wok, I should have used a heavy based pan or similar. Anyway I learnt a bit and plan to try again, definitely a good basic bread to make and tastes yummy fresh and hot with a curry or similar.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 24 Jul 2008

Wines from Plonk! - 17:32
So I had been wondering what to get my mother for her 60th birthday celebrations, the actual celebration is tomorrow even though her birthday was yesterday. However I will give her a gift tomorrow, I feel I can safely write about it here as she never actually reads this unless bludgeoned with a link to a particular entry.

It occurred to me that Mum and her partner drink wine with food and like to try out a variety of different wines. After getting some wine recommendations from Jane I set about finding somewhere to buy some nice wines from knowledgeable staff. I had Plonk at the Fyshwick Markets suggested and they sounded good as they focus on smaller labels and more variety than you may find from a large bottle shop chain.

I grabbed my car from home at lunch today and drove over to have a look, I walked away with what I think will be a reasonably nice gift of 8 bottles of wine from them, 6 whites and two reds. The wines I got are.

  • Lake George - Pinot Gris
  • Lake George - Shiraz
  • Brindabella Hills - Chardonnay
  • Pikes Clare Valley - Reisling
  • Krinklewood - Verdelho
  • Pizzini - Sangiovese
  • Tohu - Sauvignon Blanc
  • Garden Gully - Sparkling Shiraz

The Tohu comes from Marlborough region of New Zealand, apparently this is quite an award winning wine. Three of the wines as you can see are very much local and the others are all Australian. I liked the guys I talked to in the shop and we even talked about the possibility of them supporting some mountain bike stuff with CORC.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 21 Jul 2008

My weekend in food - 13:47
So over the weekend I was down in Melbourne, I ate a lot and did a fair amount of shopping. (one of the items of clothing I bought were some new Jeans, made by Helly Hanson, how cool is that, I can sort of think of it as if I were buying outdoor/race gear made by Helly Hanson and it is instead functional clothing I wear the rest of the time). Anyway one of the things that occurred over the weekend was consumption of a lot of really yummy food.

I suppose I could say it all started on Friday evening before catching the flight down when I made some pizzas topped with organic tomato paste, onions, pumpkin, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, capsicum, sun-dried tomatoes and kingland soy cheese. Yummmm, ate too much and then got a lift to the airport, the plane was running late which was fortunate because dinner took a bit longer than expected.

Saturday morning Soulfood Cafe was the venue for breakfast, Jane (sister) was in Melbourne for a few weeks for PhD conferences and research, also a mtb friend moved to Melbourne recently and is living a block or two away from Soul food in Fitzroy so they were at breakfast to catch up. Had a yummy chocolate cup cake, a blueberry muffin, a big veggie breakfast and a fruit salad, oh and a great soy mocha.

Lunch was had at Vegie Bar with a slightly laksa like broth that contained some very good sesame dumplings, some good Roti with Dhal and then a spectacular stuffed vegan mushroom. Dinner that night was at Lentil As Anything in St Kilda, getting there late there was not a lot left, however what was there was fantastic. A really yummy spicy pumpkin soup followed by a curry platter (a beetroot curry that worked well due to the sweet beetroot and savoury curry, a Moroccan hot pot curry and a pea and potato curry of some sort. Both the dishes were served with good Roti once again. At the end of this day I was somewhat full of food and almost rolling around the streets I think.

Sunday morning was breakfast at InVita Cafe at the Queen Vic markets, they had fresh out of the oven hot vegan blueberry muffins that were to die for which I followed with scrambled tofu on pumpkin bread. Lunch was at Silly Yaks cafe in Northcote where I was able to tuck into a Mexican bean burrito with salad and a good bruschetta (the bread had an obvious potato taste but was actually fairly good I thought). This was followed a few metres down the road at Coco Loco, an organic, fair trade chocolate bar. They had vegan Chocolate Mousse that was fantastic, rich, creamy, held its fluff and worked really well (something I really want to work out how to make, maybe using agar and soft tofu in a blender will help... who knows), vegan waffles in deep rich dark chocolate and they had something they call Kashew Mylk, somewhat obviously a milk made using Cashews. So I had a rich dark chocolate and orange hot chocolate with the Kashew Mylk. All very satisfying.

At one point on Saturday evening I had wanted a snack and Lord of the Fries seemed appropriate. So I had a cone of fries with French Canadian sauce (using vegan cheese) and damn that was good (though definitely waistline expanding) this on Sunday afternoon heading toward the airport I wanted to try out their Vegan nuggets, alas they were out of stock, however I had more fries with the same sauce and a yummy vegan hamburger. Then ran for the airport thinking the plane would be leaving before I got there. Upon arrival at the airport they rushed the checking and then the plane was delayed for 2 hours. Oh well I had a fun, if somewhat waist expanding Melbourne weekend.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 07 Jul 2008

Cooking breakages - 13:40
On Saturday night while cooking three of the yummy recipes from Veganomicon (the book Davyd has referred to a bit). (the recipes were "Greek style tomato zucchini fritters with fresh herbs", "Jamaican yuca shepards pie with sweet potato kidney beans and plantains" (though we used purple sweet potato and banana), and "eggplant potato moussaka with pine nut cream". We followed this with a yummy chocolate cake with soy cream cheese with lemon and jam filling and chocolate with fresh berry icing) I managed to break some cooking implements.

While I was trying to press some ingredients down into a blender I cracked the handle of one wooden spoon. So I got another wooden spoon out of the drawer and then while pushing the same ingredients down I pushed a little too far and the blender tore a chunk from the middle of the spoon. Oops too wooden spoons sacrificed in the name of the dinner party. All the food was incredibly yummy, the 12 people at the dinner all had a great evening and all I really need to do now is go and buy myself more wooden spoons. Maybe I had better buy a few spares. Oh and no one there was allergic to wooden spoons, so all was fine.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 04 Jul 2008

Looking for some ingredients - 14:18
So for something I wish to cook the recipe suggests Cassava (Yuca, Tapioca) and Plantain. So sure I could possibly get away with sweet potato and banana. However the recipe already contains sweet potato as well and the banana (even with green bananas) may not be quite right. So I was wondering where in Canberra I could possibly get these ingredients. I rang some organic food stores and they have Tapioca flour, however none of them have the roots whole.

I have also rung a few Asian grocery shops, one of them said they had Cassava so I could head out there, however I have not found Plantains yet. I guess I should check out the Fyshwick Markets tomorrow to see if I have any luck there.

[/leisure/food] link

Sun, 15 Jun 2008

Yummy new dinner - 22:34
Just so I do not forget this dish I thought I had better record it here. Tonight for dinner I fried together onion, garlic, eggplant, tomato, 4 bean mix (can) and spinach with chinese five spices, mild paprika, cinnamon and pepper added. In the microwave I heated some sweet potato in some water with brown sugar and then added some sweet potato to the fried mix and the rest mashed up. Put the mix of stuff into a baking dish, spread the sweet potato on top, poured sesame seeds over the top and dribbled olive oil over it all then placed in the oven for half an hour at 190c and then grilled on high for a few minutes at the end. Damn that was one heck of a yummy meal, I decided on doing this while I was wandering around the markets buying fruit and veg today. Ate a yummy salad with it all, most enjoyable.

Next time I think, for a bit more bulk, and for the colour variety, I will do some potatos mashed and in the mix as well so I can swirl the orange and white colours together on top.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 21 Apr 2008

Cookie recipes galore - 10:28
Soft chocolate chip, apple, coconut cookies (or snickerdoodles) are one of the foods I like to make for racing and long rides. However I am sure many people will appreciate that any cookie is a fairly good food in all manner of situations. Thus I was happy to see this link on Metafilter today, a list of what the author thinks are the 50 best cookie recipes on the Internet.

Some of these really do look wonderful, as soon as I can exercise again (and thus burn off excessive amounts of chocolate, sugar and butter) I need to look into trying out a lot of these. I think Crash should show the list to Jo, after all I know she likes to bake the odd yummy item, and he benefits from that anyway. Maybe I should challenge Jo to a long term bake off, we could both bake one of these recipes a week, swap some of the finished product and try them all out over 25 weeks or so.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 09 Jan 2008

Count the superfoods - 14:38
Many articles online recently have mentioned various plans to include so called superfoods in a diet. Because I recently bought a lot of fresh blueberries and have since been eating them with breakfast I thought I would see how many of these foods I have been eating most days.

Of those mentioned, so far today I have eaten Apples, Avocado, Blueberries, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Low fat yoghurt, Oats, Oranges, Tea, Tomatoes, and dried Apricots (Dried superfruits). I expect by the time dinner is over I will have added Beans, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic and Onions at least.

Of course one problem is trying to eat these in suggested quantities, such as 1-2 cups of fresh blueberries per day, a practice which simply is not economically viable in Australia (even if you had weekly access to the fresh blueberry farm). I suppose some people would point out I tend to be a bit of a health and fitness nut here though, after all I have also done 50 KM of fast paced road riding today, a stretching class and on Wednesday evenings would normally do a 10KM paddling time trial too.

The interesting thing here I think is that I had not even considered my food intake against the superfood list until I looked it up, so realistically anyone could be careful about eating healthy even if they are not in the mood for the amount of exercise I participate in.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 03 Jan 2008

When crass commercialism is a good thing - 19:13
It seems offensive when we see Christmas shopping, decorations and advertising sometime in August, we probably often have similar behaviour to the early ramping up on Mothers and Fathers day in the commercial sphere. However I have to say one aspect of this seeming crass commercialism that I noticed this week that appeals to me does exist.

I have mentioned in the past that the annual festival of the spicy fruit bun is a good thing because I adore hot cross buns. I could almost live on the things (okay ignoring for a moment they do not contain enough of a balanced diet to do that). I am able to purchase hot cross buns in Woolworths already, in early January, I do not need to wait until March. Rock on.

In other news I just realised my leisure/food category had completely disappeared from my laptop, probably during a recent fsck. Time to look through my laptop backups and compare against what is on the system to see if anything else is missing that should not be.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 18 Aug 2006

Great coffee and some mango wine - 21:31

35 KG of coffee roasted at a time (full size)
As I suggested the other day, I spent Thursday up in the table lands checking out some local produce of interest and looking around Kuranda. The produce of interest was local coffee, and I had a look at a Mango winery simply for the novelty value.

The photo to the left is the bean roaster at the NQ Gold Coffee plantation, this was a good plantation to visit I reckon. Not far outside the town of Mareeba, the plantation is owned and operated by a family, all the coffee has been grown with no pesticides sprayed on it for the last 14 years. They do a free tour for you and will serve a fantastic coffee there. The beans are sun dried there and all processing is done on the premises. In addition to their three coffee varieties (light, medium, espresso) they sell chocolate covered coffee beans, dried fruit (mango and others) and mango jam. All of which I ended up buying. After this visit I decided not to go visit one of the larger more commercial coffee plantations as I was well satisfied with the details I got from this visit. The woman who gave the tour mentioned there is one restaurant in Canberra that serves their coffee (possibly the Chill restaurant in Campbell, I forget).

Afterwards I headed off to the Golden Drop Mango Winery mostly to satisfy my curiosity as to what it could taste like. They had three varieties of wine, Dry, Medium and Sweet, they also sold Mango Port and Mango Liquor, Mango Champagne plus a few other fruit based liquors. I generally prefer dry wines, however I was worried that mango wine would all be somewhat sweet, I was pleasantly surprised to find the dry was indeed a rather good tasting dry wine. The most noticeable thing is there is an almost overpowering Mango aroma from the wine. I liked the novelty of the drink, however at the price (AUD $25 per 750ml bottle) it would not replace a standard drinking wine for many people who drink wine regularly.

After this I headed back to Cairns via Baron Gorge and Kuranda to check out the views and township.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 16 Aug 2006

Snicker Doodles - 22:41
The cookies I make fairly often (with apple, choc chip, oat and coconut) are a basic soft sugar cookie recipe. I recalled that there was some slang name for this basic soft cookie in the US however I can never remember it. A few minutes ago I saw an email address with the word Smackerdoodle in it and remembered the cookies were called something doodle. A quick google for "cookie doodle" has reminded me the US slang term for the basic soft sugar cookie is "Snicker Doodle".

[/leisure/food] link

Tea with a coconut aftertaste - 21:42
Sam and Ben purchased some tea from the Daintree Tea plantation when they were up there a few weeks ago. Ben prepared a pot of it a few minutes ago that I am drinking now. Damn good taste, I especially like the slight coconut flavoured aftertaste. I am happy to see I can order this tea online to be delivered to Canberra. (they also have US and Canadian importers) Who knows I may have found a tea to supplant my Twinings Irish Breakfast habit as my favourite tea. I had better sample this a lot more to make sure.

As for things to do up here, I am tempted tomorrow to head up to Mareeba to some local coffee plantations and a Mango Winery as mentioned in this food itinerary. I love fresh coffee, and Mango wine sounds good.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 15 Aug 2006

Yummy eggplant bake - 10:19
I get The Australian newspaper for most of the year for AU $15 through a university staff and students deal. The Weekend Australian is delivered on Saturdays and the Sunday Telegraph is delivered on Sunday, the week day papers I pick up on campus through the week. All of this is to explain why I have the Sunday Telegraph at home (I would never willingly purchase it otherwise, snob that I am <g>).

In the Body and Soul section of the Sunday Telegraph on July 16th this year there were three very appealing recipes. Spicy Fish Soup with Cracked Wheat, Easy Eggplant Bake and Pumpkin, Pine Nut and Silverbeet Rolls. I have been meaning to try these out for a while, however had not gotten around to changing my normal shopping and food preparation for meals at home. While on holiday I decided to try them out so last night I cooked the Easy Eggplant Bake (recipe) for Sam, Ben and I to eat for dinner.

That is definitely one fantastic vegetarian dish, highly recommended, the garlic and the nutty flavour of the dry roasted couscous are good with the eggplant base. I will probably try the pumpkin, pine nut and silverbeet rolls on Thursday.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 08 Aug 2006

There goes an 8 year stretch - 22:28
Ahh well it was unlikely to ever last I guess, until 6am on Sunday morning it had been 8 years since I consumed any food from McDonalds and around 6 years since consuming anything from there (I had a coffee handed to me while driving to the snow about 6 years ago).

Around 6am on Sunday morning after getting out of a warm sleeping bag out at the race venue for the working week series 8 hour mtb race, as Russ and I started setting up the site ready for the 6:30am rego arrivals and getting everything happening for the race that day Stu (the race promoter) rocked up and handed us both Bacon and Egg muffins. Who was I to turn down free hot food containing bacon.

I guess the main reason I have avoided McDonalds (and since trying it for the first time ever 3 years ago also avoiding Hungry Jacks) is I do not like the taste of most of the food on offer and it is never particularly healthy even if it tastes alright. There is almost always better tasting or healthier (or both better tasting and healthier) food available so I do not see any point in consuming the food on offer from these ubiquitous fast food providers.

I would however live on Bacon and Egg rolls if that were possible so eating a Bacon and Egg muffin almost fits with in that dietary plan. Mmmmm Bacon.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 02 Jun 2006

Oops a rather nice wine - 23:40
Just as a reminder, I really liked the Stoneleigh 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (from Marlborough in NZ). Of course upon getting sick of a bottle of wine rattling around in the fridge, I should not simply assume it was from the dinner party a few weeks ago (after which there were a few half full bottles of wine to polish off over time). This was a half full bottle belonging to one of my housemates, fortunately I was able to find a replacement while out shopping tonight.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 05 May 2006

Good coffee with no machine - 18:08
I saw a review on Dan's Data of the Aerobie AeroPress and was intrigued by the repeated claims in places that this makes good coffee.

I really do not like the coffee produced by the coffee machine in the office at work (some expensive automatic Saeco machine) and thus never drink it, instead I buy my own coffee and at work prepare it in a single cup filter. I have thought from time to time it may be good to have a coffee machine in my office at work so as to make reasonable coffee however I could not get around how inescapably pretentious that would be. This AeroPress however can even be put away in a drawer.

So I bought one, it arrived this morning (AUD $54 delivered, overnight, from the Australian distributor CoffeePress) and I am converted, this does indeed produce coffee as good as can be made in a quality machine.

[/leisure/food] link

Sun, 23 Apr 2006

The close of the Spicy Fruit Bun Festival again - 13:40
I went to pick up 2 loaves of country grain bread and hopefully more hot cross buns at Brumbys in Lyneham today. Alas the Spicy Fruit Bun festival has ended for 2006, they are no longer making them until March sometime next year. If I become desperate I may have to go the way Mikal planned and Sarah has.

[/leisure/food] link

Sun, 16 Apr 2006

Good dinner - 23:01
I had some friends over for dinner tonight (Sam, Ben and their children), my sister Jane was in town and bought one of her friends (Louise) along also and one of my house mates was around this weekend so joined in the fun.

The main I cooked was Chicken with Mango, very yummy. With it I made a salad from a variety of lettuce's (is that the plural of lettuce?), pine nuts, sesame seeds, avocado, capsicum, feta, lebanese cucumber, tomato and snow peas all chopped fine to make it easy to get on a fork. Dessert was rice pudding spooned on to a bed of banana, strawberry and peaches with honey dribbled over the top.

Good night with friends, enjoyable dinner, some good wine, followed by a fun game. This game is sort of like Pictionary with words rather than pictures. The game is called Articulate (some reviews of Articulate), I enjoyed playing it quite a lot. It is however a game (much like Pictionary) that is biased if played by people who know each other really well (such as close siblings). Jane and I tend to be scary with our ability to almost read each other's mind in Pictionary and being able to speak and bring easy free association into play in this game I suspect we would also do well. Jane and I played on different teams tonight for the good of the game play.

I also baked up some more cookies today in order to take on a mtb ride tomorrow morning.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 24 Mar 2006

FHFC - 14:03
Once again some comments on Michael Ellerman's most recent post, he is quiet correct in my opinion when he states Flat Heads Fish Cafe have the best Hamburgers in Canberra. I may be somewhat biased (due to the fact I live about 60 metres away) however they truly are a great hamburger.

On the riding Mt Ainslie note, it is the fastest road descent in Canberra, largely due to the lack of corners, I have exceeded 90Kmh coming down that road from time to time and I know a few people who have passed 100Kmh on the descent. Climbing wise it is also one of the harder climbs in Canberra, it is deceptively easy at the bottom and then gets increasingly difficult and steep as you approach the top. Time wise most people will climb it in about the same time they do Black Mountain, possibly a minute or so faster.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 13 Mar 2006

The spicy fruit bun festival is back, this time with chocolate - 16:57
So the other day I went to buy two loaves of Country Grain bread at the local Brumby's bakery as I do most weeks and what do I see there. Chocolate Hot Cross buns. Neat. As I have said in the past, I am a fan of The Annual Spicy Fruit Bun Festival. Similarly, in a rather unfortunate circumstance for a diabetic, I am a chocolate addict. Thus finding a food product mixing these together was quite an experience. I would like to say these chocolate hot cross buns are damn good, mmmm chocolate, melted butter, coronary...

[/leisure/food] link


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