Sunday, 8 May 2022

Twice baked potatoes with cauliflower, cashews and pesto

Baked potatoes are such a satisfying meal as the nights draw in and the evenings are suddenly chilly.  I made these recently when I had a whole cauliflower that I wanted to cook up in a stew but I had decided to bake some potatoes.  I started to fry up some cauliflower and zucchini to top the potatoes.  Before I knew it I had a hearty mixture to load into the baked potatoes and bake in the oven for a second time.

I pulled out bits and pieces from the fridge to add to my potato mixture: olives, capers, cashew nuts and dried cranberries.  (Ok, I keep my dried cranberries in the pantry but the rest was in the fridge.)

The potatoes were in the oven about one and a half hours.  I like to leave them til their skin is crispy and when I squeeze them (using oven gloves or a scrunched tea towel) they feel soft inside.  I really love those really crunchy skinned baked potatoes that I buy at festivals.  They seem to sit in the warmer forever so I don't worry about the potatoes being in the oven too long.  Though they smell good once done, which is every bit as good as a timer!

Mix everything together til you have a cohesive mush.  The potato helps hold everything together.  Taste it and adjust seasoning or if you think of something missing, such a mustard or herbs, add it in. 

Now stuff the mixture into those potato shells.  Mine piled pretty high and then I squished it all down with the back of a spoon.  The flatter the mixture is, the more cheese will sit on top.

Bake them again in the oven.  They just need to warm through and crisp on top.  They can be made in advance, eaten at room temperature.  They can even be eaten with your hands.  These baked potatoes can be modified to suit what is in the kitchen but I really liked this combo.  It tasted almost meaty, though I have been told in no uncertain terms that a what a vegetarian finds "meaty" is quite different from a carnivore!  But even a vegetarian's idea of meaty is pretty good for a cool autumn evening!

More baked potatoes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Baked potatoes with beans and pesto (gf)
Baked potato with haggis 
Cheesy twice baked potatoes (gf) 
Smoky lime peanut baked sweet potatoes (gf)

Baked potatoes with cauliflower, cashews and pesto
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe Recipe
Serves 2

2 large potatoes
olive oil
2 x fist sized pieces of cauliflower, chopped into 1cm florets
1 zucchini, cubed
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
pinch of garlic salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
3-4 tbsp chopped roasted and salted cashews
2-3 tbsp sliced olives
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp capers
2-3 tbsp pesto
1-2 tbsp butter
squeeze of lemon juice
2-3 handfuls of grated mozzarella

Baked potatoes at 220 C for about 1.5 hours or til skin is crisp and it feels soft when squeezed or pierced by a skewer. 

While potatoes bake, drizzle some oil into a frypan (I used a cast iron pan) and fry the cauliflower, celery and zucchni with a pinch of garlic salt until cooked but with a bit of resistance when skewered with a knife (they will cook more the second time).  Prepare remaining ingredients.

Place fried vegies, parmesan, cashews, olive, cranberries, capers, pesto, butter and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl.  When potatoes are baked, leave oven on, slice in half and scoop out the cooked potato, leaving about half a cm shell.  Add cooked potato to the bowl and mix everything together.

Place four potato shells on a lined baking tray.  Spoon filling between the shells, pressing it in.  Sprinkle each shell with mozzarella.  Bake an additional 15-30 minutes until cheese is golden brown and crispy.  Eat warm or at room temperature.  Can be reheated to eat later.

On the stereo:
The Köln Concert: Keith Jarrett

Thursday, 5 May 2022

In My Kitchen - May 2022 (easter)

 
April was a blur of Easter and illness, with the federal election campaign finally underway.  Lots of chocolate and hot cross buns.  Lots of tissues and pyjama days.  Lots of dirty politics.  Covid continues to play a role in my life with three family members getting Covid just days before my sister and her family finally visited from Ireland.  Then my uncle had a visit to ICU with Covid.  And more and more people I know seem to have had Covid.  When Sylvia got a cold and I caught it from her, it seemed that Covid might have caught up with us but the RAT tests and doctors said otherwise.  And now May brings wintery weather, dark nights, slipper, winter boots, limes on the tree and a need to get my bike lights in order.
 
The top photo is actually in my mother's dining room where she had a pretty display of flowers from her garden, chocolate bunnies and cupcakes on Easter Sunday.  The cupcakes were brought over from Dublin by my sister who thought the orange ones looked like leftover pumpkin cupcakes from Halloween.  I agree that they looked more pumpkin than carrots.  Surely they meant to have carrots with the bunnies and chicks!

I often make a few batches of hot cross buns at Easter.  This year I followed my favourite Sourdough Hot Cross Buns recipe.  But I didn't have pumpkin and so I thought I could add natural yoghurt instead and substitute an egg for aquafaba.  It was such a sticky dough I should have known it would end up a flat underbaked slab of HCBs.  Not my finest moment in baking. 

Just before Easter, Sylvia and I had a nice outing to some fine bookshops and food shops.  We bought books at The Little Bookroom in St George's Road, Fitzroy.  I have always loved visits to the Little Bookroom in North Carlton but we found quite a few tempting food shops near its new location across from Piedimentes.  Nearby is Wild Things Food with lots of interesting groceries.  I was most excited by the Herbs of Life Peach and Apricot Kombucha.  It was quite tart but very refreshing.

I also bought a packet of dried dragonfruit in Wild Things Food.  I've never come across this before and felt there were some good possibilities.

We also swung by Baker D. Chirico in Faraday St, Carlton for some excellent sourdough hot cross buns.

But no matter how good a bakery is at baking hot cross buns, it is not the same as the ones I make at home just the way I like them.  I like to add in different dried fruit to the supermarket dried fruit mix and I love thick crosses. 

I had another go at hot cross buns with dried dragonfruit, dried peaches and dried pineapple.  I was surprised how the dragonfruit made the dough bright pink and broke down in the dough into a pleasing seediness.  The pineapple all but disappeared.  The hot cross buns seems a little tropical and exotic.  If I had time I would love to develop the idea with coconut milk and perhaps even some desiccated coconut in them or on them.  Maybe next year.

The batch of dragonfruit hot cross buns was amazing.  I still didn't have pumpkin but I halved the yoghurt so it wasn't impractically soft.  One of the best things about baking your own hot cross buns is having them hot out of the oven, with the first bun torn into two pillowy halves to hold the melted butter, and the kitchen smells of the sweet spicy yeasty fragrance that is Easter.

On Easter Sunday I left Sylvia and her cold with her dad and I visited my parents, siblings and niblings in Geelong for lunch.  My mum did a lovely roast dinner with lots of crispy potatoes and melting roast pumpkin.  My sister Susie made her fantastic cauliflower cheese that is creamy enough to mop up the peas.  And another sister Fran made some wonderful refreshing punch.  With a cheesecake for afters, it was a fantastic dinner.  After lunch a few of us went to Torquay for a brisk swim in the chilly ocean.  It must be that familiarity breeds contempt as it was all the out-of-towners who headed to the beach!


It was great to see my oldest sister Chris at Easter.  She had brought some treats from Marks and Spencer in Dublin.  I really loved these super soft, super cheesy Cheddar and Red Leicester Hot Cross Buns.  (Much more cheesy than the cheesymite ones from our local supermarket).


My sister also brought some special Easter gelatine-free Colin Caterpillar sweeties.  The caterpillar and easter egg jubes were so cute.  And a Dublin carry bag.

After Easter we took it easy because Sylvia had a cold and then later in the week I caught it from her.  We have take a lot of RATs (Rapid Antigen Tests) in the past couple of weeks.  It is my first time I've used RATs.  They were all negative.  I was very grateful that we are now able to be triple vaccinated and test for Covid at home.  How far we have come.  Though I didn't have Covid I had some of the worst post-viral asthma I have had for years. 
 

I am glad my medication f to see my sister again before she headed home to Ireland.  We went to the Post Office Hotel in Coburg and shared a cheese platter in the beer garden.  It was good to have time together before she hopped back on the plane.  I gave her a lime from my garden that she took home with her.  It is amazing to think the lime was on the tree in my backyard one day and then in her kitchen in Dublin a day or two later.  Life since Covid still seems freaky and special!

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event.  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her wonderful hand drawn header.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Victoria Sponge Layer Cake for 15th Blog Anniversary


Do bloggers remember blog anniversaries any more?  It used to be such a fun thing celebrating a blogiversary but I don't see much about it now.  Which might be that after 15 years of blogging, my enthusiasm and energy has waned somewhat.  I still love blogging but I have such a wealth of recipes to return to if I find time to cook.  There is also so much else to keep me busy that blogging is slow going these days.

However it is easy to remember my blogiversary because it always follows E's birthday.  Although we are separated we are still friendly and this year Sylvia and I made him a Victoria Sponge Cake with buttercream and jam.  I know it is a childhood favourite of his and was rewarded with a declaration that it was as good as his Aunty Dolly's.  Now that is high praise.

We baked the cake the night before.  Then on the day of the birthday, we decorated the cake.  We kept it simple.  Sylvia and I decided on a gold theme with caramilk, gold leaf and gold spray.  I also did some piping for fun.  Making a layer cake was enough work so we also ordered pizza on UberEats. 

And because it is my anniversary and I haven't had as much time to share lately, I am including a list of links to articles that have made a thoughtful contribution to what in school we called "current affairs".  And a few quirky links that took my fancy.

Street Art Cities - Thanks to Mae for sharing this site for searching street art in various cities.  Sometimes it seems I have visited all the fun street art of my area so I have enjoyed some virtual visits to new street art sites and made notes of places I must visit when I get time.  However I am not sure if and how they keep it updated, given how quickly street art can change.

Celebrities Call Out Controversial Government Bill For 'Criminalising' Refugees - the Russian war on Ukraine has faded a little but it is still making huge effects in people's lives, including Ukrainian refugees.  It is not a proud moment when the UK takes the lead from Australia on demonising refugees and all the cruel treatment that follows this.  So I hope many will see this video reminding us exactly what "criminal" means when the UK government talks of refugees.

The 1969 Easter Mass Incident - This story on Chickens of Unusual Size tumbler about a bread Jesus is a good laugh, though I know it will not appeal to everyone.

Digital’s hidden cost to the Earth is in its manufacturing  - I find Gerry McGovern's writing on World Wide Waste fascinating.  One of the benefits of the paperless office was saving all those trees.  The environmental effects on the Earth are far more hidden in digital information than watching paper churn out of a printer.

Why Australia’s daily Covid cases are on the rise again - Raina MacIntyre shares her insights about the pandemic still having an impact on our lives whether we have restrictions or not.  And sometimes it seems that not a lot of other people know that!

Museum offers a toast to Vegemite as centenary looms for Australia's favourite spread - I love that there is a team of Vegemaniacs creating a Vegemite museum in Beaufort named after the food technician who created the taste.  They are calling for Vegemite memorabilia donations.

Shakespeare Insult Kit - The guy really knew how to throw around an insult.  I just wish I could remember these insults when I need them.

Election 2022: brain farts, amnesia and moronic scare campaigns - There has been a lot of talk about the media's role in our current federal election campaign.  This article gives a great discussion about this with some analysis of newspaper headlines.

Each blogiversary it seems a miracle that I am still blogging.  When I started I never could have foreseen I would blog so much interesting food, learn so much about cooking, and make so many wonderful connections with other foodies.  I've got better at photography. found new foods, ate out at amazing cafes, and accompanied meals with good friends and fine music.  I had fun. I never could have foreseen so much change in my life and in the world since 2007 when I started blogging.   But I look back and see a lot of these changes here in my blog.

The blog has grown so big.  It is now 2337 posts but I don't really keep track of statistics any more.  Apologies if you get lost in the long archive, or stumble over a typo, or find yourself clicking on a broken link, I don't have as much time for maintenance as I would like.  But there are also many recipes I love to make over and over, posts that make me proud and great memories, It is sort of like an old rambling shabby house.  I might be aware of the cobwebs, I might not invite over lots of other bloggers like I used to (or even visit them), but I still enjoy pottering in my own wee cosy corner of the internet when I can.

And so I hope to continue blogging, albeit at a slower pace.


More blog anniversary cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:


Victoria Sponge Layer Cake
Slightly adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and BBC Good Food
Makes 2 x 20cm round cakes

225g butter
225g castor sugar
225g (4) eggs
225g self raising flour

Filling:
100g butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
generous 1/2 cup of raspberry jam

Grease and line 2 x round 20cm cake tins.  Preheat oven to 180 C.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, beating after each egg.  Gradually beat in the flour.  The batter is quite thick.  Spoon batter into the prepared tins, smoothing the top of each.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cakes are golden brown and spring back when touched on top.  Cool on a wire rack.

To decorate: first made the buttercream icing by creaming butter and gradually adding icing sugar until you have a thick icing.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice and beat to loosen the mixture slightly.  Spread one cake generously with jam (warm for 30 seconds in microwave if that makes it easier to spread.)  Spread or pipe buttercream over the jam.  Place second cake on top.  At this point you can dust the top with icing sugar.  Or you should have enough icing to spread on top, scrap around the edge of the cake and pipe some rosettes in a circle.  

NOTES:

Traditionally Victoria Sponge Cakes are made by weighing the eggs and then adding exactly the same amount of butter, sugar and flour.  I remembered this before adding the eggs and when I weighed them they weighed 205g so I added 20g of milk to make up the difference.  Not quite traditional but it worked. 

When I spooned the mixture into baking tins, I weighed it to get it even.  By my calculations I should have had 450g each but I only had about 430g each.  I guess the rest was stuck to the beaters, the spoon and the bowl.

The jam that I used was a home made raspberry and plum jam which was a bit old and quite thick.  I added a squeeze of lemon juice and then heated it 30 seconds in the microwave and stirred it to check the consistency to make it easier to spread. 

I added lemon juice to the buttercream sugar as the cake and icing were very sweet.  You could also add a little milk or vanilla to loosen the icing.

I was really pleased that this amount of icing made just enough without any over.  I might have liked slightly more for the side but went with the rustic naked cake look.

If you wish you can pile some of your favourite things inside but it is not necessary.  We put some caramilk chocolate squares and choc chips, please some gold leaf and gold glitter, as well as birthday candles.

On the Stereo:
Eyes Open: Snow Patrol

Monday, 18 April 2022

UooUoo artwork for RCH 50th anniversary 2021

I love a public art initiative.  In late 2020, one hundred UooUoos sculptures (which were partly based on the wombat and dugong) were painted and decorated by artists to be located in an art trail around Melbourne and Geelong to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Royal Children's Hospital.  I was lucky to see a few of them as I was out and about before they were auctioned off to raise $867,100 in April 2021.  They were so cute and cheerful I wish I had seen more.  I found this post in my archives and would like to share the photos I took.

The above photo is at Flinders Street Station in the CBD by the iconic clocks!

The University of Melbourne outside the Chemistry Building, Parkville

Princess Park, North Carlton.

Between the National Gallery Victoria and the Melbourne Arts Centre, Southbank

Between the Arts Centre and Hamer Hall, Southbank

Outside the State Library, CBD

At the Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Federation Square, CBD 


More outdoor public art in Melbourne:

Saturday, 9 April 2022

In my kitchen: April 2022

April has us holding our breath as we wait for the federal election to be announced.  Meanwhile we are still concerned about Covid numbers, flood victims and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  I am taking a bit over a month of leave to rest and look after Sylvia.  The school holidays start tonight and Easter and ANZAC Day are soon upon us.

Above is a photo of the goodies that my mum sent home with me after I recently visited for lunch and also went to the beach for a swim.  I read The Age newspaper online these days but I miss reading the weekend magazines in hardcopy so my mum sometimes saves them for me.  She was also making jam so I came home with a quince jelly and a dried apricot and pineapple jam.  She had also made a batch of hot cross buns - not her most beautiful but great warm and buttered for breakfast.

I really enjoyed these beetroot and gouda crackers.  They are such a vibrant pink and have a lovely cheesy taste and snap.  I was surprised after starting the packet when I checked and found they were gluten free.  It is amazing how much more quality and variety there are in gluten free products over the past 15 years since my family first had celiac diagnoses.

I have done a lot of working from home this year but I have enjoyed it when I have gone into the office.  Sylvia helped me make these blueberry muffins for a morning tea recently.  They were lovely and fluffy with jammy blueberries.  I was glad I took them in as the other person on morning tea made some stunning (but very non-vegetarian) maple and bacon cupcakes.

My mum bought me this vegan moussaka which I really enjoyed for dinner with some bread.  I really loved the nuts and seeds decoration on top of the vegan cheese sauce.

Our No-Junk-Mail sign on our letterbox fell off so I had to buy a new one at Bunnings hardware store.  After the purchase, I fancied some pesto and rode on up to O'Hea's Bakery which sells a good one.  I was also tempted by the spaghetti hoops and milk chocolate raspberries.  I was spared further temptation because I was limited in what I could carry on the back of my bike because it was an impulse detour and I had not taken decent bags with me.

I remember a time when I was frustrated that I could not grow parsley.  It grows like a weed for so many people that having it wither in pots felt like a great failure.  It feels like I have really succeeded with parsley in the garden now that it not only grows in a few pots but had also is growing abundantly on the edge of our astro turf!

Do you remember the supermarkets had alarmingly empty shelves at the start of the pandemic in March 2020?  One of my significant purchases was a 3 litre bottle of rice bran oil.  I usually buy 500ml bottles but there were none on the shelves at the time.  So I chanced on the massive bottle and took it home thinking it would get me through.  I have periodically decanted some into a smaller bottle which I find easier to handle.  I decanted the last of this huge bottle a week or so ago.  It seems like the bottle has lasted a long time, especially as I have cooked less over the past year or two.  However I suspect I would have been shocked in March 2020 to find that it would last me two years but would not outlast the Covid pandemic!

This photo is of some interesting recent supermarket purchases.  The caramel choc chips are fascinating.  They are like a cross between something to eat as finger food and something to bake with.  The salted caramel biscuits were extraordinarily rich and creamy.  It was no surprise that I loved the Chokito Bites with their fudgy centres, given that I love a Chokito chocolate bar.  The Sourdough Crisps have a very moreish cheesy flavour and a pleasingly light crispness.  I have always loved McVities chocolate digestives but these hazelnut caramel ones take them up a notch with a chewy caramel between the digestive and chocolate.  And I am yet to open the Heinz soy and vinegar street sauce.  I bought it both because it was on special and because I wondered if it was similar to Ponzu Sauce that we love.

Sylvia was given a microwave popcorn maker for her birthday and has had fun trying some different popcorns.  We made this salted caramel popcorn which I cooked longer than last time and it was really good.

One of my nicest afternoons lately has been spending time with a friend browsing an op shop.  It was probably my first time at the op shop since the middle of last year so I really enjoyed seeing bargains, wanting beautiful crockery and sharing possibilities for odd plates.  The photo shows what I did purchase: some cutlery and an ice cream scoop.  I guess I am not doing enough dishes lately because we keep running out of good knives.  I have some knives I bought in a bag from an op shop that aren't great quality.  I tried not to get tempted at the op shop but 20c each for second hand cutlery seemed pretty reasonable.

Friday night has been pizza night in our house for years.  Lately we have bought more pizzas than I have baked.  Recently we had had a thing for Crust Pizza.  They don't have the vegetarian pizza that I had a lot in my 20s but I order the Hawaiian with no ham, and add in capsicum and olives.  And yes I am one of those people who love pineapple on my pizza!  Sylvia loves the margherita pizza and the garlic bread.  We both love the brownie bites that were 2 for the price of one for a while (but sadly no longer).  They come with a fudge sauce and were especially good warmed up.


I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event.  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her wonderful hand drawn header.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Broccoli and miso pasties

It has been a few months since I posted a recipe, which I find odd as I set up this blog almost 15 years ago to just post recipes.  However one reason I need to post a recipe is because I loved these broccoli and miso pasties so much.  They were one of the most memorable meals I made towards the end of last year.  They had the satisfying comfort of pastry, the healthiness of green vegies and the great taste of miso and cheese.

Of course, as always, the pleasingly vibrant green mixture did not hold its colour so well once it has spent time in the oven.  But it was still one of the better broccoli meals I have made for some time.

I didn't follow the recipe from goodfood.com to the letter.  The recipe below is my version.  I cut corners where I could.  I cooked the broccoli and potato in the microwave rather than boiling, blanching and frying.  Instead of rubbing butter into the flour before pouring in the hot water for the pastry, I just mixed the hot water with flour and softened butter.  Anything to make dinner easier is welcome.

I am a great fan of hot water pastry and was interested to see that it was used on The Great British Bake Off.  In the world of pastries that need mollycoddling and handling with kid gloves, I really appreciate one that comes together easily, rolls out nicely, holds the filling without collapsing and tastes delicious.  I also have been enjoying some other fun cooking shows streaming on Netflix:

  • Is it cake? a show where contestants have to bake cakes that look so like an object, such as shoes, hats and rubber duckies, that it is a
  • Baking Impossible - a combination of baking and engineering, the bakineers are challenged to bake in the form of working cars, boats and towers that all must work and pass the stress test.
  • Sugar Rush Christmas - we loved the festive baking in this competition, especially the ugly Christmas jumper cakes.


Back to the pasties, they were such a joy in a busy time.  I loved them warm with salad and chips but they also worked really well at room temperature as a quick meal before rushing out the door.  I highly recommend these for a light meal or a picnic lunch.

More pasties on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:
Cheese, onion and potato pasties (Tiddly Oggies)

Haggis neeps and tatties pasties (v)
Pasties with lentils and walnuts (v) 
Ripper vegie rice pasties
Spinach and potatoe pasties

Broccoli and Miso Pasties
Adapted from goodfood.com
Makes 4

For the pastry:

1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
160g butter, softened and diced
120ml boiling water

For the filling:

400g broccoli, cut into small florets
180g potato (two medium), peeled and diced
2 tsp olive oil
3 shallots peeled and finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
150g mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1½ tbsp white miso paste
zest from 1 large lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt (I used garlic salt with herbs)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

1 small lightly beaten egg or milk, for brushing and sealing pastry

To make the pastry: Place flours, salt, pepper and butter in a medium bowl.  Pour boiling water over this mixture and mix until you have a soft dough that comes together into a ball.

To make the filling: Cook broccoli and potatoes in microwave with a little water until al dente.  Fry the shallots and garlic in the oil in a frypan until golden brown and fragrant.  In a large bowl mix together the broccoli, potatoes, shallots, garlic, cheese, parmesan, miso, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.

To assemble: Cut pastry into 6 parts, roll out into circles of about 2-3mm thick. Place 6th of filling to the side of the middle but keeping about 1-2cm border.  Use milk or egg to dampen the edges of the circle.  Fold pastry over at the edges and fold again.  Make thumbmarks along the edge to seal pastie.  Place on a lined baking tray(s) and repeat with remaining pastry and filling.  Brush each pastie with beaten egg or milk and then slash with a knife two or three times.  

Bake at 200 C for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Eat warm or room temperature.

Watching:
Labour Leader, Anthony Albanese's Budget Reply Speech in Parliament

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

PachaMama Wholefoods and Kitchen, Brunswick


PachaMama has seen a few changes over the years since it replaced Aunt Maggies as the wholefoods store-cum-cafe on the corner near Barkly Square in Brunswick.  It originally was endless shelves of tempting groceries with a little cafe area at the back.  But during the pandemic the array of groceries dwindled.  At the end of last year I noticed it had a new menu and the cafe area had taken over a lot of the warehouse.  So when Faye and I were looking for a place to eat just after Christmas, we mt there for lunch.


The decor is very welcoming with lots of wooden furniture and some comfy ottomans by the bookshelf.  I loved the spacious feel which was enhanced by all the light coming in from the big windows onto Sydney Road and Barkly Street.  It feels much lighter than when it was filled with grocery shelves, though there are still some at the back.

I ordered the Pyramid Bowl ($19).  The menu describes it as herby green falafels, pickled turmeric cauliflower, hummus, cucumber and seasoned leafy greens on a base of basmati rice topped with sundried tomatoes, roasted pistachios, parsley and vegan dill coconut yoghurt dressing.  But when I checked back to photo I can see carrots and olives as well.  It was delicious and such a nice change from the usual falafel bowls with, hummus, cucumber, tomato and pita bread.  The hummus was quite thick but I really liked the dressing.

Faye had the Breakfast Bowl ($21).  She had the vegan option with extra beans, mushrooms and vegan feta instead of eggs and goats feta. It was a generous bowl of spiced black beans, mushrooms, roasted tomato salsa, and smashed avocado on a bed of leafy greens topped with vegan feta, pickled onions, sundried tomatoes, black sesame seeds and vegan chipotle mayonnaise.  I think I would have liked the option to add hash browns but it looked pretty good.

I was curious about their sandwiches and returned there recently when I needed a quick lunch before a swim.  It was too late to get a Mama Mia toastie with roasted vegies, sundried tomatoes and vegan feta.  However there was a toastie in the display cabinet.  While I waited for it, I had some of the Good Brew Kombucha on tap.  I chose the chlorophyll, sencha mint and apple kombucha which was really refreshing.

The I'm Vegan Toastie ($13) was delicious with vegan cheese, pesto, sweet potato, capsicum, eggplant, sundried tomato, nutritional yeast and rocket.  Unfortunately when I have visited for lunch recently I have not perused the grocery shelves.  Maybe next time.

Pachamama Wholefoods and Kitchen
74-78 Sydney Road, Brunswick, 3056
info@pachamamawholefoods.com.au
www.pachamamawholefoods.com.au