Thursday 31 August 2017

Muesli slice and random links

I made these muesli bars because I get annoyed at how big muesli bars are in the shops.  I feel half the size would be far better for a kid's lunchbox.  With school in mind, I managed to keep nuts out of these.  It was a challenge with adapting a recipe that called for 3/4 cup of nuts.  But life does go on without nuts.

Sylvia of course took a dislike to these bars because they were filled with too many bits.  I put one in her lunchbox anyway.  She ate quite a bit, even with all the crumbly bits left.  I decided that was a win.  Then we all got sick and the bars sat there for weeks.  

After 3 weeks in an airtight container I am surprised to find they are quite edible.  It seems like they might survive a nuclear holocaust.  (Which could be useful to feed the cockroaches!)  Even if you don't have a nuclear holocaust on your hands, it is good to know these last week if you get distracted.  And they make for a rather satisfying snack.

And now, before I finish I have a few random links to share:
Plus more muesli slice recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Choc chip muesli slice
Fruit, nut and tahini slice (v)
Pumpkin muesli slice (v)
Rustic muesli squares
Tahini muesli bars

Muesli Slice
Adapted from

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup dried fruit such as cranberries, sultanas and apricots
2/3 cup wholemeal  flour
1/2 cup choc chips  
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
1/2 cup tahini (or nut butter)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 eggs or flax eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix oats, pepitas, coconut, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds in a large shallow baking tin.  Cook for about 8 minutes at 160 C.  Cool slightly.   

Meanwhile mix dried fruit, flour, choc chips, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.

Now mix the wet ingredients - tahini, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla.

Finally mix all ingredients together.  Spread into a slice tin and bake at 160 C for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in tin and then slice into squares or bars.  Lasts at least 3 weeks.

NOTES: I used milk chocolate but would prefer dark chocolate in these.  I used cranberries, sultanas and dates but would prefer cranberries and dried apricots.  I have put in baking powder as I was wondering if that might make them more cakier but am not sure this would make them last as well or not.  A flax egg is 1 tbsp flaxmeal or ground linseeds and 3 tbsp water.  I used flax eggs and these stayed together well.

On the Stereo:
The Blue Notebooks: Max Richter

Monday 28 August 2017

Donut Fest, Melbourne, August 2017

When Sylvia found out there was a Donut Fest in our part of town, she begged to go.  So I dutifully bought tickets.  Unfortunately by the time the fest rolled around a week ago, I was sick with no appetite and Sylvia had been up with a fever the previous night.  Not all all auspicious.  But we dragged ourselves out.

If Sylvia had not been so keen, I don't think I would have gone along.  I didn't like that there was a $15 fee (or $10 early bird) to enter to purchase food.  (Even if a portion goes to charity.)  And when you entered, you had to put money on a card because it was a "cashless event".  But Sylvia is rather smitten with anything doughnut so it was worth it to make her happy.  Admittedly I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn't spent a week with no appetite and not much interest in going out to buy any sort of food.

I had hoped it would all be inside, having quite a sore throat, but there was a little outdoor area with food vans.  There was quite a range of doughnuts: the cute little doughnuts (pictured above) from Dipp'd, churros, good old jam doughnuts, Hungarian doughnuts, tim tam doughnut burgers, Greek doughnuts, and a wonderfully named Nuts About Tella selling the creative Leaning Tella of Pisa.

Sylvia, however made a beeline for Doughnut Time.  She is fascinated with all their doughnut designs online.

It was still pretty quiet when we arrived so Sylvia was able to grab a plastic chair and stand drooling over all the fun designs at Doughnut Time.  I was pleased to see a few vegan doughnuts throughout the festival like the ones above but I think they were in the minority.

One of the problems with a doughnut fest is that there is a limit to how many doughnuts you can eat.  What I liked about the festival, was the fun of looking at fancy designs and fun names.  Who can't fail to be impressed by a giant doughnut called a Donutella Versace which had a mini tub of nutella in the middle surrounded by chocolate crumble and gold leaf?  Many more of us than actually wants to buy such a doughnut!

I was keen to get to the indoor place.  The venue, where they hold the Batman Market, seems to have changed since we were last there.  Upon coming in we saw what was billed by the fest as a "mini donut museum and art installation".  It was indeed "mini".  Sylvia loved the doughnut balloon.

This area also had blow up doughnuts for the kids to play with and some doughnut merchandise such as t-shirts and jewellery.  It was a brightly lit indoor area that led into the dimly lit "glazed" hall with the dj and lots of doughnuts and beer on offer.  Not great conditions for photography but here are my photos of some of the offerings.

One woman we were chatting with told us that Downtown Donuts was the best value for money at $5 a doughnut and that they were some of the best on offer.  (Which tells you that this was not a cheap event.)  Downtown Donuts did some fun riffs on Aussie favourites: iced vovo, polly waffle, red skin, as well as a more adult strawberry and champagne doughnut with a syringe of champers to inject in them.

I was sad that they had sold out of the caramillionaires.  "Sea salt caramel filled donut with dark chocolate ganache, golden Caramello, gold choc nugget and edible gold bullion wrapped in cash."  I am not sure I would have been able to resist.

I really wanted to try the filled doughnuts from Uncle Donut in Geelong just to see how much filling they had.  The Banoffee Pie and The Malt and Tea Sir amused me.

Cupcake Central advertised that gluten free and vegan options.  I was impressed at their offerings for dietary restrictions but more impressed by the cute little doughnuts on top of the cupcakes. 

My photos don't do justice to how good the Holy Bombolina filled doughnuts looked.  I was very tempted by the nutella doughnuts but trying to move out of my comfort zone.  All the fancy doughnuts are amusing but the good old jam filled and nutella filled doughnuts are often all I want.  These doughnuts must have been good because they were awarded the Judges Award.

If there was an award for the best gimmick of the festival, it would have to go to the glow in the dark doughnuts by Krumbs and 196 Below.  I almost fell for the glow in the dark Gaytime doughnut.

Golden Gaytime Donuts were also available at Goldeluck's stall.  They had fierce competition with all the fancy dossants (donut croissants).  It was hard to tell if I preferred the gold leaf, fairy floss or tim tam dossant best.

Surely though the prettiest doughnuts at the festival were made by Penny for Pound.  I am not a fan of lemon meringue pie but I really loved how pretty the lemon meringue doughnuts were.  Or what about the little pastry caps on the apple pie doughnuts and the topping on the rhubarb ginger crumble cheesecake.  They also served s'mores, sticky date and chocolate hazelnut.

The festival was actually billed as a donut and beer fest.  I am not much of a beer lady these days so I didn't take much interest in the donut beer.  I had hoped to have a mug of mulled wine when I originally booked tickets but on the day I couldn't face it.  I had a small taster of the Smoky Bishop non alcoholic mulled wine and it was delicious.  On a good day I could have easily polished off a mug of it.  They were selling a mulled wine paste to mix into wine, which seemed a rather nice idea.

We did a lot of looking at doughnuts before we finally chose some.  I said sylvia could have two.  She chose a fairy floss dossant from Goldeluck's and a Kind-Er a Big Deal doughnut (with a Kinder Surprise Egg in the middle) from Doughnut Time.  We also bought E an iced vovo doughnut from Downtown Doughnuts and an It's Always a Gay Time custard filled doughnut from Doughnut Time because they would have loved to have been there.  Sylvia also got a doughnut necklace.

For myself I could not face one of the huge doughnuts.  So I chose a tub of little Honey Dee Loukoumades (Greek doughnuts) with nutella sauce.  They were great to eat because we weren't that hungry and they were a manageable size.  And they tasted delicious.  So good that they were given the People's Choice Award.  We ate the rest of the doughnuts at home where we could slice them up smaller.  I really liked the dossant and everyone else enjoyed the rest of the doughnuts.

Sylvia was absolutely delighted by the doughnut festival.  I am not convinced I would be keen to return but it was fun to go once, albeit a shame to be there without an appetite.

Donut Fest
19-20 August 2017
Batman Market, Gaffney Street, Coburg North

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Savoury Carrot Turmeric Muffins (vegan)

I was excited when I saw Vegan Richa's Turmeric Carrot Muffins some months ago.  I've been really enjoying making savoury muffins this year and loved the sound of these.  Only, when I read the recipe, I found they were sweet.  So I had to create my own savoury version.  Which I loved.

I made these a few weeks back after Sylvia had helped me clean the bathroom and I had hung out the washing.  Sylvia had gone to a friend's for a playdate so I made these quickly before I picked her up.  Fortunately I had written out my ideas for the recipe already because I had intended to make them earlier than I did.  This made it much faster as I did not have to think through the recipe.  I did mean to sprinkle some chia seeds on top but forgot, so I have kept this in the recipe.

I raced out the door as soon as I had taken them out of the oven.  Freshly baked muffins were wonderful to return to.  We ate some that day and I took some to work over the next few days.  The rest were put in the freezer for later.

We still have some in the freezer.  You see, there hasn't been much cooking or eating over the past week in our house.  A couple of weeks ago E got sick and then at the start of last week I caught his cold.  Yesterday was my first day back at work after a week off.  The aches have gone but I am still coughing and tired and don't have much appetite.  I am feeling better so hopefully I will enjoy these muffins from the freezer before long.

I highly recommend these savoury carrot turmeric muffins.  They make a substantial snack or a fine addition to a meal.  Just add soup!  The addition of turmeric gives the muffins the added nutritional boost of a superfood but also makes these a cheery yellow colour.

More savoury muffins at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cheese and parsley muffins (v)
Pumpkin miso muffins (v)
Savoury beetroot, carrot, chocolate and goats cheese muffins
Sweet potato, feta and sauerkraut muffins (v) 
Tofu feta, olive and sun-dried tomato muffins (v)

Savoury Carrot Turmeric Muffins
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe inspired by Vegan Richa
Makes 12 muffins

Wet ingredients:
1 heaped cup finely grated carrots (2 medium carrots)
3/4 cup milk (I used soy)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice (or lime juice)

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour (I used 1/3 white, 2/3 wholemeal)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup walnuts chopped 
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

chia seeds for topping

Mix wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium large mixing bowl.  Pour in wet ingredients and stir gently until combined.  Spoon into a greased 12 hole muffin tin.  Sprinkle with chia seeds.  Bake at 200 C for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

On the Stereo:
My Fair Lady (Broadway Cast Recording) soundtrack

Saturday 19 August 2017

Adam Liaw's pasties veganised

Some weeks back, I saw an Adam Liaw recipe for an Adelaide Pastie.  He talks about how in most of Australia the meat pie is the great Aussie lunch but in Adelaide it is the pastie.  Well, I beg to differ.  In my childhood in rural Victoria we chose between meat pies and pasties.  I usually chose pasties.  Even back then I wanted a little vegies in my meals.  Now, as a vegetarian, I took great delight in making these vegan.

I was particularly attracted to this pastie recipe because it has pumpkin in it.  Adam Liaw notes that "Cornish purists wouldn't stand for beef mince, carrot and pumpkin in their pasties".  It makes me laugh because my version of his pastie is even further from the traditional pastie.  However as a vegetarian, I am pretty used to not being with step with the purists.

I had some purple sapphire potatoes that I wanted to use for a splash of colour.  They were beautiful to slice and chop but once cooked, the colour has somewhat leached out.  I fried them separately in case the colour made everything murky but in the end I don't think it was worth the effort of having two frypans.

I added lentils and walnuts instead of beef and upped the vegemite for flavour and colour.  Though you can see in below photo it looks quite orange and then in the photos of assembling the pasties, the mixture is very brown.  I am not sure why.  But my dream of flashes of purple never came to be.

This is not a quick meal.  I spent about an hour during the day pottering about chopping and cooking the filling.  Luckily it was done before Sylvia came home with a friend from school and we decided to do a sleepover.  I just has to assemble and bake the pasties.  The kids just had puff pastry with cheese between it and some vegies on the side.  We put out the sofa bed and they sat on it with dinner and watched Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959 version).  While it is a little old fashioned, it has great sense-of-wonder in the scenes and kept the girls' attention

Meanwhile E and I also enjoyed the film and were very happy to have some hearty pasties to eat for our tea.  I was particularly proud of the shape of these pasties.  I have always found it hard to actually get the seam in the middle on top rather than on the side.  So I have a photographic step by step of how I did it (above) to share with other novices or just to remind myself for my next pastie.

However these are huge pasties for a big appetite and a hearty meal.  If you want them for picnics or potlucks then you can make them smaller (and even rectangular) and still consider yourself a pastie princess.  Just don't mention these to the purists!

I am sending this to Meat Free Mondays.

More lentil and walnut combinations on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Lentil and walnut pate (gf, v)
Lentil and walnut roast (v)
Purple carrot balls (v)
Vegetarian moussaka

Vegetarian pasties with lentils and walnuts
Adapted from Adam Liaw in the Sunday Age
Makes 5-6

1/2 cup walnuts
50g butter or margarine
1 brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 heaped cup diced pumpkin
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tin brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 heaped tsp Vegemite
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 tsp thyme leaves (or about 5 sprigs thyme)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp stock powder
2 tbsp finely shredded parsley

5-6 sheets puff pastry (ready rolled 25x25cm)
milk or egg to glaze

Toast walnuts on a dry frypan until smelling cooked.   Once cooled enough finely chop the walnuts and set aside.

Fry onion in butter over medium heat for a few minutes until soft.  Ad carrots, potatoes, pumpkin and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients (except parsley) and season with salt and black pepper.  Cook another 5-10 minutes and stir in parsley.  Check and adjust seasoning again.

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Line a couple of baking trays.

Take out 5-6 sheets of puff pastry.  Use a plate to trace a round of pastry.  (The scraps of pastry can be used for decoration or baked for snacks.)  Measure out a cup of mixture and tip into the middle of the pastry round.  Brush edges of the pastry round with egg or milk.  Press together edges of the round at the top of the mixture.  Then press together each side.  Now fold and pinch the pastry along the top.

Place pasties on lined baking trays.  Brush with egg or milk (I used soy milk).  Make a few knife marks for the steam to escape.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These are great with hot with tomato sauce and some greens or salad on the side.  But I wont judge you if you just want to eat one cold for breakfast the next morning, if you have any leftover.

NOTES: I used 4 medium purple sapphire potatoes instead of 2 large potatoes.  I fried them separated as I worried their colour would bleed and make everything murky but it didn't.  Rather the purple potatoes lost their colour and I could have put them in with everything.  I found that 1 cup of filling in each pastie made 5 pasties.  Adam Liaw directed to used 1/2 cup but this did not seem enough for the amount of pastry.  If you don't want large pastries you could do them rectangular like these pasties.  These pasties can be vegetarian or vegan.  If you want to make sure they are vegan, use vegan butter for frying, vegan puffed pastry (Pampas light puff pastry and Borgs do vegan puff pastry) and vegan milk for glazing.

On the Stereo:
The Captain: Kasey Chambers

Thursday 17 August 2017

St Collins Lane: 70 Grams, Burger Project, Sake Jr

You gotta be quick in this town.  Some cafes are there one moment and gone the next.  Take Sake Jr for example.  It was my new favourite cafe in the city.  My friend Jane took me there during her lunchtime and I loved it so much that I was so determined to get back to it.  However by the time I finally returned a few months later it has closed.  Waaah!  So I tried a few other places in the St Collins Lane Food Hall.

I hadn't heard of St Collins Lane (260 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD) until I went to Sake Jr in May.  For those of you also scratching your head, it is not a lane but a shopping centre.  Formerly known as Australia on Collins.  They've given it a face lift and a new name.  It shows how trendy Melbourne laneways are that they are now calling shopping centres "lanes".  I just about forgive the silliness of it because I really love the green columns hanging from the ceiling of the food hall.  However it makes for a difficult light to photograph food.

Sake Jr aims to serve beautiful fresh Japanese food.  Indeed I found it to be a notch about your usual food hall offerings.  And it was very easy to order a Build Your Own Bowl as a vegetarian.  I was asked if I was vegetarian or vegan and alerted to any component with fish sauce.  It was refreshing to have someone tell me rather than have to be asking.

Here is what I had in my bowl:
  • Base - brown rice
  • Protein - fried battered tofu and pickled shitake mushrooms
  • Vegies - pumpkin (could have been a tad more cooked), brussels sprouts, edamame, corn
  • Dressing - sesame yuzu
  • Garnish - sesame seeds and dried garlic
  • Pickles - carrot and daikon

It was such a lovely healthy bowl of rice, tofu and vegies.  The sesame yuzu dressing was wonderful - creamy with a slightly tart citrus flavour.  I also had a miso soup on the side.  Since finding that Sake Jr is no longer in St Collins Lane, I have found that it is now open in 555 Bourke Street.  It is the Western end of the city where I don't go often but I am considering making a trip there just to go to Sake Jr.  However with the way cafes open and close, I guess I need to be quick.

When I found that Sake Jr had closed I checked out the other offerings in the food hall.  At first glance it was the usual offerings of Chinese, Indian, pizza and burger.  However I found that 70 grams did not just offer pizza (which looked very good) but also a selection of salads. I chose a freekeh salad of mixed nuts, asparagus, broccoli and parsley with caesar dressing (there was also a choice of vinaigrette). It was delicious and healthy.

It was so healthy that I decided it needed some chips on the side.  I had checked out the fancy Burger Project and not been wowed by the one vegetarian option of crumbed confit mushroom, cheese, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce.  Mushrooms are not my thing.  But the chips looked really good.  They were hot and crisp and just what any healthy salad needs.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Avocado, rocket and brie scones (vegan)

For International Scone Well this week I made avocado rocket and brie scones.  Despite all my ideas for scones such as pumpkin date and tomato cheese, I finally settled on the half avocado to be used, the rocket in the enticingly named scones and the vegan brie that piqued my curiosity.

I took my inspiration from the Avocado and Hemp Scones at Bite Sized Thoughts and the Green Grass Scones at Laws of the Kitchen.  The cheese was a Damona brie that seemed uninspiring when straight from the fridge but was wonderful and melty when warmed.

The dough was quite sticky and needed a lot of flour to be able to handle in any way.  However I managed to knead it and shove some chunks of brie into it.  When it came out of the oven these scones were soft and amazing.  And I loved that they were really green inside.

I had planned to make pizza for tea.  Then the scones were so lovely that I decided to heat up a tin of tomato soup to eat with them.  The pizza will have to wait for another day.  Meanwhile the scones were great for breakfast the next day too.

I am sending the scones to Tandy at Lavendar and Lime for International Scone Week 2017.

More savoury scones on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Beetroot, apple and walnut scones (v)
Cheeseymite scones
Kale scones (v)
Leek, walnut and blue cheese scones  
Pumpkin, pecan and poppyseed scones (v)
Walnut, brie and apple scones

Avocado, rocket and brie scones
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Makes 9

1/3 cup milk (I used soy)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

90g avocado flesh (1/2 an avocado)
1 tsp seeded mustard

1 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp chia seeds
pinch salt

30g (1 handful) rocket, chopped
90g brie, cubed and divided
extra flour for handling dough

Mix milk and vinegar.  Set aside to thicken and curdle.

Preheat oven to 220 C and line an oven tray.

Mash avocado with a fork.  Stir in milk mixture and mustard.  Set aside.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium large bowl.  Gently stir in rocket and avocado mixture.

Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead a few times using a good amount of flour to help handle it if it is sticky.  Pat down and push 2/3 of the cheese into it and knead once or twice, then pat down again.  Cut into 9 squares and transfer to prepared oven tray.  Press a chunk of brie into each piece.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Wrap in a tea towel until ready to eat.  Best eaten warm on day of baking.

NOTES: I used 1 tbsp vinegar with enough milk to make up 1/2 cup but it was really sticky so I reduced it back to 1/3 cup like Kari did.  But I think the extra milk probably helped make the scones softer.  My scones were vegan with vegan milk and vegan cheese but the scones can be vegan or not depending on diet and available ingredients.  I think the scones would work without cheese if you wanted them vegan and could not find any vegan brie - I highly recommend the Damona vegan brie.  I baked my muffins for 15 minutes but they were quite brown and my oven is slow so I suggest checking earlier. 

On the Stereo:
Picaresque: The Decembrists

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Zucchini cheese muffins

When we were planning to visit some properties for Open House Melbourne after Sylvia's gymnastics class, it occurred to me that we hadn't factored in lunch.  And a young girl needs lunch after gymnastics.  Sylvia had mentioned she had made zucchini muffins in the Kitchen Garden program at school so I decided to try changing one of our favourite cheese muffins into zucchini muffins.

I am very grateful to the Kitchen Garden program at school which has given Sylvia confidence and adventure in the kitchen.  It would have been hard to convince her to eat zucchini muffins if not for the program.  And the cheese muffins were inspired by baking in the program too, which has given Sylvia a lot of ownership for that recipe.

The muffins were made after I had made pancakes for Sylvia and her friend who had slept here the night before.  The two girls were a bit flat (tired) as the morning went on but then they discovered the wonderful combination of ribbons and wind.  They were outside marvelling at the ribbons swirling and dancing on the strong wind gusts.  I had hurried through baking muffins and rushed outside to go to gym and found that the ribbons and wind had turned on me.  The ribbons were tangled in the rosebushes and, as I hastily tried to get them out, the wind would rip them out of my hand and tangle them some more.  I was very windblown and cross by the time I emerged with most of the ribbons in a bundle and my hands cut by thorns.

The girls enjoyed snatching a warm muffin or two in the car.  Later that day when Sylvia had finished her gymnastics class, the muffins were great to snack on as we were driving around Melbourne's Open House properties with my parents chatting about places they had known, what had changed and when to ignore the GPS because they know Melbourne well enough even though it is over 40 years since they last lived here.  Seeing the properties was so much more pleasant with a well fed kid.  And they made me happy that I managed to get some greens and protein into her lunch on the run.  A rare win!

I am sending these muffins to Eat Your Greens.  Shaheen is hosting this month and has been sharing lots of zucchini (courgette) recipes so I know she will appreciate these.  Check out her Allotment 2 Kitchen blog for lots more zucchini recipes.

More zucchini recipes at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Zucchini brownie with smoked walnuts (v)
Zucchini, greens and chickpea salad with blueberry dressing (gf, v)
Zucchini koftas with tomato gravy (gf, v)
Zucchini layer cake with cream cheese frosting (gf, v)
Zucchini and noodle slice
Zucchini and rice burgers
Zucchini slice (with tofu bacon)

Zucchini cheese muffins
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 24 mini muffins

1 medium zucchini
2/3 cup soy milk
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup white plain flour
1/3 cup wholemeal plain flour
2/3 cup ground almonds
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 200 C and grease and/or line 2 x 12 hole mini muffin tins.  (Mine are silicone so I just cut small circles of baking paper for the bottom.)

Finely grate zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as possible - I did this by pressing it in a colander but it could be done by making a bag of a teatowel or cheesecloth and squeezing out the liquid.  Mix with soy milk and olive oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the liquids and stir until just mixed.

Spoon batter into mini muffin holes.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Sit for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

NOTES: These could be baked as regular sized muffins but might need to cook slightly longer.  We used soy milk and dairy cheese but dairy milk and vegan cheese could be used depending on your preference.  Given that the cheese muffin recipe these came from worked well with vegan (bio)cheese, I would recommend making these with vegan cheese if you want vegan muffins.  To make nut free, substitute flour for ground almonds.

On the stereo:
Fin de siecle - The Divine Comedy

Sunday 6 August 2017

In My Kitchen: August 2017

August is the month when the year seems to be whizzing by at a frightening rate.  In July you can kid yourself that it is still the middle of the year but in August we are well and truly on the downward slope and suddenly feeling the pressure to do everything we promised at the start of the year.  So it is not just the cold, the dark, the rain and the lack of good fresh fruit that makes August a difficult month.

Luckily pancakes brighten up chilly winter mornings.  Pancakes shapes bring even more cheer.  We found these cheap shapes in a local $2 Shop.  The might have been meant for eggs.  We have had fun making fluffy vegan pancakes in shapes, though they rise a bit so I have had to try and go easy on the amount of batter in the shapes.

The fluffy vegan pancakes are quite like pikelets if you make them small.  However sometimes Sylvia loves to buy 'pikelets' which I think are more like pancakes as they as quite thin.  Lately they have come in a few different flavours.  The one above in cinnamon and we have also had chocolate.  I still prefer home made.

This battered old thing is a stressball in the shape of a cow.  We had her for ages.  I think she was a present.  And quite a lot of fun.  Now she has grown so worn that she is here for old times sake before heading for the out pile.

Sourdough bread.  Fresh loaves are always a delight in our kitchen.

My latest venture for reducing some of our landfill is a worm farm.  The instructions make me feel quite worried for my new little worms.  It said that they like to be warm.  This worried me on the first night here when it was 2 C.  However they are still hanging in there after a few weeks..

During the school holidays, a trip to the Queen Vic Market saw us come home with many goodies.  The walnuts, charcoal lavosh crackers, blueberries, quince paste and dried apricots were for the Christmas in July dessert platter.  The caramel fudge disappeared quickly.  It was very good.  I am still looking for opportunities for the Israeli couscous and the chilli lime carnitas jackfruit.  I also came home with purple potatoes and wish I had also bought the purple brussel sprouts.

I also bought a few cheeses at the Queen Vic Market for the dessert platter: Swiss cheese. smoked cheese, brie and a raspberry infused cheese.  It is a great joy to choose and eat good cheese.

I also picked up these black tahini, black beans, truffle oil and mini crackers at the Queen Vic Market.  I have used all but the black tahini.  I am wondering how to use it.  I have tried it in baking biscuits but would like to try it in bread, cake, brownies or even scones (remember it is International Scone Week next week).

A few new bits are around the kitchen.  Some new bowls with swirly patterns that caught my eye.  When I bought them home, I found that E had also fancied them in the shop.  In the back of the photo are some new ice cream bowls that I bought months ago that had an outing in the school holidays when Sylvia had a yen to make Sundaes.  The mason jar with straw came from an Alice in Wonderland party that Sylvia went to a few weeks back.  A fun way to give out "party bags" in the jar.

I have recently become a fan of Bosisto's washing powder and stain remover.  A friend recommended the stain remover and it really does work well.  I had been looking for a good environmentally friendly washing machine powder and so I have started using this one.  The eucalyptus smell is quite comforting.

I have tried a few vegan yoghurts and found then soy ones to be thin and taste very odd and the coconut ones to be too fatty and bland.  Last week I was looking for a yoghurt and noticed there were quite a few new vegan yoghurts in the supermarket aisle.  I think there were 4 or 5 brands of coconut yoghurt.  I decided to try this Nakula passionfruit yoghurt.  It isn't bad but a bit rich.  I think the passionfruit flavour helps give it a bit of that slightly sour flavour.

As I haven't been baking much, I have been buying crackers for snacks.  Rice crackers and Vita Wheats are favourite.  Recently I tried the cheese pretzels which are ok but I prefer the more yeasted pretzel crackers than these pastry ones.  I am yet to try the hommus crisps.  They sound interesting but disappoint me that it is mostly potato starch rather than chickpea flour.

Lastly, I recently had a clean out of plastic tubs because I found some of the Decor ones that I like and bought them before mine could get too manky.  Once the tubs were out of the cupboard, our cat Shadow hopped in.  He's always curious about what is going on in the house. 

As for our cupboards, I am not feeling very happy about them because I managed to catch my jeans on a handle as I walked through the kitchen tonight and it tore a hole in them. Usually I like our 1960s cupboard handles but tonight I wish we had smoother and rounder handles.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 10th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens.