Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DIY: Coconut Yogurt


(This is probably not the best picture. I've covered the yogurt in coconut, dates and served it with grilled pineapple. You get the idea.)

Man, was this hit and miss. I've tried a lot of ways to make coconut yogurt, adding this and that and trying to make a tart tasting, somewhat solid cream but it took a lot of time and testing. I mean, I still ate the runny coconut cream but it certainly wasn't yogurt. All the recipes I have read make it sound so bloody easy. Lies. 

So here is what I figured out. 
To make something that will become yogurt-y, I needed a cream that will solidify in the fridge and doesn't contain additives. A lovely person on the Adelaide Vegans Facebook page (which I have since stopped following but that is another story) suggested that I try Premium Ayam coconut milk. It has no additives, has a slight grey colour to it and sets when in the fridge. The can even says so. So far, this is the only cream I've had luck with. 

I don't bother heating it because firstly, the can it came from is already sterile and secondly, when I've tried that the yogurt has come out runny and lumpy. Not sexy. 

As part of the process, the cream goes into a sterile container. It must be sterile. I will reiterate this. It's not hard, though.

Then, I add one or two capsules of Dairy Free probiotics. Of course, I empty the contents of the capsules into the cream and give it a good stir. 

Finally, I add about a dessert spoon of icing sugar and stir well. I've tried making the yogurt without it, but unfortunately for the probiotics to multiply, it needs sugar to feast on. It helps improve the flavour of the yogurt substantially and actually converts from sugar to probiotic in the container, so rest assured your yogurt will not be sweet. 

I have an electric yogurt heater, so I place the bowl in that and set the timer for ten hours. After that, the yogurt goes in the fridge for the time being- at least 2 hours to cool. 

There it is! Some kind of magic. It works out to be about $5 for a litre so it's not ├╝ber cheap, but is at least half the cost of buying coconut yogurt in store. It is tart and yogurty- more like a plain yogurt so it can be used for either sweet or savoury foods. 

One thing is essential. Make sure all of your bits and pieces are clean and sterile. Bacteria thrive in this environment, and the only bacteria we want to see is the cute little probiotics.

Have fun. Xx 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

You like Banh Mi? I like Sit Lo.

My husband took me to Sit Lo today. It was amazing! I ordered the tofu and mushroom Banh mi, coconut slushee and lotus root chips. The girl serving was super friendly and even asked if I was vegan when we ordered. The food was well priced and serving sizes were perfect. The decor is pretty cute, too. Kinda dark, industrial but warm and cozy at the same time. 

They also do noodle salads and cold rolls- things I am very much a fan of. 

I would highly recommend for anyone wanting a tasty meal with omnivore options. Sit Lo can be found on Bank Street, Adelaide, just between Hindley St and North Tce. 


Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet- A Cookbook Review.



Heya lovely people of the mysterious Internet.

This week sees me preparing for an art exhibition featuring me and some lovely ladies that I happened upon in art school, oh so long ago. I'm really enjoying this no-work baloney, however every time the baby in my guts kicks out a jam, I'm left wondering if this is in fact the moment that my life will change forever. Not so far. Still waiting, waiting.

In the meantime, I've been cooking, cleaning and painting. My midwife wants me to get all my art out the way before Le bebe arrives. She's worried about my stress levels. I know that her heart is in the right place, however she does not know that I get stressed  when I have nothing to do. This whole "resting" thing is great, but seriously. I could die from boredom. My attention span is short. I need to keep busy.

A wonderful little book arrived in the mail late last week to keep me entertained. I love that. Mailbox presents. It's called The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet and as the title suggests, contains the recipes of 150 green smoothies.

I have another book on green smoothies and I wondered exactly how much can be written about the smoothie that is incredibly vibrant and happens to come in one of my favourite colours.

I was pleasantly surprised as I started to read through The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet by Tracy Russell. I mean, obviously, I initially thought that the title really had it's big girl pants on and had a lot to live up to, but I feel like this book is quite different to a lot of  the other fad cookbooks out there at the moment. I've read so many that focus on  the spiritual side of well being, taking "me" time and all that jazz, and that's all very well and good, but I want to know how these ingredients will effect me and my body and my blood.

As someone that has naturally low iron levels (they've actually increased since going vegan BTW), and obviously, as someone that works as a registered nurse, I like to find reasons as to why things happen and then go on to find the solutions. In this cookbook, Russell gives me the information I crave. Sure, she's been on a big "journey" (don't you just love that buzz word?), loosing weight and decreasing her cholesterol levels all with the help of turning salads into delicious drinks. What makes this book different, however is that not only does she tell you how to make your own concoctions with hints and tips, but the recipes are divided into sections such as "Calcium-Rich Green Smoothies", "Iron-Rich Green Smoothies", "Immune- Boosting Green Smoothies" amongst many other chapters.

I really like that. Sometimes I just need a boost and baby, I'm going to skip straight to that chapter.

Being pregnant as I am, vitamins and minerals are a major focus for me at the moment. So is making sure that my body is going to handle this whole birth thing. I know it won't kill me and I'm not going to say that I'm looking forward to it, but I do want to make sure I am in the best possible condition with as much energy as possible when it happens.

One of the first recipes in The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet to take my eye was the Apple-Mango Green Smoothie, mainly because I had all of the ingredients in my refrigerator.  Each recipe gives a brief overview of the benefits of the smoothie involved. The blurb here states that apples are incredibly high in fibre and that the lemon and cucumber have wonderful hydrating properties. Next to the recipe is the nutrition info detailing things like calorie intake, fat, protein, carbs, calcium and vitamins and minerals. This is what is lacking in a great deal of recipe books.

So, overall, I quite like this book. It's helpful, handy and most importantly gets to the point without all the fluff.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Parsnip Puttanesca and two weeks to go.


You'll have to excuse the photo... 


It's week 37, day 4. Christmas Day was the last day I could touch my toes without bending my knees, so I'm not doing too badly. The weather has warmed up substantially, but I don't mind. I'm a hot weather girl. It is a bit shit though, as there have been some serious bush fires to the north east of Adelaide. It's incredibly scary knowing that so many people are currently displaced and worried about their homes and pets. Having said that makes me feel a little guilty that I can just go on with my life. My door is open for anyone who needs help but I'm afraid I'd be useless to help in any other way right now. 

With two weeks more or less to go I'll remember this time of the year, what I was doing, what was going on, and I'll tell my child when it's old enough to understand. 

On a personal level, I am trying to move some of this fluid that had just decided to house itself in my feet. I'm drinking dandelion tea (dirty, burned coffee anyone?), drinking lots of water and mobilising as much as I can. I feel like I'm preparing for an exam, or more appropriately, a marathon. 

I haven't eaten amazingly well throughout my pregnancy, just going with my cravings and energy levels. I've not eaten terribly, but there have been nights including tubs of So Good and a small spoon amongst other things. Bread has always been my downfall. 

I always had this idea of being this perfect yoga practising, clean eating goddess during pregnancy, but the first 6 weeks of committing and nausea left me thankful that I could just get a simple meal in my mouth in the first place. As I've stated before, I couldn't even think of food without vomiting. That kind of changed my game plan. 

Today, I've been looking at going back to super clean eating, with an emphasis on improving my vitamin and mineral levels before the big day. 

For breakfast, we had waffles made from oats, banana, vanilla and baking powder, thrown in a blender until smooth and then used as batter. With that, we had frozen banana blended into ice cream, with strawberries and maple syrup. The meal felt so decadent. 

For lunch, I made something like yuki udon, substituting noodles for thinly sliced cabbage and spirilised carrot. 

Just now, I've made a pasta puttanesca using spiralised parsnip, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, olives, flakes chilli, garlic and some veggie stock all cooked in a pan with a little water until cooked. I served it with blanched asparagus and sheese smoked cheddar. 
It was all delicious and surprisingly quick. I'll be going back there, for sure. 

If you're looking to bump up your intake of vitamins and minerals, I'd suggest substituting pasta, noodles and bread for veggies. It's just too easy. 

Have a great day everyone, and let's hope these fires stop buring soon. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Who gives a crap? A little bit about loo paper.



Get your bum onto something good.

I discovered Who Gives A Crap toilet paper a little while ago. The design is sexy, the name is funny and the work they do is amazing. I have subscribed to their service, which means they send me a box of their fancy product every 4 months to keep me in fresh supply.

This blog post is not sponsored, by the way. I just wanted to give this company a plug for good karma.

Here is some info from their website:

Flush Poverty Down the LooAt present, 40% of the world’s population don’t have access to a toilet. This is a leading contributor to endemic poverty and is a major drag on economic growth in some of the world's poorest countries. Diarrhoea related illnesses fill over half sub-Saharan African hospital beds and kill over 2,000 children under 5 every day. We think that’s pretty crap. That’s why we give 50% of our profits to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

Make Every Wipe CountWe believe that the need to wipe shouldn’t mean we wipe out the planet. That’s why we only use 100% post consumer waste recycled fibres in our toilet paper. It saves on trees, water and landfill which means you’re doing your bit while doing your bit to help keep our planet great. This is particularly great for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, recycled paper uses 64 percent less energy and 50 percent less water to produce; creates 74 percent less air pollution; saves 17 trees (per ton of paper produced); and creates five times more jobs than one ton of paper products made from virgin wood pulp.
Secondly, the equivalent of about 270,000 trees is either landfilled or flushed every day and 10% of this global total is from toilet paper!

Be Good for Your BumWe don’t use any chlorine, inks, dyes or weird perfumes in our toilet paper. We just pulp the clean fibres at super high temperatures to make WGAC biodegradable, safe in septic tanks and as strong as it is silky soft. And since it’s only tested on the finest human bottoms, our toilet paper is as good for your bum as it is for the planet
Sounds good, huh? You can find out more at http://whogivesacrap.chargebee.com. xx

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Suzie Spoon's Vegetarian Kitchen.

              (The tart that I made ��)


I first heard of Suzie Spoon a year ago, when wandering around Newtown in Sydney, I stumbled across her store: Suzie Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher. As the name suggests, she sells a variety of handmade mock meats and let me tell you, they're damn delicious. 
You can imagine my excitement when I was parousing the cookbook section of my local bookshop. I was pushing the scalding knowledge that I already own far too many cookbooks deep into the back of my mind. 

This elegant cover stood out from the shelves, and as I turned the pages, I noticed that the food presented wasn't your usual run of the mill stuff that you get in most vegan cookbooks. 
Admittedly, there are a couple of vegetarian recipes, but they can easily be adapted. Think recipes like salt and pepper mushrooms, beer battered tofu, sweet chilli barbecue seitan, chocolate self saucing pudding, and my favourite recipe so far caramelised onion and tofu tart. 
I made the tart for a brunch I had with some omnivorous girlfriends. I wasn't sure how they'd react to the tofu, but they actually went back for seconds. 

Winner. 

I think I'll make the Hills Hoist bean salad next. 

 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Juice, juice, baby.


Sometimes, you just gotta make do with what you've got. This is carrot, apple and fennel cold pressed juice for le breakfast. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

YES PLEASE!

I'm quite enjoying 'Yes please' by Amy Poehler. She's an interesting woman, who doesn't exactly lay all her insecurities on the table, but rather tells it as a genuinely good natured, funny sister would. It's good to hear some 'I've been there and this is what happened to me' advice, as opposed to the 'I've been there and this is what I did and there is no other way it can be done because I am entirely right' advice that gets thrown around a lot. She's witty and hopeful, and that is just plain beautiful. #SundayReedBookClub



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Menulog- My new favourite app.

I used to work in a call centre. Surely that is enough of a reason to explain how much I dislike talking on the phone, especially if I have no idea what they are offering me on the other end.
I've been living in Woodville Park, suburban Adelaide, for almost 2 years now and there is a huge range of multicultural restaurants around here- ones I drive passed and ones I hear of. Let me explain how those two seemingly separate sentences go together.

One word: Menulog. Food delivery made simple.



Menulog is a website and an app that will give you a list of local restaurants and menus where you can either order food for delivery or pickup by simply selecting what you want and selecting how you pay.

The first time I used it, it was the day after my wedding. My muddled brain was longing for indian food and I wanted to shout a surprise meal for all of my friends who were at my house after helping with the big day.

I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled across the site as I was trawling the internet, trying not to look obvious about what I was up to, but somehow it appeared.

Menulog asked initially for my postcode. Easy. That's 5011. A list of restaurants that service my suburb appeared on the screen. The choice was fantastic (and it is constantly growing every time I check it). I discovered places I had never even heard of, offering discounts and deliciousness. Menulog supplies reviews of the restaurants that they feature with a star rating, making it easy to get a good idea of the quality of food that you are about to order.

On this fateful night, I chose a restaurant called Spicy Garden. I was able to click on the menu, choose the items, how much chilli I wanted in them, pay by paypal and have it delivered within the hour.

Shortly after ordering, I was sent a text message and an email informing me that my order had been received and that it would be delivered at "such and such" time.

As I am obviously vegan, there was a section for comments where I simply wrote, "no egg, no dairy please", as the restaurant had a wide range of vego options that I could choose from. I also ordered a ginger beer, and as they didn't have any, they were kind enough to call me and offer a substitute.

My buddies were stoked with the surprise of a tasty meal to fill their bellies. We lazed on bean bags and watched movies whilst chowing down on veggie curry, dahl, rice, naan and pakoras.

It was a pretty good night, where we were all left full with satisfaction.

Since that fateful night in April, I have used Menulog maybe once a fortnight, trying out different restaurants and gaining loyalty credits from the ones that I frequent.

It's so handy, I have even ordered it on my way home from some various outing as I've known when it would arrive. The menus are all at the tip of your fingers and so there is no need to clutter your fridge with paper or call a restaurant and wing it.

Best of all- it doesn't cost a thing, and if you don't see one of your favourite restaurants, you can suggest it and Menulog will contact them.

This is a sponsored post, but I stand by these statements. When I was approached by the Menulog team, I was more than happy to be a part of helping them gain exposure because it's a brilliant food delivery service that you should know about and I have been using for months already.

Happy eating. x