Friday, July 3, 2015

A round-a-bout vegan Mushroom & Leek Pie.

Thursday is like Christmas.

Each Thursday a man from Juice Quest delivers to me a box of locally grown organic/pesticide free/conventional fruit and vegetables. It's always a nice surprise to open the box and find inspiration for this weeks meals. It's $35 delivered or $30 pick up from Magill (Adelaide only- sorry!) and it's more than enough to feed this little family of 2 adults and a baby for a week. Actually, I have a backlog of fruit at the moment so I asked for a 'veg only' box this week. It kicks arse. I love veggies. (This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I actually love this service. I'm not a supermarket shopper and I like surprises.)

The reason I bring that up is that yesterday I opened the box to find a shitload of sexy looking mushrooms. They were small but fat. The kind that you could imagine being brined and canned to make champignons. 

My go-to for mushrooms is normally soup. Cream of mushroom and Cream of Pumpkin being my favourites. 

I wanted to make something different this week. I've been playing with dough a lot lately. It's much easier to play with than I imagined. Last week was all about pizza. Yesterday, it was all about pie. With my trusty rolling pin, picked up from the local Salvo's for like, a dollar, it's all go. I'm one of those people that like to cook from scratch for so many reasons. 
It's cheaper. It tastes better. It doesn't use as much packaging. It's really not as time consuming as you would imagine. 
Plus, it gives me a feeling of what it would be like to have my own cooking show as I dance, sing and explain what I'm doing to keep my 5 month old daughter entertained.

I didn't take a list of ingredients as I didn't measure them but after posting photos of the pie on Instagram I was asked to do a write up about it, so here goes. 

Vegan Mushroom & Leek Pie
Serves 4-6.

All measurements are approximate. Use you're judgement and adjust accordingly (I know that sounds obvious, but it takes all types to spin this world.)
For the dough. 
•2 cups of plain flour. 
•Half a cup of vegan margarine. 
•2 Tablespoons of cold water. 

For the filling:
•A tablespoon of vegan margarine. 
•3 cups of sliced mushrooms. 
•One sliced leek. 
•2 cloves of crushed garlic. 
•One star anise (optional, but Jamie Oliver taught me that frying one of these babies with mushrooms makes the flavour more 'meaty'. Always remove before serving, though).
•A small handful of fresh parsley leaves.
•Half a cup of coconut milk. 
•One teaspoon of powdered vegetable stock.
•A splash of white wine. 
•A tablespoon of flour. 

The dough. 
Place the flour into a bowl. Add in the margarine and mix it together with your hands. Add a little water in and keep keeding to form a nice dough. One it's formed, roll it into a ball, put it into a small container and put it in the fridge while you make the filling. 

The filling:
Melt the margarine in a frypan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Fry until they're golden and cooked. Not too cooked, though. Just nicely browned. Have a taste. Would you eat that as is? If yes, then you're good.

Add the rest of the ingredients, sprinkling the flour over the mushrooms so that you don't end up with clumps. Cook the mixture down until it's a little saucy. Add salt & pepper to taste. Taste it. Add whatever make you the happiest.

Take a pie dish, a rolling pin and grab your dough from the fridge. Roll about 3/4 of the the pastry out so that it fits into your pie dish. You want a thin crust, maybe half a centimetre thick, or as thin as you can get it. Put that in your pie dish to make the base. You may need to grease your pan if it's not non-stick. 
Next, add the filling, remembering to remove the star anise. 
Roll out some more pastry to make the top of the pie and put it on the top, pressing down the sides. Cut a couple of holes in the top to allow air to escape. 

Cook for about 30 minutes in an oven set to 180C- or at least until it's browned. My oven is temperamental with temperatures  but I think this is a good starting point. You may need more time.  

And that's it! I served mine with a jacket potato, gravy, kale coleslaw & boiled beetroot. 

Winner! Winner! Mushroom Dinner! Or something. Haha! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday Slide Night.


I'm looking at the small things this week. Trying not to get too caught up in my crazy imagination and remembering to breath in the beauty that surrounds me.
Paying it forward. Truth is beauty. 

One thing I have learned recently is how to ask for help and also how to accept help. I don't know why, but I rarely ever do ask. I just get on with it. Learning how to ask for help (without feeling like a burden) has bought me closer to my friends and family and I like that. It's also made everything so much easier. I don't know why I always thought it was so hard. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cafe POD

Today we've stopped at Cafe POD in Tanunda for a soy Dirty Chai. Tanunda is in the Barossa Valley, a wine making region about an hours drive north of Adelaide. 
The restaurant is super cute with crocheted blankets on the chairs outside and log fires within. 
The menu is varied, but it does consist of a lot of gluten free and vegan meals. 
The vegan meals consist of a felafel plate, a lentil coconut curry & a veggie burger with a homemade lentil & poppyseed patty. 
It's always good to be able to go for a Sunday drive and know there is somewhere good to eat. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Eating good food at Red Lime Shack.

Red Lime Shack is located on Commercial road in Port Adelaide.  I love Port Adelaide. The buildings are beautiful. The history is fascinating and there is more and more happening in terms of community. On a good day, you can even see dolphins in the river. 

Red Lime Shack serves breakfast, snacks, lunch and coffee. The staff are really friendly. It's essentially vegan, but they keep dairy milk on hand for passers by wanting coffee. 

The set up is great, with art on the walls and vintage tables and chairs in a large, hall-like setting. Totally child friendly. 

Red Lime Shack is a great little spot. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Slow Cooker Apple Crumble Porridge x

Is oatmeal the same as porridge? I'm not entirely sure. I grew up knowing porridge. Not oatmeal. Words are funny.

I have fallen in love with my crock pot. It's a vintage contraption, born perhaps in the 70's when olive green was the colour du jour. I've had a few crock pots over the years but I'm feeling like I'm only just now learning to use it. I've only just figured out that it can be used for more than soups and that the timing does need to be right otherwise I end up with this weird stench that emanates from the food.

I've been using it almost everyday for the last two weeks. It's just so easy to have it cooking during the day whilst I'm looking after the babe. I throw everything in the pot in the morning, set the timer and forget about it until the evening. I bought a timer that will switch the crock pot off after however long so I really do not need to worry about anything. I find those timers so handy. I use them for my dehydrator when making dried fruit, for the light on my fish tank and I'm thinking I might start using it for the heater in our room.

Anyway, the babe is going well. She's not been the best sleeper this week but I think that is to be expected at this age. Plus, there will come a time when she won't want my cuddles anymore so I'm going to take them all while I can still get them.

Last night I thought I might try and make breakfast easier. I had been having green smoothies alone for breakfast, but with the breastfeeding and other girly things I won't go into detail about, I'm feeling like loosing the baby weight is not my priority at the moment. Being healthy (and not getting those annoying heart palpitations) is the way forward. I still have the green smoothies because they taste great and they really pack a nutrient punch. I'm just adding something more substantial to the mix.

So here it is.

Slow Cooker Apple Crumble Porridge.

Time: 8 Hours on Low.
Serves: 4


  • 3 Apples: peeled, chopped and cored.
  • One cup of oats.
  • A sprinkle of both nutmeg and cinnamon. I like to use about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and half of nutmeg, but feel free to adjust it to your taste.
  • One tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • One tablespoon of shredded coconut.
  • Half a cup or so of chopped dried dates. 
  • Half a cup or so of water. Use your judgement. You may want more or less. You don't want a soggy mixture, though.

Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir together. It should all stick together but not be soggy. The water should soak into the oats. Set the timer on low for 8 hours. 
The great thing about the timers is that you can set them to come on at whatever time you like, so that the meal is ready as you roll out of bed.

Get up. Get your bowl of apple crumble porridge. You may wish to add sweetener or a nut milk or yogurt if you are a sweet and creamy kinda person. 

I had one bowl this morning and put the rest into 3 separate jars, ready for the next couple of days. 

I hope you're having a good one. :) x

This is Harry. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cashew Cheese Experiments.

I've been making a fair bit of cashew cheese sauce lately to make cauliflower cheese. It occurred to me that if I just add some agar and maybe some coconut oil when heating, it might hold it's shape. Easy! Let's see how it tastes and if it melts...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We can have it all.

I've been hearing a lot about how we have to choose.

It all started with a certain someone whom shall remain nameless being asked to leave his band because his band didn't think that he could divide his time between his new family and their musical endeavours.

Sure. Having a family is a full time gig, but you know what? We have an amazing life and I couldn't imagine not sharing that with our beautiful daughter. O.K. I obviously gave away the details there. Let me explain.

Parenthood is harder and more complicated than I ever thought possible. Before I became a mother, I thought I understood what was to be required of me. I knew it would be exhausting, exhilarating, anxiety ridden and beautiful. I knew those words. I didn't understand how those words felt or how hard they would all hit me. I didn't know the limits of my consciousness.

I read somewhere on this endless merry-go-round that we call the internet, that motherhood would face me with challenges worse than I had ever experienced and that I would feel stronger than I ever thought possible.  So far for me at least, this is entirely true. I have to find a happy balance between work, rest and play and that is not always easy.

Working and playing, however, are just as important for the mind as resting. I've learned this after starring at the same walls for a few days and wondering when exactly it would be that I sank into the yellow wallpaper, never to return. I am lucky enough to be on maternity leave from what I call my "grown up job", which is both a blessing and (I hate to say it) a curse. Motherhood is a 24 hour/ 7 day a week job. There are no breaks and most of that time you are doing everything one handed whilst the other hand is holding onto a 6.5 kilo bag of jumping beans. Nothing refreshes the mind like focusing attention on other aspects of life that are particularly sociable and enjoyable.

For one, me and my daughter go out to socialise with lovely people. We both have a reason to get dressed in nice clothes in the morning. We go to mum and bub's yoga, to the movies and on little adventures. We visit people. She even came to my choir practice last night and has been the key assistant on my photography shoots. I love that I am instilling in her a pathway for creativity and insight. A pathway where she knows that it is possible to follow her dreams (plural) and know that everything will be ok. That like her mum, she doesn't need to choose one thing over the other. That being a success simply means having a roof over your head, food in your belly and enough money in the bank to buy just what you need.

Luckily, my husband has another band. Out of all the hours in a week, practice only uses 3 of them with a few extra hours every now and again devoted to being a rock star on stage. The rest of the time, he is a devoted father and digger of suburban holes. 3 hours a week in return for a lifetime of good examples for our daughter is nothing. We're a team. We work together, never holding each other back. Never having regrets.

At the least, as a teenager she won't think her dad and I are like... so boring.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Golden Hour. A meditation.

The golden hour. Those precious minutes before sunset where the world around us grows in luminescence and shadow. The trees begin to glow and radiate with beauty. The sun kisses our skin with warmth.
This is my favourite part of the day. 

While I'm here, I may as well explain. You may have noticed that I am changing most things to say my married name. It feels time to shrug the stage name from my shoulders and stand with my head held high, as if to say I finally have a name that I can call my own. Growing up, I didn't know my father and didn't have a great relationship with my step dad and felt no attachment to either of the names that came at me during roll call. I'm not sure exactly but it could be one of the reasons why I felt I was missing something for so long.

Sally Kitten came from the nickname "SallyCat" which no one ever calls me anymore. I still get called Kitten from time to time, but it's a rare occurrence these days.

I tried to talk my husband into changing his last name to "McKitten" but he wasn't too excited by that prospect.

Now I have made a family, I am proud to share the banner under which so much happiness has occurred.

I am now Sally Mckinnon. Grown up and grounded.

It still feels weird to say "husband", "mother", "daughter". It's such a trip. x

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A quick review: Brighton Jetty Bakery


It's a lazy Sunday. After my husband cleaned the house, we decided that an afternoon drive along the coast would be a nice way to get out of the house and relax. We started by driving to Semaphore, slowly making our way passed Henley beach, where we discovered a dismantled Henley Square. Then on we went passed West Beach, Glenelg and onwards to Brighton.
I mentioned to my husband that Brighton had a bakery that served vegan food. He offered to stop the car so I could go explore. Being 4:50pm, I assume they'd be closed, or at least sold out. 
I wandered up to the bakery in a tad bit of a daze. I've been feeling pretty crap lately. Entirely exhausted. The girl serving was lovely despite me being a total space cadet and gave me a choice of a vegan pasty and a curried lentil pie. I bought one of each. 
We pulled over, ate and watched the sunset while our daughter slowly woke up for a cuddle. 
The pie was my favourite. The pastry was flakey and the filling cooked perfectly. 
Not bad at all, Brighton Jetty Bakery. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Living in the Age of Plastic.

I wonder if the future will regard this time of human existence (along with the Stone Age, the Iron Age and the Bronze Age) as the Plastic Age?

Do a stocktake right now. Look around you. How much of what you see has a plastic component?

 It's ridiculous that we can't even buy a continental cucumber from a supermarket without it being wrapped in plastic, like the plastic will deflect any possible bruise or defect that could possibly occur to the poor little cucumber, making it more likely to be sold to us, the willing consumer.

I find it fascinating that we rely so heavily on plastic. Supermarket shelves are lined with the stuff. When I wander through stores, noticing the organic food wrapped in plastic makes me cringe. Isn't that defeating the purpose entirely?

I have taken on the concept of zero waste. Theoretically, creating zero waste isn't that hard. It requires a little more work than pure convenience, however. The hardest thing is thinking ahead. Ordering takeout isn't so easy. Buying, well, anything isn't so easy. I suppose though, when you think about it anything that comes wrapped in plastic is probably not good for us. No amount of junk food or convenience can counteract freshness and actually moving our arses. Life gets hectic but in the end, aren't we better off when our actions are purposeful?

It's scary what contains plastic. From face creams and hygiene products to our clothing to our food to our recreational activities. I was brushing my teeth the other day with a free toothpaste that I received from the dentist. The label said directly "Do not swallow." As I brushed my teeth, I noticed what felt like tiny grains brushing against my gums. Microbeads, anyone? 

I wonder if, like these Ages before us, we will move on from our overuse of plastic towards something more sustainable. 
What will archaeologists in 3 centuries time make of all the plastic they find? Will they think we were primitive creatures or living in a time similar to the Dark Ages? A group of people who treated their bodies and planet with total disrespect. Some kind of masochistic force. I wouldn't be surprised.  

Change starts with us. You and me. It's tough, initially. Discovering new things and new ways of doing our daily grind is always fun though. Start small. Aim big. 

Tips for reducing your waste: 
BYO: Bring your own. If you're going to order takeout, bring your own container. This works for coffee and food. I like to take my leftovers home, too. I'm a nana like that, apparently. I've read heaps of articles that say you should stock up on mason jars. That's just a bit too wanky for me. Mason jars aren't something that's common or easy to come by in Australia. You have to seek them out from specialty stores and pay a bit of cash for them. I feel like that fad is coming to an end anyway. I'd rather reuse what I have. I always keep jars from condiments and they come in very handy for storage. Plus, they look pretty.

We all have days where we think "You know? I can't be fucked." That is totally fine. Even a few days a week without this plastic fantastic is a huge accomplishment.

Make your own: this means you get to choose the ingredients instead of buying processed food. Or if you do eat out, eat in the restaurant so you are served your food on reusable plates and with reusable utensils. 

Use what you have: Do you really need to buy new? 

Shop local: this just makes sense, you little locavore. 

Buy secondhand: it's already here, so why not?

Think of the packaging: Before you buy, ask yourself if there is a way to buy the same thing but without the packaging?

Don't be afraid to try.