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.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Chickpea peaks, aquafaba or the nouveau egg white.




Isn't it fancy?

For my very first Mother's Day, I was given the gift of a hand blender with four attachments. One of these attachments being a whisk. In the old days of veganism, I actually disposed of my vintage egg beater as I had no apparent use for it other that for it to act as a dust collector or ornamental piece- maybe something along the lines of Duchamp?


I had been reading about people making meringue with the liquid from cans of chickpeas. The first time I saw it was on Floral Frosting's blog. If you haven't seen her work, go have a look. Her blog is like sugar laden eye candy, with beautiful swirls of colour. From there, I discovered the Facebook page "Vegan Meringue- hits and misses".

I decided to have a go, not exactly following a recipe, but adapting from all the ones that I had read into something that made sense to me.

To start, I measured out the liquid from a tin of chickpeas. It came to 3/4 of a cup.  I placed this in a bowl with half a teaspoon of cream of tartar to stabilise it. I'm guessing that means that the cream of tartar helps the peaks to form. I mixed this with my electric whisk for a couple of minutes until it started to froth up. I then added the same amount of powdered sugar and continued to whisk until stiff peaks formed.


It worked. I think the novelty factor was my main reason for trying this recipe out. I'm guessing this so called "aquafaba" (latin for both water and chickpeas- fancy, huh? I kinda prefer the grass roots implications of the words "chickpea water". It's funnier.) is a pretty good replacement for all things eggwhite. I've read of people making macaroons, pav, mayo and cakes. I do wonder how an omelette may fair up?

Apparently, the small meringues need to be cooked at about 100C for one or two hours. My oven is hot like the sun and even with the door slightly opened, managed to sear these babies after 15 minutes. Even slightly browned, they were still very meringue- crunchy and chewy all at once.


Funny thing, though after leaving them on the bench for a couple of hours they went soft. I'm assuming that has something to do with the cooking time. I'm going to have to look into that a bit more.


Fun times ahead! x

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ginger's



Haven't been to Ginger's? You should. They're tomato bruschetta melts in your mouth. And they've put some of my art on the walls. There is a lot of local talent on these walls. �� You can find Ginger's on Goodwood Road, in Goodwood. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Braised Classic Vegetables with Lentils and White Wine- Sponsored Post.


I just love autumn. The colours that fall to the ground are stunning and romantic. I've been lucky enough to shoot a client this week in the Adelaide Hills at a fig orchard called Glen Ewin Estate. Before you freak out, I'm a photographer. The view was just so beautiful, with deep hues of burgundy, gold and olive along with bright reds and lime greens. This time of the year always makes me reminiscent and I find reminiscing to be somewhat romantic if not melancholy.


I have had a real hankering for braised cabbage lately. I really can't tell you where that has come from being that I am no longer pregnant. The more I thought about this, the more I could imagine the slices of cabbage melting away in my mouth. I pondered. Why stop at cabbage? Why not get into some braised classic vegetables and lentils? That sounds like a meal to fit an autumn day.

Good food is important. It nourishes the mind, the body and the soul as we all know. I've often said that the way to my heart is through my stomach. Good kitchenware is important when it comes to cooking good food. Why spend time and money making a dish only to have what you cook it in change the outcome? A good set of saucepans and a good frypan is imperative to any kitchen. We've all had those experiences where we have started cooking in a frypan only to have the dish ruined by it sticking to the bottom or the pan not heating evenly. Sucks. So when I came across Jamie Oliver's professional series of saucepans and frypans I was quite intrigued. They are really sturdy, anodised and have Tefal's non-stick capabilities.

Sure. Jamie Oliver isn't vegan however I really appreciate what he's doing for communities across the world. He's helped homeless young people gain employment through his restaurants and he's re-educated countless people on the way that food impacts their health and the health of those around them. We all have to start somewhere, right? I trust that Mr Oliver would only endorse products that he believes in. These products can be a little pricy but it's worth it for something that will last. Heavily discounted Jamie Oliver Cookware can found at Kitchenwaredirect.com.au, often at 25% off the recommended retail price. Cook good food with good cookware.


Braised Classic Vegetables with Lentils and White Wine. 
Time: About an hour and 20 minutes.
Serves: 2 as a main. 4 as a side. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 Potatoes, washed, skinned and cut into wedges.
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks.
  • 1 Leek, cut into quarters lengthwise, so that it resembles ribbons. 
  • 6 Brussel Sprouts, cut in half (I decided to use these tasty babies instead of cabbage.)
  • 1 Zucchini, cut into chunks.
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, squashed. 
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Half a cup of vegetable stock.
  • Half a cup of white wine. 
  • One stick of sage. 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste. 
Method:

Heat the oil in a large, sturdy saucepan. If you have a casserole dish or stewpot that can be used on both the oven top and inside the oven, choose this option. 
Place the potatoes in the dish and then layer with the other vegetables. Do not stir just yet. You want these little babies to crisp up. 

After the potatoes start to brown, stir the veggies gently, letting sit until all of the veg start to look a little golden on the edges. 


Now, add the lentils, stock, wine and stick of sage. Give it a good stir and if you need to, transfer the mixture to an oven safe bowl or casserole dish- preferably one with a lid. The idea of braising is that some of the vegetables will be part boiled and part steamed ensuring that there is still a lot of colour and nutrients in the final product. Absorbing the stock and wine adds to the richness.

Put the lid on (or alternatively, you could use aluminium foil) and place the dish in the oven at 180 degrees C or 360F. Check after 40 minutes to see how soft the vegetables are. Some ovens run hotter than others, so if you feel that 40 minutes is all your veggies need, take them out. It's really up to you. Some ovens may need an hour or so. 

Once out of the oven, remove the lid and add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the sprig of sage and plate up. 

This pairs well with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine, with a warm conversation over the dinner table. 

Love x




Friday, May 1, 2015

Homemade mustard. I love you.



Here's how it started. I had no mustard. Mustard is a staple. It's usually so low in calories it doesn't count and it packs a flavour punch that makes everything from salads to sandwiches taste spectacular. 
So I ran out and being that I'm on a budget, I couldn't just run to the shops and get some more. 
Cut to a few days later. I had my head in the cupboard and noticed that I had a container of mustard seeds that I must of bought to do some pickling a while ago. 
Because Google has all the answers, I googled to find out how hard it was to make my own mustard. Turns out, not so hard. I amalgamated all the information I had read and came up with my own concoction based on what I had in the cupboard. It worked really well, even if it is a bit on the hot side. 
Score one for the budget. 

Ingredients: 
•One cup of mustard seeds. 
•Half a cup of vinegar (I used coconut vinegar because that's what was in my cupboard.)
•Half a cup of white wine (because that's what was in my fridge- hehe!) 
•A dash of salt. 
•A dash of pepper. 
•A dash of sweetener (I used a tablespoon of agave). 

Method:
Place the seeds vinegar and wine in a clean jar to soak for at least overnight. I kinda forgot about mine and left it for about a week. 
Take your blender and blend it all up. Add enough water to get the consistency you desire. 
Add final ingredients and blend some more. 
Put in a clean, air tight container and store in the fridge. 

Enjoy your playtime! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Autumnal Breakfast


The word 'autumnal' conjures images of mustard, plum and deep green. It's a bit chilly here in Adelaide and so out comes the fry pan and in goes cherry tomatoes, purple kale, mushrooms and Lamyong vegetarian salted crispy chicken. It's what's on hand. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A simple, clean breakfast.




I admit it. I was incredibly naive as to exactly what motherhood meant prior to having a child. Despite my experience doing childcare with kids at risk, I forgot that even though that job was exhausting, I got to go home at the end of the day and rest, not having to think about anything but eating and perhaps having a bath. 

The first few weeks with my baby, I didn't need sleep. I was on such a high that I could take on anything. I didn't eat as much as I previously did either, despite spending around 600 calories a day breast feeding. This has helped move some of the baby weight, however I have a long way to go before I can fit into my pretty dresses. But I'm not naked, so loosing weight can happen when it happens. Anyway...

What has happened though? I've hit a wall. My body is giving all my nutrients to my baby, so I come second. I also come second when it comes to sleeping and everything else. I'm not complaining- I love her more than I thought I could love anything. My heart just explodes when I look at her. I'd give her everything.

7 weeks of minimal sleep is bound to lead to exhaustion though. And so, I'm suffering flu like symptoms and some dizziness. I've also been dehydrated, despite drinking tonnes of water. I've had to take out my nape piercing as it was swollen and sore. Is this my body forcing me to conventionally 'grow up'? 

I was quite used to having a lot of 'me' time prior to mum life. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted. I can still do most of these things, but they can't be exactly spontaneous. They require some thought and pre-planning and take much longer in terms of time management. 

Now, meals often get thrown together. I've inadvertently cut my food intake down (I now eat just three meals plus a snack instead of 6 meals or so- haha!). Things that are simple, cheap and time efficient. 

This is one of my favourite breakfasts. It's easy, thoughtless, but filling and delicious. 

Cut up a banana. Throw on some sultanas and a dollop of peanut butter. Done. Obviously, variations can and do occur. I poured some maple syrup on it this morning. 

I also like to make breakfast jars when I have the time. I usually make 5 at a time and they often feature overnight oats or chia pudding. They keep for about a week. 

Keeping pre-made salad jars, plenty of fresh fruit and soup in the fridge is a life saver too. The trick is to keep these things stocked up. I've hit this wall because I forgot about my fruit and veg friends and I started eating bread like there is no tomorrow. I love bread but it doesn't contain all the vitamins and nutrients I need right now. I'm spending the day filling myself with freshness, taking naps with my baby and reminding myself that I'm doing a good job and that it's ok to be tired. 

I can now say I'm a responsible adult. I'm responsible for her. I'm responsible for making sure she's fed, clothed, clean, educated and most importantly feels safe and feels loved. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to make: Cold Drip Coffee.



Cold drip coffee is becoming more and more popular here in Adelaide, with boutique cold drip companies beginning to blossom.

As with other fads seen of recent years in The 'Laide such as sushi, dumplings, macaroons and burgers, cold drip coffee is about to explode on to every street corner. It's a bit on the expensive side to buy and hey, it's really easy to make. I think I was paying about $7 for a 200 ml bottle. DIYing that stuff, I ended up paying about $3 a litre. It's really a set and forget kind of deal, but beware. This packs a caffeinated punch. If you're anything like me, you'll be buzzing like a little bee.

Cold Drip Coffee
Time: 10 minutes making the coffee. Overnight to soak.

Ingredients:
  • One cup of ground coffee beans.
  • Four cups of water.

Method:

Place the coffee and water into a clean bowl. Cover with a tea towel or lid. 
Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, place a coffee filter in a strainer. Pour the coffee and water mixture into the filter. This may take a little time. I often pour a little in and come back to it after doing some chores... or you know? Dancing.
Don't pour in the final coffee grounds. Discard the grounds and the filter. 
Alternatively, you can put the mix in a coffee plunger and press it the next day to filter the drink, as you would hot coffee. 
Pour the coffee mixture into a bottle that has a lid.

This should keep in your fridge for about a week. 

Enjoy your buzz. xx


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Best

This will be worth checking out today in Adelaide. $13 a ticket and all proceeds go to a good cause. My lovely friend Emily Davis is playing and another lovely friend Mandi Faerie will be offering reiki to pups and pooches. Plus, all the vegan food. x