Sunday, 31 January 2010


Lamingtons 1

Esther and I spent Survival/Invasion/Australia Day watching this video and watching the Gilmore Girls and doing much-needed washing. My one patriotic thing (apart from ignoring this ridiculous holiday which, I think, is a fairly patriotic stance to take) was to make lamingtons because they involve coconut, jam, cake and chocolate.

Lamingtons 3

There's lots of talk about lamingtons being too much hassle to bother about that I've heard but I think they're fun to make. I mean, if I had to make 70 once a week or some such, then yes, it would blow. But as a once in a while thing - totally worth it!

I have made lamingtons in the past - gluten-free lamingtons no less - and had a whale of time doing so. That time, I simply made a gluten-free butter cake (from a cake mix) and then did the whole chocolate/coconut business. This time, I started from scratch.

Lamingtons 4


for the sponge (based on Nigella's Victoria Sponge recipe):
225g soft unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp milk

Prehear oven to 180C and line whatever tin you wish to use. I went with a deep brownie pan which meant my cake was quite thin and I needed to do a double layer of cake on some of my lamingtons.
Crack out your food processor (you can do it without one but it is so simple with one).
Put all the ingredients bar the milk and process until it is a smooth batter. Then pulse as you slowly add the milk.
Pour into your pan and bake for around 25 minutes (or until the cake is coming away from the edges of the pan).
I leave the cake in the pan to cool for about half an hour or so and then flip out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

If you aren't using a food processor, cream the buter and sugar, add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour between each egg. Fold in the rest of the flour and cornflour and don't add the baking powder. When it is all mixed in, add as much or little milk as you need.


2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
66g butter
1/2 cup of boiling water
Jam of your choice (I used strawberry)
A whole lot of coconut (I used shredded but dessicated is more traditional)

Cut the edges off your cake, as well as slicing off all the delicious brown bits, leaving it all exposed white sponge that is ready to suck up the chocolate icing. (You can keep all the bits for trifle or similar). Cut your cake into your preferred shape - I ended up with rectangles but squares, stars, circles - it is up to you! I then halved them and put a bit of jam in to stick them back together.

Mix the boiling water and butter in a largeish bowl. When the butter has melted, sift in the cocoa and the icing sugar. Stir it around into a a delicious chocolate soup. Pour your coconut into relatively shallow bowl, good for rolling things in and set up a little assembly line - jammified cake, chocolate soup, coconut, final plate.

Let me level with you, peeps - I use my hands for this bit. It is messy but totally easier.
Dip the cake into the chocolate, making sure your coat all of the outside. Then roll in the coconut and plop on the plate. They are pretty delicate so it is best to leave them for a little bit to set (if you can stop yourself).

Friday, 29 January 2010

Tandoori Tofu Salad

Tandoori Tofu Salad 3

Another summer salad!

This is a vegification of something that we used to make with chicken and it was surprisingly successful!

I coated cubed tofu with a tandoori and natural yoghurt mix and then baked it for 20 minutes (or until I was ready for it). Made a simple salad of butter lettuce, cucumber and tomato, put the baked tofu on top and then crumbled papadums on top as delicious papadum-y crutons. I made a yoghurt-y dressing (natural yoghurt, lemon juice and mint) to drizzle over the top.

Delicious and easy.

This is also totally gluten-free (as long as you check the tandoori paste ingredients - all the ones I've ever used are gluten-free) as papadums are totally gluten-free (lentil flour FTW)!

Tandoori Tofu Salad 2

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars 4

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

This month's Daring Bakers had me very excited as I love Canada and I love bars and I have actually been to (well, through) Nanaimo. I was also excited because the host, Lauren is a coeliac and she asked everyone to try the gluten-free baking path. I spent four years being a gluten-free home cook and it is so awesome to make coeliacs something that they haven't had for ages i.e. croissants.

In the end, I ended up making the glutenful version because I was running out of time and I didn't have enough gluten-free flour in the pantry so I feel a bit like I betrayed Lauren but I was so happy that gluten-free baking was in the spotlight this month.

Graham Crackers 1

We had to make the graham crackers first which was a bit thing for me. As an Australian who grew up reading the Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High and various other trashy books that involved smores and other exotic food. All I gleaned from these books at the time is that graham crackers were involved in some way. When I made these the other day, I ended up making a smore by melting a marshmallow over my gas stove and mushing it the cracker and trying to melt the chocolate using the gas as well. It wasn't super successful but I totally dug the concept. Go, BSC!

Anyway, crackers! I kind of imagined these as being a Marie biscuit or a digestive biscuit but they were much more gingerbready than that. There was also something of a Tiny Teddy (honey, not chocolate) about them too. They were delicious and we still have a whole bunch left, waiting for me to think of something to do with them. I know a bunch of people had an issue with the dough being supersticky but I didn't have this issue at all.

Nanaimo Bars 3

Then I made them into Nanaimo Bars! The bottom layer is essentially like a hedgehog slice - I put graham crackers, chopped almonds, coconut and rice bubbles. Possibly too many additions but I couldn't help myself.

The middle layer is a sort of buttercream with custard powder added. It was super sweet so I added in some lemon juice and a little bit of cream cheese to cut through the sweet.

The top is melted chocolate - something I did too quickly and so it went lumpy. FAIL.

All in all, these were amazing but super-sweet. I enjoyed the challenge but I'm not sure I'd make them again because they were even a bit too much for this sweet tooth household.

Nanaimo Bars 2

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Wood Spoon Kitchen

Sake 2

Well, peeps, I am heading back to uni this year to become a Master of Teachering. I'm very excited about this - particularly as I now have a student card! - and Essie wanted for us to go out to celebrate my success and we ended up at Wood Spoon. It was a bit of a surprise as I had been mentioning wanting to go there but wasn't expecting a sms from her the day I found out about uni telling me we had a booking - she's sneaky!

Anyway, together with the boys we headed off to try this place I have heard so much about.

We shared a bunch of nibbley things to start - edamame, seaweed salad, agedashi tofu and okonoimyaki - and I chose to have umeshu while everyone else had various sake. The umeshu was one of the nicest plum wines I've had (which, admittedly, isn't hard as I've only had one other plum wine in my life) and the pear sake I sampled was amazing.


The edamame was salty and delicious and we were so frickin' hungry that they were gone in a flash.

Seaweed Salad

I loved the seaweed salad - I loved the tomato and cucumber in it.


It was a tasty okonomiyaki - it has 'nom' in the name so it must be good - and I can't remember any thing else about it but it being tasty. This is the downside of writing up two weeks late!

Agedashi Tofu

I REMEMBER THINGS ABOUT THIS. This agedashi tofu was by far the highlight of the meal and was so fucking amazing. OMG PEEPS. Nix and I were sharing this as the omnis had the pork gyoza but we convinced Dan and Esther to try some too and then regretted our decision as it meant less tofu for us. If you eat one thing this year, make it this!

Vegetarian Miso Soup

The vego miso was tasty if not quite what I expected. If I'd read the menu, I would have noticed the mention of pumpkin and sweet potato. It wasn't what I was expecting but it is tasty and full of surprise sustenance!

Dengaku Don

We shared the Dengaku Don which I loved but J found the texture a bit strange - it was a bit like tahini-coated eggplant. Which makes it sound terrible but I loved the softness of the eggplant and the sesame flavour. I can see that it might not be to everyone's cup of tea.

Sesame Icecream

After our monster effort, we thought it best to go the whole way by having dessert. The sesame icecream was an intense trip to sesame land - no sugary fluff here. It went really well with our other dessert choice . . .

Pumpkin Dango in Coconut Milk

pumpkin dango! This was very very sweet but also fairly amazing. Anyone who has had the pleasure of going to The Dumpling House with us knows our love of the pumpkin cakes. This dish was like the insides of pumpkin cake in sweet soup. WINNER.

At this point we rolled ourselves out to my car (A+ parking spot in front of the restaurant) and went home to rub our bellies.

This was an amazing evening - the food, company and occasion - and I feel like I've already had my best meal of 2010 in the first half of January. We had excellent service all night and even though it is a small space (though, apparently, it used to be smaller), it didn't feel like we were eating on top of the other patrons. Wood Spoon also get a huge thumbs up for their clearly marked vego, vegan and gluten-free options on their menu. It makes everything less stressful when you know exactly what everyone can eat.


Wood Spoon Kitchen
88 Smith Street

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Borsch, Vodka and Tears

Let the feasting begin

You've got to love a work day that is interrupted with an invite to dinner somewhere you've been meaning to go for years and years. Tash smsed me an invite to dinner at Borsch Vodka & Tears last week and I spent the entire week excited by the prospect of pierogi and borsch.

They coloured it in and everything!

Tash was particularly impressed with the care and attention that had be put into the sign reserving her table; so much so that she demanded photographic evidence of the colouring in. A+ colouring there - gold star!

OK beer

Tash, Anton, Esther and I all went for various vodka based drinks - I had the best Moscow Mule of my life - and John decided on an OK Beer and a shot of one of the many, many, many, many types of vodka. I love the label on this beer - it would be wrong to get it as a tattoo, yes?

When it came to ordering, Esther and I decided to share a couple of things and then get our own mains (so to speak) and leave the rest of the table to their business.
We ended up sharing the blintzes and cheese & potato pierogi to start and we did sample some of the saganaki which was super delicious.

Blintzes 1

The blintzes were amazing - very simple, obviously, but exactly what a potato blintz should be. One of my favourite things of the evening.

Saganki & some sort of fritterball thing

Delicious saganaki and some sort of fritter in the background which I didn't sample. I did steal the pickled veg off the plate later though as they were just going to leave it! NO NO NO - pickles veg is an always food!

Cheese and Potato Pierogi 1

The pierogi were, again, simple hearty deliciousness. Tash, Anton and John raved about the meaty ones they shared for a main and, whilst these were delicious, I think that pierogi are really best at their meatiest. There are other vego pierogi that I didn't sample so I know what I'm ordering next time I go back for cocktails.

Vegetarian Borsch

For my main, I went with the vegetarian borsch as it seemed fitting. From my understanding (and very quick wikipedia-ing), this borsch was a clear broth as it is a Polish borsch and if I had been in a Russian or Ukrainian restaurant the borscht would have been a bit chunkier - please correct me if I'm wrong. The broth was delicious and surprisingly light and very beetrooty. The highlight for me was the mushroom uszka. Wow - I could probably have eaten a hundred of these little dumplings of tastiness. Yum.

Oodles of Strudel

Even though we were stuffed to the gills, we decided to do dessert. We did have to have a fairly significant break in proceedings so that we weren't all automatically ill so we used that to have more cocktails. It was a this point that Esther had the best cocktail of her entire life - the Honey On Toast. Honey vodka, creme de cacao, cream and cinnamon in a honey drizzled glass. Wow. I went with a Starry Starry Night which was champagne and quince and whilst it was good, I should not have strayed from the vodka drinks as they were all outstanding.

Anyway, dessert. Esther and I had apple strudel and it was strudelicious. Probably not the best strudel I've ever eaten but an excellent end to a hearty meal.

I really enjoyed Borsch, Vodka & Tears and will probably go back with the view to sample more of the drinks list than for a meal. If I get to eat some excellent blintzes and pierogi on the way . . . well, that's just a positive.

Borsch Vodka & Tears
173 Chapel Street, Windsor
03 9530 2694

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Kinda Caesar Salad

Kinda Caesar Salad 1

Here's a quick dinner that we had during our hothot weather in the last week. It's half based on Jamie Oliver's Warm Bread Salad (aka Jamie's version of fattoush) and the Caesar Salad from Veganomicon. Obviously, this version isn't vegan but it is very easy to rid it of vegan-unfriendly things.

I make my croutons by cutting/tearing bread (rye bread in this instance) and putting them in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, a clove or two of garlic, pepper and a touch of salt. In terms of proportions, enough oil so that they all get a bit of a coat, a good slug of lemon juice and the rest to your taste. I put them in the oven until crouton-y which, generally speaking, is how long it takes to put the rest of the salad together.

I hard-boil some eggs (put the eggs in the cold water, cook for 12 minutes) and I break the woody ends off the asparagus, add it to the egg boiling water until it looks bright green (the asparagus, although the water will also go a bit green) and then put it into some cold water to keep it nomtastic.

Then, lettuce, snowpeas, tomatoes, dutch carrots, capers and the croutons go into a bowl. I dressed this salad with only lemon juice but you can use the delicious dressing below and then I lay the asparagus pseudo-artistically on top, broken up eggs and shaved parmesan.

Quick, easy and delicious. Winner.

Kinda Caesar Salad 2

Caesar Dressing (from Veganomicon)

1/3 cup blanched almonds
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
350g silken tofu (conversion from pounds - I think I ended up using just 1 small pack of silken tofu)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp capers
4 tsp caper brine
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp mustard powder

Pulse almonds in a food processor until crumbly. Empty the ground almonds into an airtight container. Blend the garlic, tofu and oil in the food processor until creamy. Add the lemon juice, capers, brine, sugar and mustard powder and pulse until blended. Add lemon and salt to taste. Pout into the almonds and whisk to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This kept well in the fridge for a week or so and probably would have lasted longer (but there wasn't any left to check and see).

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Tin Pot Cafe

Tin Pot Cafe 1

Tin Pot is a bit of an old faithful - not my most favourite place but always there and always with an extensive breakfast menu. Service is always friendly but a bit hit and miss with remembering things or meals coming out together. This most recent visit was odd because there were plenty of tables when we arrived but we had to stand around for ten minutes while they cleared off a particular table for us. Don't get me wrong, it was a good table but it would have been easier for everyone to let us sit somewhere else.

So, combine odd loitering in the doorway with screaming children and a strange all-white renovation, it was a very strange start to breakfast.

Tin Pot Cafe 3

I went with the vego beans - they were good but fairly one note and when I got a bit of feta in a mouthful, it totally changed the whole meal. Overall, it needed a nice squeeze of lemon but it appears that there is some sort of lemon crisis happening in Melbourne at the moment. So, good beans but not a patch on the Tre Espresso beans.

Tin Pot Cafe 2

Es went with porridge with banana and, despite the "NO CHANGES TO DISHES" claim at the top of the menu, she was able to sub the maple syrup for brown sugar. I tasted it and it was good. Esther said that it was nice and creamy and not too sticky or stodgy. High praise indeed.

J&D had various things that I can't remember now so . . .

Tin Pot - nice, reliable, needs more lemon.

Tin Pot Cafe
248-250 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
(03) 9481 5312‎

Friday, 15 January 2010

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve 4

Mainly a picture post of the delicious food Esther's mum made for us on New Year's Eve - amazing salad, delicious frittata and fresh bread. Best New Year's meal ever. (Even though the mac & cheese I made last NYE was pretty damn delicious!)

New Year's Eve 3

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Hellz yes, homemade ice-cream!

Chocolate, cherry and coconut ice-cream 3

So, I win at Christmas.

I was totally spoilt with amazing things, all of which I love and I had an amazing time at all four of our Christmases! It was fun and relaxed and lovely!

Anyway, one of the many things Esther got me was Snowy, the ice-cream maker. And, lo, I made ice-cream.

Esther got to suggest the first flavour combination and we ended up with a very fancy Cherry Ripe-ish flavour - fresh cherries, chocolate chunks and coconut in a vanilla bean ice-cream.

It did take about four days to end up with ice-cream:
Day 1: make room in freezer for the freezy bit of Snowy
Day 2: make the vanilla bean custard. It splits and then, through my own foolishness, ends up with water in it. Discard.
Day 3: make the vanilla bean custard. It works. Put in fridge to chill.
Day 4: finally put together Snowy and make ice-cream. Eat!

The vanilla bean recipe I used was the one that came with Snowy and was very simple - the sort of recipe that can be found in 10000 places around the internet so unless someone really wants the recipe, I won't post it.

Chocolate, cherry and coconut ice-cream 1

Thanks, Essie!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Quick Post: A Minor Place

Vietnamese Salad Roll 1

Here's the Banh Mi (or, as the menu insisted, "Vietnamese Salad Roll") I had at A Minor Place last week - delicious but, ultimately, not as good as the one I could get in Footscray for half the price. Also, the roll was toasted making it ridiculously hard to eat without cutlery. I think I provided entertainment for Esther at least.

In my opinion, it need more coriander and the carrot was fresh, not pickled. I love the pickled carrot in Banh Mi so it was a bit disappointing.

That said, still love A Minor Place, still want them to put The Omlette on the menu.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Lentil as Anything @ Abbotsford Convent

Sri Lankan Breakfast 1

Take two peeps, the Sunday after Christmas and the desire for breakfast. And, thus, you have Steph and I at Lentil as Anything for breakfast.

Much like Steph, I was surprised at how few breakfast things were vegan (i.e. one option) but I was keen to try the Sri Lankan Breakfast - a dosa-esque pancake filled with potato and egg curry.

Sri Lankan Breakfast 2

It was tasty, if a bit one note - I think it needed some more acid - and I'm not entirely sure why or where the eggs was. I mean, I know it was smushed up in the curry but seemed fairly superflous to me. The crepe was a bit thicker than I expected it to be but tasty.

Steph's mushrooms were good and it was a nice change to try somewhere new for breakfast. I was very sad that I didn't get a chance to try any of Pip's amazing baking so I'll just have to go back again soon.

Lentil As Anything
1 St Heliers Street

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Christmas Morning Muffins

Christmas Morning Muffins 1

Cranberries and chocolate and oranges, oh my!

We spent Christmas eve up in the hills with Esther's mum, eating falafel, opening presents and watching Wind in the Willows (2006) - seriously, Mark Gatiss = Best. Ratty. Ever.

I also decided to make these muffins that I saw on Ezra Pound Cake as they combined a bunch of things I love and I thought they sounded easy and festive.

In conclusion, DELICIOUS! I will be making these again.

Christmas Morning Muffins 2

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bay Road Pantry, Claremont

Now, some surprise Perth blogging!

Esther and I headed over west for an amazing wedding and early Christmas with my family. My parents had literally moved into a new house the day we arrived and as opposed to it being in the Swan Valley (lovely part of the world - A+), it is in Nedlands (also lovely - A+). It is such a change for me in Perth - there are supermarkets five minutes away! Our picnic-ing spot on the foreshore was five minutes away! The beach is about ten minutes away! AMAZING!

Anywhoodle, Esther and I were up ready to have breakfast with one of my BFFs when plans changed and she couldn't make it. Es and I decided to venture out into the wilds of Nedlands to find somewhere to eat. We stumbled upon the Bay Road Pantry and thought it looked like a likely spot.

Bay Road Pantry 3

It was a quite a nice place - an old house, lots of tables, quiet street - and the breakfast was decent. The menu was small - from memory, there were only 6 things and the bruschetta with avocado I wanted wasn't available as they had no avocado yet so I ended up with poached eggs on toast with mushrooms on the side.

Bay Road Pantry 2

The eggs were pretty undercooked and if I weren't a more adventurous person, I would have sent them back (no side effects though! Yay!). The bread was delicious and sourdough-y and the mushrooms were good, if a bit salty. Esther has scrambled eggs and bacon and said that it was good, if a bit bland.

Our pre-breakfast dessert of danish was tasty but obviously not made on site. Yum - apple danish!

Bay Road Pantry 1

The coffee was fine - nothing special but par for the course for Perth coffee.

All in all, it was a fine breakfast but overpriced and nothing ground breaking.

29 Bay Rd
Claremont WA 6010
(08) 9386 1045