Sunday, July 10, 2011

trying new things - eating out

I haven't been able to post in a while as I've been moving house (whilst still working full time and volunteering of course) so have had no time to cook! I have however, been eating out a LOT so here are a few of my favourite places around Melbourne that have great vegan/veg options.

Vegie Hut, 984 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill

I've been working in Box Hill a fair bit lately and a friend put me onto this awesome little restaurant, Vegie Hut. All the 'meat' dishes are mock and there are some pretty convincing versions of the classics. My favourite would have to be the special fried rice - I am in love with it. There are some great veggie dumplings and the honey 'chicken' is a winner too. Just check what you order is vegan as some of the meals are vegetarian. They're not open on Tuesdays and you usually have to book as they're always packed.

Yong Green Food, 421 Brunswick St Fitzroy

Eeeeeee! I love this place. Not only are the staff absolutely gorgeous and super-friendly, but the place is totally meat free and affordable. There are raw-food options for those jumping on the latest foodie-trend-band-wagon - my suggestion is the Rawsagna ... the cashew cream, ohh the cashew cream. I also love the kimchi pancake and the pho. Everything's great though, I don't even mind the odd parking ticket when I eat there because the food is so worth it.

vege2go, 452 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

vege2go is a great little place for some quick takeaway. My favourites are the vegan arancini and the baked potatoes. There are some great salads too, the green bean and the broccoli ones are excellent.


The Fox Hotel, 351 Wellington Street, Collingwood

Sometimes you just want a pub meal. And if you want something a little more fancy than a mock-meat parma (see below) you should check out the Fox. There are always great vegan options on the menu and it's a nice little pub with a good feel.
They've also got White Rabbit Ale, which is vegan, and which, my beer-drinking-friends tell me, is the best beer ever.

East Brunswick Club, 280 Lygon Street, East Brunswick

I've got four words for you; Best. Vegan. Parma. Ever. And the bar staff are a bit cute too, which is helpful. I used to live across the road which was a health hazard - thankfully I've moved a few blocks down and have learned that vegan parmas are a sometimes food ;) .

Rumi, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Speaking of sometimes foods, this one's for a special night out. Rumi is my favourite 'occasion' restaurant. Ask for the vegan banquet and proceed to have a life-changing gastronomic experience ... hmm, I always wonder if I'm exaggerating when I talk about this restaurant and then I go there again and realise I'm not. I'm always impressed, which is not so when I have the vegan banquet down the road at Hellenic Republic (- not saying it's bad, it just sometimes doesn't hit the mark and there is far too much food wasted). And considering Rumi is cheaper I'd prefer it any day.

The Empire Cafe Gallery,  295 Sydney Road, Brunswick 

This place has a great little vegan breakfast. I've not tried a lot of things on the menu, but anywhere I can get mushrooms that aren't cooked in butter deserves inclusion. 

The guy there told me that they're going to be bringing back their vegan lunch menu soon too - so that's hopeful! Besides the food though, it's a cool little place with a good vibe.

The Radical Grocery Store, 6-8 Wilson Avenue, Brunswick

If you're vego and you live in the northern suburbs, you already know about Radical. Nonetheless I had to include it here as their delicious vegan cupcakes were an amazing source of  quick energy during the 'when will this be over?!?' house move. My favourite's the strawberry :) .

So there you go, just a few of my faves and places I've been frequenting while not being able to cook at home!

soup, soup, soup

Yep, Melbourne has turned on the cold again this weekend.

It's been a blustery, rainy Sunday afternoon, so of course I thought of soup.

I've spent the last few weeks moving house and STILL don't have the internet sorted at the new place, but thanks to a USB dongle, I'm able to post this soup I whipped up today with 'stuff I found in the cupboard/fridge that was going bad'.

Clearly choosing the ingredients was a very technical process *wink*.

 Stuff you need;

3 or 4 potatoes, chopped into small cubes
half a head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red split lentils
tinned corn
2 cloves garlic
2 and a half Massell vegetable stock cubes
olive oil
fresh parsley to taste

What you do;

1) Fry the garlic and potato in olive oil til it's browned.

2) Add a litre of water with the dissolved stock cubes and the crushed tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and add cauliflower and lentils.

3) Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils, cauliflower and potato are cooked through and soft. Then add the tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste.

4) Finally, add the tinned corn and chopped fresh parsley and heat through.

That's it! My very basic peasant soup. Cheap as chips and oh so easy. The beauty of it is that you can put whatever you want in it - I just happened to have potatoes and cauliflower I needed to use. Last time I used carrot and broccolini and it was great too.