Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vegetarian San Choi Bao

For days when you have too much lettuce in the fridge! The following ingredients serves 3 people as a main, if you add a side of steamed silken tofu. Ingredients are:
~ 9 large fresh lettuce leaves (cos or iceberg is best)
~ 425 can baby corn spears
~ 230g can water chestnuts
~ 190g can whole champignon (little mushrooms)
~ quarter of a brown onion
~ chopped fresh garlic
~ chopped fresh ginger
~ 2 tbsp soy sauce

1. Chop up the corn, water chestnuts and champignons then set aside.
2. Finely chop the onion, and fry with a little oil, garlic, ginger & soy, for a few minutes (or until soft).
3. Add the other prepared vegies and cook until heated through (again, a few minutes should do it).
4. Wash, dry and place 3 lettuce leaves on each plate, then top with the vegie filling.

(I adapted this recipe from a version on

Quinoa and Roast Vegie Salad

Having never eaten quinoa before, I had no idea what to do with it until I was given a packet recently. According to Wikipedia, it's so high in protein and other nutrients that NASA are investigating its use as a space food!

I made this salad with:
~ 1/2 cup quinoa (cooked to packet directions, using 1 cup water)
~ 1 chopped, roasted sweet potato
~ 1 chopped, roasted red onion
~ fresh chopped cilantro (continental parsley) stirred through at the end
~ steamed asparagus (to have on the side)

Reversible Doormat

I bought my Dad an ambigram doormat for Christmas (by Suck UK). It's welcoming at first...

...and then hilarious when viewed the other way:

Silken Tofu with Soba Noodles

I would say 2010 was the year I developed my obsession for Japanese things (I blame it on the trip to Tokyo), so naturally I've been eating a lot of soba noodles and silken tofu. This dish is super easy. To serve 3-4 people, you need:
~ about 100g soba noodles
~ 2 or 3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
~ 200g silken tofu
~ 1 tbsp rice vinegar
~ 1 tbsp soy sauce
~ 1 small red chilli, chopped (seeds removed for less spice)
~ some chopped fresh ginger
~ Japanese pickled ginger (to taste)

1. I cook the noodles first (according to packet directions) then put them aside.
2. Steam the tofu with the soy & vinegar.
3. Lightly stir fry the remaining ingredients - you can also add things like chopped red capsicum, celery, and mushrooms.
4. Serve in bowls with noodles at the bottom, then vegies, and top with the tofu & pickled ginger.

New Bedsheets

One of my Christmas presents this year was the Folk Birds bedsheet set from Urban Outfitters. I pretty much want to buy everything they sell.

Halloween Skeleton Cookies

I made these cookies for a Halloween party - basically they were just gingerbread men with appropriate icing decoration. A Google image search for "skeleton cookies" provided an abundance of inspiration ;)

Eggs Florentine

Hollandaise sauce is one of the unhealthiest things you can eat, but also the most delicious. Funny how that happens. I make it with:
~ 1 egg yolk
~ 30g butter
~ 1 tbsp water
~ a squeeze of lemon juice

1. Separate the yolk and white (I save the egg white to add to my poached egg later)
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over very low heat - the absolute lowest - then add the water, lemon juice & egg yolk.
3. Continuously stir until the mixture is smooth. You'll notice the yolk sortof cooking through, which is perfect, just don't overcook or let it curdle.
4. Turn off the heat and put aside until your other breakfast ingredients are ready. I like it with poached eggs, spinach and toast.

Cheats Baked Potato

My favourite 5-minute dinner is a microwaved potato, filled with whatever mangy leftovers I have in the fridge (like here I had chopped tomato, avocado, grated cheese and Sriracha chilli sauce). Red potatoes work best - pricked with a fork then microwaved on high for 5-6 minutes, turning once.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wabi Sabi Salon

This is a post about Japanese food, no surprises there. Ever since my recent Tokyo jaunt I've become a little obsessed. One of my favourite luxury lunch options is the vegetarian bento box from Wabi Sabi Salon (94 Smith Street, Collingwood). Particularly when they include croquettes and edamame beans. The ingredients vary day to day but it's always good.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Winter in Melbourne

This is the view from my balcony today. The city looks particularly blue. I've been napping, drinking tea, and listening to Bon Iver. Life is good.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Favourite Chair

I love this chair. We call it the "womb chair" because it makes you want to curl up and be comforted by it's furry goodness (especially at the moment since it's so damn cold). Here are some other things I like about winter, in no particular order:
~ soup
~ knitting
~ wearing tights, and scarves, and mittens
~ my morning coffee
~ anywhere that has a fireplace
~ staying in

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Having been sick with a cold all week, I probably should've stayed home in bed this weekend. Instead, I took a trip out to the country for a friend's birthday, where we stayed in a lovely cabin at the Castlemaine Goldfields Retreat - complete with 12 man jacuzzi, outdoor fireplace and a golf putting green!

We also saw our friends The Lloyd Weir play at the Theatre Royal (in town), then spent today perusing the local shops and cafes. I think the country air did me good, I'm feeling a lot better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Great Buddha of Kamakura

Until I find enough inspiration at home, the Tokyo posts will continue! This giant bronze Buddha statue was truly incredible, I'm not sure if the photo does it justice. Apparently the building it was housed in got washed away by a tsunami in 1498, then the base was destroyed by an earthquake in 1923, but he's clearly staying put.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Loot

Here are the things I bought in Japan (less a bottle of Sake)... it's not much really! Chopsticks, toe-socks, origami paper, a fan, creepy Kewpie dolls, bath salts, mini pegs, and a few presents I have yet to distribute. My favourite shopping experiences in Tokyo were Tokyu Hands, Muji and the market stalls in Asakusa. I was on a budget this time around but next trip I'll be buying clothes!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Oh my poor neglected blog, I haven't forgotten you. I was tempted to scrap all posts to date and start again, but putting that in the 'can't-be-bothered' category I'll just keep going.


I got home from Tokyo yesterday! It's a place like nowhere else. The people were all polite, friendly and helpful, even when they didn't speak English (which was often). I did a poor job of learning the language, but will work on it for the next trip! I've even kept some yen and a Pasmo card just in case.

~ Bathing at a Japanese onsen (yes, naked)
~ Escaping the Melbourne winter in exchange for 26°C days
~ The slightly hard to find Golden Gai area in Shinjuku
~ Lots of karaoke!

~ The Tsukiji fish market... just wasn't for me
~ Not seeing Mount Fuji (we tried in Kamakura but it was too cloudy)
~ Having to leave after only 10 days

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Slice

I tore this recipe out of The Age a few years ago and have only just today got around to making it. They've named it "New York Special" but it should probably be called a Heart Attack.

Bottom layer ingredients:
~ 100g margarine
~ 2 cups biscuit crumbs
~ 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
~ 1/2 cup sugar
~ 1/3 cup walnut crumbs
~ 1/3 cup hazelnut meal
~ 3 tablespoons cocoa
~ 1 free range egg
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Middle layer ingredients:
~ 50g margarine
~ 1.5 cups icing sugar
~ Half a packet of "vanilla flavoured instant pudding mixture (dry)" (I used Cottees brand)
~ Milk

Top layer ingredients:
~ 80g dark chocolate
~ 1 tablespoon butter

What to do:
1. Grease a 22cm tin.
2. For the bottom layer, melt margarine and mix in sugar and cocoa. Set aside. Mix together biscuit crumbs, coconut and nuts. Mix into this the egg and vanilla, then mix in the sugar/cocoa/margarine mixture.
3. Press into the tin and place in the fridge.
4. For the middle layer, melt margarine and mix with icing sugar and pudding mixture. Add enough milk to make this spreadable onto the first layer (1-2 tablespoons to start), then spread and return slice to fridge.
5. For the top layer, melt chocolate and butter over very low heat then spread on top of middle layer.
6. Allow to cool/set in the fridge, then cut into little squares. Keep in the fridge, if there's any left.

French Onion Soup

I saw the film Julie & Julia a few days ago (based on Julia Child and a food blogger), hence all this recipe blogging madness!

Yesterday I embarked on a new challenge: French Onion Soup. It's one of those things I don't even bother asking if it's vegetarian at restaurants anymore because it inevitably is not (always a beef stock base). I found a recipe on Gourmet Traveller and slightly adapted it. Be prepared - it takes about 2.5 hours.

~ 1 kg of brown onions, finely sliced
~ 50g butter
~ 1 litre "beef style" vegetable stock (I used Massel brand)
~ 1 teaspoon thyme
~ 1 bay leaf

What to do:
1. Melt the butter in a very large saucepan then add the onions and cover.
2. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every 5 or so, until onions are soft.
3. Remove lid and cook for another hour (yes, 60 minutes), stirring every so often*.
4. Add stock 1/2 cup at a time and stir after each addition for 5 minutes, until 2 cups of stock have been added (about 20 minutes).
5. Add the remaining stock, thyme and bay leaf then simmer for another 40 minutes.
6. At the end of all of this, the soup should be brownish and thick. Take out the bay leaf then serve straight away (cheese on toast is a recommended side, but the soup is good on it's own too).

*I chose to watch 20 minute episodes of Weeds and stir after each one, but that's just me.

Vegetarian Pho

To be honest, I can't 100% remember how I made this Vegetarian Pho but it was loosely based on this recipe. It's the kind of meal you can make up if you're feeling adventurous.

~ 200g rice noodles
~ 250g Firm tofu, chopped into 1cm cubes
~ 100g dried shiitake mushrooms
~ Small packet of mung bean sprouts
~ 1 small piece ginger, finely chopped
~ 1 red chilli, finely chopped
~ Vegetable stock, to taste
~ Soy sauce, to taste
~ Rice wine, to taste
~ Lemon juice, to taste

What to do:
1. Cook the rice noodles according to packet directions (usually soak in boiling water for 5 minutes) then drain.
2. In a giant saucepan, put all of the ingredients (including cooked noodles) and let it simmer until everything is heated through. Taste it along the way and play with the ingredients - you can also add things like bamboo shoots, water chestnuts or chopped spring onion.

>> Fun fact: The Vietnamese name for Vegetarian Pho is phở chay (thanks Wikipedia!)

Leek & Potato Soup

This soup is something I've stolen from my Mum's repertoire - it's cheap to make, easy and tasty.

~ 1 large leek, chopped
~ 4 large potatoes, diced into small cubes
~ 2 tablespoons butter
~ 1 cup water
~ 3 cups liquid vegie stock (or 3 extra cups of water, and 3 teaspoons of vegie stock powder)

What to do:
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan then add chopped leek and fry until soft.
2. Add the water, vegetable stock and potatoes and boil until potatoes are tender (test with a fork).

That is literally the whole recipe... two steps! You can puree the soup in a blender if you're that way inclined, but I like to leave it chunky. You can also easily adjust the quantity by adding more or less water to cover the vegies, and more or less stock to taste. Yum.

Devilled Eggs

I made these Devilled Eggs as an hors d'œuvre for a recent 1960s party - they're a decadent delight!

~ 6 free range eggs
~ 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
~ 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
~ paprika (optional)

What to do:
1. Hard boil the eggs. (Sounds easy enough, but if you're not a seasoned egg boiler: place the eggs into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring this to the boil on highest heat, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Voila! Your eggs are hard boiled.)
2. The eggs will need to be cooled by draining the hot water and replacing with cold, or letting them sit for a while (even in the fridge overnight if you're making them ahead of time).
3. Once cool, peel off the shells and cut the hard boiled eggs ever so carefully in half.
4. Scoop out the yolk into a bowl - don't rush it or the white will break - then mix in the mustard and mayonnaise.
5. Spoon the gooey yolk mixture back into the egg white 'cups' and sprinkle with paprika.
6. Congratulate yourself on being a domestic god/goddess.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ode to Aesop

It's dawned on me that I'm becoming a girly girl. The first sign was vintage dresses creeping into my wardrobe. The next was a red lipstick I purchased a few weeks ago, having barely ever worn lipstick before. Now I'm in love with my Aesop products, as purchased with a voucher given to me by friends. The only trouble is, when they run out I'm going to have to buy more!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mushroom and Parsley Risotto

Every time I make this risotto it seems to get better. The recipe was torn out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine (September 1999 issue), so I assume it was from my Mum - she likes to pull out articles and recipes for me, and I like getting them! Thanks Mum :)

Anyway, I've adapted it a little bit. Here's what you'll need:
~ 300g mushrooms, sliced
~ 5 cups vegetable stock
~ 2 tablespoons olive oil
~ 1 brown onion, finely chopped
~ 1 carrot, finely chopped
~ 1 stick celery, finely chopped
~ 1.5 cups arborio/risotto rice
~ 2 tablespoons grated cheese
~ 1 tablespoon butter
~ small handful of chopped fresh parsley

What to do:
1. In a small saucepan, bring vegie stock to the boil and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until just soft then remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and put aside for later. The stock can keep simmering on a low heat.
2. In a separate, larger saucepan, heat oil and gently fry onion, carrot and celery for about five minutes, stirring.
3. Add rice and mix well for one minute, then add 1.5 cups of the simmering stock and stir through. Be careful not to let the rice stick to the bottom at any stage.
4. When almost all of the stock has been absorbed, add another half cup, stirring continuously. Continue adding stock in this way until it's all in, and rice is almost cooked (approx 20 mins).
5. Stir in the precooked mushrooms, cheese and butter, then season with cracked black pepper.
6. Cover and let rest for five minutes or longer. This helps the rice finish absorbing the liquid.
7. Remove lid and stir through chopped parsley. Serve and eat!

This recipe makes six small serves, or four large ones. My final word of advice is this: don't rush adding the stock - it really needs time to absorb and mix through, possibly longer than the suggested 20 minutes. The whole process will take about an hour, but the end result is worth it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Checking in...

I can't remember if I've ever used this photo for a blog post before. I've had it as my profile picture all over the place for a long time so I think it's almost time to go; a new beginning and such. My February resolutions will stand (including #3!), I'm just postponing until March, or maybe April. Seeya then!

>> Typically, this photo was taken during my last trip to New York, which was too long ago. Perhaps I need to go back to get a new one?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roast Beetroot Salad

I went to the Queen Victoria Market for fruit and vegetables today and realised (again) what a huge difference it makes to the cost and quality of my weekly shop... in a good way! These fresh beetroot were boiled, peeled, chopped then turned into a roast beetroot salad, along with:
~ red onion, finely sliced
~ baby spinach
~ butter beans
~ balsamic vinegar
~ flaxseed oil
~ crushed garlic

Baked potatoes and crusty bread are a cheap and easy way to fill out a meal. Yum yum.

>> The salad recipe is another one from The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook by Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Kate Marsh and Philippa Sandall.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My own little New York City

On June 21st last year, I happened to post this miniature New York set to my Tumblr page then on January 26th this year, someone who I doubt would have seen that post gave me the very same set as a present! There's something wondrous about that.

What: City in a Bag 'New York'
From: Muji
Cost: US$14

Thursday, January 28, 2010


My first blog post from the iPhone! Can't believe it took me so long, although typing with one finger is not ideal... might be a short one.

As per my latest tweet, here come some resolutions for the year beginning Monday 1st February 2010. Yes, you heard me, February. That's just how I roll.

1 ~ I will go to Bikram yoga once a week.

2 ~ I will start AND finish a new creative project each month.

3 ~ I will keep blogging.

4 ~ I will spend time away from the computer, and resisting the urge to use the Internet on my phone (tonight doesn't count!).

5 ~ I will take more photos.

6 ~ I will get more sleep.

7 ~ I will try going vegan for a month.

8 ~ I will become a member of my local library.

9 ~ I will start a herb garden.

10 ~ I will choose to be happy most of the time, even when it's tricky.

I think these are very achievable. Wish me luck!

>> I'm putting the iPhone down now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Looking back

I'm slowly getting back into some kind of routine, but life is busy at the moment! To recap 2009, these are my favourite posts of each month from my blog (no explanations, you can just peruse them if you feel like it):

January ~ Giving my powerboard a plug
February ~ Laneway Festival
March ~ I heart NY
April ~ The Greenstore
May ~ The best vegan pumpkin muffins
June ~ Learning to sew on a button
July ~ All you need is love
August ~ Le béret bleu
September ~ Green salad
October ~ Country weekend
November ~ I took a blogging hiatus!
December ~ Niagara print

...and since it's the start of a new year, I can't help throwing in a plug for Maxihuge Calendars! You can buy them here ;)

>> The photo is me in my pretty new dress, thanks to some very generous Christmas vouchers. Lucky me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Van Diemen's Land

I've been in Tasmania for a week, it's very pretty down there! I wasn't ready to be back at work today, but alas I couldn't afford a longer holiday.

~ The Spirit of Tasmania ferry
~ Emiliana Torrini, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear and Kaki King at Falls Festival
~ The lightning on New Year's Eve
~ The Taste Festival in Hobart
~ Salamanca Market

~ Many unfavourable people at Falls Festival
~ Sunburn
~ Seeing a lot of roadkill
~ Having to come home so soon