27th March 2011

Ceylon Inn

29 High St, Toowong Qld

There are all kinds of vegetarian possibilities at this smart, beautifully appointed restraurant. For starters you can try the vegetable samosas, loosely packed with plenty of peas , or the pakoras, although those that came to us were a little soggy; perhaps the oil they had been fried in was not hot enough.  The main meals include dishes of potatoes (again, we would have liked something a bit more crispy) and richly satisfying aubergines. These are the two most spicy among the vegetarian dishes, but the one we enjoyed most was the smooth vegetable korma. It’s a pleasing cuisine, not quite as hot as Indian food. If, on the other hand, you’re on a hot date, the secluded and dimly lit ambience might make it an appropriate setting, but for other people there may be alternatives where the food is at least as good and a little cheaper.

Ceylon Inn on Urbanspoon

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20th March 2011

Thai Chada

1/8 Days Rd, Grange Qld

Sometimes it seems that the wonderful smiles of the staff are reason enough to go to Thai restaurants. But there are other attractions at the Thai Chada, such as the excellent Vegetarian Tom Yum soup, red and spicy, that includes thin strips of tofu and tomatoes among the mix of veggies. The Vegetarian Spring Rolls come with plenty of sprouts and a sweet chilli dip.  There are many veggie dishes among the main meals; I recommend the currys, which come in red, yellow, panang (sweetish with peanuts) and green varieties. The last is the hottest, but not disconcertingly so, and the chillis are in tension with the strong taste of fresh basil, against a gentle background of coconut milk and more strips of tofu (the peas are a bit of a surprise.) It was good to see many people enjoying themselves the night we visited the restaurant.

Thai Chada on Urbanspoon

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15th March 2011

Highlighted Campaign for March 2011

Hello from Sierra Leone!

After being here for only a week and a half, I am saddened by the sheer numbers of stray dogs roaming the streets of the capital city, Freetown. While one day I smiled watching a very cute toy Chihuahua playing with an equally cute medium sized bitser, generally I am deeply upset by copious numbers of stray dogs, many of them looking hungry or ill, yet with most females either nursing or pregnant. I wasn’t sure if I would find anything about this issue on the internet, but I did go ahead and google it as I am aware of programs elsewhere in the world trying to help stray dog populations, such as in Bali, Indonesia.

I did find that the UK arm of WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) has a posting about this issue which really explained to me what I am seeing. It explains that the huge population of stray dogs in Freetown has come about because of the overcrowding and desperately poor living conditions present in the capital city since the end of the civil war in 2002 (the population in Freetown exploded from 1 million to 2 million in less than 5 years). A build up of refuse and biological waste has provided a food source for stray dogs and consequently they have bred freely. It is now believed that Freetown has the highest stray dog population in the whole of Africa. From what I have seen I can truly believe this to be true. Although solutions to this problem can’t be easy and may not happen in a timely manner, WSPA is working with Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society (SLAWS) to try to address the issue in a humane manner.

To read the posting take a look at:
http://www.wspa.org.uk/wspaswork/dogs/strayanimals/caninecasualtiessierraleone.aspx

Also an interesting read is:
http://www.wspa.org.uk/latestnews/2010/Saving_strays_in_sierra_leone.aspx

Although since it was posted back in February 2010, I am unsure if this gentleman is still active in Freetown. I hope he is!

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6th March 2011

Kingsland Healthy Vegan Cuisine

5 Dickson Plaza, 67-69 Woolley St, Dickson ACT

This restaurant offers yet another variation on the infinite possibilities of Chinese food. For starters we had Crunchy Wantons, small mushrooms in batter accompanied by plum and sweet chilli sauces, and Smoky Rolls that turned out to be meat substitute; each came with a serve of carrot, lettuce and cucumber. We also enjoyed a dish of complimentary spring rolls (thank you!) Our main courses were Crispy Mushroom Balls in Plum Sauce, more ball than mushroom, with carrot, lettuce and cucumber, and Stir-fried Lemon-grass Tofu, that came with carrot etc.

It’s one of those styles of Chinese cooking that plays with the conventions rather than aiming for authenticity. The regular, if not inevitable appearence of a side salad is surprising, but the crisp freshness of the ingredients goes well with the rather starchy nature of the food that is served. Most of the menu is given over to soy seafood, chicken, duck, beef, lamb and pork dishes; perhaps they are less starchy.

The Kingsland operates under the auspices of a Supreme Master. It is tucked away in a neighbourhood full of ethic eateries offering vegan and vegetarian possibilities, but certainly worth a visit.

Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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