29th January 2012

My Heart-Garden

5/225 Hawken Drive, St Lucia Qld

This is an small, informal restaurant with a lot to offer vegetarians. The VVOC team of inspectors tackled a range of burgers, and all were impressed. The BBQ Tofu Burger was described as ‘Yummy! Delicious crispy bread (in this case gluten free), tasty soy mayonnaise, and the tofu grilled to perfection.’  The lentil-based Bliss Burger was rated ‘Delicious with lovely fresh salad on yummy panini; enjoyed that it had plenty of dressing.’ The Satay Bliss Burger was found so good our taster had to order a second, describing it as ‘very yummy!’ So much yumminess at one table. People who don’t like burgers are bound to enjoy other dishes from a very international menu, among them a very acceptable humus; there are excellent smoothies and, something unexpected, superbly rich coffee. The VVOC crew, well some of them, are used to excellent food at home, but all were bowled over by this restaurant. It has our strongest recommendation, and we’d like to thank the staff who looked after us so well.
My Heart-Garden on Urbanspoon

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15th January 2012

Indus Indian Restaurant

3/147 Latrobe Terr, Paddington

 A reunion with old friends took us to this  restaurant, where the menu has a remarkably wide range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, the latter specially marked. We began with an old favourite, onion and spinach bhajji, and something none of us had heard of, Harra Bharra Kebab, which comprises, just as the menu promises, fennel scented spinach, corn and potato; I’m not sure how this dish, two of its ingredients clearly of American origin, fits into the great scheme of Indian food. For main meals we went for the ever popular Bombay Aloo of potato and cauliflower, a pumpkin and spinach salan with mustard seeds and curry leaves, and another dish that was new to us, an Aloo Baingan Bagarey of eggplant and potato. A naan helped the vegetarians mop up the curries, a roti the vegan. Not only is the food at the Indus very good, but the breadth of the menu means that the most seasoned eaters of Indian food are sure to find new things. Beware, however; its justified popularity and the happiness of the diners creates a level of background noise that can make conversation difficult. Enjoy the food and talk outside!

Indus Indian on Urbanspoon

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8th January 2012

Wise Words

Some words for the New Year from the American hip hop duo Dead Prez:

 ’I don’t eat no meat, no dairy, no sweets

Only ripe vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole wheat.

I’m from the old school, my household smells like soul food

Curried falafel, barbecued tofu.’

Happy New Year to all visitors to this site, whether they are vegans, vegetarians, Orthodox brothers and sisters, or those who do not belong to any of these categories right now!

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6th January 2012

Theophany

TheophanyToday’s feast celebrates the baptism of Christ, a time when God himself stepped into the waters of the Earth. I remember with joy when my priest explained that while it is true that Christ did fulfill the scriptures and demonstrate the value of baptism in this act, since he was God, he didn’t really need to be baptized. A deeper meaning to his immersion was the baptism of the entire creation.

Among three items pinned to the wall near my monitor is an icon of the creation of the animals. The icon shows Christ blessing a number of sea and air creatures in what looks like an oasis in the desert. How beautiful to consider that he would eventually become flesh and physically step into those waters he so long before created.

Parishes around the world will bless their local waterways today, a gift and blessing for the entire cosmos. St. John of San Fransisco said in his “Sermon on the Day of Theophany”:

Through water all of nature is cleansed, for out of water the world was made, and moisture penetrates everywhere, giving life to everything else in nature . . .  The waters are sanctified and through them the whole world, in preparation for renewal and regeneration for God’s eternal Kingdom which is to come.

It is with sadness that I am unable to attend Theophany services this year. In lieu of this, I would like to offer up the following prayer:

CreationThe one who made the waters is now enshrouded by water. So have hope all waters of the earth, and rain hope on all things. Have hope all cattle who mourn. Have hope all pigs who suffer. Have hope all chickens who cannot feel the wind. Have hope all turkeys who never feel the soil. Have hope all monkeys in laboratories. Have hope all rabbits who will never see the sun. Have hope all dolphins and whales who are slaughtered. Have hope all rhinos and elephants who are poached. Have hope racoons who are smashed under tires. Have hope all passenger pigeons and Irish elk and dodos. Have hope all humans who despair alone. Have hope all mountains blasted for coal. Have hope all forests bulldozed. Have hope all clouds filled with toxins. Have hope all waters poisoned. For today is the Theophany of Christ. Today is your joyful embrace.

JD

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3rd January 2012

New Year’s Bread – Vasilopita

BasilGrtFor many years now we have baked a Vasilopita  (St Basil’s Bread) to mark the new year and St Basil’s Day on January 1st. As we have a Basil (Vasilios) in our house, it is also a Name Day celebration and a special time for us. In fact Vasilios has baked the bread himself now for the past fifteen years or so.  When we became vegan, we modified the recipe so that it no longer included animal fats. We also modified it to bake in our bread machine as living in a  hot climate does not exactly motivate one to want to knead dough and have the oven running for hours!  There have been many trial runs but the recipe is now tried and true and we are pleased to be able to share it here. We also use this same recipe for Tsoureki at Easter, but I will post that version closer to the time.

Vegan Vasilopita

Vasilopita_coin

Ingredients

3 teaspoons of orange zest

2 Tablespoons of orange juice

Egg replacer (Made up to be equivalent of one whole egg and one egg white.)

65ml soy milk

6 Tablespoons of vegan margarine (We have found a soy based one works very well but any dairy free margarine will work.)

2 teaspoons of aniseed juice (instructions below)

90g raw caster sugar

425g plain white flour

1 x 8g sachet of yeast

3 Tablespoons of warm water

Method

  1. Prepare the aniseed juice by boiling 1 Tablespoon of aniseed in 1 cup of water for a few minutes, then strain and set aside. (This process is a bit like making tea.)
  2. Zest finely one orange and set aside. (This should give you approximately 3 teaspoons of zest. We usually use large navel oranges, but Valencias work fine too.)
  3. Juice the orange and set aside.
  4. Prepare the egg replacer as per instructions on packet and set aside.
  5. Prepare yeast by placing the 3 Tablespoons of warm water in a glass bowl and dissolving a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle the contents of the sachet into the water, swish about a bit then cover with a cloth and set aside out of drafts.
  6. Measure out milk and set aside.
  7. Measure out margarine, melt and set aside.
  8. Weigh the flour and set aside.
  9. Weigh the sugar and set aside.
  10. By now, the yeast should have started to activate (It will look a little bit fluffy/frothy.)
  11. Place ingredients into the bread machine in the following order:
    1. zest
    2. juice
    3. aniseed juice
    4. egg replacer (you may need to whisk as it may have settled)
    5. margarine
    6. soy milk
    7. caster sugar
    8. flour
  12. Make a small well in the top of the flour and tip the yeast on top.
  13. Place pan into bread maker and select the sweet bread setting.

A note about bread machines…

We have two different bread machines. On one we simply choose the sweet bread setting. On the other we have to choose the size and crust, in which case we select 750g, light crust, then sweet bread.  Unfortunately all machines are a little different so you may have to experiment with this aspect of the recipe.

Adding the Coin

coin

Traditionally, new year’s breads have a coin hidden inside. We have found that it is easier to add the coin after the bread is baked by simply poking it up through the hole created in the base by the kneading pin in the machine. The little brochure that came with our coin has the following instructions, keeping in mind that the bread is traditionally baked in a circle. As we do not have this shape, we simply cut slices.

The head of the house will bless the Vasilopita with the cutting knife crosswise in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He will then cut the centre in a circle as an offering to our Lord Jesus, Who is first in our life. Then he will proceed to cut wedges starting with a piece for the Ever Virgin Mary, and for St Basil. Subsequently, a wedge for himself and all other members of his family and guests in succession. The one who finds this coin in his or her piece, is considered to be blessed especially for the New Year.”

 This year the coin lay halfway between St Basil’s piece and Vasilios’ piece! (Photographic evidence below!)

 

coin

Happy New Year to all our vvoc.org readers.

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3rd January 2012

Updated Recipes Page

Take a look at our newly updated recipe page. The ‘Recipes‘ page appears under the ‘About’ tab on our home page. We are beginning to collate some of our favourite recipes. There are sweet and savoury vegetarian and vegan recipes available. Enjoy!

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3rd January 2012

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

These go by many names. In our house we call them vegan rum balls, but I have also heard them called chocolate truffles.

Christmas Chocolate Truffles

Christmas Chocolate Truffles

For a gluten and sugar free rum ball idea I have also tried modifying the fruit and nut bite recipe. Instead of rinsing the fruit, just add 1-2 Tablespoons of rum to make the mixture moist.  Anyhow, back to the recipe at hand.  This recipe is very flexible and forgiving.  Just remember, it is easier to add more moisture than to remove it!

Ingredients

1 x 250g packet of vegan/vegetarian sweet biscuits

135ml of coconut cream (make sure you use coconut cream not coconut milk)

1 cup dessicated coconut

1/3 cup raisins (or you might like to used mixed dried fruit)

2 Tablespoons of dutch processed cocoa

1 Tablespoon rum

extra coconut for rolling

Method

  1. Process the biscuits in a food processor until finely ground.
  2. Add the cocnut, raisins and cocoa and continue to process.
  3. Add the coconut cream and rum and process until a ball forms. This may take a little while but it will happen.
  4. Roll teaspoons of mixture to form a ball shape and roll in extra coconut. You could also roll them in cocoa or vanilla bean powder.
  5. Refrigerate

Makes approximately 30 (Depending on how many you eat while you are making them!)

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2nd January 2012

Restaurant Review Collection on vvoc.org

Our restaurant page has now been updated to include an alphabetical listing of all the restaurants reviewed by vvoc.org. Please go and take a look! The ‘Restaurants‘ page appears under the ‘About’ tab on our home page. Hopefully this will make searching for a place to find veggie food near you a little easier.

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2nd January 2012

Sultan’s Kitchen

163 Given Terrace, Paddington Qld

A meeting with an old friend was the occasion for a very happy dinner at an Indian restaurant  which we both remember fondly from days of old. We began with vegetarian samosas, of the thick variety and nicely flavoured with tamarind sauce (the sweet chilli promised by the menu didn’t eventuate, but we weren’t complaining) and an onion salad with plenty of ripe tomatoes, enlivened by rings of red onion and sprigs of coriander. For main meals we went for a beautifully spiced dal masala with plenty of bay leaves and an alu palak with very fine and presumably fresh spinach. Within reach lay thin spicy lime naans, cooked vegan-style, and a large bowl of rice. The sultan from whose kitchen these delights come is a lucky person, his staff are gracious and obliging, and feasting on such excellent food is the perfect accompaniment to the more important task of catching up. May this restaurant flourish for many more years!

Sultans Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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