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Halloween post – my new routine and the cold-pressed blood juice

Cold Pressed Beetroot Juice

I have a new routine. For about three weeks now, I’ve been doing half-day juice fasts for two or three days each week, and it’s been great. I will talk about this more in the next blogpost, but today, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of my routine, what I use to juice, and share a Halloween-themed juice recipe – Cold Pressed Blood Juice, seeing that the big trick-or-treating day is just around the corner.

Cold Pressed Blood Juice

My half-day juice fast routine

Essentially I’m drinking just juice from the morning until the afternoon. When possible I’m trying to have my first juice as late as possible so I can maximise my ‘fasting’ period. I normally undertake this routine on Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday as well.

I find it easier to do the juice fast during the first half of the week as I have more time to prepare on the Sunday prior, and I like to make my juices in advance so I needn’t waste time in the morning juicing. Cold-press juicing does take quite a bit of time, and since I personally hate cleaning up, I always like to do everything in bulk so I won’t have to clean the juicer every day.

Green Juice

Here’s a breakdown of my juice fast day

  • 8 pm (the night before): Finish dinner
  • 9 am: Breakfast – 450ml green juice (kale, spinach, celery, parsley, green apple and lemon)
  • 11am/12 pm: Lunch – 450ml carrot and beetroot juice (carrot, beetroot and ginger)
  • 3pm: Afternoon Snack – 450ml orange and carrot juice (or other fruit juice)
  • 5pm: Light snack (can either be fruits, nuts, rice cakes or other light snacks)
  • 6:30-7pm: Normal dinner

My Cold Press juicer

I use the Hurom H25 Alpha. It’s a bit pricey but it’s a great little machine. It’s much smaller than my old Breville Fountain juicer that I used way back in the day.

I must say that assembling the machine for the first time was quite daunting. I’ve never used a cold-pressed juicer and there were so many more parts than what I’ve used to. I had to actually read the user guide (as you should!) to make sure that I was assembling it correctly.

It has a pretty small chute, which means that you have to chop your larger fruits and veggies so they fit through. I had known about this requirement from reading reviews of the juicer and I honestly don’t mind the process. I mean, as a vegan, I already spend 80% of my time in the kitchen chopping fruits and vegetables so a bit more chopping won’t hurt. And, furthermore, I find chopping to be rather… therapeutic.

Cleaning the machine has been a breeze, especially now that I’ve gotten used to it. It took me 10 minutes to clean at the beginning but now, I’m down to about five minutes flat.

Overall I’m very happy with my Hurom H25. It does its job, it’s quiet and compact, and it looks pretty slick on the kitchen bench.

Hurom H25 Alpha

Here’s the video to see me (and the juicer) in action, making my favourite carrot juice and the Cold Pressed Blood Juice.

Cold-Pressed Blood Juice

This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t want to share it. But it really is one of my favourite juices to make. And it does look impressive, especially when served in a skull jar!

Cold-Pressed Blood Juice

This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t want to share it. But it really is one of my favourite juices to make. And it does look impressive, especially when served in a skull jar! Cold-Pressed Blood Juice (makes 500ml)
Course Drinks
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 jar
Author Keren

Ingredients

  • 8 large carrots
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • Coconut water optional
  • Skull jar optional

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse your vegetables. Chop them if required.
  2. Add the carrots, beetroot and ginger into your cold press juicer and run as per manufacturer’s instruction.
  3. Transfer to a jar and top with coconut water if required.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.

What’s your favourite cold-pressed juice? I’d love to hear from you!

Keren x

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Vegan Lemon Curd and yum. Glutenfree book giveaway

Vegan Lemon Curd

Well hello!

Sorry for being a bit quiet this week. I’ve just started a new part-time consulting role and so things have been a bit hectic the last few days. But now I’m here and I’ve got a little surprise for you.

I’m giving away two (2) yum. Glutenfree 2017 Mini Cookbook, thanks to Olivia from yum. Glutenfree.

It has 30 home-cooked 100% gluten-free recipes from a variety of food bloggers, health coaches, nutritionists, and foodies. It is also in a super cute A5 size.

It is not a vegan cookbook but there are many vegan and easily veganised recipes. They also have “allergen buttons” at the bottom of each recipe, so you can see all the allergens that each recipe is free from. This makes it super easy to select a recipe for people with allergies.

The recipe book is about one-third sweet, savoury and snacks, so there’s something for everyone.

I haven’t had a chance to make any of the recipes from the cookbook yet, but Olivia was kind enough to let me share one of my favourite recipe from the cookbook, the Vegan Lemon Curd by Monica Topliss from Gluten Free Food Co – this is probably one of my favourite recipes from the cookbook.

Hope you will give it a go!

Yum. GlutenFree
5 from 2 votes
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Vegan Lemon Curd

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 650 ml
Author Monical Topliss

Ingredients

  • 100 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 400 g coconut milk
  • 50 g raw sugar
  • 80 g coconut butter
  • 15 g maize starch

Instructions

  1. Place coconut milk, sugar, coconut butter and zest into a small pot and bring to the boil. Mix the lemon juice with the maize starch and mix well.
  2. When the mixture in the pot has reached the boil, turn down the heat and whish in the lemon juice mix paste. The mixture should thicken almost instantly
  3. Continue to cook over a gentle heat, whisking continuously for one minute
  4. Remove from the heat and spoon into a sterilised jar

How to enter the giveaway

To enter the giveaway, simply do any one of the following to gain entry points. Winners will be drawn in on the 4th November 2017.

yum. Glutenfree Mini Cookbook Giveaway

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Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Today I will share with you one of my favourite things to make (next to these tasty things). *Drumroll*….. please be upstanding for the Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice!

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Everyone has a favourite recipe. It’s that dish that you love, that everybody else loves, that always works, no matter how crazy you get with the ingredients or how lazy you may get with the steps. It’s the recipe that you can almost make blindfolded.

For me, that go-to recipe is fried rice!

Boy, do I love making fried rice. It’s such a simple and delicious dish with endless possibilities! I love loading mine with veggies and tofu and, lately, turmeric. The turmeric adds such a nice spicy and earthy flavour to the rice. At home, back in Indonesia, my mum used to make me a similar dish so it always reminds me of her whenever I prepare this dish. And I make this almost every week.

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Here’s the recipe video followed by the full recipe. Some professional chefs and seasoned cooks might express scorn for adding my aromatics (onions and garlic) after the tofu and not before, and how I haven’t set aside the tofu pieces after browning them. Sorry. I’m occasionally lazy, and in my opinion, there isn’t a significant difference in taste. Furthermore, it saves me an extra few minutes and a dish which, at 6 pm after a long day at work, makes all the difference in the world.

You can get really creative with this dish. I use brown rice with broccoli and carrots but you can use different veggie combinations or a different type of rice. One time I even used cooked barley and it worked well, too. You can also use tempeh instead of tofu, seitan, mushroom, chickpeas, or all the above. Trust me, I’ve tried almost every possibility under the sun.

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

4 from 2 votes
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Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 Red Onion diced
  • 5 garlic Cloves sliced
  • 200 g Firm Bean Curd sliced
  • 2 cups of cooked Brown Rice
  • 2 Carrots sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1-2 teaspoon of Light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • A sprinkle of Ground Pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Coriander
  • 1-2 cups of chopped mushroom optional
  • A sprinkle Kala Namak  optional

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in wok (preferably non-stick) over high heat, add sliced tofu, swirling to coat surfaces; add sliced bean curd.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to bean curd and then add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until brown.
  3. Add chopped red onion, stir, add garlic and then stir-fry until onions are soft and slightly brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add brown rice, broccoli and carrots, stir. Then add soysauce and stir for about 3 minutes to mix.
  5. Add chopped mushroom (optional) and, stir-fry for another 2 minutes more, taste.
  6. Adjust the flavour by adding more sauce or season to taste.
  7. Fold in chopped coriander to finish.
  8. Serve

Recipe Notes

Serve with slices of fresh chilli for spicy boost.

If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

 

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

 

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Udon Noodle Stir Fry With Oyster Mushroom

I’ve realised that apart from my Superhero Fried Rice, I have not shared a single stir fry recipe on this blog. That comes as a shock to me, especially considering that I cook stir fry every week! Well, today we will change that.

This recipe makes enough for four servings, which is great for meal prep, or if you like to eat leftovers like I do. Feel free to use other types of mushrooms, add tofu, other veggies, etc. As long as you keep the proportion somewhat the same, you should be alright :)

Udon Noodle Stir Fry With Oyster Mushroom

Easy and hearty stir-fry made with chewy Udon noodles and delicious oyster mushroom
Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Keren

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 5 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli sliced
  • 1 broccoli cut into florets
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 400 g oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 packet of udon noodles
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add onion. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes or until softened. Add garlic and chilli. Stir-fry for another minute until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add broccoli florets and carrot slices then add vegetarian oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir-fry for two minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
  3. Add the Udon noodles and toss using tongs for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
  4. Remove from heat and drizzle with sesame oil.
  5. Add a pinch pepper, taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh chili.

If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Giveaway – Cocolife Coconut Lovers Pack

Just a quick post to let you all know that I’m doing a giveaway on Instagram.

Thanks to the Cocolife I will be choosing TWO lucky followers from my Instagram account everyday for five days from 16 – 20 June 2017, to win a Coconut Lovers pack. That’s 720ml of Cold-pressed Virgin Coconut oil and the Coconut Oil Spray.

Here’s what you need to do to enter this giveaway.

1. Head over to this post on Instagram (with the picture like the one below) and tell us “WHAT YOU USE COCONUT OIL FOR?” Write it in the comment section.
2. Follow @livethecocolife on Instagram.
3. Live in Australia 🇦🇺. Sorry, it’s only open to Australian resident this time. Another reason to move to Down Under? 😄

That’s it! As for me, I use coconut oil everyday for cooking but my favourite is using them to make popcorn 🍿 🍿🍿🍿. Now it’s your turn! Good luck!

Keren x

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Harajuku Gyoza and Nasu Dengaku Recipe

Nasu Dengaku | Japanese Eggplant

A week ago I was invited to Harajuku Gyoza in Potts Point to try their vegan dishes. It was quite a pleasant surprise, as I visited them only a month ago for a quick lunch, and I thought to myself, ‘this restaurant is actually vegan friendly’. And indeed it is, and very much so. I went with my vegan friend, Jo, and we both had a great time tasting all their vegan dishes, from dumplings, to tacos, and finally a lovely dessert, for which we had no idea what it was made made of, but which looked and tasted delicious.

My lovely friend Jo

 

Japanese Plum Wine – delish!

Vegetable Gyoza. Great with some vinegar and chilli oil.

Open Tofu Taco, Tempura Eggplant, and Agedashi Tofu (veganised) – triple yum!

Raindrop Cake – delicate melt in your mouth jelly served with peanut powder and I’m not sure about the rest! Tastes good though :)

 

It’s not every day that I can eat more than just salad and vegetable tempura at a Japanese restaurant, and so I was very cheerful (the plum wine and sake might have contributed to the elevated mood as well).

What a spread! All vegan :)

I got home feeling motivated to create a Japanese-inspired video recipe. Nasu Dengaku, or miso glazed eggplant, is one of my favourite Japanese dishes to make at home because it’s so simple, healthy and most importantly tasty. It’s also especially useful for this time of the year when the weather is getting colder and I’m craving things that are more comforting. And this dish is just that, comforting, especially when eaten with a steaming bowl of rice… heaven-sent.

Here’s the video and the recipe. I posted it on Instagram a few days ago and a few people have tried the recipe and told me how delicious it is. If you don’t have sake, you can omit it, the recipe will still taste good.

Harajuku Gyoza and Nasu Dengaku Recipe

Simple, delicious, and comforting. Recipe adapted from fatfreevegan.com
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 small ones
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons shiro miso
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplants lengthwise and score.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients.
  3. Brush the cut sides of the eggplants with the sauce and cook for 20 mins at 180C (or about 10 mins for smaller eggplants)
  4. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with boiled rice.

If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Cheers,

Keren x

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Soul Burger – Randwick

A few months ago I went to Soul Burger in Randwick for the first time since they went completely plant-based in December 2015. Having become used to being limited to just one option at burger joints (generally involving a veggie patty of some sort), it was so strange being able to pick anything from the menu! But before I go into detail, let me share with you my story.

  

I have a long history with burgers.

When I was growing up in Jakarta, my mum used to treat us (my sisters and I) with Wendy’s burgers on weekends. Wendy’s was (and still is) a big-name US fast food chain, which pretty much revolves around burgers and chips, and is marginally better than McDonalds.

Back then burgers were a luxury food for our family and for many others. They were more a lot more expensive than local Indonesian food and you could only find them in high-end shopping centres. People would go to burger joints for a celebration, or some sort of special event. You certainly wouldn’t find people eating burgers every day. Not even the people working there.

Fast forward a few years later, I moved to Australia… the land of burgers, pies and sausage rolls. I put on ten kilos in the first year! (I think I’m still carrying most of the weight gain, even now, 15 years later!).

So now I’m back to treating burgers as a luxury food item, not because of their price (although some can cost upward of $20), but because of their high calorie count. I need to either have enough ‘calorie credit’ to eat the burger or know that I can ‘pay for it’ somehow (with some sweat and tears). That’s how I treat all comfort foods. It’s a fun way of looking at the trade-off between taste and calories, and it also helps you make a better decision. And when I do indulge, I want it to taste good. Really good. Because, hey, I’m paying big for it, not just with my wallet, but with my hustle.

Anyway, the point is (and sorry for the long-winded introduction), now that I’m vegan, finding a good plant-based burger has become an ongoing pursuit.

Until Soul Burger! They don’t just make good burgers, they smash them out of the ballpark. Just check out their menu.

I wanted to try everything all at the same time but settled with Chilli Beef which has plant-based beef, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, sriracha aioli (I know!) and tomato relish. My boyfriend Nat opted for a more traditional Classic Cheese burger which has plant-based beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato relish and mustard aioli. They were both really good (though I think mine tasted better!). Here’s a quick video on how it all went down. Missa (my spoodle) makes a cameo in this little clip. Hope you like it.

Soul Burger opens Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Visit their website for more info on location (by the way, they just opened a new store in Glebe!) and opening times.

Keren x

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Maker Sydney – Behind The Kitchen

Two of my favourite vegans: Annabelle of My Little Panda Kitchen and Kate of The Vegan Teahouse have paired up to create a sweet spot called MAKER. They offer a 100% vegan shared commercial kitchen space with a take-away coffee and treat bar, plus a soon-to be launched cafe serving up seasonal vegan gourmet comfort food.

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maker-sydney

I went and visited their kitchen a couple of weeks ago and had the pleasure of speaking to Kate about their new cafe venture as well as seeing the making of The Vegan Teahouse popular Grace Chocolate brownies and Britney banana bread.

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They just launched their take-away coffee and treat bar last Saturday and judging by the huge line at the door, I have a feeling that Maker is going to be hit amongst plantbased foodies in Sydney.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Big love,

Keren x

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Smooth Chocolate Festival – Sydney

Smooth Chocolate Festival

What do you get when you have lots and lots of chocolate in the one place? Lots and lots of people. The Smooth Chocolate Festival saw foodies, families and chocoholics alike swarming the Rocks and Circular Quay areas for some chocolatey deliciousness. I couldn’t believe the amount of people at this festival – it seemed to be in the tens of thousands. It’s incredible how far the humble cacao bean has come since its discovery four thousand years ago (note: The True History of Chocolate is a great book if you want a detailed examination on the history of chocolate from it’s earliest pre-Columbian roots to modern times).
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We just love our chocolate.

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It was my first time at the Smooth Chocolate Festival. The festival was first hosted last year and according to a friend, this year’s edition was actually bigger and better – I don’t know how much better it was this time around, but it certainly was bigger than what I had in mind.

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To be honest, I didn’t have huge expectations of the event, or for any mainstream food event for that matter. For those living a plant-based lifestyle, it’s often hard to find vegan-friendly foods in these sorts of events. But, on this occasion, I was able to try quite a lot of foods and chocolate at this festival so I was fairly happy.

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It was a lovely day in Sydney, the weather was definitely on our side (I think God is partial to chocolate, too) and I thoroughly enjoyed the different arrays of food businesses at this event. The event was spread out over eight different locations: First Fleet Park, Circular Quay Way, Tallawolladah Lawn (the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art), Chocolatier’s Quarters in Cargo Hall of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Campbell’s Cove, Atherden Street, Argyle Street, and Playfair Street.

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I started my festival escapade strolling along Argyle Street, sampling a number of 80 Raw 20 Paleo granolas, and treating myself to a huge smoothie, a.k.a. ‘The Hulk’ from The Smoothie Co  before venturing down to Circular Quay.

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There were over 90 individual stalls so there was no way you could physically check out all of them. There also was a queue at some of the stalls, especially the The Lindt Lounge and the Chocolatier’s Quarters. I didn’t go to the Lindt Lounge but I did go to the Chocolatier’s Quarters, and it was my favourite section of the whole event. I was mind-blown by how many delicious, high quality, vegan friendly chocolates there were.

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There were Little Zebra Chocolates offering sugar-free chocolate made with Xylitol (all their dark chocolates are vegan); Girl Made Chocolate which gives Pana Chocolate a run for their money in the raw, vegan, organic chocolate bar space (their chili chocolate is amazing); Cacaoette (simply amazing artisanal organic chocolates, also with plenty of vegan options); and Chocolate Tea (a revolutionary tea made of cacao bean shells which taste like you’re drinking chocolate), and many more noteworthy stalls.

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There also were some incredible chocolate arts on display: pastry chef Dean Gibson created a pumpkin head scare-crow and an echidna using chocolate, and artist James Patrick created a painting using Lindt chocolate balls and wrappers (check out James’ behind the scene clip in his YouTube channel).

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On the side, there also were plenty of what I would call ‘supporting’ stalls, because one cannot not live on chocolate alone (okay, perhaps one could, but why would one need to?) There were savoury food stalls such as Fratelli Fresh, Gourmet Gozleme and Thaiinabox, and beers and ciders galore (Bilpin Cider Co. Garden Bar deserves a special mention with the coolest garden bar setting).

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Overall it was a thoroughly mindblowing event, both in its very large scale and many different features and attractions. There was something for everyone, even for the most discerning chocolate connoisseur, a health conscious foodie, or in my case, a vegan with an alarmingly sweet tooth.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”― Charles M. Schulz

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P.S. This is is my Day 1 and 2 of the #300wordsaday challenge which I’m doing throughout the month of October with Sydney Passion Bloggers. We’re essentially a community group for bloggers who resides in Sydney (though you don’t have to live in Sydney to join). Me and a few other bloggers re doing this challenge to cultivate daily writing habit. It’s challenging (especially in weekends), but I’m enjoying it so far. Check our our group Sydney Passion Bloggers on Facebook to find out more about what we do and this particular challenge.

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Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

The last time I went to Canberra was six years ago for the Tulip Festival. I went with four of my girlfriends. I navigated, we got lost (Google Maps failed me) and it took us five hours to get to Canberra, from Sydney, by way of the Blue Mountains (I know…). Despite the slow start, it ended being a great trip and I have a lot of fond memories from that day (including eating too many scones and cookies at Ginger Catering’s high tea buffet). This year I went back to Canberra, not for the Tulip, but for the Canberra Truffle Festival. I was invited by a girlfriend and went on a whim. I had no expectations: I just was hoping for a similarly pleasant experience as to last time, but instead, I was blown away.

We started our 2-day Truffle Festival adventure with a three-hour truffle hunt at Tarago Truffle, which was an amazing and eye-opening experience that makes me appreciate this nuggets of black gold so much more. You can read more about my truffle hunting experience, and the ethics of eating truffles as a vegan, in my last post.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Tarago Truffle

 

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

 

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

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After the truffle hunt we went to the Canberran CBD to try The Cupping Room – they’re reputed for making good coffee. We got there in less than an hour and to my surprise, there was a queue at the door- the young and hip, lining up and eager to get in the café for some hot brew. I hate lining up for food, but it didn’t look like there were any other cafés nearby, and since everyone was keen on trying this place, I made an exception. About five minutes later one of their waiting staff came out and offered us some free plunger coffee. I felt much better already.

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Thirty minutes later we got our table. I ordered my usual soy flat white and chose one of the few vegan dishes they have – Avo & his mates (veganised).

It was a pretty good plate, but would have been miles better with a dash of truffle salt (it was hard not to be obsessed with truffles after the previous night)! But, hey, at least they didn’t skimp on the avocado, that’s for sure. So much avo mash on that toast.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Veganised Avo and His Mates

The dish was served with some radish and cress salad which was quite tasty. It gave the dish a nice crunch and a bit of zing. The waiting staff also gave me a side of cashew cream which was creamy and lovely.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Crunchy hot chips at The Cupping Room

Coffee was really good! Their Cascara tea – made from the cherry of a coffee tree – was interesting. It tastes fruity with the tiniest hint of coffee and smells a bit like berry, sour and sweet both at the same time.

The Cupping Room

The Cupping Room

The Truffle Degustation

On the Saturday night we went to a five-course truffle and wine degustation dinner, at the Chifley Hotel, as part of the Canberra Truffle Festival event. The hotel made me a special vegan menu, which is always a nice touch, and I even got my own plate of appetisers while everyone else had to share.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Tomato Carpaccio with lots and lots of truffle shavings – Best dish of the night

 

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Pumpkin Soup

It was a fun-filled night (like most nights involving food and wine are). We were the only group younger than our 40’s there, rocking our jeans and boots while everyone else were either in a dress or in a collared shirt. We looked a little out of place, no doubt, but I don’t think we cared. We were there for the food and the wine. But there was nothing to worry about because everyone was really nice and friendly.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Risotto with, you guessed it – truffle!

 

 

We ate a lot of truffle-full dishes and met the winemaker who brought Prosecco into Australia, Otto Dal Zotto from Dal Zotto Wine, and drank heaps of his wine. He even gave us tips on how we can perform better at wine-tasting, including starting as early as seven in the morning!

The food was good but the wine was outstanding. We bought a few bottles each – they have arrived in Sydney by the way, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on them very soon.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

After dinner we went to Molly, also in the CBD (thanks to a tip from a wine distributor who sat at our table). Molly is an underground speakeasy bar which reminds me of Palmer and Co in the Rocks in Sydney. It’s so underground that it doesn’t even have a sign at the door. We (I) had to ask a local Canberrian for directions, and in exchange he asked me for some water as I was carrying my water bottle. It was a pretty random exchange (I gave him the whole bottle) but the directions were on point. We saw a door with a bright light next to a building and inside, a girl sitting on a stool welcoming people in. It would have looked pretty shady had she not been super-nice-friendly-looking. As I walked down the stairs I could hear the crowd and music. This is not the Canberra I once knew. This is so much better.

 

We stayed overnight at Medina in Belconnen, in a two bedroom serviced apartment. It was very nice for that sort of accommodation: It was clean and airy and with a full-size kitchen. I slept like a baby.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016 The morning came and we all had to quickly pack up and check out. We started wandering our way back to Sydney that afternoon, but not without a visit to the local vineyards and one last truffle farm on the way.

 

At the dinner at the Chifley the night before, we heard Jayson Meysman’s story about his inspiring journey leading him to the truffle industry, his $100,000 dog Samson and The Truffle Farm that he now owns at Majura. We decided to drop by to check out his farm and, perhaps, get some more truffles.

The Truffle Farm

Have you heard of truffle-infused vodka? It was our first taste, too.

 

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Black Truffle

And we did end up buying more truffles (how could you not?) before making our way to Murrumbateman Winery and then Eden Road Wines.

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

Eden Road Winery

As is always the case with me and winery visits – I started telling myself ‘I don’t need more wine, I’m just gonna enjoy some free wine’ here and ended up with the ageless ‘I can’t not buy this, it’s so good’ dilemma with my own conscience. Luckily we only visited two wineries so I didn’t completely exhaust my willpower. I ended up buying only a couple of bottles of wine and was feeling pretty proud of myself.

 

Canberra Truffle Festival 2016

So we did everything we wanted to do: We ate lots of truffles, we drank lots of wine and we spent some quality time with each other. It’s amazing how much you can do in two days.

We ended our trip to Canberra with a toast of Eden Road Cabernet Sauvignon, a bunch of full bellies, sweet, truffle-filled memories, and the hope to return to the capital city again next year.

Until we meet again.

 

Keren x