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September Goodness Me Box + Healthfood Project Vegan Cookies

I’ve been wanting to create an unboxing video for a while. Although I did a stop motion unboxing video a while ago for Goodness Me Box. it wasn’t quite my style. I think I much prefer a longer form video vs all the short and snappy ones floating around the social media realm today.

If you’re unfamiliar with Goodness Me Box, it’s a subscription box that gives you a selection of wholefood items to sample. They’ve progressed quite significantly since they’ve started. Now we can specify our dietary requirements to get a personalised box – so those who are gluten free, dairy free, vegan (i.e., Me) or low sugar, don’t need to worry about getting things they can’t actually eat.

Click below to watch the video.

I tested one of the product in the box – the Health Food Project Vegan Cookie mix (Choc Chunk and Cranberries).

The cookies were so easy to make, requiring only three ingredients to make – coconut oil, water and rice malt syrup (which I substituted with maple syrup), and are extremely delicious! Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, just like home made cookies.

 

Note: If you watched the video, I said that they’re Gluten-free and Organic, I realised now that it is not completely accurate. Although the ingredient list does not mention wheat or any gluten-containing items, there is no mention of it being gluten-free so perhaps the oats might contain traces of gluten. And even though the main ingredient is organic (oat), it turns out that they have a few ingredients that are not organic such as almond meal, chocolate, chunks, cinnamon powder etc. I’m quite happy with ‘mostly organic’ ingredients but some may not be.

Did I tell you they were delicious?

Anyway, I’m very excited to see the impact veganism has on the health food space! Who would’ve thought we’d have a vegan cookie mix and monthly vegan-friendly wholefood food subscription box five years ago (let alone a food subscription anything)? It really is a great time to be a vegan!

Keren x

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by GoodnessMe Box or the Health Food Project. I’m sharing this because I genuinely like their products.

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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
 
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Simple, delicious, and comforting. Recipe adapted from fatfreevegan.com
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant or 2 small ones
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons shiro miso
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Method
  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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Review: Aussie Farmers Direct WW Freshbox

Stuffed Capsicum With Quinoa

Shopping for groceries can be a bit time consuming. As for me, I often go without any plan and would end up buying things I don’t need in spur of the moment! Fortunately, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to try the new Aussie Farmers Direct WW Freshbox – a delivery box of fresh produce and all the ingredients you need to prepare a healthy meal according to the Weight Watchers-friendly recipes included with the box. It has helped me see the benefit of meal planning and realise how much time I actually spend shopping for groceries every week. A lot!

They currently don’t have a vegan subscription box :( so I tried their vegetarian box. Since my boyfriend Nat is mostly vegetarian, the vegetarian box worked well for both of us. Nat is probably 80% vegan, 10% vegetarian, 9% pescatarian and 1% flexitarian (generally when under duress at certain family dinner events). I think he’s doing very well all things considered. So far we’ve kept our kitchen meat-free and I’m very pleased with that.

My Experience

When the box came I was pleasantly surprised by how much fresh produce it contained. Fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and grains took up about 80% of the box’s contents. The remainder was half a dozen of eggs, a small packet of Parmesan cheese and a few mini-cartons of long life dairy cream. I picked up the box from the front of the apartment around 9 am. They dropped the box very early in the morning, around 3 am or so, But everything was still cool and fresh thanks to the well-insulated box and cool-packs inside.

The box came with three recipe cards. I honestly didn’t think I’d actually use them. I hardly use recipes when cooking and I often like to wing it as I go. I was even thinking that it could be a fun mystery box challenge. However, as soon as I looked at some of the recipes, I just had to try them. They looked so sumptuous and simple and since I had got all the ingredients already, it was a no brainer. They also are easily veganised, which was a huge plus.

Stuffed Capsicums with Rocket and Fennel Salad (recipe at the bottom of this post)

Sweet potato dahl

YUM! They were absolutely delicious and easy to make. I really liked the stuffed capsicum – the top layer of quinoa stuffing becomes crunchy after baking which adds a nice texture to the overall dish. I got a bit excited that I made the sweet potato dahl while waiting for the capsicum to cook. It was a feast!

PROS and CONS

I never really got into the whole food subscription trend but now that I’ve tried it myself, I can definitely see the benefits. The problem with home cooking is that even if you enjoy cooking, sometimes you don’t have time to do grocery shopping or meal planning. Services like the Aussie Farmers Direct WW Freshbox help alleviate the stress of finding something new to cook and the hassle of grocery shopping. It’s also quite affordable. For the box I tried (three meals for two people each), it cost $64 per box, so it works out to $10.67 per plate. Not bad, considering the amount of time you save not having to think about what’s for dinner, or going grocery shopping. It’s also considerable cheaper than eating out (not to mention healthier).

There are a few inherent risks associated any food subscription service:

  1. You need your house/unit secure enough to allow your subscription box to be left attended outside your door for a few hours. I had no problem with the first deliveries but this is definitely something that you’d need to consider. In saying that, because the delivery time is ridiculously early (around 3 am), the chance of it being stolen between 3 am and, say, 7 am, is fairly low if you’re in a secure building.
  2. Product deterioration due to heat. There’s a risk of having the fresh produce deteriorating due to the heat, especially in the hot summer days we’re having nowadays. The coolpacks and the well-built cardboard box can keep the produce cool for a few hours but no more than that. To avoid deteroriation you will need to remember to take your box inside and move the fresh ingredients into the fridge as soon as you can.
  3. Product damage from shipping and handling. A small risk but a risk nonetheless. The box is very well built and ingredients are packed securely inside. However, there’s a chance that one of the eggs might break (in fact, one did in my first box) during delivery – in which case, the cost would be refunded to the customer. It wasn’t a biggie for me since I don’t eat eggs. More reason to have vegan box, perhaps?

Final words

Overall, my experience with the WW Freshbox and their support team has been pleasant! I was surprised how much time I’ve saved – enough for a couple of yoga sessions (or perhaps a few extra episodes of Breaking Bad!).

Recipes

Here are a couple of recipes adapted from the WW Freshbox Vegetarian Recipes. Check out Aussie Farmers Direct for more info on their WW Freshbox. They also have other products such as the Fruit & Veg Box – pre-packaged fresh fruits and vegetables which are also available in an organic range. All of their products are ethically and sustainably sourced from local Australian growers so you know that your money goes toward supporting your fellow Australians.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Stuffed capsicums with rocket & fennel salad
 
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A healthy hearty meal perfect for any day of the week. Adapted from WW Freshbox Recipe. The quinoa filling yield a crunchy top after baking making it even more delightful to eat.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Stuffed Capsicum
  • ½ cup (100g) quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 green shallots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish
  • 400g can four bean mix, rinsed and drained
  • 40g raw almonds, chopped
  • 4 (800g) red capsicums
Salad
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 60g baby rocket
  • 30g vegan parmesan (optional)
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup slivered almond
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Rinse and drain quinoa. Cook in a large saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain under cold water then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan on medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until softened. Add to quinoa with thyme, four bean mix and almonds. Season and toss to combine.
  4. Cut capsicum in half lengthways and remove seeds and membrane. Fill with quinoa mixture. Place on the lined baking tray and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until capsicum is tender. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes or until golden.
  5. To make the salad: Combine fennel, rocket and parmesan in a bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and remaining oil.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sweet Potato Dahl
 
Prep time
Cook time
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A warm and comforting meal that is simple to make, yet hearty and delicious. The best thing is, you only need one pot to make it. Adapted from WW Freshbox Vegetarian Recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 300g sweet potato, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
Method
  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion. Stir for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Place lentils, sweet potato, tomato and water. Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender and mixture is thick.
  4. Stir in chopped coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with extra coriander.

Have you used any food subscription services before? What do you think?

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Joyou

Joyou

Imagine getting a surprise delivery present from yourself, for yourself.

Well now you can! There’s a new online gift delivery service with a difference called Joyou. They offer a surprise gift box service for those in need of monthly pampering.

And you won’t know what you’ll get until you open the box. Exciting right!

Last November box I received my first Joyou box. And following is my experience.

It was packaged like a gift, string bow and all. And it smelt really nice.

My surprise gift was…

A deliciously scented vegan body scrub and lip balm from Mud and Co.

YUM!

joyou-1

It’s sustainable, ethical and vegan Friendly

What I love about Joyou is that they ensure all gifts are sourced sustainably and ethically as much as they can, and that is awesome. As a vegan, it’s always a hassle to check if the product is cruelty-free but with Joyou, I don’t have to.

joyou-4

Perfect for the ladies

Joyou is all about feminine, pretty, and beautiful surprises, so it is perfect for the ladies! The Mud & Co lipbalm I received smells divine and feels so luscious I can’t think of any girls who wouldn’t want to have it.

joyou-6

No need to subscribe

I think this is the best thing about Joyou. You don’t have to subscribe to get your box (though you can if you want to). Just order one whenever you feel like a bit of treat. Perfect for the commitment-phobic customer, me included.

So ladies, if you’re looking for a bit of pampering and love a beautiful surprise gift that is sustainably-sourced, ethical and cruelty free, then you need to check out Joyou. They’re going to be big, I tell ya!

Keren x

 

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Fortunate Coffee Jakarta

It’s all about good coffee, healthy bread and delicious traditional Indonesian dishes, made vegan.

Fortunate Coffee is one of a few emerging cafés serving vegan-friendly foods, breads, and of course, coffee. Most coffee shops in Jakarta do not serve dairy-free coffee so finding a coffee shop like Fortunate Coffee is quite special.

Fortunate Coffee-3

I was introduced to Fortunate Coffee by Dr Susianto, a friend who is also a well-regarded vegan nutritionist and the, President of Vegan Society of Indonesia.. Fortunate Coffee is one of several vegan business ventures he is involved in. We met up for dinner here when I was in Jakarta a few months ago. I’m biased here but it was one of the best vegan meals I’ve had in Indonesia.

Fortunate Coffee-7 We tried some healthy vegan bread, which is made without eggs, dairy, or the preservatives and additives commonly found in store-bought bread. From the way Dr Susianto described the process, it sounds very similar to the making of sourdough bread, except for the fact that the bread is softer and they don’t have that crusty outer that traditional sourdough bread has. It was delicious, though! It caters to the Indonesians taste buds who love soft, fluffy sweet bread.

Fortunate Coffee-2

We also tried a few of Fortunate Coffee’s popular dishes: Bakmi Jamur (Dry Noodles with Gravy mushrooms), Rawon (a rich tasting traditional Indonesian Black Soup), Empek- Empek (Fish Cakes) and Nasi Padang (Rice with an assortment of spicy curry dishes, and traditional fried Tofu and Tempe).

Fortunate Coffee-8

Fortunate Coffee-11 The entire meal was great! I loved the Bakmi, the Empek-Empek, and everything else, really. I had my sister and my mom with me (they’re not vegans) and they were also impressed by the dishes. The Empek-Empek, in particular, resembles the authentic flavour of the traditional dish yet it contains no fish. Instead, they use seaweed. Smart, don’t you think?

Fortunate Coffee-17 Although finding vegan food in Jakarta is not impossible, it’s actually trickier than you may think, especially if you want to eat something other than Gado-Gado, fried Tofu or Tempeh. There’re a lot of traditional Indonesian foods that I grew up with which are not vegan-friendly, such as the Empek-empek, Soto (Indonesian-style traditional spicy soup), and Sate (Peanut satay usually made of meat). This is where Fortunate Coffee comes in.

Fortunate Coffee-16

Unfortunately (and strangely enough), I didn’t try their coffee. I guess I was too busy eating. I was planning to come back for a second visit but didn’t get a chance this trup. For future reference, however, they have the usual-style coffee (i.e. Cappuccino, Latte, etc) as well as manual and cold-brew coffee.

Anyway, if you’re in Jakarta and looking for a nice little place to have lunch or dinner, you should check this place out.

Fortunate Coffee Jakarta

Ruko Taman Palem Lestari, Blok A11 No. 5A, Jl. Taman Palem Lestari, Cengkareng, Jakarta

It turns out Fortunate Coffee they have a number of branches scattered around Jakarta and other major Indonesian cities so check out their Facebook page to find the closest one to you.

 

 

 

 

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Vegan Degustation at Yellow

I still remember my first fine dining experience. It was about 12 years ago at a French Restaurant in Surry Hills. I can’t remember the name, but I remember everything else. I remember the dress I was wearing, the people I was with, the service, the food, and I especially remember the amazing experience which sparked a decade of fine dining pursuits. I collected degustation menus like stamps and spent most of my salary on eating out. It was my dope.

Yellow Vegan Degustation

My recent visit to Yellow reminded me of that first fine dining experience. Sure, I’ve had gorgeous vegan meals at Otto and delicious customised vegan degustation at Marque. But Yellow stood head and shoulders above any those venues. It was splendid in every way possible. The efficient service, the romantic ambiance, the delicious food, everything was exactly on point.

Yellow Vegan Degustation-6

I had the 5 course vegan degustation menu and by the end of the night I promised myself that I will go back to try the even longer 7 course menu. It was good. Really.

Yellow Vegan Degustation-2

My pictures don’t do justice on how attractive all the dishes were. They were as bright and beautiful as a flower garden. There’s no seitan here. Instead, you’ll be delighted by plant-based whole foods which were carefully prepared and minimally processed, with lots of textural elements and umami-rich flavours – dishes that will make you forget they were vegan. That my friend, require some serious skills.

Salted Mexican Cucumbers + Tomatillos + Oca Yellow Vegan Degustation-10

It was my first time trying Mexican cucumbers. They look like miniature watermelons but they taste like cucumbers with a hint of citrus. It was slightly tangy, enjoyably light and refreshing.

Kohlrabi + Enoki Mushroom + Vegetable Broth Yellow Vegan Degustation-3

I had to look at the menu again when I was presented with this dish. I was expecting roasted kohlrabi or a soupy dish but, instead, I got beautiful and crunchy ribbons of kohlrabi with enoki mushrooms and violet flowers. It was a gorgeous dish which was rich in textures and, oh my, that consommé! A true umami experience.

Black Rice + Celtuce + Koji Yellow Vegan Degustation-4

What is celtuce? It doesn’t really matter. Delicious chewy rice, rich kryptonite green sauce and crunchy koji fit to die for.

Spaghetti Squash + Persimmon + Pepitas Yellow Vegan Degustation-5

Gorgeous yellow strings of perfectly cooked squash with sweet melty persimmon, crunchy pepitas and a thick nut cream. Divine!

Raspberry Sorbet + Plum + Hazelnut Yellow Vegan Degustation-8

Finely sliced plums encasing a delectable sorbet which was super smooth and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. I could only say that I wish I could have had more of this. Come to think of it, if my boyfriend had any manners he’d have given me his plate as well.

Yellow Vegan Degustation-9

As I concluded my night at Yellow I bade farewell to Australia, my friends, my dog and my dear love. It was my last night in Sydney before my 3-month trip overseas and I couldn’t have wished for a better place to end the night. Adieu, till we meet again.

Keren xx

Yellow Vegan Degustation-6

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The Colonel via Deliveroo + Coupon Code

Deliveroo-1

As much as I love going out for dinner, there are days when I don’t feel like eating out, even on the weekends. Lately this has been a frequent occurrence thanks to the arrival of the boxed DVD sets for Breaking Bad (the complete series) and Walking Dead (seasons 1- 5). I had forgotten how addictive television series can be. The last few shows I was into were Gossip Girl, True Blood and Man vs. Food…. sad, I know… but they’re nothing in comparison to these two gems. Breaking Bad and Walking Dead are a hundred times better, and a hundred times more addictive. Goodbye, life.

Deliveroo-13 A lot of times when Nat and I choose to eat in, we’d get takeaway at a local Thai restaurant, Khaohom, which is cheap and easy. Some days however, especially on the weekend, I want something a bit different. Something fancier. Without having to leave home. Just so I can squeeze in another literally gut wrenching, skull-smashing episode of Walking Dead.

Deliveroo-12

Deliveroo is a restaurant delivery start-up which seeks to satisfy this need. It was founded in London two years ago and the company has recently launched in Australia. They may seem like just another food delivery service, but Deliveroo is different in that they focus on delivering food mainly from mid to high-end restaurants – restaurants that traditionally don’t offer a delivery service in the first place. This opens up a completely new range of delivery options.

Deliveroo-9

Image from uk.businessinsider.com

Image from uk.businessinsider.com

Here’s a short clip of my experience using Deliveroo to get one of my favourite dinners home-delivered. I found the website very easy to use and I especially love the ability to add special dietary requirements for my order. I selected The Colonial, a lovely Indian Restaurant in Neutral Bay. Nat is not really (not at all) a fan of spicy food so it takes a lot of effort (or a huge faux pas on his part) for me to get him to an Indian Restaurant. So getting the food to come home instead is the next best thing!

Coupon Code
I’ve teamed up with the cool kids at Deliveroo to give you $10 off your first order with so you can try their service. Just type in the code PASSIONATE when you place your order. This code is valid until 14 June 2016. Enjoy!
Have the best day ever,
Keren
Disclaimer: I received credits from Deliveroo to try and review their service. This is not a sponsored post and as always, all opinion is my own. 
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Superfood Sushi, Newtown

Firstly, I have to say that just by virtue of being completely plant-based, Superfood Sushi automatically gets in my good books. Just like any good Thai restaurant, because I like Thai food and because I’m a vegan. However, as for where it sits on the list, well, read on. I had the opportunity of visiting Superfood Sushi a while back with my non-vegan boyfriend and put their menu to the test. I’ve had some Superfood Sushis at a couple of previous events but this time, we tried almost everything.

Superfood Sushi-30-5

The Superfood sushi concept came about when mother-and-son duo Pepe and Guy Marshal were unable to find sushi that was cruelty free, healthy and enjoyable. I dig that. I love it when people create a business from solving their own personal problem. It’s very cool. I did an interview on Pepe just before the launch of the restaurant, so I’m glad everything worked out and Sydney gets her first all-vegan sushi restaurant. You can check out the interview here.

As I said, the whole premise of Superfood Sushi is to serve better, ethical and healthier sushis. I get the ethical bit but healthier? I thought sushi is already healthy?

Well, not exactly. I started to research this and it turns out that although sushi can be healthy (i.e., low in fat, low in calories and nutrient rich), it can also be a dietary disaster depending on what’s in your sushi. Those big ‘crunchy’ hand rolls with mayonnaise sauce and white rice are really not much better than a Subway sandwich. Seriously. That’s kinda scary.

Superfood Sushi recognise this so they created their own super-healthy sushis to feed the hungry crowd of health foodies, vegans and vegetarian alike. But how good can healthy, plantbased sushi be?

Superfood Sushi-30-6

As a vegan who is used to having very limited options at sushi restaurants (cucumber rolls anyone?!), I was quite impressed by the broad variety of sushis they have on the menu. They all have unique flavour combinations and they taste quite delicious. I also love how they were presented. They look gorgeous. You could tell that a lot of care was put into the making of these sushi rolls, just as in any other good sushi place.

Here’re some of the things we tried:

Bento Box (you get two half rolls of, 2 sushiboats, salad, fruit, and miso).

Superfood Sushi-01

Salad and fruits as part of the bento box

A whole heap of sushis:

Sweet Kiwi Nut – Black Rice packed with Roast Sweet Potato, Walnuts, Rocket, Avocado and Kiwifruit

Magic Mushroom Green Rice packed with Portobello and Shiitake mushrooms marinated in Garlic and plum vinegar.

Cheeky Chi -Inari Pocket, Rice, White Kim Chi and Zucchini

Mushroom Soy – Turmeric Soy Gunkan, Portobello and Shiitake mushrooms roasted in Garlic and Umeboshi Plum vinegar

Super Salmon – Watermelon Nigiri

Soba soup – It was the special of the day, light and comforting soup with soba noodles and lots of vegetables

Black Jack– Nori Gunkan, Black Rice, Jack-fruit Salad and Kelp Cavia

Twisted Zucchini – Turmeric Soy Gunkan, raw Zucchini Spaghetti with Basil Pesto and Edamame

Superfood Sushi-34

Top: Soba Soup, Black Jack, and Cheeky Chi. Bottom: Sweet Kiwi Nut, and Magic Mushroom Green Rice

Superfood Sushi-53

Twisted Zucchini and Mushroom Soy

Superfood Sushi-40

Super Salmon

Since I’m quite biased here, I turned to my non-vegan boyfriend to get his impartial non-vegan opinion of the food. He said it was “Very Good” (as opposed to ‘Alright’, ‘Not Great’ and ‘Excellent’). I’ll take that as 4 out of 5 stars. He enjoyed it as much as me so we had an equally pleasant experience… which is not all that frequent when dining at all-vegan restaurants.

Would I recommend it to anyone? Hell, yeah. Check it out next time you’re in town! Sweet Kiwi Nuts and Mushroom Soys are my two favourites so you must try them.

Checkout Superfood Sushi Website for store location and opening hours.

With love,

Keren

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Dandylion, Bondi

A few months ago I attended a Meetup event at Dandylion – a new hip vegan friendly restaurant situated in North Bondi. There were about 20 of us and we had the 6-course vegan degustation menu. I can’t remember the last time I had a degustation dinner as a vegan so I was pretty excited, to say the least.

Dandylion - Cucumber and seitan

Cucumber and seitan

We had two antipasti dishes: (1) Cucumber and seitan (cucumber half filled with bbq-flavoured seitan and sesame seeds) which was fresh and flavourful; and (2) Sesame wonton and crisp chickpea mousse – crunchy, creamy mousse which was delicious. The dishes were great but unfortunately they were only bite-size pieces… I wish I could have had seconds!

Dandylion - Sesame wonton and crisp chickpea mousse

Sesame wonton and crisp chickpea mousse

I forgot (or more accurately, was too hungry to wait) to take pictures of the second dish – Beetroot Carpaccio with wild rocket, walnut, piquant vegan cheese & aged balsamic dressing. I recognised the piquant cheese used for this dish: the Vegusto No Muh Piquant cheese. The salad was seriously good! Fresh, slightly tangy, mildly sweet and just yum!

Caramelised tempeh, shitake mushrooms & kale dumplings with chilli & miso spicy sauce was the next course. This was my favourite dish. Even though I found the dumpling skin a tad undercooked for my liking, the filling was very delicious. It had a nice balance of salt, sweets and spices and it was full of ‘umami’ taste. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Dandylion - Caramelised tempeh, shitake mushrooms & kale dumplings with chilli & miso spicy sauce

Caramelised tempeh, shitake mushrooms & kale dumplings with chilli & miso spicy sauce

Next up: Orechiete with kale & maple sweet potato sauce. The shell pasta was cooked to perfection and the sweet potato sauce makes you forget that it’s dairy-free. It’s so creamy and rich. A generous sprinkle of coconut ‘bacon’ bits doesn’t hurt either.

Dandylion - Orechiete with kale and maple sweet potato sauce

Orechiete with kale & maple sweet potato sauce

The second last dish was Gnocchi with tomato based walnut sauce. Soft pillows of gnocchi with rich and ‘meaty’ sauce.

Dandylion - Gnocchi with tomato based walnut sauce

Gnocchi with tomato based walnut sauce

And dessert comprised of Tarta Tatin almonds, rose water & strawberry. It was a lovely dessert to cap off things – mildly sweet, rich and nutty. I loved the whipped coconut cream.

Dandylion -Tarta Tatin almonds, rose water & strawberry

Tarta Tatin almonds, rose water & strawberry

It was a delightful degustation meal. And the best thing was how easy it was to forget that they were ‘vegan’ dishes, which is always an indication of great cooking.

The Meetup event was a success, I met lots of friendly vegan foodies and had great time talking about veganism, food (mostly food) and how good the food is at Dandylion. As vegans and vegetarians, we are so used to putting up with served sub-standard meals at restaurants which often have no clue how cook delicious food without animal products. It was a real treat to experience something of this quality.

Dandylion has certainly lived up to its vision to present vegetarian food that is full of flavor, hearty, and delicious. Combined with great drink selections and a hip interior, it’s definitely going to be one of my favourite places to go to in the Eastern Suburbs.

 

Love and greens,

Keren Natalia

 

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In Asia – North Strathfield

People who love to eat are always the best people. Julia Child.

In Asia

What’s better than eating great food?

Eating it with people who are passionate about it as much as you are.

This post is long overdue. I blame myself for losing the first draft of this post and spending too much time trying to find it instead of just letting it go and writing it again. Sometimes it’s hard to let go.

A while back I was invited to an Instameet at In Asia, a contemporary Asian restaurant in North Strathfield. I was joined by Brendon The Smiling Chef, the organiser for this event, as well as 15 or so other passionate food bloggers.

I was quite surprised with how much food there was available for me to eat. The restaurant was super accommodating of my plant-based needs. They ‘veganised’ some of the dishes for me, and served me with some of their very own vegan-friendly options. Let’s just say I didn’t come home hungry. Here are some of the things I had that night. Mind you, I was the only vegan in the group so all these were for me. Mine, all mine!

Herbal Crusted Tofu Fresh Roll with Peanut Sauce

Herbal Crusted Tofu Fresh Roll with Peanut Sauce

First I had the Herbal Crusted Tofu Fresh Roll with Peanut Sauce. I have to say that the tofu is probably one of the best deep fried tofu I’ve had in Sydney: crummy and crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside. I loved the tofu and peanut sauce combo and the fact it was served with loads of salad made it a light and refreshing bite.

In Asia- lovely colourful plating

Great colourful plating

Second, I had the Rice Vermicelli Salad – rice vermicelli, enoki, betel leaves, eschallot, pomelo, Asian herbs and tamarind soy dressing.

Rice Vermicelli Salad

Rice Vermicelli Salad – rice vermicelli, enoki, betel Leaves, eschallot, pomelo, Asian herbs and tamarind soy dressing

This salad has a multilayered texture with soft noodles, roasted peanuts and crunchy battered mushrooms and betel leaves. They all kind of dance around in you mouth as you slurp, bite and crunch. I don’t think I’ve had anything similar so it’s quite exciting, very original, and it has a tangy dressing similar to a Thai papaya salad – but milder.

For the third dish / first main course I had the vegan version of their Turmeric Curry – with fried tofu instead of soft shell crab, along with lightly battered enoki mushrooms.

Turmeric Curry with fried tofu

Turmeric Curry – with fried tofu instead of soft shell crab, along with lightly battered enoki mushrooms

The sauce was creamy and fragrant; mildly spiced and not too heavy. The mushroom was crunchy and the combination of the two is just heavenly. I think it was almost my favourite dish of the night, second only to the tofu roll.

Stir Fried Mushrooms

Stir Fried Mushrooms

And for the second main course I had Stir Fried Mushrooms. This plate had a generous serving of mushrooms – enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms, mini king oyster and oyster mushrooms, all stir fried in black pepper and… get this, mushroom sauce!

Given that I had finished all the previous four dishes by myself, I didn’t think there was any room left for more food.

Monkey Snicker

Monkey Snicker

Hang on? Did someone say dessert?

In Asia-33

Romantic ambiance at In Asia

They gave us all three desserts from the menu to try. It was a shared plate so I picked at bits and pieces that I knew were vegan (sorbet, banana cake, corn flakes, etc).

Monkey Snicker

The Monkey Snicker banana pudding came with passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut and coconut ice cream.

The banana pudding was definitely vegan and so was the granita. It’s easily made vegan by replacing the ice cream and curd with sorbet. The banana pudding was quite delicious – soft, sweet and slightly chewy.

RS B’s First Kiss featured organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried palm sugar caramel

RS B’s First Kiss

RS B’s First Kiss featured organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet. I didn’t try this but it looked pretty good! Deep fried banana could be vegan, but it’s worth checking first.

Everyone was oohing and ahhing over the spectacular looking desserts, cameras started flashing everywhere and everyone crowded together to get a perfect shot of the food. It was madness!

In Asia - food bloggers snapping photos of dessert

Snaps!

Finally the Popcorn Parfait had crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn and caramel jersey cream. Definitely not vegan-friendly (unless you’re happy to nibble on the popcorn and the sweet corn). but it looked pretty impressive.

opcorn Parfait with crushed corn flakes and caramel popcorn,

Popcorn Parfait – crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn and caramel jersey cream

Apart from me, I think everyone had a little bit of everything….

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Spoon war!

It was an exciting night which I’d definitely do again. It was so much fun and I made lots of new friends.

If food brings people together, then food events bring food bloggers together with all guns blazing.

Disclaimer:Thanks In Asia for hosting our Instameet event with Brendon Smiling Chef , My Food Lust, Ant Wales, Hungry As Fork, Becmakes, ThreespoonsfullThe Girls Who Ate The WorldThe Walking Advertisement