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

How to make truffle vodka

What’s better than soft and smooth vodka? How about truffle vodka?

Do you remember when I went to Canberra for the truffle festival? I ended up making this Truffle infused vodka not long after. I had some fresh black truffles from The Truffle Farm and it seemed really silly not to try and make Truffle Infused Vodka, so I went ahead and did it.

 

Infusing Truffle Into Vodka

The process is quite simple. You just need to mix truffle with vodka and let it sit, and that’s it. The only questions you might ask is how much truffle you need, and how long should you wait before you can enjoy it.

After conducting some research (i.e., rummaging around the internet), I discovered that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to making Truffle Infused Vodka. Obviously, the more truffles you use, the stronger the taste is going to be. I think a 8-10% weight/volume ratio of truffle to vodka is enough to impart a nice and savoury truffle flavour into the vodka without making it too strong or overwhelming.

As for how long you should wait for it to infuse, following my little experiment. I’d have to say a minimum of one week.

I’ve gotta say… I’ll be making this again during the truffle season this year. And it will be a bit more (or a lot more) than 300ml!

Here’s a quick video on how you could do it.

And here’s the recipe!

How To Make Truffle Infused Vodka

Ingredients/Equipment:

  • 330ml good quality vodka (I use Grey Goose)
  • 30g sliced fresh black truffle (mine comes from The Truffle Farm)
  • Glass bottle
  • Funnel

Method:

  1. Slice black truffle thinly
  2. Using a funnel, pour vodka into the bottle. Add sliced truffle.
  3. Close the lid and turn a few time. Sit for at least a week before consuming.

 

Enjoy!

Keren x

Tempe Bolognese

Yes, you can make bolognese without meat. This Tempe Bolognese is my healthy, plant-based twist to the old family favourite. It’s simple to make, delicious and satisfying.

If you didn’t grow up eating tempe (or tempeh), you may not be familiar with its strong taste. Tempe has an earthy fermented aroma, kind of like cheese, and has a chewy, almost meaty texture. Back home in Indonesia there are only two kinds of popular tempe dishes: deep fried tempe, or stir fried tempe with traditional herbs and spices. One is salty, and the other one is sweet. That’s it.

It wasn’t until I become vegan that I started experimenting with tempe. Turns out that there are so many meat dishes which you can duplicate with tempe, including pasta dishes such as bolognese.

The secret to making this bolognaise work is to pan sauté the tempe cubes so that it has a firmer texture which will hold their shape once the sauce is added.

I also added a bit of cayenne pepper to give the tempe bolognese sauce a nice spicy hit. I think the pepper adds extra depth to the flavour of the sauce. That said, if you are allergic to chilli, like my boyfriend, you can definitely omit using the pepper or swap it with something milder like ground paprika.

Tempe Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of tempeh (350gram), sliced into small cubes
  • 1 packet (375g) dried spaghetti or fettuccine (I use spinach fettuccine by San Remo)
  • 1 can (400g) of peeled tomato
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¾ cup (170g) tomato paste
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Vegan Parmesan (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add another 2 tbsp of oil and diced tempe cubes. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta following packet directions until al dente. Drain.
  4. Divide the pasta among bowls and spoon over bolognese sauce. Serve with some fresh basil and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan.

Tip: Replace peeled tomato and tomato paste with your favourite marinara pasta sauce to save time.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me in the picture. I’d love to see your creation.

Keren x