Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pasta sauce 2 ways

In an ideal world I would make all of my pasta sauce from scratch. After all, it's easy, cheap, healthy & it freezes well.

In reality I'm just not that organised at the moment. So, when we inevitably resort to a jar of pasta sauce for dinner, our preferred choice is the Cherry Tomato & Basil from Sacla Italia.
This sauce is full of flavour, filled with lots of whole cherry tomatoes and has a pretty simple list of ingredients with no hidden nasties. An added bonus is it's readily available in regular supermarkets.Here, we used it as a pizza sauce, a job it performs remarkably well. This is a pita bread pizza with capsicum, mushroom, pineapple, olives and some diced cheezly. Normally I don't put cheese substitutes on pizza, but I had the end bit of a cheezly roll to use up.
The next evening we had pita bread pizza again - something you couldn't really do with regular calorie & cholesterol soaked pizza. This time the toppings were baby spinach, olives, mushrooms, capsicum, pineapple & creamed corn. All I can say is, yum!
The second use for our favourite jar of pasta sauce was to make a lazy-person's lasagne - specifically Chelsey's Meaty Lasagne.

I really liked this recipe - particularly the pine nuts on the top for something a little bit different. The flavours were everything you would expect from a traditional lasagne, but obviously much healthier due to the lack of dead animals :-)

The only thing I changed was doubling the white sauce quantity - I like my lasagne very saucy. Next time, I'll probably make even more again - there wasn't quite enough to spread on the top as I would have liked.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sweet delights

Here's 2 different desserts that I have picked up from other bloggers. One is super-healthy & deceptively simply & the other is not so healthy, but still pretty easy.

First up, Banana Soft-Serve. If you haven't discovered this awesome dessert yet, you must do it now. Go on - go and freeze some bananas because you need to try this.

I first found out about this dessert about a year ago from Tahn. I have to agree with Tahn - this post really will change your life.Look at that creamy goodness!I sifted some cocoa over mine - a lazy substitution for a chocolate sauce topping.

The second dessert I discovered was vegan honeycomb. K was the trendsetter, and it has since been re-blogged by others. I had no idea honeycomb was vegan by default, nor that it was so easy to make. Needless to say, I'm pretty damn excited now that I know.Here's my honeycomb just out of the pan - so golden & beautiful!Here it is half-covered in melted dark chocolate - I wanted to try some of the honeycomb on its own to really taste the flavour. I also didn't put chocolate on the bottom as K did, again, preferring to taste more of the honeycomb rather than the chocolate.Finally, here's some of my honeycomb chunks - perfect! It really melts on your tongue too - just like the store-bought stuff!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Grigons & Orr

I discovered this corner-shop cafe just after it opened, but that was in my pre-blogging days. We probably went there half a dozen times & for some reason stopped visiting regularly about 6 months ago.

That was a mistake. When thinking of yummy vegan breakfast options, I think Grigons & Orr is the closest cafe to home we have. The coffee is also great (served in gorgeous vintage china) & the service is relatively fast & friendly enough for an order-at-the-counter-grab-your-own-cutlery kind of place. The atmosphere is lovely - they have done a really good job recreating the corner store vibe. It's tucked away in a quieter pocket of North Melbourne, so don't go there if you're into people watching - this place is better for a laid-back Sunday breakfast.

Two warnings - this is a friendly-weather only place as the majority of the seating is outside. I think there are 2 tables inside, but it's pretty cramped in there. It also gets very busy, so you may find yourself waiting for a table if you turn up later than early morning.

On this visit I again chose the marinated tofu, with toast (it doesn't come with toast, so make sure you ask).This is a delicious meal - crispy flavoursome tofu with spinach & mushrooms & just the right amount of soy marinade.

There's also a couple of other vegan (or veganisable) options on the menu, so I highly recommend you check it out!

Grigons & Orr
Corner Queensberry & Chetwynd Streets, North Melbourne
7 days, 7am-5pm

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Oyster the second

A couple of weekends ago, we returned to Pearl Oyster (here's the first blog visit). The specials board wasn't looking very vegan-friendly, so I spent a long time looking through the regular menu. The only thing that caught my eye was the Avocado Baguette, but since I ate that last time, I was determined to get something different.

In the end I went with the marinated mushrooms on toast. I wasn't really in the mood for mushrooms (for some reason, the taste of mushrooms can sometimes make me feel quite sick - I wonder if other people feel that too?). These turned out to be field mushrooms & came with some lovely roasted spring onions, garlic, rocket & lemon.As always, the service was outstanding, the coffee even better & the food was divine. Thank you Pearl Oyster, you make me very happy - but I would be even happier if you moved to Yarraville :-)

Pearl Oyster

114 Miller St, Thornbury
Mon,Wed-Sat 8am-4:30pm; Sun 9am-4pm