Friday, January 28, 2011

Exciting initiative from ALIA

I don't often post about library-world anymore, but an exciting announcement was made yesterday & I didn't want to let it pass by.

ALIA has just announced that members now have access to over 60 specialist LIS eBooks, thanks to a new partnership with EBL.

This is great news for the profession & for the association. I have at times questioned the value of my ALIA membership, and to be honest, for the last 12 months, have only kept it up because it's a requirement of being a Committee member (which I do enjoy - mostly for the people).

Members have had access to LIS journals for a while now, but I haven't accessed them much - unfortunately most of the journals I'm interested in reading these days have a 1 year blackout or are abstract only. The journal service is something I would have LOVED when I was at uni and in my first couple of years in the profession.

This new e-book service is something I will definitely be taking advantage of - we even have concurrent access rights - so no waiting! The titles I have in mind to start with are:

Thanks ALIA - you've made my day!

Here's a random library photo from my archive - this is the Bibliothèque Municipale d'Amboise.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So, what does a vegan eat for Christmas?

Yes, I know this post is a month overdue...
Christmas this year was at my Mum & Dad's house in NSW (unfortunately D had to stay behind in Melbourne).

I started the day by drinking some of these (old-fashioned G&Ts):and some more of these (Midori splice - so 90s!):Then I baked a lentil & walnut loaf to go with Mum's yummy roast vegies. The loaf wasn't all that memorable so I won't post the recipe here - it was just one I found via Google on the day. I was a bit tired so didn't bother with any gravy or toppings.
Dessert was fresh fruit salad with some gelatine-free jelly that Mum had kindly made for me.
So there you have it, Christmas over for another year - simple and stress-free, just the way I like it :-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mega post of pre-Christmas baking

Rather than spam you with individual posts, here's one big catch-up post of everything I made in the lead-up to Christmas.

This is Potato Wedges - I just cut up the potatoes, put them in a baking pan with a slurp of olive oil, then sprinkle some salt/pepper/rosemary over the top. Then I bake them at about 190C for 30-40min - delicious!The cauliflower is Lisa's Roasted Cauliflower. This didn't turn out so well for me - but I didn't follow the recipe properly so it's definitely my fault :-). I didn't have any onion & I used a little too much sesame oil & rosemary so the flavours were all out.

Here are some gingerbread men I made from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I made them to take to a pre-Christmas afternoon tea but they were barely edible so didn't make it out of my kitchen :-(This is the first thing I have made from my favourite cookbook that didn't turn out. I think it was the molasses - the recipe called for 2/3 cup, and I used blackstrap molasses. I should definitely have used a lighter molasses or less of the blackstrap because the flavour was so overwhelming I had to bury them in icing to make them edible.

Because my gingerbread men didn't work out, I made these lovely Orange & Blueberry Muffins instead, also from The Joy of Vegan Baking.These were perfect - more like a cupcake than a muffin & the orange & blueberry were just perfect together. The recipe is for Lemon & Blueberry, but I only had an orange on hand & citrus is easy to substitute, so I wasn't disappointed.

This dish is Creamy Mushroom Pasta (see recipe below). I don't make it often, but I really do like it. The sherry is the secret I think - it really lifts the flavour of the mushrooms.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta
  • 500g pasta (I used wholemeal penne)
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 3/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 TBS soy cream cheese (I use tofutti)
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta until tender. Saute onions in a little oil over medium heat for 5mins, until translucent. Add mushrooms & stir until heated through. Add herbs & season to taste.

When mushrooms are cooked, add sherry & mix in cream cheese. Let reduce a little & add milk. Add garlic & continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Serve over the pasta.

Nearly at the end now - this is a salad I threw together one night after a tiring day at work. I was in a hurry so served it slightly warm, but it would be equally good cold.First, I sliced a zucchini thinly, placed the slices in a baking pan, sprinkled olive oil over the top & baked it for about 15mins. Then I sliced 1 bunch of asparagus & blanched it in boiling water for about 1min. Then I tossed the asparagus & zucchini together in a bowl with baby spinach, 1 diced tomato & 1 can of chickpeas. I poured a little more olive oil over the top & added salt & pepper. It was really good, which is always a relief when I'm making up recipes as I go - I haven't had much success with this in the past.

Last but not least, here are some Felafel Burgers from my other favourite cookbook - The Vegan Table.The recipe suggests baking or sauteing these in a frypan. I chose the baking method but they turned out a little dry. Still yummy in a wrap though - I think we had these with hummus, tomato & spinach.

Salad, Rum Balls & Indian from a packet

I know, I know - I've been AWOL for a few weeks. I won't go into details - just that I really needed a break. What follows will be some quick catch-up posts so I can get on top of the back-log of food. This post is all about stuff I have bought.

First up - this is a salad I picked up when desperate for a quick lunch between job 1 & 2 a few weeks before Christmas.It's from Passionfoods in South Melbourne, a great organic grocer just at the back of the market. They sell all the usual stuff in terms of groceries, but also a range of prepared hot & cold meals. This one is the Organic Tofu Rice Noodle Salad with Pam Shoy & Sesame Tahini Dressing. Quite a mouthful to say and quite delicious to eat. All you can really see in the photo is the sesame seeds on top, but underneath the salad was filled with scrumptious tofu, crisp fresh vegetables & perfectly prepared noodles.

Moving on to dessert, we come to the Leda Chocolate Rum Balls.. I've seen these in the supermarket a number of times but they're a bit pricey so I've never bothered to buy a packet. The urge to impulse buy overtook me before Christmas though, so I finally got around to trying these.They were pretty good - extremely rich as you'd expect. They didn't blow me away & I still prefer the Leda biscuits - especially the Minton ones.

Finally, a supermarket purchase that didn't go so well. I've blogged about microwave Indian meals before. I usually prefer the Maharajas Choice ones but decided to try something new & went for the Tasty Bite Spinach Dal.You can probably tell from the photo that it wasn't the most appetising meal. The colour put me off & it tasted pretty bland, so I'd recommend staying away.