Friday, October 30, 2009

Agribusiness exposes the lies of climate change.

What an intelligent argument against climate change - from Agribusiness.

From declaring Meatless Mondays dangerous to telling us environmentalists have to convince us of climate change or they will no longer get funding (What? Is agribusiness exempt from writing in favour of agribusiness to keep the public thinking they need to consume animal products?)

What a surprise.

I wonder why agribusiness should be so opposed to the idea of climate change being real - is it because of profits? Surely not.

Agribusiness never lies for the sake of profits. They don't really employ illegal immigrants because they will take low pay and unacceptable working conditions, or provide the West's most dangerous employment via slaughterhouse processing, or slaughter sick animals for public consumption, or engage in horrific animal cruelty from rubbing salt into cut off snouts to cutting calves out of the sides of dairy cows, or let millions of tonnes of manure run-off into nearby rivers, or let their manure lagoons infiltrate the water table.

All this for profits... and I haven't even touched on climate change.

What a horrific article riddled with faulty logic.

The Center for Selfish Consumer Freedom

Has anyone seen this website?

The Center for Consumer Freedom

They are here to dispel the lies from the various 'do-gooders' of the world.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. We believe that the consumer is King. And Queen.

A growing cabal of activists has meddled in Americans’ lives in recent years. They include self-anointed "food police," health campaigners, trial lawyers, personal-finance do-gooders, animal-rights misanthropes, and meddling bureaucrats.

Their common denominator? They all claim to know "what's best for you." In reality, they’re eroding our basic freedoms—the freedom to buy what we want, eat what we want, drink what we want, and raise our children as we see fit. When they push ordinary Americans around, we're here to push back.

Whilst they claim they are against personal finance do-gooders, trial lawyers, and meddling bureaucrats - all of the sections and articles on their website are based around food and animal products. So really, the only lawyers, bureaucrats and finance types that they are against are the ones who have a problem with the food industry. And anyone who has ever taken the time to look into the food industry in depth will see there are plenty of causes for concern.

Some of their points:

Do you have a bias?
Yes! We believe that only you know what's best for you. When activists try to force you to live according to their vision of society, we don’t take it lying down.

So what exactly is "consumer freedom"?
Consumer freedom is the right of adults and parents to choose how they live their lives, what they eat and drink, how they manage their finances, and how they enjoy themselves.

Do you guys support gluttony?
Of course not! No one would endorse the "Super Size Me" diet. Like all things in life, moderation is key. Eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of physical activity is crucial. Unfortunately, Americans have been force-fed a diet of bloated statistics hyping the problem of obesity. Those statistics have been used by Big Brother government bureaucrats and greedy trial lawyers to justify a host of noxious "solutions," like extra taxes on certain foods and lawsuits against anyone who grows, makes, or serves anything tasty.

I wonder if they also promote and encourage you to do as you wish in all aspects of life? Who cares if child abuse is wrong - you know what's best and others should let you live your life how you see fit. Who cares about sweatshop children making your clothes, it's your life, right? What does it matter if your activities pollute and destroy the environment, it's all about you and nobody has any right to tell you what to do.

They claim people know best what's right for them - yet are publishing article after weak article with a bias against a healthy lifestyle and opposed to animal welfare or rights.

They are a not-for-profit organisation funded by over 100 companies and individuals... despite saying they are fully disclosing who funds them they don't actually tell you who because the contributors want to remain anonymous . But it's not so hard to guess is it?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dumbest comments of the day re: Lord Stern

Lord Stern's urging us to go veg to save the planet has had a lot of publicity (which I posted about here) and a lot of unsurprising backlash from the devoted meat eaters and global warming doubters.

Now, I know it's not nice to laugh at others, but as I have some sort of masochistic gene and I love reading shit that gets me shaking my head in amazement and wanting to punch some peoples' stupid faces I have amassed a nice little collection of idiotic comments for your viewing pleasure.

Eugene Says:
October 28th, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Major consequences of not eating meat:

1. Wild boar population of US and especially TX will exponentially grow making ruined farmlands. This is due to boars not having any natural predators except humans.

2. All major sports and Olympics would be pitiful ghost of strong athletes. When is the last time you ever saw a vegetarian linebacker in the NFL. No more tailgates!

3. Vegetarian children will be making civil rights claims due to being beat up all the time by the meat eating children.

4. Jesus ate meat (fish) when he visited the disciples after he died. People won’t be like Jesus they will be like Judas.

5. No more BBQs – this idea seems anti-American.

Hey, wait Eugene has another stroke of genius:

Eugene Says:
October 28th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Most vegetarians are a bunch of cry babies when it comes to animals they put animals on the same plane as humans so lets apply animal rules to them. We can spade or neuter animals so they don’t breed. Animals are kept in cages. Animals don’t vote. Animals don’t have government benefits such as medicare or social security.
People are higher than animals thus we can eat them just as animals are higher than plants.

Sadly, I haven't come across anyone else quite so "enlightened" (but it is only 10am so I still have the whole day...) but here are a few more tidbits.

Lawrence Hendry wrote:
Get out of our lives you enviomental nuts!
If you want to live in the woods and eat berries then don't let me stop you, just stop trying to ruin the lives of the majority who know that global warming is a lie.

And if anyone was wondering about the riots, plagues and cave dwelling that would result from shunning dairy, don't worry cos Victor has thankfully put in his two cents.

Victor Southern said...
No milk, no cheese, no dairy farmers, no cheese-makers, no butter churners. Vast numbers of jobs lost. Ruined economy, malnourished babies, abject poverty, riots, mass starvation, plagues, cave dwelling, no carbon emissions, ice age returns, begin again.

Ahhh... don't you love it?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kind veal. OxyMORON anyone?

I really shouldn't read these articles - all it does is rile me up.

I can't believe how much of this article is just ridiculous, hypocritical and oxymoronic (yep, that's a word).

Check out some of these quotes if you are a masochist or you hate cows.

What if, under the right circumstances, eating veal were actually more ethical than shunning it?

I have no words for this one.

For example, one common consumer complaint is that the animals are killed so young. But veal calves are in fact older than chickens, turkeys and pigs and about the same age as lambs when they are slaughtered.

Don't chickens get killed at 6 weeks? Is a 6 week old calf considered old? Why are they comparing them anyway? Does that make it ok?

Most important, dairy cows must give birth to provide milk. Their male calves are unsuitable for beef production and too costly to keep on the farm. "It's a resource that needs to be utilized," said Nancy Pritchard, who raises calves at Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Va. Or to put it more bluntly, as producer Sandy Miller of Painted Hand Farm in Newburg, Pa., does: If you consume dairy, you should eat veal.

Ok, Nancy and Sandy are right, the two 'resources' are inextricably linked. Isn't the answer to produce/consume neither, not both?

The animals are not raised in confinement and live their whole lives with their mothers on open pasture.

Their whole lives? Their whole lives which are cut short whilst they are still babies?

The industry spent years trying to convince consumers that veal was another white, bland meat. "Veal from an authentic cow-calf relationship is pinker," Strauss said. "But the richer, redder color is your assurance that it's humane and compassionate."

Compassionate? What's compassion got to do with bringing a life into the world to kill it?

In 2006, celebrity chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall championed a Good Veal campaign, which argued that eating humanely raised British veal prevented the calves from being either shipped to continental Europe, where animal-welfare standards can be less strict, or killed shortly after birth. "It's a more responsible way for everybody, including the animal," Armstrong said.

Yes, I'm sure the calves would choose this over the other unmentioned option of not getting killed at all.

How's that for a good news story?

Self absorbed and smelly vegans

Check out this post.
Great picture. Shame about the uninformed article, I only hope he's joking.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dropping meat to fight climate change

It makes me glad to see stuff like this in every day mainstream newspapers, because a lot of people just don't know this stuff.

But it makes me want to punch the screen (in a non-violent vegan love kinda way of course) when, otherwise probably quite intelligent, people make comments like this bloke from the National Farmers Union.

Jonathan Scurlock, of the National Farmers Union, said: "Going vegetarian is not a worldwide solution. It's not a view shared by the NFU. Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don't have a methane-free cow or pig available to us."

A methane-free cow? What sort of ignoramus is he? Did he mean to expose exactly the reason why going vegetarian isn't a view shared by NFU - that is, not because of his doubt it would reduce climate change, but because farmers would have to stop making money from animals because, yep, animals produce methane.

Going veg might not be a worldwide solution for livestock farmers to continue making money out of torture but that certainly doesn't mean it wouldn't reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If he really wants a methane-free option for feeding the world maybe he should educate himself on the topic that cows aren't a necessity in our diets.

Methane-free cow? Is he serious?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Karma, baby.

I spent my lovely, sunny Saturday at a friend's place for my first BBQ of the season. Armed with veggie sausages and some massive mushrooms I turned out to be one of 4 veg people there (ok no one else was vegan but in this situation it was mostly one and the same) which was possibly the most veg people I have ever been in the same room/backyard with in my life!

This, to me, seemed to be the biggest sign of proof that more and more people are going veg - the typical Aussie BBQ used to be based entirely around snags, prawns and steaks on the barbie with the wilted lettuce salad shunted to the side.

Dessert was another thing however, non-veg cupcakes and a strawberry cream pie. The pie looked incredible, although my stomach felt a bit queasy just looking at all the cream. But in order to not feel like the freak who avoids dessert I took the strawberry garnish that was on the side.

And then realised it was coated in red jelly which would have been gelatine. Sob! The (not very strict) vegetarian I was sitting with, whilst I love him, told me to stop being crazy and just eat it anyway. I told him not to give me shit for avoiding animal products and that I don't want to eat hooves and hair and he agreed he should shut up with his heckling. And then for some crazy reason, I thought "Sod it, it's one strawberry with a thin coat of gelatine, I have already taken it - I can surely just do it." I took a bite and the jelly was pretty gross. But that was the least of it... I bit a huge chunk out of my cheek on that one bite and ended up nursing a saw mouth for the next half hour whilst my heckling veg mate laughed at my expense. Needless to say the rest of that strawberry ended in the bin.

That's karma baby.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exciting new ingredients

I can spend hours in asian grocers and healthfood stores, I love checking out all the weird and exciting bits and pieces. I usually end up buying a bunch of random things with all the best intentions but never actually get round to doing anything with them. I really should make a rule that I'm not allowed new stuff until I have mastered the old stuff....

Anyway, today I went to the South Melbourne Markets and picked up a few things I had been thinking I should try.

Virgin Coconut Oil
Blackstrap Molasses
Chia Seeds
Cacao Nibs
Chewy dried bananas (ok, so these aren't new to my pantry but I am in love with them)

I don't actually know what to do with these, but I'm gonna try the seeds and nibs with my muesli. Maybe um, mix in a teaspoon of the molasses with my muesli too?? Perhaps a tahini and molasses 'coffee' - surely that would be great? Perhaps the molasses can go with soysauce, mirin, and rice wine for a richer teriyaki?

And I'm thinking the coconut oil can go in stirfries and curries. No other ideas for it though.. not sure how coconutty it tastes and smells.

Does anyone use these ingredients regularly?

I also spotted some chili fermented tofu in a jar which I think I will have to try next time - Chinese Blue Cheese so I hear. Has anyone tried it?

Plus I saw Rose Water - I loooooove rose flavoured stuff (ok, I've only had icecream and turkish delight and tea, but I looooove it). What else can you do with it?

Conquering the cheese addiction

You know, I used to be omni 'til about 2006 when I went lacto-ovo vegetarian (ok, I ate fish too, I really wasn't very vegetarian at all!) And it's only this year that I have been vegan. I, like so many others, thought I could never go vegan because I could never give up cheese. Oh how I loved super cheesy pizzas, cheese plates with the stinkiest bluest cheese available, good ol' comfort foods cheese on toast and macaroni cheese, ricotta and spinach anything, parmesan with pastas and risottos... I loved it. I had already stopped drinking milk and using butter but cheese was so hard! Cheese was the last thing for me to quit.

The only way I think I managed it was by educating myself on the horrific truth about it - about the miserable, painful and short lives of the cows, the millions of newborn calves born to keep their mothers lactating then sent to veal crates before being slaughtered as babies, the no longer profitable cows sent to slaughter whilst pregnant and the unborn calves being cut out of their stomachs. For some reason I had always thought cows just produced milk all the time and never really thought about how that makes no sense. Of course, these details are kept secret from the general public, the dairy industry doesn't want people to know the nasty side of it.

Add a little common sense in there - why on earth would the human body be so poorly designed as to need the milk of another animal, past weaning, to survive? Touted as being a good source of calcium and protein (ignoring the high saturated fat content) it could still be good for you, right? The protein provided by milk releases acid into the blood, and in order to neutralise this acid your body draws calcium from your bones which is then excreted in your urine. The calcium in milk is not easily absorbed by your body, hence the HIGHER rates of osteoporosis in dairy consuming populations. If that wasn't enough, the high mineral content of cows milk puts a dangerous strain on human infants' kidneys hence the recommendation that infants don't drink normal milk in their first year.

And if all this was not strong enough for me to rely on when confronted with a cheese plate, I could count on reminding myself what it was I was tempted to eat. Secretions from an animals reproductive organs, full of both cow hormones, artificial growth hormones and antibiotics, mixed with the pus that inevitably gets squeezed out of the cows udder due to the mastitis most dairy cows get from constantly being milked (there is actually an acceptable level of pus allowed in milk measured by the 'somatic cell count', gross). To aid in the cheese making process, juice from a slaughtered calf's stomach is also added. Then this already revolting mix is left to rot, for bacteria and mould to cover and predigest it.

And people look at tofu, essentially mashed up beans, and think THAT is revolting...

But, through all of this I knew I would always love the taste of cheese regardless. I could quite happily not eat it anymore because the thought began to really gross me out. But I knew it would still taste DIVINE. That is until I ordered a takeaway pizza from Mr Naturals and asked for vegan cheese as usual. But halfway through the pizza I realised something tasted funny, that it tasted a bit weird but familiar. And realised that the strange flavour was real cheese on the pizza - they must have mucked up my order. And it was gross. It tasted a bit rancid, was cloying, and overpowered the other flavours on the pizza. I couldn't be 100% sure that they mucked up my order but it made me feel sick and I couldn't finish it. That was my first realisation that I really no longer liked cheese at all.

This wasn't a one off either. Having found bits of cheese hidden in things I have found the familiar flavour rancid and rotten tasting.

So the good news is the one thing I thought I would always secretly want is now repulsive to me. Cheese addiction conquered!

I really don't think I could ever go back to an omni or lacto-ovo diet, it repulses me so much. So what really puzzles me are vegans who go back to a diet with dairy despite knowing all this? How do they do it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Despressing and ignorant article of the day

Have these people been hiding under a rock?
I thought everyone knew the links between meat and cancer.

Sucked in.

Eschewing dairy makes so much sense if you even take a moment to think about it logically.

I enjoyed this story today on Animals Australia which just makes it so crystal clear you wonder how anyone can be confused.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eating 20,000 calories a day

My workmate always comes up with inane bits of news to tell me, and today's topic was the world's fattest man. The discussion about him personally lasted about 3 - 5 seconds, but the discussion about what you gotta eat to manage his whopping 20,000 calories a day went on for a good hour. And as a vegan, trying to meet that challenge is even tougher!

But we worked out I could meet my 20,000 calories a day if I had any of the following:

110 slices of wholegrain toast with margarine and peanut butter (that must be only about 5 loaves, right?)
90 pints of cider (that's only 1 every 10 mins for 16 hrs, I'm sure one of my mates has done that before)
95 pints of Guinness
58 cups of vegetarian penne arrabbiatta

And if I was omni:

10 Bogan Burgers from The Napier Hotel

Only 10! Not surprising as it contains enough crap to give you a heart attack halfway through.

Right, I'm off to Grumpy's Green tonight for the Wednesday Grumpy's Pub Quiz and something much nicer and more animal friendly than the above. The only problem with vegetarian places is I get lost in the menu - not used to having more than 2 options!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reviewing The Vegetarian Myth

Wow, I am quite amazed at this review written by a raw vegetarian. All I can guess is that this is the only 'educational' book she has read on the matter because the arguments against a vegetarian diet are poorly thought out and inadequately researched - from obligate carnivores to vegangelical ideas caused by brain problems due to a lack of saturated fat. And how does the author's arguments against soy, valid or not, give animal products a big tick?

The reviewer's 'realisation' that agriculture is murder because mice, etc, get killed when harvesting crops is a bit slow off the mark, and really, quite irrelevant. What has that got to do with going veg? Does she think that eating meat will actually stop animals dying? Does she know that animals raised for meat eat most of these crops?

Does she really think "Grains kill"??

The solution is that we should buy locally and animals belong on ecologically sound farms. With the demand for meat to be part of billions of peoples meals every day there is no ecologically sound way to farm all these animals. The ecologically sound way to save the planet is to stop with the animal products!

Admittedly, I haven't read this book myself, but the arguments raised in this review are naive and simplistic non sequiturs. And I am surprised that the reviewer has not heard them all and debunked them before.

Has anyone else read this?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I wish I could find in Melbourne.

Hooray for Asian Grocers.

I started writing this post just before the weekend when I was lamenting the fact that whilst Melbourne is voted as Veg friendly, I couldn't find lots of items I have been after. I don't even have particular recipe plans, I just wanted them, just in case!

And then I went to the Asian Grocer on Brunswick St in Fitzroy, and after wondering up and down in awe for about 30 mins I found a few bits and pieces off my list, woohoo! And then some additional weird bits and bobs just to top it off.

My Where-oh-where-do-I-find-you? list:

Black Rice (found it)
Fermented Tofu
Nut Cheese
Cactus or Prickly Pear or Nopales
Coconut Milk Icecream
Fresh Edamame
Hemp Milk
Pearl Couscous
Sticky/Sweet/Glutinous Rice (found it)
Red Rice (found it)
Dutch processed cocoa
Black Sesame seeds (found it)

And I also managed to pick up some sesame rice paper which is like your normal rice paper for making fresh spring rolls, only filled with sesame seeds and you can get it in black or white sesame. How exciting!

I picked up a bunch of fresh asian mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, shimeji) at exactly half the price of those at Woolworths.

Plus a few different brands of silken tofu (I usually only find the firm or GM stuff at Woolworths) and fried tofu puffs. And some dried tofu which was in a bag and is dark orangey brown and kinda looks a little like beef jerky. Sadly, it wasn't really my thing to snack on, but I'm guessing maybe I am meant to use it in cooking?? I might add it to a stiryfry tonight. Has anyone else had that before? All the dried tofu I have looked up on the net still has the appearance of normal tofu.

And they had heaps of frozen vegan dumplings, yum!

And I grabbed up some of that vegetarian Mock Duck in a can... I'm a bit scared...!

Things I didn't get but were tempted by:

Heaps of different dried seaweeds
Coconut Jelly (in the freezer)
Ginger tea that looked like marmalade (plus other fruity kinda flavours)
Frozen Red Bean buns

So overall it was a great success and I can't believe how long it took to get my arse down there!

Review: Shakahari Restaurant, Melbourne

Sadly, I won't be able to do this place justice with only my words, I didn't take any photos sorry!

But I have to tell you it was DIVINE.

For those of you who don't know, they are exclusively vegetarian and most of their items are also vegan. Woohoo!

I had actually been once before and thought it was average and wondered why so many people raved about it. And boy am I glad I gave it another shot! All of us, omnis and vegans alike, couldn't stop raving from entree right through to dessert.

We got all the entrees (exluding the soups and salads) which included Gnocchi in Balsamic Reduction, Papaya Salad, Lentil Dumplings, Avocado Tempura Rolls and Asparagus with Wasabi dressing. They were all to die for! I am determined to make the Papaya Salad and the Gnocchi (mostly cos I think they would be the easiest).

Mains were also brilliant. I am used to having only one or two options on the menu so I really struggled big time trying to choose from 8 or so delicious sounding options. I usually like to pick something quite different from what I know how to make at home, but I was stuck as they were all quite different from anything I ever make. I opted for the Satay Skewers with Tofu and Seitan - mostly because I have never had seitan prepared for me before.

The sign of a great restaurant for me is when I even want to try dessert, and that's saying something considering I never do dessert. So despite my being uncomfortably full and my dress no longer looking cute and more like I was squeezed into a tube I got the Black Sticky Rice Pudding with mango which I loved. But it was a tough choice between that and the Tofu Caramel (luckily my mate got it so I could try it - it was perfect!) and the tofu icecream - I have never tried tofu icecream, sounds exciting!

S0, now I can't wait to go back!

Shakahari, I apologise for thinking you were only average for the last 18 months. You have won me over.

Friday, October 16, 2009

That vegan question and answer thing doing the rounds!

I thought I better get a post up before the weekend seeing as I have almost been on a roll lately.
So I opted for this easy survey thingamy.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I'm easy - I just go for whatever has whole soybeans/grains as opposed to isolates, the simplest ingredient list and unsweetened. I mainly use it in cooking anyway.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
This one took me the longest time to answer, and because I copy heaps of recipes from the net into a word doc I no longer know where they came from. Probably Tempeh Bacon, Tom Yum Soup, and Coconut Rice Pudding.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
I never eat popcorn but probably salt. In the old days it was butter.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Pre-vegan days I made a lemon pasta with fish for my flatmate and her boyfriend. However the fish was completely flakey and almost dissolved within the dish. And I put way too much lemon in - you couldn't taste anything else and it was barely edible. Shame!

5. Favorite pickled item?
I love pickled stuff. Probably a toss up between jalapenos and dill pickles. Oh, and I love pickled onions but don't eat them much for fear of stinking out my company! Are olives considered pickled? If so then they take first place.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
Ermmm, organise?

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Recycling bin and trash. Composting in an apartment doesn't work.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
My island is going to have a bountiful supply of native fruit and veg, so I would only need to bring gin, pasta and tofu.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
My mum's self saucing chocolate pudding. It was always cooked for dessert for our birthdays. Time to veganise it!

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Purely Decadent Cookie Dough. I'm not even an icecream fan but I'm hooked on this! Or at least I WAS until I discovered I couldn't get it in Melbourne anymore. SOB! In fact, I don't even need the icecream part - just the cookie dough. MMMMmmmm.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
I only have a few and have only used one of them - so I guess it's my blender! What I would really like is a masticating juicer though, they produce twice the juice of a centrifugal juicer. Cost twice as much though!

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Chili. No, basil. No, coriander. No, cumin... argh!

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Gourmet vegetarian, beautiful book but probably only made 5 things from it. I am terrible with cookbooks. I own a dozen and never use them and wonder why I always cook the same stuff.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Spinach and tofu 'ricotta' cannelloni. It's not far off from a 'normal' cannelloni so it doesn't really get questioned and looked at strangely. And I LOOOOVE it.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu is the easiest and most flexible. But I do love seitan. Whenever I have cooked tempeh it tastes like the devil's *%@! - I'm still working on liking it.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Dinner. Breakfast I have no time for anything other than tea and toast and I am much too lazy to bring preprepared lunch to work.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Ermm.. no idea. Things my flatmate owns?

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Fry's Vegetarian Shnitzels, Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana Icecream, and some strange Banana Fritters I found at Woolworths (which, btw, are divine with icecream, fresh strawberries and maple syrup... mmmmmmm). Wow, how grossly unhealthy do I sound? I could at least trade in the Banana Fritters for real bananas freshly fried!

20. What’s on your grocery list?
Fresh produce. Canned lentils, chickpeas and tomatoes. Tofu. Hummous. Does this redeem my answer for question 19?

21. Favorite grocery store?
Don't really have one. I'm a store whore. I might love Macro Wholefoods in Richmond, if it wasn't in Richmond! Bring it Collingwood way!

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
Hmmm.. the aforementioned (failed) lemon pasta with fish. And the also aforementioned chocolate self saucing pudding.

23. Food blog you read the most?
I read heaps, too many to count. I even get Google alerts multiple times a day emailed to me with keyword 'vegan'. But perhaps Planet VegMel has been handiest for me to find other Melbourne bloggers which is great! And I love Natala's Vegan Hope because she is so positive and inspiring - and she's beaten diabetes with a vegan diet. My Dad has diabetes and I wish he would do the same.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate. I wish the flavoured dark Lindt was vegan too! I wrote to Lindt asking why they need butterfat in the Dark Chocolate with Almonds flavour.. their response was pretty weak and they didn't respond again to my reply.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Loving Earth raw chocolate. Sadly I found the texture awful and couldn't finish even one small square of it.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
I'm not sure if I'm scared or just plain lazy. But if we are combining the two, anything that needs soaking overnight! Who can plan anything that far in advance?? (see question 6 above). Also, pumpkin! Not only is it an absolute bitch to cut, but what girl who goes out a lot can eat all that pumpkin before it goes off? I do love it though. Maybe I should get a pumpkin and a weeks plan of pumpkin meals. And making my own seitan - sounds tough!

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm going to try and head to the Rose St Artist Markets in Fitzroy on Saturday to check out some vegan bits and bobs, (thanks Miss T!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vegan Meetup Group in Melbourne

After getting all excited about World Vegan Day in Abbotsford and then getting all gutted that I can't make it cos I'm away that weekend I decided to get a little more proactive about meeting fellow vegans in Melbourne - I don't know any!

So in case any of you are feeling the same, there is a new Veg*n Meetup group on They are meeting up this Saturday (which I also can't make) but I thought I would spread the word! I could always do with some real life vegan friends who exist beyond blogs!

Vegan 100

Ok, I have buckled and joined the masses in doing this Vegan 100. But I was feeling a bit left out about the items that were dependent on being in the USA so have changed a few of those to Australian places so I could join in! (and perhaps so my list wouldn't look so pathetic...)

1) Copy this list into your blog or social networking site profile, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out or italicize any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment on this post linking to your results.

The Vegan Hundred:

1. Molasses
2. Cactus/Nopales
3. Scrambled Tofu
4. Grilled Portobella Caps
5. Fresh Ground Horseradish
6. Sweet Potato Biscuits
7. Arepa
8. Vegan Coleslaw
9. Ginger Carrot Soup
10. Fiddlehead Ferns
11. Roasted Elephant Garlic
12. Umeboshi
13. Almond Butter Toast
14. Aloe Vera
15. Hot chips with cheese and gravy from Lord of the Fries, Melbourne
16. Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
17. White truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Ginger wine??
19. Freshly ground wasabi
20. Coconut Milk Ice Cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider
23. Organic Australian Mango
24. Quinoa
25. Papaya Smoothie
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet or Habañero pepper
27. Goji Berry Tea
28. Fennel
29. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread
31. Starfruit
32. Oven fresh Sourdough bread
33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
34. Sauerkraut
35. Acai Smoothie
36. Blue Foot Mushrooms
37. Vegan wholemeal pizza from Mr Naturals, Melbourne
38. Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
39. Falafel
40. Spelt Crust Pizza
41. Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms
42. Jicama Slaw
43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings
44. Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne
46. Fuyu
47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup
48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich
49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice…with Extra Ginger
50. Grilled Seitan
51. Prickly pear
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk
53. Concord Grapes off the vine
54. Ramps
55. Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut
56. Organic Arugula
57. Vidalia Onion
58. Coconut Sticky Black Rice Pudding from Passion Foods, Melbourne
59. Honeycrisp Apple
60. Poi
61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores
62. Grape seed Oil
63. Farm fresh-picked Peach
64. Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus
65. Chestnut Snack Packs
66. Fresh Guava
67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
68. Vegan Fish 'n Chips from The East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
69. Fried plantains
70. Mache
71. Golden Beets
72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles
73. Liquid Smoke
74. Meyer Lemon
75. Veggie Paella
76. Vegan Lasagna
77. Kombucha
78. Homemade Soy Milk
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini
81. Tempeh Bacon
82. Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh
84. Vanilla Bean
85. Watercress
86. Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
87. Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie
88. Flowers
89. Corn Chowder
90. High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate
91. Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi
92. White Flesh Grapefruit
93. Harissa
94. Coconut Oil
95. Jackfruit
96. Homemade Risotto
97. Spirulina
98. Seedless ‘Pixie’ Tangerine
99. Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought
100. Fresh Plucked English Peas

42 - not as bad as I thought!
It's certainly inspired me to try more stuff.

Monday, October 12, 2009

World Vegan Day

Hooray! World Vegan Day is coming up!

I have never been before - I thought about going last year (I was vegetarian then, vegan curious) and now I'm EXTREMELY keen to go. I am yet to recruit anyone to come with me though... probably go on my lonesome which is fine, at least I can revel in the vegan glory without having to feel silly and obsessive in front of my omni friends!

Having checked out the list of sponsors I'm definitely interested in popping by a few of their stalls assuming they have them. In particular Animal Liberation Victoria as I am a member but yet to do anything productive to help them, despite my lame attempt at offering my help.

I don't really know what goes on at this thing. Has anyone been before? You going again this year? I did see that last year they had Speed Dating. Hahahahaaha! (I laugh now but I will probably be first in line on the day...)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Review: Gurkha's Nepalese Restaurant on Lygon St

I do love finding restaurants that are not marketed as veg*n but cater as well for vegans as they do for omnis.

Gurkha's is one of these. They have heaps of vegan options.

I went there last night for a quick meal before a Fringe Festival show (Philip Escoffey - mind reader if you care) and was actually a bit overwhelmed with all the options! Usually choosing from the menu is a simple process of picking one of perhaps two or three options.

Gurkha's had a dozen vegan mains, half a dozen vegan sides, and about 5 vegan entrees! Wooohooo! I opted for the vegan steamed dumplings, spinach and potatoes, and potato chickpea curry all of which were vegan. I did forget however to check whether the roti bread was vegan or fried in butter - oops!

And with all that and half a bottle of wine, at just under $50 I will be back for more!

I would love to know what your favourite 'normal' restaurants are that have heaps of vegan options.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Laziest Argument

There are few anti-veg arguments that bother me more than those that are lazy and miss the point entirely. Uneducated views about protein, iron and calcium I can handle because we get told from day 1 that you need meat and dairy for optimal nutrition and some people just haven't discovered that's not the case.

But arguments that say being veg is pointless because rodents get killed by harvesters is just defeatist and misses the point that we should all do the best we can to reduce animal suffering. People who go veg realise they can't save all the animals in the world from suffering but that does not mean we should contribute to more suffering! To be fair, he does point out that vegetarians may use dairy and eggs, etc, but rather than suggesting going vegan as an option he suggests we just protest against seal clubbing!

Imagine the author of this piece had a sick child - would he be satisfied if the doctor told him "We can't save everyone, so we won't bother trying to save your child either"?

Surely doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all. It sounds as if he has never given serious consideration to animal suffering and is happy to have found an argument where he can relinquish all responsibility and wipe his hands clean of the whole debate.

Tempeh or not tempeh? That is the question.

Tempeh. I just can't work it out. I don't think there is anything I don't eat in the vegan world, I'm open to it all - but I just can't figure out how to cook this so that its not mushy and slimy and just plain hideous. And I have never had anyone else cook it for me so don't really know how it's meant to turn out.

I have tried steaming, then marinating and frying but it still remains an unpalatable mess. What am I doing wrong? Do I have to fry it in a LOT of oil? Is it possible to dry fry it? Slow cook? Really hot pan? When should I marinade? Should I use premarinaded stuff? Before or after? Thin or thick slices? Crumbled like a mince substitute? If anyone has great tips on tempeh I would love to hear them. I would prefer not to have to shallow fry as I'm not overly keen on frying everything in oil.

I am happy with tofu and seitan as it seems they can work out well regardless of my lack of cooking skills. But tempeh? Help!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Passion Foods and Purely Decadent Icecream

Wow! I just discovered an exciting health food and organics store in South Melbourne called Passion Foods. I am a little bit pathetic and get excited discovering new stores like this because there is usually something new I can add to my array of 'weird vegan foods'.

And the best thing about Passion Foods is that they stock Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent vegan icecream. Perhaps I have not been privvy to this information that there is still somewhere in Melbourne that stocks this stuff - but I haven't been able to find it since I first tried (and devoured in record time) their Cookie Dough flavour over a year ago!

Admittedly, they only had one flavour at Passion foods - Cherry Nirvana. But I will definitely be going back there and asking if they can get in other flavours for me. Has anyone else found a stockist in Melbourne for this stuff?

Oh, and Passion Foods also make their own Coconut Black Sticky Rice PUdding. No weird ingredients, preservatives or numbers, and freshly made. I ate a whole tub of it for breakfast (ok, not the healthiest breakfast food. But it WAS my birthday!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review: The Palmerston Hotel - could it be more vegan unfriendly?

The Palmerston Hotel in South Melbourne

I don't always expect the best vegan fare at your average Melbourne pub but usually I can get by on turning up without researching it first. And when a colleague picked this spot for his birthday lunch I assumed I would be fine.

Despite the decently sized menu at The Palmerston the vegetarian options were slim, and the vegan options non-existant. I'm somewhat used to this and have found that in veggie-friendly Melbourne you can usually let the waiter know you are vegan and they can whip up something for you or adapt a recipe from the menu.

Not so at The Palmerston. After a shocked "What?!" from the waitress when I told her I was vegan she proceeded to ask what that means exactly and did an appalling job at hiding her near disgust at my eating habits. Which I probably wouldn't have minded if she came back with some decent options or at least pasta in napoli sauce. Instead she returned asking if I could eat fish and when I said no I was presented with the following choices:


Resignedly I opted for both. But in hindsight should have opted for neither.

The salad was shredded iceberg with a few slices of tomato and cucumber on top. I was actually insulted by how bad it was and how boring it implied my tastebuds to be. And the average fries came with a nice generous dollop of sour cream so obviously it was only the 'boring' part that registered in the waitress' head as opposed to the 'no dairy' part.

And all that aside, it was embarrassing having such an unsatisfying meal in front of everyone. For those who didn't really know what vegans eat I was ashamed to have that sitting in front of me as an example.

The Palmerston Hotel
0/10 Service
0/10 Food

Can vegans eat flour? Coffee? Alcohol??

Since becoming vegan I have had countless weird looks and questions assuming that a vegan diet isn't just about avoiding animal products but avoiding anything nice or normal. It’s quite amazing how misinformed the general public is about what vegans do and don't eat. I think many do actually know that vegans don't eat animal products so I'm not sure about where these weird questions come from.

If I went by the misinformed publics' understanding of vegan, in the 6 last months I would have eliminated the following foods from my diet:












Fried foods

Even when people know that it means no animal products there are still questions like "What about flour, can you have flour?" and comments that we can go get a dandelion coffee assuming I can't have normal coffee.

It seems that many of the foods that get questioned are just yummy things or possibly unhealthy things as opposed to animal products. Is it just that everything yummy in peoples' minds can't be vegan? Or is it just that people have no idea what is in their food and where their food comes from? What is the weirdest thing you have been questioned about eating?