Sunday, 5 August 2012

End of Week Two

2 weeks down, 10 to go.

Something that was on my mind a lot since commencing this challenge was how I was going to go about eating out.
Most of my social interactions revolve around food, and most often than not, include going out for a lovely meal.
I don't ever want to be seen as the annoying friend who can't eat anything, and who everyone has to accommodate for.  I would hate me if that was me!
To my relief, the 3 times that I have eaten out since the start of the challenge, have been very good experiences.
And not only that, but i've also made a little gem of a discovery!

But let's start with the first place.  
Spencer Guthrie is the name of the restaurant and it's located in Newtown, Sydney.  I couldn't find their website for you but you can google the name and have a look at some pics of their food.
It's a cosy space, with friendly and helpful staff who didn't seem perturbed when I questioned them about the menu and the possibility of veganising something.  I've worked in hospitality in the far away past, and I know that chefs hate to change their menus and I can understand that, they want people to eat their food as they have interpreted it, it's part of their art. I get it, and I can definitely appreciate it.  That's why it's hard for me to have to ask but what else can one do?
Luckily, the restaurant has made allowances for plant food enthusiasts and provide a vegan special!
I guess being in Newtown, I shouldn't be that surprised :)
So, thank you to my bestie for taking me here and for having such great taste.

And here it is.  So pretty, I didn't feel like I should eat it!  
It was quiet delicious, and the little turnips that you can see were pickled and so yummy.  

The next place i went to, was my choice as I have been there before and I knew that they made vegan meals.
It's called The Nepalese Kitchen and it's located in Surry Hills, Sydney.
It's a consistently good place to eat, and they have a large cushion room upstairs if you have a big group.
I don't have any photos of the food because our party was rather large and ravenous and the dishes got attacked before I could get my camera out!
I did tell the staff I was vegan and they were able to adjust the banquet menu to contain a few vegan options.  

Third place is Nourishing Quarter.  It is also located in Surry Hills and it really is a little gem of a place.  It's cutely decorated with old and nostalgic items, and you somehow feel like you're going to dinner at your eccentric and nurturing grandmother's house, who used to be a wild and carefree young woman that once ran away with a gipsy and lived a life of adventure all over the world.

The food was AMAZINGLY good, and our little group, who were all non-vegan, loved it as much as I.
All dishes are based on whole grains and are so flavoursome and textural, it really was a pleasure to eat, as all meals should be.  I will most definitely be going back there, the sooner the better.  We had 'cheese' cake for dessert and no one could believe that it didn't have any animal products in it.  But, don't take my word for it, go there and try it out for yourself. 

And now I'll share a little gem I've found, it happens to be in Newtown, Sydney.  I'm having visions of sunny days, pushing my girls there in the pram, whilst we work up an appetite for one of their delicious desserts like the one I got to take away on Saturday - Neopolitan Ice Cream Cake.  Enough said.


It's called Sadhana Kitchen and you can check them out here:
It's the first cafe of it's kind in Sydney and everything they make is raw and vegan!!! I'm so totally excited about this place I can hardly contain my excitement. yay!
The ice cream cake was so delicious and although I know I should have shared it, it was really too good to spare even a teenie tiny little spoon full.
So to the owner, I salute you!
Really am grateful that you are sharing an obvious love for good, healthy and nourishing food.  

Before I go, I want to share a couple of recipes with you.
The first one is a breakfast recipe that I came up with when I craved a savoury breakfast.  I could eat porridge until the cows come home but sometimes you just need something savoury.
This was my first attempt at making it but really, how hard can blending be?  I think it turned out pretty good :)

Scrambled Tofu

1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup firm tofu
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
Pinch of sea salt
Cracked pepper to taste

Process tofu, milk,spices, salt and yeast until blended but not completely smooth.

Heat up coconut oil in frying pan and add tofu mixture, cook on medium heat until slightly more golden in colour and warmed through.

Easy Peasy.

I served it with some lightly sautéed silverbeet and wholegrain spelt toast with avocado and chilli flakes.
I would have added some sautéed mushrooms but I didn't have any on hand and I think next time I'll add some parsley to the scramble for an iron boost.

The next recipe is what I had for dinner tonight.  It's more of a dressing recipe as it is what makes the dish really delicious.

Quinoa and Kale salad with Dukkha Dressing

For the salad

2 cups kale
1/4 cup red capsicum
1/2 small tomato chopped in large chunks
!/4 small red onion sliced thinly
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup avocado cubes

For the dressing

2 Tbs dukkha
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbs raw unfiltered acv
1 Tbs chilli infused evoo 
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Mix dressing ingredients together (i use an old mustard jar to shake it to death)
In a large bowl, place all salad ingredients together and pour on the dressing.  Using a large flat spoon, gently fold the ingredients together to incorporate the dressing until it's all covered in it's yummy goodness.

I served it with a baked sweet potato. YUM.

For those who are wondering what the hell dukkha is, you can find a really simple recipe here:

I feel like I've been trying to do and eat as much plant based foods as possible to prove to myself that it's just as normal as a diet incorporating animal products.
I realise now I really don't have to do that.  Normal is very subjective.  It is what it is and what makes you feel the best is what should be normal to you.
My concerns re: eating out, amazing treats, delcious 'creamy' things, getting enough protein/iron are being eased the more I read and the more I see and experience.
So now I will take a deep breath, wind down the momentum, and start fresh.
I will try to get back to the normal routine of eating, which doesn't always include cake and ice cream! 
My goal for this coming week, is to try and cut down on the sweet little treats by finding alternatives.
I've got some pesto recipes that I want to try out and make some dips and 'cheese' too.
Wish me luck lovers!

Peas, love and mung beans


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