And so it begins…

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Hello!

So this is our brand new blog and we are excited! We will get right into it with our very first recipe later today but first, here’s a little bit about us and the vision is for this shiny new project.

We are Mandy and Noelle, we are vegan, we are Melbournians, we love animals and we love food. So, we have decided to create or own food blog. Well might you say this has been done 100 times before and you would be right but never fear, you can forget all those other blogs we have here everything you need for all your vegan blog needs. We will be sharing recipes, reviewing Melbourne restaurants and vegan products, posting mouth-watering photos, passing on vegan nutritional information, discussing veganism and linking you to other awesome vegan sites. So seriously, go and delete all your other vegan blog bookmarks now because you won’t be needing those! Also, don’t be put-off if you aren’t vegan because you don’t have to be a committed vegan to enjoy some delicious vegan food every now and then!

There will be 2 main types of posts in this blog:

  • Recipes – sweet, savory, baking, cooking, you never know what it will be
  • Reviews – products and restaurants that we like…and some we don’t like

We will rating all our reviews using the Ron Scale. Based on a well-known [in our house] local feline hero, Ronald Meow, this is a new scale of measuring awesomeness but is quite effective because nothing is more awesome that 5/5 Rons. It’s difficult to reach this peak of awesome but not impossible. 5 Rons will look a lot like this:

5/5 Rons – life doesn’t get better

We will love to read your input as well so please comment your ideas, opinions and share with us anything and everything vegan because we love to hear about it all. If you have any suggestions for reviews or just want to drop us a line, please do email us at: twohungryvegans@hotmail.com

– Mandy & Noelle

Review: Butter London Nailpolish

Decided to mix it up a bit with a non-edible product review.

Recently our local healthfood shop closed down. I was pretty devo…until they opened up again down the road, in a space about 4 times the size. It’s actually amazing. So I was having a look around there the other day and I picked up some nail polish called Butter London.

The colours caught my eye and I was feeling festive – and it was payday – so I bought three. Not cheap at $17.95 each but very beautiful and unique colours. I know I should be supporting local business but I will admit since then I have bought 3 more from ebay for about 2/3 of the price.

My favourite ones are the metalics. They have by far the best coverage and the most beautiful colours. Aside from black, red is always my go to and there are a lot of choices in shades but this one is my fave at the moment:

Knees Up

My pick: “Knees Up”

Other colours I love so far are Blagger, Macbeth and Yummy Mummy.

I have also tried a green glitter called Swinger which I don’t rate as highly. The full glitter with clear base is always a difficult nailpolish and this one isn’t the best. The coverage is not so good and the glitter is very rough and gets caught on things, causing the nailpolish to chip a lot. There is a range of ‘duochrome’ and these only one of these I have is Scouse which is really nice but very light coverage and not nearly as bright as it looks in the bottle. Very subtle.

The other thing I love about this range is that it’s not ‘quick dry’ but does actually dry very quickly. I can’t really be trusted to not ruin nailpolish before it dries but these are quite safe, even on my hands!

Overall, although I wouldn’t buy any more of the glitter range, I want ALL the others! Some of the most beautiful nailpolish I have ever used and I my collection will certainly expand.

Rating: 4/5 Rons

Rating: 4/5 Rons

– Mandy

Review: Lord of the Fries

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Lord of the Fries is basically the vegan and gluten free alternative to the ‘golden arches’ and other fast food outlets. There are 7 locations around Melbourne. I have been to 4 of them. I feel like the standard of food is pretty consistent but Noelle doesn’t agree and says that in her experience you can get a totally different standard in the same store just weeks apart. To be fair, I think Noelle goes there more than me so best that you take her word over mine…in this instance only! Not all options are vegan so check out the menu or ask in store. There are also gluten free options available throughout the menu.

As with most restaurants there are good and bad things about the menu. In the case of LotF, the good is great but the bad is, well, terrible. High on the list of good things are the nuggets and the hotdogs. The nuggets are deliciously crispy and best covered in copious amounts of sauce. I often opt for the BBQ and sour cream, which I recognise doesn’t sound like a winning combo but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! The hotdogs with tasty accompanying pickles and sauces. The onion rings are usually delicious, though at times I have found them a bit too oily. Noelle has had the chilli poppers and highly recommends them. Burgers are a bit further down on the list. I find they are really tasteless and, for some inexplicable reason, they really skimp on the lettuce.

An now for the bad news – the Fries. Not to big note myself too much but I am not a connoisseur of hot chips, I am THE connoisseur of hot chips. Just sayin’. So for a place called “Lord of the Fries” who’s mission statement begins with a love story about the perfect fries, they have really missed the mark. I have given the chips many a chance but these days I don’t even bother. They are small, dry, soggy and usually well under-salted. I want to be more descriptive but in the world of fries I think those four things say it all.

In terms of financials, LotF is definitely not the golden arches. It’s more in the league of Nandos and Grill’d. Don’t expect to get out of the store with much change from 20 bucks per person. Not necessarily a bad thing though because if those nuggets were any cheaper, I probably wouldn’t ever eat anything else!

3.5 Rons

So, that’s it from me but as usual, discuss at will.

– Mandy

Recipe: Risotto

For any of you who watch Masterchef Australia you will know the dark legend of risotto: the death dish.

Don’t listen to a word of it! Risotto is easy and delicious and then only problem with making it is that people have different ideas about how they like to eat it. Some like the grains to still be solid, some like it really soft, some like it dry, some like it wet. At the end of the day, we are not all masterchefs and you know what? That’s not a bad thing because it means we can cook it the way we like it without having to worry what Gary, George or Matt think!

So I am going to share with you my fave way to cook risotto and I just hope that if you are worried about making it, this encourages you to give it a go because it is SO YUM! Seriously, I told Noelle that if I was on death row I would request this for my last meal.

This will feed 2-3 people depending on how hungry they are or how much they love it.

Leave about 45 mins for prep and cooking but you can smash it out in 30 if you hustle. This is a proper step-by-step guide so don’t be put off by the amount of steps, just work through them at your pace.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 tsp garlic [i usually add 2 more but depends how much you love garlic!]
  • 400g arborio rice
  • 1/2 c white wine [room temp at least]
  • 1 Lt liquid stock [I use Massel Chicken liquid stock]
  • 1 c corn kernels
  • 1 c of pumpkin or sweet potato or both cut into 1cm cubes
  • bunch asparagus or 2 c baby spinach if asparagus isn’t in season

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190C.
  2. Chop pumpkin/sweet potato into 1cm cubes. Place on baking tray, drizzle with small amount of olive oil and mix around on the try so all the pieces are covered. Put into the oven.
  3. Chop onion very finely.
  4. Put pot/pan on low heat, add olive oil, let heat for 30 seconds.
  5. Add onion and sauté for a minute. Make sure the heat is low because the onion must not brown.
  6. Add garlic. Let these sauté for about 4-5 mins.
  7. In a small saucepan, start heating up the stock by bringing it to a gentle boil and then turning the heat down again so it stays warm but isn’t boiling away.
  8. Gently stir in the rice. Make sure each bit of rice is covered in the oil. You will notice the rice changes from white to a bit see-through. Keep stirring gently for a good 2 mins. I know 400g is an annoying amount because it comes in a 500g bag but if you add more rice you will have to either add more stock or more water and if you add more water it will make the dish really bland.
  9. Turn to medium heat and add the wine. It should make a good sizzle sound. Stir and turn heat down to low again. Leave to sit for 1 minute.
  10. Add 1c of the stock you have heated up. Stir so that the stock and rice is evenly distributed and leave to cook.
  11. If the corn is frozen, defrost it. I just stick it in a coffee mug and put it in the microwave for 1 minute but however you like, won’t matter. doesn’t have to be hot, just not frozen. When this is done, just put to one side.
  12. Add another 2 c of stock to the rice. Again, stir so that the stock and rice is evenly distributed and leave to cook. Make sure the stock is not boiling and bubbling. It should be simmering away on a low heat otherwise all your stock will evaporate before it soaks into the rice.
  13. Cut up your asparagus. I like to cut into 1 inch sized pieces but this is obviously up to you.
  14. Check the veg in the oven. I like it to be well cooked with chewy little burnt bits and very mushy in the middle but if you like a bit more texture you may want to take it out at this stage. Just test a bit with a fork and see what you think.
  15. Put the asparagus in the remaining stock and turn to a medium heat to cook. It should be a light boil.
  16. After about 2-3 mins the asparagus should be cooked so pour the rest of the stock into the rice, leave the asparagus in the pot, put a lid on top and turn off the heat to keep it warm without burning.
  17. Give the rice a good stir. Taste it, the rice at this stage will be a bit chalky in the middle still but see what you think of the flavour. I usually think it is salty enough from the stock but you may want to add some pepper.
  18. After a couple of mins the liquid should pretty much all soaked up. Test the rice. I like it firm but not chalky. If you find its too hard for your taste, you can add some boiling water but remember, the more water you add, the less flavour it will have. If you have to add a lot more liquid and you don’t have any more stock, add a stock cube or some salt.
  19. When the rice is almost perfect, add the asparagus and corn, stir in.
  20. Add the pumpkin/sweet potato last.
  21. You can garnish with some parsely if you like. Nutritional yeast also goes well.

I’m really sorry I don’t have a pic. I think I always eat it before I can even turn on the camera! So, it’s as easy as that. If you make it, let me know what you think! If you have other flavour combo ideas, please share!!

-Mandy

Recipe: Cookie Dough Truffles

Truffles

Got the idea for this from here and tweaked just a little. As previously mentioned, I am not big on measuring things but luckily [for me] one can hardly mess up cookie dough. When all else fails, just add more sugar and butter! So, here we go…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nuttelex
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs soy milk
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped well [I used cashews]
  • 100g vegan chocolate, chopped well
  • 600g vegan chocolate to melt

Method:

  1. Beat nuttelex, caster sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add milk and vanilla and beat for another minute
  3. Add flour and salt and beat until combined. Don’t over beat at this stage
  4. Add chopped chocolate and nuts and mix in with a wooden spoon
  5. Refrigerate for about an hour, this will make the batter a little more solid and easier to roll into balls. If you are in a hurry you might be able to skip this step
  6. Roll batter into balls. I used a teaspoon measure to make mine quite small and all the same size but how you do this is entirely up to you and set them out on a tray. It can help to have some plain flour nearby to dip into every now and then to make the rolling easier
  7. Melt the remaining chocolate. Roll the balls through the melted chocolate. I used a fork to fish out the coated balls and lay them on a tray with baking paper.
  8. Put in the fridge until chocolate is set
  9. Nom

There are a couple of things I would do differently if I made these again.

First of all, for aesthetic purposes I would skewer the balls with toothpicks to roll them in the melted chocolate and then stick them in some styrofoam or an orange to set. This would make them perfectly round instead of very, very flat on one side.

Secondly, I would use hazelnuts instead of cashews. I think the cashews, while creamy, didn’t add enough flavour.

Thirdly, I would add some Frangelico to the melted chocolate to give that extra flavour.

Like all recipes, it’s hardly a fine art and nothing is set in stone so give it a go and if you have any ideas or if some other flavour combinations work for you, share them with us!

– Mandy

10 Surprising Vegan Products

I am all about convenience and I think a lot of people put off trying vegan recipes or adopting a vegan diet because a) they think it’s all about lentils and sprouts or b) they think it’s too hard to find accessible vegan foods outside of a specialized health food store. So I hope it will be interesting to share a list of every day products you would be highly likely find in your local supermarket that are tasty and vegan. This is only a list of 10 but, trust me, there are so many more.

1. Arnott’s Raspberry Shortcake

2. Gravox Traditional Gravy Powder

3. Nanna’s Lite Apple Pies

4. Kellogg’s Coco Pops

5. Borg’s Puff Pastry

6. Praise Fat Free Mayonnaise

7. Original Pringles

8. Masterfoods Bacon Flavoured Chips

9. Green & Black’s Organic 70% Chocolate

10. Maggi Two Minute Noodles Chicken Flavour

Note that some of these products state they may contain traces of dairy or eggs and some are produced by companies which are not known to be environmentally or animal friendly so they aren’t all suitable for die-hard vegans. They are a good place to start though and any step in the direction of reducing your consumption of animals or animal products is a step in the right direction 🙂

-Mandy

Review: Vegie Hut. 984 Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill 3128.

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I’ve never really been much of a mock meat fan. All that processing and refining of what I’m sure is a huge list of ingredients just doesn’t seem like a wise choice of food to fuel your body with. I am however, guilty of chowing down on some Chicken Nuggets from Lord of the Fries with absolutely no qualms, so it does seem slightly contradictor that I should be so dubious about the quality of the faux meat served at any Vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Melbourne.

So, I’ve tried a couple over the years (literally, 2) one of which recently was Vegie Hut in Box Hill- a specialty Vegetarian Chinese restaurant that caters for Buddhists. This means no onion, shallot, garlic or ginger etc. is used in their food…and you can tell. I’m not sure of the actual reasoning behind this, but I believe it has something to do with these strong flavours being linked to sexual desire (info sourced from Wikipedia, so unsure of its reliability) which apparently is not the Buddhist way.  A fellow vegan friend of mine would often rave about how amazing the food is at Vegie Hut- so much variety and absolutely worth the trip all the way over to the other side of Melbourne to experience. I don’t mind a bit of a drive to the opposite end of town if I know food is waiting for me, but it needs to be good food, obviously…could probably have just put this place off a little longer, like, forever.

First positive about this place- you need to make a booking. A food establishment full of people is a pretty good indication the food is awesome, so I was encouraged to see a full restaurant at 5:30pm (the beginning of dinner service) and people being turned away at the door. Second positive- the menu is huge! Lots of entrees and enough fake meat options to sink a ship. It was actually a bit of a spin out reading choices I could eat listed under “Pork” and “Seafood”, but even still I found myself just wanting something with a buttload of tofu in it. This is what we ended up ordering:

Entrée

  • Vegetable Dumpling (pictured)
  • Sesame Prawn
  • Chicken Satay

Main

  • Lemon Chicken (pictured)
  • Hot and Spicy Chicken
  • Stir fry vegetables

And Chinese Tea.

I’d like to come up with a Third positive, but the only thing I can think of also leads into my first negative- the food comes out quickly; too quickly actually as the Chicken Satay and Sesame Prawn were both only luke warm in temperature.

The entrees were actually the most enjoyable dishes as they had the most flavour. The pan fried dumplings were crispy, however the filling wasn’t overly recognisable. The chicken satay was full of flavour and tasted like the real thing and the prawns were close in texture and taste as well. At this point I was filling up on tea, but I was eager to see if my favourite Chinese take away dish as a kid could be successfully replicated in faux form- Lemon chicken = disappointment.

The sauce tasted like a lemon cordial reduction and was almost fluorescent in colour. I’m not sure whether this was a bad batch of chicken, but it tasted like plastic and started to taste worse as the dish got colder. The batter was nice and crispy, so there doesn’t appear to be an issue with their deep fryer- Bonus. I ate about half of the portion served, but only because I felt bad for leaving so much of it behind. The hot and spicy chicken was better, but it was far from hot and/or spicy. Thankfully, it resembled the above mentioned Chicken Nuggets from LOTF in both texture and flavour. This would have been nicer had there been any kind of hot sauce to go with it…or fresh chilli that was actually hot…so much potential.

As for the Stir-fry vegetables- let’s just say the basic flavours of Asian cuisine were sorely missed with this one. Steamed vegies that taste as though they came out of a ‘Birds Eye’ heat and serve freezer pack are not my idea of a culinary delight. Enough said really.

I almost feel bad for speaking so poorly about this place, because I know there has to be some good things on the menu to warrant it being so popular. I’m just not sure I want to bother trying again to see why.

FYI- You too can enjoy this “Journey of the Tastebuds” for $60.00…Fail.

2.5 Rons

– Noelle

*pictures of actual dishes sourced from other websites

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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I’ve been using this recipe ever since I became vegan. You really cannot beat a good chocolate chip cookie, but one of the best things about this particular recipe is its forgiving nature- you can add whatever flavours you like in your choice of quantity. The basic recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup of nutellex (or whatever butter substitute you use)

3/4 cup of caster sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 ‘eggs’ (or 2 teaspoons of egg replacer powder)

1 cup of choc chips

Method:
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and other dry ingredients. Stir in choc chips and roll dough to about the size of a golf ball and arrange on a baking tray. Gently press down on the dough with a fork before baking. Bake in 200C for 8-10 minutes.

Thats it!

Baking times will vary depending on your oven but I find after 10 minutes the cookies are pretty much perfect. Although very light in colour they’ll be nice and chewy! It is best to leave them to cool on the tray before moving them to a cooling rack as they will fall apart. I’ve tried and tested quite a few flavour combinations but the best so far have been chocolate and cranberry, cranberry and coconut and chocolate and pistachios. I recently substituted 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of almond meal which was really nice. The baked cookie was even chewier and had a whole new flavour- definately worth trying!

Enjoy!

– Noelle

Product Review: Coco Luscious Peppermint Choc Chip Ice-Cream

Coco-Luscious Ice Cream

On Friday I splurged on some ice cream from our local health food store. The brand is Coco Luscious. It calls to me every time I’m there but it’s pricey [I think because the label says “organic”, so you know it’s good…right?] and I’m rarely without ice cream stocked at home…so somehow I resist. But yesterday I had a day off work, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and I’d had a productive morning so I decided it was time for a creamy treat. I picked up old faithful [chocolate, obviously!] without really thinking. Noelle and I often speak of non-vegan foods that we miss and I think it’s pretty safe to say that mint choc-chip ice cream would be pretty high on that list and I noticed that that this was one of the flavours they had. It took me about 5 minutes to open it when i got home.

T’was not 15 bucks well spent.

Pretty much everything about it was wrong; the taste, the smell, the texture. It was frozen though, I’ll give it that. It was like someone had blended milk and chalk, added some artificial peppermint and coconut flavours and thrown in some tiny, tasteless brown things. Imagine eating frozen Gaviscon and you wont have to go buy it for yourself. Even in my excitement I must admit I was dubious about the compatibility of coconut and peppermint. My fears were pretty founded. I don’t think that most ice cream flavours would suffer from being mingled with coconut but I did have doubts about peppermint.

Like toothpaste, but not as nice.

It certainly was an unfortunate disappointment because I have no issues paying that price for something that is really delicious but this I would not recommend even if it was half the price. Still, I will probably be back one day to try the chocolate!

I can only rate this product 1/2 a Ron for existing and making an attempt to sate my vegan desires for frozen sweetness.

0.5/5 Rons

What’s your fave vegan ice cream?

– Mandy

Recipe: Peppermint Slice

Peppermint Slice

Peppermint Slice

So for this slice I was inspired by this delightful-looking recipe and I was pretty excited because I do love a bit of choc/mint. I decided to change it slightly to make a slice with a biscuit base and instead of making my own chocolate, I was characteristically lazy and melted two bought chocolates. As usual there are up and downsides to the outcome [I am not really made for baking so usually whatever I make is far from perfect!] so first I will post the recipe and then I’ll tell you what I could have done better [i.e. what I did wrong!] Ingredients: Base:

  • 200g McVities Digestives
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 100g melted Nuttlex

Peppermint center:

  • 400g cashews [soak in water overnight]
  • 2 tsp peppermint oil or 1 tbs peppermint essence [or to your taste]
  • 2 tbs agave nectar [or to your taste]

Chocolate top:

  • 150g melted chocolate of your choice

Method:

  1. Submerge cashews in water and soak overnight
  2. Smash or blend Digestives into crumbs
  3. Mix Digestives, cocoa and Nuttlex until combined and push into a lined tin [approx 30cm long, 20cm wide and at least 4cm deep]
  4. Chill in fridge while you do the next steps
  5. Drain cashews and blend until smooth like butter
  6. Mix peppermint oil and agave into cashew butter
  7. With the back of a metal spoon, spread the cashew mix in a layer over the Digestive base. If it gets to sticky to spread, dip the spoon in hot water
  8. Chill in fridge while you do the next steps
  9. Melt chocolate to about the consistency of thickened cream
  10. Working quickly, add the peppermint oil and spread over the cashew layer
  11. Put the tray in the freezer for at least 3 hours
  12. Cut into pieces sized to your liking with a hot knife
  13. Voila!

If I made this again I would probably use at least 300g of Digestives because I think it needed more base. Also, this is the first time I used Agave nectar and I was not too impressed. I have not done any research on the specific differences between agave and golden syrup but i compared the bottles i have and nutritionally they are exactly the same but for the golden syrup having a small amount of salt which the agave doesn’t. Unless you are on a low salt diet I don’t think it’s enough to matter. The reason I make this point is because my focus with promotion of vegan food is to make it as accessible as possible…and you can buy golden syrup in the supermarket with all your other shopping. Each to their own but I will choose convenience over some salt any day! Let me know if you have more info about the differences between agave and golden syrup.

– Mandy