Himalaya Bakery & Café – Third Time Lucky!

Do you guys remember my last visit to Himalaya Bakery & Café? When I wrote about it, I wasn’t kind – but I stand by what I said. Their scrambled tofu is rubbish. Their pies, on the other hand, are delectable!

We passed through Daylesford a couple of days ago, and I decided to give the café one last chance. I grabbed a couple of pies to go and a mini orange cake to share with Mr. AA. Much to my delight, the pies were a pleasure to eat.

Mexi Bean Pie 1
Mexican Bean Pie

The first thing I noticed and loved was the pastry. Not only was it wholemeal, but it was also very bread-like, and not the typical greasy, flaky mess you’d expect. It was sort of like a calzone, but fluffy. I’ve never eaten a pizza pocket before, but I imagine this just about sums it up!

Mexi Bean Pie 2
Mexican Bean Pie – Inside

They were a little stingy on the filling, but what it lacked in volume it made up for in taste. It was not unlike burrito filling and corn stuffed into warm bread. How could that possibly be bad? It can’t. And wasn’t.

Tofu Veg Pie 1
Smoked Tofu & Veg Pie

The pastry on this was the same as the Mexican bean pie and had a lone cashew pushed into the top.

Tofu Veg Pie 2
Smoked Tofu & Veg Pie – Inside

The filling in this was much like what I remember veggie pasties being like (though I could be way off the mark here, as it’s been a loooong time since I had one). The first thing to hit my senses was the smoky flavour, but it subsided after a few bites. If the girl behind the counter hadn’t told me it was vegan, I would have gone back and insisted that it had egg in it. The filling held together really well and was the perfect consistency. Whatever they used to bind it works a charm.

Orange Cake
Orange Cake

I made a careful choice with this, knowing that the apple scroll on offer was far too big and the chocolate cake was going to be more rich than what I was in the mood for – so I settled on the only option in the cabinet that was both vegan for me and sugar free for Mr. AA – the orange cake. The zest in it gives off a slightly bitter flavour, but it’s otherwise excellent. It melted in my mouth and reminded me of the Greek cake “revani” that my great aunty makes every Christmas. I’m not sure if it’s a typically Greek tradition or just something my family does, but every year my great aunty Sophia bakes the cake with a coin wrapped in aluminium foil in it. Whoever happens to get the piece of cake with the coin in it is supposed to have good luck. My middle sister and I fought over it every year as kids – not for the good luck, but for the fact that it was $2 with no strings (chores) attached.

Anyway – family memories aside, at the very least Himalaya Bakery & Café is worth it for the pies. I’ll be insisting on stopping by every time we pass through Daylesford in future!

Note: For those of you concerned, there’s gluten free options on the menu & in the sweets cabinet.

Radio Mexico

It was my birthday last Friday. I took a week off from work and a week off from blogging – though I assure you I was thinking about food almost the entire time. My appetite really is an affliction; it’s rare for my brain to not be overwhelming itself with an overload of food related thoughts at any given moment. Anyway. We ate out a few times during my week off – but I’ll only share one of our experiences with you today.

Radio Mexico 1

Radio Mexico
11-13 Carlisle St
St Kilda, VIC 3182
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 9534 9990

Open from 4pm on weekdays and from midday on weekends. Open on most public holidays.

I’ve been swooning over Radio Mexico for quite some time now (I’m talking more than 6 months here, guys), so when I knew I’d be staying the night in town, I made it my mission to finally eat here. It was an intimate dinner with only me, Mr. AA & a close, long-term friend of mine in attendance.

Upon arrival, I noticed that the restaurant was full and there was already groups of people spilling out onto the street waiting for tables. Some people might find this a bit of a turn off – I, however, found it to be a sign of excitement and dedication. Continue reading

Cactus Jam

Cactus Jam 1
Cactus Jam
50 Liebig Street
Warrnambool
VIC 3280
AUSTRALIA

Mr. AA was kind enough to book us a short holiday in Warrnambool – his ulterior motive was a sci-fi exhibition at the local art gallery, which he made up for by booking us a room with a spa (ha!). Both Google and Happy Cow left me feeling fairly nervous about my food options, but thankfully the strip of restaurants a block from our hotel wasn’t quite as dismal as I expected. Continue reading

Grumpy’s Green

Firstly: Happy international day of the nacho, y’all! Not only is it world nacho day, but Melbourne is also celebrating Mexico’s “Day of the Dead” festival – for a week. Click here for info on events.

Today I went on a mission for Mexican food. Radio Mexico wasn’t opening until 4pm (I was only in town for lunch) and Trippy Taco had crowds of people wandering in, despite there being no tables available – so Mr. AA & I went for a little wander and ended up eating at Grumpy’s Green – a vegetarian, eco-friendly lounge/bar.

Seating Area
Grumpy’s Green
125 Smith Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9416 1944

Don’t let the name put you off – these guys aren’t grumpy at all. In fact, they’re pretty upbeat. The main bar/lounge/band area is dimly lit – which I imagine is great in the evenings, but it’s a little hard on the eyes during the day – So Mr. AA and I walked through the naturally lit dining area (pictured above) into a small, four-table intimate court yard. Continue reading

Savoury Corn Muffins & Bean Salad

These corn muffins have become a favourite of ours and I make them often. They’re great with bean salad on a hot day or chili on a cold day. Initially we used to just spread vegan margarine on them, but now I prefer them with avocado; try both!

Savoury Corn Muffins
Serves 4

Savoury Corn Muffins

1 C Polenta
1 1/2 C Plain Flour or Gluten Free Alternative
1 TBSP Caster Sugar
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 TBSP Flax Meal
1-2 TBSP Canola Oil
1 3/4 C Water + 1 TBSP
1/2 t Dried Parsley Flakes
1/4 t Salt
2/3 C Corn Kernels (I used frozen)

  • Pre-heat oven to 200C.
  • Stir together dry ingredients.
  • Add wet ingredients & corn kernels. Mix well and leave to sit for a couple of minutes. The flax meal will cause the mixture to thicken.
  • Grease muffin tray(s) and fill 12 muffin cups with batter. These won’t rise much, so you need to be generous with the batter; fill them to the top.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes in a fan forced oven.
  • Leave these in the tray for a few minutes to cool, but don’t leave them in the tray too long or the bottoms will become tough/chewy.

 

Bean Salad
(Sorry, this one will be a bit vague – I didn’t measure everything out.)

1x 400g Tin of Mixed Beans
2 Truss Tomatoes, diced
1 TBSP Red Onion, Finely Diced
1 TBSP Sliced Spanish Olives
Juice from 1 Lemon
Fresh Parsley
Drizzle of Olive Oil
S + P

  • Toss together all of the above ingredients. Leave to marinate for 5-10 minutes, then serve. There will be liquid at the bottom of your bowl – try to drain the scoops of salad a little before putting on a plate.

Amigo’s Mexican Restaurant

Amigos1

Amigo’s Mexican Restaurant
329 Elizabeth Street
North Hobart, TAS 7000
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 6234 6115

As we arrived at Amigo’s, we realised we were in the heart of Hobart’s restaurant district – some information that would have been helpful to us in advance. As you enter this restaurant, your senses are tantalised by the rich spices that fill the air.

Amigos2

The menu is available on their website, broken up into three pages. There’s a vegetarian section with two vegan options marked and two gluten free options marked; I thought with my Mexican food knowledge I could wrangle a vegan version of a couple of other menu items, but disappointingly it didn’t work out that way. More on that later!

Amigos3

These salsas were pretty amazing. Mr. AA’s favourite was the corn salsa which admittedly was pretty good but no better than the one I make at home, so I wasn’t quite so excited by it. The other two salsas on the other hand… WOW.

The green one is a tomatillo salsa, which was heavy on the lime juice but light and refreshing in flavour. The only thing I would have added to this is chili – that being said, I can understand why it’s served as a mild dish. Not everyone likes to have tingling gums like me!

The red one was (obviously) a tomato salsa. I loved how rich and sweet this was and the texture was a perfect balance between chunky and smooth.

All of the above came served with a fairly decent sized basket of thick corn chips; we shamefully ate the lot!

Amigos5

This was the vegan chimichanga, which was actually pretty tasty. The plum sauce was a little sweet for me and the potato filling was a bit heavy in my belly, but as far as decadent vegan mains go, this was right up there.

Unfortunately it wasn’t my first choice from the menu – not only because I tend to avoid deep fried foods but also because I *really* felt like eating beans that night. I found out after trying to order the tostada and then the burrito that the beans at the restaurant are mixed with cheese. If I had one complaint about the restaurant, this would be it. Vegans need beans! OK – well THIS vegan needs beans, anyway… Life wouldn’t be half as fun(ny) without bean induced gas. GO LEGUMES.

Amigos4

The kitchen staff were kind enough to improvise and throw together this salad for me and I seriously applaud anyone who puts up with me asking for special things at a restaurant. I try not to be too much of a pain but I knew I was going to need something fresh to go with my deep fried main. This was perfect. Thanks guys!

Amigos6

This is a photo of the “fireballs”, which Mr. AA bravely ordered. They’re not vegan or vegetarian and they’re super duper spicy. Not for the faint hearted!! Mr. AA gave these guys a run for their money when all he left on the plate was a little bit of rice (I won’t tell you how much his face was sweating). As you can see, the serve was monstrous!

On the whole, we really liked this place and would definitely go back (why on earth didn’t I order the guacamole??? *facepalm*). The staff were really friendly and helpful and the manager was happy to chat with me and let me take photos; he even recommended an excellent Mexican beer to drink with our meals. The ONLY let down for me was the lack of vegan meal options with beans.

Amigos on Urbanspoon

Bean Tostadas / Mexican Pizzas

Bean Tostadas
Serves 2

Base:
2 Corn Tortillas
2 tsp Tomato Paste
1 C Kidney Beans
1-2 TBSP Water
5 tsp Taco Seasoning*

Topping:
1 + 1/2 C Shredded Baby Spinach or Cos Lettuce
1 + 1/2 Diced Tomatoes
1/2 C Diced Capsicum (red & green)
1/2 C Cooked Corn Kernels
1 Sprig of Spring Onion, sliced on the bias
1/2 Fresh Lime
Chopped Coriander + Sprigs for Garnish
1/2 Avocado, diced or roughly mashed
S+P

  • Preheat over to 200C.
  • Puree 1/2 C kidney beans with water & taco seasoning. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do some rough mashing with a fork instead. Next, stir in the remaining 1/2 C kidney beans. You want a mixed texture here.
  • Smear 1 tsp of tomato paste on each of the corn tortillas, then top each tortilla with half of the bean mix.
  • Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine in a bowl: the diced tomatoes, capsicum, corn kernels, spring onion and chopped coriander with the juice from half a lime. Toss and season with salt & pepper.
  • When your tortillas are ready, place them on plates and top with 3/4 cup shredded greens each, half of your tomato salsa each, 1/4 of an avocado each and some fresh coriander.

*If you’re using a store bought taco seasoning rather than my recipe, the amount you will need here will vary.

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning
Makes almost 1 Cup

2 TBSP Onion Powder
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Garlic Flakes/Granules
2 TBSP Smoked Paprika
1 TBSP Ground Cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Chickpea Flour (also known as “besan”)
1 tsp Raw Sugar (optional)
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together evenly and store in an air tight jar in a cool, dark place.