Another Veg Garden Update!

Overall Garden

Are you a little shocked..? I am. Seriously, just… WHAT HAPPENED? 0_0

Our humble little veggie garden has had some considerable growth lately. We’ve even been harvesting more than just lettuce which is lovely!

Basil
Basil.

Chili
Chili.

No matter how many I pick or how many the mice (I suspect) eat, this chili bush continues to grow and is constantly bearing new fruit. Win!

Tomato 2
Tomato.

Some teeny weeny tomatoes are starting to grow, but my late planting means they’re prone to frost so we’re going to have to try to make some kind of improvised/temporary hot house for them this weekend. The plants are nearly taller than me!

Kale
Kale.

I’ve had a steady supply of kale from the garden and have been sharing it with some local vegans! <3 Celery
Celery.

It feels like the celery is taking forever to grow! It’s by far the slowest thing in the garden. It probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been picking leaves off it for our rabbits (Winston & Miso) every few days. I might be stunting its growth…

Rocket Seed
Rocket.

The rocket & cos lettuce are going to seed now. After I’ve collected seeds this week I’m thinking of removing them from the garden and trying for a second round of broccoli (this time with Mr. AA’s special mesh box over it for protection!).

Cucumber Escape
Cucumber.

I totally underestimated how much space the cucumbers would need. They’re climbing and creeping EVERYWHERE, despite my attempts to tame them. We’ve harvested 5 cucumbers which were SO beautiful and crispy, but it’s a lot of plant for very little food. Mr. AA & I are considering removing them and starting up a dedicated cucumber and/or pumpkin patch. All in good time…

Golden Beet
Golden Beet.

This baby is about ready for picking and there’s a few more that are also close. Looking forward to eating my first ever golden beet in the near future!

Jalapeno
Jalapeno.

There’s quite a few jalapenos growing. I’m quietly hoping the garden gets bombarded with them because I really want to pickle them and give them away to friends who are fans of them.

Red & White Stripy Beet
Red & White Stripy Beet

I think this bugger is ready to be picked, but I’m leaving him there for a few more days, until I decide on what to do with him. Raw beet ravioli? Something else? Ideas anyone??

Capsicum Bell Pepper
Capsicum / Bell Pepper.

I eat A LOT of capsicum and they cost a fortune to buy organic, so I really hope these mature & survive. There’s only one cluster of them so far, but there’s several capsicum/bell pepper plants that have potential.

Potato Tyres
Potatoes.

These bad boys were rogue plants that grew from my not-quite-finished compost. To keep them growing and producing more potatoes, you need to keep building up the soil around them. Friends of ours (Adam & Airlie!) suggested using tyres for this and stacking an extra one on top each time soil needs to be added. So far, the plants are looking pretty healthy and they’re 2 tyres tall. I hope I have a crapload of potatoes to eat when we finally knock it down. Potatoes are awesome.

So there you have it – one hefty garden update. I’ll keep y’all posted as more happens!

Veg Garden Update

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your patience over the past few months! I plan to start posting recipes again soon (next month, hopefully) – I certainly miss messing around in the kitchen. I’ve had to devote a lot of energy to my day job for a while – which I love dearly, but it has taken its toll. The load will lighten in the near future; in the meantime, learning how to better manage stress is something really important that I need to do for myself. The veg garden has truly become a therapeutic place of joy for me – even if I’m only there for a few minutes in the morning pulling out weeds while I have some breakfast.

Veg Garden 7 Jan 14

Last week I finally finished filling in the garden bed on the left. I turned some compost into the soil, fertilised with Seasol this time (instead of my home made mix) and used organic sugar cane mulch instead of straw. The straw worked fine in the other garden bed, but it broke down pretty quickly. I’m hoping the sugar cane mulch holds up a little longer. Continue reading

A Raw Food Portrait

When my friend Brendan, who is an art student, asked me to create a portrait of him, he was pretty loose on the details. He must have sensed my nerves and apprehension because he quickly told me that it could be words, or something abstract, or anything I felt comfortable with. The thing is… I consider myself creative, but I’m certainly not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. I did, however, accept the challenge.

Brendan
Raisins, silverbeet, celery, zucchini, mushroom, red capsicum, strawberries, carrot & apple.

Continue reading

Don’t Waste Produce: Juice & Freeze

Although our diet isn’t 100% organic, our home is fairly well stocked with organic foods compared to most and in addition to never wanting to waste money, I never like to waste food. You know that line parents use to guilt their kids into eating everything on their plate? “What about all the starving kids in Africa?” Well, it stuck with me and I can’t waste food without feeling like an ungrateful little brat – so the trick is to not waste it.

A lot of people carry on about organic food being expensive and sure – in some cases, it really is outrageous (I’ve seen celery for $6.95 a bunch lately and red capsicums for $24.95/kg) but in most cases, you can shop smart by buying in season and in bulk. It’s common sense, really.

So what’s a girl to do when she buys in bulk but can’t eat it all?

Freeze it. In some cases I will juice and freeze things, or blanch and freeze them – it just depends. Today, I’m going to focus on juicing.

Apple Juice
Frozen organic apple juice.

Continue reading

Las Vegan Bakery/Café

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

Las Vegan Bakery/Café
22 Smith St
Collingwood
VIC 3066
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9415 9001

Upon entering Las Vegan, it was apparent to me that my anxiety levels were quickly rising, so Mr. AA & I opted for a table outside, even though the weather was a little questionable. The space is small and cramped with badly arranged furniture that makes you feel like an intrusion. I didn’t take any photos inside because it felt too awkward, but there’s potential for the space to feel a lot more comfortable, it just needs some attention. Thankfully, our waiter was kind and relaxed, and after looking at the menu, I could see these guys had a sense of humour. Continue reading

(r)Adelaide: Bliss Organic Café

Bliss Organic Café
7 Compton Street
Adelaide SA 5000
AUSTRALIA

Bliss Indoors 2

Saving the best for last isn’t normally my style (I don’t have any objections to eating dessert before dinner) – but in this case, I did it – because Bliss won me over in a heartbeat and I wanted to write a special post dedicated to it!

Dedicated vegan restaurants & cafés are not easy to come by in Australia; they’re not a dime a dozen, so if you run one, it’s gotta be pretty special in order to survive – and Bliss is just that.

For a start, the drinks menu is nothing to roll your eyes at. It’s not the standard so-and-so you find everywhere. I mean, sure, they’ll make you a latté if that’s what you want, but why would you want that when you can get a ginger hot chocolate or a spiced hot apple juice? Not only that, but soy isn’t your only option – you can also get oat, rice and almond milk! By the way, I tried the ginger hot chocolate and it was freakin’ amazing!

I struggled to decide what to order for breakfast. My friend Shane suggested the scambled tofu; I was weary, but decided to take the risk. OH. MY. GOD. Boy, did it pay off.

Tofu Scramble

I always think of scrambled tofu as such a cliché. It’s the standard vegan dish that everyone makes differently and I’ve never found one that seemed quite right. Either the tofu is too chunky or it’s nicely crumbled but kinda rubbery… Or people just get far too carried away with adding flavours to it. It’s never just… right. I’d never met the perfect scrambled tofu until I tried the one at Bliss (which, by the way, craps all over my version – I now have a very high standard to strive for!).

It contained a perfect amount of veggies which didn’t out-shine the simple, fluffy tofu and was laced with pepitas, sesame seeds and flax meal. One of my favourite things about it was the addition of potato – which made the idea of toast completely superfluous.

My friend, Shane, ordered a raw bruschetta for brekkie (yep, they have both raw and gluten free options) which is pictured below. It was simple but also perfect. I often prefer raw food when it’s not over the top.

Raw Bruschetta

In order to try something else from the menu, I ordered the Bliss Burger to take to work for lunch and it definitely didn’t disappoint! The patty was primarily beans & lentils – thus it was nice and soft. The only down side to this was that when I squashed the burger to fit it into my mouth, the patty squeezed out the sides. It was definitely a man-sized serve; I actually ended up removing the top half of the bead bun and eating it with a combination of cutlery and my hands. It got a little messy and involved a lot of finger licking, but I’m not afraid to be classy like that – even in front of my favourite HR advisor 😉

Food-wise, these guys don’t mess around – everything they serve is seriously something special and I’d recommend a trip to Adelaide for the sole purpose of visiting Bliss. Yes, really.

In addition to my big rant about the amazing food, the premises themselves are really inviting. There’s three main sections – the first part has wooden tables and chairs and is set up like a nice cozy café. The second front part has retro style tables and chairs and a little grocery store where you can buy both pantry and refrigerated items AND books. The range is huge and even includes a very decent section of raw foods by the counter. The third section is out the back and is really relaxed – there’s even a little under cover area with cushions for you to remove your shoes and sit at ground level! It’s oh-so-hippy but not in a pretentious way.

Bliss Indoors 1

Bliss Indoors 3

Bliss Outdoor Area

During this wonderful experience, my friend Shane of Pure Gaisha gave me a black waterproof mascara. Since being vegan, I’ve tried a few different mascaras and they often end up smearing under my eyes after only a couple of hours – so for a long time, I just gave up and wore fairly simple eye make up.

Waterproof Mascara

After a full day of wearing the mascara, I can confidently recommend it and tell you that it did not budge from my eyelashes one bit. No smudges, no flaky bits… It’s the most amazing stuff I’ve ever used! And it’s vegan! YAY! Pure Gaisha’s body products and scrubs are also pretty amazing – I’ve been using them for years. I’m not sure why I didn’t take the plunge & try the cosmetics earlier.