Restaurant: Creperie Bruxelles

If you’re a regular to Adelaide events you’ve probably seen the guys that sell the stall that sells poffertjes (mini dutch pancakes) or a cart that offers homemade lemonade.Well those guys have their own store. Creperie Bruelles is on Henley Beach Road in Mile End, close to the city. They serve crepes, waffles and pancakes and most things on the menu can be made vegan, including the ham, cheese and tomato crepe. They also provide gluten free options.

To start I had a peach iced tea which was nice and I like the addition of the mint leaves. You can see from the photo below that I’d drunk quite a bit of it before I remembered to take the photo (you can also see how bad I am at photography).

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Peach iced tea

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Banana and salted caramel crepes

For main I ordered the banana crepes with salted caramel sauce and soy cream. The crepes were nice, the salted caramel was good and the soy cream was amazing. Grace, the owner of Bliss Organic Cafe, was also impressed by the soy cream. The icing sugar sprinkle annoyed me and I felt it was unnecessary. A good dish but it took ages to come out, far longer than anyone else on my table.

I also had a taste of the ham, cheese and tomato crepe and it was quite nice.

Food: Yummy, with a good range of flavors and I love how many vegan options there are. 4/5

Setting: Small, noisy and very echo-y. However I believe they may be about to extend into the shop next door. 2/5

Service: Not great. While they were very polite and accommodating to our having a few more people than we booked for. Unfortunately they made several mistakes with our orders and a few were late coming out. They were efficient and helpful in fixing these issues, but as one of these mistakes involved a food allergy it’s a bit of a problem. 2/5

Overall: Great food but definitely some issues that need fixing. 3/5

Creperie Bruxelles on Urbanspoon

Restaurant: The Lake View, Ballarat

Over Chrismas I went back to my home town of Ballarat, Victoria for a little while. This was the first time I had been back since becoming vegan. While Ballarat isn’t hugely vegan friendly, which is surprising considering the huge university and arts communities, but it’s not too bad especially if you know where to look. Try the Ballarat Vegan facebook page for more info).

So my dad wanted to take me out for lunch so we went to the Lake View. We’d dined there before and it’s vegan friendly. The Lake View is, as the name suggests, is close to Lake Wendouree, which basically means they can charge more.

The Lake View is one of those upmarket pubs that would never use the word pub (they used to be called the Lake View Hotel but they renovated and re branded a few years ago.) The menu is a mish mash of lots of different  cuisines with a number of dishes available as vegan or gluten free upon request.

The dish I chose was the felafel salad. It was okay. The felafels were quite nice; moist and tasty. The salad itself had way too much raw onion and was only lightly dressed with vinegar. The vegan version didn’t have the brie (an odd pairing with felefels anyway) and the sweet chilli and avocado dip, therefore it had no creamy element, maybe some cut up avocado could be added to the vegan option?

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Felafel salad

Food: Pretty average, a little more thought, care and attention wouldn’t go astray. 3/5

Setting: Standard modern chic, complete with the obligatory bright red coffee machine. Quite noisy when full as they really pack the patrons in. 3/5

Service: A bit odd, I think they’re going for efficient but it’s a tad uncomfortable. 3/5

Overall: Dad and I had been here a few times and each time it’s been the same, average food that’s not worth the price. 3/5

Lake View Hotel on Urbanspoon

Restaurant: Vegetarian Garden

If you head to the Pulteney street end of Rundle Mall you will find Renaissance Arcade. The arcade houses, among other things, a food court populated by by mostly Asian cuisines. The food is cheap and aimed at the students from the 2 university campuses on North Terrace. In this food court you will find a shop called Vegetarian Garden. It’s not the nicest looking place but it’s my favorite (almost) vegan restaurant in Adelaide.

Almost vegan? All the food is vegan (as well as onion and garlic free) but they sell dairy based iced coffee and chocolate as well as keeping dairy milk on hand for coffee and bubble tea. The food is pretty standard food court fare. You’ve got your basic rice/noodles plus 2 or 3 choices for a reasonable price in the bain marie at the front, plus a few individual items; I recommend the spring rolls.

I prefer to order from the menu. Again pretty standard stuff. Singapore noodles, fried kuey teow etc. All quite tasty the dishes include tofu(not enough in my opinion), a little fake meat and mushrooms as the “protein”.

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Fried kuey teow

My favorite items to order are the soups especially the tom yum and the laksa. Both are fortunately quite mild but if you like that chilli kick there’s a chilli mix at the counter that you can add. But be careful as the mix is really concentrated and surprisingly spicy!

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Tom yum

The tom yum is light with lots of veges in a huge serve, though I’m still not sure what I think of the cucumber.

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Laksa

The laksa is not to creamy, though the thick noodles can be a bit much (you can just ask for rice noodles if that is a problem,) and if someone could please explain to me the point of the crunchy fried things? I’d be much obliged.

If you are sensitive to msg or just don’t like it you can ask for it to be taken out however in some cases (such as the laksa) it can’t be done due to the pre prepared pastes they use.

Food: Average. Great. Well balanced an very tasty. 4.5/5

Setting: Pretty crap. It’s not the nicest food court. Though the occasional sight of zombies (students from the film make up school) eating their lunch can be amusing. 1/5

Service: Okay. Sometime there is a bit of a language barrier issue with the but it’s not a huge issue. Food generally comes out quite fast. 3.5/5

Overall: I like this place. It’s tasty, it’s filling and it’s cheap (nothing on the menu is over $10!) 3.5/5

Vegetarian Garden on Urbanspoon

Restaurant: Two-Bit Villains

Two-Bit Villains can be found in upstairs in Adelaide Arcade in Rundle Mall. It’s a 50’s style american food diner and soda bar that happens to be vegetarian with most items on the menu able to be made vegan and gluten free. It’s a small place and it can get quite busy during peak times.

Two-Bit’s main claim to fame is their homemade sodas. They have a wide range of flavors but only a selection is available on any given day. The soda is sweet, really sweet. If you want a soda with a bit of tang, don’t bother, however if you like your soda tasting like fairy floss go for it. They also serve some varieties of iced tea, see above comment on the sweetness of the sodas. My favorite of their beverages are the shakes. I have tried all but two flavors and I like them all. My favorite is the choc-peanut which uses crunchy peanut butter, thick, chunky and slightly salty; delicious. Sadly they feel the need to serve it jars.

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Chocolate and peanut shake

As for the food its standard diner fare: burgers, fries, onion rings, etc. My favorite is the BLT: soy bacon, lettuce, tomato, vegan cheese and way too much mayo. Comes with a side of either fries or onion rings and it’s always impossible to choose between the two. Maybe they should include a 1/2 and 1/2 option?

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BLT with fries

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Vege burger with onion rings

Food: Tasty but definitely a sometimes food. Sometimes the sides can be too salty. 4/5

Setting: Nice, the umbrellas are pretty and there’s usually interesting some art on the walls and if you get bored you can always browse the assortment of random rockabilly accessories for sale. The high stools are a bit annoying though. 3.5/5

Service: Not bad, has gotten better with the hiring of more staff. Friendly and professional. 4.5/5

Overall: If you’re looking for some fast food of the high salt, high fat and high sugar variety this your place. It’s essentially the vego’s McDonalds. 4/5

Two-Bit Villains on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Salted Caramel Sauce

Ah salted caramel. Something I’d never heard of until a few years ago and now it’s on every menu. When it’s good it amazing, when it’s bad it’s still pretty tasty. Regular readers may remember me singing the praises of Eggless’s salted caramel sauce and I order it whenever I see it on the menu (if it’s vegan obviously) but I’ve never tried to make it myself. Why? Because my one attempt at making caramel went badly.

I used a recipe from the Australian cooking competition show My Kitchen Rules.

Ingredients:

220g (7 3/4 ounces) of Caster Sugar.
80ml (2 2/3 fluid ounces) of Water.
250ml (8 1/2 fluid ounces) of Thickened Cream. I used Rice Cream.
40g (1 3/8 ounces) of Vegan Margarine. I used Nuttalex.
1tsp of Salt. I used table salt which has a stronger flavor than rock or sea salt.

Method:

Stir Sugar and Water in a medium heavy based saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves.

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Sugar and water, pre cooking

Use a wet pastry brush to brush any stray grains on side of pan back down into mixture. I didn’t do this bit.

Bring to the boil.

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On the boil

Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, without stirring, until mixture turns a rich golden brown. This may take longer than you expect but keep an eye on it as it can turn very quickly. Mine didn’t heat evenly and I had one section go very dark and start to burn while the rest was still pale gold. Fortunately it didn’t effect the flavor.

Remove from the heat.

Add 1/3 of the Cream and whisk in (note to self buy a whisk). It will froth up. Any crystals and thicker caramel will reincorporate on the heat.

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Caramel

Return to the heat and add the remaining Cream, the Margarine and the Salt. Whisk it together then turn off the heat and cool to room temperature. It may seem a bit thin but don’t worry it thickens as it cools.

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Now what am I going to do with all this?

Verdict: Yummy. Just the right amount of salt. It took longer than I thought and that was annoying as I got quite impatient. Despite this it was quite simple to make. I will make it again and I might use coconut cream to see what it tastes like. Now I just have to decide what to use this for…

Recipe: Cashew Cream Cheese

For the 52 Weeks of Vegan Cooking on Reddit this week we are using nuts as the theme. Nuts are so very versatile, especially in vegan dishes. When I saw the theme my mind when instantly to cashew cream cheese. Now I have previously review a few of the commercially available vegan cream cheeses (here and here) and it basically boils down to this: I like my cream cheese savory and the vegan options I have tried are far too sweet and therefore taste terrible with pickle.

I used this recipe and altered it a little.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Raw Cashews, soaked.
2 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast. Can also be called Savoury Yeast.
1/4 a Cup of Lemon Juice.
1/2 a Tablespoon of Canola Oil.
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt.
1 Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar.
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic.

Method:

Place Cashews in a food processor and process until smooth.

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Cashews ready to be processed

Add all other ingredients and process until incorporated. I has to add some water to get it smooth but that’s due to the fact that my food processor isn’t powerful enough.

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Processed

Taste and adjust flavours to suit your palate. I added a bit more salt.

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On a cracker

Enjoy.

Verdict: Very nice. I’m not too sure if the vinegar is needed as the lemon juice adds enough flavour on it’s own. I will leave it out next time. The smell of the final product is odd, it smells like the yeast which I find a tad off putting. Otherwise it’s great. Should go well in a pickle sandwich.

Recipe: Cauliflower Bread

So I’ve decided to add to my cooking by taking on some more challenges via reddit. This weeks challenge on the 52 Weeks of Baking subreddit is bread. I’ve made a few breads in my time with some success and I was originally just going to attempt focaccia, which is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, but the something turned up in my facebook feed. A recipe for Cauliflower Bread from Coach Shannon Lee’s page. The recipe was attached to a request from a fellow vegan to veganize the recipe so I decided to try it out.

Ingredients:

1 Head of Cauliflower.
1/2 a Cup of Vegan Cheeze. I used Scheese Gouda Style.
1/4 of a Cup of Silken Tofu, drained and pressed. I used 1/2 a Cup but I think it was too much.
1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley or Oregano or Basil. I used Oregano.
2 Cloves of Garlc, minced.
1 Tablespoon of Nutritional (Saboury) Yeast (optional).
Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 230C (450F).

Steam the Cauliflower florets and stems (not the core) until soft.

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The cauliflower – pre cooking

Combine the other ingredients in a bowl.

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The other ingredients

Press the cooked Cauliflower in a tea towel / cloth to remove as much water as possible.

Put Cauliflower in a food processor and process until it is a mashed potato consistency.

Combine Cauliflower with other ingredients, then place mixture evenly on a large greased tray.

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In the oven

Baked for 15 – 20 minutes until the top begins to brown. This too nearly 40 minutes for me as a) I think my mixture was too wet and b) I have no idea how the use the fancy convection oven in my new place.

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Out of the oven

Cut up and enjoy.

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On the plate

Verdict: Quite simple despite the fact that I don’t have a proper food processor and I have to steam the Cauliflower in the microwave. My mix was too wet so next time I will try and remove more water from the Cauliflower and add less tofu. I also over did it with the Pepper and the Onion Powder so my finished product has a very strong flavor. Other than that it’s a good recipe. I was concerned that the Cauliflower would make it too sweet but I was wrong. It tastes nice though I’m not sure this is actually a bread.