Vegan Democracy Sausages: for the people… but hopefully not made of the people… #snagvotes #soylentgreen?

Vegan MoFo
Week 4: 21st-27th November 2016 Memories & Traditions
22nd: Silly food – What are some silly food traditions/memories you have?

DEMOCRACY SAUSAGES.
Content warning: strong language and silliness.

When I was a kid, primary school fetes and fairs were the domain of the gourmet af “sausage on a piece of bread” but that traditional classy food seems to have shifted to polling booths on election days.

In recent times, a website for locating Democracy Sausages has emerged and it has a function to help find polling booths that have vegetarian options! In Australia, democracy is for everyone, even filthy vegan socialists.

The western shift towards fascism and humouring bullshit-spewing fascist/capitalist asshats has been getting a lot of my friends down… and fair enough, too. Being a hypocritical, nasty fuckwit with the worst hair implants of all time is not okay. For tips on insulting your less-than-illustrious political leaders, and I know some places in the world are less familiar with this concept, please consider viewing these Australian demonstrations for beginners: “dickhead” and “bunch of wankers

If you think capitalism doesn’t work – hell, if you think democracy doesn’t work because the free market is a violent class war being waged against middle-to-lower classes by the filthy rich – remember: in Australia at least, we get a greasy snag to calm our nerves on election day, if not from a polling booth, then we can fry up our own sausage-on-a-piece-of-bread comfort food in our own homes with our dearest Comrades… and it certainly helps that vegan sausages are almost universally amazing these days. I hope some of our Comrades in other lands will consider adopting this delightful election day comfort food!

It is quite a tricky food to master, so here’s a step-by-step pictorial guide…

1. Get a piece of shitty floppy soft bread. The whiter, the better. Cheap supermarket “wholemeal” bread is also acceptable providing it’s gluten-rich, soft and pliable. Do not toast it or try to do anything clever with the piece of bread. This is neither the time nor the place. The beauty of this food is in its simplicity.

bread and bonus cat

Bonus kitteh!

Optional: if you’re feeling fancy, put a spread on it: plant-based margarine. But that’s it. Don’t go any fancier than that or you’ll ruin it. No bean dips or any such nonsense. This isn’t cocktail hour at The Ritz.

2. Fry or BBQ some vegan sausages. You’ll need tongs for this. If you don’t have tongs, don’t bother. Tongs are essential, even if they’re shitty salad tongs like you see here… shameful, I know, but it’s the best I could do after moving. Tongs, mate. That’s how you turn a snag on the grill.

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3. Put the browned sausage on the bread.

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4. Tomato sauce. Do a line of it. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Okay, an optional addition: well-browned, maybe slightly-burnt fried onion, but if the political situation is dire, you might not have time for that.

5. Pick it up, rolling the bread slightly. (If you’ve toasted the bread or bought fancy sourdough like some kind of wanker, at this point you’ll be fucked as.)

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Don’t be a dickhead. There are lives at stake. Eat it while it’s hot and vote as far left as possible. “Is this left enough?” you may ask… probably not, Comrade. Got any lefter? Maintain the rage. Perhaps even break out a ouji board and try to summon a spectre to haunt Europe — the spectre of communism. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Okay, that’s fine, you’ve been rereading Marx, we get it, quit embarrassing yourself… but what if it’s not an election day? Can I still do democracy sausages? Can I mix it up?

Well, alrighty, I suppose it’s okay to go a bit wild and add some other bits and pieces… apologies in advance for the heresy… but if you’re okay with a bit of tweaking, read on.

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Served with French fries – aka hot chips that are way too skinny – and some Asian spinach topped with sauerkraut and miscellaneous salady bits.

… and here’s where it gets really wild…

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What… what have I done?

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Oh, the horror. I can only hope that my children will forgive me some day.

Yeah, nah.

Democracy sausages are silly as hell, we all know it.

Australia, my dear, my home – free medical care* aside, you are bloody ridiculous.

🎶… For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share…
🎶
#bringthemhere
#safetyforall
*for now

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Lemon Coconut Slice… aka Something To Do With Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

Vegan MoFo
Week 4: 21st-27th November 2016 Memories & Traditions
21st: Favourite memory – What’s your favourite ever food memory? Recreate it.

Moving is so boring and time-consuming, but I’ve managed to keep up with MoFo (I think..?) over at my Instagram… with some yummy bakery items and quick meals.

Recently I grabbed a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk from the Asian grocery store. One of my friends has been telling me to make crushed iced dessert to pour it over, à la the $1 bowls I’ve had in night markets in south-east Asia, that often also things like contain fruit, corn, and red beans… which is a great idea! But I thought I’d go with a less great idea…

Junky junk!

One of my favourite treats when I was wee lass was Lemon Coconut Slice. It’s pretty daggy, all sugar, crushed biscuits, and sweet milky gunge, a bit 80s… so a fancy hipster retro slice, I guess! (And it only used half a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk so I can still do the crushed ice thing another time!) For all you non-Australians out there: Nuttelex = plant-based margarine = something akin to Earth Balance.

I used this recipe as a place to start.

For the biscuit base, I used:

1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
125g coconut Nuttelex
205g packet of Leda Arrowroot biscuits
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup desiccated coconut

Leda biscuits happen to be gluten-free, so these Lemon Coconut Slices are now both gluten-free and animal-free! Hooray! But you could also use any other slightly sweet digestive or plain biscuit.

Warm the Nuttelex with the coconut milk in a saucepan until combined.

Melted Nuttelex and condense coconut milk

Mmm, yellowy sludge.

Beat the biscuits to a crumby pulp! I used a knife handle because I like to live dangerously. A better option might be a food processor, or putting the biscuits in a bag and pulverising them with a safer sort of less-pointy blunt object. But that’s not as fun.

Biscuit crumbs

When you are too tired to destroy the biscuits any further, justify your laziness with the idea that you really should leave a few big pieces to “add texture,” then add in the lemon rind and coconut.

Lemon rind and coconut on biscuit crumb

Add in the combined coconut milk and Nuttelex to create a sticky biscuit mixture.

Biscuit base mix

Press it into a pan and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm… aka freeze for a short time while you make the icing.

Pressed base

For the icing (frosting), I used:

2-3 cups of icing (confectioner’s) sugar
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 heaped tablespoon Nuttelex
a few tablespoons of desiccated coconut

Soften the Nuttelex and combine with sifted icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick icing. I added extra icing powder until I had a nice thick but pliable mix. Scoop/pour on top of firm biscuit base and spread evenly.

Spreading icing

Top generously with coconut and place in the fridge (or freezer if you’re impatient like me) until firm.

Coconut on top

Cut into small squares. The original recipe suggested 18 squares and I went with it. I’d probably go with 20 small squares instead next time because sugggggarrrrrrrr.

Cut up

Delicious! Full of fresh lemony goodness!

On plates

And pretty darn sugary… and fatty af… and therefore delicious.

Low shot of biscuit base

Pretty much exactly the same as I remember… except I don’t enjoy sugar as much as I used to, so I have to go drink half a dozen cups of tea right now to cleanse myself… BRB…

Cleansing broccoli, mm

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Vegan MoFo + moving interstate

Haven’t had much of a chance – much energy left! – for blogging while we’re in the process of relocating, but I have tried to keep up with Vegan MoFo on Instagram.

A last meal out before we move –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

View from our new place that we’re renting before finding somewhere more permanent –

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Sunset in the other direction –

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Fuji Wuji Snowflake is quite happy with his new place… peeking around corners –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

… and lying in sunbeams.

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Taking the kids for a climb on the dice at a nearby park –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Picking up delicious bakery products from a new all-vegan bakery on the Gold Coast, Flour Of Life, midway between our old place and new place while moving – TVP meat pies, seitan chicken pies, boston bun (and a few other bits consumed before the photo! Potato-topped pies and sausage rolls and cinnamon doughnuts) –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

One of the first visitors to our new place… and probably among the tiniest we’ll have…

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Grabbing some snacks from the all-vegan café 2 doors up from our building(!) –

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Trying out the new kitchen –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Lunch today! Including some PINK FOOD.

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

A few more pics and pieces over at my Instagram.

Now we are connected to the NBN(!) I have fewer excuses not to blog… :)

… apart from endless unpacking, organising and reorganising, trying to keep the children entertained at the same time, and worrying about how the kitty is settling in. 💖

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All things far away… mashed together…

Vegan MoFo
Week 2: 7th-13th November 2016 International Week
November 8th: Far Away – If you dug straight down, where would you come out? Make something from that country!

Oh, this will be exciting! she thinks.

*gets on Google and finds free map tools: tunnel to the other side of the Earth*

*lands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean*

Bugger.

*checks for closest country*

Western Sahara. Well, at least I covered that when I taught my kids some geography last year, and we read a cool kids book called Africa Is Not A Country – great read, that one… So, Western Sahara borders Morocco… so chickpea tagine? Yum. But I broke my fancy tagine pot last time I moved, oof, sadness.

*twiddles thumbs sadly for hours*

*looks at MoFo blogs*

Kittens Gone Lentil has already done a tagine! Looks great! Hmm, I better do something else…

So, I’m in the ocean… Maybe I’m on a boat (no, don’t start singing that, shut up, brain). What am I going to eat? Seaweed? Yeah, why not? And the UK is in the Atlantic so I could go Anglophile and do some fish’n’chips – ie. seafu (tofu wrapped in seaweed) and baked fries… something I do fairly often as an easy meal that my kids enjoy… but hmm, I’m much more of a ruddy Scot so I’d best mess up that Sassenach food a bit, it’s too simple otherwise…

*grabs some cookbooks*

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*mashes them together*

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Voilà!

I made nori tempeh fish from Japan (well, an adaptation, clearly, so Indonesian-Japanese fusion..?) baked in Indian aloo bonda chickpea batter with sweet potato fries, North American style… to make a not-very-classic version of a British dish for this MoFo adventure in the north Atlantic Ocean… I also made some soy Greek yogurt-based tartare sauce… which is possibly of French origin. There’s chopped up capers, mustard, and other seasoning guff in it. Worked out pretty nicely!

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Have I destroyed the timeline sufficiently? … wait, what? No, not that.

I’ve tried to tear down some foodie walls between nations instead of building them. It tasted pretty good, the kids were happy with it. The tempeh fish-bondas would have been nicer deep-fried than baked, but I ain’t gonna do that on a hot day at lunchtime. The oven was bad enough!

I know a fusion day is coming up later in the week… but this is commonly how I roll in the kitchen: throw everything in the air, see where it lands… and apparently, today, it was far, far out to sea. ⛵

Or possibly in outer space. 🚀

Just having one of those days!

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Food indigenous to South-east Queensland, Australia… with some imported additions…

Firstly, over the weekend I was travelling and preparing to move, so you’ll have to forgive my lack of MoFo blogging, but over on my Instagram and Twitter you may have seen some brief updates for Late Night Snack day, a meal at Tea Master in-between, and Comfort food day. Now we’re on to –

Vegan Month of Food
Week 2: 7th-13th November 2016 International Week
November 7th: Close to Home – Make a food from your own country, state, or hometown.

I could’ve gone with something colonialesque like a cheerful sugary pavlova or chocolatey lamingtons… but nope, delicious as those are, I’ve got my Nope hat on today – the Nope is strong in this one. Soooo rather than rant and rave about the various horrors of colonialism and the many white lies Australian history books tell (further reading: Black Founders) instead I’ll share some photos of when my family harvested some indigenous food – bunya nuts!

The food had great significance to Aboriginal Australians who held an enormous bunya harvest, feast, and trade festival every few years that thousands of people would attend… terra nullius, indeed. :/ The last gathering was held around 1902 before a great deal of the bunya trees were felled to make way for timber plantations.

Bunya nuts, found predominantly in South-East Queensland, are found inside enormous football size (at least!) cones from enormous 30-45m (98-148ft) bunya trees, each spiky cone weighing up to 10kg and containing 30-100 nuts… As you can imagine, it’s best not to stand underneath these trees when their cones are approaching maturity! Lots of enormousness. Coconut palms don’t seem so dangerous any more, huh? Australia: where even the trees are trying to kill you.

Spiky murder balls aka bunya cones
Spiky murder balls that fall from the sky aka bunya cones

Traditionally the nuts were often ground into a flour or roasted and eaten like chestnuts – and they are fairly similar to the roasted Japanese chestnuts I’ve eaten: delicious, nutty, and a bit starchy.

Pulling apart the bunya cones
Pulling apart the bunya cones

A wheelbarrow full of nuts... but wait, there's still more to pull apart!
A wheelbarrow full of nuts… but wait, there’s still more to pull apart!

My husband’s family has a property west of the Gold Coast with a few trees on their land, so I was lucky enough to get to try lots of nuts a few years back.

We left them in their shells to dry out a bit... yes, there are multiple hullings to go through. These trees don't make it easy.
We left them in their soft woody shells to dry out a bit… you can’t just crack these babies open, they require some hacking with a knife… yes, there are multiple hullings to go through. These trees don’t make it easy.

In modern times, urban foragers typically roast them, or parboil and pan-cook them with salt and garlic or toss them in a curry… They reminded me of wee potatoes, so I thought I’d have a go at cooking them in a garlicky pasta sauce, a bit like gnocchi.

De-hulled and simmering away in a big pan of garlicky marinara sauce.
De-hulled and simmering away in a big pan of garlicky marinara sauce.

Served over pasta.
Served over buckwheat spirals.

The bunya nuts are quite smooth so they don’t hold sauce well, but all together it was still quite delicious. Starch served over starch: can’t go wrong!

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Eating out at Tian Ran on the Gold Coast

Vegan Mofo
Week 1: 1st-6th November 2016 Treat Yourself (and others)!
November 4th: Eating out – Where do you eat when you want someone else to cook for you?

Tian Ran means “Nature” in English. We cater Vegetarian and Vegan Asian Cuisine. Our cooking is free from meat, dairy, alcohol, garlic, onions and MSG. We also have a Gluten-free menu. All our vegetable “meats” are protein substitutes made from soy, wheat, yam, seaweed and mushroom. We strive to serve pure food full of goodness and flavour.

Tian Ran Vegetarian Restaurant was around before I went vegan, and even before I moved out of home to go to university in Queensland… so it’s been around for at least 65 million years. Herbivorous dinosaurs and peace-loving, well-travelled Neanderthals probably dined there. You can read about their long history at their Facebook page. Familar faces at the restaurant – Ruth, her family, and Eric – are well-loved on the Gold Coast. Everything on the menu is vegan and said menu is on the enormous side! This leads to a lot of confusion when one’s motto is EAT ALL THE VEGAN FOODS. My daughter first dined there when she was only 8 months old!

After a quick trip to the beach…

at the beach

… and a game of Bury My Sister…

sandy

… it was on to Tian Ran for dinner.

Starters. Pan-fried dumplings. Always exciting.

exciting-dumplings

Curry puffs and spring rolls.

curry puffs

fried spring rolls

On to the main dishes… Salt and pepper tofu! Always a fave.

salt and pepper tofu

Broccoli & cauliflower stir-fry. So crisp, saucy, and delicious.

broccoli and cauliflower

Beef in black bean sauce. Their beef is a mushroom-flavoured seitan and it is A+ delicious. The sauce is just right, not too salty.

Beef in black bean

Eggplant fish hotpot seems to be a fave with all my friends who enjoy Tian Ran… but not with my kids. MORE FOR ME! Mine is an evil laugh.

eggplant fish hotpot

Mee goreng. Because spicy noodles. So peppery the camera couldn’t focus on them properly… Yeah, that’s it.

mee goreng

Sometimes when we’ve ordered spicy dishes and curries at Tian Ran they’ve been quite mild but perhaps today was a good day to die… or at least get a little bit of delightful mouth burn on. Sadly my 5yo was not too thrilled about it.

But he was pretty thrilled with the rest of it.

nom dumpling

Tian Ran has a fun Instagram page featuring yummy games of What Dish Is This? and glorious Gold Coast sunsets.

I’m moving very soon and won’t be so close to Tian Ran anymore. I’m going to miss them.

💕

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Baked beans gone wild

Vegan MoFo
Week 1: 1st-6th November 2016 Treat Yourself (and others)!
3rd: Treat yourself… to a break – What’s your “easy cook” meal? That you make when you can’t be bothered to cook much?

*puts loaf of bread on plate*

*slams down tin of beans and peels back lid*

DONE. Gourmet af.

bread loaf and tin of beans

That’s homemade gorram sourdough. If I want to eat half a loaf, I bloody well will. It’s delicious.

At this point in the process of throwing together an easy meal I get to thinking, what if I warmed up the beans and toasted the bread? That shit would be lit.

pot of beans

With the bread in the toaster and the beans warming on the stove, I realise I have some leftover pressure-cooked white beans in the fridge and I add about 1.5 cups worth to the saucepan to extend the baked beans – the sauce to beans ratio is always too damn high – and I’ve just doubled the tin for a few cents. Suck on that, Heinz.

Then I get to thinking, but if I’m having beans, surely I should have some greens as well! Beans and greens all the way, baby. So I pull this out of the fridge…

salad and pickled cabbages

Pairing kim chi with baked beans on toast is a legitimate lifestyle choice. Don’t judge me, Anglophiles.

beans and stuff

See? Look at that. Beautiful. I even went a bit fancy and fried a couple of tofu sausages I bought at the stupormarket. And again –

beans again

Glorious.

food arial view

And a bit of sauerkraut for the kids because that kim chi is peppery.

Sure, you could say a proper easy meal would be just beans on toast and not accompanied by a handful of salad, a scoop of fermented cabbage, and a splatter of balsamic, and a sausage on the side… and maybe you could also say I shouldn’t mix cuisines with quite so much reckless abandon… but you’d be wrong. Sometimes in life you have to take risks. I, too, like to live dangerously. May the force be with you. Live long and prosper. I might have had a strong cup of coffee this morning, who knows.

One starts off preparing a quick-and-easy meal always with the best of intentions, and one always lets things get out of hand… if only a little bit.

Kim chi is life. Peace out.

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Vegan salads: not all leaves and twigs!

Vegan MoFo
Week 1: 1st-6th November 2016 Treat Yourself (and others)!
November 2nd: How to make friends – What’s your go to “impress me” meal?

Not to go for the obvious choice or anything… well, okay. Captain Obvious: AWAY!

Sorry… Not sorry, because you do win friends with salad, providing it’s not a bowl of sad, limp iceberg lettuce… and Lisa The Vegetarian is as brilliant a Simpsons episode as they come.

I typically use Ani Phyo‘s books for salad recipes because she is legit bawse af when it comes to creating salad recipes… as you’d hope from a raw vegan chef! Although her dessert recipes are also legit af due to her pregan background as a pastry chef… but I digress… because the following two salads are neither Ani Phyo’s recipes or entirely raw. I had a hankering for something a bit heartier – starchier! – today.

I’ve taken this potato and artichoke salad from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking For Everyone to many lunches and it’s always been a hit! Normally I add capers, but today I went with chickpeas and a side of crusty baguette drizzled with garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkled with nooch and salt… mmm, cheesy deliciousness… Oops, I mean Gary deliciousness.

potato artichoke salad on a bed of red oak lettuce

… plus, Vegan Cooking For Everyone was the first vegan cookbook I ever bought so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it. #cookbooknerd Years ago I served this salad along with Ykillamoocow No Bull pies to my 86 year old Grandpa for lunch and he loved it!

So that was lunch today, and for dinner I made a salad from Leigh Drew’s Greenilicious that I’ve been planning to take to a mixed vegan/non-vegan potluck at the next opportunity: Char-grilled Zucchini and Basil Salad, with the optional add-in of pan-fried tofu to make the dish heartier.

zucchini-salad

A lovely light dish for a warm Spring evening. So simple!

You might remember Leigh Drew from such social media accounts as @zuckerbaby.1 on Instagram and from such cookbooks as Veganissimo and Wrapped In Pastry… check out her Patreon page for her next cookbook! I had lunch with Leigh recently at Mandala Organic Arts Cafe on the Gold Coast and she is delightful! SUPPORT HER OR ELSE. Hi, sorry. I can’t help it – her recipes are fab.

Leigh was interviewed by Australian musician Christine Anu on ABC Sydney yesterday for World Vegan Day: listen! She’s on within the 1st 20 minutes. (Note: this episode of Evenings expires in 6 days.)

And since I started this post with The Simpsons, I’ll end with it – to complete the circle.

donald-trump-simpsons

… good luck with your presidential election, America. Sheesh.

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2016 in pizzas… Australia, Vietnam, and beyond!

The Vegan MoFo topic for November 1st is:
Your favourite food – What is your favourite food? Make it and share!

My favourite food is… ALL THE FOOD. Seriously, how does one choose? I haven’t a clue. Among my many beloved foods is pizza. I usually eat it at least once a week.

I’m going to post some Insta-spam shots of a few pizzas I’ve eaten this year… those that I remembered to photograph before eating, because usually face-stuffing is usually prioritised over food photography around here.

:)

Today’s pizza! Just some wheat tortillas with some delicious toppings and a tiny bit of shredded Biocheese and olive oil+nooch dressing. Nice, simple, reliable lunch… but it’s Spring in Australia and starting to get bloody hot already. Might have to stop using the oven at midday soon… but first, pizza.

The first all-vegan pizza outlet opened on the Gold Coast this year – Feed The Earthlings. The pizzas are beyond compare, the best takeaway pizzas… of all time! Generous veg and Tofurkey toppings, plenty of cheese. And they’re about to open a second outlet closer to my place!… right when I’m about to move to another city. Oh well! I’m so happy that business is booming though. They also do amazing burgers and great fish’n’chips.

What do vegans eat in Hanoi? A lot of delicious Vietnamese food from the many, many fab vegan restaurants around the city… and also pizza. Of course. After we’d been in Hanoi for my partner’s work for a few weeks, I was craving beans and bready products. Don’t get me wrong, I love, Love, LOVED all the many varities of seitan and vegetable stirfries, noodles and rice… but sometimes a gal just wants basic beans and a starchy pizza, y’know? So we sought out a western-style vegan eatery in a more heavily-touristed part of the city – we were renting an apartment in a building closer to the CBD with local Vietnamese families and a few US marines… Anyway, that delicious mushroom pesto pizza was worth the trip!

Pudla + pizza toppings = srsly delicious. If the pic didn’t look so much like vomit, I’m sure more people would try it… Maybe someone else out there can make it look less scary than me…?

Okay, this isn’t pizza. But I did my best to make this lasagna as pizza-ish as possible!

Lasagna & an interested fat orange striped cat courtesy of the 4yo.

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Rainbow pizza! With an unconventional gluten-free crust composed of food processored beans and grains – a nifty base style based on the pizzas in Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet.

Leftover pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… another with a Thrive Diet style base. It’s not pillowy and soft like a good wheat base but it’s very more-ish… and helpful if you’re trying to up your iron intake. Both the base and the cheese sauce are bean-based!

A couple of pizzas made it into my 2015 best nine as well… of course. Who doesn’t double tap pizza? <3

#2015bestnine🌟 / 2015deliciousness.

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Vegan Month of Food: November 2016

vegan month of food

It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year! 🎶

For those of you unfamiliar with Vegan MoFo: “VeganMoFo was originally created on the Post Punk Kitchen, as an homage to NaNoWriMo. Because we do want to write novels, but sometimes cooking gets in the way. So why not combine them! The idea is to write as much as you can all month, about vegan food.”

If you’re taking part in MoFo, dear friends, please let me know so I can make sure to stalk you this November. Godspeed, Comrades!

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