Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vegan plum and peach cobbler

I think this blog would be very empty if I didn't like cooking and baking as much as I do. There may be some of you out there who get bored of reading about my vegan cooking adventures, but I hope that for the other few, I offer some insight into what it is we vegans eat. I hope that I've dispelled any misconceptions that all we eat are fruit and vegetables. 

I found a recipe for low-fat plum cobbler  on the web which caught my eye because number one, I like the word "cobbler" (it sounds to me like something that Irish people sit around and eat on wooden tables in their adorable one bedroom cottages); two, because I've never used plum in a dessert other than fruit salad and thirdly because this recipe doesn't use any refined sugar (the bad stuff) or any oils or butters high in saturated fat. Yay! 

This dessert is seriously delicious. I used green and purple plums, as well as adding in a few peaches. The sweetness of the green plums and peaches contrast with the tartness of the purple plums and all the flavours came together to create a pure deliciousness explosion in my mouth. I had to make the tough decision whether or not to write up this blog first or finish off my plum and peach cobbler. I chose the cobbler. Hands down.

I urge you to try new things. And if you're really daring, try something vegan one day. If you're not great in the kitchen, come to mine and we'll eat cobbler. 





Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homework Centre

The St Vincent De Paul Society is amazing. I've been volunteering with the youth for a few years now and the experiences I've had going on some of the kids camps have changed me for the better. I recently signed up for a Vinnies program called Homework Centre where children come in and volunteers help them with their homework and then do some enrichment activities with the children. 

Today was my first time volunteering for Homework Centre and our activity was to make invisible ink out of lemon juice. The idea is that you use the lemon juice as ink and write a message on white paper. Put the paper up to a heat source and then the message will become visible. Genius stuff. Kids love it. The instructions from the website (here) said to use a lamp to heat up the paper. The lamp we had wasn't hot enough so we ended up using a sandwich press of all things. It did the job nicely though. If you have an iron handy that would work too. 

I love the notion of helping kids to reach their full potential. Don't give up on them. They need role models. 



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dad wisdom #2

I met up with a very good friend today that I had not seen for about a year. We met up at Elixir Coffee Specialists which is a nice little cafe. I've been there only once before for a chai latte so this time around I decided to get the fruit and nut loaf with a blueberry, orange and apple juice ( a combination I've never had before. Delicious!). It was really just a cosy little place to catch up. The service was fantastic and the coffee apparently is good quality too.

Even though my 'somthing new' for today wasn't all that extravagant, the quality of those two hours spent catching up with my friend was what made my day grand.

My friend told me that she recently shared some big news with her dad who reacted in a completely different way to how she expected. You see, Asian parents aren't always the most understanding or predictable of people. But it caught my friend off guard when her dad reacted in a good way. For her, it was probably the best result she could have ever possibly imagined.

This good news kept me on a high all day long, and it got me thinking about dads who pull through for their kids when they need it most. Now, some people are extremely lucky and have fathers who always pull through, but you get those others who wait a very long time before they see anything like that. Sometimes all it takes is time and maturing of both parties. However, you get others still, who never see their fathers show love for them and although I wish I could fix a broken family, all I can do is use this as a driving force to never take my own dad for granted.

Yep, I love my dad. You'll read that a million times before this blog is finished. He has so much wisdom and I'd like to share another of my favourite little analogies my dad told me to help me get through tough times. This is one about God, so for all those who don't believe, feel free to read it or skip over it:

My dad told me once that God is to us, like a parent is to a young infant. At a certain age, infants like to explore and are very curious. If a young baby saw a knife and started to play with it because it looked shiny and interesting, then the parent would automatically take the knife straight off the baby and put it away out of sight. The baby would probably cry and demand for it back, but because the parent knows the knife is dangerous for the baby, they would never let it fall into the hands of their child again.
In the same way, God knows far more than we could ever truly understand. We may think we know what's good for us, but when those things are taken away or when they do not go according to plan, God is allowing this because he knows better. Trust is the key thing here. Humans don't really have the capacity to understand God, but we have the capacity to trust in Him.

P.s. Have you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak? There's a really lovely father daughter relationship in there :)




Monday, February 25, 2013

Taro chili cake

I can't remember when my love for taro began but now whenever I go for bubble tea, if there's a vegan friendly version then taro flavour is what I'll always get. For those who have no idea what taro is, it's a starchy potato-like root vegetable. It's used in a lot of Asian recipes. Taro can be used for desserts, drinks and savoury recipes. Very versatile. Very yummy. 

Up until recently, I didn't know taro was available in shops until a family member told me to look in the Asian grocery. I bought myself a nice taro root and decided to try taro in a savoury dish. I found a simple recipe for taro chili cake from foodreference.com, but the most common taro cake is the one served at dim sum (two recipes found here, and here).

When you blend steamed taro, it forms this starchy and sticky paste which kind of looks like play doh. So beware, people who are picky about food textures. I may be biased, but I don't mind the texture because the flavour is so delicious.

If you want to try taro but you're not sure where to start, maybe try a taro flavoured bubble tea (if you even like bubble tea) or a taro latte. For those in Perth, I know Superstar Waffles makes a good taro latte :)

Ok, I gotta go now, the Oscars are on!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Emily needs stem cells

I need your help. 

I have a very important person in my life who has been fighting a 3 year battle with a type of cancer called Non-Hodgkin’s Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma (PMBCL). Since being first diagnosed in 2010, my friend Emily has twice gone into remission (no signs of the cancer present in the body), but sadly the cancer has returned. This time around, she will need a stem cell transplant from a healthy match donor. 

Emily is of Chinese decent and will need the donor to be of Asian decent (Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Taiwanese, Japanese or Singaporean). The donor's name will have to be from a bone marrow registry list.

This is where I need your help. Please (please please) spread the word about Emily's situation. If you know anyone or if you want to put your name on the bone marrow registry list there is a chance you could be a potential match for Emily, or perhaps someone else out there in the world in need of stem cells. 

Emily has known me since I was born. She has been my constant friend and role model. At the age of 36, Emily also has a loving husband and a gorgeous 5 year old son. 

I have no words. My heart just breaks. But I have hope and faith. We need your help. 

Please visit her website. Please tell everyone you know about it. http://emilyneedsstemcells.com/

Emily and her son Luke at the hospital.

Emily holding me when I was still a bub. I want to see that smile on her face again and everyday for the many many more years that she'll live.
 

White nectarine vegan ice cream

Since going vegan some of my new favourite recipes have been a result of trying odd flavour combinations. A few examples include ginger-roasted carrots with miso dressing and black glutinous rice, eggplant and tahini sauce, and the strangest of them all, peanut butter and tomato on toast. You all just pulled a face didn't you? Yeah that's what I did when I saw a nurse that I once worked with eating it for lunch. But trying new things can sometimes lead to new loves. 

Today I found some beautifully ripe white nectarines in my fridge and googled some vegan recipes on the net. I came across a recipe for vanilla, maple and nectarine vegan ice-cream which caught my eye because I've never had nectarine ice cream before. I'm glad I tried it because it was very refreshing and tasted even better served with mangoes from my back garden. 

A perfect summertime dessert. 



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vietnamese lessons

It's because of my parents that I'm Vietnamese. My parents were both born in Vietnam, came to Australia, married and had me. I haven't always embraced my Vietnamese ethnicity, but as I've grown older, I've come to love the skin that I'm in. Mainly because the food is so great; but also because it's easier to be happy when you accept the things you can't change about yourself. 

My parents enrolled me into Vietnamese school when I was young. It was every Saturday afternoon from 2 til 6pm. At that age though, it was like my whole day was gone. I was never very good at learning the language, and after I dropped out at the age of 10, my ability to speak Vietnamese fluently went down the drain. You see, at home I speak English with everyone and only my mum speaks Vietnamese to me. I can understand it just fine, but I'm quite hopeless and forming decent sentences.

11 years later, I've suddenly got this almost urgent desire to want to learn how to not only speak Vietnamese fluently, when read and write as well. The drive behind this is mainly that I want to have long conversations with my mum about anything and everything and I can't do that right now because there's a language barrier between us. She won't be around forever and I want to know everything about her before time runs out.

Today was my first Vietnamese lesson since 11 years ago. 

My amazing friend has offered to teach me how to speak, read and write (she even went out of her way to put together a worksheet for me!). She may think that she's just doing me a nice favour, but she's actually changing my life so much. It's through this I hope to build a better relationship with my mum and family and to be a better doctor in this multicultural society. 

 Even though we just went through the basics of the alphabet, tones and accents today, I felt like I have learnt more than all the lessons put together from when I was young.

I think the trick is to have the right state of mind. I want this. Yes, it is totally strange that a Vietnamese girl is learning how to speak her own language, but in my case, it's better late than never.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Vegan @ Santi's

Today I learnt that I can't just rely on planning to do one new thing each day. The original plan was to go to a Cinema by the Sea event held by the City of Stirling. They were showing the movie Toy Story at the Scarborough Beach amphitheatre. However, today's weather turned out to be shocking. Cold. Rainy. Windy. Not a good combination when you have two young girls under the age of 5. 

Luckily though, I had already done something else new that day, so it didn't matter that my original plans didn't work out. There was a time when I used to get upset when things didn't go to plan, but I remember one conversation with my dad changed that, when he told me that sometimes in life we need to be flexible or else our disappointments will get the better of us. I'm grateful for the lesson that I learnt from my dad and I've avoided a lot of unnecessary stress as a result of applying it to my everyday life.

So earlier today I had been to lunch with a friend at the cafe Santi's which I mentioned in a previous post. The last time I was there, I saw a dish on the menu called "The Vegan". Enough said. I knew I'd be back to try it and I made that day today. It was a large field mushroom stuffed with quinoa (keen-wah), pumpkin, capsicum, rocket, onion, herbs and sunflower seeds, laid on pureed pumpkin. I've never had anything like this and the combination of flavours was just right. To top this meal, I had a soy chai latte :) My absolute favourite.


 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vegan banh mi

When I went vegan, I knew that even though I felt so much happier and healthier, there were some of my favourite dishes that I would have to give up. In particular, Vietnamese food. Two years ago, the idea of 'veganising' traditional Vietnamese cuisine didn't even exist. In the present day however, things are so different and with the help of my mum and the Internet, I have found vegan versions of the following Vietnamese dishes (all of which I absolutely love):

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake)
Pho
Banh bao
Banh chung (Lunar cake)
Goi cuon (Vietnamese rice paper rolls)

and today I have included vegan banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) to that hopefully ever growing list.


I used the recipe from The Chubby Vegetarian and just excluded the egg to make it vegan friendly. This recipe was by far the best one I found and it definitely delivered. It was so good that I had it for lunch and dinner! (even though it's vegan, I'm pretty sure that it's not all that healthy, so maybe don't do what I did). Instead of the egg, I used a thin slice of tofu and tempeh which I cooked in the same pan as the mushrooms so that the flavour infused into the tofu and tempeh. Both flavours worked well together.

So if you've never had a Vietnamese pork roll/baguette, then I strongly recommend you get yourself to the nearest Asian grocery store and get your hands on one of these bad boys; or if you're a fellow Viet vegan like myself, then open that link and start cooking.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Flourless carrot and banana muffins

I've just finished a pretty insane workout with two of my very close friends, and although I need a shower so (so so so so) badly, writing up my post before the day ends takes greater precedence :)

Not only did I try something new today, but so did my two lovely workout buddies. Today we baked a recipe for flourless carrot and banana muffins which our favourite fitness blogger Cassey Ho posted up on her instagram (check out the recipe here).

We also made a vegan friendly version of the icing which tasted so delicious! All three of us totally recommend it:
1 Tablespoon Tofutti brand of Better than Cream Cheese (vegan cream cheese)
3 Tablespoons Soy Life vanilla yogurt (I recommend this brand because it's so yum! With some brands of soy yogurt, you can really taste the tofu, but this one is creamy and has a nice vanilla flavour)
1 teaspoon agave (uh-gah-vey) nectar. Maple syrup could work too.





I've never been super keen on working out, but I think the Blogilates videos by Cassey Ho have changed me. She works you so hard, but I can feel myself toning up and just feeling great! If you've got 15 minutes to spare, give her videos a go!

Ok guys, it's seriously time for me to shower now :)

This one will kill your arms, but it's worth it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hand painted mug

Friends are amazing creatures. The type of friends I'm referring to are the ones that really know me. Not the ones that are there for the good times alone, but for the really challenging times too. The ones who see the worst and the best of me but choose to stick around anyways. 

My friend Cindy is exactly that type of friend. We were in pretty much every class together throughout our undergrad degree and she really helped me get through all the tough times. She was also my partner in crime for many many good memories too, and although we are doing different degrees now and don't see each other as often as we like, we're the kind of friends who can pick up right where we left off. That's a good friendship for you.

I like showing and telling people how important they are to me every chance I get. However, sometimes you have to make those chances happen. I'll be catching up with Cindz in the next couple of days. It'll be the first time I've seen her since last year and so I've decided to make this an opportunity to not just catch up, but do something nice for her too.

I came across this Mug Makeover craft kit in Bunnings. For all those people not from Australia, Bunnings is a giant home, garden and hardware store. When you walk in, the ratio of males to females is about 10:1. This place is any handy man's heaven. 

I've painted some of my favourite memories we've shared together onto one of the mugs from the craft kit. If you want to make your day a great day, try this at home! I couldn't stop smiling as I was writing all of the memories. There were times when I would laugh to myself so hard that my hands shook and I had to take a break to steady my hand before I could continue painting. 

Great friends are hard to come by, so please make sure they know how much they mean to you!

Yes, I'm aware that this is meant for kids...but that doesn't matter, it's good for all ages I reckon :)


Monday, February 18, 2013

UniMentor #2

My last post about the UniMentor program at UWA was just me attending the training session. Today I was actually assigned my 'mentees'. So another mentor and I were assigned 15 freshers who we would take on a tour of the uni for their orientation week. There was a nice mix of international and mature age students and those who came straight out of high school. All the students were so nice and it was great getting to know them all in the short 2 hours that we took them around campus. 

I told a few of the students about this blog of mine, to which one of them replied that it would be challenging to try and do something new each day. Well, too right he was. It's only February, and there are some days where I struggle to think of something new to do. But I like the challenge. And at the end of the year I will have so much to look back on and I'll know that not a single day was wasted because I'll have proof that something was done each day. 

Doing this UniMentor program really made me reminisce about what it was like for me to be a first year. There was so much information which we needed to tell all of the students, and it just makes me wonder how on earth I got through my first week of uni.

I wonder how my past self would react if I told her about the next four years she'd have to go through in order to get to where I am now. Maybe it doesn't matter how she'd react. All that matters is that I have no regrets :)




 
I love this song from the musical Hairspray. The lyrics "I know we've come so far, but we've got so far to go" seem kind of bittersweet. However, I truly do like a challenge. I know that even though the path I took to get to where I am today was a difficult one, and what lies ahead won't be easy either, it'll still be a different path. And different is good. Different will lead to more challenges and experiences and these will help me to grow.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Swisse Color Run

Have you heard of The Color Run? If you haven't then you can check it out here!

I have never done anything like this before, but what's better than doing something for charity, getting out and exercising in the sunshine and hanging out with friends...the answer to that is, all of the above but doing it covered in rainbow colours. 

The charity that was chosen for the Perth 2013 color run was the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Donate if you can. Research into the field is much needed.

Today was just so much fun. There's not much else to say really. Just make sure you register for this next year. It's so worth it!





Saturday, February 16, 2013

Aioli

I love anything with garlic in it. Before my vegan days, aioli  (ay-oh-lee) was definitely a favourite. I had a bit of a craving for aioli and fries today so I pulled out my Veganomicon cook book and tried out TWO aioli recipes. One was just not enough. I coupled this with some homemade super crispy (almost burnt - that's the way I like it) sweet potato fries. 

I made garlic and basil aioli using the soya mayo-dressing from the book, and the other aioli recipe used white beans. Both were super delicious with the fries. The white bean aioli was a bit thicker while the mayo-dressing had a thinner consistency because it was made from silken tofu. 

The great thing about aioli is that it's so versatile. You can have it on some bruchetta, in a burger or just as a dip for veggies. 

Aioli cravings status: satisfied. 




Friday, February 15, 2013

Zucchini fritters and hummus

Ok, so here's a mission for you if you choose to accept: find me one vegan who does not like hummus. Go. Try it. I bet you won't find a single one. 

I love hummus like you would not believe. There are so many different variations - garlic, sweet potato, white bean...and the list goes on and on and I never want that list to end because I'm crazy about the stuff. For all of those who don't know what hummus is, it's a Middle Eastern dip/spread made with chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil and lemon in its most simplest form (more info here).

Today I was rushed for time to make some dinner for myself so I decided to pull out my Veganomicon cook book and whip up something from there. I found a recipe for zucchini fritters, and seeing as I have never made these before I made this my 'something new' for the day. I'm a bit of a fry-o-phobe, but because I was short on time, I cooked these in oil in a shallow pan. They were yummy and crispy and best of all, they tasted even more delicious topped with my homemade hummus. I used the hummus recipe from the Veganomicon book too. 

Yes, yes, the food was great, but what made my meal even better was that my brother loved them too! My brother is 10 years younger than me and his taste is that of any 11 year old. He likes junk food. The fattier, saltier and sweeter it is the better. It surprises me every time he actually likes any of my vegan food, and today was no different. I've got him hooked onto hummus now too. Even though my jar of hummus will run out quicker, I don't really mind because I just love the fact that my brother is trying new things too...and liking it :)

P.s. I don't post up the recipes from the book because I don't want to get done in for copyright issues, but if anyone would like to try one of the recipes seen on my blog, don't hesitate to leave a comment and I will get back to you :)


My jar of hummus. It will be gone by tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Popcorn

Whenever I go to the movies, the aroma of popcorn is like heaven on earth, but I never get to satisfy my craving for popcorn because it's made with butter. Luckily, I haven't had to cut out popcorn completely because some caramel popcorn and kettle corn (lightly coated with icing sugar) is made to be vegan friendly. 

As yummy as popcorn is covered in sugar, it actually makes for a pretty healthy snack when air popped without the fatty sugary goodness. But my tastebuds would not be happy with just plain popcorn. I googled some popcorn recipes and found a bunch which range from cinnamon to chilli popcorn. I've never had anything other than buttered, kettle or caramel popcorn and so I thought I might change things up a little. I went and bought myself a popcorn maker the other day and finally put it into good use. I opted for savoury popcorn today and seasoned it with a bit of soya bean oil spray, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper for a bit of bite. 

I've never had this flavoured popcorn before, but I love spices anyways so I really enjoyed munching on this snack :) I think next time I'll sprinkle a bit of cacao power and cinnamon powder over my popcorn for a guilt-free snack to satisfy my sweet tooth. 





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent

Today was Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent. For anyone who is interested, Lent is a period of 40 days of fasting and abstinence before Easter (more info here, here and here). 

When I was a kid, Lent was a time where we gave up chocolate, but when I was in year 12 my religion teacher posed the question, "when you give up chocolate, who does that benefit?". He went on to say that it only benefits the person not eating the chocolate. Chocolate companies will lose out, and to be honest abstaining from chocolate probably won't bring you any closer to God. The words my teacher said really changed me from that day on, and from that point on Lent became a time for me to give up the things that drew me away from God. 

This year, I'm making the effort to give up anger and greed. I've given up anger every year for the past couple years now, but I've yet to abstain from being greedy. Now when I say "greed", what I'll be abstaining from is purchasing material things for myself. This will be challenging because I buy a lot of clothes and I know I have a wedding in a month which I would have used as an excuse to buy a new dress, but the Bible teaches not to store up material possessions because the real treasure awaits us in Heaven. Now, if you don't share my beliefs, please don't think I'm forcing anything on you. I'm just sharing the new thing that I've done today. So for the next forty days, you won't see me angry or with any new outfits, and that suits me just fine, because I'd doing this for a greater purpose: to better my relationship with God. 


This is what I've hung up on my wall. The small print are Bible verses which motivate me to give up greed and anger this Lenten season (Matthew 6:19,20; Matthew 6:24 and James 1:19,20) 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cleaning my parent's bathroom

My family and I have lived in our current house for something like 8 years and in that time I can't remember ever offering to clean my parent's bathroom. Yeah sure maybe they've asked me to clean it once or twice, but I can't even remember that ever happening either. So today I decided to do something nice for them and clean their bathroom. 

It. Was. So. Dirty. 

Don't get me wrong, my parents are very clean people, but oh man, that bathroom needed a cleaning...desperately. I used up a whole bottle of Easy Off Bam and as much bleach as my nose could handle (luckily it was lemon scented). Easy Off Bam is pretty powerful stuff. A bit of a spray here, wait for a minute in which is enough time to scroll through your instagram feed, wipe off and "BAM, the dirt is gone".

Even though it took a good couple of hours to clean, it doesn't seem like such a big deal considering everything my parents have done for me. I know that some people actually aren't lucky enough to have great parents, but if your parents are even half great (and be honest with yourself, most of them -  no matter how irritating or annoying they are - are actually pretty awesome) then please make time to do something nice for them. 

 

LOL at "Bamercise"


Monday, February 11, 2013

UniMentor

For the past four years I haven't done much volunteer work for uni so I decided to change that when emails went around recruiting volunteers for a program called UniMentor. When you become a mentor, you are assigned freshers who you take around campus during orientation week answering questions and directing them to all the services that the university offers. The great thing about this program (or at least I think so anyways) is that you give out your email to the freshers so that they can ask you questions via email whenever they need some help figuring out uni life.

I was surprised to see so many people attend the training today, which is quite an encouraging thought. I even made some friends who I gave advice to about sitting the GAMSAT. The GAMSAT is the big scary 6 hour test which needs to be sat in order to apply for med. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that it's a horrible. Completely horrible. But don't get me wrong, nothing good comes easy so anyone who's thinking of sitting it, don't give up if you find it difficult. Keep going, you'll get there :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blogilates

I'm not the sportiest person out there and whenever I do exercise I usually just go for a run, but today two of my closest friends and I decided to workout together. I've never worked out to a fitness video before so this was a first for me. My friend introduced us to Blogilates which is actually quite well known on YouTube. We did the Food baby workout which is designed to tone up and flatten the belly. It was an amazing workout and of course the workout wasn't complete without dance music on maximum in the background. We didn't quit there though. We followed up the Blogilates with a run along the beach. I can't remember the last time I've had such a great workout. We felt amazing afterwards. Go check out Cassey Ho on her Blogilates YouTube page. My abs and thighs hated her for all the pain throughout the workout, but I feel good now and I know I'm going to sleep well tonight. 



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Oat, raisin and chocolate chip cookies

The original plan was to make vegan waffles this morning, but my new waffle iron decided to be temperamental and wouldn't turn on :( So I pulled out my Veganomnicon cookbook and found an oat and raisin cookie recipe. I chose this one so that I could use the raisins I had made the other day. The raisins were a bit sour because I used grapes that weren't ripe yet, but luckily the cookie recipe was sweet enough to counter balance this. Plus I added some chopped up dark chocolate to sweeten it even more.
Take note: use ripe grapes to make raisins/sultanas. 

Tea always tastes better with cookies :)

Marc and Angel repost #1

Since my blog is about challenging myself to find new experiences everday, I thought I might share this paragraph that I came across while reading the lastest post titled 9 Unconventional Habits of Extraordinary Success from the website Marc and Angel Hack Life:

5.  Seek lots of new life experiences.


The people with the greatest wisdom are the ones who have been through the most.  So start strong, stay strong, and finish strong by always remembering why you’re doing it in the first place.  It’s all about learning and growing along the way.

The most valuable lessons in life cannot be taught, they must be experienced.  When you reflect on your life, you will likely see some pain, mistakes, and heartache.  But when you look in the mirror, you will see the strength, growth, and wisdom that made it all worthwhile.

I love this website so much. It has helped me get through some pretty rough stuff, it has given me a lot to think about and I strongly believe that what they have said in a lot of their posts has given me the wisdom to prepare myself for whatever the future may bring. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

UWA centenary

My day was filled with a lot of 'firsts' and new experiences today. A couple of days ago I put out some green seedless grapes to dry in the sun and today they finally resembled raisins :) I'll make sure I use them in a vegan recipe for oat & raisin cookies. Watch this space.


I also tried a new dish at one of my favourite cheap restaurants called Takas in northbridge. It's a japanese restaurant and is great for uni students on a budget. I usually always get the teriyaki tofu which is so tasty, but today I decided to go for the agadashi tofu which is fried tofu in a ginger soya sauce. It was simple, but delicious. There was the right amount of ginger which suited my taste. 



I ended my evening at The University of Western Australia, where I've been studying for the past four years, and where I'll spend my four years of med. There were centenary celebrations going on, and it was beautiful. Some of the large buildings were lit up with light shows, as well as some of the trees around campus and the night ended with a fire and fireworks show. The weather was perfect for it. I've never really done much to celebrate UWA, but tonight I felt really proud of the university and to be a part of it. 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Surprises



When was the last time you did something nice for someone? Today I surprised my friend who took me to Sydney, with a flower arrangement. She once told me that a lot of the women in her workplace had flowers delivered to them and that it would be nice if that happened to her one day. So I planned for flowers to be delivered to her. Unfortunately when I arrived at her work place I found out that my friend had gone home sick, so I ended up bringing the flowers to her place. Not only did it make her happy, but it felt so nice to do something nice without any conditions. Pay attention to the little things that people say because sometimes you can use that to make their day :)


Another new thing that I tried today was check out a little cafe called Santi's. The decor is lovely, I paid a great price for a giant teapot of English breakfast, and best of all, they have a vegan lunch option! I will return to try it for sure. And, the place is also close to uni :)


The last thing I want to say about my day is that my dad and I were having a little D&M & he said to me "God helps you, together with your efforts". This really stuck in my head. What he was saying was that God guides us and points us in the right direction, but we need to be willing to go and do some proportion of the work. We won't get anywhere by just sitting around and waiting for the universe to work its magic.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Vegan lasagna

I love trying new vegan recipes, and I love hanging out with friends. Today I killed two birds with one stone. My friend loves lasagna, but he doesn't cook. So we decided that I would teach him. He's not vegan but agreed to cook a vegan lasagna recipe with me. I got the recipe from the show Good Chef Bad Chef website which you can find here

It was really fun making this because it's something I've never done before. I've neither cooked a lasagna from scratch or cooked a vegan dish with a friend. We made the mistake of cooking this around lunch time before actually eating anything. It took a whopping 4 hours to make this lasagna (this includes the time taken to go to the nearby Woolworths and buy the ingredients). By the time it was cooked and ready to eat, we were dying of starvation. My friend has never eaten homemade vegan food before and we joked that even if it tasted terrible, we were too hungry to even care. Luckily though, it tasted pretty good. I love when vegan food gets approval from non-vegans :) 

I really appreciate my friend taking the time out to do something I'm passionate about. However, the poor guy wasn't used to eating so healthy and had a stomach ache later on in the day. I really should have just ended my post by saying all was well and that it was another win for the vegan community, but alas, I think my friend will stick to his KFC and Maccas. 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Kingsley Tavern

Today I ate at the Kingsley Tavern for the first time today for a work dinner. I don't usually go to places with 'tavern' or 'bar' in the name, but I've learnt not to judge a place so quickly. The food here was delicious. And that was just my vegan meal. I'm sure omnivores everywhere will enjoy their meals here too. The serving sizes were very decent and the presentation was great too. The place itself was really lovely. It was clean and it looked very classy. Come here if you'd like a great dining experience :)

The paper cut out people above my plate is of the little boy I work with and me. He's like a ray of sunshine :) The dish i ordered was the Roast pumpkin salad veg with Spanish onion, baby spinach, feta, semi dried tomato, pine nuts, crispy noodles and curry vinaigrette...minus the feta of course ;)

Cornbread

When I was in Los Angeles, my cousin took me to Native Foods Vegan Restaurant. It was there that I ate cornbread for the first time. Unfortunately for me, cornbread is normally made with eggs and so is not vegan friendly. I did however happen to come across vegan cornbread at a salad buffet in Dallas. 

I bought the Native Foods Vegan Cookbook while I was in LA and today I baked the cornbread recipe from there. Cornbread is usually eaten with southern soul foods like friend chicken, beans, collard veggies and just anything that's comfort food really. 

Those who know me know that bread is my favourite food. Cornbread is definitely included. 


Monday, February 4, 2013

I love you Sydney

Dear Reader,

I just had the most amazing trip to Sydney! My good friend and I were gone for the weekend to see Swedish House Mafia (SHM), but in those two days, we had so many new experiences. It's exactly this kind of stuff that I started this blog for in the first place. 

On the Saturday we went for a jet boat ride in the harbour. It's definitely something for the thrill seekers out there. Be prepared to get wet though because the ride is full on fast turns. They blast the music as the jet boat goes and sights are pretty amazing too. 

Saturday night was the SHM concert. No words can describe how much I loved it. Now, I don't usually listen to dance music, and to be honest I only knew a few of SHM's songs, but when I was there, the music and the atmosphere took over and I found myself dancing like a true fan. I won't forget the experience.

On the Sunday my friend and I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge! If you told me a few weeks ago that I'd be doing something like this, I would have told you otherwise. The view was gorgeous and the exercise was great. This is something that is on my list of things to do, and it feels so good to cross it off. 

Sydney, I love you man.