It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for the ‘Vegan/Vegetarian’ Category

Bumplings, Fremantle

I have been wanting to try Bumplings for a while. This is the outlet run by Brendan Pang, an Australian Masterchef contestant known for his skills at making dumplings and noodles.

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The outlet is situated in Sunshine Harvester Works, just opposite the Fremantle  cruise passenger terminal on the corner of James Street and Beach Street. Open for just three days a week, we arrived early on a Saturday to make sure that we got fed before the supplies ran out. They open at 5pm, so we arrived at 5:20pm, using the large car park just along Beach Street, and already a long queue had formed.

We joined the end of the queue, and there was quite a lot of queue-jumping happening – people saving a place in the queue for 6 of their friends to arrive later and join them! So even though we joined the queue fairly early on, the number of people in front of us seemed to increase fairly often, and we didn’t get to the front of the van to be served until we had queued for an hour.

Getting seated was another mission. Bumplings is not the only outlet in this venue, and it seemed that several families had arrived early and grabbed all of the large tables. There is quite a lot of seating, but every seat was occupied and it was some time before a table became vacant.

The Bumplings menu is fairly brief, but what you would expect for a food truck.  Small dishes are Smacked cucumber salad, pang pang chicken, and mauritian pork and prawn spring roll. Dumplings on offer are Sichuan chicken wontons, veg dumplings in mushroom broth, and crispy pork wontons. Noodle dishes consist of cold shiitake mushroom noodle salad, spicy pork dan dan noodles, and bbq pork spring onion noodles. They also had a ‘special’ of crispy pork crackling.

Although we would have preferred just veggie dishes, we chose to go omnivore for the night and try a variety of the dishes – after all, we’d come all this way to eat food cooked by the Masterchef dumpling master.

Once we had ordered and paid, we were told that it would be another 40 minutes before we received our food, which was a little disappointing, and we were glad that we had put 3 hours on our parking ticket.

Fifty minutes later, the first dish to arrive was spicy pork dan dan noodles. The flavour was great, nice and spicy, slightly al dente noodles, but it was just lukewarm and would have been better if it were hotter.

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Next came the Mauritian pork and prawn spring roll which was really nice and hot, but very heavy on the pork, I couldn’t detect any prawn. The dipping sauce was really cold as if it had been refrigerated, whereas room temperature dip would have been fine. The filling was generous and this was probably the best value dish. The accompanying veg pickles were great.

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Lastly we tried the veg dumplings in the mushroom broth. Excellent broth with a really nice depth of flavour, but the dumplings were a little disappointing. The pastry was quite thick and the filling didn’t deliver on flavour, also the whole dish was lukewarm.

bump 5Thinking about it, the warmth of the dishes is probably dependent on how long the waiter walks around looking for your table, and I did notice that some waiters walked around several large circuits before finding where to deliver the food.

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So would I go back? Probably not. The whole venue could do with some better seating and queue organisation. It was great to experience Brendan’s food, but the 45 minute drive to get there, the hour in the queue and then the 50 minute wait for the food just made it all seem too hard. The food was good – the highlights were the mushroom broth and the chunky spring roll – but it wasn’t blow-me-away amazing, well, not enough to make me want to do it all again. I am pleased that Brendan’s business is booming – he was a great contestant and clearly loves making dumplings.

Last visit date – July 2020

Click here to find out more

 

Curry Munchers, Leederville

Curry Munchers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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In the heart of Leederville, almost on the corner of Newcastle and Oxford Street, is Curry Munchers, a modern Indian restaurant.

The staff are friendly, and we were seated quickly at a comfortable table. As well as some usual Indian favourites, the menu contains a good selection of vegan and vegetarian options. The drinks menu is also quite extensive with cocktails and wines galore.

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We went with vegan options – bhindi dopiaza – a lovely combination of okra and onion in a tasty curry sauce:

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Tarka dhal:

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Kulcha naan:

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Peas pilau:

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Everything was thoroughly delicious and a perfect amount for two hungry people. Curry Munchers often have special offers, so look out for their happy hour deals. Definitely a go to option for your curry fix in the Leederville area.

Last Visit Date – July 2020

Click here to find out more

 

 

2 Fat Indians, Joondalup

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This Joondalup restaurant is one of the latest venues in the 2 Fat Indians chain. Bold and brash, it occupies a large area near the station concourse.

We originally had several takeaways from here when our local favourite Imli closed during the Covid pandemic, and found the food to be good quality with plenty of vegan/veggie options.

This was our first sit-down experience and the restaurant was busy with customers keen to return after the lockdown. Takeaway business was booming with several UberEats bags stacked up ready for collection, and we perused the menu looking for some vegan and vegetarian favourites.

We chose a pappadom basket to start with tamarind pickle and mint sauce. This was a little dissapointing, some of the pappadoms were underdone, and a bit tough – not the lovely crispy bubbly rounds that I am used to. The pickles were good.

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For mains we chose a Diwani Handi – mixed vegetables in a medium curry sauce with fenugreek. A wonderful mix of carrot, corn, sweet potato and peas – thoroughly delicious.

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We also chose tadka dhal which is a good staple of red lentils with turmeric and spices to give it the lovely yellow hue.

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The naan was a garlic naan – a delicious mix of soft and crispy.

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Jeera rice was served in a little pot.

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All in all the meal was good quality, the service was very quick which meant that we didn’t linger in the restaurant. You definitely get larger portions when you order a takeaway, but the meal was certainly enough for two and we really did enjoy our visit.

Dusit Dheva by the Sea, Hillarys

Dusit Dheva By The Sea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I used to go to Dusit Dheva in James Street fairly regularly and was interested to visit the new kid in town at Hillarys to see if the quality and authenticity was the same. The restaurant is near the Breakwater Tavern on Sorrento Quays boardwalk, there is plenty of parking around.

We have now been back a second time and found the quality of ingredients, choice and service to be excellent. We found plenty on the menu to suit our pescatarian/vegetarian diets, and the flavours are so good, it’s hard not to be delighted.

The first time we visited we tried one of the signature dishes of soft shell crab and watermelon. What an absolute star of a dish, crunchy crab, refreshing watermelon and a lovely umami background flavour.

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We followed this with a vegetable green curry, which had a great depth of flavour and a really authentic flavour enhanced by thai basil.

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The third plate was prawn pad thai – again authentic, tasty, plump and plentiful prawns – we loved it.

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Here are some similar but different pictures from our second visit:

Prawn and pineapple curry – amazingly good – this inspired me to make my own at home:

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Vegetable pad thai:

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We really love this place for Thai food – it is in a great location, the guys serving are friendly and helpful, and you will leave here very satisfied. Premises are licensed, however you can BYO wine for a corkage fee.

Last Visit Date – May 2020

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Chinese Orchid, Joondalup

Chinese Orchid Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinese Orchid is on the top floor of Joondalup Lakeside shopping centre, and they serve all of your Asian favourite comfort foods – noodles, soups, rice as well as having a serve yourself buffet that includes incredibly good barbecue meat options and sticky wings.

My go to vegan option dish is the veggie Singapore noodles, the one in the picture is cabbage based, but you can also have the dish with a mixture of other vegetables like broccoli and capsicum:
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Singapore noodles with mixed veg:

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The nasi goreng is incredibly good:
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My partner likes the mee goreng.
Veggie mee goreng:
co mee goreng veg

Chicken mee goreng:
co mee goreng chicken

Seafood kway teow:
co kway teow seafood

Seafood Singapore noodles:
co sing seafood

Wanton noodle soup with bbq pork:
co wanton soup pork

Chinese Orchid has something for everybody, and the service is always friendly. Totally recommended.

Last Visit Date – June 2020

Click here to find out more

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Thai Creme Caramel

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This little dessert is a real winner. It is dairy free (unless you use milk chocolate) and gluten free too, and it tastes amazing.
The quantities given here will make enough to fill about 6 ramekins – it depends on the size of your ramekins. If you have too much you can always make an extra ‘tester’ portion.

Ingredients
500ml coconut cream
approx 6 tablespoons of golden syrup (or maple syrup, or sugar syrup made with brown
sugar and water)
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 to 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
4 eggs
a pinch of salt
200g Dark good quality chocolate e.g. Lindt 70%
Fruits – I used strawberries and lychees
Cocktail sticks

Method
Heat the oven to 180 deg C.
Prepare a roasting tin which is large enough to contain all of your ramekins. The roasting tin will be a bain marie, so boil the kettle.
Grease the ramekins very lightly with a little oil or dairy free spread – just a very thin smear on a piece of paper towel.
Put approx a tablespoon of syrup at the bottom of each ramekin so that it spreads out and thinly covers the bottom of the ramekin.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl until they are light and fluffy – approx 2 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, salt and coconut cream and whisk again.
Pour the mixture gently into the ramekins (I used a ladle for mine), leave a gap at the top of the ramekin, don’t overfill them.
Place the filled ramekins in the roasting tin and pour some boiled water into the roasting tray so that it comes at least halfway up the side of them, bit don’t fill it up too much because you don’t want water to splash into the mixture.
Bake them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes until they are lightly set.
Cool them at room temperature, then put them in the fridge.
While they are cooling, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan with some water in it or use a double boiler.
Wash the strawberries and dry them on kitchen towel. Remove the leaves. If using tinned lychees, drain them well and pat them dry with kitchen towel.
Coat some of the strawberries and lychees in chocolate by dropping them into the chocolate, turning them with a spoon and using a cocktail stick to lift them out onto baking parchment. Place them in the fridge to harden.
To turn the creme caramels out, run a knife around the edge of the ramekin, place a plate over the top and invert them. Tap lightly until they fall out onto the plate – they will spread a little.
Serve with some natural fruits and some chocolate fruits. Dust with a little icing sugar or cocoa powder.
For variations you can flavour the custard with something other than vanilla e.g. almond, hazelnut, pandan paste.

Toffee Fruits

One of my fond memories of UK Chinese restaurants is the toffee fruit dessert served with ice cream. You can get it in Australia, but it’s not quite as common or popular as in the UK.
Most restaurants serve toffee apple or toffee banana, but I have seen lychee before and theoretically you can do it with any firm fruit that can withstand deep frying. Pineapple and pear would probably also be good options.
The recipe is not the easiest thing to do at first, but once you work it out, the results are so worth it. My first attempt does look a bit clumsy and messy, but the guests loved them. Now I know what to do, next time the presentation will be better.

You can prepare and deep fry the fruits in advance to save time. The batter is enough to coat two apples, a banana and a can of lychees, it is fairly thick and made up of:

100g plain flour
1 large egg – beaten
1 tablespoon of peanut (groundnut) or corn oil
120 ml water
I used a large high sided frypan to fry my fruits but you can also use a wok, saucepan or deep fat fryer.

To prepare the fruits:
Apples – peel and core the apple then cut into 8 wedges
Lychees – peel and stone fresh lychees, for canned lychees, drain them well (make sure there is no liquid in the centre) and pat them dry with kitchen paper.
Bananas – cut them into chunks – I used zig zag cuts along the length of the banana.
Coat the fruits in batter and deep fry them in an unflavoured oil e.g. corn oil or peanut (groundnut) oil. Make sure that the fruit is fully coated with batter – a thicker batter helps with this. Fry the apple and banana for about 4-5 minutes turning frequently until the batter is a light golden brown. The lychees take a bit less time. Drain them on kitchen paper to keep them as crispy as possible.
If you are not serving them straight away – once all of the pieces have been fried, allow the oil to cool, sieve it to get rid of any debris, and keep the oil for the second frying.
When you are almost ready to serve re-fry the fruit pieces in the hot oil for just a minute to warm them up and get them crispy again.
Now the tricky bit, have a bowl of iced water ready and some sesame seeds handy.
In a wok or saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of groundnut or corn oil. Add 9 tablespoons of white caster sugar and dissolve it in the oil over the heat. It may take on a strange appearance and look like white lumps, but persevere – keep stirring all the time and don’t overheat it. When it is ready it will turn a pale golden brown. Quickly coat the fruit pieces in the caramel, remember as you put the fruit into the caramel it will start to cool, so work quickly, then drop each piece into the iced water which will immediately set the caramel and then place the pieces on a serving plate.

Tips – if you are using a spoon to transfer your fruit from the caramel to the ice water, don’t let the spoon touch the ice water or your toffee fruit will stick to the spoon. Warm your spoon(s) first so that you are not dipping cold spoons into warm caramel. The Chinese use chopsticks to do this – so if you are a dab hand with chopsticks…maybe try them.
I am not quite sure if it is best to add the sesame seeds to the caramel while the fruits are being coated, or afterwards when they are on the plate. I think that they stick better if you add them to the caramel.
I placed my platter on the table and everybody just used their fingers to serve the fruits straight to the mouth – it was a lovely communal food moment. They are delicious with vanilla ice cream. As you can see from my picture, some of my lychees popped out of their batter coating. I think this was because they were not 100% covered in batter, so next time I will make sure that they are fully coated.

toffee fruits

Ricotta Pancakes

ricotta pancakes

I love a pancake, and I am always on the lookout for new pancake recipes. This one creates quite a thick batter and the amounts given are for one big one or two smaller ones. This one has no wheat flour, it is made with coconut flour and ricotta with some psyllium husk to make it light and fluffy. I topped mine with some frozen berries that I heated with a little water, a scoop of coconut yoghurt, honey and a sprinkle of granola.

Recipe – mix all the ingredients up in a jug or bowl:
60g ricotta (or coconut yoghurt)
1 egg (or egg replacer, aquafaba, or leave it out)
1 dessertspoon of psyllium husk
1 dessertspoon of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 dessertspoon of shredded coconut (optional)
a little water or soy milk

Heat a little oil in a frying pan (I use vegetable or groundnut oil), then scoop the batter into the pan (it will be too thick to pour). Smooth it out with a spatula and heat on low to medium heat for approx 5 minutes before flipping over and cooking for another 5 minutes.

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It looks quite thick but the inside is soft and light. Topping options are endless including nutella, strawberries, peaches, nuts, honey, agave syrup, yoghurt, and cream.

Kakiage

I love tempura – the light batter and the soft veggies are such a great contrast. You can make your own dipping sauce for these kakiage, but I prefer to serve them with a nice thick homemade mayonnaise. Mine are a bit smaller than the traditional round ones that you see at sushi bars, but they cook fairly quickly and are great to be prepared in advance and then reheated in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

kakiage

Ingredients:
You can use any veggies, but I chose a combination of sweetcorn, broccoli, carrot and onion. This recipe makes 6 kakiage (plus a tester).

1 Onion thinly sliced
2 Small carrots cut into matchstick size pieces
1 Portion of kernels cut from the cob of one ear of corn (remove husk and silk first)
5 florets of broccoli cut into small pieces
8 tablespoons of plain flour
2 tablespoons of corn flour
1 teaspoon of salt
200mls of cold water (preferably from the fridge)
Enough vegetable oil to fill a small saucepan about a third full.

Method:
1. While the saucepan of oil is heating, prepare the vegetables and place them in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl or jug, mix the batter ingredients – salt, flour, cornflour and water. Don’t overmix the batter – a few small lumps will be okay.
3. Add the batter to the vegetables and mix well.
4. Check that the oil is ready by dropping a very small droplet of batter into the pan. If it fizzes and rises up, the temperature is probably right.
5. Using a very large metal spoon or heat resistant spatula, scoop up a large spoonful of the batter/veg mixture. Carefully slide it off the spoon and into the oil. It might look like it won’t hold together, but it will – don’t worry.
6. After 3-4 minutes, flip the kakiage and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. The kakiage won’t go really dark, but some of the veggies may look a little brown, The onion strands should be lovely and crispy.
7. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately.
8. Alternatively place in a an oven dish and cover with foil. When you are ready to serve, warm them up in the oven for 10 minutes at 190 deg C.
9. Serve with mayonnaise, or tentsuyu sauce with grated daikon.

Other good veggies for this recipe are potato, sweet potato, green beans, eggplant, squash, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccolini, spring onion. I would always recommend using onion because it adds so much flavour and gives some nice raggedy crispy edges.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

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These cookies are so simple to make and taste really good. You just need a food mixer, a hand held one is fine, and the ingredients are really straightforward.
Start off by lining a few baking trays with baking parchment – you will need 2 large or 3 small baking trays.

Set the oven to 190 deg C.
Ingredients
180g plain flour
half a teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
125g butter or dairy free spread e.g. Nuttelex
60g soft brown sugar
125g smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 large egg
125g of dark chocolate either use chips or block chocolate broken into small pieces

Method
1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl – flour, baking soda and salt.
2. Beat the sugar and butter together using the food mixer, once it is nicely combined and fluffy add the peanut butter and whisk again.
3. Now beat in the egg and vanilla, it may curdle a little but don’t worry the flour will sort that out.
4. Now mix in the dry ingredients and beat again – the dough should stiffen up quite a bit and you may need to add a little water to soften it, but don’t add too much because it needs to hold together on the baking tray.
5. Lastly stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Now take a dessert spoon of mixture and press it onto the baking tray in a roundish shape. Continue until all of the mixture is used up. Keep a few centimetres distance between each biscuit because they will spread out.
7. Bake for approx 12 minutes until they are slightly golden and still a little soft in the middle. It is important to taste one just to check.
8. Yum, now get the kettle on – there’s nothing like freshly baked biscuits with a cuppa.

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