Category: Other

The Spice Project

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”] Aside from the food, bare-chested chef and I aren’t usually ones to celebrate Christmas, we don’t decorate our house, or have a tree or even buy each other gifts, but this year, after I spent 5 whole minutes searching for ground nutmeg in our disastrously disorganised spice drawer, I decided to break tradition and get us both the gift of organised herbs and spices.

Originally I had my heart set on making us something like the Dean & Deluca Spice Rack pictured here:

Which, while absolutely gorgeous, wouldn’t be entirely practical for use here. For a start, those tubes hold such tiny amounts of spices that I would still need to have storage space for all the excess and we have such a small kitchen that it just wasn’t feasible. Combined with the fiddly tops, the fragility of the tubes themselves and the fact that not only do I have limited bench space but I could only find test tube holders for a maximum of 24 tubes and we have over 70 spices in our drawer. All in all it was looking like it was a bad idea. Besides, we all know that spices need to be kept in the dark in order to hold their freshness right?

So, beautiful but impractical test tubes aside, I decided to focus instead, on turning our current disorganised spice drawers (we have two) into beautiful, alphabetized, anal retentive spice drawers. First up I found a local wholesale supplier of great quality glass jars who had an excellent deal on some beautiful hexagonal jars. They fit into each other beautifully in the drawer – like honeycomb – which means there isn’t a lot of movement or unnecessary clinking every time you open the drawer. Next up I found a seller on Etsy who makes waterproof and dishwasher safe labels and I got her to set me up a custom listing with all our spices, as well as some blanks for any interesting spices we acquire in the future. Then I just had the fun job of putting it all together, secretly transferring all the spices into the new jars and voila! Our new spice drawers live! The hardest part was keeping it all a secret from bare-chested chef until Christmas morning!

Each jar is 9cm tall and holds 190ml which is small enough to fit into even the most frugal drawer space but big enough to hold a really good amount of product. The metal lids cost a little more than the plastic ones but will have a much longer lifespan and – in my opinion – look much prettier too, and best of all, the drawers are nice and dark so the spices all stay lovely and fresh! Here are some before, in-progress and after photos of the project:


Vegan Chickie on Vegan Mainstream

[tweetmeme source=”VeganChickie”]Just a quick update between recipes to mention that I’ve recently started writing for Vegan Mainstream. I’ll be submitting something every week, but you can check out my first article HERE!

Vegan Chickie Now on Facebook

[tweetmeme source="VeganChickie"]Become a fan HERE.

Eating Animals Giveaway

I’ve been talking about this book now for weeks, and I know that practically everyone on earth has heard about it by now, but if you don’t yet have your copy, now is your chance to try and snap up a freebie. In the spirit of Christmas, I’m giving away one copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” to a lucky reader.

Simply leave a comment below for a chance to win.

For additional entries you can blog or tweet about the giveaway, make sure you include the post link so that I can keep track of your entries (one tweet entry per twitter account).

I will randomly select a winner on the morning of Wednesday the 16th of December (local time).

NB: Contest is open to all readers worldwide. I’ll order the book on the winner’s behalf and get the book sent to their address directly from Book Depository to avoid double shipping and extra packaging.

Good Luck!

Back to reality

So we are finally back from the holiday of a lifetime.. our dearest apologies for the blog drought!

Here is what we have been up to since you last heard from us:

We tramped from Sydney to Hervey Bay for a family Christmas where my family scoffed down prawns the size of bananas and I shielded myself from the seafood spray with various lettuce leaves. We flew to Cairns and then drove to Port Douglas where we met with friends from all over the country to have a holiday before our rainforest wedding. Vegetarian food choices in Port Douglas ranged from surprisingly fabulous (Java Blue Cafe) to disappointing (Nautilus Restaurant) to downright disgusting (Sakinayah House Restaurant) but we were having so much fun lounging by the pool and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef that it didn’t really matter anyway.

View from the plane

Gang in the pool

hanging out at the hotel

The wedding itself was held at Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree Rainforest, bare chested chef was suitably clothed and I – in usual bride fashion – wore a white dress. It wasn’t quite your typical wedding (I wore sneakers under my dress and the groom took my surname instead of the other way round) but the day was wonderful and the food was fabulous – naturally!







After all the fabulousness of a rainforest wedding, we flew to Fiji to start our honeymoon (hubba hubba!). We stayed on Mololo Island at Likuliku resort where the head chef at the restaurant created 2 special vegetarian menus just for me each day – I was in heaven! At Lunch and Dinner each day I was brought over a new menu, 3 courses at lunch and 4 at dinner, with 2 or 3 choices for each course as well. It was incredible! I was in vegetarian foodie heaven! Unfortunately on day five – after foolishly drinking ‘filtered’ water instead of bottled water – I was struck down with food poisoning and remained in bed for two and a half days unable to eat or move. All that delicious vegetarian food was waiting for me at the restaurant and I just couldn’t eat it!





While I was bedridden the storms started, it rained for two days straight and on the third day the manager of the hotel came to our door and advised us that we were about to get hit with a cyclone and we had to be evacuated from the island. We had 20 minutes to pack all our stuff and make our way to the helipad where a boat would come get us (you think I am making this up don’t you??? I wish I could say I was!).

I was pretty weak by now, and still very sick so bare-chested chef did all the hard work, we packed all our belongings and off we went to the boat in the pouring rain (me still very pale and shaky – having trouble even holding up the umbrella in the wind). We climbed aboard the tiny ten man boat and they took us out into open water to wait for a larger boat to come and get us. We waited for over an hour and a half for that boat and I can tell you, it was a very scary time! The storm was raging, the sky was black, we were drenched from head to toe and I was having a very rough time keeping myself from being sick, in fact it was probably only the fact that I hadn’t eaten in over two days that kept me from feeding the fishes.



Finally the ferry came by and picked us up and took us over to the mainland. It wasn’t much better, that ride, but at least we weren’t getting rained on anymore. A bunch of tourists were being evacuated from the islands so the boat was packed to the rafters with worried looking people and we had to sit on the soggy floor by the wall of suitcases and backpacks. When we finally made it to the mainland we thought we were free and clear, until the owner of the ferry stood up on some boxes and told us that Fiji was having the worst floods they had had in 20 years and the roads were closed so no-one could get out! For three days we were stranded at a hotel in Denarau, me still recovering from food poisoning, waiting for the flood waters to recede. Food services were restricted because no fresh supplies were getting through so they just had a buffet twice daily – a frightening experience for a food poisoned vegetarian foodie far away from home! I managed to live on roast potatoes and bread rolls until finally we were free to make our way to the airport and escape. What an adventure!



From Fiji we headed to New Zealand. Within 12 hours of landing Auckland experienced the most spectacular lightening storm they had ever seen and I was beginning to think our marriage was cursed but our bad weather ended there – thank goodness for that! We celebrated being back in unflooded civilisation with a vegetarian degustation menu at The Grove in Auckland which was delicious and incredibly filling. While on the North Island we also recommend: lunch in the vineyards on Waiheke island (hire a car and make a day of it!), Bistro 1284 in Rotorua – try the vegetarian Gyoza – delicious!, the ‘vegetarian restaurant’ on high street in Auckland (green sign) oh so cheap, and oh so scruptuous!


After a week in Auckland we flew down to Queenstown. What an incredibly beautiful place! We absolutely fell in love, and can’t wait to go back, in fact we spent the entire time there trying to figure out a way not to leave, in the end though common sense prevailed, and so here we are, back working like chumps! But I digress! While enjoying the sights in Queenstown make sure you check out

Licks Icecream Bar (next to Beefeater Restaurant on Shotover St) for delicious icecream – so nice we went back twice!

Kinloch lodge in Kinloch had the most incredible ginger and carrot soup! Definitely worth the trip – although if you aren’t a fan of carrot and ginger soup the lake is well worth seeing on its own.

The Skyline Restaurant had the best buffet I have ever had with excellent vegetarian options and loads of variety and even though the trip up there was a bit hair-raising for poor chef who is terrified of heights, the views are absolutely breathtaking! Get there super early to register to get a table by the window and watch the sun set over the remarkables – you won’t regret it!



Sombreros Mexican Restaurant looks like your regular tacky mexican place but the vegetarian fajitas are fabulous.

Hell’s Pizza, sounds ridiculous and looks it too, but they have excellent vegetarian options, (‘pride’ was my personal favourite), and are perfect for a quick bite to eat on your way home from white water rafting or flinging yourself out of a plane.

On an unrelated note – unrelated to food that is – if you are in Queenstown you absolutely have to do the Queenstown to Glenorchy drive, just the most incredibe scenery you can imagine. I would also recommend checking out the Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound. For something required a little less effort contact Kevin for a Segway on Q tour, loads of fun!






Anyway, enough of that – I’m beginning to sound like a lonely planet guide. The point of this post is really just to say “We are back!” and will be back cooking soon enough!

Stay Tuned!

NB: Photos from the wedding day were taken by Shaun Guest at Port Douglas Photography.

Busy busy bees

We have been pretty busy these last couple of days with meetings and wedding planning so there haven’t been many new recipes. We have been cooking, there just hasn’t been time for updating. Hopefully I will get a chance over the weekend to do some blogging.. We have a garden fresh pasta and a tofu thai green curry ready to go and plans for some more vegan baking this weekend.

Until then…

Coming Attractions: Vegan Brownies

Chef and I spent our afternoon making delicious chocolate raspberry brownies – vegan of course, unfortunately I have just arrived home from a birthday party and it’s too late to share, but I thought I would post a single picture.. kind of a teaser just so you know what will be coming tomorrow afternoon…a little something to get you salivating…


The blog entry about nothing..

It was another slack night in the foodie household tonight. We had a meeting with our Aunties and Uncles group in the city and then we spent 40 minutes at a standstill in Sydney traffic because of an accident and by the time we got home it was just too late to cook up our usual storm.. so, dinner this evening was take away mushroom pizza.. not really very good blog material!

We will be back up and running over the weekend though. That’s a promise!

Maybe I should hold a poll of some kind so that everyone can vote on what kind of vegan cupcakes we should make this weekend..

Tofu Bobotie

Tonight’s dinner was Vegetarian Tofu Bobotie with Millet. We got the recipe out of Sunday’s at Moosewood Restaurant. Normally Moosewood is such a great book but I must say that I wasn’t very impressed with this one at all. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, there just wasn’t anything fabulous about it either. So, instead of sharing a recipe, tonight I am going to pop up a few photos and leave it at that.



spices 2

almonds and raisins

Vegan Cupcakes

This afternoon chef and I tried our hand at vegan baking for the first time. The recipe is from ‘Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World’ (another cookbook from geniuses Isa Chandra and Terry Hope Romero) but I actually got the recipe from my new muse Kel, and her ‘achey bakey heart’ wordpress blog. Kel’s cupcakes were much prettier than ours but we are proud of them none the less! They were very tasty, so good in fact that the first thing I did after eating a single cup cake, was jump online to my favourite online bookstore – book depository – and buy ourselves a copy of the book.

I won’t type out the recipe.. (here is the link if you want it: Hazelnut cupcakes), but I wanted to share some photos of our adventure:



mixture 2


cupcakes 2

mocha mousse



almost done!


The cupcake masterpiece