Friday, May 31, 2013

Aisuru Sushi Bar, Northbridge

My friends organised a belated birthday dinner for me tonight and let me choose the restaurant. I had heard of a Japanese restaurant called Aisuru Sushi Bar on William St in Northbridge. My friend had told me that there was a whole section on the menu just for vegan sushi! I love Japanese food, so I was very keen to try this place out. 

The service here was great and the wait was long. They don't take reservations so first in best dressed. The place was packed for dinner tonight but luckily there were lots of seats to wait inside because it was a cold night. 

The food was lovely. There were so many different sushi flavour combinations I've never tried before which sounded so mouthwatering. My friend Naomi decided to go vegan for tonight and so between the two of us we ordered a few of the vegan dishes. 

We ordered the "veganpillar sushi" with plum sauce which was particularly delicious. I was expecting the plum sauce to be sweet, but it was tangy and added a great bite to the sushi. 

The serving sizes are quite small and the prices are more towards the higher end of the scale but presentation was lovely and the overall atmosphere of the restaurant was nice too. It was busy but the place wasn't too loud or anything. 

This place is perfect for those who love Japanese food and want a change from ordinary tuna sushi. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vegan Sanitarium Tender Pieces Casserole

Whoa!! I nearly went to sleep today without writing my blog post! Luckily I remembered before my head hit the pillow because otherwise there would have been no coming back from the cosiness of a comfy bed. 

Today was a cold day and I had the spare time to prepare and cook a meal for dinner. I found a can of Sanitarium Tender Pieces in my pantry and decided to try the recipe on the label. Unfortunately I threw away the can after I had finished cooking so I don't actually remember what the dish was called, but it is something like a winter casserole. 

To be honest, the tender pieces really does look like dog food once you open the can, but once you get past that and put all the ingredients together it tastes pretty nice and you forget all about what it looks like straight out of the can.

This is a perfectly warming dish for winter and with a bit of added Tabasco it was just what my tummy wanted to be filled with.

Sanitarium Tender Pieces Casserole

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1.5-2 hours

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 425g can of crushed tomatoes (I just used 5 whole tomatoes are whizzed them up in the food processor)
  • 425g can tomato soup (I used about a cup and a half of hot water and 140g can of tomato paste)
  • 1 can Sanitarium Tender pieces
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 1 swede chopped into cubes (or you can use potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Heat oil in pan and cook onions and garlic until tender
  3. Add paprika
  4. Transfer into casserole dish together with remaining ingredients except for the peas and mix well
  5. Place casserole dish into oven and cook for an hour. It took about 2 hours for my vegetables to become very tender, so depending on how soft you'd like your vegetables you can vary the cooking time)
  6. Stir through the frozen peas
  7. Serve with rice or thick bread.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Attic, Fremantle

My friend and I made our way out to Fremantle today for some business and we decided to stay out there for breakfast. I had read about a place called Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed on the website Urbanspoon and I thought that today would be a perfect opportunity to check the place out.

My friend Naomi was more than happy to have hot dogs for breakfast but when we got there we found out that it wasn't open until 11.30am. I guess not everyone is keen on hot dogs for breakfast. Alas, I will go back there during opening hours and help myself to a nice vegan hot dog. Yeah, they do vegan hotdogs!

So our problem was that we were two hungry girls with no where to go. The answer of course, was to hop onto Urbanspoon and just find somewhere else to eat. This time we refined our search to breakfast/brunch places in Fremantle. 

We found a place close by called The Attic which was said to be vegan friendly. The place was a very cosy little cafe with the kitchen and counter downstairs and a dining area what felt like an attic.

I enjoyed the cosy vibe that this place had. It wasn't over crowded so the noise level was low (but then Naomi and I start talking and the noise level increases ten-fold) and the lighting was nice and dim. There were suitcases on display to give it that attic kind of feel. All the furniture was wooden and there were some couches up there too. 

What we really liked was the screen that was hanging from the wall. Projected onto the screen was an old-school black and white film. I've never seen anything like it and so it was quite refreshing to see something so unique. 

The staff were very helpful in pointing out what dishes on the menu could be made vegan and the food itself was quite tasty. The tea here was really good too. I had the rooibos chai which was brewed with soy milk and served in a little pot with a strainer. Chai tea always tastes better when it's brewed in the milk as opposed to water and then having the milk on the side. 

Fremantle has yet to disappoint me, and today was definitely no different. This place is a really great spot to go if you want to have a nice close catch up with someone. 

Coming here would be a great way to start your morning. 

Photo taken by Naomi

Photo taken and Instagrammed by Naomi

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Stupid girls trying to plank on each other"

It has been a while since Nhi, Ruth and I have gotten together and had a blogilates workout session so we organised to get together tonight. Earlier today, Ruth tagged the both of us in an instagram photo she saw. It was a photo of four girls all stacked up on top of each other in a plank position. We really liked the idea so we decided to try it with the three of us tonight.

Before anyone tries anything like this it's important to be safe about it. First of all we worked out who would go on what layer and then we moved away any furniture that we could potentially hit our heads on. 

We tried to find a tutorial on the Internet that would help us to work out a safe strategy to get into formation but alas we were unsuccessful. What we did find was a YouTube video with the title "Stupid girls trying to plank of each other" haha. 

It took a few tries to get it perfect but eventually we got the plank stack that we were happy with. My brother was so sweet and he was the one who took the photo for us. 

The girls did such a great job. It takes a lot of strength to plank with someone on your back and with the number of times we did it before getting it right just goes to show how strong these girls of mine really are. We have all come such a long way since before we started out fitness regime. I'm looking forward to seeing what else we can all achieve. Keep following my blog adventures and you'll find out too :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Carrot birthday cake

Today was my cousin's birthday. Last night my mum was talking about buying her a birthday cake and I asked her what kind she'd like. She said to me that she wanted me to get her a vegan cake so that I could have some too. I told her that there probably isn't anywhere I could get my hands on a vegan birthday cake, but that I'd be happy to make one for her. 

We went through my Sweet Vegan cookbook that I received for my birthday from some close friends and we found a recipe for a carrot cake. My cousin is an international student from Vietnam who is over in Australia to study. She told me that she has never had carrot cake before but loves the idea of cinnamon, raisins, walnuts are carrots all combined in cake form. 

Unfortunately she had uni all day today, but it gave me the chance to have the whole kitchen to myself to do some baking. The cake was fairly simple to make and I made sure that I followed the recipe the best I could. 

The photo of the carrot cake looked amazing in the cookbook. In the process of trying to replicate the picture in the book, I actually ended up making carrot rose garnishes. In the book photo, the decorations on top of the cake were thin strips of carrot rolled up and placed around the edge of the cake. I ended up Googling how to make carrot roses and made four of these to put in the centre of the cake instead. I added some mint leaves I found in the fridge for a finishing touch to go with the carrot roses. 

All in all, this was the first time making a birthday cake so huge but I'm really happy with what I pulled off. 

My cousin was ecstatic when she saw the cake :) Happy birthday was sung, candles were blown out, wishes were made and bellies were filled up with sugary goodness. How every birthday should be I reckon. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Monk Bowl

I went to the library the other week and borrowed out a vegan cookbook called The 30 Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. Up until today, I haven't been able to cook any of the recipes in the book. I had my eye on a recipe called Monk Bowl for a while, and luckily I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. 

The dish is quinoa served with coconut tofu and mixed vegetables. What I love about this recipe is that it is so ridiculously nutritious! If you don't already know, quinoa is a grain very high in protein. It makes for a great rice substitute. For the last step of the recipe, flax seed oil and nutritional yeast is used to season the dish. I just drizzled a bit of the oil over and sprinkled the yeast on top. Flax seed oil contains omega oils 3, 6 and 9 all necessary for optimal bodily function. Nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12 which is known to be essential for red cell production. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in meat and nutritional yeast, so unless it is taken as a supplement, it is very important for vegans and vegetarians to get their daily dose. 

This recipe really should be a staple in every vegan's diet because of how healthy it is. I'm a bit pressed for time so I won't be typing out the recipe for you guys tonight but if I get time I will put it up :) In the mean time, get your hands on this cookbook because this was a great recipe and it was very different to anything I've tasted before. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Voyage Kitchen, Sorrento

I really love the restaurant review website called Urbanspoon. It has helped me to find a lot of vegan friendly places and I've made it a new mission to try each of the 'vegan friendly' places on the Urbanspoon list of vegan friendly restaurants. 

I went to one of the places on the list today called Voyage Kitchen in Sorrento near Hillarys Boat Harbour. It's a lovely place to dine with a casual and relaxed atmosphere about it. It's at a great location right opposite the coast; in fact, the whole area of Sorrento is beautiful. On one side is the ocean and on the other are huge and beautifully designed houses...albeit they're more like mansions. 

I was so pleased that the menu was so vegan friendly. They had the letters VP next to the dishes that could be made vegan. It was so much easier than having to sit there and try and work out what I can request to be made vegan friendly. 

The serving sizes were great and the food was very tasty. The pricing was also pretty good considering how big the servings were.

If you're interested in going, be warned that it's a very busy place. We went today on a Saturday morning around 9:45am and we waited for quite a bit before our name was called and they showed us to our seats.

Oh, and there was free parking! Bonus! We were lucky and got the last parking bay :) The first sure sign that it was going to be a great morning. 

I love fresh juice! This was waternelon, apple and pear. So refreshing!

Mixed mushroom bruchetta

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vegan pistachio-rose water cookies

I've had a busy week preparing for a group presentation that I had today. I haven't had much time to bake this week and so after it was all over I decided to pull out my Veganomicon cookbook and whip up a recipe I've been meaning to bake for a while.

The recipe was for Pistachio-Rose Water Cookies. I've never used rose water in baking before so I wasn't too sure what to expect. 

This recipe was very simple and the cookies were lovely too. The rose water actually tasted like roses and so it gave the cookies a subtle floral taste. The cookies were very light and crispy too, making it a bit hard to stop at just one :P

I've decided to post up the recipe just in case anyone wants to try this too :)

Vegan Pistachio-Rose Water Cookies (Adapted from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook)

Makes 32 cookies (for me it only made 27)

Time: 35 minutes

  • 1 ¼ cups sweetener (I used Stevia)
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
    ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon cardamon
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease two cookie sheets
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetener, oil, soy milk, rose water, vanilla, lime juice, and zest. Add the cornstarch and whisk until dissolved.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamon. Mix well.
  4. Roll the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size and dip the tops into the chopped pistachios. Press down with two fingers; the dough will flatten a bit and pistachios will collect on the bottom. 
  5. Place the cookies, nut side up, about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. 
  6. Bake for 13 minutes; they will be soft but if you prefer them that way then that's fine because they will firm up a bit as they cool. (I baked mine for 20 minutes and they were still slightly soft in the middle and crispy on the edges).
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

30 Day Wall Sit Challenge

I recently completed a 30 day squat challenge where I worked my way up to doing 250 squats in one go. I quite like the idea of these month challenges where you focus on a muscle group and improve it over time. 

While instagramming, I came across something called wall sits. It's where you lean with your back flat on a wall and your legs bent at a 90 degree angle...and you pretty much sit there. 

I then found a one month wall sit challenge. By the end of the 30 days, you should be able to wall sit for a full 5 minutes. Today is day one for me and so I get to start off with a nice cruisy ten seconds of wall sitting, but I'm looking forward to reaching the end of this challenge; not only so that my legs will be more toned, but so I can start on my next one month challenge...I'm thinking a one month planking challenge?



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Faulkner 'Volcano' Park, Belmont

You might recall that last Wednesday I went to Faulkner Park - also known as 'Volcano Park' - but didn't actually see the giant volcano that the park is renowned for. 

I went back out to Faulkner Park today and found the Volcano Park. 

It was a very spacious, very beautiful playground with a massive volcano bam smack in the middle. The volcano had slides coming off of it and a spiral path to the top. 

The entire play space had so many different play equipment for kids of all ages to play on. There were plenty benches to sit on, a barbecue area, sand pit, and so much greenery and flora. It was like a little paradise. 

Please go check it out the next time you're out in the Belmont area, or just if you want to take your kids somewhere new. 

A view from the top of the volcano

These cutie pie kids were playing on the volcano when I was up there

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Formatting a 2T Samsung G3 Station hard drive

My something new for today kind of happened by accident. So of course I'm going to tell you the whole story from the very beginning. Sit tight and keep reading if you like.

I have been looking for a new external hard drive for a long time now. My friend Nhi is so sweet and  always tells me about any deals or specials she comes across, but I've never committed to buy because I've been holding out for a real bargain. 

As I was driving home from work today, I was planning to go into The Good Guys to see if there would be any cheap hard drives for sale, but as I drove along, I saw a Cash Converters store. I made a really quick decision to stop into Cashies. 

I didn't see any hard drives on the selves when I went in but I did find PS3 game that my brother wanted for $20 so I decided to grab that. When I got to the counter I asked the guy if they had any hard drives and he went over and pointed out a 2 terabyte Samsung G3 Station external hard drive...for $79!! Now, to me that is a bargain. The real kind of bargain that I was holding out for. Normally brand new 1 terabyte hard drives will sell for about the same price or even more expensive, so a 2T for 79 buckaroos is a something no one should ever pass up; even if the hard drive is second hand. Plus the hard drive looks like lego. I like the novelty of that. 

So the guy at the counter and I got talking about gaming and the hard drive and what not and as I gave him my card to pay for the two items, he told me that he'd sell it all to be for $85!! You might not think saving $14 is much, but it totally made my day!

So seriously guys, head out to Cash Converters in Joondalup. The staff there are great :)

Ok, so back to my something new for today. I plugged in the hard drive and to my disappointment it didn't show up in 'Computer' and so I couldn't transfer all of the my files into the hard drive.

I'm not all that tech-savvy, but I'm one of those people who like to try and work out a problem before throwing in the towel. In my case, just really didn't want to drive all the way back to Joondalup and ask them to have a look at the hard drive for me. 

I jumped onto Google and decided to try and find an answer there. I usually am very precise with my Google searches and will be strategic about what search terms to use in order to yield the most refined and relevant search (because that's what a Bachelor of Science will do to you), but this time round I typed in something ridiculous like "2T Samsung hard drive G3 not showing up in computer". 

Turns out that the search was fine because I found the answer on Yahoo Answers. This post is already so long, and I apologise for that, but my mission today is to post up a tutorial of how to format your drive so that it can be accessed.

I've never had to do anything like this before, and it just goes to show that girls are quite capable of working out technology problems. All you need is Google...and someone out there to explain it. 

Now I came across the word "partitions" a lot and I'm still not sure what that is, but not to worry, I will Google it later :P

Ok, so here's my tutorial for what to do if your hard drive is recognised by your computer, but doesn't show up in your list of devices under 'Computer' (Note: this is only for Windows 7. If you're using something else, then it might be different and I'm sorry but I can't help you there):

  1. First check that the hard drive is actually recognised by your PC/laptop. Go to 'Control Panel' and then 'Devices and Printers'. Your drive should be there if it has been recognised by the computer
  2. So if it is, then next open the start menu, right click on 'Computer' and click 'Manage'.
  3. On the right hand side click "Disk Management". If you can't see it make sure you have the "Storage" option expanded.
  4. Locate your drive and right click on it. If the drive is color coded black (unallocated space) then right click and select 'Format'. Otherwise click "Change Drive Letter and Path".
  5. You will then have to go through the process of formatting the drive. I got freaked out at this stage because I didn't know what settings to choose. But I managed to find the answers on good old Google. So you have to change your hard drive from FAT32 to NTFS,because FAT32 limits the size of transferred files to 4GB. Where it says File System change the Answer to NTFS and leave the Allocation Unit to default. Click on Perform Quick Format if you want. But note that if you click OK, then it will erase all the data on that hard drive. It was fine for me because there wasn't anything on my hard drive to begin with, but if you've got files on there that you want to keep, best move them first.
And that's it!!
Step 5
So that's my long long story of how I got my hard drive to work :) 

I found all my answers here and here, but I thought I might just condense it into one post to make it easier for people instead of having to do multiple searches on Google and sifting through all the search results. 

Also, if you are buying something second hand, try and see if you can find the user's manual online. Luckily I was able to find one for the Samsung hard drive.

That's all from me today. God bless Google :)