Saturday, May 25, 2019

Pulla

April 21, 2019


Heini is another workmate who generously shared their signature dish with me through the lab farewell cookbook. She's well known for baking tightly spiralled Finnish cinnamon buns called pulla, and we attempted to follow in her footsteps over the Easter weekend. 

Our buns turned out puffier and less expertly formed than Heini's, but they were still magnificent: bready, but richer, with sweet seams of spice; perfect for seeing in autumn with a cup of tea.



Pulla - Korvapuusti (Finnish cinnamon rolls)
(a recipe shared by Heini)

dough
1 cup milk
15g fresh yeast or 12g dry yeast
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup caster sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground cardamom
3-4 cups plain flour
75g butter, at room temperature

rolling
50g butter, melted
caster sugar
ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten


Gently warm the milk in a small saucepan, and then stir in the yeast until it's dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the egg, salt, sugar, cardamom, and most of the flour. Mix it all together to form a dough, gradually adding a little more flour until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the walls of the bowl. Knead the butter into the dough, continuing until the dough stretches when pulled. Cover the bowl with a teatowel and leave it to rise in a warm place, until it has doubled in size.

Get yourself a big clean surface and lightly flour it (you'll see in the photo above that I laid down a sheet of baking paper). Turn the dough out and roll it into a 20cm x 40cm rectangle, half to 1 cm thick. Spread the melted butter over the dough with a pastry brush, leaving a couple of centimetres bare on one of the short sides. Sprinkle the butter generously with sugar and cinnamon.

Set up 1-2 baking trays with paper and lightly oil them. Handling the buttery short side, gently roll the dough up into a log with a spiral cross-section. Slice the dough into triangle-shaped buns and place them on the baking tray so that the tip is pointing upwards and there's plenty of space between them. Use your thumbs to push the tip down on each bun. When the trays are full of buns, cover them with tea towels and allow them another 10-15 minutes to rise.

Preheat an oven to 225°C while the buns are rising. Brush the buns with egg and bake them for about 12 minutes, until browned. Enjoy warm from the oven, store them for a couple of days in a airtight container, and revive them with 10-15 seconds in the microwave. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Smith & Deli brownies

April 19, 2019


I'm testing out a couple of different vegan brownie recipes in the lead-up to a special occasion. There are a few such recipes on the blog already, but I've still got the appetite to try more. 

The Smith & Deli cookbook was an obvious place to relaunch from. Their base recipe isn't too complicated; non-dairy yoghurt was the only ingredient we don't routinely have at home, and even it is easily found in most supermarkets now.

A large quantity of cocoa powder and a heaping cup of chocolate chips have these brownies looking very dark and rich, yet they're actually on the cakier side and not as deeply flavoured as I'd expected. I was able to strap a lunchbox of them onto the back of my bike to share with our friend who missed out on those shortbread cookies. These brownies were pretty great with a cup of tea, but I'm directing my search towards fudgier recipes next.


Smith & Deli brownies
(from Smith & Deli-cious by Shannon Martinez & Mo Wyse)

3/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups gluten-free plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup soy milk
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat an oven to 170°C. Line a 22cm square baking tray with paper, and lightly spray it with oil.

With an electric beater, cream together the margarine, yoghurt, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Gradually beat these dry ingredients into the margarine mixture. Gradually beat in the soy milk until everything is well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the brownie batter into the lined baking tray, gently smooth over the top, and bake for about 45 minutes - it's OK for the centre to still be a bit wobbly.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Rochester Hotel

April 14, 2019


Vegan about town Steph drew Hayley and I into The Rochester Hotel for a Sunday night dinner, having learned that they've been running a Kerala-styled pub menu for almost a year (!). Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are clearly marked and well-represented; we really did need some time to figure out what combination of fried and fresh, shared and all-to-ourselves dishes we wanted.


First, we ticked off fried. The chips and curry ($10) were excellent and included a thin, crisp batter. I loved the little pumpkin and coconut ada ($4, pictured right and front), which was served with a surprisingly spicy mint chutney. Hayley couldn't resist the egg bonda ($4, pictured right and back); actually half a boiled egg piled with onion masala and fried in batter.


For our mains, we got a little more fried in by all ordering parota. Steph declared it to be the crowning glory of her vegan thali ($24, pictured at the top of the post), while Hayley and I shrewdly ordered it as the centrepiece of our meals. Our potato wraps were too full to really be wrapped, our parotas bursting with tender and lightly spiced smashed potatoes, more onion masala, fresh green herbs and generous dollops of that eye-watering mint chutney.

On another night I'd be extremely tempted to follow through with vegan coconut custard ($6, with fruit and cashew praline!), but we elected to walk off our curry chips instead. I fear my limited stomach space is going to force me into a delicious chip/parota/dessert trade-off every time I stop in.
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In its current incarnation, I've just spotted two blog posts about The Rochester Hotel, both freebies, on The Spice Adventuress and gastrology.
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The Rochester Hotel
202 Johnston St, Fitzroy
9419 0166

Accessibility: There's a step up on entry. Inside is a mix of high and low tables. We ordered and paid at high bar. Toilets are gendered, narrow, and a couple of extra steps up.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Carringbush Hotel

April 7, 2019


Cindy read about the newly renovated Carringbush Hotel on Messy Veggies before it opened and we headed down with some friends soon after they were up and running. The new folks in charge (the gang from The Old Bar) have turned it into an entirely vego pub, with a cosy and welcoming fit-out. There's a front bar, a couple of indoor dining spaces and a cute little courtyard out the back. It seems like The Carringbush is going to be mostly about the food - it didn't seem like there was any space for live music etc.

The food options are pretty diverse - fancy salads, burgers, pasta, plus a few other bits and pieces. More than half of the menu is vegan and there are heaps of gluten-free options as well. We started out on the bar snacks menu, with a bowl each of the root vegetable crisps ($7) and crispy wonton skins ($5). These both came with fancy salts - cumin salt for the wontons and rosemary salt for the root veggies - and were incredibly addictive.


We split a serve of the excellent vegan smoked potato and eggplant dumplings with a soy/lime dipping sauce ($14) and then picked out our mains.


Cindy ordered the beer-battered cauliflower with chips and tartare sauce (vegan, $18.50). This is basically fish and chips for vegos and it really hit the spot - perfectly crunchy batter and a great vegan tartare. It might be wise to pair this with one of the salads next time though - it's a lot of fried.


I wanted chips with my meal as well, so I got the falafel and hummus burger with herb salad, tomato, pickles and herb yoghurt (vegan, $21). This is a solid pub burger - it's not life-changing, but the herb salad and pickles add some nice flavours to a pretty standard assembly. 


We really enjoyed the food at The Carringbush, but even more we enjoyed the vibe - it's a lovely space for a quiet Sunday afternoon meal. We sat around doing the crossword and chatting and just soaking up the relaxed atmosphere. We'll be back!



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The Carringbush Hotel
226-228 Langridge St, Abbotsford
9191 0149
bar snacksmain menu
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a small step on entry. You order and pay at a high bar. There's a mix of tables with low seating as well as bar seating. We didn't visit the toilets.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Will's tofu dish

April 6, 2019


We like to think we know our way around a block of tofu, but Will has shared a different style of preparation via the lab cookbook. The tofu is microwaved or steamed without any additional flavouring to heat it through. Then it's smothered in all the flavouring it'll ever need: soy sauce and vinegar, garlic and ginger, coriander, chilli, three kinds of oil, spring onions, fried shallots! We only needed some steamed rice and plain green veges to round this out into a meal.

Since the sauce goes on unheated the garlic and ginger are extra potent. I hoped that microwaving the leftovers at work might mellow them out, but their strong fragrance drew (positive!) attention from some of my co-workers.

I reckon that this is the rare recipe that will work just as well on a weeknight as it could when cooking a show-off meal for friends. I'll just have to pack some chewing gum when I plan to roll over leftovers to lunch.


Will's tofu dish
(shared via the Lab Farewell Cookbook)

20g fresh coriander
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
65g (about 5) spring onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon chilli oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinkiang black rice vinegar
500g firm tofu
2 tablespoons peanut oil
deep fried shallots
white pepper
sriracha sauce


Remove any roots from the coriander and wash the rest of it. Separate the stem from the leaves. Chop the stems and place them in a medium bowl. To the bowl, add the ginger, chilli, garlic, the white parts of the spring onions, chilli oil, sesame oil, soy sauces and vinegar. Whisk everything together.

Slice the tofu into flat squares, about 1cm x 3cm x 3cm. Microwave or steam the tofu until it's heated through. While the tofu is heating, put the peanut oil in a small saucepan and heat it just barely to its smoking point.

Layer the tofu in a large serving dish and pour over the soy-based sauce; carefully pour the hot peanut oil over, next. Generously garnish the tofu with the coriander leaves, green spring onion bits, deep-fried shallots and white pepper, squirting over sriracha to taste.