Saturday, November 30, 2019

Noo Moo Foods

November 1, 2019

Our friend Lisa recently alerted us to Noo Moo Foods, a vegan food trailer tucked away in the industrial back-blocks of West Heidelberg. Cindy and I both work in the neighbourhood, so one Friday afternoon we all met up there to try it out. It's a very unassuming set-up - literally a little trailer in the front of a warehouse with a handful of plastic chairs and low tables. It feels like it's mostly aiming for the delivery market, but it was pleasant enough to eat-in on a warm Friday arvo.

Don't come to Noo Moo Foods looking for salad - this is a burger and fries kind of establishment. The menu has seven kinds of loaded fries (including some topped with mashed up burger rings!), nuggets and five different burgers. We started with a ten-pack of the nuggets ($10) with mayo and Hazel's dirty fries (topped with gravy, coconut cheese sauce, coconut bacon and fried onions, $12). The nuggets were great - I'm not sure what brand they're using, but they're delicious - great texture, nicely fried and with excellent mayo to dunk them in. The loaded fries were tasty, but unsurprisingly a bit of a mess to eat. The coconut bacon got lost a bit in everything else, but the cheese sauce and gravy combo worked surprisingly well.

I also wanted to try a burger - this is the Culverlands industrial schnitz - a southern spiced fried pattie with bbq sauce, secret sauce, coleslaw, pickles and cashew cheese ($17). This a messy, delicious treat - there's so much sauce that things inevitably drip, but all the chaos is just about worth it. 

The friendly staff treated us to a tangy lemon sorbet to finish things off - it was just the sour/sweet burst we needed to cut through the oily dinner. Noo Moo Foods is working in a similar vein to Lord of the Fries - the burgers here are a bit more expensive, but a bit better quality as well. If you're in the neighbourhood and feel like junk food for dinner you can't really go wrong.


You can read more about Noo Moo Foods over at Messy Veggies.

Noo Moo Foods
20 Culverlands Street, Heidleberg West
loaded fries, burgers etc

Accessibility: It's a flat entryway, but you order and pay at a high counter and the only chairs are low plastic stools. We didn't visit the toilets.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Burmese fermented tea leaf salad

October 26-31, 2019

This recipe from the Lab Farewell Cookbook is actually two gifts. I'll tell you about the second gift first: the recipe is for a salad with an ingredient I've never encountered before, fermented tea leaves. There's a not-so-authentic-but-it'll-do recipe for making them at home, and I took it on with a 'lil help from my friends.

My mate Toby is an expert in all things tea, and he recommended Assembly in Carlton for green tea leaves that are good enough to eat. The leaf prep is simple: rehydrate, drain and lightly ferment in salt, flavour with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. The result is, to me, a distant cousin of pesto - it's got that concentrated green flavour, but the tea is lightly bitter instead of summery and sweet like basil. Following the recipe's general guide, I teamed it will a little pickled ginger, then generous shakes of salted roasted peanuts and fried shallots.

The first gift is the written recipe itself. It's a rollicking read that runs to two-and-a-half pages, and instead of paraphrasing it I'm submitting it whole, with permission.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Nat's pumpkin rice dish

October 26, 2019

This Lab Farewell Cookbook recipe comes from Nat. She'd be the first to admit that she's not a fancy or especially enthusiastic cook, yet she's one of the two people who took charge of on this whole cookbook project as a gift to me.

Paradoxically, I knew that her recipe would be a handy one - she shared one of her stand-by dishes, something she made to low-key impress her partner in their early days of dating. It's a bowl of pumpkin, rice and Thai curry flavours that Michael easily pulled off on a weeknight. It's got roughly the texture and all the comfort of a risotto, right down to the more solid and perfectly microwaveable leftovers that we packed for lunch.

We're getting pumpkins on the regular in our CERES boxes, so this is gonna get the repeat treatment for sure.

Nat's pumpkin rice dish
(a recipe shared by Nat in the Lab Farewell Cookbook,
where she credits it to Jamie Oliver)

a small handful of makrut lime leaves
2-3 chillies, seeds removed and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 thumb-sized pieces ginger, peeled
3 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves removed
large handful coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped
1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
600 - 1000g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 5cm pieces
565mL vegetable stock
200g basmati rice
400mL coconut milk
salt and pepper
juice of 1-2 limes

Use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or blender to make the fragrant soup base: smoosh together the lime leaves, chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, five-spice and cumin. Remove any stringy bits that remain.

Heat the olive oil in a very large saucepan and add the pulpy soup base. Stir in the onion and cook on low-medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the pumpkin and stock, stirring everything together and then bringing it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on until the pumpkin is soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the rice; it's OK if some of the pumpkin mushes up. Simmer under the rice is cooked, a further 10-15 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper. Remove it from the heat, add the lime juice to taste and serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Monday, November 04, 2019

La Tortilleria II

October 25, 2019

Here's a short, updated note of appreciation for La Tortilleria. It was the most convenient place to grab dinner on a Friday night, before attending A Midnight Visit. In spite of its industrial location, La Tortilleria's eatery continues to do very well for itself - the four hopefuls ahead of me were sent away to wait for a half-hour, and we were lucky to squeeze into a table for two with a time limit.

The menu is still gluten-free with abundant well-marked vegetarian and vegan options, including vegan cheese and chorizo. I went for a quesadilla con nopales ($9.50, pictured at 12 o'clock) which is made with a blue tortilla; the cactus gives just the slightest pickley sharpness to an otherwise mild cheesy snack.

I must admit to scraping the raw onion off the papas con chorizo taco ($5.50, pictured at 8 o'clock), but it was worth it for the roasted potato and soy chorizo underneath. My favourite was the frijoles con chipotle taco ($5.50, pictured at 7 o'clock) - the beans were so hearty, and garnished with a sprinkling of savoury crispy rice.

Now that I've figured out my way there by bike, I'm resolving to visit more often. The food is simple and lovely, the staff are capable and friendly, and the atmosphere is lively and colourful. Besides, I didn't have time for a horchata!

You can read about our first visit to La Tortilleria here. Since then it's received positive reviews on Not My Bread And ButterSweet & Sour ForkThe Aussie CoeliacThe New Fave and The Coeliac Plate

La Tortelleria
72 Stubbs St, Kensington
9376 5577
savoury foods, desserts

Accessibility: Limited! The entry is up some stairs and I couldn't see an alternative. The interior has narrow sections is densely packed with furniture. We ordered at our table and paid at a high counter. There's a single unisex toilet.