And We’re Back! Kind Living Cafe in Maleny, QLD

Seb and I have just come back from a lovely couple of weeks in Australia. It was the first time we’d been back in 4 years and our first trip as vegans. Well, there’s no surprise that we found Australia pretty awesome as far as food goes. We really had an amazing time and there was so much to blog about, however, if I try to put it all in to one post, I will never get around to it, so consider this the first of several Australia trip-related posts.

Towards the end of our trip we headed to Maleny to meet some friends. It’s a small town about an hour from Brisbane in the hinterland of the the Sunshine Coast. It was my first visit there. The countryside was beautiful. So green and reminded me so much of Sussex in May. Our kind hosts Jack and Mary (my dear brother and his lovely girlfriend, also vegan) made sure that we checked out the Kind Living Cafe.

Here are Mary, Jack, Seb and newly engaged Tash and Steve! Whoot!

We came to Maleny and saw that the cafe was closed, however, they were prepared to sell us cake to take away.

Kind Living Cafe is Raw and Vegan. The woman who owns it basically has my dream life. She runs this restaurant, does free diet coaching and has a property which is a sanctuary for animals. I bet it’s hard work though.

I love the messages all around the walls. Making connections. I had a long chat with the server. It seems that the cafe is doing really well. Could I have a cafe and become a gazillionaire?

This was the cherry chocolate cake with cashew cream. $6.50 only. Our friends Tash and Steve had never eaten vegan cake before and they thought it was delicious. WIN!

 

Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan

Earlier on in the year I met and became friends with Christy Morgan AKA The Blissful Chef. During her 6 weeks in Thailand we spent nearly every weekend together cooking up a storm and going to restaurants. It was so nice to spend time with someone who has such similar interests.  After her return to the US I have happily been watching her work; educating people in Texas through her cooking classes and events. Christy had her first book released just a few months ago and she mailed me a copy of her book. It seemed to take forever to arrive but finally it did!

Her approach is raw and macrobiotic and low in fat so it is ridiculously healthy. It is such a beautiful book and so well designed. The recipes are sorted by seasons and clearly labelled as soy free, gluten free and also by how long they take to cook. In these days where there are so many fantastic vegan cookbooks on the market, it must be hard to do something that will make a mark and I really think she has managed to do so.

I have created a number of recipes from her book already, (I’ve got  bowl of her Hearty Lentil Soup on the stove right now) but real standouts so far have been her incredible salad dressings and her Macro Mac and Cheese. Now I have had MANY veg mac and cheese recipes. Most call for non-dairy cheese, or cashew nuts , or non dairy milk but not Christy’s. Hers has butternut pumpkin and tahini and it was absolute delicious. So incredibly creamy and I will agree that it did not taste the same as conventional mac and cheese but it certainly ticked the boxes of creamy, comforting and satisfying and so healthy and nutrient density was really high. I am sure I will blogging more from Christy’s book in future!  I should also note that Christy uses very little processed foods like vegan mayo or Earth Balance which means it is great book to have in Asia where such foods are difficult to locate and are also pricey. Thank you Christy for all the work you do and creating such a wonderful book.

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Deliciousness in Bali

A lot of people ask me if it is hard to travel as a vegan. My answer to this question is ‘not really’. It is true that some destinations are better than others and travelling as a vegan requires its own blog post one day but in the meantime, let me whet your appetite with some of the amazing food I have eaten in the past week while on holiday in beautiful Bali.

I’ve been to Bali twice before, once as a vegan and once as a vegatarian and I am always wowed by it. I usually spend most time in Ubud which if you have not been, it is on the hippy trail. It’s full of people who are doing yoga retreats, finding themselves and usually these kind of people are in to healthier foods so there are some amazing choices out there for vegans. It is one of my favourite destinations for food. The price, quality of the meals and the range is just wonderful. There’s something for all; comfort foods, raw, vegan, you name it, they’ve got it.

Lots of picture here, but let’s start off with our accomm. I’d stayed at T House Bali before, but this time I choose one of the cheaper villas called Japanese Garden. It worked out about $55 a night for a 2 bedroom villa. I liaised directly with the owner and she was fantastic to deal with. Breakfast was included and they made me some nice tempeh and rice, but after the first breakkie, we decided to head downtown for some preferred choices,

Anyway, here is Japanese Garden at T house Bali. It’s about a 30 minute walk in to downtown or a 50,ooo IPR taxi ride.

A quick look on Happy Cow shows 38 listings for vegan, vegetarian and veg friendly food and a large majority of those are in Ubud. We spent most of our meals at Clear Cafe, Kafe, Bali Buddha and Sari Organik, all very veg friendly places. They have a wide range of vegan, macrobiotic and raw foods. Pretty much paradise for little ol’ me.

Kafe is part of Yoga Barn and it also has a small shop attached with some fantastic food stuffs. I bought some raw cacao nibs.

Macrobiotic breakfast – basically brown rice, steamed veggies, fried tempeh with a lemon sesame dressing.

Soba noodle veggie bowl

Tofu scramble with a side of fried potatoes

Meg’s salad bowl – enormous salad,  roasted seeds & tempeh bits

Anti-oxidant shake – cacao nibs, banana and other yum stuff

Blueberry smoothie thing

Clear Cafe is probably our favourite restaurant, but we tended to eat there in the evening and the lighting does not lend itself to pictures of a good enough quality to post, even for me, still here are some of what went in to our tummies. Oh… Since my last visit, they also have a small shop attached. In it they sell lots of vegan and raw crackers as well as vegan soap. We bought a brownie to have on our drive to Amed. it was seriously good.

Chocolate Butterfly Smoothie is probably one of my favourite drinks of all time. Cacao nibs, banana and vanilla.

Choc / coffee icecream pie with a slab of mulberry icecream pie

Spring rolls with tamarind sauce

Such a beautiful space. Also eaten, but not pictured, a tempeh Reuben salad.

Bali Buddha is one of the oldest restaurants in Ubud. I especially love it as it has a very wide range of products in its attached store. We bought pecans, coconut oil, pine nuts and vanilla beans.

Garden Salad

Chai tea with almond milk

A tropical raw pie

Sari Organik was new to me. It’s set nearly 1km off the road in the rice fields. The walk up there is love. See?

Lemon and mint soda

Green Salad

Pizza

Gado Gado (battered leaf thing was not vegan. A woman came running up to me as I was putting it in my mouth)

Adrienne’s Nasi Campur

Raw chowder

Borscht

My old friend Adrienne enjoying her green concoction at Siri Organik. Note the bamboo straw!

The last place I visited was Warung Sopa. I just had a drink here, but it is really cute. It says it is pure vegetarian but they do have egg.

On Wednesday, we headed to Amed which is on the east coast of Bali. We’ve been there before and we loved it. Picture a quiet road going along beaches and headlands, Jukung boats and little boutique hotels and dive shops. We stayed in Anda Amed resort. We’d stayed there before and loved it for so many reasons and even though they were not as familiar with vegan food requirements, we there was plenty to keep us happy. To vary it up we had to ask for some changes and substitutions, but this was easy to ask and they made us feel that they were very willing to accommodate us.

Tofu and tempeh curry

Tempeh Satay with a stunning green bean, coconut and crispy fried onions.  As usual, presentation is stunning in Bali. In the background, Seb’s pizza.

Eggplant dip

Crunchy tempeh noodle salad

I hope you are not thinking that the whole holiday we just spend thinking about food. I don’t think we do. No more than other people which is still probably too much, but of course it is always nice to be able to take advantage of the locally available products and dishes and to eat so healthily for me is really important. I really noticed on this holiday how I craved just plates of vegetables and salads. This might seem boring and hard work for many other people, but I think I am evolving with my eating. When I first became vegan I really enjoyed veganising the things that were not vegan like shepherd’s pie and enchiladas, these days I much prefer to eat lots of whole grains and vegetables that are steamed or raw. If you told me that 5 years ago, I would have probably laughed, but the fact is (like everyone) I am in flux. My palate has changed. The flavour of the vegetables by themselves is enough for me and I feel better for eating them.

Other amazing experiences on this holiday was the diving. I am not an experienced diver and had not done any diving since I got my Open Water 8 years ago. Seb is quite experienced but also had not done any for ages either. Neither of us had done any since we became vegan. Well, suffice to say we loved it. Not that I am comparing my experience to others, but for me, being vegan makes me look at fish and their friends in a whole new light. I appreciate their existence, their beauty and the wonder of the ocean. I consider myself privileged to see these incredible animals in their natural habitat. My sense of wonder is much deeper than it was before I was vegan. Seb felt the same way. It was pretty magical. Being vegan is truly the best thing I have ever done. #Fact.

Lunch at Ariya

I went to Ariya’s yesterday for only the second time ever. It’s moved from it’s previous home in MBK to Q House Lumpini, next to the park. It’s a tiny raw food cafe. I am going to try to get to the Meet Up that’s happening there next weekend.

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The inside of Ariya’s.

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This was the secret salad. The dressing was made from ginger and lemongrass. My favourite item.

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This was a mushroom salad thing with some of their crackers. Also good.

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Apple pie for dessert. This was the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of. It was still a bit frozen and lacked much flavour.