successful sprouts!

alfalfa sprouts

I love bean sprouts, but I have to admit I suck at making them. I don’t like buying them because of the packaging.

I’ve tried lots of methods of making sprouts, from the good old-fashioned jar with some net, to a hessian sprout bag. They almost always end up manky. This is absolutely my fault – I always forget to rinse them enough.

I BRIEFLY considered (for about one nanosecond) a top end auto rinsing model, designed for the completely sprout challenged. I dismissed it as ridiculous at a couple of hundred dollars. Really, it shouldn’t require a technological marvel to make sprouts. It should be fairly simple. Shouldn’t it?

But with failure after failure I’d pretty much abandoned hope until…

Enter my new kitchen toy, perfect for the lazy or forgetful person - an Easy Sprout sprout maker that promises no need for rinsing. I have to say I thought it was too good to be true, but it really isn’t.

Let me be clear – I think it is outrageously priced (around $40 for a few bits of plastic). But for what it does, it is a bargain. The theory is that the double walled construction holds the heat and moisture needed to sprout successfully. The heat is generated by the sprouts themselves and the moisture is retained, but in the outer container.  And it does work!

All you need to do is to soak the seeds for a few hours or overnight, rinse once and leave them alone. You can rinse them again if you like. I did this twice during the 5 days when I noticed the sprouter on the bench, but it is very forgiving. The only reason I can see why you might want to rinse, is to redistribute the seeds from the bottom of the container, to give them a better chance at sprouting more evenly. Even I can remember to do that.

So far I’ve made alfalfa, mung bean and lentil sprouts. All successfully.

I cannot speak highly enough of this sprouter.  I got mine from Sprout.




east elevation

potato and onion

This was my third trip to an East Elevation Vegan Night.

I don’t think I was blogging when I went to the first two. The first visit was great, the second even better. So I was really looking forward to my third visit.

Even though I don’t think the third visit was quite as good as the second, I wasn’t disappointed.

This time the dishes were even more refined and creative than the last couple of visits, though perhaps a little less filling. Some were utterly brilliant, and while there were one, or possibly two I didn’t enjoy as much, others in the group were impressed. I  guess it all comes down to taste.

Those quibbles aside (and they are minor quibbles), this is bargain priced vegan fine dining. $60 for 6 courses with an optional $30 wine pairing.

I love the space at East Elevation, it is open, with high ceilings and a mysterious industrial sized chocolate rolling machine in a glass room to add to the fascination. The tables are beautifully set out with flowers and herbs.

This dinner also happened to be the third trip to EE of our vegan dining group. This was the site of our first dinner. Since then we’ve eaten a lot of really good food, but EE still retains a place in my heart (and stomach) as one of the best. I love that the food here is conceived as vegan, not vegetarian with something missing, as is sometimes the case.

Here is what we ate…

jerusalem artichoke and truffle

I don’t normally like jerusalem artichokes, I find their earthiness a bit overpowering,  but this was brilliant and delicious. A jerusalem artichoke puree, truffles and crisp jerusalem artichoke chip.

artichoke and truffle


soy curd with mushrooms and sea vegetable

The sauce was poured at the table adding a little bit of theatre. I liked the flavours in this, but the curd was a little soft and disintegrated. I’d probably have preferred it with silken tofu to give more texture, but the flavours were good.

mushroom, curd and sea vegetable


confit nicola potato, crispy onion, caramelised onion, burnt leek, soy emulsion and vegan parmesan

This one was mind-blowingly wonderful. The soft potato, the crispy and caramelised onions, the smooth textured slightly tart emulsion, smoky leek and a cheesy, crunchy nut parmesan, all combined to make a great dish. Wow! I could have eaten several. Definitely dish of the night for most of us.

potato and onion


carrot, hay, stout

This one left me a bit cold, others thought it was great, but I am not a big fan of carrots. Roasted carrot, pickled carrot, carrot puree, hay flavoured emulsion of something (I wasn’t listening properly…) and a crumb of stout.

carrot, hay, stout


rhubarb, blood orange ,almond curd and nasturtium

Two ways with rhubarb, poached and smoked, with an almond curd and blood orange segments and syrup. I loved the smoked rhubarb. The blandness of the almonds and the peppery flavour of the nasturtium worked well with the tart flavours of the fruits.

rhubarb, almond, nasturtium


chocolate and almond

Hot chocolate, chocolate soil, almond praline, almond granita, chocolate with almonds and persian fairy floss. Yum.

chocolate, praline, granita, persian fairy floss


I’m glad to see vegan food being taken so seriously.


East Elevation
351 Lygon St,
East Brunswick, 3057
9381 5575

orange almond meal cake

orange almond meal cake

It’s winter and I have a fruit bowl full of navel oranges begging to be used. I cannot think of a better use for them than this wonderful cake.

This recipe is a vegan version of a beautiful Sicilian/Sephardic Jewish orange and almond cake. Navels work best in this cake because they have no seeds to remove – the oranges are pureed whole. The only non vegan ingredient in the original recipe is eggs. While eggs are reasonably easy to replace in a cake,  this one has a lot. Six in fact. So I approached it with some unease, thinking it would turn out like a brick. I need not have feared. It is a fairly dense cake, sort of like a pudding in texture, but so is the original.

It is the easiest cake to make. It is really suitable to make vegan because it is such a fudgy cake to begin with. It doesn’t suffer from having the eggs replaced with a vegan alternative, as it doesn’t need the eggs for lightness like say, a sponge.

The original is an old faithful recipe that’s been in my family for years. There are lots of versions of it out there, some with fewer oranges, some with and without flour. This is the one that seems to have settled in as my favourite.

It is utterly delicious with its combination of nutty, bitter and sweet flavours.

My only problem with this cake is I could happily scoff the lot at two or three sittings.


orange almond meal cake
prep time

cook time

total time


recipe type: sweet
cuisine: vegan
serves: 8

  • 4 small or 3 large navel oranges (they don’t have seeds)
  • 1 cup raw caster sugar
  • 6 vegan egg replacement (I used Orgran No Egg and made 6 ‘eggs’ according to the instructions)
  • 250 grams of almond meal
  • 1 cup self raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Put the whole oranges into a saucepan and boil gently for 20 minutes.
  3. Put the whole boiled oranges into a food processor and blitz until pureed but with some small bits of peel still visible.
  4. In a bowl, beat the egg replacer with the sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  5. Mix in the almond meal.
  6. Mix in the orange puree.
  7. Fold the flour in gently and scoop the mixture into a cake pan and level it out.
  8. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until done.
  9. Insert a skewer and it should come out cleanly when done.
  10. If it isn’t give it another 5 minutes.
  11. Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before turning out.



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