bread, butter, cheese and a sandwich

sandwich

On one of the coldest days last week, I spent the day cooking.  I made a loaf of bread, some bread rolls, butter and cheese. I know it is relatively easy to buy all these things in Melbourne, but I find a lot of pleasure in making the most basic foods like these. I make bread the most often, because the no knead recipe is so simple, and the results are so rewarding.

I’ve only made vegan butter once,  before the arrival of Half Pint Vegan Dairy butter.  But with no butter available at the moment from Half Pint, I decided I’d make some. The recipe I used is the one at veganbaking.net. I make cheese probably once a month, and live in hope that I will finally make the perfect vegan cheese. I’m still trying. :) In the meantime I’ve settled on this one. At the end I had a very nice cheese and tomato crunchy roll with some sprouts for lunch. Sometimes simple pleasures are the best.

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

eastelevation.com.au

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