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I’m taking a break

I’m sick and I will be taking a break from my blogging for a bit to have surgery, treatment and then to recover. I hope to be back in about 8 months.



hand made ramen noodles

hand made ramen noodles

I love ramen, even the instant kind.  But those deep-fried instant ramen, that were part of my staple diet as a uni student, are a poor imitation of the real thing.

Fresh ramen, like the ones you get in a ramen bar are a delight.  The trouble is that, as a vegan, it is sometimes difficult to find a ramen bar that serves a vegan broth.

The answer is to make them. I’ve never done it before, but I am excited that I have. They are pretty easy, particularly if you have a pasta machine. And they are delicious.

The secret ingredient in ramen noodles is alkaline water. This is what gives the noodles their slightly chewy texture. To make this you need an alkaline salt. Traditionally this is kansui which is a combination of potassium carbonate & sodium bicarbonate. But, an easy replacement is easily made at home by “cooking” sodium bicarbonate in an oven on a low heat for an hour. This raises the pH of the bicarb making it more alkaline.

This is then dissolved in the water used to make the dough. Once you have made the baked bicarb, making the noodles is fast. Another piece of good news is that the noodles can be frozen and used later to make “instant” ramen.

There are other recipes out there that cook normal noodles in water with unbaked sodium bicarbonate but they reportedly don’t taste good. So I settled on this more traditional one where alkaline water is used to make the dough. There are a heap of recipes out there. I based this one on a recipe on the New York Times by Harold McGee who is credited with the idea of baking the sodium bicarbonate to make the alkaline salt.


hand made ramen noodles
prep time
cook time
total time
recipe type: vegan
serves: 3-4
To make the baked bicarbonate
  • ¼ cup sodium bicarbonate (This is more than you need, you will need only 1 tsp. This makes enough for 12 batches. It will keep indefinitely in a sealed container.)
To make the noodles
  • 1 tsp of the baked sodium bicarbonate
  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 100 ml warm water
Bake the sodium bicarbonate
  1. Spread the ¼ cup of sodium bicarbonate on a foil or paper lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour at 120 deg C.
Make the noodles
  1. Take 1 tsp of the baked bicarb and store the remainder for later use.
  2. Dissolve the 1 tsp of baked bicarb in the warm water.
  3. Add the liquid to the flour and mix into a dough. It will be quite dry.
  4. Knead for 5 minutes.
  5. Wrap the dough and rest for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out thinly and cut into fine noodles. I used a pasta machine to roll and cut the dough.
  7. Cook in boiling unsalted water for 1-2 minutes, drain, rinse and use in your favourite recipe.


ramen soup


I used the noodles in a soup with green vegetables and a miso and soy broth. I also ate them as a snack with some kecap manis, sriracha, sliced spring onions and sesame oil.

Simple and good.

burgers, brats and tacos – vegan dude food in hobart

vegan hot dog

I headed down to Hobart last week to visit my friend for a few days. Hobart in Summer is glorious and it was a welcome respite from the latest run of Melbourne’s heat and humidity.

It wasn’t intentional, but looking back, I seem to have gone on a bit of a dude food bender while I was there. Hot dogs, burgers, Mexican and beer all featured! Not that I am complaining. It was delicious. 🙂

First stop was for a hotdog at Brat Time.  I had a hard time finding it. Google maps told me I was right out the front but I couldn’t see it. Until I realised it was underground…

I settled on the Volcanic Veg hotdog. This is a vegan hotdog on a bun with beans, corn, caramelised onion, jalapeno, guacamole and hot chilli sauce. Not haute cuisine but pretty good junk food. NOTE: It has since been pointed out by some Tasmanian vegans that the guacamole is NOT vegan. I’m disappointed because I did ask.

Next up was a visit to the Cascade Brewery where I went on a brewery tour that included four beers. It wasn’t difficult to while away a couple of hours in the lovely gardens there, reading my book and drinking beer.

cascade brewery

That evening we decided on a burger at The Burger Haus. In keeping with my not being able find eating places, this one was hidden down a lane that leads to a carpark. We walked the entire block and eventually found it. We sat at a table outside on a deck, not much of a view, but it was a beautiful balmy night, perfect for a beer and a burger.

There are a couple of vegan options on the menu and my friend and I both chose the same one (Sweet Soy Tofu) as it sounded so good. Mushroom, crispy fried tofu, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot, red onion, coriander, sweet soy sauce and sweet chilli jam. It was good but it was a little dry and would have been better with some extra relish. My beer came in its own special brown paper bag,  so I felt a bit like a secret drinker.

The last evening I was in Hobart we opted for a late dinner at Pancho Villa Mexican after a couple of hours singing with a local gospel choir. Both the singing and the food were excellent.

The restaurant was pretty busy, so we headed to the bar out the back and had some more beer and a few dishes to go with it. Blue corn chips with three salsas (salsa roja, a pistachio based salsa, and a corn and chipotle salsa), some spicy refried beans and some spiced tofu tacos with salsa verde, red cabbage and a corn and black olive salsa on a soft corn tortilla. All delicious.

Pancho Villa Mexican
378 Elizabeth Street,
North Hobart, Tasmania,7000
03 6234 4161

The Burger Haus
364A Elizabeth St
Hobart, Tasmania

Cascade Brewery
140 Cascade Rd,
South Hobart, Tasmania
03 6224 1117

Cascade Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brat Time
Underground 53 Elizabeth Street,
Hobart, Tasmania

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