Browsing Tag

vegetarian

Lord of the Fries, Sydney

Reviews September 1, 2013

Amongst much hype, the popular Melbourne franchise “Lord of the Fries” has finally opened its doors to the public in Sydney and quite a frenzy has ensued! With lines up to an hour long, Sydney-siders have been queueing like crazy to get a taste of their famous fries.  Lord of the Fries is completely vegetarian (all their burger/hotdog patties are meat free) and is also vegan and gluten free friendly, which is fantastic news for allergy-sufferers of gluten and dairy as well as vegans and vegetarians alike. The menu  is stuffed with all kinds of tempting sauces including spicy mango chutney with sour cream to belgian mayo, thai satay and onion and who could go past the poutine-esque French Canadian sauce (shredded cheese and hot gravy?!).

With all the hype surrounding LOTF, I couldn’t resist a visit and soon! About a week or so after it opened, I managed to end up there on a Tuesday evening (good time to go, wait lines were much shorter – we only waited about 5 minutes!) to sample the fries for myself.

The Story (Lord of the Fries)

The idea behind Lord of the Fries began over late night snack excursions early in 2004. Mandy (Toronto) and Mark (Melbourne) met while living in Taiwan (Tainan). Their love for fries drew them closer, and their disdain for nasty frozen chemical fries inspired them to create the perfect fry.

They wanted fresh potatoes, thick but not too thick, crispy but not too crunchy, delicious and saucy, the mission began.

It was the beginning of a fast food revolution.

Landing in Melbourne in August, 2004, they decided to take the best fries you will ever try to the people! What better way than a mobile chip van now all they needed was a name.

This is where Sam (Mark’s brother) comes sizzling into the story. Being a creative wiz, he crowned the venture LORD OF THE FRIES.

The Lord was born!!

The van was on the road by October and they were traveling around the country serving up golden, crunchy, fries in a cone, with home-made sauces all inspired by flavours found across the globe. The people rejoiced!

Finally a fry that was NOT drowned in beef tallow and juiced up with gluten; NOT cooked in the cheapest oil money can buy; NOT smothered in watered down tomato sauce and sitting in a bain-marie since the beginning of time.


East LA. Hot Cheese Sauce, Salsa and Japalenos
Regular fries ($4.95) + Deluxe Sauce ($2.50)

The cheesy sauce in this East LA sauce really went nicely with the salsa and fries and was surprisingly more spicy than we expected.


French Canadian. Shredded Cheese and Hot Gravy
Regular fries ($4.95) + Deluxe Sauce ($2.50)

This was definitely the winning sauce of the evening – with a super tasty gravy and melted cheese coating the crispy fries. I was excited to have my first taste of what was closest to famous Canadian poutine, which I believe is more traditionally served with softer cheese curds rather than the shredded harder cheese that we had with this version.


Mini Burger $4.95

The perfect little snack burger goes well with their regular serving of fries for a good sized lady lunch!

I enjoyed the fries at LOTF and think it’s worth trying for those who appreciate a good chip! It’s great news for allergen sufferers and vegetarians/vegans who I don’t feel have very many franchises that cater for them specifically, especially not smack bang in the CBD. I probably wouldn’t queue up for them for over an hour, but they are a tasty treat that I would return for, especially the cheese and gravy sauced ones. I really want to give those sweet potato fries a try!

Lord of the Fries on Urbanspoon

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Vegan Mushroom Pâté

Recipes January 21, 2013

I have a bit of a confession to make.

I used to be a bit of a mushroom-hater. I have a vague recollection of eating something mushroomy as a child and enjoying it, but for the greater part of my childhood/teen life mushrooms, for me, were not an option. Family and friends would go out of their way to make sure shared dinners didn’t include them – and I avoided them like the plague. I think it was the texture and the taste I disliked so much.

It wasn’t until I was about 22 and traveling through Japan that I remember the change taking place. I was visiting a friend who lived in Osaka who made me a big bowl of steaming vegetarian nabe (Japanese soup) on my first night at his place. He added a handful of sliced Japanese mushrooms to the broth. They didn’t look too bad and smelled great… Suddenly all my mushroom reservations fell away. I took a tentative bite and was completely hooked. It opened up the world of mushrooms to me and I loved it. Suddenly cup mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms were brand new friends and thus my love affair with mushrooms was born.

I still remember the surprise on my best friend’s face when, cooking dinner at her house after that trip, I insisted we add mushrooms to the stir fry we were preparing. “What, really?” she said, with big eyes. “Yes, REALLY,” I replied. From then, I was mushroom-obsessed. They literally could not go into enough of my meals. I was just so excited to finally try all these mushroom-related recipes I had avoided before, as well discovering that mushrooms added a wonderful flavour to so many of my regular go-to recipes such as stir fries, pastas, omelettes and so much more!

It’s funny how much a simple trip overseas has the ability to change a person. That five week trip to Japan was my first real adult trip without my parents and it really opened my eyes to a whole lot of things, especially food. I fell in love with not only mushrooms, but also avocado, feta as well as mochi and curry udon (two of my biggest food-loves).

I could gush on and on all day about how much I love Japanese food and travelling there, but if you like, you can take a read a bit more on my post all about that by clicking here. I’m sure I’ll write something similar after my cherry blossom trip there in a few short months too!

Anyway, back on track and back to the Mushroom Pâté!

Australia Day is coming up and everyone knows that means BBQs-a-plenty and lots of family get-togethers! I find that I’m often asked to bring appetisers to parties so I tried to come up with a recipe that’s low in fat and incredibly delicious that everyone can enjoy, including those with common allergies and vegans.

After a bit of thought, I came up with this Mushroom Pâté recipe, and the good news is that it’s totally simple to put together. Why not whip up a batch of it this Australia Day and try something a little different from the dips and pâtés you would normally pick up from your local grocery shop this summer? It’s much fresher and better for you, without all the hidden nasties and preservatives you often find in those packaged dips!

Now, on to the recipe!


Start out with a bounty of baby bellas.


Slice ’em up and whack them into a pan with already-sautéed garlic and onion. After a minute or so, add the pan lid and cook on high for about 5 mins.


After about five minutes on high with the lid on it should look something like this and have developed some liquid. Some recipes opt to add some flour to thicken it at this stage but I didn’t feel it necessary. If yours develops quite a bit of liquid, I would recommend adding about a teaspoon of corn flour (dissolved in water to avoid lumps.) By the way, it was so hard not to eat the mushrooms just like this – especially on a piece of crusty bread. Bliss!!


After a few more minutes – this is about the final stage I wanted them at before cooling in the fridge – a good part of the liquid has evaporated, but you do want a little bit in there to smooth the pâté out some.

The next few steps are easy – place in the fridge until cool and then pulse in a food processor/magic bullet/blender with cream cheese until you get a fairly chunky consistency. Make sure you don’t go overboard with the blender as you don’t want a paste! I found a few pulses with my processor were more than enough.

Mushroom Pâté (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 1 small bowlful of pâté but serves at least 8 guests with crackers/veggie sticks.
Time to prepare: About 10 minutes to prepare ingredients, 10 minutes of actual cooking, 1-2 hours cooling time and about 2 minutes to blend.

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, grated (Use two large cloves, or 3 smaller ones – whatever you have on hand)
  • 400g Baby Bella mushrooms (2 punnets)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large (I used a soup spoon) spoonfuls of cream cheese (I used vegan cream cheese – Tofutti from Coles)

Equipment needed: Chopping board, sharp knife, 1 saucepan, a food processor/blender.

Steps

  1. Clean and slice your mushrooms. Place saucepan on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Fry onion until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and fry for a further minute. Add mushrooms. Add extra tablespoon of oil if needed.
  2. Fry mushrooms for about 1 minute on high. Cover with saucepan lid and keep on medium high heat for another 5 or so minutes until mushrooms are cooked through. Stir through balsamic vinegar. Remove to a bowl and cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until completely cool.
  3. Place cooled mushroom mixture in your food processor and add cream cheese. Blend for about thirty seconds until the mixture comes together but do not blend for too long – you don’t want it to become a paste – its much nicer with some texture to it.
  4. Serve with crackers, veggie sticks, melba toasts or corn chips! Enjoy!

Looking for some more ideas about what to use your leftover mushroom pâté for? It’s incredibly versatile and easily able to lend its great flavour to a bunch of snacks and other dishes!

  • Stirring it through freshly-cooked spaghetti, with a good glug of olive oil for good measure
  • Spread on toast, top with a softly poached egg for breakfast – great with freshly chopped herbs
  • Stirred into a nearly-cooked risotto for instant mushroom risotto
  • Folded into scrambled eggs for the perfect creamy omelette with mushroomy goodness
  • Spread onto a wrap with some of your fave ingredients (e.g. salad, caramelised onion, feta or other cheeses, cold meats, vegetarian sausages, etc)
  • Adding a few tablespoons of heated cream, or added to a creamy, cheesy sauce for pasta, steaks, or on baked chicken breasts or fish fillets. You could also try a version of this with steamed veggies too
  • Spread on top of savoury pikelets, then top with slices of smoked salmon, chopped dill and lemon juice
  • Fold into pancake batter for savoury mushroom pancakes

Mushrooms are so wonderfully versatile, not to mention naturally low in fat and a great source of Vitamin D (good for your bones and heart!) as well as lots of great minerals (potassium, phosphorus, copper, selenium and more!) for maintaining your health. Read more interesting facts about health and nutrition relating to mushrooms here. There were a lot of interesting facts about mushrooms I learned that I really had no idea about – it’s great to know that something so delicious is also so good for us too! 🙂

This post was sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers. Cooking Crusade would like to thank the AGM for this fantastic opportunity to be paid to blog about such a delicious ingredient! Thank you! 🙂

Another week has gone by! Hope you all had a lovely weekend – and the next one will be a long one 😉 Woohoo!

xox

C

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Vegan Yum Cha at Green Gourmet, Newtown

Reviews January 14, 2013

I’ve been meaning to visit Green Gourmet for their yum cha for some time now. I’m a huge fan of their restaurant and have visited many times for dinner as it’s the perfect place to go with vegan or vegetarian friends, but if I’m to be completely honest with you, their food is so good that I often go by myself or con my meat-eating friends into going and 9/10 times, they are never disappointed — you will not miss the meat at all!

Green Gourmet serve Chinese cuisine — completely vegan and all their food is cooked without garlic or onion (I’m not sure of the exact reasons behind this — I believe it has something to do with Buddhist cuisine for health reasons?). I’m constantly surprised at how delicious their food is without garlic and onion (two of my fave cooking ingredients!!)

Well enough of my banging on and let’s get to the important part — the food!

Vegan rice paper roll
Vegan rice paper roll – Vietnamese rice paper, seaweed tofu, lettuce, pickled carrot and turnip and crumbed soy protein.
I loved the freshness of the crunchy veggies and the vermicelli noodles with the sweet sauce. I need to learn to make these at home!

Savoury potato dumplings, crumbed and deep fried
Savoury potato dumplings, crumbed and deep fried
These reminded me of those KFC deep fried potato ‘mashies’ I used to be obsessed about until they stopped making them (probably a good thing lol) but slightly softer.

Mushrooms wrapped in nori with fake fish meat and deep fried
Mushrooms wrapped in nori with fake fish meat and deep fried
Just wow. The mushrooms were soo juicy and delicious and who knew they tasted so good with nori? Oh the fact that they were deep fried probably helped too, heh.

Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms
I kept sneaking bites of these amazingly flavoursome mushies in a savoury sauce.

Savoury potato and vegetable dumplings, deep fried
Savoury potato and vegetable dumplings, deep fried

Fake prawn gow gees
Fake prawn gow gees
One of my old faves — these did not disappoint! I couldn’t get over how much they tasted like real prawn gow gees.

Snow pea and mushroom dumplings
Snow pea and mushroom dumplings

Vegetarian spring rolls wrapped in thin tofu wraps
Vegetarian spring rolls wrapped in thin tofu wraps
Another old fave of mine, I used to order these at yum cha regularly. I really enjoyed the contrast between the thinly sliced tender veggies and the chewy thin tofu wraps. Soooo good.

Fake char siu pork
Fake char siu pork
This was a popular dish and did not take long for us to finish! Love that moreish char siu sauce, and this had a very similar texture to meat.

Steamed gai lan
Steamed gai lan
Who could say no to this one? I’ve been known to polish off whole plates of this myself before. I think I saw JJ’s eyes light up when she saw this one hehe.

Crispy fried rice noodles
One of my absolute faves – cheong fun – crispy fried rice noodles topped with a peanutty hoisin sauce, crushed peanuts, chilli and coriander — such an amazing blend of flavours. Another one I would love to learn how to make at home!

Sweet sesame red bean paste balls
Sweet sesame red bean paste balls.

Vegan sweets menu board
Green Gourmet also serve a tempting array of decadent sweets — just look at this list! And all of them completely vegan — good news for vegans with a sweet tooth!

Green Gourmet seating
Vegan sweets for sale
A bunch of delicious vegan treats for sale as well!

I really loved the yum cha at Green Gourmet and would highly recommend it to anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or does not eat pork/shrimp but still loves yum cha! Meat eaters definitely give this a try for something different — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Despite my love of meat, I would happily eat here any time of the day — maybe even twice in a day! 😉

My fave dishes from this outing were definitely the fried cheong fun rice noodles with hoisin sauce and coriander, the vegetarian spring rolls (with the thin tofu) and… all of the steamed dumplings. Oh and the shiitake mushrooms. And char siu ‘pork’… Need I go on? If it didn’t get any better, their yum cha presents fabulous value. The five of us ordered so many dishes and yet it came to a tiny $14 each. Unbelievable value!

If not for their yum cha menu, their dinner menu is also jam-packed full of traditional Chinese dishes with a vegan spin. They also serve a dinner buffet that I’m totally crazy about. You enter, grab an empty plate, load it sky high with all their buffet choices and pay by weight. Then stuff your face. Repeat plate piling until full. (P.S. If going for the buffet, DEFINITELY try the honey ‘chicken’. Its my fave by far! I could eat a plate of that stuff!)

One last bonus of Green Gourmet is that it’s next door to Vegan’s Choice Grocery (post to come!) — an amazing shop packed full of goodies a vegan dreams about, as well as all kinds of cakes, slices, the BEST brownies I’ve ever eaten (GF, DF AND egg free to boot!) as well as a tasty selection of homemade tofu ice-creams. Honestly, I challenge you to go in there and NOT spend a packet of money. It’s too hard, I tell you!

Green Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Hope you’re all enjoying the cooler weather. I don’t know about you guys but I’m seriously over this ‘heat-wave’ bizzo. At least we all have the long weekend to look forward too, woohoo!

Happy Monday! Only five days until the weekend 😀
xox
C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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Christmas Truffles

Recipes December 21, 2012

I cannot believe how soon it is until Christmas. Every year it seems impossibly far away, until it creeps up until BAM, it is sneakily right around the corner and you’re left with no gifts, no organisation, nothing in the cupboard and a large dose of panic.

Fortunately this year I actually strapped my Christmas boots on months in advance and absolutely vowed to myself I would be organised in order to avoid this all too familiar scenario.

It mostly worked; with the assistance of budget spreadsheets on google drive, ringing relatives early and demanding to know what they wanted for Christmas and of course, making thousands of lists of gift ideas, what to buy and when.

Of course, that never means that you remember everything – leaving last minute trips to the horrifyingly busy shops and queues a yearly reality for that last minute gift so nobody will miss out, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, I guess!

Another thing that’s crept on me recently – this month’s Sweet Adventure’s Blog Hop, hosted by the lovely Christina from the Hungry Australian. This month’s theme is “Sweets for Santa”. For those who are new to the SABH concept, its a monthly dessert themed blog hop hosted by 84th & 3rd, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader, Delicieux, Dining with a Stud and The Hungry Australian. Bloggers participate by creating a dessert according to that month’s theme and post about it and read about other bloggers’ themed desserts – a great way to connect with other bloggers and share yummy and creative recipes!

I had been meaning to pop my Christmas hat on for some time but the weeks got away from me and finally I had the time to make a batch of these Christmas truffles.

These pudding truffles are basically a Christmassy version of a cake pop (minus the lolly pop stick) – you simply crumble fruit cake, mix in melted chocolate, shape into truffle sized balls, dip into more melted chocolate and decorate.

You can also add a splash (or more!) of alcohol for an adult-version if you are so inclined, but this version is great for kids as well. If you’re also struggling to come up with ideas for what to bring to a Christmas ‘do this year, turn up with a plate of these and you’ll be the star of the party!

While it is time consuming forming all of the truffles and decorating with the cherries, these are very simple to put together. You could use it as a fun project you could make you with your kids and really, it does require very few ingredients – just pre-bought christmas cake, a lot of chocolate, a little coconut oil (if you don’t have this, you could of course substitute with another flavourless vegetable oil, e.g. soybean, etc*) and a few glacé cherries, I mean hey, it wouldn’t be Cooking Crusade if it weren’t ridiculously simple!

*please note that oils such as olive, peanut or sesame would not be suitable oils to substitute for coconut as they are quite strongly flavoured. the coconut oil has quite a mild flavour and is not really noticeable in this recipe.

Occasionally I’ll go a little bit camera-nuts and decide I want to take in depth photos step by step of how to make a particular recipe, and this is one of those times! So just a warning, this post is pretty pic heavy!

So, lets get down to truffling!


To start, you will need light fruit cake, 2x bars good quality dark chocolate, 1 x bar white chocolate, some glace cherries and some coconut oil.


To start, roughly chop your fruit cake to make it easier to mash up. I bought an 800 gram packet, but only wanted 600 grams, so chopped it into 8 equal pieces and only used six of them.



Meanwhile, break up your first bar of dark chocolate to melt (I used 10 sec bursts in the microwave).


Pour melted chocolate into cake mixture.


Incorporate until the mixture resembles (this is hardly poetic, but) soil.


Start melting your second batch of dark chocolate and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.


Melted chocky goodness.


Using a teaspoon, scoop out one spoonful of the mixture and rolling between your hands, form small balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. If time allows, plunk it into the fridge to set for about an hour. But if you’re like me, proceed and hopefully everything will be fine!


Ready for dunking? This is the fun part!


Roll your truffles in the melted chocolate.



Until you have many shiny chocolatey truffly balls of goodness.
By the way – if you wanted to set these now and serve them as is if you don’t have time to decorate, these would be great as is and still taste pretty much the same with the additional decorating. But if you want things to be slightly prettier and more Christmassy, soldier on!

Now pop these little chocolate goodies into the fridge to set.

While those are setting, prepare your decorations.


I used 100 grams of white chocolate (about 4 bars of a Cadbury Dream family size bar).


You could melt this separately in a bowl and then pour into your chosen piping bag / bottle / ziplock bag if you prefer, but I found it easier to simply just pop the chocolate into the piping bottle and melt it directly in there in the microwave.


Melted.
I added a teaspoon of coconut oil to this too to thin it a little for piping.


Slice your glacé cherries all ready for decorating.
I bought these from Coles in the baking aisle.

SO I didn’t get very many photos of the decorating process, sorry! But I will explain it as best I can…

Slice your glacé cherries thinly – the idea is that the truffles look like mini Christmas puddings with custard (the white chocolate) and holly leaves (the glacé cherries). Pipe the melted white chocolate onto the tops of the truffles and arrange glacé cherries on top while the chocolate is still liquid, to ‘glue’ them on top. And that’s pretty much it! Return to the fridge to finish setting the chocolate and you’re done!




A plate of goodies to take to my next Christmas party!


These are also great to wrap up and give as gifts over this Christmas season.

Christmas Truffles (a recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 40 truffles (approx)
Time to prepare: About 30-40 minutes to prepare, 1-2 hours to chill and another 20-30 minutes to decorate

Ingredients
For the truffles
600 grams light fruit cake, sliced into chunks
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Nestle Plaistowe 70% Cocoa dark chocolate)

For the truffle chocolate coating
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Nestle Plaistowe 70% Cocoa dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the white chocolate truffle coating
100 grams white chocolate (I used Cadbury Dream)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Red and green glacé cherries to decorate

Equipment needed
Large mixing bowl, masher (or fork), small glass bowl (enough to hold chocolate), 1 piping bottle (or a ziplock bag will do in a pinch), sharp knife and cutting board, baking tray lined with grease proof paper.

  1. Place fruit cake in a large mixing bowl. Mash the heck out of it using a potato masher, or even a fork will do in a pinch. You could use a food processor if you wanted this crazily smooth, but I don’t mind a bit of texture to it, and honestly I think the masher/fork does a pretty good job most of the way.
  2. Melt 200 grams dark chocolate in a smaller bowl (I usually microwave it in 10 second bursts until completely melted). Pour melted chocolate into the mashed up fruit cake.
  3. Fold chocolate and cake together until the chocolate is fully incorporated into the cake. The mix should have a fairly uniform colour.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop up the chocolate cake mixture and roll between the palms of your hands until you have small balls. Place on a lined baking tray until you have used all the chocolate/cake mixture. Place in the fridge to set. (*Note: if you are an impatient lady like me, you can skip this step, but this will probably keep the balls from falling apart in the melted chocolate – not that I had massive issues with this, but it would probably make them handle a bit better).
  5. Prepare your second batch of chocolate for the truffle coating. Break up the bar of chocolate and place in the same bowl you used for chocolate melting previously (hey, save on washing up why not?) Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and melt the same way you did before (10 sec bursts in the microwave) or your fave choccy melting method.
  6. Remove truffles from the fridge and dip into melted chocolate. Roll in the melted chocolate using a spoon, remove and drizzle excess chocolate off truffle (as much as possible) and return to baking tray. Repeat until all truffles are coated. I found that the 200g of chocolate was the perfect amount to coat the 40 truffles I got out of this recipe. Return truffles to the fridge to set again.
  7. Place 100 grams white chocolate into your piping bottle and microwave until completely melted. Add coconut oil and stir to combine. Pipe white chocolate onto your set truffles and add chopped glacé cherries to decorate to look like mini Christmas puddings. Set the white chocolate in the fridge. Best served at room temperature and great to give as gifts!

I do hope you all have absolutely lovely plans for Christmas! I’m hosting a small Christmassy get together this Sunday (my first one, truth be told. I’m rather excited!) Then the usual family get togethers with my and my partner’s families over Christmas and Boxing Day with the usual food and gift frenzy! I’ve also booked movie tickets in advance to see Les Mis on Boxing Day night – it looks amazing and I can’t wait! A week or so off work will also be very greatly appreciated and hopefully I will spend a great deal of the time sleeping and lazily eating. Heaven!

Much love and have an absolutely amazing Chrissy!!

xo

C

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Hothis Indian Cuisine, Epping

Reviews December 3, 2012

Plain naan bread

I don’t usually do reviews on my weekday lunches. I tend to save my blog posts for nicer dinners out and my fave dessert recipes. However, I do actually eat out quite a lot during the week while at work, usually due to my lack of organisation to pre-plan my lunches, but also when friends visit me at the office.

Admittedly Epping (where I work) is not exactly a restaurant hub like closer suburbs (Eastwood, for example). It’s certainly got nothing on the wonderful restaurants in the city, but it does have a few worthwhile options that I frequent every now and again!

I thought I’d start out with what is quickly becoming one of my favourites – Hothis Indian Cuisine: conveniently located a few spots down from the famed Beschico. I honestly don’t eat Indian food very often. I find that it is difficult to find a good enough place to visit regularly unless you have a recommendation from a friend. Hothis was recommended to me by an ex-colleague who used to visit there every now and again. I tried it once and was hooked from the get-go! Not only is the food great but it’s also ridiculously cheap, which is a plus factor.

Selection of curries at Hothis

Unfortunately, Hothis has very limited lunch hours and only opens for lunch twice during the week, on Thursdays and Fridays (11.30am-2.00pm), so is more targeted towards the dinner crowds (being open from Monday to Saturday, 4.30-8.30pm). However, since I only visit occasionally, I save my Thursdays for Hothis. Whenever I visit, it tends to be very quiet on the inside but this is not a reflection of how good the food is! Takeaways seem to be more popular than eat-ins and I quite like eating in for a quieter atmosphere.

Inside Hothis

As a food blogger I must admit my shameful truth – I only ever order the same thing when I visit Hothis. I do personally tend to pick food favourites when revisiting my fave restaurants (whereas I imagine most other food bloggers are far more adventurous and experimental when it comes to choosing different meals when eating out) – but let me just say that, at Hothis, the dishes I pick really are that good. I look over the rest of the available curries whenever I visit and they all look so tempting but I know how good my faves are and, well… I just can’t go past them. Do you, dear readers, do the same? I’d love to know what your fave dishes for eating out are, so I can give them a try too!

Mango Lassi
Mango Lassi, $2.90 (plain lassis are slightly cheaper at $2.70)

Vegetable samosa
Vegetable samosa (spiced peas and potatoes in pastry, deep fried), served with raita, (a cucumber and yoghurt sauce), $2.00

Two curries with rice and naan
Garlic naan with rice, Vegetable Korma and Eggplant and Potato Curry (Two curries plus naan and rice for $7.90)

Two different curries with rice and naan
Plain naan with rice, Lamb Rogan Josh (mild) and Mango Chicken (mild) ($7.90)

Dhal and curry on rice
Dhal, potato and eggplant curry piled lovingly on rice – medium size. $7.70

Here it is – my favourite combination of all time to order at Hothis! The dhal is perfectly spiced and richly flavoured. I often forget how amazing lentils are until I have a big spoonful of this… and then I remember – they can be very, very good.

Out of the two though, I have to say my ultimate favourite is the potato and eggplant curry for sure. I love eggplant so, so much and this does it justice. It is cooked so well that it is tender and silky and pairs well with the soft potatoes that are unbelievably flavoursome. It just melts in your mouth – if curry is even capable of such a thing. I know it looks rather messy and not too pretty – but then, so me of the best foods really are like that, aren’t they?

Hothis menu
Hothis extras menu
Hotis lunch specials
Lunch specials.

Hothis is a cheap and cheerful place that is great to visit for a weekday lunch (on Thursdays and Fridays) and, I’m sure, dinner takeaways. I absolutely love the dhal and potato/eggplant curry and also am a sucker for the crispy, flaky samosas with their flavoursome insides which go well with the tart raita sauce to balance the rich flavours of the samosa.

Since their vegetarian food is such high quality, this place is definitely suitable for veggie lovers! Despite my love of their dhal and potato/eggplant curry, I must admit that the lamb rogan josh, mango chicken, butter chicken and chicken tikka all have me very tempted! It is also an incredibly cheap place to eat for lunch – and the prices are still very good for dinner takeaways or eat ins – much cheaper than a lot of other Indian restaurants I have visited.

Those looking for parking, I would advise parking in the Coles Epping carpark which is located on Rawson Street and has free parking for two hours. You can then walk through the arcade that links Rawson Street to Beecroft Road and walk up to Hothis from there. If you’re feeling like something sweet afterwards, then good news! A YogurBerry has very recently opened up just a shop or two next to Hothis for those looking for their next froyo fix! I’m so addicted – I think I need to check into froyo rehab…

Some extra trivia:
Hothis cooks all their dishes in pure polyunsaturated vegetable oil using no animal fats with natural herbs and spices. Their food does not contain any artificial preservatives or MSG.

Hothis Indian Cuisine
Address: 46 Beecroft Road, Epping
Phone: 9869 0997
Website: hothis.com.au Website Coming Soon
Email: info@hothis.com.au

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Another week is gone! Only 3-4 more weeks until Christmas, woohoo!!

xoxo
C

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Super Simple Mango Gelato

Recipes November 12, 2012

Scoop of mango gelato in bowl

Here’s a recipe to get you ready for summer… A ridiculously easy mango sorbet you can whip up in no time – and no ice cream maker needed! You will however, require a food processor – or a high quality blender may do the trick too. I finally caved in and purchased a food processor and I looove it. Homemade cookie dough dip? Yes please. Pesto, hommos, capsicum dips? I’m there! I can’t imagine my kitchen life without it now! If you have any great food processor recipes, please share as I’d love to have another excuse to whip mine out 🙂

Frozen chunk of mango gelato

Now, onto matters more gelato related…

This recipe is very easy to prepare and make, and only takes a few minutes to blend – what’s not to love?

Start out by (not pictured) freezing fresh mango flesh in ziplock bags overnight.

Chopped chunks of frozen mango gelato
Remove mango flesh from ziplock bag and slice into chunks.

Chunks of mango gelato in blender
Chunks of mango gelato is blender with brown sugar
Place mango in food processor. Optional: Add sweetener if desired (brown sugar pictured) and/or a splash of vanilla essence.

Blended mango gelato before adding milk
Blend. (Pictured without sugar). Mangoes become crumbled and require some liquid to help it become creamy and smooth.

Blended mango gelato after adding milk
Add milk of choice and blend again – it should become nice and creamy!

Scoop of mango gelato served in bowl
Scoop and serve! Enjoy!

Mango gelato in plastic container for storage
You can also freeze any leftovers in a plastic container for later. This shot reminds me of pumpkin puree hehe.

Here’s the handy-dandy recipe!

Super Simple Mango Gelato (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Serves: About 3 people
Time to prepare: Mangoes need to be frozen overnight but actual blending takes less than a few minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups frozen mango, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk but you can use whatever you like – cow’s milk, almond, coconut etc.)
  • 1-2 T maple syrup or brown sugar*
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I just added this for some flavour but it’s not neccessary.)

* You can omit if your mangoes are very sweet. These particular mangoes I bought were very cheap and not terribly sweet – clearly they had been forced to ripen early in order to meet demand and unfortunately did not have the best flavour. However, in my experience, proper ripe mangoes are usually more than sweet enough without the sugar added. See for yourself – you can always add extra sugar after tasting if you like (I made two batches, one with and without sugar).

Note: This recipe requires a little preparation overnight – to freeze the mangoes.

  1. Slice cheeks of mangoes (I used about 3 medium sized ones) and scoop out the flesh. Freeze in a ziplock bag overnight.
  2. Remove frozen mangoes from ziplock bag and chop roughly to make it a bit easier for the food processor to blend.
  3. Place mango chunks and vanilla essence (if using) into food processor bowl and blend for about 1 minute or until it is completely broken up into tiny pieces. Add milk tablespoon by tablespoon or until you get the creamy consistency you like.
  4. Taste. If it’s sweet enough, serve – but if not, add sugar spoonful by spoonful, blending after each addition and taste each time to get the right sweetness for you.
  5. Scoop mango gelato out of processor bowl using an ice-cream scoop into bowls and serve! I’d like to try topping this with some freshly whipped cream (or coconut cream) and chopped macadamia nuts for that true mango cream Weiss bar feel. Mmm. Weiss bars. But honestly its pretty good by itself – even my vegan Mum enjoyed it! Any leftovers can be poured into a plastic container and stored in the freezer. It will harden, but a few 10 sec zaps in the microwave should be enough to make it scoopable.

Feel free to play around with the measurements in this recipe. You can add more / less mango and just add the milk / sweetener afterwards so you can get a good consistency / sweetness.

Hope you enjoy this super simple summery recipe !

xoxo
C

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52 Comments
Tofu Bean Stir Fry

Tofu and Bean Stir Fry

Recipes October 10, 2011

 

I absolutely love getting snake bean dishes at Chinese restaurants, but often find it difficult to find places that make it without pork mince (since I don’t eat pork;) so I thought I’d have a whack at trying my own version. I love the sweetness of the sauce with the beans and the added tofu is a lovely combination and adds some protein. Try this one as a side dish, or throw in some noodles at the end for a lip smacking taste sensation 🙂 It would also be great with some rice and works well for leftovers the next day. This recipe also works well for some vegetarians or even vegans who are looking for a super yummy easy weeknight meal to throw together.

Tofu and Bean Stir Fry
serves 2.
prep time about 5 minutes
cook time about 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 bunch of snake beans
1 package of tofu (in this instance I’m using the Soyco Asian honey soy pre-marinated package you can buy from the supermarket, e.g. Coles, etc. However if you can’t find this, you can still use firm tofu plain or marinate it yourself in some soy, honey and garlic.)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce or regular soy will do just fine (the dark soy adds a nice sweetness.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

If marinating the plain tofu, dice the firm tofu into small cubes and marinate in a small bowl in the fridge overnight (1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of honey + 1 clove of grated garlic).

If using the Soyco brand, dice into small cubes and set aside. Wash and cut snake beans into segments, grate/crush/dice ginger and garlic. Heat vegetable oil in a non stick fry pan over high heat and add the garlic and ginger. Allow it to sizzle and release that delicious scent. If using plain/marinated tofu, add to the pan now and fry for about 5-10 minutes to brown (the Soyco brand doesn’t need this since it’s already cooked – just needs to warm through.) Add snake beans to the pan and fry for another 5 minutes until their skins start to look a little shriveled and puckered (you want this! that means deliciousness!)

If using Soyco tofu, fry ginger and garlic and add beans straight to the pan until cooked as above. Add Soyco tofu and cook for a further 5 minutes or until tofu is hot. If you want to add some noodles, add them now! You can also add some extra vegies, cashew nuts, serve it on some rice or whatever else takes your fancy, but it is just lovely as is.

 
I tried these beans with some sticky hoisin marinated salmon and steamed corn and it was juuust lovely 🙂

Check out more pics of this dish on my Facebook page by clicking here. Hit the like button and I’ll be your friend foreeever!

xoxoxo

Hope you are having a fab week!
Christine

5 Comments
final-cous-cous

Coriander and Pine Nut Cous Cous

Uncategorized April 11, 2011

Hmm. It’s been awhile between posts! I promised myself I wouldn’t abandon my blog with the mad craze of the wedding plans. Plus for some reason I decided to start a wedding blog, which y’all can read here. It taint nothing fancy, and it’s called Christine Wedding Notes.. haha. Mainly a space for me to keep all my ideas and thoughts in one place!

I was waiting to post this recipe for awhile until I got some decent pics of me making it, but I haven’t had the time lately. All I can promise is that once you make this.. you will never go back!

Here we go!

Did you know, dear readers, that I used to hate cous cous? Yep. I despised it. Why, I pondered, would anyone make the decision of cous cous over rice? I couldn’t understand why so many people loved it. It just seemed so, well.. tasteless and completely bland.

Until I tasted this cous cous. My job often involves organising catering for meetings at work – and this is one of the recipes that is regularly in use. As soon as I smelled that wonderful scent of coriander and garlic infused into the cous cous, I knew I had to have the recipe! Luckily the caterer is very generous and lovely with her recipe-sharing, so I finally got my hands on it! And I’ve been making it ever since. I asked for her permission to put the recipe on my blog and she agreed – but she asked me not to put her name up for credit, since she said she got the recipe from a Sanitarium booklet. Good job, Sanitarium. Good. Job. 🙂

Shall we begin?

Ingredients: To serve 4 people (as a side-dish.)
1 cup cous cous
1 cup vegetable stock (plus another cup handy in case you need it – I have found that I often need a little more. I usually use Massell Chicken Stock. Plus instead of making actual chicken stock, I just add hot water and sprinkle the stock powder over.)
1 diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, diced, minced, grated – whichever takes your fancy.
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped. (I usually omit this cos .. me and capsicum aren’t great friends. But feel free to add it – it adds lovely colour to the dish.)
1/2 a cup of currants (Sometimes I go overboard and add a whole cup. I just love the couscous studded with the yummy currants.)
1/4-1/2 cup of pine nuts (These can get a little expensive, so you can add as little or as much as you want to this dish. But I would encourage you to add them – they add a lovely nuttiness to the dish)
1/2 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
olive oil

Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add your diced onion, garlic and capsicum (if using.) Sautee until soft. Add parsley flakes if you like (which I always do!)

Add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to the boil (or like me, add hot water and sprinkle over stock powder.)

Add cous cous and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. You may need to add a little more hot water/stock powder – taste the cous cous. If it is still gritty, add more water. If it is soft and fluffy, it’s all good.

Stir in pine nuts, currants and coriander and a little olive oil if it is dry.

Super-delicious and super-easy… my two favourite things! I love how quickly you can make this – soo much faster than rice! It also microwaves really well (important factor for leftovers. lol). I love making a batch of it to take to friend’s houses for dinner – it’s a great versatile dish that goes with lots of other dishes. Of course, it goes without saying that it goes perfectly with Crispy Moroccan Chicken ;).

Enjoy the conversion to cous cous! 😉

xx Christine

10 Comments