Vegans in Vanuatu

Forgive me my absence, dear vegans! I know it’s been a while, but as far as excuses go, how does travel and then a major debilitating injury work for you? I’ll take you back to the beginning… with some food stops along the way, of course.


Sunshine and snow fields

For the past three and a half years since we moved to Canberra, people back home have constantly commented on how great it must be to be so close to the snow. And for the past three and a half years, we’ve nodded and changed the subject- because in the past three and a half years, we hadn’t ventured down there once.

This weekend is a long weekend (with the Queen’s birthday being perhaps the only redeeming aspect of Australia’s failure to become a republic yet), so we decided to finally head to the Snowy Mountains. Snow season officially opened last week, but alas, to the sight of no snow yet. Regardless, it’s still a pretty place and a nice way to spend some time.

Knowing that our food options would be limited, we decided to pack a picnic lunch to take down with us. After a leisurely two hour drive down to Jindabyne and a wander around town and the tourism centre (where we were able to peruse some of the town’s best literary offerings), we settled down by the shores of Lake Jindabyne to eat.  (more…)

Sure beats airline food…

One of the most fun things about adulthood (other than eating ice cream for dinner if you want to) has to be starting your own silly traditions. Every family has a ton of unexplainable traditions, developed from some long-ago moment that no one really remembers. But it’s novel to suddenly be the grown-up one at the beginning of something new.

My favourite tradition in our house has to be the travel cake. When one of us travels for work, the other bakes a welcome home cake. Maybe I just like it so much because I get to travel more than Chadwiko does. Or maybe it’s because, well… cake.

Since I was up in Brisbane for the latter half of last week, it was my turn to be on the receiving end of travel cake. And after a long day of workshops (at which the promised vegan catered lunch never arrived) and two flights to get home (which both only served decidedly non-vegan snacks, despite my meal request) fuelled solely on two slices of cashew carrot loaf and a lot of coffee, cake was more necessary than ever.

Imagine my delight to arrive home and find a stack of some of my favourite cupcakes- the peanut butter cakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World- waiting patiently for me! I put away a few more of these than I should probably admit. But it had been a long, hungry day, and these were delicious.

For someone whose first travel cake (made earlier this year while I was in Darwin) was his first ever attempt at baking a cake, Chadwiko is managing quite well for himself. Sure, there are a few things to learn (namely, that to ‘fold in ingredients by hand’ doesn’t mean to literally plunge your hands into the cake batter), but with a little more practice my position as household baker might just be usurped. I’d better get my apron on before I get rusty!

Wholesome fun

In the midst of the Vida Vegan Con catch-up whirlwind that is the vegan blogosphere of late, you may have noticed a blog tour supporting Celine Steen and Tami Noyes‘ latest book-baby, Whole Grain Vegan Baking. I for one definitely sat up and took notice, because I’m deep in the throes of some profound love for this book, and wanted to hear its praises sung by some other voices.

My feelings for this book took me by surprise. I’m not a wholegrain baker by any stretch of the imagination. When I bake, I want my treats to taste like treats. And I’m sure we’ve all had one attempt at making wholegrain cookies that tasted like every cliche of dreadlocked, barefooted veganism in a crumbly package of sadness. If you did like those healthy-tasting abominations for some reason, then stay away- because there’s nothing like that here! Each recipe I’ve tried so far has been straight-up delicious. Not ‘delicious for wholegrain, I guess’. Just delicious.

As an added bonus, this book makes use of those obscure flours that I’ve hoarded to bake for gluten free friends, or that I’ve just collected on a whim (‘this amaranth flour is only $6! I WOULD BE STUPID NOT TO BUY IT’). I’ve been on a self-imposed cookbook buying ban of late, but when this one would allow me to actually use that (admittedly excessive, and until this point largely decorative) flour collection… well, that just makes good financial sense.

So without further ado, a few of my recent forays into the world of wholegrain vegan baking: (more…)