Sunday, January 18, 2015

Supercharger II

January 2, 2015

We might be developing a very specific Supercharger habit - our second visit also served as an early Friday night dinner before hitting the nearby cinema. Though we were now familiar with their paper-and-pencil ordering approach, we still took some time to mull over the options available to us. There'd been a few minor swaps in the menu and we did our best to mix new offerings with the dishes we were sad to miss the first time around.

Keen to base my meal on the mashed potato with mustard seeds, I elected for the India-themed dishes - dahl ka deewana (pictured above, centre), chickpea chole (front left), fermented carrot with cumin seeds and a coconut yoghurt-based raita (main bowl; $12.80). The carrots weren't overly pickley and tasted more of caraway than cumin to me, but I'd gladly recommend all the other components: the potatoes were fluffy, the raita sweet and cooling, the chole all warmly spiced sweet'n'sour tomato, and the dahl like a low-fat dahl makhani, with four kinds of legume and many more spices besides. A carrot, orange, ginger and cardamom blast (tall jar; $7.80) proved refreshing and complementary.

Michael started with steamed quinoa, '10 sec. broccoli w sweet tamari & ginger dressing' and a disconcertingly grey but actually-very-tasty cauliflower, black turtle bean, turmeric and curry leaf smash. There were even louder flavours in the tofu simmered in tom yum broth, and the carrot & bean khadi with coconut, turmeric, lemongrass, galangal & lime ($12.80 all up).

Our second Supercharger experience reinforced everything we learned on our first - the food is fresh, nutritious, generously portioned and reasonably priced - not something we habitually encounter in the city.


You can read about our first visit to Supercharger here. Since then it's received blog love from Veganopoulous, quinces and kale and The Good Hearted.

Level 3 Emporium, 287 Lonsdale St Melbourne
9020 4334
menu: one, two
facebook page

Accessibility: The entry from Emporium is flat and wide. All ordering options are visible from low counter height; we ordered and paid at this counter. We picked up food from a high bench, though I'm sure accommodations could be made. Toilets are elsewhere in the Emporium complex.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chipotle sausage hash

January 1, 2015

We had big plans for New Years Eve this year, so I knew we needed some similarly big plans for our first breakfast of the year. Cindy had a tough 'holiday' period, basically working the whole way through, so I took it on myself to give her a delicious January 1. For breakfast dessert I went back to the lemon & blueberry loaf that Cindy had made last summer, but to start the meal off I wanted something savoury and hearty enough to soak up any hangovers we may have accrued. Isa Does It had just the recipe, with a title consisting of three perfect words: chipotle. sausage. hash.

What more could you ask for post-party than a big pot of spicy mush, loaded with potatoes and mock snags, with a a few green bits and pieces on top to deal with any foolish new year's resolutions you might have made? It was perfect. It's really easy to make, although the spuds require a bit of patience - you need them to be cooked through (ours were a tiny bit underdone because I was tired, hungry and impatient). The miso/tahini dressing provides some creamy, umami-ish richness, but it's really all about eating a big bowl of spuds, sausages and chilli.

Chipotle sausage hash
(adapted slightly from a recipe in
Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Isa Does It)

2 tablespoons olive oil
500g potatoes, chopped into 1-2cm cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2-4 store bought veggie sausages, chopped (we were limited to Sanitarium brand, but go with Tofurky if you can)
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 heaped teaspoon mild curry powder
1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
juice of two limes

1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons white miso
1/2 cup water

1 avocado, cut into chunks
a few extra coriander leaves

Heat a tablespoon of the oil in large saucepan. Throw in the potatoes and salt and cook for 10-15 minutes, covered. Stir the spuds up every 2 minutes or so - you want to try to get them crispy on the outside without having them stick to the pan.

While the potatoes are cooking make up your dressing - just whizz all the ingredients up in a food processor or blender.
Throw the onions and the rest of the oil in with the potatoes and cook everything for five minutes or so, until the onion is cooked through. Add the sausages, coriander, oregano and curry powder and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the chipotles and lime juice, stir everything together and kill the heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as required. 

Serve, topping with chunks of avocado and garnishing with coriander leaves.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Marmalade cheesecake slice

December 31, 2014

We saw the new year in at our friends' home; sharing a potluck, watching Footloose and trading favourite online dance videos. The lowest common dietary denominator was vegan and gluten-free, so I decided to remake the Veganissmo ginger cheesecake slice for this different crowd.

A few days earlier our hosts had given Michael and I a lovely homemade Christmas gift of jarred condiments and a retro serving plate. I put them to good use here, stirring a jar (approx 1 cup) of lime and ginger marmalade into the cashew batter instead of lining the cake with crystallised ginger. It worked a treat, and looked all the cuter on that sweetly patterned platter.

I can see myself making and making-over this recipe again and again - the sandy buckwheat base and dense creamy topping are just to my taste. Given it's vegan, gluten-free, easy to slice and feasible to transport, this is a great go-to for picnics and potlucks.

Monday, January 12, 2015


December 29, 2014

Summer city errands are a nice excuse for a city lunch - something we don't do very often. Last year Johanna claimed that Gekkazan has the best vegetarian sushi in Melbourne, so we confirmed that it was open and headed on over. We were relieved to discover that this didn't require entering GPO/H&M; rather, it's tucked away on Postal Lane and best approached from Little Bourke St.

Gekkazan certainly does sushi - there's an extensive selection of rolls, onigiri and inari. In many cases the nori is wrapped separately for a crisper roll-your-own experience. Michael positively rated the ready-rolled chilli-fried tofu with black rice, and the vegetarian-croquette-with-lettuce stuffing ($2.90, both pictured above).

If you're willing to wait a little longer, there's also a menu of cooked-to-order meals. The options were a little narrower than we'd hoped - there's currently no vegetarian bento, and the vegetable noodle soups contained chicken stock. There were, however, gyoza ($8.90) - their conjoined skin was intriguing but the filling was a less innovative vegetable mash.

My agadashi tofu donburi ($14.90) was probably our best selection. The lightly-battered tofu cubes were smothered in a thick savoury gravy with a hint of ginger, and tender slivers of carrot and shitake mushroom; the rice was expertly formed and seasoned. There was a bounty of sides to pick at: seaweed and tofu nori rolls, a croquette sample, flour-dusted potatoes, steamed and fresh salad vegetables. I took my time browsing and delighting in each morsel.

Gekkazan is a cityworker's lunch spot with long queues, fast service, dense seating and a lot of noise. But there's thought and skill evident in their food and their service - we were grateful to the smiling staff member who set us straight on the veg options.


We were inspired to visit Gekkazan thanks to a review on Green Gourmet Giraffe. Reviews on other blogs are less effusive but still generally positive, see Let's Get Fat Together, Purple bowl, delightfully tasty, DAISYUM.COM, A Chronicle of Gastronomy (twice), ~~~Wild Mixed~~~, Gastrology and The Bonding Tool.

Postal Lane at GPO, 350 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
9663 7767
GPO website

Accessibility: Entry to Postal Lane and Gekkazan from the Little Bourke end is flat, and there are stairs at the Bourke St end. The corridor through the middle is reasonably clear, but the tables are very densely packed and the area is crowded at lunch time. We ordered and paid at a high counter. Signs pointed to gendered, parenting and wheelchair-accessible toilets elsewhere at GPO.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Acustico II

December 28, 2014

It's a lovely time of year to eat outdoors. Though the ground is uneven and the tables small, the dappled sun out front of Acustico is a near-ideal spot for breakfast. They've changed up their menu since we last blogged about them - there's now bircher muesli, an avocado-quinoa salad that looks vegan-friendly, and a lunch menu with cheesy toasties, fancy salads and fresh baguettes.

I was most pleased that the sweet breakfast option wasn't crossed out this time. My Brunswick bruncher sensibilities were ruffled by their choice to mix currants into ricotta pancakes ($15) and soup it all up with bananas, raspberries, yoghurt, hazelnuts and honey. It proved completely successful, equal parts fresh and filling, creamy and tart and toasty.

I couldn't help noticing that iced chai ($4) now appears on the cold drinks menu - Acustico's rendition is a milky black tea served with lots of ice and ground cinnamon.

The gluten-free quesadilla ($15) seems to be unchanged and an enduring favourite of our friend Dave. It's stuffed with smoked cheese and plentiful jalapenos then served with a salad of tomatoes, corn, onion and spinach. With some friendly egging on from Dave and our waiter, Michael added a poached one to his quesadilla plate ($3).

Relaxed and extra-helpful service from the Acustico staff clinched this as an especially-good any-weekend kind of breakfast. The juice and toastie menus hint that it's a good 'un for lazy lunches too.


You can read about our first visit to Acustico here. Since then it's been well received by fellow veg blogger Green Gourmet Giraffe, plus omni bloggers I Talk Too Much My Mouth Hurts, the melbourne local and BYEBYEMYTHYROID.

32 Union St, Brunswick
0402 489 800
menu: breakfast, something small, cold drinks, hot drinks

Accessibility: There's a small step at the Union St entry but it's flat if entering from Railway Place. The front room is a little cramped, but things open out nicely in the back area; tables out the front are spacious but set on uneven ground. Ordering as at the table and you pay at a low counter. The toilet is unisex and narrow.