Sunday, June 28, 2015


image via

I just want to take a moment to shout hooray for the beautiful decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States of America yesterday. It's such a joy to know that my LGBTQ loved ones back in the states now have the same rights to marriage that my hetero loved ones do.

Australia, here's hoping you're next.

The fight for equality is long and arduous, but when massive wins like this happen in the super power that is America, it brings with it a huge beacon of hope.

Here's to a better tomorrow!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sydney Spotlight: The Grounds of Alexandria

Hey guys! I'm back with another installment of Sydney Spotlight!

This time around we're talking about The Grounds of Alexandria.  If you're a Sydney-sider than you need no introduction to this place.  In fact, you're probably rolling your eyes at me for even thinking about featuring this ridiculously popular space. Don't worry, I'm rolling my eyes too.

The Grounds of Alexandria is a lot of land amidst the warehouse wasteland that is the suburb of Alexandria. The Grounds are made up of a few restaurants, a flower shop, a meats and cheese shop and a tiny petting zoo.  On the weekends it gets ridiculously packed with young families consisting of hip mums pushing ultra cool prams and their bearded husbands.

That simple fact alone makes me stay far away from this place most of the time, but as you may recall, I was off sick for about 2 weeks recovering from a surgery.  One not-so-sore morning I woke up craving waffles like nothing else. I googled and googled and came up with nothing. (Sydney doesn't do breakfast waffles well.) So I settled for the next best thing -- pancakes.

The Grounds cafe boasted a Berry Hotcake, which sounded amazing.

The menu reads: BERRY HOTCAKE An instant classic, dishing up a berry hotcake with vanilla-infused mascarpone cheese, blueberry & raspberry salad, puffed quinoa, micro basil, edible violets and agave syrup. 

...and this is the reason I am spotlighting The Grounds.

This hotcake was the best I've ever had.  The puffed quinoa was surprising and did well to counter the softness of the hotcake and cream.  The berries and micro basil were fresh and lively and the agave syrup was the perfect amount of sweetness.

Also, I didn't feel guilty eating this at all.

I ate it all up.


Beyond the amazingness of the hotcake, everything else was pretty good too.  The waitresses were attentive despite how insanely busy it was for a Wednesday morning.  The coffee was nice, but it took about 15 minutes to get to the table.  Again, it was insanely busy. The decor was rustic, the seats were comfy and it was a good place for a solo diner to people watch.

After eating this beauty, I'm convinced that The Grounds surely has more delicious food to offer.  Going alone means I couldn't taste anyone else's food, so I truly have no idea. But now I'm thinking it might be worth braving the crowds and dodging the prams just to ease my curiosity.

Is The Grounds worth the hype? Was this hotcake a one off? I think I might have to dodge the mummy prams just to see. ;)


p.s. more Sydney Spotlights here.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Veganism: Weeks 2 & 3

A couple weeks back I blogged about my first week into the big bad world of veganism.  Here's a little update on weeks two and three.

Week 2 was a roller coaster.

I came into the week feeling pretty crummy.  I wanted brownies and cheese and alcohol, and I even blogged while I was in the throws of it. Let me remind you that not only was I in full Vegan mode, I was also in full diet mode, which meant no carbs, no sugars and no drinks. It was tough.

I ate quinoa "burger" patties and guacamole with yuca chips, which felt like a cop-out since I wasn't actually cooking any food. I made myself feel guilty for not making my food from scratch, which in my head, meant that the pre-packaged food wasn't as healthy.

Also, it was freezing and raining that week and it made me so cranky that I didn't even want to think about cooking.

Still, the quinoa patties were good, and accompanied with carrot and green bean fries, I really had nothing to be complaining about.

On Wednesday I decided to get out of my rut and cook a 'real' meal. I had this idea about crunchy tofu that was soft and silky on the inside with Asian vegetables served on the side.

In theory it seemed good, but in practice... not so much. The type of tofu I bought was different than what I was used to, and try as I might to give it a nice crunchy skin, it just wasn't happening.  When it would finally get the golden brown color on one side,  I would flip the tofu over and the crunchy-ness would just peel off. It was also incredibly moist in the inside and was all around difficult to handle. 

Next time, I think I'm supposed to place the tofu between two plates so the moisture comes out? Apparently it could take a couple hours... and honestly this girl has zero time for that. I'd end up eating at 9pm!! 

The Asian veggies served with it ended up being fine. The miso sauce I made to cover everything was nice, but I couldn't get pass the bland tofu. 

The rest of the week was full of eating weird filler things that aren't memorable.  Edamame, boring salads, and cashews could sum it up easily. 

My moral hit rock bottom. 

By the time week 3 rolled around, and after a trip to my Mom's on Sunday, I was in better spirits. Full disclosure: she made bulalo. It is not vegan. It is not vegetarian. It is very carnivorous. It was also the end of a really bad week, so I ate it.  Furthermore, we were 'officially not dieting' on that day, and I had a brownie and drank some vodka. It was awesome. 

While at my Mom's I had a little revelation. I didn't really miss meat that much. Sure the beef in the bulalo tasted amazing, but I was much more interested in the warm potatoes and soft carrots that had been stewing in that sauce for so long. Yummmmmm 

So on Monday of week 3, I picked myself up and cooked the first vegan meal in a week that I was truly happy with. 

It's a Spanish style Quinoa Paella with guacamole and jalapeƱos on top. 

Oh my gosh this was so good, that my mouth is currently watering as a I type this at 9:34am.  The crunchy, charred bits of the 'paella' mixed with the smoothness of the guac plus the hits of spiciness from the bell peppers and chillies made a perfect combination. 

I was back at it and felt on top of the world! YEAH VEGAN LIFE! WOO! 

...and then came Tuesday. 

Tuesday was the day of my Septoplasty surgery which would finally fix my terrible sinuses. 

I had every intention of staying vegan or at least vegetarian during the healing time post operation. I wanted to keep this new lifestyle going regardless of whatever adversity faced me, but in this particular situation, I couldn't.

What was supposed to be a simple day surgery ended up being an over night stay due to my increasingly low blood pressure.  As the day progressed, my blood pressure kept getting lower and lower. At one point they even called the emergency doctors.  It was definitely a scary time. 
I knew that when I was discharged I had to do what I needed to do to get my levels back to normal. 

To us that meant getting off the diet and eating foods rich in iron and protein, especially whilst I was on antibiotics and pain medication. 

I'm still in the midst of recovering from surgery with about a week left to go til I'm fully healed. I'm confident that once I'm all healed up I'll be able to resume the vegan or at least vegetarian lifestyle.  

Fingers crossed!