The Lone Vegetarian

The sky was an eery shade of red and the vermillion hues in the grass matched it perfectly. The sounds of cattle crying out sounded throughout the field. A baby piglet stared up at me with its lifeless eyes, its mouth slightly ajar. Blood was pouring out of its neck profusely.

#datvegetarianlyf

#datvegetarianlyf

This was the nightmare I had as a teenager that made me want to become a vegetarian for the right reasons. I had tried it once before, with the goal of losing weight by taking meat out of my diet, but it didn’t work out. Now, I can happily say that I’ve stuck with my vegetarianism for the past six years because of that conscious decision I made.

As a Pacific Islander – who are infamous meat eaters in their own right – living life as a vegetarian in a family full of carnivores is definitely as difficult as it sounds. With my busy schedule of combining college, work and my outside hobbies, I barely get enough time to cook a decent meal for myself. When I get home and there’s a chicken dish sitting on the kitchen counter, it’s either my job to a) Pick around the deceased animal and eat or b) Think of something quick and easy to make. On my most busy days, a pot of boiling water and a bag of pasta becomes my best friend.

Nine times out of ten, I have to cook for myself on my days off. Dinner will usually consist of meat which means I’ll have to cook my own vegetarian option. If my family is feeling sorry for me, they’ll either make the main dish vegetarian acceptable or take out a bit for me before they add the meat. When I go to extended family events or social gatherings, the meat-eater in my relatives and friends are very apparent and my options are very limited. I am usually only left with a bit of salad and baked potatoes on my plate.

Dining out as a vegetarian has become a lot easier than it was when I first started: I am aware of my options and know which restaurants cater to the eating-conscious. There are a few restaurants that have little to no vegetarian options so I’m left with ordering an egg and mayo sandwich and a glass of water.

I’ve learned most of the dishes in my arsenal from my mother. When there’s meat involved, I easily just substitute it with tofu and my own version of the meal is created! One of my go-to dishes is called a “Hawaiian Haystack” which was passed down from my mum: it’s basically a dish where you have rice and stack honey mustard tofu on top of that, and you continue to stack various ingredients on top of that, including cheese, dry noodles and pineapple. Seriously. Try it. Honey mustard tofu is to die for.

Life as a vegetarian in a family full of meat eaters is challenging,  but it’s not impossible. Nothing is impossible for me. Insert arrogant hairflip here.

– by Noah La’ulu

Seven Swans A Swimming… in Booze

Drinking and Dessert; everyone’s two favourite things about the holiday season.

For the seventh day of Christmas, I have prepared a list of seven Christmas inspired cocktails.

This a cute serving idea for your next Christmas shindig!

This a cute serving idea for your next Christmas shindig!

Chocolate Candy Cane

1 shot Creme de Cacao
30ml light cream
1 shot peppermint schnapps

The Chocolate Candy Cane tastes exactly as you would expect it to from the name. For something special, you can also serve it over a small scoop of icecream!

Snowballs

2 shots Tequila
2 drops vanilla essence
Crushed ice
30ml skim milk
Cinnamon powder
Cinnamon stick

Pour all the ingredients – except for the cinnamon powder – into a martini shaker. Mix for ten seconds until combined. Pour into chilled glass, sprinkle cinnamon powder on top. Serve with Cinnamon Stick.

Tinsel Tinkle

1 shot Blue Curaco
1 shot Limoncello
1 shot Champagne
Lime wedge.

Combine in a chilled glass for a refreshing citrus cocktail.

Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake

2 parts  Raspberry Vodka
1/2 part chocolate liqueur
1/2 part Irish cream

Recommended by friends of mine who have this for ‘after-dessert dessert.’

Apple Pie

1 shot vanilla vodka
1 shot apple cider
pinch ground cinnamon

Super quick and easy to make!

Christmas Cosmo

1 shot vodka
1 shot ginger beer
60ml cranberry juice
lime juice

An edgier, seasonal alternative to the classic cosmopolitan.

Under the Mistletoe

1 shot champagne
60ml blood orange juice
60ml cranberry juice
1 shot Cointreau
splash of bitters to taste.

This is tart and delicious- easily one of my personal favourite cocktails!

Drink up, my friends, just six more sleeps until Christmas!!

– by Blaire Gillies

Cronut / Dossant

The Cronut seemed to me such a strange and unnecessary invention. For those who are not up to date with modern food, the Cronut is a delicate hybridisation of two much loved sweets; the croissant and doughnut. A much needed union in our dull baking world.

Anyone fancy a cronut?

I can just imagine a little Mexican kid saying “Why can’t we have both?”

The inventor of Cronuts, Chef Dominique Ansel, stated that the technique took him two months and more than ten recipes to perfect. Fundamentally it is made with a croissant-like dough, deep-fried then either a) rolled in sugar, b) injected with cream or c) glazed. However the recipe varies depending on the bakery. Needless to say, any Cronut will fulfil all your fat requirements for the month.

However figure-destroying these sweets may be, the concept alone was enough to accumulate a substantial fan base. The result was horrifically long lines at bakeries at unreasonable times of the morning, and chefs willing to undertake the Cronut challenge. Unfortunately, the original Cronut resides in New York, so it was up to me to find the trendiest, up-to-datest bakery Melbourne could offer.

Tivoli Bakery in South Yarra attracted much interest for their pastries. But no, they did not have Cronuts at all; they had Dossants. For obvious copyright laws, the bakery couldn’t call their adaptation of the food by its original name but I think that the name Dossant is more fitting for the pastry. Something that rolls off the tongue, soft sounds for a soft sweet rather than the less appealing Cronut.

Neatly lined up behind a glass cabinet and awaiting my hunger were the holy Dossants, available in two flavours; chocolate strawberry and vanilla strawberry. Before long, a Dossant arrived at my table and its plump presentation, sugar coating and slivers of strawberry and chocolate in the centre were nearly enough to win me over.

Its beauty was of no surprise; after all, the bakery is known for their gorgeous looking gourmet doughnuts. I knew the real test would lie in the tasting. The sugar coating was a soft grain, none of that coarse Donut King cinnamon. The pastry itself was incredibly fluffy, and not too sweet, that is until I got to the semi-hard chocolate in the middle which, although was rich, suffocated the flavour of strawberry. In fact, the intended flavour of the Dossant was muted entirely by the Dossant pastry itself. Despite this, it was scrumptious.

The food resembled a doughnut more than anything else, which lead me to my final critique of it; The Dossant is basically a glorified Churro. It holds a large resemblance to traditional Spanish Churro; smooth and fluffy on the inside and coated in fine sugar. This thought did not occur to me until I was finished eating because the food was still delightful, however derivative.

The Dossant may just be a Churro that has been tied up at the ends, but to this I would say – so? It may not have been the spectacular game-changer of food that it was in my mind, but based on taste it was just as delicious as the best croissant or doughnut I have eaten. Many look at the Cronut and ask why? But to ask questions of such a thing is useless because the novelty of it is that it exists solely because it can.

– by Josefina Huq

Coffee 101

I am a person who spends a lot of time in line at coffee shops. I am also a person who knows what she wants; “strong skinny cappuccino, take away, please.” While I can order and pay in less than thirty-five seconds, there are so many pretentious sods walking around the city with their ‘small, half-strength, soy vanilla latte with two Splendas’ and weird caffeinated sugar- syrups masquerading as coffee covered in whipped cream and sprinkles.

Word.

Word.

I am a coffee snob, who was raised by a coffee snob who was raised by…well actually the line ends there, but you can bet your arse my kids with be mainlining coffee before they’re even onto mashed peas. Now, as said coffee snob (with a Barista certification and mad latte-art skills) I feel that it is my solemn duty to teach you all how to order coffee like you respect both it and yourself.

The completely acceptable, standard coffees:
Flat white
Latte
Cappuccino
Long Black
Short Black
Espresso

For the sake of many of my friendships, the lines are blurred on chai. If you’re not just being a hipster, and you genuinely like miscellaneous spices mucking up the status quo then by all means, be gross and order chai. I’m only judging you a little bit.

Any of these drinks are fine. You order a long black in the morning to have with your bagel on the train? Fantastic. Have a lovely day. If you’re someone who treats coffee the way I treated year seven chemistry, then we have some serious issues (other than the minor scar from a Bunsen burner).

Here’s where most people start getting it wrong:

Skim Milk- Some people are health conscious and order skim milk. That’s cool. Props for respecting your cholesterol while working to prevent osteoporosis. Others, like myself, find whole milk too sweet. That’s a little weird, but still fine. If, however, you are one of ‘those people’ who orders a skinny latte and then proceeds to eat a slab of Mars Bar Cheesecake and chain smoke out the front, then you’re a fool. You saved yourself fifteen calories and shortened your life expectancy by six years. Genius.

Decaffeinated coffee- This is an oxymoron and you’re an oxy-idiot. Firstly, have you ever tasted decaf coffee? It tastes like sadness feels. I had a mug of decaf once and I swear with every sip I could hear it crying, wishing it could be caffeinated like all the other cool coffee beans. Besides, if you’re drinking decaf it’s for some stupid reason like you ‘don’t want to be awake all night,’ so don’t drink coffee, just drink milk and stop being annoying.

Macchiato- I need someone to explain to me the thought process behind a macchiato. It’s basically a long black with ‘just a drop of milk.’ Why? What does that singular drop of milk really achieve? Either drink it black or get a latte. Don’t be so fussy.

Syrup- Yes, a latte contains milk. No, that does not make it a milkshake. Adding a shot of caramel or hazelnut is like going up to the Mona Lisa and saying ‘Wow. She’s perfect. Let’s just add some Crayola number 11 for fun.’ If you’ve got a sweet tooth, drink juice and let the big kids drink coffee. I’m sorry to say it gentleman, but this rule is particularly relevant to you. You know that hot barista you’ve been checking out for five minutes? As soon as you say ‘half-strength vanilla latte’ she will immediately see Chris Colfer standing in front of her (NB: he’s that guy from Glee, the show you’re too manly to watch).

Mocha- I feel the same way about mocha as I feel about syrup. Chocolate and coffee should be a combination reserved for desserts. If you need something sweet to cut through the bitter taste of the coffee, then you don’t really want it. Just get a hot chocolate. Chances are the sugar will be enough to get you pinging off the walls anyway.

Frappuccino- Grow up. A) the word is stupid. B) so are you.

Extra shot(s)- I like a double shot every now and then as a pick-me-up. For shift-workers, parents of small children and vegans who can’t stay awake because they are iron and fun deficient, an extra shot is literally life-saving. But (guys, I’m sorry to pick on you again but I’m really still talking to you) ordering an extra-hot triple espresso does not make you look manly or tough. It makes you look like your eyes are rolling in two different directions and you’ve been awake since the Millennium.

“Expresso”- I’m sorry, you want what? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my teeth gnashing together at that made up word you and your friends keep using. Unfortunately NOWHERE IN THE WORLD serves ‘expresso’ but I can make you an espresso if you’d like. It’s very similar.

While we’re on the topic of made-up words, a ‘cup-accino’ is not a coffee in a cup in the same way that a ‘mug-accino’ is not a coffee in a mug. What you’re after is a cappuccino. A big one is just called a Large. I know; your tiny mind is blown, but take slow deep breaths and the dizziness will go away soon.

Finally, I come to you, the poor souls who have reached a point in their life where there is more coffee in their veins than blood. You are the fools who will take coffee in any form; you’ll drink it, shoot it, snort it, or inject it straight into your eyeballs if need be. You may be slightly insane and your heart beat sounds more like a jazz riff than a steady rhythm but hey, you’re among great people and I’m sure I’ll be joining the club soon. We’ll get jackets. The kind with removable elbow-patches so we can attach the IV coffee bags without taking them off.

- by Blaire Gillies

P.S. A mate sent me this link once when I was having this rant to him in café. If you’re one of these people and you ever want to meet up, let’s not go for coffee. Ever.
http://sprudge.com/coffee-order-generator.html