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We all need an easy dhal recipe to have up our sleeve – and hopefully this is gonna be yours. It’s light, flavoursome, and will taste so much better than getting takeaway (I promise!).

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One of the best things about London is the abundance of free museums and galleries, and the Geffrye Museum is a fantastic example. Conveniently located opposite the Hoxton overground station (and right around the corner from my apartment) – it explores the history of the British home over the past 400 years. Combine a visit to the museum with a sneaky Swedish pastry and coffee at nearby Fabrique Bakery (like I did) and you’ve got yourself an afternoon out for five pounds!

Geffrye Museum

IMG_5158The Geffrye Museum is situated within 18th century almshouses and contains a series of period rooms that are complemented by period gardens in the museum’s spacious grounds. The gardens are at their best in Spring/Summer and offer a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of nearby Shoreditch.

136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA

Fabrique Bakery

IMG_5144This traditional Swedish bakery is located under the arches of the Hoxton station train tracks. There’s only a couple of tables inside and outside the bakery, so on busier weekends your best bet is taking away their signature loaves or cinnamon buns. The aroma of stone oven baked bread is sure to entice many a passer by from the train station.

Arch 385, Geffrye Street, London E2 8HZ

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Finding some leftover vegetables in the fridge, and a craving for something saucy and light over rice – I threw together this veggie-laden stir fry. The edamame and broccolini (one of my new fave veg) add contrast through both colour and texture.

I personally love tofu puffs in this recipe as they soak up all the lovely sauce, but feel free to sub in any other type of fried/firm tofu.

While I originally served this stir fry separately with rice, the next day when I took the leftovers over to a friend’s, we created a fried rice type dish by heating and mixing the vegetables and rice together which worked equally well.

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A cheap Ryanair flight sent two girls off on a weekend getaway to Bari, Italy. While our expectations were low for this little known town in the Puglia region of southern Italy (the high heel part of the boot) – they were wonderfully exceeded by the charming port.

I’m calling it… Bari will be a top tourist destination in the very near future (be sure to remember where you read it first when Lonely Planet names their Top 10 list for 2017).

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Nuremberg

My travel experiences are heavily influenced by food, my enjoyment of a city is inextricably linked to the meals I eat, the cafes I visit, and the countless cups of judgmental coffee I drink (unfortunately there is no other way to drink this beverage as a Melbournian). As a vegetarian, this quality can be somewhat problematic – particularly in countries where the concept of not eating meat is not as culturally ingrained.

So how did I fare on my recent two week jaunt around Germany and Austria, a region best known for its proliferation of meat in various shapes in sizes? I think to answer this question most fairly, I have to break it down in two parts:

1) On a local food front I did not have the best food experiences – traditional meals are quite bland (let’s just say the spice route could have helped out by extending a tad north… I’m looking at you 16th century traders), and the vegetarian options while always available were not remarkable. The cakes and sweet treats, however were freaking delightful, I’ll give them that.

2) Thanks to globalisation we did find some delicious meals that were non- local, and also found hipster cafes that were Melbourne-esque enough to make our Australian hearts feel warm and fuzzy.

Anyway for the sake of posterity, here is a highlights reel of the cafes, restaurants and bars that were visited in the German/Austrian winter tour of 2015.

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I’ve always been enticed by gozleme at various market stalls over the years, but it never seemed like something I could trust myself to replicate. However after being reassured by my friend Emma that this recipe from taste.com.au would work a treat, and having the pleasure of tasting the real deal in Istanbul, I figured it was most definitely worth a try. And it sure was.

I added mint and harissa (brought back from Turkey), and also made a mixture of the filling rather than just arranging them one by one.

Warm moreish parcels, cheesy, spicy, fresh off the griddle, cut with squeeze of fresh lemon….ahh perfection.

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ImageFinding something vegetarian to cook on the barbecue can be a challenge, but this delightfully easy recipe is guaranteed to be a hit for meat-eaters and vegos alike at your next BBQ.

The word achar means pickle in Hindi, and by combining the pickling spices and cooking them with potatoes and lemon in foil packages you can create a dish that is jam-packed with flavour. You can find the Achari dry spice mix at most Indian grocery stores (this is the brand I use), and it is generally made up of an abundance of spices including fennel seeds, coriander seeds, red chilli, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.

The spice level in this dish is quite high, so I would recommend serving with a dollop of natural yoghurt if you want to cool things down a bit. 

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In the quest for a quick and egg-less baked good to take to a friend’s lunch, I was put on to this delectable brownie recipe. I made it for a second time today, and took out the ‘chewy’ component (Rolos – which are also amaze to use) of the original recipe and replaced them with walnuts.

The brownies are very easy to make, and sure to win over crowds wherever they make an appearance.

I thought this would be a good first recipe to blog as part of my new year’s resolution to blog a whole lot more in 2012!

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There isn’t an abundance of tasty vegetarian friendly mexican food to be found in Melbourne. The few exceptions being Mamasita (provided you can get a seat)  for amazing corn on the cob and Trippy Taco for their smoky Tofu Asada tacos. So I thought that instead of trying to find spicy mexican fare in a restaurant, I would have a crack at creating it at home instead.

My man Ottolenghi delivered once again with this excellent recipe from his cookbook Plenty. These quesadillas were relatively easy to make, the most time-consuming step being cooking the black beans. You can adjust the spice level by reducing/increasing the amount of chilli or have a handy bottle of hot sauce nearby to add that extra kick (the El Yucateco Green Habanero Sauce is my fave!)

The balance of the fresh salsa and the melted cheese and sour cream made these quesadillas a brilliant start to my mexican cooking adventure.

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As the temperature drops and the skies darken at an earlier hour there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of creamy soup to nurse while watching some good Sunday night TV.

This recipe was in yesterday’s The Age Good Weekend liftout. I usually cut out interesting recipes from the weekend papers and file them away, but I was able to put this one to good use the very next day.

I substituted evaporated milk for cream, and vegetarian stock for the chicken stock, but retained the simplicity of the rest of the original recipe. I even resisted the urge to add chilli and was more than happy with just a generous grind of pepper.

The garlic infuses the delicate zucchini wonderfully, and the butter adds a decadent flourish at the end.

Definitely a soup I will be revisiting again.

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