Friday, 10 October 2014

OVERDOSA 2: The Burger-ning

Recently I've had the privilege of showing the awesome Lish around Melbourne. She's not veg but an equal opportunity eater: if it's delicious, it's all good, which is the best kind of person to hang out with! So we hit all of my favourite places: Sweetwater Inn, Shandong Mama (twice), we even made time for vegan cupcakes. It was awesome and such fun to wander around my city like I was seeing it for the first time.
The last place on our must-go list was Overdosa for the incredible avocado. We walked in, said hi, ordered our avocado and then the lovely guy goes OH HEY I'LL MAKE YOU ONE OF OUR NEW MENU ITEM. Oh yes please. A few minutes later, we were delivered this glorious thing:
It's called the Bombay Burger (vada pav in India - vada means fried thingy, pav means bread)! Soft, soft white roll (made in a local Brunswick bakery - awesome) smeared with tamarind-date chutney and kolapuri, a chutney of chili, garlic and coconut. Blistered green chilis (though you can have them fresh too), carrot salad and a vada of potato masala deep fried in a chili, tumeric and chickpea flour batter until crunchy. You smash it down and get a very serviceable patty:
I don't think I really need to qualify it but yep, it's amazing. If you've tried the Guru Burger at Lord of the Fries - this kicks its butt a thousand times over. So much flavour, and not too spicy! I'm a spice wuss and this was very manageable. It's also very easy to eat - no dripping on your clothes, and you could totally do it one-handed. Genius fast food. Lish loved both the burger and the avocado - her views will appear in part 5 of her travel blog on her livejournal. We left very, very happy.

And of course there was avocado (blurry pics - I think I fingerprinted my lens, too busy stuffing face:)
The best part about the burger, though? It officially launches today at Batman Market. Hope you didn't have plans, because you probably do now. Get this in your face.

OVERDOSA

spinning at the Emerald Peacock Weds thru. Friday (4 pm onwards), Batman Market on the weekends (from 9 am)!
www.facebook.com/OVERDOSA

Overdosa on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Takeout Chow Mein


When I was an omni (shit, that was a good nine years ago now - where does time go?!), I used to love going for Chinese food. Simple picky-eater fare like chicken with cashews, BBQ pork and - my favourite - chow mein. Meat, crisp veg and a warm thick brothy sauce over crispy fried noodles. I've tried to recreate it a thousand times and finally tonight's dinner was a success. If you miss simple Chinese takeout dinners, try this. It'll bring back memories.

Simple Junky Chow Mein
1 x large carrot, sliced roughly
1 x pack fresh baby corn, rinsed, cut in half
1 x small head of broccoli, cut into generous florets
a cup of bean sprouts, rinsed
2 tbsp. frying oil of choice, divided

Optional: mushrooms, mock chicken, peanuts, cashews.. whatever you have on hand! I used mock chicken, but smoked tofu would also be lovely.

250g chow mein noodles. Found in the refrigerated section of most Asian grocers. Read the ingredients - some have egg but some don't - the ones I buy look a bit like these but are vegan suitable and Aussie made (link).
Sauce
1.5c veggie beef stock (I used Massel)
1.5 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornflour

Method

Preheat a large frying pan to high and add a tbsp of oil. Remove noodles from packet. Do not soak, parboil, etc. Just chuck them in. Separate gently with a fork or chopsticks, and gently fry until you get a few crispy bits - watch it carefully, they will burn if you let them. This will only take 3-5 minutes. Once done, remove from pan and set aside.
Next, mix sauce ingredients and pour into a pot. Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce to a very low simmer. Simmer for ten minutes, or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

Re-heat your original frypan to high with the other tbsp. of oil in it. Stirfry (or steam-fry if that's your jam) until your veg are tender-crisp. Pour in your sauce and stir to coat. You should have more sauce than you think you need.

Serve by layering your crunchy noodles on a plate, then ladling your veggies and sauce over to soften the noodles up. Let everything soak in for a couple of minutes while you grab utensils and a drink and dig in!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Overdosa (HORRIBLE PICTURE ALERT)

Overdosa, back from six months in India (did anyone else keep up with their FB? I sure did.), are very much back in the swing of things and spinning dosas at The Emerald Peacock for the month of September. I finally made it there. They didn't disappoint!
They're tucked upstairs and there's a handy sign alerting you out on the Lonsdale St. sidewalk:
Fair warning, these pics are horrible. There was almost no light upstairs. Either way, we split two dosa, the spicy tamarind pumpkin and a potato masala, $10 each:
As well as these bites of heaven: DOSACADO. Deep fried avocado chunks in a salty spicy crispy batter with lemon to squeeze over:
Both of these were amazing. The food was delivered at the speed of light - seriously, I think the dosa arrived in about two minutes flat. The dosa themselves were lovely - super thin and crispy. A potato masala filling is always delicious, but the pumpkin was crazy good: chunky smash with a sour tamarind hit and a nice burn. Yum. As for the avocado - they called this vegan fish and chips, and that's a pretty good comparison. The squeeze of lemon cut through the fat and made these completely addictive. As far as Melbourne deep fried snacks go, this was pretty much the best drunk food I've ever encountered. I hope it becomes a permanent option wherever these guys end up.

AND. Because delicious food wasn't enough, the bartender screwed up and the lovely guys gave us the avocado for free! So naturally, I wandered up to the bar and grabbed some lentil poppers as well, $6:
These are some kooky snacks.There's something distinctly fishfingery about them and I have no idea what, but it's tasty - if they were rectangular and served with lemon I'd have a hard time telling the difference. Inside they're even fluffy and white like a fish finger:
Overdosa are well worth the hype: nice people, service under 5 minutes (at 8 pm on a Friday! if that isn't magic I don't know what is) and the food is incredible - I love dosa and these were probably the best I've had. Please go and support these guys, they're brilliant and I can't wait to see where they end up next!

Overdosa
currently spinning at 233 Lonsdale St, CBD
4 pm - late
Overdosa on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Simplicity

For some reason our local fruit and veg shop has been carrying amazing tomatoes: deep red, juicy and flavoursome - and three bucks a kilo! I've been going nuts for tomato recipes. Stumbling upon The Kitchn's roasted garlic and tomato sauce recipe was a godsend: this is brilliant. Tomato, lots of garlic and a combo of olive oil and butter roasted slowly in the oven ends up with a glorious sauce: rich, warm and chunky, but not too chunky - perfect for pasta, or even on toast. Absolutely perfect with homemade gnocchi fried up: today I tried it with polenta. Genius.

You start out with this beautiful-looking dish (I use pyrex - The Kitchn says to use foil, but I think you'd lose a lot of the delicious bits that way). Here's my first batch. Fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, good olive oil and small chunks of Nuttelex:
And here's how it turns out - as shown by my lunch today, served on cheesy polenta (Bio-Life cheese - fairly neutral on it, although I think the Cornish is now using it on their parmas and that's delicious. Can anyone confirm?). This one involved red and green capsicum which was even better than the original. This is the kind of comfort food I love to eat: slow, simple, the kind of thing you eat snuggled up in a warm jumper with a good book. I can't wait for spring but this'll do pretty nicely in the meantime!
Slow Roasted Tomato-Capsicum-Garlic Sauce (originally from The Kitchn; altered by me)

approx. one kilo of tomatoes - whatever kind takes your fancy, anything works!
one small red capsicum
one small green capsicum
around six cloves of garlic, peeled and diced fairly small
a generous handful of fresh basil, torn
two tablespoons olive oil
about the same of Nuttelex
a splash of red wine vinegar
salt/pepper

This is very simple. Preheat your oven to 180. Chop your tomatoes into rough chunks, and your capsicum into smaller chunks (think around an inch or less). Pop them into a suitably large baking dish, preferably pyrex. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter in your torn basil, garlic and drizzle generously with red wine vinegar. Add your olive oil and Nuttelex in smaller chunks dotted around. Toss everything a little and pop it in the oven for three hours. Check it at least every half hour and just give everything a little squish - this way you're encouraging everything to break down to a sauce-like consistency. When it's done, you should see a little blackening but no unusuable bits. Serve it on polenta, your favourite pasta, as a spread on toast (it'd be smashing on pizza too) or just eat it from the pan.. I have. It's worth it.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Fukuryu Ramen, CBD

One day a while ago I googled 'vegan ramen melbourne' out of vague curiosity. Turns out there's at least three vegetarian options in the CBD - Menya, Little Ramen Bar and Fukuryu. We set out for Little Ramen Bar a couple of weeks ago but were turned away by the massive lines. Our visit to Fukuryu was a much bigger success.

Despite being in a little laneway off Chinatown, it's quick and easy to find. Up a flight of stairs and you walk into a warm spacious area filled with small tables. Ordering happens at the front of the store, then you take an electronic order whatsit and sit and wait for your meal to come to you. Super easy. There's a good variety of drinks too - you can have the usual Coke et cetera, a Ramune, or Japanese beer and cider (they carry three varieties of Kirin - apple and mandarin, apple and apple/umeboshi). I'm fairly sure Kirin is v-friendly - next time I'll be giving them a go.

Your only vegan ramen option is the Vegetarian Miso Ramen ($12.90), ordered without buttered corn and egg. But it's SO worth it - and honestly, this doesn't need the extra toppings. Rather than pork and egg, this comes with fine slices of grilled pumpkin, crispy nori, enoki mushrooms and pumpkin seeds. The broth is lovely - savoury and a little rich - but the pumpkin and seeds are the perfect toppings. Each table has bottles of chili oil, shichimi togarashi, chili paste and sesame seeds, so you can spicify your ramen if that's your jam. Either way, this was brilliant and by the time I'd finished it I was already making plans for my next bowl. This is an incredibly well thought out vegan option, instead of "let's throw a bunch of veggies on some broth", and I'm just plain excited it exists.
Oh, and where the omnis have chicken karaage and beef bowls and such - we can have fried nori tofu, $4.90:
This was delicious; paper-thin batter encasing soft tofu, so hot it burnt your mouth, and scattered with nori salt and pepper which made the perfect ramen side. I forgot to ask for it mayo-less, so if you're vegan make sure to do so. I just got Omni Boyfriend to eat the mayo'd pieces and all was well. He had the (meaty) Tam Tam ramen and half my tofu and thought both were brilliant.

Fukuryu Ramen is cheap, cheerful and absolutely delicious. The service was stupidly fast, the waitresses lovely and it was a great place to sit and enjoy a meal out of the torrential Melbourne rain. The reviews are true: this place rocks. Get on it.

Fukuryu Ramen
Level 1, 22-26 Corrs Lane, Melbourne
11:30 - 2:30 lunch sitting, 5:30 - 9:30 dinner sitting
Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cajun Kitchen, CBD

My SO and I have recently developed a fondness for Young and Jacksons' bar - especially the rooftop cider bar, where they're currently serving the Hills Cider Co's limited pomegranate cider (has anyone tried this? it's vegan friendly and incredible). So we've been looking more and more at v-friendly CBD eats. After our first plan of action fell through, we saw the word 'tofu' and decided to wander into Cajun Kitchen on Elizabeth Street.

The menu isn't extensive for veg*ns - you basically have three choices: chips, a salad (which, to be fair, looks pretty good) or the Cajun Tofu Wrap, $9.90, which I went for:
It was.. okay. The tofu was tasty but there wasn't nearly enough of it - just two small strips. You have a choice of heaps of sauces, and silly me grabbed the hot sauce despite being a chilli wuss which may have affected my judgement a bit. The SO, a raging meat-eater, ordered the pulled beef wrap and said it tasted like nothing else, just beef, which is a bit disappointing. I like the concept of what they're trying to do, but for around $10 in the city you have so many more options within the CBD itself: Shandong Mama's zucchini dumplings, Panzerotti, LOTF,  at least two v-friendly ramen shops, etc. I probably won't be back, but I'm glad I checked it out all the same!

One great thing they are stocking is Fentiman's rose lemonade:
This stuff is excellent: a fresh lemony kick with rose and a few other things mixed in. It doesn't taste too floral and was incredibly refreshing - one of my favourite carbonated drinks I've tried. If you happen to walk past, grabbing a bottle is a good idea - it's different enough that it's worth a try. If anyone tries the chips, let me know if the seasoning is worth a revisit!

Monday, 14 July 2014

BBQ Night at the Cornish Arms

So. This is a horrible photo because The Cornish's lighting is horrible at night but who even cares. BBQ NIGHT.
This is the vegan big plate, $20: you're looking at a veggie frank with a gorgeous semi-spicy black beany chili and cheeze, chick'n strips, pork skewers, deep fried pickles (AW YES), slaw and a gorgeous BBQ sauce to slather it all in. Plus, not pictured, cuminy seasoned shoestring fries and a roll to assemble your own carbwich. I have no words, you need to get on this.