Banana Chai Spice Smoothie

It is well and truly smoothie season. Over the past weeks I have shifted from eating mainly porridge brekkies to total smoothie town. I alternate flavours regularly, but lately this one has made been amongst the reruns.

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Banana Chai Spice Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 date
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of black pepper
1 tsp maca
1 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Random eats around Melbourne

Treats that I have enjoyed since returning to Melbourne (a short summary)

1. Mister Nice Guy’s Bakery, Prahran

ImageI finally got to visit this place!

When I left Melbourne, I think Mister Nice Guy’s were operating only as cupcake stockists for other places like Las Vegan Bakery and the Radical Grocery. I was so excited when I found out they had extended into two of their own locations AND started doing savoury stuff too. I grabbed this BLT bagel to take home and toast, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m not even sure if I’ve had a bagel before, this may well have been my first one. I’ll definitely be back for another.

ImageObviously I couldn’t leave without taking a few cupcakes with me. I grabbed one of every mini one they had left that afternoon, and from memory I think these were along the lines of vanilla/lavendar, red velvet, white chocolate macadamia, orange and gingerbread. My surprise favourite would probably have to be the vanilla/lavendar…the icing was just divine, with such delicate flavour.

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A few days later when my Mum and were doing some Christmas organising, we stopped in at the Prahran markets and I couldn’t walk past without grabbing these minis, as they weren’t present on my first visit. Peanut butter choc and peppermint choc. Yum!


2. Botanical Cuisine 

ImageI had seen the Botanical Cuisine range start popping up left right and centre but was yet to try any, particularly as while living in the van we didn’t have the most reliable source of refrigeration. Finally the time came! The Tiramisu-ish was okay, but I think I was put off as the first jar I bought had gone off. I took it back and got it replaced, but I couldn’t get the initial fizzy flavour out of my brain or taste buds. The walnut cheese, on the other hand, was amazing and featured prominently in a couple of Christmas lunch dishes, as well as snacks.


3. Loving Earth

ImageAnother thing I had been hanging out to try – the new white chocolate caramel block! I’m not entirely sure why, as I never had a huge thing for white chocolate, but this just seemed exciting so I jumped on board. It was nice, but I definitely prefer the dark chocolate flavours – this one was just a bit too sweet. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it again though…


4. Berrissimo

ImagePopped in here while wandering Brunswick st one day and got this banana split/chocolate mousse combo with strawberries. I was impressed by the five or so vegan flavours available here. First taste, I enjoyed it, however after a while I realised that I had bitten off more than I could chew, even with a small. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – the size and price are quite generous, but I wish Billy and I shared one instead of getting one each as I couldn’t finish this and Billy only did so begrudgingly. Granted, we’d had lunch and beers not long before, so perhaps on an empty stomach we could put up a better fight.


5. Bokchoy Tang stall

ImageMy Mum and I stumbled upon a mini food festival in Fed square one weekend when we went into the city. Bokchoy Tang had a little stall, and were doing these veggie buns, of which we got a plate of four to share. What I loved about these was the fact that you could distinguish one part from the other in the filling – it wasn’t all unrecognisable mush. These were nice and fresh and packed with greens, and I loved the generous amount of sesame seeds in them.

We also shared some steamed edamame with chili salt from Chocolate Buddah, but I forgot to capture them.


6. Madecasse chocolate

ImageChocolate + spice. Need I say more?


7. Wedding

ImageImageImageI went to a beautiful friend’s lovely wedding, and was catered for so amazingly. I always feel like a bit of a burden at events like this, but this meal made me feel special, hehe.


8. ABC butter

ImageCh-ch-ch-ch-ch- h-check it out! My first nut butter in my new blender. This is almond, brazil nut and cashew and it is deeeeelicious!


9. Smoothie

ImageImageAnd of course, smoothies in the blender! This one is apple, pineapple, cucumber, kale, lime juice and cayenne pepper. It’s a wake up kick!


10. Grace Cafe

ImageImagePopped into a friend’s cafe for a coffee with my Aunty and my friend Liz from I Spy Plum Pie, and being late in the afternoon we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. It was charming and cosy sitting outside in the opened out shipping container, and they even had a vegan chocolate zucchini cake on offer. How could I not?!


11. Raw Caramel Slice

ImageAnd lastly, I whipped another batch of my raw caramel slice because, well, it’s DELICIOUS. My whole family loves it, not to mention everybody I’ve given some to sample, so I think this one will definitely be on the repeat list. Mmmm caramel….

Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop PRAHRAN SHOP CLOSED
Stall 98B, Prahran Market
163 Commerical Road, South Yarra
Tues, Thurs, Fri & Sat – 9am-5pm
Sun – 10am-3pm
(Closed Mon, Wed and public holidays)

BerrissimoCLOSED
2/360 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 1pm-9.30pm
Fri – 1pm-10.30pm
Sat – 12pm-10.30pm
Sun – 12pm-9.30pm

Grace Cafe
76 Rose St, Fitzroy
Mon-Fri – 7am-4pm
Sat-Sun – 8am-5pm

Taste and Graze, Mandurah

After some time spent in Perth, we scooted off down south to Mandurah to stay with my Granny for a while. I lived with Granny for about four months last year while completing my uni placement, so it felt very much like coming home. I took up residence in ‘my’ room as though I’d never been gone!

I love Mandurah and all the memories from spending time down here as I grew up – walking or driving along the foreshore always bring them flooding back, even as the town transforms. One more recent addition to the foreshore is the Taste and Graze Café and Restaurant. Well, sort of. When I enquired about how long they had been in business, I was told that prior to being Taste and Graze, they were the Stiff Chilli and only occupied half the space they take up now. The recent renovations have seen them open right up with plenty of indoor as well as on-street dining.

Mandurah has never offered a huge range of options for vegan dining, so I wasn’t getting my hopes up upon entering the café to peruse the menu. However, I was pleasantly surprised. While there was not a HEAP, there were certainly options (and potential ones with a few adjustments). We decided to stay for lunch.

I started with a green smoothie – can’t go wrong with that. I think it may have had peach or nectarine and passionfruit, but my memory fails me (boy, I need to start taking lunch notes or something!)

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Then after confirming its suitability, I ordered the quinoa salad with raisins, avocado, celery, tomato, carrot and baby spinach.

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We had a slight miscommunication – I was brought out the chicken and quinoa salad (different item on the menu) as opposed to the veg one, but this was very quickly rectified (impressively so!) and there were no hard feelings on my part.

This was a super filling lunch, without being too heavy. There wasn’t a strong flavoured dressing on the salad, but this allowed the sweetness of the raisins and the flavours of the vegetables to shine through. Nice, fresh, wholesome and crunchy. I really enjoyed it.

So much so, that about a week later we went back for another spot of lunch. Again, I had a green smoothie – this time with banana and mango.

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I followed with a light lunch – a warm green bean, asparagus and broad bean salad with toasted walnuts (minus the crumbled feta).

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This was lovely! I could see how feta would really work with this – I’d love to do it with a tofu or cashew cheese, but honestly it was delicious without too.  I can’t really fault it.

Wow, I just noticed how green all my meals were here – yum! We did grab a few little bliss balls to take away for afternoon tea too which aren’t pictured – they were yummy with a beautiful flavor from the toasted sesame seeds they were rolled in.

Taste and Graze is certainly a welcome addition to Mandurah, offering some great food that isn’t found anywhere else in this seafood dominated town. You can definitely see the Melbourne influence in this little café (and it’s not a bad thing). It is on the pricier side of things, but I’m not completely sure if that’s just W.A. these days as everything seems to be getting more expensive (did I mention the $12 pint of beer I had?!).

I’d love to see what they keep doing here, hopefully a few more veg items circulate the menu as I’d be happy to come back and taste them next time I’m in Mandurah.

Taste and Graze Café and Restaurant
Shop 3/16 Mandurah Terrace, Mandurah WA
Wed – 9am-5pm
Thurs-Fri – 9am-late
Sat – 8am-late
Sun – 9am-5pm