I Tried Vegemite!

Good morning, everyone! Hope you are all having a fantastic week so far. I’m writing this on a Monday morning, and I have one more week of no school (yay!) before classes pick up again. I’m loving my restful mid-semester break.

I actually have an essay to work on right now. Which is why I’m blogging instead.

On a much more positive note, I am head-over-heels in love with a place called Noosa Chocolate Factory. They make the richest, most chocolate-y hot chocolate using 56% cocoa. It’s a cross between milk chocolate and dark chocolate, so it straddles the line between sweet and bitter. I adore it, and downed two cups last week. With extra chocolate while I was browsing the store.

Recent meals have been healthy and tasty. For lunch yesterday, I ate:

  • 1/5 Botanica salad (potato, pea and dill salad, kale with tomato sumac, grains with seeds, Israeli couscous with pesto, chickpea and carrot with curry dressing)
  • 2/3 spinach goat cheese egg tart
  • 1-egg omelet with provolone
  • 1/2 vegan Lamington from the farmers market (dessert unpictured)
  • 1/2 vegan cookie dough cheesecake from the farmers market (dessert unpictured)
  • 1.5 scoops light Greek yogurt, honey-roasted cashews

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Similar but different: I had two of the spinach and goat cheese egg tarts. I’m really proud because I made them myself. I heat them up on the stovetop instead of the oven, so the bottom gets nice and crispy (okay, burned, because I don’t watch the heat). Either way, this is one of my favourite lunches. I love the salad combo, especially the vegan pesto couscous salad, and it tastes great with the buttery tart shell with spinach and goat cheese.

I’ve been looking at planning a trip for the mid-semester break. Originally, I thought about booking it with a tour, such as Adventure Dudes or something like that, but I ended up finding a friend who was equally interested in travelling to a local beach town called Byron Bay. We ordered bus tickets and reserved spots in a beachside hostel. I’m pretty excited! We leave on Friday morning and come back Sunday afternoon, so I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos.

I really want to visit this cafe, called Anouk, but I don’t know what I’d order! The apple stuffed french toast sounds divine, as does the breakfast masala. Truthfully, I’d be happy ordering any one of these dishes. What would you order from this renowned breakfast place?

These photos are from a place called the Roma Street Parklands. It’s a beautiful botanical garden.

I took so many photos, and loved watching the water dragons and birds. The plantlife (and wildlife!) here in Australia is drastically different from that of North America. It’s almost miraculous how differently flora and fauna react to existing in different biomes. I love it.

Another day, I went shopping in the downtown area of Brisbane. There, I contemplated buying a new tank top, but I already have quite a few shirts. And this was expensive. Why does Lululemon, and other recreational sportswear brands, have to be so pricey? Like, I’m a student. I’m poor. Must be nice to own a couple $150 leggings though. :’)

A couple random snippets of my life:

  • walking beside the river into the main part of the city
  • a note written to me from an Apple store employee who helped me connect my devices to Bluetooth (she gave me recommendations for places/restaurants in Brissy)
  • April 1st joke by Google Maps – Waldo!
  • King George Square at sunset

One day, I visited Sourced Grocer. It’s an organic grocery store and cafe, famous for their simple but delicious brunch dishes. I dined al fresco, which I adore.

Here is my cabbage pancake, which is topped with a smear of goat cheese, heavily roasted garlic broccoli, a poached egg, and parmesan cheese. On the side, I had a slice of sourdough bread with vegemite, and a rye crumpet with honeycomb and whipped butter.

First of all, the crumpet was divine. Perfectly airy, sweet, buttery. I’d eat this one thousand times. The honeycomb was exquisite, and the flies outside agreed. The cabbage pancake was perfect – crispy, yet tender pancake, beautifully-flavoured charred broccoli that added crisp, and creamy cheese. Of course, the egg was also poached to perfection and added lovely flavour to the other ingredients.

But most importantly! The vegemite. I thought:IMG_7922

  • it wasn’t as bad, or as powerful, as I’d expected
  • I’d really braced myself for the worst-possible tasting condiment, so when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised!
  • I think people might make the mistake of smearing the entire glob onto their toast (like I would with Nutella or peanut butter), which would make it far too potent, but I used plenty of whipped butter and just enough vegemite
  • definitely something that you start off with a little of (like spicy condiments), and build your way up
  • in terms of flavour, it is rich and salty – reminding me somewhat of condensed, thickened soy sauce with a deeper, slightly bitter aftertaste

Afterwards, I had another typical Aussie treat: vanilla ice cream with milo! Milo is a malted powder (like Nestle hot chocolate mix) that you’d mix with milk or water. This came with crunchy milo cereal pieces. Interestingly, this ice cream was made with nitrogen, making it super creamy and gelato-like – which I love. I prefer the texture of gelato to the texture of ice cream any day.

More photos of Brisbane’s astonishing plantlife ❤

I guess that’s it! I’m going to go wash my tea mug – I’m obsessed with chai lattes. I’ve had a chai latte every morning, religiously, for the past two weeks. I actually shared the chai latte recipe on my last blog post if you’re curious. But let me say it again. I. Love. Chai.

Have a delicious week!

My Cooking Staples

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: yogurt, eggs, cheese

STAPLE ALWAYS ON HAND: oats, quinoa, cocoa powder, nut butter

MUST-HAVE MUNCHIES: homemade granola or some other quickbread/brownie

GO-TO PROTEINS: eggs, tofu, beans, nuts and nut butter

FAVE CONDIMENTS: salsa, pesto, garlic aioli, Dijon mustard

DAIRY FAVOURITE: old cheddar, fontina

MUST-HAVE PANTRY STAPLES: oats, dry pasta, nut butter

SWEETS AND OTHER INDULGENCES: chocolate, coconut cookies

FAVE VEGGIES AND WHAT YOU MAKE WITH IT: spinach in spinach scrambled eggs, any kind of vegetable in a creamy coconut Thai curry, and broccoli in broccoli-cheddar quinoa casserole

SIMPLE GO-TO RECIPE: smashed avocado on toast with 2 scrambled eggs, spinach, and cheddar

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: nut butter and yogurt

INGREDIENT THAT MAKES EVERYTHING TASTE BETTER: butter, salt (even in sweet recipes), cinnamon, freshly-ground black pepper, GARLIC

LAST-MINUTE ENTERTAINING: crackers and brie

BEST SHOPPING TIPS: create a meal map before grocery shopping, listing the meals you’d like to try and ingredients you’ll need.

FAVOURITE PLACES TO SHOP: farmer’s markets and specialty grocery stores

BEST BARGAIN: frozen peas, shrimp (okay, anything frozen) in bulk from Costco

CRAZIEST THING TO BUY: I occasionally buy real vanilla beans, which are luxurious and so amazing. Truffle salt, maybe!

IN MY SHOPPING BAG: Today? Maybe some pretzels because I’m craving those!

The Flying Foodie Kitchen

Welcome to the Flying Foodie Kitchen!

Pantry

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned pineapple tidbits
  • Canned tuna and/or salmon
  • High-quality bottled pasta sauce

Fridge

  • Peanut, almond, and/or sunflower seed butter
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Goat cheese
  • Milk
  • Almond milk
  • Ground flaxseeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Maple syrup
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Firm tofu
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon or trout
  • Garlic puree

Fruits

  • Lemons or limes
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Avocadoes
  • Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries (can be frozen)

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Baby spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Regular boiling or baking potatoes
  • Butternut squash (can be frozen), kabocha squash, spaghetti squash
  • Frozen corn, peas, and edamame

Spices

  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Dried basil
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika

Grains

  • Quick-cooking oats and/or regular old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Whole wheat bread, pitas, tortillas, and/or flatbreads
  • Spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Buckwheat (Japanese soba) noodles

Baking

  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Honey
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dates, raisins, dried cranberries
  • Chia seeds

Condiments

  • Sesame oil
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Coconut milk
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Curry paste: red or green

Do You Get Seasick?

On our last full day in the Sunshine Coast, we had breakfast at Zoe’s Bakery and Cafe. I loved my egg bake and this quiche with chanterelles! The poppyseed berry coffee cake was also unbelievable.

I loved the view outside our hotel!

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For lunch, we went grocery shopping and bought things to cook in our kitchenette at home. Seline made red peppers with ranch, corn with salt and butter, and scrambled eggs. Mom and I made fried salmon, roasted broccoli, avocado, and noodles. We had a feast!

This is our hotel – the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. It is so modern, and is was very clean.

Next, we made a reservation for a ride to go whale watching! The ride was three hours and included a fast ride on the zodiac and an hour of seasickness-inducing whale watching. We also saw bald eagles, seals, and sea lions. Unfortunately, all seven of us felt a little ill.

Post-ride photo of everyone! Check out these thick long-sleeved, long-panted (?) life vests.

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Dinner at the Matterson House involved lots of steak, meat, and potatoes.

Seline loved her seafood chowder and tomato-cheese pasta.

Mom and I shared the spinach fettuccine with smoked salmon, parmesan, and pine nuts. I loved it!

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I also loved my dessert – a creamy Skor pie, and apple crumble à la mode.

Vacation for me = adventures + food coma + extra sleep