Veganuary Challenge 2017

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Some of my readers may have heard of Veganuary. For those who haven’t it’s a food challenge where you eat vegan foods for the whole month of January. So that’s no products that come from an animal – including cutting out honey and even some wines!

The purpose is to raise awareness of animal suffering, help the environment, but also showing that being vegan is not as limiting as people think. I was definitely a curious carnivore but also reluctant to give up my favourite food groups…

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

I used to love eating tabbouleh. It is fresh and a perfect side dish for summer. The only problem is that since becoming gluten intolerant, I can’t eat cous cous, which is one of the main ingredients in tabbouleh. For years I have had to say no to the delicious mix of tomato, onion and parsley. But a while ago I saw the idea of using quinoa as a substitute… Whilst I always have quinoa in my kitchen, I never tried this recipe… Until recently.

My street has a regular Christmas street party BBQ and we all bring along some meat and a side dish. I wanted to bring along a dish of something that was different, but fresh and delicious summer dish. Quinoa tabbouleh seemed like the perfect dish to bring!

It is a little time consuming to make, but I thought it was well worth the preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 4 tomatoes (I used 3 large Roma tomatoes and one medium sized Truss tomato)
  • 1/2 Spanish onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: lemon wedges and parsley leaves to garnish

Method

1. Rinse quinoa under cool water before cooking. Cook in boiling water until quinoa is light and fluffy. Rinse and set aside to cool. Stir quinoa with fork to keep fluffy and speed up cooling process.

2. Dice onion. Place onion into a small bowl. Cover onion with water and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. This will soften the onion and make it more pleasant to eat.

3. Dice tomatoes and place in large bowl. Mince garlic clove and finely chop parsley, and place in bowl. Once quinoa is cooled, add to bowl as well. Drain onion from water and also add to large bowl.

4. In another small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add oil and lemon mixture to large bowl with all other ingredients and stir thoroughly. 

5. Allow tabbouleh mixture to sit for a hour or two in the fridge. There may be some excess moisture from the oil and lemon juice – this will eventually be soaked up by the mixture.

6. After an hour or so, season with salt and pepper. Stir again before serving and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley leaves. Serve as a side for barbecued meat. This tabbouleh mixture will keep for a few days in the fridge.

You can also add a tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves to this mixture to give it an extra freshness kick! I didn’t have any mint so I decided not to use it and I think it turned out great without the mint, but other people may find that the mint gives it the little extra something it needs.

What do you think of my Quinoa Tabbouleh? Do you have a similar recipe or a recipe for Tabbouleh? Share your thoughts and links in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

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Cupping Room Friday Lunch

There’s been a lot of buzz around The Cupping Room in Canberra City. Everyone is always posting Instagram pics and checking in on Facebook at this location, plus there are a heap of blog posts on this place.

Although it is just around the corner from my work, I never really think about going there for lunch, or even just for coffee. Probably because the last time I went there was in October last year and it took me 20 minutes to get a takeaway coffee…

However the other day a work friend suggested we go get lunch together. She mentioned the cupping room and we decided to check it out. She did warn me that it is expensive, but at least the food is really good.

When we got there it was around 1.15pm and the place was packed. It was no surprise that the staff told us that there would be a wait. I was surprised when this wait was less than a minute! We were seated over by the window on the bar like stools. This gave us a great view of the passing people and traffic – I always love a bit of good people watching!

The first word that comes to mind when describing this place: hipster. It is full of skinny jean man bun wearing male staff, androgynous female staff with heavily adorned with tattoos. Despite this look, another surprise was that (most) staff were super friendly. I did get a vibe of I’m-too-cool-and-I-don’t-care-what-you-think vibe from one staff member, but he was still helpful in explaining how their coffee system works.

Which is another interesting point: they don’t do your standard cappuccino, latte, long blacks etc for your coffees. They have these special blends that they like to use. To be perfectly honest, it was a lot of information at once and I got a little lost, so I just ordered a chai latte instead.

This was deliciously creamy. I often don’t like chai lattes with full cream milk, and instead opt for the soy milk option. But this was the first chai latte that I thoroughly enjoyed. It had a strong spicy aroma to it. There was also a lovely honey taste to it that I noticed just as I was finishing my sip.

My friend and I both ordered the winter salad, and I got mine with chicken.

It took quite a while for the food to come out. I actually chose a salad for the very reason that it should be quick! After all, not everyone is a public servant with super flexibility about how long they take their lunch break for!

When it did come out, I was pretty happy, because with it being 2pm, I was starving! I am not entirely sure it it looked generous because of the presentation, or if it actually was a large serving. It was layered with baked beetroot and Brussel sprouts, thin shards of deep fried sweet Potatoe, rocket, capers, and three chicken tenderloins strategically placed on top. There was also a creamy sauce in small spoonfuls around the dish, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Brussel sprouts! I don’t remember what they taste like as we rarely had them when I was a kid (I guess I was luckily like that!). They appeared to have been baked as they were slightly crunchy on the outside. My friend I even started discussing how much we enjoyed them and that we wouldn’t know first thing about cooking Brussel sprouts!

They were a great combination with the baked beetroot and the creamy sauce. The baking of the beetroot meant that it was not sweet and juicy like the tinned variety. This is exactly how they should be for this kind of dish.

All the tastes and textures complimented each other in this dish.

The only thing I would criticise is the use of the thing sweet potato shards. They were so thin that you could not get them on your fork without crushing them into tiny pieces. Or if you did manage to get some on your fork, then they would somehow escape the fork before reaching your mouth. So it made eating the dish a little difficult.

I’ve decided to introduce a new method for rating my restaurant and cafe review posts – hopefully this will give my readers a clearer idea about the restaurant and a snapshot for anyone who feels lazy and doesn’t want to read the whole post 😉

Atmosphere: 3.5/5 | Customer Service: 3.5/5 | Speed of Service: 3/5 | Presentation of Food: 4/5 |Taste: 4.5/5 | Value for Money 3.5/5

Overall Score: 22/30

I enjoyed my Friday lunch at The Cupping Room and I think I will go again to try out some more food as well as eventually try their different style of drinking coffee.