Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vegan oven baked donuts

I'm not a huge fan of donuts but I really like these little ones. They are baked rather than deep fried, making them less greasy. Make them small and you'll be reaching for more

1 cup milk ( I like almond milk)
50g dairy free spread
2.5 cups self raising flour*
1 1-2 teaspoon dried yeast
3/4 cup lemon sugar 
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Place milk in saucepan and heat until warm. Do not boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon spread.
2. Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in yeast, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Make a well in the centre. Add milk mixture. Mix to form a soft dough.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel
5. Set aside in a warm place for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size

6. Line a baking tray with baking paper
7. Using your fist, punch dough down.
8. Place on a lightly floured board
9. Knead until smooth and elastic
10. Stretch dough to be 2cm thick

11. Using a small round cutter, cut 12 donuts
12. Place doughnuts, 5cm apart, on prepared tray. Cover with a tea towel again. 

13. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C.

14. Cook doughnuts for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
15. Combine remaining lemon sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
16. Brush doughnuts with remaining butter. Dip in sugar mixture, shaking off excess.
17. Serve with your choice of tea or coffee.

 *Don't have access to self raising flour like here in Germany? You can use plain flour on it's own of course or add 5 teaspoons of baking powder to the flour and stir well together. 

Lemon sugar

Lemon sugar is a great way to use up lemon rinds and add flavour to your baking, cocktails and desserts. It takes only minutes and each jar will last a couple of months. 

  • 2  medium lemons
  • 3 cups sugar

  1. Place sugar in a jar
  2. Zest the yellow outer rind (avoiding the white pith) and place in the jar
  3. Stir well then leave in a warm, dry place to dry slightly for 30 mins
  4. Close and store in the cupboard
  5. Shake before use

Variations: use orange of lime zest
This can also be made using orange zest or lime zest, instead of lemon zest, if you’d prefer a different citrus taste. In addition to being mixed into recipes, citrus sugar is also great for making drinks

Monday, July 21, 2014

Greetings from Leipzig

I've been an absent blogger but this time, with good reason, I've moved countries! Chris, Mr Pablo and I now reside in Leipzig, Germany. We've been here just over 2 weeks, and it's certainly been a ride.

How's it all going? I'll divide into good and bad in dot point form to give you a wee snap shot. I've had a rotten lurgy so have been too unwell to explore much or cook much so my lens is somewhat limited to local haunts.

Bad (and some good)

  • I left my mobile phone on the plane to Frankfurt. Despite contacting the appropriate authorities it was never handed in. And it's not worth much either. Luckily Chris sent a phone to his Dad in the UK which he doesn't use so he's posting it to me. Hence the lack of photos
  • We had major dramas with the Lufthansa and Mr Pablo. In short, he was left in Frankfurt whilst we flew to Leipzig. I caught a train back the next day (four hours each way) and spent 5 hours in animal cargo/customs/animal cargo/ et al. All of these places were a fair distance from the main airport and required driving to each. Yes, neither the airline or pet travel company detailed any of this. Stressful, very stressful. I was very lucky to befriend a kindly cab driver who spoke English and really helped me out. In his own time for free. As we'd caused a bit of a rucus at Lufthansa the day before when we realised Mr P wasn't loaded onto the plane. I also had a lovely Lufthansa animal staffer called Armando helping me out. It's when you depend on the kindness of strangers that you really value goodness in people.
  • I developed a rotten sore throat and ear infection and bad cough a couple of days after arriving. Probably the same lurgy that struck everyone back home. I needed to see a doctor and did a google for doctors who could speak some English. 
  • Ah the joy of the German medical system. Appointments could only be made by an online form and the place was closed all weekend. Despite sending two requests for an appointment I received no reply. So went down to the clinic which looked like a weird hospital DDR style. The receptionist was dressed in white and didn't speak English (fair enough). We were all offered tea and coffee in the waiting room. Called in to see a student doctor perhaps in her 50's. Explained symptoms and asked how to say ear in Deutsch. She suggested holding my nose and exhaling repeatedly with my mouth closed. I explained I had tried this repeatedly and my ears have been ringing at a high volume for days and are extremely painful. Then her supervisor came in (wearing shorts and t shirt hehe) and changed the battery of the ear checker, digging it far enough into my ear that I screamed. He then showed the student comparable pictures of ear infections on google pics and pointed to mine. They decided that a nasal spray from the chemist would work and if it wasn't better in 2 days go back for a prescription for  'very serious treatment-' antibiotics. I'm cursing myself for not bring a pack with me from Australia. It's times like this I miss Brunswick Betta Health, as crap as it was. That said, the appointment was free and the nasal spray was 2€. It contains water and essential oils.  ( I returned for another visit and since my hearing is still impaired, I received a script for antibiotics and a referral for an ear specialist if the antibiotics don't fix it).
  • The chemist was like going to a liquor shop with no booze on show. There were sweets and bandages but I couldn't see any drugs. If you are planning a trip to Deutschland bring all the drugs. Upon advice of other expats I took 6 months worth of my prescription meds with me to Leipzig.
  • It's been really hot. 36c today which is of course, not as hot as Melbourne but there's no air con anywhere. Poor Mr P in his winter coat!
Things that are just a bit weird or different
  • We only have one key for the apartment, for both of us. We are not allowed to copy the key. I am terrified of losing the key. When we next leave the country we will try get some copies made overseas. 
  • Supermarkets are interesting. Each supermarket has at least three full aisles of booze and a comparative amount of meat. I have never seen so much meat in my life in all it's forms. I have bought some vegan bratwurst however. 
  • You get charged a tax on any bottles (glass or plastic) that you buy. These can returned to the store for a refund. 
  • Despite scouring supermarkets and health food shops, I am unable to find bicarbonate soda in quantities bigger than 50g, more than single sachets of yeast or baking powder, ice cube trays or shower puffers 
(these things) 
I am debating whether to wait until I go to the UK next or buy all of the above on ebay. 
  • Sausages are hugely popular. Even when a sausage stall is located next to indian and thai restaurants for the same price, people will opt for the sausages. 
  • Ice cream parlours are very popular, serving huge sundaes. I have enjoyed a few due to lurgy recovery. Great gelato!
  • Downloading aka torrenting is heavily penalised. We have a proxy but I miss being able to d/l at whim.

The natural museum near our apartment . It currently has an exhibition about Australia, complete with posters of badly taxidermied kangaroos. 

The Good
  • Despite speaking very little German I can generally get by. Chris is fluent and I am keen to do a proper intensive course once the schools reopen in August. I have done German lessons in Australia, it's just hard to remember! Unlike Berlin, most people don't speak English unless they are younger. 
  • There's a fruit and veg market twice a week in the town square with lovely fruit, veg, bread, flowers etc.
  • Booze at the supermarket is ridiculously cheap. When you go out, beer is the cheapest followed by wine, mixed spirits (like a gin and tonic) are expensive by Australian standards but the wine is good. 
  • Buffet brunch is really popular here on the weekends. I love brunch! 
  • It's great living in the city and being close to things. It's a walk to shopping centres, the town square, cafes and restaurants etc
  • Our cargo arrived without any damage. 
  • Yesterday I found the Leipzig version of Brunswick st/Smith st in Melbourne. A big second hand store like Savers where I bought a skirt, plenty of bars and interesting restaurants. It's 8 tram stops from our house, nice and close. 
  • My ears are still blocked but my throat is better and hopefully I'll be well enough next week to get stuck into working on my book.

 We can attest the fire station is still in operation

Stay tuned for more pics once I have a phone again!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Selling my bike!

2012 model of the Great women’s bike in good condition, this is the 2012 model of the Breezer Uptown 8

The saddle has been replaced with something far more comfortable, the Electra Amsterdam Comfort seat and the cabling has been tidied up as on the original model, cabling would slip a lot. 

It's a fantastic bike, especially if you are on the shorter side like me and find a lot of Amsterdam bikes simply too tall. 

Pick up available Brunswick or I am happy to arrange a courier at your expense. Bought for $1000 selling for $600. Will throw in my shiny red retro helmet for free. Interested? Email me or give me a call on 0433584889

Sizes: (17.5″), M (19.5″), L (21.5″), XL (23.5″) Low-Step: XS (15″), S (17″), M (19″), L (21″)
Color(s): Black Satin/Mineral Brown, L.S.: Black Satin/Cobalt Blue
Main frame: Breezer Custom Aluminum, Single Water Bottle Mount
Rear triangle : Breezer Custom-Tapered Aluminum, Horiz-In Dropouts
Fork: Breezer CrMo w/ CrMo steerer, V-Brake Mounts
Crankset: Shimano Nexus FC-NX75, 38T
Bottom bracket: VP-BC73C Cartridge Style
Pedals : Wellgo CO21 Aluminum Body w/Kraton top and CrMo Spindle
Front derailleur NA
Rear derailleur NA
Shifters: Shimano Nexus Revo, 8-speed
Cassette: Shimano, 18T
Chain: KMC Z-51
Wheelset: Shimano Dynamo 3N20 6V-3W Front Hub, Shimano Nexus 8 Premium Rear Hub, Alex DH19 36H Rims
Tires: WTB Freedom Cruz Elite w/Reflex, 26×1.5″
Brake set: Tektro 857AL V-Brake
Brake levers: Tektro CL530
Headset: VP-H692W
Handlebar: Breezer Aluminum, 26mm Rise
Stem Breezer Aluminum, Quill Style
Tape/grip: Breezer Open End Ergonomic Kraton rubber
Saddle: Breezer Comfort Saddle
Seat post: Breezer Suspension Aluminum 40mm Travel, 350×27.2mm
Fenders: Polycarbonate w/Integrated Lighting Conductors
Headlight: Busch & Muller Lumotec Fly LED w/Standlight Feature
Taillight: Basta Riff Steady LED w/Standlight Feature
Rear Carrier: Breezer Tubular Aluminum w/Spring Clip
Other: Axa Solid Ring Lock, YWS Chime Bell w/Black Anodized Chime

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Catching up...

I've been a terribly neglectful blogger.

 The surgery knocked me around a bit.  I ended up with an infection in my right leg and a trip to emergency, all of which has not been fun. I had all the stitches out this week at last although I'm on another round of antibiotics and still have to wear a dressing on my leg so no baths for me sadly. My left leg is good although I think I'll end up heading the posterior compartment released at some stage. The scarring will be minimal due to the keyhole surgery, the actual cuts go from knee to ankle.

I've been struggling terribly with a spot of plantar fascitis (the condition is a bitch to treat effectively) but besides that my leg pain is gone. It's very strange, my body keeps tensing waiting for the pain and being able to walk differently takes a lot of getting used to!

One happy leg

We've just under a month before we leave for Leipzig. We're frantically clearing out the house, selling  and donating bits and pieces. It's quite a large job, especially once you start selling off furniture and end up living out of boxes and using the laundromat. But it's all part of the adventure!

 Getting rid of my succulents, I really enjoyed finding the little teapots and teacups

I did my last preserving class in Australia. It was a great day and there was quite a haul (apologies for a somewhat blurry phone pic):

Besides that I've just been busy organising our last few Green Renters events and workshops and making door snakes. I was hopeful of taking a finished hexagon quilt to Germany but it will have to be completed there. 

Here's one of the vegan Portuguese custard tarts I made this week.I'll be serving them as part of morning tea at our vegan masterclass this weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

On the mend and Food for Thought

Bit of a weird week this week. I went to see the vascular surgeon on Wednesday after seeing the specialist physio the week before. Thursday morning I got a call, I was booked in for surgery the following day! I had a bilateral fasciotomy to treat compartment syndrome. It's basically a condition where one's lower legs feel chronic pain or tightness and the only way to treat it is to cut the fascia vertically. I've tried a lot of other treatment (including six pairs of orthotics) and it's such a relief to be accurately diagnosed and treated. I won't post a link about the surgery as they all involve pictures which don't look great!


Due to my limited finances I was able to do it as day surgery which was great as I didn't have to stay overnight in hospital.  I  had a weird reaction coming out of the anaesthetic and had to be sedated. Oops. The pain is now manageable thanks to the painkillers though I have to keep the dressing on for a week. I'm actually teaching workshops everyday this week, luckily I can do it sitting down and I've got some helpers for part of the week!

 If you are in the area, come visit me at Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre between 12pm and 1:30pm next week! I'll be teaching ways a few different things:
TuesdayJam and chutney making
WednesdayLove leftovers, reduce food waste
ThursdayIntroduction to pickling
FridayContainer and small space gardening
SaturdayContainer and small space gardening
SundayJam and chutney making

Here's a few things that are holding my attention this week:
How amazing are these flowers? Hard to believe they are made out of paper!

Loving these images of children's reference books in the 1970's. 

I'm teaching a vegan roast masterclass in June as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival's June Roast series. You can find out more about it here I was interviewed by a journo from The Age about it earlier in the week so hopefully it'll get enough bookings to run. By the way if anyone has a good source for vital gluten flour, let me know! I've rang many health food shops and am struggling to find it IRL stores (I like to give everyone info on where to find things). 

I love the idea of visible mending but unfortunately most of my clothes are a bit too far gone by the time I get to it. I even included some works of it in an exhibition I curated a few years ago:

 Tom of Holland has some great imagery and resources that are fantastic!

Love this interview with Mirka Mora on Design Files. Such a wonderful woman.

Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for writers.

I love the good work of Defy Ventures

Laura Kemp's 9 Reasons why I love Chic Lit.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Make your own washing powder


I've taught over 50 natural cleaning workshops. Probably closer to 100. I think it's great that people want to make their homes more sustainable and avoid to use of toxic chemicals, making the space kinder to people, pets and plants to boot. If like me, you may find the $10+ costs for a container of 'enviro friendly' washing machine powder a bit prohibitive making your own is a great option. 

So, here's what I make...I get all the 'ingredients' from plain old supermarket. I don't have time to go to a co-op or health food shop for expensive products. This recipe works on front and top loaders with hot or cold water.

  • 4 cups grated pure soap (e.g. Sunlight soap) or Lux Flakes
  • 1 cup washing soda* or for a heavy wash 1 cup borax**
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree or eucalyptus oil. 
  1. Mix all ingredients together well
  2. Store in a plastic container with a lid
  3. Use 1 tablespoon per wash. I keep a small jug in the container and add the tablespoon then dissolve with hot water before adding to the washing machine. 
* Washing soda is the mineral sodium carbonate and in Australia is commonly known by the brand name "Lectric". Lectric soda comes in crystal or powdered form - the crystal is also fantastic in a bath for aching muscles.

**Borax is a naturally occurring mineral (sodium borate) but too much on your garden is toxic to plants and worms, so if you are going to use your grey water on your garden, leave out the Borax.In general, I use Borax for washing really smelly towels and sneakers as I've tried nothing else works as well. It can be added to your washing water but personally I limit it to grey water which goes on hardier non-edible pot plants or to wash the floor or my bike.
ta dah!