Mar 28, 2012

White Chocolate Cheesecake

I was looking for something to make for a good friend of mine who loves white chocolate.  It seems that there are a lot of chocolate-based recipes out there, but less for white chocolate. I found a few different cheesecake ideas for milk chocolate and decided to make a white chocolate version.

I decided to simplify (as I tend to do) and also use measurments based on what packages the foods actually come in here in Australia.

*1/2 packet of Nice biscuits (there were 23 biscuits; I used 12)
*1/4 cup vegan butter, melted

*1 x 350g packs of soft tofu      
*1 x 227g tub of Tofutti cream cheese 
*2/3 cup raw sugar                   
*1 tbsp vanilla
*2 x 100g blocks Sweet Williams white chocolate    

*1/8 cup milk

1.  Preheat oven to 180C.
2.  Blend together tofu and cheese.
3.  Grate/chop white chocolate into a bowl.
4.  Mix tofu, milk, chocolate, vanilla and sugar in bowl.
5.  Make crust, put in pan.
6.  Pour mix on top.
7.  Bake for 55-70 minutes, or until edges are set but centre is soft.  Refridgerate 8-12 hours before serving.

Makes:  Six serves.

Mar 23, 2012

Rally to Stop the Hate: Brisbane 22nd March

The media coverage for this event leaves a lot unspoken so I will write what I saw happen here.

At 6pm in King George Square, Brisbane, approximately 400-500 people turned up to stop the "Hate Truck" run by Peter Madden.  He is a self-pronounced 'Christian Activist'.  I didn't get to see the truck, however as you can see on his website, the signs on it say "not my children! not on my watch!" and "the dark side of same-sex marriage. homosexual sex ed for your children".

Before I write about what happened at the event, let me just quickly explain what is wrong with these signs.  Children will not 'become homosexual' (or asexual, bisexual, pansexual or any other sexuality) just by learning about it in class.  Rather, they will just be educated in safe sexual practices that will ensure that they reduce their risk of diseases and health problems in the future. 

Sexual education is not a bad thing.  Learning to be tolerant and accepting of differences is not a bad thing.  Learning that love exists between all sorts of people is not a bad thing.  Making children feel accepted rather than stigmatised for their behaviours is not a bad thing.

Now on to the night!

We stood and chanted from 6pm to 7:30pm.  The majority of the chants were peaceful, however some were a bit problematic for me: "Fuck off, Madden, Fuck off!" and "1, 2, 3 and a bit, Madden is full of shit, 5,6,7, 8, we don't want your hate".  Personal attacks, to me, are not the right way to have a peaceful protest.  Telling them their homophobic views are not welcome is fine, but calling them 'shit' and telling them to 'fuck off' is another thing entirely.  "Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia's got to go" was a good one, as was the "What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!".  Each time there was a truck sighting or an anti-equal-rights-activist sighting, we were told to turn that way and chant some more.  There was even a song with a dance at one point.

There was one sighting of the truck at about 7:00pm-7:15pm and a lot of people ran after it.  They were all hastily recalled and reminded that this was a peaceful protest and to stay away from the truck.  One activist was arrested for standing near the truck.  They were later released without charge.  The police maintained a strong presence throughout the night.

All of a sudden, we were all looking at the top of King George Square (that is only accessible via stairs) and there were about 9-10 middle aged men and one woman (sorry for assuming their gender however, considering they're protesting 'gay marriage'...).  There were police guarding the stairs and the elevator to what I can only assume is an underground carpark where the truck was hidden.

One of the men (I assume Peter Madden) pulled out a guitar and started singing.  Our chanting grew louder.  One of the men leant over the balcony, seeming rather amused at what we were doing.  Then he seemed to start blessing us or praying for us.  I found this insulting and a bad move; you shouldn't interact with either side and this felt like a taunt.  This went on for about 15 minutes then, suddenly, three eggs sailed through the air, one narrowly missing hitting him in the face.  He just smiled and spread out his arms.  The police moved him away from the balcony.  He sat down but as soon as they were gone, stood up again to put his arms out towards us.  The police returned and he didn't do it again.

The egg throwers were not arrested, however I disagree with their tactics.  It makes us look like we're immature and can't be taken seriously (not to mention the animal rights implications of eggs).  It paints us as the bad guys.  Thankfully it was only one or two people who did it from what I can tell (considering only a few eggs were thrown).

The rest of the protest was peaceful; just chanting to drown out any homophobic comments made by the Madden group.  I left at 8pm but it was still going strong then.  I was followed down Queen Street by "Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia's got to go!".  I hope that it has helped to spread the message: equality is something people want and we're not going to stay silent about it.

Mar 17, 2012

Pumpkin Chips

It's that part of the week again; there's almost nothing in my fridge.  I decided to make pumpkin chips out of the 1/4 of a pumpkin I had in there.  They're really yummy, but not as firm as the potato chips.

  • 1/4 Butternut pumpkin
  • 1-2tbsp oil
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • paprika, oregano, thyme, any other herbs & spices you want to add
  1. Chop up pumpkin.
  2. Put in a container with herbs and spices.  Shake until evenly coated.
  3. Bake at 220C for 20 minutes.

Mar 14, 2012

Fact Sheet: Dairy Cheese

Dairy cheese is made by, basically, allowing milk to curdle and then curing it in a variety of different ways to add different flavours and textures.  This cheese contains a variety of different chemicals and hormones.  It is a concentration of all of the ones found in dairy as it takes about 10 pounds of milk (4.5kg) to make 1 pound of cheese (0.45kg).  One reason that many people find it hard to 'quit cheese' is because of the opiate effect of the casomorphins which are found in milk, but whose affects are exacerbated in cheese.

Cheese by jtuason

Most dairy cheese available commercially in Australia has rennet in it.  Rennet is taken from the stomachs of baby cows and used to help it curdle.  There are a few rennet-free dairy cheeses available, however as we know, the dairy industry supports the deaths of 700,000 calves a year.  These calves are allowed to be starved for 48 hours before being sent off to be killed.

Calf by photogrammer1
Dairy cheese is known for not being the most healthy food you could eat; many people only eat small amounts because of this.  It contains a high percentage of fats and cholesterol, both of which people do not need in excess. A person could be led to think that cheese has a lot of things that they can't get anywhere else, however all the vitamins (A, B12 and more) and minerals (calcium, zinc and phosphorous) can be found from other more ethical sources.

Vegetable stand by comprock

If you really do enjoy cheese, why not try some healthy, cruelty-free alternatives?  The Vegan Store has a big range, you can find Tofutti cream cheese and cheese slices at the supermarket or you can try to make your own.  There are more available than I have just listed, feel free to try them all and find a favourite that is better for you and the cows!

Cow by vietor

Please note that I have only discussed the treatment of cows in the dairy industry and the composition of cow cheese.  I have not yet had a chance to research cheese from goats or sheep.

Mar 9, 2012

Mung Bean Dahl

The co-op at uni had a sale on mung beans (I got just under a cup for 55c; I'm horrible at guesstimating weights) so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally try some out, after having a delicious mung bean dahl at Vege Rama.

  • 1 tsp each turmeric, pepper and cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 cup dried mung beans
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 handfulls spinach
  • 1 cube vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cups of water

  1. Put mung beans,water, vegetable stock, herbs and spices into a large pot on high, then turn down to let simmer.  You may need to add more water to keep it nice and liquidy.
  2. Put brown rice and water in another pot to cook.
  3. Fry onion and garlic in a pan with oil until onion is see-through.  Add to mung bean mix.
  4. Take brown rice off heat once cooked.
  5. Add finely chopped spinach to mung bean mix once there are 10 minutes to go (should have been cooking for about 25 minutes now, no need to worry about being exact, we only want the spinach to be wilted).
  6. Take mung beans off heat, serve with rice.

Mar 7, 2012

Chocolate Cake

This is a combination of an altered chocolate cake recipe cobbled together from a few different sites and a chocolate icing recipe that I made up after looking at a few different non-vegan sites.  I made it for a friend's birthday and they really enjoyed it and got lots of positive feedback from all of their friends.  The batter is pretty delicious as well!

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup Nuttelex
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Icing Ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa

  1. Mix cake ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Pour into cake tin.
  3. Bake at 180C for ~35 minutes, until knife or skewer comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool for at least an hour or your icing will melt!
  5. Make your icing by mixing all ingredients together.  You may need to adjust the amount of liquid to get the right consistency.
  6. Serve and eat!

Mar 5, 2012

Rio's Rat Rescue

For the month of March, 10% of all sales and all donations from baked goods will be going to Rio's Rat Rescue.  (Let me know what flavour cupcakes you want for the markets on my facebook page!)

'Chess cute rat' by Honey Pie!

Rats are overlooked when it comes to rescues; there are many for cats and dogs (although, still not enough to deal with the amount of animals that are abandonded/neglected).  I am happy that I have finally found a rat rescue as these critters are beautiful!

'Rats are cute too...' by line68

Rio's Rat Rescue is run by a vet nurse in Brisbane.  It is a home run shelter that has only recently started out but is already having an impact.  If you would like to donate some of the items they need (cages, toys, water drippers, etc), please email rio.graham(at), I'm sure they'd love to hear from you!

'rat' by woinska
 If you've been considering adopting a pet, why not take a rat in?  I myself am hoping to soon adopt two (once I hear back from the rental agency).  For information about looking after your rat, check out The Dapper Rat and for information on what to feed them, check out Veganza.

'Feirefiz, rat curieux' by DianeOzdamar

Mar 4, 2012

Banana Cupcakes

I was heading off with my friend to go to dinner at one of their friend's houses.  I've been raised to always take something when going to someone's house.  So I desperately scrambled around the kitchen in last minute haste, looking for something I could bake.  I found four bananas and some flour and sugar.  Using the choconana muffin and banana bread recipes, I created banana cupcakes.

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1/2 cup non dairy milk
  1. Mix everything in a bowl.
  2. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes.

Mar 3, 2012

Split Pea Dahl

My best friend absolutely hates chickpeas (I know, I know, how could you hate them?!) so I had to find something easy and cheap to make for them while they were over.  I found this recipe and modified it a little below, and added the price of the ingredients.

  • 1 cup yellow split peas, uncooked      80c
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 cubes veggie stock                           40c
  • 10 mushrooms                                   $2.20
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Nuttelex
  • 1/2 onion, diced                                  30c
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic                                     5c
  • dash pepper and salt, to taste
  • 1 cup rice                                           90c
  1. Place water, stock, peas, chopped mushrooms and turmeric in a large pot and let simmer for 25 minutes. You may need to continue adding water to ensure it's not too dry.
  2. Cook rice in water in seperate pot. 
  3. Fry onion, garlic, Nuttelex and cumin.
  4. Add onion mix to pea mix.  Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, until peas are soft.
  5. Serve with rice.
Makes: 2-3 serves

Total: $4.65

Mar 2, 2012

Movie Review: END:CIV

Today I had the privilege of having the creator of END:CIV, Franklin Lopez, come in and talk to us about the film.  He explained how it was sparked by attending a talk about peak oil.  It was there that he first heard Derrick Jensen speak.  Franklin bought Derrick's books and this movie is a summation or introduction to some of the premises that are outlined within them.

It covers the death of the environmental movement, the greenwashing of products that we are sold and the destruction of the environment.  It forces us to confront the fact that the environment is our responsibility, that we are the ones who need to do something about this, that we must work together to halt the mindless consumption that the world revolves around.

This film is confronting, but it needs to be.  The issues that it covers are not small, are not going to go away and they need something to be done now.
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