Sunday, February 28, 2010

More dinners from the T-House, or: A Selection of Goodies

Yo yo yo yo, babypop 

Continuing in the grand tradition of playing catch ups, I humbly present to you two more meals from the T-House which went down a treat. 

Yellow Thai Curry
A bit of a cheater. Vegan With A Vengeance set out a bewdiful recipe for homemade curry paste. Yet in the back of the pantry was a ready-made jar, ninja vegan. The recipe called for a number of separate steps to prepare the rest of the curry anyway, so the jar was opened. 

And it was good. We've made it again and the jar will give us one more batch too. We added rice noodles to bulk up the curry, and you see version-topped-with-coriander below but version-topped-with-basil was also excellent. Versatility! (I also recommend frying the tofu in soy sauce instead of oil. Or both, but be warned that you will be picking at the tofu after it's cooked like chippies).

Corn Chowder
I'm usually not a soup fan, preferring my dinner to be chewable. But this one, also from VWAV, was heeeeearty. It did involve removing half of the soup and blending it before returning it to the pot, but as we are absent a stick blender it was necessary to make this thick and smooth chowder. Buzz and I spent a very lamely amusing evening arguing over 'chOWder' and 'chow-DAIR'.

Vegan Yum Yum is the recipe book that keeps on giving. Having seen a number of bloggers, including Kristy, enjoy the creamy alfredo that Lolo at VYY created, we weren't surprised when it was bloody good. A tangy, creamy alfredo - go easy on the mustard - hit many spots. However, with the great big bowl of pasta that the fatty sauce thickly coated, and topped with Parmazano, this is a meal for after you've belted it out at the gym. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's catch up! or, I mass upload

Hi Kiddles, 

Transmission has resumed!

Given the massive gap in which the T-House was offline, I've decided just to wham-bam-thankyou-blog and upload a lot of pics with little descriptions. 

Buzz and I have been continuing our quest to end same-same cookering with 3 or 4 new recipes a week, which has been working well and has cemented my love of the Vegan Yum Yum recipe book. 

Nuttelex Tofu (what else am I going to call Butter Chicken eh?)

It was ok - but really fatty by the time we'd fried the tofu and added the Nuttelex. A bit guilt-making. I'm loving this brand of spice pastes though - they do the Tom Yum that I was raving about and label the vegetarian packets, so there's just a little packet reading to check for vegan credentials.

Semolina porridge at The Mess Hall

Totally incredible and I've started making it at home. 

Chilli Linguine
One of the coolest Xmas presents we got was from my uncle Biffs and cousin Zacman, who gave us this packet of chilli linguine. It. Rocked. Hard .

We added chillis from the chilli plant that our friends Miss Jess and Mr Lach gave us at our housewarming.  I totally recommend this brand of pasta and will be giving gifts like this too!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Continued correspondence: I write again to Haigh's, or: I want my dark chocolate frogs!

Thanks Lisa for the suggestion! Still confused by Haigh's reply to my letter, I emailed them again:

Hi Olivia,

Thanks for your response and sorry for the delay. I have been unable to find any recent changes to food labelling standards and would very much appreciate it if you could direct me to the guidelines issued to you by the government. Perhaps this is a Commonwealth Government guideline?

As I understand it, the principal State Act that controls the sale of food in Victoria is the Food Act 1984. The Act is also the means through which the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is applied as the law in Victoria, but the Code's website contains the following statement in relation to 'may contain traces of':  
"You’ll notice some labels say ‘may contain’ certain allergens, for example ‘may contain nuts. This is put on by the manufacturer who may be concerned that, while nuts aren’t added to the food, traces may be present due, for example, the product having been made on the same equipment as products containing nuts. Allergy consumer support groups are working with the food industry to make these labels more helpful to allergy sufferers."
I am also still confused because Standard 1.2.4 of the Code: "Labelling of Ingredients" provides the definition used in the Code and therefore also in the Act. It is: "ingredient means any substance, including a food additive, used in the preparation, manufacture or handling of a food". From your email it appears that Haigh's does not use or add milk in the preparation of dark chocolate.

I would really appreciate it if you could tell me what the trace levels of milk are when they must qualify as an ingredient. As I'm sure Haigh's will appreciate, this is an issue of interest and importance to all dairy-free people so I would like to be able to fully understand the reasoning behind Haigh's decision.

Thank you once again for your assistance and for your previous reply,

Rachel Templeman

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Haigh's responds, or: I just can't explain

But here's a lil' sumthin' sumthin' - I got a reply from Haigh's, but didn't notice it for a while because it landed in my Trash. Here was my original moment of glory.

I really can barely reply. The logic is so, so twisty-roundy circular. But it's nice to know that my email was discussed in a management meeting; God I feel special (actually, one time I wrote a letter of complaint to a company because I had been misinformed by staff about the vegan status of their products and was quite huffy, and they forwarded my email to all stores to let them know that there had been a problem - not in a bad way, just to inform in case they had any other queries - but they left my full name on the bottom of the email. And how do I know this? A friend of mine who is a manager in that chain rang me!)

Dear Rachel,

Thank you for your email. We understand what you are saying, however due to new standards of labeling we now have to list milk as an ingredient. We have not added milk, but as we produce both the milk and dark product on the same machinery, we have to list it as an ingredient.

To declare on labels “may contain traces of milk” the product must contain a specific amount of milk. Unfortunately our dark chocolate products contain above this particular level, therefore due to the new standards we need to include milk on the ingredients list.

Dark chocolate was never intended to be a pure vegan product, or dairy-free, as there are trace amounts of milk in all of our dark chocolate products.

The listing of milk as an ingredient in our Dark chocolate is at the bottom of the ingredients list, as it would only be trace amount, and it varies from batch to batch.

When the labeling changes came into effect we did place notifications in all of our stores for quite a few months.

Your email was discussed at the recent Management Meeting and this issue is constantly under review, but at this stage we are following the guidelines as provided by a government department.

We will advise you if there are any changes in the year ahead.

Best regards,


Cut off, or: where oh where has my little ADSL2 connection gone?

Hello chickens,

Mea culpa … actually not really. I’ve been grave-like silent due to two things: a week long trip to visit the western wilds of WA (hello there cousins!) and also the cutting off of our interwebs at home as our provider (coincidentally also from the western wilds) needs to cut it of for up to 20 – oh yes 20 - days to move us to Naked DSL (which only saves us $10 a month because the moment you move from a paid phone line to naked, your plan – the very same plan – goes up). We’ve so far been incommunicado from 3 February until at least tomorrow night. And it’s been mighty hard yes sirree bob.

So we are desolate and in despair, and I am writing this naughtily at work just to let you know that I’ll be back and I shall rise again and take my dread sword in my right hand and my shield in my left and I shall smite mine enemies and I shall conquer. And blog.

Pip pip!