Tag Archives: coffee

veggie eats in: St. Pete’s

Before I left on my trip I did a bit of research – specifically for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Russia. I heard that it might be a challenge to eat well as a vego in Russia and I didn’t want to starve. Over the next couple months I am going to try and share some of delicious places that I have tried around the world. (Complete with pictures if I was brave enough to take out my Camera… which I clearly was not while in St Petersburg.)

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Cafe Ukrop
Ulitsa Marata 23 (191025)

I stopped by this cafe on my first day in St Petersburg when I was all alone. I had read that Cafe Ukrop had English menus, so I knew that I would be ok there. The cafe is quite cute but on the first floor they don’t speak any English. The guy behind the counter smiled, but then opened a notebook that had various English phrases written out. He pointed to: English Restaurant upstairs.

So up I went.

The Restaurant was very nicely decorated, very clean and modern and very organic. The menus were clear and just about every dish looked amazing. The vegan dishes were marked, as were raw dishes and anything that you add milk or cheese to.

I settled on a potato, pea and cucumber salad with a cashew mayonnaise and lots of dill – Those Russians love their dill. I was craving vegetables in a bad way, so I also had a carrot juice. Gotta keep my orange glow.

I would definitely recommend this place for vegans and veggies alike. I didn’t try their desserts, but they looked amaze. I found all these places on HappyCow.com so check that out too – usually opening hours are listed but most places in Russia are open late (9 or 10)

Cafe Botanika
7 Ulitsa Pestelya (near Mukhinskoye Arts Institute)

We visited Botanika on our second day. And then our third. And then our fourth. They, too, had an English menu and waitresses that were adorable. On our first visit, Sean and I both had a juice and I went the full Russian and followed that up with a beet salad and then some Borsch. BEET OVERLOAD (but not – I could eat Beets forever.) Both dishes were sooooo good. Sean had a Dillwich, whichh was some kind of wrap – and a mulled wine. The prices were reasonable and the food was so comforting.

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We returned the next two days for multiple coffees. Mostly cause the waitresses were so cute.

The Idiot
Nab. reky Moiky 82

The Idiot was our restaurant of choice for our night out to the theater. We arrived at about 6.15pm and were greeted and seated immediately. The decor was very homely – it kind of felt like I was in a Babushka’s dinning room. There were tall candles on each table and china cabinets against each wallpapered wall. It was sort of in the basement of a building which made it a very cozy place to dine. The menu was in both Russian and English with some charming spelling and grammar mistakes. We opted for the non-smoking section, but pretty much everyone smokes in Russia and you can do it pretty much everywhere – so that is something to keep in mind, it was rather smokey.

The best part about the Idiot is by far the bread basket. It comes with about 5 different kinds of the best bread ever. They also bring you a trio of flavoured butters (not vegan) but still a nice touch.

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For drinks we ordered a honey and pepper spiced shot of Vodka (when is Russia) and Sean got a beer while I ordered a wine. Upon serving our drinks the waitress also brought another complimentary shot of vodka from the bar. So just to sum up – 2 shots each and an extra drink. I have read that they give this complimentary shot to everyone. Bonus!

IMG_0578I had a delicious meal of salad and with an odd main that ended up being a ginormous plate of green beans.

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I would suggest trying something with a bit more variety – but just a side note, those beans were AWESOME.

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Sean ordered a burger – which he said was awesome… but why didn’t it come with a bun? Peculiar.

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Still a great place – a bit more expensive but really nice for a night out.

๐Ÿ™‚
See you in Moscow!

x

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melbourne in bits and pieces.

Good MORNING! Have you noticed that people in Australia ALWAYS say bits and pieces? Always. Referring to anything.

Anyway…

Here I am. I am here. But here is currently not there, where you think I am.

sunset

I am in Melbourne. Again! It’s really fantastic. I’m here on Business. Obviously. Cause I’m a business woman. Naturally.

I work across from this:

Flinder's Station

And next to this:

Eureka!

In the morning I get a coffee like this:

yummm.

From a place like this:

Degraves Street

Or this:

Manchester Cafe...

For lunch, I’ve been eating this:

coma ensued.

And for fun and good times, I’ve been drinking this:

gypsy cider

But really… in all honesty, all I want to see in Melbourne… is this:

A true Canadian Hero.

Anyway I just wanted to send a wee update to those who may be dropping by, looking for content. These are some shotty pictures from my iPhone of some beautiful things that I have seen and experienced over the past week and a half.

Love it!

x

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The bread of my dreams…

cinnamon pull-apart bread

I’ve been dreaming of making this bread for weeks, months even. And since Monday I have had the uncontrollable urge to stare at pictures of it and study every recipe and every version that I could find. It didn’t take much to find a vegan version… so I’ve been researching and gathering ingredients since my Monday evening grocery shop. With all that being said, the research, the studying, the drooling… its actually kind of impressive that I STILL misread the recipe and forgot a step. But… that’s not unusual coming from me.

This past week was beautiful and such a stark contrast to last week. Not a drop of rain. Beautiful sunny days, crisp mornings and cool evenings. Perfect running weather, very ‘autumn in Canada’-esque. The days are definitely getting longer, too. The sun is just setting as I leave work. I’m so ready summer nights…

But in the mean time, the best baked good are those suited to the cool weather. Conditions were perfect; beautiful day, gorgeous light, Sean was going biking… the apartment would be empty and I would be able to play music, throw flour and dominate as much space as was necessary for baking and photography needs, which is of course the entire apartment. ๐Ÿ™‚

apples and raisins

I started as soon as I woke up. I can never find applesauce at Woolworth’s, so that was my first task, fresh applesauce. Next I whipped up some dough, and then left it to rise for the next hour as I doodled about and went for a run.

When I returned, I tried my hand at the kneading process, something I have zero experience in… so I really have no idea how I went at that. I’m seriously considering taking the bread making course at the North Sydney community centre in August. I seem to have quite a few gaps in my bread baking knowledge.

I allowed the dough to rise for another 5 minutes and then rolled it out for filling and constructing the pull-apart deliciousness. The rolling was especially hard, for a couple reasons. First of all, I don’t really have a flat working area… and second of all, my working area was just a hair bigger than how big the dough was supposed to be rolled. Dilemma.

The entire kitchen... post-baking.

After to some strategic rolling, pulling, rotating and measuring, I smeared the filling over the dough with my pastry brush fingers, and then sliced it, stacked it and bunched it up into the bread pan.

pre-bake

It was looking kinda pathetic, yet still delicious, so I snapped some pictures and popped it into the oven. It wasn’t until 10 minutes into baking that I realized I had forgotten the all important second rise. Idiot.

Well… not bad for a first attempt. I’m thinking next time I’ll work on my kneading skills, remember to let it rise, and then perhaps add some pumpkiny goodness? Yummm…

before and after

The result was still gorgeous. Deep golden tips and a lovely cinnamon-raisin insides. I think it needed a bit more moisture, but it was amazing with a nice strong cup of coffee.

amazing...

Even with my minor screw-ups, Sean managed to enjoy half a loaf when he got home later.

yummm...

That boy might just be growing tired of my photographing his every meal. He was whining through most of my pictures, particularly when I moved outside to get better light. He was not impressed. Perhaps if he didn’t eat all of my baking in one sitting I wouldn’t have to take so many pictures of it in such a hurry. Just sayin…

Cinnamon-Raisin Pull-apart Bread

Adapted from Kohler Created

Ingredients

For the dough:
3/4 c. non-dairy milk
1 packet active yeast
3 c. white bread flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 c. raw sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. fresh unsweetened applesauce

For the Filling:
1 tbsp. fresh unsweetened applesauce
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
In a small saucepan, gently warm 3/4 cup non-dairy milk and sprinkle yeast in letting it dissolve. This takes about five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and 1/4 salt. Add 5 tbsp applesauce and yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add in another 1/2 cup flour, stirring to combine with a spatula. Continue mixing until you have a sticky dough ball. It will take a while to all come together, but it will.

Place the dough in large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm area and allow it to rest until doubled in size, or about 1 hour.

While the dough rises you can whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and applesauce for the filling. I found this filling very thick, and not very good for spreading, so I added a bit more applesauce, but this is probably where I would add pumpkin instead of applesauce, and maybe more than a tablespoon. Maybe a 1/4 c.(?)
Grease and flour a 9ร—5ร—3-inch loaf pan. Set both aside.

Sprinkle remaining flour on a flat surface and knead dough, kneading in most of the flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a large thin rectangle, about 12-inches tall and 20-inches long, or roughly as large as you can make it, depending on the size of your petite kitchen.

Using your fingers, or ideally, a pastry brush, spread the filling across all the dough. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar if desired. Sprinkle raisins evenly across the dough and eat a lot of them.

Slice the dough vertically into strips and stack strips on top of one another and slice into strips again. Be sure they will fit into your baking pan. Layer intoย your greased pan and cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30-45 additional minutes. (don’t forget this part… idiot)

Preheat to 350 degrees F and put the baking rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until tips are deeply golden brown. Mine was a bit doughy in the center, so be sure the tips are quite dark which will ensure that it had been in for long enough.

Allow to cool for up to 30 minutes before removing from pan and onto a clean surface or serving dish. Serves 2 greedy people. just yank it in half.

mmm…

xxx

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The Saturday I ruined the carpet.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning… there was a definite chill in the air, but it was crisp and bright. Sean was going riding, so I had the whole day on my own and I was determined to make it as good as any other Saturday. Only better. I had high hopes. Markets? Runs? Swimming? Coffee? There were so many options, too many really. I wanted to do everything.

However, all week I had been itching to bake. I have very little time for baking since I started working. I’ve gotten up early, I’ve stayed up late… all in the name of scones and granola. And while that has been somewhat fufilling, Sartuday morning really isss the best time for a sweet breakfast. So I woke up nice and early churn out some delightful Strawberry pancakes before my boy left for the day.

I must say, they were perfect. Whole wheat, complete with strawberries, almonds, coconut and some chocolate covered fruit from dessert the night before. I was really happy with these babies. Especially since vegan pancakes can be tricky. Paired with a strong black coffee… it was delicious.

I was enjoying a small portion when I greedily got up for seconds (and lets be honest… more chocolate.) Anyhoo, I somehow knocked over my coffee mug bowl, which was still half full. I watched as it spilled in slow motion, crashing onto the beige carpet and brown sofa. I paused for a split second to let out a silent scream of terror and then tried to hurdle over the coffee table to grab a towel. In the process of doing that, i tripped over a bag, or the table, or my foot and thus spilling Sean’s cup of coffee as well.

After a couple minutes of sopping up coffee, I quickly googled coffee stains and came up with a quick vinegar/water mixture that actually seemed to get most of the stains out. But not before I dissolved into tears and began cursing the tiny apartment.

I’m sorry apartment. I really do love you. Despite you’re stainey carpets and non-existant counter top space. I DO love you.

I continued to throw shit around for a while. Ordering Sean to go riding, wiping the counter in anger, washing dishes with fury. He tried to help, but there was no point. I made him leave and then threw some more stuff around when the door shut behind him. It felt damn good. That hamper never saw it coming.

So, crying aside, I ended up cleaning the whole apartment and I felt much better for it. It also only took about an hour since my beautiful little North Sydney home is so small. ๐Ÿ™‚

ready for the jog.

Finally ready to start the day, I decided to take a jog to the Rock’s Markets just over the bridge, maybe take a wander and then jog back.

I debated taking my camera and ditching my water. Ultimately, I decided to suck it up and take the camera… until I realized there was no way it would fit in the tiny camel back. Hence, there are no more pictures from this day.Which is a shame really. At least I stayed hydrated.

I shoulda photographed those pancakes, they were ridiculous amazing looking. Just ask my non-biased boyfriend.

On my merry way to the markets, I stumbled upon the Kirribilli Markets… another HUGE market spread compelte with second hand clothing and home-made treats. I bought both. I had bypassed it on the way to the Rocks, but stopped on the way back before they closed for the last-minute deals. Score.

Back home, I devoured a smoothie and tried on my pretty new threads.

Sean walked in not long after… “You’re smiling!”

He was expecting something else?

pft.

xxx

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