The Forest Food Lounge and a new Aldi buy

In between studying this past weekend I found the time to drop into The Forest Food Lounge at West End for some vegan sweetness. I have been here few years ago, when I first went dairy free. We just happened to be walking down Boundary street and I saw the word ‘vegan’ and decided to see if they had any sweets. So when Marco talked me into coming for a drive to West End and mentioned taking me for afternoon tea, I bribed him with ???????????????????????????????The Forest.

The Forest offers a variety of vegan burgers, wraps, sandwiches and pies to order. They also have a salad bar and hot box of different dishes that you can order, such as ‘Fish’ Marsala, Vegetable Thai Green Curry and Ginger Dahl. They often have different faux meats dishes as well. In the dessert window they offer a variety different vegan cheesecakes. I remember a while back I had tried the ginger coconut cheesecake and it was so delicious, after been starved of sweets for so long. Yes I do remember exactly what I had as this was such a monumental day.

This place actually reminds me a lot of the New Leaf Cafe in Murwillumbah, which we visited the day before we got engaged! Another great thing about this place is that its open everyday and they stay open most nights till 10 pm. Which for Brisbane cafes’ that offer vegan food, is a rarity.

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So I ended up ordering the Chocolate Cheesecake. We were going to have it there, but Marco was hungry and didn’t want to eat there. So we took it take away and went to a the sustainable Fish and Chip place, called Swamp Dog, which by the way has great chips! I wasn’t hungry, otherwise I would of insisted on that ‘Fish’ Marsala  dish from The Forest.

So the cheesecake was nice, but I am sorry to say no where near as nice as some of the vegan cheesecakes I have had elsewhere, like the Green Edge or The Cardamom Pod. However, I still recommend this place based on the cheap vegan hot food, that I saw others enjoying and the vegan sweets options for a late night dessert.

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As I said I have been studying a lot. Only a two weeks for  my Italian exam and three more week for my research assignment which I am yet to start writing. So besides juicing and buying out local Asian food, most of my meals are ???????????????????????????????pretty boring. When I was at Aldi last week I saw this Giant Baked Beans (Gigandes plaki) and figured they would be a healthy, can free quick meal. They are actually Greek version of Baked beans is quite a popular dish, that I would like try to make soon from scratch.

So yesterday I made a pasta dish with them and this morning I had the rest heated and topped on gluten free toast for breakfast. They are not as saucy as regular baked beans, but they have a nice flavour, are in a glass jar and the actually beans are really delicious. I really hope Aldi keep carrying them, as they have a habit of not continuing some lines.

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Wholemeal Fusilli with Giant Baked Beans and Spinach (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 serves Aldi organic wholemeal fusilli/other gf pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red capsicum, chopped

280g jar Giant Baked Beans

3 handful baby spinach, chopped

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. ???????????????????????????????

2. Heat olive oil in a pan, then add onion, tomatoes and red capsicum. Sauté for a few minute, or until onion has browned and tomatoes have softened a little. ???????????????????????????????

3. Add a 1-2 ladles of pasta water to the pan and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

4. Once the tomatoes have softened enough, so that it has become saucy, add the giant beans (including the oil and sauce from the jar) and season with salt & pepper. Add more pasta water if its is too dry. Cook for a couple more minutes.

5. Add the baby spinach and cook until it wilts.

6. Add the hot pasta to the pan, stir through and serve.

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