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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rawpple Pie

One would suspect being vegan would limit the amount of dessert options a person could partake in.  However, with a little creativity, a lot of previously forbidden non-vegan desserts can be reincarnated in a much healthier and just as delicious form.  The Rawpple Pie (apple pie) recipe posted here is not only vegan, it is raw - None of the ingredients in this dish have been cooked.  This is a particularly fitting recipe, due to dates being in season in Singapore right now. 
Almonds (2 cups)
Pitted Dates (2 cups)
Cinnamon (2 tsp)

Green Apples (1)
Red Apples (1)
Pitted Dates (1 cup)
Cinnamon (5 tsp)
Honey (1 Tsp) - optional
Cashews (1 cup)

1.  Blend the almonds, dates and cinnamon until coarse.  Then take mixture and spread into a pie/cake tray.  Press firmly.
2.  The ingredients for the filling should be blended together with one cup of water until it reaches a smooth sauce texture.
3.  Slice 2 green apples and 2 red apple very thin.  Layer the fresh apple slices with the filling sauce until the pie is full.

Personally, I was overwhelmed by how delicious this dessert was.  Note, included in this dish were honey and roasted cashews, therefore technically my version was not raw.  However, you can easily replace this with raw honey and raw cashews.  Incredibly simple and easy to make (providing you have a decent blender), certainly something I would urge everyone to give a go.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Genesis Vegetarian Health Food Restaurant - Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay, Singapore's answer to an upper class version of Geylang, offers many attractions to the general public - Whether it be getting drunk, or picking up loose women, or getting drunk, or picking up loose women, or getting dru....  I digress.  Surprisingly though, lurking underneath the shallowness of Clarke Quay, there are two pretty outstanding vegetarian eateries.  The first being Real Food, the second being the focus of todays review - Genesis.  So lets see what this vegan eatery has to offer... 

Genesis Vegetarian Health Food Restaurant
Location: 1 Lorong Telok

Contact: 64387118
Opening Hours: Mon-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri and Sun 8am-3pm. Closed Saturday

UPDATE -  Genesis has now moved to their new location at 115 Owen Road.  You can see my 2016 review of their new location HERE.

The menu looks stylish and is very easy to read, with an explanation underneath of what is in each dish.  They also make it clear which dishes contain onions and garlic, which will make life much easier for Buddhist vegetarians.  The menu is separated into Western, Chinese (noodles/rice), salads, side dishes, desserts and drinks.  The Western, in particular, looked quite interesting.
In addition to an excitable array of solid food, Genesis also offers some eyebrow raising drinks.  These include, almond rice milk, acai berry juice, organic herbal tea, and the one you see pictured - Sesame Oat Milk.  Visually similar to the Clarke Quay river water, this drink is black and murky, but thankfully unlike the Clarke Quay river water, it is not ridden with toxins and chemicals.  Quite the opposite in fact, the sesame seeds are renowned for strengthening the body, and preventing high blood pressure.  The drink was not overly sweet, and had a delightful creamy quality to it.

Price: $3.50.     7/10
One of the dishes that is most synonymous with Genesis, is the Original Dumplings (Big Wantons).  Personally, I am a fried dumpling lover, with the kum loo wantons from Zen Fut Sai Kai being, in my opinion, the best in Singapore.  I am less passionate about steamed dumplings, but this variety was certainly delicious.  The dumpling stuffing is certainly the highlight of the dish, it was moist and packed with flavour.  I found this dish was missing a dipping sauce of some description, though.  Eating the dumplings without a sauce, I found a little dry.

Price: $5.00.     7/10

The tradition of wrapping and cooking rice in a lotus leaf has existed for thousands of years in Chinese culture.  The Chinese population are generally divided on how they prefer their rice to be cooked - Soft/mushy or hard.  I fall into the latter category, therefore this Lotus Leaf Rice was a little too soft for me.  Within the rice, there were green peas, carrots, mushrooms, and lotus seeds.  The aroma of the leaf certainly did penetrate into the flavour of the rice.  A great tasting dish overall.

Price: $7.90.     7/10

Lasagna is a dish that can easily go wrong.  So far the best lasagna I've sampled has been from LivinGreens, so I was curious to see if the Genesis version could beat it.  The answer is, not quite, but it still is a decent lasagna.  A key ingredient is black lentils, which give the lasagna great flavour and also makes it very filling.  Initially when it arrived, my worry was it would be too dry.  Thankfully this worry was misplaced, as the ingredients were sufficiently moist.  There were a myriad of different flavours all conglomerating together to make an extremely competent lasagna.  Definitely one to order.

Price: $7.90.     8/10

What better way of finishing the meal off with a slice of pie.  I only wish this Avocado Key Lime Pie arrived at the end of the meal, for some perplexing reason it was served first as a starter.  The flavour and texture of this pie were both off the mark for me.  The texture of the crust/base was too soggy and fragile.  The avocado pie filling had a strange raw flavour to it, almost like raw lime rind.  Perhaps an acquired taste for some, definitely not something I can appreciate though.

Price: $4.00.     4/10

Conclusion - The dessert was a sore spot in an otherwise fully satisfying meal.  Considering the area, I find that the pricing is quite reasonable, and the quality of the food (while not faultless) is definitely well above average.  I certainly would suggest ordering the lasagna, as I enjoyed that the most.  But I am sure there are other dishes on the menu that are equally as good.  Definitely one more valid reason to head to Clarke Quay often!

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese

I have been shivering with excitement lately, due to finally getting my hands on nutritional yeast - An ingredient notorious for having an extremely authentic cheese flavour.  My first experiment with nutritional yeast came in the form of Mac 'n' Cheese, a dish I simply adored back in my dairy eating days.  The recipe for the 'cheese' sauce came from Apple's delightful dessert blog, although I did tweak it a little myself.  Let us first tackle the 'cheese' sauce, as that it where the biggest potential pitfalls lie...
Vegan 'Cheese' Sauce:-
1/4 cup margarine
1/3 all purpose flour
3 cups soy milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (I used fresh garlic)
1 Tsp lemon juice

I also personally added a pinch of...
Balsamic vinegar
Light soy sauce

For instructions on the steps you need to take, just follow Apple's post.  Aside from the cheese sauce, I added sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas and breadcrumbs on top.  With this being my first time experimenting with nutritional yeast, I was a little underwhelmed by its lack of authentic cheese flavour.  But nevertheless, it does make for an enjoyable sauce.  Make the sauce more watery than usually before putting it in the oven, as a lot of the moisture will be lost in the oven cooking time (this is a mistake I made).


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Organic SunnyChoice - Bukit Timah Road

Organic SunnyChoice represents another emerging organic meat-free establishment in Singapore.  The focus of todays review will be of their outlet in The Rail Mall.  However, they do have a second outlet positioned on Bukit Merah Lane 1.  As with a lot of organic restaurants, there is a grocery section selling anything from oat milk to nutritional yeast.  The shop itself is small and comfortable, it was relatively quiet when I was there, but have been told it gets somewhat hectic during the weekends.

Organic SunnyChoice
Location: 434 Upper Bukit Timah Road, The Rail Mall

Contact: 68922383
Opening Hours: Daily 10am - 9pm

*NOTE 14/03/2015 - This eatery is now selling meat under their grocery section, therefore I no longer consider this place 100% vegetarian.

Organic vegetarian eateries do seem to follow a similar suit, when it comes to the menu design and contents, SunnyChoice is no different, as you can view for yourself.
Seemingly no organic health food place would be complete without vegetable sushi.  This Vegetable Sushi contains no rice at all, and instead is purely vegetables.  Some of the vegetables jammed inside are carrots, beetroot, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and radish.  Along side the sushi is a wasabi and soy dip, which packs just enough spice.  Overall it was a satisfying and refreshing dish to start things off.

Price: $6.00.     7/10
Lei Cha is undoubtedly one of the most nutritious and healthy meals one could order in Asia.  The bright green soup is packed with various vitamin dense herbs, and the bowl contains several vegetables and grains that contain very little oil or salt.  This particular rendition was well done - The ingredients inside included si jiao dou (winged bean), tofu, leafy vegetables and salted radish.  These fresh ingredients were all on top of brown rice.  Si jiao dou is one of my personal favourite vegetables, so I was exuberant when I saw it in the bowl.

Price: $7.50.     7/10

Next dish was Nasi Lemak, unlike the traditional coconut rice, this dish had a more healthier option - Brown rice.  Other parts of the dish included a slab of mock fish (which was moist and had a lovely fishy flavour), a crunchy mock ikan bilis, archar (pickled vegetables).  These ingredients all mixed well with the aromatic red chili paste.  Quite different to the traditional hawker centre nasi lemak, but I personally liked this healthier version.

$7.50.     8/10

Conclusion - Organic vegetarian stalls are cropping up all over Singapore now, and they seem to be surviving very well.  Not only attracting strict vegans and vegetarians - But also meat-eaters who simply want to eater healthier more often.  The food sampled was all a pretty decent standard, and I really enjoyed browsing their grocery area too.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 6/10
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