Perfect Brunch, an “Aux Vivres” review

Aux Vivres is kind of a no-brainer for Montreal based vegans. It holds a special place in my heart as I remember going in there a few months after they had opened and being amazed by their Dragon Bowl. Then, I remember my fun lunches with friends. I also remember multiple birthday celebrations, meetings and fun dates with my boyfriend.

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Romantic roses for Valentine’s Day!

This restaurant has changed so much since its opening. The first time I went to Aux Vivres, it was a little more that a hole in the wall. Now, they have three big sections, a terrace in the back and a separate store. You can also find their products all around the city (and even outside of the city) in different stores and cafes. Quite the success story!

So, on this very cold day (-35C… winter is definitively here!), we stepped out with my amazing (and sadly just visiting) sister-in-law for a nice vegan brunch.

Brunch at this restaurant is quite the event for me: special dishes, chai tea, but still access to all their regular meals. Amazing!

My sister-in-law went for the Huevos Rancheros plate which looked amazingly good with the great sweet potato wedges and black bean puree. She particularly liked the guacamole, but the silence coming from her corner is proof that this was particularly scrumptious.

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The amazing Huevos Rancheros plate

I also went for a brunch plate: The Polenta. I love this plate, and I have to admit that I always take this when we come for brunch. The polenta triangles have a great crunchy texture on the outside but are still creamy in the inside. I also am completely in love with their black bean puree and guacamole. I really enjoy this plate: the flavour combinations and freshness of the tastes are just amazing!

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The Polenta plate

The brunch plates also come with the choice of coffee or chai latte which is really spicy and comforting. Perfect for this cold day!

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Chai Latte

Finally, if you’re not really in for brunch, you must try their Dragon Bowl. This is the go-to option for my boyfriend. He really loves the sauce which has a great salty and slightly sour flavour. Filled with fresh veggies, sprouts, rice and topped with tempeh or tofu, it is very filling and also very satisfying.

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Dragon Bowl

If you are still hungry after this, I recommend trying the uncheesecake. A complete dupe for non-vegan cheese cake, this has a great creaminess and flavour. The berry topic is also quite nice and the crust is very satisfying. Beware that it is not gluten-free, but my sister-in-law still enjoyed it entirely.

If you are in Montreal, you have to try this restaurant out. It is a little bit pricey, but the food is amazing, the service is very friendly and the number of options just great!

 

Christmas series: Appetizer bites!

If you are hosting a Christmas party you should try these out! They take no time to prepare, they are tasty, you can personalize them and they are very cute!

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If you are new to cashew “cheeses” or spreads, this is a great way to start. The only thing you really need for this is a strong food processor. The machine is going to transform nuts into a thick and creamy spread. After you have the basis, you can pretty much add and garnish with whatever spice or herb you like.

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Here is what you’ll need for 30 appetizers:

  • 1 cup of raw cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup of hemp seeds hearts
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 30 crackers (I used Mary’s Original Organic Crackers)
  • herbs and vegetables/fruits to garnish

Here is what you do:

  1. Place everything except the water in the food processor and blend.
  2. Add the water slowly while mixing to help everything get processed. Be careful not to put too much water. If you realize this is the case, just add a little bit more nuts or hemp seeds.
  3. Let the machine work until you have a creamy  and thick mixture. Mine took about 5 minutes.
  4. Use a piping bag with a star tip or a zip-lock bag to spread an even amount on each cracker. You could also use a spoon.
  5. Garnish with fresh herbs, cherry tomato slices or avocado slices.

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Now, this is the basic recipe to which you can add coriander seeds, curry powder, fresh basil leaves, cilantro or chives. The possibilities are quite endless so experiment away!

I garnished mine with some avocado slices to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice, but I think cherry tomato slices would also look great.

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They usually tell you to soak the cashew nuts for this type of recipe, but I find that I don’t need to when using raw nuts. However, if your food processor is older, you might want to soak the cashews for at least one hour before making this.

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Let me know if you try this out and what your favourite vegan cheese recipe is! Also chec. out La végé d’à côté for a fancy Christmas salad recipe!

Quick, Versatile Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

For the last couple weeks, Sunday night has been roasting night where I cut a bunch of vegetables, stick them in my oven and then box them for the week.

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This has really helped me during the week because it makes cooking way easier and faster, which is great! I can also experiment with different flavours, or just repeat things that are comfortable and yummy! Special mention to rice and sriracha as vegetables best friends… no, we didn’t eat this for a week (but really, it was awesome!).

So for tonight, I wanted to spice things up and find a new used to my recent new love: sriracha! I feel like I have kept this at arms-length for a long time, but now that I have tried it, I really understand the hype around this product.

Two versions: pasta and quinoa. Both delicious!

Two versions: pasta and quinoa. Both delicious!

I also wanted to try to make something similar to Parmesan cheese because it is one of my boyfriend’s favourite cheeses, and he grew up always putting Parmesan cheese on his pastas. So, I wanted to make him something reminiscent of this. Keeping in mind that I don’t really like Parmesan and never had some at home (there might be a link here), I tried my best! All I can say is that it certainly looks like Parmesan a lot (and is really good too; way better than the real stuff if you ask me!).

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Anyways, here is what you’ll need:

Pasta sauce:

  • One can of mixed beans (or your own mix, but a can is a lot faster)
  • 4 cups of roasted pumpkin chunks (I roasted mine with a little of salt and olive oil)
  • 1 small bottle of tomato sauce (I used a 400ml one, so a little less than 2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs sriracha hot sauce
  • salt to taste

Parmesan cheese:

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts (I used raw and unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt (or to your taste)

What you need to do:

  1. Cook your (gluten-free) pasta or quinoa according to your taste.
  2. In a non-stick pan set on medium heat, toss your beans and pumpkin. Let them mingle a little, until they are warmed up.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and spices.
  4. Mix well.
  5. That’s it!

For the Parmesan cheese:

  1. Put all the ingredients in your blender or food processor (I used my magic bullet) and blend until you have a yummy slightly yellow powder.

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I served this with some chopped arugula, but this is completely optional. If you serve it with quinoa, it might remind you of couscous. The Parmesan cheese adds a savory kick to this dish and makes this dish fun to prepare. My boyfriend enjoyed this and was really surprised to see that the texture was quite similar to the real thing. Yay! 🙂

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Let me know if you try this out!