Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Rays Cafe: Brunswick

About ten years ago I was having a hard time and my sister took me for a coffee at a hipster cafe in Brunswick called Rays.  Fran doesn't remember it but I liked the grungy cafe with its distressed wells and lively bustle.  Fast forward to February this year and I almost went there again for a group dinner.  Hard times intervened.  Finally a few weeks ago, Sylvia and I went there for lunch and it was very good.

The place still has a hipster vibe.  At first I feared it was almost too hipster for me.  But the staff were friendly and the loud music morphed into David Bowie and we felt at home.  Sylvia was fascinated by the artwork on the banana at the counter and had to go and check that it was not real.

What I really liked was that we were given the vegan menu along with the regular menu without having to ask.  Being used to limited vegetarian options, this menu is a tyranny of choice.  Many menu items are complex and it is hard to pick up just one dish!  It is hard to pass over dishes with names like Kim Wilde's Chi, Florence and the Tangine, and Buns and Roses.  Not to mention miso cheese, smoked tofu and pulled jackfruit.

Sylvia wanted chips.  We compromised.  She agreed to have the Seedeater (vegan French toast) and I ordered the Black Sub-Bath Sandwich (burger and chips) that she could share.  Yes, someone is having a lot of fun naming these meals.

The Seedeater (as it was on my menu but is referred to in Rays online menu as the Blackalicious) was very fancy and very pretty.  It consisted of sourdough french toast, rhubarb, beetroot vinegar, coconut yoghurt, black maple, flaxseed and ginger halva, and fairy floss.  Sylvia ate the fairy floss off the top, one piece of rhubarb and half the chunky French toast which is tossed in sugar and cinnamon.  She wasn't that impressed and still just wanted chips.  By then I had finished my burger and we swapped.

I loved the french toast.  It was like a big chunk of cinnamon doughnut served with lots of fun textures and flavours.  My main complaint is that I would have liked more rhubarb.  I loved the coconut yoghurt with crumbly halva and intense black maple syrup.  In fact, once only pools of black maple and beetroot vinegar remained, Sylvia and I kept dipping our fingers in them just to taste the unusual flavours once again.  There was a lot of black maple!

Meanwhile I enjoyed my burger which had a mushroom and black lentil kofta, baby cos, tomato, pickled beetroot, apple relish and pickle aioli in a sourdough bun with beer battered chips and more aioli on the side.  It was quite messy to eat and the kofta was quite soft but a very satisfying burger.  And lovely chips.

Life changes quickly and Rays has seen its fair share of my hard times, given that the next weekend we went along after our cat died.  I think we wanted to avoid our empty house.  Rays was a good place for some comfort and cheer.

Sylvia was pleased to discover a stack of games.  We played Guess Who until our meals arrived.  Meanwhile we all had drinks.  E enjoyed his latte and I had a nice bottle of kombucha that was not very sweet.

Sylvia had a chocolate milkshake.  She and E claimed it was lovely and not too sweet.  I find it incredibly sweet but I suspect that was because I tasted it after drinking my kombucha.

I had the wonderfully titled God Speed You Black Lentil.  It consisted of the mushroom and black lentil kofta, mushroom tangine, smoked tomato, charred broccolini, cauliflower hummus, McHash brown, and pea tendrils on sourdough.

It was an interesting twist on a fry up.  My frustration with the presentation was having two slices of bread underneath the meal that was hard to manoeuvre out.  I think my highlight was the cauliflower hummus which was so silky and tasty.  The mushroom tangine was nice but I think I expected more of a tangine than just nicely flavoured mushrooms (not being the hugest mushroom fan).  The smoked tomato was really interesting as I haven't had that before.  The hash brown was more crispy than its pale coating looked.  And I really enjoyed the kofta.

Sylvia and her teddy were very happy to have just chips!  They ignored the aioli of course.  If they had desired, they could have had vegan gravy, miso cheese and pickles on the chips but that isn't Sylvia's thing.  E had eggs on toast and enjoyed these.

The third time I visited Rays was for lunch with my mum.  I ordered from the display cabinet.  Who can resist a vegan sausage roll!  Not me.  It was a soft lentil filling and very tasty.  On the side was a brilliant salad of leaves, lentils, nuts and/or seeds, pomegranate arils, carrot and probably lots of other stuff I forgot.  My mum had a spinach and filo pastry and kept sneaking her fork to my pile of salad.  It was really delicious.

I haven't tried any of the sweet food but have gazed longingly at the caramel filled brownies on a few occasions.  The muffins also look very good.  And when we stepped out the door, we enjoyed check out all the fun stencils on the wall.

We have also wandered up Victoria Street towards Sydney road to check out the street art in the back streets.  On the first visit we did that and ended up at Bunnings where they had some kids activities.  I had been struggling with Sylvia's hairstyle and was very grateful to one of the staff who made a gorgeous braid for her while she had a butterfly painted on her arm.  Brunswick is like that and Rays fits in nicely!

Rays Cafe
332 Victoria Street, Brunswick
03 9380 8593
http://www.rayscafebrunswick.com.au/

Ray's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Thai curry split pea soup

When I first served this soup it was an uninspiring murky green.  I laughingly showed E the picture of Heidi's vividly coloured coconut yellow split pea soup that inspired me.  Time did not allow anything so fancy.  However I was really pleased with the subtle Thai flavours.

The jar of yellow curry paste claimed to be quite spicy so I was concerned it would be a notch too spicy for me.  When I tasted it, the soup was so mild I added more curry paste.  I even fed it to Sylvia who does not stomach spicy hot food.  She did notice it was spicy but I told her it was just flavour not heat and she was happy with that.  In fact her problem was that it was too chunky and after a few attempts, I finally blended it.  After that she had a small bowl of it two nights in a row.

E and I ate the soup four nights in a row, served over some rice. I really loved the taste of the yellow curry past in the soup.  I had hoped for more texture in the split peas.  However once I had brought the split peas to the boil, I raced out the door to pick up Sylvia from school and in that time they softened more than I intended.  Which took it from elegant to comfort food.  Not a bad thing!  We love comfort food here!

I am sending this soup to Kimmy and Mary-Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays, Deb for Souper Sundays, Jac for Meat Free Mondays, Shaheen and VegHog for Eat Your Greens and Corina for Cook Once, Eat Twice.

More coconut cream stew/soup recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
African curried coconut soup (gf, v) 
Coconut black-eyed bean stew (gf, v)
Coconut vegie and tofu stew (gf, v)
Mulligatawny (gf, v)
Skye's tomato and pumpkin curry with lime and coconut (gf, v)
Spicy pea curry (gf, v)

Thai curry split pea soup
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Serves 8-10

1 tsp oil
1 large leek
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2.5 litres vegetable stock
3 cups green split peas
2 medium zucchinis, chopped
6 pattypan squash, chopped
1 large portobello mushroom, finely chopped
400g tin of corn kernels, drained
1 cup roast pumpkin
1 cup coconut cream
4 tbsp yellow curry paste
1/2 tsp salt
100g baby spinach leaves, chopped
rice, greens, nuts and sriracha to serve (optional)

Fry leek in oil in stockpot over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes or until leek softens.  Stir in garlic, then add stock and green peas.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Add zucchini, squash, mushroom, corn kernels, and pumpkin.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until split peas soft but keeping their shape.  Stir in coconut cream, curry paste and salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer a minutes or two.  Stir in spinach leaves and remove from heat.  Check and adjust seasoning.  Puree if desired.  Serve with rice and sriracha.

NOTES: The vegies used here can be altered depending on what is about.  I tried to keep to green and yellow but that is not necessary.  I would like to try it with celery and kale. Yellow or green split peas would work here and I intend to try the soup with red lentils.  The nuts are optional.  I only served pistachios one night on top and it was rather nice but not necessary.

On the stereo:
Son of Evil Reindeer: Reindeer Section

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Kitchen sink tropical fruit loaves

It usually seems like a great thing to live close to public transport.  Unless it is a morning like today when the boom gates are stuck down, the trains don't move and the cars no one can get across the train tracks.  The traffic was so bad we parked the car on our side of the tracks and walked to school through the underpass.  When we arrived, the office was waiving late slips because so many people were caught out.

I came home and baked cake.  It was well overdue.  Bananas were blackening in the fridge and apples had been ignored.  I messed with a Guardian recipe for Maple Oat and Banana Loaves that I had seen Cakelaw bake.  I made it vegan with aquafaba as well as chia seeds, add passionfruit, LSA and coconut instead of oats and spices.  I ran out of olive oil and used some extra aqua faba instead and then I only had berry yoghurt (rejected by Sylvia) instead of plain yoghurt.  I may not have followed the recipe exactly but I did clean out the fridge.

While the cake baked, I finished off some costumes I had put up my hand to make.  Don't get me wrong.  I can't sew.  I volunteered to help out with costumes that just required scissors, spray paint and gaffer tape!  I am pleased they are now complete. 

I am also pleased with my cake.  I get bored by banana cake.  I like lots of texture.  And not too sweet for me please.  This was just right. When I took Sylvia to her swimming lesson tonight I took her a piece.  She liked it.  A little girl was curious about what was being eaten.  I told her it was cake.  When Sylvia said it was banana cake, the little girl told her it was bread.  Others might also call it bread but it has always been cake to me.  No matter what you call it, it tasted wonderful.

I am sending these to Kimmy and Mary-Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays, and to Karen, Manjiri and Jo for Tea Time Treats.

More healthy(ish) cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana and coconut cake (v)
Banana and yoghurt cake
Blueberry chocolate cake (v)
Coconut chai cake (v)
Healthy banana bread
Wholemeal chocolate cake
Zucchini layer cake with cream cheese frosting (gf, v)

Kitchen sink tropical fruit loaves
Adapted from The Guardian

110g aquafaba*
3 tbsp chia seeds
150g olive oil
160g berry yoghurt*
50g maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 red apple, peeled and grated
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
30g passionfruit seeds and pulp*
250g white spelt flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
50g brown sugar
50g desiccated coconut
50g finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 190 C.  Grease and line 2 x 1 litre (20 x10cm) loaf tins.

Soak chia seeds in aqua faba.  Lightly whisk in oil, yoghurt and maple syrup.  Stir in bananas, apple, carrot and passionfruit.  Mix in flour, baking powder and salt then LSA, sugar, coconut and walnuts.

Scrape into prepared loaf tins and bake for 45-60 minutes.  Stand 5 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.

NOTES:  I used the seeds and pulp of 3 passionfruits.  The aquafaba is the water drained off tinned chickpeas.  LSA is ground linseeds (aka flaxseeds), sunflower seeds and almonds.  If you don't have LSA you could use almond meal or other ground nuts.  I used berry yoghurt because that is what I had but plain would work well too.  To make the cake vegan, use coconut or another vegan yoghurt.

On the Stereo:
The Best of the Radio Songs: The Church

Monday, 22 August 2016

Cocoa Jerk Tofu

A while back my mum came over for lunch and found me putting together a cocoa jerk sauce for some tofu.  I felt slightly concerned that she tasted the marinade and told me it was really spicy.  My mum has always loved the bite of chillis far more than me.  If she thought it was hot, chances are I would.

As you can see, in the above picture, there were rather a lot of ingredients.  Yet most of them are store cupboard ingredients.  The only ingredient I didn't have was the hoisin sauce.  So I winged it with some lemon juice, plum vinegar and ume boshi vinegar.

I cooked it in my new casserole dish which makes a handsome serving dish.  The packaging said I should not bake it above 200 C.  Luckily my oven rarely reaches any temperature so I am pretty easy going about such advice.

I served the jerk tofu with roast pumpkin and brown rice.  Below is a tub of it that I took to work.  It was sort of nice but it was so hot that it left me gasping.  I reduced the spicy ingredients slightly but if I make this again I will reduce them even more.  Because I liked it but just found the heat was ratcheted up too far for my liking.  Even E agreed and he usually likes more spice than me.

So there you have my first attempt at a jerk seasoning.  I really liked its darkness if not the spiciness.  I was interested to read Cindy's post about her jerk seasoning that she bought in America and how spicy it was.  So I guess it is meant to be spicy.  The great thing about making these dishes at home is that I can taste all the flavours without too much spice for comfort.  It has taken me years since I first bookmarked a jerk seasoning recipe.  Hopefully it is not so long before I try a jerk seasoning again.

I am sending this dish to Jac for Meat Free Monday, to Choclette for We Should Cocoa, and to Kimmy and Mary Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays.

More chocolate savoury dishes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Cocoa Jerk Tofu
Adapted from Superfoods for Life, Cacao by Matthew Ruscigno via Tastespace

Sauce:
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup tamari
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hot sauce (I used sriracha)*
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon plum vinegar (or plum sauce or hoisin)
1 tablespoon ume boshi vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder*
2 to 3 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (I left it out)
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 tsp ground pepper* 
pinch chili powder*

300g hard tofu
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 zucchini
1/2 tomato

Mix together all the sauce ingredients.  Toss through the tofu and vegies and rest for at least 30 minutes.  Bake at 200 C for 30 minutes, turning midway through.

*NOTES: I found this really spicy (and I don't do really spicy) so next time I will reduce the asterisked items.  And I used half a tomato just because I had one there.  A whole tomato or no tomato would be fine.

On the Stereo:
Fallen Angels: Bob Dylan

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Vegan Pesto and Poppyseed Scones

Scones are such great comfort food.  They are so quick to make that they are instant gratification.  I love trying new flavours.  This week I made a batch of silverbeet, basil and pistachio pesto.  It seemed just right to use the pesto to give a batch of scones some colour and flavour. 

I had basil but not a lot.  The pistachios had been sitting my cupboard for a while and the young silverbeet (also known as chard) was given to me by my mum from her garden.  The silverbeet gave the pesto a smooth texture while the basil gave it that wonderful aroma.  I didn't have any parmesan so I decided to make a vegan pesto.

A vegan pesto deserved to be in a vegan scone.  Searching online, however, one would think that pesto scones could not be made without cheese.  With a bit of help from a Tesco recipe and my Kale scone recipe, I worked out a recipe.

The best scones seem to have quite a soft dough so I erred on the sticky side.  With a bit of flour it was fine and produced light and fluffy scones.  However this should be notes if using other pestos which can be of a thinner texture than mine.

I am particularly fond of soup and scones for dinner.  And the last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy so we didn't eat as well as usual.  I needed a decent dinner on Friday and rustled up a quick vegie and lentil soup (a bit like this soup) to eat with the scones.  It was most delicious. 

These scones are not just for meal times.  They make a nice savoury snack.  I really like them with vegemite, E thinks they would be nice with hummus and of course you can add cheese to them.

As an aside, I have finally bought a new camera.  It is still in the box but I have a new macro lens that will fit my old DSLR and my new camera.  I used the new lens in these photos.  It seems to work fine.  When I get a bit more time I will test drive my new camera and write a bit more about it.

I had meant to send these scones to Tandy at Lavender and Lime who is hosting International Scone Week but I have just seen that I missed the deadline, but do check out the scones on her sidebar. Meanwhile I am sending these to Kimmy and Mary-Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays.

More savoury scone recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Beetroot, apple and walnut scones (v)
Cheeseymite scones
Kale scones (v)
Leek, walnut and blue cheese scones  
Pumpkin, pecan and poppyseed scones (v)
Sweet potato and cheeze scones (v)
Walnut, brie and apple scones

Pesto and poppy seed scones
An original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes about 20 small scones

1 cup milk (I used soy)
1/2 cup pesto*
1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups plain wholemeal flour
1 cup self raising white flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp poppyseeds
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
50g butter or margarine
extra milk to glaze scones
extra poppy seeds to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 220 and grease a baking tray.

Mix soy milk and pesto in a large jug or small bowl.  Stir in lemon juice and set aside.

Mix flours, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a medium large mixing bowl.  Rub butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Pour the pesto mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a knife (this is to make sure the mixture is handled as little as possible.  Knead briefly on a well floured board until you have a smooth dough.

Pat out dough to about 1.5-2cm thick on a floured board using floured hands.  Use a scone cutter to cut out scones and place on prepared tray. 

Brush scones with milk and sprinkle with poppyseeds.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Wrap scones in a tea towel and eat warm or on day of baking.

*NOTES: I used the below pesto but any pesto would work.  However the texture of the pesto would affect the texture and need for seasoning in the scones, so adjust accordingly.  The pesto below is vegan and if you also use vegan milk and  vegan margarine in the scones, they will be vegan.  When cooking scones, I like to put mine close to each other which helps them rise but they can also be spaced out.

Vegan Silverbeet, Basil and Pistachio Pesto
Adapted from Food 52 and The Vegan and The Chef
Makes about 1 cup

1 packed cup of silverbeet (swiss chard) leaves
1/2 packed cup of basil (1 bunch)
1/2 cup pistachios
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove
good pinch salt and shake of ground pepper

Blend until smooth.

On the Stereo:
British pub songs (The London Inn): various artists

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Earth Burgers served with a surprising "cheese" sauce (vegan)


A couple of weeks back I finally made two recipes I have had on my to do list for ages.  Not just my gonna-make-it-some-day list but on my I-am-going-to -make-this-tonight-for-sure list!  And it has taken me weeks!  But I am really pleased to have finally tried the Earth Burgers and Life Changing Cheese Sauce.

It was on the week that I had a flat tyre.  It was very tiresome (indeed that pun was intended).  Not only did it happen while I was on a main road and meant sitting in a side street in the rain instead of arriving at work on time, but it also meant I had to get my spare tyre replaced and while I was at it, my friendly tyre store said I had another tyre that needed replacing.  So I had an hour or so to kill while they replaced my tyres.  Buying a Harry Potter movie was the silver lining on that afternoon!

Sylvia is smitten with Harry Potter.  I had been promising her we would get the movie of the Chambers of Secrets a few weeks before when we finished reading the book.  And so we ate this meal while watching Harry Potter and finding that the DVD was so faulty we could not watch it through to the end.  Which was fine as it was so long that we needed to watch it over a few nights.

And besides I was quite happy eating the burgers with cheese sauce.  Happy because they tasted really good and happy because a friend had taken Sylvia for a playdate after school and so I had some space in my day to make them.

I really liked the earth burgers, esp the crunch of the seeds on the outside.  They taste like hippy vegetarian food and I say that in a good way.  No pretensions and airs.  Just good honest home made grub.  I cut the nori as small as possible with scissors and used sesame oil to fry the onions but am not sure I should do that.  Nor should you lump the nori under the tofu and let it become a wet blob - stir as soon as you add it.  It was fun to squelch the mixture through your fingers when mixing.  It is like playing with playdough.  Though I should have let the hot brown rice cool a bit.  It was so hot it was a bit ouchy (as Sylvia says).  But I was racing to have it ready before I picked up Sylvia.

The cheese sauce left me puzzled.  Fi at Eat Healthy Eat Happy called a Life Changing Cheese Sauce.  Well I guess it changed Fi's life but not mine.  It tasted like well seasoned mashed potato.  So I went with my gut and added some nutritional yeast flakes and enjoyed it but it was still not that much like cheese.  I would not claim like she did that it is the best vegan cheese sauce I have tasted.  And while it is great to have a nut free cheese sauce, I depend on cheese for nutrients and often use it to boost the protein in the meal.  This sauce is a nutritional lightweight compared to others I have made.  That is not always a bad thing.  It worked brilliantly with these protein rich burgers that needed a lighter but tasty sauce.

We got a couple of good nights of meals out of the burgers and then I had a few over and more cheese sauce.  Incidentally the sauce was lovely as a dip too.  I then made a pizza with tomato sauce, crumbled burgers (they did crumble rather easily) and blobs of cheese sauce.  I scattered a little grated cheese on it but it was pretty ineffective in both adding flavour and holding the ingredients on the pizza so I would probably do without the grated cheese next time.  It was a fantastic pizza. 

I am sending these burgers and cheese sauce to Jac for Meat Free Mondays, Kimmy and Mary-Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Cindy for Gluten Free Fridays,

More vegan burgers from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cauliflower burgers (gf v)
Chesapeake tempeh cakes (v)
Roasted beetroot tofu burgers (gf, v)
Sweet potato, chickpea and hemp seed burgers (v)
Tamale burgers with mole sauce (gf, v)
Vegemite burger (v)
Watercourse Foods tempeh burger (gf,v)

Earth Burgers
Adapted from Teresa Cutler's The Health Chef
Serves 4-6 (I think about 16 burgers)

1 tsp oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1 handful spinach, finely chopped
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 nori sheets, finely chopped
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
300 g grated firm tofu
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon of kale powder (optional)
sesame seeds for rolling

Preheat oven to 180 C (or 200 C if you oven is slow like mine) and line a couple of medium baking trays with baking paper.

Fry onions in oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until mostly cooked.  Add grated carrot and stir in for a few minutes until it changes colour and looks cooked.  Remove pan from the heat and stir in chopped spinach.  Add remaining ingredients except sesame seeds.  Use your hands to mix together for 2-3 minutes to make it stick together.

Chill mixture in fridge for 30-60 minutes.  (It can also be left overnight in the fridge.)  Take handfuls of mixture and roll into patties using damp hands.  Pour some sesame seeds into a bowl (between 14 - 1/2 cup) and toss patties in seeds to coat them.  Place on baking trays and bake in oven for about 30 minutes.

Potato based vegan cheese sauce
Adapted from Eat Healthy Eat Happy

2 cups peeled, cubed potato
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
4 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tamari (soy sauce)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Cook the potatoes and carrot in boiling water until soft (about 15-20 minutes).  Drain and blend.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

On the Stereo:
1989: Ryan Adams

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Farewell Zinc

Last week our dear cat, Zinc, suddenly became weaker and weaker until yesterday she died.  She had been diagnosed with kidney disease a few months ago and once she caught cold, her kidneys just could not cope.  She stopped eating, lost weight, could barely walk or even hold her head up.  She was 15 years old and had been with us for 9 years.  Needless to say, we are very sad and miss her terribly. 

So this post is a self indulgent retrospective, starting with the story of how we got her when she was 6 years old.  (Apologies to those who have heard it before.)  A friend had got her from the lost cats home when she was 2 years old.  She had been looking for a kitten but took Zinc instead.  The staff were delighted because they had been meant to put her down but she had such a lovely nature that they couldn't bear to.  Four years later my friend decided to find a new home for Zinc due to allergies.

I grew up with lots of dogs about us and said I would never live with a cat but E grew up with cats and was keen to have one.  Zinc really was his cat, though Sylvia and I were very fond of her.

She took to our home and soon was up on the fence showing us who was king of the castle!  She loved to sit on this fence and watch us.

She loved us to scratch her chin for her but would scratch it herself on anything she could.  The lamp above was a favourite place for a scratch until she knocked it onto the floor and broke it.  She also loved to scratch her chin against my computer while I was on it and the couch was a favourite place to scratch her claws.

Zinc was a blessing in difficult times.  She had a calming presence and gave us many laughs.

When Sylvia was born, we were concerned about how Zinc would welcome her.  Zinc was curious.  So was Sylvia.  When Sylvia got too close, Zinc would just pat her gently with her paw or walk away. 

As Sylvia grew older, she loved playing with Zinc, though Zinc did not always do as she wanted and at times Sylvia did not want Zinc sleeping in her "house".  Her friends also loved to see her when they visited.

Zinc loved being outdoor.  She would often make a racket (almost as loud as when she used the litter tray) demanding to go outside.  Once out she would often want to in and out constantly, much to our chagrin.  Though she loved to watch for other cats at the back gate and to sleep in the sun at the front.

Unfortunately, being a white cat, she was very sensitive to the sun and had to stay in most of the day during summer to avoid sunburn.  For a time we put suncream on her nose and ears which resulted in black marks where she rubbed herself in the dirt. 

She sometimes came inside looking grey from rolling in the dirt but always washed herself and kept herself clean.

She would not sit on our laps but loved to be picked up and cuddled or just to sit beside us while we went about our business.  She loved to sleep on the bed when we went to sleep, sometimes tapping E's nose to he would lift the covers for her.

Sometimes I would take Sylvia for a walk around the block and Zinc would come part of they way with us.  Or she would wait outside on the footpath for E to get home from work.

She was a creature of habit and often found a spot where she would sleep for weeks on end.  Then suddenly we couldn't find her and would search until we found her new spot.  Her sleeping spots included window sills, beds, couches, blankets, shelves, the pram and even the doll's cot.

As she grew older she grew less active and slept even more.  I love this above photo because it shows just how soft and fluffy she was.  Below is one of the last photos of her wrapped in a blanket.

We feel lucky to have spent 9 years with Zinc.  E thinks we might get another cat some time.  I guess so but right now it is hard to think I could ever meet another cat who has such a lovely and gently nature as Zinc.