Miriam of @mealsbymiri sure knows her way around decadent plant based eats! We spoke with Miriam to find out what inspires her own vegan creations, and which Melbourne cafes are on her ‘must-try’ list.
On a typical day, what’s on your plate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
My breakfast very much depends on the weather and the temperature. I typically make a warming bowl of porridge with berries and peanut butter on rainy days, and something a bit more refreshing such as a tropical smoothie bowl during summer.
For lunch I usually go with something simple, so either some toast with peanut butter and jelly, or a quick chocolate banana smoothie.
There’s no such thing as a typical dinner in this house as my boyfriend and I are constantly experimenting with new recipes and different types of cuisines. We do however make sure to have dumplings or steamed buns at least once a week, so I suppose that would be my most frequently eaten dinner!
Now that the weather is warming up and there are different seasonal fruits and vegetables available, what are your favourite ingredients to use in your recipes?
Mangoes for sure! I’ve been loving mango smoothies lately, especially topped with fresh passion fruit and kiwi. The warm weather really has me craving fruits. I’ve also been loving using lots of cucumbers and carrots in more fresh and summery dinners such as summer rolls, bánh mìs and cold noodle salads.
Your meals look so good, they could be in a cafe! What’s your secret to making them so drool-worthy?
The first step is to drizzle everything with peanut butter. In my experience everything looks better with a huge dollop of peanut butter on top. In general I’d say it’s all in the toppings though. Loading your bowl up with fresh berries, crunchy granola and coconut yoghurt is a great way to go.
Where are your favourite places in Melbourne to visit for a nourishing feed?
My absolute favourite is Monk Bodhi Dharma down in St. Kilda. They have the best pancakes in town and some amazing savoury options too. Not to mention they have incredible coffee!
I also love Particle Café for their good vibes, amazing smoothies and savoury brunch dishes. Another favourite that I visit all the time is Eka Wholefoods which is a wonderful, friendly little café that is perfect for a good study session.
For dinner my favourites are Wabi Sabi for incredible Japanese food and Shop 225 for the best pizza you will ever have in your life.
What have you enjoyed about the Australian plant based community since moving here from Norway?
Well first of all the plant based community is a lot bigger here than in Norway. With the increase in size you also get so much more diversity! It makes it a lot easier to find new friends with similar interests, and it also makes the community so much more interesting to be a part of. On top of this, I have to say that the access to high quality produce is also something I’ve been enjoying. You can’t really go out in Norway and get a good smoothie bowl, whereas here I rarely go a week without one!
We love hearing about how people enjoy their Cocobella. What are your favourite ways to use Cocobella coconut water or coconut yoghurt?
I always add coconut water to my acai bowls as it adds such a nice sweetness to it, and as for the coconut yoghurt I’ve loving making raw “cheese”cakes with it.
When it comes to pantry staples, what would we always find on your shelves?
Oatmeal, bananas, and almond milk is a must for me. I’m a sweet tooth so I could easily live off those three ingredients for the rest of my life! For savoury meals I use a lot of soy sauce and miso paste, so I’d say those are definitely staples in my kitchen as well.
Sometimes it can be tricky to make lots of different vegetables on a plate tie together. What are your tricks and tips when it comes to taking ingredients and making a complete meal out of them?
I’d say the best place to start is just to pick a flavour profile or a specific cuisine and choose your veggies and spices accordingly. Say if you want to make something with Mexican flavours, choose typical Mexican spices such as paprika, cumin and coriander and use vegetables that are common in Mexican cuisine such as bell peppers, tomatoes, corn and avocado.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you have some fats, some carbs/starches and some source of protein on your plate so you’re getting all your nutrients! If you get lost, don’t be afraid to go to google or Pinterest for inspiration, I do that all the time myself!
There are some delicious meals up on your website – it might be hard to choose, but what’s your favourite recipe you’ve created yet, and why?
Ohh that’s a tricky one! The one I make most frequently has to be my French toast recipe though. It’s such a great basic recipe and you can change it up and add whatever you want as toppings, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it!
A great thing about social media is the people you meet and the ideas you can discover! Which Australian Instagram accounts are in your top 5 for plant based foodie inspiration?
This is so true! It’s hard to pick favourites as I follow so many amazing Australian foodies, but here are five of the ones I get the most inspiration from.
1. @itslizmiu – she makes the most wonderful baked goods and her restaurant recommendations from Sydney has me looking at flights weekly!
2. @soybabie_ – This girl takes some great recipes and Melbourne café-recommendations, but also shares a lot of wholesome content relating to self care and mental health which I love.
3. @silvobeat – She posts some really creative and drool-worthy savoury recipes, and to be honest I’m not that creative in the savoury department myself so this is exactly what I need in my life.
4. @thekindnessechoes – With a sweet tooth like mine it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I’m obsessed with this account. Check her out for the most amazing looking baked goods and raw cakes you’ve ever seen.
5. @emerson_cooks – Food photography at its best. Emerson’s recipes are so drool-worthy, but what really gets me inspired with his page is how incredibly talented he is at taking photos! I swear I could spend all day drooling over his feed.