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After keeping myself on a leash for a while I finally joined Swap-bot late last year. I already told you about some food-related swaps in my previous Weekend Cooking post. Today I want to talk about another one: the Cookbook Challenge #1, hosted by Carmen of the Gastronomery Group. Like many of us she has several under-used cookbooks and she wants to tackle them with the help of fellow swappers. She made the challenge vegan-friendly so of course I had to join — never mind that I have a pile of books of my own… ;)
For this first ‘cookalong’ Carmen chose some recipes out of Modern Moroccan by Ghillie Basan and posted them on the group blog. The idea was for us to choose one recipe, test it, document it and send the (virtual) results to our swap partners; in my case our hostess herself. So Carmen, here’s my pick!
Cinnamon-scented chickpea and lentil soup
Don’t let the long list scare you: it’s not as much as it seems and most of these ingredients are fairly common in a foodie household. If you look at the preparations you’ll see this recipe is a breeze!
- 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil (see my tweak among the modifications below)
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (djahé)
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (kunjit)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of saffron threads
- 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
- 80 gr brown or green lentils, washed (I used Puy lentils)
- 950 ml vegetable stock or boiling water & 2 bouillon cubes
- 400 gr can cooked chickpeas (265 gr drained)
- 150 gr cooked broad beans (I used 175 gr frozen peas)
- small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
- small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- salt ‘n pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until soft.
- Stir in the spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron), tomatoes and sugar.
- Add the lentils and pour in the vegetable stock or water and stock cubes.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender (check the instructions on the package).
- Stir in the cooked chickpeas and beans and bring back to boil, cover again and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Mix in the fresh herbs and season to taste.
Mr Gnoe and me enjoyed this soup on a cold February night accompanied by (store-bought) bake-off buns and couscous salad.
I only made half of the original recipe on the Gastronomery Cookbook Challenge #1 page and that was amply sufficient for four diners. Especially served with accompaniments like ours. This soup is already plant-based (and chock-full of proteins!) so no veganizing was needed, but still the recipe got slightly tweaked.
- I took the easy route and used a 400 grams can of chickpeas (= 265 grams drained) instead of dried beans that would have needed to be soaked overnight.
- Dried broad beans are not commonly available over here (although it’s not impossible to get them in a city like Utrecht) so I had wanted to use frozen but forgot to add them to my grocery list. So I took 175 grams garden peas from my freezer stash instead. Together with the chickpeas that roughly summed up the 400 grams of cooked beans I needed.
- I made vegetable stock with one bouillon cube instead of two and spiced it up with salt and pepper at the end. I’m still not sure whether I’d use two cubes anyway next time… (if there is a next time?)
- I didn’t use olive oil for frying the onions but used leftover sunflower oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil.
- The original recipe said to fry the onions for about 15 minutes… It took me 2-3 to get them soft. ;) If you’re supposed to caramelize the onions then 10-15 minutes would be right but it just says “until soft” so I believe the time publicized to be an errata.
- I added one celery stalk, just because it was lying around in the fridge. Not necessary at all.
Has the Jury reached its verdict?
This chickpea-lentil soup is certainly a hearty dish, but it didn’t tickle my taste buds. I’ve had bean and lentil soups before, some of which were much more special.
I couldn’t discern a specific Moroccan flavour and I don’t think using broad beans would’ve changed that. Do you? Maybe adding a spice blend like ras el hanout would be a good idea; there’s a recipe for that in the book -and on the Gastronomery blog- as well. But I also just can’t appreciate the combination of multiple legumes: lentils and chickpeas and peas. I do like vegan harira (Moroccan/Algerian chickpea-lentil soup), but this modern version is too much of a
mismatch mishmash for me.
So. If you’ve had these kinds of soups before, this recipe is not very exciting. But if you haven’t – this is a good place to start! Common ingredients and little work bring a filling winter stew to the table.
Blogging pal Uniflame also participated in Cookbook Challenge #1 and got me for a swap partner. She tried the Casablancan couscous with roasted summer veggies and shared her version of the recipe on She Likes Bento. In winter I regularly make oven-roasted root vegetables but I always forget to do something alike in summer. Gotta remember!
February has been a super busy month so I didn’t get around to cooking two other recipes from Modern Moroccan that I like. So there are still a vegan version of grilled sweet zucchini with spices and harissa on the menu.
Now if you feel like trying another Moroccan soup, how about this sesame soup recipe I posted before?
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This weekend two events came together: a ladies only family weekend and the Greece-themed Kookgrrls’ cookalong. Oh, and VeganMoFo of course. ;) Efficient woman I am, I combined as much as possible and chose a courgette fritters recipe from A Vegan Taste of Greece.
One of the first things I learned to cook as a vegetarian -we’re talking about 21 years ago- were Greek zucchini patties. I miss those now. So I’m on a quest to find a recipe without cheese, eggs or dairy. The recipe in this cookbook makes use of faux parmesan. That’s not ideal but it was worth a try! And yes, they were quite a success. Mr Gnoe and I made them again for dinner tonight, with the addition of a soygurt-based garlic-dill sauce. I will keep looking but for now this recipe will certainly do!
I posted it in Dutch on the Kookgrrls’ Blog, so that’s where you can find me today!
Do you know the Evernote Food app? I’m creating a food photo diary with it — easy and fun! I only wish I could also edit entries in the equally handy all-round Evernote application, but maybe I’m missing something obvious?
On Saturday May 19th Evernote organized its first ever Evernote cook-along. ‘Chef’ Lauren Atkins provided us with the task to make crêpes.
You all know how I love challenges — and food! So I decided to take this up, even though I hadn’t baked any crêpes since going ExtraVeganza over a year ago… Pancakes? Yes. Crêpes? No. And I really even don’t like pancakes that much, but I just LUUUURV crêpes!
So the first question to tackle was: sweet or savoury?
As we had no dinner plans yet (and would be hiking during lunchtime), I chose the latter and picked Asian style rice crêpes with a mushroom-tofu filling.
It actually proved to be quite the dare! I had to adapt a basic vegan sweet crêpe recipe and combine it with the savoury dairy mushroom-tofu one from my vegetarian cookbook Het Grote Vegetarische Kookboek (p.138). Not a smart project to take on for a first attempt… So how did it turn out???
Rice Crêpes with Tofu-Mushroom Filling
Serves 2 (4 pieces).
I started out with this vegan crêpe recipe in my Vegweb iPhone app (substituting vanilla for a pinch of salt): whisking 1 cup of all-purpose flour (about 150 grams) with 1 1/2 cup rice milk (350 ml) and 2 heaped teaspoons of No-egg with 4 tablespoons of water mixed beforehand (note that the ratio for 2 ‘eggs’ is different from Ener-G egg-replacer). Adding 2 tbsp of sunflower oil and a pinch of salt.
I then continued putting additional ingredients in the batter that the non-vegan recipe in my cookbook called for: 1 tbsp kecap manis, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, 50 grams of cooked rice (a combination of red, black and unpolished) and a mix of chopped and stir-fried fresh ginger (2 cm), 1 chilli pepper and 1 green onion.
You’ll have to cook the rice in advance or -preferably- use leftovers!
Each pancake was baked for about 3 minutes on one side and 1 more after having flipped them over.
The filling consisted of 100 grams of tofu sautéed for about 5 minutes in a combination of sunflower & sesame oil, then adding 150 grams mixed mushrooms, a clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tsp of white miso, 1 tbsp kecap manis and 1/2 tbsp lime juice, stirring for about 1 more minute.
We had a great dinner! Two crêpes each plus a large portion of salad.
I’ll admit the recipe needs a little tweaking because the pancakes were difficult to flip over — and stay in one piece at the same time. ;) My batter was probably a bit too thin from adding the extra ingredients. Next time I’ll adjust the amount of ‘milk’ accordingly and/or add some cornstarch.
Or maybe… I should just make sure to have a foolproof vegan crêpe recipe first?! Off to make some crêpes for lunch!!!
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