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The little monkey in my brain is saying that this is bento number 210 because there’s been a sloppy no.209 a while back. But I can’t find any pictures of it (looked everywhere!), so we’re back to the old saying: “No photo? No o-bento!”

Ergo: meet today’s office lunch — my easy summer meal bento!

Easy Summer Meal Bento #209

Right tier
Leftover gado-gado with tofu, bawang goreng and pickled white onions.

Left tier
Emping, summer fruit harvested on my own balcony: strawberries and raspberries. Fresh basil for colour.

On the side
Leftover pickled salad (not shown) and an apple.

Shabby seems to be my new style.. :\ That’s because I’ve been lacking inspiration to make bentos. Not only that; I rarely feel like doing anything food-related lately. Uhm except eating of course. O_o I hope it’s just a phase that will pass soon!

Homemade vegan oliebollen with apple & cranberries for New Year's Eve!

There’s a first time for everything. I’m 42 but today I made oliebollen for the first time in my life. I used a vegan recipe from Lisette Kreischer’s cookbook Ecofabulous (which I was recently able to obtain as e-book), and replaced the raisins with cranberries — I’m still in a Wadden Island mood, where we spent Christmas!

We’re toasting here with blueberry wine while Juno is waiting for her chance to ‘catch’ a fritter. Can’t blame her, because they are yummy! :)

Wishing you all a very happy, compassionate and animal-friendly 2013!

Special thoughts tonight for my friend muizz who recently lost her father, and for WM who’s dad is also terminally ill. It’s hard to celebrate a new year when you know your loved one won’t be there to enjoy it with you. :(

Once upon a time… I promised you a category on Graasland intended for Cabbage Recipes. It did appear, but fell into a slumber after I’d only shared three dishes with you. Well, now’s the right season to revive it!

Here’s a vegan version of coleslaw that I adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Groentegerechten by Jan & Ineke Stevens.

This salad is a kind of tsukemono (preserved vegetable) recipe, so it holds well and is perfect for travelling, like in this Goodbye Bento.

Coleslaw with Avocado Dressing

Coleslaw with avocado dressing

Ingredients
Serves 3-4.

  • 350-400g white or pointed cabbage
  • salt
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbs vegenaise, soygurt or faux sour cream
  • salt ‘n pepper

1. In advance

Cut its core from the cabbage, discard wilted outer leaves and thinly slice the veg. I don’t have a fancy machine to do this so I use my mandolin or a big, sharp knife and heavy wooden cutting board. Of course you can also buy pre-chopped cabbage…

Put the cabbage in a bowl, scatter some salt over it and weigh it down with a pan filled with water, supported by a saucer. Let it rest for a while until water comes out, preferably for a few hours.

2. Dressing

To make the dressing, scoop out the avocado, slice the green part of the spring onion in rings and put these aside. Chop the rest of the onion in small pieces and blend with avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, veganaise (or substitute). Add pepper to taste but refrain from adding salt until you’ve tasted the cabbage in step 3!

3. Assemble

Put the cabbage in a sieve, rinse and drain, pressing out excess water by hand. Now taste! Decide whether your dressing needs any more salt – if so, add it.

NOTE: if you do not intend to eat all of the coleslaw at once, just drain the cabbage you’re reserving and put it in a Tupperware box in the fridge. Only rinse and wring the veg when you’re ready to use it.

Place the cabbage on a nice plate or in a salad bowl, spoon the dressing in the middle and sprinkle the remaining onion rings on top.

As you can see I added some tomato and olives to the salad last time. Possibly it’s better without to let the smooth avocado dressing come to its full advantage.

Enjoy!

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

I can hardly believe it: here’s Monday again and a whole week of VeganMofo has passed. Not only that, I managed to post every day! Yay me. ;) I’m really enjoying blogging again. :))

Today we’re having comforting Thai carrot soup here at Graasland. There are three ways to make this recipe:
a) quick and dirty easy,
b) less quick but still dirty easy,
c) elaborate — involving making your own curry paste from scratch.

I’m a medium-sized grrl. ;) So here’s version B!

Thai Carrot Soup Recipe

Thai Carrot Soup

Ingredients
Serves 2-3.

  • 300 g clean carrots (if you’d like to peel instead of wash them you’ll need about 450 g to start with)
  • 1.5-2 tbs olive, peanut or rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 heaped tbs of red curry paste (check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: 1 tbs lime juice
  • optional: chopped cilantro

Oven-roasted carrots for Thai Carrot Soup

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 225 °C (gas 5).
  2. Cut the carrot into 1 cm pieces. Put them in a casserole with 1 tbs of oil and mix until all the carrot is coated with oil.
  3. Put it in the oven for about 25-35 minutes or until tender.
  4. In the meantime chop the onion.
  5. When the carrots are done, heat the left over oil in a pan. Bake onion, crushed garlic and curry paste for a few minutes until soft.
  6. Add carrots, stock and coconut milk, bring to a boil and quietly simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and blend to a smooth consistency.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus lime juice if using.
  9. Garnish soup in bowls with chopped cilantro.

The easy way out -you may have guessed- is to just cook the carrots in the stock. The soup is still good that way, but I really recommend roasting the veg in the oven because it enhances the taste. And it’s not much effort; just waiting time in which you can type up a blog post. ;)

This is one of the favourite dishes on our rotation scheme. It’s great for bento too, as it can be eaten on room temperature or chilled. If you plan to eat it cold I advise you to add some more broth as the colder the soup, the thicker it is.

I hope you’ll like this Thai carrot soup too!

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Yay, number 180: the last of my bento backlog! Now I’ve only got today’s Meatless Monday Bento left to blog, which hasn’t been assembled yet at the time of writing this post (in the weekend).

Office Outing Bento (17-04-2012)

When
Tuesday April 17th 2012.

Why
I went on an outing with my colleagues of the Nederlands Politiemuseum (Netherlands Police Museum), recently merged with the (‘Firefighter Museum’) under the working title Nationaal Veiligheids Instituut (‘National Security Institution’). We wanted to meet our new co-workers in Hellevoetlsuis and travelled along to Almere, to check out the building in which the new museum will reopen in a few years. On the way there we shortly went into Almere Public Library to drool — oh my what an awesome place that is! I wanted to be sure I’d get to eat vegan, so I packed myself a nice bento – sort of an emergency meal. ;)

What
Nasi goreng
, braised pak choy, peanut sauce and serundeng. Grilled courgette, plum tomato, garden cress, pickles, tempeh bacon, dried cranberries and a salad corner with alfalfa, sundried tomato and caper berries. the all familiar buttered gingerbread with agave syrup for a moment of sweetness. Not shown: a country cookie to have with tea, when the others were having cake.

It feels really good to be up-to-date again with my bento posts! I hope I haven’t bored you?

Plantaardig Maandag NL button

Meatless Monday button

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Hello, have you missed me?

I’m glad to be back on this Meatless Monday ~ or Plantaardig Maandag in Dutch. :) And even though I have a backlog of three bentos to post, I’m going to share a slice of the luxurious raspberry-chocolate pie I made for Easter!

Chocolate-Raspberry Pie for Easter

It’s so good I will definitely make this over and over again! Mind you, I’m not even that much of a chocolate lover… But the flavours of this torte complement each other so well: a sugarless cake bottom with bitter-sweet (FairTrade) chocolate and the tartness of fresh raspberries. Need I say more? YUM!

It’s originally a recipe from the Belgian Vegetarian Association EVA but instead of making 6 small pastries I decided to make one big pie (with some other small adaptations). So far I have only made three recipes from the EVA website: birthday brownies (served 3 times), marvellous mayonnaise (I never go without) and now this tart. Obviously they are all a hit! So I guess I should take an even better look at that site. :)

Now the baking of this pie does take a bit of patience… It’s not a lot of work (!), but there’s waiting time in between stages. Personally, I rather saw that as an advantage! I made the cake, which is the most time-consuming part, the night before (or actually 2 ;), the chocolate filling on Easter morning and I added the topping -raspberries and powdered sugar- just before serving at teatime. That was a fun job to do with our little helper cousin.

Of course the adults decided to have some prosecco wine instead of tea with this indulgent treat. :P

Raspberry-Chocolate Tart

Serves 10.
Dutch translation at the bottom of this post.

Chocolate-Raspberry Pie for Easter

Ingredients

Pastry shell:

  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g soy butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1-4 tbsp soy milk

Chocolate filling:

  • 300 g dark chocolate (vegan and preferably FairTrade, like Tony’s Chocolonely), broken into small parts
  • 50-75 g soy butter
  • 150 ml vanilla soy milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 60 g raspberry jam

Finishing touch:

  • 500 g raspberries (extra if they are really big)
  • powdered sugar

Preparation

Chocolate-Raspberry Cake bottom for Easter

Stage 1: pastry shell
Can be made up to 2 days in advance.

  1. Grease a 25 cm pastry tin and/or cover the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Mix flour, salt and ‘butter’ (125 g) by hand to make a crumbly pastry dough.
  3. Add soy milk spoon by spoon until the mixture holds together well, like shortbread dough.
  4. Roll out pastry dough, forming a circle big enough to cover bottom and sides of your pastry tin. I cover my working counter with a flexible silicon baking sheet, put the dough on, cover with baking paper and use my rolling pin over that.
  5. Put the flattened dough into the tin – here’s where a silicon sheet comes in handy! :)
  6. Press well into the sides: you can use a bit of the dough in cling-wrap to do this easily. Cut off any extra dough.
  7. Use a fork to make holes in the bottom and put the dough into the refrigerator until it feels firm. This takes at least 30 minutes – I just went out to do my holiday grocery shopping. :) You can put it in the fridge if you’re pressed for time.

Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  2. Cover the pastry dough with a little baking paper (recycle the piece you used for rolling the dough) and fill with pie weights or whatever you use for blind baking.
  3. Prebake in the oven for 25-30 minutes: keep a close eye on from 15 minutes onwards. Remove weights and paper and bake for another 15 minutes until light golden.
  4. Take from the oven and let it cool.

Stage 2: filling

  1. Melt the chocolate Bain-Marie on low temperature (you know how to do this, right?).
  2. Add butter bit by bit (keep stirring to mix well), vanilla soy milk and maple syrup. It may seem that the chocolate is forming clumps but everything will be all right if you keep stirring carefully.
  3. When everything is mixed well and creamy you can start filling your pie! First get the pastry shell out of the tin though. :)
  4. Cover the bottom of the pie with raspberry jelly.
  5. Add the chocolate filling.
  6. Let it cool at room temp for approximately 2 hours (or more).

Stage 3: finish

  1. When you’re ready to eat you can layer the chocolate with fresh raspberries.
  2. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Chocolate-Raspberry Pie for Easter

Stage 4: Bon appétit!

Plantaardig Maandag NL button

Meatless Monday button


Recipe in Dutch

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. February’s mission is ‘Cooking Japanese’!

I’ve wanted to try gyōza for ages. I never had any and I don’t know where to get a vegetarian/vegan version around here, so there was no other option than to make them myself. With a little lot of help from Mr Gnoe, because it’s fun to cook together on a Sunday night!

Nameko mushroomWe took the recipe on Something to Eat for guidance but skipped on the tofu, added some nameko mushrooms to the shiitake and used white cabbage instead of Chinese. We poured boiling water over the thinly sliced cabbage in a colander and left it to cool. A major improvisation is that we sautéed the mushrooms, garlic and spring onions first, mixing it up with the cabbage, soy sauce and sesame oil in the end. The filling should actually cook within the skin, but we are a little pigheaded. ;)

Using a small bowl I cut some square wonton wrappers into circles. And then, finally, we got to use the handy gyōza press mold that had been waiting useless in our kitchen for some months now! ;)

Molding gyoza with our special kitchen tool

We followed the steam-fry method Something to Eat describes and the yaki-gyōza turned out delicious, although a bit ‘mushy’ — no way we could eat them with chopsticks so we had to use a regular knife & fork. LOL We dipped the dumplings in a sauce I had whipped up from two tablespoons of tamari, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, some splashes of tabasco chilli sauce (since we don’t have any hot oil) and a little yuzu powder. YUM!

Steam-frying gyoza

Next to our Japanese potstickers we had some improvised mushroom-miso soup with ginger. (Of course I really should have been reading In the Miso Soup because discussion in the Japanese Literature Book Group starts today… uh-oh) “Not a lot of veggies?” I hear you say, but we’d had spinach quiche in the late afternoon, so a big or balanced meal wasn’t really required.

Sunday dinner: yaki-gyoza & miso soup

We’ll probably have the leftovers for dinner this Meatless Monday.
Are you eating vegetarian today as well?

I’m definitely going to make gyōza again, trying different recipes (with tofu or minced seitan) and cooking methods (steaming, boiling, frying). The lazy days are over for our gyōza kitchen tool! ;)

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New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!

Whip Up Something New! button

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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

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Recipe submitted to Vegan Mondays & Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Monday.

Vegan Mondays button

Meatless Monday

Homemade vegenaise

This awesome egg-less mayonnaise is the discovery of the year. Not just for me — Mr Gnoe also thinks it tastes better than any ordinary variety we’ve ever had. So even in the unlikely event that I’ll turn into my old 100% lact-ovo vegetarian self again, we’ll probably stick to eating this veganaise!

And you know what? It’s soooooo easy to make: you can whip it up in under 5 minutes! Of course only if your stick blender doesn’t die on you in the process, like mine did today. :\

The recipe originates from EVA, the Belgian Vegetarian Association, but I learned about it in my ExtraVeganza kick-off: Happy Herbi’s Eat Good, Feel Good cooking class. And it made my vegan pilot project so much easier! I’ve put it on sandwiches with avocado, used it for several dipping sauces, guacamole, salad dressing and wasabi ‘mayonnaise’ for sushi. Now how could I keep a fabulous recipe like that from you? Not.

Veganaise

Ingredients

100 ml soy milk (it is very important to shake well before use!!!)
175-250 ml sunflower oil
1 tbs cider vinegar
1 ts mustard
1/2 ts salt
1 ts agave syrup

The original recipe states double measures but since this egg-less mayonnaise keeps well in the fridge for about 2 weeks these are the amounts I use.

Preparation

Put all ingredients — except oil — in a tall bowl and slowly mix with the immersion blender while pouring in the oil. Voilá! ;)

Now you can add al sorts of things (herbs & spices) to make your own fabulous sauces.

Mr Gnoe & I like ‘olivonnaise’ so next time I’ll be trying olive oil (partly) instead of sunflower.

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Eat Good, Feel Good Cooking Class

I promised to tell you more about the Eat Good, Feel Good vegan cooking class I took, mainly because I had some leftovers for lunch on my third day of ExtraVeganza. Well, it was great fun!

Ingredients for the 'Eat Good, Feel Good' vegan cooking class (27-01-2011)

After an introduction on the vegan lifestyle and answers to some questions we had asked in advance, the four of us made a three course meal together of potato-carrot soup & kale pate on toast for starters, a main course of spicy seitan satay (made from scratch!) with peanut sauce, rice with capucijner peas, cumin & veganaise and bean sprout & apple salad. For dessert we had a delicious (but pretty heavy for someone not used to afters ;) raw banana mousse ‘petite-pie’. And like I said, us lucky participants got to take the leftovers home! :)

Kale paté made in Eat Good, Feel Good cooking class

Kale paté

Rice salad made in Eat Good, Feel Good cooking class

Mixed rice salad

I was the only first-timer but didn’t do too bad. ;) I am glad I took this cooking class for a kick-off because it totally inspired me!

- – – – -

Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

- – – – -

New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!

Whip Up Something New! button

- – – -
Recipe submitted to Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Monday & the newly discovered Vegan Mondays.

Meatless Monday

Vegan Mondays button

 

Our third season of CSA has come to a closing. Now we’ll need to decide on which veggies to buy all by ourselves again… Not an easy task! #lazybums

Last organic CSA veggies of the year (week 51, 2010)

  • purslane
  • leek
  • thyme
  • red cabbage
  • choggia beets
  • apples
  • variety of onions: shallot, red and white

When I got beets last time I made Nigel Slater’s Beetroot Seeds Cake and it was goooood!

Nigel Slater's Beetroot seeds cake

Clicking on the picture will bring you to Flickr, where I’ve put up the link to the on-line recipe and some adaptations I made.

Yesterday was another Meatless Monday (Plantaardig Maandag) and supposed to be December’s #twitterfoodparty about squash, so I made a vegan Indian curry with basmati rice and (prefab) mango chutney with last week’s hokkaido pumpkin. The picture didn’t turn out too great but it tasted better than it looks. ;) Anyway, the food party got postponed due to too many ‘twabsentees‘…! If you want to join in, just make something with squash on January 10th, use the hashtag and tweet a picture!

Vegan pumpkin curry with basmati rice and mango chutney

So, no more CSA (b)log posts until the first week of May 2011. Some of you might think that a good thing… But hopefully not all???

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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