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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
b) less quick but still
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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 225 °C (gas 5).
- 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.
- Put it in the oven for about 25-35 minutes or until tender.
- In the meantime chop the onion.
- 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.
- Add carrots, stock and coconut milk, bring to a boil and quietly simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and blend to a smooth consistency.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, plus lime juice if using.
- 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!
Yay for VeganMoFo! Not only did my readers suggest wonderful pear desserts, one of them ‘clicked’ with a recipe I’d just come across at one of my fellow MoFo-ers, Have Cake, Will Travel!
Here’s the pear with chocolate syrup and sliced almonds I had for afters last night. It was awesome!
It would have been lovely on a pear tarte tatin as well. ;) But that was too much work for a Friday night.
I made 1/3 of the original recipe -which is SUPER easy- and still have plenty left to experiment with this week. Ideas: chocolate milk, banana split adaptation, fruit or (speculoos) cookies dipped in chocolate, chocolate soygurt… I can go on and on! ;) A new favourite for sure. Try it!
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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!
Sometimes you try a recipe and it immediately turns into a favourite. That happened this summer, when I served spinach pesto for the Italian Kookgrrls Cookalong.
I made it several times since and always to a great success. It came to a garden potluck and we spooned it out as a starter at a special dinner for my mother-in-law and one of her friends. The verdict is unanimous: this dish is GOOD!
So here’s the recipe, translated and slightly adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Mediterraan koken by Jan & Ineke Stevens.
- 300g clean fresh spinach
- 2 tbs pine nuts
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
- 3 sprigs of fresh basil
- salt & pepper
- a good variety of olive oil (extra virgin)
When it’s still wet from washing, put the spinach in a saucepan and cook the leaves on high for a couple of minutes while turning them over a few times — until welted but still bright green. Drain thoroughly.
Blend the cooked spinach together with the garlic (it’s best to start with one clove and add more if necessary), pine nuts and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the olive oil until the pesto has a smooth consistency. Using a good type of oil improves the taste!
Now that’s easy, isn’t it?
This spinach spread is good with toast, crudités, as a side dish, on a sandwich and probably with pasta. And it’s perfect for bentos!
Don’t you think today’s office lunch looks really cheerful?! :D
Red Batavia lettuce, French onion, cucumber and radish flowers finished off with African Peper Mix, salt, yuzu powder and nori cutting. Nooo, I did not do that by hand. ;) Oven-roasted butternut squash with coriander seeds in the cup, and a tiny tomato from the balcony.
Seitan stroganoff and minty leek bulgur with a fresh mint blossom.
The fruit tier: kiwi, red grapefruit, orange and home-grown yellow raspberries with a bundle of mint.
On the side
Dressing for the raw vegetables and more proteins: a soy caramel dessert.
A little of the fresh mint went into the bulgur, the rest I used for a cup of herbal tea. :)
This bento mostly consists of leftovers: the seitan, grains and pumpkin were all on the menu the past few days. The citrus wedges I put aside yesterday when I was having a bowl of fruit. So you see: it really doesn’t have to be a lot of work!
Now, maybe you’re wondering what happens to the cut-off pieces of crudités — I know I used to when I was a beginning bentoïst! But there are several solutions.
- In this case they’re hidden beneath the flowers. :)
- You can snack on them while compiling your bento.
- They can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated until evening or the next day, when you can throw them in a salad, soup, tofu scramble, stew or whatever.
Maybe you have an even better idea? Whatever you do: wasting them is not an option. ;)
Have you heard of VeganMoFo yet?
It’s October turned into a vegan treasure box!
During the month 500+ bloggers around the world will highlight the wonders of a vegan lifestyle.
My posts will mostly focus on being EXTRAveganza, or ‘vegan on the road’. That’ll include bentos (dôh), travel-friendly recipes and examples of how I fared on our recent holiday in France — my first as a vegan. And then there will be some side-trips. ;)
Are you ready? Here we go!
Tiny Track ‘n Snack Bento (#197)
Yesterday I went hiking with a group of friends. A snack I always bring in situations like this, is a small selection of nuts and dried fruit. That’ll keep me on my feet when I my legs get wobbly – which always happens when I get hungry. Not only aren’t we always sure we’ll be able to buy food on the way, as a vegan I prepare myself for the chance that one can only get a cheese sandwich or a piece of apple pie. ;)
Nuts are packed with unsaturated (= good) fats, protein & fibres, which make you feel satisfied quickly — and it’ll last for a while. In my experience some dried fruits have the same effect.
Now if you’re worried about the calorie intake… You shouldn’t! Nuts are really good for you. Unsaturated fats actually help balance your cholesterol and protect against hart disease. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamins & minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, omega-3, calcium, phosphor, vitamins A, B, E and more. And hey, hiking = burning calories anyway!
Of course not all nuts are good for you, just unroasted and unsalted ones like, for example, almonds, walnuts and cashews. Still, sometimes I bring some of the ‘bad’ ones as well. A grrl can have a treat, can’t she? ;) Yesterday there were a few (salted) rosemary-garlic cashews and cocktail nuts in my little box among more healthy goodies like died cranberries, apricot and apple, candied pineapple, walnuts and Brazil nuts.
Oh, and I almost forgot… I also indulged in some chocolate-covered soy beans! :D Got those in France so I’ll tell you more about those later in a post about Les Vacances de Mme Gnoe! ;)
I hope all this talk didn’t make you go nuts?
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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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!
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!
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
Dutch translation at the bottom of this post.
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 125 g soy butter
- a pinch of salt
- 1-4 tbsp soy milk
- 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
- 500 g raspberries (extra if they are really big)
- powdered sugar
Stage 1: pastry shell
Can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- Grease a 25 cm pastry tin and/or cover the bottom with baking paper.
- Mix flour, salt and ‘butter’ (125 g) by hand to make a crumbly pastry dough.
- Add soy milk spoon by spoon until the mixture holds together well, like shortbread dough.
- 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.
- Put the flattened dough into the tin – here’s where a silicon sheet comes in handy! :)
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take from the oven and let it cool.
Stage 2: filling
- Melt the chocolate Bain-Marie on low temperature (you know how to do this, right?).
- 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.
- When everything is mixed well and creamy you can start filling your pie! First get the pastry shell out of the tin though. :)
- Cover the bottom of the pie with raspberry jelly.
- Add the chocolate filling.
- Let it cool at room temp for approximately 2 hours (or more).
Stage 3: finish
- When you’re ready to eat you can layer the chocolate with fresh raspberries.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
Stage 4: Bon appétit!
As a Dutch foodie blogger quartet we had so much fun with our previous ‘cool collective Weekend Cooking post’ (about dips & spreads), that we decided to do another blog hop this month. Tofu & Tempeh is today’s topic.
I chose a recipe that I had my doubts about but wanted to try anyway: tofu feta. I’ve heard plenty of positive stories but would not believe it could really taste like the real thing. And there was only one way to find out! As a newbie vegan I do sometimes miss the fresh, somewhat stingy taste of dairy, like in feta, yoghurt, sour cream and things like that.
But what am I saying… v-gan newbie??? This post marks my 1 year anniversary of going ExtraVeganza!
What started out as a 10-day pilot meant to help reduce my intake of animal products in January 2011, turned into Gnoe going totally herbivore. Although I know I’ve come quite far, it’s rather shocking to hear it’s already been a year. O_o
My biggest hurdle is still the feeling that I’m a pain in the *ss for other people, whether they are friends, family or restauranteurs. :\ But I’m healthy and it feels really good to live this way, so I’m mostly very HAPPY about the step I took! :)
As you probably know, soy products like tofu and tempeh are an important protein source for vegetarians and vegans. Except if you’re unlucky like our Weekend Cooking host Beth Fish, who is hyper-sensitive to it. I don’t know what I’d do without my daily soy cappuccino!
So today I’m sharing a tofu recipe: faux feta. There are many recipes around, but I used the one from Becky’s Tasty Planet. She served it to a Greek omni friend and it passed the test!
Most mock feta recipes are easy to whip up but they need a lot of waiting time. Marinating often takes a minimum of 24 hours. What actually happens during that time is that the fermenting process is (re)activated.
- 250 g tofu
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 big or 2 small garlic cloves, smashed but left whole
- dried oregano (to taste)
- crushed red pepper (to taste)
- Drain tofu and wrap in a clean kitchen towel or paper.
- Place a cutting board on top and weigh that down with something heavy like a cast iron or water-filled pan, books, cans of beans, etc. Leave for ca. 30 minutes to drain out excess liquid.
- In the meantime whisk together the rest of the ingredients for the marinade.
- Unwrap the tofu and cut into 1 cm thick slices.
- Put the tofu in a container with a well-closing lid, pour over the marinade and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, preferably 2-3 days.
- Flip the container every few hours to ensure even coverage.
- Pat the tofu pieces dry before use and crumble or cut into desired shape.
I was pleasantly surprised with the taste and texture of this faux feta. The bite actually resembles the real thing and its sour tang is good too. You could use a little more salt (real cheese is pretty salty most of the time), but that can be easily fixed with a salad dressing as well. Still, this is no feta cheese. I guess that’s why Becky called it “feta-style marinated tofu” in her post. :)
I will probably make it again and try other recipes as well, like this one on Vegweb. Have I made you curious enough to have a go at it?
Please check out the yummy recipes my fellow blog hoppers shared!
- JannyAn’s Gado-gado (pescetarian; vegan optional) – I loooove Indonesian food!
- Chinoiseries’ Tempeh Burgers (vegan)
- Uniflame’s BBQ Tempeh Sandwich (vegetarian; vegan optional)
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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!
So. I promised to show you my animal friendly chocolate-beetroot pie once it was finished. Drumroll please..! :)
The recipe for this delicious-looking cake came from the Ecofabulous cookbook I mentioned earlier in my Cookbook Sunday Salon. It’s one of the reasons I had to bail out of the 24 Hour Readathon today! But there are worse things. Like, if this pie doesn’t taste as good as it looks.. :(
I deviated from the recipe only in its final stage, applying a couverture instead of the chocolate topping described by Lisette Kreischer. Baking time also took a while longer. In the end I didn’t dare keep it in the oven for a minute more, as I feared it would burn. Now I hope it’s got no soggy bottom I couldn’t take British Bakeoff judge Mary Berry’s look of disapproval. ;P
This cake is part of a present for Mr Gnoe’s foodie cousin, celebrating her 40th birthday tonight. I hope she’ll like it! She’s baking a (non-vegan) lime pie, carrotcake muffins, brownies and cheesecake herself right this minute. With a little help from a friend, I believe. ;)
I better not forget to take a photo of a slice tonight! Please remind me? There’s twitter, whatsapp, 4square.. Whatever social medium you like. ;)
With the risk of overdoing it, here’s another pic of the pie ready to go. See you later!
This food-related post is part of Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!
It’s been a long time since I posted a Sunday Salon. But today I wanted to share my growing pile of vegan cookbooks for VeganMoFo.
When I started ExtraVeganza! in January I didn’t have a vegan cookbook worth mentioning. That wasn’t a problem since I managed quite well with my vegetarian cookery books and the Web. I hadn’t used my World Food Cookbook as intensively before and was very content with the amount of vegan recipes! The Vegetarian Table: Japan turned out a faithful companion to my journey as well.
Still, it’s no fun picking a recipe and having to think if, and how, it can be veganised. Especially when you have to conclude it’s no use trying… Remember I am just a beginner!
Also, even though much of your regular cooking can easily be made animal-free, there are some basics that make life as a vegan easier. My silent wish for a completely plant-based reference book was quickly granted by my sister-in-law, who gave me Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan!
It was an instant success (which I’ve raved about but still need to expand upon) but while looking for another appropriate handbook something else hit me: the difference in American and European cooking, especially concerning ingredient availability.
So today I own no less than 3 Dutch vegan cookbooks! Antoinette Herzenberg & Jacinta Bokma’s Puur Plantaardig, Lisette Kreischer’s Lisette in Luilekkerland and Non*fish*a*li*cious (admittedly the latter contains 1 non-vegan recipe which uses a vegetarian tuna-substitute).
I haven’t really cooked from these yet, but that’s because I thoroughly had to explore my library copy of Ecofabulous first.
This 2009 publication is out of print already and I wanted to find out whether I should preorder the 2nd edition, coming out in December. Hell yes! :) Even if it’s only for Veggie in Pumps‘ AMAZING pumpkin-ginger cupcakes… :)
I’m eagerly awaiting the ‘ecofabulous’ *drop* into my mailbox and from that moment I guess I’ll own about all the Dutch vegan cookbooks existing on the planet. But as Puur Plantaardig was only published last month (!) and Non*fish*a*li*cious in June this year, it’s safe to conclude that green living & vegan eating is gaining popularity!
Two other vegan (cook)books that I actually did own already before ExtraVeganza! are Akasha Richmond’s The Art of Tofu and Living Among Meat Eaters by Carol J. Adams.
The first is a kind of promotional publication for Mori-Nu tofu, the latter a nonfiction book about how to handle aggressive questions about your strict vegetarian (= vegan) lifestyle. I bought ‘Meat Eaters’ years ago but didn’t really get around to reading and certainly didn’t try any of the recipes at the end of the volume since they all contained one or more ingredients not commonplace as far as my kitchen cupboards are concerned. Now they are. ;) The same goes for The Art of Tofu. So I’ll probably be checking their indexes out again in the near future. I’m specifically interested in Akasha’s baking blend that works as an egg-replacer. There are several easier egg-substitutes around so I’m curious if this one’s better than the others.
Let’s hope I’ll manage to review all of these vegan cookbooks in the near future!
Do you have any recommendations on books I should add to this collection?
It goes without saying that they don’t need to be Dutch!
Of course there’s other bookish news as well. I’m currently reading Tinkers by Paul Harding; a recommendation on Books on the Nightstand (a podcast I like to listen to). I first started reading about 2 months ago but couldn’t get into it, even though the starting point is pretty interesting. The first line of the book:
George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died.
After finishing all 3 volumes of Haruki Murakami’s 1q84 last week I decided to give Tinkers another try. It’s a quick read and didn’t win last year’s Pulitzer Prize for nothing, right?!
I’m about a third in and this time I actually like it! :) That just goes to show you the moment or emotional state in which you read a work of fiction does influence your appreciation. At least it does with me. :)
24 hour readathon
And yay, it’s that time of year again! Dewey’s semi-annual 24 hour readathon runs on Saturday October 22nd. I usually just join the fall edition and I’m a bit sad that I can only partly participate this time because of an important birthday party I’m going to.
So here’s what I’m going to do.
- The official starting time in my area is 2pm (GMT+1). That would hardly leave me any time to read so I’ll be beginning my readathon at 8am.
- As I will be staying over after the party I’ll stop the readathon at the beginning of the evening (before or during our trip) and write a wrap-up post on Sunday afternoon when I’m back home.
- Due to this I don’t think I’ll be participating in (m)any mini-challenges…
Next Sunday I’ll show you the books I plan to pick from! Are you joining in as well? Reading rules!
This post is also submitted to Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking.