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I opened and closed this week with a bento for lunch: first a Yummy Meatless Mondays Bento (#152), and then a healthy Veggie Bento on Friday (#153). Showing you the last one first!
Veggie Bento (#153)
My Friday bento came along in a box that I don’t often use — because it’s technically not mine. ;) Click on the pic to follow the link to an overview shot on Flickr.
We bought this Hanaougi ‘Flower Fans’ bento for Mr Gnoe when I only owned one other box (can you believe there ever was such a time?): my first usagi bento. Both are two-tiered, rectangular and dark blue. The idea was to use our similar bentos for picnics. :) But it has been gathering dust on the shelf so this Friday I decided to put it to good use.
Half a ‘space bar’ (vegan sausage) and tomato ketchup to dip, rye bread with tofutti cream ‘cheese’, cucumber fans, radish flowers and green beans with African Peper spice mix on a bed of lettuce.
Red beet salad with balsamic & raspberry vinegar, green grapes, cherry tomatoes (homegrown on the balcony), basil and fennel with peas.
On the side
Organic apple & elderberry juice.
Yummy Meatless Mondays Bento (#152)
Although Friday bento was good, it couldn’t beat Monday bento which contained one of my favourite foods: kisir, a traditional Turkish bulghur salad. The one from Ana’s Kuzin is best but I’m hoping to find a recipe that comes close. If you have one, please let me know?!
Kisir, veggies (cucumber, radishes, lettuce, steamed green beans, cherry tomatoes, flat leaf parsley) and dressing.
Tiny leftovers of antep ezmesi (hot mix of tomato, chili peppers and garlic) & börülce (spicy bean-lime tomato dish), lots of seedless grapes, rye bread with vegan ‘cream cheese’, almond and dried apricot.
And an apple on the side (not shown).
If you can help me to good recipes for kisir, antep ezmesi, and/or börülce, I would really, REALLY appreciate it very much!
Find more bentos at Shannon’s What’s for Lunch Wednesday.
That I don’t have a garden doesn’t mean I have to do without fresh herbs, fruit and veggies. Here’s a view of my balcony. ;)
On the drainpipe are hanging baskets with oregano, sage, strawberries, thyme and rosemary. On the little tiled table you see lavender (not sure it’s an edible variety though, when it gets awfully quiet here you’ll know it wasn’t ;) and in the back are a 3-coloured raspberry plant and blackberries.
And that’s not even the end of it. Outside of the picture are cherry tomato plants, red hot & sweet chili peppers and a yellow bell pepper. The fruits are an experiment but we have successfully grown vegetables on our balcony before.
We also have some additional herb plants within reach in the kitchen: parsley, basil and cilantro. But these usually don’t survive for very long.
Now I can’t join the club today because I didn’t cook up a recipe of Jamie’s, but it inspired me to post about our own little herb garden anyway.
It seems appropriate to conclude by recommending a recipe by Andy McDonald, the ‘vegetarian Jamie’, that’s an all-time favourite at our place: Beetroot risotto with herb oil (in Dutch). We usually substitute some of the stock for wine and since turning vegan I just leave out the Parmesan cheese or throw in a little soy cream and nutritional yeast.
I’m curious what Jamie’ll be cooking up tomorrow!
I hope it’s something vegan :)
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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.
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.
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.
Eat Good, Feel Good Cooking Class
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! :)
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!
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New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!
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Recipe submitted to Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Monday & the newly discovered Vegan Mondays.
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This is my first Sunday Salon of 2011 and I’m going to talk about a cookbook. As you may have noticed, food has been on my mind a lot lately! ;) For my 10-day ExtraVeganza! project I relied heavily on the World Food Café: Global Vegetarian Cooking cookbook. It is a feast for the eye — and your tummy!
The book was put together by Chris & Carolyn Caldicott. It contains recipes they collected, or got inspired, on the many journeys they’ve made across the globe. They did so with the aim to open their own restaurant: the World Food Café in London.
Chris Caldicott is an awesome photographer and the cookbook is littered with beautiful full-colour photos — at least one on each double page. So even if you don’t like to cook, you could display this treasure on your coffee table. ;) But that is certainly not what it’s meant for.
It really is a great collection of recipes, many dairy-free! Rather unique for a vegetarian cookbook these days… Still, it is vegetarian and not all-vegan. Especially the section on The Americas ‘regularly’ contains dairy or eggs: 5 of the 23 (disregarding butter). Now that’s not too bad, is it? Unfortunately the only dessert of the book is among those — a mouthwatering chocolate cake. I wouldn’t know how to substitute the 6 eggs needed for that, but in many cases it’s possible to omit or replace the non-vegan ingredient.
As you may have understood from the previous paragraph, the book is divided in different global regions:
- The Middle East & Africa (p.10-57)
- India, Nepal & Sri Lanka (p.58-111)
- Southeast Asia & China (p.112-145)
- The Americas (p. 146-185)
Each continent starts with a two-page photograph, followed by an introduction. And most of the recipes also have short description of where they came from. The book concludes with a short glossary of ingredients and an index.
I’m sure I made 10 dishes from this book, of which 7 got a BIG thumbs up. The other 3 were either okay or so-so and I need to stipulate that in two of the cases I didn’t use the proper ingredients… I mostly cooked from the Indian section and am still dying to try the potato bondas (fritters) from North India that seem perfect for a bento. But so far my expeditions in search for the essential ingredient ‘asefetida‘ (a.k.a. hing) were in vain.
List of recipes tried
- Hummus (p.35)
India, Nepal & Sri Lanka:
- Kashmir Gobi (p.64)
- Calcutta Eggplant (p.72)
- Orissan Jagdish Saag Aloo (p.74)
- Deep-red Rajasthani Vegetables in Poppy-Seed Sauce (p.93)
- Gujarati Carrot Salad (p.96)
- Diu Corn Curry (p.98)
Southeast Asia & China:
- ‘Buddhist Meat’ and Shiitake Mushrooms (p.121)
- Thai Green Curry (p.132)
- Spicy Bean Curd and Bean Sprout Salad (p.133); recipe below
This book comes highly recommended! And I would like to express a huge THANK YOU to the globetrotter in-laws that gave it to me as a birthday present.
Spicy Bean Curd & Bean Sprout Salad from Thailand
- 1 cucumber; grated
- 1 red bell pepper; seeded, deribbed and cut into fine strips
- 8 ounces / 225 grams of bean sprouts (I grow them myself!)
- 1 tbs sunflower oil
- 10 ounces / 275 grams of tofu; cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices and ready to fry
- 1 garlic clove; crushed
- 1-2 green Thai or serrano chilies; thinly sliced (red chili is fine)
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbs light soy sauce
- 2 ts packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (150 grams) skinned peanuts; toasted and crushed
- handful of fresh cilantro leaves; chopped
- Combine grated cucumber, bell pepper and bean sprouts in a salad bowl.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the tofu slices until brown and crunchy. Set aside en let cool.
- Using the same pan, sauté garlic and chilies for a few seconds, then add the lime juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Arrange tofu slices on top of the salad and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
- Pour on the hot dressing and garnish with lots of cilantro.
This review is my first post for the Foodie’s Reading Challenge!
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I’m almost halfway The Following Story and really liking it. Right before I stopped for this 1st status update I stumbled unto something that inspired David Mitchell to use in his latest novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet! Tomorrow my favourite author is being interviewed about his book and research of Japan in the Sieboldhuis, but I won’t be attending because of the readathon :\
I haven’t read for all of the two and a half hours since the readathon started: I had to take a break to make cream cheese icing for my carrot cake — which is delicious by the way. I’ve found the perfect recipe! Slice anyone? :)
Mini Challenge: Back in the Day Childrens Books
Miss Wisabus mini-challenge ‘Back in the Day Childrens Books‘ asks after favourite books from when we were young. Ha! I’ve already posted about that a while ago! I absolutely loved The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, a thrilling story for an animal addict lover like myself! :)
This year our first niece and nephew turned 10, just the age I had been waiting for! I gave this childhood treasure as a present to them both (which is only available second hand these days). One of them even called to tell us how great it was!
Currently reading: Het volgende verhaal (The Following Story) by Cees Nooteboom
Total of time read: 1 hrs 22 mins
Total amount of pages read: 42 pages
Books finished: 0 books
Mini-challenges participated in: 2 (Back in the Day Childrens Books, Indie Books)
Today’s lunch bento was a bit high on proteins, but I usually tip over to the vitamin side so I guess it’s okay (for once). There are also not enough carbs in the box, but I brought a hummus sandwich on the side. Can’t have you thinking I’m being irresponsible! ;)
Clockwise, starting in the upper right corner: lying on a bed of lettuce is the classic combination of pear and blue cheese, in this case Blacksticks Blue; a smooth and tasty handmade cheese from Lancashire. Don’t let the colour fool you! It isn’t cheddar but a soft cheese getting its orange hue (like cheddar) from adding annatto, a pigment derived from pulp of achiote fruit.
Lower right: yoghurt with apricot sauce and a pinch of cinnamon.
Lower left tier: veggie ‘Bratwürst’ (bought on Schiermonnikoog), cashew nuts with rosemary & garlic, Italian scrocchi crackers, blanched snow peas and (woven! ;) zucchini, gooseberries and a cherry tomato from our windowsill plant (again on a bed of lettuce).
Upper left: the rest of the pear wedges in lemon juice.
Easy apricot sauce
This apricot sauce is one of my all-time favourite recipes. I mostly eat it for breakfast with yoghurt and cereals, but I actually took it from a semolina dessert recipe. I think it can be used with many other dishes as well! Be adventurous and experiment :)
- 50 grams dried apricots (= about 5 big ones or 6 small)
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 100 ml water
- (optional) packet of vanilla-sugar
- Put apricots, water, lemon juice (and sugar, if desired) in a bowl and cover.
- Microwave for about 3-4 minutes on 700 Watt. Keep an eye on the fruit so it won’t burn!
- Let it cool down for a while.
- Use food processor to make a smooth sauce.
I never use any sugar because the sweetness of the dried fruit is quite enough for my taste! And of course you can add more water for a silkier sauce.
And here’s a confession… I’ve got two types of dried apricots in my kitchen cupboard: organic ones that haven’t been sulphuretted, and plain apricots from the ordinary supermarket. For this sauce I use the latter because I like the bright orange colour (instead of an unappetizing brown). So much for principles, eh?
Organic & local: zucchini, snow peas, gooseberries, lettuce.
Organic: veggie sausage, yoghurt, pears.
WW propoints: 10 (13 including hummus sandwich)
Friday bentos are always best — they herald the weekend! Instead of eating it at work (as planned) I got to enjoy bento #105 during the bloggiesta. How convenient! No need to get up and make lunch; I could just dig in whenever I got hungry. And it wasn’t just any lunch… Today’s bento was completely Indonesian: my all-time fav food style!!! :)
(Yes, I’m pretty jealous at Novroz, who gets to eat it EVERY day ;)
Indo food is great for bento because it can be eaten at room temperature.
- pak choi with bundle garlic, red chili pepper and leek, stir-fried in sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger syrup; topped with sesame seeds
- perkedèl djagoeng (corn fritters or maïskoekjes in Dutch) with a spicy soy sauce dip (recipe below)
- icicle radish
- tempeh gurih (snack tempeh)
- telor boemboe Bali (Balinese style egg)
- nasi goreng (fried rice)
- thinly sliced gherkin playing atjar
- yellow bell pepper, quickly fried in sesame oil
All on a bed of lettuce.
I had some leftover corn kernels so I was dying to try a new recipe for perkedèl djagoeng (which in contemporary spelling would probably be ‘jagung‘). I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect recipe, but hadn’t made any for a long time. This one’s great! I want to try some more recipes but I’ll share this one now (slightly adapted). It’s one of the best so far!
Perkedèl djagoeng (recipe)
Makes 8-6 corn fritters.
- 150 gr (= half a can) corn kernels
- 1 tbs chopped onion (I used shallot)
- 1 piece of garlic (I used bundle garlic), chopped
- 2 roasted kemirie nuts; chopped (can be substituted by macadamias but those are less tasty)
- salt ’n pepper
- 1 egg
- 2-3 tbs all-purpose flour (I used 2 and a half tbs)
- 1 tbs chopped leek
- 1 tbs chopped celery
- neutral-tasting oil (I used arachid = peanut oil)
- sweet ketjap manis
- salty soy sauce (ketjap asin, shoyu)
- sambal variety you like (I used sambal badjak)
- optional: some more finely chopped celery
- Thoroughly drain the corn.
- Mash onion, garlic, kemiries, salt and pepper together in a mortar to create a boemboe (pulp). If you don’t have a mortar you can also chop them up real fine or use a food processor.
- Mash the corn in a food processor. The original recipe tells you to grate it, but I guess that’s something you’d do with a corn cob. I’m not sure about you but I want to keep my fingers ;)
- Whisk the egg.
- Mix everything together: boemboe mixture, mashed corn, egg, flour, leek and celery.
- Heat the oil and bake the corn fritters; approx. a spoon of batter each.
- Combine all sauce ingredients into a dip.
I’m afraid the source of this recipe is unknown: it’s a photocopy of a page in an old library book, but I’m guessing it originates from a Bep Vuyk Indonesian cookbook.
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CSA & organic: pak choi, chili pepper, bundle garlic, leek, radishes, onions, lettuce
About 12.5 ww propoints in bento #105
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I still have to wait a few months before it’s that time again.
Tomato season, I mean.
That’s hard, because I’m already craving some freshly made tomato soup!
So I guess it’s time for my all-time favourite recipe; tomato soup au natural, the way my mom used to make it. “But why post it now?” you ask — quite justly…Well, because I’ve had a request from one of the Kookgrrls, a Dutch mailinglist for women who like to cook.
Needed (serves 4)
- 1 shallot (skinned and chopped)
- 1 garlic clove (skinned)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 650 gr tomatoes (skinned, cores removed and chopped roughly; you may choose to remove the seeds with the core but I like the tanginess it adds to the soup)
- 500 ml vegetable stock (or boiled water and 1 cube of vegetable stock separately)
- small can of pureed tomato
- salt + pepper
- optional: sugar
- optional: fresh basil
- Sauté onion and crushed garlic for about half a minute in heated olive oil.
- Add tomatoes, let cook for two more minutes.
- Add vegetable stock (or hot water and crumbled vegetable stock cube), bring to a boil (stir), cover and let simmer for approx. 20 minutes.
- Use food processor or blender to smoothen.
- Optional: use a sieve to sift the seeds out of the soup. I never do.
- Add tomato puree to taste.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- If you’re a sweet tooth you can add some sugar.
I’ve assumed you know how to peel tomatoes. There are several ways to do it, but this howto on GoodFood explains the simple technique I use. I leave them for up to 1 minute in the water, no more. Mr Gnoe doesn’t skin the tomatoes beforehand btw… He takes out the green hearts, chops them roughly and cooks the whole lot. Then, instead of using a blender, he works the fruit mass manually through a sieve. Way too hard work for me, I’m lazy ;)
You can use some freshly cut basil as garnish. And here’s another one of Gnoe’s tips (I hope I haven’t told you before): do NOT cut your basil leaves with a knife or scissors but tear them apart with your hands. This way their essential flavours will come out best.
With this post I’m joining in the Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.
Once I have finally made some fresh tomato soup again I’ll take a picture to pimp this post. Please let me know if you want me to add a Dutch translation as well?
I didn’t have time before to update you on this week’s bento #86: Gringo Bento. Called that way because of the Mexican foodies :) Although the American Heritage Dictionary classifies gringo as ‘offensive slang’, it has a positive ring for me because it sounds like the name of my gorgeous tomcat Ringo :)
Don’t you love the (organic) blue maize tortilla chips?! This must be a very healthy bento because I even exceeded the five colour rule ;) How many tints do you count?
The tier on the left contains corn cob, a slice of zucchini, parsley, homemade salsa picante (recipe below), a piece of carrot and something I call an avocado gringo, because it’s neither a quesadilla nor a burrito since it hasn’t been baked or grilled afterwards like the first, nor wrapped liked the latter. It consists of four layers of multigrain wheat tortilla with guacamole, salsa, lettuce and cheese in between.
As you can see I brought some red grapefruit in another side container. The bento box tier on the right contains pepitas (popped pumpkin seeds), sour cream for the bean dish, dried strawberries as a sweet, a mix of corn salad and plain lettuce and frijoles (kidney beans) with red bell pepper, corn, onion and zucchini.
It was yummy :)
Making salsa picante is really easy!
- 4 tomatoes without skin & hearts, roughly cut (look at Gnoe’s tip!)
- 1/2 onion, peeled and roughly cut
- 1 red pepper, de-seeded (or sambal, chili sauce or tabasco to taste)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 4 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
- salt & pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor and shred until smooth — or almost smooth. Et voilá!
If you don’t have a blender just cut the ingredients with a knife. This recipe is so flexible! You can use leftover tomatoes that have gotten overripe, or you could replace them by canned tomatoes, pureed etc. Instead of ketchup you can also take some tomato paste and add a bit of sugar or honey for sweetness. There’s almost no excuse not to make this salsa!
Last but not least, here’s Gnoe’s tip to undress tomatoes ;) The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to immerse them in boiling water for 1 minute after cross-cutting the skin. Drain, and immerse in cold water for about 5 seconds (or hold under the cold tab). The skin comes right off!
Recipe courtesy of Eethuis Iris