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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

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Don’t worry! Today’s lunch is as animal-friendly as always: no marinated moose or any other kind of meat. ;)

Monday Moose Bento, 13-03-2011
The main dish, giving its name to this bento, is pasta (corkscrew and moose-shaped) with a  soy cream sauce, spinach, oyster mushrooms and a topping of pine-nuts and sunflower seeds. The sauce contains onion, garlic, mushroom stems, red bell pepper, a basil herb cube and powdered vegetable broth. It tasted great last night during dinner as well as today. :)

This Monday bento also holds the result of the first two recipes I made from my recently acquired cookbook, La Dolce Vegan!: Sleepy Sunday Morning Scramble (which I indeed made on Sunday morning while I was still rather sleepy) and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. My oh my, both are quite a success! I’m glad I didn’t fill a whole container with just hummus because I would have eaten it all! Dipping my raw veggies (cucumber, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes), sesame bread sticks and half a slice of toasted pumpkin-corn bread (not shown).

The tofu scramble is really nice as well; comforting (which I contribute to the nutritional yeast) though you shouldn’t really expect it to taste like scrambled eggs or anything.

Other goodies: olives, mixed nuts, corn salad, garden cress and of course those lovely raspberries with a bunch of purple cress. On the side I had an apple that didn’t get to be in the picture. ;)

Another great bento lunch to start my vegan week with! This is my 11th bento of 2011 and they’ve all been 100% animal-free.

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Today’s bento is a mix of several Asian dishes. Yes, Gnoe likes her Asian foodies :)

Upper tier

  • Indian egg-tomato curry (one of our all-time favourites!)
  • Japanese edamame
  • Indonesian nasi goreng
  • gherkin fox
  • cucumber
  • two types of parsley
  • on a bed of lettuce

Lower tier

  • Indonesian emping
  • raspberries and red currants
  • yoghurt coated apricot
  • carrots
  • basil
  • and another fox

Selamat makan!

HoningstickYesterday I was home late after an appointment for work in Amsterdam and visiting a friend with a new baby, so I went to bed immediately without making preparations for my bento. Consequently I found it difficult to get out of bed this morning ;) So bento #62 was made in a hurry — I even forgot to photograph my honey stick.
What would we do without mobile phones? ;)

Bento #62 contained:

  • gingerbread
  • cashews with herbes de Provence
  • raspberries
  • edamame with sea salt
  • smurrie-egg (egg with curry, tomato, paprika and parsley)
  • bed of lettuce
  • honey on the side (gingerbread topping)

Edamame is really easy to prepare, especially frozen ones — and there are no (or hardly any) fresh beans available in Holland. So check out the freezer of your local Asian store.

  1. Bring water to a boil; for fast cooking I use my water cooker and then pour the boiling water in a small pan.
  2. Add a little salt (this can be omitted because of stage 5).
  3. Put in the edamame and boil for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Drain and cool down quickly by pouring over cold water (or throw the beans in cold water).
  5. Sprinkle thoroughly with freshly ground sea salt.

Yes, I know too much salt is unhealthy, but I normally don’t use it a lot and I eat pretty healthy anyway, so I don’t worry about my salty edamame. The salt on your lips is so good when you suck the beans out of their pods… Sounds yummy? ;)

Each time I have to choose again between putting whole beans in my bento or shelling them. Without their pods they (obviously) take less room and they are nice & shiny. But.. they dry out quickly as well so considering taste it is better to leave them unpeeled until the moment of consumption.

Bento #51 was not only a good beginning of the next fifty (on the way to 100!), but also a great start of the week :)

I’ve been getting questions about preparation time. Well, this bento to me a relaxed 12 minutes in the morning! Could have been quicker if I had been in a hurry! :) Of course I’m only counting throwing in the quiche, not baking it LOL. I also had the steamed green beans ready to go and I cleaned my yellow tomatoes, radishes and a carrot the night before. Nothing I couldn’t have done in a sec this morning :)

Gnoe’s tip: did you know that steaming vegetables is so much quicker and healthier when you do it in the microwave? Do follow instructions though (LOL). It sounds obvious but I know a lot of people who don’t use the microwave for cooking veggies.

Well, I’ve already mentioned some of my bento’s content but here’s the complete list:

  • yellow grape tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • red salad leaves
  • spinach pie with blue cheese, leeks, pinenuts and black sesame seeds
  • some cranberries
  • walnut and hazelnuts
  • carrot hiding under green beans
  • garden cress
  • radishes
  • basil
  • and… mini rhubarb-raspberry crumble!

As you can see I tried to do something creative with the radishes :-o I had hoped the carefully peeled skin would ‘flower’ after I had put the veggies in some ice water but… it failed ;) And yes, that experiment took place within the before mentioned 12 minutes! ;)

witte bloesem

Sakura-feest

Gisteren hebben wij hier ons eigen Hanami gevierd: het feest van het ‘bloesem kijken’. In Japan wordt dat jaarlijks gevierd als de kersenbloesem bloeit. Wanneer dat moment precies is (eind maart-begin april), wordt nauwlettend in de gaten gehouden via speciale sakura-voorspellingen na het weerbericht en op websites. Als het zo ver is trekt heel Japan naar buiten om met vrienden en familie of collega’s te picknicken onder de kersenbloesem. De bloesem is maar kort op zijn top en staat daarom symbool voor de vergankelijkheid van de schoonheid en het leven.

Genji

Het bloesemkijkfeest werd voor het eerst genoemd in de oudste roman van Japan Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji), van Murasaki Shikibu, ongeveer uit het jaar 1000. Een groot deel van dit (superdikke) boek heb ik in 2005 gelezen en daar ben ik blij om want ik herken daardoor veel in modernere Japanse literatuur, zoals boeken van Haruki Murakami of Taichi Yamada (welke auteurs ik graag lees). Maar dit terzijde.

Hanami

roze bloesemWij hebben de mazzel dat we in een groene wijk van Utrecht wonen en omringd zijn door bloesembomen. Helaas zijn er afgelopen jaar een paar gekapt vanwege bomenziekte, maar daarvoor zijn andere (kleinere roze) in de plaats gekomen. We keken dus vol verwachting uit naar het moment dat alles hier in volle bloei zou staan. En deze week is het zo ver! Wat heerlijk dus dat we dit weekend mooi weer hebben, zodat we een Hollandse Hanami konden vieren in het park. Dat moest wel een beetje in Japanse stijl, dus met toepasselijke gerechten in de kleuren van kersenbloesem (roze en wit, groen voor het blad en bruin van de stam).

De picknick

alles voor de picknickOm te beginnen hebben we het traditionele dango gemaakt, gestoomde balletjes van rijstemeel, kersensmaak en teriyakisaus. We hadden het nog nooit gegeten en wisten dus niet wat we daarvan konden verwachten. Ehm, hoewel ze naar ons idee wel zijn gelukt vonden we het eigenlijk niet te eten : De roze leken op grote hompen supertaaie kauwgom! Brrr, niet opgegeten dus. Tja, ieder bakavontuur kan mislukken. En gelukkig hadden we nog andere lekkere dingen!

Heerlijke Hollandse frambozen, de black bottom cupcakes (ze smaken nog prima als ze uit de vriezer komen :), edamame oftewel gekookte sojabonen in de peul met zeezout (yummy), wasabi-erwtjes en sojacrackers, en Aziatische Sky Flakes toastjes voor de paddestoelen-cashewnotenpaté, een recept met silken tofu dat we een aantal jaren terug in Toronto hebben gescoord.

de picknickTe drinken hadden we genmaicha thee en prosecco wijn met biologisch zwarte-bessensap, een soort kir royale dus :)

Komende week komt er weer regen en wind, dus dan zal alle bloesem wel snel weg of lelijk zijn. Wat een geluk dat wij er nu volop van hebben genoten!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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