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Menu Day 8 (February 3rd)

Breakfast
For breakfast I had oatmeal gruel with almond milk.
I had almost made some beschuitpap (rusk porridge) because almond milk seemed to go well with it, but when I checked the label I noticed there’s egg in these biscuits. *SIGH*
It is unbelievable how many foods contain animal products! So I changed to oatmeal — and I’m glad I did! Boy, it was good. Probably even better than with cow’s milk! (LOL that’s a lot of exclamation marks in a row! ;) The gruel was creamy and a little sweet thanks to the milk’s 1%  of agave syrup, so I didn’t need to add any sweetener like I usually do. So another great discovery today! *HAPPY DANCE*

BTW I always add ground flax seeds to oatmeal, to insure a sufficient intake of omega-3. After breakfast I had some green kukicha tea.

Lunch
Vegan Wholewheat Sunflower Seed SammiesAt midday I had 3 whole wheat sunflower seed sammies and drank some San Pellegrino with lemon juice. I concluded with a (decaf) latte. Here’s what I put on my sandwiches:

  • last night’s leftovers: falafel, salad & spicy sauce,
  • avocado & radish on veganaise with basil and African Peper mix,
  • smoked sesame & almond tofu with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds on ketchup.

Dinner
Thursday night, soup night. Mr Gnoe has piano lessons to go to. The meal I prepared helped clearing out the fridge. I used up half a pumpkin, a lonely chilli pepper and an open container of coconut milk to make pumpkin-coconut soup. From a wilting apple, open can of pineapple, green onion, red and white cabbage I mixed up a salad with curry-ginger dressing. We enjoyed it with the last bit of Monday’s pizza and some baguette. It was all very nice and so easy to make!

Snacks
Gnoe ate nothing in between meals today..!

Experiences

Anything special about today?

Rice-Almond MilkI’m so happy with today’s discovery of Isola Bio almond milk! It’s even good to drink straight from the glass. :) I’m not sure whether it’s always the same, but the type I bought is actually rice milk blended with almond paste. When I took my first sip there was a slight hint of that ‘dusty’ rice taste, but I didn’t notice it afterwards.

This is exactly what I had hoped to achieve in ExtraVeganza!: trying out many different products to find the perfect ones. Even Mr Gnoe said so yesterday. He is not too fond of ontbijtkoek but when he cut off a slice for my breakfast he noticed it smelled so good! :)

Today also proved that the sunflower seed bread I discovered on Tuesday holds up well after it has been frozen. Yay! Now I just need to look if the organic store closer to home also sells this Flemish bread.

Any difficulties?

None whatsoever.

Pumpkin-Coconut Soup

I used a Dutch on-line recipe to make this heartwarming pumpkin soup. It’s officially a starter but it came out pretty thick and served well as a main course. That might be the result of the fact that I added a sweet potato the recipe didn’t call for, but on the other hand I had only half a pumpkin. Anyway, you can choose to dilute it by adding more broth. Here’s 10 steps to comfort food!

Pumpkin-Coconut Soup

Ingredients

Serves 4.

  • 1 small orange pumpkin (washed)
  • optional: 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 stalk lemon grass; washed (I always put fresh Asian herbs into the freezer in portions ready to use)
  • 30 gram ginger (I had only about 15 grams left)
  • 1 red chilli pepper; cleaned and seeds removed
  • 1 tbs oil (sunflower)
  • 350 ml vegetable broth
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbs pumpkin seeds

Preparation

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove seeds and chop up the meat.
  2. Peel potato and cut into small dices.
  3. Chop up lemon grass.
  4. Peel ginger and chop finely.
  5. Chop chilli pepper.
  6. Heat oil and fry all the chopped up ingredients for a few minutes.
  7. Add broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil and let cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Toast the pumpkin seeds in the meantime.
  9. Mash up soup using blender.
  10. Serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy!

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Sorry for keeping you in limbo about Gnoe’s vegan adventures. Sometimes blogging just has to come last :\ In order to prevent an abundance of rss-feeds I decided to do a compilation post on the three days that went ‘missing’.

Menu Day 4 (Sunday January 30th)

Breakfast
I started my Sunday with two slices of Marmite on toast and latte coffees.

Lunch
Erm… forgot to write it down and now I can only remember one sandwich with Tofutti and radishes! I was busy preparing dinner for our guests.

Dinner
Here’s what we served our friends.

  • Pakistani Dahl (red lentils)
  • Calcutta eggplant
  • Orissan Jagdish Saag Aloo (spinach & potato dish from Jagdish café in Orissan)
  • Puy lentil curry
  • Basmati rice
  • Garlic-cilantro naan (bread)
  • Mango chutney

Snacks

  • The Vegan Paradise Cookies I baked on Friday (served with tea)
  • Salted pecans
  • Lemon olives
  • Potato chips
  • 5 colours of raw veggies: radish, red paprika, carrot and celery stalk
  • Dips made of veganaise: garlic with herbs and whisky
  • Just for me (earlier in the day): banana & kiwi fruit

Anything special about today?

Like I said yesterday we were having friends over for dinner and a 24-Day 8 mini-marathon: the final four episodes of the very last (?) season. When having dinner guests we usually serve them well-tried dishes, possibly adding one new recipe. This time, we just dove into the deep end and prepared a completely untested Indian dinner. Now we’ve cooked Indian before, including vegan dishes, but our favourites all contained some kind of dairy or eggs.

Because we didn’t have enough red lentils to make all of the dahl recipe, Mr Gnoe was bold enough to think up an extra curry himself — you won’t catch me doing that when entertaining guests! But his green lentil dish was one of the best of the evening. :)

So far I prefer the Pakistani Dahl recipe we tried today over others I’ve had before, but I will be looking on to find the perfect one. I’m not talking Masoor Dahl SOUP here (I’ve got a great recipe for that), but the thicker kind of dish. Maybe I should let go of the thought it must be made with red lentils, since a lot of recipes I came across use yellow peas?

Cover World Food Cafe cookbook, Chris & Carolyn CaldicottThe aubergine and spinach/potato dishes came from the World Food Café cookbook, which I believe to have mentioned on Graasland before? The Calcutta eggplant (page 74) was nice and we will eat this again. But it doesn’t beat the spicy eggplant with yoghurt recipe from another one of my vegetarian cookbooks… :\

We thought the saag aloo (page 72) a bit dull, even though it was spicy. It tasted ‘bland’. I must confess I didn’t follow the instructions to the letter… Lacking fresh fenugreek leaves I substituted them with seeds, which of course is something entirely different. But I have never seen fenugreek leaves in the shops here and I do frequent Asian stores.

I also used yellow mustard seeds instead of black, but that doesn’t seem much of a problem to me — like taking frozen spinach (I couldn’t get any fresh as it is not in season). I also put in one tablespoon of red chili flakes instead of two and skipped the serrano chillies since I figured the meal would be hot enough already. I know, that’s a lot of changes to a not-so-elaborate recipe. Still, except for the fenugreek leaves I don’t think it mattered much concerning the taste.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, but Wednesday’s bento contains leftovers!

BTW I didn’t know our common type of chili pepper is called serrano! Learned something new again. ;)

Menu Day 5 (Monday January 31st)

Vegan Mushroom Soup (freezer stash)

Breakfast
I started the day with ‘sterrenmix‘ herbal tea and 2 slices of crispbread:

  1. Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ spread with avocado, sundried tomato (in oil), alfalfa sprouts, African Peper mix.
    Too many tastes thrown together.
  2. Tartex olivera.

Lunch
I had an elaborate lunch to compensate for my small breakfast. It was very nice but wouldn’t be easy to bring along to work… I definitely need a bento box with Thermos container! :)

  • Homemade vegan mushroom soup (freezer stash).
    I made this soup so long ago that I can’t remember where the recipe came from… Well, plenty of those on the Web! ;)
  • Veganaise-avocado-tomato-basil sandwich with salt & pepper.
  • Tartex olivera sandwich with slices of celery stalk, radish, a pinch of alfalfa sprouts, parsley and salt.
  • Salad garnish: more tomato & celery.
  • Golden mandarin‘ green tea.

Dinner
Soy mozzarella 'cheese'For dinner we had homemade pizza (store-bought crusts), salad of chicory, apple & walnut, and water with lime juice for drinks. For the pizzas we prepared a seasoned sauce of canned tomato, shallots and garlic, which was spread on two pizza crusts. We used some Yaks soy mozzarella ‘cheese’ on both for topping. The rest of the ingredients differed.

  1. Grilled vegetables (courgette, eggplant, brown mushrooms) and green olives.
  2. Kale & rocket stir-fried with oyster mushrooms and spring onions.

The grated mozzarella looked good on the pizzas, but I’m not sure it added anything to the taste. Well, the crunchy part of it was good! ;)

Lime soy yoghurtDessert consisted of Provamel lime soy yoghurt with pineapple juice. It tasted too much after soy for my liking, but Mr Gnoe was pleasantly surprised. We don’t eat desserts that often and Mr Gnoe especially doesn’t like custard (and such) very much. About the soy yoghurt he said it was better than any kind of dairy dessert he knew! Not that he now wanted to eat it regularly after meals, but it is a positive remark, right? He also didn’t think the ‘greasy’ soy taste predominated. So that’s just me. ;)

Snacks

Menu Day 6 (Tuesday February 1st)

Time flies. It’s February already (can you believe it?!) and I’m in the second half of my 10 day vegan period. I’m almost sad it’s going so fast!

Breakfast
Oat milkFor breakfast I had oatmeal with ground flax seeds, 1/2 part Oat Dream and 1/2 part soy milk. This was a better concoction than just the oat & oat milk like I had on Day 1 of ExtraVeganza! The fat in soy milk makes the gruel a little creamier. I had a busy morning with groceries, dentist and dental hygienist appointments and this meal held me on my feet until my lunch break at noon.

Lunch
I had to have a quick — and not too heavy — meal before going to shiatsu. I threw together 2 easy sunflower seed sandwiches (a new bread I had just bought) and drank a cup of green rooibos tea.

  1. Tartex olivera spread with green olives.
  2. Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ with gherkin and tomato.

Dinner
Mr Gnoe made us dinner.

  • (Leftover) long-grain rice with celery leaves.
  • ‘Buddhist meat’ and shiitake mushrooms from World Food Café cookbook (page 121) that we also used for our Indian Sunday dinner.
  • Improvised stir-fry of Brussels sprouts and red pepper.
  • A handful of emping (melinjo nut krupuk).
  • Water for drinks.

Snacks
From lunch till dinner I had several snacks. Listed in alphabetical order ;)

  • Banana.
  • Blood orange/mandarin juice.
  • Crispbread with kale pate (tapenade) from my cooking class.
  • Cup of vegetable broth.
  • Ontbijtkoek with soy margarine and agave syrup.
  • Raw veggies: celery stalk, cucumber, radishes.

Anything special about today?

You bet! I found a vegan bread type I really like — even better than the one I normally buy and of which I’m not sure (yet) whether it’s vegan! My new find is Flemish whole wheat bread with sunflower seeds and I bought it at the Natuurvoedingswinkel (natural foods shop) in the Nachtegaalstraat. That’s a bit further away than my neighbourhood bakery so I’ll need to plan well ahead if we don’t want to run out of bread. Maybe the shop will set some apart, if requested? I also don’t know yet how the loaf will hold up after it has been frozen, but that will be clear in a few days.

This discovery makes me really happy because I have always been picky about bread. In the same store I also finally found a vegan ontbijtkoek; up until now all varieties I saw contained honey.

Tonight’s dinner served to have another try at seitan or ‘fake meat’ (wheat gluten). I’ve had canned mock-duck before. After I had eaten a fabulous Vietnamese dish with the stuff on a trip to the US, I searched for mock-duck in my own country for several years. When I had finally found it, it was nothing like I had expected — I even shuddered of the sight and texture! Seitan in a glass jar appears to be less scary (you can actually see what you’re buying ;) so a few months ago I brought it home with the World Food Café recipe in mind. But it’s totally different from the seitan we made ourselves in Happy Herbi’s Eat Good, Feel Good cooking class!

I liked the ‘Buddhist meat’ and shiitake mushrooms dish — and liked the wheat gluten, but didn’t feel it added much except maybe texture. We’re reluctant to bring any more new ingredients into our home, so we tweaked the recipe and substituted shaoxing rice wine with sake; ketjap manis for hoisin sauce. Other ingredients were carrot, ginger, garlic, green onions, light soy sauce, sesame oil & seeds. Those are all things we usually have in stock so we’ll probably make this meal again!

Day 6 was definitely Discovery Day. ;)

– – – – –

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It’s only the 2nd day of my ExtraVeganza project and I’m already not keeping up with posting daily. Sorry! But more importantly: the vegan eating is going well and I feel weirdly ehm.. ‘clean’. And you may take that by its different meanings. ;) It feels good!

Day 2 Menu

Breakfast: winter fruit salad (apple, banana, kiwi fruit, pink grapefruit & lemon juice), toast with Marmite & soy margarine (Provamel).

Lunch: 3 ‘5-seeds sandwiches’

Vegan sammies

  1. Veganaise, avocado, tomato, mustard cress, chili flakes, salt & pepper. My favorite of the day! It was smoothy & crisp — YUM!
  2. Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ spread (garlic & herbs) with gherkin, walnuts, salt & pepper. This sammy was pretty good too: garlicky, nutty & sour — a good combination.
  3. Slices of Taifun almond-sesame smoked tofu with tomato, mustard, capers and fresh herbs (thyme & parsley). The mustard was a bit too sharp, overwhelming the tofu. But it was funny to notice this combination tasted slightly Japanese! It was the tamari soy sauce and sesame of the smoked tofu combined with the bite of the mustard and ‘pickled’ capers. Still, next time I will use some other toppings, like the leftover spicy soy-lemon sauce from my Experimental Bento.

Dinner: hamburger

Snacks: home-baked Paradise Cookies, Bonvita vegan chocolate (rice milk chocolate & 71% dark with cranberries), cashews

Experiences

I was hungry again pretty soon after breakfast, but that might have something to do with the fact I had been looking at cookie recipes non-stop. ;)

Since I then made an extra sandwich for lunch (I usually take 2), it tided me over to dinner after 7. Completely averting my usual hunger attack around 4 o’clock! Wow.

Any difficulties?
Nope. What might have been a complication on Day 2 was No-Problem-At-All. We were having dinner prior to a Lost-2 mini marathon at my cousin’s and decided on a hamburger meal together. :)

So I had my Albert Heijn organic vegan burger on a small ciabatta bun from the whole food store, piled with veggies, ketchup and… garlic sauce based on the amazing veganaise I had whipped up in Happy Herbi’s Eat Good, Feel Good cooking workshop that was my official ExtraVeganza kick-off.

And no telly night without snacks to munch on! ;)

Vegan chocolate couvertureI’m one of those rare people that doesn’t have a craving for chocolate. I like a bite every once in a while and at those moments I prefer milk chocolate with nuts or white. You won’t catch me eating a piece of dark chocolate. ;) But my cousin likes it a lot so I wanted to bring some — and of course I tasted both.

To me the ricemilk chocolate couverture tasted pretty dark although the 71% one is stronger and the cranberries are a great addition. This brand uses 100% FairTrade and organic cacao.

Vegan Paradise Cookies

Today was also my first try at vegan baking. I chose an easy-looking recipe from Vegalicious for which I only needed to buy 1 extra ingredient: canned pineapple. My Vegan Paradise Cookies didn’t turn out as good looking as promised — rather pale as you can see, but they do taste nice!

Vegalicious' Vegan Paradise Cookies

They’re not as sweet as mass-produced, shop-bought and I rather like that. They’re a little crunchy on the outside, soft and a bit cake-like on the inside. I didn’t know they would be that way, so I had them in the oven twice as long as I was supposed to because they still felt elastic to the touch. It also took me waaaaaaay longer to make them than I had thought, because getting the ingredients ready (chopping nuts, mincing pineapple) took some time. So we were a bit late on our dinner date :-o

The recipe on Vegalicious doesn’t mention when to use the vanilla, so I put it in with the flour and baking powder. My batter didn’t turn out too wet to handle, like a note on the original recipe says, but that might have to do with the fact I couldn’t find any ‘sweetened coconut flakes’ and used ordinary grated coconut, which I always have in stock.

Everybody liked the chocolate as well as my coconut cookies. My family also tasted the garlic sauce and thought it good (although they took the dairy version that was also available, probably not wanting me to have too little ;)
So it’s safe to say that our ‘Friday Snack Night’ was a success. ;)

On with Gnoe’s vegan adventures on Day 3 of ExtraVeganza!

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