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It’s that time of year again: VeganMoFo has returned to your homes! And what could be better than a Vegan Month of Food than to revive this blog? If there’s any life left in it, some good food should do the trick ;)
Today I had lunch in an ‘ordinary’ restaurant called Carnegie Cottage, located in the beautiful rural area of Hoge Veluwe. We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday and it was her treat. When she called a few days in advance to make reservations, she didn’t only ask whether they’d be able to provide something vegan, she was bold enough to request I’d have a choice! Wow, who doesn’t want a MIL like that? :D As the restaurant assured her that would be no problem at all, I was excited to see what I’d get!
Carnegie’s Cottage restaurant “review”
So, how was it?
Carnegie Cottage certainly didn’t disappoint me: there were two vegan options for me to choose from. Which I couldn’t… so I took both!
Yes, there’s a bite taken out of that sandwich ;) My nephew who was hungry! There’s celeriac soup and a salad with green asparagus and chantharelle mushrooms. On the side some Waldkorn bread and a vinaigrette made of superior olive oil. It looks good, don’t you think? It was delicious! Both soup and salad tasted of fall, bearing the full flavours of their ingredients. Needless to say I enjoyed my lunch very much.
Hit or Miss?
It’ll come as no surprise that I do want to recommend this restaurant to vegans. I especially like that the staff immediately knew what veganism entails and was easy about getting me something plant-based. AND that was no empty promise — which has happened to me a few times. Carnegie’s Cottage has a pension as well so maybe I’ll go and stay there for the weekend sometime! It’s really a gorgeous area, especially suitable for outdoor recreation. But there’s cultural heritage to be found in Hoge Veluwe National Park too. Just perfect!
As a bonus they’ve got a special tea menu as well! I have no choice but to go back now because I only got to try two today: sencha lemon and sencha cactus & fig. Who doesn’t want to enjoy nice ‘cuppa’ like this?
And an even bigger bonus… there’s a cute Carnegie Cat! So friendly that when I tried to photograph her on the table where she lounged, she immediately jumped off to say hi. :D Alas, as we’re kindly requested not to feed her we have no way of knowing whether she likes to eat vegan too. ;)
Did YOU do anything special this Sunday?
VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!
After keeping myself on a leash for a while I finally joined Swap-bot late last year. I already told you about some food-related swaps in my previous Weekend Cooking post. Today I want to talk about another one: the Cookbook Challenge #1, hosted by Carmen of the Gastronomery Group. Like many of us she has several under-used cookbooks and she wants to tackle them with the help of fellow swappers. She made the challenge vegan-friendly so of course I had to join — never mind that I have a pile of books of my own… ;)
For this first ‘cookalong’ Carmen chose some recipes out of Modern Moroccan by Ghillie Basan and posted them on the group blog. The idea was for us to choose one recipe, test it, document it and send the (virtual) results to our swap partners; in my case our hostess herself. So Carmen, here’s my pick!
Cinnamon-scented chickpea and lentil soup
Don’t let the long list scare you: it’s not as much as it seems and most of these ingredients are fairly common in a foodie household. If you look at the preparations you’ll see this recipe is a breeze!
- 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil (see my tweak among the modifications below)
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (djahé)
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (kunjit)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of saffron threads
- 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
- 80 gr brown or green lentils, washed (I used Puy lentils)
- 950 ml vegetable stock or boiling water & 2 bouillon cubes
- 400 gr can cooked chickpeas (265 gr drained)
- 150 gr cooked broad beans (I used 175 gr frozen peas)
- small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
- small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- salt ’n pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until soft.
- Stir in the spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron), tomatoes and sugar.
- Add the lentils and pour in the vegetable stock or water and stock cubes.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender (check the instructions on the package).
- Stir in the cooked chickpeas and beans and bring back to boil, cover again and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Mix in the fresh herbs and season to taste.
Mr Gnoe and me enjoyed this soup on a cold February night accompanied by (store-bought) bake-off buns and couscous salad.
I only made half of the original recipe on the Gastronomery Cookbook Challenge #1 page and that was amply sufficient for four diners. Especially served with accompaniments like ours. This soup is already plant-based (and chock-full of proteins!) so no veganizing was needed, but still the recipe got slightly tweaked.
- I took the easy route and used a 400 grams can of chickpeas (= 265 grams drained) instead of dried beans that would have needed to be soaked overnight.
- Dried broad beans are not commonly available over here (although it’s not impossible to get them in a city like Utrecht) so I had wanted to use frozen but forgot to add them to my grocery list. So I took 175 grams garden peas from my freezer stash instead. Together with the chickpeas that roughly summed up the 400 grams of cooked beans I needed.
- I made vegetable stock with one bouillon cube instead of two and spiced it up with salt and pepper at the end. I’m still not sure whether I’d use two cubes anyway next time… (if there is a next time?)
- I didn’t use olive oil for frying the onions but used leftover sunflower oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil.
- The original recipe said to fry the onions for about 15 minutes… It took me 2-3 to get them soft. ;) If you’re supposed to caramelize the onions then 10-15 minutes would be right but it just says “until soft” so I believe the time publicized to be an errata.
- I added one celery stalk, just because it was lying around in the fridge. Not necessary at all.
Has the Jury reached its verdict?
This chickpea-lentil soup is certainly a hearty dish, but it didn’t tickle my taste buds. I’ve had bean and lentil soups before, some of which were much more special.
I couldn’t discern a specific Moroccan flavour and I don’t think using broad beans would’ve changed that. Do you? Maybe adding a spice blend like ras el hanout would be a good idea; there’s a recipe for that in the book –and on the Gastronomery blog– as well. But I also just can’t appreciate the combination of multiple legumes: lentils and chickpeas and peas. I do like vegan harira (Moroccan/Algerian chickpea-lentil soup), but this modern version is too much of a
mismatch mishmash for me.
So. If you’ve had these kinds of soups before, this recipe is not very exciting. But if you haven’t – this is a good place to start! Common ingredients and little work bring a filling winter stew to the table.
Blogging pal Uniflame also participated in Cookbook Challenge #1 and got me for a swap partner. She tried the Casablancan couscous with roasted summer veggies and shared her version of the recipe on She Likes Bento. In winter I regularly make oven-roasted root vegetables but I always forget to do something alike in summer. Gotta remember!
February has been a super busy month so I didn’t get around to cooking two other recipes from Modern Moroccan that I like. So there are still a vegan version of grilled sweet zucchini with spices and harissa on the menu.
Now if you feel like trying another Moroccan soup, how about this sesame soup recipe I posted before?
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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!
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!
On our journey to the Hautes Alpes we had an Asian style lunch along the autoroute. All leftovers, packed by Mr Gnoe.
The second tier from the left was actually more fanciful than it looks now, but we dropped the box when getting it out of the car. We were a bit impatient to have lunch, hence the carelessness. ;)
From left to right
- Homemade atjar ketimoen (cucumber pickles) with pickled white onions, gherkins, caperberries and a super chilli from the balcony. A small yellow heirloom tomato.
- Tempé goreng and a variation of heirloom tomatoes.
- Gado-gado leftovers: salad, cabbage, steamed carrots & green beans, baked tofu, spring onion and pecans for lack of peanut sauce.
- Can’t remember exactly what was in this tier but it must have been something like a salad with tofu, cucumber, spring onion and sesame seeds. Dressing in the small container. No need to mention the carrot – that one’s obvious!
But that was not all. We had a long way to travel so we’d also made some Thai carrot soup. Contrary to what the thermos says, it was chilled. Yum! In celebration of summer we also had a huge snack box full of fruit: seedless grapes, strawberries and cherries.
Of course we brought lots of other provisions -kind of a vegan emergency kit- but our main ‘meals on wheels’ consisted of the above. And then there were foods we bought along the road, but that’s something for another post. VeganMoFo is coming up soon!
What do you bring when you’re travelling?
Do you have any suggestions for our next trip?
Meatless Monday office lunch a month ago (August 6th).
Leftovers from our Sunday dinner with guests: cold (not so) spicy bell pepper soup from VEGAgerechten, polenta cakes with improvised tomato-corn-black olive sauce and steamed green beans with herbs.
When there was a warm summer night at last on July 25th, we immediately took off to
our back garden the park to have dinner. Of course there were plenty of others who’d had the same idea, some of them BBQ-ing, others eating takeaway or -like us- having their own healthy homemade yummyness.
The large container holds the last spoonful of Lebanese bulghur and spinach pesto that I also had the day before. Next to it there’s the first dish I cooked from vegan goddess Isa Chandra’s bible Veganomicon: basmati rice with chard, chickpeas, dill and lemon. It was good cold as well as hot! A mixed salad containing marinated zucchini leftovers fills the other half of this box.
The medium box has half a veggie dog, ajvar (bell pepper relish), spelt crackers and red berries for dessert.
And finally the small side container holds some more crackers (olive and rosemary) to eat with both spreads and chilled soup: we brought green gazpacho in a thermos, a new recipe coming from Puur Plantaardig. In fact: I’ll be making the same soup again for my mother-in-law’s birthday tomorrow. Perfect in this tropical weather!
Not sure how to pronounce “quinoa”? Learn on YouTube!
Whaddayaknow: it’s is already the fourth time four Dutch foodie bloggers are getting together for a weekend cooking blog hop! This time we’re focussing on quinoa. Have you ever had quinoa for dinner? Or breakfast for that matter — I’ve seen several recipes but haven’t dared trying yet for myself. Just like I’m reluctant to eat rice in the morning… But what am I saying? Contrary to how it’s used in Western cuisine, quinoa is not a grain but a vegetable related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard! Well, the seeds of it anyway.
The first time I tried quinoa was during my 10-day ExtraVeganza project. I made a stir-fry from The Guardian. Since then I’ve used it a few times in bento’s (#131, #161, #176, #177), but as I’m only halfway my second package… I guess it has not been used not that often! Rather surprisingly. O_o Because I like the taste, it’s quick & easy to make and belongs to the category of ‘super foods’ — meaning that it’s ultra healthy. ;) Quinoa is gluten-free, high on so-called complete proteins, vitamins B1&2, E, iron, copper and magnesium. Reading that you already feel better, right? ;)
The quinoa dish I’m sharing today is Quinoa & Vegetable Laksa. Laksa is an Asian chowder-like thick soup. Mr Gnoe and I had two helpings each so that our bellies were filled but not the I-need-to-lie-on-the-couch kind of full. Very satisfying but low-fat! This is a perfect weekday meal for when you’re tired and the fridge is empty.
I veganised the original recipe from BBC’s Good Food and made some adaptations dictated by the (barren) contents of my cupboards.
Quinoa and Vegetable Laksa
Ingredients – serves 2
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp Patak’s mild curry paste
- about 50 ml water
- 500 ml oat milk
- 400 g frozen mixed vegetables, or any veggies at hand which were in my case: frozen peas and green beans, corn kernels from a can, a large spring onion/small leek (sliced), an old turnip (nuked), some red and green bell pepper in small pieces
- 85 g quinoa, rinsed (!)
- 2 ts vegan broth powder
- salt & pepper
- Simmer the onion, curry paste and water for 5 minutes in a large saucepan, stirring from time to time. Begin with a splash of water and add some when the mixture gets too dry.
- Heat the oat milk in a jug in the microwave.
- Add the vegetables, quinoa, broth powder and stir in the milk.
- Bring to the boil, simmer gently for 10 mins until the quinoa is cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Let it sit for a short while longer if the directions of the quinoa call for that.
Next time I would like to try this recipe with almond milk instead of oat. Mr Gnoe thinks that will be too overwhelming but I think it may be good. Or maybe half of each. Of course you can use any plant-based milk but some will be better than others.
Also, the original recipe was titled “Spicy vegetable and quinoa laksa” but my tastebuds failed to notice any heat. Of course that depends on the the type of curry paste: I may use a stronger one next time, or just add a red chilli.
Always remember to rinse your quinoa seeds before cooking. They have a bitter-tasting coating (called saponins), which is mildly toxic and meant to make the kernels less-palatable to birds and other seed-eaters. These days quinoa has already been cleaned by the manufacturer but it’s good to get rid of possible remnants. Just follow the instructions on the package.
<whisper mode> Of course I shouldn’t say so in a post dedicated to quinoa, but you can also use 150 grams of basmati rice instead — just cook until done. But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?! ;) <whisper mode off>
And now that you’ve opened a package of quinoa: hop over to my fellow foodies for their awesome recipes!
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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!
I often come across people with an ooooold jar of tahini in their cupboards. Do you know tahini? It’s a paste of ground sesame seeds, used in Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern cooking. It is most widely known as a component of hummus. You’re familiar with hummus, right? A versatile chickpea spread that’s great on bread or as a dip? Now that’s how most of these nearly full containers of tahini end up in many Western kitchens: there are only one or two tablespoons needed for a batch of homemade spread — and what to do with the rest???
Well, the Dutch foodie blogging quartet is here to help!
And on Graasland we’re having roasted eggplant & tahini soup.
Roasted eggplant and tahini soup
- 3 medium tomatoes, halved
- 2 medium eggplants (about 550 grams together), halved lengthwise
- 2 medium onions (I used a red and white one), halved
- half a head of garlic
- olive oil
- 1 litre of vegetable broth (4 cups)
- 2-3 teaspoons ras al hanout spice blend (store-bought or mixed yourself)
- 4 tbsp = 60 ml tahini (1/4 cup)
- juice from half a lemon (2-3 tbsp or more to taste)
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place tomatoes, eggplants and onions on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle or brush with a little oil (we don’t have cooking spray over here), and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice a small part of the bottom of the garlic and fold it in a piece of aluminium foil. Wrap up tightly and put it on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
- Roast the veggies for 30-45 minutes, until they are tender and brown in some places.
- Remove from the oven and wait until the vegetables are cooled enough to handle.
- Scoop the eggplant out of its skin and into a large saucepan.
- Squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of their skin and add to the eggplant.
- Remove the skin and green centre from the tomatoes and add to the pan as well, along with the onions.
- Add the broth and ras al hanout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are very tender.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
- Add the tahini and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
- Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with a generous sprinkle of cilantro.
For this soup I heavily relied on the recipe from Cara’s cravings; there are also instructions for homemade ras el hanout on her page. I already had a mix that I made a long time ago and desperately need to finish…
The spices determine the flavour of the soup, so keep that in mind when you decide to substitute. If you’d like an even creamier soup you could also add a dash of soy cream to the bowls. But whatever you do, do not skip the lemon juice, nor cilantro. They’re absolutely essential!
Okay, you all need to confess now… Have you got a pot of tahini stashed away somewhere? It’s time to get it out and start cooking!
Also check out our previous blog hops:
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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!
Menu Day 8 (February 3rd)
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*
- 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.
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!
Gnoe ate nothing in between meals today..!
Anything special about today?
I’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.
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!
- 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
- Cut the pumpkin in half, remove seeds and chop up the meat.
- Peel potato and cut into small dices.
- Chop up lemon grass.
- Peel ginger and chop finely.
- Chop chilli pepper.
- Heat oil and fry all the chopped up ingredients for a few minutes.
- Add broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in the meantime.
- Mash up soup using blender.
- Serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.
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New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!