Jan 29, 2015

Vegan Ghanaian Chicken and rice


Another super simple and easy vegan dish - this time inspired by the classic "Chicken & Rice" from Ghana.

I used myself-made seitan (klick here, to see the recipe) as substitute for the chicken and it was delicious! I really liked, how all the flavors worked together - the sweetness from the peppers, the saltiness of the soy sauce, the taste of citrus and the spiciness. Yum!

Give it a try! ^^

course country time difficulty
main Ghana 30min easy



Ingredients
Serves 2

Rice
I used the same method as in this recipe.

Sauce
imperial metric
8oz 225g Seitan
2 EL soy sauce
1/4 cup 60ml orange juice (100%)
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tbsp oil
1 big bell pepper, red, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove,chopped
2 tsp curry
2 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp or more chili
7oz 200ml coconut milk
to taste salt

Instruction

Preparation 12-24h ahead: marinate seitan in orange juice, soy sauce and 1 pressed garlic clove If you're in a hurry, you can skip this step and add these ingredients directly to the dish.
  • strain the seitan but save the marinade for later
  • set up the rice (see link above)
  • in a pan, heat some oil and cook seitan and onions on high heat until evenly browned
  • add chopped garlic and pepper and roast a few minutes together
  • add spices and stir
  • add marinade and coconut milk
  • if the consistence is to runny for your taste, mix 1 tsp starch with a bit of cold water in a small container, add it to the sauce and bring to boil (there's also gluten-free starch, if you're sensible to gluten)
Serve seitan ragout with rice and chopped cashews


Jan 26, 2015

Majorcan garlic soup [vegan]


A super quick and easy recipe for all the garlic lovers out there! This soup is full of flavor, while being super creamy and smooth (without any diary!).
Give it a try and tell me how you liked it! ^^

course country time difficulty
starter or main Spain 30min easy




Ingredients
Serves 2 as main and 4 as starter

imperial metric
2 tbsp olive oil
20 (2.5oz/75g) garlic cloves, peeled
3 slices sandwich toast, chopped
4 (1lb/450g) tomatoes, chopped
4cup 1l vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp sugar
pinch chili powder
to taste salt
1 slice sandwich toast, chopped in cubes

Instruction
  • in a big pot, heat olive oil and roast garlic and toast until browned
  • add tomatoes and tomato paste and roast for a few minutes
  • add the remaining ingredients and cook for about 15 minutes
  • use a hand blender until you get a nice smooth consistence
  • if you want, you can strain the soup through a sieve
  • put the soup back on the stove to warm it up again
  • in the meantime, fry toast cubes in a pan with a bit olive oil until crispy and browned

Serve soup with croutons and some fresh herbs of you choice



Jan 25, 2015

How to make seitan from flour


I usually cook completely without any vegetarian meat substitutes. The main reason is that most of these commercial products have loads of ingredients - like artificial colors and flavors - to make it more meat-like and I really don't want these in my diet. Most of the time I'm just fine with my legumes, nuts and other natural ingredients to account for my protein intake.

But sometimes, I want to cook something I know from my childhood - some nice hearty comfort food and traditional dishes - and these recipe usually don't work without a nice piece of meat. In this cases, I use this recipe to make some seitan, and while having full control over all ingredients, I can also fit the taste to my needs.

I hope you try it out! ^^

course country time difficulty
Basics - 2h medium



Ingredients
Serves 4
Dough
imperial metric
8 cups 1kg flour
2.5 cups 600ml water

Marinade
imperial metric
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup 60ml soy sauce
1/8 cup 30ml vinegar
6 cup 1.5l water
2 tbsp granulated broth
2 tbsp mustard
2 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Of course this is just an orientation, you can drop ingredients you don't like and add others. I find the taste of the seitan with this marinade to be hearty, meaty but not to overwhelming or "specific".
But according to the designated use, you can add more "specific" ingredients like ginger to fit an Asian inspired meal or tomato paste and oregano to fit an Italian dish

Instruction

  • in a big bowl, mix flour and water
  • using you hand or a kneading machine, knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes until homogeneous
  • fill the bowl with water until the dough is completely covered
  • leave for about 20 min, until you're done with the marinade

  • in a medium pot, heat olive oil and cook onions until browned
  • add garlic and roast for another 2min
  • add all remaining ingredients and stir
  • let the marinade simmer until the dough is prepared

  • begin to knead the dough under water
  • you will notice the water getting milky, that's the starch you're washing out
  • when the water is completely opaque, replace the milky water with fresh water
  • as you continue kneading, the dough will fall apart, leaving small shreds of a rubber-like substance - that's the protein we want (which is not water-soluble)
  • you may use a fine sieve to not loose these shred to the drain, while replacing the water
  • try to knead those loose pieces together by using a "folding movement"
  • continue to knead and replace the water until the water remains (mostly) clear
  • the better you wash out the starch, the firmer the seitan will be
  • loaf will be only a fraction of the size of the original dough, but don't worry, it will grow again
  • cut the seitan in suitable pieces, according to the designated use (but keep in mind, the pieces will double in size during the cooking process
  • now, add the seitan pieces to the simmering marinade and cook for about 1 hour
  • after that, fill everything in a big canning car or a tupperware container (depending on when you want to use is)
  • it's best to leaf the seitan for 1-2d to soak up all the flavor, but you can also use it after a few hours
Before I use the seitan, I usually drain it and stir-fry it in a pan with oil, like I would any meat. Sometimes, I hold back some of the marinade to use it for my sauce.

Jan 24, 2015

Self-made granulated vegetable broth


I think most people don't realize, how SIMPLE it is, to go without all the convenience, instant and super-processed broth products with loads of preservatives, flavor enhancer and other strange and non-pronounceable ingredients.

You just need some nice soup greens, some salt, a blender and an oven. You can even skip the oven part and use your veggies as paste for you soup. It's as easy as that and especially that much healthier.

course country time difficulty
Basics - 10min + 2.5h drying time easy




Ingredients

imperial metric
1 lb 500g soup greens (I used carrots, leek, celery roots, parsley)
3 tsp salt

This recipe is like a base to build on, you can use any soup greens you like and you can add more herbs and spices to fit your taste.

One example: if you plan on doing an soup inspired by the Asian cuisine, add ginger and/or lemongrass to you recipe!

Instruction
  • clean your vegetables and chop them in big pieces
  • add pieces and salt to a blender and chop finely
  • spread everything on a lined baking sheet and put into oven for ~2h at 170°F/75°C - leave the oven door ajar
  • use a fork to loosen up the mixture every ~30 min or so
  • turn the heat off and leave for another 30min in the oven
  • fill in a suitable container and keep in a dry and cool spot
You can skip the drying process if you're in a hurry - the vegetable paste works just as fine (picture above), it's just more perishable (about 2 weeks in the fridge). When I make this recipe, I usually dry half of the chopped vegetable and use the other half freshly. When you use the paste for a soup, you can fry it in some oil before you put the water in, to get a nice roasting flavor.

Jan 23, 2015

Vegetable coconut curry with mango and peanut butter


And here we go, another curry - I've told you, I'm a fan of Indian cooking! ^^

As most currys, this one is super fast and easy to prepare - you just need about 30min of your time! Additionally, its super healthy and has loads of plant based proteins from chick peas, peanut butter and cashews - perfect for us vegetarians/vegans (and nutritious for everyone else of course)!

Just try and tell me how you liked it!

course country time difficulty
main India 30min easy




Ingredients
Serves 2

Rice
I used exactly the same method as described (here), just without the almonds.

Curry
imperial metric
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch ginger, peeled
1 tbsp oil or butter
3 tsp curry powder
pinch or more chili powder
1 can (14oz/400ml) coconut milk
1/2 cup 120ml mango juice
1/2 lime, juice of
5oz 150g carrots, chopped
5oz 150g broccoli, in florets
5oz 150g chick peas, canned
5oz 150g mango flesh (fresh or canned)
2 tbsp peanut butter
to taste salt

Instruction
  • put garlic and ginger in a blender and or chop them pretty finely
  • heat oil or butter in a medium pot, add garlic-ginger-paste and cook until slightly browned
  • add curry and chili powder roast for 1-2 min
  • add coconut milk, mango juice and lime juice
  • now, add carrots and cook for 5 min on medium heat
  • add broccoli and cook for 5 min as well
  • same for the chick peas
  • add peanut butter and stir very well to dissolve
  • season with salt to taste
  • last but not least, add mango and just heat it up, don't cook it
Serve with basmati rice and decorate with fresh greens (cilantro or scallions) and nuts (peanuts or cashews).

Jan 21, 2015

Tarte flambée with caramelized apples and goat cheese


Tarte flambée is a dish I cook a lot and that we really love. It's pretty fast and easy to prepare, and you only need ingredients, you probably already have at home. From the basic recipe with crème fraîche and onions you can build up your own creations and add toppings you like - it's super versatile!

I like the combination of hearty cheese and the sweetness of fruits. In this recipe, I paired caramelized apple slices, soft goat cheese and with some honey and thyme. If you don't like goat cheese, you can substitute it by some feta cheese or similar. You can also vary the type of fruit used in this recipe - pears and figs work very well with this kind of cheese, too.

course country time difficulty
starter or main France 30min easy






If I have some meat-eaters over, I usually make a tarte with smoked salmon and a honey-mustard-sauce, which I top with some fresh arugula after baking.



Ingredients
for the caramelized apples and goat cheese variant

Yield 2 sheets
Serves 2 as main or 6-8 as starter

imperial metric
2 tbsp butter
4 onions, in half slices
1.5cup 200g flour
3/4 cup 180ml water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup 240ml/g crème fraîche
2 apple, slices and deseeded
2 tbsp sugar (white or brown)
7oz 200g goat cheese (soft)
some honey
some fresh thyme
You can use any kind of onion you like. I mixed red and white onions, but you can use shallots or scallions as well.


Instruction
  • in a medium pot, heat some butter and cook onions on medium-low until soft and slightly browned
  • in the meantime, mix flour, salt, olive oil and water in a bowl
  • knead with floured hands (and add some more flour if needed) until you got a nice homogeneous dough
  • split the dough in two even halves
  • roll out each dough on a baking paper - it may seem like small amount of dough for a whole sheet, but the dough should VERY thin, like "see-through-thin" (see left)
  • pre heat you oven to max heat (should be at least 530°F/275°C, the higher the better)
  • transfer each baking paper incl. dough on a baking sheet
  • spread half a cup of crème fraîche on each dough and top with roasted onions
  • in a pan, heat 2tbsp of sugar, add apple slices and cook on medium heat until slightly browned
  • flip them over and repeat
  • distribute the apple slices evenly over both tartes and top them with some goat cheese
  • crumble the leftover goat cheese all over the tartes
  • dribble some honey all over
  • bake on the lowest rack until the outer rim is brown and crispy (5-10min depending on your heat setting)
  • I bake the 2 sheets one after each other (by the time we eat one tarte, the next one is done), but you can bake both simultaneously on the 2 lowest racks, switching places at about half of the baking time
Serve with some fresh thyme and enjoy!

Jan 20, 2015

Self-made dulce de leche


Do you know what heaven tastes like? I know since the first time I tried "dulce de leche"...
For everyone, who's not familiar with this traditional spread from South America: it's so creamy, sweet, caramelly ... hmmmm.

And yes, it's a sin, it's almost completely made out of sugar, but honestly...sometimes you have to treat yourself, and these times are made for dulce de leche ^^.

You can use it as spread on you pancakes or bread, as dip with some fruits, as filling or glace for your bakeries, just how you like it.
Some (like me) like it with a bit of salt, to balance out the sweetness and make it a holistic experience.

course country time difficulty
spreads&dips Argentina ~2h easy





Ingredients

imperial metric
about 2 tbsp butter
1.5 cup 300g sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
pinch salt
1 cup 240ml milk
1 cup 240ml condensed milk, 10% fat, unsweetened

Instruction

  • in a medium pot, melt butter on medium-high heat and add sugar, vanilla sugar and salt
  • wait until the sugar begins to melt
  • add milk and condensed milk and reduce and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved
  • turn heat to the lowest setting and cook for at least 45min up to 2h
  • the time highly depends on your stove and pot
  • the dulce is done, if it got a nice caramel color and has the consistence you like (test by applying a small amount on a small plate)


Serve f.e. with fruit snacks or as sandwich! Enjoy!

Jan 19, 2015

Lebanese mezze - falafel, hummus and tabbouleh



course country time difficulty
starter, also suitable for main Lebanon 1h + 24h resting time medium


Unfortunately, I missed to post the last days - I hope you don't mind. My attention was a bit occupied by our latest (and cutest) family member Oskar ^^. We got him from the animal shelter on Saturday and he really is adorable. I'd like you to meet Oskar:


BTF (back to food): The meal of the day is inspired by the Lebanon and is especially nice for vegans and vegetarians, because of the large amount of plant based protein.
It's composed of different mezze (oriental form of tapas or antipasti), which are traditional served as starter but are also suitable as main course.

It takes some time to assemble everything, but it's totally worth it!
This was the first time I've made falafel by myself and I was really impressed - these were by far the best falafel I've ever had! Try it out, and tell my how you liked it!








Falafel


Ingredients
yield 10 falafel (~2.5in/6cm)
imperial metric
8oz 225g dry chick peas
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch of parsley (~80g/3oz)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
3 tsp flour
1/2 baking powder

Instruction
  • submerge chick peas in cold water and leave for at least 12h, better for 24h
  • strain chick peas and use a grinder or blender to mash them up
  • chop onion and garlic finely or blend them as well
  • mix pea puree, onion, garlic and all other ingredients and blend them again until the mixture is well malleable
  • store in the fridge until use (of course you want to finish everything else, before deep-frying them)
  • heat oil (wooden spoon test: bubbles > oil is hot enough)
  • deep-fry falafel until golden brown


Hummus


Ingredients
yield 1 small (cereal) bowl
imperial metric
8.5oz 240g (strained) canned chick peas
3 tsp tahini(sesame paste)
6 tsp lemon juice
6 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp 50ml liquid of canned chick peas
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
for decoration
paprika powder
olive oil
parsley

Instruction
  • chop up all ingredients (besides these listed under decoration)in a blender
  • add liquid when needed and add more spices/salt if you want to
  • hummus is usually served with a small "lake" of olive oil, sprinkled with paprika powder and decorated with parsley leaves
  • store in the fridge until use


Tabbouleh


Ingredients
yield 1 big bowl
imperial metric
1/2 cup 100g bulgur (fine)
3/4 cup 175g warm water
6 tsp lemon juice
pinch salt
8oz 200g parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, deseeded,chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
1/2 bundle scallions, sliced
1 bunch (4oz/100g) fresh mint
4 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Instruction
  • mix bulgur and water in a big bowl, and let it soak for about 20min
  • add all the other ingredients and mix well
  • store in the fridge until use


Serve everything together with a nice fresh flatbread

Jan 15, 2015

Spinach pepper tortilla with tomato onion salad


I really love a good tortilla de patata, but I was never able to recreate it the way I knew it from my favorite Spanish restaurant. So I researched some tips on how to get that perfect consistence and indeed.... it that made all the difference! :).

The trick is to overcook the potatoes until they're already falling apart...as a result, potatoes and eggs come together much better and that's nicer on the tongue. Besides that, the tortilla doesn't break apart as easily while flipping or cutting

I decided to add a traditional Spanish tomato onion salad ("trampo") for some freshness and some handmade aioli (recipe coming soon!) and bread to bring everything together to a nice, nutritious and hearty vegetarian dish.

course country time difficulty
main Spain 1h easy



Ingredients
Serves 3 as main or 8 as starter
Tomato salad
imperial metric
5 tomatoes, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Tortilla
imperial metric
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb 450g potatoes, copped
1 onion, chopped
1 small pepper, chopped
6oz 160g spinach
4 eggs, mixed
1/2 tsp salt
freshly grounded pepper

Instruction
  • Mix all ingredients for the salad in a bowl and set aside for about 1h (at room temperature)
  • heat oil in a pan (ovenproof), add potatoes and cook on medium heat
  • stir frequently and adjust heat that the potatoes cook through without getting to dark (about 20min)
  • 5min before potatoes are done, add onions and pepper and cook for another 10min
  • the potatoes will begin to fall apart and that's exactly what we want
  • you can even enhance that by smashing some potatoes with a fork
  • if everything is well done transfer it from the pan to a bowl
  • add spinach and eggs and mix well
  • add mixture back to the same pan (I did this) or a smaller one (for a smaller but higher tortilla)
  • and leave for about 15min on medium-low
  • then, put pan into the oven for another 10min on "grill" or top heat (alternatively you can just flip it by the use of a big plate, but I like to minimize the risk of breaking ^^)
  • remove pan from the oven, use a big plate to turn the tortilla over
  • cut in 6 slices and serve with tomato salad, aioli and bread

^^ ¡Buen provecho! ^^

Jan 14, 2015

Maroccan sweet potato and date stew with almond couscous


Yes, I know, this dish doesn't look super stylish...but believe me, it tastes amazing!
The combination of sweet and spicy as well as the use of cinnamon and cumin definitely brings back memories of summer vacation in a warm country :)
Perfect to get your mind of the wet and cold winter weather outside...

Give it a try and tell me how you liked it!

course country time difficulty
main Marocco 40min easy



Ingredients
Serves 2

d>
imperial metric
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb 700g sweet potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3oz 80g dried dates, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup 170g couscous
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1 dash lemon juice
1 1/4 cup 300ml boiling water
3 oz 80g almonds, slivered
optional natural yoghurt

Instruction
  • in a medium pot, heat olive oil, add sweet potatoes and onions, and cook on medium heat until brown
  • add dates, garlic and spices and mix well
  • put on lid and cook until sweet potatoes are soft
  • add small amounts of water if it begins to scorch
  • use a fork to mash about half of the potatoes and add water to get a stew-like consistency
  • in a small bowl, mix couscous with salt, lemon juice and olive oil
  • add boiling water and let it soak for 5min
  • roast slivered almonds in a dry pan
  • add almonds to the couscous

Serve couscous and sweet potatoes with natural yoghurt and fresh mint and enjoy!


Jan 13, 2015

Turkish flatbread


This type of bread is pretty common in Germany (at least in bigger cities) due to a large number of Turkish immigrants. Usually filled with salad and meat, it's sold as the most popular German fast food dish: "Döner Kebab".

But besides that, it goes well with a variety of dishes. It works perfectly on a BBQ buffet and in combination with soups or stews, dishes of oriental or African origin, as well as hot and spicy meals in general.

As an example, I never eat Chili without a nice piece of flatbread...it compliments the flavor and softens the spiciness. You see, I'm a big fan! ^^

course country time difficulty
bread, side dish Turkey 2h easy



Ingredients
Yield 1 flatbread (about 14in)
imperial metric
1lb 450g flour
1 package instant yeast
OR 1/2 cube fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup 350ml warm water
1 egg
to your liking coarse salt, sesame and black cumin

Instruction
  • mix all ingredients and knead dough well for about 5-10min
  • coat a bowl with a small amount of oil
  • place dough into bowl, cover with clean kitchen cloth and let prove for about 1-1,5 hours
  • use floured hands to gently shape the dough to your liking (in a flat circle or oval)
  • cover the dough again and let prove for another 20min
  • pre-heat oven to 400°F/200°C
  • use you fingers to press deep holes into the dough (preferably in a nice symmetric pattern ;))
  • mix 1 egg with pinch of sugar, salt and splash of olive oil and brush mixture onto dough
  • sprinkle with coarse salt, sesame and black cumin, and bake for about 15min

Enjoy!