Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Veganize it! "Chicken" Madras

I have borrowed the new Koken with Karin book (Koken met Karin - zonder pakjes en zakjes 2) from the library and I am very enthusiastic about the book! I have said that I won't buy any more books that have meat in them, but this book I do consider on buying. In short: this book focusses on cooking out of the box, literally. She gives recipes for popular typical boxed meals and shows how to make them yourself.
The book has a vegetarian chapter too, but a lot of meat dishes are easily adjusted, like I did with this version of chicken madras. Do keep in mind that this is a very mild madras, not authentic but based on the boxed meal adjusted to Dutch pallets. The only thing I had to do to make this recipe vegan was to switch out the chicken for a replacement. Because I used to quite like this mild version of madras, and I couldn't find something similar anywhere, I was very happy with this version of the recipe.

I am thinking about writing a review of the book, however, this book has to return to the library soon and with my current backlog of recipes, it probably won't happen. But try this recipe because it does taste good :D

"Chicken" Madras: (serves 4)
- 400 gr faux chicken
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 400 ml canned tomato cubes
- 1 large apple
- 2 spring onions
- 1 clove of garlic
- 4 cm fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp (madras) currypowder (if you use the authentic it get spicier, just use your favourite brand)
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- handful fresh cilantro
- some sunflower oil
- salt and pepper

Cut the "chicken" into small cubes, if needed. Place in a bowl and add some salt, pepper, 1 tbsp of the currypowder and cornstarch. Mix until everything is coated.
Heat some oil and bake the onions softly for about 5 minutes. Chop ginger and garlic and add to the onions together with the other tbsp currypowder and the cumin. Bake until it starts to smell good! Add the faux chicken to the mixture and bake a bit longer. Now add tomatoes, coconut milk some salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Place a lid diagonal on the pan, and leave it simmer for about 15 minutes. Cut the apple into cubes and add this the last 5 minutes.

Serve with fresh cilantro and rice.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bento Bites: Leek Pancakes

I am very picky about leek. There are only a few ways I like to eat leek. Mostly in quiches and the like or else I often find the flavor too strong. These leek pancakes are brilliant though! They have a hint of cinnamon which gives them some extra depth in flavor. This dish is great both for lunch or dinner. Because while it is light, it is also filling, 3 of these pancakes and I am full. Not only me, but my boyfriend as well. Because they also taste great cold, they are very suitable to take with you in a bento :) The original recipe is from the cookbook Plenty. The sauce is a great addition, but they taste great without it too, so leave it out for the budget version.

Leek Pancakes (serves 4 as lunch, 2 as main)
- 3 leeks (about 450 gr)
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 25 gr parsley, chopped
- 3/4 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp kurkuma
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 120 gr selfrising flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 150 ml milk
- 60 gr butter, melted
- olive oil for baking

For the sauce:
- 100 gr greek yoghurt
- 100 gr sour cream
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 20 gr parsley, chopped
- 20 gr cilantro, chopped

Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor until it is a nice sauce. Set aside.
Cut the leeks in rings from approx 2 cm. Wash them well in a colander, pat them dry.
Bake leek and spring onions in a little bit of oil for about 15 minutes on half heat. Place in a bowl and add spices, parsley, sugar and salt. Let it cool down.

Beat the eggwhite in a fat free bowl until it forms a soft foam. Stir carefully through the veggies.
Mix in another bowl the flour with baking powder, egg, milk and butter into a batter. Scoops this through the veggie mixture. Make sure as much air as possible stays in the mixture.

Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and form little pancakes from the batter, about 3-4 at a time. bake about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Leave them on kitchen towels while you bake the next batch.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Menu for week 16

So here we are again with the weekly menu. In spite of me having 3 medical appointments this week, we have made yummy things. I had to draw blood and it turned out that I don't have enough vitamin D, to start. So all though I don't like it, this means I have to up my fish intake. It is not that I don't like the taste of fish, but I only ate it once in a while. I will be getting supplements too, but the doctor advised me to eat more fat fish too. So yeah... I guess I will give it a go because if it can make a difference in my overall health, I kind of need to take it. Meat however will forever be a no-go. And yes, I know how hypocrite this might sound. I am aware of this fact. Anyway, the evening meals will remain mostly veggie like they always been, because Nick doesn't like the fatty fishes. So it will be mainly during lunch that I will up the fish intake. The only fishes Nick likes are the white ones. Halibut is a fatty white fish, so we will try that on the menu. But things like tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, I can't get Nick to eat.
Anyway, let's move on to the menu.

Sunday: A veggie patty sub from the Subway.

Monday and Tuesday: Pasta with spinach, cream cheese and sundried tomatoes.

Tuesday and Wednesday lunch: Spinach omelette with cheese. (I upped my spinach intake after drawing blood to recover my iron quickly)

Wednesday baking: Lemon-yoghurt cake. (recipe to come)

Wednesday and Thursday: Bean burritos (recipe to come)

Friday: Leek pancakes (recipe to come)

Saturday: Ratatouille from the oven with fries and fish fingers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Comfort Food: Spaghetti with "meatballs"

Yes, another comfort food recipe. I have made a few in the past weeks, and now I am playing the catch up game, I am not bothered by paying attention to change it up. I just want to get the recipes on here as soon as I can, because they are piling up ;) I hope I will be able to blog every day for a week or so to be able to catch up fully, but I am not sure yet when exactly this will happen. PS I am still blogging from a crappy old laptop and it sometimes doesn't register my typing. While I try to correct this, I am sure there will be extra errors in my posts because of this!!!!

Anyway: today I will share a recipe that I wanted to try for a long time when I saw it on Pinterest. It is spaghetti and "meatballs". I am so glad that I tried this because it really tastes great! The original recipe comes from Cookin' Canuck. It is already in English, but I will blog it too because of the oz to gram calculations, which I don't feel like making every time ;) Otherwise I did not change much of the recipe.

Spaghetti with "meatballs" (serves 4)
- 640 gr Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1.5 tsp dried oregano
- 1 egg
- 0.5 cup breadcrumbs (maybe a bit more, depending on the moistness of the mixture)
- 0.5 tsp kosher salt
- 0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups of your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
- Parmesan cheese for grating
- 300 gr spaghetti, cooked

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place a baking sheet on your oven tray. In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans and roasted red peppers. Pulse until chopped, but do not over process. Stir in spring onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper until well combined. Using about 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture, form “meatballs” by rolling between the palms of your hands. Place the “meatballs” on the baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and have a light golden brown coating, about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat you favorite marinara or tomato sauce until it simmers. Add “meatballs” and stir to coat. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Menu for week 15

I am a bit late with this post, because I had friends over today :) But here is the weekly menu. I will keep this really short this week. I hope I will have time to blog some more recipes next week but I have some medical appointments this week. I am not sure if I will be able to.

Sunday: Soup with bread, I forgot to take a picture

Monday: Fish with a tomato-cheese crust and chili corn

Tuesday: Sweet potato mash with rocket lettuce, feta and sundried tomatoes

Wednesday: Strawberry Avocado Couscous salad

Thursday and Friday: "Chicken" Madras

Saturday: Homemade Veggie Burgers

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beltane: Strawberry Avocado Couscous Salad

It isn't Beltane until the first of May, but I will already start to blog some related recipes while I make them. Especially because the Beltane department is lacking on the blog. Somehow I always manage to post recipes for Ostara and Imbolc, and after that I kind of forget.... So not this year! Beltane might be known to people as May day, it is part of the 8 pegan festivals, and I try to celebrate them each year because I like to be in tune with nature and these festivals follow that flow. Typical Beltane foods are strawberries, honey and edible flowers. The latter is a bit of a challenge, but I might come up with something. This year a picknick is planned with some friends, and I will make things for that too. But this recipe appeared on the menu because I was looking for something summery that was easy and a bit on budget. The recipe is vegan and will be very suitable for a picknick. The avocado holds up nicely in this recipe because of the vinaigrette. But you have to play a bit with the sweet and sour balance. I like it a bit more on the sweet side. Original recipe comes from Damn Delicious.

Strawberry Avocado Couscous Salad (serves 4)
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 0.5 cup corn kennels
- 0.5 cup strawberries, sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp pine nuts (optional, does make it more expensive, but would taste great)

Lime vinaigrette:
- 0.25 cup olive oil
- 0.25 cup apple cider vinegar
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 3 tsp sugar or more to taste

For the vinaigrette whisk all the ingredients together. Set aside.
Prepare the couscous, by pouring boiling water over the couscous in a pan. Stir through for about 90 seconds until the couscous absorbed the moist. Cover and leave it to rest for about 3 minutes.
Combine with the other ingredients and stir in the vinaigrette.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Comfort Food: Chili Sin Carne Tex Mex and Guacamole

I wasn't able to blog for a while at all because I have terrible back pains. Sitting behind a pc only makes things worse, so I hardly spend time online anymore except on my phone. Now I am trying to use Nick's old laptop, to see if that will work. So this post is a bit of a test ;) The blogging schedule will probably remain irregular for a while. But I have a backlog of recipes I want to share so today I will try just that. But don't be surprised if you might see posts for 3 days in a row and then nothing again for a while. This is how things are atm.

Let's move on to the recipe. This is one from my old cookbooks, a project that I still continue to do, so I can pass on my meat cookbooks to others. This recipe is extra special, because this was my favorite chili recipe before I became a vegetarian. Luckily the adapted veggie version is just as good :) Nick agrees that this is the best chili recipe we tried so far, so it deserves to be on the blog. The original recipe is from Mexican Cooking by Anne Wilson. The Chili itself is vegan, but this version of guacamole isn't.

Chili Sin Carne Tex Mex (serves 4)
- 250 gr beef replacement (the ones we used have a nice bite similar to the real thing)
- 250 gr mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 250 ml tomato juice
- 440 gr canned tomatoes on juice
- 100 gr corn
- 450 gr red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 0.5 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 0.5 tsp chilipowder
- tortilla chips for serving

Heat oil in a pan and bake onions, garlic and mushrooms shortly. Add tomatoes, tomato juice and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Place a lid on top and let i simmer for a while. This is shorter than with the meat version because the ingredients take shorter to cook. The sauce needs to thicken. Lastly add corn and kidney beans with the spices. Heat through. Serve with the tortilla chips and guacamole.

Guacamole (serves 6)
- 2 ripe avocdos
- 1 tomato
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 60 ml sour cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice

Mash the avocados. cube the tomato and mix all the ingredients together with the avocado.
We ate the chili for two days, so we made half of the recipe for each day. But you can also place the pit from the avocado back in the guacamole and cover it with plastic foil.