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Fashion, Food & Flirts will pull the plug… but will launch a brand new vegetarian website

Published March 27, 2015 by The Feminist

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Do you need a tissue, dear reader? Or maybe an entire bucket to cry in?

Don’t worry. I completely understand how you must feel right now. Sad. Depressed. Completely left alone in this dark world full of conservative and intellectually-challenged politicians and ugg-wearing, botox-loving bimbos. (Which of the two groups is worse, I will wisely leave in the middle.)

These past couple of years have been wonderful as a member of the blogging community. I was able to express myself in ways I never was able to before and I have gotten to know some great fellow bloggers in the process. I can honestly say that you have been the greatest, kindest, funniest and craziest readers on the planet and I really want to thank you all for your loyal readership.

But it is time to discover new horizons. Only a couple of days after swoon-worthy Zayn Malik left One Direction in order to be able “to enjoy a life out of the spotlights”, I –too- am ready for a new adventure. But unlike naughty Zayn, who cut himself out of our boyband-loving hearts completely (yes, I am still in mourning), I will stay in touch.

Nay, scratch that.

I will be even more present in your lives… just in an entirely different cyber formation.

So fear not, dear readers! This bitch still got plenty to talk about! I am happy and honoured to announce that I am launching a brand new vegetarian website, called More Than Meatless.

As the name suggests, it is a vegetarian website with an abundance of fun and inspiring dishes, stories of fellow vegetarians and tips and tricks from professionals.  With this website I hope to convince everyone (yes, I am ambitious) of the wonders of vegetarian cuisine and to inspire them to put on that apron and try one of the recipes themselves.

Plenty of the vegetarian recipes from Fashion, Food and Flirts will also be on More than Meatless, along with brand new inspiring dishes. Plus, everything looks much more organized on More than Meatless, so it will be easier for all of you loyal readers to find back old recipes. Conclusion: don’t be sad! Visit More than Meatless!

In case you’re still a bit down and depressed, here is a very comforting noodle soup recipe that is also featured on my new website. So whether you would like to slurp away your sorrow because of the cyber death of Fashion, Food & Flirts, or celebrate the birth of my brand new (far more professional, if I might add) cyber baby More than Meatless, this noodle soup will do the trick!

You can find the recipe on… you’ve guessed it!… More than Meatless!

http://morethanmeatless.com/recipe-items/red-curry-coconut-noodle-soup-with-smoky-tofu-and-mushrooms/

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Veggie Food With Balls: Cranberry and Za’atar Goats’ Cheese Balls with A Roasted Pepper and Cashew Dip

Published March 3, 2015 by The Feminist

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Some people think vegetarian food is boring.

Some people say it can be dull.

I say: Nonsense!

Vegetarian food can be the boldest, funkiest, most original and creative of all cuisines! The following recipe is the perfect illustration that vegetarian dishes can indeed be quite ballsy, both figuratively and literally in this case. The cute, little beauties you see in this picture are fried goats’ cheese balls in a crunchy almond crust and are flavoured with dried cranberries, za’atar and lemon zest. These gorgous croquettes are already delicious on their own, but combined with a salad of purslane and broccocress (the cress version of broccoli, because why not?!) and dipped in a heavenly dip made with roasted red peppers, garlic, harissa and cashew nuts this dish becomes a true flavour sensation! An explosion of magnificent colours, textures and flavours, all complementing each other beautifully: what better example of delicious veggie food could you possibly wish for?

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the goats’ cheese balls:

  • 200gr matured, soft goats cheese
  • Handful of dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp crushed pink pepper corns
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Flaked almonds (approx. 100gr)

For the roasted pepper and cashed dip:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp honey

For the salad:

  • 150gr purslane, washed
  • 100gr broccocress (or regular water cress/ garden cress/ mustard cress)
  • A small handful of cranberries
  • Lemon juice
  • Tiniest bit of olive oil

Method:

  1. Put the chunks of red pepper, tomato and garlic on a roasting tray and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Put in a preheated oven at 250°C for about 10 minutes until the edges of the peppers are starting to char.
  2. Remove from the oven and put the roasted ingredients in a blender together with the cashew nuts, an extra tablespoon of olive oil, the harissa and the honey and mix until you get a lovely dip. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Put aside. (You can either serve this dip warm, cold, or in between. It will always be delicious!)
  3. Mix the goats’ cheese, cranberries, peppercorns, za’atar and lemon zest together in a bowl. Let it infuse for about 10 minutes, while you go on with the other elements of the dish.
  4. Mix the purslane and cress together with cranberries, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Scatter the salad on a large plate and put the pepper dip in the middle.
  5. Now you can start rolling your balls! Take a tablespoon of the goats’ cheese filling and roll it into a bowl. This will be a sticky and fumbly process, but it doesn’t have to look perfect. Then roll the ball through the mix of flour, corn flour and pepper and you will see that the drop of cheese will start to look a lot more “ballsy”. Now drop the ball in the whisked egg and finally roll it through the crushed flaked almonds.
  6. Heat a layer of approx. 0,5cm of olive oil (or regular vegetable oil) in a small pan and fry the balls for a minute on every side, so that they look gorgeously golden-brown and are warm in the middle.
  7. Remove from the pan and let them drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
  8. Scatter the balls on top of your salad and dig in!

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Baking With Booze: the Schnapps Edition! Apple and Poppy Seed Cake With Schnapps

Published February 26, 2015 by The Feminist

This is an unconventional twist on two of Austria’s most classic desserts: the Apfelstrudel and the Mohntorte.

Think: caramelized and spiced apples mixed together with a poppy seed sponge and drizzled with Schnapps. Things really can’t get more Austrian than that!

WARNING: Eat too much of this cake and you may start to yodel.

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Ingredients:

  • 140gr caster sugar
  • 170gr butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 140gr flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 apples, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 50gr poppy seeds
  • 75gr nuts (mix of your choosing)
  • 2 tbsp fruity Schnapps (apple or apricot), 2 extra to drizzle over the top

Method:

  1. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the apples with a tbsp. of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon until golden brown.
  2. Blitz the nuts and poppy seeds together in a blender until you get a fine dust/paste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix the sugar with the butter until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Slowly stir in the flour, baking powder and spices.
  6. Add the poppy seed mix.
  7. Stir in the fried apples and add 2 tbsp of Schnapps.
  8. Pour the batter in a loaf tin and bake for approx.. 50 minutes.
  9. Once the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle on some extra Schnapps (2tbps, or more!)
  10. Serve with a glass of Schnapps on the side.

Cauliflower Tabouleh with Glazed Tempeh: Heavenly Healthy and Devilishly Delicious

Published February 18, 2015 by The Feminist

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This title probably has far too many alliterations and rhyming vowels in it.

No scratch that. It definitely has too many alliteration and rhyme in it. But who cares? This dish was simply too life-changing, mind-blowing, heart-warming for me to ever care about such trivialities like wordplay.

Mark my words, dearest readers: THIS. WILL. BLOW. YOUR. MIND. (and taste buds, for that matter)

But enough with this uncontrollably euphoric gibberish! I’m assuming you all would like to know more details about this “cauliflower tabouleh with glazed tempeh”, right?

Cauliflower tabouleh, as the term suggests, is a tabouleh made with cauliflower (duh.). So instead of using couscous, I blitzed an entire cauliflower into my blender until it looked like couscous grains. I then tossed in some heavenly healthy hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes, cumin, fresh mint, lots of pomegranate seeds and last but not least topped it all off with a devilishly delicious dressing of harissa and maple syrup.

This tabouleh on its own already is the tastiest thing you can ever imagine –and a brilliant lunch alternative!- but since I wanted to make the meal a bit more substantial,  I added some glossy glazed tempeh; the sticky glaze made with –again!- maple syrup and harissa.

Ingredients:

For the tempeh:

  • 100gr tempeh, cut into thick strips
  • 1 tbsp mapley syrup
  • ¼ tsp harissa pasta

For the cauliflower tabouleh:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp mint
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 4 tbsp almond flakes, toasted
  • ¼ tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp harissa
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Put the mint and cauliflower together in a blender and mix until the cauliflower has a couscous texture.
  2. Transfer the cauliflower and mint mix to a large bowl and add the pomegranate seeds, spring onions, hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes and spices.
  3. Mix the harissa, maple syrup and harissa together and pour over the cauliflower mix. Stir well and season with salt to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh in a pan until golden brown. Pour the mix of maple syrup and harissa over the top and lower the heat. Let the tempeh caramelize.
  5. Serve the cold cauliflower tabouleh with the hot and glazed tempeh

Partying with Paneer: fragrant Indian Green Beans and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer Gems

Published February 13, 2015 by The Feminist

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Julia Child once said that “a party without cake is just a meeting”. To my mind, the same kind of metaphorical analogy can be made about the wonderful South Asian cheese paneer :an Indian dinner without paneer is just bad takeaway. (Ha! Put that on a bumper sticker!)

Just like the better-known (at least to us, Westerners) halloumi cheese, paneer is a firm cheese, ideal for frying, because it marvelously holds its shape. Unlike halloumi, which has a rather pungent, salty flavour (some pussies would say too salty), paneer is subtler and creamier in flavour and therefore balances perfectly with the strong and spicy flavours of a wonderful Indian curry, for it slightly mellows the fiery blow.

The vegetarian curry I decided to pair with the seared paneer is one containing a very comforting mix of green beans, lentils, bell peppers and lots of ground spices. To make the curry truly stand out, I added a fruity touch to the mixture… yes, I added a heaped tablespoon of apricot jam with chili flakes. I recently bought this very delicious jar of jam and was so delighted by its flavour, that I decided to throw it in savory dishes as well. The fruity jam is a great alternative to palm sugar, which is traditionally used in Asian dishes. The jam will not only slightly sweeten the curry and balance all those spices, but it will also add that heavenly fruity touch of apricot… Sigh. Sometimes, I really am … good.

So here it is: the perfect Indian meal! Rejoice!

Green Bean and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer

Please don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients! It’s mainly all spices, and you cannot make a good curry without the appropriate load of spices.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 250gr paneer cheese, cut into cubes
  • 80gr dried lentils
  • 350gr green beans, cut into chunks
  • 1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tbsp. apricot jam (with chili flakes, if you want the truly fancy stuff)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, coriander stalks and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Sauté on a medium heat until the spices start to smell incredibly aromatic.
  2. Add the lentils and stir in the tomato passata and coconut milk. Add a teaspoon of salt and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chunks of pepper and the apricot jam and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the green beans and the garam masala and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and the beans tender.
  5. Taste the curry. Season with salt and a bit more chili if necessary.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a pan on maximum heat and add the chunks of paneer. There is absolutely no need to add oil to the pan, the paneer will fry beautifully on its own!
  7. Serve the curry and paneer in cute bowls and sprinkle with coriander.

Spicy Food: Because Everyone Could Use Some Vavavoom in the Kitchen

Published January 24, 2015 by The Feminist

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I know it has been a while since my last post, but I’ve got a really good excuse for this minor absence on the world wide web.

No, sorry, that’s a lie. I was just lazy.

But here I am, dear readers. Back with an incredibly yummy post (Because how else would I make up for an entire week of blogging silence?)

This post is all about – you’ve guessed it!- spices.

I know I’ve said this plenty of times before, but I won’t stop repeating myself until every freaking home cook on this planet has an entire spice cupboard in his or her kitchen: spices are the source of life. No matter how tasty your other ingredients may be, if you forget to add some spice, the end-result will be dull, flavourless and downright disappointing.

Many (inexperienced) cooks only think about spices sporadically –that is, if they think about spices at all!- as if spices were some long lost acquaintances you never really got to know when you were little.

They only add spices right at the end of a recipe, or just throw in the tiniest little pinch, because they don’t really understand the purpose of this strange looking and pungently powerful acquaintance.

Basically, most of us are too scared. We would rather live a plain, boring and dull life that is safe of risks, than try and take the spicy road.

Making a close friend out of an acquaintance is indeed a work-in-progress. You will stumble, you will fall, but once you’ve got the doses right, it will feel as if your heart has finally caught fire. You will feel alive.

That’s what spices can do for you. Not only will they add some vavavoom to your daily meals, but they will also –and more importantly- warm your heart.

So make spices your best friend and you will never be cold again.

Vegetarian Chilli Sin Carne with a Coffee and Spice Blend

For this naughty little vegetarian chilli, I decided to make my very own spice blend. Believe me, there is nothing more therapeutic than grinding some spices together in a pestle-and-mortar and making the aromas spread through your kitchen.

To make this spicy dish even more special, I added some instant coffee granules to my spice mix. This will add another dimension of bittersweet intensity.

Last but not least, right near the end, I dropped a tiny piece of dark chocolate in the sauce. You won’t be able to taste the chocolate per se, but it will give the already fabulous sauce even more depth and richness.

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Ingredients (serves 4):

For the Coffee and Spice Blend:

  • ½ tbsp. instant coffee granules
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Chilli:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 400gr or 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • 400gr or 1 tin of cannellini beans
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 5gr of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  • Fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

To serve:

  • Sour cream
  • Homemade guacamole
  • lime
  • Any type of flat bread

Method:

  1. Make the spice blend by grinding all the spices and coffee together in a pestle-and-mortar or a large and heavy bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Take 1 tsp of the spice mix and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Mix until you get a nice paste. Brush the chunks of sweet potato with it and put them in the oven on some baking parchment and bake for 15 minutes. Once these beauties are roasted and are slightly turning black on the edges, take them out of the oven and set aside. The roasted potatoes will add an extra smokey flavour and will give the chilli an indulgent texture.
  3. In a large pan, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the onion, garlic, a tablespoon of finely chopped coriander stalks and the spice blend. Stir for one minute and now add the peppers and courgette. Let it fry for 3 minutes or so before adding the tinned tomatoes. Stir well and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and give it a quick taste. You will probably need to add more salt.
  5. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes before adding the roasted potatoes. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes to enhance all the flavours. Just before serving stir in the chocolate and let it dissolve.
  6. Sprinkle on some fresh coriander and serve it with a good dollop of sour cream, guacamole, a squeeze of lime juice and a slice of bread.

White Bean Curry With Rum-Flambéed Pineapple

This is an incredibly easy curry. Beans. Coconut. Spices. That’s all you need. Add to that some marvelous pineapple slices flambéed with rum and you will be dancing around your tiny kitchen like a Disney Baboon on steroids.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the flambéed pineapple:

  • 3 thick slices of fresh pineapple (Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use tinned pineapple!)
  • 2 tbsp Rum
  • Zest of ½ lime
  • Pinch of chilli flakes

For the white beans curry:

  • 200gr or 1 small can of white beans (but you could also use chickbeans, flageolet, black-eyed peas,…)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • Fresh coriander
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Juice of ½ lime

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil or ghee in a small pan and add the ginger, garlic and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Let it fry on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the beans and stir.
  3. Add the coconut milk and season with salt. Let it simmer away for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garam masala, the desiccated coconut and the lime juice.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the pineapple slices until they start to caramelize. Sprinkle on the chilli and lime zest.
  6. Finally, flambé the pineapple with the rum. Be careful. You don’t want to lose all your hair.
  7. Serve the curry with the pineapple slices and sprinkle on some fresh coriander.

Wonderfully Eccentric: Amaretto, Orange and – hell yeah! – Couscous Cake

Published January 17, 2015 by The Feminist

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Weird, Wacky and Wonderful.

No, this description doesn’t just fit my very own personality (you know what they say: “know thyself and thou shalt be happy”), but these three adjectives are also the best way to describe this delicious cake.

When I told a random stranger at the gym that I had just baked the most incredible sweet couscous cake, she looked at me as if I was completely bonkers. (Admittedly, the fact that I simply wanted to share that with a stranger while running on the treadmill probably contributed to her thinking I was mentally challenged.)

Anyway, what I would like to say to that random stranger at the gym – and everyone else who is reading this with a huge frown on his forehead: wipe that frown off your face, darling! Using couscous in a sweet cake may sound rather eccentric at first (eccentric in this case being a euphemism for absolutely fucked up), but once you’ve tasted this cake, you will realize that this is in fact a sweet tooth’s revelation. The couscous adds great texture to the sponge and gives it a nice earthy flavour-dimension. Although this cake is slightly denser and heavier than a simple flour cake, your plate will be empty before you know it, thanks to the zingy, fragrant and sticky orange and fenugreek syrup that is poured all over the top of the cake once it comes out of the oven. This crazy-sounding syrup not only adds extra flavour, but makes the cake so intensely moist.

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And once you know that I’ve also poured in a good splash of Amaretto, you just know that the initially wacky is in fact rather wonderful.

So weird as this all may sound, this couscous cake is a culinary sensation!

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Amaretto, Orange and Couscous Cake With a Fenugreek Syrup

Although there are quite a few powerful flavours in this cake, one will never overpower the other and they all marry beautifully well together.

Ingredients:

  • 90ml olive oil
  • 60ml Amaretto
  • 60ml fresh orange juice
  • 70gr orange marmalade
  • 2 eggs
  • 35gr caster sugar
  • 35gr desiccated coconut
  • 40gr plain flour
  • 90gr spelt couscous
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Almond flakes to garnish, optional

For the syrup:

  • 50ml water
  • 50ml fresh orange juice
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4 tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the olive oil, juice, marmalade, Amaretto and eggs until the marmalade is semi-dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut, sugar, flour, couscous and baking powder. Add these to the wet and mix well until combined.
  3. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment. Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
  4. Near the end of the baking time, place the syrup ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce slightly until it gets syrupy. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour one third of the syrup over the cake. Wait 5 minutes and pour over another third of the syrup. Wait another 5 minutes and pour over the remaining syrup. Let the cake cool down slightly in the tin before removing from the tin. Scatter some almond flakes over the top, if you wish.