indian

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I’m off to Rome! The Pope better be warned.

Published September 7, 2013 by The Feminist

Remember when I told you a couple of months ago that I had booked a trip to Rome? (For those of you who suffer from early Alzheimer’s or just have a really short-term memory: read it again here)

Well, it’s all happening tomorrow morning. Finally. My suitcase is packed (I’ve left some room for “new acquisitions”)and my stomach is empty (I’ve left some room for the delicious Roman food).

I’m so nervous and excited I think I’m about to explode!

Here is a short summary of all the things I want to do/ will probably end up doing:

Sightseeing (duh, I’m in Rome!)

roman city

Eating gelato (duh, I’m in Rome!)

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Dancing with handsome Italian strangers (duh, I’m in Rome!)

roman dance

Making indecent proposals (du… I’m sure you get it by now!)

roman holiday undressed

Of course that means you will have to miss me for a couple of days…

the horror

I know, I’m so sorry.

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But please don’t let my absence get you down! You will survive!

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Still worried? Here’s a little something that will cheer you up and bring comfort in times of sorrow: A garam massala roasted butternut squash stuffed with spicy, velvety dal! This dish doesn’t just look really cool, it’s also the ultimate me-time-deserving form of deliciousness! And you know what’s so special about the dal? It was made with pumpkin soup! Yes, you’ve read that correctly, pumpkin soup! Tell me something: what’ s the best thing about a dal? The velvety texture. What’s the best thing about pumpkin soup? The velvety texture. So putting these things together creates the most mouth-wateringly, mind-blowingly extravagant array of velvetiness!

You’re welcome 😉

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Ingredients
• One butternut squash (cut off the bottom part, since this will make the “bowl” for the dal. Peel it and hollow it out. Use the remaining top part of the butternut for the soup, see below)
• 65gr yellow lentils
• 1 tsp garam massala
• ¼ tsp mustard seeds
• ¼ tsp fenugreek
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• 2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
• 1 clove of garlic, grated
• 1 large chilli pepper, finely chopped
• 1 tsp turmeric

For the butternut soup (I’ve made an incredibly spicy and fragrant soup from the remaining butternut squash and used some of the soup as the base for my dal and the rest can be kept in the fridge and eaten some other time 😉 )

• 1 large onion, roughly chopped
• ½ red pepper, roughly chopped
• 1 tbsp turmeric
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• 1 tbsp garam massala
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• 1l vegetable stock

Method:
1. Make the soup. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot and sautee the onion with the spices. Add the chopped butternut squash and red pepper.
2. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to the boil.
3. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender.
4. Mix everything together until you get a smooth slightly thick and velvety texture. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Rub the bottom part of the butternut with the garam massala and some oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 20-30 minutes until the butternut is cooked through and soft.
6. Add a tablespoon of oil in sauce pan and add the spices. Fry until the spices become fragrant. Stir in the garlic and chilli.
7. Add the lentils and 200ml of the butternut soup. Bring to the boil and let is simmer on a low heat for 30-40 minutes. Add a bit more soup (or a splash of water) along the way if necessary.
8. Spoon the dal inside the butternut bowl and top with freshly chopped spring onion and nigella seeds.

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Convert a carnivore & Save the planet: Anything is possible with these vegan dishes!

Published April 23, 2013 by The Feminist

I know that there are a lot of people who still have an inexplicable lack of faith in vegetarian dishes. For some insane reason they seem to think that “no meat” equals “no flavour”. They worry about whether it will be nutritious or filling enough. If you so much as mention you’re going to cook vegan, you can see the look of pure horror on their faces.
I think those people are idiots. Seriously, it really pisses me off how so many people can still be so ignorant! In sharp contrast to every carnivore’s assumption, vegetarian and vegan food equals versatility. You’re not bound by the “I have to use meat” rule, meaning that you can be as bold and as crazy in the kitchen as you like! You will discover a whole range of new ingredients and new flavour combinations that will simply blow your socks off. A marriage of tastes and textures you wouldn’t have thought possible…
The following two vegan dishes may sound very strange to carnivores (or as I like to cool them, ignorant morons 😉 ) But I can assure you, once they will have tasted this, they will be back for more! These recipes are so cool, interesting and –above all- delicious that they will absolutely forget meat ever existed!
However, let’s not be naïve. Serving these vegan dishes to your carnivore friends won’t suddenly turn them into vegetarians or vegans as well. But it will make them realize that they can indeed survive without their precious piece of meat or fish. They may even be willing to cut back on their meat consumption and be prepared to cook vegetarian dishes of their own!

More people eating less meat. That is the ultimate goal. And these vegan dishes will help us achieve it!

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Oriental Seitan and Salsify Stir-fry with dried cranberries

I know this may sound like a really really really odd combination, but I am actually incredibly proud of this dish! I love salsify but I wanted to do something completely different with it ( so not the usual salsify in béchamel sauce). I wanted to create something new and vibrant. I honestly have NO  idea why I suddenly thought dried cranberries would do the trick – but hey- who am I to question my own brilliance? This dish is packed full of flavour and all its different textures marry together like a culinary harmony. The juiciness of the seitan, the earthiness of the salsify, the sweet-sour fruitiness of the cranberries, the crunch of the nuts and seeds and that gorgeous blend of spices and fragrant coriander… it almost sounds poetic!

Ingredients (serves 1):

• 100gr seitan, cut into small chunks
• 200gr salsify, I used the canned pre-cooked ones, but if you the courage to tackle that annoyingly sticky root vegetable by yourself, be my guest
• Handful of dried cranberries
• Handful of nuts and seeds
• Handful of chopped coriander
• Juice of half an orange
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 2tsp curry powder
• 3 pieces of candied ginger (in syrup) , finely chopped
Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and fry the seitan chunks until they’re golden browns and crisp.
2. Add the drained salsify and the spices and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the cranberries, ginger, nuts and seeds and the orange juice to create a wonderful sticky gravy.
4. Stir in the chopped coriander et voila! : A speedy, wonderfully nutritious and healthy dinner!

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Tomato and pea curry with coconut and coriander risotto
This is fusion cooking at its best. Indian meets Italian, or as I like to call it: Italindian. The sharpness of the tomatoes blends incredibly well with the sweetness of the peas. The hot and spicy kick of the fragrant curry and the rich creaminess of the risotto create the perfect symphony of flavours. This is simply a must for everyone who loves a classic Indian curry or a traditional Italian risotto. It’s the best of both worlds, but with an edgy twist!
Ingredients(serves 4)
For the curry:
• 500gr cherry tomatoes, halved
• 500gr frozen peas
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 500ml of passata
• 1tsp chilli powder
• 1 ½ tbsp garam massala
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp turmeric
For the risotto:
• 320gr risotto rice
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 400ml coconut milk
• 400ml vegetable stock
• Lots of fresh coriander
Method
1. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wide casserole or pan that comes with a lid, and add the chopped onions, garlic and all the spices, stirring frequently as you cook them over a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomato passata and the brown sugar and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes so that all the spices can infuse the tomato sauce.
3. Add the peas and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary and cook for a further 10 minutes.
4. For the risotto, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until all the grains of rice have a nice oily coating.
5. Add a ladle full of the stock to the pan and stir well. Cook until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed and then add another ladleful of the stock. Do the same with the coconut cream, this will give the risotto the most wonderfully rich texture.
6. When the rice is cooked, stir through the chopped coriander.

London Part Two: The Food

Published February 9, 2013 by The Feminist

In my opinion, London is the most exciting place on the planet when you consider yourself a foodie.

Why?
1. It has the best exotic, Asian or Indian restaurants in Europe!
2. Londoners have a sweet tooth and they prefer their cakes BIG and HEAVY instead of dainty and light!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that simply because of these two reasons London is my idea of food heaven!

During those three short days of pure heaven I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of food ranging from “pretty damn good” to “blooming brilliant”.

Here are the dishes that truly wowed me:

• A raw vegetable, apple, blue cheese and walnut salad: I wasn’t expecting this salad to be this good but I can honestly say that without a doubt this was the BEST SALAD I have ever tasted! EVER! (@ Electric Diner on Portobello Road)

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• A Mediterranean mezze with hummus, tabouleh, tzatziki, falafel, stuffed filo pastry with goat’s cheese and spinach, chicken casserole, lamb casserole, aubergine salsa, Kisir ( a wonderful salad of bulgur wheat, herbs and walnuts!) and many other dishes! (@ Troia near London Eye)

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• Korean BBQ (@ Myung Ga near Regent Street): I normally try not to eat meat but SWEET BABY JESUS this was simply too good to resist! The lovely sweet, marinated chicken, pork and beef were delicious together with the noodles, kimchi and sweet and sour spring onions.

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• Coffee and walnut layer cake @ Selfridge’s: This was a gigantic slice of cake and it was to die for! The tearoom on the ground floor of Selfridge’s is pretty decadent and upper-class , hence the high prices, but it was worth every penny!

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• Amai Udon, duck gyoza and ebi gyoza (@ Wagamama on Earl’s Court): Don’t you just love Wagamama??!! We were in a hurry to catch our train back to Belgium so we didn’t have a lot of time, but that doesn’t mean we ate at KFC or McDonalds! Wagamama, with its very healthy and nutricious fast food, is the best restaurant on the planet if you want to get a quick and super yummy meal!

amai udon

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• Raspberry Cheesecake brownie (@ Hummingbird Bakery on Old Brompton Road) : I have all the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbooks (which I consider the BEST cookbooks on the planet. And I mean it!) so you can imagine how excited I was to finally taste a cake that was made in the bakery itself! Needless to say it was delicious, just look at the picture below:

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