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Same Ingredients, Different Dish: Cooking with Aubergine, Feta, Dill and Pomegranate

Published December 14, 2014 by The Feminist

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Many of my single friends have often told me that the most annoying thing about being single is the fact that you have to cook one-person meals.

“This may sound strange, but sometimes I have these moments when I really want to eat cauliflower. I love cauliflower. And yet, I never buy it. Because no matter how much I love cauliflower, I sure as hell don’t want eat it all week.”

Friend X is right. As a single woman, you often shy away from buying ingredients that are too big to eat in one meal (or in  case of the cauliflower: ingredients that are the size of your own head.). Nobody wants to eat cheesy cauliflower 4 days in a row. That’s just sad.

The problem here is that most of my single friends (no offence, ladies) don’t realize the potential culinary goldmine that comes with cooking for “just you”. It is not because you have bought a cauliflower that you have to eat the same dish every day. You’ve got to experiment! Be creative! Because apart from the traditional cauliflower coated in a thick cheese sauce, you can make a cauliflower and chickpea curry, miso-glazed BBQ cauliflower or a cauliflower, herb and freekeh salad. Yes, you will be eating cauliflower 4 days in a row, but trust me: when you do it like this, you won’t even mind! (Plus: it is also really good for you budget!)

So, this week I went to the supermarket and bought a “family pack” of feta cheese (sometimes supermarkets are just cruel), a pomegranate, a huge pot of fresh dill and 3 aubergines (because I am one of those crazy people who gets seduced by phrases such as “buy 2, get the 3rd one for free!” )

Needless to say, I had to be creative. And man, my culinary mastermind did not disappoint, because these 2 dishes were amazeballs.

In fact, they were so incredibly delicious that I suddenly realized that with a couple of fancy tweeks, these 2 dishes can become real showstoppers at the Christmas table!

Moroccan-spiced aubergine soup with feta, dill and pomegranate

The warmth of the heavenly spiced soup works really well with the tanginess of the cheese, the sweet and juicy pomegranate and the fresh dill.

This soup would also be a great starter for a Christmas dinner. Just serve some homemade flat bread with it or serve it as part of an aubergine trio, which could include baba ganoush (with some sesame crackers) and tempura aubergine slices.

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Ingredients (2-3):

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of sumac
  • 300gr feta cheese
  • Lots of fresh dill
  • Seeds of ½ pomegranate
  • Vegetable stock

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C. Score the aubergine with a knife in a few places and place on a baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn them around every 15 minutes or so.
  2. Remove the aubergines from the heat and allow to cool slightly before cutting them open and scooping out the soft flesh. Put aside.
  3. Meanwhile make your soup by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and adding the shallot, garlic and spices. Add the chopped tomato and 500ml of vegetable stock. Stir in the harissa paste.
  4. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add the aubergine flesh and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Blitz the soup to a smooth liquid with a hand-held blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a sprinkling of sumac.
  5. Before serving, put some feta, dill and pomegranate into your hot plate of soup.

Roasted aubergine “chips” with fried eggs, feta, dill and pomegranate

This is like a modern, exotic and healthy version of “eggs and soldiers”. Do note that the aubergine chips aren’t supposed to be crisp like normal fries. On the contrary, they are supposed to be soft in the middle and all lovely and roasted on the outside.

If you would like to serve this as a starter for Christmas, replace the fried eggs with fancy poached ones and serve it in a mini tagine with some homemade flat bread.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 aubergine, cut into thick chips
  • 150gr feta cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Fresh dill
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of sumac
  • Pinch of pink pepper corns
  • ½ tsp za’atar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine fries for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and ginger.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Take the dish out of the oven and crumble the feta cheese over the top and finish with a sprinkling of za’atar. Put in the oven for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile fry the eggs. Put the fried eggs on top of your aubergine soldiers and feta cheese and season with sumac and pink pepper corns.
  5. Finally, scatter some pomegranate seeds and fresh dill over the top. Delish!

7 not so traditional ways to prepare yourself for Christmas

Published November 27, 2014 by The Feminist

Now that we have had Halloween and Thanksgiving, we can start to look forward to the most festive of holidays: Christmas

There are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for Christmas – like buying presents, decorating your house and listening to Mariah Carey’s notorious earworm- but I decided to look past the clichés (well, sort of anyway) and give you a list of all the other not so traditional ways to get ready for the Holidays.

  • Dance around the house in your PJ’s

I’m not sure why this reminds of Christmas, actually. Maybe it’s the PJ’s. Maybe it’s the dancing. Maybe it’s both. I just know that if you spend half an hour dancing like a complete and utter doofus, suddenly the entire Christmas season will not seem so crazy after all.

Plus: it is just so much fun! You should try it, dear readers

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  • Drink hot chocolate, red wine and eggnog

Maybe it is not advisable to drink all of the above at once– because throwing up in a bucket is anything but a great way to kick off the X-mas season – but if you want to, I’m not going to stop you. Just Let me know how it turns out.

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  • Light your house with a thousand candles

Okay, so maybe this is one of those Christmas clichés, but there is simply no getting around it. Because everything starts with candles! It creates warmth, encourages love and friendship and if you opt for the scented version your house will smell heavenly too.

  • Watch this video of a cute dog wearing a teddy bear costume and running on a treadmill

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. A dog. Dressed as a teddy bear. Doing a workout. On a treadmill.

Why would I want to watch it, you ask? Well, cuz it’s darn awesome! But also because watching this video has a very therapeutic effect on body and soul.

First of all, try watching this without starting to oooh and aaaah because of the dog’s insane cuteness. Seriously, watching this has suddenly made me want to throw a pre-Christmas My Little Pony-themed slumber party.

I wish I were joking, but I’m not.

Secondly, this cute dog might actually inspire you to wear an animal costume as well. Just for fun. (Admit it! I know you want to!)

And finally, this dog will make you feel so f***ing lazy –because you’re watching this from behind your laptop whilst wearing sweatpants and eating Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream – which will hopefully encourage you to hit the gym more often to prevent having to buy gigantic holiday pants.

  • Do Burpees

This one is closely linked to the previous item on the list. If you want to avoid those holiday love handles, you have to start now! So come on, do those burpees! Yes, I’m aware that they are absolutely awful. They are absolutely terrifying. But will they have an effect? Absofuckinglutely.

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  • Listen to Frank Sinatra

Since it is not even December yet, some people may consider it to be a bit early to start listening to Wham or Ricky Martin Christmas songs. Not to mention singing along to Christmas carols! That is why I suggest you start getting into a Christmas mood by listening to dear oll’ Frank. Mister Sinatra is able to recreate that lovely, cozy Christmassy atmosphere without actually having to use words such as “Christmas tree” or “Santa”.

  • Make soup

Although there is no direct correlation between soup and Christmas, stirring in a large pot of soup makes me feel all fuzzy and warm inside, just like Christmas does. These past couple of weeks I’ve gone all out on the soup front. I’ve made some exotic Garam masala and coconut pumpkin soup with peanut butter. I’ve made Russian beetroot soup with pink peppercorns and vodka (yessss) and yesterday, I conjured up some insane turnip and saffron soup with harrissa roasted pecans.

Sigh.

Needless to say that I couldn’t be in a better mood. A soupy state of mind truly is the best way to roll into the Christmas season.

So these are my seven weird ways to get into a Christmas spirit. What are yours?

Heartwarming Hodgepodge: Two Wonderfully Jumbled Vegan Dishes

Published November 15, 2014 by The Feminist

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I don’t mean to bulldoze you with my culinary brilliance- but damn!- these two dishes were just so unexpectedly delicious that it is simply impossible not to turn into an annoying show-off.

The ingredients I used in these dishes do not seem to belong together on one plate, but for some odd reason – call it being a culinary wizard- they do match together wonderfully. These dishes are a bit like the edible equivalent of going on a Tinder date, where you  start the evening with zero expectations, but then -BOOM!- your date turns out to be really hot so eventually you end up kissing under the lamppost around midnight.

What I’m trying to say is this: these dishes are unexpectedly magical!

Kamut Couscous and Coconut Porridge with Garam Masala-spiced Beetroot and Mint Chermoula

I know. Simply reading this title is just too mind-boggling to comprehend. But let me explain it a bit more into detail, in order for you to understand its utter yumminess. Hearty Kamut couscous simmered in delicate coconut milk to create a heavenly savory porridge. This comforting porridge is served with beetroot and apple, subtly spiced with garam masala and lime. And this whole dish is finished with a generous serving of fragrant mint chermoula.

kamut

Ingredients (serves 1):

For the porridge:

  • 80gr kamut couscous
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes

For the beetroot and apple:

  • ½ apple, diced
  • 2 beetroots, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Juice of half a lime

For the mint chermoula:

  • Half a clove of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • Lots of fresh mint
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Make the chermoula by mixing all the ingredients together in a blender until you get a pesto-like consistency and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Blanche the beetroot in a pan, drain and put together in a bowl with the apple, the spices, salt and pepper and lime.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, nigella seeds and chili. Fry for a minute until fragrant. Pour in the couscous. Stir and pour the coconut milk over the top. Add 100ml of water as well. Bring to a gentle simmer and let the couscous absorb the moisture. Season with salt. The couscous should have a “porridgy” consistency, so if it gets to dry, add some more coconut milk.
  4. Serve the coucous and coconut porridge with the spiced beetroot and apple mix and drizzle the chermoula over the top.

Saffron and Harissa Soup with Bulgur, Kale and Jerusalem Artichokes

This is a healthy one-pot wonder! The kale and Jerusalem artichokes give this soup a very autumn-y feel, the bulgur makes it extra comforting and the aromatic fragrance of the saffron and the spiciness of the harissa will fill your heart with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

soup

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 pieces of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Handful of raisins
  • 3 tbsp bulgur wheat
  • ½ tsp harissa
  • ¼ tsp saffron powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • Fresh mint (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and add the kale and Jerusalem artichokes. Let it fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the spices, harissa and raisins and cover with vegetable stock.
  3. Let it simmer for 10 minutes before adding the bulgur and the honey. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes until everything is soft.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and let is simmer for just a couple more minutes and taste. Season with more salt, pepper or a bit more honey if necessary.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh mint.

Vegetarian Hustle

Published January 21, 2014 by The Feminist

hustle

Did I just make a not so subtle reference to the most hyped and award-deserving movie of the moment? Whatever. Just humour me for a second here, because just like American Hustle, this post is an explosion of fun and great acting skills.

I would like you to meet the Bradley Cooper of Veggie World:

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Moroccan Aubergine and Harissa Soup with Marinated Seitan

Whereas Bradley Cooper’s character Richie DiMaso relies on his curlers to make him sexier, this soup doesn’t need any embellishments. It stands on its own.  The smooth and comforting texture of the aubergine is a match made in heaven with the exotic blend of spices. Add to that some zingy and sharp seitan croutons and you’ll understand why this soup does not require a perm to make a lasting impression.

bradley

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • 250ml vegetable stock

For the marinated seitan:

  • 100gr seitan, cut into chunks
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp harissa

Method:

  1. Put the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl and toss in the seitan. Marinade for at least one hour.
  2. Fry the seitan dices until crunchy and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile make the soup. Put the aubergine under a hot grill for about 40 minutes. Turn it around every 10 minutes. Remove the aubergine from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut an opening along the aubergine and scoop out the soft flesh. Discard the skin.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauce pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomato puree, harissa and spices and cook for another minute before adding the stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer the scooped aubergine flesh to the soup and blitz to a smooth liquid. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Serve hot, with the crunchy seitan on top and garnish with some extra sesame seeds and spring onions, if you like.

Now on to the Amy Adams of light meals:

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Cauliflower Frittata with Feta Cheese

Just like Amy Adams’ cleavage in American Hustle, this frittata is anything but subtle. Boldly spiced cauliflower, smooth and creamy eggs and punchy feta cheese: it doesn’t take much to understand that this ambitious lunch doesn’t need a British accent to seduce every man on her path.

amy hustle

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4-6 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Bunch of fresh parsley
  • Bunch of chives
  • 200gr feta cheese, cut into chunks
  • 9 eggs
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Blanche the potatoes and cauliflower florets until just al dente.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the spices. Toss the vegetables in the spicy oil and fry for a couple of minutes. Put the vegetables on the bottom of a round baking tin.
  4. Whisk together the eggs and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley and chives.
  5. Pour the egg batter on top of the vegetables and scatter the feta chunks on top. Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

For the grand finale we go to the Jennifer Lawrence of vegetarian patties:

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Spicy Kidney Bean Burgers with Herby Cauliflower Bulgur

In contrast to Jennifer’s character Rosalyn, I have to admit that this dish is anything but the”Picasso of passive-aggressive karate” but more of a “Dali of otherworldly extravagance”. Crunchy burgers served with refreshing homemade Tzatziki  and accompanied by fragrant bulgur with roasted cauliflower: completely bonkers but definitely Oscar-winning material!

jennifer-lawrence-hustle-thankgod

And with a bit of imagination the dish resembles Jennifer’s exploded hairdo.

Ingredients (serves 1)

For the burgers:

  • 200gr kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ chili
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp coriander stalks
  • 2 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1 egg
  • Corn flour

For the Bulgur:

  • 60gr bulgur wheat
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 2  tbsp mint
  • ½ tbsp za’atar
  • ¼ cauliflower , cut into florets

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Blitz all the ingredients for the burgers together, except for the corn flour, egg and sesame seeds. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Make small patties out of the bean mix and roll them in corn flour. (The patties will be very fragile so be careful) Put them on a baking tray and brush them with beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
  2. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry the cauliflower until just cooked. Stir through the za’atar.
  4. Cook the bulgur according to the instructions on the packet and stir in the cooked cauliflower and fresh herbs.
  5. Serve the patties with the bulgur and a generous serving of tzatziki

No need for kneading: No fuss sundried tomato whole-wheat loaf

Published August 31, 2013 by The Feminist

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I have a confession to make, dear readers: I’ve never baked bread. (*gasp*)

There. It’s out.

The fact that I haven’t so much as touched yeast must be terrifying for you all (for which I’m terribly sorry. Please take a deep breath). I’ve been bombarding you with delicious cakes and super sweet desserts ever since I gave birth to my precious little blog here, and I do consider myself a bit of a cake snob (My sarcastic remarks thrown at some of the Great British Bake Off contestants- when they for instance accidently put in salt instead of sugar- are Oscar-winning, Pulitzer-prize-deserving material) but when it comes to bread… nothing.

In fact, The Bake Off’s “Bread Week” is probably the only time when I’m not yelling at the telly and just staring in utter amazement- and fright!- at the screen. The whole process just seems so incredibly daunting: the kneading, the proofing, the baking,… So many things can go wrong and I’m simply too scared to spend hours and hours of my time to try to bake something that will eventually turn out to be one big failure.
Lately, however, I’ve been haunted by the image of Paul Hollywood in my head. I can literally see him with a very harsh and judgy look on his face, his eyebrows menacingly high on his forehead. I can hear him tutting.

“You’ve never baked bread?” Tut.

“Not even an easy white bread?” Tut.

“Cinnamon buns?” Tut tut tut.

With his disapproving look engraved in my mind, I decided to do something about it. I baked bread!

Well, sort of, anyway. (I thought it would be advisable to take baby steps first, before attempting a, let’s say, Eight-strand plaited loaf.) This bread contains no yeast (Why does yeast creep me out so much??), hence requires no proofing whatsoever (hurrah!), and hardly any kneading (double hurrah!).

It tasted heavenly! The Mediterranean flavour of the sundried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic added a summery touch to a very butchy and filling whole-wheat loaf and the entire baking experience wasn’t frightening at all! So maybe, when I have some spare time (and feel like I can concur the world!) I might even attempt baking a “real” loaf of bread! With Yeast!

Not tutting now, are you Mr. Hollywood? 😉

This very yummy Italian-inspired bread was served alongside an incredibly healthy and flavoursome Summer Minestrone with homemade pesto. It simply was the perfect meal in every possible way!

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For the sundried tomato whole-wheat loaf
• 100gr sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
• 2 eggs
• 150gr coarse whole-wheat flour
• 225gr strong white bread flour, sifted
• ½ tbsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp, fresh rosemary, finely chopped (plus some extra for the top)
• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
• ½ tsp ground pepper
• ½ tbsp coarse sea salt (plus some extra for the top)
• 75ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 1,5 dl milk
• 1 tbsp honey

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a loaf tin with olive oil.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together.
3. In a separate jug, mix together the eggs, olive oil, milk and honey.
4. Mix the chopped sundried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic into the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid in and mix on a slow speed until well incorporated.
5. Spoon the dough into the loaf tin and sprinkle some extra sea salt and rosemary sprigs over the top of the unbaked loaf.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean of dough. Allow to cool before serving.

For the Summer Minestrone:
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 yellow courgette, finely diced
• 1 green courgette, finely diced
• 1 romanesco, cut into florets
• 1 can of chickpeas
• 2 bay leafs
• Pinch of chilli flakes
• 2 l vegetable stock
• ½ tbsp dried oregano
• 3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
• Homemade pesto, to garnish

Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the romanesco florets and cook for a few minutes more.
2. Add the stock, oregano, chilli flakes and bay leaf. Let it simmer on a low heat for about 5-10 minutes before adding the courgette dices.
3. Add the courgettes and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas, heat through and season with salt and pepper.
5. Right before serving, stir through the finely chopped basil to give the soup a bright green colour.
6. Serve the soup with a good dollop of pesto and the notorious sundried tomato bread.

Two Chill Days, Two Chilli Dishes

Published July 5, 2013 by The Feminist

It must be some strange and relatively weak form of masochism. How else could you possibly explain my love for chillies? They burn your tongue (sometimes even your entire throat), make your eyes water like the Niagara falls and they can break you out into a sweat so intense, you’d think you were sitting in a Scandinavian sauna.

Yes, a lot of my friends declare me utterly crazy for adding so many chillies to my food. “Do you like torturing yourself?”, they keep asking.

Let me tell you something, dear readers. Those people who truly think chillies only bring pain are wrong, and they have definitely not tasted the chilli dishes I like cooking for myself. Yes, they are hot. Yes, they make your tongue sing with a fiery passion. But they are aromatic and fragrant as well! They boost your spirit and lift you up to a foodie heaven!

Now that my exams are finished (and I can proudly call myself “Master in Multilingual Communications”, fancy huh?) I finally have some time for me, myself and I.

Meaning: I snuggled in front of the TV with Mad Men and Game of Thrones and my best friends Ben&Jerry. For the first time in weeks, I was completely relaxed.

However, to spice up the comforting coziness of two days at home in front of the TV, I thought it was suitable to conjure up some ultimate spicy dishes. A chilli overload to contrast the mellow mood I was in! (And also because I was coming down with something, and I had high hopes that large quantities of chilli would tackle a lurking influenza 😉 )

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Sticky marinated Tofu with Spicy noodle stir-fry

Spicy like hell. Fragrant like heaven. Comforting like home. What more could you possibly desire?

Ingredients (serves 4)
• 500gr of firm tofu
• 250gr of rice noodles
• Mix of vegetables
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 3cm piece of ginger, grated
• 1 large chilli, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• 5 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp tropical fruit juice
• 1 tbsp peanut butter
• 1 tbsp ketchup

For the tofu marinade:
• 5 cloves of garlic, minced
• 5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
• 1 large chilli, finely chopped
• 3 tbsp mirin
• 3 tbsp honey
• 5 tbsp soy sauce

Method:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. Cut the tofu in 0,5cm slices and add them to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. (This way, your tofu will never ever ever taste bland!)
2. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and add the tofu slices. Let them caramelize for 3 minutes on each side.
3. Cook your noodles according to packet instructions. Drain and put the cooked noodles in a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process and to stop the noodles from clinging together.
4. Add all the other ingredients (except the vegetables) together to create a lovely sauce.
5. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large wok and add the vegetables. Stir fry them on high heat for a couple of minutes.
6. Stir through the cooked noodles and add the fragrant and spicy sauce. Season to taste if necessary.
7. Serve your spicy noodles with your sticky, sweet and spicy tofu slices.

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Sweet and Sour Chickpea Curry soup

It may not be the right time of year to enjoy a good bowl of steaming soup, but I was feeling a bit under the weather the other day, so what better way to kill all those nasty bacteria than be drinking some healthy soup? (and it’s a much tastier and vegan alternative for your ordinary chicken soup!) Besides, the lovely combination of sweet and sour will make you want to serve this soup all year round, even when there’s a heat wave coming!

Ingredients (serves 1)
• One hand of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
• 1 onion, sliced
• ½ red pepper, finely chopped
• 3cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
• ½ larg chilli, finely chopped
• Handful of raisins and sultanas
• 1,5dl tropical fruit juice
• 1 dl water
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 2tbsp garam massala
• ½ tsp asafetida
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• Fresh cheese (I used feta cheese, which sounds strange because it’s an Asian dish, but it worked really well and it’s what I had lying around in the fridge 😉 always try to use up those left-overs!)
• Fresh mint

Method:
1. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a small sauce pan and add the onion, ginger and chilli. Sauté until the onions become slightly translucent. Add all the spices and stir well.
2. Stir in the chickpeas and cover with tropical juice and water. Bring to the boil.
3. Put the lid on and let it simmer for half an hour.
4. Add the raisins and red pepper and season to taste. Let it simmer for another half an hour until the chickpeas are cooked through.
5. Serve your soup with some salty fresh cheese to cool down the zingy heat of the soup.

Pumpkins here, pumpkins there, pumpkins everywhere!

Published October 24, 2012 by The Feminist

The autumn coziness is PUMPKIN-ly, the clouds look PUMPKIN-like and I’m feeling quite PUMPKIN-ish!
Guess what? This post is about pumpkins and nothing but pumpkins! Simply because I love everything about this magnificent orange squash: Rough on the outside and soft in the middle. It not only tastes delicious, you can also turn it into a carriage to take you to the ball!…Oh wait, maybe that was just the fairy godmother from Cinderella 😉
Pumpkins are so versatile! So for heaven’s sake: STOP USING THEM AS DECORATION! Oh, and by the way, there’s more to pumpkins than just pumpkin soup and pie, you know.
Here is a (not so) brief list of the delicious pumpkin dishes:
• Pumpkin risotto: Add sage if you want to keep it traditional, or add cumin, curry powder and coconut milk to give the dish an Indian twist
• Pumpkin curry: pumpkin goes so well with spices, so be generous with the ginger and chili.
• Pumpkin tajine: lovely with dried dates or cranberries, chicken and chickpeas
• Pumpkin ravioli: an Italian classic!
• Pumpkin pasta with blue cheese and pine nuts: I could eat this every day!
• Pumpkin and potato gratin: a perfect winter dish for a cold winter day
• Pumpkin soufflé: for those who like a bit of a challenge
• Pumpkin stuffed with wild rice, nuts and dried fruits: need I say more?
• Pumpkin hummus: lovely with a good pinch of cumin and garam massala powder
• …

Are you starting to feel a bit hungry? I haven’t even mentioned the desserts yet!
• Pumpkin cheesecake: with a marble effect!
• Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and candied ginger: heaven on earth in one little cup!
• Pumpkin and coconut pancakes: though traditionally for breakfast, I can eat them all day long!
• Pumpkin strudel with pecans: an American twist on a German classic
• Pumpkin , rum and raisin ice cream: simply sublime
• Pumpkin chocolate chip scones: it will be hard not to eat them all at once
• Pumpkin and chocolate shortbread: sticky and sweet, just how I like it!
• Pumpkin and cinnamon rolls: another match made in heaven
• …

I could go on forever, but I’m starting to drool all over my keyboard 😉