vegan

All posts tagged vegan

Don’t Forget: Fashion, Food & Flirts is More Than Meatless Now!

Published April 4, 2015 by The Feminist

I know, I know, I don’t mean to spam you all with my new website, but you can hardly call it spamming when the website is as awesome as mine, right? 😉 Anyway, please visit http://morethanmeatless.com/ for lots of new recipes and tips and tricks!

For example:

This mushroom tempura dish was absolute HEAVEN!

Or why not read up on how to make the best tofu dishes?

Or read one of my very first portrets of a veggie friend?

See?

So many new things to discover!

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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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The Best (Vegan) Chocolate Cake… with Cassis Liqueur

Published March 17, 2015 by The Feminist

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I know that this is a rather bold statement to make, but trust me on this one: THIS. IS. THE. BEST.

Seriously, if you would serve this chocolate cake to a vigorous, I-would-rather-have-a-large-ecological-footprint-than-ever-eat-anything-vegan Dumbass, he would eat it all up, because you really cannot tell that this cake is entirely dairy-free and vegan.

it is unctuous, moist, scrummy in your tummy, delicious!

Add to that some gorgeous Cassis Liqueur, which I drizzled over the top of the cake and you just know that this cake couldn’t be anything other than sheer perfection.

PS: if you’ve been wondering why Fashion, Food & Flirts has been so absent these past couple of weeks, please rest assured, because everything will explain itself shortly! I’ve been working on a brand new concept/project, which I will share with y’all soon! So bear with, dear readers. Bear with!

Ingredients:

  • 150gr flour
  • 175gr sugar
  • 35gr cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp blueberry jam
  • 200ml water
  • 2 tbsp Cassis liqueur, plus 3 extra to drizzle over the top
  • 50ml vegetable oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together.

2. Add the water and oil and mix well. Stir in 2tbsp of jam and liqueur.

3. Pour the batter into a brownie tin and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

4. Once it comes out of the oven, drizzle some extra Cassis liqueur over the top and let it soak up all the moisture before removing from the tin.

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

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.

chilli

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.

The January Cleanse: Re-Energize After the Holidays With These Healthylicious Recipes!

Published January 7, 2015 by The Feminist

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New Year’s resolutions. Almost everyone makes them, either consciously or unconsciously. Some people make strict and detailed lists of what they want to achieve and in which timeframe they want to achieve it in (e.g. “By July 9th at 8.34 pm. I want to be able to recite Shakespeare’s Hamlet as perfectly as an Ian McKellan on steroids.” *). Others make vague –yet equally important- mental notes of what they’d like to improve (e.g. “Damn girl, you should stop worrying so much!”**).

Whichever end of the spectrum you verge towards, one of these resolutions might possibly have something to do with living and eating healthier. Especially after such an overabundance of food and alcohol (jeeez, the alcohol!) during the Holiday season.

So yes, it would actually do both your mind and body good to take it back a notch this January. This means: less fat, sugar and alcohol, but just as much –or even more!- flavour!

The following recipes are ideal for your January cleanse! They are healthy –containing lots of vitamins and “healthy fats” ( say yeah to Mr. Avocado!)- but are also incredibly delicious.

What better way to kick off the new year could you possibly wish for?

*said no one ever, but you get my drift.

**this one would actually by far more important than the very detailed, yet quite useless knowledge of Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

Baked Sweet Potato with Chunky Guacamole

Healthy, hearty and little bit naughty… these stuffed potatoes have it all!

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 2 sweet potatoes (small to medium), washed but skin still intact
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 sticks of manchego cheese
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red chilli, finely sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Coat the potatoes in a little olive oil and salt and bake in the oven for 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the size, until tender.
  2. Remove from the oven and make an incision in the potatoes and put the manchego cheese in it (it will start to melt all gorgeously!). Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Make your guacamole by mashing together the avocado with some salt, pepper, cumin and lime juice. Stir in the red chilli and lots of coriander and finally stir through the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Put the guacamole inside the sweet potatoes (on top of that lovely melted cheese!) and dig in!

Freekeh Risotto with Green Asparagus and Goat’s Yoghurt

This nutritious risotto is made with the rich-in-fibre freekeh, which nutty flavour marries beautifully with the asparagus and pungent yoghurt.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 80gr freekeh
  • 200gr green asparagus, cleaned
  • Lots of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp goat’s yoghurt
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Sprinkling of hemp seeds

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and freekeh. Stir for a couple of minutes and add vegetable stock, a little bit at a time, stirring continuously so that the freekeh can absorb the liquid.
  2. After 15 minutes, stir through the roughly chopped small green asparagus and add some more stock. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes until the freekeh is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in the goat’s yoghurt and fresh basil and finish with a sprinkling of hemp seeds.

Poached Eggs with Cucumber, Guacamole Salsa and Brown Shrimps

Avocados truly are a wonderful and healthy alternative to those creepy animal fats. Served with some fab poached eggs, crunchy cucumber and salty shrimps, you just know you have a winner!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Lots of fresh coriander and dill
  • 1 red chili
  • 1/3 cucumber: peeled, seeds removed and cut into fine chunks
  • 1 large tomato, deseeded and diced
  • Pinch of cumin
  • 100gr brown shrimps

Method:

  1. Make the guacamole by mixing together the avocado, cumin, salt, pepper, lime, chilli and coriander. It should still be quite chunky. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cucumber. The guacamole should almost look like a salad.
  2. Poach the eggs.
  3. Serve the poached eggs on top of the guacamole salsa and top with lots of brown shrimps, coriander, dill and some finely sliced chilli.

Fruity Ginger and Lentil Curry with Fresh Mango

Trust me: this is the freshest, cleanest, fruitiest curry you will have ever tasted! Plus, it is not only great for your body, this wonderful oozy dish of pure comfort food does wonders for your soul as well!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 shallots
  • 1 5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 handful of yellow lentils
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 80gr fresh pineapple
  • 150gr fresh mango
  • Fresh coriander
  • Sesame seeds

Method :

  1. In a blender, mix together the ginger, garlic and fresh pineapple with the spices and a generous seasoning of salt.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot and pour in the ginger and pineapple paste. Let it fry on a low heat until it starts to smell heavenly.
  3. Stir in the lentils andshallot and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let it simmer on a low heat until you get an unctuous lentil curry and the lentils are soft.
  4. Before serving, stir in the diced mango and let it heat through.
  5. Serve the fruity curry with fresh coriander and some sesame seeds.

Addictive Appetizers: A Non-Conformist Guide to a Splendid Dinner Party

Published December 27, 2014 by The Feminist

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Appetizers: they are the beating heart of the holiday season. At least in my family they are. Not only do they announce the start of what will turn out to be a memorable Christmas dinner, but more importantly they force family members to gather round the table and gobble down some marvelous food as an act of familial harmony. Believe me, nothing brings a family together like spilling a glass of champagne over your grandma’s skirt or dropping a hot puff pastry canapé down your own cleavage after a (failed) attempt of trying to eat with your fingers as elegantly as possible.

The only problem with appetizers is that you often eat so many of them, you’re already full before the dinner has barely even started. At least, that used to be a problem. Where I come from – and I’m sure many of you will recognize this scenario- traditional appetizers and canapés usually mean lots of cheese, plenty of mini pigs-in-a-blanket and an over-abundance of little toasts and crostini topped with a buttery or mayo-rich spread.

Although these traditional mouthfuls are indeed quite delicious, the high quantity of fat, salt and carbs in them will make you bloat up before you’ve even reached the dinner table. And that is a shame. Surely, you want there to be some room left in your stomach for the big event, a.k.a the main? Or horror, what if you won’t be able to indulge in that fabulous dessert?

Therefore, I decided to do things differently this year and introduced my family to some incredibly delicious but lighter appetizers. Mind you, this is not about trying to create “healthier” appetizers. After all, if there is one day of the year on which you are allowed to indulge in the naughtier of foods, it is most definitely Christmas. No, these appetizers are there to give you the same mouthwatering satisfaction as the traditional ones would, but also make sure you will still have some room left for that devilishly naughty dessert.

So if you’re planning on doing some fancy appetizers for New Year’s Eve, why don’t you add one of these to your wish list? I can guarantee your party will be remembered for years to come! (And this time it won’t be because you managed to douse grandma with a bottle of booze.) Cheers!

Mexican Mango and Kidney Bean Salsa

This refreshing mouthful can be served on individual spoons or on some pretty lettuce leaves. You can add as much chili as you like, and if I were to make this appetizer for me and my friends I would add a bit more fire than this recipe suggests, but since I had to take into account my grandparents and their incapability of eating anything spicy without getting gassy, I was very cautious with the vavavoom heat. But if you like it hot, be my guest to chop in some more!

mango

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, finely diced
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained
  • ½ red chili
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and finely diced
  • ¼ cucumber, finely diced
  • Fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and add just enough lime juice so that the balance of sweet, savory and acidity is just perfect.
  3. Finally, stir in lots of finely chopped coriander.

Cauliflower “Tabbouleh” with Freekeh and Hemp Seeds

Now, before you start thinking I was secretly trying to drug my grandparents: hemp seeds won’t get you high. On the contrary, not only are the seeds an innocent variety of their naughty cousin Cannabis, they are also considered a superfood and are a great source of protein and antioxidants for vegetarians and vegans. Plus, their nutty and savoury flavour make them really yummy too! And a great combo with that lovely toasted aroma of the freekeh. “Freekeh?” I hear you ask. This ancient, Middle Eastern grain with an admittedly funny name is the next big thing in foodie land. Forget quinoa, that’s so 2014. In 2015, everyone will be eating this marvelous fiber-rich super grain. Mark my words!

This cauliflower tabbouleh is anything you could wish for and more. Crunchy, savoury, nutty, fragrant, zingy and a little bit sweet. Heaven!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 100gr freekeh
  • 5 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped dill
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • ½ tps ground cumin
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff)
  • Handful of finely chopped dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Chop the cauliflower really fine, until you get a coucous-like texture.
  2. Cook the freekeh for about 15 minutes in salted water and drain.
  3. Add the cauliflower and freekeh together in a bowl. Add the juice of half a lime and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the chopped cranberries, herbs and hemps seeds.
  5. Finely stir in the olive oil to bind the whole lot together.
  6. Put the tabbouleh in small glasses and serve with a teeny tiny spoon on the side.

Cucumber “toasts” with a feta, dill and Pomegranate filling

All credits for this recipe go to the wonderful and brilliant Lorraine Pascale, who made this appetizer in one of her latest cooking shows. This one is an absolute winner. The cucumber is a great and refreshing alternative for the traditional and boring mini-toast and the filling truly is a flavour sensation in your mouth. Salty feta? Check! Fragrant dill? Check! Little bombs of pure juicy delight, also known as pomegranate seeds? Check!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 200gr feta cheese
  • Seeds of ¼ to ½ pomegranate
  • Lots of fresh dill

Method:

  1. You can use the cucumber in 2 different ways. The first is to simply cut the cucumber in slices and top it with the feta mixture. This is the easier method, although it might be a bit tricky to put the feta on top of it without making a mess. The second way is to peel the cucumber and cut them in somewhat thicker slices, approx. 1 cm thick. Scoop out the inside to create a whole for the feta mix to sit in. It is a bit more work to do it this way, but it neatly contains the feta, so you don’t have to be afraid of the filling falling on your lap while trying to stuff it down your gob. I tried both methods and although the scooping is a bit more work, it does look slightly daintier 😉
  2. Mix the feta together with the dill and pomegranate seeds and add some olive oil (1 tbsp) to make sure everything stick together. Don’t forget to add a good touch of black pepper.

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.

An Ode to Aubergine: Two Vibrant Veggie Dishes

Published October 30, 2014 by The Feminist

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Food cravings. If you’re like me, this devilish food impulse will be something you’re all too familiar with. Food cravings aren’t just reserved for pregnant women with a hormonal soft spot for pickles, but is something we all go through… repeatedly…on a very regular basis. (Yes, even people like healthy food guru and yoga fanatic Gwyneth Paltrow!)

These past couple of years, I have had various food craving episodes. There was that one month last year in which I ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate (even ridiculous for a Belgian citizen, and that says a lot). Last month I had my Indian food obsession and decided to end every meal with an extra bowl of dal. And yes, I even went through a cheese phase, which led to my kitchen smelling of old people’s feet 24/7.

But this week, I am craving something entirely different. And for once, it falls within the “healthy” category. So forget about cheesy crust pizza, dark chocolate and matured Roquefort cheese, this week everything is all about the humble aubergine. (Or as you Americans like to call it: the “eggplant”)

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Apologies, that word cracks me up every single time.

I know. You’re probably all thinking: Why would one ever become obsessed with aubergines? Sure, they can be pretty good, but do you really want to eat them day in and day out?

Well, dear readers, I do.

And mark my words, after you’ve made these two recipes, I’m sure you’ll be on an aubergine binge fest too.

Exotic Aubergine “cheesecake”

It’s not an omelet. It’s not a soufflé, and no, it’s also not a quiche. It’s a little bit of all these three things and more. It is an easy peasy, hearty cheesecake that mixes soothing cream cheese with salty feta and combines aromatic spices with theflavour-absorbing texture of the aubergine.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 150gr cream cheese
  • 80gr feta cheese
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • Fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Red chili, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine for 5 minutes together with all the spices until everything starts to smell incredibly fragrant.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over the chili pepper and half of the coriander.
  3. Mix together the eggs and cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the batter of the aubergine mix and crumble the feta cheese over the top.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the egg mixture has set, but is still slightly wobbly in the middle. To finish, sprinkle on some extra coriander.

Smothered Sweet and Salty Aubergine with flowering garlic chives and smoked tofu

This dish may not look very dashing, but trust me, this dish is the edible equivalent of an English gentleman. The aubergine is stewed in a combination of sweet and salty flavours and in less than 15 minutes the entire mix turns into an Asian food fiesta. The intensity of the smothered aubergine is balanced with some incredibly pungent flowering garlic chives, coriander and is served with some smoky tofu. Yum!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut in fine chunks
  • Bunch of flowering garlic chives, finely chopped (flowers included)
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (or a bit more if necessary)
  • ¼ tsp star anise
  • ¼ tsp Chinese five spice
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 100gr smoked tofu

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add the aubergine. Fry for a couple of minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add the miso paste, honey, soy sauce and spices and let everything simmer with a good splash of water until you almost get an aubergine “mash”. Stir in the sesame oil and the chopped flowering garlic chives (you’d be amazed how garlicy this type of chives tastes!) and coriander.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the smoky tofu in a separate pan and serve everything together and sprinkle on some extra chives and coriander.

The Bold & the Butternut

Published October 9, 2014 by The Feminist

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The weather is really awful this week. It’s raining cats and dogs, the wind is blowing all those wonderfully golden brown leaves of the trees and it is all making me bloody depressed.

Seriously. Why do I have to live in Belgium and not live in a tiny hut on some deserted island in the Pacific? The latter sounds much more appealing right now. Yes, a sunny beach on a deserted island my not offer WIFI, but who needs WIFI when you can spend your days tanning on the beach and drinking out of a coconut?

Anyway, needless to say that I could use some comfort food. And what could possibly be more comforting than the sweet flavour of the butternut? Butternuts and pumpkins of any kind are probably one of the only things that prevent me from packing my bags and embracing my inner Robinson Crusoe. (No butternuts on a deserted islands, obvs.)

And although many people still ignorantly think that recipes with butternut do not sound very bold, or may not look very beautiful, it is actually quite the opposite. Because, dear fellow Belgians, you can do so much more with a butternut than just turn it into soup!

In fact, the humble butternut is as versatile as Daniel Radcliffe’s latest film choices! (and that says a lot, trust me)

With one large butternut, I created 3(!) amazing one-person dishes just for me. They may not all look beautiful, but trust me: they are always bold in flavour!

Middle Eastern Saffron-Scented Butternut with Harissa Yoghurt and a Mint and Dill Salsa

Butternut will have never tasted this good: the sweetness of the saffron and the sultanas together with the zing and freshness of the salsa and yoghurt is a match made in heaven.

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Ingredients:

For the butternut:

  • 1/3 butternut, cut into large chunks
  • Handful of sultanas
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp honey

For the harissa yoghurt:

  • 100gr Greek yoghurt
  • ½ tsp harissa paste

For the Mint and Dill Salsa:

  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lime

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add the butternut chunks and let it fry for a couple of minutes. Add the spices, sultanas and honey. Add a splash of water to make sure it doesn’t burn. Let it fry until the butternut is just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the poppy seeds.
  2. Mix the yoghurt with the harissa and a pinch of salt.
  3. Mix all the salsa ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve the butternut with dollops of yoghurts and drizzle the salsa over the top.

Stuffed Butternut with a Blue Goat’s Cheese “Soufflé”

Sounds fancy, but it is actually really easy to make. The reason why I call this a “soufflé” is because it contains eggs and cheese and puffs up all so beautifully in the oven, but don’t be alarmed by this French word, it’s just a chic way of saying “fluffy omelet” 😉

You can use plain blue cheese or goat’s cheese for this recipe, but a blue goat’s cheese really is the best of both worlds.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 “bottom” of the butternut, seeds removed but skin still on
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 80gr blue goat’s cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the butternut bottom in an oven-proof dish and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the butternut is al dente.
  2. Mix the eggs together with salt and pepper and nutmeg and pour in the butternut. Drop the chunks of cheese into the eggs mixture and put the butternut back into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the skin and flesh of the pumpkin is soft and eggs are cooked through and have puffed up.

Butternut with Nigella & Mustard Seeds and Barbecue Tempeh

It may not look very attractive but the sweet and sour taste of the marinated tempeh (I luvvv tempeh!) works so well with the mellow butternut that is spiced up with some amazing nigella and mustard seeds.

Serve with some even more unappealing (but very yummy) black rice

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Ingredients:

For the butternut:

  • 1/3 butternut, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • Fresh herbs to finish (dill, coriander or mint)

For the tempeh:

  • 100gr tempeh, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • Pinch of Chinese five spice

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the butternut, spices and ginger. Let it fry, stir regularly and season with salt and pepper, until the butternut is tender.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the tempeh. Fry until golden brown. Pour in the marinade, turn down the heat and let the marinade form a sticky coat around the tempeh.
  3. Serve the butternut with the tempeh and sprinkle some fresh herbs over the top. Serve with rice.