Asparagus Mashed Potatoes

I have to admit I wasn’t very familiar with asparagus, until my taste buds got to taste some very well prepared bits of this rather luxurious vegetable. I was pretty fascinated not only about the taste, but also the texture and colour.

And so I had to try some at home, this time using ghee instead of butter and a few of my latest favourite flavourings that match well with the starchiness of the potatoes – the chosen accompanying veggie. It goes like this:

I cut the potatoes in medium to small pieces and put it to boil with salt and turmeric. In a large pan I gently fried very fine chopped ginger and garlic along with a spoonful of green curry. Everything in ghee. I added the asparagus (partially peeled and cut in half) and continued to sautée everything together with a bit of water over medium heat. Meanwhile, the potatoes were almost ready and so I poured almost all their water out and put it aside. When the asparagus was fairly tender I mixed it with the potatoes and their remaining liquid and left it to cook for a few minutes more. I seasoned it with kaffir lime powder and, at the end with fresh melissa and rucola leaves and spring onions. Some lemon zest or a juicy green salad goes together perfectly. The combination turned out delicious, filling and yet subtle in taste! hope you’ll like it too 🙂

list of ingredients:

  • potatoes
  • asparagus
  • ghee
  • turmeric
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • green curry
  • kaffir lime powder
  • melissa & rucola leaves (optional)
  • spring onions
  • lemon


Nettle Pesto

Spring is all about the wild, young greens so vibrant and tempting after the long, barren winter. Besides salads, where delicate leaves such as ramson, celandine or dandelion are best consumed fresh and raw, there’s a variety of traditional dishes where one can enjoy the more rough ones such as nettles or docks in cooked versions.

This recipe here came about unexpected, as I have been making a lot of the traditional nettle dish this spring. One day friends were announced for lunch and so that morning I put a handful of cashews to soak. After a few hours, between preparing other dishes, I blanched the nettles (without even removing the stems), thrown them in the food processor over the cashews and added olive oil, quite some lemon juice and, at the end, two small bundles of lovage – what was to give the very special flavour to this dish. I guess some fresh ground pepper could also work in there.

The pesto turned out so rich and yet so fresh, that I decided it needed a patent :)) We had it next to potatoes and coleslaw and of course some fresh spring leaves. Enjoy it too!

Chana Masala Salad with Dried Tomatoes

This is the simpler version of the Chana Masala, a rather sophisticated dish that might require some time when all things are done from scratch. So, this one goes to all of you who are new into Indian cooking and still want your leafy veggies in your plate 🙂

You start by cooking the chickpeas over the pressure cooker, adding a piece of whole cinnamon, cumin seeds and salt. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the yummy stuff: cut the onions finely, make a ginger garlic cream (simply mix it together with an immersion blender and a tad of water), slice half of a chilly and some dried tomatoes (if they’re hard, make sure you hydrate them in advance).

When your chickpeas are ready, put them aside to rest and fry the onions, the garlic-ginger cream and chillies with little oil and salt (use a skillet pan or a wok for that). When their water evaporates, add some chickpeas stock, sprinkle ground cumin and cinnamon, stir well and leave them to cook for a bit. Then add the chickpeas (a bit more stock is fine as well) and stir over the fire for another 5 to 10 minutes. You can use a fork or a special utensil to crush some of the beans.

Now the last details: take out the seeds of a pomegranate and prepare the fresh leaves you want to use – it can be spinach, kale, coriander, etc. When the chickpeas are not so hot anymore, mix everything together and, if you feel like, add some olive oil & lemon and sesame seeds.


Cashew Dipped Pleurotus with Veggies

Best recipes never come alone. They come with friends, with ‘no-plans’ evenings and intuition boosts. This one started from Li’s proposal to make some vegan tripe soup, a supposedly superdelicious substitute dish for the original one. Not that I’d have any idea about the resembling taste… okay let’s do it!

That being said, we haven’t cared much about the recipe and basically wove around what was in the fridge. Back home, after one or two more experiments likewise, I ended up with this beautiful yellowish sauté, where leek slices, celery shreds and squash pieces are mildly spiced and dipped together with pleurotus in a rich cashew cream. Here’s how it goes:

Turn the veggies in the size you wish them to be, having in mind the texture you want to create. Being essentially a stir-fry, it won’t stay more than 15-20min over the fire, so move quickly.

Prepare the cashew cream by mixing soaked cashew nuts with water, lemon and salt in a high power blender.

Prepare the seasoning: crush a few cloves of garlic, cut in very fine pieces some ginger and ground some pepper. Now fry them in little oil and be sure they won’t stay as long as to be making a crust. Scramble in your favorite kind of tofu cut in small pieces (I used smoked tofu) and sprinkle pepper and turmeric and/or chilly flakes, if you wish.

Immediately after add the mushrooms and cover until they turn watery. Remove the lid and cook 5 minutes more, then add celery, leek and only at the end, squash. Stir gently from time to time to keep texture firm. Pour the cashew cream and serve with kale or spinach leaves and optional, slices of raw red onions. Squeeze more lemon to your taste. Enjoy!




The Great Tomato Chutney

I honestly don’t remember where in India I picked this recipe up, but it’s been a splash ever since. At some point I had adapted it by adding onions at the beginning of the process, but that’s mostly for the times when I’m cooking large quantities. Because, yes, tomatoes do take a while to cook thoroughly and boil away all that water. So take yourself some time to hang around in the kitchen until they’re done. You won’t have to guard the oven whatsoever, just be there to stir from time to time.

So the steps for making the chutney go like these:

  • chop your sweet tomatoes in quite small pieces (no need to stress that they’re even); keep all the juice in
  • chop your onions fine
  • select your spices: whole cardamon, cloves, cumin
  • finely slice a fair amount of chillies
  • prepare other add-ons: raisins, ground cumin and honey

Now you’re ready to start. Deep fry the cardamon and cloves until they pop, but make sure they don’t get burned. Using a lid is a good idea, because they will literally jump out of your pot 🙂 Follow with the cumin seeds, chillies and immediately after, the onions. Mix well until translucent, add the raisins, salt, ground cumin and when you find that the composition runs out of water, you can fold in the all the tomatoes.



From now on all you have to do is wait that it turns from watery to creamy (with no lid on top) and occasionally stir. When it’s ready, let it cool and add honey until you reach that spicy sweet chutney taste.


Enjoy it with rice, turmeric potatoes or, why not, some sourdough bread! Quinoa with steamed veggies on the side is also an option.


The Magic Yellow Powder

When I use turmeric, I feel that my dishes are not only vibrantly golden, but also nutritiously stronger. No wonder it has more health uses than any other medicinal herb! Over time, I learned to keep it handy and add it to almost any food being cooked over the fire or to sometimes use it for creating the loveliest salad dressings.

Most often, I let myself drawn by imagining how other vivid colors would look like next to the shining yellow and this is exactly how new taste combinations and dishes turn into reality.


One of the dressings I love the most is inspired by this one, and I particularly like the texture given by the carrots inside, not to mention how well it balances the bitterness of the turmeric. What I use is:

  • carrots
  • turmeric
  • olive oil
  • tahina / cashews
  • soya sauce
  • honey
  • (mustard)
  • lemon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • garlic
  • (ginger)
  • salt

See that mustard is in itself pretty sour, so if you choose it, you won’t need to add vinegar or too much lemon. Similarly when using soya sauce be mindful regarding how much salt you add.

I like the combination between this sauce and the sweetness of chickpeas or the glutinosity of rice.

So here you have it next to a beautiful dark rice soaked in coconut milk and accompanied by autumn veggies – carrot, pumpkin, leek and sweet potatoes, them too sauteed with the magic yellow powder.


And here’s a similar version with a cashew & tomato juice base



Choco Chia Pudding

This desert is so simple that it’s going to blow your vision about vegan cooking. Well, rather preparation than cooking 🙂

As you probably know by now, beside being a superfood, chia seeds are easy peasy to be used in the kitchen. When soaked in water, they create a mucilaginous mass in a matter of minutes. You can stir them from time to time and add more water if needed, but for the time being just leave them aside and focus on the avocado chocolate. Its delicious taste is obtained by the sole use of a few ingredients:

  • avocado
  • coconut milk/ fat
  • honey
  • cacao and/or carob
  • vanilla (optional)

Now mix the already set chia pudding with the chocolate and decorate it at your wish! Enjoy this simple raw desert as breakfast or a special treat with friends.

Steamed Roots in Mustard Sauce

The recipe I’m going to share with you makes it perfect for a local based meal during the cold season. Relying solely on our veggies – those belonging to the temperate climate – shouldn’t make of you a kind of an abstemious person, neither put you in a dilemma each time you want to cook. All you need is to do is put that imagination to work!

So for this particular dish, beside collecting your fav roots, you should decide upon one delicious dressing. Here is what I’m using pretty often, with mustard as a main ingredient, in two versions:

  • steamed parsnip, mustard, cold pressed sunflower oil,  lemon, garlic & ginger
  • canned peas, mustard, cold pressed sunflower oil, lemon, garlic & ginger

I also added broccoli, but I guess you can use any of his other relatives, such as cabbage or kohlrabi.

So top those steamed veggies with mustard sauce and get some new tastes going! 🙂

Kidney Bean Salad

Each time my taste buds come in contact with a new combination of tastes, I’m completely drawn to re-creating and further improvising on the alchemy.  Was the same case with this great salad proudly introduced by my uncle back in summer. Firstly, I made it vegan (it did contain fish) and secondly, I kept introducing ingredients that would suit – color wise and texture wise – the base of the dish made out of kidney beans. Which by means of richness makes it totally a main dish, though by means of the preparation process is as simple as a salad.

All you have to know is to give plenty of time to the boiling of the beans, so you have it tender, mingling nicely with the crisp veggies As always, pressure cooking is the best option. Also, pay attention to the juiciness of the composition as some of the ingredients – the beans and the dried tomatoes – may progressively suck in the dressing. A good moment to practice indulgence :))


Below you have the list of ingredients, but feel free to make your own choices!

  • dried tomatoes (partially rehydrated)
  • red bell peppers
  • corn
  • red onions
  • parsley (or other greens)
  • black olives
  • olive oil
  • lemon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • ground pepper and/or coriander
  • garlic (in moderate amount)
  • sesame seeds & sprouts (optional)

Jeweled Rice

Not that I’d have a special insight into Persian kitchen, but this recipe appealed to me so much, that I decided to simply let myself inspired by its flavors and colors.

And it’s wasn’t difficult at all 🙂 I used the raw pieces of cinnamon and cardamon and a handful of pumpkin seeds to boil them over the pressure cooker along with the basmati rice . When the cooker cooled out enough, I transferred the rice into a bowl and immediately added the orange blossom water and the hot saffron water so there’s enough fluffiness while for adding the rest of the ingredients. As they follow:

  • freshly grated carrots
  • a handful of cranberries and a few raisins
  • more pumpkin seeds, soaked or pistacchio
  • pomegranate seeds
  • ghee (look for organic one)
  • 7 spices mix (you can do it yourself, just put an emphasis on cinnamon)
  • grated orange peel on top


For serving I used fresh leaves of lettuce and sorrel, for its sour lemony taste. That’s about it. The result was a true delight of hues and flavors, that revealed one by one, just like the motifs of an arabesque unfold to their true depth as you look further more.