All posts by ioana

Smoked Hummus & The Vegan Burger

This recipe was put together in one of those days when the excitement that I had for trying out a new kind of hummus led to an unexpected number of lunch orders. Yeey!

So when I started, all that I had in mind was: hummus + beets + garlic + thyme. Somewhat of a Mediterranean flavor. But as the process started to take shape, I felt like adding more than that.

One of the main ‘taste’ ingredients turned out to be the smoked paprika powder that I love so much. It almost slipped in by itself as if called by the vivid color of the beetroot 🙂

And then, the main ‘texture’ ingredient, the one that actually holds the whole thing together is the linseeds.  Always use it freshly ground and don’t add to much, or you’ll get a slightly unpleasant taste in your food. And on top of that, way too slimy! Unless it’s consumed right away, I actually dislike it in salad.

You can also add onions and parsley, but if you’re going to refrigerate the hummus, better keep it only for serving.

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And, as the title points it out, the ‘smoked hummus’ can turn into the perfect filling for those vegan burgers that you wanna prepare when your friends are coming over! Use your imagination to simply add beside nicely sliced veggies and herbs. I even used my dear chapati pan to get the real taste of the flat bread 🙂

Hope that’s something to have fun with over the weekend!

list of ingredients

  • already prepared hummus
  • fresh beetroot
  • thyme
  • garlic
  • flaxseeds
  • smoked paprika powder
  • lemon & olive oil, if necessary
  • parsley
  • onions

Tomato Mango Salsa

Though autumn is here, I bet you can still find at the market one of those pulpy juicy tomatoes that delighted your taste buds all summer long. That’s plain easy, so don’t get frustrated if you won’t have the perfect ripe mangoes (always consider the Mediterranean for that!) You can of course try the canned ones, but pay attention they’re not totally soaked in sugar syrup.

So that’s basically the recipe for one of the best salads that you can have in a snap. Finely slice some red onions and red capsicums and add chilly flakes and olive oil to your own taste. I served it next to my favorite kind of rice, the very special Basil Rice <3

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Now you can bask in autumn’s sun!

list of ingredients

  • tomatoes
  • ripe mangoes
  • red capsicums
  • red onions
  • chilly flakes / black pepper
  • olive oil

Soaked Ginger Peach Cake

Take it as a promise: you will relish this cake! It’s not only mouth watering, but also fresh and tingly. Kinda everything you need for a hot summer day. Nevertheless, is fairly easy to prepare.

You can opt whether you’ll make it in one layer or two. DSCN0592Some time ago I use to put it under a chocolate layer, but now I prefer the simplicity of the cashew nuts. After soaking them, just add coconut oil, honey, fresh ginger & lemon juice to your taste. Use the immersion blender to mix everything together well.

It was a real test to keep the amazingly full-ripe (but not mushed) peaches un-devoured on the table for 3 full days. But it totally worth it! Chopped in tiny squares and rolled through a mix powder of ground cinnamon and ginger, they turned out just perfect for this desert.

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All you have left to do now is sink the peaches (consider not pouring all the liquid) into the cashew cream, make it even and sprinkle pistachio nuts on top (or almond flakes). Keep it overnight in the freezer and 10minutes after it’s out you can serve it! Garnish with fresh slices of peaches – if you have any 🙂

list of ingredients

  • cashews
  • coconut oil
  • honey
  • fresh ginger
  • lemon juice
  • peaches
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • pistachio nuts / almond flakes
  • salt

Coconut Chana Masala

Introducing: favorite Indian dish cooked on European land! Because we cannot compare the flavors and the vibe of the food when here or there…each one is quite unique!

Nevertheless, I have to admit that the preparation of this one here turned out pretty authentic. Had I grated a real coconut, it would’ve been so much more Indian! But sometimes I get lazy when it comes to break open hard shells 🙂 So because the grated coconut I bought was an average one, I decided to mix it with a good coconut milk. That should work!

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First of all, here’s the inspiration for my preparation (thanks Radu!)

I won’t go through all the steps myself, as you already have it crystal clear in the recipe above. My only piece of advice is not to get stuck if one spice or another doesn’t come handy, just use the most common ones. What really makes the difference here is making your own masala, grinding and roasting it properly.

P1080158 As such, I haven’t done the paste in a wet grinder, but added the spices & the grated coconut (roasted together) to the tomato-onion stir fry. Using more tomatoes ensured me with enough liquid for the time being. I then added the coconut milk along with the chickpeas and brought it to the boil once more.

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Warning: the result it’s dangerously delicious!

(and the roasting pan for the masala will still release the flavor next time you use it :))

I sprinkled parsley instead of coriander leaves on top, and served it next to a summer salad made out of lettuce, cauliflower rice, red peppers and sunflower sprouts. Trust me, you’ll need even more leaves…

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list of ingredients

_the fresh masala_

  • cinnamon bark
  • fennel
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • dry red chilies
  • cloves
  • black cardamom
  • green cardamom
  • black pepper
  • stone flower
    _the rest_
    • chickpeas
    • grated coconut
    • coconut milk
    • cooking oil
    •  bay leaf
    •  mustard seeds
    •  curry leaves
    •  onions
    •  tomatoes
    •  turmeric
    •  ginger
    •  garlic
    •  green chillies
    • salt

The Solar Salad

This salad came up after googling for a new dressing and feeling inspired by the apricot, ginger orange one. It turned out so deliciously orange that my hands unconsciously started weaving around the colors of the Sun: more orange, more red and yellow.

This is how I started peeling carrots and squash, adding some beautiful local tomatoes, cauliflower rice, red peppers and sweet corn. I balanced everything with fresh lettuce leaves and sprinkled sesame and hemp seeds.
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If you want to save the looks of this salad, keep some carrot slices away from the dressing and add it right before serving (something that I haven’t done here 🙂 Same for the lettuce! Everything gets super juicy with the apricots

list of ingredients

  • carrot & squash tagliatelle
  • cauliflower rice
  • tomatoes
  • red peppers
  • sweet corn
  • olive oil
  • orange juice
  • apricots
  • fresh ginger
  • seeds (hemp, sesame, sunflower, etc)

Vegan Raita

Is hard to hold back the temptation of posting one more Indian inspired recipe 🙂 Hope you’ll like it as much as I do! This time we have a salad, the traditional Raita which is basically a curd dish with cucumbers and tomatoes and sometimes a bit of sugar. Not this case :p

Initially I thought about making a simple tahini dressing that would soak the veggies, but then other little add-ons came in mind. And the most important one is the sweet smoked paprika flavor. So eventually I got to a recipe that looks like this:

  • small chopped tomatoes & cucumbers
  • tagliatelle style squash (or zucchini)
  • tahini based dressing with smoked paprika, ground cumin & 3 colors’ pepper
  • lemon juice & salt

optional:

  • dried yeast flakes in the dressing
  • sunflower & hemp seeds

Depending on the amount of water you use for the dressing and the juiciness of the tomatoes, you can have it soupy-ish or thicker, perhaps more suitable for a saturday night salad snack.

Rajma aka Beans

There’s nothing more straightforward than beans – it’s filling, protein packed and extremely savory. The connaisseurs will tell you all of these at once, plus emphasizing the lusciousness of the rightly cooked dishes. The nutritionists will point out at the high levels of minerals, fiber and even antioxidants.

I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the average white beans and most of the times I use to find it kind of heavy for digestion – in any case, heavier than lentils or chickpeas. However, discovering the red kidney beans and the black beans shaped my experience into a whole new thing. They both seem to absorb flavors really well and thus able to stand out with amazing cooked dishes and salads.

For now, I choose a popular Indian Rajma recipe, fairly easy to prepare and equally delicious, inspired from the Punjabi cuisine.

As with any beans, soaking for at least 8 hours is a must. If you have a pressure cooker, do use it now! It will turn your beans so soft and tender that you’ll completely leave behind the time consuming boiling method. Be aware that some of the beans will open up while cooking.

Now prepare the base: heat a bit of oil in a pan and saute (in this order) one bay leaf, cumin seeds, chopped onions, grated ginger & garlic and tomato puree (or simply cut in small cubes).  Stir continuously until the water evaporates. You can choose to incorporate peppers (as I did) or carrots, but make sure that in the end they’ll turn out with the same smooth texture as the rest of the dish.

Before adding the rajma along with its water, sprinkle the powders (chilly, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala – the hottest one you have) and mix well until all flavors come together, including salt.The water from the beans will absorb this beautiful gravy and render its distinctive flavor to the dish.

For a special serving, add some fresh mint at the end!

list of ingredients

  • red kidney beans
  • cooking oil
  • bay leaf
  • cumin seeds & ground cumin
  • onions
  • garlic & ginger
  • tomatoes
  • turmeric
  • ground coriander
  • garam masala
  • salt
  • fresh mint

Mint Kohlrabi

Not many veggies can give you such a crunchy watery experience as kohlrabi does.  Because I really find it special, I’ve decided to build up to the fame of this rather unknown member of the cabbage family.

There are two ingredients that I love adding next to the kohlrabi and that is fresh mint and ground pepper. As simple as that! From now on you can start playing with colors and textures, choosing either an olive oil based dressing or a rich tahini cream to soak the entire thing. In the salad here I mixed carrots and purple cabbage while the white kohlrabi got turned into spaghetti for a more gourmet look.

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Tomatoes are also something you can consider, but careful not making it too watery. Last touch was mixing all ingredients together with a superfluid tahini dressing in which I have already incorporated the ground pepper.

Lovely salad for the summer!

list of ingredients

  • kohlrabi (white or purple)
  • carrot / tomatoes
  • cabbage (purple or white)
  • mint
  • ground pepper
  • tahini / olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt

 

Indian Potatoes Crush

Indian food…mmmm! I admit I have a crush. And it’s actually a crush on spices and enhanced flavors that I’m infatuated about. Although my eyes haven’t dropped on any reliable health claim on the methods of heating up the spices, my experience is that as long as it’s not oil & starch overloaded and of course, not in big quantities (which can be a bit tricky due to the typical thali ‘refill’ 🙂 traditional Indian food feels good in the body.

So let’s have a look at how spices can add up to such a common dish as potatoes.

First of all, any introduction to Indian cooking involves getting acquainted to chillies, onion, garlic, ginger, coconut & a lot of whole and ground spices. And subsequently to frying them at high heat in a drop of oil (not always, but most usual). The order in the pan starts with the tougher spices (cinnamon bark, star anise, cloves, black pepper, dried red chillies), followed by the seeds (mustard, cumin, fennel, coriander, nigella, etc) so by the time they start popping, they can all be incorporated with the onions (together with fresh chillies, garlic, ginger and so on). One must pay a lot of attention not to burn the spices, at least until the onions step in. The last ones to come are the ground spices, the powders (turmeric, cumin, coriander, different masalas, etc)

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Once you develop the skills, you can start playing 🙂 Here I used a combination of black mustard, cumin, fennel & nigella seeds with chilly flakes, onions, ground turmeric and cumin. When the base was getting ready – the onions turning yellowish – I added the new potatoes, previously halved and boiled in salted turmeric water. Cook everything together for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Now bring some European touch to it 😛 chop some fresh coriander, spinach or spring onions and peel some carrot slices to balance the taste and make it look even better!

list of ingredients

  • (new) potatoes
  • onions
  • mustard seeds
  • nigella seeds
  • fennel seeds
  • chilly flakes (fresh ones as well)
  • ground turmeric
  • ground cumin
  • cooking oil
  • salt
  • fresh coriander/ spinach/ spring onions/ carrot

10 minutes Deserts

When it comes to raw sweets, things can be either superfancy or superfast. It’s up to you. So unless you dream of a three layered cake that needs to stay in the freezer for a while, have a look at these deserts ideas:

– cashews are the best: they’re fat&creamy and need no more than 4hrs to soak. in the photo above they stand as the base for a cinnamon cacao desert (with star fruit on top)

– dates too! i love dates not only for their perfect sweetness, but also because of their texture – they give just about the right firmness to the composition

P1010426here i used cashews + dates + frozen berries + hibiscus & fruit tea + grated coconut + orange peel

– in case you don’t have any of these two, you can improvise with oats or other grains (it won’t be raw though). just soak them for a bit, then add honey/dried fruits, tahina, grated coconut and of course, your favorite flavors. drop any high expectations about the looks – it’s basically porridge style

IMG_8656list of ingredients

  • cashews/ any nuts
  • dates / any dried fruits
  • grated coconut (also coconut cream)
  • flavors: cinnamon, cacao, orange, etc

plan B

  • oats/ bulgur/ quinoa/ etc
  • tahina
  • honey
  • flavors

optional

  • bananas
  • dried fruits
  • sesame/ sunflower seeds