Category Archives: Main course

Rainbow sandwich

A great way to start the morning is with a rainbow sandwich and a great smoothie. What do we mean by a rainbow sandwich? It’s a sandwich full of COLORS from natural ingredients. This is the best way to fight the dark and coldness of winter. We made our sandwich in layers, starting with tomatoes, champignons, cucumber, beets, rocket salad, sprouts and almond spread.

Recently we purchased the book “Color me vegan”. This book tells us that we have to eat dishes with a lot of colors, as well it states that this is the best way to get always the right nutrients for our body. This sandwich was inspired by this book so we tried to make it as colorful as we could. In later posts, we will try to impress you with yummy yummy recipes full of color!

Pasta with peas

The idea of this meal started as nothing fancy, simply some quick recipe to have more time for other things, however we have to post about it because the result was really good. What we liked was the combination of the pasta with the peas and the beans. The pasta has some dill and olive oil, and the sauce consists of peas, string beans, leek and fennel bulbs.

I am a fan of mashed peas with some lemon and you… how do you like your peas?

Endive stamppot

Winter is approaching, so stamppot season is upon us. For those of you unfamiliar with Dutch “cuisine”, stamppot is one of the traditional winter dishes, when nights are long and it’s cold outside. Stamppot is not so much a particular recipe, but it refers to the preparation: mashing (“stampen” means to mash). In particular, mashing any combination of boiled potatoes with vegetables in a single pot can be called stamppot. Classic recipes recipes involve carrots and onions, endive, kale, string beans, and sauerkraut. There is even one with apples, dubbed “hot lightning” (hete bliksem), which retains a lot of heat because of the large amount of water in the apples.

The basic recipe involves boiling the potatoes, boiling the vegetables (either in the same pot or in a separate one), and mash them together with some butter or oil. In the Netherlands they’re usually served with a particular kind of sausage, or may contains small pieces of bacon. For visitors it might be hard to actually try stamppot, as 1) there are only very few restaurants serving classic Dutch food which is not fastfood (“Why go out for dinner and pay x times as much for something I know how to cook at home” seems to be a common Dutch mentality), and 2) stamppot is such an unglamorous dish I’m sure many restaurants would think twice before putting it on the menu (except perhaps in places geared exclusively towards tourists). Which begs the question, anybody had a good stamppot in a restaurant?

We made an endive stamppot, with boiled endive (another variation is to toss in the endive only at the end, which keeps it more or less raw and crunchy). Instead of meat we opted for falafel, as stamppot without a substitute for the meat tends to be a bit boring.

 

Chickpeas and chard stew

I want to share one fact that I learned today, did you ever think about how chickpeas grow? This is one of the beans that I love the most… So good, so fleshy…  I definitively love them, however I never stopped to think about how they grow in a plant or how are they collected. So basically, the plant is pretty small (like the strawberry one), and the chickpeas grow one by one, each in a different pod. Somehow I have always imagined that the chickpeas were as fava beans, peas, or other beans, several seeds growing in the same pod. I believe that it would take a long time to harvest them in the old times. Nowadays, they are harvested with machines and let to dry for a long time. Later, the pod is removed and the chickpeas are packaged. This is a very short summary of what we read, so if you are more curious, check for more information and let us know other facts that you find in your search.

Today’s recipe is one of the traditional ways to cook chickpeas in Spain. It is known as chickpeas with sauce, literal translation for “Cigrons en salsa”.

Ingredients:

  • 250g of chickpeas
  • 200g of chard or spinach
  • 10 raw almonds
  • 4 garlic gloves
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika powder
  • salt to taste
  • optional: some bread and some potatoes

Procedure:

After keeping the chickpeas in water overnight, put them with the chopped chard or spinach in a pressure cooker with some water. If you never used a pressure cooker, check some instructions on-line to add the right amount of water. Later, in a frying pan with some olive oil add the almonds and the garlic and fry them until golden. Mash them in tiny pieces and add them to the pressure cooker. In the same pan, add the smoked paprika and the tomatoes and cook them for 4 min, and then add them to the rest of ingredients. Close the pressure cooker and cook for 25min. Some people add potato cubes or some bread crumbs to thicken the sauce.

Look at the huge size of the chick peas, they are about the size of my thumbnail. They are so fleshy and the texture is so great,  yummy …, usually I buy them in Spain because I never found this variety around The Netherlands.

Surprisingly tasty vegetable: the Turnip

Today we made a nice oven dish with a vegetable that is rather uncommon in the Netherlands nowadays: the turnip. It’s a root vegetable that is surprisingly tasty, although the flavor is rather subtle. We combined it with potatoes and onions in a gratin dish, spiced up with some nutmeg and dill, and covered by béchamel sauce.

And this is what the turnips looked like before they were sliced and put in the oven…

Although not common in the Netherlands, turnips are being prepared in different ways along the Mediterranean sea. This combination with potatoes is common in Italy or Spain. In these counties, it is used as well as a vegetable in rice dishes and broths.

Moroccan chickpea salad with couscous

After the Queen’s night (koninginnenacht) in Den Haag, we went to the famous Queen’s day (koninginnedag) markets. Look what a nice plate I found. It was really nice to walk around the markets full of old things. Basically you can sell whatever you want and in practice what happens is that the people empty their storage rooms or garages of unwanted things (old coffee machines, old dishes, old video games, old cloth, old bikes …) and sell it for the money you agree to pay. With the cultural mix of Netherlands, it was wonderful the mix of stuff you could get. You could also find people selling food on the street, this time no matters if you are an expert cook or not, simply put your post in a good place and sell food . This year, one friend of mine was selling Indian food and I am thinking that for the next year, I might put a post of vegan food.

In the photo you see a Moroccan chickpea salad with tofu cheesy sauce and couscous. The salad had lettuce, rocket leaves, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, roasted bell paper and it was seasoned with lemon and olive oil. The tofu cheesy sauce was made with 150g of tofu, 2 tablespoons of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some lemon, salt and dill. The couscous was mixed with some raisins and special spices for couscous that I got in one of my trips to France. As well on the side, you can see tomato with tofu salad. Great combination for such a plate.

Awesome food in Capri

Eihh it  has been a while that I did not post, the reason was because I spent some days on Capri, a small  island  in front of the Naples coast. The weather was great almost all the days and the food really good even for a vegan. The reason to go there was because of a spring school related to my job. To my great surprise the organizers took a lot of care and effort to arrange perfect vegan meals in every restaurant, so I felt not discriminated at all. Here I want to warmly thank Dario and Daniel for their efforts to accommodate a vegan in Italy.

Here there is a bit of what I ate for lunch…

Look at the ruccola leaves, really big!

An awesome, simple and tasty pasta made with aubergine tomato sauce. I am amazed about the flavour of such a simple mix of ingredients but definitively the quality of the tomatoes, aubergine that I ate during the week cannot be compared to what I can get here in The Netherlands. The tomato sauce was cooked at low fire with some garlic cloves for a long long time and the aubergine was soft and nicely cooked.

I had some hours left before my flight departure around Naples. Of course, I went to eat a good pizza in a traditional place founded in 1780, quite old. It is called La pizzeria Brandi.  Did you know that marinara pizza (the one displayed in the photo above) is vegan by default?! I did not have to change anything from the ingredient list, awesome! It is basically tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil and olive oil. Yummy yummy….

Panades – typical from the island of Mallorca

This is another post about the typical cuisine around the Mediterranean sea. This time is the turn of an island called Mallorca. It is a favorite tourist destination for Germans and Britons. There are some neighborhoods where you can get wurst and pints but in other neighborhoods the traditional Mallorcan – Catalan food and culture remains such as ensaïmades, sobrassada, coquets, … and espardenyes. Unfortunately not vegan food however vegetarian or vegan versions are available.

One of the traditional things that are cooked now in Mallorca is Panada. The version that we cooked is a vegan option which actually it is really typical and you can find it everywhere in Easter time. The panada is filled with peas and onion, so simple and tasty. Usually the panada dough is made with white flour, but we used a multi-grain one.

The dough proportions are: 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup of water with a pinch of salt and add the flour that the dough needs to not get sticky. In order to shape them, just make a small ball and start from the center making a small bowl. Later when you have filled it with the peas mix, cover it with a thin round piece of dough and then roll the end to seal it well. Apparently this step is an art and you learn it by making a lot of them once a year. As you can see, I am starting in this business and my edges are not so gorgeous as they should be.

Schorseneer or black salsify

This post is about schorseneer or black salsify and it is one of the most strange things that I found this year in the Netherlands. Where I come from, it is not normal in winter to have so many different types of roots, turnips or in general tubers. So apparently here is the paradise of all these tubers since the winter is so cold, that is the only thing that naturally grows here. In old times, they were known as the asparagus of the poor people since they resemble in shape. Here I could only find them in the natural store Eko Plaza. They are not eaten commonly anymore in Dutch families.

Here are black salsify roots sprinkled with some salt, pepper of may colors and dried garlic with some drops of oil.

I accompanied them with a sauté of leek, mushrooms, sprouted soy and some turnip cooked with sesame oil.

Matteo's gnocchi

I have a really good Italian friend that by mistake or not a mistake, he did gnocchi in a vegan way. Even if his grand mum would think that this is a nonsense recipe.

So lovely home-made gnocchi, …

I am sure that I will make them really soon, yum yum

Ingredients:

  • 11 small red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • A big bowl of water boiling with salt

Some tomato sauce as you prefer for eating them.

Procedure:

This recipe is explained by photos.

The red small potatoes cooked in microwave oven, after being pierced with a fork to prevent explosion

mashed potatoes

a ball of mashed potatoes, flour, salt and pepper and
a fine cylinder and a few already cut gnocchi in the background


gnocchi ready for being boiled