Category Archives: Snack & Starter

Vegan “cheese” – homemade

Bread and cheese is the perfect combination to have as a snack along with a beer. Almost all cafés around here offer a selection of cheeses with bread and mustard. Then, we decided to have our own vegan cheese snack along with a beer. You can see in the picture homemade wholegrain bread with vegan cheese flavoured with dill, mustard and pepper. Most of the recipes for vegan cheese call for cashew nuts, instead we used peanuts as they contain less fat and have more proteins than cashews. Yet the combination was great and we almost could not taste the difference.

 

Now a question that you might have is what makes the peanuts become so compact. One of the key ingredients for vegan cheeses is the use of agar-agar. It is a part from the seaweed family, and fiber is one of its main components. To use it, basically you boil few agar-agar flakes in some water until they are dissolved and later if you let it cool down, you end up with the same texture as animal jelly. So by making a peanut paste, adding the agar-agar water mix and the flavour you desire, you will end up with a nice flavoured vegan cheese.

We would love that some vegetarian restaurants or cafés would offer such a great snack on their menu, unfortunately none of the ones that we frequent have something like this. Neither in natural stores we are able to buy a big variety of vegan “cheese”-like products. Are you in a similar situation? Let us know what kind of products are available in your natural store and which ones would you like to have access to. Perhaps we can get inspired and create new ways of vegan “cheese” at home.

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!

Focaccia

Focaccia is one of the flavored breads that we like most. Usually you can mix it with black and green olives, dried tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, basil, onion, garlic, … whatever your imagination comes up with. The key point is that you flatten the dough as a pizza and pour on top some olive oil with salt and spices. In this way, the top never dries out and is flavored with all sorts of things. It goes perfectly with soups, olive paté, hummus, … or simply as a snack.

 

Ingredients:

- 400g all-purpose flour

- 300dl warm water

- 10g salt

- 10g dried yeast

- black olives or green if you prefer

- dried tomatoes

- oregano, thyme, rosemary

- black pepper

- olive oil

Procedure:

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast, later add the warm water. It should not be boiling but warm enough to accelerate the yeast process. When the mix has formed a uniform dough, leave it to rest for 10-20min. After the resting time, the dough should have doubled in size. Place it in a tray with baking paper and flatten it until 2 fingers thick. Try to stick your fingers deeply in the dough as one of the characteristics of focaccia is the small holes full of oil. Switch on the oven to 190C and add on top the olive oil with the herbs, black pepper and some more salt. Finally place on top the olives and the dried tomatoes, and if you leave it resting at this moment for 10min it will be softer. Put it in the oven and bake for 20min or until the borders are golden.

Enjoy the lovely flavored bread!

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.

Raw sushi

This is a great snack that is really fast to prepare as you do not have to wait for the rice to be cooked and cool. Basically use the vegetables that you have around and simply grate them and ensemble them as in the photo. The raw sushi is tasty ….

For my raw sushi I used carrots, radish, cucumber, courgette, sprouts and sesame seeds and ginger for the taste. You can be creative …

Artichokes

Do you know which is my favorite vegetables of the winter that grows in Valencia? Yes yes you guessed right, Artichoke. We eat it all the winter long in all kinds of forms: with Spanish omelet, baked, in stews, barbecued,  in soups, raw in salads, … more and more ways … The artichoke is known for its anti-age properties, for the vitamin E and other more interesting properties but even if they were unhealthy I would still eat them, they are so good!

Stewing the artichokes is one of the best ways to eat them. They come out really tender and full of flavour. Basically remove the extra leaves from the outside, open the center with your hands or hit them against a table, clean the inside with water and place them as in the photo in a thick bottom pan. Then pour water until the artichokes are covered half and in the center of each of them sprinkle salt and olive oil. Cover the pan and cook at low flame for around 45-60 min (depends on the size and the tenderness of the artichokes). If at the end of the process there is no more water, you can add extra and cook for a while more. This broth  is great to pour into the artichoke or to cook with something else.

Courgette with pasta and aubergine snack

A lovely Sunday lunch …

First we start with a nice baked bread with some oregano on top and eat it with roasted aubergine and red pepper.

And later, a lovely whole grain pasta with courgette and champiognon tomato sauce.

Hummus and Veggies, lovely snack :-)

That might be the last post that I do from the lovely city of Lisbon. I had a great time here although the weather was too hot to my taste. However, this weather helps to have great veggies all year round. Yesterday was a hot day and we just felt to eat some nice veggies with a dipping sauce. You can use this recipe as party snack, as a starter in a meal or as you wish, but try it, it is worth it.

Ingredients:

  • For the hummus:

- chickpeas (in a can or cook them in advance)

- garlic

- 1 green chili

- cumin powder

- coriander powder

- olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

  • Veggies to dip:

- 3 carrots

- celery

- 1 green and red pepper

- 2 tomatoes

- some broccoli

Procedure:

  • Hummus: with a blender, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add some water if the paste is to thick and the condiments as you like.

With the veggies sliced, place them on the plate and …. start to dip in!

Indian dinner

You can see from top to bottom: Aloo gobi, potato bhaji and Missi roti (gram flour roti). As a drink we had some mango lassi. A gorgeous dinner with a lot of turmeric.


Stuffed mushrooms

Enjoy eating big mushrooms stuffed with soy sprouts and tofu.

Ingredients:

- 8 big size mushrooms (white mushroom)

- 2 onions

- 200g of sprouted soy

- 100g tofu

- oregano, salt, pepper, oil and cayenne pepper

- Salad is a suggestion for the serving

Procedure:

Stir fry the onions, the sprouts and the tofu in a pan and add the salt, pepper and some cayenne to taste. Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms and remove carefully the stem. Place the mushroom up side down in an oven plate and when the vegetables are already well cooked, stuff the mushrooms with the vegetables and put some oregano on the top. Place them in the oven for around  20 min and bon appetite.