Brunchner


granola (1 of 1)

Easter brunch is a tradition in our family. Usually the Easter bread with almond filling is made the day before and early on Sunday morning I’ll get up to make the rest which I shouldn’t really call brunch but Brunchner, since I truly fill up the table so that we can be continually eating from breakfast till dinner non-stop. Beside the standard stuff like tea, juice, bread, soy yogurt and some non vegan stuff for the less stricter or non veganlly oriented among us, we always have granola and tofu scramble. The rest of the menu usually depends on how creative I (or my kids) are feeling on that weekend. This year my daughter Ella took care of the Easter bread and the cinnamon rolls, which also have become part of our Brunchner tradition. I made the tofu scramble, which I thought came out finger linking due to a spontaneous brilliant idea I had due to some left over cashew nuts I had soaking on the counter. I also found a fantastic recipe for vegetable rolls rapped with rice paper from My New Roots blog(one of the most inspirational healthy cooking blogs I have seen so far), and concocted a fresh tomato salsa, potato pancakes and chocolate mousse. Daughter Anna took care of setting the table and making tea and coffee and Tim is our house photographer who makes most of the pictures on this blog. Cyrille usually is our D.J. and mostly concentrates on making sure that we get to hear the best possible recording of St. Matthew’s passion. This year however Ella took over the music with a beautiful recording of a Mendelssohn string quartet and Cyrille dug in the garden until the food was ready.Our oldest son didn’t show up until later in the afternoon since he had slept in after having had a recital the night before.

Granola

3 cups of oat flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup of melted coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 coconut (that’s those white little cubes you see in the picture which I got from the farmer’s market, but regular desiccated coconut will due)
any other nuts or dried fruits you like

preheat oven at 180* c

- mix oat flakes, cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut oil in a bowl.
- add seeds and nuts
- put the mixture in an oven tray
- bake stirring regular to prevent burning
- when the flakes are golden brown remove from the tray from the oven and add the coconut and raisins and the optional fruits.
- serve with almond milk or (soy) yogurt

 

scrambled tofu (1 of 1)

 

Tofu Scramble

1 block of tofu
1 onion in cubes
2 cloves of garlic minced
about a cup of corn kernels
1/2 red bell pepper in small cubes
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. majoram
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tbs. dijon mustard
1 cup of soaked cashews blended with a cup of water and 2 tsp. umesu vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup minced parsley

- crumble the tofu with your hands into a bowl
- in a broad heavy pan heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes
- add the bell peppers and corn and saute for a couple of more minutes
- add the grated carrots
- add the tofu and the herbs
- cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly
- add the mustard, and salt
- pour the cashew cream and saute a couple of minutes
- turn off the fire and add the parsley

Serve with salsa

vegetables roles (1 of 1)

 

Vegetable Rolls

I would say to just look at this link and while you’re at it look through the whole amazing blog.

 

 

chocolate pudding (1 of 1)

 

Chocolate Mousse

For this I mostly just improvised with the following ingredients in the blender:

1 cup soaked cashew nuts
1 cup almond milk
3 dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 chia seeds

- blend everything until very smooth
- put in individual serving dishes and refrigerate until ready to serve

Sexy Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A couple of days ago my 16 year old son Tim, who takes most of the pictures for this blog was in the mood to take a ” food picture”. He has been amazing at getting to know our new Cannon camera and definitely inspires me to make my dishes as beautiful as possible. We have developed a fun collaboration which pushes us both to be better at this. Looking around at the ingredients I had in the kitchen, a carrot cake seemed like a possibility. We decided on an elegant carrot cake, sort of like the refined, well dressed sexy lady who stands out at the party. We wanted the mystery and elegance to ooze from this cake and I think we managed, not only with the beautiful shots he took, but with the taste of the cake as well. To me carrot cake can be a wintery sort of cake, perfectly suitable to the weather and mood here in the Netherlands, due to the carrots and the warm spices. However this winter has been extremely mild and for a while now we have been experiencing symptoms of spring; its a matter of fact Easter feels around the corner. Well, this cake is dressed for Easter, while at the same time keeping the spiced wintery carrot cake feeling to it.

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Carrot Cake

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup neutral tasting organic oil
1 1/2 raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup
grated zest of 1 orange
11/2 grated carrots
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 cups flour(mix whole and white)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 salt
1 cup walnuts chopped
1/4 date syrup
1 can pineapple in juice

-Preheat oven 180* and prepare two 8 inch pans by covering the bottom with baking paper and greasing the sides.
-Put the water, oil 1/2 of the raisins, the syrup and the orange zest in the blender and blend well.
-Add the carrots and ginger and pulse a couple of times.
-Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
-Add the blended wet ingredients and briefly mix.
-Add the remaining cup of raisins and the nuts, stir
-Bake for about 35-40 minutes
-Let it cool off and then transfer to a wire rack to frost
-spread one of the cakes with date syrup, or another sweetener
-put the other cake on top and frost with the cashew orange frosting(below)
-garnish with pieces of pineapple and some more grated lemon zest
(adapted from a recipe by John Robbins)

 

Cashew Orange Frosting

2 cups of soaked cashews
1/2 cup rice syrup or maple syrup
vanilla
juice of 1 orange
the zest of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of salt
about 1 cup water
1/2 tsp. turmeric

-put everything in the blender and blend until creamy, silky and shiny.
-let the frosting rest a bit before using so that it thickens a bit more
-pour from the center of the cake outwards.

*The flower garnish on the picture are dried roses which I found in an Asian foods store

Home Made Pasta and Semolina Cake

Pasta
IMG_2387If I told you that making pasta is easy, that it takes very little time and ingredients and that you don’t need a single machine to make it would you believe me? Well you don’t have to. Here is the deal, you take flour, salt and water and you make a dough that sticks together and is easy to knead. You form a ball, and wrap it in plastic or put it under an upside down bowl. Let it rest for an hour or less if you don’t have that much time and then roll it out using a rolling pin. Cut it in the shape you would like and set it on a clean and dry kitchen towel to dry. You can also hang it on a wooden stick. After you are done rolling and cutting you can either let it dry a bit or cook it right away in a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil until al dente. Make sure that the sauce is already done so that your pasta doesn’t have to wait for the sauce.

This is a very easy, not very messy and it tastes a zillion times better than anything store bought.
Try mixing different sorts of flours. For the pasta in the picture I used white spelt and semolina. Don’t be concerned with measurements, for more pasta use more flour and water and for less pasta less. It works!
Besides creating delicious pasta this is a beautifully artistic activity, and just like with bread it connects you with your food in a very basic way.

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Yesterday I was going to make Baklava, but I didn’t have filo. My husband volunteered to go to the store and buy some, but in the time he was gone I made this Semolina Almond Orange Cake with the ingredients I had at home. It came out really well, but it was even better today, when the orange syrup had been absorbed into the cake and the tastes had blended.

Semolina Almond Orange Cake

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Semolina Almond Orange Cake
3/4 c. almond flour
1 c. semolina
1 c. white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 rice syrup
8 tbs. sucanat
the rasp of one orange
1/4 soy yogurt
1/2 c. soy milk

Syrup

3/4 c. rice syrup or honey
the juice of one orange
a handful of peeled pistachios
a handful of walnuts
a handful of raisins
1 tbs. rose water

-mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
-mix the wet ingredients in another bowl
-add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
-pour batter in a round cake pan, in which the bottom has been covered with wax paper and the sides have been oiled
-bake for about 30 minutes at 175* centigrades
-in the mean time put all the syrup ingredients in a small pan and bring them to a boil.
-after the cake is done make tiny wholes tooth pick or sate stick and pour the syrup with the nuts and raisins
-let it cool completely

 

Tiramisu

 

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                                                                                                                                                                      “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Salvador Dali

At one point, about 16 years ago I chose to almost completely eliminate animal products from my diet. This decision brought about lots of positive things besides a healthier body. It brought my family and me awareness of the effect that our food choices can have on the environment, as well as a sharpened view of what the ethical and moral consequences of using animal lives wantonly can be. Nevertheless as a cook I found it difficult to ignore the traditional kitchens of most parts of the world in which animals had played a critical role. Not only did many past cultures thrive using animal products, but in much of the world’s cuisine animal products play a crucial part. While I haven’t felt the need to run out and buy a steak or a chicken in the last sixteen years, I have endlessly experimented with how to recreate some of the tastes and textures which characterize some of those traditional and maybe not so health or animal friendly dishes into plant based alternatives. I really, really believe that life is much more fun if we create a feeling of abundance and possibilities rather than limitations, and have never felt deprived by my choice to eat mostly plant foods. Veganizing dishes has been fun, not only because when successful I get to enjoy healthier and more compassionate versions of some of my favorite dishes, but also because in the process of veganizing a dish I feel I come to the essence of the dish and as a result get a deeper understanding of what cooking is about and what the actual role of the ingredients are. 

I veganized Tiramisu because it is a dessert I really enjoy and which brings me great memories of vacations in Tuscany and Umbria. Substituting the animal products in some dishes is a process. I have seen many vegan versions of Tiramisu which use tofu to substitute the mascarpone, and while I do understand why tofu seems like a logical choice(it’s white, low fat, neutral tasting…) I think the essence of tofu is opposite to that of mascarpone, which is high in fat. Using tofu to make Tiramisu defeats the purpose! And what about the eggs? They also play a role in this most decadent dish. I think that even though health should have priority in our food choices, substituting ingredients without regard for the role that they play in a dish leaves us dissatisfied and possibly with a sense of dullness regarding the particular dish. In creating art(which we all know cooking is) imitation and substitution of the components which create a particular work require understanding of the role is of these components. Superficially substituting notes or colors in a piece of music or art won’t create a comparable version to that original wonderfully, satisfying work of art. I chose cashews to substitute the mascarpone because they are high in fat and become very creamy when soaked and blended. In my experience cooked pumpkin doesn’t only add an eggy color, but also adds an eggy flavor, which I have often used in puddings and vegan flans to create the rich taste that eggs often add to a dish. I find this version of Tiramisu delicious and satisfying, but I still consider it work in progress since I will not be totally happy until I can make an authentic but vegan version of Lady Fingers.

I am really interested to hear from you about your experiences and ideas on veganizing dishes! I bet there most be some creative cooks out there with ideas as to how to create vegan like lady fingers? 

Tiramisu

Cake/cookie

1 cup white flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
8 Tbs. sucanat
3 Tbs. almod flour
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

-combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
-add the combined wet ingredients
-spread batter on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper
-bake for about 10-15 minutes at 180* C
-when done cut in about 3 by 1 inch slices

Cream

2 cups soaked cashews
1 cup water or soy or nut milk
1 cup coconut milk
a pinch of sea salt
8 Tbs sucanat
a small piece of cooked pumpkin(about 3 Tb. pureed)

freshly made espresso coffee
brandy

-briefly soak each piece of cake in the coffee and make one layer on a broad and not too low form
-sprinkle with brandy
-spread the cashew cream evenly on top of the layer of cake
-proceed to repeat the process and after putting the second layer of cream sprinkle with cacao powder
-refrigerate for about 2 hours before cutting and serving

 

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Quick Noodles

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Yesterday was one of those Sundays when there are not real meal times. We started our Sunday with a late breakfast and at about 4.00 o’clock I began to hear voices emerge from behind screens claiming starvation. I had been preparing lessons for Monday and therefore also had to separate myself from my screen to think of how to solve this starvation situation. The solution it had to be a quick one since I wasn’t done preparing my lessons, so I opened a package of tofu I found in the fridge and decided not to allow myself to get flustered by the starvation taking place around me and by not yet having finished my school work and go ahead, try to make the best out the ingredients I had at hand and enjoy a cooking moment. What came out was quite attractive, tasty and very agreeable to the fuzzy starving eaters.Noodles with Tofu Coated with Chia Seeds

Quick Noodles with Tofu dusted with Chia Seeds 

Tofu
1 package of tofu cut in medium size cubes
3 Tbs. corn flour or tapioca flour
2 Tbs. chia seeds
a dusting of oregano
a pinch of sea salt
a dusting of smoked pimiento
oil for shallow frying

Noodles
1 package of udon noodles
broccoli cut in small florets
1/2 cucumber cut in small cubes
1 medium carrot grated

Dressing
3 Tbs.shoyu or tamari
1 Tbs. balsamico
2 tbs. olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced

1 red bell pepper cut in fine cubes
1 nori leaf per person

-in a wide bowl mix the corn flour, chia, oregano, salt and pimiento
-add the tofu cubes, cover the bowl and shake it to cover all the tofu cubes with the mixture
-in a wide frying pan heat the frying oil and fry the tofu cubes until golden brown

-boil the noodle as you normally would.
-towards the end of the cooking time throw in the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes or until the broccoli turns bright green
-rinse the noodles and broccoli with cold water and put in a nice serving bowl
-grate the carrots directly into the bowl and add the cut cucumber
-give it a good stir
-in a glass mix the dressing ingredients
-pour dressing on top of the noodles
-mix in the fried tofu with the noodles
-mix in the dressing
-sprinkle with the red peppers
-adjust seasoning by drizzling with a little extra olive oil or shoyu or tamari if desired
-serve sprinkled with finely cut pieces of nori and minced parsley or fresh coriander

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Sweetness

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I had promised myself and my Facebook page to post this post today and it is now tomorrow! But if going to bed late counts as today then I’m all right.
These are two recipes I made this week.The brownies I’ve made millions of times and they work really well(arrowroot being the magic ingredient).  Muffins were part of today’s breakfast. My twelve year old daughter will not eat another bowl of porridge, which seems to be a tradition with twelve year old girls in this family. For years our family was totally happy eating nice large bowls of porridge of all sorts for breakfast, but as the kids got older they began to reject this tradition for something less “bulky”. This has made breakfast a bit more complicated for me since the old trusted bowl of porridge has been boycotted. Specially on cold, rainy Dutch school mornings it’s not always easy to magically create a nutritious breakfast out of the blue, which will sustain everyone until noon. However on lazy Saturdays or Sundays mornings a healthy muffin and a nice cup of tea can be a nice way to start off the day. The parsnip-carrot idea came about because I didn’t have enough carrots in the house this morning(what kind of nut has more parsnip the carrots in the fridge?). It turned out to give the muffins a nice natural sweetness, and as a result 8 tablespoons of sucanat were enough. Great breakfast muffins!

Fudgy Brownies

1 whole wheat or spelt cup flour(you can try substituting 4 tbs of the flour with coconut flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup arrowroot
1-11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 water
1/3 light olive oil
1/2 chopped nuts

-mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
-mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl
-beat the dry ingredients into the wet
-cover a square baking pan with wax paper and pour in the batter
-bake for about 25 minutes at 180* C

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Carrot Parsnip Muffins

2 cups flour(1/2 whole and 1/2 white)
1/4 coconut flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbs maca
3 tbs. flax seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
8 tbs. sucanat
1 cup soy milk
cinnamon
1 cup grated carrot and 1 cup grated parsnip

-in a bowl mix all the dry ingredients
-in another bowl mix all the wet ingredients
-mix wet and dry ingredients together and add the grated veggies

-pour batter in muffin tins and bake at 180* C for about 20 minutes

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Pearl Couscous

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I am really into one dish meals lately, which I think must have to do with my very, very busy life at the moment. For this year’s new years resolution I am committing to not abandoning the things that I really enjoy doing because of being caught in the routine of daily life. Cooking is one of those things I really enjoy doing, but in order to do that I can’t always expect myself to be making fancy dinners requiring lots of time. So yes, I am excited about rediscovering the beauty in the simplicity of simple meals. Pilafs and one pan meals which include grains, beans and veggies are great at doing this job. They are not only nutritious, uncomplicated and delicious but also beautiful to look at.

After wondering around the biggest outdoor market in Amsterdam last Saturday, I came home with lots of treats which I can’t buy in my neighborhood market. One of these treats is Pearl Couscous, otherwise known as Israeli Couscous or Ptitim. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s made from wheat just like most couscous, but the grains are larger and chewier, something in between pasta and whole grain, which has a very appealing and light feel to it. It is quick and definitely an elegant addition to your repertoire.

Pearl Couscous Pilaf

2 3/4 cups vegetable broth(which I didn’t have) or water(I used water boiled with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and a tsp. of olive oil)
2 1/4 cups pearl couscous
1 eggplant cut in small cubes, sparkled with salt
2 bell peppers cut in big pieces
1 or 2 carrots cut in smallish cubes
3 cups of cooked chickpeas (can use canned)
a handful of chopped kale
a handful of roasted pine nuts

-roast the eggplant, peppers and carrots in the oven at 230* C. until the veggies are done
-in the mean time cook the couscous in the boiling hot broth(or water), simmer for about 12 minutes until the grains are cooked but not overcooked(they shouldn’t stick to each other.
-when the couscous and the vegetable are done, mix it all in an attractive serving dish
-add the kale and chickpeas and stir in the dressing and serve.

Dressing:
the juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbs. shoyu
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. harissa(or to taste)
1/2 tsp. powder cumin

-stir everything together in a small cup or bowl

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Real Food

Buckwheat Pilaf

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I love when food looks like food, when it doesn’t pretend to be something else, when it is not ornamented with weird contraptions, when the end product is clearly traceable to its original source, when it smells like it was cooked by people, when the process is not hidden, when it is art not because it has “make-up” on but because it is so beautiful, natural, colorful, delicious, nourishing and satisfying that it fills me with a sense of wonder for the transformative power and imagination that we people have to keep ourselves alive with the wonderful and pure products that nature so abundantly provides us with.
Here are two very, very simple dishes I made this week, which I thought were so simple and attractive that there were worth sharing

Buckwheat Pilaf
2 cups of buckwheat rinsed
2 1/4 cups water
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion cut in small cubes
2 or 3 garlic cloves minced
1 large carrot diced
1 cube of vegetable bouillon
1 tsp. turmeric powder
a pinch of saffron
a handful of currants
a handful of roasted pine nuts

-in a deep pan warm the olive oil
-add the garlic, stir and quickly after add the onion
-stir a bit at medium fire
-add the carrots, the vegetable bouillon cube(crumbled), the turmeric and the saffron
-saute a bit, then add the buckwheat
-saute a bit more and add the water and a pinch of salt
-bring to a boil, lower the heat and place a flame deflector under the pan
-cook covered for about 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the buckwheat is cooked
-turn off fire
-add the currants and pine nuts and mix gently with a fork
-garnish with lots of parsley and tomatoes chopped in small cubes
-serve with a salad and a nice glass of white wine

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Potato Mash with Mushroom Garnish

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Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Garnish

a buch of potatoes
olive oil
sea salt
4 cups of sliced or chopped mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup soy milk

-boil the potatoes until they are soft
-get rid of the cooking water and pure the potatoes with a hand blender, adding salt and a generous(reasonably generous) amount of olive oil and about a tsp. of salt to create a very smooth puree
-put puree in a baking form, make it flat and smooth and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and soy milk
-sprinkle with black pepper
-bake at 200* c. for about 15 minutes or until it begins to get a nice toasty color on top
-take out of the oven and sprinkle the sautéed mushrooms on top

Mushrooms
-saute the mushrooms with the garlic and olive oil until the liquid has disappeared and they have become quite dry.

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December 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December is a weird month. It’s weird because it feels like the shortest month of the year, shorter than any leap year I’ve ever experienced , but at the same time more happens in December than at any other other time.  Here in the Netherlands December begins with the Sinterklaas celebration which occur at the beginning of the month. This celebration involves presents exchange, special foods, time for and with family, harmony and warmth. The weeks building up to Christmas also involve a certain special approach, yes we go to work, make dinner and take out our dogs, but in the mean time we feel the excitement and pressure of the impending  “big day”. Whether we are religious or not the feeling of advent has a huge effect on our psychic and physical life. Christmas decorations, Christmas music, candles, Christmas celebrations at work and at schools, a natural feeling or desire to look inwards, to light candles, to show compassion and love for humanity, to be home curled up with a fine book and a warm drink, while at the same time feeling the pressure to hunt for the right Christmas presents, fantasize about making the perfect Christmas dinner and planning for the perfect Christmas evening with the right dynamic of loving friends and family. At the same time December is a time for wrapping things up at work and at school, students have tests, have to turn in papers  and teachers have to grade them. Musicians and dancers play and dance more than at other times of the year. All in all money and stress seem to have taken central role in this special time of the year.

I also have contributed to the December frenzy. I also hurried to celebrate Sinterklaas with my younger kids. Ran around trying to find the right number of presents so that one wouldn’t have more than the other. I too stayed up late grading tests in the company of a lit candle, trying to get a feel for advent while my eyes closed craving sleep. I did my early morning December march along with hundred of other Amsterdam commuters, coffee in hand walking side by side each other, fixated on catching a train, not seeing the Christmas ornaments and advertisements, but having them subliminally address our need for something which goes way deeper than the consumer behavior which they are meant to awaken in us.

As we all know December’s craze is not done with the celebration of the Messiah’s birth, there are five days of cease fire before we embark on that last ritual of the year. New Year’s eve celebrations provides another potential moment for reflection plus a cause for rejoicing in the fact that we’ve made it through the 365 day cycle yet one more time. In Holland the New Year is welcome with an unbelievable amount of dangerous, expensive  and often illegal fireworks, which create quite a lot of commotion as well as its share of accidents. The next day, the streets are filled with the remnants of the previous night’s activities and in a state not too different from that of a war zone.  December has come to an end, and with its madness.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not a cynic, I have always loved December and have always experienced it as a special time of the year in the positive sense. However this December I had to reflect when my twelve year old daughter complained about how fast “everything” was going. Indeed as a fifty year old I feel an exponential quality to the way in which December wheezes by, but the fact that my young daughter experiences such a hastiness during this period makes me wonder if we are not creating a life for ourselves which resembles  a film in accelerated motion.

In moments of doubt I did that which cannot be rushed, that is cook!
Most of my days have been spend cooking and baking. This post may not show the extent of this truth, since I am getting used to my new camera and haven’t been able to to take the kind of pictures I would like with it. But the time will come when my Canon EOS 1100D will serve my purpose.

Blueberry Glogg Pie

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This recipe was inspired by the Scandinavian Christmas drink Glogg, which we so much enjoyed this Christmas. I figured why not make a pie out of it!

Crust:
2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of cold water

-mix all the dry ingredients
-add the coconut oil and mix with a fork until you reach a sandy consistency
-add the water and create a ball of dough
-flatten the ball and roll between two pieces of wax paper to create a thin large circle to fit into your pie form
-fit the dough into the pie form and poke with a fork in several places on the bottom of the dough
-with the remnants of dough, after fitting it on the pie form, make a lattice top for the pie, after you have poured in the fillings.

Cream Filling:
1 cup raw cashews
3 tbs. coconut flour
1 cup water
4 tbs. honey or rice syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

-put everything in the blender and blend well
-pour on the bottom of the uncooked pie crust

Filling:
2 cups of (frozen)
1 orange, zest
a dusting of powder cloves
1 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
handful of raisins
2 whole star anise
1 inch/2,5 cm fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2cups of red wine with
3 tablespoons of arrowroot
1/2 to 1 cup of honey or rice syrup

-mix all the ingredients in a bowl
-pour filling in the prepared pie crust, on top of the cashew cream and make a lattice cover for it
-bake for about 20 minutes in a pre warmed oven at 200* cent.

 

Slow Food in a Flash

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What to do when you have to do a million things at once and one of them is make lunch for your teenage ballet dancer son, who needs to leave on time?
This was what I was faced with this morning, and it is what I am faced with every time I am working at home rather than at school. On the days of the week when I am home we usually spend the morning catching up on some homeschooling stuff, either on the administration part of it or planning, or we get caught in some interesting discussion. Today it was the meaning of democracy! By the time we got to the point when we were faced with the idea of the “dictatorship of the majority” it was time to make a nutritious lunch, which of course had to be tasty, not too heavy so that it doesn’t cause cramps while dancing, varied(not the same as yesterday, or the day before and possibly not even the day before that..), and definitely it ready exactly on time so that this particular dancer has time to take out the dog and catch the right train!
Well, in preparation for lunch, while trying to figure out why North Korea is called The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea I made a quick right eye scan of the stuff we had in our kitchen(we basically do everything in the kitchen, also homeschooling), while my left eye and a part of my brain was occupied with North Korea, Athens and democracy in general. I saw a whole pumpkin, tomatoes, red onions, a half of a red bell pepper and arugula(we have a glass refrigerator door, which is convenient for this sort of inadvertend scanning).  With these ingredients I figure I could put my cooking mind to rest for a couple of more minutes and give some more thought to the relationship between a democracy and a republic and ponder on how the democratic process killed Socrates, oh God!!!! I really got myself in trouble in this discussion, but my lunch deadline will save me and bring me back to the reality of my home world, which as was pointed out to me is not at all pure democracy. Never mind!

With the basic ingredients I saw on my counter and fridge, plus the the staples I had around I managed to think of this dish which integrates well with this autumnal day. It gives you the illusion of “slow food” while in reality it was pretty much made in a flash; between 12.30 and 13.00 o’clock to be precise!

Slow Food in a Flash
Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Rucola Pesto with Chipotle

1 bag of spelt pasta cooked

1/2 of a medium kabocha squash(or any pumpkin)
the tomatoes that you have around(I had 5 medium ones) cut in chunks
1 large red onion cut in medium size wedges
1/2 or 1 red bell pepper cut in medium size pieces
3 cloves of garlic chopped
a bit of olive oil to mix with veggies before baking
sea salt
black pepper

pine nuts roasted

- put all the veggies with the oil and the salt and pepper in an oven dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 200* until the squash is cooked.
- after the veggies are baked turn on the grill and grill for 2-5 minutes
-sprinkle with pine nuts

Pesto
a handful of arugula
2 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
about 15 cashews
sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle in adobe

-put everything in a mortar and pound until you get a pesto consistency. Keep it a bit rough.
-mix the pesto with the roasted vegetables and and add the cooked pasta.
-stir gently and serve.

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