Last night I saw my life as a collage, you know like those of Picasso or Braque, with bits of newspapers, musical instruments, funny faces etc. Maybe the awareness came as a result of the realisation that life is a collage. Our lives are canvasses where the bits and pieces are glued on, usually with a basic theme connecting them, overlapping, sometimes making lot of sense, sometimes seemingly arbitrary, but all in all they create some sort of cohesive and even beautiful whole.
I made dinner for a couple of friends, Claire from my time in Boston, where we played Brahms clarinet quintet together, before we had partners, children, work, vegan cooking obsessions and a whole bunch of other things. The other friend was her partner Valentina, who lives in the Netherlands and with whom I coincidentally share the vegan cooking bug.
The conversation went from Bach to vegan mozzarella(which Valentina had deliciously made) and back. We enjoyed a dinner of fried polenta with what I now call a Mushroom Nightshade Fantasy(Shady Sauce for short)as well as braised carrots, blanched spinach with pine nuts, Valentina’s mozzarella with tomato and basil and a funky dessert with smoked chipotle! I often couldn’t quite figure out where I was since I was experiencing people and things from different periods of my life in my kitchen in the Netherlands. It all became even more wacky when my now grown up cellist daughter played two movements of Bach fourth cello suite for our visitors (which I also played for my conservatory exam for my Bachelors diploma). Throughout the whole evening food was the glue for this collage; or was it music?
8 tomatoes cut in half
2 eggplants cut in small cubes and sprinkled with salt to release the water
about 6 cups of different sorts of mushrooms sliced
6 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tbs of Vitamix mushroom paste(or a vegetable bouillon cube)
1tbs balsamic vinegar
-first cook the tomatoes in a pan with 4 tbs. olive oil, with the cut down facing down, sprinkle with a bit of chopped garlic
-cook the tomatoes until they begin to darken and the liquid starts to get syrupy
-in a separate pan cook the eggplant in 4 tbs olive oil until they are completely soft and cooked
-in a separate pan sauté the mushrooms in 2 tbs oil and a bit of crushed garlic, until they loose their liquid
-when the vegetables are all cooked mix them in the pan with the tomato, add a bit more crushed garlic and sea salt and the tablespoon of the mushroom paste or bouillon cube. Cook until the paste is integrated into the sauce and add the balsamic vinegar
-serve warm with the polenta or rice or put on bread or on pasta or…….
In the morning I made almond milk and saved the pulp, for which I didn’t have any particular plan. However before starting dinner I got the idea of making some kind of flat bread with it, as a sort of appetizer. It turned out really well, although if I made it again as an appetizer I would put half of the sweetener.
Almond Pulp Spelt Flat Bread
-mix the dry ingredients
-mix wet ingredients
-combine wet ingredients with the almond pulp
-combine almond pulp mixture with wet ingredients and add seeds or nuts of choice, I chose hemp seeds this time, but you can also add anise seeds
-mix well and pat it down evenly on a cookie sheet that has been covered with wax paper
-bake for about 15 min. in a preheated oven at 180* C
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding with Smoked Chipotle
11/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
2 mangoes cut in small pieces
juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup chia seeds
liquid sweetener to taste(I use honey)
cardamon, cinnamon to taste
1 tsp turmeric
a tiny bit smoked chipotle (or chilli pepper)
tomato jam (or any other jam you have around)
-blend the milks with the mango and orange juice
-add the spices and sweetener and blend again(I used a hand blender)
-add the chia seeds and mix well
-add the chipotle
-put into 6 individual serving cups and place a tsp of tomato jam on top of each pudding cup
-garnish wit freshly minced mint
-put it in the freezer for about one hour