Hazelnut macaroons (Swedish nöttoppar).

Google Photos reminded me this week that it was four years ago since we made our first visit to Rosendals trädgård – Rosendal’s garden – in Djurgården, formerly a royal hunting domain, nowadays Stockholm’s largest and lushest park, its greenest lung right in the middle of the city. Although we lived in Stockholm for 2,5 years and visited Djurgården many times, it was only during the stretch of our final months there that we managed to pay this cosy flower garden / vegetable garden / orchard, with a small playground and renowned garden café a visit, for previously we never made it beyond the confines of Skansen, the open-air museum quasi next door to Rosendals trädgård. Our children were extremely eager visitors of Skansen (if you ever plan going there, it’s great to know that its traditional bakery sells some accidentally vegan sweet buns) and the place still holds a magical place in their memories. You might imagine that it was quite a task getting them to Rosendals trädgård along Djurdgårdsvägen without them noticing that we were actually passing by Skansen. But we actually managed that on that warm day in early June 2014.

Then half a year ago, when me and my husband were paying Stockholm a visit by ourselves, we biked from Slussen to Djurgården, and entering the domain of Rosendals trädgård, vivid memories of that day instantly resurfaced, and it felt as if our once nearly 3- and 5-year-olds could emerge right there, clamping first the trunks and then the branches of fruit trees, performing a balancing act on a wooden structure, giggling on the swings, and indulging in a cup of Lily & Hannah’s ice cream.

We did not have this raw ice cream this time, which in 2014 was still newly launched, and had at the time of our last visit in 2017 already made it to mainland Europe and our local Loving Hut‘s freezer. No, this time we decided to have a look at what that day’s buffet had to offer, and we unanimously settled on gigantic nöttoppar, hazelnut macaroons, that is. Ever since taking my first bite of that perfectly balanced piece of wonder (crunchy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside), packed with flavour and overwhelming my taste buds with pure hazelnut pleasure, I was determined to set out on a quest for recreation once we got home.

As things often go, that plan got snowed under. Autumn came, winter came, spring arrived, and no nöttoppar had emerged from my frequently used oven yet. But when I found some priceworthy packages of ground hazelnuts at a Lidl in Normandy during our Easter vacation, I picked some of these up, and knew what their destiny would be. Never mind that in Germany, Haselnussmakaronen are a typical Christmas treat, to me they can be baked and eaten all year round, be it May, August or September.

As I had previously experimented quite satisfactorily with aquafaba in coconut macaroons, I decided to sub the egg whites which you will find in regular hazelnut macaroon recipes by aquafaba here as well. As my previous subbing had yielded coconut macaroons that were perhaps somewhat moister than the result I had aimed for, I added some chia seeds here as well, hoping to achieve a more viscous liquid. A succesful thought, that was. Lo’ and behold the result and the recipe below.

 

 

 

Hazelnut macaroons.

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients

  • 50 g vegan margarine
  • 200 g ground hazelnuts
  • 1 dl (1/3 cup + 1 TB) powdered sugar
  • 4 TB aquafaba
  • 1 heaped tsp chia seeds

Directions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius
  • Mix the aquafaba with chia seeds and set the mixture aside until the seeds have reached a jelly-like consistency
  • Melt the margarine
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and form about 12 equal and slightly pointed mounds. Insert a full hazelnut in the middle, if you wish.
  • Bake for about 18-20 minutes
  • Let cool completely
  • Optional: decorate with chocolate

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Double chocolate peanut butter-filled cookies. Or date caramel-filled, if you may.

Yesterday I came across this recipe for double chocolate peanut butter-filled cookies. I wanted to make those on the spot, and I immediately knew exactly how I wanted to veganise them. Forty minutes later these beauties were lying on my cooling rack, but I had to hide them until this early evening from the rest of the family so as to safeguard them for a quick photoshoot during daylight. Otherwise I don’t think there would have been any left!

For the filling, I used a combination of peanut and banana, but you could easily sub this with peanut & maple syrup, or even date caramel (which I plan to do next time, as I love date caramel and am curious about the result). Certainly to be baked again, judging after the children’s chocolate-smudged mouths after dinner.

Double chocolate peanut butter-filled cookies.

  • Servings: 10 cookies
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (do use pure peanut butter, and avoid the processed kind containing palm oil)
  • 1/2 banana
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

For the cookies

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 dark cane sugar (or use regular cane sugar in combination with a teaspoon molasses)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (either pure vanilla, or vanilla essence)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 4 TB aquafaba
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanuts: for garnish

Directions

Pre-heat your oven (175 degrees celcius)

For the filling:

Mash the banana thoroughly with a fork and mix with the peanut butter (and vanilla) until it gets a smooth consistency

For the cookie dough

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine. Knead until you get a non-sticky dough. If it sticks, add a little flour.

Divide the dough into 20 equal parts, and roll them into walnut-sized balls. Each time flatten one ball (I find a flat-botttomed glass works fine), then scoop a teaspoon of the peanut fill in the centre, then place another flattened doughball – in which some peanuts have been pressed – on top, then seal the edges. Proceed like this until you have 10 temptingly looking cookies on your cookie sheet, ready to be baked. Transfer to the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes at 175 degrees celcius.

Za’atar tofu bowl with mint-pomegranate pesto.

The sight or thought of pomegranates always catapults me straight back to the summer of 1999, the year when Prince’s major hit from 1982 again hit the charts after its re-release. The song, in a way, exuded that time’s atmosphere of anxious anticipation of the new millenium to come, which was generally left unspoken, except for the loud buzz around the supposedly looming Y2K bug, predicting inevitable chaos.

We could all die any day/ But before I’ll let that happen, I’ll dance my life away.

The song never failed to be played at parties in those days, at which my friends and me danced away, nearly imperceptibly already shedding the thinnest outer layers of our carefree student selves, gradually exposing our eagerness to embark on the terrifyingly exciting adult life ahead of us, not knowing where it would take us, as any direction still seemed possible. Which in a way was true.

In that summer of 1999, before embarking on our final year of study (or at least before obtaining our master’s degree, as in 2000 we all decided to extend our period of study to varying degrees) my friends and I decided to enjoy some of the final weeks of our 3-month summer break in Crete. Of course we had a wonderful time, for Crete was

  • abundant sun, every single day (as opposed to our habitual capricious climate back home) – and sunburns
  • sea and beaches
  • swimming pools (including the pool from the next-door hotel – fancier than ours – which we once sneaked into)
  • impressive historical sites
  • magnificent landscapes
  • walks in the rough countryside nearby (an activity regarded by Cretans as utterly outlandish, as we were offered rides several times, obviously assuming we were in need of transport)
  • both lousy Dutch beer in more touristy stretches and excellent Greek wine elsewhere
  • great Greek food (although quite monotonous after ten days, since the range for vegetarians – which I still was back then – was restricted)
  • dancing hassapikos with locals during wedding parties taking place at our hotel (as the management preferred inviting its hotel guests to join these parties and offering them free grapes and wine to receiving complaints about excessive noise and sleepless nights)
  • taking roadtrips, sitting in the back of a 4×4, the wind blowing through our long hair (yes, mine was pretty long back then too)
  • and just great fun

It was on such a roadtrip, taking us to Sitia, Vai and Agios Nikolaios, that I saw and tasted pomegranate for the first time. One has to remember that this was 1999. As odd as this may seem now, pomegranates had not made it to the average Belgian kitchen back then. Our car had just conquered a scarily steep slope in Vai (which I felt compelled to photograph – see below), when we decided to take a break and have something to drink. There was a café around the corner, where our youthful entrance – and of course the fact that we were tourists -apparently disrupted the clientele’s usual composition. Only old male Greeks of a very respectful age where having their coffee there. So the five of us (4 women and 1 man in their twenties) got some particular attention and were lavished with hospitality, which showed itself for instance in the fact that we were instantly offered some pomegranate kernels, from a freshly cut fruit, which I found quite intriguing. Today, meticulously picking out the pitch-red arils from a pomegranate fruit, some part of me always floats back to those early September days under the Cretan sun.

In this za’atar tofu bowl, pomegrate features in two ways: the arils in the salad on the one hand, pomegranate molessas in the pesto on the other. In this version, I prepared some couscous and incorporated this in the salad, but you might just as well have this salad, topped with za’atar tofu and mint-walnut pesto, with some pita bread or fatoush instead. Either way it will be lovely.

Crete & a perfectly azure sea, 1999

Crete & me, 1999

Steep street in Sitia, Crete, 1999

Za'atar tofu bowl with mint-pomegranate pesto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    For the za’atar tofu

    • 400 g tofu, pressed, drained and cubed
    • 2 TB za’atar spice mix (*see recipe below if you can’t find it at your grocer’s)
    • 1,5 TB harissa
    • 1,5 tsp agave syrup (or another sweetener)
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 3 TB olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 TB lemon juice
    • For the finishing touch after frying: 1 TB cornstarch or arrowroot, 1 tsp harissa, 1 tsp agave syrup

    For the mint-pomegranate pesto

    • 1 cup loosely packed mint
    • 1 cup loosely packes flatleaf parsley
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup walnuts
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 TB pomegranate molasses
    • 2 TB water
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • za’atar spice mix
    • 3 TB sumak
    • 1,5 TB toasted sesame seeds
    • 1 TB oregano
    • 1 TB thyme
    • 1 TB marjoram
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    For the salad

    • 2-3 tomatoes, cubed
    • 2 cups flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, pressed
    • 1 (roasted) bell pepper, cubed
    • 1/2 cucumber, sliced and chopped
    • Handful of toasted almond slivers
    • Pomegranate kernels of 1/2 pomegranate (or an entire one, if you wish and feel up to pinching all the kernels out of the fruit at once!)
    • A decent splash of both olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Salt to taste
    • Some mint leaves and olives if desired
    • Optional: couscous or flatbread

Directions

For the tofu: mix all ingredients and pour over the tofu cubes in a container (with lid). Shake the container and let marinate at least overnight. When frying the tofu, sprinkle some TB of cornstarch over the cubes, and make sure all cubes are evenly coated. Fry until nicely browned. For a final touch, add a tsp of agave syrup and harissa, and add a final coating layer.

For the salad: mix all ingredients

For the pesto: mix all ingredients in a food processor

Watercress cream soup with spinach & sorrel.

Whereas France’s major rivers (the Loire, Rhine and Seine) probably ring a bell, chances are quite low you might ever have heard of la Veules, the country’s shortest river, its source and mouth only a little over a kilometer apart in the small, picturesque village of Veules-les-Roses along Normandy’s Alabaster coast.

During our Easter break, we paid Veules-les-Roses a visit on a day when an impermeable wall of dense fog only allowed the sound of rumbling waves falling onto the pebbly beach and the taste of salty sea air to slip through to where we stood on the boardwalk. The sea audibly and nearly palpably present, yet totally invisible. Luckily, once inside the village, there was plenty to be seen. Such as the pretty sight of la Veules’ riverbed full of watercress next to one of the village’s watermills. Watercress has been cultured in this shallow, clear watercourse since the 14th century until the present day. Someone was right in the middle of harvesting some watercress at the very moment when we were passing by.

But what to do with it once it’s been cut? Watercress is most frequently used in soups and salads, but can also be turned into a lovely pesto. Since I am an ardent soup lover, it is a soup recipe I came up with here, in which the peppery taste of watercress is paired with – but not overwhelmed by – crisp spinach and tangy sorrel, and smoothened by some silky soy cream.

Watercress cream soup with spinach & sorrel

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1400 ml (about 5 to 6 cups) vegetable stock
  • 250 g celeriac, diced
  • 150 g watercress (stems included), finely cut
  • 100 g tender (baby) spinach
  • 40 g sorrel (stems removed)
  • 1 TB herbes de Provençe
  • salt and pepper
  • 150 ml soy or other plant-based cream

Directions

  • Fry the onion until transclucent, add the cubed celeriac and fry 2-3 more minutes
  • Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil
  • Once the celeriac is tender, add in all the chopped greens and the herbs
  • Once wilted, blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth
  • Finally, stir in the cream

Lavender ice cream with dandelion honey.

Let me first break the bad news: lavender ice cream does not boast a precious purple hue, despite what your imagination might have lured you into thinking (I admit I am projecting here). Lavender ice cream is just a plain off-white. Unless you use (preferably natural) food colouring or some blueberry or other purplish berry juice). I had neither at hand, and did not find them necessary either. The good news, however, is that if you have been critical of using lavender in sweet food items – for let’s be honest, don’t we all associate the scent of lavender rather with soap and air fresheners than with ice cream, chocolate or biscuits – you might be in for a very pleasant surprise here.

Apart from the delicate, refreshing taste, I was even more surprised by how smooth the texture was. Usually my homemade ice cream is at its best about two hours freezing time after having been churned. After that, it’s best to wait 5-10 minutes after having taken the ice cream from the freezer before scooping it. This time, it was perfectly smooth even after 24 and 48 hours (“an ice cream a day keeps the … “) in the freezer. I attribute that to the aquafaba I used. I have tentatively done so earlier, by folding in a few tablespoons, but this time I increased the amount to a quarter of a cup, and that must have done it. Definitively to be retested soon with other flavours.

Lavender ice cream with dandelion honey

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dandelion ‘honey’ – I used the HEENI from the brand Außerperskolerhof
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tsp dried lavender flowers (in a tea strainer)
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 TB coconut butter
  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1 TB arrowroot

Directions

Bring all ingredients, except for the arrowroot and aquafaba, to a boil. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove the teastrainer with the dried lavender flowers). Mix the arrowroot with the aquafaba in a small container. Make sure there are no kumps of arrowroot left. Turn off the heat below the ice cream mixture. When the mixture stops bubbling, whisk in the arrowroot/aquafaba mixture. Let cool completely for a few hours, then churn according to the directions of your ice cream maker. I have a basic one from Philips and 30-40 minutes are usually sufficient.

Salad with roasted sweet potato & chipotle dressing.

Southern Germany 2001. That’s when I first heard of, smelled, tasted and fell in love with chipotle in adobo sauce.  I was studying a year abroad and one of my new friends had just spent her summer vacation in South America. One of the treasures she had brought with her from that trip was a collection of canned chipotles. These fiery,  intensely smoky peppers were going to form the basis of some hearty (and hot!) chili stews and lively dinners for a motley crew that solidified new acquaintances into long-term friendships.

I have never come across such cans since. But chipotle paste, however, has become quite commonplace over the past decade, and now I usually keep one of those small jars in my fridge. With temperatures soaring last week (causing a sudden change in outdoor gear from fleece-lined rain jacket to flimsy t-shirt), it was time to suit the action to the word again, and create another, new salad. This time with a hint of smoke: chipotle, smoked paprika and smoked almonds.  Smokey deliciousness.

Salad with roasted sweet potato & chipotle dressing.

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB agave syrup
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TB lime juice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • some cracked black pepper
  • some cilantro sprigs

For the roasted sweet potato

  • two medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced/cubed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

For the salad

  • roasted sweet potato (see above)
  • mixed greens of your choice
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 mango, cubed OR the equivalent amount of pineapple (smoked pineapple would definitely work like a charm here – only I did not have pineapple in the house when I made this salad)
  • 1 bell pepper (you can of course also roast the bell pepper!)
  • 1 largo tomato
  • 3 scallions
  • handful of chopped smoked almonds
  • handful of cilantro
  • optional: black beans (I served this salad alongside a Spanish tortilla on the basis of chickpea flour and silken tofu, so I did not add the extra beans today, but may do so a next time)

Directions

For the dressing: combine all ingredients and mix with an immersion blender

For the roasted sweet potato: place the chunks of sweet potato on an oven dish, and rub them with the spices and olive oil. Bake (hot air + grill) at 200 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy.

For the salad: well, it’s a salad,…

Fennel salad with spinach, apple, avocado & avocado dressing.

Up until now, salads have constituted quite an underrepresented category in my recipe index. Not because I do not regularly make or eat them, rather because I usually revert to either a classic salad/tomato/bell pepper/avocado/scallion/seeds and nuts combination splattered with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or because I make a salad hailing from one of my cookbooks. The first option isn’t worth blogging about, as it does not require much originality to come up with this basic salad, the second would mean copying another person’s recipe onto my blog, something I’d rather don’t.

But last week I decided to rely on my own inventiveness for once, and a fennel salad is what I came up with. And when the only other person in the household besides myself who eats salads (I haven’t been able to kindle the kids’ enthusiasm for raw vegetables yet) takes seconds, thirds and even fourths, exclaiming how delicious it is, then I think it is fair to conclude that I might have come up with something that is actually worth sharing.

Fennel salad with spinach, apple, avocado & avocado dressing

  • Servings: 3 to 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the salad

  • Half a small fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 5-6 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 apple (I used a sweet jonagold)
  • Half an avocado (you’ll need the other half for the dressing)
  • A handful of balsamic toasted sunflower seeds (it takes only a couple of minutes to toast them, with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and salt. You may even add a tsp of toasted sesame for a more intense flavour)

For the dressing

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegan mayo, or if you don’t have that at hand, then 40 ml of olive/rapeseed/canola/sunflower oil and 20 ml soy milk (it’s important to use soy milk here, otherwise the oil-milk mixture won’t thicken into mayo)
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp agave syrup or another sweetener
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp vadouvan, or if you don’t have this spice mixture, then just use 1 TB Italian herbs. I do highly recommend vadouvan, though.
  • Half an avocado

Directions

For the salad: toss all ingredients in a salad bowl.

For the dressing:

  • When using ready-made mayo: blend all ingredients with an immersion blender.
  • When starting from scratch: blend all ingredients except for the avocado. After you have done that, add the avocado and blend until smooth.

Gratin Dauphinois / Scalloped Potatoes.

If there’s one category of recipes there has probably been no shortage of all over the web (especially Instagram) during the past few days (and weeks), it’s most likely the one comprising all kinds of chocolate-loaded, Easter-themed treats. Since our own cupboard is currently hosting its own load of (storebought) vegan Easter chocolate, I haven’t felt the need to create extra items to cater to weak spots for sweets. When I did spend some time in the kitchen this weekend, it was in order to make soy skewers with cilantro rice and sweet chili sauce, watercress soup (keeping that recipe for another time!), Turkish red lentil soup with spinach-walnut puff pastry pockets, zucchini-broccoli soup with basil (yes, lots of soup…) with bruschette, and a lovely salad paired with gratin dauphinois, aka scalloped potatoes.

Although I know that potatoes are best eaten in moderation, I love them in all kinds of forms and preparations, be it mashed potatoes, rösti, Bombay potatoes, panfried potatoes, oven baked potatoes, potato squishers, fries or potato croquettes. Or plainly boiled potatoes. Today’s star dish, however, is scalloped potatoes. As a vegetarian, I used to prefer the dish’s cheesy crust, and when I turned vegan about 13-14 years ago, I wondered whether gratin dauphinois could ever survive a plant-based way of living. Turned out it did, and even beautifully so. Over time the concoction below has turned into my go-to recipe for this heavenly creamy dish. And the crust is still my favourite.

Gratin Dauphinois / Scalloped Potatoes

  • Servings: 5 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 800 g firm potatoes
  • 250 ml / 1 cup vegan cream (in the photos below it’s a mixture of spelt cream and soy cream)
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth powder
  • dash of salt and black pepper
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • for the top layer: 2 TB nutritional yeast flakes, a dash of sweet paprika, salt, black pepper and Italian herbs

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius
  • peel the potatoes and slice them thinly lengthways (see pic below)
  • arrange the potatoes in an oven dish such that the potato slices slightly overlap, roof tile-like, in several layers
  • pour the cream into a bowl and mix with the garlic, powdered broth, salt and pepper, then pour the mixture evenly over the potatoes
  • sprinkle herbs, salt, pepper, paprika and nutritional yeast flakes over the top
  • bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the cream underneath the potato slices is visibly bubbly, a nice crust has formed, and the potato slices are fork-tender.

Kofta tandoori masala.

Those who have read the About-page here on this blog are bound to have come across the statement that I own nearly 60 (or perhaps over 60 in the meantime?) cookbooks. Some date back to the early 2000s, some are brand new. Some I rarely use, some are tattered and stained (not really, but exaggerations work, and my favourite pages in those books might be). Two cookbook authors I am really grateful to are Isa Chandra Moskowitz (she deserves a statue on Vegan Plaza or a big star on Vegan Avenue) and Miriam Sorrell (don’t know her? Google Her Name Right Now and Order Her Books!). I also owe them for the recipe for these Kofta Tandoori Masala, which came about as the result of some kind of virtual Isa Meets Miriam. Both have a recipe for Indian kofta, and although both come really close to perfection – really, really close – both recipes lack a tiny something. Especially if you have tried both recipes. Miriam could use some help from Isa, and the other way around. So I made some kind of hybrid recipe, using the Moskowitz’ cashew base for the sauce, but giving it a tandoori twist. For the kofta, I got inspired by both recipes, (which were both great in taste, but resulted in kofta that were not as firm as I wanted them to be) but added my ‘own’ ingredients as well. The result is a very rich and creamy sauce (including Moskowitz’ peas and Sorrell’s spinach) with kofta that are crispy on the outside, but moist, yet solid on the inside (the photos may let you think the kofta are dry and crumbly, due to their cracked exterior, but they definitely aren’t). I daren’t claim this recipe embodies perfection (that’s non-existent), but I do think I’ve come a step closer towards culinary heaven. (Be prepared for the long stairway to bliss, though, strewn with many ingredients and various cooking steps!)

This dish is served over rice, and we had it with some black pepper poppadums and home made rhubarb chutney.

Kofta tandoori masala

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • a chunk of ginger, grated
  • 1 finely chopped green chili
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 TB tomato paste
  • 4 tsp tandoori paste
  • 60 g frozen spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • some crushed black pepper

Directions

  • Blend the drained cashews with the broth until the mixture has reached a smooth, non-grainy consistency
  • Add the onion, garlic, chili and ginger to your food processor and process until you have a paste
  • Add this paste to a frying pan and sauté, then add the cashew cream. Let it simmer until the sauce has thickened, therafter add the remaining ingredients, except for the spinach and peas, which you add at the very end, when the kofta are ready as well.

Kofta

Ingredients

  • 200g vegan mince (I used soy)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup mixed nuts, very finely chopped in a food processor (first measure, then add to the food processor)
  • 100 g instant oats OR finely chopped mushrooms (or 50/50 of both)
  • 60 g raisins, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry
  • 2 tsp tandoori paste
  • 1,5 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 TB chickpea flour (besan)
  • a handful of fresh cilantro

Directions

  • mix all ingredients until you end up with a thick dough
  • roll kofta with your hands (about 20)
  • first fry the kofta, then bake in a preheated oven on 200 degrees Celcius for ca. 15 minutes.
  • serve over rice and sauce, garnish with cilantro.

 

 

 

 

Soft chia buns with avocado and vadouvan mayo.

A week before Christmas, my husband came up with the idea to spend the first days of 2018 in the Netherlands. He had already found a suitable airbnb apartment in between the Hague and Scheveningen. Of course we booked!

Day 1 of our trip was mainly spent indoors, even in a basement. But what a basement! A colleague of mine had excitingly recommended a visit with the children to the interactive Wonderkamers (marvel rooms) of the Hague’s city museum. We now share her enthusiasm!

Day 2 had to be counterbalanced with some fresh air, so we headed to the beach of Scheveningen, despite the blustery weather, gushing wind and all the whirling sand.

Our hair all sandy and our cheeks rosy read, we threafter set course to the (very enjoyably calm) city centre and the only purely vegan restaurant there, FOAM. Whereas the rest of the family opted for the soup of the day, I picked an avocado grilled sandwich with vadouvan, not knowing what it was.

It was a delight! Not only plenty and beautifully served, but also with a subtle and rich taste. My husband was secretly a tad envious. And vadouvan was googled. A curry blend with a French twist, apparently.

Then when I spotted a tin box of vadouvan spice mix during my quick shopping trip to supermarket Albert Heijn the next morning, I was tempted to believe coincidences do not exist and instantly knew that box was going to be mine.

Once back home, I took an avocado destined for urgent consumption, whipped up a batch of my go-to vegan mayo, with the only exception that I now also added some vadouvan, and came to the conclusion that this vadouvan mayo mimicked the ‘real thing’ I had had on my grilled sandwich just two days before.

I decided to bake my favourite buns,  a veganised version of chia rolls which my sister gave me last year. And so this chia bun with avocado and vadouvan mayo came into being. Just awesome!

I tried the vadouvan mayo on grilled bread as well. Equally awesome.

Soft chia buns with avocado and vadouvan mayo

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Soft chia buns

Ingredients

  • 20 g chia seeds
  • 40 ml water (which can be partly subbed by aquafaba)
  • 200 ml lukewarm plant-based milk
  • 75 ml plant-based cream
  • 1 package dry yeast (12 g)
  • 200 g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 350 g white spelt flour
  • 1,5 tsp salt
  • 75 g melted margarine, coconut oil, or olive oil

Directions

  • Mix chia seeds and water (and/or aquafaba), give the mixture a storir and let sit for 5 minutes
  • In a separate bowl, mix yeast, cream and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  • Add the chia seeds and the margarine or oil to the milk and cream mixture.
  • Add the flour and salt and knead until you end up with a very smooth, soft and non-sticky dough.
  • Roll 70-80g of dough into balls, and let rise for half an hour in the oven on 30 degrees in the oven.
  • Remove from the oven, increase the temperature to 230 degrees, then bake for 6 minutes until slightly golden.

Vadouvan mayo

Ingredients

  • 100 ml canola or sunflower oil
  • 50 ml soy milk (do not sub for other plant-based milk or it won’t thicken)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vadouvan
  • 1/2 tsp agave syrup (unless you’re using sweetened soy milk)
  • 1/2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until thickened.

Top a bun with vadouvan mayo, avocado slices, aragula, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, salt and black pepper.