Showing posts with label main course. Show all posts
Showing posts with label main course. Show all posts

Friday, 17 July 2015

Spice Infused Sweet Potato & Green Lentil Stew

During the past two days I've read quite a few new things about website functionality.
My usual self-learning-by-doing enthusiasm has totally kicked in (jay!, I love just to forget time doing that - I really do!) and I have created a Pinterest account (--> see the button in the sidebar). Today I've pinned all my blog recipes onto a board and if you are a Pinterest enthusiast you can now follow me there and re-pin recipes.

Consequently I got tangled up in the jungle of articles on Rich Pins and rich snippets and have now decided to use this amazing website called RecipeSEO for marking up my future recipes so that all future content is indexed correctly.

Probably you are just here for the next recipe ... then you have to scroll down ;)
Otherwise you'll need to go on reading about my IT week =P

This sort of came up, as I was helping to design the website of the volunteer organisation I am involved in. I embedded a Google Map, trying to make it responsive and putting up a Facebook widget. All that on Wordpress, which I didn't have a clue about. Right now all of that is working, which is a great thing :)

I also made huge progress with the data problem my dissertation data had caused me, so now I am tackling the next riddle it is posing me.

But I haven't been doing this all week all day long ... ! Monday I had a friend over for dinner and made a Sweet-Potato-Lentil-Rhubarb Stew I had found on My New Roots. It was absolutely delicious and I can only recommend it!! Currently it is the only savoury rhubarb recipe that I know, but I would love to try some more. This was followed by some very chocolatey Chocolate Ice Cream, which is a regular at my Mum's table when guests are coming over.

Having dinner guests is something I really like, as I feel it makes it extra nice to make an effort and surprise someone with a lovely dinner... At least if we're talking of up to six people. I'd still need to practice cooking for more than that. My Mum and I only ever did that at a few rare Christmases and I remember it as being a sort of tricky thing. But that may have just been due to the fact that everyone seemed to have special food wishes ;)

I was having a hard time deciding which recipe to share first, but I am going for the sweet potato green lentil dish I made after a stunning and exhausting day on the Isle of Wight.

We had been cycling from Ryde to Shanklin, and passed some places with absolutely stunning waves, with a view of towering, high cliffs. I think at some point I was just looking at the waves for fifteen minutes, finding myself completely mesmerised. I could have stayed like that for hours and hours, just watching the force of the waves braking against the railings.
There are beaches with fine sand, lots of seashells and it was just, as I said, amazing. In favour of that my mind is completely blanking out the hills we cycled up and down ;)

Spice Infused Sweet Potato & Green Lentil Stew

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2


  • 1 medium sweet potato, in 1cm cubes
  • green pepper, in 1 cm squares
  • 3 large spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • size of half a finger piece of ginger, diced finely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds or mustard seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • chili flakes
  • green lentils
  • hot water
  • 1 - 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rice


  1. Prepare vegetables and set the rice (or whatever side you like) to cook.
  2. Heat olive oil over low to medium heat in a large pan (something that has a lid in any case). Drop in a few poppy seeds so that you can see when the oil is hot, which is when they start to sizzle. Add remaining poppy seeds, star anise, cumin, coriander and chili to the pan. Stir to coat and let sizzle on low to medium heat for a few minutes until they have a fragrant smell.
  3. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes until softened.
  4. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add sweet potato, spring onion and green pepper. Fry on medium heat for a few minutes until they have started to soften and do not look completely raw anymore.
  6. Add lentils, water (start with less, you can always add more) and soy sauce. Stir. Put on the lid, bring to a simmer and let simmer, covered on low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft. Check if water is needed from time to time.
  7. Season with honey, salt and pepper and, if necessary, soy sauce.
Serve on rice, drizzle with parsley and lemon oil.

Parsley & Lemon Oil

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: for 2 servings


  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Mix all the ingredients and adjust seasoning as desired. I recommend blending this up in a blender (if it can do very small amounts).

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Crazy Dried Mushroom Noodles

Actually, I have this other post nearly finished with the recipe written out and only the photographs and some editing missing, but I haven't been feeling like finishing it in the past few days.

Instead, I have been wanting to tell you about a crazy soup experiment my housemate and I started last week.

At the university, where he was working, they had been collecting left over food at term end when all the students moved back home. Most of the food was donated to charity, but he brought home this set of dried Chinese soup ingredients ... and well, neither he, nor I had ever made Chinese soup like that. For us, not being familiar with the ingredients, the whole package looked slightly suspicious. Since the thing was quite voluminous though, taking up lots of space, my housemate "assigned" me the task to find out what to do with the kit.
So, by the next day I had googled some recipes and had a rough idea. The whole thing looked a bit like this, but unfortunately I forgot to take a photograph. Some more googling revealed that in fact only one of the packages contained mushrooms, the mushrooms having been monkey head mushrooms. The other sachets contained medicinal roots, goji berries, a special variety of dates and some dried sea snail.

I ended up deciding to soak everything that was not sweet and not a snail in water, which was to be the base for our soup. Since it was not to be a creamy soup we agreed on adding buckwheat noodles and this was essentially the crucial point for making the recipe a success.

We cooked the noodles in the soup and the whole dish turned into noodles, since all the soup was soaked up. This was what made it so good. Both my housemate and I agreed that it was absolutely delicious and that we had to try and re-create this dish! Which is what we did yesterday for a friend's birthday dinner.

You may have seen the photograph that I posted on Instagram (to go there see link in the sidebar). Again, you are invited to follow me there. I may not manage to write posts that frequently, but I always do cook and I post photographs, which hopefully inspire you to try some new things!

... And if there's anything you are really curious about, just ask me for the recipe. I am always more than happy to help anyone who is willing to actually try to do some cooking!

In general I hadn't thought I'd like the concept of taking pictures and posting them with very little text, since a lot is down to appearance.
I have to admit though, that I really enjoy posting on Instagram, as it motivates me not to cook the same thing three days in a row even when no one is there to have dinner with me and to still make it look nice even if it is just for me :-)

So back to the noodles!

Crazy Dried Mushroom Noodles

Time: 30 minutes + soaking time 6-12 hours

for 2 people
50-60 g dried mushrooms*
2 servings (170 g) soba noodles**
2 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot
3 large chard leaves
4 spring onions, divided
¾ tsp tamarind
1-2 tbsp soy sauce


  • In the morning soak your mushrooms in 1 litre cold water. Place a glass or another item that is smaller than your soaking jar on to top of the mushrooms so that they actually stay submerged. Soak for 6-12 hours.
  • Drain the soaking water through a sieve into a medium sized pot. Squeeze the mushrooms as well as possible without squashing them completely. Start heating the liquid to bring it to a boil.
  • Cut the carrot in very thin 4 cm long sticks, cut the chard leaves into ribbons and thinly slice the spring onions. Keep the vegetables separate. Set ¼th of the spring onion aside for decoration. Slice the mushrooms into thin slices
  • Heat the oil in a mini wok or frying pan. Over medium high heat fry the remaining spring onion and carrot until slightly browned and soft. Add chard and fry until wilted. Add soy sauce, salt (depending on the saltiness of the soy sauce) and pepper.
  • By now the stock should be boiling. Add the mushrooms, the tamarind and ⅓ tsp salt and boil for 5 minutes. Then add vegetables with the juices and the soba noodles to the stock. Cook for about 5 minutes until the noodles are soft. Stir often so they don't stick together. Add water if necessary.
  • Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Serve in small bowls with crunchy spring onion sprinkled on top.

*Dried mushrooms: The first time we had monkey head mushrooms, together with some medicinal roots, which was fine. In that case remove the medicinal roots after soaking, since they stay quite hard. The second time we used dried shiitake mushrooms, which had much more flavour so I'd rather use these in the future. You can experiment with what you find, though.

** Soba noodles: We used these the first time, which thickened the remaining liquid's consistency very nicely. Also the noodles are flat, like linguine, which I liked. The second time we used these, which I think are probably more authentic, but didn't quite thicken the liquid as well. These are very thin round noodles. We preferred the more hearty noodles, but feel free to play around with the noodles you have or find and to find the ones you like best.

As always I'd happy to hear if you've tried this and how you liked it!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Chili with Red Wine, Cocoa and Coffee

Hi there!

I had my last lectures before Easter and now only two exams are left and a dissertation to write over summer.
At the beginning it was weird, but now I am enjoying being able to work from home, since that way I can do things where I have to pop into the kitchen every few hours. Plus I can have for lunch whatever I want to have without it having to be portable or easy to prepare!

During this past week I've been having different red and green smoothies (not as creepy as it sounds!) followed by bread rolls made from my Crusty Potato Bread dough* with butter and Orange Jam.

*For making rolls, instead of shaping bread loaves, divide the dough into 6 pieces per loaf, form into rolls (like small bread loaves). Proceed as with bread. Bake at only 220°C for 21 minutes. 

My smoothie week mainly originated from me having bought a bunch of beetroots last Friday and having the stems leftover from that. They looked far to nice to throw them out so I made smoothies with them, including banana, orange and some other things, which turned out surprisingly nice!
I hadn't been looking up recipes and just threw in random leftovers. And ... well, since I am not the most experienced smoothie person sometimes these creations turn out pretty weird I have to admit.
But I think I might stay hooked onto my smoothie-part of lunch for a little while longer. Usually I just have carrot and apple with my baked goodies or carrot and apple salad.
...A difference between carrot and apple and carrot-apple-salad? Uh, yes...there is a small difference even if it might not be apparent at first sight. Believe it or not ;-)

Here in England, we still have days where it's drizzling - or pouring - outside. Then it feels chilly inside to me if there hasn't been any sun all day to warm up the house.

On days like that I tend to make the dish, which this post is about:
A chili with red wine, cocoa powder and a dash of coffee.

Sounds unhealthy? Three vices combined in one dish? Red wine, chocolate and coffee?
Well, it is not as bad as it sounds - in fact I would still think it is quite healthy ;-)
... After all the alcohol evaporates, the cocoa powder only has the good parts of the chocolate without all the sugary stuff in it and there's only a spice-sized amount of coffee.
Sooooo... I hope I have convinced you!!!

My housemate claims that this is one of her favourite dishes out of those I've made for her so far, so I hope that you might like it as well :-)

Chili with Red Wine, Cocoa and Coffee

approx. 40 minutes without considering the beans
+ 20 - 50 minutes for cooking the beans if using dried ones
+ 6 hours for soaking of the beans (if using dried beans)

This recipe is an adapted version of this Bean Chili with Walnuts & Chocolate by Green Kitchen Stories.

for 2 4 6 people (without rice)
2/3 cup 1 1/3 cups 2 cups uncooked, dried beans (any dark colour)
½ cup 1 cup 1 ½ cups cooking water from the beans
1 tbsp 2 tbsp 2 tbsp olive oil
½ 1 1 ½ onion(s)
1 2 3 garlic clove(s)
½ tsp 1 tsp 1 ½ tsp cumin, whole seeds
¼ tsp ½ tsp ¾ tsp chili flakes, to taste
½ tsp 1 tsp 1 ½ tsp paprika powder
½ tsp 1 tsp 1 ½ tsp oregano, dried
1 2 3 carrots/parsnips/medium sized potatoes
1 2 3 celery stalks
1*400g tin 2*400g tin 3*400g tin cubed tomatoes
¼ - ½ tsp ½ - 1 tsp ¾ - 1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup (+) ½ cup (+) ¾ cup (+) red wine
¼ - ½ tsp ½ - 1 tsp ¾ - 1 ½ tsp coffee powder, ground (instant granules or normal)
1 tbsp 2 tbsp 3 tbsp cocoa powder

  • If you are using dried beans, like I did:
    • Soak the beans in plenty of water for about 6 hours. Then drain, rinse, cover with a lot of fresh water and cook. Do this either in a pressure cooker (for 16-18 minutes on the highest setting) or in a normal pot (for about 40 minutes). Do not add salt, as otherwise the beans will not soften. When straining after cooking keep some of the water.
    • You can do this while you prepare the remaining ingredients and start cooking.
  • You can also use canned beans. Then you should have about three times the volume of beans, since they triple in volume when being cooked. Strain and rinse and use fresh water instead of bean cooking water.
  • Finely chop onion and garlic.
  • Cut carrot/parsnip/potato into 1cm cubes. Cut the celery into pieces of about ½ cm in size.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion and garlic, as well as the spices, on low heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Stir often.
  • Add the remaining cut-up vegetables and cook for another 10 minutes until these have softened slightly. Stir often.
  • Add cooked beans, tomatoes, (bean cooking) water and salt. Bring to a simmer and let cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes with the lid on. Stir from time to time.
  • Add red wine, coffee and cocoa powder. Let simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
Serve. For decoration you can use parsley or coriander leaves if you wish.

You could combine this dish with rice or bread, but having it on its own is delicious as well!

** In my photograph I used light-coloured beans, but I'd recommend dark-coloured beans, since they look much nicer in here!
*** Feel free to use other vegetables, such as butternut squash or sweet potato as well.

As always, I would love to hear if anyone has tried this :-)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Millet-Polenta and Pan-Fried Leeks, Spinach & Peas

And I am back again already ;-) As I told you there are quite a few things I've made in the past two weeks that I'd like to share with you!

Today's post is about what I made today though, as I was surprised how well my "I-want-some-dinner-and-I-want-it-fast" experiment turned out.
I had been at the library until 7.30, working for five hours straight on an assignment without falling asleep - I am really surprised by that =P
So in fact my dinner was not that inventive, since half of the recipe was what I made yesterday (you don't have to make it twice in a row ;-) ) and the other half were the vegetables I had left. But it was very good! As was yesterday's, but I totally missed out on taking some photographs of that.

Today what I made was a millet-based polenta-like something with a green vegetable-assortment pan.

Polenta is usually made from coarsely ground corn and, in the Italian version, seasoned with parmesan cheese. Besides, some of the hot water, which the cornmeal usually is stirred into, can be replaced by stock or milk so that the dish has a richer flavour. Then, the mixture can be more or less creamy depending on how much liquid is used. It can be pan-fried or baked as well.
There is also an African version, called Sadza. Sadza is the made up of water, salt and corn only.

My version here is made of coarsely ground millet, since I didn't have any corn semolina and since my grain mill cannot grind corn anyway. Corn is about the hardest grain, which is why a very strong mill is needed if you want to grind corn.
I've found, though, that the flavour doesn't differ that much and the color is nearly the same too!

Before I've tried using cornflour, which is usually used for thickening liquids. The result was...well. Not quite what I had been thinking of and the colour I found to be a bit weird too.
So I do not recommend that.

In any case what I made with the millet was delicious, regardless of how any original version is supposed to be.

Total time for making both: About 30 minutes.


per person
75 g millet
200 - 230 g water
about 1/4 tsp salz
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp butter

  • Using a blender, coffee grinder or grain mill coarsely grind the millet so that it has the texture of semolina. When it turns out to be a flour this is not a problem. The recipe will still work - only the texture is a bit nicer when the mixture is a bit more grainy.
  • In a small pot bring the water with the salt to a boil. While whisking with a whisk or a fork slowly add the millet semolina to the water and keep stirring. Holding the lid over the pot bring the mixture back to a boil. The bubbles that surface when the mixture starts boiling might shoot at you, that's why I recommend the lid. When the mixture is boiling immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting and put on the lid. After about two minutes turn off the heat and whisk the mixture again. Put the lid back on and let stand for about 10 minutes so that the millet can absorb more water and soften.
  • Season with salt and nutritional yeast, whisking with the fork again. If the mixture is not creamy, add a bit more hot water (preferably from a kettle). Add the butter and stir until incorporated.
  • Spread out the polenta on a plate and top with your desired topping.

  • Alternatively, wet a cutting board. Pour out the polenta on the board and flatten to a disk with wet hands (be careful, it will still be hot) or a spoon so that it has the same thickness in all places. Heat a pan with some butter over medium heat and fry the polenta disk in it until browned.
  • To turn over, place a plate on the pan and turn around. Then add more butter to the empty pan and let the disk slide back into the pan to fry the second side.

Green Leek-Spinach-Pea-Assortment Pan

for 1 person as a side
1 leek
70-100 g spinach (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup peas (frozen)
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
250 ml vegetable stock
curry powder
dried herbs (mixture of sage, thyme, majoram, basil)
lemon juice
lemon peel

  • Cut the leek in 0.5 cm rings. Finely chop the garlic.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan for which you have a lid (or a plate that fits on it) over medium heat. Add the leeks. Fry over medium heat for 5-10 minutes*, stirring often so that the leeks brown slowly and slightly. Then add the spinach and some of the stock to the pan. Cover and let bubble over low heat until the spinach is defrosted or wilted. Add peas and garlic. Add more stock. Let simmer, covered, for a few more minutes.
  • Season to your liking (with the spices suggested) and add more stock if the vegetables are too dry and burning.
  • Serve over polenta.

* At that point I started preparing the ingredients for the polenta and went on making it whenever the vegetables didn't need any attention.

I apologise for the photos not looking calendar or cookbook-like ;-)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Rich & Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Hi there on Sunday night! Do you have some time to spare for cooking something nice tomorrow? Or do you have a butternut squash you don't know what to do with?
Stay with me then until the recipe is revealed ;-)

In fact I did not have a plan today for what to make for dinner....
But since my housemate went to the market today and brought home lots of things - which is great, Thanks! :-) - I just decided to go for what looked like it needed to be eaten first.
In that case it was a butternut squash.

Have you tried it before? Butternut is a quite sweet-ish sort of squash. It has much more flavour than the usual Halloween pumpkin, which doesn't taste like anything to me if I'm honest. It was even my favourite squash before my housemate brought home some green squash for the first time. Unfortunately I don't know the name of that one right now, but it really is delicious!

In this sauce though, butternut squash works just fine!
You could use Hokkaido, which is probably the most popular pumpkin in Germany. The sauce will taste quite different, though, since Hokkaido does not taste anywhere as sweet when cooked. Sweet potato, in my opinion, is kind of too sweet. Carrot alone I haven't tried yet, but carrot mixed with squash is quite good as well!

The recipe I started from I found a few years ago here on Oh She Glows.
Since then me and my Mum have changed it a couple of times and the following is the current version ;-)

Due to the nutritional yeast the sauce tastes a bit cheesy and not at like "healthy vegetables" ;-)
It is rich and creamy and is a perfect comfort food for wintery or rainy days.
There are a lot of similar recipes out there on the internet. They often describe the sauce as a "Mac'n Cheese Sauce". Since I've never tried that I cannot tell you if it does indeed taste like that. So if you try this and you know traditional English/American Mac'n Cheese then I'd love to hear what you think about that comparison!

for 3 people
450 g butternut squash, in cubes
olive oil
1tbsp butter
26 g cashew nuts
200 g water
1-2 tbsp flour
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp mustard (vinegary & tangy, not sweet)
1 garlic clove, grated
nutmeg (best is freshly grated)
300 g pasta
250 g spinach, fresh (cut) or thawed

  • Cut up the squash. I find it easiest to cut it into rounds (or half-rounds if you're on the part where you scoop out the seeds) and then to cut the peel off the rounds instead of trying to peel the whole thing.
  • Place in a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle on olive oil. Put into the oven and roast at 220°C for 40 to 60 minutes, so that it is slightly browned.
  • In the meantime make the sauce:
    • Grind cashews in a blender until they are as fine as they get. Add water and blend again.
    • Melt butter over low heat in a medium-sized pot. Have a for or whisk at hand. Pour cashew milk into the pot and add flour. Whisk until smooth. Turn heat up slightly. You want the mixture to simmer over low heat. Add in nutritional yeast, mustard, grated garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk. Make sure that the sauce bubbles slightly and, whisking frequently, let bubble uncovered for about 7-10 minutes. Let stand until squash is roasted.
  • Heat pasta water and cut or thaw spinach.
  • When the squash is roasted, put it into the pot with the sauce. With a stick blender blend up the sauce. Alternatively you could do this is a blender or food processor. If you have neither I think it should work if you mash up the squash with a potato masher as fine as you can and then whisk the sauce. I haven't tried that though, but I'm quite confident it will work.
  • Taste and season as desired.

  • Cook pasta. Reserve some cooking water in a cup. Drain pasta. Place drained pasta along with the spinach into the pot with the sauce. Thin out with pasta water as desired. Let pasta simmer on very low heat in the sauce for about 3-5 minutes. This will let them absorb the sauce better and will let spinach wilt (if it is fresh).
  • Enjoy!

The sauce (at the stage where you've just blended it, before you add spinach) also freezes well!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Pan-Baked Spiced Millet-Balls

As Sunday is coming, I thought this might be nice for you to read on Sunday or maybe even to make!

Well, no ... in fact I didn't plan this. I just made it the second time this week. The first try was not quite what I wanted, but I think I've now found a good way to make these. And tomorrow it just happens to be Sunday and I was looking for a nice introduction to this post.

The recipe Millet Cakes with Carrot and Spinach by Love & Lemons, which I read earlier this week, was my inspiration for these. I have changed a few bits and pieces to my taste, though.
The key to these is to get them nice and crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. But I have to say that the mixture itself tastes pretty good too. I just couldn't resist while forming the balls...

Maybe, you'd like to do these as a starter or have them as a side, but you could also do a lot of them and just eat them on their own. Or make a lot and save some for lunch the next day...
Which was my plan, but in fact my housemate and I ate all of them ;-)

I can imagine that either a tahini-based sauce - like hummus - or something based on sour cream would go well with these. They are not hard to make and something quite different.

Time: I forgot to precisely watch the time, but I think in total it took me about 45-50 minutes to make these.

for 16 tabletennis-sized balls
(1 as a main or 2 as a side)
100 g millet
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot
90 g spinach (fresh or thawed)
1 heaped tbsp flaxseed
1 tbsp cashews
about 1/4 cup water
1-2 tsp curry (depending on the curry)
mint leaves (fresh & chopped or dried and crumbled)

  • Put millet in a pot, along with 1 cup of water and ¼ tsp of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer with the lid half on for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off as soon as the water has been absorbed and let stand covered until you have prepared everything else.
  • Chop the onion and separately chop the garlic. Grate the carrot and chop the spinach into large pieces.
  • Heat the olive oil over low heat in a pan. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes. In the meantime place flaxseeds and cashews in a blender and blend finely. Add the ¼ cup of water and blend again. Then add carrot and spinach to the pan and continue frying for another 5 minutes until the vegetables have wilted.
  • Add some salt, pepper, the garlic, the mint and the curry and fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Put flaxseed-cashew milk in a bowl. Add millet and the spinach-mixture. With a spoon mix everything very well.
  • Take out a large plate. For the millet mixture into little balls (I'd say about the size of table tennis balls). Place all balls on a plate. Over low heat. heat a little bit of butter in a frying pan (you can use the same one as before) and place the balls in the butter. Over medium heat fry the balls from one side. Don't turn them, since you want them to get brown. Be patient. When they turn brown, turn them over, using two spoons. Also add a bit more butter in little pieces at different places into the pan. Fry the balls until the other side is also brown. The balls might stick a bit to the pan, but if you use a spoon you should be able to "lift" them off the pan so they stay relatively whole. If they don't do that completely, don't worry, the crusts will still taste good!
  • Turn off the heat, place balls on a plate and serve them in whatever way you like.

You could replace spinach and carrots by other vegetables and adjust spices to your taste!

I hope that you enjoy these or thinking about them! :-)

Friday, 13 February 2015


Over the past week I've collected some photographs of what I've made, but it's kind of hard to decide what to post next for you. Right now there was the choice between....hmm...should I tell you? No, I won't so it will still be a surprise in case I decide to write about the other things as well ;-)

Today you're seeing something that is a really great winter dish that doesn't require any fancy summer-ish ingredients.

This is it!

In this case it is a potato-broccoli casserole, but in fact it's all about the sauce. Over time my Mum and I have had several versions of this dish with potatoes plus several varying vegetables. Without the sauce, though the dish wouldn't be as good as it is. I had this with my housemate during the week and the thing she said to me was that the sauce was really nice (was this a British understatement for "great"? - I'd hope so), so this must be the key factor.

350 gpotatoes
250 gbroccoli
20 gbutter
about 4 tbsp = 35 gmillet flour (you can make that in any blender from millet grains)
125 gcashew milk (grind 15 g cashew nuts and blend again with 110 g water)
250 gvegetable stock
1/4 tsppaprika powder (sweet if possible)

  1. First of all, cut the potatoes (unpeeled) into halves if they're big or leave them whole if they are small. Make sure that all pieces are relatively evenly sized. Cut the broccoli roughly in smaller florets. You can use the stems as well. You don't need to make them as small as you want to eat them though, it's less fiddly if you do that after steaming,
  2. Place all vegetables in a steaming basker or a metal sieve and steam over boiling water for about 15 minutes or until as soft as you like it. In the meantime prepare the sauce.
  3. Prepare cashew milk, vegetable stock and millet flour.
  4. Finely chop the onion. Gently heat butter in a small pot and fry the onion in the butter. When fried, add vegetable stock and cashew milk. Bring to a boil. With a fork whisk in millet flour. Over low heat cook for a bit and keep stirring. The mixture should thicken up and get creamy after a short while. If it doesn't add some more flour. Season with spices to your liking.
  5. When potatoes and broccoli are tender, cut potatoes in slices and the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Grease a small casserole dish with butter and first put in potato slices and then the broccoli pieces on top. Evenly distribute the sauce on top.
  6. Bake at 250 °C (or as hot as your oven goes) for about 20 minutes until the top is slightly browned.

Instead of millet flour you could also use regular flour, but millet flour makes the sauce have a nicer looking yellow colour.

You could vary this by for example adding some fried mushroom (this adds a dirty pan, though) or by  cooking potato slices and zucchini in a bit of vegetable stock. I recommend you try it as written and then you'll be able to make up your mind as to what vegetables go well with the sauce until maybe I've made the other varieties of the dish as well ;-)

Ah, by the way I've added a print button to the blog! When you open a specific post (not the home-site, but by clicking on the title of the post) you can now find it under the post and can optimise each page to the way you'd like to print it! In case you ever want to print something which I sincerely hope :-)

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Very Green and Creamy Broccoli Sauce With Pasta

During this past week I've thought of so many things that I could put on my blog for you, but each time something was not quite right.

There was the Grape-and-Onion-Focaccia Bread I made for a vegan potluck-dinner this week, but actually I had not changed much in the recipe and you can find the (really good!!!) recipe on boxofspice. I can only recommend that, so have a look over there :-)
Second, I made a curry, but the cabbage in it did definitely not any bonus points to its taste...
Last night I roasted rutabaga/swede for the first time ever in my life and had that with some chickpeas, but that really was the very first stage of testing something and it needs some more goes. But I've got some ideas there! Some greens, orange zest and a dressing... hmmm!
This morning I made my favourite banana rolls, but they didn't seem 100% right to me even though they usually are great. So far, though, I've only eaten some crumbs (don't ever use greaseproof paper when you run out of baking paper - better go to the shop and get some...) and have frozen the rolls for lunches. So I haven't really tested the batch yet.

But that's the way it is - no trials, no fun ;-)

Today, though, I had broccoli sauce with pasta for dinner and it actually turned out the way I liked it to so that I can safely tell you how I made it.

This sauce makes broccoli taste so much better than any steamed broccoli you often get as a side dish. The mint gives it a fresh tang which fits in so well and the colour is simply amazing!

As I like pasta with a lot of sauce it was more sauce with pasta than the other way around, but feel free to adjust the ratio if you feel differently!

I blended the sauce in a high-speed blender - otherwise I recommend blending the cashew nuts before adding any other ingredients. Alternatively you could use cashew nut butter instead.
Nutritional yeast you can get in a health shop. I use it, because it has a slightly cheesy flavour, which I think is very nice! If you cannot find it and don't mind cheese you might like to use a small bit of parmesan (I haven't tried that, though!).

pasta with broccoli sauce

for 1for 2for 4servings of pasta (about 130 g each)
mint, to taste
3/4 cup (ca. 130 g)1 ½ cups (ca. 260 g)3 cups (ca. 520 g)broccoli, florets or pieces, stems can also be used
1/8 tsp¼ tsp½ tspsalt
3*6*12*pepper (turns of the grinder)
5-610-1220-24cashew nuts
1- 1 ½ tsp2-3 tsp4-6 tspnutritional yeast
¾ - 1 tsp1 ½ - 2 tsp3 – 4 tsplemon juice, to taste, start with less
olive oil (a small bit)
¼ tbsp½ tbsp1 tbspbutter
124garlic cloves

  • Steam the broccoli until soft (about 14 minutes). If you don't have a steaming basket you can use a metal colander/sieve and a matching pot with lid.
  • Heat butter on low heat in a small pot and sauté garlic until fragrant. Do not leave it unattended! It takes only about 2 minutes and it burns very easily!
  • While the broccoli cooks, put all other ingredients, including the garlic and butter, into a blender (see note above about cashew nuts).
  • When the broccoli is soft, retain the steaming liquid. Add broccoli and a bit of liquid to the blender.
  • Blend until very smooth. Adjust amount of liquid and seasonings to taste.
  • Cook pasta, drain and mix with the sauce.

This sauce also freezes well.

I would love to hear how you like it!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Hearty Buckwheat Gnocchi

Hi to everyone!
After a long time of my housemate not giving up on trying to persuade me to actually start a cooking blog I've finally done it and actually (technically, that's it) managed to write my first blogpost which even includes a table. That's stunning for me ;-) I hope you can see it all alright! Please excuse any mistakes or anything that look out of place...

My first recipe for you is one including buckwheat.
Buckwheat, huh? Have I confused you there?

In case you have not heard of that: buckwheat is actually a seed and not a grain and is gluten-free even though the name suggests otherwise. It has a quite hearty flavour and is good for any main courses, but maybe, from my point of view, not so much for sweets and desserts. You can cook the grains and eat them in salads and lots of other dishes, make porridge, or - as here -  grind them into a flour. Buckwheat flour is, I guess, available also from health food stores just as buckwheat itself. As the grain is rather soft grinding it should be possible with most blenders, though.

If you've gone through all this and now finally have gotten hold of some buckwheat this is a recipe that requires relatively few ingredients.
I have to admit that I needed some motivation before I started making this today, as I still had frozen potato soup and ...well, but, no, the thought of buckwheat gnocchi definitely was more appealing.

Buckwheat Gnocchi - here with Tomato Sauce with Fresh Rocket

125 gbuckwheat or buckwheat flour
+ some for dusting
1/4 tspsalt
nearly boiling water

When preparing your meal start with the dough for the gnocchi, as it benefits from resting for a short while, which it can perfectly do while you get started on the sauce you want to have with your gnocchi.

For the gnocchi themselves you only need three ingredients.
The rest is up to you, as these are very versatile. So if you'd like to brown them in a bit of butter, make some tomato sauce, have some leftover pesto or anything else you think would go with them you can take it from there.

For the gnocchi:
  • Grind the buckwheat in a blender or measure out your buckwheat flour. Mix with salt in a bowl. Heat up some water so that it is close to boiling. This is important, as otherwise the buckwheat won't absorb the moisture as nicely.
For the next step it's actually easiest to use any appliance than can mix dough, as the dough gets quite sticky and is hard to stir. If you fancy some exercise though or have someone there who is happy to help you ;-) use a heat-resistant bowl and a heavy-duty spoon that doesn't bend (like a wooden spoon or metal spoon, but not plastic).

  • Now, very slowly, add splash for splash of hot water and keep stirring. Do this until all flour is just incorporated and forms a soft dough. Then do not (!) add any more water, as otherwise you will end up with a sticky mess. Keep stirring for a bit longer, so you can be sure that the dough is all smooth. The amount of water you need can vary from day to day as it depends on circumstances like the humidity of the air. (I forgot to take a photo at that point, sorry for that!)
  • Using a spoon place the dough in a bowl, smooth the surface, so that the dough doesn't dry more than necessary and cover with a lid, a plate or foil wrap. Leave this to rest for 20 - 30 mins.
  • In the meantime bring some water for boiling the gnocchi to a boil.
  • Prepared Gnocchi
  • Take a large cutting board, a non-stick baking mat or a plastic placemat and, through a sieve, dust lightly with additional buckwheat flour or normal flour (if you don't mind it not being gluten-free). For the amount mentioned above I recommend dividing the dough in two sets for forming the gnocchi. Take dough out of the bowl and place on the dusted surface. Dust with more flour. On the flour-covered board roll each portion into a rope of about 1.5 cm in diameter. Then take a glass with water and a knife, wet the knife often (after every few cuts) and cut the ropes into 1.5 cm wide pieces. Make sure that all pieces get placed on flour-covered patches so that they don't stick to the surface. Also make sure that you use a knife suitable to your surface so you don't damage e.g. your baking mat.

  • When you've completed this make sure your sauce is ready, put salt in your boiling cooking water (about 1 tsp per litre) and gently (best with your hands, but beware from splashing water) drop the gnocchi in the boiling water (I recommend doing this in two batches). Make sure the water actually returns to a boil. When the gnocchi rise to the surface they are done. Fish them out of the pot using a slotted spoon.
  • Technically they are done now!
What I usually do is that I place all cooked gnocchi directly in the pot with the sauce which I then, having added all gnocchi, let simmer for a minute so that the gnocchi can immerse in the flavour of the sauce.

As mentioned the gnocchi go really well with tomato sauce.
Today, there was rocket in my tomato sauce, but feel free to add anything you like, such as parmesan or, if frying the gnocchi in butter, maybe some caramelised onions.

Let me know how this worked out for you if you tried it please! =)