Coziness in a bowl. Easy and quick moringa pea soup that is nourishing, healthy and vegan.
Coziness in a bowl. Easy and quick moringa pea soup that is nourishing, healthy and vegan.
I’m feeling the winter this year. Not just the crisp cold and the snow falling on my nose. The love for seasonal food. The spices of chill days. The smells of cozy evenings. The taste of roasted pears. It’s the first proper winter I experience since a few years and the first one I embrace with my new-found love for food.
I’ve always been some kind of a foodie (thanks to my dad who lives to enjoy food) but I rather loved to eat out and let others cook for me. This has changed in the last year or so. Cooking brought me closer to the ‘here and now’. I live by seasons. I create with local produce only. And I crave my regular visits to the farmers market to pick fresh ingredients and watch other people doing the same.
Cooking also got me thinking. About food traditions in my family. I remember my grandma being an amazing cook. Or maybe it’s just some blurry childhood memories. Or her semolina pudding with an extra portion of butter is the reason why I still love sweet and creamy breakfasts and desserts. And her paprika chicken was amazing, but that is not an option for me anymore. There is also my dad pancake tower he would make on weekends. For him it was almost like a competition to make the pancakes (not American pancakes but more like French crepes) as thin as possible, spread each one with plum jam and stack them to build a giant cake. But despite my grandmas puddings and my dad’s pancakes I didn’t have any other memories of childhood food. Until I ate these sweet roasted pears with nuts. The taste, the smell, the emotions, everything reminded me of …well, ehm something. And then it dawned one me. We used to have this beautiful tiled stove in our tiny apartement. And during winter season my mum would make baked apple stuffed with raisins and nuts.
So there are these roasted pears, covered with crunchy walnuts, soaked in golden coconut syrup and baked with aromatic coconut oil. And there is this sweet tahini sauce and it’s slightly bitter yet nutty taste. The cashewcream gives a fresh and simple nod….
Happy New Year! So much has happened since my last post (one month ago…ups). Like these Sweet Potato Bliss Balls. But let’s start at the beginning. We moved from Cairo to Istanbul, I had to put on my winter boots for the first time in three years because it was snowing non stop for a few days in Istanbul and I didn’t see the sun for a week now. Yes, that is a highlight (or rather a lowlight) in my life. Don’t take this as complaining. I’m super happy to be in Istanbul. And that is even an understatement. I’m super duper über excited about our move to Turkey. I’m personally looking forward to exploring the local food scene, testing and trying new ingredients, traveling to every corner of Turkey, discovering local craftsmanship and well of course meeting new friends. We also made plans for 2016 to tour an extensive part of the region. We call it ‘Project 12’ and we are aiming to visit (as the name might suggest) 12 countries including Bulgaria, Romania and Armenia. 2016 will be a great year.
So let’s celebrate with some bliss balls. One of my favorite food discoveries of 2015. I’m not a big snacker but I love making little snack so I can add them to my main dishes…. and maybe sometimes even munch on them between meals. Until now I only made sweet bliss balls. But after too many Christmas cookies and a pile of vegan white chocolate from my family I’m currently craving savoury foods. These Sweet Potato Bliss Balls are packed with herby flavours. Za’atar is a mix of Middle Eastern herbs and is used as a seasoning in Arab cuisine. The green superfood is a blend of chia seeds, spirulina and chlorella and high in antioxidants and a great energizer….
My favorite recipes are those that happen by ‘accident’ like these Walnut And Pomegranate Stuffed Zucchini balls. Last week I received my weekly veggie delivery from a farm in Cairo. I had ordered a kilo of zucchini as like them frozen in my breakfast smoothies but also stir fried for dinner. Instead of finding the long type of zucchinis, I discovered a bunch of round ones in my veggie basket. Way to pretty to chop them up I decided they needed to be stuffed. And since I always wanted to try out walnut ‘meat’ (even though I don’t like using this term as it is no meat but the recipe is called like this), a new dish was created. The Walnut And Pomegranate Stuffed Zucchini balls go very well with a green salad or as appetizers for your Christmas party. Either way, they are vegan, gluten-free and super easy to make.
Let me tell you one thing first. You do NOT need a doughnut pan to make doughnuts at home. There are plenty of tips and tricks online. I personally used a muffin pan and placed piping tubes of my cake decoration set in the middle of each cavity (photo of my little experiment). A great summary on how to make vegan doughnuts even if you don’t have a doughnut pan was also written by onegreenplanet.org.
Now that this is out of the way, let’s talk about doughnuts. I had my last doughnut more than a year ago. And even before that, the few times I tried it I found doughnuts too sweet or too greasy to become a regular treat.
So here I am on a lazy Friday night scrolling through Instagram , browsing Pinterest and seeing all these healthy-looking vegan doughnut recipes. And my mind wonders ‘Hm, this doesn’t look *too sweet* or *too greasy*. Maybe I should just make my own doughnuts?! And Hey, I could even add pumpkin or sweet potato. And I don’t need tons of powdered sugar to create a delicious and shinny glaze.’. No sooner said than done. Here is my Super Easy Baked Vegan Sweet Potato Doughnut recipe with refined-sugar-free peanut butter glazing. You need less than 10 ingredients for the dough AND the glazing. Another wonderful thing about this recipe, you need no more than 30 min from taking out the mixing bowl from the cupboard till getting out the freshly baked doughnuts from the oven. But what’s even more awesome (I hope you now understand that this is the best doughnut recipe ever), the peanut butter doughnut glazing does without powdered sugar or any other form of refined sugar….
The good thing about working from home is that it’s a lot easier making healthy meals for lunch break than if you are working in an office. Don’t get me wrong, there are many amazing recipes for lunches that you can take to work. I just love to decide spontaneously what to eat and I also like a warm lunch once in a while (and I dislike microwaved food).
In summer, I definitely prefer green salads. I guess that doesn’t come at a surprise but the summer months in Cairo are very hot and just the thought of warm food makes me cringe. If I could I would probably add ice cubes to every meal and drink that I have. However once the temperatures become slightly moderate, lets say below 25°C/80 F, I slowly start craving warm and comforting food. And that time is now.
My go-to recipe at the moment is not really a recipe but rather a food style. And it’s called buddha bowl or meal bowl. Basically there are no rules but lots of ideas on what you can throw in your bowl.
The buddha bowl is part salad, part cooked dish. There are several ways to make a veggie meal bowl and ingredients and dressing can be different each time. Buddha bowls are very easy to make and truly versatile. And here is the perfect fall version and one of my favorite buddha bowl recipes. It’s a buddha bowl with roasted pumpkin and sweet potato on spicy arugula. This time I also added avocado, cucumber, pomegranate seeds and a very delicious artichoke parsley dip and topped it off with a mustard cashew dressing.
It is July 2007 and Argentina has the coldest winter since 90 years. On the other end of the world, in Germany, and at 40°C I step into the plane for my very first trip to South America. At that point, I was clueless on what to expect from a trip to a country which language I didn’t speak and people warned me to go due to safety issues. 7 months later I had not only found myself but also my love for food. It was only the beginning of my culinary journey and much has evolved since but I will forever be grateful to Argentina and its food.
My love affair with food started with Argentinian empanadas. It was love at first bite. If you ever tried empanadas in Argentina I guess you know what I’m talking about. It literally translates into “wrapped in bread” but this is a sheer understatement and does no justice to the diverse flavours and textures of empanadas. This savoury stable of Argentinian cuisine is served warm either as an appetizer or by its own.
This recipe is a recreation of what I remember empanadas are like, just without the meet and/or cheese but they are vegan pumpkin empanadas with peas and corn….
Honestly, I miss autumn. And the reason is I haven’t really experienced autumn for three years now. That is one of the downsides of living in countries with a tropical or warm climate. You don’t get to pick fresh apples in September, stop by street vendors that sell hot maroons or have a huge selection of pumpkin varieties.
But I don’t want to complain because autumn can be ugly, too. The days when you have to go outside despite the fact that it’s freezing cold and raining at the same time. Or when you haven’t seen sunlight in what feels like forever. So maybe I don’t miss it too much. And if I still do I make some autumn inspired foods or drinks. Like this pumpkin spiced matcha latte.
The taste of pumpkin spice reminds me of the cold but cozy season. The moment when you come inside, still shivering from the weather outside and you make yourself a hot cup of tea. Well, since it’s still quite warm in Cairo, I have my pumpkin spiced latte with ice but you can also prepare and drink it hot….
There is no denial. Raw (no-bake) desserts have become a popular trend around the world.
It all sounds too good to be true. Smooth cheesecakes, sweet caramel slices and creamy chocolate cake. Minus all the nasty stuff.
What started out as part of the vegan scene has now reached many health-conscious enthusiasts who like to indulge without the guilt. Most raw treats are refined sugar-free, gluten-free and diary-free. I personally love the fact that you can whip up a cake or a few small tarts without waiting for the oven to finish its job. Plus they are healthy, planet-friendly and most people won’t even believe they are raw.
So, let’s just agree that raw desserts are amazing and wonderfully tasty.
Oh and there are no rules to it. The other day I wanted to eat something sweet. So I checked my cupboard, soaked some nuts, added ingredients that I like and made a delicious dessert for dinner with the girls….
I don’t know about you but I love food that is colorful. It really seems to taste much better. I’m not talking about artifically colored foods. I’m referring to natural bright and vibrant ingredients. Usually I add lots of color to my morning smoothie. The fresh green of spinach or the happy yellow of mango kicks off my day in the right way.
There is another think I love. Pancakes! (I mean who doesn’t) So how about making these boring plain pancakes more fun by adding the superfood spirulina. Spirulina is packed with nutrients, boosts energy as well as immunity and supports eye and brain health. You don’t need to add much and I promise it won’t taste too healthy….