Montag, 15. September 2014

A real challenge... (Vegan MoFo #6)

Last week I had to attend a funeral. After having lived  a wonderful life my uncle had died at the age of 84. Traditionally, after the funeral itself, family and friends of the diceased perosn go to a restaurant and have coffee or a little snack.
Having just returned to vegansim, I didn't want to deal with asking my aunt for vegan food after the funeral, so I packed some nuts and muffins, just in case...
Well, we went to  nice little garden restaurant close to the graveyard and they served drinks and ... my vegan non-helal nightmare: Flammkuchen!
If you are not familiar with it: Flammkuchen is some kind of "French pizza", Dough, mostly yeast, is rolled out very thinly, spread with sour cream, then topped with onions and bacon. In the oven it gets very crispy and yummy. We were able to get a vegetarian variety for hubby and son (we do not eat any pork), but this vegetarian Flammkuchen was made with rucola and parmesan on top. It looked so good andsmelled heavenly, but I decided to stay with my nuts and muffin.
Today, I made a vegan Flammkuchen and it came out quite nice. Will try with rucola next time!

Flammkuchen, ready to go in the oven!

Here's some kind of recipe:
Prepare dough like you would for pizza, roll ou very, very thin.
Then mix about a cup of dairy-free cream (our sour cream, if available) with salt, pepper and a bit of broth powder and garlic powder, you want it to be really spicy!)
Slice two onions and sautee them in a little bit of water for some minutes. Finely dice some smoked tofu and fry it in a little oil.
Spread the sour cream on top of the dough, top with onions and tofu.
Place in the hot oven, lowest rack and bake for about fifteen minutes at 220 Celcius or 450 Fahrenheit till crispy and slightly browned on the edges. Grind some pepper on top and enjoy!

I wish you could smell that, soooo yummy!

Sonntag, 14. September 2014

Autumn Comfort Food (VeganMoFo #5)

Manage to save three dumplings from my husband!!

Autumn is just around the corner here in Germany, with rainy weather and colder temperatures. Time to revamp our weekly menu, ditch the salads and turn to soups and stews instead.
When rummaging through my pantry I found some soy chunks, so I decided to make vegan goulash. I have been wanting to make this for ages, but never found the time.
I have always loved a hearty goulash with potatoe dumplings (Knoedel) or noodles, but never cared much for the meat, the best was the sauce, with lots of onions and red pepper.
I had no real idea how to veganise this, but decided to give it a go.
I used soy chunks I bought online a while ago from Vegan Wonderland.  Due to some sad circumstances, this shop no longer exists, any suggestions for a good online shop?

Soy chunks, ready to be turned into goulash

I rehydred the chunk in some salty broth, chopped up some onions and garlic and proceeded like I would have with a "real" goulash:
Sautee the onions in some oil, add the paprika (2 Tbs) when the onions are translucent together with the garlic, then add the soy chunks and brown them in the oil.
When the soy chunks are nicely browned, add about two cups of broth, 2 bayleaves, salt, pepper and let it simmer for about 40 minutes. Then I added about 2 Tbs of soy sauce and checked for some more salt. I was pleasantly surprised, the taste was very close to the orignal. Ready to serve, with some dumplings. Dinner made me very happy that night!!

Mittwoch, 10. September 2014

Kids and Greens... (Vegan MoFo #4)

Sometimes I wonder why most people say their kids do not eat broccoli... In Germany, you get the impression that broccoli is the vegetable that kids hate the most. Here in our house, broccoli is the vegetable that everybody loves! So, here is the perfect combination: Pasta with a creamy broccoli sauce! Whenever I want dinner without fuss, this dish will be it.
Usually I prefer the sundried tomatoe sauce from "Isa does it", made from cashews, but this time I decided to try a new soy cream... not bad, but not as creamy as Isa's recipe.
It is so easy, just sautee some diced onions and garlic, add some diced dried tomatoes, next add the broccoli and a cup of vegetable broth, then let it simmer untill the broccoli is tender. Mix in a cup of  cream and season with salt and pepper. Done!
Serve with whole wheat pasta and a big salad. Easy-peasy weeknight dinner, love that!

Donnerstag, 4. September 2014

Carrots with a kick (VeganMoFo #3)

My favourite cookbook...

Recently I have purged the cookbooks in my kitchen. I gave some of them to friends, that kind of book that was lovely to look at but I never made any recipes from. Now I have only books left that I made at least two recipes from.
There is a bunch of cookbooks that I love especially: I bought them in Algeria or my husband brought them from family visits. ("What should I bring home from Algeria?" -"A new cookbook!")
They have no fancy photographs, expensive ingredients or witty writing. It's just recipes. They represent Algeria so well, a lovely country with down-to-earth people. No fuss, just good food.
This recipe is a real keeper: Very tasty, spicy and cheap. Carrots are always in seeason!

Carrots and garlic, it is that simple...

You'll need:
1 pound of carrots, cut into rounds (not to thin, about 5 mm)
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons canned tomatoes (or 1 grated tomatoe, as in the original recipe)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2/3 cup vegetable broth
salt, pepper
1 teaspoon harissa, or more, if you like it very spicy
2 tablespoons canola oil

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add carrots, tomatoe, garlic and 1/3 cup of broth and saute for 5 minutes. Add cumin, the rest of the broth, salt, pepper and harissa to taste and cook over medium-low heat until the carrots are tender. Serve with potatoes and a salad.
Leftovers are a wonderful addition to your lunchbox the next day.

Don't be afraid to add some Harissa!

Montag, 1. September 2014

Chinese dinner (VeganMoFo #2)

Don't you just love Asian supermarkets? All the wonderful veggies, fresh herbs like coriander and Thai basil, lots of ginger, spices and noodles. And rice. Of course...
Here's what I got today:

Pak choi, beansprouts, rice noodles, tofu, rice and orange mochi

And then I made dinner:

Seperate the pak choi leaves and wash them under running water. Fry some grated ginger and two or three dried red chilies in some oil, add the pak choi and let it wilt. Add about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and some splashes of soy sauce. Cover and let it steam for a couple of minutes. Then add mushroom sauce,
4 tablespoons will do, and some more soy sauce. Add a handful (or more) beansprouts.

Mix 1/3 cup of watr with 1tablespoon of cornstarch and add to the pan. Stir to dissolve.
Taste for seasoning and serve with rice.

Sonntag, 31. August 2014

Weekly food-preparation (VeganMoFo #1)

When I decided to go vegan for the first time, I failed miserably. We are three people in our family, my husband and son didn't want to join me, so we always have non-vegan food in our fridge and pantry. So many times I came home from work, hungry and tired and grabbed something to eat, vegan or not. During our summer holidays this year, I decided to give veganism a new start. As a motivation (and to add some kind of pressure...) I decided to join the VeganMoFo, hopefully I will make it this time!
I found out that whenever I have a menu plannned for the week this makes it easier to eat vegan, simply because I can plan after-work snacks and work-lunches. I try to prepare some things on the weekend and keep the fridge stocked with veggies and fruit. (That's why sometimes my teenage son is standing in front of the fridge, shouting:"Mom, we don't have anything yummy!!" Veggies are not his favourite thing...)
Here is what I prepared for the week this Sunday:

Raspberry muffins, picture taken by my son

Food ready for the fridge: Muffins, some fake pulled pork, below that we have "obatzter", a German dip usually made from cheese, here made with tofu and then some Sanctuary dip

I am really fascinated by the way this "pulled not-pork" looks...

More muffins!!

Have a wonderful week!

Montag, 28. Juli 2014

Eid Mubarak!

So another Ramadan has passed this year. Today, muslims all over the world celebrate Eid ul Fitr, visit relatives and friends and eat as much as they can.
Yesterday, when Algerian TV announced the end of Ramadan, I felt so relieved, like a burden fell of my shoulders. The first cup of tea this morning, drunken by daylight (!) was such a pleasure! It was so wonderful, just to sit in the kitchen with this lovely hot mug of tea in my hands.
Ramadan always reminds me of these simple pleasures, early morning cup of tea, having some ice cream on a hot day or stop for some sushi after a shopping trip. Funny how much I take pleasure in eating or drinking...
So, as usual after this month, I am filled with gratitude for all those things that we take for granted, food on the table, enough money to keep us going, health and my family. And my dishwasher, the old reliable.

Now it's back to cooking-as-usual, goodbye, Shorba and Bourek, Khobz-al-Dar (homemade bread) and bottles of Selecto! I am working on a menu for the next week and then it's time for our summer vacation. Can't wait!!

I'll leave you with some pictures from the last 30 days, enjoy!

Preparing chickpeas in advance

Food ready to go in the freezer

Eggplant slices, ready to be filled with ground meat

Bourek, I must have made about 150 of them altogether

Filling dolma, stuffed vineleaves

Iftar-Table, breaking the fast with shorba, bourek, salad, green beans and chicken skewers. Pure heaven!!

Donnerstag, 10. April 2014

This week in my kitchen

Joining Heather for her weekly series "This week in my kitchen".
It was so much fun last week to take a peek into many other kitchens!

Thai curry with chicken

Early Morning Tea

Baking bread

Cookies from Algeria!

Thai soup in a hurry

Donnerstag, 3. April 2014

This week in my kitchen...

Welcome back! Heather inspired us to post pictures of what happened in our kitchen during the last week. What a  lovely idea to get back into blogging.
Here we go:

Soaking Cashews for a salad dressing

Homemade Pizza, a Friday ritual

Chopping up the ingredients for Eggless Egg Salad

Cashew Cream Cheese with fresh herbs

Preparing tomatoe sauce (with leftover pizza toppings)

Weeknight salad

What have you been cooking? I am so looking forward to peek into everyone elses'  kitchens...
Click here, if you like to join us.

Montag, 24. Februar 2014


So, apart from zucchini noodles, what does a vegan-in-training eat every day?
I had quite a love/hate relationship with my kitchen lately. My brother-in-law had been staying with us for over a week and with two adult men in the house, this meant: MEAT. Mostly lamb, maybe some chicken. For me, it meant that I made some vegan boooring! Now it's back to normal here, and that means: Cook mostly vegan meals but don't tell them!
Pasta with vegetables, rice dishes, curries with chickpea and potatoes, stir-fries, pizza (with vegan cheese). Sometimes I served some additional fish or chicken, so Hubby and Son don't get suspicious.

A great help has been my latest cookbook-love, "Isa does it" by the ever-so-wonderful
Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I just love her sense of humour, her writing and -most of all- her recipes.

After trying a few of her recipes, my son decided he would go vegan. I mean, imagine a thirteen-year-old boy who could live on burges and doener going vegan... that is one of the greatest compliments I can imagine for a vegan cookbook! He made it for two weeks, but, alas, he tried. Great work, Isa!
Recipes we have tried so far include:
-Quinoa caesar salad
-Dragon noodle salad
-Creamy sun dried tomatoe penne
-Eggplant & breadcrumb fettucine
-Meaty beany chili (eaten by Hubby and BIL without complaining, I added some TVP)
-and her pancakes
Oh those pancakes...I could make the every day for breakfast, my son would not get enough of them. he loves them.

I highly recommend  this cookbook, if you are following a vegan diet or not. It is full of tasty recipes, always with a weeknight cook in mind, some take a little longer, but you can always prepare something like the sauce for the enchilada casserole, for example.And maybe you'll get inspired to make your own seitan!
I'm in love with all of Isa's books, but this one is by far the best! Also make sure to check out her videos on Youtube, such a funny girl!

Now I'm off to the kitchen, cleaning up the mess from making... pancakes!

Freitag, 14. Februar 2014


I cannot believe that I finally gave in to that hype about spiral-cut vegetables and bought a spiral cutter. Doesn't it look cute? A lovely shade of green...

The Slicer, picture taken by my son

Then I "cut" (do you say "sliced"?) two medium zucchinis... this was kind of fun, the noodles look so  funny!

The raw noodles, so pretty!

Next, I sauteed some garlic in hot olive oil, then tossed the noodles in the oil. Unfortunately, I wanted the dish to be more "saucy", so I added some broth with lemon juice. The noodles kinda shrunk and got all soft, but the taste was still great. Without the broth and juice this will be a great summer side dish!

The final dish, not very pretty, but yummy!

Dienstag, 4. Februar 2014

Keeping up with Flylady

So I am trying to FLY again this year. One of my New Years Resolutions has been to do the Zone Missions and the Habit of the Month. In January I tried to keep my sink shiny and clean. I think I did quite well. With some exceptions, the sink has been greating me with a smile every morning. As I am the first one to get up in the morning, this has been so nice! Definitely will keep the sink this way.

The breakfast table , clean and decluttered

This months habit is decluttering, 15 minutes a day. Does not sound that much, but today, after getting home from work, doing the zone mission, which took me longer than expected, putting away the lunchboxes and doing a quick kitchen tidy-up, I ended up with one hour spent in the kitchen! And I haven't even started to cook dinner. Or prepare lunches for tomorrow. Sometimes it feels like I am spending hours and hours in the kitchen, so annoying! If only it would stay clean for a few days in a row!  Maybe we should eat only sandwiches for a few days. But I can mess up the kitchen even when I am only preparing sandwiches...

Decluttered lunchboxes

Do you know ways to keep the kitchen clean or speed up dinner/lunchbox preparation time? Any ideas welcome!!

Montag, 13. Januar 2014

Welcome 2014!

Happy NewYear to Everybody!
I wanted to start this year with a whiny and negative post about this last year, a year full of problems and struggles. But let's stop this negative thoughts. This year I want to be postive, the smiling and loving person that I always wanted to be. It is time that I claim this life back from depression and the dullness of the past years.
This year is gong to be full of changes, I will work hard to make them to be positive for the whole family. Just have to get used to ditch those negative voices ;-)