Friday, 27 February 2009

Warming up

I love soups. It's not something that I eat a lot, but I like them. Not that ones that come in a package, but the homemade ones. My mother knows how to cook the best soups. She always knows how to warm my heart. So it's good to cook something that makes me think of her.

Yesterday night we decided to cook an easy potatoes soup (oh, yes, everything with potatoes sounds good!) to enjoy the last days of this cold winter, my first winter in Europe. I really don't know if I need to put the recipe here because it's so easy: cook the potatoes in a salty water,
mix them in the blender with the same water (add it a little bit at the time until it becomes creamy). Go back with the potato cream in the pan and add your favorite herbs (this time we used parsley, black pepper and one vegetable stock cube).

That's it!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Spreading the word

It's really amazing to see more and more people caring about veganism. The website is a new virtual community that has a lot of good informative articles and recipes about not just the raw food, but a way of life. They asked me to write an article about cruelty free personal care products because they want to start a section for animal rights.

I feel so good writing about something I care every day in my life. Hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Our 'parmegiana burger' recipe

When I wrote the post about my friend Raquel, I wrote a little bit about the 'parmegiana burger' she uses to cook. I think that the only place in the world we make a 'parmegiana' like this is in Belo Horizonte, but I don't care, it's really amazing.

Last weekend, when my family-in-law was here, I cooked it to them because Matteo was driving me crazy asking for it and they loved it too. And after that, my friend Clarissa asked me the recipe. So here we go:

“Parmegiana Burger” recipe (for 2 people)

- 2 vegan burgers (I use the ones from Fry's Special Vegetarian but you can choose your favourite one or make yourself the burgers or use seitan too)
- smashed potatoes (or potatoes pure): cook the potatoes (I use 5 or 6 small potatoes), crush with a potato masher or with a fork. Return the potatoes to the pan, add salt, vegetable margarine and soy milk and mix to combine.
- tomato sauce
- vegan cream cheese mixed with soy cream

I think this is one of the easiest recipes ever. Put a little bit of tomato sauce at the bottom of a glass pan and add the burgers (. Put the smashed potatoes on top of it and spread well until cover it all. Add the rest of the tomato sauce and then spread the cream cheese over it. If you want you can add small slices of vegan cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese. Put in the oven for more or less 10 minutes (at 180ºC) – just enough to bake the burgers.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Taking care of you and of the planet

Living in Brazil is a little bit hard to find cosmetics of companies that do not test on animals. It's not impossible but it's not that easy and most of the times when you find an option, it costs more. Now, in Dublin, we have lot of options and it's really great to have the chance to choose and have no need to pay a lot for it.

Some vegetarian/vegan people still use one or another product from companies that test on animals. I am not here to judge anybody, I think that you have to think what you can (or want to) do and do your best, step by step, day by day. But if you have the opportunity to buy cosmetics from the cruelty-free companies you will be doing something great for you, for the animals and for the planet.

Here there are some tips of international companies we buy cosmetics here in Dublin:

* The Body Shop: they have a big list of products that includes body care, body oil, deodorant, body wash, soap, vegan make up brushes, fragrance, nail care, hair care, etc. “We were one of the first to make a stand against animal testing in the cosmetics industry, and through The Body Shop Foundation, we continue to fund organisations campaigning to end the needless suffering of animals.” (The Body Shop values).
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE BODY SHOP (comment of Andrea, thanks again!): "Alert to all: be careful about buying from The Body Shop. I used to buy from them a lot - really like their products - but a few years ago the company was sold to L'Oreal. Yes, THE L'Oreal who TESTS on animals. That generated a lot of complaints at the time and L'Oreal/Body Shop keeps it quiet until this day for obvious reasons. I don't know how much of the Body Shop philosophy has been compromised by this merge, but I don't trust it anymore and therefore don't buy from them."

* Lush Cosmetics: they have the best fragrances ever. Not all the products are vegan (some have honey) but the vegan options are identified and they don't test on animals. They used to have some branches in Brazil but I'm not sure if they're still there.

* Original Source: they're a great British company. Most of the products are vegan (I'm not sure if all the products are, but everything I saw until now is vegan) and they do not test on animals. They work closely to the Vegan Society and the products have the label 'vegan' and also the information 'this product is not tested on animals'. They have bath care, hair care, shower gels and more. The products are awesome and I'm very happy to use them.

Check out the Peta list of international companies that do not test on animals.

Aos amigos brasileiros: confiram a lista da PEA de empresas brasileiras que realizam testes em animais.

Duas dicas de marcas brasileiras que não fazem testes em animais e que lembrei depois de escrever o post (que estava usando em BH antes de me mudar):

* Éh Cosméticos: ótima opção de produtos para o cabelo. Se não me engano, os produtos trazem a informação de que a empresa não realiza testes em animais.

* Ecologie: oferece produtos para os cabelos, corpo e rosto (femininos e masculinos). Informam no site e nos produtos que não realizam testes em animais e que também não utilizam "matérias-primas proveniente de sacrifícios de animais, solicitando de nossos fornecedores garantia dos mesmos". No site também há algumas dicas de consciência ecológica (trocar o plástico por outros materiais, reciclar o lixo, etc).

IMPORTATE: pela primeira vez o veganismo está em pauta no Senado brasileiro. O senador Expedito Junior é o responsável pelo projeto de lei que propõe que as etiquetas dos produtos (alimentos e roupas) contenham informações clara sobre a presença ou não de ingredientes de origem animal. Na Europa e nos EUA trata-se de uma prática comum, assim como a informação de que a empresa não faz teste em animais, mas no Brasil é raro que isso aconteça. Apóie essa iniciativa, clicando na imagem que está do lado direito, logo abaixo da frase "Veganismo em pauta no Senado".

(Thanks Andrea, from Brazil Nut, for the list links!)

Friday, 20 February 2009

Govinda's Vegetaria Restaurant

These days we're showing Dublin to Matteo's family. They arrived last Wednesday and stay until Sunday and it's being so cool to have them around! Yesterday we went out to see the city and had lunch at Govinda's, a good restaurant that serves hare krishna vegetarian food. There are three of them in the city centre, but just one has vegan options (the others use butter in every thing...).

But this one is worth it. It's not expensive and they have two options: a small plate or a big plate. In our first times there, me and Matteo used to ask the big one, but it's better to ask for the small one. It comes full of food and costs really less (to eat a lot anyway). They don't have a lot of vegan options, but the food is delicious and it has a good
atmosphere and a friendly staff.

If you're vegan, go to this address: 4 Aungier Street, Dublin 2
Opened hours:
Monday through Saturday, 12pm to 9pm

Monday, 16 February 2009

Salty muffins

We had an awesome weekend. Valentine's day was perfect and we could relax and cook with pleasure! We had pizza at night and I have to tell you that Matteo is getting better and better on making the dough. As my friends of What The Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway said, the best way to make a perfect pizza dough is trying. Now Matteo doesn't follow the recipes too much and the pizzas of Saturday night were perfect.

And as I told you on the previous post, I finally decided to cook the salty muffins with the recipe I got from my sister-in-law (that awesome ones that she cooked at Christmas). The main reason I'd like to cook them is because I was eager to use my new colour reusable silicone baking cups they're are delicious. And I'm glad to say that my firs salty muffins were great too!

Enjoy the recipe (to make 12 muffins):

380g white flour
180g vegetable margarine
60g white tofu
1 cup natural soy yoghurt
½ package baking powder (or salty yeast)
1 cup soy milk

Mix everything in the blender (it should be creamy, if it's too solid, put more milk). Put the dough into a bowl and add 200g of peas (or 150g of black or green olives). Grease the baking cups with oil and a little bit of flour and distribute the dough on them, to cover ¾ of the cups. Put in the oven for 30 minutes (180ºC).

Note 1: I used red tofu instead of the natural (white) one and it's great to make the dough tastier.

Note 2: I used self-raising flour and it worked the same way.

Note 3: We used vegan sausages instead of peas or olives. You can choose whatever you want, just cut them in small pieces.

Receita em português, para 12 muffins:

380g farinha de trigo
180g margarina vegetal
60g tofu natural
1 copo de iogurte de soja natural
½ pacote de fermento em pó para massas salagadas
Um pouco de sal
1 copo de leite de soja

Bata tudo no liquidificador (até conseguir uma massa homogênia e cremosa, se estiver muito sólida, vá colocando mais leite). Coloque a mistura em uma vasilha e acrescente 200g de ervilhas (ou 150g de azeitonas verdes ou pretas). Unte as forminhas com óleo e farinha e distribua a massa, de forma a ocupar ¾ de cada forminha. Leve ao forno pré-aquecido por 30 minutos (180ºC).

Nota 1: Usei o tofu vermelho (temperado com tomate) no lugar do natural e a massa ficou mais saborosa.

Nota 2: Usei a farinha já com fermento e funcionou da mesma forma.

Nota 3: Nós usamos salsichas vegetais picadinhas no lugar das ervilhas ou azeitonas. Você pode escolher o que quiser colocar na massa, apenas pique em pedaços pequenos e distribua bem para cada muffin.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Me and Matteo have two Valentine's Day. In Brazil the date is celebrated on June 12th, so we always celebrate twice! It's just a excuse to spend money more time together and to eat more, but it's cool anyway. Tonight we'll have some vegan pizza and tomorrow I'll try to cook some salty muffins (recipe of my sister-in-law).

Friday, 13 February 2009

Cool vegan cartoons

My Brazilian friends of Gato Negro introduced me to Bizarro, that has an "Animal Stuff" section. Check out the Animal Rights Cartoons, they're awesome!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

All about... Berlin

We just spent three days in Berlin but we could see a lot of things and eat at the best vegan places. I was really surprised to see that there are a lot of places for vegan people there. I think Berlin can be the best place, after London, for vegans. I'd like to thank Clarissa for taking us to see the city, we had a perfect time and the best company!

I decided to write in topics about the food places, so here we go:

* Cupcake Berlin: I have to start with the most awaited place of this travel. I didn't know it before, but it's not a vegan place. But it's not a problem at all, they have the best vegan cupcakes ever (vegan options are: Very Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Double Trouble, Perfectly Peanut and Blondie). We went there on Saturday and Sunday and had a great time. Beside the cupcakes, the place is nice and the owners are so kind that you stay there a long time. And the place is pretty famous in Berlin – they cooked cakes for Tom Cruise once. They also have t-shirts, cloth bags and buttons. The only bad thing is that they don't open on Monday and Tuesday.

Address: Krossener Str. 12
Opened hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 7pm

* Hans Wurst Bio Vegan Café Restaurant: this place is perfect. We went there on Sunday to the brunch. I love vegan places because you don't need to ask about the food. The brunch is all you can eat and in the end you chose how much you want to pay, between 7 and 12 Euro. The food is awesome and it's a cool place too. We stayed there for 4 hours more or less, eating, drinking and talking.

Brunch at Hans Wurst

Address: Dunckerstr. 2a
Opened everyday 12pm to midnight (on Sunday they open at 11am)

Vegan chicken cheeseburger - Yoyo

* Yoyo Vegetarisches Bistro (Yoyo Foodworld): I think Yoyo is the best place to go and we went there a lot of times. It's a kind of vegetarian/vegan fast-food place and most of their options are vegan. The place is amazing, everybody that works there is cool and the food is delicious. They have snacks, wraps, pizza, burgers, desserts and more. I recommend all the burgers with salad and french fries (so go there as much as you can!), the wraps (they are so big!) and the Salami pizza with fake cheese. It's probably one of the best pizzas we have ever eaten in our lives. And they have good prices too, so it's perfect.

Vegan salami Pizza with cheese - Yoyo

Address: Gärtnerstraße 27
Opened everyday 12am to midnight

* Veni Vidi Vegi: a vegan store. This place is great too. You can buy a lot of vegan stuff to take home, without read the ingredients. 100% vegan. They have a lot of options of pate, chocolate, cheese, biscuits, soy milk and the list goes on. I bought a button there that says 'esst mehr tofu' (eat more tofu).

Address: Pücklerstr. 32
Opened hours: Monday to Friday, 12pm to 19pm – Saturday, 10am to 4pm

These are the places we went to eat. But of course we didn't go out just to eat, we saw a lot of the city. Berlin is an amazing city. Big (with a population of 3.4 million) and beautiful. Every place you look, you see history.

Sowjetisches Ehrenmal (Soviet War Memorial)

We saw the Berlin Wall (yes, it's something intense to see), the Brandenburg Gate (it's more beautiful at night), the Reichstag building (German parliament), the Schloßplatz (a popular square that has a Marx and Engels monument), The Fernsehturm (the famous TV tower) at Alexanderplatz, Karl Marx Avenue and the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal (Soviet War Memorial) in Treptower Park (this was the most impressive place to me, it's not so much famous but I think everybody should go there).

Brandenburg Gate

Me, Matteo, Marx and Engels

Sowjetisches Ehrenmal (Soviet War Memorial)

Berlin Wall

Another thing that's really good about the city is the transportation infrastructure. You can go everywhere using train or tram. The city has two big train systems (U-Bahn and S-Bahn) with more than 20 lines and 300 stations. The tram system has almost 400 stations and also more than 20 lines. And you can chose to walk or to ride a bike too (Berlin is known for its highly developed bike lane system).

If you're planning to come to Europe, you should visit Berlin for sure!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Much more than cupcakes!

We just came back from Berlin and I'm starting to write all my tips about the city. I have to confess that I am really surprised with all the vegan options we can find there. Yes, I ate a lot of vegan cupcakes and so much more. Hope I can be back tomorrow with all places you must go in Berlin ;o)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Crazy about CUPCAKES

My husband went to Berlin last October and came back talking about the best cupcakes he had eaten in his life. He was so excited about them that I became curious. I love vegan cupcakes but in Brazil there is no place to buy them, you must cook them.

This weekend we are going to Berlin to see one of my best friends, Clarissa. She's Brazilian and is spending her holidays there, so we'll meet her and I'll finally see Berlin. I am excited about all the vegan food we'll eat there a lot of things and we'll be there for three days.

The place is called Cupcake Berlin and
today I checked their website. These pictures here are from their gallery. Check the pictures there and let me know if you still think that we vegan people can't eat awesome food too!

I'll be back next week with all my tips of Berlin's best places to eat go to and with my 300 pictures of the cupcakes!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Can't stop cooking pancakes

Yes, I love pancakes. And I really think everybody does. If you didn't eat some in your life, you should try. If you don't like them, don't talk to me any more ask me to cook some for you.

The best thing about pancakes is that they're easy to cook and you can fill them with anything you want, salty or sweet. And I think my recipe is the easiest in the world:

2 cups white flour
2 cups water
1/5 cup oil

Mix everything in the blender and it's ready to cook (it should be more liquid than creamy). Most of the times I don't totally follow the recipe, so don't worry that much about the quantities. The most important thing to make the pancakes right is the frying pan. You really need a good non sticky one. I tried some times with others and it just pissed me off doesn't work. Let the pancake in a plate for 2 or 3 minutes before fill it and roll it. After cooking and filling all pancakes, you can put them in the oven with some vegan cheese on top and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Not happy with this

This is not something new, I started to read about it a few years ago, but it's something that is becoming more and more usual: people are eating meat again after years of vegetarianism because of the 'happy meat'. I still want to write a post about that, but I need more time. So I will just post today a piece of two articles of the website Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach.

"(...) She was a vegetarian for 10 years but now she has gone back to eating meat. Deacon is a “conscientious omnivore” who illustrates the problem with the “happy” meat approach that has overtaken the animal movement. (...)" (Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach - Feb/07)

"The writer, Tessa Williams, proclaims that after 25 years as a vegetarian, she is now eating meat again. (...) This is where the happy meat/animal products movement is leading. And it is certainly not confined to Britain. (...)" (Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach - Feb/09)

This is something I can't understand. This is a step back for all these years of vegetarianism and animal rights fights.

What do you think about it

Para os amigos brasileiros: Esta é uma discussão que gera opiniões bem diversas e gostaria de saber o que vocês pensam também. Sintam-se à vontade para postar em português.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

All you need

All you need to cook some awesome gnocchi at home: potatoes, white flour and salt (an Italian husband that loves to cook is a plus!). Easy to cook, delicious to eat. Perfect for an amazing Sunday. (L)


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