Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Xmas pictures

Did you all have a great Xmas weekend? I hope so! I have to say that mine was perfect. Xmas to me was always about family. I'm not a religious person but I really enjoy this holiday. Being far from my family sometimes makes things not that easy, but everything was amazing. I spent the last days with Matteo's family at home and we had the best time - and the best (vegan) food. I also saw my parents on the 25th through Skype (thanks technology for making our lives better!) and also showed them our street covered with the snow.

We celebrated Xmas on the 24th evening and on the 25th. In Italy they also celebrate the 26th, but we didn't this year. I decided to prepare the meals with easy recipes, so I wouldn't spend the entire days in the kitchen. And it was worth it! Everything was cooked by 4 hands (by me and my sister-in-law) and it was all delicious.

First meal: creamy corn risotto, for the 24th lunch:

The living room table ready for the Xmas eve: non-alcoholic grape drink + white lasagna (with home made pasta, funghi, white cream and sun dried tomatoes)

Xmas eve dessert: peanut butter "cheese" cake:

Xmas day vegan brunch: it was a Saturday that sounded like Sunday, so we decided to have brunch. Besides the guacamole we did everything from the book "Vegan Brunch" (tomato scones and an amazing broccoli quiche). And, of course, cupcakes.

I added one smoked tofu to the filling and it made the quiche even better!

I'll make a post with the lasagna and "cheese" cake recipes, I promise!

Thursday, 23 December 2010


Hope you all have an amazing weekend, full of peace, happiness and vegan food ;-)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Relax and get a cupcake!

I have no words to explain how my life sounds crazy right now. Just to give you an idea, I have to finish 5 assignments in 72 hours, having a full time job. But, this is not a place to complain and I'm excited about the last days of the year. It's being a great year in general, have to say and I just want to make sure it will finish in the best way too.

This weekend I had the visit of my lovely French friend Aurelia and we really had fun. She's like an younger sister and it's always good to have her around. So I decided to relax a little bit and just enjoy these days as much as I could. And I baked some cupcakes. I can't remember when was the last time I made them. It was so good to see them ready to eat and I used some of the vegan "M&M" that I bought in Berlin too (yes, I know, still have to write about the trip).

I'm not being able to take orders but I hope I can bake more stuff for Christmas and New Year. Baking is good. I miss it.

Friday, 3 December 2010

More vegan products in Italy

Last week we had to go to Italy to a short trip. The reasons weren't amazing but it was great to be there for a couple of days. Me and Matteo could relax a little bit and enjoy all the homemade vegan food and love that are always waiting for us there.

It's funny how countries have different vegan products. Italy doesn't have vegan cheese, but it has lots of biscuits and ice cream. Ireland has a lot of vegan cheese options, but not amazing biscuits and just a few (and expensive) ice cream options. Italy has vegan pizza everywhere. Ireland has potato wedges. I could keep going, but this was just to make a point: no place (that I know) is perfect, so I always try to enjoy the best food each place has.

We didn't go out too much but I could take pictures at home and in the supermarket of some great products that we had tried there this time:

This was how we left north of Italy:

This was Dublin last Saturday morning:

And this was Dublin after 5 days of heavy snow (nobody was ready for it, but it was amazing and the city looks even more beautiful!):

Saturday, 20 November 2010


A few weeks ago someone from the blog page on Facebook asked me the recipe of the vegan sfihas and that was when I realized that I didn't post it here.

According to Wikipedia, "sfiha is a pizza-like dish originating from the Levang (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq), and introduced in Brazil and Argentina by Levantine immigrants. In contrast to the modern use of lamb of beef, traditional sfiha are open-faced meat pies made with ground mutton. Historically, sfiha were much like dolma- simply ground lamb, lightly spiced, wrapped in brined grape leaves. In Brazil, sfihas are folded into a triangular pastry, although the open-faced version is very common too."

That's why we Brazilian know (and love) sfihas. But I thought everybody new about them and just realized that this is not through when I started talking to people here in Dublin about them and nobody - Irish or European - new what they are.

They're delicious, easy to cook and easy to "veganize". You can fill them with your favourite soy mince sauce or with vegetables (Matteo loves to use a filling that is made with broccoli, tofu, soy cream and herbs). I don't think a recipe for the filling is necessary, but let me know if you want it.

Sfiha dough recipe

3 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup water
1/3 vegetable oil
1 small cooked potato

Preheat the oven to 220ºC.

Combine the flour, water, oil and salt using your hands. Add the mashed potato to the mix and combine until get a smooth dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about a few minutes. Take small portions of dough – the size of a walnut – and make them into balls. Using a rolling pin, open each dough ball into a circle. Place ½ tablespoon of the filling into the center of the circle. Fold in the lower third of the circle towards the center of the sfiha, then the left and right thirds of the circle, forming a triangle. Pinch the ends together to seal the filling inside.

Place the sfihas, 1 inch apart, onto an oiled baking sheet.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

My personal (vegan) chef

This November me and Matteo will celebrate 6 years together (L). And looking back I'm sure that we always shared everything to make our lives easier - and happier. People say that I'm a lucky woman and I know I am. But I think that having a guy at home that helps out with the daily stuff is not that hard to find anymore (or at least, shouldn't be!). And because this blog is all about the (vegan) food, I'll limit the post to the cooking. Me and Matteo always shared the cooking at home. He's great in some kind of food, I'm good in other things and sometimes the restaurants are the best place to be. And now that I'm staying out all day to work and study, he's cooking more than never.

Last Sunday we were watching a Jamie Oliver TV show. I have to say that as a vegan I almost hate him, but he's a good chef and when I see him doing vegetarian (and also vegan) dishes I try to get all the good tips and use them. We watched three of four episodes and Matteo was very excited after it. On Monday he went to the supermarket and bought tons of stuff to cook as a real chef ("better than Jamie Oliver, cause I'm vegan!" - his words, couldn't agree more).

When I got back from College on Monday night I had this waiting for me:

Focaccia sandwich with artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, olives and fried polenta cubes

Chocolate cake + yogurt berries ice cream

None of these pictures are good enough to show how good everything was and I had even more amazing food on Tuesday, but I didn't take the pictures (was too hungry to think about them, sorry!).

It's really amazing to have someone to share love and passions and important choices like the veganism.

Today I didn't have classes and I baked some tomato rosemary scones, from Isa Chandra's book Vegan Brunch. Yep, it was my turn and my chance to say thanks to this amazing guy ;-)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

And suddenly... I got cookie sandwiches!

First things first!

Happy Vegan World Day! Thanks everybody that's already fighting for the animal rights and trying to make this world a better place.

Second, today is the first day of the Vegan MoFo. I'm not into the amazing web event this year (2009 was amazing but I can't find the time to do it now), but if you have the chance, check their page and all the blogs that are participating, it's a great opportunity to share info and recipes about veganism.

Third, the cookies sandwiches. Two Saturdays ago I woke up thinking about baking something different. I had a recipe of cupcakes filled with vanilla cream cheese that a guy from my job (he's not vegetarian but we're always talking about vegan food or things he thinks I could "veganize") and I really wanted to try to do vegan french macarons for the first time. But, I'm always baking cupcake and I realized that I didn't have the ingredients to try the macarons. So I decided to do cookie sandwiches (at least they look like - a little bit - french macarons).

It was a great decision, they came lovely! I used my own recipe for the dough and for the filling (white chocolate ganache!) and I wish I had done more. It's something really easy to do and it's perfect with tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Cookies base

2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup soy cream

Preheat your oven to 175°C. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl an set aside. In your mixer, cream the margarine with the granulated sugar. Add the vanilla and soy cream. Slowly add in the flour mixture, stirring just enough to combine.

Drop about 1/4 cup of dough (or even less if you want smaller cookies) for each cook on the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for them to spread. Bake for 15 minutes until they begin to turn slightly golden in colour. Let the cookies rest and cool.

(PS. I did another base adding 1/4 cup chocolate to the same base recipe)

White chocolate filling
1 white chocolate bar
1/2 cup soy cream
1/2 soy milk
1 tsp cornstarch (maizena)

Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and stir to avoid lumps. Melt the white chocolate bar in a small pan. Add in the milk mixture and the soy cream. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes after it starts to boil. Let it cool completely and put it into the fridge for a couple of hours.

When the cookies are completely cool and the filling soft and firm, set up the sandwiches.

One thing that I did and gave me an amazing texture: I let the cookies in a plate covered with a glass bowl and in the next day they were even softer and with the filling more dissolved in the cookie.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Domino's Pizza Ireland: Not suitable for vegans

The only place that you can be sure that the pizza dough is vegan is in Italy. This is something that I've learned in all these years of being vegan. In Brazil they might use eggs, so I'm used to always ask about the dough before even considering asking about vegetarian options or to have a pizza without cheese. In Dublin is not different, some pizzas places have eggs or milk in their dough and it's not that easy to find a vegan option in the end of the day. Back in February 2010 I was checking the Domino's Pizza website to try to find some information about their pizza dough. If you go to Food Guide Introduction, you'll find the topic "Pizzas Bases and Toppings - Ingredients and Allergies" and it's a PDF with all the ingredients.

As you can see, "milk" is marked with the "x" for all bases. If you take a look in the Ingredients column you might think there's no milk there in the firs item, "Regular Crust Dough". It's not that obvious (mainly if English is not your mother tongue of if you became vegan recently). But "whey powder" is a milk derivative product. It may sounds silly for a lot of people, but I'm sure that a lot of other people aren't aware of this information.

To make things even clearer, I wrote an email to Domino's and I got two different answers. If I had stopped with the first answer, I would probably ended up buying a pizza from Domino's:

Answer 1: "Hi Glauce, There is no milk or egg in our regular dough base. The milk would predominantly be contained in the cheese. Hope this help."

But I wrote a second email saying that I'm vegan and that the word "milk" was marked in their ingredients PDF.

Answer 2: "Hi Glauce, The base does appear to contain a stabilser which contains whey powder. I was not aware of this as it does not state it on the product in store. Whey is a derivative of milk and is used in a huge amount of food ingredients and flavourings. There is no actual milk added to make the dough. I hope that this helps you further."

It's important to know the questions you're making when you're eating out or wondering to ask for delivery. Sometimes people just answer to our most usual question: "Is there any eggs or milk in this product?" or even "This product has anything with animal origin?" A lot of people don't know all the answers and most of the times they are too lazy to check. Make sure you're asking all the questions and that you received very clear answers.

I don't know if Domino's has the same ingredients for their products in other countries, if you know about it (or even about any other pizzerias that people usually think that offer vegan pizzas but this is not true), please feel free to share with us!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

All about... Blazing Salads

It's unbelievable that Dublin has basically five vegetarian restaurants and I still didn't write about all them here. If I had to choose one or two words now to define Blazing Salads it would be "life-saver". During these busy days, it's being the best place to eat or to go to grab some food to take away.

Blazing Salads is more like a deli place than a restaurant. It's small, but with a great atmosphere and offer salads, soups, cakes, snacks and desserts. They also have a bakery that offer a selection of organic bread. I first went there in September of 2008, while we were in Dublin for the first time, to decide if we would really move here. I loved the snacks options and my favourite one was the vegan pizza slice. But at that time I got that idea that it was a place for salads lovers and I'm not one of them, or at least I wasn't. Because of that I stayed a long time without going there.

But since I'd started to work one block away from there, I decided to go there more often. And I have to say that it was a great idea! For the last months me and Matteo are eating more salads in general, so it's easier now for me to go there. And they also have one of the best hummus in Dublin! It's hard to find a place to eat there during the lunch time, cause the place it's designed to be a take away option, but it's not being a bad thing these days cause the weather in Dublin is surprisingly sunny and warm. So I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can, having lunch in the roof of the office building.

You can choose between 14 salads option and you pay for the weight. The price is fair enough and they offer quality food. They also have some organic, gluten-free and vegan products to sell there.

If you're in town or if you work around the area, stop there and try it. It's worth it and you can become addicted!

The Blazing Salads Food Company
42 Drury Street

Dublin 2

Couscous + green quinoa salad + hummus

Monday, 4 October 2010

Can I make this at home?

One of my reasons to go to restaurants is to have the chance to try different, original and tasty vegan meals, things that I haven't the talent (and experience) to cook myself. One other good reason is that some days a good food is a ready food. And you know, I'm not having the time to cook and when I do, I'm too tired to try new adventures in the kitchen.

But there are two different kinds of thoughts that usually go through my head when I'm looking to a menu or to the meals of the days in the restaurants:

1. "Could I make this at home?" - This is what I think when I try something really good and different that I'd like to eat more often (and that I wouldn't have the money to buy that often). I really like to try to find out all the ingredients used in a meal and think about the way it's made. I know that most of the times I won't be able to do exactly the same, but I enjoy trying and also adding some personal touch to those "restaurant meals".

An amazing spaghetti al pesto salad that I had at Cornucopia last week

2. "I could make this at home!" - On the other hand, this is a not a good thought. Well, not a good one for the chefs and restaurants, I think. Sometimes I ask for a meal and after trying it, the first thing that comes to my mind is "F**k! I could make it home, better and cheaper!" And this second thought really annoys me. I know how practical is not having to go to the kitchen to prepare a meal, but I always expect to get something at least not so trivial when I'm in a restaurant.

I know that I'll always have one of these two thoughts going out to eat, no mater where, but I hope I can have more of the number 1.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Between fast food and take away

Have to start this post saying that I'm really sorry about my lack of posts here but I have a very good reason to not being around that much: I got a full-time job and I'm working in a place that I love and I'm working in my area (Online Journalism). And the classes of the Master are back this week and I'll have classes during some evenings + 2 afternoons + 1 morning. It's not that hard to figure it out how crazy the next months will be, but I'm happy and excited!

The first consequence of all those changes is that I'm almost never at home during the week, what also means that I'm not cooking at all. Even during the weekends it's being hard to find energy to go to the kitchen to cook, all I want is to relax and to have some ready-to-go (or in this case, to eat) food. But I'm sure I'll be back soon, just have to get used to the new routine.

For now, my lunch time consists basically in soups, salads, snacks, sandwiches, wraps or cakes in one of my three restaurant options: Cornucopia, Blazing Salads and Cafe Fresh. Sometimes I eat in the restaurants, sometimes I ask for the take away option and eat in the office. The food is always delicious in those places but I'm
experiencing two different things: not having proper meals for all the lunch times (which I used to have in Brazil and while I was working at home here in Dublin) and having to eat alone most of the days. But it's being great so far.

I will post some pictures of the kind of food I'm eating in my working days, they don't look amazing but the food is great! And I promise I'll have more posts for now on, starting with one about Cafe Fresh that I want to write this week.

Toast with carrot, spinach, beets and olive oil - Cafe Fresh

Broccoli, carrot, onion and peanut wrap (raw) - Cornucopia

Falafel sandwich - Cafe Fresh

Pizza with tofu and vegetables - Blazing Salad

Vegetable soup + brown bread - Cafe Fresh

Potato garlic mayonnaise - Cornucopia

Lemon and almond "cheese cake" with soy cream - Cornucopia

Chocolate cake - Cafe Fresh

Chocolate and raspberry mousse pie - Cornucopia

Saturday, 4 September 2010

What remains is more than words

Pictures (or food) of the month!

Broccoli and tofu sfihas
Gluten free pasta, salad and beef-style strips

corn risotto

preparing cherry tomatoes and broccoli for the frittata

vegan frittata

cooking yellow creamy mushroom risotto

Monday, 30 August 2010

Vegan coconut pie to celebrate!

If you come here frequently you know that I am a big fan of Hannah Kaminsky, her book and all her sweet recipes. To celebrate this blog 2nd anniversary I made our first giveaway and the prize was a copy of her e-book Mission: Impossible Pies. Last week I finally did the first recipe of this amazing book: Coconut Pie. It is delicious and very easy (and fast) to make it, being an wonderful quick dessert option.

With some vegan vanilla ice cream to make it even better

Everybody should try at least one of Hannah's amazing recipes, from heir blog or books!

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Aos queridos leitores brasileiros (e também portugueses, por que não?),

a autora me autorizou a publicar aqui a receita em português, o que faço com muita alegria, pois além de ser uma delícia, é rápida de fazer e todos os ingredientes podem ser encontrados no Brasil (diferente de algumas receitas que levam, por exemplo o vegan cream cheese, que não está disponível ainda para quem mora no país).

Então vamos lá!

Torta de côco vegana

340 gramas de tofu (a medida da receita é em "ounce", mas já fiz a conversão ao usar aqui também)
1 xícara de açúcar refinado
2 xícaras de côco ralado
1 xícara de leite de côco
1/2 xícara de farinha de trigo
1/2 colher de chá de fermento em pó
1/2 colher de chá de sal
1 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha

Pre-aqueça o forno a 180 graus e unte uma assadeira de 9" (eu utilzei uma menor, de 7" para que a torta ficasse um pouco mais alta e adorei). A minha assadeira é bem anti-aderente, então não precisei untar, mas por via das dúvidas não custa passar um pouquinho de óleo e farinha no fundo e laterais.

Escorra o excesso de água do tofu e o coloque em um processador ou liquidificador. Bata até que ele fique bem cremoso. Adicione o açúcar, o côco ralado, o leite de côco, a farinha, o fermento, o sal e a baunilha e bata até combinar todos os ingredientes. Tome cuidado para não bater demais, pois o ideal é manter os pedacinhos do côco ralado.

Coloque a mistura na assadeira e asse por 40-45 minutos, até que as laterais fiquem douradas, mas o meio ainda esteja um pouco oscilante (não totalmente firme). Espere esfriar e coloque na geladeira por 1 hora antes de servir.

Se quiser variar, sirva com uma calda de frutas vermelhas ou um pouco do seu sorvete favorito!

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Thanks, Hannah, for letting me post the recipe in Portuguese for my Brazilian friends and readers!


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