Monday, 31 January 2011

(vegan) Snacks make me happy

I wish I knew the translation to all Brazilian snacks. I'm not sure if they even exist though. But there's one thing that I'm pretty sure: they are amazing. Snacks are suitable for a lot of things: lunch break at school or university, to birthday and wedding parties, or just something delicious to eat when you're not that hungry to have a meal. They are very popular in Brazil and there are a lot of variety of them. They are sold everywhere too, from fancy places to shops on the roads. Unfortunately, they are never vegan. So the only ways to a vegan person like you and me to eat them are cooking or ordering.

Today I'll try to help you with the first option and I guarantee that you will be a happier person when you taste these snacks called "pasteis" (or "pastel" for the singular). A few days ago I saw a recipe in one of the Brazilian vegan blogs that I follow - A Delicia de Viver o Que Acredita - and decided to try it. The recipe is just for the dough cause you can be very creative with the filling and use basically whatever you want (just like the "sfihas" recipe that I've posted here before). I used a basic soy mince (TVP) + broccoli filling and it was delicious. But the most traditional filling is a sweet corn pure (recipe for this coming soon!).

These vegan "pasteis" go into the oven, but there are other "pasteis" that are fried and I hope I will try them soon to share the recipe here too.

Recipe - Dough

2 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 full tablespoon (or 1/2 cup) vegetable (vegan) margarine
3/4 cup soy milk (or water)(I used soy milk)

Make the filling and set it aside.

Combine everything in a bowl using your hands until it forms a smooth ball that pulls away from hands (add more flour if you think it's necessary). Open the dough and cut it in circles using a glass, put the filling in the middle and close the edges with your fingers (two "silly" but important tips here, that I've learned from my g
randmother: moisten your fingertip and pass on the edge before closing it and use a fork to close it and not your fingers). Brush the outside with olive oil or soy sauce (shoyo) to give a nice colour. Place them in a baking sheet and take it to the oven (200º C) for 15-20 minutes or until the "pasteis" become golden brown.

Enjoy it!

PS. Receita em portugues aqui!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bye for now!

In February 2010 I wrote this post about we leaving Dublin 1 (after living in two apartments there) to move to the house we're living now, in Dublin 12. And now, surprise... surprise... Here I am again writing about moving house. It will be our fourth place in 2 years and 4 months in Dublin. Too much for me, have to admit, but I'm excited.

It was amazing to live in a house for one year. If I could I'd take the house with me! But we're having some issues with the area and I'm sure it was the best decision. Time will tell. As you all can see, 2011 started to surprise me soon. This week I saw myself and my vegan cupcakes in an article in the Irish Independent (article here and pic of the print version here), baked a lot of other cupcakes for a student event, had my last day of work for MUZU.TV and now, saying good bye to the house.

We had great moments here, amazing food too, a lot shared with old and new friends and family.

Life goes one. Even more full of good memories.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Lovers gonna love

I'm not sure if I'd ever wrote about the fact that it was just after becoming vegan, 13 years ago, that I started to eat a lot of vegetables in a regular basis. If not, I'll make a list someday about everything I added to my diet. My family is not a huge fan of vegetables and I didn't like most of them. But being vegan is about not using animals but also about having a healthier life. To have all the vitamins I need I had to welcome a lot of new elements to my life. I learned to love some of them, but I still hate a few.

One of these vegetables that I really don't like is beetroot. It's has a beautiful colour, I have to say, but I can't stand the taste. It is an important vegetable however, rich in iron (and calcium, and zinc, and folic acid and vitamins B1, B2 and C). So if you like it, good for you!

A few weeks ago Matteo started to buy them and to make a juice (beet + orange). I tried and... nope. Can't drink it too. It wasn't the fist time I had it, I used to drink it many years ago in the place I used to work. It wasn't good, it's still not.

But in an effort to have at least a little bit of this precious vegetable I decided to make something that I really like with it to see if I could eat: risotto! So last Saturday I made a very creamy risotto with beets and zucchini - had to use something that I liked to balance it too.

The result was beautiful. Really, the pictures are not that great, but it looked great! It wasn't the best food on earth but I have to admit that I liked it. Matteo loved it, no doubts about it. But, yeah, I didn't hate it. I ate all my plate :)

If you want to try it, make your favourite risotto recipe and add small pieces of beetroot in the end (before 5 minutes to the end), so you won't cook it too much and it will keep most of its properties.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


Every time I write about savory pancakes I feel like a subversive. Subverting the natural order of things sounds good sometimes. And make me think about the rebel I used to be when I was younger. Not in a political or social-cultural way, although believing that I could do something to make this world a better one was the main reason to go to hardcore shows, becoming vegan and straight edge. But well, I was never a person of big actions.

So, bringing all this 'subversion' to the food universe, I decide not just to cook savory pancakes (or crepes) in the way I usually do, but to serve them like the classic ones. It was my second time doing this and I hope fans of sweet classic pancakes don't go mad on me!

To make things a little bit different, I added some herbs (basil, black pepper and paprika) to the dough recipe I always use. The sauce was made with 2 cup tomato sauce, 2 tbs shoyo, 2 tbs soya cream, one vegetable stock cube and 2 chopped vegan sausages.

With this easy recipe I made my way back to the kitchen after almost three weeks just studying for my exams. Matteo said he will lock me there and enslave me! Hopefully it will help me to come up with more stuff to the blog ;-P

Saturday, 15 January 2011

(vegan) Pizza Rustica

Last week was my first exam week of this semester. Three exams in five days (and I still have two to go). It meant that I wasn't working, wasn't going out and wasn't cooking. No fun at all. But has to be done.

Yesterday night I was really tired and didn't want to do anything besides trying to relax. Matteo decided to do his (now famous in the house) vegan pizza using a great ready-to-go pizza that we discovered recently. He can make the dough himself and he's pretty good on this, but he's being busy as well. He named yesterday's pizza "Pizza Rustica", or, pizza with everything you can find in the house.

This one had beef-style strips, mushrooms, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, and (after taking the pizza to the oven) rucola. And it was delicious. Yeah, I know, I love pizza and it's easy to make me love one, but believe me, this was really amazing!

What's your favourite pizza?

PS. Talking about pizza, January 29th will be the first Vegan Pizza Day. Go to the website or like the page on Facebook to know more about it!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Peanut butter "cheese" cake

Let's go back to the main topic of this blog: vegan food. If you're stopping here for the fist time I have to warn you that I am not a chef or a genius in the kitchen, but I love cooking and decided to create this blog do share my experiences about cooking and living as a vegan.

For the Christmas evening I baked a vegan peanut butter "cheese" cake. To make the "frosting", or last layer, I used the "crema pasticcera" mix that I had at home, bought in Italy. It's creamy custard filling very popular there. I would say that for the next time I do this cheese cake I would go with a chocolate layer, makes more sense.

Peanut butter "cheese" cake

1 1/2 cups vegan cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegan margarine

"Cheese" cake
1/2 package extra-firm silken tofu
1 package vegan "cream cheese"
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 175°C.

For the crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar in a medium bowl. Melt the margarine and incorporate it into the dry ingredients, forming a crumbly mixture. Use your hands to press this mixture into the bottom of a 7 inch round springform pan (all the recipes use the 9 inch pan but this recipe is for a smaller cake). Make it further up in the sides to form a lip at the edge of the crust. Set aside.

For the filling, drain the tofu of any excess water and blend it in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add in the vegan "cream cheese" and blend it again. Add the peanut butter, the sugar and vanilla and blend it again for 2 or 3 minutes (or until it achieve a very smooth and homogeneous consistency). Add the mixture over the crust and spread it.

Bake it for 35 to 40 minutes.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours before serving. You can serve it with soy cream too.

Friday, 7 January 2011

All about... 2010

Since I've started the blog I've been doing the "all about... the previous year" post and this year won't be different. I like some rituals and unpredictable since I left Brazil it sounds good to keep the "traditions" that are left ;-P

2008 sounds a thousand years ago right now, but it was an important year. 2009 was a way better, but still with too many downs between some ups. But it was definitely a "building" year. But 2010 was grand and I can't stop thanking life for giving me such a good year.

I won't be able to remember all the good bits (what is a good sign) but I'll let you know my top 10:

1. I started a Master in Journalism and Media Communications
2. We moved to a house, a lovely house
3. Me and Matteo celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and 6 years together (L)
4. I did one more issue of my paper zine, Outspoken, and the first English issue
5. I went to Brazil to see my family and best friends and it was deadly
6. I had an amazing summer, traveling around, visiting friends and my mom came to Europe for the first time
7. I saw 7 Seconds at Ieperfest and a lot of other amazing shows. Hardcore and straight edge will always be my life
8. I started working on MUZU.TV with on-line journalism and music
9. My brother's wife is pregnant and I'll be an aunt soon (L)
10. I still have the best friends in the world, no matter how far they are

And I couldn't leave out the amazing vegan food that I had this year. I didn't cook or bake that much, but still had great experiences in the kitchen. I met new (and amazing) people cause of veganism. I celebrated my 13th vegan anniversary believing more and more that I made the right choice.
Berlin is still the TOP 1 vegan-friendly city in my opinion, but I still have to go to the US. Ice cream is still the best thing in the world.

I have no idea about how 2011 will be. I have a good feeling about it but I decided to not plan too much and I have no resolutions for this year. But I'm sure my life will change again. For the best. The word for 2011 is already being "surprise".

Happy 2011


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