Thursday, 25 August 2011

(Italian) Vegan Mac and cheese

Although this dish involves two ingredients very popular in Italy - pasta and cheese - it is not an Italian dish and it's not popular there. I'm not sure if it is or not popular in Brazil at all but I'm sure I've never eaten it there. So I've never eaten the non-vegan version of mac'n'cheese. But I do love both ingredients and I was delighted when, a few days ago, Matteo decided to make it for us in a day that I was really tired to cook.

Matteo - aka my husband - is not that type of person who likes to follow recipes. He can read them but he ends up doing everything in his own way. And it was the same with his mac'n'cheese dish. I would say it came out pretty good and reminded me the classic Italian "pasta al forno". So I'd say this is kind of an Italian recipe for the dish, a very easy one. You know, pasta should be always fast and easy!


300 g pasta (penne or rigatoni are the best options)
grazed dairy-free cheese

For the sauce:
1 unsweetened plain soy yogurt
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup rice milk
1/3 cup soy cream (or rice cream)
2 tsp french mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
herbs (parsley or basil)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the pasta to cook while you prepare the sauce. Put the yogurt, the rice milk and the soy cream in the mixer and mix it until get a homogenous mix (a few seconds would be enough). Add the olive oil, french mustard and soy sauce and mix it again (another few seconds). Finally add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and herbs.

Mix half of the sauce with the cooked pasta and put it in a glass container. Add the rest of the sauce on top and the grazed dairy-free cheese (we used Redwood Soy free Cheezly cheddar style). Take the glass container to the oven for 30 minutes. Serve it hot.

Monday, 22 August 2011

There's no failing without trying

I'm not sure if I told you before but I (finally!) got Hannah Kaminsky new book "Vegan Desserts - Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season" a while ago. The problem is I'm trying to avoid sugar as much as I can (it doesn't mean too much for a sugar tooth person like myself, but I'm doing my best), so it means I'm also avoiding get too close to this delicious book. You know that I'm a huge fan of Hannah's recipes and there are at least 20 recipes in the book I wish I could try as soon as possible!

Considering this, I just made one recipe until now. Shame on me or congrats, Glauce? I really don't know, but this is how things are. And I have to say that it was a partial fail too. Why? First things first, the recipe I've decide to make was the Summer (I love that the recipes are separated by seasons even thinking there's no real summer in Ireland) S'mores Pie.

Sounds delicious, right? Yeah, picture looks amazing in the book too (I also love all that amazing photos in the book and have to remind you that Hannah is an amazing food photographer too). So, where's the problem? My significant issue is called vegan marshmallow topping. I won't reveal the details of the recipe here (buy the book!) but this is kind of obvious. And even considering that I have Dandies marshmallows at home, I decided to follow the recipe step by step and make them from scracth. That was my mistake. Hanna was pretty clear in the beginning of her book that just one brand of egg replacer would work proper. Well, I don't live in the US and I wouldn't find it so I decided to risk everything and use the one that is available here in Dublin. Guess what? It didn't work at all.

But it wasn't the end of the world (well, kind of!) and the rest of the recipe came out pretty good. I didn't use Dandies anyway and decided to eat the pie the way it was. It was delicious, seriously. I wish I could eat more of it, but it was my husband that had most of it.

This experience didn't make me think the book is any worst, I love it and can't wait to try more recipes. Hopefully with no more mistakes (I don't believe on failing, do I?)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

3rd Blog Anniversary

Last Sunday was the third anniversary of this blog and I have to confess that I never expected it would last that much!

It all started as a way of sharing my new food adventures in Europe and now it's basically a part of my life. It also means that three years ago I left Brazil and the life I used to have to start again in a far far away land. It wasn't always easy but the food was always an amazing part of my journey. So many new foods, so many new places and so many awesome people. This blog was the space to share all the new flavours I was trying and my new adventures in the kitchen. And through this small place I've met so many cool people!

The first semester of 2011 was crazy and super busy for me and I couldn't share everything I wanted here, but now things are calm again and I'm trying to cook more, visit different places and write more. I have new plans for my life now that my Master is almost done (just have to do the presentation of the thesis in September!) and I'm excited.

I can't share too much yet, but I'd like to thank everybody who reads this blog - knowing me in person or not! It's being a pleasure and I hope I could inspire some of you to become vegan or to be more adventurous in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Easy like Sunday morning

This title can sound strange in a Tuesday (also for being a Lionel Rich song?!) but I decided to finish my posts about the last travel to Berlin before changing the subject or I would get lost. Usually I feel lazy about cooking on Sunday but since I've not been cooking that much lately cause of my thesis now I'm in the kitchen every day! Good or bad, that's how it is. I am not working so I have a lot of free time to take care of the house.

Last Sunday I went to the basic pasta (spaghetti) cause, yeah, it was still a lazy Sunday. But I decided to do a different sauce using the rest of the coconut milk I had and I remembered one sauce that I used to do a lot in Brazil with tomato sauce, coconut milk and sun-dried tomatoes. In the north-east of Brazil, in a state called Bahia, it's very common to have dishes that have a lot of coconut milk and black pepper (many of these recipes came from Africa). And I really like this mix. I didn't have sun-dried tomatoes at home, so I decided to use cherry tomatoes. It is an easy recipe, perfect for a Sunday meal!

Cherry tomatoes and coconut milk sauce

7 or 8 cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup tomato sauce (homemade or canned)
1 chopped onion
1 or 2 chopped gloves
5 or 6 chopped Brazilian nuts
1 vegetable stock cube
black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Fry the onion and the garlic in hot oil for 4 or 5 minutes, until they get a golden color. Add the cherry tomatoes and let them fry for another 3 or 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, the stock cube and black pepper. Let it cook until boiling. Add the coconut milk and keep cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring the sauce from time to time. Add the Brazilian nuts and taste it to see if you want to add salt. Serve it hot with your favourite pasta.

I also had some soy-free vegan cheese on the top of my plate! Delicious and a 100% vegan and soy-free recipe!

Monday, 8 August 2011

All about... Viasko (Berlin)

As I said in my last post, we tried to do our best in the few free hours we had in Berlin (and when I say "do our best" I mean eat as much vegan food as we can). So after going to the Vegan Sommerfest we went to Viasko, a vegan restaurant opened last year.

Viasko looks like an Irish pub cause it was one before the actual owner buy it! And he decided to keep the design and decor the same and I have to say, I loved it. They serve food day and night and also a brunch on Sunday (have to go back to go to this!). I'm not sure if I'll be able to put in words how much me and Matteo enjoyed the place. The owner is really nice, speaks English and made his best to make us feel comfortable there. They have the menu also in English, which helped a lot. We were so excited to try the food that we decided to order (each one of us) starter and main course.

When I saw the starters coming I thought "Oh boy, I'll never be able to eat this and the main course!" but I was there to try. I had a "Überbackene Tomaten-Auberginen-Tofu Canapés", which looked like bruschetta and tasted amazingly and Matteo had an "Auberginen-Kartoffel-Strude" that was composed by some salad (some kind of coleslaw), mayonese garlic sauce and a huge strudel filled with potatoes and aubergine. It was delicious too, I've tried it of course. Our pictures don't look great cause I was using my phone this time and it was dark inside too, but you can have an idea of the awesomeness!

After eating enough for one lunch time, the main courses were still about to come! I have to say I ended up eating more than usual but wasn't able to finish my dish (this is never a problem cause Matteo - almost - always can do it!). Matteo was very Italian with his dish, asking for a gnocchi dish ("Hausgemachte Kartoffelgnocchi") and I tried to be as "local" as possible ordering a "Soja-Schnitzel „Wiener Art" (Soya Schnitzel Vienna Style). Well, it turns out that Schnitzel is an Austrian dish but I still thought it would be closer to some German food than any other Italian dish they had in the menu. Everything was just perfect, from presentation to flavours!

After eating more than we could, the owner suggested us to take one of the cakes of the day. OMG, I could not eat nothing else but we decided to take away a slice (and it was the delicious closing of our Saturday night).

I have to say that Viasko is now one of my favourite vegan places in the world. If you're going to Berlin, please go there and share your thoughts with me after!

PS.: The restaurant is also very pet-friendly, allowing dogs inside :)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Vegan in Berlin - Part ?

(three of a hundred? twenty of a thousand? I don't know how many posts about Berlin I already have and have no clue about how many more can come cause you know how much I love that city!)

Last weekend, after handing my supervisor the last draft of my thesis (and believe me, I delivered the final paper TODAY to College!), me and Matteo went to Berlin for about... 36 hours. Yeah, not a big travel but it's always amazing to go there. We went there to my friend's wedding party and to meet her newborn baby girl (L) and I had some other objectives too: meet Melisser Elliott (from the blog The Urban Housewife and author of the book The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life), go to Veganz, the recently opened vegan supermarket, go to the Vegan-Vegetarisches Sommerfest, go to Yoyo at least once and go to Viasko, a vegan restaurant we've heard about it before but haven't gone there yet. Too much for just a few hours, I know. And it was raining all the time too (where were you, German hot summer?!) But we've managed to do must of the things in that list.

We arrived in Berlin on Friday evening and went to eat at Yoyo Foodworld
. I won't write again about one of my favourite places ever but you can see how happy I was there!


On Saturday morning we woke up to go to the Sommerfest and we decided not to go to the supermarket this time (it will always be there - we hope so! - and the festival was just that day). Besides that Veganz would have a stand there too. We arrived there before noon and despite the rain there were already a lot of people there. The festival was hold at Alexanderplatz, a touristic must in Berlin, and it had between twenty and thirty stands, all about vegan stuff, from clothes to food. Melisser arrived after us cause she had an interview to perform in the stage and it was amazing to talk to her and watch the interview. She's absolutely lovely. We also won some good prizes there! One package of vegan pet treats and a €15 voucher to spend at Veganz (and the guys there were nice enough to let us spend in the stand and not in the supermarket), so I ended up buying vegan marshmallows (a dream coming true!), white chocolate chips and a slice of an amazing chocolate pudding cake. Seriously, Berlin is so vegan friendly that it surprises me still.

After that we went to Viasko, but this is a subject for another post. I'll be back soon, I have free time now.

If you want to read all my tips about Berlin (so far!) click here!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Potato-spinach Blintzes

I can't believe it took me so long to buy the vegan bible Veganomicon but I (finally) got it a couple of months ago. But I did it in the middle of my thesis writing so I didn't have time to cook anything from it until a couple of weeks ago. Still in the middle of the craziness I decided to cook potato-spinach Blintzes for lunch during the week. It was a lot of work but the result was worth it. Recipe is not difficult but you end up preparing three dishes to make one (crepes, smashed potato-spinach and the sauce).

I won't post the recipe here cause it's part of the book, but I will share the mushroom sauce recipe I've made cause I didn't use any from the book and did my own sauce.

Mushroom sauce recipe


2 cup sliced mushroom
1/4 cup soya milk
1 tablespoon white flour
1 vegetable stock cube
1 glove
1 shopped onion
1/3 cup Shoyu (soya sauce)
1 tablespoon mustard (ready to eat one such as French's)
black pepper (as you like it)

Mix the milk and the flour in a bowl and separate it. In a hot pan fry the onion and garlic for 3 or 4 minutes and add the mushrooms. Fry it for more 3 or 4 minutes and add the milk and flour mix. Add the stock cube and let it cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring it a few times. Add the black pepper, soya sauce and mustard and cook and cook for another minute. Serve it hot over the Blintzes.

And here's some pictures of the potato-spinach Blintzes cooking process:


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