Chickpea flour pancakes with cumin and fresh coriander

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Chickpea flour pancakes

Chickpea flour is one of my favourite ingredients because it’s so convenient for quick, filling meals that don’t require many other ingredients. A while back, one of my favourite simple one-serving meals was a kind of mini quiche made from chickpea batter with herbs and cubed vegetables. I made this a couple times a week, until one time I took the batter out of the oven too early so the inside was still undercooked. After one bite of raw chickpea flour I was done with those quiches for a while. I don’t know how something so delicious can taste so vile with only a few minutes’ difference in cooking time. Anyway, since then I’ve switched to thinner pancakes for a while. There’s definitely no raw chickpea flavour in these!

I like to have these pancakes for lunch (the ones in the picture are rolled up with hummus and carrot spread) but they also make a good side dish with a curry. They taste best fresh from the pan when the edges are still crispy, but you can also eat them cold or briefly reheat them in a frying pan.

Chickpea flour pancakes with cumin and fresh coriander (makes 6 pancakes)

1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more to cook the pancakes, if needed)
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 cup chickpea flour
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander/cilantro

Toast the cumin seeds in the olive oil in a (preferably non-stick) frying pan over low heat until the seeds become fragrant and slightly darker in colour. Meanwhile, make the batter (but keep an eye on the cumin so that it doesn’t burn take the pan off the heat in time).

In a bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the chickpea flour, salt, and turmeric. Add the water, a little at a time, and stir to form a smooth batter. The cumin seeds should be ready by now; pour them into the batter along with the oil and stir to combine. Finally, stir in the fresh coriander/cilantro.

Make sure the frying pan is coated with a thin layer of olive oil — add a little extra if necessary — and return the pan to medium heat. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter into the middle of the frying pan and tilt the pan to spread it out. Wait until the pancake is completely dry on top and you can easily slide a spatula underneath (1-2 minutes), then flip it. Cook the pancake for at least another minute on the other side (longer if you want crispy pancakes) and repeat this for the rest of the batter. Add extra olive oil to the pan inbetween pancakes if necessary (I like to use a spray bottle).

Roasted carrot spread

Here I was thinking I was making up my own spread recipe until I went to write down the ingredients and realised I had almost exactly made the Curried Carrot Dip from Veganomicon but with roasted carrots instead of boiled ones. In case you’re still curious, this was my version:

Preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F). Place three sliced carrots (about 230 g), one thickly sliced red onion, and three unpeeled cloves of garlic in an oven dish and mix with olive oil, curry powder, and salt. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the vegetables with a large handful (about 1/4 cup?) of sunflower seeds. Return the dish to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the sunflower seeds are slightly toasted.

Let everything cool for a bit, remove the skins from the garlic, add a tablespoon of lemon juice and puree everything in a food processor or blender to form a spread that’s more or less smooth. Add salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice to taste.

Dumpling soup with radishes and radish leaves

Isn’t VeganMoFo the best? Normally probably wouldn’t have posted about this dish but it’s the Vegan Month of Food and I challenged myself to post something before the Chopped! competition deadline and well, here we are.

The challenge, which was posted on the MoFo HQ on Friday, was to create an original dish incorporating four ingredients: plums, radishes, jalapeños, and oolong tea. I spent the weekend away from home and didn’t have time to experiment, but I found radishes and plums at the market today so I still wanted to give this a try. I had to hurry and pretty much went with the first thing that came into my head: dumpling soup. I filled the dumplings with spiced lentils and a plum and jalapeño chutney and served them in an oolong broth (not actually made with oolong; see below) with sliced radishes and radish greens.

Dumpling soup

A few things: 1. I didn’t have oolong tea. The Internet tells me its taste is somewhere inbetween black and green tea so I used a mixture of both, which probably tastes nothing like oolong but it’s what I had; 2. The rules state that ideally all components should be home-made, but I had some pre-made gyoza wrappers in the freezer that really wanted me to finally use them in something so I did; 3. Those gyoza wrappers had been in the freezer for a while and the edges had dried out. As a result, some dumplings ripped and the filling seeped into the broth so it wasn’t clear (I tried to add some extra tea for the photo but of course that only made the broth taste watery); 4. This really should be served immediately after the radishes and spring onions have gone into the broth, but I wanted to take a picture so my vegetables went limp.

So, yeah, this was far from perfect. BUT! The actual soup tasted pretty good, considering, and I never would’ve come up with this combination on my own. All in all, I’m happy with the result.

Here are more details on the preparation:

For the chutney, I cooked a cup of diced plums and a diced jalapeño pepper with a few tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt until the plums fell apart and the whole thing thickened a bit. I only used about half of the chutney but I’m sure I’ll be able to find a use for the leftovers.

For the lentil filling, I cooked 1/4 cup of lentils with a little over 1/2 cup water and 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 cloves, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, and a few pinches of black pepper. When the water had evaporated and the lentils were soft, I added 2 tablespoons or so of cashews and puréed the mixture into a smooth paste.

To make the dumplings, I placed a spoonful of each of the two fillings on a gyoza wrapper and folded them using this technique. I cooked them by first pan-frying the bottoms in a little sunflower oil over medium heat and then adding about half a litre of tea along with some salt to fully cook them.

Meanwhile, I thinly sliced a few radishes and a spring onion. I added the leaves of the radishes in with the dumplings to wilt for a minute or so before adding the other vegetables.

Physalis, almond cheese, mini omelets and romesco spread

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Here’s what I picked up at the market a few weeks ago:

Market day

Two fennel bulbs for €1, a tub of olives for €2, 17 red peppers for €1, red chillies for €1, eight aubergines for €1, two little baskets of physalis for €1, two containers of raspberries for €1,50, and half a kilo of almonds for €3,50.

Market day, 29 August 2014

I returned with two friends who had never visited this market a few days later and bought a butternut squash (€1) and three bunches of herbs (€1). We happened upon few good deals so we also bought some fruit to share (e.g. three pineapples for €1). I’m not sure why I ended up with even more bell peppers (but we had no problem eating every last one).

And here’s what we used it all for: roasted red peppers; almond cheeses; baked ratatouille with peppers, aubergine, tomato, onion, and parsley pesto; vegetable soup with fennel; chocolate sorbet with raspberries; chickpea scramble with red chillies; fennel en papillote with gnocchi; salad with physalis and avocado; crispbread with avocado and physalis; pasta with lentils, vegetables and olives; a pineapple and passion fruit smoothie; a pumpkin pot pie with chickpeas; romesco spread; and mini omelets with onion and red pepper.

I’ve already blogged about the fennel and gnocchi, the almond cheese, the chickpea scramble, the chocolate sorbet, and the pot pie. That’s what VeganMoFo does to this blog: everything gets a post of its own.

Romesco spread Mini omelets

I roasted most of the red peppers so they would keep longer. The last few went into this Romesco Spread from Isa Does It, which also allowed me to use up some of the almonds. The spread instantly became a new favourite, even though I couldn’t get it completely smooth with my stick blender. The photo on the right shows the Muffin Pan Mini Omelets from the same book with extra sautéed red pepper and onions added to the batter. These two recipes together also make a good sandwich, by the way.

Physalis

Aren’t these just the prettiest? They have so many names (physalis, golden berry, Inca berry, cape goosberry) that I don’t know what to call them. One of them one accidentally rolled in with my vegetables when the salesman at the market was bagging them. That one didn’t have its little husk, though, so I thought it was a tomato until I cut into it.  Of course it tasted nothing like a tomato and I loved it so much that I picked up two baskets of the fruit the next time I encountered them.

Salad Crispbread with avocado and groundcherries

Wikipedia told me physalis is sometimes paired with avocado, so that’s what I did, in a salad and on crispbread. I used the last of the fruits to make a tiny little cake and they were excellent in that, as well, so next time I’d like to use them for muffins. If anyone has physalis recipes they’d like to recommend, I’d love to hear them!

Mushroom and pumpkin pot pie (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Pumpkin pie

I was inspired to make this dish after reading Anna the Red’s blog, which features a series of posts in which she recreates dishes from films by Studio Ghibli. Most of it isn’t vegetarian but I still really enjoy seeing what she’s come up with. Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favourite Ghibli films (a witch, a little black cat, a boy who turns his bike into a flying machine — so much adorableness) and I had a pumpkin lying around so I decided to make a version of this pumpkin pot pie.

The meals Kiki eats in this film aren’t particularly exciting. She’s just started her own business and she stretches her budget by living on pancakes (milk for Jiji the cat) while she’s building up a customer base. Running her delivery service out of a bakery, though, she does find herself surrounded by food. This particular dish, which is described in the film as a “pumpkin and herring pot pie” is one of the first things that Kiki carries across town after starting her new job.

If you search blogs and Youtube you’ll find quite a lot of people who have already replicated this pie. Many of them follow a similar recipe to Anna the Red’s: a layer of pumpkin puree, a layer of fish, and a layer of white sauce topped with pie dough. We never actually see the inside of the pie in the film, though, and since I was going to make changes to veganise the pie anyway I ended up just making a completely different dish. I used mushrooms instead of fish, added beans for extra protein, and cooked the pumpkin into a stew with onions, leeks, and herbs. The main similarities with the pie from the film are the decorations on top and the fact that it contains pumpkin.

My pie dough is based on the one from Vegan Brunch. I didn’t have the right ingredients and completely messed it up at first, but in the end I could roll it out reasonably well and even cut out something resembling a fish. :) The end-result was quite good, but I didn’t write down an exact recipe. It went something like this:

Sauté sliced mushrooms (250 g) and minced garlic in a frying pan until browned. Transfer them to a bowl and use the frying pan to sauté an onion (halved and sliced), a leek (also halved and sliced), and more garlic. Add cubes of pumpkin (I used a 700 g butternut squash) and dried herbs (mine were thyme, sage, and rosemary). Stir to combine, add half a litre of vegetable stock, cover the pan to bring it to the boil, and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the pumpkin has softened. Then add chickpeas or white beans (about 250 g) and add the mushrooms back to the pan, too. In a small bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of flour or cornflour with a little water to form a slurry. Add this mixture to the stew, add some black pepper and minced fresh parsley, stir well and continue to simmer until the stew has thickened a bit. Transfer the contents of the pan to an oven dish and cover with a sheet of pie dough. Decorate with additional pieces of dough and olives if you like. Bake — I’ve forgotten to write down how long and at what temp, but I’d say about 30 minutes at 180 °C (375 °F)? — until the crust is nicely browned.

Seaweedless sushi

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Sushi without nori

I added “make sushi that I like” to my food resolutions because the first time I tried sushi, I liked all of it except for the nori. I’ve since gotten over that problem, but I still wanted to make a plate of sushi without using seaweed (especially because the nori that I’d forgotten in my cupboard has gotten so old that it’s starting to fall apart). I’m still very much of a sushi noob but I had fun making these anyway.

I used the instructions from 500 Vegan Recipes to make the tofu pouches on the left. The recipe really only has a few steps: you  deep-fry and marinate tofu slices and then they’re ready to stuff. I followed the recipe pretty loosely but they still seem to have turned out very well, although I’ve never used pre-made inari-age so I can’t say how they compare.

We were getting hungry by the time all the tofu slices were done frying so I kept the rest of the sushi pretty simple. I made the rolls using rice paper, which works well though it doesn’t add much in terms of flavour — a good option for nori-haters. I only had circles of rice paper so I used two overlapping sheets to make the roll. Square sheets would be ideal. I filled the rolls with fried tofu strips, avocado, and stir-fried aubergine and carrot matchsticks.

The rest of the toppings are aubergine and carrot with sesame seeds and avocado and watermelon with IKEA’s seaweed caviar (so the sushi wasn’t entirely seaweedless after all!). The watermelon was my favourite so we had some more on the side — enjoy those summer fruits while you can! :)

Chocolate and raspberry ice cream with chopped nuts (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Chocolate and raspberry sorbet with chopped almonds

Chocolate and raspberry with chopped nuts is the ice cream flavour Hagrid buys Harry during his first visit to Diagon Alley. Yesterday’s strawberry and peanut butter ice cream consisted of two separate batches of ice cream, but for this dessert I just made a chocolate sorbet and swirled in a raspberry coulis at the end.

Chocolate sorbet is one of my favourite frozen desserts and I think I like it better than any chocolate ice cream I’ve had. It’s just pure chocolate with no cream or coconut or other flavour to get in to the way. I used the recipe from Hannah Kaminsky’s Vegan Desserts, but there are plenty of recipes online if you don’t have that book (this one by David Lebovitz looks good). As far as I can tell the main difference with Hannah’s recipe is that she has you cook the sugar and part of the water into a caramel before adding the other ingredients, which is fun to do and it adds a nice background flavour but it looks like chocolate sorbet works fine without that step as well.

For the raspberry coulis, I cooked 1 1/2 cups (230 g) raspberries, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of lemon juice in a little saucepan for 10-15 minutes until they fell apart into a thin sauce. Then I strained out the seeds and chilled the coulis completely overnight. After I had churned the sorbet in the ice cream maker the next day, I combined the two by scooping them into a container in alternating layers and then stirring a little to create swirls.

The sorbet was delicious by itself, but the chopped almonds really took it up a notch. Well chosen, Hagrid! :)

Strawberry and peanut butter ice cream (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Harry, Ron, and Hermione strolled off along the winding, cobbled street. The bag of gold, silver, and bronze jangling cheerfully in Harry’s pocket was clamouring to be spent, so he bought three large strawberry and peanut-butter ice-creams which they slurped happily as they wandered up the alley, examining the fascinating shop windows.

- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Strawberry and peanut butter ice cream

I have wanted to try this ice cream since I first read about it in the second Harry Potter book. It may seem like an odd combination, but it’s really just like peanut butter and jam! I often prefer peanut butter with savoury flavours rather than in sweets, but I loved it combined with this strawberry ice cream.

Because I was already making two different types of ice cream for one dessert, I kept the ice creams themselves fairly simple. They’re just coconut milk pureed with fruit or peanut butter; no custard or other method that has you heat the ice cream first. I did roast the straberries because I wanted to use fresh ones, but maybe just using jam would be good, as well. It still took me a few days before the dessert was ready because the ice cream maker can only churn one batch at a time and the base has to be frozen inbetween ice creams. There’s still some room for improvement with these, but I’ve written my current recipe below. (Maybe I’ll make a more elaborate recipe sometime, or a simpler one with strawberries and peanut butter together in one ice cream— then I’ll update to let you know!)

For the strawberry ice cream: roast a pound of strawberries using David Lebovitz’s instructions. Take about two thirds of the strawberries and all of their juices and add them to a blender or food processor along with a can of coconut milk (400 ml), about 1/4 cup sugar, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Chop the rest of the strawberries into smaller pieces and stir them into the strawberry puree. Let the mixture cool completely in the fridge overnight and freeze using an ice cream maker.

For the peanut butter ice cream: add 1/4 cup of peanut butter to a blender or food processor with a can of coconut milk (400 ml) and 1/4 cup brown sugar and puree until smooth. Let the mixture cool completely in the fridge overnight and freeze using your ice cream maker. I swirled in a few teaspoons of creamy peanut butter and added a handful of chopped roasted peanuts as well; I think candied peanuts would be even better.

To store the ice creams once they’ve been churned in the ice cream maker, scoop them into a container and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent ice crystals from forming. Once they have frozen solid, they’ll need to sit at room temperature for a while to become scoopable. (Mine had sat for a little too long when I took the picture — that’s why strawberry scoop looks like it’s about to drown.) :)