Chickpea flour dumplings with yellow peppers in tomato sauce

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Chickpea flour dumplings with yellow peppers in tomato sauce

I first made this stew after I kept seeing blog posts about shakshuka, which is a dish of eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. I’ve never actually had shakshuka but I tried to imagine a vegan version, and whenever I think egg replacement I think chickpea flour. Of course these dumplings are nothing like eggs — and you definitely wouldn’t want to undercook them to dip your toast in the middle — but I liked this stew so much that I decided to share the recipe anyway. I’ll have to look for vegan shakshuka elsewhere (Terry Hope Romero has a recipe I’d love to try!).

I’ve made several versions of the sauce (some with just onions and peppers and another with quartered cherry tomatoes added in), so if you’re not an aubergine/eggplant fan you can just leave it out. If you’re like me and spicy food makes you cry, don’t be a hero; just take the seeds out of the chillies. Maybe we’ll get there someday.

I’ve written the recipe the way I prepare it, which is by adding the vegetables to the pan as I’m chopping them, but if you like mise en place of course you can chop everything in advance. I think it makes for a good one-pot meal on its own, but I definitely wouldn’t say no to some fresh bread on the side.

Chickpea flour dumplings with yellow peppers and aubergine in tomato sauce

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
1 medium aubergine/eggplant (or a handful of smaller ones), quartered and sliced 1/2 cm (1/5 inch) thick
3-4 yellow bell peppers, in 2-cm (1-inch) pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 red chillies, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is great, sweet paprika is cheap; I use a mix of both)
500 ml (2 cups) passata (smooth tomato sauce)
Fresh coriander/cilantro and/or parsley (optional)

For the dumplings:
100 grams (about 3/4 cup, packed) chickpea flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
about 75 ml (5 tablespoons) water

1. Place a large frying pan or sauté pan over low to medium heat and add in the olive oil. Quarter and slice the onion and add it to the pan. Keep stirring occasionally as you add the other vegetables.

2. Depending on the size of your aubergine, halve or quarter it and cut it into 1/2-cm (1/5-inch) slices. Add it to pan with the onion. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers, roughly chop them, and mix them into the onions en aubergine. Mince the garlic and thinly slice the chilli (removing the seeds if you want to), then add both of those to the pan as well.

3. Add the cumin, paprika, and tomato passata to the frying pan, stir to coat the vegetables, turn the heat up, and cover the pan to bring it to a simmer while you make the dumpling batter.

4. To make the dumplings, mix together the chickpea flour, salt, baking powder, and oregano in a small mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and mix in the water a little at a time, starting with a few tablespoons and mixing until smooth — I find that this helps to prevent lumps. The batter should be thick but quite smooth.

5. Once the sauce in the frying pan has come to the boil, turn the heat down to low and add in the dumplings by dropping teaspoon-sized blobs of the batter all over the sauce. Put the lid back on the pan and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft and the dumplings are cooked; I’ve found this can take 10-20 minutes depending on the tightness of the lid. When you press on a dumpling with your finger, the surface should spring back; if it just forms an indentation, you should let it cook for a bit longer.

6. Ladle the sauce and dumplings into bowls, sprinkle it with fresh herbs (if using) and serve it on its own or with bread.

Chickpea flour dumplings with yellow peppers in tomato sauce

Market log: a salad, a stew, and courgette spread

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Market haul of 15 October, 2015

Here’s what I got at the market last month: lots of tomatoes for €1; eleven leeks for €1; strawberries for €1.25; six yellow courgettes for €1; seven fennel bulbs for €1; a bag of yellow peppers for €1, and a bowl of Brussels sprouts for €1.

Most of it went into soups and stews, but I also made pizza (as always), polenta with seitan and roasted vegetables, fennel and courgette salad, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Courgette and fennel salad Stew and bread with courgette spread

On the left: I got a mandoline on sale for €5 last month so I’ve been eating a lot of things in thinly sliced form. Apparently this method makes raw vegetables taste extra good because this courgette and fennel salad made me love raw courgette. I had the leftovers with the pesto and tomato toastie shown above.

On the right: Another good way to use up your courgettes is this courgette butter I’ve posted about before. I’m happy to report that it’s just as good with yellow courgettes, especially on fresh bread with a little pesto on top. (That’s a fennel, potato, and tomato stew on the side.)

Some of the yellow peppers also went into a stew but I’ll save that recipe for a separate post. Speak to you soon!

Pumpkin risotto and a savoury galette

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Market haul 29 September, 2014

This was another good market day! I took a while to post these photos, so I hope I remember the prices correctly: I bought two containers of mushrooms for €1.50, a bag of spinach for €1, onions for €1, two heads of broccoli for €1, tomatoes for €1, orange peppers for €1, apples for €1, four baskets of physalis for €1, and two pineapples for €1.

Market haul 6 October, 2014

I went back again the next week and bought nine apples for €1, mini bok choy for €1, four fennel bulbs for €1, two more pineapples for €1, and the cutest little pumpkin for €0.50.

Some of the things we made with this were mushroom pizzas, other pizzas (we really like pizza), broccoli soup, mixed vegetable soups, a bok choy and orange pepper stir-fry with tofu and pineapple, pumpkin risotto, physalis muffins, tomato sauce, oatmeal porridge with apples, apple crumble, fennel salad, and an apple and onion galette.

Pumpkin

I was especially pleased with the pumpkin, which the kind market people let me have for 50 cents because that was all the cash I had left. Don’t you love the colour? I don’t know whether it’s because it was so small or because I’m used to buying butternuts, but I just felt like it was exceptionally orange.

Pumpkin risotto Onion and apple galette
After admiring its colour, I roasted the pumpkin in the oven, blended part of it into a purée and added everything to a risotto along with some  mushrooms. I used dried Chinese mushrooms because of their texture and because the soaking water could also go into the risotto along with the vegetable stock. It was a tiny pumpkin but enough for two (we had pan-fried seitan slices on the side).

The photo on the right is a savoury galette filled with apples, onions, and seitan pieces. The apples I bought during my second visit to the market weren’t very good and I really didn’t want to eat them raw. Instead, I cooked them into a thick paste with caramelised onions, herbs, and fennel seeds and baked it inside a whole wheat pie crust. I also added smoky spicy seitan bits so that the sweet flavours weren’t overpowering. Like the risotto, this is real autumn food to me, and I’d definitely make a pie like this again if I ended up with more mealy apples.

It looks like I only got pictures of two things this time! Unfortunately these days most daylight has already disappeared by the time we have dinner, so my photos are mainly of leftovers (hence the tiny plate of risotto). I wonder how other bloggers do this — do you photograph your leftovers during the day as well or do you have your own little photo studio with artificial light? I usually just end up taking much fewer food photos during winter, but I’m curious to know how other people do this.

Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend! <3

Homegrown hazelnuts and raspberries (tartlets and biscuits)

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Over the years, my parents have grown a variety of beautiful fruits in their garden. Some of my favourites have been pears, plums, and strawberries, and currently they’re harvesting raspberries and hazelnuts. The only things I’ve managed to harvest from my own attempts at apartment gardening so far have been a handful of tiny tiny tomatoes and two peas, so I’m always excited by other people’s ability to grow food (especially if they’re willing to share).

Raspberries Hazelnuts

My mother knows how much I love edible gifts, so last month she bought me a little box of raspberries. They were so good I could’ve eaten them all straight away, but I wanted to save some to pair them with the hazelnuts: a homegrown dessert! (With a few ingredients from my kitchen cupboards.)

Hazelnut and raspberry tartlets

I baked these tartlets using this baking tin that my Grandma gave me. The tin is a little too shallow for muffins, but it’s perfect for little tarts that you can eat in one or two bites. The crusts consisted mostly of ground hazelnuts, flour, sugar, and cocoa, and the filling was a hazelnut milk custard with raspberries on top. The cocoa flavour in the crust wasn’t very strong (I’d meant to garnish them with grated chocolate) but hazelnut and raspberry turned out to be an excellent combination.

Because the hazelnuts were so fresh, they seemed to require a slightly longer baking time than usual: I roasted them at 175 °C (350 °F) for 30 minutes and they came out deliciously crispy and full of flavour. As a result, we (I) ended up eating a lot of them straight from the oven, but I also saved enough to use in salads, pestos, and desserts. The biscuits below were inspired by posts from Amey over at Vegan Eats and Treats!, who happened to post two hazelnut cookie recipes during the Vegan Month of Food.

Baci di dama Hazelnut biscuits

I made quite a few changes to both recipes with varying degrees of success (as the pictures illustrate) so this isn’t intended as a critical review of the recipes I link to. I just wanted to share my pictures and experiences, because the biscuits were a good way to showcase these beautiful hazelnuts!

On the left are baci di dama (“lady’s kisses”) which I based on David Lebovitz’ recipe after reading Amey’s post. I didn’t have a food processor so I ground the hazelnuts in a coffee grinder, and I didn’t have rice flour so I used plain wheat flour instead. I also halved the recipe and used sunflower oil instead of butter or margarine. My dough was too crumbly to be rolled into ropes, so I used a measuring spoon to place teaspoon-sized scoops on the baking sheet and that worked quite well. Mine definitely weren’t as pretty as David’s or as adorable as Amey’s, and they kept rolling over when I tried to fill them with chocolate, but it was all worth it because they are seriously delicious. The recipe yields 45 cookies which may seem like a lot, but they have a tendency to disappear very quickly once have a bowl of them in front of you.

On the right is my attempt at brutti ma buoni, another Italian hazelnut biscuit. This time I really made one too many changes — though I’m not sure which was the fatal one. Again, I used the coffee grinder to grind the hazelnuts (along with the flax seeds). I may have added too much sugar because the biscuits were super sweet. The main problem was that my biscuits spread out in the oven, turning into thin disks with crispy edges and chewy centres — not bad, but not what I was going for. They were also a little greasy, so I think I ground the hazelnuts just a little too long. The flavour reminded me of nougat. I’d like to try them again using a food processor to get them right, but they did live up to their name: ugly but good.

The end of VeganMoFo 2014 and another market log

(Nederlandstalige versie)

The Vegan Month of Food is almost over! I managed to post every weekday for the first two weeks, my planned schedule kind of went out the window during the final weeks, but this is my twentieth post so at least I achieved my goal. There are still plenty of things I didn’t get to (for example, I made multiple attempts to recreate the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans from Harry Potter but so far without success), but at least that leaves me with enough things to write about for the rest of the year.

Here’s another little market diary with the vegetables I bought earlier this month:

Market day 15 September

This is what I bought: A bunch of fresh coriander for €0.40; 2 bunches of spring onions for €1; 2 bunches of radishes for €1; 3 ears of corn for €1; 10 red, yellow, and green peppers for €1; 8 aubergines for €1; 13 apples for €1; 1 butternut squash for €1; 4 pomegranates for €1; 1 kilo of plums for €1.

And this is how we ate it: a spicy pumpkin soup with corn and spring onion; dumpling soup with radishes and plum chutney; chili with peppers and corn; quinoa salad with aubergine, tofu, and pomegranate; roasted aubergine salad with spring onion, hazelnuts, and pomegranate; romesco spread; red pepper burgers; oatmeal porridge with apples; radish leaf pesto; naan with spring onions and nigella; and probably more things that I’m forgetting right now.

Radishes

I baked this thing and it really was good but I have no idea what to call it. The base is a kind of savoury cake (?) of silken tofu and polenta with radish leaf pesto and spring onions mixed in and halved radishes on top. I almost added a crust underneath just so I could call it a quiche or tart, but instead I just ignored its namelessness and ate it anyway.

Roasted red pepper burger Roasted aubergine salad

I roasted the rest of the aubergines and red peppers. The aubergine went into a kind of salad with hazelnuts and spring onions (on the right) — roasted aubergine doesn’t look very appetising so I just sprinkled a lot of pomegranate on top. On the left is a veggie burger made with chickpeas and soy mince and roasted red pepper on a slice of bread with mayo and radishes (the only vegetable I had left). The burgers were pretty good but they could be better so I’m sure I’ll make them again.

That was VeganMoFo for this year! I hope everyone who participated is happy with how the month went. I’m a little behind on reading and commenting on other blogs but I hope to catch up as soon as possible. :)

Oh, and did you see this treasure hunt at the VeganMoFo HQ? I’m not in the US so I’m not entering for the prize but it’s fun to see how many items from the list you can find!

Cooking resolutions update, part 2

(Nederlandstalige versie)

This is the second part of my list of short updates on the cooking resolutions I posted last year. I posted the first part last week.

23: Rice paper rolls
I’ve been eating these pretty often since I first bought a bag of rice paper. It’s my favourite meal for hot days when I don’t want to do any cooking other than chopping vegetables. My favourite fillings up until now have been crunchy fresh vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, radishes, courgettes, peppers, cabbage, things like that), fresh herbs, baked or pan-fried tofu, and avocado with peanut sauce and sriracha on the side.

25: Martine‘s Roti
I posted about this last year.

26: Cashew mozzarella
Cashew mozzarella caprese

I had fun just making these: you use an ice cream scoop to form balls of mozzarella and then they firm up in a bowl of ice water. I used this recipe from Miyoko Schinner which consists mostly of cashews and soy yoghurt. My mozzarella had a very mild flavour, but my experience with fermented cheeses is still limited — I had trouble determining how long the mixture should sit before it was “ready”.

27: Chimichurri something
I wrote about Isa’s tempeh chimichurri here. Since then, I’ve also made the sauce to go with tofu and several kinds of vegetables. I’m glad coriander and parsley are so cheap at the market.

28: Romesco
I made the romesco from Isa Does It earlier this month. That recipe was a spread and not a sauce, but I say it counts. I’m going to try it in sauce form, too.

30: Seitan slices
I made the Gobbler Slices from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day; more details here.

34: Yoghurt
I’ve made yoghurt three times now: once using a thermos, once using glass jars inside an insulated bag and once using the yoghurt maker I found at a car boot sale. Each time, I just mixed warm soy milk with a bit of ready made yoghurt and left it overnight. It worked okay, but I still need to try out a few recipes to get the texture right.

35: Jam
Last year, I made jam to bake cookies with (see this post).

37: Carrot cake
I crossed this one off the list on the first day of this year’s VeganMoFo!

38: Tiramisù
Tiramisu
When I made my food resolutions I had been making mini versions of tiramisù, like parfaits or cupcakes, but I’d never made a full dish of the stuff. The one pictured above was a version of the wonderful recipe from Seitan is my Motor (I had to make a different cake because I was out of chickpea flour) that I made for Christmas last year. (I tried to “artistically strew” some ingredients across the table for this. Food styling is hard.) I love this recipe and I’ve also made a wonderful version with chocolate biscotti, but I don’t have a photo of that one — I think that means I’ll just have to make it again?

39: Flourless chocolate cake
I tried a recipe and then accidentally left out one of the ingredients, so the end result wasn’t the best. I’d like to make another one and follow the recipe more closely.

42: Coconut cream pie
Coconut cream pie
I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday last year because he also loves non-vegan cream pie and sure enough, we both really enjoyed this one. The recipe is from Vegan Pie in the Sky.

44: Clafoutis
I don’t want to cross this one off yet because my first try was just pathetic. It doesn’t help that I’m actually not really sure what clafoutis is supposed to taste like. I read somewhere that it’s like a big oven-baked pancake, so I made a beautiful pancake batter, poured it into an oven dish, covered it with fruit and put it in the oven. Or so I thought. I use  a combination microwave oven that had somehow switched to the microwave setting, so my clafoutis ended up barely edible. My boyfriend did say he liked it but I’m pretty sure he just felt sorry for me. I think I’ll have to look up a fool-proof vegan recipe before I try again. :)

49. Miyoko’s flax seed foam
It turns out flax seed is even more magical than I already suspected. If you boil it, it releases a kind of gel that you can whip and use in the same applications as the whites from chickens’ eggs. Of course flax and eggs have slightly different properties and the link above only shows the beginning of the possibilities, but I’d like to do more experimenting with this concept. So far I’ve made the basic recipe and used it to make a kind of lemon dessert with strawberries.

Lemon cakes and half a strawberry pie (A game of thrones)

(Nederlandstalige versie)

Lemon cakes Half a strawberry pie

Jeyne yawned. “Are there any lemon cakes?”
Sansa did not like being interrupted, but she had to admit, lemon cakes sounded more interesting than most of what had gone on in the throne room. “Let’s see,” she said.
The kitchen yielded no lemon cakes, but they did find half of a cold strawberry pie, and that was almost as good. They ate it on the tower steps, giggling and gossiping and sharing secrets, and Sansa went to bed that night feeling almost as wicked as Arya.

- George R.R. Martin, A game of thrones

This is my third post inspired by Game of Thrones and probably the last one for this month. There are still many foods from the series I’d like to try, though, so maybe I’ll return to this theme after VeganMoFo!

Lemon cakes are probably one of the first things you’ll encounter if you look for recipes from Game of Thrones. Mine were mostly based on these cakes shown in the TV series. Those looked smaller than regular cupcakes, so I made a flat cake and used a scone cutter to cut out little rounds. This method allows you to sneak bites of both the batter and the cake and I like to think Sansa would approve of that. The cake recipe was more or less the Lemony French Cake from Have Cake Will Travel, one of my favourites which I think everyone should try. The topping is a glaze with cashews and lemons but in hindsight I think lemon curd would’ve been better (can anyone recommend a vegan recipe?).

For the pie, I adapted the recipe for Strawberry Hand Pies from Vegan Pie in the Sky using whole wheat flour and oil instead of margarine. Delicious! Almost as good as lemon cakes.