Flatbread and falafel

(Nederlandstalige versie)

There are few meals that can’t be improved by adding good fresh bread, and from the MoFo posts I’ve seen today, I think most of us agree that trying to choose the best sandwich ever is both impossible and pointless. Instead, I’ll just add another great sandwich to the ones that have already been posted today.

Now, I know from listening to The Sporkful that not everyone considers wraps and flatbread to be proper sandwiches, and I see their point. But why would we exclude them when they’re so delicious? They have the same basic components as other sandwiches. I think the perfect sandwich is different for every person and every occasion, so I like sandwiches like these:

Flatbread with falafel and toppings

You make a big stack of flatbreads, decide on a few fillings, and surround them with little bowls of everything you have that looks good, then everyone assembles their own sandwich the way they like it. Today, I tried to recreate a falafel sandwich that I love from Maoz: falafel (recipe from Jerusalem), hummus, aubergine, and as many veggies as I can fit on top. (There were actually a few more toppings that didn’t make it into the photo — it was too dark to take pictures indoors so I’d put everything outside, but then it started raining and I had to rush back inside for fear of soggy flatbread!)

Oh, and those are waffle-cut potato crisps on the top left. So good! I make them by using a waffle cutter that looks more or less like this. They’re more annoying to cut than regular crisps or chips, but I had to make them for Best Sandwich Night.

Links of the day

This post from Rosie’s Vegan Kitchen and this post from Flicking the Vs just made me realise I should have put those waffle crisps IN my sandwich instead of on the side. D’oh!

Market log: samosas, spanakopita, colourful carrots and a lot of dill (with bonus rabbit video!)

(Nederlandstalige versie)

This is what I lugged home from the market last month:

Haagse Markt, 10 December 2014

Two bunches of ripe bananas, five fennel bulbs, six bunches of dill, a bag of red onions, a bag of carrots in various colours, two heads of broccoli, and two pineapples; all for 7 euros.

Many stalls at The Hague Market sell their vegetables in 1-euro portions and those are the ones I usually go for: it’s easy see which deals are good value, and it’s convenient to pay whole euros in cash. The quantities you end up with are larger than what you’d buy at the supermarket, but I enjoy finding new ways to eat the same vegetables without growing tired of them. I know how to deal with multiple bunches of bananas by now (they’ll end up in baked goods or oatmeal porridge) but I’d never bought six bunches of dill before. I was afraid I’d be eating nothing but dill-flavoured foods for a week, and that’s almost what happened:

Roasted vegetables, dill hummus, dill bread

This was dill bread with dill hummus and roasted vegetables. I really enjoyed both the bread and the hummus, but I’m glad I decided not to add extra dill to the vegetables themselves. Oh, and don’t you love how those purple carrots look?

Roasted purple carrots with dill and sunflower seed dip

These are more of the purple and orange carrots that I roasted with cumin, paprika, en chili powder and served with a dill dip made with sunflower seeds. It’s a pity that the bright purple doesn’t really show in the pictures (they almost look burnt, but that’s dark purple) – I’ll take a better photo soon.

I ended up spending quite a bit of time cleaning and sorting the dill and part of it was already going slimy, so maybe next time it would be better to pay a bit more for one beautiful bunch. On the other hand, I now have a large supply of dill in the freezer and I got a lot of suggestions on how to use it up over at the (Dutch) NVV forum.

Spanakopita Pineapple chutney with lentil samosas

On the left: One of those suggestions was spanakopita, which had been on my cooking list for a while. I looked at a few recipes (including those from Vegan with a Vengeance and The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen) and made my own version using frozen spinach, tofu, onion, garlic, capers, olives, herbs, and lemon juice. A lot of recipes add nutritional yeast to the tofu to imitate feta, but I had just used up the last of mine and I thought the olives fitted in nicely as well. My phyllo pastry always falls apart so when I couldn’t form any more triangles I switched to little ramekins.

On the right: a pineapple chutney (which was a little dark because of the brown sugar) and samosas filled with lentils, potatoes, and yellow carrots. I used the method described here and made a filling with what I had on hand. It takes a bit of time, but I really enjoy making samosas (and eating them).

Other things we made: marbled banana bread from the PPK, a failed banoffee pie, oatmeal porridge with banana, broccoli and potato mash, broccoli soup with dill, popcorn with dill (which was recommended to me by Bianca), fennel salads, and the roasted roots with apple and rosemary from the cookbook River Cottage Veg Every Day! (loved this recipe).

And now for some actual rabbit food: I had a few carrots left over when I went to my parents for the holidays, so I thought I’d bring them along to let our rabbit try them. Then I read this post about a rabbit-friendly Christmas menu on Iris’s blog and we decided that Amina should also get a nicely plated Christmas lunch:

Bunny meal

Thin slices of purple and white carrots, parsley and coriander along the edge, and a small kale leaf with an apple heart in the middle. View the video below (or click here) to see how she liked it. (She was moulting at the time, so that’s why her fur looks a little shabby!)

She didn’t clear her entire plate (she had to get back to hopping around the garden) but I do think she enjoyed having a little taste of everything. :)

Stollen rolls

To anyone still reading this: Hi! It’s been a while. VeganMoFo always seems to both renew and then completely destroy my enthusiasm for blogging and if I ever want to make it through the whole month again I’ll have to get better at planning! Anyway, I’ve been doing some holiday baking and made this cinnamon roll/Christmas stollen hybrid:

Stollen roll

I love stollen but mine always come out a bit oddly shaped and some people in my family don’t appreciate the big chunk of almond paste in the middle, so sometimes I prefer to make smaller rolls instead. If you’d like to make something like this, just take your favourite cinnamon roll recipe (I like the one from Vegan Brunch) and replace part of the sugar in the filling with cubes of almond paste. Add raisins if you like them (I do) and flaked almonds if you have them (I didn’t), then bake as instructed in the recipe. I left off the glaze because I’m not a fan but I did add powdered sugar for christmassyness!

I’m spending all day cooking and baking while watching a Doctor Who marathon – maybe I’ll update again later with more Christmas treats. Happy holidays! :)

Gobbler slices and homemade ciabatta

We spent some time house-sitting for my parents this summer, which was pretty great—we got to hang out with the cats and rabbits, enjoy the sun in the garden, and prepare summer meals in my parents’ kitchen. I love our kitchen in The Hague, but it’s always good to be cooking back home. I especially enjoyed trying out my parents’ bread machine, so we ate a lot of sandwiches. This one was my favourite:
Gobbler sandwich It’s a basic wheat bread from the machine’s instruction booklet with rocket, tomatoes, red onion, the gobbler slices from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day (recipe online here), and a herb dressing from the same book. This was the first time I’d made seitan specifically to slice into sandwiches, and I really like how it turned out. It took me a while to try the recipe because I couldn’t find the instant tapioca it calls for, but I ended up using dried sago, which seems to be very similar if not the same thing. The little balls provide an extra textural element that other seitan recipe don’t have, so I’m glad I gave them a try, but if you can’t find the tapioca I’m sure the slices will still be delicious without it. The seitan recipe makes a lot and freezes well, so it’s good to keep on hand for quick sandwich making. It also seems like the kind of recipe that lends itself well to variations and substitutions, so I’d like to try it with other herbs and spices as well.
I also enlisted the help of the bread maker for my first homemade ciabatta. I’d been meaning to make this bread for a while, but knowing how sticky the dough can be I decided to let the machine do most of the work. I used the method from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen which includes a biga (pre-ferment) recipe that makes enough for several batches of ciabatta. The loaf pictured above was my second try. The first batch was good, but not as airy as I would’ve liked, so I left the dough to rise a little longer the second time. This batch was pretty much perfect, although I should have taken it out of the oven a little earlier—the top was almost burnt! This bread was much chewier and crustier than the shop-bought ciabatta I’ve had, and much cheaper as well, so I definitely want to see whether I can make it without the bread machine at home.

Speaking of inexpensive food, VeganMoFo is coming up, and I’m doing a budget theme. More on that tomorrow!

Carrot Soup from Graasland and Naan from Vegan Eats World

Can you believe tomorrow’s the last day of VeganMoFo already? I didn’t get to write (or read) as many posts as I would’ve liked for various reasons, but I still want to post as much as I can before October’s over! I’d intended to spend my afternoon and evening making all kinds of baked goods to freeze for later: pumpkin bagels, earl grey-scented bread rolls, cranberry muffins, maybe a loaf or two of bread… so many wonderful plans. Sadly, though, my beloved little oven decided to stop working just as I wanted to begin (noooo!), so I’ve been trying to think of other ways to satisfy my need for breads and sweet treats. So far I’ve come up with waffles, pancakes, crepes, flatbreads…
Roasted Carrot Soup

Speaking of flatbreads! Pictured above is some fresh cumin seed naan served with a bowl of curried carrot soup. The naan bread is a recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s new book Vegan Eats World, which I picked up last week when I attended her book launch & cooking demo in Amsterdam! The book is full of inspiring recipes but my boyfriend and I both love naan so this bread was a  great place to start. I’ve made other naan recipes before that were pretty similar to this one, but it worked really well and I’d really like to try some of the variations as well (coriander & garlic naan!). It’s the only thing I’ve made from the book so far but the other recipes sound very promising as well so I can’t wait to try more. We had the chance to try her olive seitan after the cooking demo and I liked that a lot, so I’m planning on making that as soon as possible.

To go with the bread, I made this roasted carrot soup from Gnoe’s blog Graasland. I love roasted carrots (how I miss my oven already…) but I hadn’t tried them in a soup yet, so this was a lovely recipe to try. I did make the small change of using an Indian curry paste rather than a Thai one, which really changes the whole flavour of the soup, but it went very well with the naan bread! Oh, and I had to estimate the amount of carrots I used as my kitchen scales decided to stop working, too. I need to take better care of my kitchen!

Has anyone else gotten Vegan Eats World yet? Have you tried any recipes? I’d love to hear recommendations! Gnoe also posted pictures of the samples we got to try at the demo – olive chickpea seitan with lemony cashew sauce and banana chocolate cheesecake with a speculoos biscuit crust. Amazing.

Pumpkin, lentil, and date soup from Vegalicious

Pumpkin, lentil, and date soupWe’ve been having more and more cold autumn days, so when I came home with a small round pumpkin a few days ago we immediately decided to turn it into a pot of thick, comforting soup. I wanted to make something slightly different from the soups I usually make, so I chose this recipe for pumpkin soup with red lentils and dates from Vegalicious. There were at least ten other amazing-looking pumpkin soup recipes on there, as well (that website is such a great resource!) but I happened to have the ingredients on hand for this one. I added fewer dates than the recipe called for because I was worried the sweetness might be too much (I have a weird aversion to sweetness in some savoury foods) but it was not overpowering at all so I would have no problem making the recipe as written next time. I also like that while it isn’t overly spicy, the small amount of pepper really adds to the warming quality of the dish. Mmm, pumpkin soup is the best.

The post on Vegalicious also refers to a recipe for bread bowls, which I though was a really cool idea, so I decided to make those while the soup was simmering. These turned out even better than I’d expected – the dough was pretty easy to shape (I used four small ramekins and made bread sticks with the leftover pieces) and the bowls were very sturdy so we didn’t have to worry about soup seeping out as we kept going back for second and third helpings. It’s probably a good thing I made them relatively small, though – when we ate the bowls at the end of the meal they were surprisingly filling. I added some wholemeal flour and dried herbs to the dough so they tasted great and were pretty healthy, too. And I just love the idea of edible bowls!

Poppy Seed Crescent Rolls from Seitan is my Motor

When I was looking through Mihl’s recipe index for a dish to make this MoFo, I knew I would have to pick some type of bread. If you read her blog you’ll know what I mean – I’ve written about her sourdough recipe before, but Mihl’s website also has a great variety of sweet and savoury yeast-leavened breads of all shapes and sizes.

The recipe for these Poppy Seed Crescent Rolls caught my eye because it uses a pre-ferment for the dough that reduces the required kneading time, I have a jar of poppy seeds that I don’t use often enough, and well, the rolls looked really delicious and pretty.


My rolls didn’t brown as nicely as Mihl’s, but they still turned out really well and I love the shape. Why would you ever want to make rounds and loaves when you can shape your bread into crescents? I ended up making 16 rolls rather than 12 because it seemed easier than trying to figure out how to cut a rectangle into six equal triangles (this is harder than it sounds! or maybe it’s just me) so I had two baking sheets full of these wonderful little speckled crescents to share with my boyfriend. We tried them with a few different toppings over the past two days but margarine & strawberry jam were my favourite. I may add a little wholemeal flour to the dough if I make them again because I prefer bread that’s at least partially whole grain, but I’d definitely like to make this recipe again. I think their festive appearance would make them a great addition to a breakfast spread for a special occasion.