Dumpling stew with chickpeas and fennel

(Nederlandstalige versie)

I’m seeing a bunch of beautiful things for the “something blue” prompt today! Me, I’ve got a recipe for days when you’re the one feeling blue. It’s nothing special, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s the kind of meal I like when I’m ill, or sad, or cold, or just craving chickpeas and dumplings. I first discovered dumplings like these in the Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk zine, so that’s what my recipe is based on as well.

Dumpling stew

Ingredients
Serves two (with leftovers, which taste even better)

For the stew:
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
3 medium-sized leeks, halved and thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs, halved and thinly sliced
3 medium-sized carrots, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
1 litre (about 4 cups) salted vegetable stock
a few sprigs of fresh parsley, minced
freshly ground black pepper

For the dumplings:
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) plain unsweetened soya yoghurt

Preparation

1. Add the 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil to a pot or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fry them for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fennel and carrots as you chop them.

2. Stir the minced garlic into the vegetables and cook for a minute or so, then add the chickpeas, stock, parsley, and black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and cover the pan with a lid while the stock comes to the boil.

3. Meanwhile, make the dumpling dough. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flours, the baking powder, the salt, and the dried basil. Pour over the oil and soya yoghurt and stir to form a relatively firm dough — but try not to overwork it.

4. Turn the heat down once the stock has come to the boil. Take tablespoon-sized pieces of the dumpling dough, roll them into balls, and place them on top of the stew. I got 13 dumplings out of this recipe. Cover the pan with a lid again and let the stew simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the dumplings are firm to the touch.

5. Garnish with more fresh parsley and fennel fronds if you like (or if you’re taking a picture). Serve hot.

Links of the day

I know my post for this prompt is a little late, but there are so many other blogs to read! Here are some of my favourite blue things from today/yesterday:
Vegan gorgonzola (available in Barcelona — so no, not a recipe, but still really cool to see!) posted by Caitlin from The Vegan Word
Homemade blue food colouring made with red cabbage and baking soda by Kuri the Vegan
Blue cookbooks (with quick reviews) by Susan from Kittens Gone Lentil

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Carrot gnocchi with fennel en papillote

(Nederlandstalige versie)

I kept seeing people on cooking shows preparing dishes en papillote and it looked pretty and I wanted to try it too. I think this technique is mostly used for fish (maybe it would work well on seitan?) but I decided to use it for fennel, one of my favourite vegetables.

I also cooked up a pot of gnocchi again because I love making them, even though mine always turn into irregular lumps rather than pretty pillows (at least this way they’re quicker to make). (And look, it’s a post with an actual recipe! I thought I’d try that for a change).

Carrot gnocchi with fennel and toasted almonds

Carrot gnocchi with fennel en papillote and toasted almonds (serves 2)

For the gnocchi:
300 g carrots (three large ones), in 1-cm (1/2-inch) slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
120 g (1 cup) plain flour (more or less; use only as much as needed)

For the fennel:
1 fennel bulb
a few shallots (depending on their size) or a red onion, quartered or sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the almonds:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped almonds (or sliced almonds if you have them)
a pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F).

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the carrots and boil them for about 10 minutes. Scoop the carrots out of the pot but leave the water; you can use it to boil the gnocchi later. Drain the carrots well and leave them to cool for a bit.

3. Meanwhile, prep the rest of the vegetables. Remove the root of the fennel bulb and separate the leaves. Rinse them to get rid of any dirt and remove any dark or wilted parts, but reserve the little green fronds. Slice the fennel 1-2 cm (1/2-1 inch) thick and mince the fronds.

4. Place a large piece of aluminium foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet (I preferred foil; see the note below). Place the fennel and fennel fronds on the baking sheet along with the shallots, dill, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything together with your hands, fold the foil or baking paper over the vegetables and seal the edges of the parcel so no steam can escape (see the link at the bottom of this post for a video). Put the baking sheet in the oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on how soft you like your vegetables).

5. Puree the carrot, which will mostly have cooled down by now, with the olive oil and salt using a blender or food processor (a stick blender works fine as long as the carrot is soft). Start incorporating the flour: stir it into the carrot puree a few tablespoons at a time until the dough becomes too stiff to stir. Dust your work surface with flour and knead the dough a few times but add as little flour as possible. Divide the dough into four parts and roll each piece into a 30-cm (12-inch) rope. Cut the ropes into rectangular chunks to form the gnocchi. I like to put the finished gnocchi on a clean tea towel so they don’t stick to the work surface and I can easily lift them to transfer them to the pot.

6. Bring the pot of water that you used to cook the carrots to the boil again. Add the gnocchi, cover the pot with a lid, and let the gnocchi cook gently until they float to the surface — a few minutes. Remove the gnocchi (I scoop them from the pan using a sieve because they can be very delicate) and let them drain well.

7. While the gnocchi are cooking, heat the olive oil and chopped almonds in a large frying pan over medium heat until the almonds are lightly browned. Sprinkle them with the pinch of salt, scoop them from the pan, and set them aside for now. Now add the drained carrot gnocchi to the pan and pan-fry them in the olive oil for a few minutes until some of the edges are golden brown, stirring every now and then.

8. By now the fennel should be ready as well. Remove the parcel from the oven and add the contents to the pan of gnocchi along with the toasted almonds. Stir everything together, divide between two bowls and serve immediately.

Fennel

A note about sealing the vegetables in the parcel: this video demonstrates how to seal the parchment paper so no steam can escape. Unfortunately my piece of paper was too small and my fennel bulb was too big, so I couldn’t seal the parcel with having it tear. If the same happens to you or you’d like to prevent it from happening, you can add an extra layer of aluminium foil (or just use foil to begin with) — as long as the parcel is sealed well.

Carrot gnocchi

Parsnip & fennel patties, parsnip gnocchi, beetroot risotto, parsnip chips

I’ve written about the Haagse Markt before—the market is one of the main things that’s keeping my low-budget meals interesting and healthy. I love to take photos of all the stuff I bring home, so I thought it would be nice to share them on here a bit more often. I always want more recipe ideas for seasonal vegetables and maybe you do, too, so this could be a good way to keep track of what I make. Here’s what I bought this time:

Vegetables from the market

Three boxes of cherry tomatoes for €1, six red and yellow peppers for €1, 500 grams of yeast for €2.50, a bag of garlic (about 10 bulbs?) for €2, two heads of broccoli for €1.50, four courgettes for €1, a big bag of rocket greens for €1, too many parsnips to count for €1, eight beetroots for €1, six fennel bulbs for €1, and a bunch of fresh coriander for €0.40.

And this is what I used it for: roasted tomatoes, rocket pesto, white bean patties with parsnip and fennel, parsnip gnocchi, broccoli & potato mash, beetroot risotto, parsnip stews, fennel soups, omelettes with stir-fried broccoli, roasted beetroots, roasted parsnips, roasted garlic, and several stir-fries, pizzas, and salads. I only took pictures of a couple of these, but here they are:

White bean patties with parsnip and fennel

I had white beans I needed to eat, so I used them to make burgers with some of the fennel and parsnips. I sautéed the vegetables with onions and garlic until softened and then mashed them into the beans with herbs and fennel seeds for flavour, roasted sunflower seeds for texture, and rolled oats to hold everything together. These were definitely veggie patties with no resemblance to non-vegetarian burgers other than their shape, and they made for great sandwiches. In the picture above, I had one in a pita with rocket leaves, roasted tomatoes and onions, and rocket pesto (hidden underneath).

Parsnip gnocchi

I wanted to try something new with my parsnips, so I used them in these gnocchi. The recipe is very similar to regular gnocchi—just with parsnip puree instead of mashed potatoes—but they were a nice change and I found the dough to be really easy to work with. If you want to make them too, just peel, dice, and boil two parsnips, mash them well (I used my stick blender) and mix in some olive oil and salt (I also added some chopped fresh parsley). Let the purée cool down a bit and start stirring in scoops of flour, adding just enough to make a kneadable dough. Then roll the rough into ropes and cut into small pieces to make the gnocchi. Cook the gnocchi by boiling them in plenty of boiling salted water until they float to the surface. For the meal pictured above, I pan-fried the leftover gnocchi in olive oil with red onion, pears, tempeh and rocket greens. I think these would be even better with something creamy to offset the sweetness of the parsnips—maybe a cashew cheese?

Beetroot risotto & tempeh

Speaking of creaminess, I love pairing root vegetables with creamy things but I’ve been looking for something a little more budget-friendly than cashews to make that happen. To go with the beetroot risotto pictured above, I made the cashew ricotta from Veganomicon but with sunflower seeds instead. It wasn’t quite as creamy, but it went well with the rest of the meal. I’m not sure the dish actually counts as a risotto, because I basically poured all the ingredients in a pot and went to take a shower while it simmered away, but it turned out pretty well for so little effort. I added some cumin seeds to the risotto and some oregano to the ricotta and we had it with smoky pan-fried tempeh.

Parsnip chips

I have to say we were almost getting sick of parsnips by the time we had consumed about twelve of them, but then I roasted the last two and it made me wish I’d bought more. I cut them into small crunchy chips and I had some mayonnaise left from another meal, so this was a great snack!

I think I’ve used up everything now except two beets, and I’ve already picked up new veggies for this week. I came home with more red cabbage than I know what to do with, so I need to go look for new recipes!

Fennel Salad and Two Lunch Boxes

One of my goals for VeganMoFo was to pack more interesting lunches for myself, so here’s a picture of what I had yesterday:

From left to right: lettuce with chopped apple and green olives, thinly sliced carrots with slivered almonds and parsley, three stuffed vine leaves (from a can), grapes, sundried tomatoes, avocado. Everything got mixed up a bit after I carried the box around in my bag for a while, so next time I’d like to try to pack all the components even more tightly, but this made for a tasty salad lunch!

This morning, I made a recipe I’d wanted to try for a while: the Fennel, Orange, and Black Olive Salad from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. I used only half a fennel bulb for a smaller portion of salad and used mandarin oranges because those were the only kind I had. It was very simple and pretty good! I love fennel but I’d never had it raw like this. I took most of my salad with me in my lunch box today:

Along with the salad, I brought a sandwich of whole wheat bread with an Alpro apple filet and ketchup. I usually prefer to eat the Alpro burgers when they’re still warm, but I needed something to pack in my lunch box and I had one leftover apple filet left that had to be eaten. It was still pretty tasty, but I probably wouldn’t make it like this again. I put some lettuce in the middle of the box (under the grapes), because I hoped that would prevent the dressing in the salad from leaking into the bread, but I still ended up with a soggy-edged sandwich. Oh well, this wasn’t too bad for a quickly packed meal!

VeganMoFo 31: Fennel Soup

I just posted this in Dutch on the Plantaardig Maandag blog, so I figured I’d post the English version of the recipe on here, too. It’s my mother’s recipe for fennel soup and it’s one of my favourite dishes!

Fennel Soup

Ingredients:
1 (large) fennel bulb
1 litre vegetable stock
2-3 tablespoons vegan margarine or oil
3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
soy cream (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Start by cleaning the fennel: remove the bottom part and the tops of the stalks, then separate the leaves and rinse them well. Reserve the fronds for garnish, if you like. Chop the fennel into pieces — about 1 cm (1/2 inch) is good, but you’ll be blending the soup later on so there’s no need to be precise.

2. Boil the fennel pieces in the vegetable stock for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make a roux by melting the margarine in a separate pan and stirring in the flour. When the fennel pieces are done cooking, add in the roux, stir in the dry basil, and purée the soup with an immersion blender.

3. Add soy creamer (if you have it), salt, and pepper to taste, and garnish with the fennel fronds.