Dame blanche

(Nederlandstalige versie)

When I read today’s VeganMoFo prompt — to recreate a restaurant meal — there were plenty of dishes that came to mind. There’s the cashew fondue from De Hagedis, the vegan kapsalon from De Vegetarische Snackbar, the babi pangang from De Oude Plek

But in the end, I chose something else, because
1. I didn’t have the time/ingredients to do those restaurants’ dishes justice anyway, and
2. I had a stronger craving: ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Dame blanche

Dame blanche (aka vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce) used to be one of my favourite desserts to order when we went out to eat, and I think it’s a shame that vegan versions aren’t easier to find! But fine, we’ll just make our own. I used this ice cream recipe from Serious Eats with a few changes in order to use the ingredients I already had. I didn’t have corn syrup, but keukenstroop is also supposed to be high in glucose so I used that. I had some vanilla-infused whiskey from a vanilla extract experiment, so that went into the mix as well. My biggest mistake was probably that I used cheap (watery) coconut milk which made the ice cream a bit icy — but nothing a generous amount of chocolate sauce can’t fix!

Links of the day

I’m loving everyone’s recreated restaurant dishes and I’m seeing so many things I want to eat! Right now, I would particularly like to try this stoverij with seitan from De Groene Keuken and this aubergine/eggplant parmesan from Vegan Eats & Treats.

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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.) :)

Vegan ice cream and pizza at de Parade

Untitled

De Parade is a travelling theatre festival that takes place in four Dutch cities throughout the summer. I like this festival not just for the performances but also for the wide variety of freshly prepared food sold at stalls all over the park. All the little restaurants represent a range of different cuisines, and while I haven’t asked about vegan options at every stall, I’ve never had trouble finding tasty eats and drinks.

This year I was excited to learn that the ice cream shop at the festival would be selling vegan ice cream by Professor Grunschnabel, a brand of coconut milk-based desserts I’d been meaning to try for a while. Their products include intriguing flavours such as Fresas del Habanero (strawberry with hot chillies), Indian Winter (coconut, ginger and Indian spices), and SalmiaCoco (coconut with vanilla and liquorice). The ice cream stall does sell dairy-based ice creams as well, and the coconut-based ones aren’t marked as vegan, but they’re pretty easy to recognise by their names and ingredients. The people at the stall may stare at you if you mention the name Grunschnabel (haha!) but they can probably tell you which ones are made with coconut milk. We happened to be there on a pretty chilly day, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample some vegan ice cream!

Grunschnabel ice cream

I ordered a scoop of berry ice cream (can’t remember the name!) and the chocolate coconut flavour (ChoCocolate). I liked both, but the chocolate flavour was definitely my favourite. For some reason I thought I wasn’t a big fan of coconut milk in ice cream, but this combination worked really well (of course it did! it’s chocolate and coconut!), so I definitely want to try making coconut-based ice cream again very soon. Yum.

For dinner, we went over to Fuoco e Desiderio for some freshly baked pizza. Here’s a photo of their pizza ovens that I took a few years ago at de Parade in Utrecht:

Pizza ovens

Pizza with rocket & artichoke

I asked for a cheeseless pizza so they made me one with artichoke hearts, peppers, and rocket. I think there was some chilli oil on there, too, because it was nice and spicy! It was a light, fresh meal – perfect for summer, and doesn’t it make you wish you had one of those beautiful ovens in your garden? (I guess I’d have to have a garden first…)

Pretty pink juice

I also had a gorgeously pink apple and beetroot juice at a tiny juice bar called Little Sister. Pretty!

If you’d still like to visit De Parade this year, the festival is currently in Utrecht and it’ll be in Amsterdam next month.

London: Rootmaster!

This was the place I most looked forward to visiting in London…

Rootmaster Vegan Bustaurant

Rootmaster Vegan Bustaurant! Yes, that’s a vegan restaurant in a bus and yes, that is indeed as awesome as it sounds. At first I was worried we might not be able to find the bus since I had trouble locating the street (Ely’s Yard) on Google Earth, but we walked there from Liverpool Street and it turned out to be much easier than I’d thought (here‘s a map).

Inside Rootmaster Bustaurant

It had started to rain when we got there, so we were happy to step inside and have a seat. Looks so comfy, doesn’t it? The bus was quiet when we arrived, so we had that whole table to ourselves.

Organic Sparkling Apple & Raspberry drink

We both ordered a Whole Earth Apple & Raspberry drink, which was lovely! I wish I could get these where I live, but I’ve never seen them. Next time I find a store that has them, I’ll be sure to try some other flavours, too (edit: ha! I found them in a local health food store right after writing this…).

Tomato Lentil Soup with Bus Baked Bread

We were there around one o’ clock, so we were able to order from the lunch menu. My boyfriend went for the Soup of the Moment, pictured above, which was tomato lentil (with bus baked bread!). He quite enjoyed his soup, although he did mention that it was rather thick, and might be more suitable for serving during winter. Then again, the weather that day wasn’t very summery at all…

Rainy view from inside Rootmaster Bustaurant

Oh well, the rain just made the inside of the bus even cosier!

Burger with potato wedges

As my lunch, I chose to try the Rootmaster Burger. It was delicious bean burger on wholemeal bread with bus made mayonnaise and potato wedges on the side – yum! It was really hard to choose a dish here, because there were so many delicious options (and… everything’s vegan!). I was really happy with this burger, though, and I’d love to go back for their other dishes.

Dessert - ice cream!

Naturally, we left room for dessert. We both went for the Ice Cream Platter, which was different from what I’d expected, but oh so delicious. The website describes this as a “selection of ice cream with seasonal berries”, which also sounds wonderful, but our dessert was served with a biscuit, two types of chocolates and three orange slices. The chocolate and biscuit were good (although they did make the dish quite filling), but the ice cream was what made me really love this. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever tried ice cream this good! The brand is Swedish Glace, which I’d heard of before and really wanted to try.

Still pretty

And I wasn’t disappointed. It turns out Swedish Glace makes some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. The vanilla flavour actually tasted like vanilla, unlike others I’ve tried, and it was absolutely delicious. The scoops of chocolate and berry ice cream were nice as well, but the vanilla was my favourite by far. I kind of regret not buying more of that flavour when I saw it in a supermarket, because even though I probably wouldn’t have been able to eat the entire tub, at least I could’ve tried…

Rootmaster postcard

So yeah, if you’re ever in London, I definitely recommend checking this place out – not just because it’s a vegan restaurant in a bus and that’s awesome, but they offer such a good variety of delicious foods as well! Have a look at their menus (in the sidebar)… you’ll wish you were there right now.

This way

London: Veg Buffet, Inspiral

On our way to Camden market, we passed by Inspiral vegan cafe, one of the restaurants I really looked forward to visiting. They offer a large variety of dishes – delicious looking mains, cooked as well as raw, cakes (including tiramisu cake, chocolate mousse cake, and a raw key lime pie), raw chocolates and truffels, and vegan ice cream.

I was especially excited about the range of interesting ice cream flavours they list on their website, although they didn’t have all of those in the restaurant when we got there. After contemplating the different flavours they did have, we ordered a scoop of Raw Chocolate Chunk ice cream, pictured below.

Inspiral Chocolate Ice Cream

We both liked it, but it’s definitely not the best ice cream I’ve had – I gues I would’ve liked it to have a stronger, more distinct chocolatey flavour. Or maybe I don’t love chocolate and cashews together (their ice creams are cashew based). In any case, I didn’t think it was bad, but I think my boyfriend liked it more than I did. I’d still love to try their other ice cream flavours…

I also would’ve liked to try some of Inspiral’s main dishes, but the menu they had that day didn’t appeal to my boyfriend very much, and we wanted to explore more of Camden, so we decided to look for another restaurant for our dinner. We quickly encountered a man holding a sign that advertised an all-vegetarian buffet, which sounded like just the place for us. I had heard of these restaurants before – there’s a chain of Chinese/Thai buffet restaurants in London where you can get a small lunch takeout box for £3,50 and eat in for £6,50 or so. I’d read mixed reviews on this chain, but we were willing to try them out.

Unfortunately, neither of us was very impressed. Sure, this was a relatively cheap meal, everything in the restaurant was vegan, and the staff were quite friendly, but there wasn’t a single thing in the buffet that I really loved. There were a couple of mock meat dishes that weren’t as good as I hoped, and the veggies they had seemed a bit plain and were sometimes overly salty. I think I would’ve liked the food more if they’d done a better job at keeping everything warm, too – most things were cold by the time we got to eat them.

Veg Buffet in London

Still, it wasn’t too bad for such an inexpensive meal, and we filled our plates with the foods we liked best – in my case, that was fruit salad, potatoes, spring rolls, and some veggies. So I did have some tasty food and I don’t really regret trying this restaurant, but we both would’ve liked to have had a more exciting dinner this evening – after all, I know it’s possible to get amazing vegan meals in London.

So for dessert, we headed back to Inspiral for some cake!

Tiramisu Cake at Inspiral!

I looove tiramisu, but it can take so long to make yourself – I’d never  pass up the opportunity to get vegan version in a restaurant! Okay, so this is is tiramisu cake, which is slightly different from actual layered dessert, but it was still wonderful. Not as boozy as I’ve come to expect of tiramisu, but it was much creamier, especially with the dollop of Soyatoo on the side.

I hope someday I’ll get the chance to go back to Inspiral and try their lasagne or their mushroom pastie. And if I do, I’ll definitely get another slice of that cake, as well!

VeganMoFo 22: Speculaas Granola

Okay, I don’t have a picture, because it’s late here and the lighting sucks and my camera’s batteries are empty. Instead, I’ll just write about my MoFo experiment of the day, which was speculaas flavoured granola!

Based on the Cinnamon-Maple Granola from the Students Go Vegan Cookbook, it consists of about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of oats, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, a generous 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and a generous 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, about 1 tablespoon of speculaas spices, a few drops of vanilla and almond extract and a little salt. The baking sheet I used at first was too small, so I ended up baking it for 30 minutes instead of 20, but it’s perfect!

I’m having a handful of the granola right now with the last bit of vanilla soy ice cream that was left in the tub. Oh, wait. I do have a picture of the ice cream –

Soy ice cream

Here it is. I got both of these at Albert Heijn. I like the fact that they’re available in a regular supermarket in the Netherlands, but I can’t say I really love the flavour of the ice cream. I don’t think it tastes that much like vanilla (or like chocolate). So yeah, it’s a pretty plain dessert on its own, but I do like it when it’s covered in something else, such as chocolate sauce or fruit or … granola!

The granola I made is pretty tasty, too! The speculaas flavour isn’t that strong, but together with the maple syrup and almonds, it’s delicious. I’m thinking of adding some dried fruit (apple?).

That is… all I have for today’s post. Notice how my MoFo entries are becoming shorter and shorter?