Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scrambled tofu with champignons

I met someone who told me he and his wife were vegetarian for more than 30 years. They would like to go vegan but he had a hard time imagining his life without scrambled eggs. So here is a very easy recipe for scrambled tofu that will help anyone forget about scrambled eggs. ;-) 


250g champignons
250g firm tofu
1/3 t.s. kala namak (a.k.a. black salt)
1/2 t.s. turmeric
1/2 t.s. smoked paprika
1/2 t.s. Oregano (or your favorite “Herbs de” Provence”, cajun spices or Italian spices mix) 
tabasco to taste
1 full t.s. sea salt (or to taste)
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs nutritional yeast (I use brand Vitam. Some brands can be very bitter or have a weird taste, so if you cannot find a good one, leave it out and use 1 t.s. of prepared mosterd instead)

Rinse the champignons thoroughly to remove any dirt and cut them in thin slices. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan, add the champignons and let them cook over medium-high heat, stirring only when necessary, until they get golden brownish. If you stir them too much they might become too soft and watery. 

Crumble the tofu with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients, except the lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Set it aside.

When the champignons are ready, lower the heat, stir in the crumbled tofu with the spices and let it get warm, for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the nutritional yeast, stir well and serve immediately. 

Optional: add fresh herbs such as basil leaves, cilantro, rosemary or sage.

Serve it in a wrap or as sandwich filling, with dark greens, such as kale or with your favorite salad. Feel free to vary the seasonings according to what you have available or to your own preference. Tofu is quite versatile and it will go well with pretty much any kind of spice mix.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Creamy pumpkin soup with basil


1 small pumpkin - Japanese variety Hokaido is the most suitable for this recipe
1 bay leaf
1 t.s. paprika powder
1/2 t.s. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t.s. freshly ground coriander
Cayenne pepper
Sea salt
A handful of fresh (Thai) basil
Coconut milk for a creamy texture (100 to 200 ml)

Over a medium-low heat, cook the pumpkin with the bay leaf in as little water as possible, so that you do not need to throw away any water. With a hand immersion blender finely mix the pumpkin to a creamy soup, adding the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients. Cook it for 3 more minutes and add the coarsely chopped fresh basil at the end. Remove from the heat. Serve immediately. garnish with extra coconut milk or almond cream.

If you find Thai basil at Asian shops, feel free to use it in this recipe, as it makes it taste totally amazing. You might need much less Thai basil than you would use regular basil.

As with many recipes, it is difficult to specify exactly how much herbs, spices and salt you need. It is all up to you. Some pumpkins are so fresh and creamy and tasty that you might need very little seasonings while other pumpkins will require more spices to make it taste impressively.

The freshness and taste of the coconut milk will also be decisive to the taste, ranging from a creamy mild effect to a prominent almost soapish taste in case the coconut milk comes from a not so fresh batch - in which case you might as well leave it out or choose another creamy plant milk that you have at hand.

Enjoy !

Feijoada - Brazilian black beans chilli stew

This is a great winter dish, ideal to be eaten on lazy Sunday brunches. The traditional Brazilian feijoada is basically well-cooked black beans with various (smoked) parts of a pig inside. It reminds me pretty much those witchy stews we watch as children in cartoons with frog legs, salamandra tails, etc. Our plant-based version is by far tastier and it does not leave you with any of the creepy feelings of the traditional dish. The end result should be a well spiced black bean dish with a smoked taste, creamy structure that contrasts with various textures from the vegetables, seitan, nuts, etc.


500g black beans
4 bay leaves
150 g pumpkin or sweet potato into cubes
100g burdock root, parsnip or salsify, cut into pieces
200g chestnuts (if they are already cooked, they can be added almost at the end)
100 g coarsely chopped hazelnuts
200 g smoked tofu sausage (or smoked tempeh) - optional
1 red chilli deseeded
Fresh (Thai) basil or cilantro
1 tbs freshly ground coriander balls
1 tbs freshly ground cumin seeds
1 t.s. allspice
1 tbs paprika powder (if you do not want to use smoked tofu or tempeh here you can use smoked Paprika powder - where I live, in Ghent it is found at Dille & Camille)
1,5 tbs sea salt (or to taste)
Chilli pepper flakes (or tabasco), to taste
Freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sinaasappelzest
Olive oil (add at the end)
Pieces of seitan or soy chunks, marinated with a little shoyu, ginger, paprika and chilli

Rinse the beans until the water comes out clean. Take out the stones and the bad beans. Cover the beans with filtered water and leave them 12 hours soaking. Pour away the water. Add fresh water to cook the beans. Cook them in a pressure cooker for more or less 20 minutes or cook for 1 hour, over low heat in a regular cooking pan. The cooking time may vary a bit, depending on the type of beans and on how fresh they are. Add the bay leaves, the coriander and cumin powder, pumpkin, burdock root and hazelnuts. Let it cook another 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft enough and the water has become a thick sauce. Add more water if needed during the cooking process. Remove the bay leaves and add the chestnuts, hazelnuts, meat substitutes if you choose to use them, chilli and possibly the orange zest. Let boil again for a few minutes before turning off the fire and to add the fresh basil (or cilantro).

Serve with (basmati) rice, lightly stir fried kale, orange slices and possibly with a typical Brazilian "vinaigrette" (a salad of diced tomato, onion or green apple, dipped in lemon juice or vinegar with olive oil, salt and spring onions)

To get the taste closest from the original Brazilian recipe it is important that the black beans are reasonably fresh. Old or poorly preserved beans will have an earth / mold-like flavor. There must also be something smoked as an ingredient or seasoning: either by adding smoked tempeh, tofu, seitan, veg sausages either by adding smoked paprika, smoked salt or natural "liquid smoke". Actually, you can use all kinds of winter vegetables in this stew: turnips, beets, daikon, etc. The most important thing is that there are different textures together with the beans.

Bon appetite!