Friday, May 29, 2015

Pad Thai Soba noodles with Champignons

This sauce is so easy to make on the spot. Nothing can go wrong here, even if you decide to adapt the suggested amounts to your taste. If you don't have tamarind at hand, you could use some balsamic vinegar, pomegranate syrup or sumac. Anything a little bit sour will do. In that case, you'll need to add more arrowroot so that the sauce gets the right consistency - not too runny. It works also great with thinly shredded cabbage, bamboo shoots or with various other (wok-able) veggies, but with mushrooms, it's a real blast. 


250 g soba noodles
500g champignons
2 tbsp olive oil
80ml tamari
2 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp mascobado sugar* 
80ml beet juice (or prunes juice)
1 1/2 ts freshly grated ginger (or to taste)
1/3 ts ground allspice 
Chilli pepper and sea salt to taste
1 tbsp arrowroot, diluted in a few tbsp beet juice

soba noodles are perfect for this

Cut the champignons in thin slices, depending on their size. Cook them with the olive oil until thoroughly cooked (5-8 minutes). Add the tamari, ginger, allspice, mascobado, tamarind, beet juice and allow it to cook for 1 more minute. Add the arrowroot diluted in a bit of the beet juice. Stir it well while cooking further until the desired consistency (1-2 minutes). Adjust taste with chilli pepper and some salt if needed. Depending on how thick your tamarind paste is you might not even need to thicken the sauce with the arrowroot. Also if the tamarind is not so sour you might want to add less mascobado sugar.

Cook the soba noodles following the instructions on the package, drain it and serve it immediately with the champignons sauce. 

This recipes yields a very concentrated sauce, so that a bit of sauce is enough to give flavour to a lot of noodles. If you want more sauce than noodles, you might want to reduce the amounts, particularly of tamari and ginger.

Optional: garnish with fresh cilantro leaves

*Note: Where I live I buy unprocessed dehydrated cane juice under the name of mascobado (by Oxfam), but the same or similar product can be marketed under other names such as sucanat, rapadura, jaggery, etc. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Beet burgers

One of the great side-effects of enjoying full glasses of freshly pressed juices in the morning is having to come up every day with a different recipe to use the pulp that results from the juicing. Today my juice was beets and apple. Most of the pulp went to my dogs, who absolutely love fresh vegetables so finely grated. I was left with one cup of beets that I used to make this burger. It's my second burger recipe today, since it is #VeganBurgerDay.


1 cup finely grated beets (or the pulp from your juicer)
1/2 ts caraway seeds
1/2 ts nigella seeds
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 ts smoked paprika powder
1/3 ts ground coriander
1 ts sea salt
1/4 ts freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp tapioca starch
4 tbsp oat flakes

Bring all ingredients together until a smooth “dough”. Knead the dough until it binds all ingredients together. Make the patties with your hands and fry them with a little bit olive oil or coconut oil in a shallow frying pan over medium-heat until golden and crunchy on both sides.

Serve with mustard-dill sauce, sauerkraut, tomato slice and marinated seaweed. 

In fact, I had some babaganoush from the day before that I also used as spread on the top of the sauerkraut. So that's the creamy extra layer you can see on the picture. It made it extra yummy. 

Lentil Burgers

Home made burgers and patties are very simple and often much more nutritious and tastier than store-bought ones. They are also cheaper, of course. You can turn most leftover vegetables or legumes into burgers, just by adding your favourite spices and binding it with any kind of flour you have in your cupboard. For gluten free burgers you can use tapioca starch, potato starch, chickpea flour, bean flour, sorghum, rice flour, quinoa flakes, etc. For a more "seitan-like" texture, bind your burgers with gluten flour. Burgers made with gluten will be more suitable to use on the barbecue without breaking apart.

Lentil burger with avocado, fried champignons, carrot-chilli-mayo, fresh cilantro, served with sweet potato fries


2 cups brown lentils (or chickpeas/beans) - I cooked them with a bay leaf and ground coriander
1/2 cup oat flakes
1 medium mashed potato 
2 tbsp chickpea flour 
1 ts smoked paprika powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ts curry powder or herbs de provence, or your favourite spice mix (I used a blend of rosemary, sage, marjoram, and thyme, which I turn into powder in my coffee grinder)
1 ts lemon zest (with the help of a microplane)
Salt & chilli pepper to taste
Optional flavour-enhancers: 1/3 ts ground fennel, 1 tbsp tamari, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme...)

Mash the lentils (or chickpeas or beans) and potatoes with a fork until all ingredients are all still “chunky”. Add the other ingredients and make sure it is all well combined. Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes. Knead the burgers with wet hands and leave them some minutes in the fridge (ideally they are made one day in advance, left in the refrigerator for the best texture and result). Fry (both sides) with a little oil in a pan over medium-high heat. 

I served mine with carrot-chilli-mayo, avocado slices, baked champignons, corn (from a jar), lettuce (with balsamic vinaigrette), tomato slices and crunchy chips/crisps. For the recipe in this picture I also used fresh cilantro leaves, but it works pretty much with other fresh herbs. 

For the carrot-chilli-mayo

Finely grated carrots (or carrot pulp from your juicer) + veganaise + chilli pepper + Greek oregano
You can also use avocado mayo instead of veganaise (blend avocado with mustard, salt, lemon juice and water until desired consistency). Cashew cream also works fine here. 

I make the carrots very creamy, soaking in the mayo and it works perfectly to add the needed moist to the burger.  Like that there is no need to add extra sauces and have them dripping along your cheeks and arms.  ;-) 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Spätzle with creamy sage sauce and asparagus

Here's an easy pasta dish, perfect for those lazy or busy days. It can't possibly go wrong. Feel free to adapt the amounts to your own taste. Sage is one of my favorite herbs, so I tend to add a lot of it to my pasta dishes. If you are less of a sage-lover, you can surely use less of it. Also if using dried sage instead of fresh, you might need to reduce the amounts. Add some and taste it, just to be sure how much it pleases your tastebuds. 


250g pasta (spätzle)
180ml coconut milk (thick, creamish type)
2 - 3 tbsp freshly chopped sage
1/3 ts smoked hot paprika
zest of 1/3 of a (organic) lemon (I used a microplane to take only the thin layer of the lemon)
sea salt to taste (I used 1 + 1/2 ts)
500g white asparagus

Peel the asparagus with a peeler. Cut them into small pieces and cook with enough water to cover them. I added one large bay leaf to the cooking water for extra taste. Cook them in a covered pan over medium-low fire until soft. 

Cook the pasta according to the instructions in the package (until cooked to your taste). Drain it and bring it back to the pan. Add the coconut milk, spices, salt, lemon zest, sage and the cooked asparagus. If the coconut is creamy enough you might consider adding the asparagus together with the rest of its cooking water. If the whole thing is too runny, you may adapt it by adding some arrowroot and cooking the whole thing for 2 extra minutes until the desired consistency. 

If you buy your coconut milk at a shop that sells a lot of it, it will be always fresh and therefore it will not have the typical dominant "coconut" taste. It will work like a thick neutral nutty cream. Avoid coconut creams that contain flavourings, as it will certainly interfere in the taste. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nettle - Hogweed burgers

This time of the year nettles and hogweeds are abundant and most people want to get rid of them in their gardens. So harvesting these weeds should be easy enough. Wild greens are a great way to add new flavours, textures and also to enrich your meals with extra minerals. To make patties or burgers, you can just cook the nettles and hogweed leaves, finely cut or blend them, add the spices of your preference and bind the whole thing with flour. It’s that simple. As I try to avoid using wheat everywhere and in order to give the burgers an improved texture I choose to use other binding options such as chickpea flour, oat flakes and tapioca starch. 

Nettle leaves (only the tops of the plants)
Young hogweed leaves

Rinse thoroughly the harvested leaves, chop them and stir fry them with a bit of olive oil in a pan until soft. If needed, add a little water to help to get them soft. If the hogweeds leaves are already a bit older they might still remain a bit chewy. In that case, when ready, remove from the fire and bring the cooked leaves to a kitchen processor to blend them finely. 

For each 2 cups of cooked leaves, add:

4 tbsp of oat flakes
3 tbsp chickpea flour
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 ts caraway seeds 
1/2 ts ground fennel
1 1/2 ts herbs de Provence (I used a combination of savory, thyme, rosemary and marjoram), 
1 tbsp lemon juice
lemon zest and chilli pepper (optional) 
1 teaspoon seasalt (or to taste) 

The cooked leaves after being finely processed 

Bring all ingredients together and form patties/burgers. Depending on how moist your cooked leaves have after being cooked, you might need to add more or less oats or chickpea flour. Fry them in a shallow frying pan over medium-hot fire with a little coconut oil or olive oil. Bake both sides until golden and crunchy. Adjust the temperature of the fire accordingly (as every stove works differently), so as not to get the burgers dark too soon without cooking inside. Serve with chutney or mustard dill sauce. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wraps of lime tree leaves with quinoa and fresh dill

A great way to use more wild greens in our daily meals is to use them as wraps of sticky dishes, so any recipe of risotto, sushi rice, dolmades could work for that... in fact, any grain that sticks will work out for this. Add your favourite seasonings and available fresh herbs and you'll have a delicious creation with your wild harvest. 

For this version I could simply have cooked the quinoa a bit longer to make it sticky. Instead, I used 2/3 quinoa and 1/3 amaranth, so it got naturally very sticky, making it easy to keep the rolls in shape.


500g (over) cooked quinoa or rice (take rice that sticks a little)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoon sucanat sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon allspice (yeni bahar)
2 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh dill (or tarragon)
1 1/2 teaspoon ras-el-hanout
1 T. L. sea ​​salt
3 E. L. coarsely chopped pistachios
6 apricots, chopped into small pieces
Optional: lemon zest / orange compote (instead of apricots)
very young leaves of lime tree or other tender edible leaves (if the season of young leaves is over, you can just use grape leaves, such as dolmades.)

Mix the pistachios, fresh dill and apricots with the rice / quinoa. Season with nutmeg, sucanat, balsamic vinegar and ras-el-hanout. Wrap the mixture into the leaves. Best to prepare the little rolls in advance, then the leaves will stick better together when serving. Serve with tahini-mint dressing and / or pomegranate syrup.

For an extra aromatic effect, cook the rice or quinoa with a laurel leaf and / or kaffir lime leaves.

If you can not find dill, try serving it with a dill-mustard sauce when serving. Or use other fresh herb of your preference.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Avocado lime mousse with strawberries

It's the time of the year to enjoy freshly picked strawberries. I used to love them with rice or coconut whipped cream. That was until I decided to use avocado in a cream. The macha gives it a special "punch". Instead of macha it also works wonder with lemon balm or lavender blossoms.  

Avocado lime mousse

1 ripe avocado (peeled and without the seed) 
60ml oatmilk
80ml maple syrup
30ml lime juice
1/2 teaspoon macha powder (optional)

Blend all ingredients together with the help of a handheld mixer or immersion blender. Use it on the top of strawberries or other berries.