Brined cucumbers in tomato sauce

mancarica de castraveti acri

For 4-6 servings:

10-12 brined cumcumbers, sliced approx. 1 cm thick (if they are too salty  leave them in cold water for half an hour then drain the water)
2 onions, finely chopped
200-300 g soy pieces, optional
3-4 tablespoons tomato puree or 400-500 ml tomato passata
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the cucumbers and cover with water. Cook until  the cucumbers are soft. Add more water if needed.

Add the tomato puree dissolved in 1/2 cup water (or the tomato passata) and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced slightly.

Finally add the pepper and dill.




Fennel salad

salata venkel

For 3-4 servings:

3 fennels, finely sliced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
juice from one lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients.




Cucumber and mint raita

raita castravete+menta2

300 g natural soy yogurt
1 large cucumber, finely chopped
a handful  fresh mint, finely chopped
salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients.

Served chilled as an accompaniment to Indian dishes (curry, pakoras, etc). Very refreshing sauce, ideal for hot summer days.




Vegetable pakoras

pakora2

For approx. 15 pieces:

oil for frying

2 carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
150 g cabbage,  finely sliced
1 sweet pepper, finely sliced
a handful fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional)

1 1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
3 cm ginger (or 2 teaspoons ginger powder)
garlic cloves
fresh chili, to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt, to taste

Make a paste from garlic, ginger and chili.

Mix in a bowl the chickpea flour with the water , garlic, ginger and chili paste,  coriander powder, turmeric and salt. Add the onion and the vegetables and mix well.

pakora1

Heat the oil in a pan. Take a little bit of a buttermix with your  fingertips (or with a tablespoon), press it slightly and batches into the oil.  Fry on medium heat on one side till golden-brown and then  turn it and fry it on the other side till golden-brown and crispy.

Serve as an appetizer with raita or hot pepper sauce.

pakora3




Decadent Chocolate Cake

tort ciocolata3

springform 22-24 cm diameter (for 10 – 12 servings)

For 1 base (prepare 2):

300 g flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
100 g raw sugar
125 ml sunflower oil
375 ml  soy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 pack baking powder (15g)
a pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Grease the springform with a little bit of oil. Pour the mix into the form and bake  (in the preheated oven) on medium heat (175 C), for 30-40 minutes. Ceck with a straw if the dough is baked inside, if the dough sticks to the straw bake for a few minutes longer. Allow  to cool, remove from the springform and cut horizontally into two equal parts.

Chocolate cream:

500 ml whipping vegetable cream (I used Alpro soya)
500 g silken tofu ( I used Taifun)
4 tablespoons sugar
300 g pure chocolate, good quality, with > 70% cocoa
3 tablespoons raisins soaked in rum   + the rum

Whip  the cream with a mixer / food processor until stiff.

Drain the tofu well and blend it until smooth.

Add the tofu and sugar by the whipped cream. Process until everything is incorporated.

Melt the chocolate over a steam bath (bain-marie), let it cool slightly then add it little by little to the cream-tofu mix while processing.

Finally add the rum and raisins and mix with a spatula.

Refrigerate for a few hours (or you can make it  the day before).

Assemble the cake:

 Place a leaf on a plateau, add a layer of cream, spread evenly. Repeat the process with remaining leafs. Cover the last layer with the rest of the cream, including the by sides.

Garnish with whipped cream and grated pure chocolate (for decoration I used whipped cream spray can Leha Schlagfix). You can also use coconut whipped cream (recipe here).

Note: because I’ve made the cake on a very hot day I encountered difficulties in assembling it because the cream was melting rapidly, so I’ve used only three leafs (this is why in the picture above you ca see 3  leafs instead of 4).

tort ciocolata2




Strawberry jam

gem capsuni2

1 kg strawberries
400 g raw sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Wash the strawberries, remove the leaves and drain well. Cut each strawberry in 2 or 4 (depending on how big they are).

Place the strawberries with the sugar in a saucepan of stainless steel or enamel, cover with a lid and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally.

When the sugar has dissolved turn the  heat high and simmer for approx. 1 hour, uncovered, stirring often .

Check the consistency of jam by putting a little bit of jam on a saucer and letting it cool. If it is still too soft  (if it slides about as a liquid) continue cooking until you get a jam consistency, testing every 4-5 minutes because at the end it thickens  very fast.

Finally add the lemon juice and give it a boil.

Wash the glass jars  well, then put them in the oven to dry and sterilize them (at about 100 C).

Let the jam slightly cool (not too much) then pour it into the hot jars. Cover with a lid while still hot, label and store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a year.




Chana Punjabi

chana punjabi1

For 2 servings:

350 g (a can) cooked chickpeas
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 cm ginger, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)
fresh chili
, to taste (or chili powder)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (extra, optional)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tbsp oil
fresh cilantro (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the mustard seeds. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until they begin to pop. Add the onion, stir fry for a few minutes then add the garlic, coriander, ginger, paprika, chili (chili powder) and tomatoes.

Cook at medium heat until the sauce has reduced, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a little water.

Add the turmeric, garam masala and chick peas and continue to cook for approx. 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve with boiled rice /  biryani and / or naan bread.




Raw carrot cake

For a medium sized cake, 8-10 servings:

Required:

• spring form (22-24 cm)
• food processor

For the first layer:

15 medium carrots, peeled and cut into  pieces
100 g walnuts
200 g dates
2 tsp. vanilla essence
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Process all the ingredients until  smooth.

Place the edge of the spring form (without the bottom) on a round platter. Add the carrot mix, spread evenly and press it.

Refrigerate until you prepare the second layer.

For the second layer:

200 g cashew nuts, hydrated in water at least 2 hours
2 tablespoons date syrup   (or any other vegan syrup )
1/2 can
 coconut milk
5 tablespoons coconut flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 Refrigerate the  coconut milk overnight. Use only the hardened part.

Process all the ingredients  until smooth. If needed add little by little more  coconut milk until the mix has the consistency of crème.

Spread on top of carrots mix.

The last layer (orange jelly):

fresh orange juice from  5-6 oranges
1 tablespoon sugar or any light color syrup
5 g of agar-agar

Strain the orange  juice. Add the sugar and bring  it to a boil, stirring occasionally. When it starts boiling add the agar ( dissolved in a little bit of orange juice, otherwise it will form  lumps). Cook it for 2 minutes,  stirring.  Allow to cool, check and stir  regularly because it hardens relatively quickly.

You can decorate the cake with some  carrot slices/forms. Carefully pour the jelly mix over it.

Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

Keep it in the frige up to 2 days.

Variation: you can use the mini forms.




Caramel pudding

budinca caramel

For 2-3 servings:

400 g silken tofu
4 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1.5 teaspoons locust bean gum (carob gum)

Blend the  silken tofu with vanilla essence until smooth.

Put 4 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan, on low heat, melt it until  it gets a nice amber color. Put a little bit of caramel on a piece of baking paper. Allow to cool then crush it. Use it to decorate the pudding.

Let the rest of the caramel on low heat and add about a quarter of the amount of tofu. Stir until the caramel has incorporated into tofu. Mix with the remaining tofu and carob gum.

Pour into cups and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Before serving garnish with  caramel.




Vegetables-tempeh souflaki

souflaki

For 4-6 servings:

300 g tempeh (can be replaced with tofu)
2 bell peppers
1 zucchini
2-3 onions
10 tiny tomatoes
a few cloves of garlic (optional)

For the marinade:
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare a marinade mixing the lemon juice, oil and spices. Cut the tempeh (or tofu) and the vegetables  into medium pieces and mix them with the marinade. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Soak the wooden skewers in water for about 15-20 minutes.

Thread the tempeh and the vegetables on skewers and grill for a few minutes on each side.

Serve with different side dishes and / or salad.

Variation: you can also use other vegetables like mushrooms, eggplant, etc.