Organic Café Choice.

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DSC_0690The waitress’ smile wides in recognition as we step out of the Kyoto night and into the restaurant. This is our second visit today alone. Not because choice (pun intended) is limited for the kyotan vegan. In fact, the city is a bit of a haven for veg grub in Japan and that is just what sets the scene for places like Choice to flourish.

So what is it then that makes us return for dinner mere hours after we have left from brunch? What makes Choice stick out among the crowd?

Well, first and foremost – by making and offering their own range of vegan cheeses! *angels singing*

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The backstory

With an increased interest for plant based foods and  particularly ways to make vegan cheese, the café founder set out to meet Miyoko Schinner in California back in 2011. Schinner, about to become somewhat of a “health food superstar”, had namely just succeeded in making a fermented cheese out of plants.

Applying the techniques taught by Schinner, albeit adjusted to suit the Japanese climate, soon resulted in the variety of (nutritious yet delicous) nut- & soy cheeses that are served at the café today. Plenty are being used along dishes from the menu, but may I suggest the cheese platter to try a select few?
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It is a full concept

Choice is formed as an open space that invites for conversation between its visitors. The interiors are bright, woodsy and contains plentiful of beautifully printed chalk boards revealing the daily specialities. On the menu you will find veggie burgers, risotto and pancakes along with freshly pressed juices and raw cakes.

One thing I am a big fan of is when chosen coffeeshop or restaurant has spent some time on their menus. A neat layout and something to read while awaiting the food. Choice does this brilliantly with little booklets for anyone to grab. (Even providing me with facts to use in this blog post!). To any café owner out there: do this! This gives customers a chance to be impressed by your particular story, and gives you a chance to brag and boost your efforts, ingredients, awards or whatever you please.


Choice Café & Restaurant
Where |89-1 Suzukikeiseigeka Bldg. 1F,
Ohashi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Subway | Sanjo-Keihan, Exit 2
Website
Cuisine | Vegan, Gluten Free

ONIGIRAZU (or ‘Sushi Sandwich’) | with Sweet Potato & Fried Tofu.

dsc_0105So a sushi roll walks into a bar… Not any bar but a SANDWICH BAR!

What do I know, but that could perhaps have been the beginning of how the Onigirazu, or Sushi Sandwich, came into being.
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Needless to say, I’m glad that it did! I stumbled over this creation in a Aqua faba-forum of the world wide web and was instantly intrigued. (I mean, how can one NOT be?!)dsc_0091sushi-sandwich

VEGAN ONIGIRAZU, or Sushi Sandwich (filling ideas)

→ nori sheets
→ sushi rice (I seasoned mine w/ cider vinegar and maple syrup)
→ cling film
→ pickled cabbage
→ panko breaded tofu
→ oven roasted sweet potato
→ avocado
→ spinach
→ grated carrot

HOW TO:

1. Lay your nori sheet, shiny side down, on a piece of cling film larger than the sheet itself.
2. Using wet hands, place a handful of rice in the middle of your nori and shape it into a compacted square.
3. Stack your preferred ingredients on top, before finalizing the pile with more rice.
4. Seal the four corners of your nori sheet, as you would make an envelope, around your filling. Stack one side over the other, using a little bit of water to glue them together, before continuing to overlap another side until you have a small package.
5. To finalize, bring the bits of cling film together and tie it at the top. Set the rice package aside to rest for a few minutes, giving the nori a chance to soften a little before cutting in half with a sharp knife. dsc_0103dsc_0112
And there you go! It’s not often one has such a colourful meal; I find it really appealing to look at. (Not so much that it prevented me from stuffing my face with them later, of course! 😉 )


On another note, I’ve created a more comprehensive category system so rather than all my recipes being under “Food” they are now divided roughly into “type of meal”. xx

Pasta al Pomodoro & Vegan T*na.

The geniuses behind Green Kitchen Stories strikes again. I crossed this recipe the other week via Flora; and I was well intrigued when I read one can veganize tuna using… *drum roll*… SUNFLOWER SEEDS! 
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And you know what, it tastes ridiculously much like the real deal! The trick is to soak the kernels for at least 6 hours, and once mixed up (with nori and capers and shallots to name a few featuring stars of the recipe) you get a tuna-like texture that tastes like the sea. Ish.

You can eat it straight as it is, or like in this case (where I’ve followed GKS-recipe slavishly) enjoy it in a pomodoro- (aka italian-for-tomato-) sauce.
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I do feel like this phenomena is worthy of a catchy and cool abbreviation, like… veguna? (vegan-tuna) Suna? (sunflower-tuna) or just plain t*na (like tuna but without the environmental devastation included)

(… yes, I may have given this waaaay too much thought.)
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Check out the original recipe here and leave the fish swimming freely in the sea :’) xx

Carrot + Tarragon soup | Cheap vegan meals.

I doubt soup is a dish that would spring to many people’s minds during the summer months. Of course, writing this from Scotland the term summer is in itself rather vague… so a hot soup works most days of the week, regardless what the calendar may claim.

Weather bashing aside – this carrot and tarragon soup is currently running on the menu at work as it does fall into the category of summery soups. It also happens to be delicious and easy on the wallet – hooray!
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CARROT AND TARRAGON SOUP:

→ one bag of carrots
→ one brown onion
→ 1 litre vegetable stock
→ 1 tbsp dried tarragon
→ fresh coriander
→ oil/dairy free-butter for frying
for garnish (opt.): more coriander, roasted sunflower kernels, balsamico

1. Start by peeling and chopping carrots and onion, before adding to a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté for about 8 minutes, until onion is soft.
2. Add vegetable broth, about one litre or just enough to cover the veg, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Add in coriander and tarragon. Then, working in smaller batches, puree soup with blender.
4. Once soup is smooth, return to stove top and let simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavours to blend. Adjust flavours, add in salt and pepper if necessary.
5. Top off with some garnish for the eye and it’s ready to serve!

For my side-dishes I had some left over broccoli florets with nutritional yeast and a grilled violife-cheese & avocado-sandwich. ↓
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I made this last night, slowly peeling and chopping the vegetables while watching MustardonMovies (and filling up almost an entire a4 with titles to watch). A very relaxing way to ease into my weekend, especially since I have not had the time nor urge to cook anything than sandwiches for the past weeks.
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Månadens Gröna: Tomato Quiche | with Red Pesto.

I am writing this from a sizzling Copenhagen central station sat waiting to spent the weekend with my madre in the Danish capital – which is all very exciting! But first things first: tomato quiche!

I suppose this dish could qualify under the title Red Tofu Quiche, as it pretty much a rip off on my Green Tofu Quiche. Apart from the colours of the veg i.e… And that it includes a surprise layer of PESTO of course! Not just any old pesto, a sundried tomato one.

This is also my contribution to July’s #månadensgröna that is hosted by Ulrica. 

CHICKPEA CRUST 

→ 3 dl chickpea flour
→ 3 tbsp oil
→ 3 tbsp water
→ a pinch of salt

TOFU FILLING 

→ 1 block tofu (à ~396 grams )
→ 1 red onion
→ 2-3 cloves garlic
→ 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
→ extra vegetables of choice, I added half a grated zucchini, spinach, tomato and artichoke hearts
→ 1 tsp dried oregano
→ chilli flakes, to taste
→ salt + pepper to taste
→ grated vegan cheese for topping, (opt.) 

SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO

→ ½ jar sun-dried tomatoes
→ 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
→ ½ dl olive oil
→ 4 garlic cloves
→ 1 handful roasted sunflower kernels

1. Start by making the crust:
Mix the ingredients together and press out into a pie dish straight away. It helps to use wet fingers for this.
Pre-bake the crust at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until it has caught a nice golden colour.
2. For the pesto:
Crush the garlic cloves and sunflower kernels in a food processor before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Pulse until a pesto-like consistency is reached.
3. For the tofu filling:
Drain the block of tofu from excess water by wrapping it in kitchen roll/towel and leave under a weight.
Meanwhile, chop and fry your onions and garlic until softened.
Add in any extra vegetables and seasonings of choice.
Run tofu in a food processor until creamy. If it does not get creamy, add in a little milk of choice to help it along. Mix creamed tofu with fried veg.
4. Add half of the tofu filling to the crust, then spread a layer of pesto on top of it, before adding the other half.
Top with tomatoes and grated vegan cheese.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes at 175°C.
Leave to cool for at least 15 before attempting to slice.

Vegan Lemon curd Muffins | with Strawberries & White Chocolate.

IMG_4983You know how sometimes you just outdo yourself. Such was the case with these heavenly creatures, more commonly referred to as MUFFINS.

I had some left over lemon curd that I made for my Bidsummer celebration that I wanted to put to the use before it would go bad and thus I recalled a recipe I used to make circa all the time around 10 years ago. A muffin with strawberries and white chocolate where it was suggested to add in a deciliter of lemon curd.

Yes, as you can hear – genius, genius, GENIUS combination of ingredients.

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For the muffin itself I used a gluten free recipe from fabulous Evelina’s Ekologiska, but opted for non-dairy products and chia eggs rather than chicken ones, as well as added in the lemon curd and white choco. Here’s how the story goes:


VEGAN LEMON CURD MUFFINS WITH STRAWBERRIES & WHITE CHOCOLATE.

→ 1 dl vegan lemon curd
→ 3 dl almond flour
→ 3 tbsp corn flour
→ 3 tbsp brown rice flour
→ 1 tsp baking soda
→ a pinch of salt
→ 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
→ 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
→ 2 chia eggs (1 tbsp seeds + 3 tbsp water per egg)
→ 1 dl brown sugar
→ 100 grams dairy free butter
→ 100 grams white chocolate chips
→ 50 grams fresh strawberries

1. Make the chia egg, using 2 tbsp of seeds along with 6 tbsp water. Set aside to thicken.
2. Chop the berries and chocolate into smaller pieces.
3. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt and vanilla.
4. Melt the butter. Meanwhile, whisk the chia eggs and sugar together before mixing in with the dry ingredients.
5. Add the lemon curd and melted butter to the mixture and stir well to combine.
6. Scoop the dough over to muffin tins using a spoon. Layer the berries, chocolate and dough to get an even filling throughout the muffins. Lastly, top with flaked almonds or coconut.
7. Bake in the middle of the oven on 175°C for 10-15 minutes. Then leave to cool before removing from the muffin tins.
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For more sweet stuff, check out:

× Rhubarb & Ginger Vegan Cheesecake | with white chocolate.
× The world’s quickest Apple Pie.
× Black Bean Brownies (using Aquafaba.)

Rhubarb & Ginger Vegan Cheesecake | with White Chocolate.

Practice makes perfect has never been so true as with this vegan cheesecake that occupied my mind for most parts of last week trying to perfect the recipe. Luckily it coincided with my parents visit to Aberdeen, meaning they got plentiful of dessert each night (in exchange of their opinions of course.)
IMG_4865Here it finally is, a divine creamy cake in a crispy crust topped with a gingery agar-agar gel.

Now I was real worried as I pulled the cake out of the oven, it being wobbly as jello, but this cake is all about patience (I know I know, I too prefer to be able to munch away asap) and you need to let it completely cool for some hours or even over night before it is ready to be indulged. But one who waits for something good never waits too long, as the Swedes would say. 

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To make the CRUST you will need:

→ 3 dl oat flour
→ 1,5 dl almond meal
→ 2 tbsp sugar
→ 3 tbsp coconut oil
→ 3 tbsp milk of choice
→ a pinch of salt

1. Set the oven to 175°C.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a blender before adding in the oil and milk while the blender is still running.
3. Press out in a pie dish and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the crust has a nice goldeny brown colour. Set aside and let cool.

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For the CAKE FILLING you will need:

→ 1 pack (à 349 g) extra firm silken tofu
→ 1 pack (à 250 g) vegan sour cream, like tofutti
→ 1 pack (à 25 ml) coconut cream
→ 50 g white chocolate, melted
→ 1 dl maple syrup
→ 2 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
→ ½ lemon, juice of
→ 1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste
→ 3-4 stalks of rhubarb

1. Start by wrapping the tofu up in kitchen roll/or towel and leave under a light weight to drain it from excess water.
2. Wash and cut the rhubarb into the equal length of your pie dish.
3. Add all ingredients into a blender (apart from the rhubarb!) and run until a smooth paste is formed.
4. Spread the filling out in the now cooled crust. Cover the cake with you rhubarb stalks.
5. Bake for about 40-50 minutes on 175°C. The cake will be very wobbly as you take it out from the oven, but you need to let it cool for several hours to set and magic will happen.
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Now to finalize the cake we want that shiny agar-agar ginger gel on top, here’s how to make it:

→ fresh ginger, about 3-4 cm, grated
→ 1,5 dl water
→ 4 tbsp syrup
→ 1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste
→ agar agar

  1. Combine in pot and bring to boil over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. Let cool before adding the agar agar powder according to the measurements of the package.
  2. Pour over cooled cheesecake and let set.

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For more recipes using tofu, check out my: 
Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheesecake | with Oreo Crust.
> Scrambled Tofu. 
Green Tofu Quiche with Chickpea Crust.