Darn Fine Fast Food: Sesame Noodle Bowl for the Lazy Vegan.

DSC_0398You know when you are back from work a bit late and you haven’t really planned anything for dinner? You then start to pick out ingredients from the seemingly empty cupboards at random. You start adding the stuff together, praying that it will be somewhat tasty although at this stage you do not really care for taste – you just want calories. And then, by some miracle, the dish you have created turns out to be a really tasty one. You are not sure whether it tastes this great merely because you are at this point of starvation, or because there might be a slight chance that you are somewhat of a genius.

Well, there is only one way to find out. This dish here, let us call it a Sesame Noodle Bowl – seeing as that seems to be a word of trend in the culinary world as of now -, is the result of this scenario described above.

I have since had it again and again… The verdict stands as clear as that first hangry Monday evening: This here is some darn fine fast food! And here is how it is done ↓
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SESAME NOODLE BOWL

Tahini Dressing
− 1 heaped tbsp tahini
− 1 tbsp soy sauce (or tahini for GF)
− 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
− 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
− 1 tsp lemon juice
− 1-2 tsp sweetener, like agave or maple syrup
− 1 tsp sesame seeds (opt)
ADJUST TO TASTE

− 1 portion rice noodles
− 1-2 nori sheets
− veggies of choice: I used carrot, avocado, tomato and cucumber.

Start by putting on the kettle.
Meanwhile, stir together the ingredients to the dressing in a mug or such.
Once water has boiled, soak noodles according to package instructions (and use the same bowl as you’ll later eat from – saves dishes!).
Spare a little of the hot water, a table spoon or so, and add to the dressing to dilute. While waiting for the noodles, slice and peel and chop your vegetables of choosing.
Once noodles are done, toss with dressing. Add your veggies on top and dinner is served! Sprinkle with some more sesame seeds and/or fresh coriander if you will.
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More recipes with tahini:

Shakshuka the vegan way
Creamy ZUCCHINI Dip.
Red Curry Lentil Lasagna

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New Potato Picnic Wraps | with Cauliflower Rice & Cashews.

Potato. My one true eniment love in this life. It also so just happens to be the theme of this month’s Månadens Gröna, hosted by initiator Annie from Vegokäk, or New Potatoes to be specific.

So here is my, falling-right-on-the-deadline-last-minute-contribution.
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I have been swamped with going back to full days of work along with plentiful of paintwork done of both in- and exteriors of the summer cottage. (It is me, Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter into my ears and circa one thousand mosquitos hanging out down there in the late pm.)

All in all, I haven’t really felt like I had much time to make a dish this month, but then realised I kinda already had – in shape of my lunch wraps filled with potato and a magnificent nutritional yeast dressing. So here it goes ↓
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POTATO PICNIC WRAPS with Cauliflower Rice & Cashews

→ 500 g new potatoes
→ a couple of cauliflower florets
→ fresh mint & parsley
→ wraps
→ cashew nuts

Nutritional yeast dressing:
→ ½ dl apple cider vinegar
→ ½ dl olive oil
→ ½ dl water
→ 3-4 cloves of garlic
→ 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
→ salt to taste

Start by washing the potatoes, if needed, before bringing them to a boil. While potatoes are boiling, shred the cauliflower and leave aside in heat proof bowl. In a mixer, combine ingredients for salad dressing until smooth. Finely chop your fresh herbs.
Once potatoes are cooked, pour its boiling water over the shredded cauliflower. Let sit for circa 1-1½ minute before combining with salad dressing, herbs and potatoes cut into chunks.
Serve in wraps, sprikling a generous amount of cashew nuts on top for extra crunch.
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I also threw some left over chickpeas in there; excellent chance of a fridge cleanse!
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Best picnic tip must be: wraps and a large salad. All you need to bring in terms of cutlery is a bowl and a spoon for serving. No washing up needed! (Well, hardly any…)

More potato recipes:

Oh My Sweet Potato Risotto.
Pizza con Patate.
− ÌSpiced Potato & Leek Soup

Summer Strawberry Cake with Rhubarb, Lemon Curd & Almond Paste.

DSC_0403I swear it was only last weekend that myself and the eldest niece were looking at the teensy baby barbs out in the garden. Already at that stage astonished over how much they’d grown considering what a lack of summer weather the past weeks has involved. Now they have grown into a fullblown army of Rhubarb.
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To restore order in the vegetable plot I plucked some of them yesterday to use in a cake. Here is what went down (like, quite literally, along with a strong cuppa pitch black coffee) ↓


SPONGE CAKE AQUA FABA BASE

(Recipe courtesy Kakboken utan Ägg & Mjölk)

100 grams soft margarine
2½ dl sugar
1 dl aqua faba
1 dl corn starch
1½ dl plain yoghurt
3½ dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar

1. Set oven to 175°C. Prepare a dish (circa 20 cm diameter) with butter and bread crumbs/semolina. 2. With an electric mixer, whisk margarine, sugar, aqua faba and corn starch together until fluffy consistency. 3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar. 4. Place dry ingredients along with plain yoghurt into the aqua faba-butter mixture, folding it into a unison batter using a spatula. Be careful not to over work the mixture. 5. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Once a dipstick comes out clean from the middle, the cake is done. Leave to cool completely in its dish on oven rack.


MARZIPAN AND CREAM “CHEESE”

almond paste
vegan cream cheese, like tofutti original

Use a couple of tablespoons each. Grate almond paste before combining with cream cheese.DSC_0397


VEGAN LEMON CURD

(Recipe courtesy of MinimalistBaker)

1 can (~414 grams) coconut cream
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 dl lemon juice
2 tbsp arrowroot powder (I opted for corn starch)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Place lemon zest and coconut cream in a small saucepan. Combine lemon juice and corn starch separately until no lumps remain, then add to saucepan. Add maple syrup, one tablespoon at a time. Bring mixture to a low bubble (not boil!!) whisking often. Once mixture starts to thicken, keep on medium to low heat until a visible ribbon appears when pulling a spoon along the top. Adjust sweetness/acidity ratio by adding more maple syrup respectively lemon juice until appealing the likes of your taste buds.
Let set for 15 minutes, before transferring to a clean jar. Cover with plastic wrap (making sure the plastic touches the curd) or else a film may appear. Refridgerate for at least 5-6 hours.


RHUBARB COMPOTE

400 grams rhubarb
½ dl sugar
½ dl water
1 vanilla pod
(1,5 tbsp potato starch + 2 tbsp water)

Rinse and stem rhubarb, then cut into inch long pieces. Add to small saucepan along with sugar, water and seeds from vanilla pod. Let simmer for 10 minutes until rhubarb has softened. If you want a thicker compote, add the potato starch mixture. Let cool in fridge before adding to cake.


DSC_0392After assembling all, or some, of the pieces – cover with whipped dairy free cream and fresh strawberries. Voila!

What are your favourite cake fillings?

There is likely to be left over lemon curd, may I suggest you use it for:
Strawberry & White Chocolate Muffins with Lemon Curd.

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

Spaghetti Lentilgnese.

DSC_0343I was never a big fan of spaghetti bolognese even before turning to the veg side, and I suppose that is a reason why I have been in no rush attempting to replicate the dish either.

Well, now I have and happily so. It is such a great comfort food, as well as being both inexpensive and easy to make. Win, win, win!

There are two rules of this dish:
1. garlic buds don’t like to be lonely
and
2. be generous with the amount of curry paste added… (Go curry paste or go home!)
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SPAGHETTI LENTILGNESE.

→ 2,5 dl red lentils
→ 1 can (à 400 g) crushed tomatoes
→ onion, at least 1 but why not go for 2
→ garlic, lots of
→ 1 tbsp red curry paste
→ 2,5 dl veg bouillon
→ 2,5 dl oat cream or other plant based cream suitable for cooking
→ salt + pepper, to taste
→ 2 bay leaves
→ 2 shredded carrots (opt.)

For serving: vegan parmesan, fresh basil

Start by sauting the onion(s) until softened, 7-8 minutes. Add in garlic, curry paste and lentils – stir to combine. Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a light simmer. Leave for circa 20 minutes until lentils are cooked. Possibly add some more water if needed as you go along.

Serve with pasta, sprinkling some vegan parmesan and fresh basil on top.
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More pasta suggestions:

Simple Pea + Mint Pasta Sauce.
Mushroom Pasta Veganara.
Cauliflower Mac n’ Yeast

Vegan at SAS | & the meat norm of in-flight meals.

bild 3SAS cater to a wide range of dietary requirements on their transatlantic and Asia bound flights. Give them 24 hours notice prior to departure to have a meal free from beef, gluten or even honey. Sounds pretty dreamy, eh?

One roll of bread and three types of condiments later

Now I don’t know if it was just as we were flying out of Copenhagen, a city that is generally quite – pardon my French – crap at providing vegan friendly food but thank goodness I had brought a whole bunch of snacks. What I was served on my near 11-hour flight between the Danish and Japanese capitals was rather ridiculous, particularly seeing as they do claim they cater to special diets and I have paid just as much for my ticket as fellow passengers in economy. Should I not receive the same amount of food?

It seemed all they had really done was to take the food items containing animal by-products and replace them with… jam. In different varieties. I mean, kudos for the effort of providing a poor vegan with the choice of different flavour jams but I am yet a little puzzled how exactly it will make my bread roll more filling? (My breakfast is pictured in photo above; while omni passengers were served filled baguettes, yoghurt with granola and a piece of frittata.)

The exaggerated meat norm should not board

And by no means is this a bash particularly aimed at SAS. (In fact, on my return flight from Tokyo the amount (and taste) of food was definitely improved.) In general it puzzles me how flight companies are thinking when planning their menus. The standard when it comes to in-flight meals on offer seems to be a choice between two. Meaning, as some people refrain from eating beef for a range of reasons, the alternative meal option will be something as far fetched as *drum roll* (or should I say drumstick) CHICKEN!

With a growing vegan population, and in regards to the fact that it is suitable for most religious- and dietary requirements, as well as just a more environmentally friendly way to eat — does it not make sense to provide a vegetable meal? Some grainy salads and for the bread roll opt brie for some tub of hummus. It is by no means original. But then again, neither is meat as an alternative to meat.


Until then, my dear special dieters – I reckon we are best off getting one of those bags Hermione carries in the deathly hallows and stuff it with snacks.

First two are outbound meals, third is return flight dinner from Tokyo.

Creamy Asparagus Quiche.

DSC_0374Literally stumbling over the finish line, here comes a last minute-contribution for Månadens Gröna — this month hosted by Tina (←who has created a jaw-droppingly fantastic looking starter with asparagus and cured carrots!).

The theme of May is Asparagus and so I have cooked (yet another) tofu quiche!
Here is how ↓
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CREAMY ASPARAGUS QUICHE

→ a bundle of asparagus, ends trimmed
→ 1 block tofu
→ 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
→ ½ leek (or opt for regular)
→ 2-3 cloves of garlic
→ ½ lemon, juice of
→ ½ dl soy milk, or similar
→ salt + pepper, to taste
→ a handful fresh herbs (opt.) — think parsley, basil, coriander
→ spices of your liking; I used nutmeg, lemon pepper, garlic- & leek powder, cayenne

For the pie crust I used a ready bought puff pastry (check that it is SFV) but you could always make a regular pie crust or try this chickpea one instead.

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HOW TO

(0). Start by draining the tofu. Wrap it in a kitchen towel and let sit under a heavy weight for at least 30 minutes. A good idea is to prepare the night before.
1. Set oven to 200°C.
Press pie crust out in a heat proof dish. Prick the bottom a few times using a fork. Pre-bake for circa 5-10 minutes.
2. Saute the leek while combining spices, nutritional yeast, garlic & herbs in the food processor. Mix until meal like consistency, then add tofu.
Blend until creamy, if the mixture needs some help — add in soy milk or similar little by little. Once leeks are softened, add into food processor.
3. Lower oven temperature to 175°C. Pour your tofu batter into the pie crust, then decorate with your asparagus on top in an alternating pattern.
Bake for circa 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 before attempting to slice.

Bon appetit!
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So this month marks the one year anniversary of this vegetarian cooking challenge. For this occasion, here is 3×3 of what I have created during this time (in a somewhat chronological order)

Rhubarb Mojitos | with Ginger Beer.
Strawberry & Avocado Salsa | with Quinoa, Roasted Black Bean & Sweet Potato Wraps.
Tomato Quiche | with Red Pesto.

Blackberry Pizza Bianco | with Basil & a brilliant vegan cheese mix.
Cauliflower Mac n’ Yeast
Cauliflower Tacos | with Mango + Ginger Salsa.

Apple & Ginger Compote and Vegan Gingerbread Nutella.
Carrot, Ginger & Miso Dressing | with Summer rolls.
Roasted Parsnip & Pear soup.