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It’s been almost one month since I wrote my last post for the Vegan MoFo. In this period I ate a lot of raw vegetables and I fell in love with kimchi. Again.
Kimchi is the most important dish in Korean cuisine and it’s basically made with fermented vegetables. The most popular is the one I used for this recipe, made with napa cabbage. As all the fermented vegetables it is very healthy and rich in vitamins. I used it in many dishes, to fill Korean dumplings (mandu) and into soups. In other words, I’m eating kimchi almost every day and I’ll make it by myself soon. I just need to find the time because the procedure requires an entire day of work.
If you want to buy it read carefully the list of the ingredients because it’s mostly made with anchovies and shrimp paste, but it is not hard to find out a vegan kimchi in the Asian supermarket.

October has been a very busy month and the next days are going to be even busier. On the 7th of November I’m going to cook two vegan dishes for the cooking battle in Restaurante Alfandega.
If you are in Lisbon just drop by, you can write me in private for more information or visit the restaurant facebook page.

Last but not the least, I’m working ton a gastronomic project with two friends of mine. I’ll tell you some news in the next posts, so… fingers crossed!

fried kimchi wild rice
Ingredients (serves four)

For the kimchi wild rice
2 cups boiled wild rice
1 1/2 cup kimchi well squeezed
5 Shiitake mushrooms
1 clove garlic grated
1 cm ginger grated
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Shiitake mushrooms liquid
1 cup kimchi liquid

For the tofu
3 slices of soft tofu
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the lotus root
6 slices of lotus root
vegetable oil for deep frying

For the decoration
1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds toasted
1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds toasted
1 green chili pepper sliced
4 tbsp spring onion chopped

If you’re not using leftover boiled rice start by washing the rice carefully. Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the wild rice and cook according to pack directions. The rice I usually eat takes 20 minutes to be ready. When it is al dente drain it with a colander. Rinse with cold water in order to stop the cooking and set aside.

For the lotus root heat a pot of vegetable oil and slice the root in 3 mm thick. When the oil reaches 320 degrees add the lotus slices and deep fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden coloured. Remove the slices with a spatula, drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the tofu cut soft tofu into 1 cm slices and drain carefully on paper towels. When totally drained cut the tofu slices into triangles. Heat 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil in a pan and gently fry the tofu slices for 4-5 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

For the kimchi rice soak Shiitake mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes.
Squeeze the kimchi very carefully with the hands and save the liquid. Cut kimchi into irregular pieces.
Squeeze Shiitake mushrooms, save the liquid and cut into thin slices.
Heat sesame and extra-virgin olive oil in a wok. Add garlic and ginger grated and gently sizzle for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Add boiled wild rice, Shiitake mushrooms and turn high the heat. Stir well for about 5 minutes to combine. Pour Shiitake mushrooms and kimchi liquid and constantly stir until all the liquids are evaporated. Remove the wok from the heat.
Serve the rice with the tofu triangles and garnish with the lotus root slices. Sprinkle toasted white and black sesame seeds, green chili pepper slices and chopped spring onions.

A couple of days ago I was talking to my mother via Skype when she came up with the sentence: “What about a fondue cupcake for your blog?”.
Yes, in Italy fall has already begun, while here in Lisbon yesterday there still were 30°.
Turin, the town I was born in, is nearby the France and the fondue is a traditional dish during the fall and the winter seasons.  It basically consists of melted cheese in a pot, where everybody dips cubes of bread.
For this recipe I filled the sauce into the cake with the possibility to dip the roof of the cupcakes into the fondue. I added porcini mushrooms to get it richer and so the fondue cupcakes were born.

To get the “cheesy” flavour I often use white miso paste and whole grain Dijon mustard. I’m not a big fun of vegan cheeses, but if you like them you can replace these two ingredients with your favorite vegan cheese.

I was forgetting… if you have a truffle, then use it!

fondue cupcakes with porcini mushroomstwo

Ingredients (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the batter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup soy milk at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil

For the fondue
2 tbsp soy butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cup soy milk cold
1/2 tbsp white miso paste
1/2 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard

For the porcini mushrooms
1 cup porcini mushrooms
1/3 cup white wine
extra-virgin olive oil
parsley leaves minced
pinch of salt

For the decoration
black peppercorns
parsley leaves minced

Start by making the batter. Whisk in a bowl soy milk and canola oil. In another bowl measure out flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Scoop the batter into cupcake pans and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the mushrooms heat extra-virgin olive oil in a pan, add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until brown-coloured. Add salt, pour withe wine and let it totally evaporate. Add parsley leaves minced and remove the pan from the heat.

For the fondue heat soy butter in a saucepan. Add flour and, keep stirring, make a roux. Remove the pan from the heat, pour cold soy milk and whisk carefully to avoid it becoming lumpy. Bring the pan on a low heat, add white miso paste, whole grain Dijon mustard and stir continuously until creamy.
Remove the pan from the heat, add mushrooms and whisk.

Cut a cone shape out of each cupcake and cut the point off the cone. Fill the hole with the fondue with mushrooms and sprinkle black pepper and parsley leaves minced.

Have you ever thought abot turning the traditional British Sheperd’s pie into a cupcake? If not read the recipe below!

I didn’t use any meat substitute, but I’m pretty sure minced seitan added to the filling sauce would work. By the way, when you remove the cupcakes from the grill, let them rest for 5 minutes and then serve immediately.

shepherd's cupcakes
Ingredients (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the batter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup soy milk at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil

For the mashed potatoes
4 medium potatoes
3/4 cup soy milk (it depends on the potatoes)
2 tbsp soy butter
pinch of salt

For the filling
5 tomatoes or canned tomatoes
3/4 cup canned peas
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

For the decoration
fresh black peppercorns

Start by preparing the mashed potatoes. Bring a pan of salted water to boil, pell potatoes and put them into it. Cook for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain potatoes, add soy milk, salt and mash until combined.

For the filling, if you are using fresh tomatoes, slice the skin and put them into hot water for a few seconds. This procedure allow the skin to come off easily. Peel, extract the seeds and discard and cube.
Slice onion, cube carror and celery. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a pan, add onion, garlic and gently sizzle for 5 minutes. Add tomato cubes or canned tomatoes, pinch of salt, sugar and cook with a saucepan lid for 15 minutes. Add canned peas, take off the lid and reduce the sauce. Turn off the heat and let it rest.

Preheat the oven to 180°.

For the batter whisk in a bowl soy milk and canola oil. In another bowl measure out flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Scoop the batter into cupcake pans and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Cut a cone shape out of each cupcake and throw it out. Fill the hole with the filling, spread the mashed potatoes on the top of each cupcake and add soy butter flakes on. Transfer the cupcakes into the oven and flash under the grill for about 5 minutes, until the topping is browned. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and sprinkle fresh black pepper.

With this recipe my project for this Vegan MoFo has became clear:
GMC (Genetically Modified Cupcakes).

I began with the azuki bean paste filled cupcakes with green tea and caramel frosting. This is the time for one of my favorite Italian dishes ever, eggplant parmigiana, to turn into a cupcake.

You can serve it as an appetizer or as an alternative for your sandwich time, I do suggest to warm the sauce a bit and fill the cupcakes before serving, otherwise the cake would get wet.

eggplant parmigiana cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the batter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup soy milk at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil

For the frosting
1 cup soy cream at room temperature (I used Tofutti)
1/3 cup cashew nuts
2 tbsp soy milk at room temperature
basil leaves minced

For the eggplant sauce
1 eggplant
5 tomatoes or canned tomatoes
1 garlic clove
basil leaves
extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

For the decoration
10 thin slices of eggplant
canola oil to fry
basil leaves minced
cashew nuts minced and toasted
black pepper

Start by soaking cashew nuts overnight, drain the next day and blitz in the blender with soy milk until creamy.

For the eggplant sauce, if you are using fresh tomatoes, slice the skin and put them into hot water for a few seconds. This procedure allow the skin to come off easily. Peel, extract and discard the seeds and cube.
Wash eggplant and cut into little cubes. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and gently sizzle for a couple of minutes. Add eggplant cubes and sauté until golden colored. Pour tomato cubes or canned tomatoes, pinch of salt, sugar and cook with a saucepan lid for 10 minutes. Take off the lid and reduce the sauce. Turn off the heat, add some basil leaves and let it rest.

Preheat the oven to 180°.

For the batter whisk in a bowl soy milk and canola oil. In another bowl measure out flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Scoop the batter into cupcake pans and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the decoration deep-fry eggplant slices and dry.

Cut a cone shape out of each cupcake and cut the point off the cone. Fill the hole with the eggplant sauce and replace the top.
I suggest to warm the sauce a bit and fill the cupcakes before serving, otherwise the cake would get wet.
Spread the frosting on the top of each cupcake. Garnish with a slice of fried eggplant and sprinkle cashew nuts toasted, fresh black pepper and basil leaves minced.

I start my first Vegan MoFo with these cupcakes. The idea was born last year while I was eating with a friend in a Japanese restaurant in Berlin. After the meal we had two desserts each of a a kind green tea panna cotta topped with azuki beans and caramel. I was thinking about repoducing it at home, but I suddenly changed my mind and turned it into a cupcake. The recipe was almoust ready, but in my opinion too sweet. For this reason I opted for the azuki beans paste as filling. Its flavour is almoust sugarless and balances the sweet frosting.

azuki beans paste filled cupcakes with green tea and caramel frosting
Ingredients (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the batter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup soy milk at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil

For the green tea frosting
1 cup soy butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp green tea powder
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp soy milk at room temperature

For the azuki beans paste
1/2 cup dry azuki beans
1 tbsp agave syrup
pinch of salt
water

For the caramel
1/2 cup brown sugar

Start by preparing the azuki beans paste. Soak dry beans overnight, then boil for 1 ½ hours until soft. Drain and reserve a few beans to garnish the cupcakes.
Purée the beans with a blender and stir into agave syrup. Add cooking water if the paste is too thick. Allow to cool completely and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°.

For the batter whisk in a bowl soy milk and canola oil. In another bowl measure out flour, caster sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Scoop the batter into cupcake pans, transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the frosting beat soy butter, confectioners sugar, green tea powder and cornstarch for a couple of minutes. Add soy milk and keep beating until fluffy.

Cut a cone shape out of each cupcake and cut the point off the cone Fill the hole with the azuki beans paste and replace the top. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a star and pipe on the top of each cupcake.

For the caramel warm a pan over a medium heat for a few seconds, then pour sugar in. Leave the sugar until it begins to melt. Stir gently with a spatula and cook until the colour becames dark amber.
Pour the caramel on the frosting and garnish with azuki beans.

This is maybe the easier and the quicker recipe I’ve ever posted, but it saves my dinner. My friends and I do appreciated it and for these reasons deserves a space in the blog. Besides to make it you don’t need to switch on the oven and wait at least half an hour until it’s ready, just bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the balls for a few minutes.
I’m not a big fan of sweets in general, but peanut butter is one of my favorite cream. I usually eat it in sandwiches, sauces and whatever comes out of the refrigerator. As filling it gives a toch of decadence to this simple glutinous rice balls, while fleur de sel enanches and complements its natural flavour.

Before preparing this dessert I was thinking to fill the balls with the azuki beans paste I prepared in a large amount, but then I decided to use it in another sweet recipe. I need to develop an idea that came up in my mind, try it  and  then I’m going to post!

I do suggest to keep the dough covered with a damped towel and boil the balls immediatly as they dry up very quickly. Besides they can be also be frozen and boiled in a second time.
What else? Make it and enjoy it!

sesame glutinous rice balls with peanut butter and fleur de sel

Ingredients (makes 20 balls)

For the dough
200 gr glutinous rice flour
140 ml water

For the filling
100 gr unsalted peanut butter
1 tbsp agave syrup
1\2 tsp fleur de sel

For the topping
50 gr black sesame seeds
50 gr white sesame seeds

Start by heating a pan and toasting the sesam seeds, then set the topping aside.

For the filling combine unsalted peanut butter, agave syrup and fleur de sel until it forms a thick paste.

Before making the dough bring a pot of water to a boil.

Put glutinous rice flour and water in a bowl and whisk with a fork. Knead until the dough becames like play dough. Pinch off small pieces of dough and flatten into round discs. Spoon some of the filling into the centre of each disc and roll into balls.

During this operation remember to cover the dough with a damped towel and boil the balls immediatly as they dry up very quickly.

Drop the balls into the boling water and remove when they float on the surface. Roll over the sesame seeds and serve immediately.

I have difficulty remembering birthdays and with all these I’ve forgotten this year there is also the first of my blog. The only one I can remember is mine, but only because it’s the day after new year’s eve. Anyway, next year we’ll celebrate the blog’s birthday with a proper recipe.

I haven’t been posting for a long time, but leaving Berlin and moving to Lisbon has not been so easy. I decided to came here in a month and arrived with only a few clothes, a couple of books and the laptop, I bought a new camera and find an apartment with a lot of kitchen tools and fresh herbs on the terrace. Now that I’m settled in I can finally post constantly, unless until I decide to move to another country!

This soup of this post is the one I used to drink when I lived in Poland. I wrote drink because it’s liquid, after removing the vegetables and filter it, and often served into mugs at the beginning of the meal. The best one I had was in Ro Raw Organic, definitively my favorite vegan restaurant in Krakow. It was lyukewarm and topped with fresh sprouts.

Barszcz is a versatile soup. Can be served hot during the winter, with mushroom dumplings (barszcz z uszkami) for the Christmas Eve feast, or cold in the summertime. I used my Polish friend Paolina’s version, that in my opinion is perfectly balanced in flavours. I suggest you to garnish it with all kind of fresh sprouts you have, I found out the amaranth sprouts you can see in the picture.

barszcz 04

Ingredients (serves four)

For the barszcz
1 litre water
1 carrot
1 onion
1 leek
1 celery stalk
2 beetroots
3 garlic cloves smashed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 lemon juice
salt
fresh marjoram and sprouts to garnish

For the sour cream
80 gr sauerkraut
soy cream (I used Tofutti) or unsweetened plain soy yogurt
lemon juice

Start by preparing the sour cream. If you use a soy cream it’s enough to whisk it with lemon juice. If you use yogurt it’s better to make the cream a few hours in advance. Drain the yogurt in a colander covered with cotton cloth in order to remove the excess liquid. Keep it into the refrigerator until solid, then stir lemon juice into it.

For the barszcz peel and chop carrot, onion, leek, celery stalk and beetroots. Put them into a pan with water, garlic cloves smashed, bay leaves, black peppercorn and salt. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a minimum and simmer for two hours.
15 minutes before it is done add juice of one lemon and keep simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, take out the vegetables and reserve for another use. Filter through a fine mesh and allow to cool completely.

Serve the soup by topping with sour cream and sprinkling fresh marjoram, sprouts and black pepper. I suggest to prepare the soup the day before to let all the flavours enhance. You can storage into the refrigerator up to 4 days.

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