Thursday, March 26, 2015

lentil and vegetable quesadilla

These are perfect for lazy satuerday nights when you are alone but still are feeling in the mood for something tasty, or if you have friends over to watch the game and don't have a ton of time to cook, these will do the trick. These are also a nice way to incorporate a lot of vegan protein in your meal.

The ingredients are pretty basic as usual: (for one quesadilla)

- 1 medium to large tortilla wrap
- leftover vegetables (or frozen ones if you dont have any leftover)
- 1/3 cup dry red lentils (make sure you don't use green ones as they won't form a sauce)
- heaped tsp tomato paste
- 2 tsps ketchup or barbecue sauce (or a mix of both)
- salt and pepper to taste

- vegan melting cheese

Start off by making the lentil sauce. To do so, you want to use 1 cup of water instead of 2/3 cup, so that the lentils become extra mushy. Cook them gradually, until they loose their shape and start to turn to a paste. If necessary you can add more water. Once the lentils have turned to a paste or sauce, add the tomato paste, sauce and seasonning to taste. 
Then heat the tortilla wrap in a pan for a few minutes. Once it's hot, put your vegetables on one half and cover with the lentil sauce. At this point you can add some vegan cheese to it as well if desired. Then flip the other side on top of it and let it cook for another couple of minutes (not too long.) And then put the quesadilla on a plate and cut it into slices and there you have it. Once nice quesadilla just waiting to be eaten! 

I hope you get to try the recipe out and let me know how it turns out for you 

Friday, March 20, 2015

easy grated cheese substitute

Ever since I've been vegetarian, I've only rarely eaten cheese. For one thing I tend to eat mostly vegan meals but on my occasional vegetarian ones, I try to avoid it because of the fact that it's often produced using animal rennet. But who doesnt crave cheese sometimes. Here in Switzerland you couldn't (until just this week actually) find any vegan cheese in supermarkets. You had to either get them online or go to small organic stores to find some. (the coop supermarket has just release this week 3 vegan cheeses which I cant wait to try out, but that will be for another post.)  

The recipe I'm sharing here is not really original since most vegan people tend to use this combination but with different proportions as a substitute for grated parmesan type cheese. Now It doesn't melt and it doesn't quite look not taste exactly the same as dairy cheese, but it's close enough that it does the trick. 

You only need 2 ingredients:
- nutritional yeast
- cashew or almond flour (cashew works better but I used almond for this batch)

I used a 50/50 ratio, but you can also use more or less of the nutritional yest depending on how strong a flavor you prefer. Just combine both really well and you can store you "cheese" in a jar on the shelf (not the fridge) for months. It's best used to prinkle on top of pasta dishes or baked goods in the oven, even though it doesn't melt it still gives you a nice flavor.

Let me know if it works for you!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Amazing coconut cake

This particular cake is great for birthdays and special occasions. It's great for vegans/vegetarians as well as omnivores who couldn't tell at all that the cake was mad without any animal byproducts. 
For the ingredients, here is what you need:

For the cake:
- 2 and 1/4 cups flour (I used plain white flour, not sure if it works with anything else but probably)
- 1 cup of sugar (use 1.5 cups if you have a real sweet tooth) 
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of oil, margarine or coconut milk (make sure you use full fat coconut milk if you aren't using any oil)
- 3 eggs (I used flax eggs)
- 1 teaspoon vanila extract
- 1 cup of lemon curd (store bought works too of course)

For the icing:
- 1 and 3/4 cups of coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2-4 cups powdered sugar depending on how sweet you like it
- shredded coconut for garnish

Start off by preheating your oven to 350°F or 170°C. You can also line one or two (if you use one you will have to cut it in half down the middle afterwards) 9 inch (~23 cm) round pans with paper or grease. Then start by making your flax eggs if ou are using them (9 tablespoons of water with 3 tbspoons of ground flax and leave it set up until it looks like gel). Continue by mixing all your dry ingredients together. Then add all your liquids in and combine everything. Finally pour the mixture in your cake pan(s) and bake it (them) for 20-30 minutes if your making two or 30-40 minutes for one large one. (bring them temperature down just a bit if you notice it starting to brown too much while still being raw inside. Once a toothpick comes out clean you can take the cake(s) out and leave them to cool. I usually make one big cake and slice it in half instead of making two thinner ones.

While the cakes are baking you can start on the icing. Cream the coconut oil while adding the powdered sugar little by little. Then you can gradually mix in the coconut milk. If the icing is too solid you can use more milk and use less milk if it's seems too soft. 

Once all the elements are ready and cooled down enough we can start assembling the cake. If you made one big cake then slice it in half in the middle. Put a layer of lemon curd in between both cakes. Cover it generously in icing and finally sprinkle it with shredded coconut. And now you're done! 

Enjoy the cake and let me know if you try and different variations of it and how it turned out for you


Sunday, March 8, 2015

vegan lemon curd

The main ingredient in lemon curd is generally egg. As a matter of fact most people would say that it is impossible to make fruit curd without the use of them, but here I will show you how. All you need is:

- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3-4 tbsp cornstarch 


- 2 tbsp coconut milk (makes it more smooth and helps with the texture)

First mix all your ingredients together in a pot making sure the cornstarch is well disolved. Then start heating it up until it reaches a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Once it has thickened up enough that it sticks to the pack of a spoon (it should look like custard) you can pour it into a container and leave it cool down at room temperature. You can then use it right away or refrigerate it. (It will keep for a few days) 
If it's too hard, try mixing it again with a few tbsps of boiling water until it becomes spreadable. 

I hope you get to try it out! ^^

Thursday, March 5, 2015

minestrone soup on the go

Some days, you just come home from work/school and are too tired to cook up anything fancy, yet you still want a nice warm hearthy dish. Well this is just the thing. 

The ingredients are all things most people keep around their kitchen anyways so you don't need to go out shopping anywhere either. For the soup all you need is

- One packaged dry vegetable soup mix
- a can of beans
- some leftover pasta or rice

optionally: you can add in some extra leftover vegetables if you want.

To make the soup, just cook some rice or pasta if you don't have any leftover. Then prepare your soup following the instructions on the package. Once it's ready just add in your beans and pasta and let them heat up for a few minutes. And there you have it, a quick easy and hearthy winter soup that only takes minutes to throw together. 

Hope you get to try the recipe out :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Japan impact convention

 Each year, the EPFL college near Lausanne holds a japanese convention called "Japan Impact". This year it landed on the14th and 15th of feburary, and since my brother was working there I decided to go by and have a quick look. The entrance fee was 12 francs for students and 15 francs for adults. Once inside I got to have a llok around and enjoy some of the activities offered. 

The first thing I went to see was the samouraï museum which was full of samouraï armour and swords. 

Then I walked around for a bit and enjoyed all the costumes people were wearing and looked at everything that you can buy. The convention sells tons of stuff ranging from japanese snacks to video games and stuffed animals.

I stopped by the maid café, where the waiters and waiteresses were actually dressed like maids. It was a pretty fun experience, mostly because their food was homemade and quite delicious.

 After that I went and looked at some origami and caligraphy classes but didn't participate in any. 

The convention was considerably smaller than the other swiss japanese convention "Polymanga" held in Montreux, but it is entirely student run and norprivetely owned. 

If you live in switzerland or are passing by in feburary next year I highly encourage you to come and take a look!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gingerbread men

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time when everyone is baking their christmas cookies. This year I decided to go for simple gingerbread men, which aren't actually popular in Switzerland at all. These little treats are decently healthy as they contain lots of minerals such as iron and magnesium and healthy omega3 fats. This was my first try at these little cookies and they turned out great, so I thought I should share the recipe. Most of the ingredients I already had on hand, but a few of them I ended up having to go out to get. Here goes:

For 19-20 big ones (I only had a rather big cookie cutter) you need:

- 3 cups of flour (I used spelt flour which worked wonderfullybut any flour can do)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 small Tbsp ginger
- 1-2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla (optionnal)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 flax egg (or regular egg of vegetarian)
- 1/4 cup aple sauce
- cookie mold

For the icing:
- powdered sugar

Chart for metric equivalents : here

Start by making your flax egg and by combining one Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp water and leaving it sit in the fridge for a good 10 minutes. While the egg is setting mix all your dry ingredients together. Then add in the wet ones including the egg and mix everything together. I recommend using your hands, until a dough forms.
Then wrap the dough in foil or cling film and leave it set in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. Do not freeze it!
Once it's been refrigerated long enough, preheat your oven to 350°F. Then roll out your dough as thinly as possible, at least a 1/4inch (it will rise when cooking) and start cutting out your gingerbread population. Line them on a baking tray and cook them for about 10 minutes or until they have risen and have cooked all the way through.

Finally prepareyour icing by combining a tiny bit of water with powdered sugar. Make sure the icing isn't too runny or it won't hold it's shape. Once the cookies have cooled off enough, pipe theicing on them however you want, making faces and decorations on the gingerbread men. And that's it! They keep for at least a month in a sealed container. I hope you get to try them and enjoy!!