Cauliflower & sweet potato soup

Last July, I promised you more culinairy cauliflower adventures…….

so, after a little break…here we go!

How about soup? Cauliflower soup?

Nice? Yes. Tasty? Yes, definitily. Pretty? Well…..if you like pale…..

I’ve been experimenting a bit with recipes, but somehow the looks never match the taste. Plain cauliflower makes a pale, white soup, adding curry makes it, well, OK, yellowish…..but still.

And then, yesterday somewhat by accident I came up with a recipe that’s both tasty, and pretty (if you like orange). It was one of those, let’s see what we have lying around in the kitchen kind of days. and well – surprise- I had a cauliflower lying around, and a sweet potato ( another thing I’ve started experimenting with lately). Et voila!

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If you’d like to give it  a try, here’s what I used:

  • one medium sized cauliflower
  • one rather small sweet potato
  • an onion
  • a cube of vegetable stock
  • 120 ml coconut milk
  • half a spoon of red pepper paste
  • a teaspoon of curry
  • a teaspoon of ground coriander
  • a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a teaspoon of kurkuma
  • black pepper

And here’s what I did:

  • heated the oven to 230 degrees Celsius and roasted the sweet potato in its skin for about 30 minutes
  • cleaned, cut and boiled the cauliflower
  • chopped and fried the onion, added all spices and pepper paste
  • allowed sweet potato to cool down, then peeled it
  • drained the cauliflower
  • added all ingredients to the cauliflower in the pan
  • blended it smooth
  • and let it boil for a little while
  • filled my bowl and sprinkled on some more pepper – black and red
  • let the rest cool down and stored it in my fridge
  • reheated what was left the next day ( today) and had a warm and tasty lunch

 

This recipe was enough for a dinner & lunch for one (no my kids don’t do cauliflower soup), and it was really thick. You can add more coconutmilk or even a bit of water to make it thinner.

And, the larger the cauliflower and the potato/potatoes, the more soup you will have. Ofcourse. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Roasted cauliflower

Lately I’ve become quite addicted to cauliflower. In Dutch cuisine cauliflower used to be the equivalent of ‘boring’: plain, no colour, all taste cooked out of it, and served with a plain white sauce…..

But wow! The things you can do with cauliflower! It’s so tasty in curries, crispy when fried, silken when turned into soup. All of these I’ve tried and enjoyed, and made over and over again. Just search for ‘cauliflower’ on Pinterest, and a whole new world will open up !

And then there are the recipes I haven’t tried yet: cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower couscous and yes, even cauliflower risotto. This just so might not be my last ode to the cauliflower…..

My favorite? Roasted cauliflower. wash, chop up, mix with oil and spices (Cumin!) and roast. Or, if you’re looking for a pretty and tasty way to bring your cauliflower to the table, try this:

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Heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and wash your cauliflower  (you do not need to remove the leaves), place in a heat proof dish. Add about 2 cm of water.

Brush some (olive) oil on the entire cauliflower, and cover the cauliflower in a mixture of black pepper, salt and cumin (a lot! make sure it’s fully covered in  crispy, tasty layer). Then sprinkle some more oil on the spices, and place the entire cauliflower in the oven. Bake for at least one hour. The larger your cauliflower the more time you’ll need.

Place on a pretty plate, cut and serve, eat and enjoy!

 

The single parent’s survival guide to dinner

Do you know the feeling…it’s been a long day and yet you’ve tried to make the most of dinner. Some vitamins, some colour, nothing extraordinary, just, you know something healthy…

The food isn’t even on the table yet before number one claims she has a headache and therefore…no appetite…number two is tired and iritated, and number three starts screaming as if you try to feed her poison:  ‘what’s this?! Oh no, I can’t eat that!’

All you can think is ‘why did I even bother? ‘ and….. ‘Now why isn’t there another adult at this table to  tell me ‘well, honey this is just delicious, kids, don’t fuss, eat your dinner!’? ‘

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Some nights, you’ve just got to do what makes everybody happy: feed ‘m pancakes and ice cream…………… with hidden vitamins….

For your pancakes, just make your usual batter, then add a grated zucchini (use these light green ones if you can, they’re perfect camouflage. If you use the darker green ones, be prepared to answer questions  such as ‘Mom, what are these green spots in my pancake?!?’…now try to answer that without using the V-word!

Bake and serve as you normally would…..then sit and watch them eat their veggies and smile…..

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Since we’re in a good mood, why not add some ice cream? Blend 2 chopped banana’s (frozen) and a large mango (cut into small pieces)  with the juice of one lemon. Serve, watch ‘m eat, enjoy……

Don’t feel like eating pancakes? Make yourself some soup! Chop another zucchini, boil in a little vegetable stock, throw in a handful of kale, add some cumin, coriander and black pepper, blend. Serve with some (vegan) cream, and a good swirl of ground red pepper. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

simple, tasty lentil soup

Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups e-ver.

The basis is always the same: red lentils, an onion, vegetable stock, some veggies and cumin, lots and lots of cumin……

I can eat this for days on end, and it’s a good way of using some leftover vegetables aswell!

This version is extra creamy because I’ve added coconut milk.

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You will need:

200 grams of red lentils – an onion – a large carrot – a red paprika – 800 ml vegetable stock – 250 ml coconut milk  – 2 table spoons of sunflower oil – 2 table spoons of ground cumin – a table spoon of ground coriander – half a table spoon of ground curcuma – half a table spoon of curry spices -red pepper flakes according to taste ( the more the spicier) – dried mint

 

Chop the vegetables, wash your lentils, heat the oil in a large pan. Stirr fry the vegetables, lentils and spices (except the mint) for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock and  boil for 20 minutes ( or until lentils are soft). Add coconut milk, stirr well and boil for another 2 minutes. Blend smooth, and serve with a topping of dried mint, pepper flakes (and, if you like…more cumin!).

very, very tasty with home made flatbread!

 

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Vegan ‘oliebollen’

It’s a Dutch traditon to eat oliebollen (fried dough) on New Years Eve, and in our family it’s a good tradition to bake them ourselves.

You can buy oliebollen everywhere these days, but if you’re a fan of homemade, of a morning  spent behind the frying pan, hungry kids swarming around your legs, clouds of icing sugar and batter everywhere…the 31st of December is the best day of the year!

This year I used a recipe of the ‘Nederlandse vereniging voor Veganisme’, that I came across on Facebook:

oliebollen

375 gr flour, 375 ml water, 30 gr sugar, 7 gr dried yeast, 3 gr cinnamon, 110 gr raisins, a few drops of lemon juice, 4 gr salt.

Mix all ingredients into a sticky batter, cover your bowl with a damp cloth and put in a warm spot. Allow to rise for 45 minutes.

 

Meanwhile heat the oil in your frying pan. Use 2 spoons to place drops of batter in the oil, fry for about 6 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, or until crispy and brown.

I never manage to make perfectly round oliebollen, but the odd shaped ones taste just as good. This year I managed to bake a baby dinosaure !

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Sprinkle with icing sugar, eat and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Vegan merengue, finally!

It was all over internet the past few months, vegan merengue. As sweet and tasty as the original, but made with an unexpected – and vegan – ingredient: Aquafaba, the water in which your chickpeas have been soaking; the water from the chickpea can. I used to pour this down the drain, just like most of you I guess, but now there’s a sweet alternative. Chickpea dinners now come  with almost instant sweet deserts.

Aparently, the chickpea water has the same qualities as egg white. Is it the proteins from the beans? or something else? I haven’t had time to look up the theory behind this, but I did some experimenting, and Oh boy! whatever it is that causes chickpea water to be turned into sweet tasty merengues, it must be a good thing!

If you want a tried and tested recipe, or if you want to be inspired by tasty pictures of numerous posibilities for vegan fluff, vegan marshmellow and vegan merengue, jus go to Pinterest! 

vegan merengue

Here’s how I made mine:  This is NOT a sugarfree recipe!

Drain the water of a 400 ml can of chickpeas. Make something tasty with the chickpeas.

Use a mixer or kitchen machine to whip the chickpea water into a smooth, white creamy substance. This is remarkably quick and easy.

Meanwhile, add 5 spoons of sugar, slowly one by one.

I also added 2 drops of vanilla essence, and for half of the mixture, some red, vegan foodcollouring to create pink merengues (too pretty, we ate them before I could take a picture).

Heat your oven up to 110 degrees Celsius. Place a sheet of baking paper on a tray, and  spoon small amounts of fluffy stuff on your paper (about a soonful each). Leave some distance in between. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. Check if they are dry, and adjust baking time if necessary.

we like’m crispy on the outside and just a tiny bit chewy on the inside.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container….or eat…..

 

vegan merengue christmas

As you can see, we had company, enjoying this vegan merengue! Now where did they come from? I guess they have been hiding among the Christmas decorations for almost a year. They seem happy enough to be let out again!

Christmas decorations……. something to write about in a next blogpost, soon!

 

 

 

 

Vegan ‘hutspot’ and a celebration

In October 1574, after a siege that had lasted for months and left many people starving, a young boy climbed upon the citywalls of Leiden. He saw how  the Spanish soldiers  had left their campements, fearing the rising water. They left, leaving everything behind. This boy, Cornelis Joppensz, ventured outside the city walls to explore the deserted army camps. He found a pot, filled with a mixture of carrots and onions, and brought it home. Ever since that day, people in Leiden eat ‘hutspot’ on the 3rd of October.  And so did we….

3 oktober 2015 leiden After an eventful day on the fairground, I cooked a large pot of hutspot to end our 3 Oktober celebration in style.

Hutspot is usually eaten together with meat, but I went for a vegan variety!

For a hungry family of four you will need:

1 kg potatoes, 750 gr carrots, 2 medium parsnips, 3 medium onions, vegetable stock, olive oil, ground black pepper.

optional: vegan ‘meatballs’.

hutspot 2Clean the potatoes, carrots and parsnip, chop in roughly equal cubes, cover with water and cook for about 15-20 minutes (check in between: you want to mash your veggies, not make porridge).

Chop the onions and glaze them in some olive oil, and powdered vegetable stock and pepper to taste.

Drain potatoes,carrot and parsnip,  add onions and mash. You can make it as smooth or as lumpy as you like. Add some more oil and vegetable stock or pepper according to taste.

Et voila, you’re done!

Just fry some vegan meatballs or even falafel (did that last year..) to go with your hutspot and you’ve got yourself the vegan version of  Leidens ‘signature dish’.

Eet smakelijk!