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 !

oliebollen2

Sprinkle with icing sugar, eat and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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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!

Vegan bananabread

I think it’s two years ago since I first participated in the Vegan Challenge. During the Vegan Challenge, hundreds of people  sign up to eat vegan for an entire month, to share experiences and to receive tasty recipes in their inbox. The next edition starts on October 1st, over 1700 people have signed up,  and I’m in!

Ever since that first Vegan Challenge, I’ve started eating vegan more and more. I remember feeling like a failure when, during that first challenge, I somewhat gave up after a week or two. Nevertheless, that challenge taught me a couple of succes recipes that I still use. And over time, I tried again and again to eat 100% vegan. That, however is something I haven’t achieved as yet.

I do believe a plantbased diet is better for the environment, and for a lot of animals, and I feel healthier and ‘cleaner’ when eating vegan. Participating in this next edition of the Vegan Challenge I hope will help me focus more, and be inspired to cook, bake and eat vegan more and more…..

To get in the mood, I explored the Vegan Challenge website, looking for new recipes. I came across a recipe for vegan banana bread (hurray! all other recipes I found contained eggs or dairy), and this was a real must try since I had a couple of brown spotty bananas waiting on the kitchen table.

The orginal recipe can be found here, but I made some adjustments because:

A. it was Sunday evening when I baked this, and I had to work with what was available (use what you have etc…..)

B. I am trying to cut down on my sugar consumption so I wasn’t comfortable with adding 150 grams of sugar

C. I had only 2 bananas instead of the required 3, so I adjusted the quantities of the other ingredients a bit.

vegan banana bread

First, I pre-heated the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, Then, I mixed the following dry ingredients in a bowl:

250 grams of whole wheat spelt flour, 50 grams of coconut blossomsugar, 50 grams of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 75 grams of chopped apricots, 75 grams of mixed nuts (walnut and pecan), 2 table spoons of cinnamon (because I looooove cinnamon, and because an extra touch of cinnamon can compensate for the lack of sugar, I hoped).

Then, in the blender I mixed:

100 ml of water, 100 ml of sunflower oil, 2 ripe bananas and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

I added the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stirred a bit. Then I filled a small baking tray with this batter. I added  some raw cocoa nibs to the rest of the batter and filled 6 cupcake molds with this. I put it all in the oven and removed the cupcakes after 25 minutes. I baked the larger cake for 40 minutes, let it cool down a bit, put the kids to bed and made myself a cup of tea…..oh boy.

vegan bananabread2

From now on, I know what to do with overripe bananas!

Sugar free granola and crumble

Inspired by Sue Quinns ‘Everyday Sugarfree Cooking’, I decided to experiment a bit with using (dried) fruit as sweeteners in some of my favorite recipes.

In her book Sue Quinn clearly explains what refined sugar does to your body and why it’s not good for you. The book is also filled with 65 delicious recipes. This time not using stuff like agavesyrup to replace sugar, but using (dried) fruits as a source of sweetness. And that, I tell you, is very inspiring!

Her recipes are sugarfree but not necessarily vegan aswell, some are though, and with some creativity you’ll come a long way with the non-vegan ones.

sugarfree granola

The granola and crumble I made are not recipes out of this book, but where inspired by it. Next time I’ll be making stuff right out of the book. There’s a jar all set and ready, waiting to be filled with Sue Quinns home made sugarfree ketchup. And her chocolatemousse made with dates and coconutcream made my mouth water just by reading the recipe, yumm!

Today, I tried making granola without sugar of any sort, and well, it worked! I won’t give you and exact recipe because I was too busy experimenting to measure properly and to write everything down, but this is what I used:

dry ingredients: oats, flaxseed and chopped nuts

wet ingredients: coconut oil and some organic sugarfree peanutbutter.

I mixed the wet and the dry and spread it all out on a baking tray. After baking for 20 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius, I added:

chopped dates, chopped dried apricots and grated coconut

I mixed it all together, and baked for another 5 minutes. After letting it cool down I stored the granola in a jar in the fridge. I must say it’s a bit less sticky than the one I made last week, perhaps because of the lack of sugar. But…later today I found out that my foodprocessor is quite capable of mixing dates, apricot and coconut oil into a sticky, sweet paste, so that’s worth a try on making the next granola batch…learning by doing so to speak…..

sugarfree crumble

For desert I made an apple crumble, using organic apples that I found at our local supermarket, and some cinnamon. For the crumble: a mixture of oats (grounded in my foodprocessor until it looked like flour), some semolina, ground walnuts and some grated coconut. To turn it into a crumble, I added a mixture of coconut oil, dates and dried apricots. I let the foodprocessor do its magic, having it work for about a minute, and got a really sticky paste. I added the dry ingredients, spread everything out on top of the apples, and baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 150 degrees.

The outcome was tasty, sweet and crumbly…yes crumbly…but oh so tasty! I think this calls for some more experimenting, but the beginning is promissing.

I’ll definitely use fruits as sweeteners more often, I’ll experiment some more with my crumble and granola, and I really should start making the recipes from Sue Quinns book!

sugarfree crumble2

PS: I was a bit terrified to try at first, becaus what if they’d break? But it turned out these milkglass dishes I hunt for in the thirftstore are very good at standing the heat, and are very suitable for baking. I’m happy…they come in so many sizes and designs, can be found in most thriftstores, and doesn’t every dish look prettier in a bowl like this?

Home made Granola

For the first time ( but very, very probably not the last!) I made my own granola.

School started again this week.  And on Sunday I tried to prepare  myself for our hurried morning routines and quick, quick breakfasts. Let’s make things a bit easier by at least having a tasty (but quick… ) breakfast to look forward to.

So, on Sunday evening I decided to make a nice, big jar of granola. A treat, on those busy mornings! I choose to use only ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I guess the good thing about granola is you can toss in whatever you like and it still tastes good…most of the time….

granola 1

I used:

  • 300 gr. oatmeal
  • 250 gr. mixed nuts ( hazelnut, pecan and walnut), chopped
  • a handfull of flaxseed
  • 3 spoons of coconut oil
  • 4 spoons of coconutblossom sugar
  • 4 spoons of agave syrup
  • 2 spoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • a handfull of dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 spoons of cocoa nibs
  • 3 spoons of grated coconut

granola 2

And then:

Mix the oatmeal, nuts and flaxseed in a bowl.

In a large pan, mix the coconut oil, sugar, syrup and peanutbutter and stir on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the oatmeal mixture and stirr well.

Spread out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes at 120 degrees Celsius. Stirr every 10-15 minutes.

granola 3

Take the tray out of the oven and add cranberries, coconut and cocoa nibs. Mix well.

Allow to cool down and store in an airtight container.

This should be enough for the first few breakfasts of the new schoolyear!

granola 4

This was an experiment that turned out surprisingly tasty. Have you ever made your own granola, and what’s your favorite recipe? Please share!

Chocolate covered dates

This sunday the kids did nothing but R.E.L.A.X. And they deserved it, I should say. After dancing three performances in a row yesterday, a sold-out theatre for each show, they were quite entitled to a day of watching series, playing with their mother’s make up, braiding each other’s hair and some crafting.

I’m not so good at relaxing though, so I filled my day with chores in and around the house, a good run, and some kitchen stuff.

Recently I was introduced to the oh so tasty phenomenon of chocolate covered dates. Have you had them yet? when I stumbled upon a huge packet of dates at the supermarket ( Ramadan, thank you!), I decided that today would be a great day to try and make some myself.

chocolate dates 1

For 16 chocolate covered dates, I used:

16 dates (really?…yes, and seedless, you might want to mind your teeth when making these)

90 grams of pure chocolate, melted

a bit of ground coconut

a bowl, a plate, a spoon and two forks.

And this is how you make them:

Melt your chocolate, au bain marie or in the microwave (in which case; check every 30 seconds or so, and stirr. You want your chocolate melted, not burned!)

Place a bit of coconut on a plate, and spread around.

Add your dates to the melted chocolate, stirr, and take ‘m out with your spoon, allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, and carefully place them onto the ground coconut on your plate. Gently swirl the plate or use some extra ground coconut to cover the top of the dates. If you like roling your dates around the plate, forks are very useful.

chocolatedates

You can ofcourse skip the coconut part and just cover the dates in chocolate only.

Place your plate in the fridge, eat the remainder of chocolate from the bowl, wash up, make some tea. Take your plate from the fridge, eat and enjoy.

chocolatecoconutdates