Carrot Lox Mousse

 
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It's time for the second Christmas dinner recipe! - Tämä resepti suomeksi

This recipe has been on my to-post list for a while. The first time I made this was for my birthday party last summer, so definitely consider this as a festive food for any season. And it was a huge hit! Because the carrot lox itself takes time to prepare and needs to marinate at least over night, this isn't your last minute life saver. Saying that, I need to point out that even though it takes time, it's not complicated at all - don't be afraid of the preparing.

I also have to say that I don't know if there's any point in making something that resembles a fish product, when you don't want to eat fish anyway, but the carrot lax tastes great and for my part, I'm just going to leave it at that.

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Admittedly, it was a huge hit last Christmas. I was running around Helsinki from store to store with a friend of mine trying to find a bottle of the liquid smoke aroma, but it was sold out everywhere. We did eventually manage to find some, after a couple of hours.

The Carrot Lox recipe is not mine, but since it already is all around the web, I'll share it here once more.

Carrot Lox

    •    6 large carrots
    •    ~1,5kg coarse sea salt*
    •    3tsp liquid smoke**
    •    1,5tbsp veggie oil
    •    1,5tsp white wine vinegar

*Depending on the oven dish you're using. **I've been using the one by Poppamies, works beautifully!

Wash the carrots, but don't peel them. Place the carrots in an oven dish and thoroughly cover them with sea salt. Cook in the oven in 175°C for ~1,5 hours.

Dig the carrots out of the salt and let cool off for a moment. Peel the carrots and cut into thin slices. Place the slices in a dish or a container, mix in the oil, liquid smoke and vinegar. Let marinate for 1-2 days.

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Carrot Lox Mousse

    •    carrot lox of 5-6 carrots
    •    300g non-dairy cream cheese (I used Oatly’s Påmackan)
    •    2dl oat fraiche
    •    1 medium size or 2 small red onions
    •    2tsp dijon mustard
    •    2 tsp white wine vinegar
    •  a handful of  chives
    •    a squeeze of lemon juice
    •    ground black pepper
    •    rye bread for serving

 

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In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, oat fresh, mustard, and vinegar. Mince the red onion and chives, mix in. Mince the carrot lox and mince in as well. Season with black pepper and lemon juice. Serve with rye bread!

 

 

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Beautiful table setting done by my sister, thanks to her for all of the photos in this post!

Persimmon and Pistachios

 
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Tämä postaus suomeksi

Happy December!

 In Finland, Christmas parties are such a popular thing that some companies and communities organize "Christmas" parties still in January, knowing that people already have their calendars bursting with various get-togethers all through December. 

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We had a Christmas-themed dinner with my sister & our S.O.'s last weekend, and during the beginning of December I'll be posting the recipes for everything we served!

Like I've mentioned before, my sister is one of the two beautiful bloggers at 2 for living - the blog is in Finnish, but there's plenty of nice pictures. Stay tuned for a more detailed post of this gorgeous table setting. (It was unreal. Honestly. It felt like I had just literally stepped into Instagram.) Thanks to her for all of the pictures in this post and the ones to follow!

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This one I can hardly call a 'recipe', more like an 'idea', but I wanted to keep things simple for once. Let's say you're going to a Christmas party and promised to bring something, and want to make it seem like you put some effort into it. (Even if you actually don't.) Persimmons are at their best right now!

Persimmon & Pistachios

    •    ripe persimmons / kaki fruits*
    •    pistachios
    •    balsamic syrup

*we had a total of 3 persimmons for 4 people

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Remove the skin of the fruit, and cut into bite-size slices. Place the slices on a serving dish, garnish with balsamic vinegar, and top with crushed pistachios (use a mortar or a knife).

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Done! How easy was that?!

 

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Stay tuned for more recipes from our dinner!

//

Surprisingly, I think I am Christmas person after all. I've never been a fan of the hugely material side of Christmas, and the idea of filling my home with plastic crap for a month feels completely unnecessary for me, but I love Christmas lights. I got these lights from my sister, and  being the DIY person I am, I had to update them a little bit. Recycled origami made of old magazines. Pretty, right?

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The "All Things Grated" Salad

 
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After spending most of the day on the couch eating all things unhealthy, there was a craving for something fresh. You know, balance.

So here's what I threw together - and it was definitely worth sharing. For protein I marinated and fried some pulled oats, but fried tofu works just as well. 

Grated Salad

(serves 4)

·         1/3 cabbage

·         2 carrots

·         ½ zucchini

·         2 pieces of celery

·         a handful of broccoli

·         a handful of kale

·         ~5cm piece of ginger

·         1dl sesame seeds

The dressing:

·         1tbsp veggie oil

·         0,5dl apple vinegar

·         juice of 1,5 limes

·         2tsp dijon mustard

·         2tsp sugar

·         1tsp soy sauce

·         ~10cm piece of lemongrass

·         1 chili

 

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Grate all the veggies and mix together in a large bowl. To make the dressing, cut the lemongrass and chili into thin slices, then mix everything together. Now mix the dressing with the grated veggies and let the flavors soak in for a moment or two. Meantime, toast the sesame seeds on a hot, dry pan, and mix the seeds into the salad as well.

 

Marinade for pulled oats or tofu

·         1tbsp sesame oil

·         1tbsp soy sauce

·         1tbsp tamarind (or lime juice)

·         1tbsp brown sugar

·         1cm piece of lemongrass

·         1 clove of garlic

 

Crush and mince the garlic, and cut the lemongrass into thin slices. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl large enough to fit the pulled oats or tofu - you're going to mix those in, too. Mix well! It's now ready for frying, but if you've got time, let it marinate for a while before you do that.

 

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"Salted Caramel" Pumpkin Pie

 
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I keep saying "I never bake anything", yet... Here we are, again.

I'd been thinking about making a traditional carrot cake, switching the carrot to butternut squash. But then I also really wanted that soft, gooey pumpkin pie - so I decided I can have both.

This pie takes a bit of preparing, but it's actually quite simple to make. Unless you're as absent-minded as me, who had to go to the grocery store three times after forgetting "that one thing" over and over again. (The third time I went to my nearest market to get the pie tins, I had already started in the kitchen, and it was only when I got back home that I realised I had a notable amount of flour on my face.) 

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"Salted Caramel" Pumpkin Pie

(2x ∅ 25cm pies)

The crust:

    •    1/3 of half a butternut squash, grated
    •    150g margarine
    •    4dl wheat flour
    •    1dl quick oats
    •    2dl brown sugar
    •    1,5dl crushed almonds (or pecans, or walnuts)
    •    2tbsp soy flour or potato flour mixed with 4tbsp water
    •    2tsp baking powder
    •    1tsp cinnamon powder

The filling:

    •    2/3 of half a butternut squash, cooked
    •    0,5dl brown sugar
    •    2dl coconut milk (the thick part in a can)
    •    5 medjool dates
    •    2tbsp potato flour
    •    1tbsp brown syrup (optional, for extra taste)

For garnish*:
    •    a couple of handfuls roasted and salted almonds, crushed
    •    maple syrup
    •    salt flakes / roughly ground sea salt

*You can roast the almonds yourself and add the appropriate amount of salt for your taste, leaving the salt flakes out. I bought a bag of roasted and salted almonds, but they were not salty enough.

 

To prepare the filling, you will need to cook the butternut squash soft. I did this by removing the hard skin and cutting the butternut squash into bite-size bits, cooking them in the oven in 200°C for about 40 minutes. After that you can simply blend all the ingredients together.

To make the crust: Melt the margarine. Mix the soy / potato flour with the water, and whisk together with the melted margarine and sugar.

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Mix together the flour, baking powder, quick oats, and cinnamon. Add into the margarine-sugar liquid little by little. Mix in the crushed almonds and grated butternut squash. Note: almonds (or pecans, or walnuts) are quite easy to cut into a crush with a large kitchen knife.

Spread the dough on a pie tin (depending on your tin, you might want to wipe it with some margarine first), leaving the edges a bit higher, the cover with the filling, and bake in 175°C for 40-45 minutes.

Garnish with maple syrup, roasted almond crush, and salt flakes.

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First snow came and went, and it really felt like November looking out into the freezing, rainy and grey day yesterday. So I baked a pie and invited a good friend over, couldn't imagine a better way spending it!

 

My amazing peanut butter dressing

 

I'm so excited to share this one!! This dressing is a secret weapon, a day-saver, and totally fool-proof! It fits perfectly with various veggies both fresh and cooked, as a dipping sauce, in a salad boat... I'd probably even put it in a burger. Actually, I think I have already.

All of the ingredients are something I almost always have in my kitchen. (It's okay if you don't, but I gotta tell you I love my life)

The amazing peanut butter dressing

(~1dl of dressing)

    •    0,5dl crunchy peanut butter
    •    2tbsp white wine or apple vinegar
    •    1-1,5tbsp maple syrup
    •    1 clove of garlic, crushed
    •    3tbsp lime juice
    •    Sriracha (to your taste)

Mix together the peanut butter, vinegar, lime juice, maple syrup, and garlic. Use a fork to whisk.
It will look suspicious at first (see below). Add Sriracha as much as you can handle.

But it comes together! Look:

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Okay, super simple right? That's one of the reasons I so often make this. Another reason is that it has so much flavor, the actual food could probably be dry branches or something. Usually it's rice noodles with fried tofu and veggies of some sort.

Last weekend my sister was kind enough to do some sewing for me, so obviously I offered to come over and make lunch. (Also, she has a camera and I currently don't. Also, she has a lifestyle blog and a great taste. Also, she has all these nice things in her kitchen.)

And for lunch we had...

    •    rice noodles
    •    fried broccoli (with just a splash of soy sauce)
    •    fried tofu (Jalotofu’s marinated with sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce)
    •    avocado
    •    fresh cucumber
    •    ginger carrots (see below)
    •    toasted crushed peanuts (toast the peanuts on a hot, dry pan until they get some color, crush in a mortar or a food processor. Or with what ever you’ve got on hand, a hammer is fine)

 

 

Ginger carrots

    •    2 carrots
    •    2tsp grated ginger
    •    2tsp sushi vinegar (optional, but recommended)
    •    a pinch of salt

Peel and wash your carrots. Make thin slices of the carrot, using a peeler. Mix the carrot slices with grated ginger, vinegar, and salt. Let the carrots marinate if you can (the longer, the better), even half an hour makes a difference.

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Hey look, it's a 'bowl'! You should probably pin it...

Kidding!! I love bowl food. Go make some.

 

Spicy barley and black beans

 
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Active weeks call for those trusted, simple, but nutritious and delicious meals. Right? What was supposed to be a "brain off, this and that, nothing special" meal on a tired Sunday evening, turned out to be a keeper!  And sure, in a way it is just a bit of this and that, and "nothing special" - but that's the magic.

By the way, notice how I used the word 'active' instead of 'busy'? Indeed, my weeks have been quite full lately, but mostly full of stuff I enjoy doing. 'Busy' sounds negative, ungrateful and actually feels like complaining. Time is limited, but stressing over stuff you like is pointless. So I'm trying out a little trick here, because I believe that words have power.

 

Spicy barley and black beans

(Serves 2-3)

•    3dl whole grain barley
    •    230g black beans
    •    2 carrots
    •    1 onion
    •    1dl sunflower or pumpkin seeds
    •    1 clove of garlic
    •    3cm piece of ginger
    •    2-3 leaves of kale
    •    3tbsp soy sauce
    •    3tbsp balsamic vinegar
    •    1tbsp olive oil (+ any veggie oil for frying)
    •    1tbsp brown sugar
    •    1tbsp paprika powder
    •    1tsp ground coriander
    •    2tsp smoked paprika powder
    •    0,5-1tsp cayenne pepper

*Serve with: a squeeze of lime juice, fresh cilantro 

Cook the barley as instructed (in the packaging). Prepare the veggies: Peel and dice the onion and carrots (I cut my carrots into half-moons), crush and mince the garlic, cut or grate the ginger. Remove the hard stems of the kale and chop the leaves finely. If you're using canned black beans, rinse the brine off.

Heat some oil on a large (possibly a wok-type) pan. Add the onion and carrots, sauté, and add the brown sugar. Add the ginger and garlic, mix for a moment, then add the beans, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and all the spice powders (paprika, coriander, smoked paprika and cayenne). Mix well. Add the olive oil and mix again. Now add the kale, mix, and add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Lastly add the barley, mix, and allow a moment for the flavors to soak in, keeping the stove on low heat.

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A squeeze of lime juice and some fresh cilantro give the perfect final touch for this spicy dish!

 

 // To be honest, the last couple of weeks have been so "active" I've actually lost a bit of sleep. Which of course resulted to catching a cold. So I decided it was time to get my juicer back in business! 

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And it just so happened I found some fresh organic turmeric. With some orange, carrot and ginger - feeling better already! 

Lingonberry-apple muffins with fudge centre

 
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I just got a load of lingonberries hand-picked by my sister!! Most of them I already stored in my freezer for later use, but for once I felt like baking something. Something sweet! I ended up with a very classic Finnish autumn combination, but hey - it's a classic for a reason.

These muffins have a gooey medjool date & peanut butter fudge centre. The fudge is very sweet (thanks to the dates), so if you're not a big fan of sugar, you can happily leave it out from the dough.

Medjool date & peanut butter fudge

    •    250g soft medjool dates
    •    1,5dl almond milk
    •    3tbsp peanut butter

*This amount makes more than enough for the muffins, but a smaller batch is difficult to process. Enjoy the rest of the fudge with ice cream, porridge, or fresh fruit!

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Looking positively suspicious...

This is super easy: blend all the ingredients together to form a thick paste. Easier with a blender, but I don't have one at the moment and I was fine with the immersion blender once again.

 

Lingonberry-apple muffins

    •    3dl wheat flour
    •    2dl quick oats
    •    1,5 tsp baking powder
    •    0,5 tsp baking soda
    •    a pinch of salt
    •    1dl brown sugar
    •    1tsp cinnamon powder
    •    1dl coconut oil
    •    2dl water
    •    1,5dl lingonberries
    •    1/2 apple (cut into tiny pieces)
    •    a handful of pecans, crushed

Mix together all the dry ingredients, except for the berries, apple and pecans. Bring the water to almost boiling and immediately take off the stove. Mix the coconut oil with the hot water, then mix with the dry ingredients. Add the lingonberries, crushed pecans and apple.

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With the help of a couple of spoons, fill half of a muffin cup with the dough and make a little hole in the center. Fill the hole with some fudge and top with more dough.

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Bake in 175°C for 20 minutes, or until done (duh?! but seriously, use a cocktail stick or something to check).

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Red cabbage stew with oven roasted roots

 
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Comfort food!! This dish is inexpensive, simple to make, filling, and you know... just comfy. This recipe also leaves a lot of room for variation, because it first came to be last winter when it was probably too cold (read: I was too lazy) to go grocery shopping. That's why it is a bit of 'this and that', but on the other hand I kind of like cooking that way: making the best of what I have.

I had been meaning to re-make this dish for some time now. Last Sunday was miserably colorless and it was raining the whole day, so what do you do?

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You light up some candles and start chopping those colorful, tasty veggies! Boom! (Opening a beer also advisable.)

 

Oven-roasted root vegetables

(serves 4*)

    •    2kg mixed root vegetables
(potatoes, carrots, swedes, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, parsnip… mix your favorites!)
    •    3tbsp oil
    •    2 cloves of garlic, crushed
    •    4 tbsp dried rosemary (or a bunch of fresh!)
    •    salt + pepper to your taste

 

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Mix the oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Wash and peel your root veggies, then cut into approximately equal sized pieces. Roll the pieces around in your oil seasoning and spread on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Roast for about 40 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces - check after 30 minutes at the latest). Prepare the stew while your veggies are in the oven!

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Potatoes, carrots, swedes, and celeriac!

 

Red cabbage stew

(serves 4)

    •    ~600g of red cabbage
    •    ~500g mix of ready-to-use lentils, beans, soy crumble*, etc.
    •    2,5dl coconut cream
    •    1 onion
    •    0,5dl pickled jalapeños, minced
    •    2tbsp pickle juice (from the jalapeños)
    •    2-3tbsp mustard
    •    1,5tbsp dried dragon
    •    salt + pepper to your taste

*I roughly measured that 2dl of dry soy crumble makes about 300g after cooked.

I used a mixture of steamed red lentils and cooked soy crumble, but I'd say pretty much any beans, pulled oats etc. would do.

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Dice the onion and cut the cabbage into thin slices. Take a large pan (I recommend a wok pan with high edges) and heat some oil. Sauté the onion a little, add the cabbage and roll around until it starts to soften up. Mix in your lentils, beans, soy crumble etc., then add the pickle juice and reduce the heat. Let simmer for a couple of minutes more.

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Add the minced jalapenos, mustard, dragon, and season with salt. Mix, add the coconut cream and let simmer on low heat (under a lid if possible) until the stew starts coming together.

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Serve the stew with roasted root veggies and pickles!

 

 

 

Savory butternut squash pancakes & beetroot-horseradish spread

 

Autumn might just be my favorite season food-wise. I love all the wonderful veggies that are at their best, but it's also the time for fresh beginnings, new found energy & inspiration. Not to mention how the cool weather also inspires staying in, just saying. More time for cooking!

Speaking of fresh beginnings, one reason for the lack of posts has been my moving into a new flat! I love this place. Also new flat = new kitchen!! All the surfaces are white though, which does leave little room for the mess I make going unnoticed. But you know, I think of it more as an art form...

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The picture is related to this post.

Okay, let's get to business! The Finnish 'rieska' seems to officially translate to 'unleavened barley bread' but that sounded boring (right??), I used butternut squash instead of potatoes, and I didn't even use barley in the end. So I decided to call this creation savory pancakes. It just has a better ring to it. The beetroot spread works well on any kind of bread, and it gets a nice little kick from horseradish!

Savory butternut squash pancakes

(~ 8 pancakes)

        •    600g butternut squash
    •    2dl wheat flour
    •    2dl spelt flour + more for kneading
    •    1tsp olive oil
    •    1tsp salt
    •    1tbsp potato flour mixed with 2tbsp water (to replace 1 egg)

Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds (but don't toss them away: toast them on a dry pan & add some salt. Perfect addition for a salad or a soup). Bake in the oven in 225°C for about 40 minutes, or until soft (use a fork to check). Note: I had a 1,2kg butternut squash so I only used half of it for the dough. Note two: you can start preparing the spread while your pumpkin is in the oven, scroll down for the recipe.

Let the butternut squash cool off a little, then use a spoon or a fork to scrape the meat into a bowl. Use a fork to form a mash. Add the potato flour + water mix and the oil, mix well. Add the flours and salt, and mix into a dough. The dough will be sticky at this point, so flour up your hands to divide the dough in 8 pieces, shape into balls and then flatten to make "pancakes". Put on an oven tray, stick some holes on them with a fork (because apparently that's what you're supposed to do), and bake for 15-18 minutes in 200°C.

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Beetroot + horseradish spread

(3dl of spread)

    •    250g beetroots
    •    150g cashew nuts
    •    4x2cm piece horseradish, grated
    •    2tbsp apple vinegar
    •    2tbsp lemon juice
    •    salt, black pepper

 

Wash the beetroots thoroughly, preferably using a brush, but don't peel them. Cook in boiling water until soft (the time, obviously, depends on the size). When the beetroots are done, soak them in ice cold water and peel. You should be able to peel them by hand at this point, which I tried at first, but it was too much work and the mess was unbelievable, so I switched to a peeler pretty quickly...

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Cut the beetroots and place in a blender (or in a bowl, if you're using an immersion blender like I did). Let them cool off for a bit more, you can grate the horseradish at this point. Blend the beetroots first, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend again. Add salt to your taste.

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You're done! Look at those beautiful savory pancakes (best served warm, just to let you know):

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For some reason, autumn is also the "soup season" for me. I've already had soup like... four times this week. You might get a taste of that in my next post. Until then!

 

 

Warm salad with roasted peanuts and a tamarind dressing

 
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This warm, "mixed Asian cuisine" -inspired salad is a perfect lunch or a great, lighter dinner. It's nutritious and filling, but not at all heavy. The tamarind salad dressing is the trick here, though!

My previous post was a bit picture-heavy, so this time I'm just posting a recipe I quickly wrote down while preparing lunch some time last spring. That's why, I have to warn you, the amounts of all the lovely veggies in the recipe for this salad are (somewhat) roughly estimated.

As I just came across the first of the Finnish green beans this season, I'd say now is a pretty good moment to share this one!

Tamarind dressing

    •    2tbsp toasted sesame oil
    •    4tbsp tamarind puree
    •    1tbsp soy sauce
    •    1tbsp maple syrup

Mix all the ingredients in a cup.

(That was easy.)

Warm salad with toasted peanuts

(serves at least 2)

    •    1/2 small white cabbage
    •    a handful of green beans (or haricot beans)
    •    1/2 large broccoli
    •    1 piece of celery
    •    1dl peanuts
    •    juice of 1/2 lime
    •    2cm piece fresh grated ginger
    •    1tsp natural umami powder
    •    1tsp garlic powder
    •    1tbsp black sesame seeds*
    •    seitan or tofu**
    •    fresh cucumber, radish, spring onion

*or regular, or none - your salad, your choice
**Optional, but good for extra protein. I used small bits of smoky seitan, which I heated up on a pan right before serving!

Start by rinsing the beans and bringing a pot of water to a boil, reduce the heat and cook the beans for about ten minutes, then strain and leave to dry a little. While the beans are boiling, chop the broccoli and celery. Cut the cabbage into thin slices, and in a separate bowl, mix the cabbage with the sesame seeds and grated ginger. Prepare your fresh veggies, too: I cut my cucumber, radish, and spring onion into thin slices.

To roast the peanuts, heat up a dry pan and roll them around until you get a nice, golden brown color (watch out, though - I tend to burn mine more often than not...).

After that, sauté the white cabbage gently and quickly, just to make it a little bit softer. Move the cabbage aside (or on your plate, where it belongs).

Add some oil on the pan. Fry the broccoli until it softens up a little, add the celery, then season with umami powder and garlic powder. Fry a bit longer to get some color on the broccoli, and to soften up the celery.

Now oil up the pan again, and add the green beans. Roll them around until they, again, get some color. Season with a pinch of salt and the lime juice.

Pile everything on your plate, splash in the dressing, enjoy!

Hey, it's a kind of a green salad.

Tahini cauliflower wings & mango-chili coleslaw

 

You think cauliflower wings are totally passé? Think again! Everything is better dipped in spiced up tahini. Serve the wings in a soft taco with this sweet & spicy coleslaw, creamy avocado and fresh cucumber.

I've noticed that inviting yourself over to someone's is completely fine, when you tell them you'll cook. So a couple of days ago me & my boyfriend loaded our bags with some cauliflower and summer cabbage, and headed to my sister's place. My sister also has a blog, and she kindly took all the photos for this post, thanks again!

Note: We were in no hurry (okay we had wine to keep away the hangry), so we started by making the coleslaw to let the flavors sink in. If you're on a tighter schedule, start by making the wings and prepare the coleslaw while the wings are in the oven.

Mango-chili coleslaw

(serves 4)

     •    1/2 of summer cabbage or white cabbage
    •    1 carrot
    •    1dl mango puree
    •    juice of 1 large lemon
    •    2,5 tbsp white wine vinegar
    •    1 tbsp dijon mustard
    •    1-2 fresh chiles
    •    a pinch of salt & black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the seasoning:  mango puree, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Cut the cabbage into thin slices, then chop the slices into even smaller bits (easier to eat in a taco). Peel and grate the carrot. Remove the seeds and cut the chiles. Add everything into the seasoning and mix well.

Tahini cauliflower wings

(to fill 8 soft tacos; for 4 people)

    •    700g cauliflower
    •    1,5dl light tahini
    •    2 tbsp oil
    •    1tsp soy sauce
    •    1 clove of garlic, crushed
    •    1tsp spice powder of your choice*
    •    1tsp black pepper
    •    (chili sauce, to taste)

*This time I used mango curry powder, but I also like to use smoked paprika powder. Try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick!

Serve with...

    •    8pcs. small corn or wheat tortillas
    •    mango-chili coleslaw
    •    2 avocados, sliced
    •    1/2 cucumber, cubed
    •    fresh cilantro

Combine the tahini and the spices in a bowl and mix well. Cut or shred the cauliflower into bite-size "wings", try to make them as equal in size as possible.

Dip the cauliflower wings in the tahini sauce and place on an oven tray. Bake in 200°C for about 20 minutes.

Warm up your tortillas, prepare the other fillings...

... and...

GO!!

Bonus foodporn:

My sister made dessert!! No, sadly I don't have the recipe. Yes, I had more dessert.

 

 

 

 

Spinach pesto spaghetti with cauliflower & chickpeas

 

Pesto spaghetti is the go-to quick meal for many - but who doesn't like simple & delicious, especially in the middle of the week? Sometimes, however, making it yourself can be more satisfying than opening that little jar. Don't worry though, you will have this spinach pesto ready faster than you can spell H-A-N-G-R... Anyway, as a bonus: it's is not only tasty, but also a bit more nutritious than regular pesto. Go brag about that to your friends.

Spinach pesto spaghetti with cauliflower & chickpeas

(serves 4)

    •    300g spaghetti
    •    spinach pesto*
    •    250g cauliflower
    •    230g canned chickpeas
    •    2tbsp lemon juice
    •    black pepper & a pinch of salt
    •    2tbsp honey / 1,5tbsp agave syrup
    •    oil for frying
    •    +fresh chili for serving

*scroll down for the recipe

I recommend making the pesto first, in order to mix it with the spaghetti right after it's cooked. I know that eating cold food divides opinions, but this dish is delicious even after it's cooled down a bit. If you want to be as efficient as possible, let the spaghetti cook while you make the pesto.

Chop the cauliflower into thin slices. Rinse the brine off the chickpeas. Heat a little bit of oil on a large frying pan. Add the chickpeas first, let them get a little bit of color, then add the honey or agave syrup. Add the cauliflower and lower the heat a little, mix until the cauliflower softens up (to your preference). Add some black pepper and salt, take the pan off the stove and finally add the lemon juice.

Mix with the pasta and serve warm or cold!

 

Spinach pesto

(for ~300g of spaghetti)

    •    80g baby spinach
    •    2dl basil leaves
    •    1dl olive oil
    •    2tbsp lemon juice
    •    1tbsp white wine vinegar
    •    2dl sunflower seeds
    •   1- 2 cloves of garlic
    •    2tbsp nutritional yeast
    •    0,5tsp salt
    •    1tsp black pepper

 

For making the pesto, you will once again need an immersion blender or a food processor - I prefer to make the pesto with an immersion blender because it leaves a little bit of texture (and less cleaning up to do).

First blend together all of the ingredients except for the sunflower seeds. You will end up with green liquid. Add the seeds and blend again until you have a paste-like consistency. Mix with your cooked spaghetti or enjoy with a salad or some bread!

//

ps. last week there was no post because I was enjoying life with some friends in the middle of nowhere.

Here's some pictures for compensation:

Black bean ceviche & quick corn breads

 

Soup or salad? That was the question that reminded me of this beautiful dish. Ceviche istraditionally made with fish, but don't think any less of this vegan-friendly alternative! The soft avocado and the sweetness of the corn balance out the acidity of all the citrus juice. The ceviche is delicious as it is, but serve it with warm bread and you'll hit the spot.

The first time I made this ceviche I served it with tortilla chips made from scratch but I have to say, even though they came out amazing, it was just way too much work (even for me). The ceviche requires a lot of chopping, so if you're feeling lazy I've got a cheat code for you: buy a pack of wheat tortillas, cut one tortilla into four pieces and fry on a dry, hot pan until crisp. Sprinkle with some salt and serve with the ceviche right away!

Or try making these quick corn breads on the pan - surprisingly easy and a bit more to fill your stomach. Note: to be served right away. Not very impressive when they're cold.

                                                                   so much color!!

                                                                   so much color!!

Black bean ceviche

(serves 4-5)

    •    460g canned black beans
    •    ~600g tomatoes
    •    2 (large) avocados
    •    ~250g canned corn
    •    1-2 fresh chilies
    •    1 red onion
    •    1-2 cloves garlic
    •    juice of 6 limes
    •    juice of 1 lemon
    •    juice of 1,5 oranges
    •    2tsp ground coriander seeds
    •    1tbsp cumin seeds
    •    1tsp smoked paprika powder
    •    a bunch of cilantro
    •    a pinch of salt & some black pepper

 

Start by mincing the onion and garlic. Remove the seeds and cut the chilies. Put in a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of the limes, lemon and oranges - if you do this by hand and have sensitive skin, you might want to use plastic gloves or something. Rinse the brine off the corn and black beans, cut the tomatoes and avocados, add everything into the bowl along with all of the spices (grind the seeds if you can) and the chopped cilantro.

ceviche04.jpg

Mix well and keep in a fridge for at least 30 min. to let the flavors soak in.

If you decide to go with the quick corn breads, start making them not more than 20 minutes before serving - they are best straight off the pan!

Quick corn breads

    •    3dl cornmeal (Harina P.A.N. or Masa Harina*)
    •    1tsp salt
    •    2,5dl water
    •    oil for frying

*both types are fine, but masa harina has that distinctive "cornmeal taste"

I've done some research (thank you Google) about cornmeal because I was confused by all the different types. I won't make an essay on this subject because all the information is out there, read more if you're interested.

Short and sweet: masa harina is made with a process called nixtamalization, which gives the flour that distinctive taste, but more importantly increases the nutritional values of the maize. Harina PAN is also precooked cornmeal, but not made with nixtamalization and apparently it's ground a bit differently. Both useful for this recipe, anyway.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and mix by hand to form a dough. Cover a frying pan with oil (use a paper towel) and heat it up. With wet hands, take enough dough to roll a ball about the size of a golf ball, then press it down and smoothen the edges. Cook the breads on both sides until you can see small dark spots. (We sprinkled on just a little bit salt after flipping the breads!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry & honeydew coolers

 

This tasty drink is both simple & quick to make - just the way you need it on a hot summer day. (Fingers crossed we'll get some of those days soon, here in Finland... well, I'll just keep sipping on my cooler until then.)

You will need a blender powerful enough to crush ice & frozen fruit.

Strawberry & honeydew coolers

for 2 tall glasses

    •    1/4 honeydew melon
    •    100g frozen strawberries
    •    juice of 1/2 lemon
    •    1tsp fresh grated ginger
    •    ice cubes (I used ~10 for this)
    •    3dl cold water
    •    sugar, agave syrup or other sweetener (I used 1/2dl plain sugar, sweeeeet!!)

*Add some fresh mint leaves, try using different types of fruit.. endless possibilities!

Remove the seeds and the hard skin of the melon. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve right away!

Tofu & black bean burgers

Usually when I make burgers I go with a simple bean patty. The variations are endless, since pretty much any beans go and the seasoning possibilities are wide open. Some days ago I decided to try and make a tofu patty and the texture was perfect!! Not at all dry, but kept together nicely. Anyway, back then I had some shiitake mushrooms that needed to be used, which for some reason led me to the little jar of hoisin sauce in my fridge. A couple of days later a friend asked for barbecue tips and I realized this might just be (and turned out it was) perfect for the grill, too. I wanted to try that out but I don't have a grill around,  so when I came to visit my parents I knew just what to make. However, my grocery shopping didn't go as planned. I couldn't find the mushrooms, and I couldn't find hoisin sauce (yes, what a tragedy).

The first burger, as seen on Instagram, was served with sweet potato fries - what else?!

That's why I'm going to share a good base for a tofu patty, and two suggestions for seasoning. You could also just use a good bbq-sauce and nothing else. I used liquid smoke and maple syrup, which put together give the same touch. Oh yeah, and I've got two types of sauce. And a bun. If you're not feeling DIY you can just go and buy a nice bun for yourself, but I have to say the baking doesn't take that much effort, it's tastier, and since you're already cooking it sort of goes there on the side. That's how I look at it, anyway.

Spelt buns

4-6 large burger buns


    •    3dl spelt flour + more for kneading
    •    2dl wheat flour
    •    11g dry yeast
    •    1tsp baking powder
    •    1tsp salt
    •    1tbsp veggie oil
    •    2,25dl water, 42°C
    •    Sesame seeds for garnish

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (except for the seeds, you dummy). Add the water and oil, mix with a large spoon or by hand. Put a towel on top of the bowl and leave the dough to rise while you prepare the mass for the patties, or for 15-30 minutes. When you have your patty mass done, preheat the oven to 225°C and get back to your dough: cover your hands with more spelt flour and knead the dough for a minute or two. Use enough flour so that the dough barely sticks to your hands anymore. Divide the dough into 4-6 pieces and shape into buns. Note: they will rise even more in the oven. Cover an oven tray with baking paper, place the buns on the tray and garnish with sesame seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes, so that the buns get a little color on them.

 

 

Tofu & black bean burger patty base

4 large patties

    •    300g tofu (I’ve used Jalotofu’s marinated tofu)
    •    1dl black beans, ready to use
    •    2tbsp soy flour or chickpea flour (optional, but keeps together better)
    •    at least 1dl breadcrumbs/fava bean flour/gram flour

 

 

... shiitake mushrooms & hoisin

    •    200g shiitake mushrooms
    •    5tbsp hoisin sauce (2 for the mushrooms, 3 for the mass)
    •    2 cloves of garlic
    •    1tsp liquid smoke
    •    1tsp smoked paprika powder
    •    2tsp maple syrup / brown sugar

with: sriracha & hoisin ketchup

    ▪    2dl ketchup
    ▪    2tbsp hoisin sauce
    ▪    sriracha to taste
    ▪    3tsp smoked paprika powder

*Mix together - done

 

... teriyaki BBQ

    •    2 cloves of garlic
    •    1,5tbsp teriyaki sauce
    •    1tsp liquid smoke (hickory)
    •    2tsp maple syrup

with: homemade mayonnaise

▪    0,5dl soy flour
    ▪    0,5dl soy milk (room temperature)
    ▪    1dl veggie oil
    ▪    1,5tbsp lemon juice or apple vinegar (+more for seasoning)
    ▪    0,5tsp salt
    ▪    garlic powder, smoked paprika powder, sriracha etc. for taste

*put all the ingredients in a tall bowl, use an immersion blender or a mixer to whip until thick, add more lemon juice or apple vinegar and spices for taste

 

+tomato slices, pickles, marinated red onion, crispy lettuce, cilantro, all that good stuff! (Oat fraiche was not a bad choice with sriracha & hoisin ketchup)

If you're going for the shiitake mushrooms & hoisin, good for you! Start by dicing the mushrooms. Heat a frying pan and add the mushrooms, no oil is needed. When the mushrooms have gotten some color on them, reduce the heat and bring the pan off the stove. Add 2tbsp hoisin sauce, mix, and place back on the stove for one more minute. Let the mushrooms cool down a little.

If you use a food processor, put in all the ingredients except for the breadcrumbs / bean flour and grind until you get a nice mass, doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. If you use an immersion blender or want to do this by hand, take a medium size bowl and use a fork to mash the tofu. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the breadcrumbs / bean flour, and blend into somewhat even mass.

If you're making the buns yourself, you can get back to your dough at this point and continue with the patties after.

Start mixing the breadcrumbs / bean flour into the mass, so that it becomes moldable. The consistency largely depends on the type of tofu you are using.

Divide the dough into four parts and roll each one into a ball by hand, then shape into a patty. Cook the patties on a frying pan (with oil) or on the grill!

 
tofubbq03.jpg

YESSSSSS. I have to say I'm super happy with the result. Now go on, take that bun and build your perfect burger!!

Harissa potato salad

 

Hello! It's time for the second part of that brunch goodness, as promised. I love all kinds of potato salads in the summer, and they are especially good for festivities because making a larger portion doesn't usually take that much extra work.

If you're celebrating Finnish Midsummer this weekend, I recommend adding this spicy potato salad to your menu!

Harissa potato salad

(serves ~4)

 

    •    1kg potatoes
    •    1/2dl sun dried tomato cubes
    •    1/2 large or 1 small red onion
    •    1/2 green apple
    •    capers (to taste)

    •    1-2tbsp harissa paste*
    •    1tsp oil (from the sundried tomatoes)
    •    2tbsp red wine vinegar
    •    1tbsp maple syrup
    •    1 1/2tbsp cumin seeds
    •    salt, ground black pepper

*I've madly fallen in love with harissa spice paste, commonly used in Northwest African cuisine. If you like spicy food, don't hesitate to add 1tbsp more!

 

Cook the potatoes, but be careful not to let them get too mushy. If you wish to leave the skins (I did), wash them thoroughly (and peel off any nasty looking parts). While your potatoes are cooking, start preparing the marinade.

Use a large bowl to mix the harissa, oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup and cumin seeds (grind in a mortar if you can). Add just a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.

Cut the red onion into half moons and the sun dried tomatoes into cubes. Or what ever shape you like, just make them smaller. Cut them into tiny little stars if you've got time for that, I don't mind.

Add the onion and tomatoes into the marinade immediately, and stir to let the onion start softening.

When your potatoes are cooked, let them cool down a bit and cut them... yeah, smaller. You get the point. Add the potatoes into the bowl and roll them around to spread the marinade. Cut the apple and mix in.

I could only find large capers this time so I decided to use them more as a garnish, so I only added them right before serving. If you can find the small ones, you can well mix them in whether you serve the potato salad right away or the following day. Which ever kind you have, small or large, rinse them first.

The longer you let the flavors soak in, the better the potato salad. I made mine the night before the brunch, but if you're on a schedule, don't worry. Even a half an hour will do wonders!

potatosalad06.jpg

I've had a pretty exhausting week (which is completely fine since it's only Wednesday haha), so I'm looking forward to Midsummer - laying low, chilling out & enjoying some good food. Hope you have a good one, too!

Green salad with cantaloupe, rhubarb vinaigrette & nut "parmesan"

 

Last Sunday we had a lovely little brunch at our place. As I promised on Instagram (if you're not following yet, go do it: @feedthedarkness), I'm going to share some recipes!

 

SO MUCH FOOD. Thankfully I am surrounded by people who also enjoy cooking, so no, not all of it was made by me. Like that beautiful hummus and the blueberry breakfast muffins! Shout-out to those juicy cherries over there, too, I think I ate like half of them by myself.

A while back I posted this version of basically the same salad on instagram - so keep in mind that this recipe is easy to turn into a proper lunch by adding some more veggies, beans, tofu, seitan, etc. For the brunch I wanted something lighter and fresh, something that is also perfect for your picnic on a hot summer day!

Green salad with cantaloupe

(serves 4)

  • ~150g baby spinach
  • ~70g arugula
  • 1/2 cantaloupe melon

Thoroughly wash the baby spinach and arugula, shred the leaves smaller by hand if you want to. Remove the seeds and cut out the hard skin of the cantaloupe. Cut the juicy parts into pieces as you like. Mix the cantaloupe pieces and the greens in a large bowl. Try to keep the salad cool until serving!

Rhubarb vinaigrette

    •    ~8cm piece rhubarb
    •    juice of 1/2 lemon
    •    1½tbsp apple vinegar
    •    1/2tbsp agave syrup or sugar
    •    1/2tsp ground black pepper
    •    a pinch of salt

 

Wash the rhubarb carefully and grate the piece into a cup. If you can, use a grater with small razors (as shown in the image above). Add the lemon juice and apple vinegar, then mix in the sugar or agave syrup, black pepper and salt.

Nut "parmesan"

    •    ~1dl brazil nuts
    •    1tbsp nutritional yeast
    •    1tsp natural umami powder
    •    1/2tsp garlic powder
    •    1/2tsp salt

There are different ways to make this nut crumble that tastes remotely like parmesan cheese, and this particular version is something I made out of what I usually have at home - I've tried using walnuts and it works just fine, but I prefer brazil nuts for the taste. I've also heard of using miso paste, and I definitely want to try that out, but damn... that sh**'s expensive!  Anyway, I've completely fallen in love with natural umami powder. Goes amazingly with anything green you might fry on a pan (hello, broccoli).

Cut the brazil nuts into smaller pieces and place into a bowl with all the other ingredients. Ground with an immersion blender (or use a food processor if you've got one). The crumbs will stick to the blades, so when you're taking them out (probably a couple of times in the middle of the making) be sure not to do this with your fingers or at least take your hands off the power buttons, or unplug the whole thing if you're as clumsy as me. Seriously. You'll want to use those fingers for picking up delicious treats in the future.

Get some salad on your plate, sprinkle on some vinaigrette and nut parmesan.

We also had some amazing (yet simple) potato salad, and I will share the recipe in the next post. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Teriyaki cabbage rolls

 

It's time for spring cabbage again! I had some trouble translating this, because the kind we get in Finland is not like the 'spring greens', but more resembles the regular white cabbage. I like spring cabbage because it's softer and therefor easier to handle, but this recipe is a very simple variation of traditional cabbage rolls so you can just as well use white cabbage.

Cabbage rolls are not particularly fast to make, but they are fun and more importantly a great low-budget meal.

Teriyaki cabbage rolls

(serves two to four*)

    •    1 spring cabbage (or white cabbage)
    •    1tsp salt
  

  The filling:
    •    230g black beans
    •    2dl rice (of any kind)
    •    ~ 2cm piece of ginger
    •    1-2 cloves of garlic
    •    2 spring onions
    •    2tsp ground coriander (whole seeds if you own a mortar!!)
    •    4tbsp (thick) teriyaki sauce
    •    2tsp soy sauce
    •    Sriracha (to taste - leave out if you don't like it hot)
    •    oil for frying
    

Toppings:
    •    2tbsp syrup
    •    2tbsp teriyaki sauce
    •    3tbsp sesame seeds

 

+ lime juice, cilantro, sriracha to serve

*to serve four, double the ingredients of the filling to serve on the side

 

Place the cabbage in a large pot and measure the water to almost cover the cabbage. I actually don't own a large enough pot so I try to roll the cabbage around every once in a while when boiling to cook it more evenly. I also didn't measure the water at first and ended up burning my fingers a little bit, so try to learn from my mistakes. Take out the cabbage and heat the water to boiling, then add salt. If you use regular white cabbage, cut out the hard stem. Come to think of it, this might be a good idea for spring cabbage as well - see the next image. Place the cabbage in the pot (carefully). Reduce the heat.

As the leaves start to soften, they should be quite easy to pull off. Use any helpful tools you can find for this task, but seriously watch out for those fingers!! Here's what I did:

Yes I cheated a little bit. You see, I didn't cut out the stem. I'll just say it again: learn from my mistakes. Okay, let's move on. Pull out the leaves until they start getting too small for rolling. Take out the remaining cabbage but save the water for the rice. Rinse the leaves in cold water and place on a kitchen towel to dry.

Don't worry about tiny little holes on the leaves, in my experience they don't cause any problems. Cook the rice in the remaining water (add more if needed) and start preparing the filling:

 

If you use canned black beans, rinse them. Crush and mince the garlic, peel and mince or grate the ginger, chop the onion. If you own a mortar, grind your coriander seeds.

 

Chop half of the remaining cabbage (chop it all to serve four) and save the other half for later (use it in a salad or something, just don't waste it).

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat some oil on a frying pan. I like to start with frying the black beans to get some texture on them. Add the garlic, ginger, and ground coriander, mix with the black beans and add the chopped cabbage straight after that. Let the cabbage soften a little bit more, then add the teriyaki sauce (and Sriracha if you want). Finally, add the onion and the cooked rice, mix and add the soy sauce, fry for just a couple of minutes more.

It's time to start rolling!

Put a couple of spoonfuls of the filling on the leaf. To make the roll, first turn over the ends, then the sides.

 

Place the rolls on a casserole dish, top with syrup and more teriyaki sauce.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds over your rolls and bake in 200°C for about 30 minutes.

Yes I had to add some Sriracha because more is more, but that's no news.

Squeeze on some lime and garnish with cilantro, if you want. I did.

Pancakes & sweet cinnamon+orange tahini dressing

 

I can not think of a better way to kick off this blog but with pancakes! Same goes for Sundays... I don't know about "breakfast of the champions" but these pancakes will keep away the hangry for a good while!

Plain maple syrup is obviously good company for your pancakes, but I dare you to take one step further and try this cinnamon and orange flavored tahini dressing! Don't worry, the maple syrup is there. You probably also want to enjoy your pancakes warm, so make the dressing first.

Sweet cinnamon+orange tahini dressing

    •    1/2dl white tahini
    •    1+1/2tbsp maple syrup
    •    2 tbsp orange juice (fresh, please)
    •    1/2tsp cinnamon powder
    •    1/2tsp freshly grated ginger

 

 

Mix all the ingredients in a cup or a bowl of your choosing. Using a fork (instead of, I don't know, a spoon) for the mixing helps! That's all. Your sweet, sweet dressing is done, just waiting for those pancakes. (The leftover dressing was boldly used on a salad later that day. Surprisingly good!)

And now, for the pancakes... These are not the fluffy type, but they are super delicious and very filling. I particularly like the sourness that comes from the yoghurt! The fava bean flour can easily be replaced with equal amount of quick oats, but I like it for the addition of protein.

Pancakes

(serves two)

    •    1dl wheat flour
    •    1dl quick oats
    •    1dl fava bean flour*
    •    1tsp baking powder
    •    1tbsp potato flour
    •    2dl apple or pear sauce
    •    1dl soy yoghurt**
    •    1/2tsp cardamom
    •    1/2tsp pure vanilla powder
    •    (coconut) oil for baking
    •    toppings of your choosing - fruit, nuts, berries, cocoa nibs...

*replace with 1dl of quick oats or other type of flour (use your imagination!)

**I generally use coconut flavored soy yoghurt (which contains sugar), but natural yoghurt of any kind should work nicely!

 

Mix all the dry ingredients (including the spices) in a large bowl. I happened to have whole green cardamoms, so I crushed them and ground the seeds in a mortar.

If you want to use a food processor or a blender, put in your flour mix, then the apple sauce and yoghurt. I prefer to do this with an immersion blender, so I added the rest of the ingredients into the same bowl. (You can of course mix it by hand, it's just not as easy.)

The dough becomes somewhat fluffy but it also gets very thick. Heat some oil (measure to your preference or depending on the pan you're using) on a frying pan, and reduce the heat when you have the first batch of pancakes on. Use two large spoons to pick up a lump of dough, place it on the pan and using the spoons, shape it into a somewhat even cake (mine are usually around 15mm thick).

Flip them over a little bit before they look like this. Whoops... I mean, nice and crispy.

 

After flipping, wait a couple of seconds, then use a spatula to press the pancake down a little bit.

 

Keep the pancakes waiting under a plate or a towel to keep them warm, while you bake the rest of the dough.

It's time to make your pancake pile!! I added some banana, frozen blueberries, brazil nut and sea buckthorn powder.

And then you bring on the dressing.

Enjoy your pancakes with good company. Maybe a cup of coffee. Take your time. It's pancake day!