Montag, 28. November 2011

glazed swede

I started this blog after I got into the finals of a recipe competition with a recipe for swede. When I grew up, swedes were as big as babies´ heads, my dad used to take them outside to chop them up with an axe, no kidding. But there was only one way to eat them. Cooked with potatoes and carrots and mashed up. I used to like that. Well, I still do. Without the sausages that went with it. But this turned out nicely as well -

1 medium swede, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1tbsp orange marmelade, or grated orange rind
1 tbsp palm sugar, grated
plenty of freshly ground pepper
dash of lemon or orange juice
2 tbsp roughly chopped pistachios

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the swede for a few minutes, then add the salt and cardamom. Continue to stir-fry, then add marmelade and sugar. Stir-fry and allow to caramelise. Keep stirring until cooked, then season with pepper and lemon juice. Garnish with pistachios to serve. Goes nicely with couscous.

Dienstag, 15. November 2011

super moist everyday bread

I´ve come across the idea to grate apple into bread dough a few times, but couldn´t quite imagine how it would turn out. Today, I just asked my four-year old if she wanted to grate an apple into the dough, and she said yes, and then she said, no, two. Well, one big and half a medium sized apple went into the dough… and it turned out so nicely! Super moist with not exactly a fruity undertone, but there is definitely a special something in the taste…

250g wholemeal bread flour (I like to use spelt)
250g white bread flour
1-2 large apples, finely grated
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried fast-action yeast
4 tbsp sesame seeds

Mix flours, sesame and yeast. Mix in sugar and salt. Add the grated apple, then keep adding lukewarm water to the dough until it comes together. Allow to prove in a warm place, shape into a loaf, allow to rise again, then bake for about 40 mins at 200 degrees. Put a heatproof bowl of boiling water into the oven while baking if you want a nice crust.

Now that I´m back at making bread, I can justify the acquisition of an oven stone :-).

Sonntag, 13. November 2011

the rest of the pumpkin

… went into pumpkin and chocolate chip cupcakes with cinnamon icing from Vegan Cupcakes take over the world. Their were really nice. I used vegan chocolate chips from Plamil, such a chocolaty treat! And the final cupful of mashed pumpkin went into some pumpkin scones. Again, nice. Although I made some roasted pumpkin as well, I think now I have to go on a pumpkin holiday for a while.

Dienstag, 8. November 2011

basic bread with pumpkin II

Today I discovered that the pumpkin in the fridge was showing warning signs of imminent decomposition, so I decided to use it. And since we were almost out of bread, I made a different type of pumpkin bread (and cooked and mashed the remainder of the Halloween pumpkin for use later this week).

300g strong white flour
300g strong wholemeal flour
3 tsp quick action yeast
2 tsp salt
300g grated pumpkin
about a cup lukewarm water
3 tbsp oil

Combine the dry ingredients, mix in the pumpkin and add oil and water to make a workable dough. Allow to rise until double in size, then shape into a bread, dust with flour. Allow more rising time while oven is heating up to 200 degree. Put a heat-proof bowl of hot water into the oven while baking the bread, and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes until lightly browned on top and sounding hollow when tapped underneath. Ah, the smell of freshly baked bread!

Montag, 7. November 2011

basic bread with pumpkin

my dear husband bought a massive pumpkin for carving, but what do you do with the pumpkin head after Halloween is over? I did not want to let it go to waste, so I grated some into one kind of pumpkin muffins, cooked the mash posted earlier, and still had mashed pumpkin left. In fact, I still have about half the pumpkin sitting in the fridge waiting to be used…
But the idea to just put some of the mashed pumpkin in a basic bread turned out really nice!

Here's what I did:
500g white bread flour
250g wholemeal spelt flour
3 tsp quick yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp oil
1 cup mashed pumpkin (or as required)
2 handful pumpkin seeds (optional)

Mix the flours with yeast, salt and sugar. Add the oil and pumpkin until a dough starts to form. Once you´ve got a nice workable dough, knead in the pumpkin seeds. Allow to rise, form into a bread and put into a greased bread pan or onto a greased baking sheet. Give it more time to rise while oven is heating up to 200 degrees, then bake for about 45 mins or until it sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

Freitag, 4. November 2011

going vegan?

When I recently did the Vegan Society's Vegan Pledge for a month, I really thought Veganism was not for me. At least not at the moment. As I have been writing before, I felt not ready for the implications of a truly vegan lifestyle, and I had certain qualms about some products etc. While I am far from having these resolved, I was astonished to see how small the step from my current vegetarian diet to a vegan diet was. And now they sent me the book "vegan stories". Reading all those stories, I realised that being vegan is what I have to work towards. Why? Unlike many people in those stories, I can't say I am that crazy about animals. But I have always felt an intrinsic connectedness with all of nature, which recently has received a more compassionate undertone with my becoming buddhist. So, those stories about the dairy and egg industry on our veg box's newsletter, ironically meant to convert people to buying organic dairy and egg (and sadly, meat), lodged in my mind and heart, and here we are... Much like my decision to finally go vegetarian was somehow "emotional" after I had my first baby, this seems the same - and like with so many things in my life, it feels like a necessary thing that follows naturally from where I am headed.
I have tried to vanish into thin air for years, but it didn't work, so now I have to find alternatives to tread lighter on the planet and to live more ethically. It feels like a futile attempt, but one that I have to make. Somehow I believe, no, I know, that even trying, making that attempt will be better than just to give up in the face of the odds. I know that I will not be able to make only "ethical" consumer and behaviour choices , I'm not enlightened. I won't always know where my food comes from. I can't grow it myself, or only to a limited extend. I can't buy only local, only seasonal. It will require the extra effort to find, e.g., shoes that are not leather but are also not the hazardous-waste kind of "plastic" shoes. I have yet to make up my mind about honey and beeswax, which I consider fantastic natural products, plus bees are needed to give me much loved and needed fruit... I am wary of taking supplements to make sure I get enough iron and Vit. B12, but it seems a small price to pay in order to avoid inflicting suffering. And that brings me to the Buddha. No, he wasn't, in all likelihood, vegan. But in his days, I assume, there was at least no large-scale industrial production of dairy products, so the overall impact on the planet etc. was so much less. Plus, he only ate one meal a day, reducing his need for resources, considerably. True, I find the prospect of carrying my resolve through quite daunting. But then in my heart I know there is no other way. I will probably do it gradually, if only to accustom my surroundings with the fact. I was equally "scared" of becoming a vegetarian, worrying about what my friends and families would say, but at that point 4 years ago, I simply had to do it. And so I know, I can go vegan, too.

seasoned pumpkin mash

Yesterday, we had quite a feast. We had some milk that was about to go bad, so I had made some paneer (bring milk to a boil, add lemon juice or vinegar to curdle, take off heat, strain through a cheese cloth, wash with fresh water, press wrapped in the cheese cloth under a weight such as a pot filled with water) the night before. I used that in a curry which we had with rice and this really amazing mash - it was Halloween so we have pumpkin to use up:

500g pumpkin, diced and roasted or boiled, then mashed
2 tbsp oil
1 hot green chilli, minced
generous tsp fennel seeds, crushed
half tsp cardamom seeds, crushed
salt to taste
3 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery
juice of half a lemon
desiccated coconut for garnish

Heat the oil, briefly fry chilli and crushed seeds. Add the pumpkin, salt and sweetener. Stir to heat and thicken. Stir in lemon juice and garnish.