There is some very offensive mint plants growing in my yard. I thought to use them for something, and wanted to make some cool sweet drink for sunny weather. Also, in my freezer there is some frozen banana, which is a great base for vegan “milk”shakes and sorbets. I usually freeze the bananas, if for some reason I have forgotten them and they have become completely black. This way they make the best sorbet. This is what I came up with this time:
Mint – Coconut – Pineapple Smoothie
1 frozen, overripe banana
1/2 can of canned pineapple
1 small handful of spearmint leaves
3/4 dl coconut milk
I blended it all with a handheld mixer.
Filed under: Cooking, spring seasonal food | Tags: lasagna, nettle, tomato, vegan bechamel sauce
There is a retelling of a very old fairytale by H.C. Andersen, which tells about a maiden Elisa, who in order to save her seven brothers has to collect nettle from graveyards and knit sweaters for them out of it . I have also once upon a time made yarn out of nettle, but this time decided to stick to cooking, since the fibre making process was quite a lot of work.
So I went out to get familiar with the woods outside of my new house, and did find some beautiful places and lots of perky little nettles. Nettle is absolutely one of my favourite plants, being not very easy to approach but very healthy and useful indeed. It’s good to eat this time of the year when it’s still small, because later on it becames quite chewy and fibrous. Nettle is easiest found somewhere close to human settlements, not in the actual woods.
Lasagna with Nettle
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
2 small onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh basil
a pinch of black pepper
salt and sugar to taste
3 l of loosely packed nettle leaves
1 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of nutmeg
salt to taste
1 l oat milk
1 dl canola oil
1 dl wheat flour
salt to taste
Also: 250g whole wheat lasagna noodles
I started with the nettle, which should always be boiled before use in order to remove nitrates. I separated the leaves from the stems, and threw them into boiling water, and allowed them to boil for about two minutes. Then I chopped the onions and the garlic, and added them and the nettle leaves into a pan, and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. Then I added the nutmeg and the salt.
The tomato sauce I made by chopping the garlic and the onion, and frying them in oil until the onion became limp. Then I added the tomato and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. In the end I added the spices and the salt.
The bechamel sauce I made by first heating up the oil in a cooking pot, and then adding the flour. After boiling the mixture until there were no lumps in the flour, I added the oat milk and brought the mixture to boil, mixing it every now and then. At this stage it usually thickens, but for some reason this time it didn’t happen. Must have been the new brand of oat milk that I was using, since I have made lasagna so many times with this recipe without any troubles. I ended up using only half of the bechamel sauce, even if with a normal thick sauce I would have used it all. Anyhow the consistency of the lasagna when ready was fine, even if the bechamel sauce was not very distinguished.
After making all the three sauces I assembled the lasagna by first greasing a pan, and then adding to the bottom a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of bechamel sauce and then a layer of lasagna noodles. Then I added a layer of nettle, a layer of bechamel sauce and a layer of lasagna noodles, and so on, until the pan was full.
I baked the lasagna in the oven for 40 minutes, in 200°C.
I had a lot of capsicums the other day and even if I have a strange distaste for capsicums I wanted to try to make a soup out of them. I have seen recently many recipes for a soup that includes capsicums that are lightly grilled and decided to make one of those. I was moving out of my house and to a new city the following day, so everything was rather chaotic, but somehow I managed to get the soup done. Btw, I guess they can be called pepper too, but I got used to the name capsicum in Australia.
Soup with Grilled Capsicums
2 cloves of garlic
25 g tomato puree
1 dl oat cream
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp Pimenton de la Vera, dulce (sweet, smoked paprika powder)
1 l water
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
Olive oil for frying
salt to taste
First I chopped the capsicums in halves, removed the seeds and put them on an oven plate. I sprikled them lightly with salt and olive oil and grilled them in 250°C in the upper part of the oven. I had the oven turned on so that the heat would come from the top the oven. I reckoned the capsicums ready when they started to get some black marks on them.
Meanwhile I had also chopped the onion and the garlic finely. I fried them in a cooking pot in olive oil, and added the chilli flakes and the sweet paprika. After that I added also the capsicums, the water, tomato puree and the vegetable stock powder. Then I let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the capsicums felt soft. Then I pureed the soup with a hand held mixer and added the oat cream and some salt. We ate the soup with Iiris with some non – vegan yoghurt we stole from my other room mate, because I had slightly overestimated the amount of chili. Otherwise the soup was nice, especially if you like capsicums. Even I got somehow used to the taste…
Filed under: Baking | Tags: banana, cocoa, cupcake, shade grown black pepper, vegan
Well, cupcakes again! They are so easy and fast to bake that they have definetely become my favourite thing to bring to parties and such. This time I made them for planting happening with an environmental organisation that I’m currently into. I wanted to try to bake something with these really gorgeous shade – grown black peppercorns that I bought recently. It it true what I heard: the aroma of the shade grown black pepper is quite a lot more interesting than the usual stuff that is available in shops. The particular brand that I bought is called Big Tree Farms.
Vegan Banana Cupcakes with Cocoa and Black Pepper
4 dl wheat flour
1 dl cocoa powder
2 dl sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp egg replacer
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground bourbon vanille
2 tsp finely ground black pepper
2 dl mushed banana (about 2 ripe bananas)
2 dl oat cream
1 dl water
150 g vegetable margarine
I melted the margarine first. Then I mixed the dry ingredients, including sugar and egg replacer, in a bowl. The cocoa powder I put through a sieve, in order to avoid lumps. The black pepper I ground using a mortar and pestle, because I wanted to get a really fine powder. Then I mushed the banana with a fork and added that to the mixture. After that I added the oat cream, the water and the margarine, and divided the dough evenly into muffin forms. I baked the cupcakes about 20 min in 200 °C.
Filed under: Cooking, spring seasonal food | Tags: edible wild plant, ground elder, pesto, pumpkin seed oil
Now the Spring is finally here and the first green things have started to come up! I wanted to get off to the forest and look for some new shoots of ground – elder ( Aegopodium podagraria) which is one of the first edible wild plants showing up in the spring. Now it is also the best time to collect it, since later in the summer it becomes slightly bitter.
I went off to the woods and found the new ground – elder leaves excactly where I expected them to be. What a hunter – gatherer’s joy I experienced at this! And while collecting them, I felt a lightness of heart, and strangely at peace the way I haven’t felt in a long time… maybe it was the connection to Mother Earth, who knows.
After returning home with my bounty, I decided to make pesto out of it. I thought that it would feel really nice to eat them uncooked.
Ground Elder Pesto with Pumpkin Seed Oil
1 dl almonds
1 dl pumpkin seed oil
1 tsp salt
3 handfuls of young leaves of ground – elder
1 clove of garlic
1/2 dl water
2 tsp dried basil
I made this pesto simply by mixing all the ingredients with a handheld mixer. The colour of it was scarily dark, but the taste very lovely, strong and flavourful. As I had intented, the strong taste of the pumpkinseed oil went really well together with the taste of ground elder.