Food Talk Wednesday #4

A little birdy told me it had been a while since I last talked about food on here. It also told me that I risked losing my label as a foodie. So what’s a girl to do? Better safe than sorry so how about we talk about … .food today?  It’s common knowledge among bloggers that writing an intro is the hardest part of a post so how about we get started right away? Thanks again to Jenn for hosting What I ate Wednesday!

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

Usually I’d keep the best for last but because breakfast yesterday was [one of] my favourite food[s] in the world I’ll spill the beans right away: it’s kabocha season! Granted, not actually. But our garden has allowed me to have a first taste of autumn’s best produce while stores aren’t carrying squash regularly yet. I know some of you are lucky to have kabocha available all year round but for me it’s a few months only. A few long-awaited months. Or this year sadly just weeks because stores around here won’t carry this very kind of squash at all so I’m limited to the ~ seven kabocha babies in the yard.

Anyway, I figure I’d go best by living in the moment and enjoying kabocha to the fullest while I can. No problem because it tates so.incredibly.amazing.

kabocha_pot

Sometimes, the best dishes grace your plate when you improvise [or can’t follow your own recipes]. Case in point: the zucchini overload in our garden and lack of cauliflower combined led to me turning my Cauliflower Chickpea Curry into a, well, Zucchini Curry.  With kidney beans because I had an open can of those. So yes, totally overthrowing my recipe but keeping the spices. The result? Delicious. And obviously more afforable using our own produce. Just wait for it: by the end of summer I’ll either be fed up with squash or sadly resert back to those at the store.

Zucchini Kidney Bean Curry

No day is complete without some …? Chocolate, right. I’ve been surprising myself with a changed taste preference here. After my recent purchase I haven’t been fancying my old favourite at all anymore. Dare I say it tastes … odd to me? Well, I guess they say tastes change as we grow up. As of yet I’d asumed this was only true in terms of more nutritious foods [can you believe I wouldn’t touch a tomato as a child and now can’t get enough of our homegrown ones?] but why not include chocolate? It’s from a bean so basically a vegetable/legume after all 😉 .

Mint chocolate

Because we’ve reached the sweet ending of this post I bid you goodbye and see you again tomorrow!

Happiness-inducing today: Meeting an old acquaintance and his cute dog and having a nice chat.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

How have your taste preferences changed in the past?

What’s your current go-to breakfast? How often do you change it up?

Tell me your favourite flavour combination: Chocolate and _______________?

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Quick Cauliflower Chickpea Curry [vegan]

Quick, easy and nutrient-filled this warming and satisfying curry makes the perfect weekday meal. Vegan, naturally gluten-free and packed with nutrients and flavour.

More often than not my recipe posts turn into confessional ones. I figure everybody’s got a way to rid themselves of their sins so if mine’s a way of producing content: two birds with one stone, right? And if it means you’re getting a recipe that way maybe three birds? Oh well, I honestly don’t know where I’m getting here. A little birdy told me to …? Okay, moving onto food. Or: confessions. And delicious curries that don’t require you to stock up on every spice available at the Indian grocery.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_3

You might remember I’m a produce overbuyer in rehab. Only rehab means trying to stop the habit, it working for some time – and then going downwards again. Once more, a recent grocery store trip ended with me carrying home a monstrous head of cauliflower with no intention on how to use it. I know … Typical. Despite having a million ideas on how to turn cauliflower from bland into absolutely amazing  Plus, it’s a nutritional powerhouse so maybe that’s why it lures me in time and time again?!

close-up_cauliflower chickpea curry

I’m more often than not too overwhelmed to decide on a recipe. Add to the dilemma that I somehow manage to ignore the cauliflower’s existence [as if that was possible with a huge head staring at you every time you open your vegetable drawyer …] until it’s on its last legs. And it was one of those situations when this recipe came about. I was hungry. I had cauliflower to use. Indian food sounded good so Cauliflower Chickpea Curry it was. Though you obviously know I’m not guaranteeing any authenticity with my recipes. Indian-inspired curry.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_2

Whenever I cook brown rice I immediately think of Lee. Why? Because some time last year she posted a delicious-looking recipe calling for it and I lamented the fact I was unable to locate short-grain brown rice [still living in the middle of nowhere then]. Imagine my delight – heureka! – when I finally found a bag back then. The obsession is back again at the moment and this curry just calls for brown rice as a side. Or your favourite grain, really. But bonus points for brown rice. And coconut chips that I only thought of adding post photo. Blogger fail. Oh well, that’s another confession on my part so we’d better fet onto the recipe now.

 

Quick Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

  • 200 g cauliflower [2 cups, chopped into small florets]
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup chickpeas (125 g)
  • ¼ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4-1 tsp cumin seeds [I always use the larger amount]
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Coconut chips [not shredded coconut!] for topping
  • cooked [short-grain] brown rice to serve

 

  1. Start by sautéing the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. While it’s cooking mix the spices to keep at hand when ready. Add to the onion mixture and toast the spices for about two minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning them.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets, stir well to combine them with the onions and cover the pot. Let cook for around five minutes.
  4. Mix in the bok choy stems, stir and cover again for a minute. Add the chopped tomato, chickpeas and tomato sauce.
    Just before turning off the heat, stir in the bok choy leaves and let them wilt.
  5. To serve, plate with some the brown rice cooked/reheated with coconut milk/soy creamer and some coconut chips.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry_4

Because I know everybody appreciates some quick and easy dishes I’m sharing this recipe with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: An interesting conversation with a ‘colleague’ at the kids’ book club I’m currently assisting at.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Your turn: Share a [kitchen] confession!

What is one vegetable you’re constantly buying too much of? Don’t pretend I was the only one doing it!

 

Very vegan at Vengo and with Vivani

Why is it always so incredibly hard to start a post??? How about this: it’s a happy day, the sun is [hopefully as I’m writing this the night before] shining and we’re about to talk about food! What a surprise on the day of the week that combines both the What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday shenanigans. Oh well, at least I didn’t even pretend I was feeling the creative intros today. (:

* a note on that title: I was no paid by either the restaurant or the company [see further down below] but I’m a sucker for alliterations. Sue me.

 

WIAW_new2015

Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact I ate out again? I wasn’t expecting to return to Vengo this soon again but Monday saw me and my mum spontaneously meeting up in Bremen again. I wish I lived there! Not just for the food but because we spent some time touring the city and it’s really beautiful. I might just need to take some time to sort through the 384756746 pictures I took and give you a little glimpse into our stroll. For now, however: food. Blogger food: hummus.

Bremen_Vengo_hummus_March 2015

Regarding the food, however, I was slightly disappointed. After my  last visit I had high expectations. Sadly, the Brussels Sprout and Beet Curry with turmeric rice was only sub-par. The taste was deliciously spicy but the vegetables were cooked to almost mushy consistency and that’s a huge minus in my books. Also, the amount of beets – not a favourite food of mine at all but I want to like them hence why I picked this dish – was lacking.

Bremen_Vengo_brussels sprout and beet curry_March 2015

My mum’s stuffed eggplant was infinitely more pleasant, though, so I can forgive that one low. I may ro may not have considered this my second plate and stolen more than one bite. My mum loves me for that ;). Clearly.

Bremen_Vengo_stuffed eggplant_March 2015

There was a reason today’s WIAW started with lunch because breakfast is about to get classy right here. Tupper-style. Going from breakfast phase to breakfast phase I can safely say the oatmeal kick is back. The past few months were decidedly savoury but these last weeks oatmeal has been the name of the game again. I can’t say I was complaining. Others would probably talk about how they craved carbs first thing in the morning but I prefer to see it this way: I crave sweet, filling and fluffy oats. With almond and peanut butter, please.

Oatmeal_tupper_blueberry sauce_almond butter

What has changed compared to my last long oatmeal-for-breakfast stint, though, is my preferred way of preparation or better yet way to enjoy it. Still cooked stovetop but  not eaten hot. Rather, I’m all about the mock overnight variety. Read: cook oatmeal with extra chia seeds, let cool down, put into the fridge overnight and have a delicious cold pudding-like concoction waiting for you in the morning. Try it! Along with nut butters I’ve been adding fruit sauces on top. Fresh berries might cost a small fortune but frozen are a decent enough sub.

Keeping up with my favourite endings I’d like to introduce you to a new discovery in my world*. Vivani is a German company making a genuine effort to broaden vegans choices on the chocolate market. Part of this are a number of snack-sized bars in enticing flavours. I’ll try to hunt down the other ones, too, but for now I can only speak about the White Nougat Crisp. Unlike you’d expect it’s not actually a white chocolate bar but has a delightful hazelnutty taste and creamy meltiness. It’s a huge difference from my usual choice of darker chocolate bars but quite good nonetheless. A bit too sweet for my taste so it might not become a regular purchase but the next time I’m craving a milk chocolate-like treat I know how to satisfy it. So if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant longing for dairy chocolate this one’s for you!

* Disclaimer: I bought this chocolate bar with my own money and without the company’s kowledge of me mentioning it in my post. – or even knowing I purchased it altogether.  All opinions are my own.

Happiness-inducing today: My grandma being happy about me calling her after she had a rather exhausting day. It made me feel a tad guilty for not doing so more often.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

How often do you eat out?

What is your favourite bar of chocolate? Details! Dark? Whole milk? White? Which add-ins or fillings?

Pineapple Lentil Curry with Wheatberry Cauliflower ‘Couscous’

Creamy curried lentils with a fruity kick accompanied by a combination of chewy wheatberries and fluffy cauliflower.

Pineapple lentil curry 2

Some of you might wonder: Pineapple in lentil curry? Why, yes. This is another one of those dishes where I can go into more details of its whereabouts. Like I mentioned my original intention on the day I created this dish was a very different one. Lentils would have made an appearance either way but the fruity part was a spontaneous decision. Or semi-spontaneous. I’d been craving pineapple for a while yet hesitated to buy some . Because unlike what you’d guess if you’d seen me go a little overboard when being presented with a plate of perfectly ripe one when eaten on its own pineapple doesn’t sit so well with me.

Pineapple Lentil 8

But cravings need to be satisfied – plus I’m stubbornly ignoring food sensitivities at times – so I decided cooked pineapple was fine with me. And it was. The curry would probably still taste good without them but fruit in curry is meant to be and the tropical contrast to the rustic lentils [do they feel that way to anybody else, too??] was perfect. Creamy lentils, sweet pineapple and a side of both chewy and fluffy wheatberry cauliflower ‘couscous’.

Pineapple Lentil 4

The idea for my side here was a spur-of-the-moment decision, too, when I spotted a recent favourite and now long-neglected [for no reason] grain: wheatberries. With a huge cauliflower on hand I decided to combine the two for contrasting textures – which we know I’m a fan of. The cherry on top was adding coconut butter to both the curry and the ‘couscous’. This one needs no explanation: just try it! Whether on its own or with the ‘couscous’ on the side – once more comfort food in a bowl.

Pineapple Lentil 6

Pineapple Lentil Curry with Wheatberry Cauliflower ‘Couscous’

  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small eggplant or 1/2 a medium [about 120 g for me]
  • a handful of mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup of green lentils, canned
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • a pinch each of cinnamon and cayenne pepper
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened pineapple chunks in their own juice [canned], juice reserved
  • 1/2 tbsp [or more] of coconut butter

For the wheatberry cauliflower ‘couscous’:

  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking wheatberries*
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower, riced in the food processor
  • juice from the canned pineapple
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp coconut butter
  1. Start by preparing the wheatberries according to package directions.
  2. When they’re almost done, add the cauliflower ‘couscous’ and a few tablespoons of  the pineapple juice. Cook until the cauliflower has softened. Stir in the coconut butter, season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the curry:

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in [coconut] oil until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds and coriander and fry to lightly toast the spices.
  3. Add the eggplant, lower the heat and cook until the eggplant has softened.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until they’re tender.
  5. Mix in the drained lentils, remaining spices and let simmer for about 5-6 more minutes. Shortly before it’s done cooking, add in the tomatoes.
  6. Adjust seasonings to taste.

* I use ‘Weizli’ which is similar to ‘Ebly’ – both are pre-cooked [still whole grain] wheatberries that allow for a much faster cooking time of only 20 minutes.

Fruit in curry might be a little strange [but very good] so I’m sharing this recipe with Laura as well as Kierston, Healthy Vegan Fridays and Allergy-free Wednesdays.

Happiness inducing today: Puppies! Every time I see somebody with a puppy or a grown-up cute dog I secretly wish I didn’t live in an appartment and could have a furry friend living with me, too.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Have you ever added fruit to curry or another savoury dish?

Is there any food you can/ will only eat cooked not raw – or the other way around?

[Cauli]flowers on my plate

If you read my post on Wednesday you know that I’ve been drowning in cauliflower lately, Yes, I can only blame myself – or maybe the alluring presentation at the market …?

Anyway, since the days of steamed, just lightly seasoned cauliflower have long been over for me [thank goodness!] I got a little creative in the kitchen. Do you ever get hit with non-creativity once you have an overflow of a certain ingredient on hand while you can’t even stop recipes coming up when you don’t have it on hand? Am I the only one??

Cauliflower snack

First up was what I’d call a non-recipe because it was so simple. The inspiration came through a sample of The Vegg which Rocky, the creator of this product, had kindly offered to any blogger interested in trying it a while ago. In case you haven’t heard of this product yet The Vegg is a vegan egg yolk replacement that you simply blend with some water and can use in both savoury and sweet dishes.

Vegg

The first idea that came to my mind were breaded vegetables that usually call for egg yolks to help the coating stick. Not having breadcrumbs at hand I came up with a strange but good idea: why not use cereal? I know cornflakes aren’t such an usual coating but what would you say if I told you I used puffed amaranth?? Yes. You’ll notice I use this a lot and rightly so: it’s both a great snack and a versatile ingredient in many dishes.

The Vegg

The best part of breading the cauliflower was letting my inner child out again messing around with yolk, dipping and dripping, finger licking … you get it ;). Though maybe actually not that much finger licking. The Vegg scents eerily similar to the “real deal” which turned me off a little because I’ve never been a fan of runny yolks [yes, I notice I just offened every #yolkporn enthusiast – sorry!]. Don’t worry, though: the taste – at least in this recipe – wasn’t as close.

breaded

As I said: it’s more of a non-recipe. I prepared one teaspoon of The Vegg according to package directions. My coating consisted of a´1/4 cup puffed amaranth, 1 tbsp peanut flour, dash of cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast. All nicely dipped and baked for about 25 minutes at 350 °F. A strange but good snack.

Strange but good

Disclaimer: While I received The Vegg for free to review I wasn’t compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

oat loli

Now onto the real recipe in this post which I’ll also link up with Kierston’s Recipe Friday.

Ginger fans: This one’s for you. I’m going back and forth between liking ginger and finding it too pungent. Yet – overbuyer alert – when it was on offer I just grabbed a knob of it without any plans in mind [note: not a good idea when trying to avoid overbuying]. Back to why this is for ginger people – no matter which hair colour 😉 -, though: I got a little overzealous when adding it so the curry turned out to have quite a bite. Lesson learned: use only half the amount if you prefer a milder dish.

Curry

Originally, I’d meant to prepare a pumpkin curry. But not only did I have an overabundance of cauliflower but carrots, too. And as carrots – at least to me – are an underrated vegetable I thought I’d switch it up and let them shine in this dish. You could always go the pumpkin route – especially if you’re lucky enough to have access to the canned variety! – but it’s worth giving carrots a try.

Gingery Carrot Cauliflower Curry

  • 2 cups of  cauliflower, chopped [200 g]
  • 1/2 cup of  chickpeas
  • 225 grams carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of soy milk [use coconut milk by all means if you have it on hand]
  • 1 knob of ginger [1/2 thumb in size], minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter [might omit if using coconut milk]
Start out by preparing your carrot puree: Add carrots to a pot and cover with water. Blanch until tender and blend.
Sauté the onion until lightly browned, then add the garlic and ginger and let cook for a little longer.
Sprinkle in the spices, shortly frying them – be careful to avoid burning them.
Stir in the carrot puree. Let the curry simmer on medium heat until the cauliflower is tender.
Add chickpeas and soy milk as well as maple syrup to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Oat flatbread
Definitely serve with a side of Khushboo’s oat lolis as a great scooping vehicle – and because they taste awesome while being super simple to prepare. I added cumin seeds to mine. Maybe it’s odd but I really enjoy the burst of flavour when biting onto those seeds.
Happy Friday!
Happiness inducing today: My mum being there for me – on the phone at least – in a very unpleasant situation [think devillish toothache].

Strange but good question [at least coming from a non-egg eater]: What are your favourite uses for egg yolks? Though I might not get to try a lot more before moving I want to make the most of my sample of The Vegg.

What are some of the strangest substitutions you’ve made to recipes before?

Are you a fan of cumin and do you like using whole seeds? I could seriously put it into [almost] every savoury dish.

Culinary confessions of an overbuyer

Hi there, fellow foodies!

First off: thank you so much for all of the encouraging and supportive comments on my last post! I appreciated every single one of them. Change still isn’t easy for me but I’m trying to just let it happen and see where life leads me.

Before we head straight into the more illustrated part of this post I feel like I need to explain its background a little. all it a confession of an overbuyer if you will … Picture this: you’re visiting the Farmers’ Market knowing that you’re well stocked in the vegetable department already. Clearly, your only intention is to get some of your favourite apples only available at a certain stall and then head home again. No other purchases or even side glances at the full array of beautiful produce allowed … Can you guess the end of the story? Yes, I somehow ended up buying the most humungous head of cauliflower you’ve seen so far for a fantastic price and a bag of awesome pears as well. Typical foodie problems?! Which leads me to today’s What I ate Wednesday.

wiaw fall into good habits buttonUsing up what’s on hand and not buying new produce anymore sounds like a good habit to fall into, don’t you think so?! Once more I’m also linking up for Vegan Wednesday so to all German readers: take a look at a collection of delicious vegan food over at Julia’s.

Finding myself with an overload of produce – more specifically: cauliflower, bell pepper and carrots as well as slightly more “normal” amounts of random others – I had to modify my Pinterest challenge. It’s almost the usual for me to overbuy produce. But with my move coming closer I need to hurry up on eating my way through the produce party. Hence challenge “Make a dent” – not to be confused with any current appointments at the dentist’s …

Cream of corn

Have you ever been lured into the “season’s almost over so I have to buy it!” syndrome? With corn season being almost or even already over I noticed I hadn’t had fresh corn at all so far. Yes, shame on me. This recipe for sounded awesome and it didn’t disappoint. While I expected it to be good it turned out even better. So good, in fact, that I could have even done without any add-ins. Why didn’t I realize any earlier just how amazing fresh corn tastes?!

[Actually, I made this months back already but forgot to mention it in previous WIAW posts. Sorry!]

Next up was a freshly pinned recipe that I mentioned in my post on Sunday: Susan’s Spaghetti Squash Pesto Lasagna. Will you believe I actually followed the recipe [almost] to a T??? Okaaay, I subbed grated zucchini for the spinach – all for the sake of using it up – and used additional and also silken tofu though Susan doesn’t recommend it [with added cornstarch to thicken it up]. But other than that I didn’t make a lot of modifications. Verdict: Delicious! Once more I was skeeved by the low lighting but you can’t change the weather.

Squash Lasagna

Carrots first found their way into my Red Lentil Kabocha Chili which you’ll probably notice I modified a little and tried to measure how much water I added. How I forgot to add almond butter on top the first time I tried it is beyond me.

My original intention had been to try a Pumpkin Cauliflower Curry. However, the [red kuri] squash stored in the basement seems less perishable than carrots. And with no canned pumpkin available I had to prepare my own puree in anyway. So why not go for carrot instead of pumpkin?

oat loli

Don’t let the look deceive you. Despite its mediocre appearance I came up with a flavourful and spicy (!) curry that hit the spot once reheated. Does anybody else find that curry – just like chili – tastes better when reheated? On the side I tried another new-to-me recipe: Khusboo’s Oat Lolis. They had been on my Pinterest board/to-make list ever since she posted them and yesterday offered a great opportunity to try them.

scoop

Super easy and fast to prepare but the best part: they’re an great scooping device. In case you’re wondering: I added cumin seeds [obsessed!] and the first loli disappeared before it could even make it into a picture. Hangry blogger at work? Maybe … I’ll share the recipe for the curry later this week for any others desperately in need of using up cauliflower ;). Or just those who enjoy a good curry.

Cauliflower snack

Okay, this one is strange but good. Remember how I mentioned the cauliflower was humungous? I wasn’t kidding and I actually still had half a head sitting in the basement that I’d somehow forgotten about. Enter cauliflower not only for lunch but as a snack, too. Not any old cauliflower, though, but vegan egg-battered amaranth-coated cauliflower. More details on that in my next post :).

Avocado-Törtchen

Ending on a sweet and [semi-]raw note once more: [frozen] Chocolate Avocado Cupcake made by my sister. She’s been asking me for healthy food ideas and started experimenting on her own for quite some time already coming up with some awesome creations. Though they haven’t been eating weird food before it’s funny to see family members jump on the health foodie bandwagon every now and then lately, too. Who knows, maybe I’ll turn them into nut butter addicts and oat bran fiends one day after all?! Wishful thinking – but then again: Sharing my nut butters? I don’t think so ;).

Happy [healthy] Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Mailing another surprise letter.

Help me out: What are your favourite uses/recipes for cauliflower and bell peppers? Aside from roasting [still not a fan – totally untypical foodie here, sorry!] I appreciate any suggestions.

Are you good at resisting produce offers when you know you’re well stocked already?

Did you interest in [healthy] food rub off on family members yet?