From the kitchen: Vegan coconut lime mousse

I bought silken tofu out of curiosity and was unsure how to prepare it. This recipe, from the German producer Taifun, sounded promising and simple, so I picked it and prepared small mousse jars:

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I used lemon instead of lime, and whipped the soy cream without stabiliser (if you don’t have it, use a small quantity of starch instead), and it tasted great. This jar is the last one of the six I made, and after a few days it was still firm and light.

I topped it with wild cherries in syrup (Amarene Fabbri):

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… and it vanished like magic 🙂

From the kitchen: khichdi

For this week’s cooking post I chose a dish I like a lot: khichdi, a rice and lentils dish, very popular in South Asia. This dish has endless variants and names, according to the region where it is prepared and the ingredients that it contains.

My recipe of today aims to be a sort of blueprint, that you can adapt to the ingredients in your cupboard and to your taste.

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Ingredients:

  • rice (basmati or jasmine do fine)
  • lentils, dal or small pulses in around the same quantity of rice
  • spices:
    • turmeric powder
    • one or two bay leaves
    • coriander
    • cumin
    • fenugreek (optional)
    • salt
    • chili (optional)
  • a fat: olive oil, or butter, or ghee, or coconut oil
  • coriander leaves, and/or basil, and/or parsley (fresh would be the best)
  • yoghurt (optional)

Preparation (~2h soaking + ~30min cooking):

Soak the lentils if needed (check instructions on the package, or rely on your experience). Wash lentils and rice together, until the water comes out clean. Optionally let both soak in water for 1 or 2 hours before cooking.

Put rice and lentils in a pot (a pressure cooker would speed up cooking, but is not required; any wide pot will do), cover them with warm water, add cumin and bay leaves and let cook until tender but not yet cooked. In the meanwhile, crush coriander, cumin and fenugreek in a mortar. (You can roast them before crushing them, using a small pan and no fat.) Slice some ginger, at your taste. When rice and lentils are halfway cooked, add the spices and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until tender. Add water if needed – more water will make the khichdi more soupy and easier to digest, while less water will make it more firm, risotto-like.

Add salt as the last thing, in the pot or in each dish.

On each dish, add crushed or minced coriander/basil/parsley leaves, your preferred fat, chili if you like, and/or pepper. A touch of yoghurt makes the dish deliciously creamy and enhances the spices’ flavours. Enjoy!

From the kitchen: easy chocolate cake

I’d like to share a recipe of a super simple chocolate cake I made recently. I was back from a 20-day trip abroad and I had not yet gone shopping, but this recipe asks for so few ingredients, none of them perishable, so I was able to bake this amazingly tasty and fluffy cake on the fly:

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Picture and recipe on Flickr

I have no other pictures, as it disappeared too fast!

Ingredients (for one cake or 12 muffins):

  • 200 g flour
  • 200 g sugar
  • 100 g dark chocolate (as powder or in bar – then melt it with some butter or milk)
  • 250 ml milk (cow milk or substitutes)
  • baking soda (the quantity recommended by its package)
  • optional: spices like cinnamon or vanilla

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the cocoa powder or the chocolate, previously melted with some butter or milk. Add milk, baking soda and spices. Mix well. Pour the mixture in a cake pan and bake for around half an hour at 180 degrees Celsius.

I was used to bake this kind of cakes with eggs, so this eggless recipe left me initially cold. After it came out of the oven and we tasted it, I changed my mind, the texture was perfect!

Recipe source: Il Ricettario Segreto del Lago Maggiore e d’Orta, by Franco Mora and Elisa Tognasca.

Vichyssoise

Yesterday we cooked one of our favourite dishes: a variant of the French vichyssoise. It is a simple dish, that is open to many variants (just check the Internet for how many recipes you can find). Our version is the following, based on an unknown source, or a mix thereof:

Ingredients:

  • potatoes and leeks in equal amounts, or more leek than potatoes
  • butter
  • parsley
  • milk (soy milk works well too)
  • flour
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Peel potatoes and wash the leek very thoroughly. Cut both in very small pieces. Let some butter melt in a wide pan and add parsley, potatoes and leek. You can try to caramelise them a bit, but it’s not required. Add enough water to prevent burning, cover with a lid and let it simmer for around 20 minutes.

After this time, both potatoes and leek should be almost cooked. Add then some milk and flour, and a pinch of salt. Mix well, close the lid and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes, checking often that the food doesn’t stick to the pan.

When it is cooked, keep it on the stove for a few further minutes and mix it while it loses a bit of its water content.

Serve hot with some pepper and olive oil on top. People say that it is very good also when cold, but I rarely have leftovers to try with 🙂

Enjoy!

source: Flickr.