5 Minute Vegan Mayonnaise

vegan_mayonnaiseMost of the time, while I am looking for vegan recipe on-line, I give up trying. Whether for bizarre ingredient (some time very expensive one) or very long and complicated procedure ( do this, then one hour resting in the fridge, then blabla) I choose to simply don’t eat these things. But this, this is so easy and quick, and honestly taste much better than regular mayo, I couldn’t believe it! Furthermore, it won’t become unstable, it is dumb proofed.

Note: you’ll need an hand-blender

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 200 ml sunflower oil
  • 100 ml soy milk
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ lemon juice
  • pepper (optional)

1. In large and high glass, put 200 ml sunflower oil + 100 ml soy milk + ½ teaspoon mustard powder. Blend until the two liquid are uniform.

2. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and mix again for max 2 minute. And you have it. If it is still liquid, try to add just a tiny amount of extra oil.This can happen because not all lemons have the same amount of juice. I like to add some black pepper, but it is up to you :)

Buon Appetito!

Advertisements

No-effort Vegan Parmigiana

parmigianaI’ve been always cheating on parmigiana recipe. Vegan or original recipe, I do not want to spend hours frying or roasting eggplants. Of course, it tastes slightly different, lighter I would say. But in 30 minutes it is ready to go and healthier. The tricks are very easy: cut very thin your eggplants and make a maximum of three layer, better only two. I’ve never find the need of put eggplants under salt and press, have you?

Note: You’ll need a sheet of baking-paper

Time: 30 minutes cooking + 10 minutes preparation

Ingredients:   [6 portions]

  • 2 eggplant
  • 500 m (1 pack) of tomatoes passata
  • vegan soy-based prosciutto/mortadella ( what you find on offer :) )
  • vegan cheese (optional, if costs too much, screw it!)
  • salt & pepper
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • fine breadcrumbs (as required)

1. Wash and cut eggplants very thin, almost 5 mm thick.

2. In a lasagna tray, or any backing tray you have on hand, lay a sheet of baking paper. Put the first layer of eggplants: avoid to overlay them on each other and salt them.

3. Cover the eggplants with the tomatoes passata. Use a spoon to spread it even.

4. Add pepper and oregano. Put a layer of vegan prosciutto and cheese, if you have it.

5. Repeat the layer: 1. eggplants 2. salt  3.tomatoes passata 4.oregano and pepper

6. For the last layer: spread some fine breadcrumbs all over and some olive oil. In this way you’ll have some kind of soft-crust on it. Cook for 30 minutes at 200° both up and down heat.

Wait a little bit before serving, when parmigiana is too hot it is easy to fall apart and become a mess (prooved by personal experience >.< ). Buon appetito!

Croutons Salad

bread_saladThe are two things right now that can give me some happiness: cooking and sleeping. Cheering myself up with some colorful salad. Buon appetito!

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:   [8 portions]

  • 4 slices toast bread
  • 500 gr cherry tomatoes
  • 2 red onion
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 cucumber
  • 15 olives (without pit)
  • fresh parsley
  • olive oil (generous amount)
  • salt & pepper
  • some lettuce leaves as base

1. First focus on pepper: pre-heat a nonstick pan, wash and cut your peppers and let them roast without oil until they get some tender but they are still crunchy.

2. While your peppers are on the pan, wash and cut the other veggies: cucumber ( I leave the skin on for this recipe), cherry tomatoes, red onions and olives. Toss everything in a bowl and season with pepper,fresh parsley, olive oil and salt.

3. Cut the slices of toast bread in small cubes and fry them in another pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Wait until he oil is frizzling before tossing the bread in. After 1-2 minutes flip them to the other side.Be careful, those small cubes burn easily! Lay them on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil.. Note: don’t add the croûtons on your salad till few minutes before serving, otherwise they will loose texture by absorbing the tomatoes juice!

4. Let the peppers cool down completely before adding them to the bowl. I usually move everything on a big serving plate, covered with some roman lettuce and croûtons on the very top, as in the picture. It is very scenic!

Handmade Gnocchi ~ Recipe

gnocchiOnly two ingredients for this gnocchi. They are very filling and delicious. You can boil potatoes the day before and smash them, keep them in the fridge and then make gnocchi shape the next day, as I do when I have people coming over. It is much easier though if you just smash the potatoes when they are still hot and mix them with flour right after, they stick together easier and quicker. Anyway, I tried both ways, and they come out as good! Freezing them it is not possible, unfortunately they loose their texture.

How to serve them:

This is a typical north-Italy dish and it can be served in many ways. What I personally love the most, is with just knob of butter, melted with some black pepper,sage and Parmesan cheese on top. I prefer it because it emphases the taste of potatoes and it is not over-powering. You can also have them served with ragù (click here for recipe).

Time: 1 hour and ½ preparation + 10 minutes cooking

Ingredients:   [8 big portions]

  •  1kg potatoes
  • 400 gr white flour
  • salt

1, Boil the potatoes in salted water. There is no need to remove the skin, it will remain trapped inside the potatoes masher.

2. When they are tender (check with fork, around 40 minutes after), smash them with an old-style potatoes masher. Taste them, if it is needed, add more salt, which usually happens.

4. Put some extra flour on your clean table surface and start working your potatoes with 400 gr of white flour until you’ll have  a compact texture, enough to create a mass. See the picture below.

gnocchi025. In the meanwhile spread a clean tea-towel on your table and cover it with some flour, as in the picture, in order to prevent your gnocchi to get sticked on each other.

6. With a knife, cut a small quantity from your mass. Now go back to your childhood and model it to obtain the shape of quite long worm. With a knife, cut it in smaller pieces, almost 3 cm long. Be sure to add extra flour on your table if they get sticky. While you’re making them put them on the tea-towel to rest.

7. Cooking process: Use an extra-large pot to bring salted water to boil. Add small quantities of them, not all together, otherwise they will stick on the bottom of your pot or even worse, they lose their shape and become one huge gnocco. They are cooked, as soon as they float on water surface again. Use a small colander to pull them out and keep cooking in the same pot all the other gnocchi left.

Buon appetito!

PS: I want to add a funny and unrelated information: in very informal Italian language we use the word ‘gnocca/o’ to point a sexy/attractive woman or man out: ‘Che gnocca!’ XD

Easy Vegan Banana Pancakes

vegan_pancakeWeekends start beautifully: pancakes! I find them very close to their non-vegan brothers. I hope you will enjoy them, as much as we do :) I usually prepare the mixture inside a fridge container with a top lid, so I can directly save what’s left in the fridge for the next day. It will be as good as the day before, just….darker color thanks to the banana’s oxidation.

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:   [9 pancake]

  • 2 and ½ banana
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 cups white flour ( o 1  whole, 1 white)
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt

1.Smash the banana with a fork. In the meanwhile, pre-heat your non-stick pan with medium-high heat. I find no need of butter or oil.

2.Add 2 cups of milk, coconut powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In small amount, add 2 cups of flour: keep stiring to prevent any lump.

4. Put on the heat and cook until some bubbles will appear on the surface. When they do, it means they are ready to be flipped. Cook for a moment the B-side of your pancake.

They need to be brown both sides, but still kind of white and uncooked in the middle. At least, this is the way I like them!Garnish with everything you like and buon appetito!

Sicilian fennel Salad

fennel_saladLong time since my last post. First of all I want to thank Seema (here her blog http://www.coffeemakerslist.com) for all the love and support she showed me, pushing me to come back. Since we moved in Germany (around November), I had so much colon-pain every afternoon till nights, which often turned out into an emergency bathroom call. Since 7th April I kind of changed my everyday nutrition into a more “veganish” way of eating, I still eat fish though. The reason was mainly my pain, which now is reduced significantly. I would say that 90% of time I am fine. Anyway long story short: I got kind of depressed and had a lack of creativity since now milk, eggs, cheese and other stuff don’t belong our fridge anymore. But now I am slowly rearrange my everyday meals…

This recipe is a traditional recipe, very very refreshing, you can make it completely vegan skipping anchovies. Some family serves it at the very end of the meal, to “wash” your mouth thanks to the citrus and help digestibility through fennel nutrition properties or could be served between two important and heavy courses to lighten them up.

Time: 15 minutes + 10 resting

Ingredients: 

  • 4 orange ( better quality without seed)
  • 3 fennel
  • 2 spring onions
  • 10 black olives
  • oregano, salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • fresh parsley
  • Optional: 3-4 anchovies cut in small pieces

1. Cut oranges skin out.: you need to completely remove the white skin part and cut in small chunks.

2. Put orange in a big bowl with spring onions finely cut, 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.

3. Wash and  remove the external shell of fennels. I like to cut them fine but not too much: I do love the crunchy side of fennel. Add to the bowl with 3 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and some parsley.

4. Add olive( I like to cut them in smaller circle) and *anchovies, which will add some salty background taste.

Let it rest for 10 minute and then taste it:  the orange sweetness should be in contrast with the raw spicy hint of spring onions. Now you can adjust with more pepper and salt if needed.

Buon Appetito!!!

Answer to: nominate you for a Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated by Frank S. Ravitch ( click here to see his blog) and I am gonna answer these questions anyway, even if I won’t fit exactly in parameters requested. But I am happy someone thought about me and actually nominated me.

10 questions
1. What is your dream for the future?To be happier within myself. Loving me a little more and being proud of what I am, even if it is not was I wanted to become.

2. Do you want to live in a different country? If so, where is it and why?
I’ve already moved three times, probably I would have to move again. A part of me would like to go back and live in my homeland again, Sicily. Because I miss so many little things that Germany won’t give me. But still, when I am back in Sicily, my heart doesn’t recognize it as “home”. I don’t know if it is only a matter of time or maybe we should try to move somewhere else. I would like to give a try to USA. Who knows.

3. What kind of food do you like?
Seafood pasta, a big bowl of salad, better with some grilled zucchini and peppers, bruschetta

4. Have you ever traveled? If so, where have you been?
I went in Florida, London and Austria (Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna). When I was young , my family and I traveled Italy far and wide, high and low, expect for Sardinia, we visited all Italian regions in details. I have wonderful memories of those trips.

5. What is your favorite season? And Why?
Now that I moved northermost, summer.

6. Do you cook? If so, what is/are your best dish/es?
I’ll answer with my husband’s favorites, since it is really hard for me to judge myself with indulgent: Sacher Torte,pasta with pistachio (link here), guacamole, potatoes gateau ( link here)

7. If you get 1-month-vacation, what will you do?
I would like to visit Asia continent, it is my dream , since I was young.

8. What is/are the most important thing/s for your life?
My husband, animals and my bed.

9. What makes you smile recently?
Kindness.

10. Do you like reading? If so, What book do you recommend?
I am actually very slow reading, but I would say I read 6-7 books for year, which I know is under the average of normal people. I love crime books the most, together with political-social books. I’ll list some of my favorite below:

  • Andrea Camilleri – Terracotta Dog
  • Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre
  • E. T. A. Hoffmann -‘Night Pieces’ or ‘Nocturnes

Thank you very much for reading this,

Gaia

The Rules for the ten nominated blogs:
* Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they have been nominated
* Each nominee must have under 200 followers
* Thank the person who nominated you and link to the nominating blog
* Answer my 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
* Write a post containing my questions for you
* Include these rules in your post

Grandma grilled Eggplants

grilled_eggplantGrandma used to make them in Summer, when eggplants are in season and they have no seeds. She used to put them in jars also, preserved with oil for the winter. However, she was famous for her tomatoes passata, every year she spent 4 days doing it and she had so many jars in her pantry. I miss her and I miss these old traditions.

All that you need is some music or movie,or as she used to, watch some soap opera like “Beautiful”, because grilling eggplants take time. They can last up to one week in your fridge, or 6 months if you decided to preserved them in oil.

I got my grill pan “GRILLA” from ikea 3 years ago ( around 10 €),  it is still in perfect condition. I use vinegar to clean it :)

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 4 aubergines
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper (with/out seeds, up to your spicy taste)
  • fresh basil, fresh mint
  • 2 tea spoons oregano,salt
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar ( for the preservers use regular white one, from grapefruit)
  • 4 tbs olive oil

1. Pre-heat your grill pan with medium-high heat and spread some salt on it.Doing so, the eggplants slices won’t get sticked.

2. While the grill is warming up,wash and cut the eggplants in 1 cm thick slices. Thicker they are, longer they have to grill both sides, certain I don’t want that !

3. While your eggplants are grilling, let’s make the dressing: in a bowl mix 4 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 4 garlic cloves and red chili-pepper very fine cut, 2 teaspoons oregano, mint and basil fresh leaves, as much as you like.

4. Each time a slice will be ready, put it in the bowl so it can soak the dressing up. Each time another round of eggplants will be cooked and added to the bowl, do not forget to stir them. It could seem that the dressing won’t be enough, but, as long as you see them changing color and turning more brown ( because of the black balsamic vinegar), trust me, it is good enough :)

and Buon appetito!

Carrots Salad

carrotsalad

Oh yes, that’s not even a recipe, I know. But the combination of this citrus dressing and spicy garlic is really good. Again, this another recipe of my daddy.

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 350 gr carrots
  • 1 ½ lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • pepper, salt
  • fresh parsley
  • oregano
  • 4 tbs olive oil

1. Peel, wash and cut very finely your carrots. You can use a grater to make them.

2. Mix everything in a bowl: 1 ½ lemon juice, olive oil,oregano, pepper, salt, fresh parsley and cloves of garlic without skin cut in half, then it will be easier to avoid eating them later. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, half an hour if you have the time. This will marinate the carrots and pop the flavour out!!

Buon appetito!!!