Very Easy chocolate vegan Muffin

 

vegan_muffin

Five minute preparation, amazing taste. I really needed a recipe quick and easy, without any milk :) Oh just to tell, this particular recipe passed both my mother and mother in law prejudges on vegan stuff, they simply didn’t notice any differences with my regular ones.

Time: 30 min –  5 min. preparation

Ingredients

  • 150 gr plain soy yogurt
  • 110 gr organic brown sugar
  • 100 ml sunflower oil
  • 60 ml water
  • 170 gr spelt flour
  • 16 gr baking powder
  • 1 tbs vanilla flavor or vanilla sugar
  • 20 gr cacao powder (unsweetened)

1. Pre-heat you oven at 200°.

2.In a bowl mix all ingredients ( no particolar order needed) with a whisk till everything is mixed well and without lumps.

(3.)I use silicon muffin-pan, so I don’t need to grease them, if you don’t, make sure to do this passage :)

4. With a ice-cream scoop I fill ¾ of them and cook in the oven for 30 min. No more, or they will burn or become dry!

Buon appetito and happy weekend to everyone!

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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!

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!

Tuna Sauce Recipe

tuna_sauce_pasta

Time: 7 min

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can tuna in brine ( around 100-120 gr product)
  • 8 pitted green olives
  • 1 tbs Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs e.v.olive oil
  • 40 gr feta cheese ( but any kind of soft cheese works, I used Gouda, Edam, Provolone etc)
  • 1 tbs water
  • fresh basil ( around 10 big leaves) (or frozen is still good!)
  • fresh parsley (or frozen is still good!)
  • black pepper
  • some thyme on the top

How to use it:

I use this sauce in different ways: if, like last Sunday, I put it on pasta, I always add some more boiling water  to make it more fluid and saucy. Otherwise, I keep it more dense and I use it as dressing for my Tuna Bruschetta. Another way I use this sauce for is over boiled potatoes, with their heat the sauce melt a little bit and it’s super tasty.

tuna_sauce1. As you can see from the picture above, just toss all the ingredients in a mixer and let the yummyness begins. One tip only: if you are not using a salty cheese like Feta, taste it: maybe it would need a little boost of salt. Add some thyme and pepper on your pasta and…

Buon appetito!!!

 

Grandma Pasta Recipe

pasta_sundriedtomatoesI really love this recipe! When I was studying for my bachelor, I used to visit my grandma every Wednesday lunch and this was one of her typical “I completely forgot you were supposed to visit me!”-recipe. I miss you so much grandma!

Time: 10 min

Ingredients:   [ for 2 ppl]

  • 150 gr sun-dried tomatoes
  • olive oil (a nice amount)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • parsley ( again..a nice amount)
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper

1. Bring to boil a pot of water with salt in it and cook any kind of medium-size pasta you would like.

2. While your pasta is cooking ( al dente!), heat a pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Toss in it 4 cloves of garlic after you’ve pressed them with your hand to get all the flavor out. Add also 1 teaspoon of chili pepper ( or even less if your don’t like spicy food).

3, When the garlic is sizzling, add sun-dried tomatoes,thinly cut; let them cook for 5-6 min. I usually add a small cup of the boiling water in the pan to make everything smooth later and avoid to burn your garlic.

4. Drain the pasta and put it together in the saucepan where your sun-dried tomatoes are cooking and season everything with a lot of parsley.

And that’s it! Buon appetito

Quick Zucchini Soup

zucchini_soupTime: 15 min + 10 for blending and cooling down

Ingredients: ( 4 ppl)

  • 1 kg zucchini ( which are 4 zucchini medium sizes ca.)
  • fresh parsley
  • chili pepper ( 1 teaspoon)
  • salt

NB: For this recipe you’ll need an hand-blender.

Optional for serving:

  • some grated cheese ( mozzarella here, Emmental, Parmesan…your favorite one!) or just some olive oil on top
  • Some fried bread
  • Fresh basil

1. Wash and cut your zucchini roughly, approximately 1 cm thickness. Throw them in a saucepan and add 1 full glass of water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and put to a medium heat. Cook for 15-20 min.

2. After 15 min your zucchini are cooked enough, but not much. Add your parsley and leave your pot cool down for 5-10 min.Then hand-blend everything and serve! It’s usually perfect temperature by this time.

Buon appetito!

Rice Salad ~ Recipe

rice_saladTime: 20

ingredients:

The ingredients quantity can be altered up to your taste. You can also skip some ingredients you don’t like and adjust to your own favorite pickles. Each family has its own mix of ingredients in Italy, this is my daddy’s recipe.

  • 500 gr rice ( short grain one)
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • tuna can ( 150 gr)
  • 20 green olives
  • roasted peppers 400 gr ( I usually buy them ready to be eaten)
  • peas can ( 280 gr)
  • corn can ( 200 gr)
  • oregano and fresh basil
  • 3 spoons olive oil
  • 1 spoon balsamic vinegar

1. Boil the water with some salt in it and cook the rice following the directions in the box. Arborio or Carnaroli rice usually takes about 20 min to be fully cooked.

2. In the meanwhile, open all the cans and toss what they contained in a strainer and wash everything with cold water. Grab a big bowl and cut the tomatoes, peppers and olives in smaller pieces. Seasons everything with some oregano and fresh basil,3 spoons olive oil and 1 spoon balsamic vinegar. Add the rice, mix everything and it’s ready!

If you keep the bowl inside the fridge, it will last up to thee days without problems.

Buon appetito!

Fratelli Contorno Products Review

fratellicontornoFratelli Contorno is a brand specialized in Sicilian goodies: from typical starter as ‘Caponata’ to different pasta sauces. They offer a wide range of products; in this picture from left to right: 1. Cherry tomatoes sauce, 2.Swordfish and eggplant sauce, 3.sardines sauce( two different sizes),wild fennel sauce, artichoke caponatina. You can also check out their official website to look other products they offer. For most of their products you can find different sizes: from very small portion: for 1 max 2 people, to very big jars for 4-6 people.

Here  you can find their official website( both in English and Italian): http://www.fratellicontorno.com/english/

How do they taste? They do taste quite close to the original recipes, however not completely the same. They are a good approximation to a homemade recipe. As I will show later in this blog, I do use their products,but I always add my personal touch to make them as close as I can to a fresh sauce. To whom live far away from Italy, some ingredients are very seldom available: like swordfish, cuttlefish ink, celery or artichokes, so they really help you to recreate those recipe otherwise impossible to make.

How is the quality? Compared to other brands that offer similar half-ready to go products I find the quality very high. The ingredients used are genuine and natural, no colorants added, no chemical stuff inside. Usually you only find a very little amount of sugar or salt as last ingredients ( so very low percentage), in order to preserve the taste and acidity level. In some recipe they also use olive oil, which is quite rare for these kind of products.

Here an example of ingredients used in ‘Swordfish and eggplant sauce’(jar 2 from left to right):Tomato, swordfish (20 %), eggplant (20 %), sunflower oil, white wine, extra virgin olive oil, capers, garlic, mint, sugar, salted sardines puree, salt, chilli.

Packaging: I really like the packing style, very Italian, with bright color, but mostly I have to say: their cans and glass jars are very sturdy!If you’re traveling inside EU, as I do, you can board them easily.For me it’s a tradition to bring home some of their stuff for the next months when I get nostalgic of my hometown, and they’ve never cracked or damaged!

frat_contorno02

Where can you buy them? They are very easy to find in any good quality supermarket, not only in Sicily but in whole Italy. Also, some of their products are sold in USA but under a different brand name: “Cuoco“.

How much do they cost? The price can fluctuate very much. I would say from 1 up to 5 € for big jar ( around 400 gr of caponata). I also find that they can be quite often on sale or promotion ( for example I’ve often found cherry tomatoes sauce for 0,89 cent pro bottle), so watch out!

Vote: A–

For me, overall they are all good products, none of them let me disappointed. I have to say that I’ve still not tried the whole range ( for example mushrooms,tomato concentrate nor pesto etc..)That’s why I don’t speak up with a full A. My only regret is that you can’t find them in the rest of EU! Definitely I suggest to buy one of their products as souvenir from Sicily, so you could recreate for your friends or family some original Sicilian recipe you ate there :))

*All opinions are genuinely my own. I am not affiliated or paid by the company*

Lentils Salad Recipe

lentils_salad

This is a quick and fresh recipe, perfect for summer!

Time:10 min [4 ppl]

Ingredients:

  • 2 can of lentils  (around 500 gr)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • mix of seeds (sesame seed, pine nut,pumpkin seed, sunflower seed)
  • 1 or 2 spring onion
  • mix of different lettuce loose leaves ( arugola, red leaf, romaine etc)
  • mix of fresh herbs (basils, parsley, chives, oregano)

1. I decided to quickly warm the lentils up and let them cook for some minutes. Lentils in a can are usually precooked, but I always rinse them, wash with cold water and cook for 10 minutes. In this way they lose any “can smell”, if you know what I mean.

2. While the lentils are slowly re-cooking, I peel the cucumber, get rid of internal seed and wash it together with cherry tomatoes. I chop everything in little cubes and put it in a big bowl. Add one or two spring onion, herbs and washed lettuce leaves. Let the lentils cool off for some minutes.

For dressing: I simply add olive oil, salt and pepper.