Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Slow Cooker: Vegan Spaghetti Sauce

I love myself a good pasta even though I know it is not very healthy. Still I have it about once every week. The recipe I am sharing today is from My Whole Food Life. She presents it as a one pot meal, including the spaghetti in the last 20 minutes. I tried it that way, but the spaghetti became one mushy clump. So this week I made it again, with only the sauce in the pan and cooked the spaghetti separately. This works way better and this sauce is a good basic tomato and bell pepper sauce.


Vegan Spaghetti Sauce: (serves 4, 3.5L slow cooker)
- 2 bell peppers (I used two red pointy ones, but use whatever colors you want), chopped
- 0.5 onion, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 125 gr mushrooms, sliced
- 800 gr canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of water
- some fresh basil
- spaghetti for 4 persons, for serving

In a pan, bake the garlic and onion shortly in some oil. Then add it to the cooker together with all the other ingredients except for the basil and spaghetti. Put it on high for 2 hours. Cook the spaghetti in a pan for the last 20 minutes of the cooking time and serve them together with some basil.




Monday, February 8, 2016

Best Breakfast: Peanut Butter Granola

I hardly ever have breakfast with sandwiches any more, which is the norm in Dutch culture. Ever since I switched to granola with vanilla yoghurt in the morning, my digestion has been better in general. But because eating the same granola over and over gets boring as well, I tend to make the same one only two times in a row, and then try something new. While this isn't the most healthy one I posted, it is the easiest one and the most low budget one so far. For a lot of granola recipes I go to a speciality shop so I can weigh the exact amount of nuts and seeds that I need so I am not over paying because nuts and seeds are kinda expensive. For this recipe I don't have to go to the speciality shop, so it is really easy if I don't have much time for the extra trip.


Peanut Butter Granola: (Makes about 5 cups)
- 5 cups oats (about 450 gr)
- 0.5 cup peanut butter, maybe a bit more
- 0.5 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- some chocolate pieces to taste (dark or milk)

Pre heat the oven to 140 degrees. Put the oats in a large bowl. Combine the peanut butter and honey and place it for about 45 seconds in the microwave until the peanut butter starts to melt. Add in the vanilla and stir through. Cover the oats with the mixture. Now you decide if it needs some more peanut butter. It depends if you can get everything covered.

Place the granola on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Make sure that the granola is in a single layer. I always have to bake mine in two batches. Bake for about 20 minutes. Then stir and bake for about 10-15 minutes longer. Let it cool completely before adding the pieces of chocolate.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bento for week 4 and 5

Two weeks ago Nick had the flu. He lost his voice and when working at a help desk, you kinda need that ;) But the day before he would go to work, I did make a bento. I didn't share it last week, because a post with only one bento in it is a bit of a waste, so I shared a recipe instead and combined it with this week.


This bento is a bit different from usual, as it has a dish that needs to be heated. But Nick has access to a microwave at work, so if it comes to that, it isn't a problem. It was some leftover cheesy potato oven dish. In the other tier there is kisir, a Turkish bulgur salad. In the lid there is custard Toppo.


This is the bento of this week. There is a Turkish style omelet, which I will share the recipe of below. The panda cookies were in the lid, but Nick choose to photograph it this way. In the other tier there is curry madras with rice. I won't share a recipe of that one, because I just used a store bought package, which had the veggies for it.

For the 3rd day I didn't do a bento this week. But we made some hummus with sundried tomatoes and we had that on bread.

In the Turkish style omelet I use a Turkish white cheese that I bought in a speciality store. But you can substitute feta, if you want. It does make a difference in taste because the Turkish cheese is creamier. The recipe I use comes from My Mixed Kitchen.

Omelet with Turkish Cheese (serves 4)
- 6 eggs
- 100 gr Turkish white cheese
- a handful fresh parsley, dill and / or fresh chives

Mash the cheese a bit with a fork and cut the herbs. Mix them together. Add the eggs with a tiny bit of water and beat them into a creamy mixture.

Melt a bit of butter in a tiny skillet. Pour half of the egg mixture in. On medium heat let the egg cook slowly. The top of the omelet shouldn't be fluid any more but may be a bit wobbly in the middle. Make sure the bottom doesn't get too dark. Turn the omelet and let the other side bake shortly.
Bake another omelet with the rest of the mixture. The serving size is half an omelet.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Slow Cooker: Creamy Tortellini Soup

So while I mostly try to blog the recipes that go with the bento, I didn't want to keep this recipe from you that we made on x-mas while some friends were here. I have to say that this is one of the best dishes that I made with my slow cooker so far. But I guess it isn't the healthiest soup you can make. But sometimes you just have to spoil yourself right? The original recipe is from Cooking Classy.


Creamy Tortellini Soup: (serves 6, 3.5L slow cooker)
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cans whole tomatoes, 800 gr each
- 950 ml vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 450 gr cheese tortellini
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper
- 0.75 cup Parmesan grated cheese


Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add carrots and onion and saute 3 - 4 minutes then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker along with tomatoes, vegetable broth, basil, bay leaves and sugar. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3.5 hours. Remove the bay leaves then puree the soup. Don't do this in your slow cooker! It might damage the pan. If the soup is too thick just add 0.5 cup more water. Transfer the soup back to the slow cooker and stir in tortellini, cover and cook on high 15 minutes longer. Reduce heat to warm, stir in heavy cream. Serve topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Imbolc: Condensed Milk Cake

Today it is Imbolc and as always I try to share a related recipe for the feast. Milk is the main ingredient that is used for Imbolc cooking. So today I share a very basic cake, but with condensed milk. The cake has no added sugar, but of course the condensed milk is used as a sweetener here. The taste was a bit between a cake and a cheesecake so that is nice. But this cake doesn't keep that well and tastes best on the same day. The recipe is from Dr. Ola's Kitchen.  I am sorry for the weird color that the cake seems to have. The days here has been really gloomy and the daylight lamp I use sometimes does weird things to the pictures.


Condensed Milk Cake:
- 400 ml can condensed, sweetened milk
- 4 eggs
- 150 gr flour
- 0.5 tsp baking powder
- 50 gr melted butter + 1 tbsp for brushing the spring form

Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease the sides of your spring form and lay some parchment paper on the bottom. Anywhere between 18-22 cm spring form is fine for this cake.
Mix all the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth and pour them in to the spring form. Bake in a pre heated oven between 40 and 60 minutes. Use the toothpick test to see if it is done.




Sunday, January 31, 2016

Slow Cooker: Veggie Tikki Masala

One of the best thing to make in the slow cooker have to be curries. I actually am dipping a lot in the Indian style kitchen atm. I made this easy curry last week and it was also great in a bento. That is another thing I love about curry, it also tastes great cold. Next week I have more Indian dishes planned like bombay potatoes and soup. So those will be on the blog eventually. But back to the dish of today: Tikki Masala. It is budget friendly and tasty but I am not sure how authentic this recipe is. It doesn't really matter to me, as long as it tasted good :) The recipe I used is from Simply Life.


Veggie Tikki Masala: (serves 4, 3.5L Slow cooker)
- 425 gr canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 0.25 tsp ground coriander
- 0.5 tsp curry powder
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- naan to serve


Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion, tomato paste and garlic for a bit. Transfer to the slow cooker and add every ingredient except for the peas and naan. Put on low for 4.5 hours. Add the peas for the last half hour. Make sure your peas are defrosted before adding them to the slow cooker.  Serve with naan.




Friday, January 29, 2016

On a Budget: Kisir

Kisir is a Turkish bulgur salad. Next to couscous salad, this is one of my favorite salads. I first tasted it in the Turkish bakery nearby. But they don't serve it anymore. So that was the reason why I went looking for a recipe. There are a lot of recipes for kisir. Some use pomegranate juice or pepper paste. I found this very basic recipe on Oh my Foodness that I made several times. It comes really close to the one in the bakery. Sometimes I add a bit of cucumber as well. The reason why I blog the recipe now, is because I made it again for this weeks bento. It holds up really well on room temperature.


Kisir: (serves 4, as lunch)
- 150 gr bulgur
- 150 ml boiled water
- 2 spring onions, in rings
- 1 tomato, in small cubes
- lemon juice
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- fresh chives, parsley and dill, chopped (if you don't have all, just use what you have)
- salt and pepper

Put the bulgur in a bowl and pour the water on top. Cover the bown and leave it until the bulgur has absorbed the water. Stir it loose with a fork.
Heat some oil in a pan and bake the spring onions shortly together with the tomato paste. Add this mixture to the bulgur. Stir through so all the bulgur gets a red color. Then add the tomato.
Now from this point on it is all about the tasting. Add the fresh herbs, a bit of each and some lemon juice. Stir and taste. Also add some salt and pepper, if desired. The lemon juice makes all the difference, because it brings the flavours to life.
Place the salad in the fridge and leave it there for a few hours so the flavours can develop.