Sunday, 18 August 2013

Black Bean Soup

Guten Tag, lovely blog readers! (If you exist...)

That's right, I am currently writing from my new home in Munich, Germany. I will be here until early next year, and I just moved into my new flat.

Being half German, you would expect me know basically how to get around in Germany... but the fact is that I haven't lived here since I was a very small child, and there are things (like shopping!) that simply didn't concern me as a toddler.

So... groceries. Firstly, today is Sunday and everything is closed. Rawr. It's good in that the people who would normally have to work get a day off, but for me, as someone who doesn't obey the Sabbath, it's mildly frustrating since I only moved in 2 days ago and have not yet stocked up my pantry. Ah well...

The other thing is supermarkets here are a little different than in New Zealand. I would say that the supermarkets that are most similar would be Rewe and Real, which are big supermarkets with a large range. Aldi and Lidl are huge chains, but only stock like one brands version of each item. Then there are smaller supermarkets like Netto and Norma, but I haven't really shopped at them yet.
Oh yes, and you can buy some food stuffs at Rossmann and DM, but only a limited (usually organic) amount, since these are actually Drogerie Markts, so basically pharmacies mixed with convenience stores.

Alas, since I am only just finding this out I have yet to get all the ingredients together like I would like... (I have only seem Garam Masala in one small Rewe so far, and it was really expensive O.o Also soy sauce was expensive, and the local asian store didn't stock as much as they do in NZ... but I guess there are a lot more asian people living in NZ than in Germany, so that makes sense).

However, there are of course a lot of delicious foodstuffs that I can't get in NZ... the BREAD is amazing, and there is such a huuuuuuuge range of delicious bread spreads :O I am salivating. If anyone comes to Germany, I personally implore you to try Zwiebelschmalz, it is absolutely to die for.
Or maybe you shouldn't, since you'll miss it too much when you go home. :P

Anyway, yesterday I threw together this stew with the ingredients I had accumulated. So, without further ado:

Black bean stew

Ingredients (serves 1)
-1/2 can of black beans (the ones I bought were in a curry sauce)
-3 cloves of garlic
-1/2 can of tomatoes
-3 tsp tomato paste
-2 tsp veggie stock
-1/2 cup of water
-2 tsp paprika
-2 tsp chilli powder
-3 tsp black pepper
-Olive oil to taste

1) Peel and slice the garlic, whilst heating up a pan. Fry the garlic for about a minute.
2) Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes, spices, black beans, water and veggie stock. Put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer.
3) Wait until the liquid has cooked down a little and you can taste the spices coming through. Then, add olive oil to taste: I added about two swirls to the pan.
4) Serve and enjoy!

Monday, 17 June 2013

English apple, cinnamon and cocoa porridge

We ran out of cereal today. It's really inconvenient since we're all moving out in a couple of weeks, so this is the worst time to run out of food. We've run out of oil, hummus and we're nearly out of vinegar too... but that's beside the point. Since we didn't have cereal, I was a bit stumped as to what to do for breakfast. I looked in our pantry and found almost an entire bag of rolled oats... so, the obviously answer was porridge.

There is only one problem.
I. Hate. Porridge.

I simply cannot stand the stuff. It's not the texture, or even the flavour, it's the oats. For some reason I simply don't like them. Which is really a shame, because they're very filling and quite healthy too. Anyway, I didn't really have choice, so I started thinking of flavours I DO like, because maybe if the taste was nice enough I would get over the fact the porridge contained oats (ew). I'm actually rather happy with the result... in fact, it's delicious! Smooth... creamy and sweet... what a great way to start my day!

English Apple, cinnamon and cocoa porridge (serves 2)

-1 cup of rolled oats
-1 1/2 cup of soy (or other non-dairy) milk)
-1 heaped tbs cocoa powder
-3 tbs cinnamon
-3 apples
-5 tbs sugar (or less if you're healthier and less afraid of oats than me!)

1) Pour soy milk into a pot, and bring to a boil.
2) Stir in cocoa, cinnamon and sugar, and reduce to a simmer.
3) De-core and slice apples into small pieces. Add to the pot.
4) Leave simmering for about 30 mins, or until desired consistency.


~Ingi (the newly converted porridge lover!)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Banana bounty delight

I handed in a 50% assignment today. I handed in early too... we have quite a lot to do right now so I'm trying to stay on top (so I shouldn't really be on here... but ah well...)
I really felt like something sweet afterwards... some sort of pastry. I was intending to make an apple strudel, but when I got home we didn't have enough apples left, and ours bananas were too mushy to eat by themselves, so perfect for baking! I then thought about what sort of flavours I wanted to go with it... and since I had a little bit of coconut cream left in a can in the fridge I might as well do use that. Then I thought of bounty bars... obviously, now that I'm vegan I don't eat them any more, but I used to think they were alright, despite not being a huge fan of candy bars. So I threw in some shredded coconuts, chocolate chips and a wee bit of golden syrup as a sweeteners as well... and thus my creation was born.

I admit I was lazy and used shop bought pastry instead of making my own... but it's study period, so I have an excuse! =P Here is the recipe for the filling, anyway...

Banana bounty delight (makes 2 pastries)

-2 sheets of puff pastry
-3 tbs golden syrup
-3 bananas
-4 tbs shredded coconut
-1/3rd tin coconut cream
-6 tbs chocolate chips

1) Take the pastry out of the freezer, and leave it on the counter to thaw a little. Don't use it until it is flexible enough not to break when folded.
2) Preheat oven to 200°C, or according to directions on your pastry packet.
3) Mush bananas in a bowl.
4) Add coconut cream, shredded coconut, golden syrup and 4 tbs of the chocolate chips. Stir.
5) Make tube-like packets out of the pastry, and fill with the mixture.
6) Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on the top.
7) Bake for 10 minutes, then remove. It is likely that some of the mixture has come out of the packets. If this is the case, simply lightly scrape it off the tray and onto the tops of your pastries.

Here are my pastries at step 7. This is quite a messy process!

8) Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
9) Serve topped with icing sugar and a drizzle of golden syrup, or to taste.

This is what it looks like straight out of the oven... it looks pretty messy, even now, but it's delicious and looks much better when plated (see above).



Friday, 14 June 2013

Pappa al pomodoro

Today I found myself reminiscing my time in Italy... it is an absolutely beautiful country. Italy has to be the country with the best food I've ever tasted. Everything I ate there was to die for. On my way home from the library today I found myself craving a particular meal I had one day I was travelling around the Tuscan countryside... Pappa al pomodoro, a Tuscan bread soup.

One of my photos from Florence... it is a beautiful place.

I used this as my starting point, however I changed it a little depending on what I had in my cupboard, what was cheap to buy (I'm a thrifty student at the moment and unfortunately tomatoes etc. are no longer in season...) as well as things I thought would go well with it... trying to create the flavour of the meal I experienced in Italy. However, Jamie Oliver is of course a professional, so if you have all the ingredients feel free to use his recipe although I would hesitate to use stale bread... ewwww.

Here's what I did:

Pappa al pomodoro (Serves 4)

-3 400g tins of tomatoes
-3 cloves of garlic
-1 large bunch of fresh basil
-A drizzle of oil
-1 and 1/2 baguettes
-Balsamic vinegar
-4 tsp Vegetable stock (powder form)

1) Peel and finely slice garlic.
2) Open one of the tins of tomatoes, and remove the tomatoes. Toss with one clove's worth of garlic and about 1/3rd of the basil leaves.
3) Put these tomatoes on a tray and bake in the oven, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, for 20mins at 180°C.
4) Heat some oil in a pan, and lightly fry the remaining garlic for about a minute. Add the remainder of the basil after a while.
5) Add the remainder of the tomatoes, then fill the tins with water and add that, as well as the stock. Break the tomatoes up with a fork, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 mins.
6) Add two swirls of vinegar (or to taste) and stir in.
7) By now, the tomatoes should be done. Take them out of the oven, and stir them in as well.
8) Tear up bread into thumb-size pieces and stir into soup mixture. You're looking to achieve a porridge-like texture.
9) Enjoy!

Some things I might try next time is using dried basil at first, and maybe some dried thyme as well, then using fresh basil for garnish. This will make the herb flavours come out more.
When I was in Italy I discovered that this soup is usually left 24 hours before reheating and serving... this allows the flavours to intensify. This is exactly what I am doing! Om nom nom.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Neapolitan Cake

My sister and her boyfriend came round to visit in the weekend. I was really happy- I have been trying to get my sister sister to visit me for ages, but this was the first time I bullied convinced her to actually come.
It's a good thing too, that was really her last chance before I move out of my amazing flat at the end of the semester!

Since I was receiving guests I decided to bake... and my excitement must have been huge (but don't tell anyone, it's a secret hahaha) since I ended up basically baking three cakes, and stacking them.

Be warned, this is a very sweet, very unhealthy and very HUGE cake that we still somehow managed to eat completely in three days!
Honestly, the members of T.E.F.S.C.A. (that's what we call our flat... it stands for The Epic Flat of Supreme Classy Awesomeness hahaha) must all be gluttons!

Anyway, without further ado here are the recipes... I'll post them separately to make it easier, then combine them at the end... I hope this appropriate is easy to follow! 

Chocolate cake
-3 cups flour
-2 cups sugar
-6 tablespoons cocoa powder
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-2 cups water
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-2 tablespoons vinegar
-2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Frosting ingredients:
-1 cup sugar
-6 tablespoons corn starch
-4 tablespoons cocoa
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup water
-2 tablespoons oil
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 180°C
2) Thoroughly mix dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt)
3) Mix in wet ingredients (water, oil, vinegar, vanilla) continue mixing until you obtain an even batter with no lumps. (Or as little as possible... mine had some lumps, LOL...)
4) Pour into cake pan and bake for approximately 40 mins (but this could differ for your oven, it only took 30 for mine so I'd recommend checking it at about 20...)
5) Mix together all the frosting ingredients
6) Wait until the cake cools, then put the frosting all over, just as you would if it was a standalone cake. You may need to cut the top of the cake to make it flat, however.

Vanilla cake
-2 cups flour
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 cup water
-2 tbs margarine
-2 tbs canola oil
-1 tsp vanilla essence
-1tsp lemon juice

Frosting ingredients
-3 tbs margarine
-1 tsp vanilla essence
-1/2 cup icing sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350°C
2) Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder
3) Stir in wet ingredients (water, margarine, oil, vanilla essence and lemon juice), and combine well with a large spoon.
4) Oil cake pan, and pour in batter. Bake for 20-25 mins.
5) Mix together frosting ingredients with a fork until fluffy.
6) Once the cake has cooled, ice as you would a normal cake. You may need to flatten the top.

Berry cake
This ended up being a raspberry cake instead of the normal strawberry... this was due to the fact that we happened to have raspberry raro in our cupboard, so I decided to use that instead of baking my usual berry cake, which is a lot healthier and made with actual berries. I'm sure I'll post a recipe for that at some point too... also, I discovered that quite a lot of the strawberry flavouring available in the supermarket contains milk! I can't imagine why. You find milk in the strangest of things in New Zealand, probably because the dairy industry is so huge here... well, anyway...

The recipe for this berry cake was actually identical to the vanilla cake recipe, except that I added two packets of raspberry flavoured raro (a cordial mix) to the dry ingredients. I also added a few drops of red food colouring both to the cake mixture and to the icing. Raspberry flavouring would also probably be a good addition to the icing, however I didn't have any on hand.

This is what the cake looked like on the inside... delicious. Oh and if you're wondering about the badly Photoshopped cat, that was my lazy way of hiding my sister's face (she's a real poser in real life, but I'm still not sure if she'd want her face circulated on the internet...) I can Photoshop quite well (if I do say so myself haha) usually, but since I should be doing other things and this is really not important I just decided on sticking a massive cat on her head haha...
It was nearly a pig, my sister is one...

To decorate the top I used some of the multitude of bananas we have at home at the moment (they go quickly though, we all love bananas... even my male flatmate who does not eat much fruit) and some vegan chocolate chips. Om nom. My sister kept picking them off the top, what a pest! =P

My cake turned out slightly wonky, but it tasted delicious so who cares... still if I ever make it again I'll try to even out both the cake itself and the way I apply icing!

Oh- and of course each of the individual layers make wonderful individual cakes, (especially the chocolate part, delicious... that's also why I made that layer slightly bigger than the rest...) 

Happy baking! :)


Salut, mes chéries

So here I am, sitting on my couch in New Zealand, still agonising about my choice of blog title about half an hour after creating it.
Someone, please give me a better title... It is very frustrating when the title you initially wanted is already taken as a URL and that blog has no posts on it. Such a waste, sigh... ah well! :)
Also, I very much hope it is still possible to change titles. Hmm.

Anyway, as you may have guessed by the title this will be a blog where I mainly share recipes (why else would I state my dietary preference in the title?), and my progress with learning how to cook. This will probably be an awful blog at first, because I am dreadful, and I mean dreadful at cooking. One of my friends once told me she thought I could burn a salad. OK, so I don't think I'm that bad...
Also, I am not one of those people who goes around Instagramming food or whatever, so I don't really have much experience in taking pictures of food. I'd like to think I am alright at photography in general, however I don't have a DSLR or a macro lens (I reeeally want one of those. As I am an architecture student, one would be quite useful for photographing models as well, I believe...) nor, as I say, even any experience with doing things the Instagram way (and I doubt I will ever get Instagram, so that's not going to happen) my photos will initially at least probably be rather poor. However, bear with me! Or don't, it is of course up to you.

If, for some unexplainable reason you do end up finding this blog remotely interesting, do feel free to leave comments. If you have any tips for me in regards to cooking, or recipes you would like to share, please do so, it would be much appreciated!

On that note, I think I shall leave you for now... I hope you all have a lovely evening, or day if you're not in my timezone.