Category Archives: Vegan

How To Make Seitan (Home-made Meat Substitute)

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What is seitan?

Seitan is a high-protein product made of wheat flour, used as a meat substitute. Tofu and Seitan are both very versatile when it comes to making meat-like dishes. While tofu has an egg-like texture, seitan’s consistency is chewy and more similar to meat. It is widely used because it absorbs the condiments well, however it has high gluten content, which can cause allergies, therefore, is not suitable for everyone.

I often think that meat-like products are not really what a vegetarian would want to eat, because (and I speak from a personal point of view) I believe, if you don’t want to eat meat you don’t really want to be reminded what meat is like. However, I think you can be really creative with either tofu or seitan in the kitchen, therefore, it’s worth giving it a try!

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Making seitan.

Many things can be used to flavour seitan; you can add herbs to the dough or flavour it with different ingredients such as: soy sauce, kombu, herbs, vegetables, spices and seeds. All these ingredients are added to the vegetable broth in which the dough is cooked or simply added as flavourings before kneading. Seitain can be also made using spelt flour or gluten flour.

Making seitan requires a lot of time. Basically, you mix the ingredients, make a dough and then rinse it under running water for about 15-20 minutes, to remove the starch. As a result, you will end up with a considerably smaller amount of product, in the end, but it’s worth it! The main reason to prepare home-made seitan is that you can be really creative with it and you can add all the flavours that you like to it!

What you need

1 large bowl

1 large pan with a lid

1 wooden spoon

1 measuring cup

Ingredients 

For the dough

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional)

4-5 tablespoons of ground spices and seeds (black pepper, paprika, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, a few cloves, a few chillies)

1 kg (35.2 oz) flour (I use Manitoba, you can use plain or spelt flour)

900 ml (30.4 us fl oz) of water (the amount of water vary depending on the flour)

200 ml (6.76 us fl oz) of soy sauce

For the broth

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1 large onion

2 stalk of celery

2 carrot

2 bay leaves

a bunch of rosemary

vegetable stock

200 ml (6.76 us fl oz) soy sauce (optional)

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Method.

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, the nutritional yeast, the seeds and the spices.

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2. Then add 200 ml of soy sauce with the 900 ml of water. Mix with the spoon, then knead with your hands, until you get a smooth dough.

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3. Let it rest for a few minutes.

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4. Meanwhile, prepare the stock. Fry the vegetables in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, for a few minutes. Then, fill the pan with vegetable stock (enough to cook the dough in), add the herbs, 200 ml of soy sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, sift the broth and let cool.

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5. Now knead the dough, in a large bowl, under running water for 20-30 minutes (basically, until the running water in the bowl and in which you are washing the dough, becomes clear). With this operation you are removing the starch and therefore keeping only the protein of the wheat.

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6. After about 20-30 minutes, drain nicely and let the dough sit for a few minutes.

7. Put the seitan in the cold stock ( the broth has to be cold otherwise the seitan will lose its shape) and turn on the heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Once is ready, turn off the heat and let it cool. Let it drain completely and then store it in an airtight container (in the fridge) for 5 days or freeze it for up to 1-2 months.

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Tip.

1. Basically, this is the traditional method, with a personal touch for the flavouring. However, you can shorten the process using gluten wheat flour and avoid the rinsing operation. In this way, you can knead the dough, cook directly in the broth and save a lot of time and water! I strongly recommend this method as it’s quicker and much more ecological.

2. You can replace meat with seitan in many recipes. It’s perfect in stir-fry and slow cooker dishes.

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Seitan fatto in casa (metodo tradizionale).

Utensili 

1 ciotola grande

1 pentola grande, con il coperchio

1 cucchiaio di legno

1 caraffa graduata

Ingredienti

Per l’impasto

2 cucchiai di nutritional yeast (facoltativo, per il sapore)

4-5 cucchiai di spezie e semi misti macinati (pepe nero, paprika, semi di sesamo, semi di finocchio, semi di coriandolo, qualche seme di garofano, peperoncino)

1 kg di farina (ho usato Manitoba, ma è possibile utilizzare la farina normale, integrale o di farro)

900 ml di acqua (la quantità di acqua può variare a seconda della farina utilizzata)

200 ml di salsa di soia

Per il brodo

3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva

1 spicchio di aglio

1 cipolla grande

2 gambo di sedano

2 carota

2 foglie di alloro

2 rametti di rosmarino

brodo vegetale

200 ml di salsa di soia (facoltativo)

Preparazione.

1. In una ciotola grande, mescolate la farina, il nutritional yeast, i semi e le spezie.

2. Poi aggiungete 200 ml di salsa di soia con 900 ml di acqua. Mescolate con il cucchiaio, poi impastate con le mani, fino ad ottenere un impasto liscio.

3. Lasciate riposare per qualche minuto.

4. Preparate il brodo. Fate soffriggere le verdure in 3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva (per qualche minuto). Riempite la pentola con abbondante brodo vegetale (sufficiente per cuocere tutto il seitan), aggiungete le erbe, 200 ml di salsa di soia e portate ad ebollizione. Fate bollire per 10 minuti. Spegnete il fuoco, togliete la verdura e lasciate raffreddare il brodo.

5. In una ciotola molto grande, impastate il composto di farina e spezie sotto l’acqua corrente per 20-30 minuti (fino a quando l’acqua sarà limpida). Questa operazione serve a rimuovere l’amido dalle proteine del grano.

6. Scolate e lasciate riposare l’impasto per qualche minuto.

7. Tagliate e mettete il seitan nel brodo freddo (il brodo deve essere freddo o il seitan perderà la sua forma) e accendete il fuoco. Portate ad ebollizione, poi abbassate il fuoco al minimo e fate cuocere per 50 minuti. Una volta pronto, spegnete il fuoco, scolate bene e lasciate raffreddare. Il seitan si può conservare in un contenitore ermetico (in frigorifero) per 5 giorni o congelare per 1 o 2 mesi.

Note.

1. Questo è il metodo tradizionale, con un tocco personale per aromatizzare il seitan. E’ possibile abbreviare il metodo di preparazione utilizzando la farina di glutine ed evitare il risciacquo. In questo modo, è possibile impastare il seitan, cuocerlo direttamente nel brodo e risparmiare un sacco di tempo ed acqua. Consiglio vivamente questo metodo perché è molto più veloce ed ecologico.

2. Si può sostituire la carne con il seitan in moltissime ricette. Il seitan è ottimo saltato in padella con le verdure, oppure utilizzato al posto della carne negli stufati.

Mixed Seed Wholemeal Bread Recipe (High-Fibre Food)

A delicious loaf of bread with a lot of tasty seeds inside! This is a great breakfast or sandwich bread,very tasty, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I actually served it with a nice salad and I really enjoyed it!

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You can prepare the dough in the evening and keep it in the fridge with a few tablespoons of water, it will rise slowly through the night. The day after you have to take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before you bake it.

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Mixed Seed Wholemeal Bread.

150 g (5.2 oz) plain flour / unbleached all-purpose flour

100 g (3.5 oz) of durum wheat semolina flour

100 g (3.5 oz) whole spelt flour

100 g (3.5 oz) of wholemeal flour

135 g (4.76 oz) of sourdough (semi-liquid, made with plain or Manitoba flour) or 15 g of yeast

1/2 tsp of barley malt

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and some more to grease the tin

8 g (0.28 oz) of ground sea salt

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/2 tablespoon of fennel seeds

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Method.

1. Toast the seeds in a very hot oven for about 5 minutes (at 200°C/392 °F).

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2. Sift and mix the flours. Add the seeds, the sourdough (or yeast), 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, the barley malt and the salt. Mix everything well until you have a smooth dough.

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3. Let the dough rise until it doubles in volume (1-2 hours for the yeast, 3-6 hours for the sourdough).

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4. Bake in a loaf tin ( 3.9 inches x 10.2 inches), lightly greased with extra virgin olive oil, at 200 ° C (392°F) for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and then serve with a nice salad.

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Pane integrale ai semi.

150 g di farina 00

100 g di semola di grano duro

100 g di farina integrale di farro

100 g di farina integrale

135 g di lievito madre (semi liquido, con base di farina 00 o manitoba)
oppure 15 g di lievito di birra

1/2 cucchiaio di malto d’orzo

1 cucchiaio d’olio extra vergine d’oliva per l’impasto e un po’ di più per ungere la teglia

1 cucchiaio di semi di lino

1 cucchiaio di semi di sesamo

1 cucchiaio di semi di papavero

1/2 cucchiaio di semi di finocchio

Preparazione.

1. Fate tostare i semi per qualche minuto nel forno a 200°C, oppure in una padella.

2. Setacciate e unite le farine. Aggiungete i semi, il lievito, 1 cucchiaio d’olio extra vergine d’oliva, il malto d’orzo e il sale.

3. Fate lievitare fino a far raddoppiare l’impasto di volume (1-2 ore per il lievito di birra, 3-6 ore per il lievito madre).

4. Infornate a 200 °C per 25-30 minuti (ho usato una teglia profonda 10 cm x 26 cm). Fate raffreddare e servite con una buona insalata.

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Vegan Menu (High In Fibre And Vegetable Protein)

This week I am inviting you to try this truly delicious vegan menu, for everyone who enjoys tasty and healthy food! Click on the pictures or links  to view all the recipes.

A lots of wonderful colours and flavours in this menu!

A menu for 2-3 servings

Home-made Hummus

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Insalapizza (Pizza-Salad) 

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Crunchy and Colourful Salad.

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Rich Chocolate Tart With Fresh Raspberries.

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Traditional Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli

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Budget friendly, easy and delicious, pasta e fagioli (pasta and borlotti beans) is one of the most appreciated and popular recipes in Italy. Like many traditional recipes many variations exist of this wonderful Italian dish. We use different herbs, sometimes we add bacon or lard and we can replace borlotti beans with cannellini. The recipe that I am going to share today is one of my favourite dishes since I was a child. Pasta e fagioli is a complete meal with high protein content, perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets. As a vegan or low fat version, you can serve it without Parmesan, it’s delicious anyway! 🙂

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Pasta e Fagioli.

Ingredients

for 2 Servings

Easy

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 25 minutes

110 g (3.88 oz) ditaloni rigati (or broken spaghetti or tagliatelle)

2 cans borlotti beans (keep 1 cup of borlotti beans to add at the end of the cooking process)

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

6 cherry tomatoes (or piccadilly), washed and diced (optional)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves, washed

2 sprigs of fresh sage

500 ml (16.9 us fl oz) organic vegetable broth (made with water and organic vegetable stock)

1/2 tablespoon tomato paste

Parmesan to taste (optional, but nice!)

salt and black pepper to taste

Method.

1. Wash and chop the sage and rosemary (removing the hard stems).

2. In a large sauce pan, gently fry the onion with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then (after a few minutes) add the garlic.

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3. Drain and rinse the borlotti beans.  Put the beans with the tomatoes in the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then pour in the vegetable broth with 1/2 a tablespoon of tomato paste and 2 bay leaves. Stir well.

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4. Cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the broth is partially absorbed, then add the chopped herbs.

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5. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, mix everything well. Turn on the heat, add 1 cup of borlotti beans and the pasta. Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes.

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6. Season with salt and pepper, turn off the heat. Serve with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and plenty of parmesan (optional).

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Pasta e Fagioli

Ingredienti

Per 2 persone

Facile

Preparazione: 10 minuti

Cottura: 25 minuti

110 g di ditaloni rigati (oppure spaghetti spezzettati o tagliatelle)

2 scatole di fagioli borlotti (tenete una tazza di borlotti da aggiungere a fine cottura)

4 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

1 cipolla media, tritata finemente

6 pomodorini (piccadilly o ciliegino), lavati e tagliati a dadini (facoltativo)

2 spicchi d’aglio, tritato finemente

2 rametti di rosmarino

2 foglie di alloro, lavate

un mazzetto di salvia fresca

500 ml di brodo vegetale (biologico)

1/2 cucchiaio di concentrato di pomodoro

Parmigiano q. b. (facoltativo)

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e tritate la salvia con il rosmarino (togliendo i gambi).

2. Fate soffriggete la cipolla con 3 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva. Dopo qualche minuto aggiungete l’aglio.

3. Scolate, sciacquate i fagioli e aggiungeteli con i pomodorini al soffritto. Fate rosolare per qualche minuto, poi aggiungete il brodo vegetale con 1/2 cucchiaio di concentrato di pomodoro e le foglie d’alloro. Mescolate bene.

4. Fate ritirare il brodo per 15 minuti, poi levate le foglie d’alloro e aggiungete le erbe tritate.

5. Spegnate il fuoco e con un frullatore ad immersione frullate bene tutto.  Aggiungete la pasta e i borlotti che avete tenuto da parte. Fate cuocere a fuoco moderato (mescolando continuativamente) per altri 10 minuti.

6. Spegnete il fuoco e condite con un po’ d’olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale e pepe. Servite con abbondante parmigiano.

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Crunchy and Colourful Salad (Low-fat And Packed With Vitamin C!!)

Spring is here and with it comes the time of serious dieting! From this week on I want to dedicate a little time to preparing light recipes and meals.
To start with, I prepared a beautiful and super-healthy salad with only a little amount of calories, but full of crunchy flavours!

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This salad can definitely be a very satisfying low-cal lunch, low in fat and carb, but rich in fibres, potassium, protein and vitamin C.
As a side dish, it goes well with several courses and you can serve it with feta cheese, if you prefer a richer kind of salad.
If I were to imagine this salad as a dress, it would be a feel-good garment made ​​of a strong natural fibre, with a very cheerful but elegant floral pattern. Suitable for mid-season, with a comfortable slimming line. Definitely a perfect fit!… I know, It’s just a salad! 🙂

Corn salad with red cabbage, fava beans and apples.

Ingredients

Preparation: 15 minutes

For 2 servings

60 g (2 oz) corn salad (or lamb’s lettuce)

a handful of almonds, shelled

50 g (1.76 oz) fresh fava beans (with the pods removed)

2 small apples, washed

130 g (4.58 oz) red cabbage

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to taste

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Method.

1. Wash, and clean and dry the corn salad.

2. Wash, and slice the cabbage finely and arrange it on the plates.

3. Place the fava beans over the cabbage, then add the salad leaves.

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4. Cut and marinate the apples in the juice of half a lemon for a few minutes. Then, mix the apples and the almonds with the salad (breaking some almonds into pieces).

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5. Season with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Insalata croccante con cavolo rosso, fave e valerianella.

Ingredienti

Per 2 persone

Preparazione:15 minuti

60 g di valerianella

una manciata di mandorle sgusciate

50 g di fave fresche, senza scorza

2 mele, lavate

130 g di cavolo rosso

il succo di mezzo limone

sale e pepe q.b.

4 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva q.b.

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e asciugate la valerianella.

2. Lavate il cavolo e tagliatelo finemente. Sistematelo sul fondo dei piatti.

3. Aggiungete le fave, posizionatele sopra il cavolo con la valerianella.

4. Aggiungete le mandorle (sbriciolandone solo alcune) con le mele tagliate a pezzetti e precedentemente marinate nel succo di mezzo limone per qualche minuto.

5. Condite con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale e pepe.

Make the Best Pizza Dough (Part 1)

Making your own pizza dough, for the first time, is probably one of the most satisfying things you can ever experience in your kitchen. There is something magical about the whole process, from the moment you first see the dough rising, up to the moment you actually see your beautiful creation coming out of the oven. I personally enjoy everything about this process and this is why I don’t buy it anymore. Moreover, once you start experimenting with different flours and ingredients, especially if you use natural yeast (but we will see this in part 2), home-made pizza can become a truly special dish to make.

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 A few words on the preparation.

To prepare (approximately) 500 g of dough for pizza or bread you must use 500 g of flour, 15 g of yeast, 10 g salt and some water.

For this recipe I used different kinds of organic flour which have very different qualities from one another and help to create a certain harmony of flavours and textures. The amount of water in the dough and the leavening time may vary, depending on the ingredients used. This type of dough can be used, not only to make pizza but it’s also great to make focaccia and other breads.

Notes. You can decide to add extra virgin olive oil and barley malt (or honey) to the recipe or not, depending on your personal taste. The extra virgin olive oil gives a crunchier crust and the malt (or honey) will help the leavening process, but both these ingredients will add some extra calories to your recipe, so if you are on a diet,  don’t use them.

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I am giving you two options here, choose the dough with the ingredients that you prefer.

Basic pizza dough (with normal yeast)

 Ingredients 

For two large pizzas

to prepare (approximately) 500 g of bread dough or pizza base

 for a wholemeal dough 

250 g plain flour (unbleached all-purpose flour)

100 g whole spelt flour (or farro flour)

100 g Manitoba flour

50 g durum wheat semolina flour

15 g yeast

200-250 ml warm water (but add more if necessary)

10 g salt

extra virgin olive oil to taste

a big pinch of barley malt or honey (optional)

 for a plain flour dough 

If you prefer a dough made mostly with plain flour, then use:

250 g plain flour

250 g manitoba flour (or durum wheat semolina flour)

15 g yeast

200-250 ml warm water (add more if you need to)

10 g salt

extra virgin olive oil to taste

a big pinch of barley malt or honey (optional)

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 Method (for both doughs). 

1. Break up the yeast into small pieces and mix it with a bit ‘of warm water and a few tablespoons of flour. Create a small dough and let it double in volume.

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2. Sift the remaining flour with a fine sieve and make a well on a wooden board, then pour 200-250 ml warm water (gradually) and salt in the centre (also add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of malt, if you wish). Mix the ingredients.

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3. Add the yeast dough (from step 1) to the mixture and knead vigorously.

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4. Let it rise in a sheltered place until the dough has doubled volume (it might take between one or two hours).

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5. Take two large oven trays, cover them with baking paper and brush the paper with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and then add the other ingredients (mozzarella, tomatoes, olives etc.).

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6. Let it rise again for 30 minutes, then bake in preheated oven at 190 ° C (374° F) for 20-30 minutes.

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This pizza is called “Marinara” and is made with anchovies, tomatoes and crushed garlic. A very cheap and simple dish, but full of flavour!

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See also Make the best pizza dough part 2 (with sourdough)

Impasto per la pizza (con lievito di birra).

Per preparare 500 g di pasta per la pizza o da pane generalmente si utilizzano 500 g di farina, 15 g di lievito di birra, 10 g di sale e acqua.

In questo caso utilizzerò farine biologiche di vario tipo, che presentano qualità molto diverse tra loro e che aiutano a creare una certa armonia di fragranza e croccantezza. La quantità d’ acqua necessaria da utilizzare potrebbe variare leggermente, a seconda delle farine e degli altri ingredienti utilizzati, così come il tempo di lievitazione. Questo tipo di impasto può esse utilizzato anche per preparare focacce e pane.

Nota. Ho aggiunto l’ olio extravergine d’oliva e il malto d’orzo nella lista degli ingredienti, perché servono a creare una crosta più croccante e a far lievitare meglio l’impasto (nel caso del malto).

Vi darò due ricette, così potete scegliere l’impasto con gli ingredienti che preferite.

Impasto base per la pizza (con lievito di birra)

Ingredienti 

Per due pizze grandi

per preparare 500 g di pasta da pane o per pizza

Impasto con farina integrale

250 g farina 00

100 g farina di farro integrale

100 g Manitoba

50 g semola di grano duro rimacinata

15 g di lievito di birra

200-250 ml di acqua tiepida

10 g di sale

olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

una punta di cucchiaio di malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

Impasto con farina 00

Se preferite un’impasto semplice con farina bianca allora utilizzate i seguenti ingredienti:

250 g di farina 00

250 g di farina Manitoba

15 g di lievito di birra

200-250 ml di acqua tiepida

10 g di sale

olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

una punta di cucchiaio di malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

 Metodo (per entrambi gli impasti). 

1. Spezzate il lievito in piccoli pezzi e mischiatelo con un po’ d’ acqua tiepida e qualche cucchiaio di farina, fino a creare un panetto. Lasciate raddoppiare il panetto di volume.

2. Setacciate il resto della farina e disponetela a fontana su una spianatoia con 200-250 ml d’ acqua tiepida e il sale (aggiungete anche l’olio e il malto, se volgete utilizzarli). Mescolate leggermente.

3. Aggiungete il panetto di lievito e impastate tutto energicamente.

4. Lasciate lievitare in un luogo riparato, finché il volume dell’impasto sarà raddoppiato (una o due ore).

5. Utilizzate due teglie grandi, ricopritele con della carta da forno e spennellate con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva. Stendete l’impasto con un matterello, aggiungete gli   altri ingredienti (mozzarella, pomodori, origano ecc.) e infornate a forno preriscaldato a 190° C per 20-30 minuti.

Rich Chocolate Tart with Fresh Raspberries…Yes, but it’s different!

Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, with only a little refined sugar and absolutely delicious!!!!

I must admit I was a little bit sceptical about vegan desserts, I thought that without dairy products, desserts would just taste dull! So I decided to give it a try and make this vegan chocolate tart, because I usually like to try things before I make a judgement, especially when I am talking about recipes. I am glad to say that I was wrong! I might even dedicate an entire post to the lovely vegan chocolate ganache that I’ve made for this recipe, because I think it deserves a little place on its own in this blog and a few more words given over to it.

So, today we are going to prepare a delicious mini chocolate tart with a lot of fresh raspberries on top! As a filling, I made a rich dark chocolate ganache. Usually, the chocolate ganache is prepared with heavy whipping cream or butter, I used rice milk instead and I thickened the sauce with a little cornstarch. The result is a velvety smooth chocolate filling that contains little refined sugar and is dairy-free.

This is an amazing vegan dessert that everyone can enjoy!

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Rich Chocolate Tart with Fresh Raspberries

 Ingredients

For the pastry

2-3 servings. 

50 g (1.7 oz) skinless almonds (or hazelnuts, if you prefer)

60 g (2 oz) dark chocolate (organic, with 70% cocoa solids)

60 g (2 oz) rice flour

30 g (1 oz) of potato starch

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

1 tablespoon of agave syrup (or 1 tablespoon of honey, if you are not on a vegan diet)

a pinch of salt

For the dark chocolate ganache 

60 g (2 oz) of dark chocolate (organic, 70 % cocoa)

100 ml (3.38 fl oz US, 0.175 pt UK) rice milk (replace with soya or almond milk, if you prefer)

1 tablespoon of agave syrup (or 2 tablespoon of honey, if you are not on a vegan diet)

1/2 a tablespoon of cornstarch

To garnish

100 g (3.5 oz) raspberries, fresh and washed

a few chocolate chips

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Method. 

For the pastry. 

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

1. In a double boiler (bain-marie), melt 60 g (2 oz) of dark chocolate.

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2. Finely grind the almonds using a food processor, until you get a fine paste.

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3. In a small bowl, sift the flour and the potato starch using a fine strainer. Then, mix in the melted chocolate, the almond paste, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and 1 tablespoon of agave syrup (or 1 tablespoon of honey).

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4. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

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5. Lightly grease the base of a small cake pan (15-17 cm or 6 – 7 inches of diameter) and bake at 170 ° C (338° F) for about 15 minutes.

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For the chocolate ganache.

Preparation: 20 minutes

1. In a double boiler (or bain-marie), melt 60 g (2 oz) of dark chocolate.

2. In a small pan, heat 100 ml (3.38 fl oz US) of rice milk and add it (gradually and stirring) to the melted chocolate (both must be warm).

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3. In another pan, mix 1/2 a tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture and stir well. Gradually add the rest of the chocolate mixture, then cook over a low heat and stir until the chocolate ganache has thickened (it will take only a few minutes).

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4. Turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of agave syrup (or 2 tablespoon of honey) and mix well. Let cool.

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To garnish.

Refrigeration: 30 minutes

1. Pour the chocolate ganache into the base of the tart, then put the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

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2. Garnish with plenty of raspberries and some chocolate chips.

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 Crostata di lamponi con ganache di cioccolato fondente.

Ingredienti

Per la base.

2-3 porzioni.

50 g di mandorle, senza pelle (oppure nocciole, se preferite)

60 g di farina di riso

30 g di fecola di patate

60 g di cioccolato fondente bio ( con 70% di cacao)

1/2 cucchiaino di lievito per torte

2 cucchiai di olio di semi di girasole

1 cucchiaio di sciroppo d’agave (oppure 1 cucchiaio di miele bio, se non seguite una dieta vegana)

un pizzico di sale

Per la ganache al cioccolato fondente

100 ml di latte di riso (oppure latte di mandorle, soia o latte normale)

1 cucchiaio di sciroppo d’agave (oppure 2 cucchiai di miele bio, se non seguite una dieta vegana)

60 g di cioccolato fondente bio (con 70% di cacao)

1/2 cucchiaio di amido di mais

Per guarnire

100 g di lamponi (freschi e ben lavati)

un po’ di scaglie di cioccolato per decorare

Preparazione.

Per la base.

1. Fate sciogliere 60 g di cioccolato fondente a bagnomaria.

2. Tritate molto finemente le mandorle usando un tritatutto.

3. In una terrina, setacciate la farina e la fecola di patate usando un colino molto fine. Aggiungete il cioccolato sciolto, la pasta di mandorle, il lievito per dolci, un pizzico di sale, due cucchiai d’olio di semi di girasole e 1 cucchiaio di sciroppo d’agave (oppure 1 cucchiaio di miele).

4. Impastate bene e mettete in frigo per 15 minuti.

5. Ungete leggermente la base di una piccola teglia (15-16 cm di diametro) e infornate a 170° per 15 minuti.

Per la ganache al cioccolato.

1. Fate sciogliere 60 g di cioccolato fondente a bagnomaria.

2. Scaldate 100 ml di latte di riso in un pentolino e unitelo al cioccolato ancora caldo, mescolando bene.

3. In un altro pentolino, unite una piccola quantità di latte di riso al cioccolato con mezzo cucchiaio di amido di mais (mescolando energicamente). In modo molto graduale, aggiungete tutto il latte al cioccolato, poi fate rassodare la ganache sul fuoco a fiamma bassa, per qualche minuto (continuando a mescolare).

4. Spegnete il fuoco e aggiungete 1 cucchiaio di sciroppo d’agave (oppure 2 cucchiai di miele). Mescolate ancora, poi lasciate raffreddare.

 Per guarnire.

1. Versate la crema sulla base della crostata e mettete in frigorifero per 30 minuti.

2. Guarnite con un doppio strato di lamponi e scaglie di cioccolato.

Gluten-free Buckwheat Gnocchi (Step by Step)

I adore gnocchi! Gnocchi with pesto has been my favourite pasta dish since I was a kid. In Italy there are numerous variations of this wonderful pasta, some of which are really colourful and tasty. Today we are going to prepare a gluten-free version made with buckwheat flour. This flour might be a little expensive, but I decided to use it because of the benefits that introducing gluten-free meals in our every-day diet have. Even though I don’t have intolerances or allergies, but also because I think it’s delicious. Of course, it is also a good alternative to traditional gnocchi for celiac people.

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 A few words about Buckwheat. 

Buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. The seeds are fruit seeds, not cereals, very similar to sunflower seeds, and with a distinctive triangular shape. They are rich in protein, important minerals ( iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and potassium.) and vitamins B. Buckwheat is normally used in flour or grains. The flour is very tasty and perfect for pasta recipes, in fact, in Italy it is widely used in many traditional dishes.

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Ingredients

Preparation: 25 minutes

Potatoes Cooking time: 15-20 minutes + time to cool

Gnocchi Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves 4-5

1 kg (35.2 oz) large potatoes

200 g (7.05 oz) buckwheat flour (and a little bit more for dusting)

50 g  (1.76 oz) potato starch

salt to taste

 Tools 

wooden board or table

A large pan (with a steaming basket  or you can use a steamer if you prefer this cooking method)

a large sieve (to sift the flour)

potato ricer (or a potato masher)

a knife

a fork (or a gnocchi board)

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 Method

1.Wash, then steam or boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes (if you boil, put them in cold salted water and then, bring to the boil). Mash the potatoes and let cool. Once they have cooled down, add the flour and starch (previously sifted and mixed).

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2. Combine all the ingredients, add some salt and work until you get a soft and smooth dough (adding some flour, if necessary).

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3. Dust the board, then divide the dough into 4-5 equal pieces and roll each piece into long ropes (the ropes should be 1,5 cm [0.39 uk inches] high). Cut each rope into small pieces (3 cm [ 1.18 uk inches] long and 1,5 cm [ 0.39 uk inches] high).

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4. Use a fork to indent the gnocchi by pressing the centre and roll each piece on the fork (watch the video below) , in this way the gnocchi will absorb the condiment better.

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Watch the video:

5. Add more flour to prevent the gnocchi from sticking together and lay them a little apart from each other on a table, previously covered with clean kitchen cloths (I used a plate because I prepared only one portion). Cook as soon as possible.

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 Tips.

Boil in plenty of salted water for a few minutes. Once they rise, gently drain and season as you prefer (serve these wonderful gnocchi with pesto or with a nice tomato sauce. If you don’t follow a vegan or a low-cal diet I suggest you try them with a gorgonzola sauce).

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Gnocchi di patate e grano saraceno.

Preparazione: 25 minuti

Cottura delle patate: 15-20 minuti + il tempo di farle un po’ raffreddare

Cottura degli gnocchi: 5 minuti

Ingredienti

per 4-5 persone

1 kg di patate farinose

200 g di farina di grano saraceno ( e un po’ di più per infarinare)

50 g di fecola di patate

sale q.b.

Utensili

una spianatoia di legno abbastanza grande

Una pentola grande (con cestello per cottura a vapore oppure una  vaporiera, se preferite questo tipo di cottura)

un setaccio o un colino grande (per setacciare la farina)

uno schiaccia patate

un coltello

una forchetta

 Preparazione

1. Lavate bene le patate e fate cuocere a vapore per 15-20 minuti (o lessatele mettendole in acqua fredda salata e portando a bollore). Schiacciate le patate e lasciate raffreddare. Aggiungete la farina e la fecola (setacciate e mescolate in precedenza).

2. Amalgamate gli ingredienti con un po’ di sale, fino ad ottenere un impasto morbido ed uniforme. Nel caso fosse necessario, aggiungete un po’ di farina.

3. Infarinate la superficie della spianatoia, dividete l’impasto in 4-5 pezzi uguali e rotolate ogni pezzo fino a formare dei filoncini molto lunghi e alti 1,5 cm. Tagliate ogni cilindro di pasta in piccoli gnocchi (lunghi 3 cm e alti 1,5 cm circa).

4. Usate una forchetta per rigare gli gnocchi (guarda il video).

5. Appoggiate gli gnocchi distanti tra loro su un tavolo coperto da strofinacci puliti, leggermente infarinati (nelle foto uso un piatto perché ho preparato una porzione sola).

 Note.

Per la cottura consiglio di far bollire in acqua abbondante e salata per qualche minuto. Poi scolate e condite come preferite. Un ottimo condimento per gli gnocchi di grano saraceno potrebbe essere una salsa al gorgonzola, oppure condite semplicemente con del buon pesto o una salsa al pomodoro, se seguite una dieta vegana o a basso contenuto calorico.

Amazing Artichoke and Pea Quinoa.

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Quinoa has become a very popular ingredient in recent years. Besides being very versatile, it’s considered by nutritionists to be one of the most important super foods for its numerous nutritional properties and it’s often used as a substitute for couscous in gluten-free recipes. Quinoa is also an excellent source of protein and amino acids, therefore is perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets.

I must thank my mother for this awesome recipe! She usually prepares meat dishes using artichokes, peas and potatoes. Being a vegetarian, I thought of using this amazing combination of flavours in a quinoa recipe, in order to create a delicious and perfectly balanced meal.

Cooking tip. After cutting the artichokes dip them in cold water and some lemon juice for a few minutes, to preserve the colour.

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Artichoke and Pea Quinoa.

 Ingredients 

for 4 servings

4 artichokes

200 g ( 7 oz) of peas

1 large potato

1 organic vegetable stock cube

1 large onion

1 clove of garlic

a bunch of parsley

a sprig of fresh marjoram

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

400 ml (14 fl. oz) of vegetable stock (made with 400 ml of hot water and 1 organic vegetable stock cube)

For the quinoa.

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

a pinch of salt

Quinoa preparation.

1. Wash the quinoa, using a strainer, under running water for a few minutes.

2. Put 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a small pan, then cook for 15 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and cover with the lid.

How to prepare the Vegetables. 

1. Peel, wash and finely cut the onion. Fry over a low heat for a few minutes. Cut the garlic clove, remove the green core, then chop and fry with the onion.

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2. Wash and trim the artichokes, removing all the sharp,  hard and hairy bits.  Cut each artichoke into 8 parts (also peel and cut the stems into small pieces) then add to the ingredients.

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3. Wash, peel and cut the potato into very small cubes.  Add the potato, pour 400 ml of vegetable stock into the pan and mix well.

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4. Then add the peas and cook for about 30 minutes over a low heat (cover with the lid and stir from time to time).

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5. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the herbs ( finely chopped) and season with salt and pepper.

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6. Turn off the heat and serve the vegetables with the quinoa in the middle.

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Quinoa con Carciofi e Piselli.

Ingredienti

per 4 persone

4 carciofi

200 g di piselli

1 patata grande

1 cipolla grande

1 spicchio d’aglio

1 dado vegetale biologico

un mazzetto di prezzemolo

un mazzetto di maggiorana fresca

5 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’ oliva

400 ml di brodo vegetale (fatto con 400 ml d’acqua bollente e un dado vegetale)

sale e pepe q b

per la quinoa

80 g di quinoa

200 ml d’acqua (ancora meglio se usate del brodo vegetale)

un pizzico di sale

 Preparazione della quinoa.

1. Lavate la quinoa, usando un colino, sotto il getto d’acqua del rubinetto per qualche minuto.

2. Fate cuocere in acqua leggermente salata (o brodo)  la quinoa per circa 15 minuti.

3. Spegnete il fuoco, coprite con il coperchio e lasciate riposare.

Preparazione delle verdure.

1. Pulite, tagliate finemente la cipolla e fate soffriggere a fuoco basso. Tagliate in due lo spicchio d’aglio, togliete l’anima, tritate e aggiungete al soffritto.

2. Lavate e pulite i carciofi, togliendo tutte le spine, le parti dure e fastidiose. Tagliate ciascun carciofo in 8 parti, tagliate anche il gambo a pezzetti e aggiungete al soffritto.

3. Pelate, lavate e tagliate la patata a cubetti molto piccoli. Mettete a cuocere la patata e aggiungete del brodo vegetale. Mescolate bene.

4. Aggiungete i piselli e fate cuocere a fuoco lento per 30 minuti con il coperchio semi chiuso, mescolando occasionalmente.

5. Quasi a fine cottura, aggiungete le erbe tritate finemente e condite con il sale e pepe.

6. A cottura terminata, spegnete il fuoco e servite le verdure con la quinoa nel centro.

Delicious Chocolate and Pistachio Flan.

This week I’m publishing another recipe from my friend, Anahita Tcheraghali.
With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, we decided to prepare a light and tasty dessert for you to enjoy with the whole family during this festive season!
This delightful flan is made with a nice chocolate shortcrust pastry and an exquisite pistachio filling, with an intense caramel-like flavour. It is light and perfect for vegan diets because it doesn’t contain eggs and it’s dairy-free.
You will love it!
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Ingredients
for the filling
300 ml (10 fl oz)  rice milk
25 g (0.88 oz) muscovado brown sugar
40 g (1.4 oz) of shelled pistachios 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
a vanilla bean (or a few drops of vanilla extract)
For the pastry
200 g (7 oz) flour 00
60 g (2 oz) of sunflower oil
60 g (2 oz) dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa solids)
80 g (3 oz) muscovado brown sugar
a pinch of baking soda
some grated lemon zest
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Preparation of the filling.
1. Finely grind the pistachios.
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2. Mix the ground pistachios with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 25 g (0.88 oz)  of sugar.
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3. Add the rice milk with a few seeds of the vanilla bean.
4. Thicken the filling on a low heat, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes.
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Preparation of the pastry.
1. Separately, combine the flour with the baking soda, then melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
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2. Mix the flour with the melted chocolate, 300 ml (10 fl oz) of oil, a little bit of lemon zest, cinnamon, salt and 80 g of sugar.
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3. Once you have a smooth dough, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
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4. Roll out the pastry on a greased baking tray and pierce the surface with a fork.
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5. Bake the base of the tart at 170 ° C (338 °F)  for 10 minutes.
6. Spoon the filling into the the pastry base and bake for another 15 minutes.
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Crostata di cioccolato con crema di pistacchi.
Ingredienti
Per la pasta brisé al cioccolato
200 g di farina 00
60 g di olio di semi di girasole
60 g di cioccolato fondente al 70 % (possibilmente bio)
80 g di zucchero di canna muscovado
un pizzico di bicarbonato
1 po’ di scorza di limone non trattato
un pizzico di cannella (facoltativo)
un pizzico di sale
Per la crema
2 cucchiai di amido di mais
300 ml di latte di riso
40 g di pistacchi sgusciati
una stecca di vaniglia (o qualche goccia di estratto di vaniglia)
25 g di zucchero di canna muscovado
Preparazione della crema.
1. Tritate i pistacchi finemente.
2. Unite i pistacchi tritati all’amido di mais e allo zucchero. Aggiungete il latte di riso e qualche seme del baccello di vaniglia.
3. Fate addensare la crema sul fornello a fuoco basso, mescolando continuativamente.
Preparazione della pasta.
1. A parte, unite la farina al bicarbonato e poi fate sciogliere il cioccolato a bagnomaria.
2. Impastate la farina con l’olio, la scorza di limone, la cannella, il cioccolato fuso, il sale e lo zucchero.
3. Una volta ottenuto un impasto omogeneo, mettetelo a riposare nel frigo per 30 minuti.
4. Stendete la pasta su una teglia leggermente unta e bucherellate la superficie con una forchetta.
5. Infornate la base della crostata a 170 °C per 10 minuti.
6. Riempite la base della torta con la crema e poi fate cuocere per altri 15 minuti.