Archive for March, 2009

Tarte au Muhammara

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , , on 30,March,2009 by Mia

 

tarte au Muhammara/Kahliya-logue

After reading Simona`s post on muhammara on her blog Briciole,I was totally inspired by that vibrant color of the Red peppers mixed with crunchy walnuts.But the thing is ,I felt like preserving that crunch,as well as the colors,which for some reason I was totally sure were combined with black Olives.Evidently it was my imagination , because as I returned to the recipe-there were NO olives..oops.But I went with the Olives all the same.. 🙂 

I decided to keep the general idea of the melange,but instead of blending them together,I combined them chopped up in chunks,creating a colorful palette,laying on a platform of a crusty dough.

Simona`s recipe was based on the one in Diana Abu-Jaber`s book “The language of Baklava”,a book that intrigues me very much as the author was also born into a multi cultural reality,a colorful one she seems to describe in her book!

I did not know about Muhammara prior to reading Simona`s post,but I am grateful for her to have introduced it to me. I have yet to try the spread itself as it really seems like a healthy delightful alternative for a quick snack! Grazie Simona!

 

Ingredients:

For the dough:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp Baharat/Allspice

Salt & Pepper

1 tbs Ajwain seeds

1 tbs Nigella seeds

1/3 cup Olive oil

1/3 cup water

_  _  _  _

For the filling:

1.5 ripe Tomatoes thinly sliced

1 large Bell pepper

approx.3/4 cup Walnuts

approx.3/4cup chopped pitted Black Olives

3 tbs chopped fresh Sage leaves

 Olive oil

1 tbs Baharat/Allspice

1 tbs Nigella seeds

Salt & Pepper

  •    *   *   *   *    *

Prepare the dough by placing the flour in a bowl,add the spices and mix.

Mix in the oil thoroughly creating crumbs with your fingers,then add the water mixing and molding a dough.

 This dough is a bit oilier than I usually prepare with the aim of creating a crispier crust.It may seem to be falling apart at first,but dont despair,slightly moisturize with a touch of additional water if needed,and continue to softly knead and put aside or in fridge for 30 minutes to set.

Tarte au Muhammara II/Kahliya-logue

Meantime,in a separate bowl,combine chopped Bell peppers,walnuts and Olives together,adding 1Tbs Baharat,Salt & Pepper,1 tbs Olive oil and chopped Sage leaves,mix well.

 

Re-knead the dough a bit and roll it out to a flat lightly floured surface.

Wood/kahliya-logue

  • Note: There is just something about old fashioned techniques in the preparation of food that I adore and feel spiritually connected to our ancestors through them,aswell as to the food itself.To the extent possible I will allways prefer working with my hands,tearing ,chopping,rolling and kneading  than the work with more advanced machines,which distance us from the tactile connection to the food.

Bee and Jai from Jugabandi are hosting a food photography event called CLICK  linked this month to the theme WOOD,an important grounding element of Nature ,when related to food immediatly inspires in my mind the primal basic preparation of dough,with the use of articles made of Wood.

I am sending this photo of the dough preparation to be a part of this event.

– – – – – – – –

Now,back to our dough.

Tarte au Muhammara III/Kahliya-logue

Place in a parchment paper layered tarte dish.

Top the Tarte with the Tomato slices ,evenly spreading them so as to create a bonding base,and gently pour over the Bell pepper mixture,evenly sprinkling Nigella seeds on top and about 1.5 tbs olive oil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for about 10-15 min.(May differ as I used a toaster oven).Be attentive as the crust becomes baked but not too dark, the peppers remain crunchy,and the walnuts dont burn(those are your guiding signs.. 🙂  )

Tarte au Muhammara IV/Kahliay-logue

As you remove the Tarte from the oven,upon serving it,you may top with another sprinkle of Olive oil .

Enjoy!

Beet Ravioli

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , , on 26,March,2009 by Mia

Beet Ravioli/Kahliya-logue

I saw this a while back on the blog What the hell does a vegan eat anyway and thought it was just amazing.The creativity these guys have blows me away,especially considering they are Vegan,because I know how challenging it is sometimes ,but they just keep it to a Gourmet level,and good for them! aswell as for us ,so we can continue to be inspired!

The original recipe calls for a filling of Fennel +Macademia and Pine nuts,though they do reproduce it at times with other components.I prepared them using cashew nuts,Miso and Garlic,which is more or less a filling they used on a different occasion.With all the excitement, I actually completely forgot to marinate the beet slices in Olive oil,but all in all they turned out great.Once again Id like to say ,If the general idea appeals to you,go for any creative idea you feel like.I guess what appealed to me the most,asides from the fact that I love Beets(which among other things are rich in Iron and known to be a very good blood cleanser!), was seeing that wonderful idea of using thin slices of a  vegetable form a wrapping of a ravioli.Im sure playing around with different fillings could be very interesting.

Ingredients:

2 Beets

1 clove Garic

3/4 cup Cashew nuts-soaked in warm water for 1/2 hour

2 tsp Miso paste

small amount of water-enough to blend a smooth consistency

Salt & Pepper

Finely chopped spring onion for decoration

*    *    *    *    *    *

Ok,I just realised that the Beets were not cooked in the original recipe,but softened in Olive oil for 30 min.after being sliced,which is probably much healthier!

So I guess it`s your choice now,either you do that,which would probably be considered more “raw food”,or like I did-I just briefly cooked them in water(there are also pre-cooked vacum packages,though Im not very sure as to the remaining vitamin content left in them..?)

The Beets must be very thinly sliced with the aid of a Mandoline,which I personally do not have,though a very good knife did the job.

Strain Cashews from water and blend together with garlic clove and Miso paste,adding a bit of water enough to obtain a smooth consistency.

Add Salt and Pepper to your taste.

Place bottom layer of your Beet Ravioli on a plate and fill each one with a tsp of the filling.

Cover with top slice and garnish with finely chopped spring onion.

Enjoy!

More interesting links on the fabulous wonders of Beets!

Ezhealthy diet

Juicing for health

Whfoods

Life plus vitamins

Gnocchi

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , , , on 22,March,2009 by Mia

 

Gnocchi/Kahliya-logue

I am not Italian,though I have this soft spot for anything connected to Italy,their esthetics,the language and..ofcourse the food.I guess it`s the Mediterranean thing,that and something I kind of inherited from my father.He`s not Italian either.He was born and grew up in Egypt,as I have mentioned earlier on in my blog.Alexandria in those days still carried a lot of Italian influence,along with many other foreign influences,as it was a very well known cosmopolitan place of trades due to it`s port,plus his mother was Greek from Yanina-near Corfu,and spoke Italian,since that region was once part of the “Venetian Kingdom”.His father went to an Italian highschool and later on went to Italy to study engraving,therefore they spoke Italian at home..Legend has it that every evening when my Grandfather came home,his first words to my Grandmother as he walked through the door were: “Rosa,ce carne?”(“Rosa,is there any meat?”) .Unfortunately I didnt get to meet him,but I dont think he would of been very content with my Vegan cuisine.. 🙂

On the other side of the scale,as I researched upon preparing this recipe,I found out much to my surprise,that there is a very similar dish in the German cuisine called “Kloesse ” ,potato dumplings which are prepared very much in the same way,just larger in form.When I asked my mother who is from “Alsace” a German influenced region of France,she told me all about them..

Talk about difference of cultures,surrounding a similar dish,I just love that! Small world after all..eh?

Seriously,with all these mixed cultures(believe me it gets even more complex!) within my roots,is it any wonder I turned out such a Nomad searching this Earth for my home..?I meant that humoristically,as I am ever so grateful to the richness of influences and its probable contribution to my open state of mind and heart towards all cultures!

stamps-Tony Tahhan

Now,shall we return to Italy ?I was inspired by Tony Tahhan  a super talented whiz kid in the kitchen,who created a Mediterranean oriented food event,called “A taste of the Mediterranean” hosting each time a different mediterranean region,with a specific dish as a theme for fellow bloggers to present their variation.This month it`s Italy and together with him is Francesco from The food traveller,who has chosen the theme “Gnocchi”.

I love Potatoes,there`s just something so homey about them,and I love my Gnocchi very simple,no strong flavored sauce overuling that delicate sweetness of the potato.So I went for one of the Italian Classics,originally butter and Sage,with my adaptation using Olive oil instead of the butter.For the Gnocchis themselves I used Potatoes and wholewheat flour,I actually felt no need for the egg whatsoever.

Ingredients:

1 Lb Potatoes

1 cup Whole wheat flour

pinch of Salt

Sauce:

1/4 cup Olive oil

salt/pepper

2,3 tbs Fresh Sage leaves-chopped

*   *    *    *    *    *    *

Bring Potatoes to a boil in their skin,and continue to cook ,lowering flame just until firm but tender.

Immediately strain from water,make sure they are completely dry,and while still hot,peel and mash well with a fork.

Make sure you have a smooth puree without any chunks.

Add a pinch of salt,and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

Mix in the puree,very delicately creating a “dough” without working it.

If you need, add  a bit more flour,just enough for it not to stick,but remember this is not a pastry dough,it is to remain quite moist,but not sticky,

the base of this should be Potato and not flour.

Break off small chunks,rolling them onto a floured surface(as little flour as possible)into long finger -like sausages.

With a sharp knife ,slice off pieces a little less about 1/2  inch.

Holding them very delicately,slide them against a fork tha lays upside down on the table,to create the stripes across the surface,which are meant to “hold” the sauce in,trying all along to maintain its basic shape.At first it may seem a bit crazy as it is so soft it deforms easily,but if you dont stress and carry it out as if youre holding cotton balls,you`ll get the hang of it after the first few.If not,just let go of the added decoration,and hold on to your basic shape,thats the main thing anyway.

In a large pot of boiling water,carefully drop in your Gnocchis,maintaining enough distance in between them so as not to stick to each other.After they rise to the surface ,take them out with a large slotted spoon,making sure you release any remaining liquid.

In a separate pan briefly warm the Olive oil,salt and pepper,and chopped sage leaves,and pour over the gnocchis.

buon Appetito!

Luscious Nature..Anona Parfait

Posted in sweets with tags , , , , , on 19,March,2009 by Mia

Anona parfait/Kahliya-logue

I gotta tell you guys…I`m completely ecstatic..! Why you ask? Because of this amazing desert!

It`s just so important to me to show how all we need is there within the Earth`s produce in such a lovely healthy balance,all we need is to learn it`s language,and oh what a lovely language it is!

I first saw this recipe from the “Purely delicious” magazine, and was totally in awe..Today,as I was feeling a bit down(yes,yes, again..) I felt the desperate need to make some “pick me up” magic,and decided to go for any quick version that I would be able to invent almost in the spur of a moment,and ofcourse with whatever I happened to have on hand at that moment.And to tell you the truth,considering my mood which was accompanied with a huge lack of concentration & patience, I was almost surprised it came out seriously SOOO  fabulous!

Since it was really made in a whimsical whiff,I can hardly account for the exact quantities used,though I will try here to rediscover them for you(and me!) .But rest assure that since it was really that good  I will surely make it again,and I promise to return here and state more accurate measurements.

 

Anona/Kahliya-logue

I based my version on the pulp of one large  ANONA  fruit,which I happened to have ,as opposed to the pulp of a coconut in the original recipe;topped with a few Strawberries ,instead of the Rasberries,and I prepared the base with chopped  Almonds,Hazelnuts and Dates creating somewhat of a more chunky version than the original recipe,which was not initially my intention-I was actually going to grind them finer and then a wave of laziness got the best of me.That together with the fact that I realised  I actually prefer the chunks,and now Im glad I left it that way..

The recipe was meant for several “mini-tart” servings,but my Star Anona restricted this whole production to what would be equivalent to about 2 mini tarts.

One more thing before we begin.This is not really a tart as actually the origin calls it a “cream” and suggests the possibility of keeping it cooled in the fridge or frozen in the freezer.In my case,I regard the “cream” I have prepared to be something like a “parfait” ,which was perfect slightly frozen(not completely as it just hardens..),and would probably not hold aswell in the fridge unless you added something like some AGAR  AGAR which is a perfect natural ingredient with which to prepare creamy deserts.

Ingredients:

For base:

10(approx)Dates- soaked in warm water,then pitted and roughly chopped.

15(approx)Almonds-soaked in water enough to peel the skins off;roughly chopped

6(approx)Hazelnuts-roughly chopped.

approx 3 tbs -Date molasses(pure,unsweetened)

Cinnamon

A pinch of Salt(preferably sea salt)

– – – –

For filling:

10(approx)Cashews soaked in water

Pulp of 1 large Anona fruit

3 tsp(approx) Coconut oil

1/4 cup (approx)Soy milk

a few Strawberries for topping

*    *    *    *   *    *    *

In a bowl mix chopped nuts with Dates,add Cinnamon and date molasses,and a pinch of Salt.

Mix together with hands,knead a little and create a “ball of dough”.

Line a small rimmed dish(6.5inch/15cm)with plastic wrap or parchment paper,press the “dough” into the dish,creating an ‘inner dish’,make sure it is dense,and try to even the edges.

Place in freezer and procced to work on filling.

In a bowl mix pulp of Anona with chopped softened Cashews(starined from the water and chopped).I used a “Blender stick”(did I mention I was lazy?)but I guess it would blend smoother in a proper highspeed blender

Add 2-3 tsp Coconut oil,and slowly add Soy milk (about 1/4 cup),use as much as you need to create a creamy consistency-make sure it does not become too liquidy..

Bring back your dish and fill it with the cream,topping it with Strawberries,that you have washed and cut their tops off,decorating in circular motion .Return dish to freezer till ready to serve.Upon serving,delicately remove from the dish to take the paper off and move to apropriate serving dish.

Now for an additional surprise!

Anona Parfait-kahliya-logue

I had some filling left over,and found it made a delicious “parfait” /Ice cream ,within itself without the crust!

So,take that into consideration,if you ever would like to prepare an “ANONA PARFAIT” on another occasion!

I would like to emphasize again that all the experiments I share with you here have one goal which is to encourage you to “Go with Nature” and especially to experiment with your creativity! I honestly dont believe in any NoNo`s.If you dont find any Anona,try any other fruit!And if you feel like sharing any version you felt like trying,feel free to come back and tell us all about it,so we can all learn this fabulous language of Nature!

Enjoy!

Red rice Pilaf

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , on 18,March,2009 by Mia

Red Rice Pilaf-Kahliya-logue

After having posted just recently the recipe for the Red rice burger ,I realised That Red rice  is still not that widely known.So I decided to share more basic methods of preparation of this highly nutritious grain,which incidently does seem to be the same Red rice grown in France,to inspire you to begin adding it into your own cooking!

Actually,the basic idea is similar to cooking any rice of your choice,but in this case you need more water .Then, in a skillet,stir fry ingredients of your choice ,flavoring with spices,and adding the rice to create a flavorful mix!

Ingredients:

1 cup Red rice

Olive oil

Salt/Pepper

Baharat/Allspice(or anyother favorite spice blend)

Dried Thyme

1-2Spring onions

4,5 Mushrooms

1 Red bell pepper

2 tomatoes

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Cook the rice in 2.5 cups water

The way I do it is rince the rice and bring to a boil after which I remove the scum formed on top,lower the flame to a low heat,and then add about 1 tbs Olive oil,some salt,pepper and Baharat and leave to cook till all water absorbed and soft.

Meantime in a separate pan add some Olive oil and briefly stir-fry chopped spring onion with chopped mushrooms,then add the chopped Red bell pepper and Tomatoes.Add spices and mix all together,finally adding your cooked rice,blending it in and adjusting the spices to your taste aswell as adding a bit of Olive oil at the end if you feel needed.

I like to have the veggies still firm and crunchy so the whole stir-fry process is quite quick.If you like you can even add some additional freshly chopped Spring onion to top the dish just before serving.

On another occasion I added Spinach leaves and dried Sage instead of the Thyme,

Red rice pilaf II-kahliya-logue

and on another I added More tomatoes instead of the Bell pepper,cooking it a bit longer,

559

creating more liquids,resulting similar to a stew,for those who prefer it that way..

Red rice Pilaf III- Kahliya-logue

 

Now there`s no more excuses..embrace this fabulous grain and show us all your creative combinations! 🙂

Rustic Strawberry pie

Posted in sweets with tags , , , , , on 13,March,2009 by Mia

Rustic Strawberry pie/Kahliya-logue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmmmmm strawberries…Ruby red luscious sweet beauties…

This is just another way I try to preserve Nature`s beauty and sweetness without too much interfering..

Ingredients:

500 gr(approx) fresh strawberries

Lemon-a small squeeze of fresh juice.(optional)

Jaggery-Raw Cane Sugar,much healthier than sugar,I have used it here.Can be purchased at the Indian shops.

Dough:

2 cupsWholewheat flour

a few pinches of Jaggery.

1.5 tbs Cinnamon

1/3 cup Soy milk already diluted with water/or water

1/8 – 1/4  cup Canola Oil.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Prepare the dough:

Place 2 cups whole wheat flour in bowl,add Jaggery and Cinnamon and mix together.

Then add oil and mix,after which add the milk(or water)and form dough adjusting flour or liquid if needed.

Put to rest in fridge.

Meantime,rince strawberries and cut tops containing leaves off.pat dry with paper towel and place in bowl.

Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon and add some pinches of Jaggery to the strawberries.Mix them delicately in the bowl,until the jaggery dissolves and covers all the strawberries.

Take the dough out and flatten into a flat circle with a rolling pin and gently place into a baking dish layered with parchement baking paper.

Preheat the oven.

Place the strawberries one by one on the dough surface in a circular arrangement beginning with the outer circle and moving on to the inner circles,filling up the pie`s surface completely.If you wish you can  again add a few pinches of jaggery over the strawberries.

Place in oven heated to 250 (may differ-I use a toaster oven)for approx 15 min.

Voila! You have yourself a very simple,gently sweetened strawberry tarte.I hope you like it.

Enjoy!

Red Rice Burger

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , , , , on 12,March,2009 by Mia

Red Rice Burger/Kahliya-logue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I`ve allways wanted to prepare a meatless burger,but to tell you the truth..I never did.I think I`ve tried once and devastated by the outcome I kind of let it rest..I think I just couldnt get the idea of how it is supposed to work..These days,trying not to loose that boost of creative edge that has been visiting me,I decided to give it another courageous go.I didnt quite know what I`d make them out of,and I didnt feel like browsing any recipes,so I went for red Rice as a base,and I figured I would improvise ,adding as I go along,what I thought might fit.And you know what?They turned out very nice.I wouldnt go so far as to say they`re like hamburgers,though you must admit,visually they do resemble,but they were tasty and definitely wholesome.

I love Red rice.Another food product I have discovered while living in France,first as ”Red rice of camargue” in the supermarket,then I found the Bhutanese Red rice in the Indian grocery shops.I cannot say for sure if it is the same rice,though to me it seemed very similar.In any case the kind I continue to find and use today is the the Bhutanese.

This Rice is very potent as it is high in protein,and I just love it`s flavor especially as opposed to it`s rice ‘cousins’.It has this special warmer nutty flavor, and  is very grounding and fulfilling.I actually eat it when say,another person would go for a ‘steak’..if you know what I mean.

Now Just before we go to ‘work’, I`d like to encourage you,after taking a look at this version and/or trying it,if you like,to go at it with any creative combo you feel like.Don`t be as hesitant as I was,I dont really think it`s a specific texture we`re after here,but flavor and of course for it to stick more or less together,which for that we use the  glutinous virtues of the Flax seed.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked Red Rice( 1 cup rice to 2.5 cups water),set aside to cool.

2 cooked Potatoes,peeled and mashed with a fork.

4,5 Walnuts-coarsely chopped

1 small Onion chopped

3 Mushrooms chopped

2,3 tbs chopped Parsley

Olive oil

2 tbs Flax seed soaked in hot water just enough to cover seeds)

whole Sesame seeds

Salt, Pepper

Baharat/Allspice

For the sauce:

Tahin sauce- Bulk Tahin,1/2 Lemon,Cumin,Salt.(1 finely chopped Garlic clove-optional).

*  *  *   *

In a medium sized bowl place cooked rice,mashed potato,Flax seed mixture(which has now become a glutinous mixture),chopped nuts.

In a saucepan saute lightly chopped onion,to which add chopped mushrooms for a quick stir.Then add this to the Rice mixture.

Add chopped Parsely,1.5 tbs Baharat,1 tbs Sesame seeds,Salt and Pepper.Drizzle a bit(approx.2 tbs) of Olive oil and mix all together.Adjust flavor to your taste.

Preheat oven.Layer a baking dish with parchement baking paper.Form balls with mixture(a bit bigger than a ping pong ball),slightly flatten,place on baking dish and sprinkle some more Sesame seeds on the top of each burger.

Bake in oven at 250(may differ-I used a toaster oven)for approx.15-20 min.

Meantime prepare sauce,using 1/3 cup bulk Tahin diluted in 1/4 cupwater ,add squeezed lemon juice(begin with 1/2 the amount and add if needed.), 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp Cumin.Add finely chopped Garlic if you wish(I didnt in this case).Mix well to obtain a smooth consistency,slightly more liquidy than in the preparation of the traditional Tahin,as it`s purpose in this case is to pour over the burgers as an additional sauce.Adjust flavors to your taste.

Serve in a side bowl next to burgers to be added if wished for.

Enjoy!