Milk, milk, almond milk!

What’s the best thing to have when it’s cloudy? It’s easy, isn’t it? It’s milk!

Here in Sweden, drinking plant-based milk isn’t something that’s revolutionary or new anymore. Like I wrote before (my first post), this country has uncountable number of vegetarians and vegans. This country also has a high rate of lactose intolerant, strangely enough, since there was a research saying that the Nordics are actually have a higher tolerance to milk in comparison to people from other countries. Whatever the reason is, the consumption of plant-based milk has increased ten times between 2005 and 2011. Nonetheless, the increase in consumption hasn’t so far led to the decrease in price on this type of milk. The price of a liter milk (about quarter gallon) is anywhere between twice or four times as much compared to cow milk.

I’m not a lactose intolerant myself and I enjoy drinking milk. However, I found plant-based milk very curious and I’d really like to try that. That’s why I went on a hunt for straining bags for days. Straining bag is commonly used as a helping tool to make plant-based milk and it could also be used to make cheese.

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Contrary to what some might think, making milk based on nuts or oats isn’t hard at all. There are a few steps to be followed and there are just about thousands of varieties of milk that you can make. Nothing can stop you except your imagination.

My first milk that I made was almond and flax-seed milk. You should soak the almond during the night to get rid of its bitterness. I haven’t tried with other types of nuts, but I can imagine the process if the same. I used the 1:5 ratio (1 part milk and 5 parts water) when making the milk, however the milk was to runny for my taste. It was basically a bit of a failure, but hey, you can’t succeed at first trial every time, right? Therefore, I think it’s better to use the ratio 1:3 or 1:4 instead so you get that creaminess that milk has, or you can do 1:3 and if you think it’s too creamy, you can add more water.

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Almond and flax-seed milk

Ingredients:

  • 100gr almond
  • 50gr flax-seed
  • 300-350 ml water

Instructions:

  1. Soak the almond overnight
  2. Put the almonds and flax seeds in the blender together with water, blend it until it’s blended properly (it’ll turn white)
  3. Pour the liquid carefully to a bowl through the straining bag, then squeeze the straining bag
  4. Ready to serve!

Ps: I didn’t throw away the almond and flax-seed residue, I dried it and used it together with other vegetables to make veggie patty 🙂

xo,

Annisa

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A husmanskost inspiration

For a couple of months ago, my fiancé and I went on a date in a restaurant called Gyldene Freden that’s located in the outskirt of the Old Town in Stockholm. The Old Town is one of my favourite parts of Stockholm. It’s got the quaint streets and buildings,really cosy cafés in every corner and many restaurants that serve everything from the Swedish husmanskost (home cooking) to Italian food, to the viking-style food.

Gyldene Freden belongs to the husmanskost category, although in my opinion it was more of a fancier, more modern style of the Swedish home cooking. The items on the menu are changed according to the season, except some signature dishes like the infamous Swedish meatballs and a couple of others. The waiters are knowledgeable and very service minded, they know which wine that fits with each dish and they always fill up your glass with water and offer you their homemade bread.

Anyway, one dish that particularly got stuck in my mind was one of their vegetarian dishes: spätzle with red beet, goat cheese and walnuts. I know it doesn’t seem very impressive, as red beet and goat cheese is a common pairing that everyone has attempted at some point. It was just that the combination of the spätzle (dumpling/noodle look-alike, used in many German cuisines) and the creaminess of the cheese and all the taste combination that just explodes in your mouth.

A day like today, I took the challenge to recreate the dish. Although, to be honest, it was more of a bit of a poor attempt at it since I didn’t have time to make my own spätzle. I decided to substitute it with pasta instead. I pre-boiled the beets the day before and let them soak in the juices until the next day when I was going to make it. I used chèvre cheese (literally translated from French: goat cheese), but for the sake of avoiding confusion I’ll refer it to chèvre. So, no feta cheese but the soft variation, one that looks like brie from the outside.

Pasta, red beet, and goat cheese

Pasta, red beet and goat cheese

Pasta with red beet and goat cheese

2 portions

Ingredients:

  • Pasta (I’m so bad at measuring pasta and always make too much of it, so read on the package for portion size!)
  • 2 red beets, peeled
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 150 g spinach
  • 100 g goat cheese, chopped/shredded into smaller pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil/butter
  • A handful of chopped walnuts
  • Ground white pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Water to boil

Instructions:

  1. Boil the water and add honey. Add the red beet and boil until soft. Like I said before, I did this the night before but you could also do this on the day. Dice them when they’re cooked
  2. Cook the pasta and drain it when it’s done. A tip is to coat it with oil when you’re done so they don’t get stuck together.
  3. In a pan, heat the oil/butter in a medium heat and throw the spinach in until they wilt (or until they’re thawed if you’re using frozen spinach), season with a pinch of nutmeg. Be careful with it, nutmeg has a very strong flavour so you just want a hint of it in the spinach, not a punch in your mouth. 😉
  4. Add the red beet once the spinach is wilt, and add the pasta slightly after. Mix it properly, season with white pepper.
  5. Add the goat cheese and mix until it coats the pasta evenly. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  6. Remove from heat, toss the walnut and mix.
  7. Get a bowl and scoop the pasta, enjoy!

xo,

Annisa

Sunday Funday! (and a bit of luxury oats)

It’s finally Sunday!

Sunday isn’t actually my favourite day, it’s the day before I get to work again. I bet there are a lot out there who can relate!

This Sunday, though, is a bit special. It’s the first advent, which means that we get to get our candles that we lit one every Sunday before Christmas. Advent celebration is a tradition that began in the 5th century where people fast before Christmas, starting from Mårtensdagen, the 10th November. The fasting period was then shortened to four weeks before Christmas. The tradition changed to the way it is now in the early 20th century. It’s basically a new year for the church (correct me if I’m wrong), to celebrate the arrival of Jesus.

For me, personally, I don’t celebrate advent for the religion sake. I don’t think many in Sweden does it for that reason anymore. I think the reason for the celebrations nowadays is that it’s a very nice tradition that we’d need in this November darkness, especially this November where we only got 3 hours of sunlight for the whole month (and no, I’m not exaggerating). I’d show you how we celebrate it the coming Sunday, I really wasn’t prepared for this first advent (never have, probably never will…)

Because I wasn’t prepared for the first advent, I’d like to celebrate it in some way. No better way to do it than having a bit of a luxury breakfast. I’d like to have something filling and something that’s sweet. It also has to be warm.The answer was simple: oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a very versatile ingredient. You can make practically anything out of it: cake, breadcrumbs, bars and porridge. For breakfast today, I made a bowl of oatmeal porridge and to get the lux going I added some fruits and toasted coconut flakes and drained it in coconut milk. It doesn’t take long time to make this, and most of the things you can do while you wait for the porridge to be cooked.

The recipe below is meant for one portion, but a rule of thumb is that you use twice as much water/milk for one part of oatmeal.

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Oatmeal porridge with caramelised banana and coconut milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 dl oatmeal
  • 2 dl water
  • 1-2 dl coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi, or any fruit you think fits
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Coconut flakes
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Firstly, you have to make the porridge. Mix the oatmeal and water with a pinch of salt in a pan. Put it in low heat.
  2. While the oatmeal is cooking, toast the coconut flakes in a pan until you can smell the coconut fragrant. Once you do, take it off the pan and set aside.
  3. Slice the banana and set aside.
  4. Using the same pan, put sugar with a tiny bit of water and let it cook and caramelise in low heat so it doesn’t burn. Do not stir.
  5. Once the caramel is ready (syrupy and a bit brown), put the banana slices in the caramel and coat it evenly. Put it off the heat.
  6. If you like to have the coconut milk warm as I do, warm it now until it’s lukewarm. Otherwise, skip this step.
  7. Now, your porridge should be done. Put it in a bowl, top it with your banana and your other fruit (if you want). Toss the coconut flakes and pout the coconut milk.
  8. Ready to serve!

I hope you’d try this one day, it’s warm and it’s perfect for a cloudy Sunday like this one!

xo,

Annisa

Little Saturday

Alright, it’s Wednesday and here in Sweden it’s called “little Saturday”. And no, unfortunately that doesn’t mean that you get to work half a day instead, not even with the infamous Swedish efficiency. It just means that it’s okay for you to go out and grab a beer with your buddies. You know, a little “let loose” thing in the middle of the week that is actually acceptable. Who doesn’t like that?! For my part though, I’m just happy that I’m home with my lovely fiancé.

Since I have my cravings a little now and then (no, no bun in the oven. It’s just an Annisa thing.) I decided to remake the dish that was successful at first trial. Yeah, imagine that, right? The dish was spinach noodle wok. The noodles are spinach noodles. Apart from tasting wonderful, these noodles are actually really fun to eat. They’re green and they just look different and I think even kids would think it’s fun because it’s different. But what do I know, I’m just an adult with a childish soul. I think mothers could give a better point of view on what children like or dislike.

Sadly, these noodles aren’t available in normal grocery stores here in Sweden. Maybe with time you’d get to see the noodles everywhere. But just not now. Now, you can find them in the Asian part of Stockholm. In a little area called Hötorget, you can find many Asian shops. Like other Asian shops, they sell a lot of produce that are typical for Asian cuisine. Oddly enough, taking a walk there between the fully stocked aisles always feel like taking a walk in a grocery store in Indonesia (except that I can’t read Mandarin or Thai). I feel like a child in a sweet shop, every time.

Like usual, I use the things that I had in my fridge. This time, it’s time for bell pepper, zucchini and edamame beans to shine. You can of course substitute the veggies with any vegetable you have! The reason I used wok for this is that it heats up rather quick and it’s perfect to make a dish like dish since this only takes about 10 minutes in total. If you don’t have any wok though, use a normal pan, but make sure that pan is hot! So without further ado, here it goes:

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Vegan Spinach Noodle Wok

Ingredients:

  • Spinach noodles (any noodles would do just fine)
  • Zucchini, matchstick form
  • Red bell pepper, matchstick form
  • Edamame beans
  • Dried bird eye chili
  • Garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat the wok on high heat, heat up the sesame oil
  2. When you can smell the oil, it’s hot enough. Add garlic and chili until you smell the fragrant
  3. Add zucchini, red bell pepper and edamame beans and fry for about a minute (if you use other veggies, the harder ones go first followed by the softer one slighty after). The veggies shouldn’t be completely soft, they should still have a little crunch
  4. Add the noodles and mix it properly. Salt to taste.
  5. Ta-da!!! Your wok is now ready to serve!

Enjoy!

xo,

Annisa

First post! (and one of my favourite recipes!)

Hi and welcome!

So, today I finally decided to get my things together and actually write this first blog post.

To start off, I’d like you to get to know me and why I even thought of just posting vegetable based dishes on this blog. I’m not a vegetarian, but I love eating vegetables and I love how versatile they are. Besides of their health benefits (reduce the risk of heart disease, for instance), eating vegetables is also environmentally friendly (help reducing greenhouse gases production from cattle).

When I moved to Sweden, I found that everything about food was very paradoxical. It was here that I found my first vegetarian friends (yes, believe it or not, I didn’t know any vegetarian/vegan in either Indonesia or Tanzania). After living here (read: in Stockholm) for a while, I realised that this country is most likely one of the countries who’d top the list of having the most vegetarians/vegans in its population. However, how come this country, who has a lot of vegetarians/vegans in its population has a hard time convincing the children to fancy vegetables?

I think I found the answer when I looked at Indonesia. Although no one I know there proclaims themselves to be vegetarian/vegan, they basically eat like vegetarians/vegans except for the occasional meat-eating. Vegetables are simply incorporated in the diet. Everyone, including small children are used to eating huge amount of vegetables that they don’t think it’s weird anymore. Vegetables are not just a side that your mother tells you to eat because it’s good for you. You in fact think it’s just another meal in your life. No biggie.

That’s why I want to write this blog. I want people to see that eating vegetables, and making children to like vegetable is not a hard thing to do. It’s the matter of making it a habit and making the vegetables the main star of the meal, and not just a sideshow.

Okay, enough about that! As my first recipe here, I’ll show you where my roots are. The dish is called Gado-gado and it’s the infamous Indonesian salad with peanut sauce. If you’ve ever been to Indonesia, or have eaten or heard about Indonesian food, this would be the one.

Gado-gado has its roots in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the then called Batavia by the Dutch (and Betawi in folk’s mouths). The traditional recipe calls for the use of bean sprouts and snake beans. I had none of those at home so I had to make do with what I had, which is partially what Indonesian cuisine (or any other cuisine for that matter) is built upon. You make do with what you have. So here it comes:

Gado-gado

My non-traditional gado-gado, using the vegetables I could find in my fridge.

My non-traditional gado-gado, using the vegetables I could find in my fridge.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • Carrots
  • Cabbage (blanche)
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes (cook)
  • Tofu and/or tempe (fry)
  • Green beans /snake beans (blanche)
  • Egg
  • Any vegetable you can find in your fridge/garden
  • Fried onion to garnish

For the sauce:

  • Peanuts (or natural peanut butter without sugar/sweetener)
  • 1-2 clove(s) garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp palm/brown sugar
  • lime juice
  • tamarind juice
  • dried chili (according to your preference)
  • water
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Chop all the vegetables (make sure you make it pretty! What you see affects how you experience the food 😉 ).
  2. Blanche all vegetables that have to be blanched and cook the potatoes, everything else is supposed to be raw.
  3. Grind the garlic and chili (and peanuts if you’re doing it from scratch) until smooth and add lime juice, tamarind juice, sugar and mix. If you’re using peanut butter, add after you grind chili and garlic
  4. Add water until you find the right consistency (not too thin but enough so it looks like a sauce), add salt to taste.
  5. Arrange the vegetables and the egg and/or tofu on a plate and poured the sauce on top. Garnish with fried onion.

There you go, I hope you’ll try it and enjoy!

xo,

Annisa