Category Archives: Food

Raw Vegan Buckwheat Porridge with Raspberry Jam

First thing’s first: It’s tasty, and we’re not even vegan.

It just happens that nearly half the time when we make food, it turns out to be vegan. We aim for having fresh/healthy ingredients in our kitchen at all times. There are exceptions, of course.

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continue reading 1porridge

Maybe you can relate to this too (Friday evening after a looong week):

-“Honeeeyyyy, look at all the goodness I’ve bought! We’ve got some nice broccoli, cauliflower, salad, cherry tomatoes, ripe bananas, juicy mangos, fresh coconuts – I can’t even name half the stuff!”

-“Oooh, sounds delicious! We could make a nice big bowl of salad for dinner, what do you think?”

-“I’m pretty tired to cook anything though, and I could do with some comfort food. What about a pizza?”

-“Awwwhhh, pizza! It’s been ages since we had one. And a beer!?”

-“Yeah, a nice cold dark beer!!” (mutual agreement reached)

-“We’ve got quite a number of fresh groceries though, you think they’ll keep until tomorrow?”

-“I’m pretty sure they will”. (mutual agreement reaffirmed)

Two days of 7-11 sandwiches, three nights of eating-out and 2 new coffee-shop discoveries later you look at the salad wilted ONTO the side of the refrigerator… Fortunately this only happens occasionally.

Auste has been trying out some raw porridge recipes, and the first time I took a bite, I was less than amazed as it didn’t have a specific taste. It had a texture of what would could be a ground cashew nut porridge. However with every spoonful of this textury mix with raspberry-honey sauce, I wanted more. It still didn’t reveal any distinctive taste, but I just couldn’t stop. It had minor hints of vanilla, oats, and cinnamon – all in one. I only ate it cold, and didn’t even consider heating it up.

It is also suitable to take for lunch to a refrigerator-less office. Tested twice.

buckwheat porridge raw vegan breakfast

For the porridge (adapted from Oh She Glows):

3/4 cup buckwheat groats (they have to be raw, not roasted)

1 1/2 cup of water for soaking

400 ml milk (I used soy milk cause that’s what I had at hand, but I imagine almond milk would work even better with the flavours here)

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp honey (or Agave syrup for a raw version)

1 tsp vanilla extract (or you can use vanilla pods – even better)

1 tsp cinnamon

For the jam:

1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tbsp honey

raw vegan raspberry jam breakfast

1. Soak the buckwheat groats overnight. They will be slimy and smell a bit strange in the morning, so you have to rinse them a couple of times and they’ll be ready to use.

2. Mix the buckwheat groats with the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

3. Taste it. If you can feel the buckwheat and you don’t like the texture – add more milk with chia seeds and more honey / vanilla / cinnamon to taste. Make it a little bit more liquid than you would like it to be and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour.

4. Make the raspberry jam. Simply crush the raspberries using a fork and mix them with honey. If you want the consistency to be a bit more jam-like add some chia seeds.

5. Take the porridge out of the fridge, pour the raspberry jam on top, add fresh berries, nuts or anything else you fancy and enjoy!

Broccoli and pesto farfalle with pangritata

If you’ve ever had one of these (pictured below), you know you want to make some Italian food to go with it.

There was a good offer on Wine Demon for first-time online customers, and 5 out of 6 wines were a good mix, with lots of aromas and flavours.
There was a good offer on Wine Demon for first-time online customers, and 5 out of 6 wines were a good mix, with lots of aromas and flavours.

I made this a while ago now, and I found out that Italians have a very interesting ingredient – Pangritata, also called ‘poor man’s parmesan’. It is basically fried breadcrumbs. Oddly enough, it’s nothing like parmesan, but it does taste good.

This simple dish goes well with a glass of medium-bodied red wine, perhaps even table wine! Although I do like Malbec or Torrontes – you have a little bit with a meal, and then a little bit more after the meal. You could go with white, but this dish may overtake the flavour of the wine. The recipe below should be enough for two people.

First, make the pangritata:

3 tbsp oil,

1 garlic clove, sliced

2 tbsp chopped rosemary or thyme

50g breadcrumbs

1 or less chopped chilli

1) Mix the above ingredients and fry in oil for 2 minutes until crisp golden;

2) Season with salt and pepper and dry on kitchen paper.

For the pasta:

200g Farfalle pasta (or something boring like Penne)

150g broccoli,

2 tbsp basil pesto,

Zest of 1/2 lemon,

2 tbsp parmesan, grated (optional)

1) Cook the pasta, leaving tiny bit of the cooking water;

2) Mix in the rest of ingredients and sprinkle over the pangritata. Done.

I do enjoy some dishes with a smoky flavour. This one wasn't as smoky, but I think I fried the breadcrumbs too long, which worked to my favour.
I do enjoy some dishes with a smoky flavour. This one wasn’t as smoky, but I think I fried the breadcrumbs too long, which worked to my favour.

Oreo Biscotti – a sweet Christmas gift

Usually as soon as the calendar hits the 1st of December, I start Youtubing Christmas playlists… Who am I kidding, I start doing it mid-November!

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling very festive last year, because it was my first Christmas in Thailand. I guess I either miss snow, cold yet sunny Lithuanian winters, or the appalling British weather. Apart from the snowless winter, I am very jolly and I hope you are too. If not – just stick to your 5-a-day (and by that I mean mulled wine!).

Cosy Christmas in Leeds... with a Waitrose coffee-cup Christmas tree :)
Cosy Christmas in Leeds… with a Waitrose coffee-cup Christmas tree 🙂

For our last Christmas in the UK, Auste and I decided to make gifts for our friends and family ourselves, and I have to say it was definitely worth it. We had so much fun looking for crafting materials, recipes and spare boxes from work, and the result did give a magical festive feeling. We made Oreo biscotti as one of the gifts and they turned out excellent. If you follow the recipe, they should come out very moreish. Hence, make more if you’re making these crunchies for both your friends, and yourself to enjoy. Two days later they no longer existed in our place…

So surprise your friends and try the recipe below. If you’re an average Joe, you should really have every ingredient and would only need to buy the Oreos or vanilla extract.

oreo biscotti homemade Christmas gift ideas
Fresh out of the oven – you just want to find the broken ones and taste, then you find more and more until you’re full.

Makes 40+ biscotti

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

2 cups flour

20 Oreo cookies, chopped (trust me, 20 is NOT too much)

Optional decoration:

100g white chocolate

1 tablespoon butter

3 Oreo cookies, cookie part only, finely crushed

Icing sugar (about 3 tablespoons)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 180 C (350 degrees F). Line baking tray with baking paper.

2) Using a fork mix butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and baking powder in a bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs.

3) Slowly (to avoid lumps) add flour and mix until smooth, then stir in chopped Oreos.

4) Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 logs on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

5) Remove the biscotti logs from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 C (325 degrees F).

6) When they cool down, slice the logs into 2 cm slices leaving small gaps between them. Bake for an additional 25 mins until golden (or less for softer biscotti). Remove and cool completely.

a Christmas packet full of homemade goodness that Auste sent to her family
a Christmas packet full of homemade goodness that Auste sent to her family

Hummus (eating healthy in Thailand)

Street food, street food, street food… We were obsessed with it, and that was one of our main reasons for coming to Thailand. We used to watch Mark Wiens’ videos nearly every day and drool over amazing-looking dishes he tried across the country. Then we came here.

We found that 90 % of food on the street is meat-based, and the other 10 % is fruit. With an aim to lead a healthy vegetarian lifestyle we quickly invested in some kitchen appliances and our exotic foodie adventures shifted from the street to our own kitchen.

It’s just meant to be I guess – if you enjoy doing something, circumstances WILL make sure you end up where you should, in our case – the kitchen. So here we are in Thailand, off the beaten foodie path, making our own creations and enjoying old classic dishes. One of which is HUMMUS – a simple moreish supper that we recently made. It’s like peanut butter – you just can’t get enough of it.

If you follow the recipe without changes (maybe just the water content to help blending), it should come out not too smooth or thick, tasting a bit smokey, a tiny bit acidic, with a gentle touch of garlic and a protein-ish texture. Leftovers? (happens for meal-planners, right?) Make a hummus-veg sandwich with a nice toasted baguette, bell peppers, some rocket salad or sunflower sprouts, and freshly ground black pepper. It’s also great with falafels.

Hummus

HUMMUS ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin

2 chopped garlic cloves

3 tablespoons of each water and oil

Juice of ½ lime

1 can chickpeas

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1- Toast the cumin in a dry pan for under a minute until smoke starts appearing, then grind it in a food processor (or pestle and mortar, OR a bag and a dough roller/heavy item)

2 – Mash/blend the drained chickpeas with garlic, lemon juice, oil and water (I prefer not using water, but it just doesn’t blend in our processor)

3 – Add ground cumin, salt, pepper and mix everything thoroughly

4 – Sprinkle with the paprika and some parsley for more aroma, both being optional.