Tag Archives: easy recipe

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.

Cauliflower steaks with couscous and red cabbage salad

After we came back from our holiday in Krabi, we’ve been kind of lazy with our work. It’s nice to chill out every once in a while, but when it’s too long of a lounge you feel a bit frustrated with your lack of progress. And on the fifth day of sluggishness productivity came to light! We managed to write like 6 pieces of work, sort through hundreds of photos, and make this beautiful meal out of nowhere.

vegan cauliflower steaks

So, okay, this is vegan, and quite healthy. It’s too easy to make, and you can adjust the spiciness. For the protein-heads out there (including myself), just chuck a few pieces of firm tofu in the pan with the cauliflower.

For one person you’ll need:

A cauliflower

50 g dry couscous (more if you’re hungry) – replace with quinoa for gluten free version

4 cloves of garlic

A few fresh chillies

Salt, pepper, 1 tbsp oil

Ground coriander (optional)

 

For the salad:

1/5 of small red cabbage

½ of small carrot

Handful of sunflower sprouts

1 garlic clove

Juice of ¼ of a lime

Salt, pepper, 1 tsp oil

 

Directions:

  1. Cut the cauliflower in half, making sure each side has a bit of the centre stem left. Then cut a ‘steak’ about 1 cm thick from each side of the cauliflower. Make sure all pieces hang on to the stem so it doesn’t fall apart.
  2. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil, throw in your steaks together with a few smashed garlic cloves and a chilli or two (I removed the chillies from the pan this time, but the hot air in the kitchen still made me cough).
  3. Turn over once the bottom gets a bit of a char. If you have a grill – all the better, as you can use less oil.
  4. While waiting for the steaks just put a tiny bit of salt, pepper to the couscous, and pour hot water to cover it. The water level should be just above the grains. I also put a sprinkle of ground coriander as it gives it a nice aroma. Two minutes in, it should be ready.

red cabbage sunflower sprouts salad

To make the salad:

  1. Grate the carrot and garlic, slice the cabbage and cut the sprouts. (Sunflower sprouts work well for me because they are even crunchier than the carrots and are not too bitter or sweet).
  2. Squeeze the lime, add a tiny bit of oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. When I cut the lime, I just cut the side of it, as you can see in the picture with the red chillies. This way you don’t have to worry about the lime seeds, as they’re all in the center, which we’re not touching!

There you have a nice and quick meal which you can take to work the next day. However the salad won’t taste as good even if you keep it in the fridge. Bon apetit!

vegan cauliflower steaks

Couscous, feta and olive salad

Spinach and ricotta ravioli in a creamy butter sauce, crispy rosemary potatoes, chocolate-layered fresh cream profiteroles… All ready within minutes, all to be found at the chilled isle of your local supermarket, and all for a ridiculously low price. Sometimes it’s just too easy to fall into the habit of eating processed foods.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t eat them? No. Are they all bad for you? Absolutely not. But even though it’s a convenient way to bring a tasty dish to the table, there’s something about homemade foods that make a weeknight dinner an occasion.

couscous feta olive salad

In my view, making food is art. It’s one feeling looking at it, and another actually being an artist. It’s about finding the right balance of taste and presentation, consequently rewarding you with a sense of achievement, recognition from your guests, or just satisfying hunger. There is also an element of challenge to it as it requires the use of a number of skills including creativity, planning, and time management.

Couscous feta olive salad

By no means is this recipe a challenge, it’s really just one of the many examples of effortless ways to have a quick tasty dinner (and lunch the next day).

Ingredients:

1/2 cup couscous (replace with quinoa for gluten free version)

3/4 cup boiling water

A handful of olives

A handful of cherry tomatoes

50g crumbled feta cheese

A couple tablespoons olive oil

A crack or two of black pepper

 

Directions:

1. Pour boiling water over couscous and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. For an extra kick toast couscous with garlic before adding water.

2. Once couscous is ready, combine the ingredients in a serving bowl with a touch of black pepper and olive oil and you’re done!

Couscous feta olive salad

Raw Cacao Coconut truffles

Since we started exploring Bangkok it almost became a tradition for us to get up as early as 5am on Saturdays and set off somewhere to watch the sunrise. Most likely pollution has something to do with it, but the sunrises here are spectacular. One of our favourite places to watch them is from the skytrain between Ratchadamri and Sala Daeng stations: the orange sun peaking through the mist of the foggy Lumphini park with skyscrapers in the horizon looks pretty magical.

Lumphini Park, Bangkok

So there we were, bright and early, having travelled all the way from Bearing to Sala Daeng by 6:30, waiting for the sun to appear. Unfortunately it was so cloudy that the sun didn’t come out until about 8am. So instead of taking a few rides back and forth on the skytrain to watch the sun (I know it sounds silly, but the best view is in between the two stations!) we decided to grab some coffee and take a stroll in the park. We saw one of the giant monitor lizards in the water and we were so fascinated to see it from such a small distance that we stalked it along the shore.

monitor lizard, Lumphini Park, Bangkok

But then we had to do some shopping. Shopping is tiring. I spend hours browsing through hundreds of items and very rarely find what I’m looking for. Yes, I’m picky when it comes to choosing my stuff, but only because I want to make sure I really like it and that it’s going to stay with me for a long time. That reflects my philosophy in life in a way.

4 hours later we just wanted to find a nice cosy coffee place to sit down. And it turned out to be an impossible task… we walked around for a while until we gave up and just sat down on a bench in the shopping mall opposite Central. We decided to just go home. We were making our way out, but one poster caught my eye: Veganerie. A vegan cafeteria, hidden on the top floor of Mercury Ville mall. Could it be better? (more info about Veganerie here)

Veganerie Bangkok Veganerie Bangkok

Veganerie Bangkok

As I was enjoying a raw chocolate brownie with a soy milk latte, I remembered these little bites of goodness we used to make a lot. Raw chocolate truffles. Dates are expensive in Bangkok, so we haven’t really made them here. But I stumbled upon a different recipe on this blog, that uses coconut oil and butter instead of dates, and thought of giving it a try. This is Thailand, so all things coconut should be cheap and available everywhere, right? Well, not really. Coconut oil – ok. Coconut butter?.. Say again? I expected this would be a challenge to find.

So I resorted to this version of the truffles. Now the only thing I didn’t have was coconut flakes. I thought I could just pick them up at any random store, or even our local market. And how wrong I was… coconut flakes don’t exist here in Thailand. I think with so many fresh coconuts available everywhere people here just make their own. With no oven though and curious ants in the kitchen roaming freely on anything that is not triple packed I didn’t dare to try. But then on a Saturday trip to Little India a week later we accidently found a tiny shop with all kinds of baking supplies you can imagine. And they had coconut flakes! Not to mention 1kg of pure cocoa for 300 baht (!) So we made the truffles. And they tasted great. Although I still prefer the version with the dates.

raw cacao coconut truffles

Here’s the recipe (adapted from The Squeaky Kitchen):

1 cup ground almonds

1 cup dried coconut flakes

3/4 cocoa powder

1/3 cup honey (replace with agave nectar if you’re vegan)

1/3 cup coconut oil

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well together. If you’re using the same cup for measuring then measure the ingredients in this order: coconut flakes, almonds, cocoa powder, coconut oil, then honey. When the cup is oily, the honey runs off incredibly easy!

raw cacao coconut truffles

  1. You can roll the mixture into balls straight away OR you can place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes first. This will allow the coconut oil to set, so the balls will not be so oily and you won’t need as many coatings of cocoa.

Something fun that I hadn’t tried before was to wrap something inside the balls. I used dried cherries, but you can also use cranberries or nuts – anything you fancy! And if you mix it up, it creates a nice little surprise with every truffle that you bite into.

raw cacao coconut truffles

  1. Coat the truffles in cacao powder, coconut flakes or crushed nuts. They’re best after you’ve let them sit in the fridge* for at least 12 hours as the dried coconut flakes have time to absorb the oil and become soft. Supposedly they should keep in the fridge for up to a week or longer in the freezer. In our house there were never any left after 2 days, so we don’t know. Has anyone managed to not eat them all straight away?..

*Something to bear in mind: this version of truffles is high in coconut oil which melts in room temperature. So make sure you keep the truffles in the fridge as otherwise you’ll have little oily puddles under every one of them.

raw cacao coconut truffles