Vegan Cherry Coconut Milk Panna Cotta

Vegan Cherry Cocomilk Panna Cotta

The Vegan Cherry Coconut milk Panna Cotta has a  tender and silky texture which combines lovely with the sweet scent of late spring cherries. Not too sweet, with a beautiful pink color, just a perfect healthy desert.

What you need (serves 6):

400 ml coconut milk

2 tbsp coconut butter

200 g cherries, cored and chopped in small pieces

 4 tbsp caster sugar

1 teaspoon agar agar (this is a seaweed based substitute for gelatine, available in organic shops)

Combine all the ingredients in a pot and mix well until the sugar and the agar agar are well dissolved.

Place the pot on simmering water and whisk for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the individual ramekin dishes. I have used a set of the silicon ramekins which are easier to turn over and serve.

Let the mixture cool, it will thicken. Place in the fridge overnight, you panna cottas are good to eat for the next 3 to 4 days.

Vegan Is Good!

Unity Vegan Quinoa Tabbouleh

Today I’ll be cooking an Unity Vegan Quinoa Tabbouleh. This recipe is in support of a campaign, dedicated to fighting xenophobia with one of the greatest unity weapons – food. Owners are the MultiKulti Collective, enthusiastic gals and guys, working for expats integration through cuisine knowledge and probably the most humane thing there can be, just sit around a table and share a meal.

Vegan Quinoa Tabbouleh

ALL started last weekend when I joined a promoting event for MultiKulti’s latest campaign called “Diversity tastes great” (sorry, no English language website for now). It was hosted in a local bakery bearing the mouth watering name Caramel , owned by an interesting and cosmopolitan personality – the ex-architect, current entrepreneur and pastry magician – Hany Tawk. A guy who’s passion for real food and baking art are inspiring.

The idea of the initiative is quite simple – to gather recipes from the participating expats and to share them with the locals, bringing the two closer together. A great idea really. MultiKulti are promising an impressive collection of 100 recipes from all over the world which should soon appear on their website.

This recipe – I called it the Unity Vegan Quinoa Tabbouleh – I think embodies the spirit of the campaign, combining ingredients from East and West, tastes  from South America and the Middle East. The original comes from Carlos from Peru and is served in his excellent restaurant LOMO in Sofia, Bulgaria. Hope he won’t mind the small changes I made to the recipe, so that it is adapted to the purpose of this blog. Here it is:

Vegan Quinoa Tabbouleh

What you need (serves 4):

250 g quinoa (used 200 g white and 50 g red)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

500 ml boiling water

15 olives, cores removed and minced

1 small tomato, seeds removed and diced

1 small chili, seeds removed and minced (if you’d rather not have it spicy/hot, use a red pepper instead)

100-120 g red kidney beans, roughly cut

the juice of 3 limes

a handful of fresh coriander, minced

olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat 4-5 tbsp of olive oil in a pot and add the garlic. In about 20-30 second pour in the water and once it’s boiling, add the quinoa.

Put the lid on, lower the heat and let it cook for 20-25 minutes, until all the water is gone and the mixture is rather dry. When ready, set aside to cool.

When cooled add all the ingredients in the pot and mix well. Season to taste and add some more olive oil. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve with some green salad of your taste.

Vegan is good and diversity is great! Peace, Love and Unity!

Stuffed Zucchini with Quinoa and Mushrooms

Zucchini Stuffed with Quinoa and Mushrooms in Tomato SauceOn the Balkans they LOVE stuffed veggies – from eggplants , tomatoes and onions, to vine leaves in the summer and fermented cabbage leaves in the winter.

Although there are some variations in the different parts of the region, the basic idea is the same – if you can carve it or roll it and put something in it – just do it. And it’s delicious every time – each veggie gives it’s distinctive flavour to the rice based filling and the filling itself can vary according to the product availability for the season. Such a richness in taste and substance!

For this vegan culinary endeavor to the Balkans, I have created a zucchini in basil tomato sauce recipe and replaced the traditional rice with quinoa, to make the meal gluten-free.

What you need for 2 people is:

2 large zucchini, they should be about 5 cm (2 inch) in diameter at the widest part

200 grams of white mushrooms, cut into slices

150 grams of quinoa (I have used red quinoa here, but white will be fine as well)

300 ml water

3-4 pieces of spring onions, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

a pinch of black pepper, paprika, cumin seeds and turmeric

olive oil

For the basil tomato sauce

4 average tomatoes, peeled. If there aren’t any nice ones available, tomato passata is fine, just make sure it’s made of tomatoes, not corn flour

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed

a handful of fresh basil leaves + some for decoration

ground black pepper to taste

olive oilThe Ingredients Before

Cut the zucchini into 5-7 cm (2-3 inches) cylinders. Use a teaspoon to carve them and make them like little cups and put aside for now. The sides should be 2-3 mm thick, but try not to crack them. I’ll call these”the zucchini cups”.

Put some olive oil (or other vegetable oil that you prefer) into a frying pan to heat it. Add the black pepper, the paprika, the turmeric and the cumin seeds into the cold oil and wait until tiny bubbles start to appear – now it is hot enough and the spices have released their magical flavours.

Add the mushrooms and mix well. Once they start to soften, in about 4-5 minutes, put the garlic and the spring onions in, cook for another minute and then add the quinoa. Mix well and pour the water in. Cover it and lower the heat – cook for approximately 20 minutes until the quinoa is tender.

In the meantime, you can prepare the basil tomato sauce – put all the ingredients into a large bowl and make it into a puree with a food processor.  And that’s it.

Once your quinoa is ready, use the teaspoon to fill the zucchini, try to stuff them tightly. Put the zucchini cups in a baking tray and pour the basil tomato sauce around. Cover with aluminium foil and bake in a preheated oven (180 C/360 F) for 30 minutes.

Serve decorated with some basil leaves. Bon Appetit!

Vegan Is Good!

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