Category Archives: vegetarian

A Niçois feast for everyone.

This Thursday, I made a feast for some good friends. With no meat or fish, to cater to the vegetarian (except for some cured ham which she could skip). And without gluten (except for a gifted baguette for those of us who could eat it), dairy, tomato, potato, nuts, and eggs to cater to me and Ingeborg. Phew.

But I choose to see allergies as an opportunity rather than a constraint. What kinds of interesting food can I make which we can all eat? This is the question to ask – rather than what I can’t make. The theme was Nice, inspired by my recent trip. The rosé (A Guigal Côtes du Rhône – admittedly from the wrong region of France) was delicious, and the food turned out excellent!

The feast came about over the course of two afternoons, and I don’t have proper recipes for most of it. But here’s what we ate:

Stuffed bell peppers

Stuffed vegetables are pretty common in restaurants in Nice, but the stuffing is usually made from a mix of meat and rice. I made a stuffing instead from onion, garlic, shredded zucchini, herbs (parsley and basil), cooked brown rice and crumbled tofu (I had frozen extra firm tofu and then microwaved it in order to be able to squeeze out the maximum amount of water. Then I put it in the food processor with the dough attachment and crumbled it). Delicious.

Pissaladière

Pissaladière is really common Niçois street food. It’sa bit like a white pizza, with a topping made mainly from caramelized onions. Traditional iterations also have anchovies, but mine just had onion, olives and thyme. The onions – two huge white onions – were sliced in the food processor and cooked the day before. We cheated for this one and bought a gluten-free pizza crust, but next time I’ll make my own. This is an excellent “pizza” for those that are not only off gluten, but also tomato and dairy…

Socca

The quintessential Niçois street food, which happens to fit all our dietary restrictions! I cheated by panfrying it, instead of broiling it, because I didn’t have an appropriate oven dish.

The batter is simply 1 cup chickpea flour (sifted), 1 cup water, some olive oil and salt and pepper, left to sit for a while. Easy as pie. You can see it above on that blue plate.

Mesclun

The traditional mixed salad, served with a mustardy vinaigrette courtesy of Ingeborg.

Tapenade

This is so easy to make at home in a food processor! Much cheaper than buying ready made. Just don’t make the same mistake as me and buy olives with their pits in still, because that’s a lot of extra work right there… Normally, tapenade has anchovies. I skipped that and just put lots of black olives, some capers, garlic and olive oil.

Pistou

This is the Provençal version of pesto, which doesn’t contain pine nuts. In addition to the basil, garlic and olive oil I also added some parsley (mainly because I had lots more of that than basil). It is most often eaten in soup, but we used it on bread and just generally on top of stuff. A tasty splash of green!

Moral of the story: allergies are in no way an obstacle to cooking great food, and to finding great joy in the sharing of a meal between friends. I am already thinking of food to cook for the next one!

note: my phone is missing and my DSLR is broken and needs to go to a repair shop. The pictures are courtesy of Jonas’ iPhone. I am hoping to deal with this camera situation soon so that I can put better pictures.

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Savory Mediterranean Everything Muffins.

I don’t usually bake using recipes, rather I tend to just make stuff up and hope for the best, vaguely inspired by recipes I have previously used or read. This is one of these inventions, inspired by my friend Rita’s excellent blog post about savory muffins. The philosophy here is “mix together a bunch of good things and hope they turn into good muffins”. And they did!

“Norwegian” measurements, for once (paradoxically!) — I only have IKEA measuring equipment and it gives me desilitres (1 dl=100 ml) instead of cups. 2 dl is about 1 smallish cup.

Savory Mediterranean Everything Muffins

  • 2 dl ap flour (store was sold out of whole wheat)
  • 1 dl chickpea flour (because it’s healthy and full of fibre!)
  • 1 dl wheat germ (same)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • herbes de provence
  • some cayenne
  • 2 dl finely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 dl oil
  • just under 1 dl milk
  • 1/2 dl feta chunks (I used reduced fat ready made feta crumbs)
  • scant 1/2 dl chopped sundried tomato (these were in oil, otherwise they must first be reconstituted in water)
  • scant 1/2 dl chopped green olives

Mix dry ingredients, then add the wet ones. Combine. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for about 15 mins at 180C. Yum! Looking forward to sticking these in a lunch box!

Mediterranean Everything Muffins.

Curried chickpea terrine.

Curried chickpea terrine.

Curried chickpea terrine.

I don’t particularly remember how I stumbled across this recipe on a blog called Cléa Cuisine, but I was instantly intrigued! I hope I am not infringing any kind of copyright by posting it in English. Cléa’s recipe is in turn an adaptation of a recipe from a cookbook by Valérie Cupillard called “Pâtés végétaux et tartinades”, published by La Plage.

So this is a wonderfully easy vegan terrine/pâté, which would be good as part of a vegan entrée along with rice or something, and some veggies. It’s made from chickpea flour and veggies, and from what I can see chickpea flour is really quite good for you! 100g chickpea flour has 22 g protein and11 g fiber, while only containing 7 g fat (and 58 g carbs). It’s apparently also a good source of folate and manganese in particular.

Ingredients:

  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (I whizzed it in the food processor)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (this was my personal addition, the original recipe had 2 carrots but no bell pepper)
  • some olive oil for sauteing the veg (the original recipe said 5 tbsp, which seemed like a LOT to me. I used 2-3 tbsp, roughly)
  • 3 tsp curry powder (adjust according to your preferences
  • (I also added some grated ginger and a little garam masala)
  • 150 g chickpea flour (also known as besan or gram flour)
  • 500 ml water
  • salt

I used the food processor for all the veggies so they were really finely chopped. I don’t like onion bits much… I’m sure bigger veggie bits would be good for texture though.

As I had tiny veggie bits they were quite quick to sauté. The original recipe said 20 mins, but I certainly didn’t need that long. Sprinkle the veggies with the curry powder and whatever else you are adding. I like to grate ginger with a wasabi grater, because that turns it into this fine, juicy pulp that’s really easy to blend in.

While sauteing the veggies, mix up the chickpea flour and water and bring to a boil. Keep a close eye and stir it, beacause it will very suddenly thicken drastically! Once it reaches this creamy thick consistency, remove from heat and add veggies and salt, and adjust seasonings.

Pour the thick batter into a bread mold, bake at 180C for about 35 mins. Leave to cool before attempting to take it out of the mold or slicing it. It should then come out quite easily.

Lovely eaten cold. I suppose it could be reheated too, and I am definitely putting some in my bentos this week!

Tasty vegan dinner.

 

Easy dinner.

Easy dinner.

I know, I need a better camera than my phone, but it’s all I have on hand right now.

So voilà two onigiri made with my new molds, one heart and one flower. Sprinkled with gomashio. Actually to be completely honest they’re technically sushi and not onigiri, because I put sushi vinegar. Tastes yummier.. 

There are also thin slices of extra firm tofu (the already deep fried kind) marinated in soy sauce, mirin, ginger, garlic and Japanese seven spice, then baked for about 30 mins, flipping once. Nice and crispy!

Finally blanched haricots verts in a miso ginger dressing. Tasty!