Autumn is here! My favourite season, the colours, the storms, the comfort food. A good reason to restart the posts again so here goes.

I took this recipe from The Kitchn, one of my favorite cooking sites. Here is the original recipe. It looks like a load of ingredients but you can use whatever you have in the pantry. Just chop it up, put it in the pan and let it simmer into excellence. image

To feed 3 people we need:

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I love this dish, for me it’s absolute comfort food. Make a big ovendish full of it and you can have people over or enjoy it by your self for two or three days. lovely. 

We need for 2 generous servings:

1 big aubergine or 2 small ones
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of tomato purée
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 mozzarella
balsamic vinegar
1 tblsp brown sugar
oregano and/or fresh basil
salt and pepper
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 220 C. Chop the onion and garlic, heat up some oil in a saucepan and let the onion and garlic sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes. At that point add the chopped tomatoes and the purée and heat them up.

Slice the aubergine in long thin slices, they will function like lasagne sheaths in a lasagne so keep that in mind when you slice them. Heat up a grill pan and add some oil to it. put the slices in the pan and leave them until they’ve soaked up the oil. season them with pepper and salt. don’t move them, this way you’ll get the nice grill stripes. You’ll probably have to do a couple of batches.

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Inspired by my Desire to have the most perfect Pantry I decided to pay a bit more attention to spices and herbs. One herb that I love but don’t use a lot is sage. That’s why I made these (bought) gnocchi with grilled vegetables and a  butter sage sauce. It was delicious although more an autumn dish. I will learn more about spice and herbs and I will share!

This summer in Berlin I visited in a nice restaurant called Zula. They fully dedicated themselves to hummus. I ordered a shakshuka on the side and immediately thought, I think I can do this better….And so back  home and with the help of Ottolenghi’s Plenty I made this lovely shakshuka and I was right. It was better!

Okay so it’s been quiet on Kitchen Desires. That’s because I’ve been in Berlin for the last four weeks and I’m almost going home. But unlike my other trips [which you can find on the categorie page under ‘Veggie Cities’] this trip wasn’t about food, it was about shopping in vintage stores. Which I did [a lot] and successfully so.

But since this is a food blog I will talk about food! When I go to Berlin, I go because of a lot of reasons, but one big reason is the Frühstuck (breakfast). You can have breakfast here from 7 in the morning until 4 or 5 in the afternoon which is the perfect time-frame if you are a wanderer of the city like I am at the moment. But that’s not even the most important part. The part that I love the most is this:

The ridiculous amount of choice you get. These are servings for 2 persons. They really take breakfast seriously here. And no you will not eat this every day if you actually live here…although I did for the first week.  But in the weekends it even gets better because they have this, but in buffet style, you can just go nuts in there and breakfast like your life depended on it. So if you ever go to Berlin, look for a nice table in the sun, order a Milchkaffee (piping hot latte), a Rabarberschorle (fizzy rhubarb drink) and a Frühstuckplatter and just enjoy your life,
I know I am!

Desire #2 for 2013 is incorporating more vegan recipes to my diet. I don’t want to become a fulltime vegan but just learn more to make make things more interesting. The first thing I made are these nutty date bars as a healthy snack.

I’m a bit unsure about the quantities since I just threw some stuf in my food processor but here goes: about 200 gr of dates, 100 gr of mixed nuts (I used hazelnuts and almonds) and some grated coconut, about a handful. add a few drops of vanilla extract and mix the whole thing up. Put the mixture in a square oven tray to shape it, press down really hard and stick it in the fridge. I put something heavy on top to compress the mixture. after about an hour take it out and remove the slab from the tray, cut it in long squares. I tested 2 bars in the oven, baked them on 220 for about 15 minutes and now they are hard on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. And they are delicious! I can think of 1000 combinations with seeds, different nuts, lemon, chocolate. I think I’m going to make all of them and snack healthy forever!

After having a busy 6 months at work I lost my focus on cooking. And now that time is again in my favour, I feel the need to reinvigorate my passion and take things a bit more seriously.

There are 2 things that sparked my renewed enthusiasm. The Big Family Get-together where 4 cooking friends and myself made a complete (semi vegetarian) Indonesian spread for 30 people from scratch. We spend 2 days in a small kitchen and made the biggest buffet full of flavour. I loved making all the sauces, marinades, atjars and complete the dishes from start to finish.

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This inspired me for the strongest desire of 2013:

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I made my own pasta! Finally something that seemed difficult to me, not to make but to get right. And truth be told I did not get it exactly right but it worked! and I’m proud for making this desire reality. It was just a simple dough (made with organic pasta flower and egg) and since my pasta machine wasn’t in the mood to make spaghetti I made ravioli with a classic filling consisting of ricotta and spinach. As a side dish I put together a melanzane from grilled aubergine, mozzarella cheese and a tomato-sauce covered in parmesan cheese. the recipe of my easy way of making a melanzane will feature later on this blog.

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we need:

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I wanted something light and easy for dinner and found a recipe on a vegetarian cooking site http://www.thefirstmess.com/  and changed it a bit. I made it for myself as dinner but it could be a nice side dish aswell. And it’s totally vegan this way but you could add some Greek Yogurt mixed with spices and herbs to give it a fresh touch.

we need:

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I was invited to diner at a friend and she made this delicious polenta-chili cake (which, as it turns out, is still delicious after a couple of days in the fridge) with some oven-roasted veggies. Maybe add some chunks of feta for a fresh pop. the recipe is in Dutch apologies

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Finally a desire that was on the list for ages, has been fulfilled. I even had all the required ingredients and utensils in my pantry for months but I couldn’t get round to it. But today, on a relaxed Sunday with nothing to do, I finally made my own, fresh, vegetarian Sushi! And it was absolutely delicious!!! I’m so proud. Here’s what I did:

For about 3 big rolls:

1 cup of sushi rice, rinsed, cooked and cooled
splash of rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 egg
1/2 avocado
piece of carrot
piece of tempeh
roasted sesame seeds
mayonnaise
wasabi paste
nori sheets
rolling mat

Make a marinade with some soy sauce, sesame oil, sweet sirupe and a squeeze of lemon and let the chopped Tempeh marinate for a couple of minutes and then bake it in a skillet with heated oil. leave to cool. finely chop up the other ingredients, avocado, carrot and make a simple omelet with the egg, some sesame oil and soy sauce. chop that up in to fine slices. Mix the mayonnaise with some of the wasabi, taste and add.

When the cooked rice has cooled gently mix in the vinegar to taste, start with a splash and taste, add to preference. Put everything around your clean workspace, use a cutting board or flat plate. Put the rolling mat with a sheet of nori on it on the workspace.image

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I’m in love with this cake. It has some carrot-cake qualities but with a fluffier attitude. I followed this recipe to a tee so I suggest you do the same. At first I wasn’t in the mood to make the lemon icing but it really adds another lovely dimension of flavour. Enjoy!

I’m in love with this cake. It has some carrot-cake qualities but with a fluffier attitude. I followed this recipe to a tee so I suggest you do the same. At first I wasn’t in the mood to make the lemon icing but it really adds another lovely dimension of flavour. Enjoy!

Leek fritters with quinoa, spinach and feta side

I had bought some beatroot-hummus (pink food is strange and makes people start to question your food-choices) from the store and really liked it. But when I ran out and didn’t feel like running to the store for more I thought: “Tss if the store can do it, so can I!”

As luck will have it I still had some really successfully pickled beetroot. I found them in the back of the fridge, they must have been there for ages since my pickling days are long gone. I think I just cut the beetroot in manageable sticks so they would fit in the jar, cooked some water and salt, added to the beetroots in the jar, closed and waited until it cooled. and forgot about it. :)

But back to the recipe: Since I thought of this in a spur of the moment-moment, I was even luckier to have a can of cannelloni beans hanging around. Otherwise this moment had to wait 8 hours before the dried chickpeas were welled enough to be processed. but, getting of track here, what did I make and how?!

Beetroot-humus (kind of)

we need:

beans, usually chickpeas (they are beans, I’ve looked it up) but any canned bean will probably do. I used cannelloni as said.

1 beetroot (pickled or fresh) if you use pickled do not add salt!

coarse grain mustard

fresh parsley, chopped

pinch of cayenne pepper and cumin

splash of lemon juice

pepper (and salt)

You can add anything you like, like Greek yoghurt, horseradish or mayonnaise whatever you think will work. Toss everything in a blender and blend the hell out of it! you end up with this hot pink substance which is lovely on toast for lunch, dip for chips or vegetables and side sauce with your couscous. After 15 minutes of thinking about it, it was there!

Enjoy!

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Delicious recipe from my favourite website The Kitchn! Polenta base with baked spinach and an egg to top it off. It’s presented as a first course but I made it for dinner in a bigger oven dish. And added some feta to make it more divers. Enjoy!