Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Fermented vegetables

  Last Sunday I had my first raw food workshop. A pleasant afternoon, at the Bem-me-quer restaurant, here in Lisbon, learning new skills with Marcia Almeida.
  Raw food, also known as living food, defends that the enzymes that we get from eating raw foods are more beneficial to our health.
  Based on a balanced combination between raw foods and sprouted, raw food acts as a food therapy that promotes health and vitality.
  I really like raw food and though I prepare much more raw dishes when the days are hot, juices and vegetable milk are part of my daily menu.
  Sunday's inspiration was not afraid of the cold we were having here in Lisbon, on the contrary, it seemed to guess, with some ansiety, the wonderful afternoon I was about to spend in the workshop. That energy I was feeling moved me to prepare some fermented vegetables wich are very rich in good bacterias for our stomach and intestines.
  Preparing fermented vegetables is quite simple and there are plenty of options in choosing what to ferment: from cabbages, radishes, onions, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins, aubergines, sweet potatos, among others,  just choose the ones that you appreciate most, wash them, cut them into thin strips, add a little sea salt and knead them until they release all the juices and are soft.
  After that, they must be placed in a glass jar to complete the lactose fermentation process which will preserve the vegetables and increase the amount of their nutrients. The bacteria will convert glucose into lactic acid, preventing them from spoiling and will stimulate the lactic bacilli to manufacture vitamin C, enzymes and trace elements.
  A must try for a balanced diet ...
  The fermentation can be made by choosing the simpler method (with sea salt, which inhibits the growth of unwanted bacteria), or by choosing a more elaborated fermentation that may take the use of water, vinegar, salt and various spices.
  For the vegetables that I prepared I used the simple method, just adding sea salt.


1 small cabbage
½ red cabbage
½ tbsp sea salt

Wash the cabbages and cut them into thin strips.
Place them in a bowl and season with salt (if you feel necessary, add more than the amount indicated).
Press until the cabbages releases all the juice, reduce and are soft. This process takes about 10 minutes and should be done by pressing firmly the ingredients.

Place the cabbages in a glass jar and press well until they are completely submerged in the liquid. Pay attention that the vegetables must be submerged.
Cover the jar with a cloth and leave it in a dark place between 5 to 10 days. At this stage the container must not be closed, just covered.
Taste and if you are already like the flavor, seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator to use whenever you want.
They can be served with any dish. With rice they are very good.

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, February 2013

Burdock salad

  I have already revealed, in one of the previous posts, how much I appreciate burdock root.   As I have promised, here is some information of what I know about this super root.
  It is rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, it purifies the blood, it is good for the skin... You name it...
  The first time I ate burdock I felt that my taste buds were into "nirvana". I loved it! But I must confess that here at home, my family, though they like it, they don't share the same passion as I do...

  If you want to try the burdock salad that I prepared, rush to Príncipe Real Bio Market, here in Lisbon, as the last ones are there to sell...

1/2 burdock root
1 large carrot
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
salt to taste

Wash the burdock and remove the skin.
Cut it into thin strips and steam until it is soft but not too much.
Wash the carrot, cut it into strips and steam until slightly soft.
Heat a pan and add the oil. Add the burdock and mix for 2 minutes then add the carrot and combine well.
Add the seeds and season it with salt. Taste and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more.

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, February 2013

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Tofu salad

  The "myth" of salads: enjoyable for some and punishment to others ...

  Certainly almost all of us have witnessed some situations, especially with children (and even adults) that make an ugly face when they see a plate of salad in front of them.
  To avoid these episodes we have to change the routine of our taste,  appreciating certain flavors, usually requires a food re-education and especially the desire to "free" ourselves from the typical routine of portuguese lettuce and tomato salads.
  Traditionally, salads are light and healthy dishes that can be served either on hot or cold days, whether winter or summer. We just need to be receptive to enjoy them, whether in main dishes, side dishes or even when exquisitely designed to celebrate special moments.
The secret is to choose fresh ingredients and combining them with imagination.
  If you are preparing a salad as a main dish, as I suggest here, you should add a protein according to your taste - in this case I used tofu.
  The vegetables should be thoroughly washed and then dried with a clean cloth. When using lettuce, wash it well and then just let it dry in a colander.
  When possible, buy organic vegetables in the markets - Lisbon has already an offer that starts to be reasonable. Generally the vegetables are fresher and cheaper.

  My suggestion today is a tofu salad with mustard sauce. A good sauce makes the difference and opens the appetite of the eyes and of the mouth.
  I tried to get some warm textures and some spicy flavors, so I made a selection of mizuna, arugula and radishes.
  Mizuna is a vegetable from Japan, also known as Japanese mustard. It has a slightly bitter flavor it is very fresh and crunchy. I used young leaves that I bought at the Príncipe Real bio market.
  I love arugula so I use it frequently. I appreciate its texture and the flavor which is slightly bitter and spicy. It is rich in protein, calcium, iron and omega 3, (believe me, proteins are found in many foods besides animal).
  If you are not a fan of these flavors, you can always use other vegetables and keep the base.
  Tofu can also be raw, just marinated in a little soy sauce, grated garlic and a few drops of lemon. If you choose this solution, use silk tofu.


150 gr tofu cut into thick sticks and left to stand for 1 hour in a vegetable stock with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 grated clove garlic clove, 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt to taste
4 small asparagus
3 radishes
2 black olives cut into slivers
sesame seeds to taste

For the sauce:

4 or 5 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of dijon mustard
1 tbsp of soy sauce

Grease a pan with a little olive oil or sesame oil and toast the tofu over medium heat on one side and the other until golden. Reserve.
Wash the vegetables and dry them using a clean cloth.
Wash the radishes and cut them finely.
Wash the asparagus, remove the woody parts that are not digestible. Reserve the tip and cut the body of the asparagus into thin strips.
Prepare the sauce by adding all ingredients and check if it needs salt.

  Place the vegetables on platte and put the tofu on the top. Season it with mustard sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, February 2013

Toasted yam and apple crumble my way

  My great surprise last week happened on Friday, when I received a message from Mr. Fernando Pinto to inform me that he had burdock roots for sale, and that he was going to be at the Principe Real Bio market on Saturday. As you can imagine, I was thrilled. It has been years since I last ate burdock and I really like this exotic and very rich root.

  Last weekend took place at a fast rythm: first a visit to the organic market, after that a quick entry in Miosotis supermarket ( a bio supermarket here in Lisbon) and finally the most delirious moment of the day, which happens whenever I visit my favorite grocery store, the Popat Store in Martim Moniz square, where the intense smells and characteristic of the products exhibited acquire a unique magic.
Meanwhile , the roots are already stored waiting for a recipe worth of their super root status. And the fresh vegetables that I bought at the market, made our delights in the salads we ate during the weekend.. Arugula, mizuna, radishes and many more ...
  From the kitchen, with love, my suggestion for Valentin's day is a yam recipe cooked with the yams that I bought at the Indian grocery store Popat. This recipe, which is for sure as good as a class dinner in a special restaurant, has the advantage of being cooked at home and by that you will avoid the usual waiting queues typical of these special days, which if you are not in a good company, will let you out of motivation...
  So, for Valentine's day I made up a delicious menu that I am publishing in advance so that you can have time to buy the ingredients.
Here is the suggestion: a yam main course that I learned from my dear friend Lais, years ago, and that I appreciate to eat in special occasions.
 The yam rhizome is a very flavorful stew that can be used in soups, purees, desserts, among other possibilities. It is rich in protein, phosphorus and potassium and is considered a healthy substitute for potatos.
  When buying yams note that the texture should be uniformly rough and covered with hair. It should be firm, with no soft areas.
Serve the yam balls with brown rice and a delicious radishe vinaigrette.

  Finally, a tasty dessert - my version of a tasty apple crumble.
  Here is the purpose: to wait in line or to have dinner in the retreat of your home?

  Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, February 2013 

Ingredients for yam balls:
5 yams average size
1 large carrot
1 medium sized onion
4 black olives
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sal to taste

Wash the yams and steamed them until gently soft.
Remove the skin and mash them with a fork until you have a purée. Reserve.
Chop the onion and sauté in the olive oil until soft.
Wash, cut and chop the carrot.
Add the carrots to the onion. Cover the pan and let it cook on low heat until soft. Season it with a little salt.
Season the yam with soy sauce. Add the carrot and the chopped olives. Combine well and form balls.
To form the balls, moisten your hands slightly.
Heat a pan and toast the balls on one side and the other until golden. Be careful to turn the balls just when the bottom is nicely browned so they do not fall apart.

Radish vinaigrette:

1 small onion
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
6 radishes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce

Peel the onion and cut it into thin strips.
Wash the peppers and cut them into thin strips.
Wash the radishes and cutt hem into thin slices.
Mix the olive oil with the vinegar, the soy sauce and the minced garlic. If you like, add a pinch of salt.
Add the onion, the peppers and the radishes. Combine well.

Apple Crumble with my personal touch:

  I used coconut sugar which is a 100% natural sweetener and very rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamin B1, 2,3 and 6.
  The flavor is just to cry for more ...
  And if it has my personal touch, chocolate could not be forgotten.
  I used oreo cookies for the crumble base. Ok, oreos are not very healthy cookies but once in a while it is ok and they are delicious. The occasion justifies this mouth sin...


1 kg of good quality apples
200 g of wheat flour
100 gr coconut sugar (I bought it through www.biosamara.pt)
125 g of vegetable butter
1 tablespoon of cardamom powder
1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
1 pinch of salt
1 pack of oreo cookies smashed.

Wash the apples. Remove the peel and cut them into thin strips.
Divide the amount of apples in two equal parts.
Sprinkle one amount with lemon drops and put the other amount of apple in a pan on to cook.
Sprinkle it with cardamom powder and a pinch of salt. Cover and leave it on low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 200 º.
Mix the flour with the cinnamon and add the butter ( room temperature). Knead it with your fingers and add the coconut sugar.

In a removable pan line the smashed oreo cookies and press them well.
Place the raw apple on top of the oreo base and finally the apple that was semi cooked with the cardamom powder.
Finally put the flour and press small amounts so that they sink through the apples.
Smooth the surface until uniform and bake it for 35 minutes.

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, February 2013