Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Raw beet and cucumber medallions


It is unquestionable that the moon has a great influence on relationships and on the cycles of life.
  Sunday was a special day because the moon reached its closest point to Earth, and we could observe it bigger and brighter. Its proximity exerted a magnetic field surrounded by a special energy, whose strength was possible to assimilate with greater vigor.
  Inspired by this energy, I decided to prepare a dish based on the circle form of the moon and I designed beet and cucumber medallions.
  Beetroot has a sweet flavor due to its richness in sugars. To preserve all its properties, it is ideal to consume it raw. By eating it raw all its richness in iron, protein, vitamin A, B1, B2, B5, C, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, iron are preserved. It is a tasty root, with a beautiful color and a home remedy for anemia and for purifying the liver and the blood.
  When you buy beets check if they are smooth, if the color is uniform and the leaves glossy.
  I also used cucumber to balance the sweet of the beet. Cucumber is a natural diuretic because of its high water content. It is low in calories, high in fiber, carotene, magnesium and potassium. It contributes to bone health and to muscle flexibility.
  When you buy cucumber check if the rind is firm, bright and luminous.
To fill the medals I prepared a tasty and rich cream with avocado, sesame paste, lemon and fresh coriander.
  I just love avocados! I think it was the fruit that I  most ate when I was a child as the place where I grew up was very rich in avocatos and they were delicious!
  Although avocado is rich in fat these fats are healthy as they are unsaturated acids that can even help you lose weight by balancing the body. A full fruit, rich in proteins, vitamins and calories. Among those, omega 6, 7 and 9, vitamin E, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium and folic acid.
  For complementing the properties and the taste of avocado, I added sesame paste (tahin).
 Sesame paste is well known for its use in Mediterranean and Middle East recipes, such as the traditional "hummus". This butter paste is naturally obtained by roasting and grounding sesame seeds which are rich in calcium, proteins, fats, vitamins and good quality. Hmm, so tasty ...
  To neutralize the acidity of our internal body and to obtain an alkaline effect I added lemon juice. Lemon fruit works as an antibiotic, it has antibacterial properties and it is very rich in vitamin C.

(Serves 2)

2 beets
½ cucumber
1 avocado
1 tbsp tahin
1 + ½ tbsp lemon juice
1 handful of fresh coriander
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
alfalfa sprouts
Sesame seeds
2 strawberries

Wash and peel the beets.
Cut them in very thin slices (I used my food processor).
Sprinkle them with salt and olive oil. Let them stand for 15 minutes to activate their properties and to make them softer.

Cut the avocado in half and remove the pulp. Place it in a blender and add the sesame paste, the fresh coriander, the lemon juice and the salt. Grind until you have a creamy paste and rectify the seasoning.

Cut the cucumber into very thin slices.

Wash the strawberries and cut into slices.

Start preparing the dish:

Put slices of beet and cucumber on a plate. Place the filling on top and cover with a new slice.
Garnish the top of the medallions with alfalfa sprouts and strawberries.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

* Cucumber medallions have an intense flavor. If you don't appreciate it, you can either use zucchini. If you choose zucchini, sprinkle it with salt and olive oil as you did with the beets.

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, June 2013

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Beet bread

 Bread tradition started in Mesopotamia, along with wheat cultivation more than 12,000 years ago. It was first focused on Egypt and later spread to the Mediterranean Europe and from there, to the rest of the world.
  Through the years bread acquired a great religious and cultural importance and today it is present in almost every meal. It is a universal food, with many varieties and traditions, depending on the countries and regions.
  Today bread fills the shelves of supermarkets and bakeries in a massive production which involves almost always industriallized products and precarious conditions.
  I decided to start baking my own bread a year ago. Since that time, we have never bought industrialized bread again and for me, it is a great pleasure to bake various breads with different textures and flavors.
  My favorite bread is beet bread, which I have been perfecting in recent months.
  For making this bread I use spelt flour which has very rich properties for those who choose the vegetarian diet as it is a quality protein and it contains all 8 essential amino acids.
  Spelt is a wheat variety that has been grown for over 7,000 years and its quality is superior to the current wheat one. It provides a lighter digestion than that from bread made with wheat and gives the feeling of satiety for longer periods.

(10/12 balls)

Note: This recipe was developed by me, over several months and through various experiments. If you want to publish it, please refer the source. Thank you.

800 gr spelt flour + 150/200 gr additional flour
350 gr of grated beets
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chia soaked for 2h
1 pc yeast (I've used Lecker's Bio Hefe, 9 gr)
400 ml of tepid water

Start by putting chia seeds in a bowl and cover it with water. Let it stand for 2 h.

Prepare the ingredients:

Wash, peel and grate the beets.

Measure the flour.

Warm the water until it is pleasant to touch. It is important that the water doesn't get too hot nor too cold.

Place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the salt.

Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the oil and then half of the water (200 ml).

Combine with a wooden spoon (do not use metal).

Add the chia seeds which are now in the form of gelatin, the beets and the remaining water (200ml). Wrap well.

Place the mixture on a clean work surface where you can knead the bread.

Note: the amount of water required may vary according to room temperature and humidity.
The additional amount of flour, also varies in proportion to the amount of water you are adding.

Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.

Fold the dough in from the outside to the inside and repeat for several times.

Use the hell of the hand you are using to work and press gently as you want to get a soft texture bread. With your other hand, turn the dough in small circles.

Sprinkle the work surface and the dough often so that you can continue to knead.

Make a ball and place the dough in a glass bowl dusted with a little flour. 

Cover the bowl with a cloth and place it in oven to ferment. Turn on the oven light. If you prefer, you can either set the dough aside in a warm place.

Use a glass bowl large enough so that the dough can double its size.
Let it stand 3 to 4 hours or more.

After that time, remove the dough from the oven and punch  in the center of it to remove the air.

Remove the dough from the bowl and using a circular motion, form a ball.
Let it stand for 5 minutes while you prepare the bread loaf tin or tray, depending on the form you want to give to the bread. I only use a oven tray lined with greaseproof paper.

It's time to work the dough again.

Divide the dough into 10/12 proportions, depending on the size of balls.

Flour your hands and the work surface as well. 

Flatten each ball to eliminate any bubbles and scroll down until you get the desired shape.

Place it in the tray and put it in the oven again with the light on (or in a warm place).
Let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes until the dough is soft.

To know if the fermentation process has finished, press your finger in the center of one of the balls and if the dough slowly returns to its shape, the process is complete.

Remove the tray from the oven and cover the balls with a cloth.

Preheat the oven at 250º for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 200º degrees and place the tray in the middle of the oven (without the cloth, of course).

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the aroma of the bread arises.
The cooking time may vary according to the size of the balls.

To find out if the bread is cooked, gently tap underneath. If you hear a hollow sound, the bread is cooked.
If the bread does not produce this hollow sound, put it a bit more in the oven.

Hope you enjoy as much as we did...

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Fava beans "my way"

 June is a special month here in Lisbon. By this time neighborhoods adquire a very lively atmosphere in celebration of our popular saints. Food, drink and dance are some of the arguments for a contagious euphoria.
  The typical dishes that vegetarians can enjoy by these days are the famous “caldo verde” (kale soup) with the particularity of adding soy sausage ​​slices to go with and, for the main course, why not, some fava beans cooked “my way”?
  Fava beans are from the vegetable family and one of the oldest cultures. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans already appreciated their flavor. Though fava beans origin is uncertain, it is estimated that they appeared in the Caspian region and North Africa. As this plant is easily adaptable to Mediterranean climates, it is easy to find it by this time of the year. Fava beans are rich in protein and carbohydrates.
  I added a vegetable that would further increase the flavor of the beans and chard seemed perfect! Chard belongs to spinach and beet family and it is one of the most complete vegetables with considerable amounts of niacin, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and fiber.
  It has firm and long stems throughout the plant which can be eaten. The stems can be green, red or yellow, giving a great visual presentation to the dish.
   To get a wild savor, I added mushrooms and cooked a semi-full rice that though it is not 100% full, it retains many unique properties and offers the advantage of having a shorter cooking time and a softer texture.

(Serves 3)

2 hands semi-full rice
3 cups of fresh fava beans
9 chard leaves
9  mushrooms
3 small carrots
1 zucchini
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsl olive oil
2 tbsl soy sauce
salt to taste
sesame seeds

Wash the rice and let it stand in a container with water for 20 minutes.

Prepare the remaining ingredients:

Wash the beans and steamed until tender.

Wash the carrots, cut them into strips and steamed until they are al- dente.

Wash the zucchini, remove the peel, cut into thin slices and make hearts to decorate the dish. Reserve.

Wash the chard. Separate the stalks and cut into small squares. Cut the leaves into strips.

Put the rice in a pan, add water (the amount of water should be twice as the rice) and let it boil. When it starts to boil, season with salt, put the lid on and cook on low heat for about 18 to 20 minutes.

While the rice cooks, clean the mushrooms with a cloth and slice them.

Chop the garlic and sauté in olive oil.

Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the chard stalks and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chard leaves and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the fava beans and the carrots.

Season with soy sauce and salt and stir for 3 minutes.

Add sesame seeds to taste and turn off the heat.

Serve with the rice decorated with the zucchini hearts.

Bon appétit!
© veggie delicious food, June 2013

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Tempura with roots and tofu

Asian culture, particularly Japanese, have been influencing me for over the years.
  Ikebana, origami, the tea ceremony, sushi are synonymous of Japanese cultural aspects that seduce many of us.
  Vegan sushi, for example, is now part of my diet and there are a few Japanese restaurants that offer various dishes that may satisfy our vegan delights: the typical miso-dashi soup (based on miso, tofu and chives), the raw tofu with seaweed, the fried tofu, rice and vegetables cooked in so many different ways.
  The idea of today's​ dish – vegetable, tofu and roots tempura- is based precisely on Japanese food culture and the Portuguese influences that were taken to Japan in the sixteenth century.
  Tempura is a plate that can have several ingredients involved in a batter and fried in vegetable oil.
  As I wanted to have an energetic meal, I used two strong roots that I bought in Martim Moniz: burdock root, one of the most positive roots, about which I have already written  Burdock salad  and lotus root, which has medicinal properties, acting as a tonic for the lungs and heart.
  Lotus root is very decongestant, excellent against diseases associated to breath and allergies.
  As it grows in ponds, lotus root does not have chemical fertilizers for cultivation, and this enhances the quality of the product.
  When cut, it presents a geometric pattern in the form of holes and a crispy texture. It has a slightly sweet flavor and can be cooked in several ways: fried, braised, stuffed, in salads and in teas, for the relief of cough and phlegm.
  To go with the tempura, I cooked tomato rice and I also served some raw turnip to cut the effects of the vegetable oil used for frying.
Hope you enjoy!

(Serves 4)

For the tempura:

12 slices of burdock cut diagonally
6 slices of lotus root
12 carrot slices cut diagonally
4 slices of tofu, cut into 6 squares each
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup fresh water
1 bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 pinch of pepper

Vegetable oil of good quality

For the rice:

4 hands of rice
4 medium tomatoes
1 medium sized onion
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

1 turnip of good quality

Start by marinating the slices of tofu:
cut the tofu into squares, place in a container with water to cover, add the lemon juice, the grated ginger and shoyu. Let it stand for 20 minutes while preparing the vegetables.

Wash the burdock, remove the peel, cut and steam until it is al-dente.
Wash the lotus root, remove the peel and cut into slices. Steamed until it is al-dente.
Wash the carrots, cut into diagonal shape and steam until it is al-dente.

Prepare the rice:

Chop the onion, place in a pan and cook until brown.
Wash the tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds, cut into squares and add to the onion. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add water to double the amount of rice. Cover the pan and bring to the boil.
After boiling, add the rice (washed) and season it with salt. Cook until tender.

Meanwhile prepare the batter:

Place ingredients in a blender and blend until you get a creamy paste.

Place the tempura vegetables in the batter and combine well.

Heat the oil and when hot, place the roots, tofu and carrots involved in the batter.

Fry for 30 seconds over medium heat and then add 1 more tbsp of batter over each ingredient. Fry on one side and on the other and then place on paper towels.

Wash the turnip, remove the peel and grate.

Serve tempura with the rice and the grated radish.

Bon appétit!

© veggie delicious food, June 2013