Nov 26 2019

Apple Sauce-Based Brownies

No milk, no eggs, no fats: if you are sceptical like I am when trying “healthier” versions of consolidated myths, you will be stunned by these low cal brownies, which use the creamy consistency of the apple sauce to become as good as the classic type. It really is an option for the weight watchers.

Serves 6

  • 800 gr Golden Delicious apples
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • juice of a half lemon
  • 40 gr cocoa powder
  • 100 gr self raising flour
  • 1/2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60 gr caster or brown sugar
  • 100 gr dark chocolate, knife sliced
  • 70 gr walnuts, chopped
  • 250 ml coconut milk

Prepare the applesauce: peel, deseed and quarter the apples, place in a heavy-based pot with the lemon juice, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp of water. Cover with a lid and let cook over low heat for around 30 minutes, occasionally stirring. When the apples are almost reduced to a puréè the apple sauce is ready. Let it cool to room temperature, then weigh 250 gr and transfer in a bowl.

Spinkle over the flour and cocoa powder (using a sieve), sugar, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, chocolate, walnuts and coconut milk.

The mix should be on the running side; if you have a particularly thick apple sauce, add some water or extra coconut milk. Be careful to not overwork the dough, or the brownies will be tough once ready.

Line a square cake tin with non-stick baking paper and spoon in the mixture. Bake in the oven at 180° for  15-18 minutes until the surface is set but the inner is still a little soft. Let cool on a rack, then cut into squares and serve.

 

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Posted in Desserts, Recipes, Light recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Oct 21 2019

Mediterranean Tempeh

Today my goal is to create a perfect union between a typical Indonesian food like Tempeh and a savoury Mediterranean flavour to achieve a balanced and tasty result. As you might know, Tempeh is the final product of fermented yellow soya beans. Central in the vegan cuisine, Tempeh is a healthy high protein food which can well substitute meat, specially when served together with sauces, vegetabled and dips. Its flavour is slightly acid, which compliments the sweetness of the carrot and onion.

Serves 2

  • 1 double pack natural Tempeh (about 150 gr)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 fresh chilli pepper
  • 100 black olives (I normally use Taggiasche)
  • 100 ml extravirgin olive oil + extra 4 tbsp
  • 20 basil leaves, whashed, drained and tap dried
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce

Place the basil leaves in a small food processor together with the olive oil and puls until homogenous and creamy. Pour in a bottle and set aside. This is a simple way to make your own basil oil -you can use it whenever you want to add some flavour to any of your dishes. Just remember to shake it well before using. This will keep up to 2 weeks when correctely stored in the fridge.

In a heavy-based saucepan, or wok, heat 2 tbsp oil and cook the Tempeh, thinly sliced, stirring occasionally, over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until soft and a pale caramel colour. Transfer onto a plate and keep warm.

Peel and thinly shave the carrots with the help of a peeler. Slice the onions and chop the red chilli pepper.

In the same saucepan, or wok, in which you cooked the Tempeh saute the onion and red chilli pepper in the remaining 2 tbsp oil until soft and still white. Add the carrots, fry for 40 seconds, the add the olives and Tempeh. Pour in 2 tbsp soya sauce, season with some sea salt according to your taste and let cook for a few more seconds, until thickened. Serve hot.

To complete you dish, place the Tempeh and vegetables in the centre of your plate and drizzle some of the basil oil around it. Enjoy!

 

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Posted in International, Recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Jun 29 2019

Hasselback Potatoes

Normally served with game and soaked with butter, these potatoes are of Swedish origin: crispy golden stacks of delicious potatoes cooked in the oven with a zing of lemon and herbs are perfect with whatever main dish you like, be it meat or not. As an Italian, I normally go for extravirgin olive oil, but if you fancy using butter, feel absolutely free to do so.

Serves 6

  • 1,5 kg potatoes, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 100 ml extravirgin olive oil (or butter) + extra for the oven dish

Slice the potatoes about 0,25 cm thick using a mandoline or the food processor and place in a bowl with cold water.

Finely chop the zest of the lemons, add to the garlic and combine everything with the oil (or melted butter)and herbs.

Drain the potatoes, pat dry and stack the slices around the edges of an oven dish, previously greased with oil or butter, alligning them tightly so that each stack supports the other. Drizzle over the sauce, add some sea salt and pepper to your taste and bake in the oven at 180° C with fan.

Bake for 75 minutes, until crisp and golden: if the potatoes are going too brown, cover with aluminum foil.  Test the potatoes with a skewer to make sure they are properly cooked through, then remove from the oven and serve hot.

 

 

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Posted in Sides, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
May 24 2019

Hazelnut and Ginger Pak Choi

Serves

This recipe is the result of a melting pot between a Chinese vegetable like Pak Choi and a very typical North Italian ingredient like hazelnut. I hope you appreciate the flavour as well as the easy and extremely quick cooking.

Serves 3

  • 1 tbsp  fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped as well
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, or whatever oil you like
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, skin on
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 medium pak choi, washed, well drained and cut into stripes of 1 cm

In a small pan roast the hazelnuts, let cool to room temperature and reduce to a medium crumble. Set aside.

In a wok or a large, heavy-based pan heat the oil and gently fry the ginger and garlic.

Place the pak choi in the pan, stir well, add the soy sauce and let cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, frequently stirring. Scatter with the hazelnut crumble and serve hot.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Jan 27 2019

Tempeh with Artichokes

Tempeh is the result of a process of fermentation of yellow soya beans. Very important in the vegan cuisine, tempeh is a healthy and proteic food which can well substitute meat, specially when served together with sauces, vegetables and dips. In this case, I am suggesting a recipe which mimics more than vaguely a classic Italian dish, stew with artichokes.

Serves 4

  • 300 gr tempeh
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

Clean and trim the artichokes (if you are wondering how, look at this good video tutorial https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-trim-artichokes), halve and reduce to thin slices, in the meantime keeping them in cold water acidulated with the lemon juice so that they don’t turn black.

Let the onion simmer with 2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil and a little water until white but tender, add the artichokes, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and brown off.

Add the parsley and salt to taste. Cube the tempeh and marinate with the soya sauce and chilli powder for 10 minutes.

Sautée the  tempeh in a clean pan with 1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil,  mix with the artichokes and serve hot.

 

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
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