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Vegan pesto

I'm sure you all know, at the very least more or less, how to make pesto. This is just to remind you that pesto is always a good idea: for a quick pasta dinner, as an addition to a sharing platter, on what to do with herbs from your garden.

Traditional Ligurian pesto is made with basil, but I went for a blend of different herbs: basil, thyme, oregano and a bit of rosemary and mint. I skipped parmesan, but kept pine nuts from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with herbs and nuts - try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds or walnuts.

Recipe: Vegan pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup fresh herbs: basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, roasted on a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soli morskiej
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste using pestle and mortar or a food processor.
  • Feel free to add more olive oil, depending on what kind of consistency you like.
  • If not using immediately, place the sauce in a jar, top with a layer of oil and refrigerate until needed..

Blackberry smoothie bowl

It's pretty obvious why I love breakfast-from-a-blender. Smoothie bowls are quick, easy, healthy and delicious. And look great on Instagram.

Blackberries, like all the berries, are superfoods. They're low in calories, high in antioxidants and fiber and a great source of vitamins: C, B, A, E and K. And let's not ignore the fact that they make your smoothie look fabulous!

Recipe: Blackberry smoothie bowl

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 150 g blackberries + a few for serving
  • one avocado
  • 150 ml almond milk
  • 2 łyżki ground flaxseed
  • one tsp agave syrup
  • a pinch of cinnamon
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients together.
  • Serve in bowls, topped with fresh blackberries.

Flower lollipops

So, obviously, lollipops are really bad - pure sugar and pure evil. However, there's a chance you won't suffer severe consequence if you don't eat them every day and only, let's day, once a year. I took a chance. But, let's face it - I only wanted to make these flower beauties because they're pretty.

Recipe: Flower lollipops

10 lollipops
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 10 edible flowers - I used pansies
  • 10 lollipop sticks
Method
  • It's easiest to use a round lollipop mold. However, if you don't have one and don't mind irregular shapes, you could try using an oiled baking tray instead.
  • It also . Bez niego trudno będzie ocenić stopień skarmelizowania cukru.
  • Combine sugar, glucose and water in a saucepan.
  • Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
  • When the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring, turn up the heat and place a thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Continue to heat without stirring until the bubbling mixture reaches the hard-crack stage (about 140C).
  • Transfer the mixture into molds.
  • Place a lollipop stick in the candy and turn 1/2 turn.
  • Carefully place a flower head or petal face down on the hot candy. Quickly pour just enough hot candy over to cover the flower.
  • Allow the candy to harden, then remove from molds.

Ombre tomato tart

This recipe doesn’t even deserve to be called a recipe - it’s more of an idea on how to make a quick and effective snack with summer heirloom tomatoes. The ombre tart is bound to get you some attention and compliments, so, in case you had no idea what to bring for the next potluck picnic/barbecue/garden party, I just solved this challenging problem. No need to thank me.

The to success is to get the right tomatoes. The more different shades you’ve got, the more spectacular the ombre effect. You could also use the ombre idea to prepare something else, like a salad patter.

Recipe: Ombre tomato tart

Ingredients
  • one sheet puff pastry
  • a handful heirloom tomatoes of various colours and shapes, thickly sliced
  • 50 g Greek feta cheese
  • 1-2 branches rosemary, chopped
  • one tsp olive oil
  • one tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Roll out the pastry on a parchment paper, forming a rectangle.
  • Place tomato slices on the pastry - group the colours together and try to achieve a fluent transition from one shade to another.
  • Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and evenly sprinkle with sugar, salt and rosemary.
  • Top with crumble feta.
  • Place in the hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Lemon tagine with eggplant

Tagine is one of Morocco's most famous dishes. I had it at least once a day during my trip, which could have been a bit monotonous, had it not been for the fact that there are tons of different varieties.

The name 'tagine' refers to both the dish and the earthenware pot in which it's cooked. The conical shape of the lid is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. When the water is turned into vapour during cooking, it condenses on the inside of the lid and runs down to the edges of the bottom, and not dripping on the ingredients. Because of that, they bake and brown instead of being cooked in liquid.

If you don't have a tagine, you can still make this recipe in any ovenproof dish with a lid. The effect won't be exactly the same, but it will be delicious. Tagine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal, but we can use a stovetop or an oven. We'll cook it over low heat - slow cooking allows the tomato sauce to caramelize and reach a full flavour.

Recipe: Lemon tagine with eggplant

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • one onion
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3-4 hot peppers
  • 2 tso ras el hanout
  • 2 tsp harrisa
  • one piece cinnamon
  • 5-6 cardamom seeds
  • one eggplant
  • 3-4 preserved lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • tbsp honey
  • 250 ml tomato passata
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Slice onion and garlic, cut the eggplant into large chunks.
  • Heat one tbsp of coconut oil in your tagging (or, if you don’t have one, any other ovenproof dish).
  • Brown the eggplant chunks so that they’re golden on all sides, but not yet soft in the middle. Set aside.
  • Heat another spoon of coconut oil.
  • Brown onion and garlic over medium heat.
  • Add ras el hanout, harissa and whole chilli peppers.
  • Fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add remaining ingredients: browned eggplant, tomato passata, preserved onions (cut into halves or quarters), lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Cover and place in the oven.
  • Cook in the oven for 2 - 2,5 hours, gently stirring every 45 minutes.
  • Serve with bread or couscous.
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