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
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
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..
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
2 tbsp coconut oil
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
3-4 preserved lemons
juice of one lemon
250 ml tomato passata
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.
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.
I enjoy hearty dishes in the first cold days of winter, but comes January, I start craving something lighter. This is my perfect January soup: bit spicy, warming and fully comforting, but light and green at the same time.
When you look at the recipe, it might seem like a lot of work, but it's not. The recipe is super easy and putting everything together will take a maxiumum of half an hour and that includes making the curry paste and crispy broccoli topping. And you can always use a good store-bought green curry paste and limit the toppings to fresh coriander and sesame seeds.
Recipe: Green curry broccoli soup
3 tbsp green curry paste
one large broccoli, divided into small florets
800 ml vegetable stock
400 ml coconut milk
a handful fresh coriander
Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add broccoli florets and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add the stock and coconut milk, combine, cover and bring to boil.
Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender - 5-10 minutes .
Before serving, blend or process until smooth.
Season with lime juice.
Top each serving with fresh cilantro and crispy broccoli florets.
Recipe: Crispy broccoli florets
a handful broccoli florets
one tbsp coconut oil
one tbsp soy sauce
one tsp honey
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Heat coconut oil in a small pan, add broccoli and fry for one minute.
Add soy sauce combined with honey and continue cooking, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
Add sesame seeds and combine.
Recipe: Green curry paste
5 medium green chilies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
a bunch fresh cilantro
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
2 limes, juice and zest
one tbsp coriander seeds
one tsp ground cumin
one tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp soy sauce
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.
Perfect tacos: crispy, aromatic, colourful and vegan. Great for small or larger gatherings. All you have to do is prepare the toppings and ask your guests to compose their ideal snacks. I chose roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and corn, creamy cashew paste, pomegranate seeds, fresh chillies, aromatic coriander and lime juice. You can add your favourite fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Recipe: Vegan tacos
8 soft corn tortillas
a bunch coriander
one corn on a cob
one cup cooked black beans
rosted sweet potatoes (recipe below)
cashew paste (recipe below)
2 green chilli peppers
1 small pomegranate
Roast the corn at 180C for about 30 minutes, until tender.
Kut off the kernels and combine with cooked beans.
Deseed the pomegranate, slice the chillies and cut the lime into quarters.
Heat the tortillas in the oven or on a pan and cover to keep them warm.
Serve all the ingredients together and let everyone compose their own tacos: roasted sweet potatoes with pomegranate and fresh coriander or corn and beans with cashew paste and fresh chillies. Or everything altogether :)
Recipe: Roasted sweet potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion
one tbsp olive oil
one tsp smoked paprika powder
one tsp sweet paprika powder
a pinch of salt
Peel and dice the potatoes.
Cut the onion into eitghts.
Mix diced potatoes with onion, olive and spices.
Transfer into a baking dish and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.
Recipe: Cashew paste
100 g cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp plant-based milk (I used coconut milk)
1 lime (peel and juice)
a pinch of salt
Blend soaked chashews with milk, to make a smooth paste.
Add lime juice and peel, combine. Season with salt
I love tuna! Especially when it's lightly seared outside and almost raw inside. You have to try out this recipe: seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds with amazing dipping sauce with tamarind paste, soy sauce and honey. Perfect for ligh lunch or with a bottle of wine and fine conversation. It's a kind of dish that I appreciate the most: minimal effort, maximum results. The preparation takes 20 minutes tops, looks lovely and is really delicious. Give it a try!
Recipe: Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds
200 g thick tuna steak
3-4 tbsp black and white sesame seeds
one tsp sesame oil
1/2 red chilli pepper
one spring onion
a few leaves of fresh mint
a few leaves of fresh coriander
Slice tuna into smaller chunks and coat them in sesame seeds.
Heat sesame oil on a pan and sear four sides of each chunk for about 15 seconds per side.
Finely chop chilli and herbs.
Cut the tuna chunks into 3-4 cm slices.
Place tuna on the plate. Top with chilli, spring onion, mint and coriander.