Tag Archive: courgette


Hey everyone,

On the 22nd of October, in Kensington Olympia, London Vegfest took place. I was lucky enough to have amazing friend Tomi telling me to contact the organiser regarding doing a cookery demo there. So I did, and there I was, many months later!

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Overall it was quite a nice day, all the more better to get to catch up with Tomi and see my colleagues and friends supporting me doing this kind of presentation for the first time. For some reason though the atmosphere was very much different, and strange I would even say, compared with the vegfests I have been to before. There was a lot more space than usual which was good, given that  you did not have to fight your way through the little corridors between stalls, but it also made it feel much more emptier. And despite there being many, many stalls, there still seemed to be nothing around. In the sense that there surely was all aspects of veganism represented in the form of food, drink, clothing, publications, charities, animal rights groups, alternative healthcare providers and more, yet when we were in search of food, all the stalls that would have been quite inviting had a queue worth 30 min of your time. Either the 7200 people that passed through the doors yesterday were too little for the amount of space that they this time had booked, or there were not enough stalls for it, but it just felt empty, and we ended up in a restaurant nearby for actual dinner, which is quite odd.
Luckily there is the Animal Aid Christmas fayre coming at the beginning of December, which I think will bring along quite a different atmosphere. Only time will tell!

I think everyone knows about my fascination and love with buckwheat by now, and that is what I wanted to showcase – the diversity of this pseudo cereal.
A little information about buckwheat – it is naturally gluten free, related to rhubarb, that is quite high in protein with 13.25 g in 100 g of dry produce, with 343 kcal of total energy. The  study that I wrote my undergrad thesis on also demonstrated buckwheat as the most satiating of the alternative plant based protein sources it compared (hemp, lupin, fava, green pea and buckwheat vs meat), which is why I always recommend it to people who claim that vegan foods make them full and empty again in very short periods of time; or for sportsmen who need more protein (or so they think). A great source.
There are also different types of buckwheat – raw, sprouted, and roasted. I grew up consuming the latter one, as porridge – we would call it – which essentially meant instead of rice in the context. It is boiled similarly to rice, and it does expand a lot once boiled. As a kid I would always eat it with ketchup. Letcho made a good sauce also. As I grew older I had it with cheese mixed in so it would melt – it works magic with melting vegan cheeses too! My brother would mix the two I think, but I always had a problem with mixing dairy with ketchup. And that has carried over to veganism as well, I find it mentally challenging to eat ketchup with vegan cheese.
Anyway, after being vegan for a year or more, I had quite a look into the raw food world and started using sprouted buckwheat for breakfast – mix it with dried fruit and seeds/nuts for muesli for example, or blend soaked raw buckwheat with flavouring such as cinnamon, and spread it out to dehydrate instead of cereal. However when I tried cooking raw buckwheat into porridge I was put off for quite a while trying to do any kind of porridge from raw buckwheat. For so long in fact that I was eagerly waiting for Rawligion to open given that they were supposed to serve raw buckwheat porridge and I wanted to see proof that it can be done tasting good. Well, Rawligion did open but there was no buckwheat porridge. So one day I decided to pick up the matter again and looked up 10 different recipes and thought I realised what I needed to do. And so I tried. And it came out amazing.  🙂
And the different states of buckwheat is something I also wanted to demonstrate, which I am quite happy worked out even without realising! I came up with three different recipes that I showcased at vegfest, and here they are also for everyone’s convenience.

Buckwheat krispie cakes

Makes six about 60 g bars (with about 14 g protein per bar), or many many smaller pieces

Base:

1 cup (160 g) activated buckwheat (soaked for 2-4 hours, dehydrated)
1/3 cup (70 g) almond butter
1/4 cup (50 g) manna (coconut butter)
1 heaped tbsp (20 g) maple syrup/coconut nectar/other sweetener
pinch salt

Chocolate:

1/4 cup (50 g) manna
1 tsp (5 g) cacao powder
1 tbsp (10 g) xylitol, pulverised, or any other sweetener you fancy
1 tbsp (15 g) coconut oil

Method:

Melt the manna in hot water bath. Mix all the base ingredients together and press into a container about 10 x 20 cm size, dependent on how thick you like it choose larger/smaller surface area.
Mix together the chocolate ingredients, melt again in hot water bath if needed to get it more liquid, and pour over the base. If you like, add cacao nibs, coconut, or whatever else you fancy for decoration on top now so it would set together with the chocolate.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until it sets. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

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Raw buckwheat porridge

Makes two about 150 g servings (plenty for breakfast!)

100 g raw buckwheat groats
1 g (pinch) cinnamon
100 ml almond milk (or any other plant milk)
60 g dates (more if you want it sweeter)
50 g berries + more for topping if you like

Method:

Soak the buckwheat in water for 2-4 hours (can be overnight if you prefer), rinse well until the water runs clear
Add all the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. If you want it thicker, feel free to add some chia seeds to it and blend again, or reduce the amount of milk.
I have done this with blueberries, bilberries and strawberries, and it has worked magic with all of them. I have no reason to think it would not work with raspberries, grapes, or even kiwis, but only experience will tell.
I quite like layering food and having a layer of desiccated coconut for example adds some texture and visuals when serving from a glass. A strip of cinnamon could also do, or more berries is also very nice. Voila!

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Buckwheat risotto

Serves two with a side, or one very hungry

100 g kasha (roasted buckwheat)
300 g water (more/less depends if cooked with or without a lid)
1 stock cube
1 small swede
1 carrot
1 small / 1/2 large courgette
small handful of fresh parsley
125 ml oat cream (or any alternative)
Pinch of onion, garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste

Method:

Boil the kasha for 10-15 min with the stock cube, until soft, drain excess water.
Grate the vegetables, chop the parsley, and mix in the kasha together with the cream and all the spices/herbs.
You can either cook it for a few more minutes or let the heat of the kasha soften and heat up the rest of the ingredients.
Taste and add as much of salt/pepper to make it appealing to your palate. I added a decent 1/3 tsp I think of freshly ground black pepper to the portion I made, but always taste and season to taste.
Serve with a side salad, veggie sausages or anything else you desire. Decorate with fresh parsley or microherbs.

Hope you will enjoy these as much as I did and do. Will all be available at Rawligion very soon! Stay tuned!

More photos and videos on my presentation coming soon thanks to the ever amazing Tomi 🙂

Eli x

First of all – all credit to the name goes to Samuel Lee, my comi at bhuti.

It has again been a massively long and tiring week, and once cancelled pop up dinner was rescheduled for the last day of June, Thursday the 30th. My initial plans to go with a specific cuisine did not happen as I decided to go with something simple for me to prep, but good, and thus thought that as raw lasagna had been a winner at my last pop up dinner, people should have the chance to also try the raw pizza. As I had another event to do canapes for the same evening, it was non-stop indeed until it was 7.30pm – the estimated time for commencing the dinner service.

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There were very few people present, but most had booked days in advance, and only an addition of two came on the day making my life easier. Also everyone was able to have a chat with all the people present. Welcoming nibbles included battered vegetables, raw courgette hummus, and a beetroot-carrot-orange-lemon-ginger juice.

The first course was courgette rolls, two kinds, both filled with pesto, one with a cherry tomato, the other with carrot, pepper and sprouts. Pesto really works so well with courgette, it is a match made in heaven. And a little canape of candy and purple beetroot layered with cranberry cheese sauce and topped with sprouts. And SUMAC! I love sumac.

The second course was the raw pizza. I made a tomato-oregano raw base with base ingredients such as carrots, red onion, sunflower seeds and flax. The toppings included hand-pitted olives, sweetcorn, red peppers, walnut mince (tamari, agave, smoked paprika flavoured), crispy aubergine (marinated in tamari, EVO, lemon juice, paprika, cumin, chilli -> dehydrated), layered on top of sundried tomato marinara sauce, and topped with basic cashew cheese sauce and some oregano and sprouts. This is way more filling than one might perceive from its looks.

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Third course was a selection of desserts. I did a coconut-carob-chocolate tarts, essentially coconut butter with some coconut milk (from the canned coconut) and some coconut sugar for the base, a slice of banana, and topped with carob chocolate – coconut oil, maple syrup, and carob powder. I got this pack of carob at work which was of such a superior quality I digged the flavour so much I could not stop myself from making the carob chocolate. And also carob truffles. They are also the ‘bhuti balls’ at the time, truffles the tea room sells at all times with changing the recipe with each batch, this time containing sunflower seeds, coconut, cashews, carob, hemp seeds, hemp protein, and dates. I think this is the exhaustive list of ingredients… And the last pieces were fruit roll-ups. The rolls were something in between fruit leather and raw wraps, basically a fruit smoothie with very little of flax blended in, as it looked too liquidy for my liking, and then dehydrated. For the filling I did coconut cream (tinned coconut milk with agave and vanilla) and sliced strawberries. After it had stayed in the fridge for an hour, the ‘leather’ soaked in some of the moisture and yum with the intertwined and infused flavours! And then topped it with a chocolate swirl and edible flowers.

Fourth course, and may I add – respect for the guests to have made it so far – was cultured cream cheese – basic cashew cheese recipe with added probiotics, left to culture for a day in a warm place. I separated the yield in half and chopped a heck of a lot of chives and parsley in one. It was served with raw bread, which was a mixture of carrots, courgette, spinach, onion, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax, and herbs/spices. All this accompanied by a handful of grapes and pineapple.

Similar to last time, I decided to serve a hot drink to top it off, this time our Golden Elixir from the menu, which is essentially a spiced turmeric drink including cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg and cardamom. Together with that I had a spur-of-the-moment idea and did some chocolate covered strawberries to put the cherry on top of the evening.

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From the feedback received, everyone seemed to enjoy all parts of the dinner, and it quite likely beat the option of fish and chips. I think the only part I still need to master is the amounts, for four courses, be as small as the nibbles are, is still rather filling. Me and Andrea, the newest chef addition at bhuti helping me out that evening, had a pizza for our dinner, and only that filled us up to the brim. Thank god for take-away options!

All in all, my ride at bhuti has been an educative one. I do not think I would have had the chance to start as a head chef so soon had it not been for a new startup such as this. And thanks to the steep learning curve I now can value my time and area of expertise much more, and am content with moving on from there to new challenges, and new chance to help up another start-up, this time just around the corner from where I am currently based. I would not have survived as long as I did without my dearest kitchen crew, and all the other colleagues who have lent me a shoulder to cry on and reasons to laugh until my eyes water.

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Kitchen’s angels. My kitchen team of Andrea, Sam, myself, and Junko there in our minds.

Thank you bhuti for offering me all the chances I had to improve myself and the business; and welcome to Rawligion, my new head chef challenge in the raw vegan world.

PS, last chance to catch me at bhuti next week Mon-Fri! After that you will find me on 3 Tottenham Street!

Gracefully yours,

Eli xx

Juicing! With parsnip!

I love juicing. At the moment I have been juicing on average once a day for more than a week and it is great! My motivator is having my vegan sister living next-door to me who is into that, and the desire to reduce my intake of solids. Also it feels great going to the supermarket only to get fresh produce.

I have been keeping it quite safe though, not using any tomatoes, half veg-half fruit kinda combos. Keeping it simple as well – carrot-apple(-beetroot), courgette-pear/apple, added ginger/lemon here and there, fairly simple stuff. We have been wondering regarding what more veg/fruit we can use for juicing, so we did some pure plum juice, or plum and beetroot. I was sceptical regarding plums at first, because any juice I have seen in stores is usually never fresh but from concentrate, and includes plum pulp, not exactly juice. But it juices really well! Thus plum – being currently in season as well – is included in every second juice just now.
We also juiced a little bit of some kale, but the yield was not significant really, thus it requires a lot for very little – better leave it for eating as a whole. I used up a couple of cucumbers, but as my sis is not able to digest them alongside some other foods, like peppers, we have had to find alternatives. And that is when the thought came – parsnip! We had no clue how it would juice, or what it would taste like. Yesterday morning the time had come to use them up before they go off, or roast them for alternative if it turned out awful.

We had a whole pack of parsnips, which would be around 1 kilo I imagine. We started off with apples and pears, and added the first parsnip – halfway through only to come to the realisation it might taste revolting and quickly changed the jug to a glass to separate the juice. Finished with the first one we had a try – and it was amazing! Like more amazing than carrots! It comes a little bit powdery (but that was amplified with the pears), but otherwise so smooth and sweet. In a way that it would not be a problem to have a glass of pure parsnip juice, the way you can with carrot also! But they are even sweeter than carrots. Ah, it was truly wonderful. So we continued to do the whole pack and after having given it a good stir – got a creamy ivory-coloured drink which reminded us of milkshake (and might be put to use similarly).

Here’s to another great juicing discovery!

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Eli x

Howdy-ho folk,

This time I thought, inspired by a very delicious weekend, I’d share this incredibly easy idea of making your own veggie burgers.

When I think of veggie burgers, I think mostly of bean-burgers, but they can be made literally with just vegetables. The later takes more preparation time and effort, but the taste is absolutely amazing. So, I’m gonna share three basic recipes/ideas of what I’ve done here.

1. Bean burgers

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In essence the easiest.

You’ll need:

1 can of cooked beans of your own choice (kidney, chickpeas, mixed can, etc)
Herbs/spices
Some veggies (optional) – carrot, onion, celery
Wholegrain flour/wheatgerm/breadcrumbs/buckwheat flour – something dry to bind it all

On the second and third photo we used:
2 cans of chickpeas
1 can of mixed beans in chilli sauce
1 bunch of each – coriander, parsley, chives
~100g wheatgerm
pinch of salt

Process the beans with the herbs/spices, mix in the dry binder – wheatgerm in this case. The batter turned out rather soft, but still possible to form patties with hands and then baked in the oven – turned around after 10-15 minutes, so the water evaporates to an extent and afterwards it stuck together quite well to have it in between the whole burger – bun, tomato, cucumber, gherkin, lettuce, vegan cheese and ketchup. Or, just have it as it is with some nice sauce like hummus or sweet&sour sauce or ketchup or cashew cheese sauce, like I had with the burgers on the first photo.
YUM! If I may say 🙂

2. Seitan burgers

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These are fairly easy to make, it’s just a wee bit of a game to make the seitan. But it’s enjoyable if you like to get your hands dirty.

You’ll need – white flour, salt, and any spices you’d like, I’d strongly suggest soy sauce amongst else.

To make seitan, mix about 3 cups of flour with a pinch of salt. Now comes the wee bit tricky part. You have to mix in just enough water to get it all bound, and not have it sticking to your hands, total should be around 1 cup of water, nae more. It should be pretty thick ball by the end of it. Then cover it with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
And now comes the fun part. Once it’s nice and set, you have to start washing it. Now you will need to use cold water so I suggest putting a pair of gloves on to protect your hands from mild hypothermia.
Take the seitan ball, a bigger bowl, put it in there and fill the bowl with cold water. I prefer to do it in the sink so I don’t have to be careful for spillages. And what you do is just play with it. Squeeze it, rip it, what you’re trying to do, it wash away most of it, so there’s only the gluten there left pretty much. Replace the water once it’s pretty full of the flour and not very transparent any more. I change it usually 3 times, and by the end of it, the seitan has reduced significantly. Then I have the tap running slowly and I try to get the last bits and blobs out, until the water runs clean. Now try and drain it as thoroughly as you can, use all the muscles you have in your arms and get it as dry as possible. Then, it’s is ready! Well, in this stage. What it should look like is something like this – except the colour

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On the photo I tried to put spices in the seitan in stage 1 and it pretty much ended up just colouring it without having any flavour, so I don’t suggest wasting spices then, keep them for later.
Now that you have this wee ball of gluten (pretty much), it’s time to put the kettle on and boil some water. To restore some of the lost volume of the seitan, it’s best to boil it. But first you have to decide what shapes you want it to be in. I often make it into a sausage shape and then slice it, so that the pieces would look like burgers in the end. Do take into account that the size will just about double when you boil it.
So, cut up the shapes you want and drop them one by one in boiling water. You can mix them if you want, to make sure they’re not stuck to each other or the bottom of the pot, but if you dropped them in separately, it shouldn’t be much to worry about. They are ready when they rise to the top of the water. Take them out and try to drain any excessive water still on them. Now finally comes the part when you get to spice things up.
You can fry them, bake them or do whatever you want with them now. I have usually fried them in some oil, and put plenty of spices on top – pepper, cumin, chilli, garlic, paprika, but to top it all, when it’s nice and crispy from both sides – add some soy sauce. Now steam will rise and the pan will not appreciate it much, but it sure gives a good colour to the seitan and SUCH a nice flavour. The texture is quite chicken-like if I ever remembered one correctly. And it works brilliantly in a ‘hamburger’. 🙂

3. Veggie burgers

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I love these burgers, but I rarely make them as it just takes a bit too long. A food processor is a VERY valuable tool here.

You’ll need:
Plenty of veggies of your own choice – potato, sweet potato, carrot, courgette, onion, parsnip, celery, leek
RAISINS! I love them, but if you don’t, just skip it.
Flour – wholegrain, I used to use pea flour, but I haven’t been able to find it for over 4 years, so anything pretty much would work. As well as wheatgerm.
Breadcrumbs
Spices
Oil for frying

So, what to do, is grate all the veggies (chop the onion/leek), add the raisins, flour and spices. For spices I’ve used curry, chilli, dill, thyme, basil, garlic, cumin, paprika, and soy sauce. But not too much of the latter. Mix it all together and add enough flour to make sure it all sticks together decently well.
It’s nice to cover it in breadcrumbs after that, but it’s not an obligatory step.
Next, you’ll start frying it. I think actually baking it would work either, but I’ve never done it myself. Fry it well from both sides until nice and golden, it takes at least 5 minutes I think. At the end, I again like to add soy sauce, turn them around once more in it, to add the colour and amazing burst of the flavour when you first bite into it. So as you see, it’s not a particularly difficult to do, but the frying and making them into patties takes quite a while. But, it’s worth it!

Usually I’d have it as a side for any other main meal, or just serve it with dips/sauces, I actually haven’t made it into a full burger as such, but I think it would be grand like that also. 🙂

So, that’s my overview of veggie burgers. Hope I’ve given you some ideas for a quick but amazing meal. Bon appetit!

Eli x

Lasagne recipe

Hello again!

 

It’s been a while! Sorry about that. But, I thought that as I’ve recently not been that much on raw food at all as I’d like, I could at least share some of the cooked food recipes that I think are pretty delicious 🙂

So here’s a first one! Vegan lasagne!

Ingredients:

3 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 pack of lasagne sheets
2-3 medium carrots
1 onion
1 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp date syrup (or alternative sweetener, or sugar)
50 g soy mince
4 heaped tbsp white flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
spices – paprika, chilli, salt, garlic, pepper, jerk seasoning….
2 cups soy milk (optional)
water
vegan cheese
Filling of your own choosing – mushrooms, vegetable mix, squash, butternut squash…

First I suggest you make the tomato sauce (unless you want to use ready-made sauce, not as good, I tell you!). For it, peel and chop the onion and start frying it in tiny bit of oil. Meanwhile chop the carrots into small pieces and add to the onions. Add all the tinned tomatoes and mix in some spices like paprika, pepper, salt. Let this simmer until the carrots are soft. Then blend it all (using a hand blender preferably, careful with the splashes). Add some vinegar (balsamic for example) and balance the flavour with the sweetener.
Pour some boiling water over the soy mince and leave for a few minutes, then drain. Mix in with the tomato sauce – that’s then ready! 🙂
For the white sauce, mix some spices into the white flour and then add tiny bit of water or soy milk to make a thick paste. Once it’s all mixed, add some more liquid to make it thinner. Heat up a pot with some oil in the bottom. Pour the flour mixture to the pot and make sure you have more water and/or soy milk handy. As soon as the flour is in the pot, you ought to keep it in motion – mix, mix, mix. A whisk is a useful tool here. When you feel it starts getting thicker, add the water or milk. Continue doing it for the next 5 minutes or so, when you think the flour has expanded as much as it will. Then mix in the nutritional yeast – which might make more liquid necessary. Add some grated vegan cheese (if you wish, it’s totally fine without as well), definitely have a taste and see if it lacks some spices perhaps. And that’s the white sauce done.
If you wish to add some mushrooms or frozen chopped vegetable mix, you can easily mix it in with the red sauce. I grated some courgette and mixed it in with the red sauce. And once before I roasted thin slices of aubergines and butternut squashes and used them as layers as well, so it was layerlayerlayerlayerlayer. 😛 Beans would work well also!

And then it’s time to mount the whole lot! Layer it in whatever order you wish in a deeper dish. I did: red sauce, pasta, white, pasta, red, pasta, white, pasta, red, cheese. If you want, you can as well mix the red and white sauce together, so you only have one kind of sauce in between the pasta. It’s gonna be fabulous no matter what!

Cook the lot in the oven for about 20 minutes, but you can poke it with a knife to see if the pasta is nice and soft. All that’s left is to eat! Serve it with a nice bunch of fresh salad (carrot-beetroot-orange on the photo) and with a couple of friends.

Lovely!

 

Eli x

 

lasagna

Hello my dear followers! Time for another variety of raw noodles with a nice bit chilli cheezy sauce. It ain’t exactly 801010, but I really felt like something bit more stodgy and honestly ate it guilt-free 😛 Plus, the sauce would be plenty for at least two portions, I used up half of it for kale chips which are currently dehydrating, pictures when they’re ready.

 

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Pasta – as many zucchinis as you’d fancy. I used only one but sauce would cover 2-3 plenty. Use a spiralizer to get the noodle shapes or peel with a peeler. When using a spiralizer use the middle and end part in the sauce so nothing would go waste. 

Sauce:

1.5 cups cashews soaked (a few hours or express method in warm/hot water)
1/2 lemon juice
1 garlic clove (or 1tsp garlic powder)
1 green chilli
1/2 cup water or as much needed to get the consistency you like and blend it all
nutritional yeast to flavour, I like it alot so I used about 1/4 cup
1 tsp sea salt

Blend everything, taste and see if you’d like to add something more 🙂

For garnishing I’ve added some cilantro, parsley and basil torn to smaller pieces and a bit more nutritional yeast and serve with anything you’d like, I’ve done it with two tomatoes and some fresh salad from ‘the garden’ (pots on windowsill :P). DELICIOUS! I have nothing else to say, I loved it so much!

I hope it will appeal to your taste buds as much as it did to mine 🙂

Eli x