Monday, 24 June 2013

Momos (Berlin)

I love vegan organic places and there are plenty of them in Mitte in Berlin.  This area is hipster central with a ridiculous number of organic shops and restaurants.  Many of these places just rob you blind, but Momo's is a cute little vegetarian (but with vegan options) organic restaurant serving Nepalese dumplings, aka momos, that's reasonably priced.
The place is quite small, as it says, it's more of a takeway.  It's got a couple of seats inside that would probably seat about 10, 15 people, and now in the summertime when you can enjoy a meal outdoors without your water turning into ice, they have some tables outside too.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Breakfast Berry Banana Spelt Salad

Spelt, farro, barley -- they all look awfully similar to each other.   I'd say they're even interchangeable. 
Isn't this pretty?  A pretty plate of food is the way to start the day, guys.  It's weird, I'm normally the type that wakes up minutes before my alarm, feeling fully energized, before 9 in the morning.  But lately I've devolved back into my teenage state and mornings have not been too nice.  I still wake up before 9, but with the alarm.  I feel better after about 10 minutes, but I don't usually need 10 minutes.  It's weird.  Maybe it's the different environment, the different diet.  Different diet - my trousers have been getting so tight, who knew there'd be so many nice things to eat in Germany?  Well, gaining weight or not, a nice whole grain breakfast with pretty colors is surely the way to start a day for anybody. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sun Day Burgers (Berlin)

Most carnivores will frown upon the following statement... I prefer veggie burgers to normal burgers.  There, I said it. 

A juicy beef patty with plenty of garnish and sauces all sandwiched between two fresh buns can be excellent, but I've had much more exciting veggie burgers.  Patties made with beetroot and rice, eggplant and mushrooms, lentils and veggies, together with spices and herbs and sauces... They're fantastic. 

Sun Day Burgers is a little street food stall in Berlin specializing in vegan burgers.  I had the fortune of having one of these on a sunny day in Mauerpark.  It's a big flea market with lots of music and grass and activities,  filled with couples, families and friends having picnics.  I love picnics, I love being in the sun and I love food so together it's the perfect combination for me.  There were lots of food stalls, but that Sun Day Burgers caught my attention.  They had a big pink hippie van.
With no choices on the menu, it's just one burger and a choice of 3 sauces.  I like it better as it made decisions easier, and it meant that they served one thing well.  I never trust a 10-page menu.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fennel & Parsley Salad with Tahini Dressing

Fennel.  In China we use fennel leaves in a lot of our cooking.  Fennel and scrambled eggs is a common filling in buns, dumplings and pancakes.  Fennel and scrambled eggs, and chives and scrambled eggs, these two are the vegetarian fillings you find in most places.  My sister's been a vegetarian since she was 15, I was 9.  Since then, all the dishes made at home or ordered at restaurants have been predominantly vegetarian, so much so that when it comes to Chinese dumplings, I really do prefer the vegetarian fillings over the meat ones.  The meat ones usually involve minced pork.  I'm just talking about up north in Beijing, I don't know about the rest of China, but it's always minced pork and cabbage, or minced pork and fennel leaves.  

Fennel bulbs can't be found in China, only fennel leaves.  My father loves fennel, it's one of the few vegetables he really enjoys.  He doesn't mind vegetables, and isn't the biggest fan of fruits.  If he could, he'd have nothing but tomato pasta all day long.  He's proper Southern Italian.  So this is one of the few ways in which he can enjoy his 5-a-days.  We've never actually had cooked fennel at home, it's always just cut into pieces and eaten raw like a fruit.  We don't even bother putting it in a salad. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Quick Whole Wheat Yoghurt Flatbread

Flatbread? Naan? Tortilla?  Call it what you want, it's fantastic because it requires only yoghurt and whole wheat flour, and it takes 10 minutes to make.  I made it for breakfast. Look, this is the wrap I made for myself for breakfast - it had tomatoes, boiled eggs, mustard and cheese. Yum.  

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Zucchini Ribbons with Tomatoes, Tofu & Tahini

In Berlin, everything's organic.  These organic "Bio" signs are seen at restaurants, McDonalds, and street food stalls.  In this residential area that I live in, all the little grocery stores sell only organic stuff.  Now, at first I was super excited, but then.... It's all so expensive! I agree that some things should be organic.  Eggs, meat, milk, some fruits and veg like strawberries, nectarines, celery, apples.  Yes, but some things, like cabbage and onions, you can just remove the outer pesticided layer.  Bananas - the skin's so thick, the pesticide won't go through.  I personally don't want to spend twice as much on organic bananas.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Applesauce Whole Wheat Pancakes

Bah I have no measuring tools.  I've been using my glasses as measurements but I don't know what half a cup is.  You'd think I'd know after making pancakes for myself with 1/2 cup measurements 4 days a week for the past year, but no, no. No idea.  The thing is, my problem is portion control.  If you place me at a buffet I can eat them out of business.  My stomach knows no limits, and that's why I like to measure everything and make sure I'm eating healthy portion sizes.  So to be safe, with my small glass, I'm... I think I could be just doing 1/4 cups, I don't know.  The point is, because of that, look at how flat these sad pancakes are. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Broccoli with Tahini

Hello! So I’m currently in a small newly furnished apartment by myself in Berlin for an internship. Two months and so I’m faced with a dilemma. As it’s newly furnished, the kitchen is very… empty. Depressingly so. The flat came with two pots, two chopping boards, a pan, 4 large plates, 4 small plates, 4 soup plates, a large bowl, a small bowl and your basic utensils. Now, I’m going to be here for two months, so what kitchen equipment do I buy? I’ve been chopping with my knife and it’s been difficult. It’s like delegating the chopping to a 4-year-old. It takes half a day, the end product looks disappointing, and you leave that poor child with cuts all over her hands. I’ve got 3 band-aids just on my left hand.  I’ll probably invest in a proper knife, and by “proper” I mean something of 5 euros. I probably need a wooden spoon.   I’ve been stirring on my non-stick pan with a metal soup spoon.

And I like a fully stocked cupboard. Should I invest in any spices? Oh I have such a well-stocked cupboard as a student, you have no idea. As of condiments and staples and such, so far I have yellow mustard, tahini, honey, olive oil, spelt berries and oats. How much more should I buy? Two months… Hmm.

So this is what I made with the little that I have. Sauteed broccoli with a delicious tahini sauce. This is an adaption from that of Ottolenghi’s.

It was excruciatingly difficult to mince that garlic with a knife.

Adapted from here
serves 1-2 as a side
1 small head of broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp tahini
½ tbsp. greek yoghurt
½ tsp honey, or to taste
lemon juice, to taste
salt, to taste

Cut the broccoli into florets. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan and when hot, add the minced garlic. When fragrant, add the broccoli. Sautee for a couple of minutes, adding some water to the pan if needed. Just a couple of minutes, it should still be bright green and retain that wonderful crunch.

Make the sauce by whisking the rest of the ingredients together. Take the measurements with a grain of salt and adjust to your liking.  Add some water, bit by bit, until you reach your desired consistency.  Pour over broccoli. 

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