Cashew Grießkoch with Caramelised Pears

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Life updates:

My zero waste lifestyle experiment is going pretty well. I realised that first of all, zero waste means to cut things you don’t actually need and renounce seriously unnecessary things. The first steps are: Always, always, have one or two cotton bags with you. Carry your water bottle with you at all times. I was tired of carrying a glass bottle (hello heavy!), so yesterday I bought this cool bottle at a cool shop and hope that it will stay with me for a long time. Buy your fruit and veggies at a farmers market if possible; if not, take your own bags to the supermarket and put your stuff in there. Buy in big quantities (for things you use often) – if you shop online, you find shops that send the things in paper bags.If the quantities are too big, there are always friends who will be happy to share. For other things, there might be a zero waste shop in your town or at least shops where you can buy single ingredients packaging-free. Use soap and not shower gel. I even went as far as trying to make my own mascara – this will need some improvement, but for the first go, it isn’t all too bad. This is the waste I produced at home the last three weeks:

  • A bag of pasta I had at home
  • the plastic my diary was wrapped in (I want to stop being dependent on my phone for appointments!)
  • the ticket to a glorious improvised theatre show in Graz
  • a car park ticket
  • the receipt of a restaurant (no, receipts cannot go into the paper wastebin as there are are other substances that cover it!)

zero waste - waste in three weeks

I gave an interview for the Austrian radio transmitter FM4. You can read the article here and listen to the interview here (7:10) and here (16:10) – klick on Foodbloggerin Nadine Reyhani.

Other than that, I am interviewing teachers for my bachelor thesis and therefore have a new hobby: transcribing interviews.

Because I have loads of cashews on hand at the moment, I’m coming up with all kinds of recipes that include cashews. This Grießkoch (semonlina porridge, what a weird word combination) is a childhood memory with a twist.

Veganer Grießkoch Rezept

Vegan semoline porridge with pears

Serves 4

For the Grießkoch

  • 50 g cashews, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 400 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 50 g semolina
  • sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (for the taste, can be omitted)

Cashews for making milk

For the caramelised pears (side note: apples work as well)

  • one or two soft pears
  • some neutral oil, like rapeseed oil
  • brown sugar

pears

Add the cashews, water, cinnamon and cardamom to a blender. When it has a milk-like consistency, transfer to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the semolina while stirring with a whisk and reduce heat. Let simmer for some minutes, until the semolina is cooked. Add coconut oil, sugar to your liking and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Soaked cashews at least overnight

Cashews and water make a milk-like liquid Cashew Milk

semolina

Cut the pears into quarters and halve or (I make up the word to third for this purpose) the quarters, depending on the size of your pears.

Birnen karamellisieren

In a pan, heat some oil and add the pears. Roast them until they start becoming brown on one side. Sprinkle with sugar and turn flip them over. Cook until brown.

how to caramelise pears Caramelise pears without butter

Put the Grießkoch in small bowls and decorate with the pears. You can sprinkle it with some honey/agave syrup, cinnamon or powdered sugar.

Enjoy. 

austrian semolina porridge

caramelised fruit and porrdige

Mash Polo – Persian Rice with Mung Beans

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Posts have gotten rare and the reason for this is that in a few months time, the three magical letters B E and D, also known as BEd., or Bachelor of education, will (hopefully) attach themselves to my name. I am very well aware that Austria is a country whose people are very proud of their academic titles and I earnestly hope to not become one of them. Because what can three letters possibly reveal about you, your attitudes, beliefs and expertise? Not much, I believe.

I wish I could say that I am only busy with my bachelor thesis and find myself in a flow all the time, but as a matter of fact, I am still trying to figure out what direction I will be going in. Sometimes you feel a little stuck and thankfully you have professors who make this clear to you: you won’t find the right way unless you make a step forward. The wind won’t be able to push you if you put down roots. It took me quite a while to understand, but I think that I can say that I’ve learnt a life lesson. Make a step, and the next steps will be so much easier.

Also, if you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’m trying to reduce my waste a lot. One step towards this aim, which can sometimes seem impossible, was to buy big quantities of ingredients we use a lot and sharing it with friends and family. I’m deeply in love with how beautiful things look in glass jars.

Zero Waste Lifestyle - Storing food in Jars

Apart from the fact that I am highly annoyed because I should be in Stockholm right now, (but my flight was cancelled, I found out less than 12 hours before it should have taken off due to my father telling me and not understanding how I could possibly not have heard anything about it – sometimes, a radio would be a nice thing to have on hand), I am very happy to finally post another recipe for a Persian main dish – thanks mum for the recipe and for making it!

Persischer Reis mit Mungbohnen

Serves 4

  • 200 g mung beans
  • 350 g basmati rice (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 small onions
  • 25 g dried dill (1/3 cup)
  • oil
  • salt and pepper

Dried Mung Beans - Zero Waste

Mungo Beans

Rinse the mung beans and soak overnight in a bowl or pot (make sure to use enough water!).

On the next day, wash the rice and soak it for an hour. For a detailed how-to watch my video (don’t go past the soaking step!).

Drain the mung beans and put them into a pot with enough water (the water should be about 1 inch above the beans).

Soaked Mung Beans

Before it comes to a boil, a foam forms. Remove the foam until the water stays almost clear.

Foam builds

img_0067

When it boils, reduce to middle heat and add the turmeric and 1/2 tbsp salt.

Turmeric added to Mung Beans

Let cook for about 15 minutes. The beans should be on the al-dente side and certainly not overcooked. Drain and keep about one cup of the water. Set aside.

Straining Mungo Beans

Mungo Beans cooked in Turmeric

In a small pan, heat some oil and squeeze the garlic clove. Fry for a minute, until the garlic has a golden colour.

Frying Garlic

In a big non-stick pot, bring some water to a boil. Add salt (the water should be saltier than the rice should be). Drain the rice and add to the water (mum’s special trick: rinse the rice with warm water so it doesn’t take ages until the water comes to a boil again). Let cook for about 7 minutes and drain. Set aside. Again, if you need a more detailed idea of how to do this, watch the video.

Slice the potatoes and the onions into thick rings.

Sliced Potatoes for Tahdeeg

Sliced onions for Persian Rice

Dry the potatoes and add some salt and pepper.

Preparing Potatoes for Tahdeeg

In the same pot you cooked the rice, heat some oil (bottom of the pot should be covered). Place the potato slices on the bottom of the pan.

Tah-Deeg in the Making

Add a layer of rice on top, put the onions on the rice, a layer of mungo beans, half of the dill, garlic, rice, mungo, dill, rice.

Mash Polo

Maash Polow

Dill Fried Garlic

Mung Bean Rice Rice with Mung Beans Recipe Iranian Rice Recipe

Iranian Mung Bean RiceHow to make Iranian Rice with Beans

Add the cooking water of the beans, make three holes and cover. Cook on middle heat (caution: the needed heat depends on your pot! The thicker it is, the higher the heat must be to get a nice rice crust, known as tah-deeg.)

Maash Polo Recipe Iranian

When steam starts to come out, place a dish towel around the lid and cover again.

Cover The Lid - Iranian Basmati Rice

Cook for about 50 minutes and flip on a tray or serve directly on plates.

Persian Mixed Rice Recipe Tahdeeg

Enjoy. 

Sholeh Zard – A Persian Rice Pudding

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I get excited when my phone tells me I received a new e-mail. In the case that it is not highly annoying advertisement from some company which somehow thinks it’s a good idea to keep spamming their customers even after they UNSUBSCRIBED from their mailing list, very often it’s cool stuff I really want to read. In some cases too cool for school. Like the mail I received from Das Gramm, the first package-free store in Graz, announcing they wanted to have some blogger over in their kitchen to cook their lunch menu and if I was interested. Ummm, yes?!

I have to admit I have no experience when it comes to cooking for more than 20 people, but to be honest, I couldn’t care less, because in two day’s time I will do. Boy, am I excited.

I just came back from there as I prepared the stew in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises. Boy, am I tired and exhausted, and boy, am I EXCITED FOR TOMORROW.

Because I believe Persian (next to Indian, Ethiopian and Italian) food is above-average superior to any other kind of food, I decided to go for a Persian stew with rice. And because a menu isn’t a menu without dessert, I decided to give the traditional Persian rice pudding which turns out to be ridiculously easy to make a try. And because it was so easy and so good, it will be my extra for the first guests to be there. Starts at 12. Be there.

What other logical thing would there be than to share this recipe with you? None.

Vegan Sholeh Zard

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Rye Shampoo and Vinegar Conditioner. Sounds crazy? It is.

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Two weeks ago, I started to wash my hair with rye flour and using apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. Sounds crazy? It is.

My hair routine, if you wish to call it like that, consisted in shampoo and conditioner the last couple of months, but a look into my bathroom-cupboard revealed the countless products I put my hair through in the last couple of years. Styling mousse, serum, hair oil, hair spray, heat and sun protection spray, anti-dandruff serum etc. etc. etc. Chemicals, in one word. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Parabens, Polyethylene Glycol, Fragrances, Triclosan. I have no clue what they are, but I know for sure that I don’t want to put chemicals I can’t even pronounce the names of on my body.

Although I invested so much money and time into my hair, I had to wash them every other day. I found this pretty annoying, and I read about washing my hair with baking soda.

I thought it was pretty cool you could wash your hair with baking soda, and as baking soda is a great thing and cleans about everything, I thought it must definitely work with your head and hair, too. The author in this article is definitely very happy with how well it works. Because I personally felt only using baking soda on my head is not great, I used shampoo once a week and washed my hair with baking soda or simply water the other two times in the week. It worked well, but apparently baking soda, after all, turns out not to be as great as I thought.

Just in time I read this and was over-the-top excited about the news from Day 4: Washing your hair with rye flour. And rinsing them with apple cider vinegar. No waste produced and no chemicals that are poured down the drain and make their way into the food chain. Brilliant. This video was published some days after I had tried washing them with rye flour for the first time, and helped me discover some cool new ideas.

No-poo shampoo

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Easy Vegan Tomato Risotto

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I spent the past two weeks at a camp for children with disabilities. I’ve rarely learnt that much in two weeks and I am grateful beyond description for this experience.

Before the camp, not only did I have back pain so painful I actually considered backing out, but also was I worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the situation. Because the setting was so new to me. I had no experience whatsoever with physical and mental disability and although I knew this would change the coming two weeks, my feelings alternated between fear, excitement, helplessness and worries.

The day soon approached where all the children arrived and the first two days, I actually thought wow, maybe I really can’t handle this. I was absolutely desperate. I was hurt by children several times, I was sleep deprived and I had no time to enjoy a meal without being interrupted 20 times by either having to feed a kid, getting some more food or something to drink for a kid, or having to go to the toilet with them. It might work for a day or two, I thought, but I cannot possibly do this for two weeks.

Turned out I could, and five days after the camp, I miss the kids and feel bored most of the time. What I learnt in these two weeks was to put the needs of others before my own ones. This, I think, is something everyone should learn at some point in their life, and I am grateful for having had this opportunity and having been forced to do so, because who knows when I would have had the chance to learn this so intensively. I learnt to be grateful for what I am able to do by myself – and I am not saying that these children are not grateful and happy, because I think that most of them are much more than us adults because they learnt to see the good in everything.

Some kids I could handle better than others, and I realised that I find it very hard to work with children who can’t communicate with me or cannot answer my questions. If I don’t know if they understand what I’m saying, how can I make sure they’re alright? After the camp I read a book I wished I had read before, because it would definitely have changed my behaviour and language towards one kid. It’s written by a 13-year old autistic boy and explains the behaviour I have seen from this one particular kid so well. Naoki Higashida, thanks for letting me look into your world and understanding autism a little better…


Italy has definitely done something to my taste buds, and this risotto has become one of my favourite things to eat.

Vegan Risotto

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A Padova Food Guide

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"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to 
change them yourself.” 
Andy Warhol

My experience in Padova has come to an end and I know for sure that I’m not leaving this city, this country, this university as the person I was before.

There is one thing that is very important and dear to my heart, and I want to share these thoughts with you, because I think they are important. Important, because it can help us remove barriers. Between cultures, between people, between souls.

Before I came to Padova, I researched. I looked at what the internet had to offer about the university. I also heard some things about it. And about Italians in general. About their bureaucracy, about their non-existent organisation skills, about their laziness. Wow, I thought. Wow wow wow. Maybe I should rethink this whole thing. Maybe this is not where I want to go. As a fairly organised and structured person, it sounded like a nightmare to me.

Relax, Nadine, I thought. Relax, relax, relax. Maybe this is not true. Maybe this one experience is not at all true. Forget what you heard, and just be prepared. Be prepared for what is going to come, and accept it.

And I did. I tried my best to take everything as it was, and it was definitely very different than what I was used to.

Organisation: very low. Punctuality: Pun…what?, Bureaucracy: a catastrophe, to say the least. What I mean by this is that to do my internship in a primary school, I had to go to four different offices, because first you have to complete this form, then you send it to that person, after that you need to go to that office, and then they need to send another e-mail to confirm, after which you need to see this person (which is available about an hour a week, most probably when you have a lecture you don’t want to miss), and so on.

Punctuality: professors show up twenty minutes late for the exam which is supposed to  be at 2, and then realise that oh, the lecture hall is booked for 3:30, “COME ON, HOW CAN THAT BE? I WAS ON TIME!” We saw you park your car at 2:19, but ok, you were on time. On-italian-time, maybe.

In Austria professors come 10 minutes before the lecture is supposed to start to set up their laptops, make sure technology works and they can start on time. In Italy professors come 5-30 minutes late, or ask if they can go and get a coffee before starting the lesson.

Organisation: for oral exams, in my university you enter your name in a list with time slots. You know your turn, you come some minutes before, you take the exam, and go home. I know this might be not true for other universities in Austria, so they way it was done in Italy may not surprise either. Here you enter a list online. First come, first serve. At some point the professor sends a list with when your turn will be (1-20 on day 1 at x o’clock, 20-40 on day 2 at y o’clock etc.) and you show up on that day, on the time shown. What you don’t know is that there is another list for another course and that they are 20 people, too. What happens then is that you wait until it’s your turn. Being number 10 then means being number 20 (because taking turns with people from the other group), and depending on the talkativity (i know this is not word) of the professor you might be sitting there for three hours until it’s your turn.

With all these experiences I made, I soon realised that there are two options for me: 1) complain and declare that the way things are done here is bad and inefficient. This will leave you the same person as before, because you know how things are done. You know that the way you do it and the way you’re used to things being done is the only way.

2) Embrace the culture. I am not saying that being late is praiseworthy. But neither am I saying that being so strict that an excuse for why you were late should be unacceptable.

I learnt that the way things are done here is not bad, but different. People are not inefficient, they take things easy. People are not lazy, they’re much more relaxed. Waiting for three hours until it’s your turn for an exam might be annoying if you sit there and focus on how disorganised this system can be. But waiting for three hours and talking to your uni friends, getting to know them better and meeting some now people doesn’t sound all that bad.

Always having to wait for people isn’t cool either if you stand around, looking at your watch every two and a half seconds, but if you know that people tend to be late, accept it. Take a book with you and read. Problem solved.

Living in Italy as an organised person might be hard, if you think that life needs to always be organised and can’t have that little “go-with-the-flow”-touch, sometimes. I have the feeling that exactly these people, including me, are doing themselves a favour by going to a place where things are not done in a certain way. In a way THEY think is right.

We all can learn from others. And we should. Because in life, you won’t always meet people who do things you want them to be. But if you have a mindset of learning from others, this gives the whole thing a twist. You accept them the way they are and learn something. And they might learn from you, too. If we’d all be a bit more sympathetic, the world could be such a nice place.


Because Padova has some crazy good food to offer, I thought it’d be nice to share some of my favourite spots with you. These are my personal experiences with places and they might deviate form yours.

Focaccia ai Pomodorini

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Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese

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It’s been almost three months here in Italy and I’m starting to realise that your environment can really influence you. Like, A LOT.

The most remarkable thing Italy has succeeded in has been to make someone who took pride in not being addicted to caffeine a person who barely spends a day without drinking a cappuccino. With soy/almond/rice milk, please.

Closely related to becoming a coffee-addict is my cornetto/brioche consumption (I still don’t get the difference, if there is any) which has gotten to the point where I need to pull myself together not to get a cornetto on my way to (or from) uni. Bad, bad habit, I know, but I tested if my addiction was severe by spending four days back home. I didn’t have one croissant and I didn’t miss it, I had a croissant the first day because I went to have breakfast with my parents, and the croissant was part of the deal (damn it!), but I managed not to have one for the remaining three days and I didn’t miss it, so I decided I can happily continue eating croissants while being here. On a side note, vegan croissants are pretty luscious, too.

One funny thing I have witnessed for the second time now, is that “good” becomes very relative when you go abroad. After I lived in London, people whose English I had considered perfect before suddenly had heavy accents. The pizza in that restaurant I always considered fairly good, suddenly is extremely dry and fairly terrible. Oh Italy, what hast Thou done unto me? 

Thankfully my taste for wholesome and vegan food has not changed, though I admittedly am not being very vegan here (because pizza, homemade pasta and cornettos).

This cashew cream is a friend’s invention and one of the best things that has happened to me (and to you). Very very thankful for this invention and for my mum who had asked her for the recipe and regularly makes it ever since. So yes, this post is more like a guest post, because apart from taking the pictures, I didn’t do much. (Thanks Andrea for the recipe and mum for having it ready when I got home!)

But I asked them for approval and so here it is: the spread that might possibly change your life and which will make eliminating cream cheese from your diet plan pretty easy!

vegan spread

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Monthly Inspiration #1

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Because eating out has become a habit here, and I do cook, but switched more to the enjoy-food-made-by-others-mode, I decided that this is going to be a post of another kind. For my food adventures here in Padova, you can follow me on Instagram.

nade in the kitchen - instagram

There are wonderful people out there, and I discover new things almost every day that make me really excited. This is going to be a post with some of my favourite posts from the last couple of weeks. Inspiration, start-ups, talks. Simply good stuff.

I love nice clothes. By nice I mean those kind of clothes you wear on days where you get up and feel like you’re having a good day (or planning to have one). Those clothes you just don’t want to take off. I do not, however, love how most of my clothes were produced. We all know about child labour, and I am not going to write an article about that. But what we might not know is that in fact there is nice and fair clothing, which I believed to be an impossibility until a few weeks ago. Two online shops I find particular cool is MASKA, and in particular this sweater and Santosh.

MASKA - Fair Clothing Online Shop

This homepage wants to help give homeless people a home. The concept is easy: They have advertisement on their site. Every time we go to the website, money is generated. This money goes directly to neunerhaus, a Viennese aid organisation that allows homeless people to live a decent life. Making the homepage your welcome page is a very easy way to do good. Do it.

Obdachlosen helfen

Food Waste is a big issue in our society, and the bad news is: we’re all in the system, and even if we do not let our veggies rot in the fridge, there will still be food waste, mainly because there are crazy regulations about ugly fruit and vegetables like knobby carrots or small strawberries. The good news is that there is a really cool Startup called Unverschwendet (german for “unwasted”) which exclusively uses fruit and vegetables which would otherwise be thrown away. Cornelia, the founder of Unverschwendet, is currently trying to crowdfund her project, and I think that helping her reduce food waste in Austria is well-invested money.

You can support Cornelia here.

Some food inspiration and to-try-recipes for the next weeks:

Key Lime Tart

When I get back, I would like to start posting everyday recipes, those recipes that don’t deserve their name, because you just mix up something, but the result is something heavenly. Those things you cook when you’re in a hurry, or just don’t know what to cook. What are your go-to-recipes?

Osterpinzen [traditional Easter bread in Eastern and Southern Austria]

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The first week in Padova consisted of more welcome meetings and partying than lectures (in fact, we were expected to miss our courses because of the welcome meeting). There was a tight schedule of partying every night, while at that point, we didn’t have a fixed schedule for our lectures. Welcome to Erasmus life.

Also, I have come to the irrevocable conclusion that there is no such thing as English weather. The first two weeks mainly consisted of rain, wind, fog and cold. There were three days of sunshine in 15 days. Exactly what we would call English weather. But who says it’s English? I remember we had the same thing in Graz and I remember when I went to Berlin with two friends for four days last year and we had three days of rain, and approximately 10 minutes of hail/snow/indefinite precipitation. In April. Tell me more about English weather.

Anyways. Italy is treating me very well and there’s one word for that: food. I’m deadly serious. How the heck do they do that?

But because Austria is nice, too, I came back for a couple of days to celebrate Naw-Rúz with my family. I, too, though not being entirely Austrian and not having grown up in a Christian family (apart from my beloved great-grandmother), am familiar with easter customs in Austria. One of them is pretty luscious in particular – it’s an Easter Bread called “Osterpinze” (pronounced “oh-sta-pin-tseh”, kind of).

This bread, though. Is so so good. Also: how cool is that apricot jam glaze that looks like egg?

Vegane Osterjause

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