Khoresht-e-Gheimeh-Bademjan

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I’ll be living in Italy in less than a month. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am. Unlike the majority of Erasmus students, whose semester abroad consists of big parties, lots of free time and chillin’ and very little studying, I am mentally preparing myself to hours and hours of studying and reading. And not only reading, but reading in Italian only. I never learnt reading Italian, I never learnt writing Italian, and all of the courses (except for a B2 Englisch course for which we will get 2 of 30 ECTS credits) and lectures are held in Italian, and Italian only. Who doesn’t love a challenge?

Of course, there are not 1359 things to do for Uni (no exams or seminar papers to write, no pressure on picking a topic for my bachelor thesis and no weird dreams about it) and this is why the fever, cold and headache chose the perfect time to appear in my immune system. Well done, peeps, I appreciate your cooperation!

Also, a thing that’s keeping my mind pretty busy is how some people get along with others and others don’t. This sounds so so trivial, but does anyone have an answer to that? Chances are high I will soon find a TED Talk about this topic, because this has been my latest obsession.

Some of my favourites from the past months:

The recipe for this khoresh (persian stew) has been long due (and whoa, this rhymes!) and I am very very excited to share it with you.

Serving Khoresh

Serves 4-6

  • 150 g split peas (1 cup), soaked over two nights – see note*
  • 2 aubergines
  • olive oil to fry
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 800 ml tomato pulp
  • 3 tbsp juice of sour grapes (ghooreh), but the juice of a lemon will do as well

* Soak the split peas in a receptacle and cover with water. If you can only soak them for a night, that’s fine, but you will have to cook them in some water before adding them to the stew.

Yellow Split Peas

Split peas for persian stews

Soaked split peas

Wash and halve the aubergines. In a big pot add enough oil (the higher, the more contained the splatter) to cover the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to middle-high and fry the aubergines for about 10 minutes on each side. They should have a golden-brown colour and be soft. Place on a plate and set aside.

Fried aubergines

Cube the onions. In a pot, heat some olive oil and roast the onion for 2 minutes on middle-high heat. Add turmeric and cinnamon and roast for another 2 minutes.

Fried onions with turmeric and cinnamon

Drain the water of the split peas and wash them. Add the tomato pulp and the split peas to the onions and add some salt. Cover and let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. You may have to add a little water.

Tomato sauce for the stew

Split peas added to tomato sauce

Halve the aubergines halves lengthwise and add them and the sour grapes or lemon juice to the tomato sauce and sprinkle with some cinnamon. Cover and cook on low heat for another hour.

Serve with basmati rice. 

Enjoy. 

Khoreshte Gheymeh Bademjan Persian Basmati Rice

Did someone say Thumbprints? (+ A Giveaway!)

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I cannot tell you how excited (once again) I am to publish this post because it contains three (!!) pretty cool things.

1. My Wish List, which you might find helpful in times of consumer enthusiasm.

2. (PEOPLE RESIDING IN AUSTRIA ONLY) I have two cool giveaways and you can enter the competition today. 

We have

(1) Classic vanilla sugar
(2) Organic and Fairtrade Mascobado Vanilla and Tonca Bean Sugar

IMG_6283_Fotor

Unfortunately this giveaway is only open to people with an Austrian address. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post or on Facebook mentioning which one of the two you would like to win by December 10th, 9pm.

The Giveaway is closed.

3. A recipe for what seems to have become my favourite cookie recipe because it’s easy, quick and yummy (as you see, I’ve been more on the lazy side lately…).

IMG_6480

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The 50 g banana bread

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Note in advance: Here is a very cool list of things you might want to consider purchasing. 

I know, this is an interesting name for a banana bread, but if you knew what this bread has inside and what it actually tastes like, you will be blown away. Get ready, friends, because this bread is

  • sugar free
  • vegan and 
  • gluten-free
  • soy free

and the result of about 3651 trial rounds. When I realized that my bread (or cake, as some call it) was vegan and sugar-free, I made it gluten-free, too, so we can all enjoy it with a clean conscience.

In the past months I made the conclusion that 90 % of vegan baked goods are good, but in a vegan way good. My dad is not completely wrong when he says that vegan desserts taste vegan and he clearly prefers the non-vegan variety of sweets and cakes.

But this bread is different.

My motto some five years ago was along the lines of “the more work you have cooking or baking something, the better’, but in times of exams, seminar papers and presentations there is not much room for this motto anymore.

My aim at mixing those ingredients together to make this bread was to keep it as short and simple as possible. I used to mash the dates and bananas with a fork and grate the zucchinis, but the consistency will never be as creamy as the one attained when mixed in a blender and also: time.

vegan banana bread

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A Road Trip through Sweden and a Very Good Curry

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This summer has been pretty crazy (=busy) for me and the road trip through Denmark and Sweden was one hell of a good trip. We were seven people, two cars, a car boot packed with food we had bought in Austria, believing that Sweden is so expensive you cannot realistically afford a thing (which turned out not to be the case. Quite on the contrary in fact, when it comes to supermarkets).

Not having planned a lot and being seven people, I thought this trip was going to be a bit stressful – but lo and behold, we managed not to have significant disagreements a single time. That is, if you ask me, a master stroke, bearing in mind that we were on the road for two and a half weeks and generally decided spontaneously where we were going to camp next, how long we were going to stay there and what we were going to do that day.

When it comes to food, we weren’t typical campers because spices were pretty much the base of every dish and compared to the deep-fried, animal-fat- and flavour-enhancer-packed food people around us cooked and ate, we stood out. A lot.

tomato sauce

noodles without a sinkvegan curry vegan ethipoian feastour spice box

using what you've got chickpea salad while camping cooking in the woods polenta with vegetable stewmoroccan spiced vegetables and couscous

Apart from eating good food, we drove quite a bit – almost 4000 km.

We started our journey in Graz and drove to Rostock, Germany the first day. For the way, we had prepared wraps and couscous salad and because no journey is a real journey without some adventure, the warning lamp in one of the cars lit up, indicating that we didn’t have enough engine oil. This wouldn’t have been such a big issue if our car mechanic hadn’t told us two days before that he had refilled everything.

Not so sure if calling my dad was a good idea (as it was our car), the three of us started panicking a little in the car, and eventually decided that calling was in fact a good idea.

Luckily, it turned out not to be an issue, and apart from the lady at the petrol station seeming a bit troubled about three girls filling the engine with oil, we arrived safely at our hostel in Rostock, where the rest of the group waited for us.

We spent the night with strangers in our room (who arrived late and insisted they wanted to have the bed I was lying on).

The next day, we took the ferry to Gedser and drove to København (what a beautiful city!!). We agreeed that chances Smørrebrød will be our favourite dish are pretty low and rhubarb lemonade is pretty awesome (I feel guilty using this word because I watched this two days ago).

Kopenhagen One Wax Thanks for visiting Botanical Garden Kopenhagen The Little Mermaid Kopenhagen København

After spending a couple of days there we drove to Göteborg, crossing the Öresund Bridge (except the other car taking another route and landing on a ferry).

Öresund Bridge

We managed to meet in Tylösand and feasted on our Pesto Pasta (which we had prepared in the morning) at the shore. Beautiful. And cold.

Tylösand

Pasta and Pesto in Tylösand

We then drove to Göteborg, built up out tents on the camping and had dinner a second time. Göteborg is a hipster (or hippie?) city.

Göteborg

The next couple of days, we travelled around and chose quite unique and adventurous places to camp. Swedens nature is breath-taking and generally speaking, in Sweden everything has style.

Revsand camp Revsand Camping Sweden's sky Revsand Roadtrip through Sweden Fjällbacka Houses Fjällbacka

If you happen to visit Stockholm, please make sure to eat Falafel at the best falafel place you’ve ever been to.

Other than that, I’m too excited to share this post that I have no patience to keep on writing about our trip. Some pictures will do (maybe?).

Campfire in Ösjönäs We feel at home. Our tentsOrange It looks like Italy, doesn't it? Island near Stockholm Swedish Stonehenge Swedish Sheep


Because we cooked curry twice and this recipe has been on my to-share list for way too long, I thought that now was the time. (side note: this is inspired, though heavily adapted, by a Jamie Oliver curry)

vegetarian curry

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How to cook Persian Rice

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Apart from preparing gluten-free granola bars from Green Kitchen Stories, trying to figure out how to handle the heat in Austria which is becoming unbearable and thinking about what I will need/can leave behind with a clear conscience for our road trip through Denmark and Sweden in two days time (!!), I’ve been having rice on my mind for more than a month. Not only rice, but Persian rice. Now what is so special about Persian rice, you may ask? Persians will cringe at this question. Persian rice is probably the way of preparing rice. Let me explain.

Rice is considered as side dish in many cultures, in Persia there is no such thing as rice as a side dish. Rice stars almost every Persian dish.

The first thing that makes Persian rice special is that it’s Persian.

Just kidding. Before cooking the rice, the rice is rinsed to remove the starch and prevent it from sticking together after cooking (like sushi rice or risotto).

Another difference is that it is cooked like pasta for a few minutes, and then steamed.

The best part is undoubtedly the “tahdig” (pronounced ‘tah-deeg’, literally meaning ‘bottom of the pan’), the crunchy crust that causes fights at the table and is always the first thing gone at buffets.

Because I believe Persian rice to be one of the best things, I decided that pictures weren’t enough.

So here is my video and the detailed recipe below.

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Gluten-free Strawberry and Lemon Trifle

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It’s funny how with time, you realise you become more and more a somewhat younger version of your parents. I’m not talking about the obvious things like looks, speech and the like, which, by the way, are getting a bit exorbitantly similar for my taste. I am talking about the things you secretly do. Like dipping your strawberry into your indian-spiced stew (yes, I’m cooking stew at this time of year) and realising the little smile that creeps onto your face because you remember how your dad used to create the most terrible combinations of food when you were a little girl and how you knew you will never do this, because you know which foods go together well.

Apart from diagnosing similarities in my family, I’ve been also observing a lot of insane people on the street lately and I wonder what terrible thing could have happened in their lives that makes them act and say the things they say.

But because it probably is not very helpful to analyse random people’s behavior that much if you are training to become a primary school teacher, and apart from that analysing children’s behaviour is very much more entertaining anyways, I thought I’d share this with you. A young professor at my uni showed this to us in a seminar. I laugh every time I watch this and am looking forward to very fun times with the kids in my future classroom. Unfortunately it is in German, but even if you don’t understand a word, it’s probably just as funny to watch (look at those facial expressions!).

Also, when you realise you don’t have any of the equipment you would need to make a food photo look decent, and you go to your parent’s place on a weekend just to take pictures of food, you know you might be a bit too obsessed with your blog. Never mind.

glutenfree trifle

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The Tomato Sauce Recipe you’ve been waiting for

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I’ve been telling you about this. How bad I am at taking decisions.

But, friends and foes: I did it. I decided where I want to go for my semester abroad and handed in all the papers needed. Puhhh.

Considering the fact that I’ve studied all possibilites and considered about 20 of the 24 countries on the list, and some five weeks ago, I pondered between Lyon and Stockholm, went to the Erasmus bureau, hoping the lady could help me with my decision, I am pretty impressed I have decided to go to Padua in the end.

How I got there? I’m not sure to be honest. Firstly, I speak Italian because my mum never gave up talking Italian to me (Grazie, Mami!), but obviously I have no idea whatsoever of grammar, rules and the like. Perfectioning my Italian skills sounded like a plausible reason and getting to know the culture you grew up with just as well. Also, not exactly irrelevant is what Italians stuff their face with. This is not the reason why I’m going there (!), but I’m not unhappy about what I will be eating there.

To celebrate I have finally come to a decision (but don’t know if they will take me, as there is a limited amount of spaces, but let’s ignore that for now), I thought sharing my favourite sugo recipe would be an appropriate time.

Easy vegan sugo

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Morocco Impressions and a Mini Travel Guide

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Some of you might now that travelling is one of my favourite things to do, and as my parents seem to tick as I do, some months ago my dad announced he wanted to take my mum and I on a great holiday. I did not complain. Instead, I suggested taking one of my best friends with us, which obviously added to the fun of the trip.

We travelled through Morocco. Our first stop was Marrakech, which is a beautiful city with beautiful people, breathtaking nature and gardens, impressive palaces and – food.

There is no adjective before the word food, because contrary to my expectation there weren’t innumerable vegetarian dishes to choose from on the menus, but basically two dishes, which, if you were lucky enough, were cooked with meat.

Tagine and Couscous.

I love Couscous and I love vegetables, but trust me, if you eat couscous eight days in a row, you kind of wish that wheat was never discovered.

Also, I probably drank more orange juice in one day than the amount of water I drink in one week.

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Vegan Spanish Tortilla

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I have a new breakfast habit. Toast with almond butter and honey. When I was living in London, my flat mate would eat the same breakfast every morning. One toast with cheese, one toast with almond butter and honey and a bowl of milk with cereal. Every single morning.

Although I don’t have the same breakfast every morning, I find myself eating toast with almond butter and honey quite often lately. I truly believe this combination to be on my top 5 list of amazing food combinations everyone should have at least once a week (next to lemon juice and garlic on roasted vegetables).

The recipe I’m sharing with you today has been on my to-post list for a considerbaly long time, given the fact we make this frittata, or spanish tortilla, about once a week.

It’s gluten-free and fairly easy to make, super rich and actually tastes like a real-deal spanish tortilla, with the slight difference that it’s vegan.

Vegan tortilla

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