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

Serves 8

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar (I recommend white, as brown sugar will give the whole thing a weird colour)
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, ground in a mortar
  • optional: 1/4 cup almonds
  • for the decoration: cinnamon powder, silvered almonds, rose petals or pistachios

Wash the rice in a bowl until the water is clear. Soak it for about 30 minutes.

Basmati rice

Meanwhile bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Let it cook until it is soft, but not mushy.

Rice for Sholeh Zard

Add sugar. Cook until rice is mushy.

Soft rice for Sholeh Zard

Dissolve the cardamom powder in rose water. Grind the saffron, dissolve in 1/4 cup of water.

Saffron for Shole Zard

Ground saffron in mortar

Add oil, cardamom-rose water and saffron-mixture.

How to make Sholeh ZardIranian Sholeh Zard

Stir until the consistency is that of a pudding. Add the almonds. Tadaaaa. Done.

Decorate with whatever you like. Here are some ideas.

Enjoy.

Sholeh Zard Recipe

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

My hair routine now

  • 2 tbsp wholemeal rye flour mixed with enough water to make a rye paste, similar in texture to shampoo. Because my new favourite way of making coffee is cold-brew, I often have some coffee grounds I add to the rye shampoo. Coffee stimulates your hair follicles which means that it will make your hair nice and shiny. Put the paste into your head, and pretend it’s shampoo. After massaging it in, make sure to turn the shower up to maximumto rinse all the coffee grounds out well.

rye flour as shampoo

rye flour shampoo

coffee grounds for no-poo method

rye and coffee shampoo

  • When I’m in a hurry, after having washed my hair, I add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar to a glass and fill it up with cold water. I pour it over my hair, wait a minute and rinse it with ice cold water. This helps close the cutile and makes your hair look shiny.

apple cider vinegar ACV rinse

When I have time, I make some (black!) tea, let it stand for 3-4 hours and add the vinegar to a glass of tea. The rest of the procedure is the same as the water-apple-rinse. Side-effect: it smells like iced tea. Note: If you have really light hair, you might want to skip the tea unless you’re in for a rude surprise…

Another thing people do is to add some essential oils like rosemary or lemon grass, but I’m happy with my hair not smelling like anything.

Black tea rinse after washing hair

Black Tea Rinse

Have you had similar great experiences with the no-poo method? Any other tips and tricks?

The no-poo method

How to wash hair zero waste

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

Serves 2

  • 1 small onion
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 400 ml water
  • 200 g risotto rice (I used Vialone Nano)
  • 300 g tomato passata
  • salt
  • cherry tomatoes and balsamico glaze for serving

Risotto Valone Nano

Cube the onion. Mix the vinegar into the water and set aside. Add some oil to a pan and fry the onion for some minutes, just before they start darkening.

Frying onions in a pan

Add the rice and reduce to middle heat. Stir once until the rice is covered in oil and add some of the water-vinegar mixture.

Adding Risotto Rice to the pan

Frying Risotto Rice

Adding Water-Vinegar Mixture to the rice

Add a little tomato passata until the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding the water mixture and the passata until the rice is cooked.

Risotto with Tomato Passata

Risotto al Pomodoro

Depending on how you like the rice to be, you may need to add some water. Be aware that real Italian risotto should be al dente. Not mushy.

If you like, you can add some nutritional yeast, but it’s not necessary. Decorate with some cherry tomatoes and some balsamico glaze.

Enjoy. 

Risotto with Tomatoes

Vegan Tomato Risotto

Plant based Risotto

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

Breakfast/Coffee:

 

Pasticceria al Duomo (closed on Wednesdays)/Caffè al Duomo (closed on Tuesdays)

Great variety of brioches – and some say the most amazing ones of Padova! They are all baked in the pasticceria and also catered to the caffè, which is about 10 meters away. I would go for a ferro di cavallo (literally horseshoe, which is a brioche filled with apricot jam and sprinkled with some caster sugar) or a cornetto di mandorla (almond croissant). To get one of the latter, you might have to be there before 7:45/8:00 a.m.. At the pasticceria, there are only a few tables inside (Brioches: € 1,20, espresso: € 1,10). The Caffè has places outside, but beware – prices get higher if you sit outside! (inside: brioche: € 1,20, espresso, outside: brioche: € 1,60, espresso: € 1,60). The Pasticceria does not serve soy milk, the caffè does.

Pasticceria al Duomo

Caffè al Duomo

Antico Forno 

One of my favourite spots when it comes to afternoon coffee – they have a huge assortment of Italian pasticcini. My favourites are the Cannolino Siciliano (a sicilian speciality consisting of a tube-shaped shell filled with a sweetened ricotta cream and pistachios) and the Sole Mignon (I think that’s what it was called – it’s a tiny cake with a white chocolate cream and a raspberry on top). Pasticcini Minion: € 1,10, espresso: Serves soy milk.

Antico Forno Padova

Caffè Biasetto (closed on Mondays)

Prices a bit above average, but the pasticceria won several awards for their patisserie. If you’re close to Prato della Valle/Basilica Sant’Antonio/Santa Giustina, you might want to give it a try, it’s near the university hospital, so not exactly central, but definitely worth a try! Good tramezzini, too, but too expensive for Padovan standards (they say the best ones are made at Bar Nazionale, but I haven’t tried).

Bisaetto Padova

Bar Massimo

Although it’s only a caffè and not a pasticceria, I ate one of the best cornettos ever there – it’s filled with lemon jam. Yes, LEMON JAM. It’s the best. Not super-central, but if you’re around and by any chance staying at Hotel Igea, give it a try (get there as soon as possible for the lemon cornetto!), cause it’s right around the corner.

Bar Massimo Padova

VEGANS…

Caffè Vergnano and Pasticceria Breda have really, REALLY good vegan cornetti, though the latter one is on the expensive side, especially with their coffees.

Quick Lunch

Almimentari Sumiti

Undoubtedly my favourite spot go grab a quick bite. The concept is simple: You get a panino with whatever you want inside for 2 €. You can either pick the ingredients yourself, or you go for a “Fantasia”, which means that the extremely cute owner, an elderly man, will make you a panino with whatever he feels like putting inside (if you feel like having one particular ingredient and the rest fantasia, go for it: “un fantasia con pecorino” or “un fantasia con crudo” etc. They often have boiled potatoes, and I know it sounds weird to have potatoes in your panino, but please try it. I think they’re lush. My favourite panino is with crema di radicchio/ricotta, potatoes, tomatoes, pickled onions and salad. Sometimes I added pecorino, and the best part is when he places your panino on the counter and proudly states: “VE-GE-TA-RI-AAAAANO!”

Garhwal 

Absolutely amazing Indian food (for an even more amazing price!). Make sure to bring your own tupperware, otherwise you’re gonna end up with loads of trash (and as we know Trash is for Tossers). The Pakoras are incredibly good, and so is their chana masala (which is a little spicy).

IMG_0962

Prette Panzerotti

A classic Padovan treat – basically a (slightly smaller version of a) calzone. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options (unfortunately no vegan options… yet!) for 2-3 € each. On a warm day, grab one and go sit on the stairs on Piazza dei Signori (and try to find out how the watch works, it’s fun!)

Pizza Shop

This is the place to be as a student, because… it’s cheap. And it’s good. What else could you ask for? A tiny and unspectacular place near some of the university campuses with limited places. You can get pizza slices for 1,30€ and a whole pizza starting from 3 or 4 euro, so if you’re trying to save some money this place is definitely worth a try! Note: limited places to sit inside plus a bench outside.

Pizza Shop Padova

Dai Pupi

If you’re looking for a quick pasta dish during lunch time, Dai Pupi will probably satisfy your needs. They serve Sicilian food and have a good variety of pasta and secondi (yummy parmigiana)!

Dinner (Or a not so quick Lunch)

Trattoria Nane della Giulia (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Probably my favourite trattoria in town. I love the atmosphere inside (some complain it’s a little dark…) and the hand-written menus. Their menu changes almost every day and choices are limited, but more than enough. Their desserts are really good (give their classic chocolate cream nel ‘barattolino’ a try – it’s heaven!), and so are their primi. They are also open during lunch time.

Nane della Giulia Padova Trattoria Nane della Giulia Padova

Osteria Dal Capo (closed on Sundays)

If you’re happy to spend a little more (Antipasti and Primi around € 10, Secondi around € 15), this is a hot tip. I had one of the best gnocchi ever and their desserts are divine. Make sure to book a table! From Tuesdays to Sundays, they’re also open during lunch times.

Il Campanile

This ristorante/pizzeria/paelleria is quite off the beaten track, but if you have a tram card, you will be there in 20 minutes from the city center. They have a huge variety of pasta and pizza and their prices are unbeatable (plus their portions are huge, so sharing is an option, especially if you dive in their luscious tomato sause they bring with the bread!) I personally wouldn’t opt for their desserts though.

Antiche Cantine Zaccharia

Slightly outside Padova (you will need a car), this Osteria serves food from South Italy. It doesn’t get more Italian than that. Desserts are ok, but nothing extraordinary. Fair prices.

Pizza

Pizzeria Orsucci (closed on Thursdays, opens at 5pm)

Personally my favourite pizza, though it might not be a classical Italian Pizza and the sizes are fairly small. It’s the eldest pizzeria in town and you can see they’re experienced in what they do. If you get there after 7, waiting times can get long, but you can always order and take a walk around prato della valle – which is also where people go to have their pizza, as there are only two tables inside and a few outside.

IMG_0743

Pizzeria iDon

If you want real good Pizza, iDon is the place to go. Don’t let the waiter impose starters on you, because they’re too expensive and he will bring you way too much. Desserts are good.

Pizzeria iDon Padova

Eremitani

It looks a little touristy, but the pizza is really good and the atmosphere outside on a nice summer evening is enjoyable.

Pizzeria Agli Eremitani Padova

Pago Pago

Good Pizza, and a good variety of other dishes, too (though I would go for Pizza). If you like Panna Cotta: Panna Cotta con Frutti di Bosco is your choice. The profiteroles weren’t amazing.

Pago Pago Desserts Padova

Savonarola (closed on Mondays)

Very fair prices and nice salads, insalatone, something you will find all over Padova. They’re usually quite big, so if you want some salad with your Pizza, go for an insalatina.

Gelato

Giotto

After I heard the story of Giotto, it became my favourite place to get some ice cream in Padova. The employees (about 120) are prisoners who work and produce everything in prison and who, having learnt a ,will have high chances to have a normal life. Their noce del santo and cantuccio ice cream is scrumptious.

Giotto Gelato Carcere

Gnam Gnam

This small ice cream shop produces organic ice cream and has loads of vegan ice cream flavours. Their fruit ice cream is amazing, and so is their vegan pistachio and almond ice cream. If you’re ok with having milk, go for the mediterraneo; it’s one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had.

Gelato Gnam Gnam Padova

Venchi

Being a very renowned Italian brand famous for their chocolates, Venchi produces quite amazing ice cream, too. Their dark chocolate ice creams are divine, so is their sorbet!

IMG_0952

If you travel to Ferrara…

Da Noemi

Da Noemi / Ferrara

…or to Bologna…

Ruggine or Osteria Orsa

Ruggine Bologna

What are your favourite spots in Padova? Happy to hear your tips in the comments for my next Padova visit :)

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

Makes a good batch (sorry, but my mum could not tell me quantities)

  • 200 g cashews
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • thyme (fresh, if possible)
  • pepper

Wash the cashews and soak them overnight (or over the day), changing the water at least once. Rinse them well and cook them with some fresh water, the garlic clove and some salt until they are soft. Drain, keeping the water in a separate bowl.

Put cashews and garlic in a food processor, add some thyme and pepper, and process until smooth. You might want to add some of the liquid if necessary. Garnish with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Cashew Cream Cheese

That’s it. Enjoy. 

Homemade vegan Cashew cheese

Cashew Cream

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

Makes 3-5 Pinzen

  • 500 g flour
  • 250 g milk
  • 30 ml water
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1/2 cube fresh yeast (20 g)
  • 70 g margarine, room temperature
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp parts apricot jam + some water
  • oil

Add the flour to a bowl. In a pot, slightly (!) heat the milk, water and sugar (you should easily be able to keep your finger in the milk without burning yourself). Add the yeast and mix until it has dissolved.

If your margarine is not soft, heat it a little. Add the milk-mixture, margarine and salt to the flour.

Vegane Osterpinze osterpinze vegan austrian easter bread vegan

Mix with a spoon until you have nice lumps, then knead until you obtain a nice dough.

How to make vegan easter bread

vegan yeast dough

Cover with a wet dish towel and let rise in warm place (if there is not warm place nearby, putting blanket around the bowl does the trick). Two hours is a good time. It will more than double.

yeast dough rising

Yeast dough with fresh yeast

Mix jam with a little water.

How to replace egg for glazing

Knead the dough.

Veganer Striezel

Make three to five small buns and place on a baking sheet. Brush them with the jam mixture.

How to vegan glaze

In a small, high glass, add some oil and dip your (clean) scissors in it. Cut the pinzen in three, about two thirds of their hight (not touching the baking sheet, or otherwise they might fall apart).

How to make Osterpinze

Osterpinze vegan

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake the pinzen for 20-25 minutes (depending on their size).

Now this is important, people: I know they’re tempting when they come out of the oven. But: do not slice it while it’s still warm, because it will not look nice and taste raw like it’s not completely done.

Osterpinze ohne Ei

Vegan Easter vegan Easter Bread

My New Root’s Cashew Dreamcake

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When my cousin was not married, and I was still at school, I visited him about once a month in Vienna in his shared flat, and during every almost every stay, I would have a project, mostly having something to do with the kitchen: clearing out the fridge, neatening some random kitchen cupboard or, when I was in an exceptionally good mood, cleaning the whole kitchen.

Now my cousin is married, has a beautiful apartment (and wife), and the first evening I was there, we cooked a better Khoreshte Bademjan than in my last post (there might be a new post, soon…). I am not sure about the exact reasons behind this, but sometimes, I am overcome with the urge of having to clean kitchens like a madwoman.

Apart from spending my time cleaning the kitchen an rearranging the living room (which was not my idea, FYI), I witnessed a romantic adventure trip of two people in their mid-fifties on the bus to Vienna. Not only was I tired and couldn’t sleep, but also did I have to watch these two people, who had met on the bus 50 minutes before, kissing for entire 80 minutes. The one-sided-conversation they had after cuddling and telling the world (or the two people sitting behind them, one of them being me) was very amusing indeed: “We will stay in touch on facebook”, she said. “Can I be friends with only one person? I want to be friends only with you.” OK, woman.

When I came back from Vienna, I felt like I should pack for Padova, which is was happening the day afterbut instead, I tidied up my room. By this, I don’t mean tidy up like every normal person would, but tidying up to a degree where I would re-organize my folders, look through every single sheet, through out half of them and feel relieved afterwards. The content of my furniture has never in my life been so orderly.

This excessive spring-cleaning is the reason why I didn’t start packing until two days before my departure.

But now I’m almost done, leaving in an hour (!!) and so so ready to move to the country of delicious pizza and heavenly ice cream, of loud voices and feisty people, of caffé e cornetto. Italy, here I come.

Raw Cheese Cake

Raspberry vegan Cheesecake

I think I’ve never reblogged a recipe, but I really cannot withhold you from this cake. When people want a second piece after an abundant dinner, it’s usually a sign something’s yum. A huge thanks you to Sarah Britton from My New Roots for this amazing cake!

Raw Cashew Dreamcake

Notes: I haven’t really changed anything about the recipe except for using only one lemon (I know, she says it’s important to use two) and adding some organic lemon zest. Also, I used maple syrup instead of honey and added in a splash of water to the cream. 

What may be of interest to you is that in order to achieve two separate layers of cream, I placed the cake with only the white layer in the freezer for about 15 minutes, then poured the raspberry layer on top.

When I serving, I like it to stand outside for an hour at least (I prefer a soft consistence rather than a frozen one)

Cheesecake with Cashews

And now. ENJOY. 

Raw Cashew Dream Cake My New Roots

Frozen Strawberries for Raw Cake

Khoreshte Gheimeh-Bademjan (Persian Split Pea Stew)

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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

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