Beetroot Hummus

Beetroot Hummus

It is nice to wake up with a ray of sunshine on the eyelids, a sigh of wind on your cheeks, craving for ice cream and the song “Emozioni” by Battisti in your ears.                                                                                     

Happiness is like a glass of red wine, like the geraniums hanging from the grandmothers’ balconies, like my cat’s cover, and the flavour of watermelon in Summer. Dilated pupils, dimpled cheeks, crow’s feet at the sides of the eye: those are the symptoms of a natural state of serenity.

But what colour is the melancholy? This term is a combination of two Greek words: mélanos (black), and mélas, cholé (bile), so its meaning is “black bile”. It often happens in life to fall into negative emotions, but food can be useful in case like this. Today, we take from the pantry an ingredient that has the colour of happiness and at the same time is able to fight against the dark sides of melancholy: the beetroot.

In fact, in addition to its high content of minerals and vitamins and to its purifying and energetic properties, this root also contains betaine, a substance that can affect the brain, improve people mood and fight against a state of moderate depression.

The beetroot can be consumed in various ways, but I suggest you to blend it with lemon, olive oil, garlic, chickpeas, salt and tahini sauce, to obtain a creamy tasty hummus which is beneficial to the physical and mental health!

“Capire tu non puoi, tu chiamale se vuoi: Emozioni.”

The recipe

Ingredients for 4-5 people:

  • 400 g beetroot;
  • 300 g precooked chickpeas;
  • 1 garlic clove – chopped;
  • Some lemon juice;
  • 1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil;
  • 2 table spoons of tahini sauce;
  • Some mint leaves;
  • Some parsley- finely chopped;
  • A pinch of salt;
  • A sprinkling of pepper and turmeric.

Instructions:

  1. In a food blender, pour all the ingredients: beetroot, chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, oil, tahini sauce, mint, and salt;
  2. Blend until you obtain a smooth cream, if it is too thick, add more oil;
  3. Serve with a sprinkling of turmeric, pepper and chopped parsley.

My advices:

  • There are different types of bread that originally accompanied hummus in the Middle East, such as unleavened bread orpita, however slices of toasted bread are also fine;
  • This hummus is perfect alongside falafel (you can find my recipe here). It will give the dish a touch of freshness and the scent of Summer.

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Vegan Ice Cream Passion

Vegan Ice Cream Passion

With the arrival of the warm season, it’s impossible not to fall into the sweet temptation of a fresh cup of homemade ice cream.

After all, ice cream is one of the best known product that symbolizes the Italian tradition throughout the world, to the point of classifying its most illustrious leaders as masters in the art of ice cream.

In short, ice cream is a really loved frozen food, which all people of all ages enjoy and that can be considered as an integral part of everybody’s most fond childhood memories.

A new tendency

It is worthless to say that is not easy to give up ice cream for those who embrace a new philosophical cruelty free lifestyle. The exponential increase of the vegan community, especially among the youngest generations, has imposed, however, a new trend.

Hence the 2017 is definitely the era of “vegan ice cream passion”, since the art of ice-cream parlour has evolved beyond the classic soy ice cream, so far the only common alternative to milk. For this and other reasons, new tasty and delicious ice-cream varieties have been introduced.

So, let’s go wild with new ice-cream tastes, not only made by fruits, but also with more varied zest choices, with more attention to its raw ingredients.

Have a taste of….

It is needless to say that the challenge is also open to those who are sceptical or who will simply need to taste new ice cream trends, trying from the latest fashion of pistachio ice cream, made with delicious coconut milk to the magic of black chocolate.

And what about the new almond milk flour? The sweetness of this delicious nut creates a perfect combination with peaches, strawberries, cherries, and all kinds of Western or tropical fruits.

Don’t even miss packaged ice cream, like the latest vegan version of “Cornetto” Algida or the delicious irresistible ice cream bowls to share with family or friends.

If you are in London….

If you are in London I recommend you to visit Yorika, which is located in the central area of the City. Yorika offers dairy free, soy free, nut and egg-free ice-creams. A place where you can come and feel free to order anything despite allergies, intolerances, food choices or feeling guilty.

 

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VEGAN LASAGNE

VEGAN LASAGNE

It is more difficult to fall in love or to be loved? Today, I just want to have fun, to leave bad vibes in a drawer, wear my best dress, style my hair and simply smile.

I can feel a sweet and familiar air in my house, a feeling we can’t often afford, because of our everyday busy life. So, we give us a dinner with our friends in my cosy little living room: we play a Smiths vinyl on the deck, burn some candles while sipping some red wine.

I had my birthday few days ago, so I decided to spend in Dalston for a vegan pop-up (come and visit us if you’re in London! We are at the Other Cafe Gallery, every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 11 pm with plenty of yummy food).

Over the years, you lose the excitement to blow out the candles, so you let time pass, as Heraclitus says “Time is like child playing with the dices”. In fact, this dinner is more than a celebration; it is an occasion to meet up again my old dear friends.

London is such a big city, it is often difficult to maintain stable and constant friend relations.

Indeed, I had in my mind to prepare something special and, so, I decided to cook a vegan lasagne with peas, vegan ragù (that is Italian meat sauce) and béchamel. Is a very simple recipe, with a longer preparation than the others that I only reserve for special occasions.

I better prefer to make lasagne at home, with the help of my pasta machinery, a gift my mother gave me before I move to the UK.

Childhood memories….

When I use my pasta machinery I always dive into the past. I remember when I was 10 and I used to sit in my grandma’s kitchen. There was a wooden table in the middle of the room, four chairs and my grandfather’s blue armchair. I also vividly remember the hand-embroidered cockerels on grandma’s cotton tablecloth.

No matter how many people were gathered in that house: there was always place for everyone in those four walls which smelled of fresh wild thyme, because we brought it under the soles of our shoes directly from wild Murgia.

My grandmother Filomena taught me how to make pasta at home, when I was still a little girl although my hands were too weak to be able to knead the dough or, as they say in the dialect of the South of Italy, “trombare la massa”.

We used a cutting board as large as the surface of the table, which was covered with flour and we used to spread out the dough with a rolling pin or a glass bottle, the same to store the sauce. We used a knife with a rounded end to make “orecchiette” and fingertips to make the “capunti”.

Perhaps, I take the distances from the traditional way to make home – made pasta by using a pasta machinery, but with no grandmother and with no time, this tool does wonders!

I’ve used my pasta machinery for so many years, unfortunately today it hasn’t worked perfectly perhaps it’s time to change it! The scent of béchamel that melts into the sauce and on lasagne surface is mouth-watering, but it isn’t enough to replace the thought that my pasta machinery is not working anymore…

Just a little shopping…

Then, before the lasagne is ready and my guests arrive, I sit at the computer for a viable replacement. Among the various researches, I came across Lionshome, an online store that offers a wide range of excellent quality and cheap housewares. I was suggested to have a look to this website long time ago but today I visited it for the first time. I would like to buy anything, especially kitchen products! (Here the link of the site, I recommend to take a look: http://www.lionshome.co.uk).

I must quickly calm down my urge to buy everything and, for now, I’ll settle for one of the pasta machine on this web site, on sale http://www.lionshome.co.uk/search:pasta-machine/

According to my personal experience I can tell you that a tool like this could change your life and it’s the best birthday present I could even give myself .

I add it to the shopping cart, then proceed with the purchase and can’t wait to welcome it into my kitchen!

Meanwhile, dinner is ready and I’m so excited. Now, I can answer that it doesn’t matter what it is harder: falling in love or let you be loved as it is always the day of your birthday.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 300 g durum wheat flour;
  • 140 ml warm water;
  • 200 g dried soy;
  • 200 g organic frozen peas;
  • 150 g carrots;
  • 150g “golden” type onion;
  • 100 g celery;
  • 500 g tomato sauce;
  • Just enough olive oil;
  • A pinch of salt;
  • Just enough black pepper;
  • Just enough rosemary, basil, and wild thyme;
  • 1 litre sugar free soy milk;
  • 100 g soy butter;
  • 100 gr superfine flour;
  • A pinch of nutmeg.

Instructions

To prepare pasta:

  • To prepare the dough, place flour like a “fountain” on a wooden surface;
  • Pour water, salt and spread out the mixture with your hands;
  • Continue to work on it until it becomes smoother and homogeneous;
  • Form a ball and let it rest for about 15 minutes;
  • Pour some flour on the pasta machinery;
  • Divide the dough into several pieces and put the rollers of the machine on a larger thickness, then pass the pasta;
  • Repeat it several times, often dust the dough with flour;
  • Reduce the space between the rollers and pass the pasta across, repeat it until you reach the desired thickness (I prefer thin enough).

To prepare “ragù”:

  • Cut vegetables into chunks and put them in a large pan, over low heat, with extra virgin olive oil for about 5 min;
  • Add dehydrated soy and let it brown. Simmer it with red wine, if available;
  • Add a cup of water and cover with a lid. When the water evaporates (about 5 min), add tomato sauce, another cup of water and fresh whole spices, tied with a string;
  • Cover it again. For an excellent performance let it cook for a couple of hours, adding a glass of water every 30 min. (if you don’t have patience put it out the fire after 40 min);
  • Remove the spices;
  • Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the peas for about 5 min with a bit of pepper and salt.

For the béchamel:

  • Put on the stove over low heat a saucepan with flour and butter, stir with a whisk and then add the soy milk a bit at the time;
  • Add salt, pepper and nutmeg until it boils;
  • Gently stir until you get the desired compactness (for lasagne, it is better to have a light béchamel);

Let’s make lasagne:

  • It’s time to compose our lasagne! Take a baking pan, with the shape of a rectangle, then spread out a bit of tomato and vegan ragù sauce on the bottom;
  • Place the lasagne and spread out a layer of vegan ragù, a layer of peas and a layer of béchamel. Repeat the process until it forms three layers of lasagne;
  • After putting vegan ragù, béchamel sauce and peas on the last layer, bake the dish in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes;
  • Lasagne are ready to be enjoyed. ♥

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