This is ultimate Finnish comfort food, made with love for every kid by their mums or grandmothers throughout their childhood, in my case 90s recession. In early 2000s when Finns where increasingly influenced by international cuisines and ingredients some of these everyday meals got forgotten and have reputation as a boring as everyone got into eating sushi, avocadoes and buffala mozzarella.
This dish is my hurrah to my grandmother who nourished me and my sisters through our upbringing with delicious and hearty meals. My grandmothers version included minced meat and butter but this is obviously vegetarian recipe, also a quick one as I used store-bought veggie mince. You can also make your own from mushrooms/walnuts/oats but this worked out perfect. My Australian boyfriend loves this as he is allowed to have as much tomato sauce (something that we rarely have on our dinner table) as he wishes on top of it – it’s a must!
300 g macaroni (use spelt if no need for GF, I used brown rice & millet macaroni) 400 g vegetarian minced meat (I used Veggie Delights) 1 onion, chopped small 2 organic eggs 6 dl vegetable stock (hot water + 1 cube) 1 dl oat mylk 1/4 C nutritional yeast 1 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/4 tsp white pepper
Warm the oven to 200 Celsius.
Cook the macaroni al dente following the instructions.
In a pan cook onion in olive oil, once browned add mince and spices. Cook until brown.
In a bowl, mix the veggie stock, mylk, nutritional yeast and eggs.
Lightly oil an oven dish. After draining the macaroni, poor in the minced meat mix and combine. Poor the mix to the oven dish.
Poor the egg mixture over the macaroni mixture evenly. Sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top.
Cook in the over for 50-55 minutes. Half way through add foil on top of the dish to prevent the crust getting too brown.
Serve with loads of ketchup (it’s a must!) and with a fresh green salad or steamed broccoli on side to get your greens.
Talk about a shortcut to happiness! I love making sauces and casseroles from the scratch but not always I have the time or the desire to slave in the kitchen. But because I rarely compromise with what I eat (when I compromise it’s rice cakes and carrots with hummus for dinner or red wine and chocolate) – I have made a habit of always having a few key ingredients at home to make yummy healthy easy meals. This one is a luxury meal though – when you feel like a romantic weekend trip to Italy but it’s goddamnit a 40-hour flight away!
This recipe is made with two amazing Melbourne based products Botanic Cuisine Paleo Mushroom Truffle cashew cheese and Ardor Food Co GF beetroot gnocchi. Both are available in health shops around Melbourne but if you can’t get your hands on these – don’t worry you can use any gnocchi available in your country/city (or for example brown rice pasta or any pasta or make your own gnocchi!). Also, I have done this creamy truffle sauce without the cream cheese too and it’s this simple: mix 2-3 tbs of cashew butter with squeeze of lemon, 1/3 C of water, 2 heaped tbs of nutritional yeast, 1/2 tbs of apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs of truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be quite liquid but smooth. So no excuses, get on it!
Gnocchi with Creamy Truffle Mushrooms & Greens (for two)
250 g gluten-free gnocchi (frozen, I used Ardor Beetroot Gnocchi) 2 tbs Botanic Gardens Paleo Mushroom Truffle cashew cheese 1/3 C water 2 tbs nutritional yeast (and more to garnish) 400 g mushrooms (I used Trumpet Royale but any kind will do) 2 C chopped kale 1/4 head of broccoli chopped (optional) 2 garlic cloves (minced) 1 tbs olive oil 1 tsp truffle oil Salt + Pepper Basil to garnish
Make the sauce. Mix the cashew cream cheese with water and nutritional yeast using a fork until smooth. Set on side.
Heat olive oil in a pan and add minced garlic.
Add mushrooms and broccoli. Keep stirring until they start to get colour.
Add kale and cook for another 3 minutes.
Pour the truffle oil on the vegetables and turn the temperature down.
Boil water. When it boils add some salt and frozen gnocchis (don’t thaw!).
Cook for 3 minutes and pour the water out using lid (don’t strain!)
Pour the sauce and vegetables into the kettle with gnocchis.
Mix and season with salt and pepper and more nutritional yeast and a squeeze of lemon if desired.
Something fresh, yet filling, satisfying and warming? Here is a Moroccan spiced salad for any occasion – in my case for dinner. I have a feeling I will be making this a lot this summer to bring with me to barbeques!
Moroccan Salad (for two as main or four as a side)
1 fennel 4 carrots 1 can of chickpeas Spinach (150 g) Orange Cumin Turmeric Himalayan Salt Pepper 2 tbs Tahini Lemon 1/2 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar Olive oil Bunch of Coriander
Heat the oven to 200 Celcius.
Cut the fennel (Trim off the fennel stalks. Cut the bulb in half. Cut the halves into quarters. Peel off any wilted outer layers. Slice the fennel crosswise. Fronds can be used as a garnish later). Season fennel with cumin, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil. Move to an oven dish.
Cut carrots to sticks. Season with 1 tbs of olive oil, turmeric and cumin. Place in the oven in a dish.
Wash and drain chickpeas. Season with Himalayan salt & cumin. Place into the oven.
Meanwhile, peel the orange and chop to pieces.
Wash the spinach.
Cut the orangeinto bites.
Make the sauce by mixing tahini, 1/2 tbs of olive oil, 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar, juice of 1/2 lemon and salt&pepper.
I am obsessed with kimchi, I literally always order it if it’s on the menu and eat the entire serving. Seriously, I order two if people want to share. I sometimes have it on top of an avocado toast. Sometimes on top of brown rice as a meal. Told you, obsessed.
Ever since watching the Chef’s Table episode with Jeong Kwan I have wanted to make my own. I first attempted to make it with this health blog recipe and it turned out tasty fermented cabbage which had nothing to do with kimchi though. The second time, I decided to learn from the guru. Maangchi is an adorable Korean chef whose video taught me and my boyfriend ferment in Korean way. The first patch was not vegetarian (fish sauce) because we wanted to everything right. We followed her video and kimchi turned out amazing. Please do yourself a favor and watch her Kimchi making video, it is seriously heartwarming.
The third time I created my own version of traditional Korean kimchi but made it vegan. And it is seriously the best one I have had! I mean I even like the store bought ones, but this is ridiculously good. And it doesn’t lack any authentic flavor or texture because the methodology is same.
If you follow my recipe you can still follow Maangchi’s video, just use my measurements and ingredients.
Vegan Kimchi Traditional way
1 large napa cabbage 1/2 C sea salt (fine)
Kimchi Porridge 2/3 C water 2 tbsp brown rice flour 2 tsp coconut sugar/brown sugar
Kimchi Paste 2/3 C radish (chopped as thin sticks) 1 carrot (chopped as thin stick) 6-8 spring onions (chopped) 4 garlic gloves (minced) 1 tbs of minced ginger 1/2 onion (minced) 2/3 Korean hot pepper flakes Splash of water
2 x 1.5 -2-liter jars (or four smaller ones).
Bucket to suit the size of the cabbage. I used a rectangle one.
The recipe makes 2.2 kg of kimchi.
Cut napa cabbage in half. Then cut each half into two pieces. You will end up with four pieces of cabbage cut lengthwise.
Massage salt to the cabbage leaves all way through (also in between).
Place the cabbage pieces into the bucket and let them sit for 2 hours. (I left mine for 6 and nothing happened). Every 30 minutes turn the pieces around.
Meanwhile, prepare the porridge. Heat the water and rice flour on a Teflon pot and when it start to look like a porridge add the sugar and bring the heat down the When porridge is even, cool it down.
Cut the vegetables.
Mix the kimchi paste ingredients into the porridge in a big mixing bowl. Splash some water to make it stickier.
After two hours, wash the salt of cabbage pieces. Use paper towels or towel to dry them.
Use boiling water (and apple cider vinegar) to sterilize jars.
In the mixing bowl take one piece of cabbage at the time and use your hands to spread and massage the paste throughout each layer of cabbage. Once done put the cabbage in a jar. Repeat. Once one jar is full (I could fit half a cabbage in one 1.8 liter jar), use a wooden spatula to push cabbage on the bottom. This should bring the liquid above the cabbage.
When done place the sterilized lid on the jar.
Leave the jars on the kitchen bench for 36 hours to ferment. Then refrigerate.
Enjoy it on top of a Buddha bowl like we did. Or inside a sushi roll. With tempeh and steamed vegetables and brown rice. Or on side of anything.
I bring this to work and have it every day with steamed vegetables and quinoa. It’s just so damn good for your guts and tastes amazing!
If you are like me and work in an office environment in the middle of the city, surrounded by endless food courts, with “oh so convenient have on your desk” options that end up costing you a fortune. I love eating out and discovering Melbourne food scene but for me, a rushed sushi roll or a salad in a plastic bowl on my computer is not it. I save my dollars for those moments when having a longer lunch with colleagues or a friend or having a dinner out after work in good company.
This week I mixed up my (boring – I admit) pumpkin-quinoa-broccoli salad tradition and ended up making nori rolls two days in a row, so easy and very exciting lunch to enjoy – hopefully in the sunshine in a park rather than on your desk.
Miso-Kimchi Sushi (for one)
1/2 C uncooked brown rice 1 tbs miso paste 3 nori rolls
1. Follow the instructions to cook the rice. When rice is almost ready, add bit more water and the miso paste to make it sticky. Let cool.
2. Place nori rolls on a chopping board and place the rice in a row few centimeter away from the other end of the sheet. Add other ingredients next to rice. Remember that you need to roll this thing – so don’t over do it!
3. Spice up with tamari and wasabi.
4. Start rolling from the side next to rice. Use water to make the other end of the nori roll stick.
5. Cut. Keep refrigerated. Eat within few days.
Obviously feel free to use any fillings you wish. Cucumber, pea sprouts, roasted pumpkin or salmon would work well. I am loving kimchi at the moment. I made some last weekend (pictured) following the traditional Korean way and it is so good, way better than any previous attempts or the stuff you find from the health food shops. The recipe will be here later.