Coconut Flour Mini Flat Breads [Gluten free low carb R e c i p e ]

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That feeling when you have just found a new guilt-free, tasty, easy-to-make treat which happens to be gluten free as well. Whether this intolerance is just in our heads or not, whether carbs making you fat Continue reading

Garlicky Stinging Nettles Stew with Polenta [ R o m a n i a n R e c i p e ]

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At the beginning of each spring, grandpa would head to the woods near the village to forage one of the first spring greens to appear: stinging nettles. Despite the stinging, he would always pick them up with no gloves on as touching the plant bare-handed “helped with rheumatism”, according to grandpa.

The harvested young nettle plants would then get a good clean from grandma who would blanch and saute them with a bit of oil and a good amount of garlic. And this is how one of the most amazing dishes of my childhood was made. Garlicky nettles stew with polenta and sunny side up eggs, pure bliss!

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And guess what! Grandpa was right regarding the health-related properties of the nettle! The nettle plant is not only used to treat arthritis and relieve sore muscles through urtification, but some studies have shown that consuming nettle leaf can also be compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy. And not to mention that they are rich in iron which makes them a perfect remedy for anemia.

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What you will need for this nettles stew:

250 – 300 gr fresh nettles
10 – 13 cloves garlic 
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon wheat or rice flour – this is added in order to thicken the sauce, I personally prefer the dish with no flour as it’s not too watery or I add just 1/2 tbsp rice flour
a pair of gloves
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Clean the nettles thoroughly using a pair of gloves.
  2. Rinse them a few times with cold water.
  3. Blanch the nettles in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then place them under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Save a cup of the water in which the nettles have cooked. Note: If you like the taste, you can keep the nettle water and drink it to enjoy the health benefits of this plant.
  4. Use a blender to puree the blanched nettles. (You could also chop them on a cutting board instead.)
  5. Crush and chop a few of the garlic cloves (3-4) and lightly fry them in the vegetable oil. Add the flour and mix well.
  6. Add the nettles to the pan and saute for about 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of the nettle water as needed. Once done, add the rest of the garlic cloves minced. The final result should be a very garlicky stew.

           Serve with polenta and fried/poached eggs.

nettle stew with fried egg

Homemade Rye Crispbread [ R e c i p e ]

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This delicious homemade rye crispbread is so easy to make and much tastier than the store-bought Wasa style crackers. No need for introductions, if you are a fan of crackers, this recipe is perfect for you! Continue reading

Best Vegan Lentil Patties [ R e c i p e ]

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You love vegan patties, but the experience of making them brings back nasty memories: that crumbly texture & they keep falling apart when you cook or eat them. Although some of them might be tasty in the end,  the time and effort you put in making them is not worth it. They will just never behave like their sisters “meat patties”!

After a few (more or less) failed attempts to make lentil & buckwheat patties, black beans  & mushroom burgers, cooked chickpeas patties etc., I decided it was just not worth it. Until I came up this recipe. Continue reading

Polenta with Garlicky Mushrooms [ Recipe ]

Polenta withe garlicky mushrooms
This is not really a serious recipe as it contains only 2 main ingredients and it is so easy to make, but this combination is so amazingly delicious that I couldn’t help sharing it. And, of course, it’s gluten free, dairy free and very garlicky 🙂 Continue reading

Quick salad with Chickpeas & Parsley

Chickpea salad

Dealing with chickpeas is never too complicated, most of the times quick and always, but always a delicious experience. You can never fail with chickpeas as they pair well with almost everything and they make a light and healthy salad (or side dish).I always have some extra chickpeas can somewhere stored at home and I resort to it whenever I crave for some healthy hearty salad I can prepare in 5 minutes. It’s either the Pho Bo bowl or the chickpea one 😀

Since root vegetables are now in the spotlight at the farmer’s market, I used carrots and celeriac. And I had bought some fresh organic delicious parsley and I used a lot of it.

Celeriac, carrot

You can serve this salad as it is, with flat bread or rye crackers. Or with a sunny side up egg and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Chickpea salad

Quick salad with Chickpeas & Parsley

400 g cooked chickpeas
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celeriac, cut in sticks
1 red hot chili pepper (optional)
1-2 bunches of parsley (I use 2)
olive oil
hot chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a bit of lemon juice

First add olive oil, pepper, chili powder, garlic and salt to the chickpeas, mix well. Then add carrot, celeriac parsley and some lemon juice.

Bon appetit,

Sara

A matter of Polenta

I grew up believing that polenta is a typical Romanian dish. I didn’t even know the Italian word “polenta” as the Romanian name is different, we call it “mamaliga”. Only later did I realize that this cornmeal porridge is a staple food all around the world, found in many variations.

As I a child, we would serve it on a round wooden cutting board, exactly in the middle of our small wooden table. My grandpa would cut it with a white string into smaller square pieces and only afterwards we could start eating. We basically used to serve it accompanying lots of dishes – polenta with cheese, sour cream and a sunny side up egg on top; polenta with grilled meat and garlic sauce; polenta with mushrooms in white sauce (ciulama); polenta with stuffed cabbage rolls and so on. Leftover polenta can be warmed in a pan with a bit of olive oil or grilled and it tastes delicious.

I still love it a lot and whenever I visit my grandma, she knows how to welcome me: she cooks polenta, scrambled eggs (from her happy hens) and spring onions/green garlic or leek in the winter. And goat cheese from the village.

Polenta with homemade fried potatoes and garlic sauce is also one of my favorites, but fried potatoes should not happen too often :).

Here is a recipe of basic polenta:

1 liter water

300 – 400 g coarse yellow cornmeal (depending on the consistency you want to obtain)

1 tbsp oil or a bit of butter

a pinch of salt

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and oil. Using a wooden spoon, add cornmeal gradually, stirring continuously in order to avoid lumps.

When the cornmeal porridge starts to bubble, let is simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens and breaks away easily from the sides of the pot.

When ready, put it on a wooden cutting board or on a normal large plate.

Bon appetit!

Sara