martedì 29 maggio 2007

"Chew on this" video

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Vegetarianism not only spares billions of animals from horrific suffering, but also spares your waistline. Simply put, meat and dairy products can make you fat, cause Heart disease, put a major damper on your sex life, and destroy the environment.
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(only 3 minutes 40 seconds)

lunedì 28 maggio 2007

Farinata with Nettles

Farinata is a typical vegan italian dish from the Ligurian region, North-east of Italy. It is made from chick-pea flour, water and olive oil and it is usually baked. I cook it in a pan because it is quicker and it's just as nice.
This time I also added some nettles that I picked myself in Montalto, on the hills near Reggio Emilia. They taste very much like spinach. I picked them using rubber gloves.

There are two common types of nettles in Europe: Urtica Urens and Urtica Dioica, you can eat both. It is better to pick them before June, when the leaves are tender. You have to pick the top leaves like in the above picture, once you are at home you should keep the leaves and discard the stems. Wash, drain and cook in very little water for a few minutes.

Now let's prepare the Farinata, a wonderful egg substitute but without cholesterol, saturated fats and cruelty (like useless male chicks minced alive, I will write about this very soon).
For a basic Farinata, you can only add a little salt and dried rosemary, but if you feel like it, you can add spinach, rocket salad or french beans...; always shredded and stir fried before you add them to the chick-pea mixture....

Ingredients for 3/4 people:
Chick-pea flour 10 oz
Olive Oil
Nettles (o other vegetables)
1 Onion (optional)

Mix the flour with a little water at a time and be careful not to make lumps. You should have a liquid pastry. Set aside.
Chop an onion and fry it in a little oil and add to the flour mixture.
Cook the nettles in very little water for a few minutes, drain, chop and add to the flour mixture.
You can keep this pastry in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, so you can make an instant Farinata when you come home in the evenings.
Now it is time to cook this nice Farinata:
Place a pan on a medium heat and wait 2 or 3 minutes until it's really hot.
Add a drop of olive oil (it will make bubbles) and a ladle of liquid pastry, turning the pan trying to spread it well.
Wait until you can turn the "pancake" with a wooden spatula, cook on te other side. Do the same with another ladle of mixture.
Useful Tips::
- The first "pancake" tends to break up, nevermind, the others will be better, I think this is because the pan is not heated properly.
- The pan should never give off fumes, so try and keep a lower temperature.
- Make little pancakes so it is easier to turn them in the pan.

mercoledì 23 maggio 2007

Eco-friendly Washable Nappies

Why should I use washable nappies for my baby?

The environment
We throw away eight million disposable nappies every day in the UK alone and in their production they use the wood pulp from four and a half trees per baby. A cupful of crude oil is used to produce the plastic for just one disposable nappy!
These nappies can take up to 500 years to bio-degrade and are filling up landfill sites all over the country.
Save money
You can save between £700 and £800 by using washable nappies - more if you have more than one child.
Healthier for your baby
Paediatricians suggest that new born babies should be changed 10-12 times per day, and older babies about six times. Infrequent changes are a causal factor of nappy rash with any nappy type.
Doctors and midwives also say it’s better for the baby to use real nappies as they are bigger and bulkier and they ensure good hip bone development.
Easy to use
Modern cloth nappies are shaped, fitted and self-fastening (with Velcro or popper fastenings). They come in a variety of styles, patterns and sizes and can be a fun part of your baby's wardrobe.
Home washing is simple
No need to soak or boil - this wastes water and energy
Nappies can be washed at 60 degrees centigrade
Biodegradable nappy liners can be used inside a cloth nappy - simply lift the liner out and flush it down the loo.

I think the best option is Kushies All-in-one, They come in two sizes: from 0 to 10 Kg. and from 10 Kg. onwards. I bought 10 nappies of each size and I manage washing any other day. If you want to wash less frequently just buy more nappies.
See me while I change my baby Tommaso, 10 months old, with Kushies All-in-one (big size, 10 Kg. onwards).

Also read this and this.

Yellow Basmati Rice

This is a warm vegan rice salad and very tasty. The yellow is given by turmeric powder, the seitan and the green tofu make it really yummy! Who said that vegan dishes are tasteless?!?

10 oz Basmati Rice
1 carrot
1 courgette
10 oz seitan
10 oz green tofu (with herbs)
1 clove of garlic
turmeric powder
soy sauce
olive oil

The trick is to cook the ingredients one at a time in the same pan.
> Begin by boiling the rice as usual with a pinch of salt.
> Chop the courgette and slowly cook it in a pan with olive oil, salt and oregano, cover with a lid. When it is done set aside in a nice wide bowl where the rice will be served.
> Chop the carrot and cook it slowly with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Be careful, turmeric is a very strong colour, it could stain your clothes forever!!! Cover with a lid and when it's done, set aside in the bowl.
> Now it's the seitan turn, chop it in tiny pieces and gently fry it for 2 minutes in the pan with olive oil, rosemary and the thinly sliced garlic. A few seconds before it is done add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to colour the seitan evenly and put it in the bowl together with the vegetables.
> Now chop the tofu, that doesn't need any cooking. Mix all the ingredients together with the rice and enjoy.
Remeber that basmati rice goes really stiff in the fridge, so it shouldn't be eaten straight out of the fridge.

sabato 12 maggio 2007

My first homemade Seitan

Seitan is a low fat, high protein, firm-textured meat substitute. It has been eaten in China, Japan, Korea, Russia and the Middle East for thousands of years.
And it is eaten by vegans and green people today!

It is really really easy to make, believe me.

I used:
1 Kg. white flour
1 tablespoon salt
Make a dough like as if you were making bread and keep it in the fridge for an hour.

Prepare two bowls of water, one with cold water and the other with warm water. Take the dough out of the fridge and start kneading in the cold water, then in the warm water and then in the cold one again.

This will take you about 5 to 8 minutes, or anyway until the dough is about one third of the original size.

Ok, your Seitan is ready to be cooked in a vegetable stock of your choice. I used water, soy sauce, rosemary and bay leaves. 40 minutes or 20 minutes in a pressure cooker.

I forgot to take a picture of what it looks like when it is cooked, sorry. Be patient and wait until it has cooled down and slice it.

I chopped a leek and fried it in olive oil. I then added the Seitan with a little of its stock, and some soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. If you don't live near Modena like I do and can't find balsamic vinegar just use a few drops of red vinegar (or omit the vinegar altogether) Enjoy!

giovedì 10 maggio 2007


My name is Jenni, I am a happy mum, I live in Italy and I am vegan.
I love cooking vegan, playing with my baby Tommaso, and my work! I have been designing Vegan Tshirts for the last 8/9 months... A separate website will be ready soon!
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