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Ciabatta_Perfetto
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Ciabatta_Perfetto

This is my 12th Ciabatta to date. I don’t always make it because unlike rice, I don’t want to eat the same bread over and over again. Although it’s easy to make because it doesn’t require kneading, it does, however, require a long time to rise or prove–18 hours. All the previous ciabattas I made didn’t rise as beautifully as this one. They all tended to spread out instead of rising up. For this recipe I used the following flour mixture:

Brown Ciabatta Recipe

  • 1 1/2 Cups Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups Strong White Flour
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Unrefined Sea Salt

Now, you will notice that it’s not 100% whole wheat. The reason for this is because you simply can’t make it 100% whole wheat. Even Chef John said so. I tried to make it a hundred percent whole wheat but it was too wet. I think it’s because fiber retains water. I tried to make it 50/50 but with my method it’s still too wet.

Procedure:

I cut my dough in half so the bread will cook evenly from the sides to the middle. I then use a copious amount of wheat germ to shape the dough to make up for the whole wheat ratio against the white flour.

  • Just mix all of them together adding the water last. Cover with a cling film or foil and let sit for 18 hours.
  • After 18 hours, knock down the dough with a spatula and cut in two.
  • Preheat the oven in Gas no. 7 and place a baking dish with water to provide steam.
  • Spread a copious amount of wheat germ on the baking tray and put half of the dough on it. Cover with more wheat germ until you can’t feel the sticky dough. It will be very soft but very easy to shape. Do the same with the remaining half.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly burnt.
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empanada_step_3
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empanada_step_3

I, finally, made a real empanada with crusty, flaky pastry. The first vegan empanada I made used a bread recipe which wasn’t too bad. It actually tasted like a stuffed pizza.

My only hang-up with empanadas is that they are too oily because they are normally deep-fried. However, here at Jem’s Recipes, I always try to use a healthier alternative so I baked them which called for less fats and the result was as crunchy as they should be but without the sickeningly oily taste.

For the dough/pastry I used Laylita’s Empanada Dough.

This vegan empanada recipe uses very simple ingredients.

Vegan Empanada Filling 1

1 Broccoli Head
250g Chestnut Mushrooms
1 Medium Onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Optional: Vegan Cheese

Step by step Preparation

Step 1: Prepare the pastry and while it’s being chilled in the fridge, prepare the filling.

Step 2: Stir-fry the onion, mushrooms, and broccoli for a few minutes. Remove from heat while the broccoli is still crunchy.

Step 3: Take the chilled pastry and make your empanadas. There are instructions on youtube that you can watch if you don’t know how to make them.
empanada_step_1

Step 4: Line a baking pan with greased parchment paper. Brush oil on the stuffed empanada and arrange them on the pan.

empanada_step_2

Step 5: Bake them at 400F/200C/Gas 6 for about 30 minutes or until they turn golden brown.

Bonus Recipe:

Sicilian-Style Vegan Impanata

1 Pack Spinach
Black Olives, pickled
Salt to taste

Cook the spinach in a pan until they become soft. Press with a flat ladle to release the water and let it dry.

Then do steps 3-5 from above.

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Zucchini alle Parmigiana

how to cook zucchini
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how to cook zucchiniDo your eyes look blurry? Is it the picture or your eyes? Well, I think it could be your eyes. You probably have been staring too long on the computer and your eyes are strained. I kid! I apologize that the picture is blurred and I don’t have any other image. It was my stupid mistake to take only one shot confidently thinking that it was going to be okay. Although I admit I did think I should take more photos just it case this one won’t come out nicely but laziness overpowered the better off me and this is the result.  I can’t take another photo now because these zucchini alle parmigiana have been gobbled up. I am hoping I would make another one this week to render justice to this recipe. But for now, you and I have to settle for this.

This recipe is similar to Melanzane alle Parmigiana and the only thing that was changed is the aubergine as this one uses courgette. But because the recipe is Italian it is just and right to say zucchini instead of courgette. Also this recipe is a bit modified because I didn’t have fresh onions so I used onion granules.

Ingredients:

3 Zucchini or Courgette

1 Can Tomato Sauce or 5 Large Tomatoes

Vegan Cheese

2 Tbsp Vegan Stock

Preparation:

Cut the zucchini in half. Brush with oil and cook in the oven until the top has got brown patches.

Meawhile, cook the tomato sauce over medium heat until it’s almost dry.

Add the vegan stock and cheese.

Lay the zucchini in a platter and put tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and enjoy!

 

 

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Vegan Chocolate Spread

non-dairy chocolate spread
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Here it is in all its glory!

non-dairy chocolate spread

Who doesn’t like chocolate spread on their bread? I’d be lying if I say I don’t. I love chocolate just like anyone else but I have my limitation — dairy.  So I decided to make my own. My first homemade nutella tryout was a failure because my blender is not powerful enough to grind the nuts super fine. But I don’t give up just like that.

As a result, I have created my own vegan chocolate spread that is not sickeningly sweet and is tolerable by my hyper-acidic stomach.

Vegan Chocolate Spread Ingredients

50g Dark Chocolate (Check the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t contain any dairy.)

150ml Soya Cream

3 Tbsp Soya Butter

Sweetener (Sugar or maple syrup)

1/4 C water

Method

Heat water, butter and sugar (if using it).

Bring to boil until sugar is melted.

Add the soya cream and the chocolate bar.

Stir until it gets a bit thick.

Let cool.

Enjoy!

 

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Simple Vegan Strawberry Smoothie

Dairy-free Smoothie
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Vegan Strawberry SmoothieHere is a quick recipe-no-fuss vegan strawberry smoothie I made using simple ingredients.

  • 8-10 Strawberries
  • 1 pk Soya Cream
  • Maple Syrup to taste

Blend them all together and enjoy!

I prefer this because it doesn’t have to be chilled to enjoy its luxurious taste. Also because it’s winter, I try to avoid drinking anything chilled because I think I’m going to freeze. :D

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Vegan Kaldereta

vegan kaldereta
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vegan kaldereta

Another accomplished goal for me. A veganized kaldereta. Kaldereta is one of the most popular meat dishes in the Philippines. It uses goat meat.  But as much as I love it–because potato and tomato sauce are the best combination for me –the smell of goat meat puts me off.  I have been craving for this Filipino dish for so many years now but I wasn’t sure I could veganize it. Luckily, my adventurousity, ops, I mean adventurous curiosity propelled me to try it with the seitan I made. But since I had never made Kaldereta nor seen how it was cooked, I had to ask some of my fellow Pinoy food bloggers.

So here’s the recipe for my Vegan Kaldereta and it yields between 2-4 depending on the eating capacity of the people.

Disclaimer: Although I use seitan to veganize meat dishes, I don’t really do it often. I only probably make seitan once in every 3 months. Seitan is made of Wheat Gluten and we all know that is a processed food and is devoid of fiber, making it hard for the stomach to digest and get rid of as quickly as possible.

Ingredients:

2 Carrots
2 Medium Potatoes
2 Peppers
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Tomato Sauce
2 Blocks of Seitan (each about the size of a fist)
Half-Cup Pickled Black Olives
2 Tbsp Homemade Vegan Stock
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp salt

Preparation:

Heat tomato sauce until almost dry.

Chop vegetables and seitan in bite sizes.

Saute garlic and onion in extra virgin olive oil.

Add the potatoes and after 5 minutes add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the peppers and the olives.

Add the seitan. If it gets too dry add a little water and the vegan stock. Season with salt.

When it comes back to boil mix in the tomato sauce and incorporate well.

Serve with rice.

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Radish Juice – Best Home Remedy for Phlegm

best natural cure for phlegm, health benefits of raddish, best home remedy
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best natural cure for phlegm, health benefits of raddish, best home remedy

The internet is replete with almost all kinds of free information at our fingertips.  I wanted to post about the health and nutrition benefits of radish but I didn’t know very much, to be honest, apart from a thing or two. So I asked i-know-it-all Google to find the information for me and with a flick of a finger, he came back with the results. I picked the one with what I deemed most reliable URL. I thought so because it contained the word organic and in my little-knowledge-is-dangerous-but-definitely-not-arrogant opinion anyone who talks “organic” knows better.

Additionally, much to my delight, those two things I knew about the benefits of radish were mentioned in the article. At this point, I hear you ask, “What is the website name?” Well, I am not going to mention it here in my website let alone give you the link because it would mean I am going to do them a HUGE favor for referring to their website and it will add credit to that site at the expense of mine. Since, my website is still struggling for Google Pagerank, I will save it from leaching out any of its precious juice. It’s precious because there isn’t much and therefore it is considered rare.

But we are talking about Radish juice not Pagerank juice, and I heard you. I just thought I owe you an explanation why I don’t want to mention the website name here apart from the cue that I, above, have wittingly mentioned.

So have I piqued your curiosity yet? Well, if you were not curious or interested in this article, you wouldn’t have come here in the first place, would you? So I’m taking it as a resounding Yes!

The 2 Health Benefits of Radish that I know of

Well, actually, I know a lot more now. I have learned more since I started composing this article. But I will not tell them again here because you can already find them from other websites. I will just talk about what I have already known before reading the rest today.

Radish as Mucolytic

As the best home remedy for phlegm, radish juice dilutes the sticky phlegm and forces it out like a a furious landlord would do to a tenant who’s neglected to clean his apartment since he moved in about seventeen months ago and his on-the-spot eviction means he will forfeit his three months deposit due to neglect of duty to observe cleanliness because the landlord will have to hire cleaners and make repairs.

My very reliable source shared that Solmux contains radish as the main ingredient but I think it was Bisolvon which the endorser in a television commercial said, “It stops the phlegm that produces phlegm.”

Last December I had a cough and a hoarse voice. I didn’t want to call in sick because I was told by a colleague a few days ago that if I wanted to keep my job I better not get sick. And since I hate taking drugs I thought of the best natural cure and remembered the humble but incredible radish juice that I heard a few weeks earlier.

I didn’t waste any time. I dropped by the city centre on my way home from work and headed to the shop where I knew was selling the radish that I am familiar with–you know the long white ones. I didn’t realize the small red ones were also called radish. I thought their Asian cousin is the one that I needed. Nevertheless, I was so delighted they had a quite a few on that day in the shop.

When I got home, though, I was faced with the dilemma of grating the radish. But the food processor caught my attention and Voila! In two-minutes time I had a freshly squeezed radish juice. I have not been eating radish for maybe a decade and I had forgotten why. The juice really looked refreshing, like a cup of cold water did to a person who had been working all day under the heat of a tropical sun, and I wanted to gulp it all at once. But no sooner than I filled my mouth with it than I realized how potent the taste was and I almost spat it as soon as I drank it. I think my eyes nearly popped out from their sockets. When I got my composure back, I argued with self that I didn’t want to drink the rest of it. But the me with the halo patiently and lovingly, almost with tears in her eyes as if begging, convinced the me with the horn that the juice was better than drugs. So I took the glass again and this time, with much precaution, sipped the rest  of the juice bit by bit until it tasted less and less strong and finally swallowed the last drop.

The next day was a completely different scene. On the third day the mucus had stopped congesting my lungs but since I was working 6 days a week, I didn’t feel completely well until two weeks after the cough set on. Apart from radish juice and plenty of water, you also obviously need plenty of rest to allow your body to create new cells and antibodies to ward off the disease.

Radish as Facial Care

I don’t have a personal testimony to verify this claim but my sister recommended it to me when I had allergy on my face. She said that her employer’s son who used to have his face covered with pimples treated it with radish. But for some reason I never got around to doing it. However, many articles online and offline are talking about it. So I reckon there is truth in it. Because if there isnt they would not be publishing it.

Bonus Recipe: Radish Salad

Health benefits of radishIngredients:

  • Radish
  • Gem Lettuce
  • Vinagrette
  • dried herbs
  • salt

Wow this post contains exactly a thousand words. Did you ever realize that? Congratulations for reaching this part.

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Vegan Pinakbet – Improved Recipe

How to make your own vegetable stock, vegan pinakbet, filipino dish, ilokano food
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How to make your own vegetable stock, vegan pinakbet, filipino dish, ilokano food

Usually, when I made my vegan pinakbet, I use vegan stock from the shop. But after attending the cooking demonstrations, I learned how to make my own Vegan Stock

yields 2

1 Small Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd)

1 Small Gabi (Taro)

4 Small Eggplants

5 Okra (Lady’s Finger)

1 Big Tomato or 3 Small ones

For the Stock Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Extract

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1 Cup Water

1/2 tsp Olive Oil

Preparation

Bring the water to boil and add the stock ingredients one by one or if you have already prepared the mixture, just add one tablespoon.

Chop the vegetables in any shape you fancy.

Add the chopped taro and bring back to boil for about 3-5 minutes.

Then add all the other vegetables. Bring back to boil and let cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.

Add the oil last.

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How to Make Your Own Vegan Stock

Vegan Stock, no preservative vegetable stock
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Vegan Stock, no preservative vegetable stock

Have you ever checked the ingredients on your vegetable or vegan stock? If you do, you will have noticed that the ingredients are very simple, so simple you can actually make your own and carefully choose what to include in it.

My friend, Pearly, taught me how to make my own vegan stuff including Vegan Stock. I had forgotten her measurements but what I remember is that it contains powdered garlic, onion granules, nutritional yeast extract, dried sage.  These are the main ingredients I use. Sometimes I put different herbs, like chives, to change the aroma.

For every tablespoon of nutritional yeast extract, I add a pinch of garlic powder, onion granules and sage which gives that meaty aroma. I know vegetarians and vegans are not supposed to replicate anything that pertains to meat but that’s how best I could explain it.

Because my taste bud is not corrupted by artificial flavorings, I find this stock really tasty. It enhances the flavor of my food without additives, preservatives, and excitotoxins.

I hope you enjoyed today’s cooking tip.

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Sicilian Arancini with Meatless Ragu

How to make arancini
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How to make arancini

Arancini literally means little oranges. It’s a popular Sicilian speciality street food which is an Italianised version of the  Japanese sushi.

Here’s the recipe I used

Rice Ball

1 Cup Pudding Rice

1.5 Cup Water

1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Egg

Half Cup of Bread Crumbs or minced TVP

Vegan Ragu

2 Blocks of Seitan

1 Carrot

1 Red Onion

2 Tablespoon Tomato Puree

Preparation

C00k 1 cup of Pudding Rice with 1.5 cup of water over low heat on the medium hob.

Set it aside and let cool.

Now make the ragu.

Chop the seitan, carrot and onion individually with the food processor for a few seconds until you get the consistency of minced TVP or the size of grain.

Saute onion followed by the carrot and the seitan.  Stirfry until carrot is tender.  Mix the tomato puree. Add some water if it gets too dry.

Make 6 rice balls. Press each of them firmly.

Rice balls for arancini

Dig a hole in the rice ball and put the ragu inside.

Seal it back and press firmly.

Roll each in the beaten egg and over the bread crumbs or minced TVP. (Or watch a video tutorial about making arancini.)

Spray with oil and cook in the oven for a few minutes at 180C/350F/Gas 4.

I finally made it, the famous Sicilian Arancini my husband is crazy about. Everytime we go to Sicily it’s the first and last food we buy after landing and before boarding the plane. And so determined and inclined I’ve been to make it at home here in the UK with vegan ragu. My first attempt failed after following a recipe I found online down to a tee. So this time I didn’t follow any recipe but put all the information I’ve got in my head together and was very pleased with the result.

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