TORTA DI CECI

Italian chickpea pancake socca torda di ceci vegan and gluten-free

Stealing beauty by Bernardo Bertolucci is one of these movies that leaves you with a very strong desire to travel. The warmth of Tuscan landscape captured in the film triggers all your senses and makes you want to teleport yourself to Italy immediately. Even though I saw this movie over 10 years ago, I can still recall the sensation of colours and places that stayed with me long after the end credits faded away.

This July I spent couple of days near Florence, in a rural cottage with an endless view of grapevines and olive trees fields. I would never guess that finding a location so similar to the one from the movie would be that easy, but that’s just Tuscany — the vivid mixture of sunny and green hills. Coming back home wasn’t easy. Luckily, I came back with a recipe that helps me overcome the end-of-summer-nostalgia.

Tuscan landscape

It’s very basic. All you need are literally 2 ingredients: chickpea flour and water. The original seasoning of Italian chickpea pancake – torta di ceci, also known as cecina, socca or farinata — is pure minimalist and consists of salt, pepper and olive oil. It’s usually served plain as a dish or in a sandwich with roasted eggplant. Ever since I came back, I have been trying many different variations of torta di ceci — in sandwiches, as a pizza base or just as a snack — and believe me, they are all great. Just remember to always have chickpea flour at home and improvise with the rest.

When preparing torta di ceci, make sure to put this playlist on and enjoy.

Socca Italian pancake recipe chickpea flour

Italian chickpea pancake socca torta di ceci recipe

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RAW ROMANESCO SALAD

Delicious and healthy raw Romanesco salad with dried golden berries, hazelnuts and lentils

 

Last year I started buying organic vegetables from a local farmer. The reason why I chose this particular one over all the others was his veggie-abstract sense of humor. To give you an example, he announced the upcoming romanesco season as the “arrival of psychedelic cauliflower brother”. Who wouldn’t go with that, right?

Romanesco’s appearances might put it in the same basket with broccoli and cauliflower, but it has a slightly different “personality”. It’s texture is far more crunchy and it has an amazingly delicate, yet nutty flavor. As we are currently transitioning from Winter to Spring, I was craving some quick salad recipe that would combine these both seasons. Black lentils and roasted hazelnuts remind my tastebuds of the snowy weather, and the raw romanesco prepares me for the fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruits yet to come.

The secret star here, however, are dried golden berries, also known as Inca berries or amour en cage (“love in cage” in French) – a superfood grown in Peru and Ecuador. These are a great alternative to raisins and cranberries, if you’re looking for a defining twist to your salad. With a balanced mix of sweetness and sourness, they make it refreshing and complete.

Delicious and healthy raw Romanesco salad with dried golden berries, hazelnuts and lentils

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CASHEW BUTTER COOKIES WITH RICE FLOUR

Freshly baked gluten-free cashew cookies with rice flour and coconut.
“Eat, drink, man, woman. Basic human desires. Can’t avoid them.”
Eat drink man woman by Ang Lee

 

It has been quite a busy start of the year. We have been travelling a lot, enjoying the winter and getting many new inspirations. We got so entangled in our ventures that we nearly missed the Carnival season, but we are (almost) just in time for the beginning of Chinese New Year.

So, Happy Chinese New Year everyone! And if you don’t celebrate it, you can easily get into the festive mood with one of the most mouthwatering film classics by Ang Lee. Food, love and chefs splashing ingredients all over the kitchen. It does have a very meditative impact, but watching it might cause some serious food cravings.

Speaking of basic human desires… if you have a sweet tooth, these cookies will be your best friend throughout the year. They are gluten-free (thanks to the rice flour) and very buttery (without using the regular butter). Just the right ingredients to fall in love…
Are you ready to try out the “recipe of romance”?

Freshly baked gluten-free cashew cookies with rice flour and coconut.

Freshly baked gluten-free cashew cookies with rice flour and coconut.

Freshly baked gluten-free cashew cookies with rice flour and coconut.

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PERSIAN CARROT AND PUMPKIN STEW WITH PRUNES

vegan stew persian carrots healthy best prunes„Why did you come in this car for me?
I told everyone my director uncle was coming.
At least think about my reputation.“
Taxi, Jafar Panahi

Among many film delights, Iranian cinema belongs definitely to our favorites. Besides amazing works by Kiarostami, Makhmalbaf or Ghobadi, there is so much more to discover. For instance the films by Jafar Panahi, with the latest Taxi, rightly deserved winner of this year Berlinale.

As winter this year has been extremely warm so far, our cooking inspirations also started to drift away in direction the Middle East. Iranian cuisine is often seen as very complicated and unique, but well – challenge accepted. This recipe is a modified vegetarian version of a Persian lamb stew Khoresht Havij ba Aloo. Sweet prunes combined with citrus sour tamarind and warming cinnamon give this stew a fabulously winter-like flavor. So with no time to lose, whether by taxi or simply on foot, just visit the closest spice bazaar and discover the amazing aroma fusion from the Persian Empire.

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CHESTNUT CHOCOLATE CAKE

chocolate cake chestnuts french deserts vegan glutenfree

“Let them eat cake”
Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola

When searching for some new sweet inspirations among the variety of French desserts you will come across many recipes for sweet delights with chestnuts in the main role. The legendary marron glace, Charlotte aux marrons –  a chestnut mousse with wafers and chocolate frosting, Christmas special treat Bûche à la châtaigne or our favourite Mont Blanc, a very non-vegan combination of meringue, whipped cream and chestnut cream, are probably the best known ones.

But why French? Rewatching Marie Antoinette will probably make you want to eat cakes all day long. If you haven’t seen the film or just need a recap, check the I want candy song with one of the most mouthwatering movie scenes that will awaken the sweet tooth deep inside you. And in that case you should try this very chocolate cake with a smooth and silky chestnuts cream on top. To give it very special winter-puff, add the orange peel and voilà. This cake needs just a moment to bake. Luckily, as you won’t be able to resist that smell for too long.

chestnut chocolate cake vegan gluten-free best delicoius

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AUTUMN CELEBRATING VEGETABLE CREAM SOUP

Perfect winter treat roasted turnip, sweet potato and cauliflower soup.“I want to learn everything about everything. I want to eat it all up.”
Her, Spike Jonze

Sometimes a coincidence is the best creator, don’t you agree? The sudden disappearance of parsnip from our local grocery shop made us rethink the concept of this recipe and use turnip instead. The reason behind it was simple: we needed a white root vegetable that will go along with cauliflower, sweet potato and chickpeas. Quick decisions had to be made and… bingo.

The idea was to create a velvety creamy soup celebrating the beautiful Berlin autumn we had in November. Two weeks without a single rain drop, with yellowish rays of sun brightening the greyest corners of the city. It almost felt as if the cold blue tones would be deleted from the landscape, conquered by various shades or red, magenta, yellow, brown and orange – just like in Spike Jonze’s movie Her. Well, almost like that. Except for the fact that we still had cars and keyboards.

Anyways, with the first snowfall couple of days ago the city color design changed back to blue-gray and the sun migrated to warmer countries. If you want to arouse the memories of red palette from before, here’s the trick: Follow the instructions below and let the warmth settle in on your plate. Welcome winter wonderland.

Roasted-vegtables

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