Spring is slowly approaching, even here in Berlin. In between grey and rainy days there are glimpses of the earliest colorful flowers detectable as well as the warmth of the first few sunny afternoons. With the fading grey, a new spirit of life also seems to return, which makes me kinda happy and feel alive again!
My past winter has been a bit stressful and due to the lack of sunshine also depressing – something I still haven’t overcome ever since moving to Germany (although in general I am very happy to be here!). For brightening up that gloomy mood, I baked apple cake a lot during the past months. Even though there was not too much time for baking left next to lab & uni, this cake appeared on our flat share’s kitchen table more than a few times – and disappeared quite quickly again, as well.
This cake is very easy to make and still so satisfying – a yummy, crumbly treat filled with juicy apples. It is a very nice option to use up the last of the season’s apples, or simply to bring color into another rainy day as long as we’re still waiting for summer!
|Apple crumble cake
makes a 28cm diameter cake || adapted from here
1 small, not too ripe banana
350g all-purpose flour
200g vegan butter, cold
100g + 2 tbsps. granulated sugar
8-10 apples, depending on the size
4 tbsps. water
1-2 tsps. ground cinnamon
Ever since the hype around red velvet cakes came up (a looong time ago), I had been intrigued to try them out. The fact that every recipe used huge amounts of food coloring made the whole thing a little less appealing to me though. Nevertheless, I gave one of the chocolate versions a first try a couple of years ago – and was super disappointed. I had expected a sophisticated, velvet-y taste, but all that recipe I tried resulted in was a kind of bland chocolate cake in a slightly red-brownish shade.
As I always try to use mostly natural ingredients, I did not further pursue in that direction of red velvet cakes. Instead, when I had a beet lying around last week, I decided to give natural food coloring a shot. The first round of cupcakes turned out to be a little bit too juicy, but after some adaptions, the second batch were very nice – bright red, oh so velvet-y cake consistency and tasting satisfyingly good. For this recipe I tried some rather unusual flavor combination: passion fruits, which compliment the earthy tastes of the beet perfectly with their slightly tangy and floral taste. Also, as these are supposed to be a Valentine’s treat, passion is hopefully not misplaced for this occasion
If you are happy to have someone to give a present to on Valentine’s Day, these cupcakes are a nice option. Or just make them for yourself, your flatmates, your friends … and enjoy them along with your favorite hot beverage. My current favorite (and recommendation) is matcha latte made with almond rice drink, which fits perfectly to these fruity, yummy cupcakes
|Red velvet passion fruit & beet cupcakes with coconut frosting
makes 12 cupcakes
|Ingredients for the cupcakes:
125 g granulated sugar
125 g vegan butter
180 g red beet, cooked
80 g apple
2 small or 1 large passion fruit
220 g all-purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
120 mL passion fruit juice
|Ingredients for the frosting:
125 mL coconut rice milk
20 g starch
40 g granulated sugar
150 g vegan butter
50 g coconut oil
35 g powdered sugar
optional: shredded coconut, some more powdered sugar and a few drops of red beet juice
When I was in 8 or 9 years old, I attended a cooking club at school. One afternoon, we made a delicious, German-style potato soup and I brought home the recipe. As I really liked that soup, my mother started to re-cook this potato soup for my brother and me every now and then. The soup turned out to be a little different each time, depending on what kind of vegetables were available here in Japan and which selection and balance of spices my mother felt like using that day – but delicious it was, always.
Recently, I started making pumpkin soup on a frequent basis, and like my mother’s potato soup it turns out to be slightly different each time. According to my flatmates, it’s always tasty nevertheless and to me, the soup is comforting feel-good food every time. Although the ingredients can be varied depending on your taste and what you have on hand, the preparation method is always more or less the same, therefore I would like to share the basic recipe with you.
Note: amounts of ingredients are approximate and can be varied according to taste or availability, optional ingredients may be but do not need to be included.
makes one pot of soup
1 large or two small squashes (I like to use hokkaido pumpkin or butternut squash, but feel free to use whatever edible squash you like!)
celery: either a good piece (200g?) of celery root or 2-3 stalks
1 stalk of leek
parsley or parsley root
up to 1 L oat milk
a piece of ginger, ground or finely chopped
salt, chile flakes, nutmeg
2-3 tbsps. vegetable oil or vegan butter (I always use)optional: cubed potatoes, an apple, pinch of cinnamon, white wine, ground coriander, ground cumin, curry spice mix
toppings: pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil
This christmas break I spent at my family’s in Japan. Already months before I arrived, they started to worry what I would be able to eat – A: because that’s what they always do, make a huge effort to let me eat all the most delicious things they can find (^-^ lucky me!) – and B: because this was my first time as a vegan coming home to Japan.
Although japanese cuisine includes a lot of vegetables, nearly everything contains dashi, fish based broth. Konbu dashi, based on seaweeds, is also available, but most of the time, katsuo or other fish-based dashi is used. So basically, as my step-mother jokingly suggested, if you want to survive as a vegan in Japan, the easiest way would be to quit veganism – but that was not an option for me. And after spending two weeks here by now, I figured out that it is also possible not to starve as a vegan in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, even though you need to read ingredient lists very carefully. As there are not so many guides about japanese everyday vegan nutrition in English available yet (especially for Yokohama), I thought I’d sum up my experience and tips in this blog post.
Japanese foods that should be “animal-free” in general are
- a couple of tofu dishes: for example tofu topped with grated ginger, leeks and shoyu, or yudofu (cooked tofu, I ordered it cooked with vegetables only and in vegetable broth, they probably used konbu dashi)
- some mochi dishes: Yakimochi (Mochi grilled with nori = sea weeds and served with shoyu), Odango (mochi balls available in different varations, eg. topped with sweet bean paste or a sweet soy sauce glaze)
- several otsumami (snacks served along with drinks): tsukemono (pickled or fermented vegetables), hiyashi tomato (cooled tomato) if eaten with salt and without mayonnaise, morokyu (kyuri = cucumber, with miso) and edamame
- a few traditional sweets: yakiimo (baked sweet potato – delicious!), kurikinton (a paste of sweet chestnuts), youkan (sweet bean paste available in different variations for example with green tea), other sweet bean paste desserts
Vegan restaurants in Tokyo/Yokohama
There are already a couple of very nice guides for vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Japan, for example here and on Happy Cow, so I do not want to repeat everything, there is just one addition, which is Natural Harmony Coa in Yokohama.
Located in the basement of the North Port Shopping Center in Center Kita, Tsuzuki-ku, this small restaurant serves organic washoku (japanese dish) style food of high quality. Their menu always varies a little bit, depending on the ingredients available, but they always offer several vegan menus and also some fish or meat menus. I went there twice with my family, and as they’re omnivores it was the perfect place to go to, where vegans as well as non-vegans can get super delicious food.
Eating in “standard” japanese restaurants
A few general tips:
- miso shiru (miso soup) and all kinds of sauces and soups are mostly made with fish broth (katsuo dashi or other fish-based dashi), be careful with those.
- if in doubt: ask! Ask whether the dish contains any kinds of “doubutsu kei” (animal derived) things, for example dashi
Noodle restaurants (soba or udon): ordering with daikon oroshi and shoyu (grated radish and soy sauce) or shoyu and wasabi instead of the normal sauces is a very tasty option as the standard sauces usually contain fish broth. For ramen, there are a few restaurants serving vegan ramen, for example T’s Tantan and Kyushu Jangara in Harajuku/Omotesando.
Sushi restaurants: aside from kappa maki (cucumber rolls) and inari sushi (fried tofu bags filled with rice), several sushi restaurants also offer kampyo (a kind of gourd, called “calabash”), ume shiso (sour plum with shiso, a herb) maki, oshinko maki (oshinko refers to all fermented vegetables but for sushi, usually takuan, fermented radish is served), and once I even found nigiri with nasu no tsukemono (fermented eggplant). So at sushi restaurants vegans can find quite a selection of vegetable based traditional sushi and as these are not considered the sushi specialties, they’re most often rather cheap.
Yakiniku (Korean BBQ) restaurants are certainly not the best choice to go to for a vegan, but if you happen to be accompanied by omnivores like me, it is also possible to eat vegan there. Usually they offer “namuru” (korean pickled roots and vegetables) and different vegetables you can put on the grill. As the tare (sauce) with which the vegetables were seasoned contained some animal-derived products, we simply ordered them separately and they were so kind to even offer me some vegan dipping sauce options (shoyu and wasabi as well as shiodare, sesame oil with salt). I also ate bibimbap without meat and egg, basically rice topped with namuru, nori (sea weeds) and gochujyang (korean spicy seasoning paste) which was also quite delicious as a vegan version.
Eating on the go & grocery shopping
Eating on the go a.k.a. buying something from the convenience store is rather tricky in Japan. Sandwiches and baked goods more or less always contain dairy or meat/fish products, and japanese snacks like onigiri are filled with fish most oftenly. Sometimes you can get onigiri with konbu filling, but be careful and check the ingredient list (scroll down for a short kanji guide) as the filling might contain katsuo dashi or other fish-derived ingredients. Another option can be inari sushi, if they’re available. For drinks it is a little bit easier as you can always find different teas and also plain coffee, and I even spotted matcha soy latte from the muji brand in some family marts, but for sure those cannot be found in every single convini.
Grocery shopping can also be quite complicated in Japan when it comes to vegan specialty products. There are several soy products which contain animal-derived ingredients unexpectedly (like gelatin in soy yogurt), so be careful to check ingredient lists here as well! Two products I’ve checked and have been buying frequently are this soy milk and soy yogurt:
For soy milk, most supermarkets offer quite a big selection, although I have not tried a lot of those products yet.
All in all, grocery shopping for the basic foods in the Tokyo/Yokohama area is possible, just make sure to always check the ingredient lists.
For foreigners who cannot read kanji very well, I made a short, very basic list of what to avoid:
|肉 niku – meat|
|牛 gyu – beef|
|豚 buta – pork|
|鳥 tori – poultry|
|牛乳 gyu-nyu – milk|
|魚 sakana – fish, also avoid every kanji that involves the sakana-hen, the left part being the sakana sign (for example like 鰹 katsuo = bonito), as these kanji usually are names of specific fishes.|
Hope this helps vegans when travelling in Japan. All in all it is possible to eat delicious food, also traditional dishes, if taking a little care and if in doubt – asking. (You might get some funny looks, as vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is not as common as in western countries yet, but they’ll probably forgive anyone that looks foreign :)).
Have a happy new year and lots of delicious food in 2016!
kawaii kitchen will hold its next pop-up bakery tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 12th) and next week Saturday (Sept. 19th) at Lindener Markt in Hanover (8 am – 1 pm)! If you’re craving something sweet, come along for some vegan cupcakes or cookies Tomorrow I’ll offer:
Pear and Rosemary Cupcakes
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Plum filling and (vegan) “cream cheese” frosting
Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes
VEGO (hazelnut and gianduja) Cupcakes
my favourite Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Hey everyone, today’s post and recipe is only a very short one, but it’s good – believe me😉
It has been one of my favorite recipes of this summer. Lemonade, made from fresh limes and mint – not too sweet and not too sour, perfectly balanced, rehydrating and refreshing on summer days is how I would describe it. The PhD student I was working with during my internship introduced me to this simple drink, which is a wonderful alternative to pure water as a drink on hot summer days. Her husband was so nice to take pictures of the lemonade when we prepared some during a cooking and baking session a few weeks ago, so credit for most of the pictures in this post goes to him – thank you, Kosta!
Actually, this lemonade also inspired the Mint-glazed Lemon Cake, which I posted recently, and accompanies this cake very well So if you’re craving something super-quickly made and refreshing to enjoy on the last hot day’s of summer, this is the thing for you to try!
|Mint and Lime Lemonade
recipe from Angelina
makes around 1L
1 1/2 limes, peeled
1/2 cup mint leaves, cleaned
500mL cold water
50mL agave juice + more to taste
200mL ice cubes
It’s been a while since my last post … again, I know. To those of you who are interested why: most of my time I was working in the lab during the past year and therefore did not have so much time to spend on baking and especially taking pictures and writing down recipes. Now that I got my Bachelor’s degree and finished my internship in another lab, I have a few weeks of free time until continuing my studies with a Master’s program in Berlin. Yep, that’s right, I’m moving to Berlin and I am freaking excited about it! Living in a big city again after nine years since I moved away from Yokohama is something I am so looking forward to!
But more importantly, I have more time to spend in the kitchen again! In fact, I am sitting in our flat’s kitchen in this very moment as I am finally typing a blogpost again. And next to me, there is this beautiful cake standing on the kitchen table, waiting to be devoured …
For my Farewell-Party at the Institute I baked a few things – no big surprise here probably – and one of these things was this delicious mint-glazed lemon cake. In my opinion, this is the perfect summer cake (apart from fruit tarts maybe), with it’s tangy citrus notes and refreshing coolness of the mint. On top of that, it’s super simple to make, only a little grating of lemon zest, adding a handful of other ingredients, glazing the cake after baking and that’s it! As some of my former colleagues really liked this cake, I baked it again for my flatmates (and for taking some pictures :)). Being worthy of a blogpost, I considered this cake, so here it is – the recipe for you, if you want to bake and enjoy a bite of this treat as well
|Mint-glazed Lemon Cake || vegan
recipe adapted from Bored But Busy
makes one 20cm loaf
100g vegan butter (I like to use organic Alsan) + a little more for greasing the baking pan
160g cane sugar
250g wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 medium-sized lemons (if using very large lemons, 1 1/2 should be enough: the zest and juice of one lemon for the cake, and juice of 1/2 lemon for the icing)
140g icing sugar
2 tbsps. mint liquor
15 small to medium-sized mint leaves + more for decoration