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EGGPLANT LASAGNA

EGGPLANT LASAGNA




A few months ago around the beginning of summer I think, I shared on social media a picture of a freshly made lasagna like this. I made a little survey asking you would like to have the recipe and most of you said yes. Days started to get warm so using the oven was out of question, and that until not long ago. So I left the recipe for the chiller season and now I found was the perfect moment.

Last times I've been to the farmer's market there were loads of aubergines of all kinds and sizes, have you seen the white ones? and those with white an purple colour that look like painted? They're so pretty...




I love using eggplants on Arab, Asian and spicy dishes, there are so many types of various shapes and colors, like the Thai pea aubergine that is super tiny and green. 
On currys, soups and stir-fried elaborations, eggplants are delicious. It soaks a lot of oil so it is preferable cooking it with techniques other than frying like steamed, baked, grilled or microwaved like we will do very quickly this time. 
Lasagna sheets are replaced by eggplant slices on this recipe. A while ago I shared another lasagna recipe with chicory and tempeh that is very yummy as well and that has the same principle.


Eggplant composition is basically water, in more than a 90%. It contains some vitamins like folic acid, minerals such as potassium, and solanine same as potatoes, a component that is toxic when eaten raw, therefore they always need to be properly cooked.
This is actually what also makes aubergines taste bitter. Which can be easily solved by macerating them with salt. Just cut it into slices and sprinkle some salt all over each of them, you can place a strainer underneath so the water excess drains. Then rinse with fresh water to remove the salt and done. 



I've made the tomato sauce in different ways in terms of the tomatoes I used, depending on what I had in hand. Both natural tomatoes or store bought tomato sauce (with no added stuff, just tomato) are ok. The only difference is that you need to bear in mind that if you use whole tomatoes (chose a type is best to cook) you'll need to poach them along with the rest of ingredients of the sauce. In case you use store-bought, you can add it at the end as it is already cooked.

This exact recipe is also delicious replacing the eggplants with zucchinis or combining both. It is vegan, gluten and dairy free, although you can adapt it to your liking by using cheese or any milk of your choice.

EGGPLANT LASAGNA RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1big eggplant
  • 1/2onion
  • 10 mushrooms 
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tomatoes, puréed
  • 2 bunches of fresh basil
  • Ground cumin, coriander and turmeric powder (to taste)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • Vegan or regular cheese and/or nutritional yeast

For the bechamel sauce

  • 1 cup almond milk or any other
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  Ground nutmeg
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Follow the easy steps I explain above to remove the bitterness of the aubergines. 
  2. Meanwhile finely chop the mushrooms, garlic and the onion.
  3. Sautée in a pan with olive oil along with the tomato until well cooked. Add the spinaches and leave another 5 minutes.
  4. Now we make the bechamel sauce. Use a small sauce pan, pour the olive oil and the flour, set to medium-high heat. Pour gradually the milk while you stir continuously to avoid lumps, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and keep stirring until creamy and thick.
  5. Cut the eggplant into thin slices. Place in a dish or microwave tray and cook for 2 minutes. You need to do this a few time in order to make all the slices.
  6. Now you can start setting layer after layer in an oven dish. First an aubergine layer, then the tomato sauce, then the bechamel sauce and that until the last layer where you can finish with a good amount of bechamel and some cheese and/or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top looks golden brown.


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TEX MEX STUFFED TOMATOES

TEX MEX STUFFED TOMATOES


STUFFED TOMATOES IN WHITE PORCELAIN DISH, CILANTRO LEAVES,INGREDIENTS IN BACKGROUND


Summer is the true tomato season, although we are use to see them available throughout the year, let's be honest...they tend to have like zero taste. No matter how hard we insist, fruits and vegetables have to be eaten at their particular season to enjoy the best taste, texture, quality and even price... And if we buy local and organic we contribute to create a more sustainable world apart from getting the chance to find so many different and amazing varieties.

We are so lucky in Spain because we have such a great weather and tomato season is normally quite long, so I always try to make the most of it. There are always tomatoes in our kitchen, there is such a vast range it is impossible to get fed up. 
Apparently there are around 10.000 varieties around the world, each type with different characteristics that makes each of them suitable for various elaborations like tomato sauce, salads, gazpacho...  
For this recipe you just need large tomatoes that can be easily emptied and then filled. Blanching them helps to remove the skin although you can skip this step if you want to.


AERIAL VIEW STUFFED TOMATOES IN VINTAGE PORCELAIN DISH, GREEN KITCHEN CLOTH, CILANTRO LEAVES, SALT FLAKES, LIME WEDGES


Truth is good tomatoes don't need much although I love testing and trying out recipes and combinations of all kind... I actually have another recipe pending wherein the tomato is the hero and hope to be posting it soon... 



INGREDIENTS STUFFED TOMATOES, CORN, AVOCADO, LIME WEDGES, CILANTRO LEAVES, BLACK BEANS


I love all stuffed veggies, eggplants, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mushrooms... however they all are warm and baked and that is not what we crave the most when it is so hot outside.

So I thought it could be fun to stuff a seasonal veg like tomatoes with some kind of salad and I had a very nice texmex dressing waiting to be used. So ta-dah there you go, tex mex stuffed tomatoes with a bunch of Mexican ingredients like black beans, avocado, corn, cilantro, lime juice...


FRESH TOMATES WITH WATER DROPS FOR STUFFED TOMATOES RECIPE

STUFFED TOMATOES IN WHITE PORCELAIN DISH, CILANTRO LEAVES,INGREDIENTS IN BACKGROUND, SALT FLAKES




TEX-MEX STUFFED TOMATOES 

INGREDIENTS (Serves 5)

  • 5 ripe tomatoes 
  • 1 can black beans 
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 corn cob, threshed or a small can
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime 
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Tex Mex dressing from Herbes de la Conca
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
AERIAL VIEW STUFFED TOMATOES IN VINTAGE PORCELAIN DISH, GREEN KITCHEN CLOTH, CILANTRO LEAVES, SALT FLAKES, LIME WEDGES

METHOD

  1. Use a knife to "draw" an X at the base of the tomato.
  2. Put some water in a pot and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl with iced water and some ice cubes.
  3. Submerge the tomatoes 10-15 seconds then put in the bowl with iced water until completely cold.
  4. Peel them off, you can easily make it with the X you made.
  5. Cut the top as to make a lid or little hat.
  6. Empty the tomato with the help of a knife and a spoon. Reserve it in a bowl to mix with the rest of the salad. 
  7. Cut the onion and avocado into small cubes and chop the cilantro. Put everything in the bowl with the tomato and add the rest of ingredients: beans, corn, lime juice, texmex sauce and drizzle some olive oil. Taste and season with salt and cayenne pepper.
  8. Mix all well, fill the tomatoes and they're ready to serve.
INGREDIENTS STUFFED TOMATOES, WOOD CUTTING BOARD WITH KNIFE, CORN, AVOCADO, LIME WEDGES, CILANTRO LEAVES, BLACK BEANS

STUFFED TOMATOES IN WHITE PORCELAIN DISH, CILANTRO LEAVES,INGREDIENTS IN BACKGROUND

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ZUCCHINI, LEMON AND DILL RAW SOUP

ZUCCHINI, LEMON AND DILL RAW SOUP


cold raw soup in vintage colorful porcelain bowl, blue tablecloth

flat lay cold raw soup in vintage colorful porcelain bowl, blue tablecloth, yellow tomatoes



Still a few weeks of summer ahead and I have several recipes I've been accumulating these months and wanted to share. They're fresh, colourful and of course yummy, nutritious, vibrant and wholesome. 

This raw soup came up in one of those torrid days we suffered during a heat wave. Even cooking with a pan was out of the question. Apart from the cold soups you may have been seeing previously on the blog, I do a lot of versions of gazpacho, vichyssoise and many other along the summer season...
On those days of unbearable heat I find raw food the best and more appealing option to cool down but also feel satiated. Same as gazpacho that we could consider a sort of salad smoothie, this one does not have any cooked ingredient, we use raw zucchini this time and it makes it super good and refreshing combined with the lemon.


Ingredients for chilled raw soup, zucchinis, lemon, sprouts, cashew nuts on flat lay with light blue linen tablecloth


It gets done in no time so there are no excuses at all. No fancy ingredients just plain fresh courgettes (organic always best so you don't need to peel them), some juicy lemons, a few cashew nuts, dry or fresh dill... and just a bit more you'll find below.
If you like lemons but prefer a subtle touch reduce the amount I indicate. I love the tanginess but understand not everyone likes that intensity.
Cashew nuts can be soaked in advance a few ours prior elaboration so they get softer however if you have a powerful blender you don't need to do it. They'll add creaminess and texture to the soup
I love fresh dill but can't find it easily here so I always have dry dill in hand and it's the one I use in this recipe.

flat lay cold raw soup in vintage colorful porcelain bowl, blue tablecloth, yellow tomatoes

cold raw soup in vintage colorful porcelain bowl, blue tablecloth, yellow tomatoes

  



ZUCCHINI, LEMON AND DILL RAW SOUP RECIPE

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

  • 2 zucchinis, partially peeled
  • 1chunk of fennel
  • 1/4 sweet onion or scallion
  • 1 + 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 black garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dry dill
  • 1 handful of plain unsalted cashew nuts
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Ground green pepper
  • Water
  • Toppings: yellow cherry tomatoes, broccoli sprouts, dill, hemp seeds, pink salt flakes...
Ingredients for chilled raw soup, zucchinis, lemon, sprouts, cashew nuts on flat lay with light blue linen tablecloth, fennel, pink salt

METHOD

  1. Introduce all ingredients in the blender or processor, add salt and pepper to taste and blend at maximum speed for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add water depending how thick you want the soup. Blend again. (use iced cold water if you are going to have it at the moment)
  3. Give it a try and add salt and pepper if needed, stir well and keep in a glass jar or bottle in the fridge.
  4. If you're having it right away add some ice cubes and enjoy!



close flat lay cold raw soup in vintage colorful porcelain bowl, blue tablecloth, yellow tomatoes

flat lay cold raw soup in vintage colorful porcelain bowl, blue tablecloth, yellow tomatoes

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CHERRY LEMONADE

CHERRY LEMONADE


cherry lemonade in a glass jar, cristal bottle full, flowered table cloth, white background



A couple of years ago I posted this sparkling grapefruit lemonade, when it starts to get hot I make it very often, it's almost addictive! I love lemons so I enjoy a lot any kind of lemonade from the classic one to any version with fruit or aromatic herbs...

cherry lemonaDE IN Glass jar, cristal bottle full, flowered table cloth over green grass, pieces of lemon and cherries

When I lived in Portugal I used to go to a place where they had strawberry lemonade and loved it. I've tested with various fruits and red berries specially combine very well. They reduce the lemon acidic flavour and make it a refreshing, healthy non alcoholic drink that I enjoy drinking any time of the day. Also ideal for bbq, pic-nics or just to get hydrated throughout the day...I don't have any trouble with drinking enough water, I can actually drink a couple of litres or more per day with no effort, however I like having natural flavoured drinks in hand that are quick to make. Like these fruit infused waters I posted long ago, nothing better to have a bottle or two of these ready to drink in the fridge...  So among all the flavoured lemonades this one with cherries is one of my favourites and now they are in season it's the best moment to make it. 
 At the bottom of the post you can find a couple of tips about cherries... ;)

ingredients of cherry lemonade, wood handle knife and wood squeezer,lemons and cherries, cutting white marble board over old wood table

For this recipe I use regular cold water, however, same as for the grapefruit lemonade you can use half sparkling - half still and it will also be great. Use the amount of maple syrup you prefer, just try it out and adjust to your taste!
And as always... even though it is delicious when it's freshly made, the truth is it's even better after a few hours kept  in the fridge!


cherry lemonade in a glass jar, cristal bottle full, flowered table cloth, white background




CHERRY LEMONADE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS (Para 1 L aprox.)

  • 25 cherries, pitted
  • 2 lemons, squeezed 
  • 4-5 Tbsp maple syrup 
  • 700-800 ml cold water
  • Ice
ingredients of cherry lemonade, wood handle knife and wood squeezer,lemons and cherries, cutting white marble board over old wood table

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. We'll be using a blender or Thermomix in my case, however you can also use a hand blender.
  2. Pour the cherries and the lemon juice and blend until you make like a thin purée.
  3. Add the maple syrup and the water and blend at maximum speed for 1 minute until well mixed.
  4. Add some ice cubes and it's ready to enjoy!

*LITTLE TIPS AND HACKS*

You can ideally buy a big amount of cherries and freeze them so when the season is out you will have cherries available if you want to make this lemonade, also ice creams, smoothies...
Also there's a good tip I was told recently that I would like to share... If you have Thermomix you can remove the pits super quickly by placing the cherries inside, setting the inverse spin button, speed 4, for 5 to 10 seconds and done! The pits will be detached from the cherries, you just need to remove them. (Do not know what the result might be using any other blender).


cherry lemonaDE IN Glass jar, cristal bottle full, flowered table cloth over green grass, pieces of lemon and cherries

cherry lemonaDE IN Glass jar, cristal bottle full, flowered table cloth over green grass, pieces of lemon and cherries

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PICKLED RADISHES - QUICK RECIPE

PICKLED RADISHES - QUICK RECIPE



PICKLED RADISHES IN A GLASS JAR WITH LID, WHITE MARBLE CUTTING BOARD AND WHITE BACKGROUND



I had this recipe on sby with the pictures and all and finally have found the moment to post it...
We are used to see radishes at the grocery store pretty much all year long, however the season is now and it's the best moment to grab a good bunch of them at a local market.
It's also now when we make the most salad varieties, and these add a very nice kick to them. On my last recipe of lentil and peas salad I actually added some pickled radishes.

This is like an express recipe of marinade, something like a quick pickle. Once prepared you can eat it at the moment or keep it in the fridge for a few hours so it soaks up all the flavours from the vinegar and the spices. It is also suitable for any other root veggies such as carrots or beets but also with cucumber, onion... You can also adequate the quantities to your taste adding more vinegar, salt...and combine with other spices or herbs of your choice. I used cumin and caraway seeds and also red pepper this time. Caraway fascinate me, it has such an interesting minty and anise-like flavour that works so well on dressings, vinaigrettes, mayo....

PICKLED RADISHES IN A GLASS JAR, CLOSE VIEW, CARAWAY AND CUMIN SEEDS

VIEW FROM TOP PICKLED RADISHES IN A GLASS JAR WITH LID, WHITE MARBLE CUTTING BOARD AND WHITE BACKGROUND

I'm always testing up new recipes and have some other good combinations that I'll be sharing... I also like recovering old family recipes, pickles were always present on the table during the summer season in Canada. Veggies from the garden were used and my grandma used to make plenty of pickles and marinades. 
It's an easy-peasy method, very healthy and if you have a vegetable garden or have too many veggies and don't know what to do with them this is a great option.

BUNCH OF FRESH RADISHES


INGREDIENTS FOR PICKLES, CUMIN AND CARAWAY SEEDS, RED PEPPER AND PINK SALT ON SMALL CERAIC BOWLS

PICKLED RADISHES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch of fresh radishes
  • 1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 100 or 200 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown o coconut sugar
  • Water
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. red pepper corns

PICKLED RADISHES IN A GLASS JAR, WHITE MARBLE CUTTING BOARD AND WHITE BACKGROUND

METHOD

  1. Slice the radishes thinly.
  2. Mix the vinegar + sugar + salt and stir until dissolved. Then add the rest of ingredients.
  3. Put the sliced radishes in to a glass jar (this one is 500ml) and pour the mixture. Then fill with water until full.
  4. Place the lid and mix well. Keep in the fridge for an hour to one day.

SLICES OF PICKLED RADISHES IN A GOLDEN FORK

PICKLED RADISHES IN A GLASS JAR, VIEW FROM TOP, , WHITE MARBLE CUTTING BOARD AND WHITE BACKGROUND


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