Veggies on the counter

Millet Breakfast Bowl

Posted in breakfast & brunch by veggies on the counter on December 8, 2013

millet bowl

Even though I have a few favourite foods and I’m, at times, fixated over some specific ingredients (this time around, pomegranates is what I’m obsessed with), I pretty much like to vary what I eat. I do not usually plan what I’m going to have; I’d rather go to the market and, based on what I find and seems to be the freshest produce, I make my own choices.

However, this “go with the flow” attitude doesn’t apply to breakfast. For breakfast, I almost always have oatmeal porridge with raw cacao and a sliced banana. When I say “almost always” I actually mean I’ve been having this very same breakfast, everyday, for almost 3 months in a row. Coming from a person who’s pretty curious when it comes to try plant-based foods and ingredients, this is a bit embarrassing. However, having acknowledged that, I’ve been trying to be a bit less predictive when it comes to breakfast fares. This millet bowl, even though sharing the same spirit as my dearest oatmeal porridge (creaminess, warmth…), is a totally different thing. Its flavour profile reminds me, somehow, of Halva, the greek dessert, because of the nuts and dried fruits. It’s sweet, creamy, comforting… and pretty much everything I crave in the cold autumn mornings.

collage

fruitsandnuts

I already have a couple more ideas for different breakfasts on my mind and, as this blog is lacking breakfast foods, I’m eager to share a couple more with you in the meantime. I’ll also come back soon with a few Christmas-inspired recipes. (;

Millet Breakfast Bowl

 (serves 4 to 6)

200 g  / 1 cup millet

1 tablespoon olive oil

45 g / ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped

35 g / ¼ cup golden raisins

1 big handful /35 g walnuts , finely chopped

1 strip of lemon or orange rind

500 ml / 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

125 ml / ½ cup water

80 ml / 1/3 cup brown rice syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium sized pot, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the millet and fry it in the oil, stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes).

Add the cinnamon, lemon or orange rind and salt to the millet, followed by the almond milk and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low. At this point, add the brown rice syrup, apricots, golden raisins and walnuts and give everything a good stir. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes. It’s ready as soon as the mixture is soft and creamy.

Serve and eat while warm, with an extra drizzle of brown rice syrup, a few more walnuts and some pomegranate seeds.

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Bolo-Rei

Posted in baked goods, desserts by veggies on the counter on December 19, 2011

One of the most typical cakes eaten in Portugal around this time of the year is Bolo-Rei (“bolo” stands for cake, “rei” for king). It’s one of those cakes I always enjoyed eating since I was kid (even though it isn’t a kids-friendly type of cake) and now, as a grown-up, I decided to try to bake it myself. I did it yesterday and, even though the cake is a bit of a project (it’s yeast-based, so it has to rise two times), the end result is way better than its store-bought counterpart.

Firstly, I decided to bake two cakes, basing them on different recipes (which only varied slightly in terms of method and rising times). Then, I thought, “why-not-to-go-a-little-bit-further-with-this” and substituted sugar for agave nectar, butter for olive oil, eggs for tofu, and also added spelt flour to one of the doughs (while the other one was made only with regular flour). I was really satisfied with how both cakes came out : they had a soft and bread-like inside, filled with lots of nuts and dried fruits. I finished things off by covering them with a tangerine glaze and toasted shredded coconut. The recipe I’m sharing with you is the one in which I used 100% regular flour: not because it tasted better or anything (the cakes had a similar taste), just that it was the one I actually ended up taking notes of (anyway, I’m pretty sure you could sub half of the amount of regular flour called in the recipe for spelt or any other whole grain variety).  Also, this time around I ended up measuring everything in grams, for which I apologise, even though I prefer to do it that way, especially when baking.

Bolo-Rei

(for one large cake)

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (60 ml) agave nectar

4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil

100 grams tofu, crumbled

6 tablespoons (90 ml) soy milk, plus a few extra tablespoons

15 grams fresh yeast

250 grams regular flour

80 grams raisins

80 grams almonds, coarsely chopped

40 grams walnuts, coarsely chopped

55 grams dates (7 units), pitted and chopped

For the tangerine glaze:

freshly squeezed juice of 4 medium-sized tangerines

2 tablespoons (30 ml) agave nectar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

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2 to 3 tablespoons of shredded coconut, toasted

1. In a blender combine the first 4 ingredients and mix until smooth. In the meantime, dissolve the yeast in a few tablespoons (3 to 4) of slightly warm soy milk. Add the yeast mixture to the tofu mixture, and run the blender once again, until everything is well incorporated.

2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and, gradually, add the liquid mixture. You’ll end up with a soft, sticky dough, which you want to knead for about 5 minutes (resist the urge to add more flour to it).

3. Transfer the dough to a slightly oiled large bowl, cover it with a clean towel, and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

4. Once the dough has doubled in size, it’s time to add the chopped nuts  (almonds and walnuts) and dried fruits (raisins and dates) to it. Knead the dough in the bowl for 1 minute, or until all the nuts and dried fruits are well incorporated into it.

6. Now, shape the dough into a log, joining the two ends together in order to form a crown. Transfer the cake to a large baking tray lined with parchment paper, cover it again with a clean towel and leave it to rise for additional 45 minutes.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (375ºF).

8. Bake the cake in the lower third of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until it slightly browned (see picture above) on top.

9. To make the tangerine glaze, add the tangerine juice, 2 tablespoons agave nectar and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to a small pan over medium heat, until it reduces and thickens up (do not forget to constantly whisk the mixture).

10. Once the cake is done, cover it with the glaze (you might end up having more than what you actually need) and sprinkle it with the shredded coconut.

Recipe inspired by Ingrediente Secreto, by Henrique Sá-Pessoa, published by Casa das Letras in 2011.