Author

Mihl

I have to admit that I don’t know much about Halloween. It has become very popular in Germany lately, mostly because companies and shops have been pushing it. When I grew up I only knew Halloween from US-American pop culture and I don’t think it would ever have occurred to us to celebrate it in any way. We didn’t celebrate All Hallows’ Evening, we kind of celebrated All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day, which, of course, is the day after Halloween. “Kind of celebrated” means that we might have had a day off from school so we’d get the chance to go to Catholic mass. And a day later, on Reformation Day, all my Protestant friends would get a day off from school. Kind of funny that we’d remember the saints one day before the Protestants celebrate that there are no saints. Or something like that.

Saxony is the area where the Protestant Reformation started and the 31. of October is a civic holiday here. And while many bakeries sell bright Halloween treats, you will also find a local bake right next to them. It’s a yeasted roll made from a very light stollen dough, which is decorated with jam and powdered sugar. It is called Reformationsbrötchen (Reformation Roll). It’s shape is supposed to look like a Luther Rose, although a very sloppy version. I have to admit that I do not know much about this baked good, I looked up both its history and a recipe online and adapted it. Instead of zitronat (German for candied citrus peel) I used dried and ground clementine peel. And instead of regular all-purpose flour I used gelbweizenmehl (yellow wheat flour). Yellow wheat flour is something I discovered recently. According to the mill’s website this flour is an old wheat variety which has a lot of carotenoids. They give the flour a light yellow tint. It makes for very beautiful plain rolls:

rolls made with yellow wheat flour (gelbweizen)

I couldn’t find much information about this kind of wheat online, but from my experience I can say that although this flour makes beautifully golden baked goods, you have to get used to working with it. A dough made with yellow wheat flour will need much less water than a dough made with regular all-purpose flour. That is especially the case for unenriched yeast doughs, it seems. For the following Reformationsbroetchen I didn’t have to make a change at all. Which means that you should just go ahead and make them with regular white flour.

To make dried ground clementine peel  – you can use lemons or oranges as well, but clementine peels dry much faster –  simply peel a couple of clementines and let the peels dry. This works faster if you place them on your central heating or dry them in the oven at a very low temperature. Then all you’ve got to do is pulverise the peel in a coffee grinder. (Or just use a teaspoon or two of freshly grated peel.)

clementines

 

Wow, I just realised that this post is all over the place! You probably wanna know how the rolls are, right? They are fabulous! Lots of juicy raisins, a couple of chopped almonds, and the clementine peel make them indeed taste like a very light stollen. Plus they have fig jam in the centre and lots of powdered sugar.

Reformationsbroetchen

Ingredients

500 g yellow wheat flour (or regular all-purpose), divided
20 g fresh yeast, divided
150 ml water
150 ml soy milk
100 g raisins
50 g sugar
50 g chopped blanched almonds
50 g margarine, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried clementine peel (or fresh, or lemon zest)
water for brushing
6 teaspoons red jam of choice
powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

To make the dough, place half of the flour in a large bowl.

Crumble 5 grams of fresh yeast over the flour and add the water.

Let sit for 5 minutes.

Knead everything into a stiff dough and let rise at room temperature for 5 hours. (Or over night in the fridge. If you use the fridge, let the dough come back to room temp before proceeding.)

Once your dough is ready, combine soy milk and raisins in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat immediately.

Let cool to room temperature, then stir in remaining yeast and sugar.

Stir until yeast is dissolved.

Add the soy milk mixture, the remaining flour, chopped almonds, margarine, salt, and dried clementine peel to the prepared dough and knead until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Place in a bowl, cover, and let rest for 45 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, about 36 x 48 cm.

Cut the dough into 12 12x12 cm sized squares.

Brush the corners of each square with a bit of water, then fold each corner into the centre and press down gently. Transfer the squares to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Cover with clean kitchen towels and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the centre of each roll.

Place 1 baking sheet in the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Repeat with the other sheet. Let the rolls cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve on the same day.

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2016/10/reformationsbroetchen-reformation-rolls/

reformationsbroetchen

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Hey, soon it’s that time of the year again! The Vegan Month of Food is coming to you in November. And although I thought last year was my last MoFo, turns out it’s not. And here’s a little preview to what we’re gonna do on Seitan Is My Motor.

Vegan MoFo originated in the US as did vegan blogging. In my opinion, MoFo very US-centered but every year lots of international bloggers, especially from Europe, are participating, too. Whenever I took part I always wanted my Vegan Month of Food to be about German cooking. And since the thing I can do best is cakes (or that’s what I like to think) I would concentrate my efforts on cakes. This year, I cannot do that. Baking can be super time consuming and even I, the sugar advocate, can only have so much sugar in a day. And a Vegan MoFo sugar high is too much, even for me.

I am almost working full-time now and I have a family. In the last two or three years I tried to still take part in Vegan MoFo full time and failed. This was mostly because I still did try to take the best photos I could and would write all of my posts in two languages. While working and trying to spend time with my family. And of course that didn’t go so well. So this year I am planning to do a part time MoFo, which means I am going to publish new content every second or third day during the month of November.

Since last year’s MoFo my life has changed a lot. I was a very trial and error kind of year. I wasn’t really sure in which direction I wanted to go, tried a couple of things, failed a few times and often felt really miserable. Now I finally have a job I really like. And it has to do with food, or more specifically with organic and often local food. It also has to do with trying to consume things in a more sustainable way. It’s great I get to think about these things at work now. It’s great I have co-workers I can discuss these things with and it has given me a lot to think about, especially when it comes to veganism and the way I as a vegan consume products. (A topic I have already discussed here.)

Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

So this years theme will be about German cooking again. But in a more general way. I am calling it Warming Winter Meals. I want to focus on colourful local vegetables and mostly local ingredients. Or on stuff that is new to me and I’ve always wanted to try. I am planning to use many ingredients, which are often used in traditional German cooking, too. Most of those ingredients aren’t that spectacular, because you probably use them too: Buckwheat, flax, oats, and kale are examples. But other ingredients may be very new to you like sea buckthorn, yellow wheat flour, or black pearl amaranth. Some of these foods aren’t really a German thing. Rather they are a result of diverse organic farming. (That black amaranth is grown in Austria, for example.) Some of them are trend foods, a result of the super food theme that is going on lately (like aronia berries or tiger nuts). To sum things up: I am trying to develop new recipes with traditional ingredients and traditional recipes with new ingredients.This is going to be fun and I hope you like the idea!

Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

Since MoFo is in November, I want to make my food as colourful as possible. If you have ever been to Germany in November, you will know exactly what I mean. It is the most depressing time of the year ever. It is dark and cold, often rainy and foggy. It’s the time where almost everyone wishes they lived on a sunny island somewhere in Southern Europe. Or at least anywhere where you can see the sun once in a while. But because we cannot have that, we can try our best to make warm and colourful food that will chear us up. And I hope I will have lots of that!

Like this mushroom bolognese I made a while back with local tomatoes. Tomato season is mostly over here now, I admit that. But this dish makes such a great contrast to the terrible grey sky I see when I look out of my window. And it makes me remember and savour all those great summer flavours. This year it seems that November has come very early.

Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

Mushroom Bolognese

2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
120 ml vegetable broth
400 g button mushrooms, minced in a food processor
2 tablespoons tomato paste
200 ml dry red wine
300 g chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika powder
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
1 teasoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cashew butter
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil or parsley for serving

Instructions

Place olive oil in a large pan and heat the oil over medium heat.

Add carrot, celery, pepper, onion, garlic and coriander seeds.

Fry for five minutes.

Add vegetable broth, mushrooms, tomato paste, wine, tomatoes, paprika, agave nectar, and soy sauce.

Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in cashew butter and serve with maccheroni or spaghetti and fresh herbs.

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2016/10/vegan-mofo-warming-winter-meals/

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Every year during spring and summer I put myself on an apple fast. I don’t eat them anymore because all of a sudden I think they are the most boring fruit in the whole world. In spring there’s rhubarb that suddenly seems so much more interesting. And then summer starts and brings fantastic berries and amazing stone fruits. Also, apple aren’t in season during summer. There’s really no need to eat them.

This year summer was long and I was still sweating in September. I bought a new jacket and haven’t used it so far. The berries disappeared though and made room for lots and lots of apple boxes with about ten to twelve different varieties. There were pears, too. (I only mention this because this apple cake can be made with pears as well.) Right now my favourite apple is called Santana. It’s originally from the Netherlands and a cross between one of my favourites, Elstar, and some fairy tale apple called Priscilla, with which Santana probably shares its beautiful bright red colour. Santanas are juicy and firm and have a perfect balance between sweet and sour, leaning a tiny bit more to the sour side. Which makes the perfect baking apples.

Santana Apple Cake

This is a simple apple cake recipe which may not look like much. I whipped it up on Friday before heading to work. I didn’t even use a proper recipe. I left it on the kitchen table and when I went on my break about three and a half hours later the cake was gone. Those coworkers just left some crumbs for me. But instead of complaining I’ll take that as a compliment for this cake. I made another one on Saturday and this time I managed to write down the recipe. Which was a bit tricky. For many German apple cakes (especially the one called versunkener Apfelkuchen – sunken apple cake),the apples are cut in a certain way and I found this very hard to translate and describe. You have to quarter the apples. (They are usually peeled, but I didn’t bother for my second cake and it makes a difference. So peel them.) Then you have to cut little lines on the backs of the quarters. Those have to be deep, but not so deep your apple quarters will fall apart. Cutting the apples this way will make them fan out after baking. It looks really pretty. You can see it very well in the first picture.

The only really special thing about this cake is one of its ingredients. Whenever I make something with apples I love to add a bit of nutmeg and a few scrapes of tonka bean. If you are from the US you are probably not familiar with this spice. It’s banned. And even in Europe, where you can buy it perfectly legal, it’s not commonly used. If you can find tonka beans, use them. If not just leave the spice out. The cake will turn out deliciously with cinnamon and nutmeg as well.

I am quite happy I do finally have some leftovers from the second cake I made. We’re going to spend our autumn vacation packing. We’re moving soon and have to put everything in boxes starting today. Also, my daughter’s birthday is coming up. Five. She’s going to be five. And gave me exact descriptions of everything. I already impremented her birthday invitation card ideas and now all there’s left to do is a cake. Which will probably end up on the blog at some point.

Happy Monday and have a great week!

Santana Apple Cake

Ingredients

For the filling
2 apples, suitable for baking, cored, peeled, and quartered
For the cake
180 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
150 g (3/4 cup) white sugar
30 g (2 tablespoons, packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground tonka bean
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 ml (3/4 cup) soy milk
90 ml (1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) rapeseed or other vegetable oil
For the streusel topping
150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
75 g (5 3/4 tablespoons) white sugar
55 g (1/4 cup) refined coconut oil, at room temperature
2 tablespoons rapeseed or other vegetable oil

Instructions

To make the filling, make fan shaped incisions into the apple quarters: With a small sharp knife make thin, deep lines on the back of each quarter. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 26 cm springform pan.

For the cake combine flours, baking powder, sugars, and spices in a bowl and mix.

Add liquid ingredients and stir until no lumps are left in the batter.

Pour into the pan.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining all ingredients.

Knead with your hands until you can form large crumbs.

Place the apple quarters on the batter (incisions up) and place the streusel on top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

Let rest for five minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2016/09/santana-apple-cake/

Santana Apple Cake

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I am not a jam maker. (Not always true.) It’s funny, isn’t it? I love to spend hours and hours on cakes but can’t be bothered to make such a simple food. One reason probably is that we don’t have a garden and that we buy our fruits at the store. Usually in quantities that we can eat in a day or two. Also, I have always been afraid of jam making. I remember that my grandmother canned cherries in a huge pot and all that hot water used for sterilizing and canning scared the heck out of me when I was a kid. Super silly, I know. Also, jams are usually vegan. I can buy a boatload every day. Plus, I think jam making is complicated. Case in point: the sugar discussion below. In Germany there are canning isles at the supermarket. It’s intimidating.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

But then fig season started. Of course all figs we get in Germany are imported and the season is super short. So every year I stuff my face with all the figs I can find. While buying figs I also realised that pomegranates already seem to be in season. I’ve always associated these with winter, just like oranges. Some things are available all year round, but they don’t really taste that great out of season (oranges again). The pomegranates at the store were all so shiny and red that I couldn’t resist buying some. And it turned out that they are much better now than in winter!

Both the figs and the pomegranate were sitting right next to local plums. And what a great colour scheme they made. I immediately saw a picture like this in my head.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

And then I saw them all together in a jar. Both figs and plums can easily be canned. The have to be diced and that’s it. While I really love the crunch of fig seeds, I am not so fond of the pomegranate seeds, at least not in a jam. But that problem can be solved most easily. Place the whole seeds in a food processor and pulse until most of the juice is released. Pour through a sieve and press out some more juice with your hands. Done.

For this fig, plum & pomegranate jam I also used ground dried lemon peel (You can find the recipe in my Instagram feed.) and ground vanilla.Both ingredients are optional but they make the jam so, so good. I love vanilla in jams. It gives them a special little something.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

When you make jam, you usually use the same amount per weight of sugar and fruit. Doesn’t get any easier. And although some people might not believe that sugar can be useful, sugar preserves the jam. The more the better. If you make sugar-free jam, that stuff will grow mold faster than you can say baby food. (i know, I know. You can freeze it. But still. I want sugar.) On the other hand fig jam can get too sweet pretty quickly. At least for my taste. And that’s why I used gelling sugar instead of regular sugar. When it comes to making jams, Germans have a couple of different sugar options: regular sugar or three kinds of gelling sugars. They all contain sugar and pectin. Pectin is also found in every fruit and his responsible for the whole gelling thing in the first place.

Because these days most people want to use less sugar for their jam and still want it to be shelf stable, gelling sugars often have additives such as citric acid and sorbic acid. Organic gelling sugars come without those. For my jam I used an organic sugar that called for two parts of fruit and one part of sugar. If you don’t have access to this kind of gelling sugar, you can do a couple of things: 1. Increase the amount of sugar. Same amount in weight as fruit. 2. You can add lemon juice to improve the acidity or you can cook the jam longer to release more pectin. 3. Buy some pectin and add some to the batch of jam you are making. 4. Make the jam as is. It will probably be runnier but it should still taste well.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

Ingredients

6 large figs (about 470 g)
250 g plums
seeds from one medium sized pomegranate (175 g/1 cup)
375 g gelling sugar (2:1)
1 teaspoon ground dried lemon peel (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla (optional)

Instructions

Dice the figs and the plums.

Place in a pot.

Place the pomegranate seeds in a food processor.

Pulse carefully until the juice is released.

Pour the juice into the pot as well.

Add optional lemon peel and vanilla.

Stir in sugar.

Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Stir from time to time.

Meanwhile sterilize a couple of jars (I used 3 medium sized jam jars) in a large pot. (Place jars in pot. Add cold water. Bring to a boil.)

Carefully place the jars on a kitchen towel right before your jam is done.

Fill the jam into the hot jars and seal them with a lid.

Let them stand upside down for five minutes, then turn them around.

Let cool completely.

Let the jam set in the fridge over night.

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2016/09/fig-plum-pomegranate-jam/

 

 

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