seitan is my motor

Tuesday

8

September 2015

7

COMMENTS

A Trip to Hamburg

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Today’s Vegan MoFo Promt has to be tweaked because I didn’t stumble on a new vegan on my way out of the door. (I could probably have ambushed them in one of the vegan restaurants here in our street. But, well.)

So I am not telling you about a new vegan friend I made recently. Instead I am telling you about my new favourite vegan friendly city here in Germany. (Move over Berlin, it’s about time!)

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Hamburg is a wonderful city. I’ve been there a couple of times when I was a kid. We would usually go by car, driving through the long Elbtunnel, which made it extra exiting for us. Especially because there was a traffic jam right in front of it every single time. Now I live finally ive right next to this river, but it’s much smaller here, no big ships to watch, and people speak a dialect I am still not used to. Travelling to Hamburg happens rarely. (And if it happens, we have to listen to this German song.) But this year, when we planned our vacation, we thought it would be in order to stop here for a couple of days to visit friends.

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

When we were looking for food and restaurants online, it was really hard to choose from an abundance of options. On the day we arrived we drove to a vegetarian restaurant, which seems to have been in Hamburg for 38 years now. (Not under the same name though.) The Tassajara had a daily lunch special plus several other daily specials and a long menu to choose from. Many options were vegan or veganisable and I ordered a seitan dish from the menu. When I asked for the vegan option, they offered to make the green pepper sauce with coconut milk instead of regular cream.

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

The green pepper sauce was delicious and the seitan had exactly the right texture. I also got a salad on the side. The service at this restaurant was absolutely wonderful, too. Although F was in a super bad mood due to being tired, they were very sweet and tried to make her comfortable as well. And if you successful at making a crabby three year old comfortable, you’re good at your job.

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

We had rented a flat in the Ottensen neighbourhood and tried to get some reservations at a local vegan restaurant. They had no free tables though and told us to book at least a week in advance. At first I was impressed and thought the place must be fancy. But then a friend, who’s been living in Hamburg forever, told us that this is standard procedure in most restaurants. If you want a table, you need to book it early. Since we are absolutely not used to this (We just walk in and sit!) and were only staying for a couple of days, we had to improvise a bit. Instead of eating out for dinner, we tried our luck at lunch. I am happy we did because I got to eat a mindblowing coconut chickpea curry at Veg Out.

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Veg Out is a small vegetarian place in Ottensen. It doesn’t have too many seats and it’s more like a diner. (The German word for this is Imbiss, which can also be translated as small meal.) The service is fast and I think they mostly cater for people looking for food during their lunch break. Due to the small room it was a bit hectic. But the food was so worth it and the prices were very reasonable. Our food arrived super quick and as I said, my curry was outstanding. Creamy, fruity, and perfectly spiced. I also ordered a lentil soup for F. But of course I forgot to ask if it was hot. And of course it was, at least for F. who cannot tolerate even the tiniest amount of pepper or chili. I liked the soup, although there was a bit too much of curcuma in it. We ended up sharing it all together and left the restaurant pretty stuffed.

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Then we wandered around the neighbourhood and found a cute candy shop. They were making candy right at the counter when we entered, which, of course, was our death sentence. We had to buy some! (Bonscheladen means candy store. Bonsche(n) is Northern German/Lower German for hard candy.)

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

After that we still had room for some sugar. When P was in Hamburg one or two years ago, he already told me about an amazing ice cream store with lots of wonderful vegan options he had found. So  we had to check that out as well. (And yes, our kid had a giant lolly pop and some ice cream on the same day within the same hour. It happens.)

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

On that day, Eisbande had more vegan options than non-vegan ones and they all looked great. I went with Mousse au Chocolat and Schniggers (Northern German pronunciation/malapropism of Snickers). Both taste and consistency were perfect. I just found the names a bit misleading. The Schniggers version was more like stracciatella with some peanuts, and Mouse au Chocolate must have been made with a ton of cocoa powder instead of chocolate. (This is just my personal pet peeve and not their fault.) I am not saying it was bad, because it really wasn’t. Just not what I had expected.

There would have been so much more to explore in Hamburg and now that I know how vegan friendly this city is, I’ll definitely come back more often!

Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

 

Monday

7

September 2015

18

COMMENTS

Grand Budapest Hotel & Courtesan au Chocolat

sloppy courtesan au chocolate | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Since this blog is about food, I rarely get to talk about other things I like. But today’s Vegan MoFo promt is the perfect occasion to change that. I like books and films a lot and I like it even more when films are about books and writers. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a film about writers. Sort of. It’s also a  film about the author Stefan Zweig, whose works have inspired Anderson’s movie. (Also sort of. If you haven’t seen this movie, go watch it, it’s hard to describe. I promise it’s going to be fun!) In addition the director credits several old films, like Grand Hotel. Grand Hotel by the way is based on the fabulous Novel Menschen im Hotel (Grand Hotel) by Vicky Baum. There are other novels that could act as the model for this movie, like Hotel Savoy by Joseph Roth

I have read Zweig’s The World of Yesterday but not the other works Anderson mentions. When I first saw Grand Budapest Hotel I was absolutely amazed by the fictional world Anderson had created. In the movie everything was torn apart and put back together in a way I have never seen before. The setting is a hotel in the fictional Central European country Zubrowka. The town around this hotel has similarities to Eastern European spa towns. Most of the the material was shot in Görlitz though, a small and beautifully renovated town right at the Polish border. It’s not far from Dresden where I live and it has become a popular US-movie location. Dresden also plays a little part in the Grand Budapest Hotel, I recognised a couple of streets and museum halls. In one of the most fascinating scenes in the movie a couple of characters chase each other through such a hall. Then they leave though a door and we find them back in Görlitz or somewhere else, but definitely not behind the museum in Dresden. Admittedly, this movie is not a documentary. And Anderson makes no secret of the fact that “the places [he] had envisioned just didn’t really exist anywhere“. He says he’s interested in the invention, he’s not trying to be realistic. He definitely has accomplished that. I recognised many buildings but couldn’t follow the characters’ paths because they were invented. I recognised the time period Anderson was covering but his interpretation was completely different both from the fictional and non-fictional works I have read about this period before. As I said, he put everything together again in a completely new way, even the tiniest details. The German location names used are funny and absurd and the spelling of many things is only superficially German (or French). I don’t know that much about Wes Anderson but his socialisation outside of Europe seems visible in all these details. (Or maybe he did it on purpose.)

For example, there’s a bakery in this movie called Mendl’s. In German this would be Mendl or Mendls Bäckerei. No apostrophe, I would say. At least not back at that time. Then again I might be wrong. I am siding with Konrad Duden here, who published Germany’s most influential dictionary. Thomas Mann on the other hand used apostrophes with genitive cases. So we’re probably lucky he wrote great novels instead of designing and printiong bakery signs. Anyway, Mendl’s supplies everyone with a pastry called courtesan au chocolate, which is again a mix of English and French words. Those courtesans au chocolate are a colourful and elaborate version of the French pastry Religieuse. For the movie this version was invented in a bakery in Görlitz and the recipe is online. The funny thing is that they used a dairy shop in Dresden, Pfunds Molkerei,  as setting for the pastry shop. I’ve only been there once in my pre-vegan days, not to buy cheese, just because it’s an outstanding location and a tourist magnet. I only lasted ten seconds though because it was smelly as hell in there. So I cannot really imagine it turned into a bakery, even if it’s only for a few scenes. Those poor actors. Beautiful pastries smelling like aged cheese. Whatever, let’s finally get to today’s topic: “Make something inspired by a book or film.” I did not only veganise the original recipe, I changed the whole thing. Because  my recipe is how I has imagined the courtesans before learning about the recipe. It’s my version of the story!

Note: For the food colouring I tried to go with natural dyes, but I think artificial ones would have been better. My colours came with a taste and I didn’t like both the matcha and the blueberry plus soda versions that much. So if you have access to artificial vegan food dyes, I recommend to use them.

P.S.  We’re on the last day of our vacation and I am writing this recipe on the road. The recipe plugin isn’t working that great on our tablet. Sorry if the ingredient list looks a bit confusing. I’ll fix that as soon as we’re home.

Grand Budapest Hotel & Courtesan au Chocolat

Ingredients

For the doughnuts
240 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
120 ml (1/2 cup) soy milk
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 pinch salt
1.5 to 2 litres of oil, suitable for frying
For the ganache
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
60 ml (1/4 cup) soy milk
160 g chopped dark chocolate
For the glaze
150 g (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar, divided
vegan red food colouring (I used 1 teaspoon. Adjust according to your package directions.)
1-3 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon matcha powder
2-3 teaspoons lime juice
2-3 teaspoons blueberry juice (from cooked blueberries)
1 pinch baking soda
For the icing
55 g (1/2 cup) refined coconut oil or shortening, softened
50 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the doughnuts, combine flour and yeast in a bowl.
  2. Add milk, sugar, oil, and salt to a small pan and heat until luke warm.
  3. Add to the flour mixture and knead for about 7-10 minutes, or until your dough is firm and doesn't stick.
  4. Cover the dough and let it rest until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough into 4 equally sized pieces and use differently sized cookie cutters to cut each piece into 3 differently sized disks. Note: This is what I did. It's easier just to roll each piece of dough into 3 differently sized balls.
  6. Use leftovers to make 4 additional small balls, about the size of a grape.
  7. Let the disks or balls rest (covered) until doubled in size.
  8. Heat the oil in a pot. If you choose a smaller pot, you'll need less oil. Just make sure that the doughnuts will be able to float and not stick to either the bottom of the pot or to each other. Use a candy thermometer. The oil should be around 160°C to 175°C, and definitly not hotter than 180°C.
  9. Fry the doughnuts for 1 or 2 minutes, or until crispy and browned.
  10. Transfer to some pieces of kitchen paper towels to drain off excess oil.
  11. To prepare the ganache, mix sugar and cornstarch and set aside.
  12. Place soy milk and chopped chocolate in a small pot.
  13. Heat carefully until the chocolate has melted. Make sure the chocolate doesn't burn and stir.
  14. Remove from heat and add sugar mixture. Whisk until silky.
  15. To fill the doughnuts, use a pastry bag with a long and small pastry tip. Use the tip to poke a hole into the big and medium sized doughnuts and then pipe some of the ganache into them. This takes a little experience but after a couple of doughnuts you should get the hang of it.
  16. To make the red glaze combine 50 g (1/2 cup) of powdered sugar with red food colouring and 1-3 teaspoons of water, depending on the amount of food colouring you used. The glaze should be silky and not too runny.
  17. Dip the small doughnuts into the glaze and let them dry on a cookie rack.
  18. To make the green glaze, combine 50 g (1/2 cup) of powdered sugar with matcha powder and lemon juice.
  19. Dip the medium sized doughnuts into the glaze and let dry.
  20. To make the purple glaze, combine 50 g (1/2 cup) of powdered sugar with baking soda and blueberry juice.
  21. Dip the large doughnuts into the glaze and let dry. The glaze will change its colour after a while and turn purple/blue purple.
  22. Dip the grape sized dough balls into leftover ganache and let dry.
  23. To make the frosting, place coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small food processor. Whip until smooth, add vanilla and whip again.
  24. To assemble, piple some frosting onto the large doughnuts and top with a medium sized one.
  25. Top the medium sized doughnuts with frosting and add a small one.
  26. Place the grape sized dough ball on top.
  27. Now try to eat this!
http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2015/09/grand-budapest-hotel-courtesan-au-chocolat/

 

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sloppy Courtesan-au-Chocolat