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Mushroom Bolognese for Vegan MoFo #vgnmf16

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


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


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.





Hamburg Vegan | Vegan Month of Food 2015

A Trip to Hamburg

by Mihl

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: Hamburg!

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


marinated eggplant sandwich | Vegan MoFo 2015

Welcome back to another day of Vegan Mofo 2015. Best sandwich ever? Ar you kidding me? I don’t have best sandwich recipe ever, but I have a best sandwiches ever book. Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day came out three years ago and I still use it on a regular basis. It’s been a life saver during this crazy hot summer, even though many recipes call for baking or frying something. But it’s easy to make a lot of things in advance and have them handy once you get super hungry and don’t feel like preparing an elaborate meal. The following recipe shares the title “Best Sandwich Ever” with several other recipes in this book by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes and it has been on our plates several times since the book came out. I love that there are two different marinades, which are also very flexible. Instead of Cajun spice mix I have used curry or berbere. Both the tofu and the eggplant slices make a lot. I usually store them in the fridge and use them as sides for other dishes as well. (If you cut the tofu into slices thinner than 1/4 inch.)

marinated eggplant sandwich | Vegan MoFo 2015

Marinated Eggpland Sandwich {Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day}

4 Sandwiches


For marinated eggplant
1 small (14 ounces, or 400 g) eggplant, cut in half widthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch (6-mm)-thick slices
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Cajun spice mix
2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
For tofu
1/4 cup (60 ml) white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (15 g) nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound (454 g) super-firm or extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut lengthwise into four 1/4-inch (6-mm) steaks
For sandwiches
1/2 cup (112 g) vegan mayonnaise
4 sub sandwich rolls or mini baguettes, 6 inches (15 cm) long, cut in half and lightly toasted
1 1/3 cups (96 g) shredded lettuce


To make the marinated eggplant: Preheat the broiler to 450°F (230°C, or gas mark 8).

Place the eggplant on one or two large baking sheets.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil with the vinegar and Cajun spice mix.

Lightly brush this mixture on both sides of the eggplant slices.

Broil for 4 minutes on each side, or until dark brown.

In the meantime, in another small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil with the Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.

Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven.

Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the Worcestershire mixture and let them cool on a wire rack.

Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving, or even better, up to overnight.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To get the best out of the flavors, bring back to room temperature before serving.

To make the tofu: Combine the vinegar, oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large rectangular shallow dish.

Add the tofu and turn to coat thoroughly; let marinate for 30 minutes.

Decrease the oven temperature to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7).

Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Note that the tofu will become chewier once cooled.

To assemble the sandwiches: Spread 1 tablespoon (14 g) mayonnaise on each side of the roll.

Place 1/3 cup (24 g) shredded lettuce on top.

Place 1 tofu slice on each sandwich and place 4 to 6 slices marinated eggplant on top.

Serve immediately.


Recipe from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes. Fair Winds Press 2012. Recipe published with kind permission from the author Celine Steen.


blackcurrant and lavender pie | Vegan Mofo 2015

Blackcurrant and Lavender Pie

by Mihl

Today’s Vegan Mofo challenge is called “Tell us about a weird food combination that you love.” Ha, good one. I don’t think I like a single weird food combination. I am very boring when it comes to flavours and sweet and sour is already too much for me. When I think about new recipes for this blog, I usually go for complementing and supporting flavours. Some of these combinations could be labeled as weird. For example, I like tart berries a lot and I like to exaggerate their flavour by pairing them with herbs. Black currants, sea buckthorn, blackthorn (sloe) are rarely sold at stores. They haven’t made it next to the much sweeter varieties such as raspberries, strawberries, and cultivated blueberries. Black currants, sea buckthorn berries, or sloes all have different flavours, but they have one thing in common. If you taste them, their flavour makes you think of Scandianvian forest, of moss and water drops on dark green leaves. You can smell conifers and moldy soil. Or in the case of sea buckthorn you can feel the wind in your face and hear the waves.

These berries have a complex flavour, a hint of intractability, that is not pleasant for everyone. Some of their flavour comes from the essential oils and tannins present.  That is why they are not widely popular, I think. But this is what makes them so outstanding. Herbs usually have essential oils, too and that’s why they go so well with tart berries.  My favourite combination used to be berry plus rosemary, but this year I finally made use of the lavender bush in our yard. I used two teaspoons of dried lavender buds, but you can halve the amount, if you don’t trust this flavour combination. But that probably doesn’t count as weird anymore. If you don’t have black currants available you can use blueberries.



Black Currant and Lavender Pie


For the crust
210 g (1 3/4 cups) flour
200 g (2 2/3 cups) ground hazelnuts
100 g (1 sifted cup) powdered sugar
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated brown sugar
110 g (1/2 cup) soft refined coconut oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping
450 g blackcurrant jam (storebought or homemade)
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds


To make the crust, combine all ingredients except for the oils in a bowl.

Add coconut and vegetable oil and knead until a crumbly dough forms.

Reserve 1/4 of the dough for the topping and form the remaining dough into a disk.

Wrap in foil and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a round pie or tart pan with a diameter of 28 cm (11 inches).

Roll the dough out between two sheets of plastic foil and press into the bottom and the edges of the pan.

For the filling combine jam and lavender buds. (If the jam is very thick you can heat it for easier handling.)

Pour into the crust and form the reserved dough into large crumbs.

Distribute on top of the cake.

Bake for 35 minutes and let cool completely before removing from the pan.


black currant lavender pie

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