Archiv der Kategorie: The Challenge

Ethiopian & Vegan: Ni´tir Qibe – Ethiopian Spiced Butter

Hi everybody,

a while ago I tried a delicious ethiopian recipe I was sent and it´s about time to share it with you I guess. 🙂

It´s called Ni´tir Qibe. Don´t ask me how to pronounce it – I will most definitely fail – but what I can tell you is that this is the most delicious butter I ever tasted.

Originally it´s the main ingredient for another ethiopian dish – the very famous stew Doro Wat. But you could say, that nearly no meal in Ethiopia is made without Nit’ir Qibe, which gives the cooking its signature flavors.

I use it nearly for everything that needs a special seasoning. You can take it instead of oil to fry vegetables or tofu in it, it´s a delicious spread as well or you can use it to season rice or mashed potatoes, soups, dips or any dish you like – there are so many ways to use that spiced butter and it really smells fantastic.

Ni´tir Qibe


  • 250 g unsalted, vegan butter (i.e. Alsan)
  • 2 chopped red onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh basil leaves or 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cloves


Melt the vegan butter gently and slowly in a small saucepan. When the top is covered with foam, add the other ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer.


Simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes until the butter clarifies. As soon as the solids turn light brown, remove from the heat. Let stand until the spices settle.

Pour the liquid through a double layer of cloth or a very fine-mesh sieve into a jar or any other heat-resistant container. Let it cool down and keep it in the fridge. You can use it for a couple of months.


መልካም ምግብ – melkam megeb!


Bulgarian & Vegan: Тиквеник / Tikvenik

Last-minute rescue – that´s how I would describe my very last cooking date this year! A few weeks ago two lovely Bulgarian girls and I decided to cook together when they are coming to Berlin in Dezember. They came, they „were silent“, they said that they rather want to go out with me for a drink than to cook! Great! -.-

But I was very, very lucky. A few days ago surprisingly another Bulgarian woman wrote me a message suggesting to cook sth. with her at Christmas. We cooked yesterday afternoon the most delicious sweet pastry or better – strudel – you can imagine. So thank you Margarita – you are my hero!!!


And I can say now officially – I MADE IT! CHALLENGE COMPLETED!!!

This year I cooked with 50 vegans from 50 countries! The dishes of those 50 different countries mostly were surprisingly delicious and I really enjoyed to meet ALL of you! Thank you that you have been part of this incredible awesome project!!


Okay now let´s go back to my last cooking adventure. The strudel we made is called Тиквеник / Tikvenik. It is a very famous Christmas dish in Bulgaria and I know exactly why! It is absolutely yummy!!

Тиквеник / Tikvenik

  • 1 package vegan phyllo pastry (about 400 g) – you could make your own pastry of course – with the made phyllo pastry the dish is made much more faster
  • 500 g pumpkin (or squash) of your choice – I used butternut squash, grated
  • 100 g sugar
  • 100g walnuts, grounded
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • oil
  • powdered sugar, for serving

Grate the pumpkin and mix with sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. You also could boil the pumpkin and mash it but I prefered to put it in raw.


Take one of the phyllo sheets. Slightly oil both sides and roll out very thin. Spoon some of the pumpkin mixture over the pastry and roll it like shown in the pictures. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.




Take a baking pan or any round form – I used a spring form. Place the rolls around each other, spiraling them. You also could place them parallel to each other. They will taste the same! 😉



Bake at 180 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.


добър апетит!


Thank you for reading my blog this year! Although the challenge is completed the blog isn´t over yet! There are a lot more cooking adventures out there! And like always – I tell you everything about them! 🙂

Have a happy new year!

German & Vegan: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) or NEVER EVER buy SOYATOO Rice Whip

YES! Of course I include a German recipe in my challenge as well. A very special one – a very delicious one – a very famous one – Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake)! Supported by Nina, who loves to make cakes, I thought that would be the easiest of all things we could cook or bake. I was wrong!


The reason: the worst crap since there is vegan whipped cream – Soyatoo Rice Whip. Actually we planned to buy another cream but that brand was gone so we kind of had to take Soyatoo. I never was a fan of that brand. I once tried the bottled soy whipped cream of Soyatoo. The taste is disgusting. So we thought – Rice cream would be a better choice. Wrong again! The taste is just awful. I really don´t get it – how can that brand survive?? But that was not the worst thing!

There was no way to get that cream to stay firm! A real disaster for a cream cake! Just to be clear – the brand Soyatoo clearly sais that this cream would be able to get and stay firm! That´s why we bought it! Thanks to Nina´s cake utensils we were able to make the cake look kind of good but when we tried to cut it… just look what happened:


Anyway we wanted to try a piece but thanks to the disgusting taste of the cream – we just couldn´t eat it. So the only thing you can do with a cake full of Soyatoo rice whip – get rid of it:

Foto 15.12.12 00 27 49

But enough of that terrible cream experience. The recipe though is pretty good and if you are smart enough to take the right cream – I would suggest Richwhip or Codap HULALA whip – the cake will turn out pretty AND delicious! Promised! 🙂

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

for the dough:

  • 450 g flour
  • 350 g sugar
  • 600 ml water
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 packages vanilla sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 12 tablespoons oil

for the filling:

  • 800 g vegan whipped cream (don´t use Soyatoo!!!)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 glass sour cherries
  • 25 g corn starch
  • 3-4 tablespoons kirschwasser/cherry brandy or cherry juice for a non-alcoholic version
  • chocolate shavings

In a large bowl combine all ingredients for the dough.


Grease a springform. Pour the dough into the form. Put into the oven by 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.


Let the cake cool down completely wrapped in a wet kitchen towel. That way it will be easy to remove the cake of the form.


Split the cake horizontally in half so that you have two layers. Best is to set the top on the bottom and the bottom on top. That way the cake will be nice and smooth on top.


Drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Combine reserved juice, cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Let cool down.


Combine whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.


Put kirschwasser/cherry brandy or cherry juice on the bottom layer. Spread the layer with the cherries. Spread whipped cream on top.



Carefully put second layer on top.


Frost top and sides of cake with the whipped cream.


Garnish the top of the cake with cherries picked from the filling or maraschino cherries. Sprinkle the top with chocolate shavings. You also can gently press chocolate shavings onto the sides of the cake.


Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.


Guten Appetit! 🙂

Greek & Vegan: Μελομακάρονα / Melomakarona

Two month ago I got a message on couchsurfing from an American woman who told me that she is in love with my blog! Thanks again, Charley! 😉 She said, she knew the perfect Greek cooking teacher for my challenge. She surfed her couch once and told me to ask her if she would cook with me via Skype. And she did! 🙂


The woman I´m talking about is named Katerina – a very familar name for me – but that´s not the only thing we have in common. She´s vegan as well and she also has and loves cats. So we had many things to talk about while cooking.


Our „skype-date“ was devided into two parts. As it´s Christmas time we decided to make the most famous Greek Christmas cookies which are called Melomakarona. They are soooo delicious – my whole family fell in love with them on Christmas. You have to try them! It´s worth it and they are easier to make as it seems. 🙂

Μελομακάρονα / Melomakarona


  • 900 g flour
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 – 2 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cloves, grounded
  • 1 cup grand manier or contreau or any similar liqueur, cognac, brandy etc.
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 4 cups olive oil


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups agave nectar/syrup or maple syrup (I used agave)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5-6 cloves
  • about 600 g walnuts, roughly grounded

Mix the Soda in the orange juice. Add all the other ingredients (one at a time) and mix well. Work the dough with your hands. You will get a soft, slightly wet dough. That´s how it should be.


Pinch a small portion of dough. Shape in your palms into a smooth oblong shape, like you see in the picture.


Place the cookies on trays covered with baking sheets about 2 cm apart. Bake by 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes. They have to be light brown.


Let them cool down.


When the cookies are cold you can prepare the syrup. Mix all ingredients except the walnuts in a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and let it cook for another 5 minutes.


Place the cookies into the syrup. Let them sit for 2-3 minutes. Turn them and let sit for another 2-3 minutes.


Cover the bottem of a bowl with grounded walnuts. Take the cookies out of the syrup pot and place them into that bowl. Sprinkle generously with grounded walnuts. Repeat with all the other cookies.


Let them dry on baking paper.


Καλή όρεξη!

Austrian & Vegan: Mozartkugeln (Mozart balls)

As I told you before, I´m trying to help stray cats from Romania. We needed more space to get the cats of the streets of Bucarest. That´s why I looked for more people who would agree to foster a cat until we find a new home for the animal. That way I found Anna from Austria. She’s living in Berlin now where she studies Photography.


Anna is vegan as well so I asked her to cook with me. We decided to make Mozartkugeln (Mozart balls) which are delicious pralines made of green pistachio marzipan covered in a layer of nougat and dunked in a dark chocolate coating.


The Mozartkugel, originally known as the “Mozartbonbon”, was created by the Salzburg confectioner, Paul Fürst, in 1890 and named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. That delicious treats are the perfect christmas gift by the way! 🙂 Be sure to make a huge amount because they are gone very, very fast as they are more than delicious. 🙂



  • 200 g marzipan
  • 200 g nougat
  • 25 g pistachios, roughly grounded
  • 2 tablespoons kirschwasser/cherry brandy or cherry juice for a non-alcoholic version of mozart balls
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 100 g powdered sugar

Take the nougat and cut it into small pieces. Form each piece into a small nougat ball. Put into the fridge.


Mix the marzipan, half of the powdered sugar, the kirschwasser/cherry brandy (or cherry juice) and the grounded pistachios until you have a smooth paste.


Sprinkle your working surface with the rest of the powdered sugar. Form the marzipan dough into a long roll and cut it into as much pieces as you have nougat balls.




Flatten a marzipan piece. Take a nougat ball and cover it with with the marzipan layer. Bring it into ball shape again. Repeat with all the other balls.






Melt the dark chocolate carefully using a water bath.


With the help of a tooth pick dunk every marzipan-nougat ball into the chocolate.


Set aside to dry – on a tray covered with baking paper.


Carefully take out the tooth picks. Close the remaining whole with chocolate.


An Guadn!



Moldovan & Vegan: Fasole făcăluită

The Romanians and Moldavians share a very similar cuisine so I was really happy to learn another recipe that belongs to that region. My teacher this time was a Moldovan girl named Katya. Yes again – a female cook! 😉

Foto 17.12.12 23 51 22

Katya lives in Tiraspol – the second largest city in Moldova. Tiraspol is the capital of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Transnistria). And the people there obviously know how to cook delicious meals.


Katya teached me a very popular Moldavian bean dish called Fasole făcăluită. You can eat it as spread, dip or on it’s own. It´s very warming and filling – perfect for the winter.

Fasole făcăluită

  • 1 cup white beans, soaked over night
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt & pepper

Cover beans with water. Bring to a boil. Change water. Bring to a boil again. Add carrots and bay leaf. Cook until beans are soft.


In the meantime heat oil in a frying pan. Add onions. Add tomato paste. Stir frequently and cook until caramelized and a light golden color. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Season with salt & pepper.


Drain beans and carrots. Add garlic. Mash the mixture. If too dry add some water. Add salt to taste.


Serve mashed beans warm or cold with the onion tomato-mixture on top.


Poftă bună!

Bolivian & Vegan: Sopa de maní (peanut soup)

Franca contacted me on Facebook. She read about my project and wanted to be the Bolivian part of „vegan international“. I liked that idea very much – as you know – I LOVE the South American cuisine.


Veggi Franca lives in Sucre – one more reason why she is perfect to be part of my project! 🙂 The cooking (via skype) with her was so funny and entertaining that we made out a second „cooking date“ allready. We want to make an Bolivian christmas cake then.


But this time we made a delicious peanut soup called Sopa de maní which originally is from Cochabamba, Bolivia. Sopa de maní is typically made with beef ribs or chicken, which we replaced with soy meat. But you don´t need to do that because it also works well with vegetables only. Just take the double amount of vegetables in the recipe and it will be fine and delicious without the soy cubes.

Sopa de maní

  • 1 cup fresh peanuts
  • 400 g soy cubes, soaked in hot water and drained
  • 1 big carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 – 5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper or more/to taste
  • some fresh parsley, chopped
  • peanut oil
  • salt & pepper

Place the peanuts in a blender or food processor. Blend them until you have a thick, relatively smooth paste – like peanut butter. You can add water if really necessary.


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add first the onion and garlic, later the carrot and the soy cubes. Cook until carrots are soft. Season with salt & pepper.


Pour in about 3l water or vegetable stock. Add potatoes and peanuts. Add cumin and cayenne. Stir well. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes.


Add peas and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.


Cook for another 5 minutes. Add parsley.


¡Buen provecho!