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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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Mozartkugeln

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Melt the dark chocolate carefully using a water bath.

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

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

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

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An Guadn!

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Raw Avocado Soup

Raw Avocado Soup

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  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 onion, copped
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon aniseeds
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • salt & pepper
  • water

Blend avocado, spinach, aniseeds, orange juice and water.

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Sprinkle with chopped onions and cherry tomatoes.

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Enjoy!

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! 😉

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Cook for another 5 minutes. Add parsley.

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¡Buen provecho!

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Danish & Vegan: Brændende kærlighed

Although Denmark is pretty close to Germany it was kind of hard to find someone to cook with. I mean many people said „yes – here I am“ but then last minute they had no time anymore. That happened like 4 times in a row. I have to admit that I was a bit angry with Danish people but then – I met Fenja.

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That 18 years old girl is a real sunshine and I enjoyed cooking with her so much that I forgot all those negative experiences with Danish people which I had before! 😉 Actually we made a dish that´s usually served on Valentine’s Day in Denmark. It´s pretty famous and I liked the idea to veganise it which was pretty easy.

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The dish is called “Brændende Kærlighed” which means „Burning Love“. It is presumably from the beginning of the 19th century – and originating from the rural areas in Denmark. Brændende Kærlighed – the original and the vegan version – is very easy and cheap to prepare and make. What I like most about it is how well the tastes of the different ingredients harmonize with each other.

Brændende kærlighed

  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • about 1 cup vegan milk (I used rice milk)
  • about 350 g smoked tofu, thinly sliced (with a peeler for example)
  • 5-6 onions, chopped
  • about 300 g pickled red beets
  • 1 bunch chives or/and parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • optional: rye bread

Bring potatoes to a boil. Let them cook for about 20-25 min.

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Fry onions and smoked tofu in olive oil – until they are very crispy and brown.

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Drain potatoes and mash them, stir in vegan milk until the mashed potatoes is light and airy. Season with salt.

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Put the mash potatoes onto a plate and make a hole in the middle. Fill it with the fryed smoked tofu and onions. Add some pickled beetroot pieces and sprinkle with chopped chives and/or parsley. Serve with rye bread if desired.

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Velbekomme!

Romanian & Vegan: Zacuscă de vinete

I have a very special connection to Romania. Not only that my boyfriend is half Romanian – two of my cats used to live on the streets of Bucharest before I adopted them. They are the cutest babies in the world! ❤

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Since the first one came to me one year ago I help to foster stray cats from Romania and try to find them a new home. If you have a heart for animals, think about becoming a foster home as well. It´s a wonderful way to help. I always looking for new foster places in Berlin by the way! Let me know if you are interested! 🙂

Now let´s switch to the cooking part! 🙂 No, I didn´t cook with any of my „Romanian cat friends“. The reason is that a girl from Constanța wrote me on facebook. She was reading my blog and was pretty eager to be part of it. I wish it would be like that all the time! Thank you for your enthusiasm Florentina!!

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Flori suggested something very important and useful for every vegan – a spread! It´s named Zacuscă de vinete. Zacuscă is pretty popular in Romania and after trying I absolutely know why. It´s a perfekt chrismas gift by the way and I really should have done more of it!

Zacuscă de vinete

  • 2 kg fresh eggplants
  • 1 l sieved tomatoes
  • 1 kg fresh bell peppers (the red ones are the best)
  • 1 kg onions, chopped
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 500 ml sunflower oil

Put peppers and eggplants in the oven at 200 degrees. Turn them from time to time until their skins blacken. Peel them off. Seed peppers. Chop eggplants and peppers into small cubes.

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Heat oil in a large pot and add onions. Season with salt & pepper. Let them fry until they are slightly golden.

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Add eggplants, pepper, sieved tomatoes and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

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Boil on low heat for about 1 hour, stirring repeatedly. Season again with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves.

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If you want to save it, spoon the mixture into sterilized jars (to sterilize them – boil in water bath for 10 minutes), seal them then boil the jars for about 20-30 minutes into a large water bath.

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Zacuscă tastes warm or cold. Serve with bread, pasta or on its own.

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Poftă bună!

Egyptian & Vegan: طعمية / Tamija / Ta’miya / Ṭaʿmīya

I´m a big fan of the Egyptian culture. I always was! My favorit jewel is a pendant shaped like the famous Eye of Horus. That´s why I really hoped to find someone from Egypt to cook with. Although Egypt is a paradise for vegans and vegetarians I have to confess it wasn´t easy! I wrote many, many people if they would cook with me via Skype and  when I almost lost hope I found Aman.

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Aman is one of the few vegetarians in his country. When I asked him to cook with me he was afraid that his English skills wouldn´t be good enough to tell me what I have to do. But I have to say – that was quite entertaining! 😉 We somehow created our own sign language to understand each other! And I still have to smirk when I think of our cooking adventure.

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We made طعمية / Tamija / Ta’miya / Ṭaʿmīya which is the Egyptian version of falavel. Instead of chick peas the Ta´miya are made of fava beans. We made so many of them I thought they would be enough for a year but they were gone surprisingly fast as you can not stop eating them! 😉

طعمية / Tamija / Ta’miya / Ṭaʿmīya

  • 500g fava beans, soaked for at least one day and peeled afterwards (you can buy peeled ones as well or you just do what I did and watch a movie while peeling them 😉 )
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic (yes 10!!), chopped
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • sesame seeds
  • oil

Blend the beans until you have a smooth paste. Add garlic and purée until ground.

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Add all the other ingredients except oil and sesame seeds and pulse until beans are thoroughly ground and mixture holds together.

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Heat enough oil in a saucepan for frying the ta´miya. Take mixture and make little balls which you sprinkle with sesame seeds. Flatten each ball slightly. Drop them into the hot oil – a few at a time. Fry until golden, 5-10 minutes. Take out and put on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining ta’miya.

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You also can refridgerate the mixture for up to one week or even freeze it.

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Enjoy with tahini.

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جيد الشهية