Looking out of my grey Berlin window brought back memories of Canada’s awesome beauty in the autumn. What a sight to behold seeing hills of Northern Ontario ablaze with bright reds and deep golden leaves.I count myself extremely lucky to have travelled to the floor of the Agawa Canyon which was created over 1.2 billion years ago. In the fall the colours there are nothing short of spectacular!
Thank you Charlene for sending me these photos of our autumn leaves. They remind me of fond memories of a place I once called home.
Shall we go to the kitchen now?
The kitchen was busy last week with plans for a dinner party and event catering. I enjoy the change of seasons because my ingredients also change. The markets are full of different squashes, pumpkins (kurbis in German), new potato varieties, fall flowers and garden accents for the table like Indian corn, miniature gourds and autumn wreaths.
It was an especially exciting week because my friend Jocelyn arrived in Berlin. Jocelyn Graef is an accomplished author, psychic and artist. Her cookbook The Low Fat Herbivore shows you how to make simple, fast recipes that will delight everyone and have them coming back for seconds. Long-time vegans will also appreciate her eclectic collection of easy and delicious recipes. Many appreciate her cookbook because she shows it doesn’t take a chef to make fantastic meals – or a lot of time. In anticipation of her visit I began planning different menus for our dinner together. This part of the planning is always fun for me. It is sooo much fun to cook for another vegan! In the end I decided to incorporate seasonal and local ingredients. I chose pumpkins and chestnuts as the theme throughout the menu.
From start to finish the entire menu took about 4.5 hours to prepare. When your mise en place is organised the whole cooking process is so much easier. In case you haven’t heard of the term before, it is pronouced me-zahn-plahs. Click the above link for the description. It is one of the kitchen essentials when cooking.
Below you’ll see two recipes. One for Pumpkin Cappucino with Red Curry – Cappucino von Kürbis und rotem Curry and BBQ Pumpkin Wedges with Coleslaw – Barbecue-Kürbisspalten mit Krautsalat.
Pumpkin Cappucino with Red Curry
1 small pumpkin (Hokkaido is a good choice because the skin is edible)
2 small onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cm ginger root, chopped
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2L veggie broth
150 ml coconut milk
juice and peel of one scrubbed organic lime
salt to taste, and light soya/tamari/shoyu sauce
For the soup
Wash the pumpkin, slice with a heavy knife and clean out the seeds. Rinse then cut the pumpkin, including peel in small pieces. Prepare the onion, garlic and ginger and add it all to a big pot with the pumpkin and broth. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Add the lime and coconut milk, then puree in a blender. Add salt and soya/tamari/shoyu sauce to taste. If it is too thick, add some more broth or water to thin. The soup should not be thick. Don’t forget to stir in some love.
For the coconut cream
250 ml coconut milk
2 stems lemongrass (peeled and roughly chopped)
4 kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian shops)
½ lime, peel and juice
salt to taste
red peppercorns for garnish
Add all the ingredients into a pot and cook for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Just before serving, blitz the cream with a hand-held blender or milk creamer) to a strong foam. Add the soup to a verrine or small glass and top with cream. Garnish with lightly crushed red peppercorns.
Notes: I designed this as a small appetizer rather than a full bowl of soup, hence the small “in glass” or “verrine” style glass, served with an espresso spoon. For this soup you need to show your guests how to eat it. Stir the cream into the soup and drink it like juice.
BBQ Pumpkin Wedges with Coleslaw
2 small pumpkins approximately 600g (Hokkaido is a good choice because the skin is edible)
2 garlic cloves
60g quince jelly or citrus marmelade
2 tablespoons soya/tamari/shoyu sauce
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
optional: 1 tablespoon hot sauce to taste (Franks, Cholula Chipotle, Sanchon Habanero)
450g cabbage (pointed spitzkohl, also known as sweetheart cabbage, is preferable)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white wine or balsamic vinegar
200g thick carrots
50g vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
optional: cayenne pepper
Wash the pumpkin, slice with a heavy knife and clean out the seeds. Rinse the pumpkin and slice thinly. Put into a large bowl and, with your hands, massage with salt, sugar and vinegar until soft. Thinly slice the carrots (or shred) and mix with the cabbage. In a small bowl, mix the Dijon mustard, yogurt and mayo until incorporated. Add to the cabbage and carrot mix. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Mix well. Refrigerate for one hour prior to serving, then mix again to incorporate the flavours. Taste and season if necessary.
Make the sauce. Mix the ketchup, jelly/marmelade, soya sauce, optional hot sauce, oil and a pinch of salt. Brush the pumpkin with the sauce and bake 25 minutes until the tops are nicely browned.
Plate the coleslaw and bbq pumpkin. Above it is garnished with sprouted black lentils and plated on Polish pottery from Boleslawiec. Berliners you can use ‘cress’ found in all grocery stores in the small cardboard garden boxes. Normally I would have made this very spicy but one of the German guests did not like spicy food. Spicy BBQ really tastes great 🙂
Let no one regard as light the burden of his responsibility. While so much ill-treatment of animals goes on, while the moans of thirsty animals in railway trucks sound unheard, while so much brutality prevails in our slaughterhouses… we all bear guilt. Everything that lives has value as a living thing, as one of the manifestations of the mystery that is life.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer, German theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician, Nobel Peace Prize