snacks

Veggies Farinata

My happiest time of everyday is sipping wine and munching on snacks in late afternoon.  People usually start aperitivo around 7-ish but I start mine a little earlier meaning let’s say around 5ish at home before I start preparing for dinner.  That’s because I am still semi-unemployed.  Yes, semi- it is.  Marco's business keeps me pretty busy sometime.  ;)

Due to my utmost passion for aperitivo, I’ve also been exploring to pair my glass of prosecco or white wine with somewhat healthier snacks such as oven roasted chips and roasted chickpeas.  I recently got a bag of chickpea flour and since it was my first time, I spent a bit of time doing some research.  And that’s when I learned about farinata.  Some people call it socca, some call it cecina or torta de ceci depending on the region.  Well, my source, and that is Marco (who else), calls it farinata but after I added those vegetables on it, it shouldn’t be called farinata anymore.  But who cares.  It was delicious!  That’s all it counts.  So hey, chickpea flour has become our new best friend.  

Veggies Farinata

Servings: 2 small farinata (I used a small 8 inches ovenproof skillet)

Preparation Time: around 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 cup chickpea flour 

1/2 - 1 cup water (depending on your flour)

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking 

Toppings: 

3-4 thin sliced eggplant

2-3 tbsp diced capsicum

2-3 tbsp thin sliced red onion

6-8 olives

2-3 tbsp grated mozzarella *optional for vegans

Instructions: 

  1. To make the mixture, whisk together chickpea flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and water in a large bowl.  Let the mixture rest for 20-30 minutes.  
  2. Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Preheat the skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.  
  3. Once the skillet is hot, remove it from the oven.  Pour 1/2 of the mixture to the skillet and assemble the toppings except for the grated cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes then add the grated cheese and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and ready to serve.   
  4. Repeat the same steps for the second slice of farinata.  

Ingredients to make a simple farinata are: 

1 cup chickpea flour 

1/2 - 1 cup water (depending on your flour)

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking 

To make the mixture, whisk together chickpea flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, chopped rosemary, and water in a large bowl.  Let the mixture rest for 20-30 minutes.  

Preheat the oven at 200ºC.  Preheat the skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.  Once the skillet is hot, remove it from the oven.  Pour 1/2 of the mixture to the skillet and assemble the toppings except for the grated cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes then add the grated cheese and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  

veggies farinata

Vegan Cuts Snack Box January 2015 Review

This is my first time being appointed as an ambassador for Vegan Cuts and here I am writing a review for their amazing January's snack box.  To tell you the truth, I was pretty nervous before because I wasn't sure what I was expecting.  I was worried about writing a review that I didn't like.  A few questions immediately came to my mind like what if I don't like those snacks?  What am I gonna say about that?  I certainly don't want to lie about it... 

I went berserk for no reasons.  The snack box was really good.  I'm not gonna hard sell it.  I'm just gonna tell you the ones that I liked the most and how I developed some easy peasy recipes to go with them.  My favorite snacks amongst all are 1) rosemary baked lentil chips and 2) organic black rice ramen (wheat & gluten free).  The lentil chips could be eaten just as it is or you could create some dippings to go with that.  I happened to have an avocado at home so I whipped up some fresh guacamole.  

As for the black rice ramen, I had it elaborated into 3 easy recipes.  This ramen is a healthier choice for those who love instant noodles.  I highly recommend it to the college students who don't have time to cook a full-blown meal during the finals.  Geesh, I wish I had that when I was a student back in the old days.  

I'm so grateful to have been chosen to write this review.  It was so much fun for me.  Thank you, Vegan Cuts.  

Vegan Cuts in brief:

  • ●  7­10 vegan snacks

  • ●  Sweet and savory: Chips, cookies, bars, chocolate, crackers, tea, and more!

  • ●  Mostly gluten­free snacks

  • ●  Mix of full and sample size products

  • ●  $19.95 a month

  • ●  Cancel anytime, though we doubt you'll ever want to

  • ●  Free shipping to the U.S.

  • ●  The Vegan Cuts Snack Box ships worldwide 

These were the goodies inside of the snack box from Vegan Cuts.

First thing I opened was the two bags of chips.  :) I also whipped up a fresh guacamole to go with them.  ProTings doesn't need dipping at all because the chips itself was pretty tasty already.  

Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients: 

1 avocado 

2-3 small cherry tomatoes, chopped into small chunks

1/2 lime juice and zest

1-2 tbsp chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper

1 bunch coriander, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Scoop out the flesh of an avocado.  Add red onion and garlic.  Add lime juice and season.  Mix well.  

2) Add a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika and garnish with chopped coriander before serving.  

My first attempt with the organic black rice ramen; gluten and wheat free is called "the budget ramen dish."  

Recipe for "the budget ramen dish" 

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to the packaging label (3 minutes)

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 egg, sunny side up

hot sauce

Instructions: 

1) To make the sauce to go with the cooked ramen, simply add sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.  Mix well.  

2) Coat the ramen with sauce and add an egg.  Garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion.  Add a dash of hot sauce to give an extra kick of this simple dish before serving.  

The second ramen recipe is with miso soup.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 3-5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

80-100g extra firm bean curd

1 small ball of cooked spinach

1 boiled egg, halved

2 buttoned mushroom, halved

80g daikon, sliced

1 handful dried seaweed

2-3 sugar snap peas

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp white miso paste

1 tbsp soy sauce

800ml vegetable stock 

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a small pot, bring the pot of vegetable stock to boil.  Add mushroom, daikon, and tofu.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Let the pot simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add soy sauce and miso paste.  Heat off.  

2) Pour the soup into the cooked ramen.  Top with a ball of cooked spinach and a boiled egg; drizzle a little bit of sesame oil.  Garnish with sesame seeds, dried seaweed, and spring onions before serving.  

Last but not least, black rice ramen with a korean twist! 

I made my all-time favorite Momofuku's red dragon sauce to go with this ramen.  

Organic Black Rice Ramen (Wheat & Gluten Free) with shredded dried seaweed, cucumber and carrot in Momofuku's Red Dragon Sauce.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

1 handful shredded cucumber

1 handful shredded carrot

1 handful shredded dried seaweed

1 tsp sesame seed

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

extra-virgin olive oil

For the Momofuku's red dragon sauce:

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp ssamjang

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sherry/apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cook onion for 4-5 minutes under medium-low heat.  Add the cooked ramen to the pan.  Mix well with the caramelized onion.

2) To make the red dragon sauce, simply add all ingredients together and mix well.  Add a tablespoon of red dragon sauce to the ramen.  Mix well.  

3) Transfer the ramen to a dish.  Garnish with fresh cucumber, carrot, sesame seeds, spring onions, and seaweed.  Add a few extra tablespoon of red dragon sauce to complete the dish before serving.  

Cheesy Chinese Zucchini & Carrot Patties

I love making patties because that is one of the best ways to clear my leftovers in the fridge.  Once again, this recipe was inspired by Chef Gordon Ramsay.  In his original recipe, he used haloumi cheese.  I didn't have any haloumi at the time but I had some aged cheddar cheese sitting in the fridge so I used that instead.  Instead of using any imported courgettes, I used the local Chinese zucchini.  You can easily find them at most of the supermarkets and wet markets in Hong Kong.  

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it doesn't hurt the wallet yet the taste remains magnificent and the kids would love it.  These patties are great to impress guests for small gatherings as a starter.  Most importantly, you don't need to go out of your ways to get these simplest ingredients.  

Happy cooking! :) 

Love, 

Cindy x

The taste and texture of these patties are magnificent.  Anyone who doesn't like veggies would somehow end up loving these patties.  

Servings: 5 patties

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients for the patties: 

1 chinese zucchini, grated

1 carrot, grated

2 eggs, whisked

1.5 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 garlic glove, finely chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1 handful fresh basil leaves * ( I used thai basil because that's what I found in the wet market), chopped

1/2 cup chopped spring onion

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Sprinkle some salt to the grated veggies and squeeze out any excess moisture.  Transfer the veggies to a large mixing bowl.  

2) Add garlic, cheese, fresh basil, spring onion, egg, and breadcrumbs.  Season.  Mix well.  

3) Form about 3cm thick patties with your hands and refrigerate the patties for about 20 minutes.  

4) Preheat a frying pan with a generous amount of olive oil on medium-low heat, cook each side of the patties for roughly 10-15 minutes until each side turns golden.  Reduce heat if necessary.  

5) Use a kitchen paper towel to soak up any excess oil.  Serve with the sweet and spicy sauce.  Recipe is below.  

In the original recipe, chef Gordon Ramsay used haloumi but I didm;t want to go to an international supermarket to get it so I just used some aged cheddar.  In fact, aged cheddar is a lot of cheaper so it's perfect if you are planning on a budget meal.  

Add garlic, cheese, fresh basil, spring onion, egg, and breadcrumbs.  Season.  Mix well.  

Form about 3cm thick patties with your hands and refrigerate the patties for about 20 minutes.  

Ingredients for the sweet and spicy sauce: 

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1/2 green chili, finely chopped

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1 drizzle extra-virgin olive oil

1 handful chopped coriander

Instruction: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Serve with the patties.  

cheesy chinese zucchini and carrot patties with sweet and spicy sauce

cheesy chinese zucchini and carrot patties with sweet and spicy sauce - enjoy :)