Qui veut des paratas? : Les Vendredis Francophones

Que-sont les paratas?  Similaire à des tortillas mexicaines, ces petites galettes indiennes s’invitent au repas facilement comme elles se préparent en un clin d’oeil et sont très facile à réaliser;  il vous faut 35 minutes en tout : 15 minutes de repos, environ 15 minutes pour la préparation et cinq minutes de cuission.  C’est du vrai “fast food”!

Lors de ma première visite à Londres j’ai pu enfin déguster de la vraie cuisine indienne.  Encore lycéenne, j’étais logée par une famille d’accueil fort sympathique qui ne se contentait pas de m’emmener au vulgaire resto du coin.  Pour mon repas initiatique c’était confection de repas en famille avec des petits plats maison mijotés avec amour.  Pauli, cuisinière accomplie, m’a montré comment confectionner  les paratas, et c’était la première fois que je faisais à manger – ou en tout cas aider – dans la cuisine.  Ce fut une soirée inoubliable, et je pense à eux à chaque fois que je fais  des paratas.

Ne soyez pas intimidés par les explications – vous verrez, c’est facile!  Suivez le guide…

nos paratas qu’on aime tant!

Pour 8 paratas

300 g de farine complète

1/2 c. à café grains de lin (facultatif)

1/2 c. à café lin de tournesol (facultatif)

2 pincées de sel fin

200 ml lait soja

8 c. à café de beurre végétal (St. Hubert Bio)

1) Dans un grand saladier, mélangez la farine avec le sel à l’aide d’une cuillère en bois.

2) Ajoutez petit à petit le lait, jusqu’à l’obtention d’une pâte souple et homogène.  Malaxer juste un peu : si votre pâte est trop humide, ajoutez un peu de farine, si à l’inverse elle est trop sèche ajoutez juste un peu de lait, une cuillère à café ou plus si nécessaire.

3) Laissez la pâte reposer 15 minutes.

4) Partagez la pâte en 8 boules.

5) Etalez les boules au rouleau pour former 6 galettes d’environ 15 cm de diamètre.

6) Déposez sur chaque galette 1 c. à café de beurre et étalez.

7) Roulez les galettes sur elles-mêmes afin d’obtenir 8 cigares.

8) Maintenant nous allons faire des escargots!

9) Etalez chaque escargot pour former une nouvelle galette.

10) Maintenant cuisez vos galettes dans une petite poêle anti-adhésive préalablement graissée avec un peu de beurre.

11) Ces galettes sont meilleures servies chaudes, directement de la poêle, donc servez-les sans attendre!

*ben ouais, il fait nuit à l’heure du dîner…désolée pour les photos jaunes!

Knitting for a niece (or a nephew?) : W.I.P. Wednesday

I’m very excited about being “Auntie Shellyfish” again (wee!), and thought I would put some of these new knitting needles to use for my future niece or nephew…though I’m sure the baby is a girl.  Don’t ask me why, just a hunch.

I got my first stitches cast on to make this sweet little hat.  I’m limited to using the yarn in my little stash, but wish I could use more vivid colours.  I’ve got more white and lilac baby yarn that I used for this scarf, and it should look sweet.  That yarn is so very soft, it’s a shame I don’t have more of it.

I’m also hoping to make these little booties because they are just so cute!  I love baby feet so much – baby toes are perhaps the cutest thing in the world, they must be protected! The pattern seems pretty easy (read : I can figure it out) so if I have enough yarn left over after the little beanie I’ll give it a go.

I’d have liked to use the blue pictured above for both the hat and the booties, but over the holidays Sam somehow managed to make his way into my workshop and he took out his frustration of being left at home on everything he found.  I was a bit heart-broken because he gnarled up 5 skeins of baby yarn I’d been saving.  More than gnarled up – they were stinky, too – so I had to trash them.  He also ate a few gifts I’d just finished making, which was a very heavy lesson in impermanence and in the absolute fleeting nature of the universe.  Sigh.

Have you had any of your works of love destroyed by a small child or pet?  I’m sure you have!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

A very delicious & low-fat chocolate cake…

If you took a peek at last week’s Les Vendredis Francophones then you saw this delicious chocolate cake I made for my mother-in-law’s birthday last week.  This is one of those cakes that will give your guests the impression that you’re a master pastry chef, and it is so crazy-easy that you’ll find yourself making it again and again.  I know that vegan cakes can sometimes run on the “heavy” side, but this one has a light, tight crumb that will leave people doubting it’s really vegan…

After a little trial and a bit of error, I bring you this low-fat delight with but a mere 40g (about 3 tbsp) of butter – apple sauce replacing the initial 3/4 cups the original artery-clogging recipe called for.  Tasty and modest in the fat department?  Who would have thought?

Serve this rich chocolate cake with a cup of espresso, or with your favourite non-dairy ice cream for extra-special birthday (or any day) fun!

low-fat vegan chocolate cake

2 tbsp Ener-G (or egg replacer of your choice for 2 eggs)

4 tbsp water

180 g brown sugar

40 g non-dairy butter, softened

225 ml apple sauce

60 ml soy milk

100 g unsweetened cocoa powder

200 g AP flour

1 tbsp corn starch

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and butter and flour a 25cm bunt pan.

2) Using an electric mixer, beat the Ener-G and water until frothy, then add the butter and sugar and continue mixing for about 5 minutes.  Next, add the soy milk and apple sauce and blend until smooth.

3) Sift in the cocoa powder, corn starch, flour and baking powder, and blend with a wooden spoon until “just mixed”.  If you stir too much you’ll have a chewy cake, and that would be sad.

4) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 or 15 minutes, then gently reverse it onto a cooling rack.

5 ) This cake is quite lovely naked, but you could of course get fancy-pants with some chocolate ganache or lemony powdered sugar icing...and don’t forget the sprinkles!

bon appétit!

Meal Plan Monday: Theme-Night Family Fun & More tester treats…

Despite the amazing weather and sunshine, I’m feeling the January “blahs”.  I’m not sure if you experience these, but for me it happens shortly after the holiday decorations come down and the afterglow of December’s festivities is as dark as these winter mornings and evenings.  I am, if you will, like a flower…I need long days of sunshine and gentle warm breezes to nourish me.


What do you do when you get the winter blahs?  This week The Fish Family will be having two “theme-nights” to break up the monotony of January.  Yes, we are throwing caution to the wind and serving up some festivesauce with an Irish Night and an Indian Night.  You’re jealous, aren’t you?

As many of you know, it really is the little things that matter, and though it might seem silly to tell Guppy, “Tonight, we’re travelling to India…” and spend our dinner talking about the animals, stories and people we could relate to the country of India, for the curious 5 year-old she is, it’s rather exciting.  I recycled a few old lesson plans I’d used for children and found some “Animals of India” colouring pages for her to work on while I prepare dinner tonight, and we could even extend the experience by watching “The Jungle Book” later in the week…it only takes a few minutes of planning to create an event out of what would otherwise be a boring Monday night dinner.

Theme-Night meals for teens or adults are not necessarily more labour-intensive, on the contrary!  Watching a film connected with your meal, or just the simple addition of pre-dinner cocktails, the apéro, if you will, can add sass and spark to a regular meal – even if your cocktails are non-alcoholic!

Smaller children will love making a game of something so ordinary, and it can help open up conversations with older kids, too.

Here’s our week :

Monday : Indian Night! Kale with raisins & Chana Dal* served with Paratas, and Kheer* for dessert.

Tuesday : Spirals with “Feta” & Spinach. – this one is from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen & Joni Marie Newman.  Many of you I’m sure all the recipes I teased you with while I was testing for this one (even though the silly publishers forgot to credit my name, grr!).  Now you can go get your own copy – you’ll be so happy you did!

Wednesday : Irish Night! Colcannon* with Irish Soda Bread and Seedcake* for dessert and Irish Coffee for the grown-ups!

Thursday : left-overs

Friday : Pizza Night!  This is our favourite night of the week, and we never grow tired of it.

The starred (*) dishes mentioned above are test recipes for The Urban Vegan’s book-in-progress, and here are a few pictures of what I was testing last week :

hot crossed buns

sweet mint tea

Shirley Temple (for Guppy!)

I’m actually testing much more than you’re seeing here, but with the absolute lack of daylight (Winter Blahs!) there has been a significant decline in food photos around here…long live March 21st!

Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

un gâteau (presque) léger au chocolat : Les Vendredis Francophones

C’était l’anniversaire de ma belle-maman cette semaine – joyeux anniversaire encore belle-maman! – et qui dit anniversaire dit gâteau!  Ce gâteau simplissime est même (presque) léger comme il n’y a que 40 g de beurre!  En effet, notre amie fidèle … Continue reading

W.I.P. Wednesday : Needles…

My MIL was quite the fibre artiste in her day, though since I’ve known her she’s had too much pain in her hands to do much crochet or knitting.  Today she gave me these…

Mostly crochet hooks…so now I really have no excuse.  I need to get cracking on the crochet!  You may be wondering why the aforementioned MIL doesn’t teach me how to crochet.  She’ll be the first to tell you she just can’t do it.  She has no patience at all.  She tried to show me how to knit, and the lesson lasted 5 minutes, however, when my SIL taught me, I learned in 5 minutes.  Some people are born teachers, others, well, not so much.

Thanks for all your answers concerning last week’s question about how much yarn one should buy…I so appreciate it, and I know there are lurkers who are thankful, too!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

Lemon Grissini Cookies, the recipe…

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Before I give you the coveted Lemon Grissini Cookie Recipe, I’d like to mention that friend, blogger and all-around super-hero mum Libby* of The Allergic Kid is giving away a copy of Food Allergies and Me.  I know many of my readers are in regular contact with children who have severe to life-threatening food allergies, and this book by Juniper Skinner is for them.  Food Allergies and Me describes safe ways for kids to react to and live with their allergies, so go visit The Allergic Kid and throw your name in the “comment box hat” for your chance to win a copy.

déjà vu?

Despite accidentally posting rather than saving my first draft (holy typos Batman!) the first installment of Les Vendredis Francophones was a huge success!  So funny how the most popular posts are often those with the least comments, don’t you think?   I know it’s taken me a while to get this translation up, but believe me, these are more than worth the wait.

These cookies are by far one of our favourites – they are Monsieur F’s absolute favourite.  Perhaps it’s thanks to their simplicity?  Just lovely lemon and a hint of sweet.  The Italian word grissini describes what is commonly known in North America as the humble bread stick (or so says Wiki).  It’s true here in France, and gressin describes a little cigar or, well, bread stick-type shape. This recipe has been translated from Italian to French (now to English), has been veganised and revised, but has held up just fine!

Quick, easy and perfect, you’ll be making these time and again…

Lemon Grissini Cookies

For about 20 grissinis

350 g AP flour

11 g baking powder

140 g sugar

110 g dairy-free butter

2 teaspoons Ener-G (enough to replace 2 eggs)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

the zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplats.

2) Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth, then add this mixture to the flour, and continue mixing until the batter becomes smooth (it’ll stay together if you pinch it, even if it’s still a little crumbly).

3) Lightly flour your hands, then form small cigar-shaped cookies, about 12 cm long  (if it’s a little warm in your kitchen and your dough is sticky, just put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes).  Bake them for about 10 to 13 minutes or until they are firm to the touch, turning the baking sheet half-way through baking time.  Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before gently transferring to a cooling rack.

4) Once they have cooled you can decorate with the optional lemon icing.

Lemon Icing

100 g powdered sugar

lemon juice

Using a fork, ix the sifted powdered sugar with the lemon juice, adding one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached a “drizzle-friendly” consistency.  Drizzle the grissini with icing and allow the icing to set.  If you dare.

*Why does Libby get super-hero status in my book?  Her sweet son has life-threatening food allergies.  Just let those words sink in, kids : life-threatening.  All parents fear the dangers that lurk around the paths their children take daily to school, to play, daycare and sleep-overs, but with grace, courage and humor Libby shares her trials and triumphs with other “allergy moms” (and dads), almost making it look easy. I say, chapeau.

Meal Plan Mondays & Shameless Post-Birthday Plug

This week…

Monday : Potato Chowder with baking-powder biscuits (I love biscuits so much!).

Tuesday : 3-Bean Chili with cornbread.  We haven’t had chili since Mihl came to visit – what’s up with that?

Wednesday : Burritos (aka, finishing up the rest of the chili!).

Thursday : Beany-Patties, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, peas, and green salad.  Big ole’ meal of comfort foods!

Friday : Pizza Night!

I’ve still been enjoying recipes from The Urban Vegan’s tester site :

No-Bake Energy Bars

Spiked Chocolate-Banana Smoothie…

We celebrated my birthday (wee!) over the weekend, and it was the perfect occasion to enjoy some of these spiked chocolate-banana smoothies – in moderation, of course!  We also tested some Raspberry Spritzers (with champagne!), also for Dynise, but it was so dark I didn’t try to take a picture…

Wee!  Look at this most excellent gift from Guppy and Monsieur F!  I’m a big fan of the 60s, and The Mamas & Papas?  Lovely.

My MIL bought me roses and a scarf, too.  I’m still learning to play with the effects on my Nikon D3000…I’ve had it since June, but hardly do much other than point and shoot.  Shame on me.  Mama & Papa Fish sent me the best running jacket ever, but I need to ask M. Fish to take a picture of me wearing it!

I will get the translation for the Lemon Gressini Cookies up tomorrow!  Our making merry got in the way of my blogging this weekend, forgive me?

Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

Gressins au citron : Les Vendredis Francophones

Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à cette première installation de la nouvelle rubrique : Les Vendredis Francophones où j’essaierai de vous régaler avec mes recettes végétaliennes préférées!

Aujourd’hui je mets à l’honneur une recette pour un de nos gâteaux stars : les gressins au citron!    Comme vous le savez sans doute, les gressins ou grissinis sont des gâteaux ou petits pains originaires de la région de Turin en Italie (pour de plus amples informations, wikipedia fera l’affaire).  Aujourd’hui “gressin” décrit surtout la forme – comme des cigares ou des mini-baguettes aplatis… et on les trouve  le plus souvent salés que sucrés.

Ces gressins sont parmi nos gâteaux favoris : élégants dans leur simplicité, leur petit goût acidulé et leur étonnant moelleux feront plaisir aux gourmands, petits et grands!

Gressins au citron (pour une vingtaine de gressins)

350 g farine ménagère

1 sachet de levure chimique (11g)

140 g de sucre en poudre

110 g de beurre vegan (St. Hubért Bio)

2 c. à c. Ener-G (ou remplacer 2 oeufs)

3 c. à s. de jus de citron

2 c. à s. d’eau

le zeste d’un citron

1 c. à s. Maïzena

1) Préchauffez votre four à 180°c.  Préparer 2 plaques de cuisson avec des feuilles sulfurisées ou des silplats.

2) Tamisez la farine et la levure dans un saladier.  Mélangez au mixer les autres ingrédients dans un autre saladier, jusqu’à obtenir un mélange lisse.  Ajoutez ce mélange à la farine et travaillez les ingrédients pour former une pâte homogène.

3) Farinez légèrement vos mains, puis formez des boudins fins de 12 cm de long (s’il fait un peu chaud dans votre cuisine et votre pâte colle un peu trop, mettez-la au frigo pendant 15 minutes).  Répartissez-les sur les plaques et faites-les cuire 10 minutes au four jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient fermes, en intervertissant la position des plaques à mi-cuisson.  Laissez-les tiédir 5 minutes sur les plaques avant de les mettre à refroidir sur une grille.

4) Une fois refroidis, vous pouvez les garnir avec le glaçage au citron à l’aide d’une fourchette.

Glaçage au citron

100 g de sucre glace

jus de citron

Mélangez avec une fourchette le sucre glace tamisé et le jus de citron, en ajoutant une cuillère à soupe à la fois.  Ajoutez du jus de citron jusqu’à ce que vous obteniez un glaçage lisse avec la texture désirée.

Bon appétit!

W.I.P. Wednesday : More Knitting…

I finished up last week’s scarves, and started up this one which I’m hoping will be part of a scarf and mitten set.  The last scarf I finished had such thin yarn that this stuff feels so bulky, even though I’m only using 6mm needles – funny how everything is relative.  This yarn was a score from the outdoor market where we used to live; they were selling discontinued styles in bundles of six skeins.  Wish I’d have bought up more!  I love it, but it is a little more scratchy than the pink and white.

Hey, experienced knitters/crochet artists out there – how much yarn to you buy when you see some you love but have no real project in mind?  A few skeins?

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.