Beetroot Stuffed Parathas & Apple Chutney

Happy 2015! I would add ‘belated’, but it seems that 2015 lasts all year. Considering graduation is only six months away and the heavily design-devoted time that will be necessary up until then (and long after), I’m drafting up a new approach for the purpose and identity of Wandercrush. It’s already developed and morphed naturally over the course of two years, but circumstances call for a reconfiguration into something that more fully encompasses my aspirations and fascinations. Of course this will always include food and travel, but I’ve come to realise how paradoxically separate from the rest of my identity these things can become when framed in an exclusively dedicated blog.

Anyway, more on that in the upcoming months.

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Forgive me for the lack of recipe commentary, but I handed in my undergraduate dissertation yesterday (This can also explain the January absence!) and have just about been wrung dry of words.

Anyway, beetroot can speak for itself—confidently, at that.

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Essentially, this is a nested reply to India’s answer for breakfast carbs: the aloo paratha. Just added a bit of grated beetroot and paired it with a fresh apple chutney of sorts. I shamefully under-celebrated the glorious UK apple season this year, so it’s a last-minute tribute.

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Beetroot Stuffed Parathas & Apple Chutney
(yields about 10)

  • 350g (~3 cups) whole wheat flour
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 t neutral oil
  • 150g beetroot, peeled and chopped
  • 250g potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 t neutral oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 green chilli, minced
  • ½ t red chilli powder
  • ½ t garam masala
  • ½ t cumin powder
  • ¼ t tumeric powder
  • handful fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 organic apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 t fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t red chilli flakes
  • ½ t garam masala
  • apple juice
  • salt, to taste

Combine flour with salt and oil. In increments, add just enough water whilst kneading to form a smooth dough. Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and beetroot pieces until very tender. Drain and let cool before mashing the potatoes and grating the beetroot finely. Before combining the two together, squeeze as much liquid out of the grated beetroot as possible. It may be helpful to use cheesecloth for this.
Heat up oil and add cumin seeds. When they begin popping, add the onions and green chillies, sautéing for a few minutes. Add in the ground spices, fresh coriander, and mashed potato mixture. Mix over low heat for another minute, mashing all together and seasoning with salt to taste.
Take off the heat and divide into ten smaller portions.

Knead the dough again and divide into golfball-sized portions, about 10.
Flatten one ball of dough on a clean surface, placing a ball of potato beetroot stuffing in the centre. Pinch up the edges of the dough, folding them up and around the stuffing. Pinch to seal the dough from the top like a pocket or dumpling, then roll out gently into a flat circle without applying excessive amounts of pressure, dusting the work surface with more flour as needed. This can take some practice!
Repeat for remaining parathas.

Heat up a taw or flat sauté pan with large surface diameter on medium flame. Place a paratha in it, waiting until heat makes bubbles appear on the surface. Spread some oil over the top and flip over, pressing lightly with a spatula. When brown spots appear on the bottom, spread some oil over the top and flip again to cook until covered with charred brown spots.
Repeat for remaining parathas.

To make the chutney, heat up a dash of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the ginger, frying for a minute. Add in the grated apple, vinegar, and spices. Simmer uncovered on low heat until the contents are thick and the the apples are completely softened—at least 15 minutes. If it gets too dry at any point, add a splash of apple juice.
Serve alongside parathas on a bed of dressed beet greens, dressed with some light vinaigrette or olive oil.

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

Wandercrush Beetroot Stuffed Parathas with Apple Chutney

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Posted in Blog News, Breakfast, Finger Food, India, Main, Personal, Side | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cashew-Peanut Stew (Ghanian Nkhatenkwan)

Imagine my delighted surprise when I was approached with a guest post proposition—by Rika of Vegan Miam, the wanderlusting queen herself! For every frankenstein recipe I dream up, she’s already been in and out of several countries, vegan treats and beautiful photographs in tow. So here I am: humbled, honoured, and excited to share this variation of nkatenkwan (a groundnut/peanut stew from Ghana) on her inspiring blog, straight from the wintry Wandercrush kitchen.

Wandercrush Peanut Stew Nkatenkwan

This would be a handsome addition to any multi-cultural table at Christmas dinner, but equally suitable for a winter holiday potluck, soul-warming flu season cure, or solo indulgence after a chilly commute home.

Merriest of Christmases, all. May it be as warm as this steamy bowl of nkatenkwan, sweet as a parsnip, and memorable as an extra-generous sprinkle of crushed chillies.

Wandercrush Peanut Stew Nkatenkwan

Wandercrush Peanut Stew Nkatenkwan 1

For the full post and recipe, head over to Vegan Miam!

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Posted in Africa, Collaboration, Ghana, Main, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Christmassy Poland & Kraków Bagels (Obwarzanek)

For an old city, Kraków feels young. Sure there are plenty of wizened folk walking their matching dogs, plenty haunched over their breakfasts or selling obwarzanek krakowski, but Kraków itself—as a cultural centre and urban dwelling place—feels young in the sense that it’s just getting back on its own two feet. Even the old Jewish Quarter is tickled by early gentrification, riddled with great bars that aren’t yet unbearably trendy. After heavy German occupation during WWII and then Soviet control afterwards, I imagine the city has been busy re-establishing its own identity, one that reclaims Kraków’s status as the cultural capital of Poland. Luckily for them and everybody else, much of the beautiful architecture and infrastructure were left unscathed.

Wandercrush Krakow Wandercrush Krakow Wandercrush KrakowWandercrush Krakow

If you were to guess based on current atmosphere and attitudes, you’d never know such weighty and horrific events took place here in the relatively recent past; apart from the tour buses headed for Auschwitz, there’s little to suggest that people have clung onto any bitterness or strife. On the contrary, everyone we met was sincere, kind, unassuming. There was no local contempt for tourists, and the tourists themselves weren’t aggressively overeager—though that’s compared to London, where cycling across a bridge on the way to school means unintentionally photobombing at least 3 group selfies.

Wandercrush Krakow Wandercrush KrakowWandercrush KrakowWandercrush Krakow

Even after having to wait more than an hour for a table at a small but apparently sought-after restaurant in the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, the whole experience was nothing but lovely. With each handful of extra minutes we waited, there was an apology vodka shot on the house (lightyears apart from that budget lighter fluid from high school days, mixed with orange juice in a red solo cup). In the end, it wasn’t the complimentary vodka or starters that made our meal exceptional—it was the staff themselves. Maybe the mango-infused shot had a slight influence. Also perhaps the simple kartofle gotowane, bacon-wrapped rabbit, or beetroot-cranberry lamb chops… we nearly attributed it all to jolly Christmas spirit, but I reckon it might just be Kraków spirit, year-round.

Wandercrush KrakowWandercrush KrakowWandercrush KrakowWandercrush KrakowWandercrush Krakow

As for the food, it’s stodgy and reminiscent of other Central and Eastern European cuisines. Heavy on winter vegetables like cabbage and beetroot, even heavier on meat of all kinds—soupy, stewy, stodgy. The markets littered with little nuggets of oscypki smoked cheese on the grill, kielbasa sausages hanging from stalls like tinsel, and torso-sized loaves of rye bread. Pierogi dumplings both sweet and savoury, freshly wrapped, boiled or fried, and served up on larger-than-you-prepared-for plates.

Wandercrush KrakowWandercrush Krakow

Small, bright carts unfailingly occupy each street corner, stacked with twisted bagel-pretzel hybrids called obwarzanek krakowski. Wandering around the city, I spotted them in the hands of old and young, local and visiting. I’ve qualified these as bagels because they’re similarly boiled before baking (which is where their Polish name comes from), but they’re more closely akin to Russian/Ukranian бублики. The exact origins of this boiled-and-baked branch of breads are muddled and often hotly debated, but everybody seems to agree that they can be traced back to the 14th century and involve Jewish populations.

Seeing as they’ve become something of a citywide symbol and attained protective status as EU Traditional Speciality Guaranteed, I stuck with a recipe from this book lest the EU food patrol comes to shut down my blog. If I applied that logic to every dish I’ve frankenstein’d here, I’d never be concocting my own recipes; so in all honesty, it’s partly because my excellent parents are visiting in London for a week and I’m too busy eating out as often as possible. Still, make these! Alternatively, go to Kraków next time you get a chance—for the obwarzanek and for everything else.

Wandercrush KrakowWandercrush KrakowWandercrush Krakow

Obwarzanek Krakowski (Kraków Bagel/Pretzel)
(recipe from Inside the Jewish Bakery; yields 12)

    • 1 T/22g diastatic malt powder or syrup
    • 1½ cups + 1 T/355g warm (105ºF/40ºC) water
    • 5 cups/680g high-gluten flour
    • 2 teaspoons/14g salt
    • ¾ teaspoon/2g instant yeast
    • Sesame/poppy seeds

The day before baking, dissolve the malt in the water. If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, stir it in now and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until it foams. If using instant yeast, just dissolve the malt in the water. The instant yeast does not need to be dissolved and will go in dry with the flour and salt (see below).
Use a wooden spoon to blend the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Then add the malt-water mixture, mixing for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth, silky, and stretchy.
Form it into a thick log shape, covering and letting it rest for 20 minutes. Cut the log in half lengthwise and roll each portion into a strip of dough about 1 inch/2.5cm thick. Divide the strips lengthwise into four pieces about 3/4 inch/2cm wide, and roll each into a cylinder about 24 inches/60cm long and the thickness of a pencil. If you can’t get enough traction on your work surface, mist it very lightly with water or swab it with a damp paper towel. Fold the cylinder in the middle to form a double strip about 12 inches/30cm long and twist it into a tight spiral. Carefully seal the ends together to form a slender, twisted ring about 4 inches/10cm in diameter.
Arrange the bagels on a cornmeal-dusted or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover well but loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, heat oven to 460ºF/240ºC. Bring 3 to 4 quarts/3-4 liters water mixed with 2 tablespoons/40g diastatic malt to a rolling boil.
Take out only as many chilled bagels as you can boil and bake at one time and plunge them into the boiling water until they float.
Drain on a cooling rack and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds or other toppings, if desired, and bake on cornmeal-dusted or parchment-lined baking sheets for 15 to 18 minutes until they are a rich brown. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Wandercrush KrakowWandercrush Krakow

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Posted in Baked Goods, Breakfast, Finger Food, Jewish, Lithuania, Market, Poland, Russia/Ukraine, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Vegan Tangerine Pepparkakor (Swedish Gingersnaps)

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

I always wondered how the smell of gingerbread spices is so universally Christmassy. It must be something about the sweet warmth of the cinnamon-ginger-clove-allspice-etcetera combination that evokes some sort of human response that resonates with fairy lights and a layer of fresh snow on the ground. Of course, cross-cultural trading comes into it; an Armenian monk brought a recipe to France, Germany shared it with Sweden where nuns , and so forth. Common trends include doubling as edible window decorations and digestive aids, justified by their prettiness and the medicinal properties of all its spices. The next time I finish off a tray of gingerbread men, I’ll rest assured it’s all for the sake of my digestive health.

So although this recipe was loosely based on the Swedish pepparkakor (…and the Norwegian pepperkaker, the Danish brunkager, Finnish piparkakut, Icelandic piparkökur, Latvian piparkūkas, Estonian piparkoogid, so on) it’s veganised and de-glutened so that it could pass as another gingerbread varietal. I have had my fair share of nightmares with vegan baking experiments, resulting in one too many gummy muffins and gritty brownies. This type of crisp cookie, however, is much easier to get away with; it has all the spicy warmth and fragile thinness of a gingersnap, even when chock-full of coursly ground almond flour and natural sweeteners. The tangerine seems like a curious seasonal twist, but you won’t question it when the baking smells begin to waft from the oven.

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

I very nearly shelled out for a set of metal cookie cutters, but just couldn’t bring myself to buy something that would become more back-of-the-kitchen-drawer redundancy after a single batch of cookies, seeing as I bake once in a blue moon—especially not when the same amount of money could fund another bag of almonds or jar of coconut oil to consume! As seems the case all too often, I resorted to the student habit of ad-libbing a tool for the job. Simple stencils cut from thick watercolour paper, traced around with a short knife. It’s a good thing stars aren’t the curviest Christmas shape. With the remaining scraps, isosceles (devolving quickly into scalene) triangles worked well. But if you do have cookie cutters then by all means, this is the time of year to dust them off and put them to use.

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

Vegan Tangerine Pepparkakor (Swedish Gingersnaps)

  • 100g almond flour
  • 125g whole spelt flour
  • 1 organic tangerine, zest of
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t clove
  • 1 t ginger
  • ½ t cardamom
  • ¾ t baking soda
  • 1 tangerine, juice of
  • 70g (~5 T) coconut oil, melted
  • 15g (~1 T) muscovado
  • 20g (~1 T) date syrup
  • 20g (~1 T) honey
  • 1-2 T brewed coffee

Brew a cup of coffee and set aside. Combine the rest of the wet ingredients along with the sugar to dissolve.
Combine spices together with flour and then stream in the wet ingredients, folding together. Add coffee by the tablespoon as necessary to form a sticky but firm dough.
Shape into a ball and cover with cling film, leaving to refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Removing dough from the refrigerator, let it warm up enough to roll thinly. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters of choice, or simply slice them up into geometric shapes.
Transfer to a slightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes depending on size and thickness, watching carefully so the almonds don’t burn. Once cooled, a light sprinkling of icing sugar does Christmassy wonders.

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

Wandercrush Tangerine Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

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Posted in America, Baked Goods, Denmark, Finger Food, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Scandinavian/Nordic, Sweden, Sweets, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine (with Mash & Cranberry Brussels)

I am thankful for one-pot wonders that work beautifully with a hectic schedule. I am thankful for buy-one-get-one brussels sprout stalks and a holiday to celebrate the under-appreciated Brassica oleracea. I am thankful for a steamy kitchen warmed by the oven and all 4 hobs going at once.

I am thankful for friends who are afraid of tinned cranberry jelly but not of dark meat. I am thankful for the extra piano bench in our flat that created space for one more body around the tiny table. I am more than thankful for the chance to share Thanksgiving with just a few who haven’t celebrated before.

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

And although sometimes I feel “behind” for restarting undergraduate, I am so utterly thankful that I’ve had this extra year to soak up more and more of art and design, more of life in London.

I am so thankful for countless things and places and people—and thankful that in the midst of a fast-paced term, there’s a calendar day to remind us that God’s blessings are beautiful and never-ending.

Happiest of Thanksgivings, everyone!

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine
(serves 4–5)

  • 500g turkey thighs, trimmed & diced
  • 1 t paprika
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t ground cloves
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ t ground turmeric
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t ground cloves
  • 75g fresh cranberries
  • 500ml chicken/turkey/vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice
  • 500g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 100g french/green beans
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • handful dried cranberries
  • handful prunes, pitted
  • 1 kg starchy potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 T olive oil
  • fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • milk, warmed
  • salt/pepper

Prepare the spice mix and rub well into the turkey. Keep airtight in the fridge to marinade overnight.

Heat up some neutral oil in a large stockpot and sauté onions and garlic for a few minutes before adding in the turkey to brown on all sides, sealing in moisture and flavour. Add the rest of the dry spices along with the cranberry juice and just enough water or stock to cover. Boil and then reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Add the sweet potato chunks, carrots, fresh cranberries, and all dried fruit. Add another 500ml of liquid continue simmering for another 1½ hours, topping up with increments of water if it becomes too dry.

Meanwhile, place potatoes into a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork-tender—about 20 minutes. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, then add in the garlic and rosemary for a couple minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat, discard rosemary stem, and add in the drained potatoes along with some (warm) milk. Mash with a ricer or sturdy wooden spoon until just smooth enough but not gluey. Season generously with salt/pepper, to taste.

When the tagine is finished stewing, serve hot with the mashed potatoes (or couscous, if adhering less to a Thanksgiving spread), a sprinkling of fresh parsley, the brussels sprouts below, fresh cranberry sauce, and glazed carrots/parsnips. The tagine can also be made the day before, letting the flavours develop more overnight before reheating with a splash of broth the next day.

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry BrusselsWandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 T wholegrain mustard
  • 1 T neutral oil
  • handful of pecans, chopped
  • 1 t muscovado sugar
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tree of brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • stilton (or other blue cheese)

Bring cranberry juice to a simmer in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Reduce to half, then whisk in mustard. Continue to cook over very low heat while preparing the rest of the dish.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir for a few minutes to evenly coat the nuts, tossing and stirring constantly until fragrant. Remove and set aside.

Add olive oil and turn up the flame. Add chopped brussels sprouts and sauté until tender and caramelised, about 5-10 minutes.

Pour in the reduced cranberry sauce along with half the pecans and dried cranberries, cooking for another couple of minutes until the flavours have come together. In the serving dish, sprinkle over the remaining pecans and cranberries along with blue cheese crumbles.

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

Wandercrush Thanksgiving Turkey Tagine Mash Cranberry Brussels

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Posted in America, Fish & Game, Main, Morocco, North Africa, Salad, Sauce, Side, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment