Cooking Invention Week: Pizza and Casserole “Sin Gluten” and Vegan! (1/7)

Ciao Amicis!

This is my first in a 7-part series of inventive home-cooking ideas! Hope it inspires you to cooking healthy, happy, gluten-free food at home!

Inspired by my love of cheese, I came up with two italian recipes that use a vegan, gluten-free ricotta cheese substitute made from tofu!

A full and satisfying gluten-free, vegan pizza...

A full and satisfying gluten-free, vegan pizza…

Cooks easy in a glass dish in the oven... stays firm!

Cooks easy in a glass dish in the oven… stays firm!

Same ingredients... different format: a casserole!

Same ingredients… different format: a casserole!

Cooks super easy in the oven as well... and it's a delicious medley of tastes and textures... each bite different!

Cooks super easy in the oven as well… and it’s a delicious medley of tastes and textures… each bite different!

So let’s start with how to make the key ingredient: the vegan, gluten-free ricotta cheese! Play with the core recipe… you can make it with subtly different tastes just by adjusting the ratio of the ingredients!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients

  • 50g of tofu (plain, ol’ tofu)
  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (make sure it’s gluten-free)
  • half a lemon/lime (squeezed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 50g of soaked cashews

Method

1. Put the cashews in the blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add the yeast, salt and lemon/lime juice.

3. Roughly cut up the tofu block and put into blender.

4. Blend all. Taste. Add what’s needed, as per your taste!

 

And now, to make the pizza and casserole! To assemble the pizza, you’ll want to first make the dough! I honestly haven’t perfected this part of the process yet – my dough turns out a bit thick and… well… not “doughy.” You’ll find plenty of great recipes online.

On your pizza dough, smear some good pasta sauce. Smother the sauce with a bunch of diverse veggies. My favourites are: peppers, mushrooms (goes so well with the cheese), spinach, tomatoes, beans, and aubergine. Bake! After 15 minutes or so, take out of the oven, add the home-made ricotta cheese, and put back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Voila!

A casserole is my favourite end-of-week dish to put together. Literally every vegetable or bean or nut that you need to consume quickly can go into this dish! To assemble the casserole, line a dish with olive oil. Next, layer the casserole, alternating between veggies and pasta sauce (or white sauce – you can read my recipe for a white sauce at this link). I like to use: quinoa, mushrooms, spinach, beans, lentils, and peppers (guys I mean literally anything else you have lying around!). Again, bake for 15 minutes, take out, put on the ricotta, put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes, and you’re good to go!

See you next time, with a brand new culinary idea for you to explore with me!

Peace,

Daisy

Gluten-Free in Berlin!

Hello darling readers!

This summer, I spent a full five weeks in the amazing, warm-yet-edgy, and full-on-crazy city of Berlin! This place is one of the best places in the world for vegans, allergy-laden types (GF inclusive) and really anyone. Food is good, cheap and inventive.

Soooo… without further ado, may I present you with my favourite restaurants that cater to allergy-conscious, plat-based diet types…

First off, my ‘hood of Neukölln, a largely immigrant and up-and-coming area! There are two cafes here that I went to on a regular basis. And man, I was there so often, everyone knew me by name even though my German is… uhmmm… let’s say rudimentary (at best). The first is the adorable Cafe Plume, which proprietor Charlotte has somehow created into a comfy neighbourhood “refuge.” She is there every, single day, from 8pm to 8pm (or beyond), and makes an effort to get to know all customers. She’s also a language teacher, and every Thursday, she hosts Language Night at her cafe. Charlotte is truly one of the most amazing people I met in Berlin. Also, they make the world’s BEST vegan, gluten-free brownies. No kiddin’. Hands down, world’s best. They also have guest chefs from time to time. When I was there, they had a lovely Jamaican set dinner. Charlotte takes great care to prepare food that suits you! You can also just go there, relax, drink a glass of wine, shoot the breeze with other customers. Ahhhh… I miss the place old European charm of this dress-down cafe.

Cafe Plume, Berlin (20/20)  

Warthestraße 60, 12051 Berlin, Deutschland

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Bar/Caf%C3%A9-Plume-1223370524424899/

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: *****
  • Atmosphere: Amazing aura *****
  • Service: *****
  • Cost: $ for Germany! Dishes range from RM30+ to RM60+ for entrees
World's most amazing gluten-free, vegan sandwich at Muffin Queen Cafe, Neukoelln

World’s most amazing gluten-free, vegan sandwich at Muffin Queen Cafe, Neukoelln

Next up: my go-to place during the day! Queen of Muffins Cafe (strange name, I know, but won’t get a second bat of eyelashes from a Berliner) is another lovely cafe in the same neighbourhood. It’s got a rustic feel, even woodsy! They’ve got notations on the signboard and menu that tell you what is gluten-free, lactose-free, etc. so it’s easy for even non-German speakers to figure out what they can have. I loved their warm sandwiches, which can be made on GF bread! They’ll line their panini presses with a new sheet of paper, so there’s no cross contamination. Lovely, fresh ingredients! They also have a variety of vegan, GF, dairy-free, etc. cakes and cookies. Not the cheapest, but comfy atmosphere, attentive staff, and great food!

Queen of Muffins Cafe, Berlin, Germany (18/20)  

Hermannstraße 164, 12051 Berlin, Deutschland

https://www.facebook.com/Coffee-Deli-by-Queen-of-Muffins-1035240663188109/

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: *****
  • Atmosphere: Rustic, comfy ****
  • Service: ****
  • Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM40+ to RM60+ for sandwiches or desserts

The next two restaurants are both on Danziger Straße, near the famous food street (particularly brunch outlets) Schoenhauser Allee.

Raw, vegan, GF crepes at Rawtastic

Raw, vegan, GF crepes at Rawtastic

Rawtastic, Berlin (14/20)  

Danzigerst 16 Berlin, Germany 10435

https://www.facebook.com/rawtasticberlin/

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: ***
  • Atmosphere: Unremarkable ***
  • Service: ***
  • Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM40+ to RM70+ for entrees

The best thing about Rawtastic is that it is 100% raw vegan, which means that the food is immaculately healthy. The food tasted good… and also (more importantly) felt good. They had lovely kombucha, a fantastic raw pizza (with nut cheese of a decent consistency!) and pretty-looking desserts. However, service left a bit to be desired. Alas. Can’t have it all.

Chips and guacamole in Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant

Chips and guacamole in Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant

Finally, a super cool Mexican place! We had actually walked into another restaurant near Schonhauser Allee, and the patrons there told us to go to this place instead! And what a good move they made! We loved this place and went back a few times.

The guacamole and chpis are to die for! Really crispy and tasty. Salsas were good too! However, that’s about all you can have if you have a serious wheat allergy. They have gluten-free soft tortillas but they are heated up on the same stove as the regular ones.

Talk to the staff about cross contamination! Not all of them know what they are talking about. Speak to the manager and ask about your specific order.

There’s also the ubiquitous Bionade there! If you’ve never tried, you gotta! It’s light, fizzy, not too sweet… lovely German drink in a variety of flavours: lychee, ginger, holunder berry and more! Cheap. Simple decor. Basic seating. Go for the great-tasting chips and guacamole!

Maria Bonita (13/20)  

Danziger Straße 33 Berlin, Germany 10435

https://www.facebook.com/mariabonitaberlin/

  • Allergy friendly: ***
  • Taste: ****
  • Atmosphere: Simple ***
  • Service: ***
  • Cost: $ Dishes range from RM20+ to RM70+ for snacks and entrees

That’s all I have on Berlin for now! In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing with you my new recipe inventions – all from a month of home-cooking!

Peace,

Daisy

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