I have a Thai basil plant that is growing like mad right now. Although I make a mean thai basil tofu and although the spicy herb tastes great on sandwiches and in salads, I wasn’t able to keep up with its growth. And then it struck me: a thai basil pesto! Combined with...Read More
A little while back my partner asked me to make him a key lime pie.
My first attempt was a bit of a disaster. It tasted good, but it was too creamy and dense, not the light custardy pie he was pining for.
But when I tried it a second time and modified the recipe by cutting back on the cashews, I managed to nail it. Well, according to him! I never actually had a real key lime pie, so I am not the expert here!
I used agar agar powder, almond milk and lime juice with a few cashews thrown in for the filling. This creates a filling that is creamy, but light and not dense. I didn’t have key limes, so I used regular lime juice. And I threw in a bit of spinach to give it a greenish tint. I tried making this at first with coconut palm sugar, but didn’t get the result I was hoping for, and so I used evaporated cane juice, which worked well. I topped it with a bit of coconut whipped cream, instead of the meringue topping such pies normally call for. It was delicious! Tangy, sweet, light. Yumminess!
So it may not come as too much of a surprise that Geneva is not the most vegan-friendly city or the best place to be gluten free. While it does have a large number of ethnic restaurants that can cater well to vegans, including some great Ethiopian, Vietnamese and Thai options, in most cafes and restaurants, it is a struggle. So you can imagine how excited I was on my last trip there to learn about Helveg Café, Geneva’s first and only vegan restaurant. Of course, I made it a mission to get there for a meal.
It’s a cute restaurant with a little shop upstairs that sells vegan treats, ingredients, and recipe books. The restaurant itself offers a gourmet dining experience, but they also have food to take away. It’s not right in the center of town, so can be a bit of a trek, but is easily accessible by public transport.
I went for lunch on a Thursday and ordered the prix fixe menu for 39 Francs, which for an appetizer, entrée and dessert in Geneva is a steal.
The meal started off with a raw beet and spirulina tartar, served with a mixed green salad in a creamy dressing. This was definitely the highlight of the meal. The raw beets were sweet, and together with the herbs, gherkins and capers, it was extremely flavorful. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The greens were extremely fresh, but the dressing was sadly bland. I would have loved some salt, but they only offered gomasio, which is good, but not quite enough to liven it up.
The main course was a tofu scramble (brouillé) served with ratatouille, polenta, and more of the same bland green side salad. The polenta was lovely: firm, flavorful, lightly fried. The ratatouille was also very good. But the brouillé was a big mistake. Instead of a scramble, it was a puree with and it seems little else for flavor, other than the chives that garnished it. It’s a good thing it is not on the regular menu, because it certainly was not something I would want to eat again.
Dessert was a fruity puree made with banana, strawberries and apple and topped with lucuma and golden berries. It was nice, light and yummy.
Overall, I enjoyed the meal but I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed by it. It may just be that I ordered the wrong thing. That said Helveg Café is a vegan restaurant in Geneva. I will definitely go back every chance I get.
On Thursday and Friday nights they offer a raw menu, which looks great. And their regular menu also has many dishes that also sound good. Their gluten-free options are clearly marked. Oh, and vegan, gluten-free cupcakes (why didn’t I get one of those?). Yes… will make sure to get back there next time.
Location: Avenue de Miremont 31 ter, 1206 Geneva
Hours: Open for lunch, 11:30 – 2:00, Monday through Thursday and dinner, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
This is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for a weeknight meal. It’s incredibly flavorful and very filling.
While Banh Mi traditionally refers to baguettes and the Vietnamese sandwiches made on them, this recipe takes some traditional vegetarian banh mi ingredients, mixes them with others, and puts them in a taco. Because everything is better in a taco! Doesn’t the combination of crunchy pickled veggies, crisp romaine, creamy avocado, butler soy curls in a spicy sauce made with hoisin & cashew cream (recipe here) & herbs on a corn tortilla sound really, really great to you? Let me tell you, it is.
So, without much more ado…
I used butler soy curls, because they are perfect for this recipe. But I’m pretty sure this would be amazing with Beyond Meat chicken-free strips as well! You could also make the sauce recipe with vegan mayonnaise instead of cashew cream and that would taste great as well. Experimenting of all types is highly encouraged here!Read More
I have a Thai basil plant that is growing like mad right now. Although I make a mean thai basil tofu and although the spicy herb tastes great on sandwiches and in salads, I wasn’t able to keep up with its growth. And then it struck me: a thai basil pesto! Combined with cashew nuts, lime juice, tamari and of course, some birds eye chili peppers, it is an umami dream! Seriously – this stuff is good. It took a lot to keep me from eating it all straight out of the food processor!
I used it in a lovely raw salad featuring kelp noodles and kale straight from my garden. (As an aside, can I just say how much I love being able to walk outside my door and pick a lovely fresh bunch of kale for dinner?) It was delightful and I’m sharing the recipe for that too.
But, I can imagine using this on sandwiches, to coat tofu or tempeh or Beyond Meat Chicken-free strips, to dip gluten-free bread on, or with hot rice noodles and veggies. The possibilities are endless!
Sometimes in between meals I’m looking for a snack that is light, but filling enough to tide me over to the next meal. These raw vanilla goji balls fit the bill perfectly. They are naturally sweet and gluten free, packed with nutritious super foods, and are totally yum. I love the combination of sweet, aromatic vanilla with tart goji berries. Plus, they are a great way to use the pulp left over from making almond milk!
So let’s admit it, granola is not the healthiest food in the world. But it is so damned yummy. And I for one am not about to cut it out of my life completely. It adds a lovely crunch to parfaits and is the perfect yoghurt topping. And a handful between meals is a not so bad of a snack. Instead, I try to make somewhat healthier versions that use better sweeteners, no added oils, and whole grains, seeds and nuts.
This mango and coconut granola checks all of those boxes and is absolutely delicious as well!
How do you love eating granola?Read More
When I feel compelled to write restaurant reviews it’s usually because I’ve had such an amazing meal that I can’t wait to share it with you all. This is definitely the case today. In fact, tonight’s meal at Pure Food and Wine confirmed for me that this restaurant offers one of the most innovative, creative and purely pleasurable dining experiences in New York City. What Pure Food and Wine does with raw vegetables and fruit is mind blowing. This was my second visit to Pure Food and Wine and it certainly will not be my last.
This evening, I ordered for a main course the Hen of the Woods Tacos al Pastor, served with smoked guacamole, corn, hearts of palm, guajillo crema fresca and pickled onions. The marinated hen of the woods mushrooms were almost meaty in texture, wrapped expertly in what I think may have been a jicama slice and topped with crema fresca over a bed of corn and hearts of palm. When I first tasted the smoked guacamole I thought it a little too salty. But this guacamole should not be eaten alone. When paired with a forkful of sweet corn, the flavors balance each other out perfectly and it is truly a delightful experience. Delicious.
For dessert I tried the seasonal orange blossom sponge cake with strawberry-elderflower semifreddo, candied pistachios, green strawberries and cabernet reduction. First, the presentation. Isn’t this a thing of beauty? Second, the taste. Three words: best dessert ever. The cake, though raw, tasted like cake. It was sweet and surprisingly light, layered with a lovely, sweet, creamy frosting. The cake was topped with candied pistachios and on top of that, the delicious semifreddo. I savored every single bite of this dessert and seriously, I didn’t want to end. Except for the green strawberries that is.
To drink, I ordered what I did the first time I visited Pure Food and Wine: the wild blueberry kombucha. Refreshing, light, not too sweet. Perfect on a hot summer evening.
This, dear friends, was a meal worth writing home about.
But let me not stop there, because my first visit to Pure Food and Wine was also a meal worthy of writing home about. And I took really good notes!
That time, back in April, I had wanted to treat myself to the tasting menu. Two half-sized appetizers, two half-size mains, and a full-size dessert. I couldn’t that evening due to some of my food allergies getting in the way, but I promise myself I’m going to try again some time soon.
Instead, I asked the waiter what he would recommend and settled on the raw philly roll as an appetizer, and Pure Food and Wine’s famed raw lasagna for a main course.
The philly roll was delicious. With spicy kimchi balanced against creamy avo and a cashew cream cheese and spinach. It was almost like bibimbap in a nori roll. And I have to say that whoever thought up that combination is genius. It felt light, healthy and so incredibly tasty, I didn’t even miss the rice.
And the lasagna can be described in one word: FLAVOR. Oh my! It was scrumptious. The nutty pistachio basil pesto and intense sundried tomato sauce were out of this world. They were paired with with a mild macadamia and pumpkin seed ricotta, which was generously layered between fresh zucchini and flavorful heirloom tomatoes. Combined, it created a dish that was phenomenally good. This lasagna has a reputation for a reason.
Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for dessert and opted for the mint sundae with chocolate chip mint cookies. It came with mint, mint chip, and chocolate ice cream, smothered in chocolate sauce with a dash of vanilla cream. Again, pure perfection in one beautifully prepared bowl.
If anyone ever tells you that vegan food is boring, Pure Food and Wine is your answer. Both the presentation and the flavors are amazing. After a meal like this, you’ll never want to go back to eating cooked food again!
My photos may leave a little to be desired, but the food surely won’t.
It might be pricey, but believe me it is worth every penny. Especially when the garden is open and you can enjoy your meal under the stars!
Location: 54 Irving Place, between 17th and 18th Streets, New York, NY
Hours: Lunch: 12 – 4pm; Dinner: 5:30 – 11pm. Seven days a week.