This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
A Travelling Cook

A Travelling Cook

A Travelling Cook

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Quick and easy vegan friendly meals to eat this week!

I've been doing a bit of an audit of my blog before I move hosting and I realised I don't have that many main meals on my blog. Which is silly as I cook dinner (and often lunch as I work from home) every day! It's easy to fall into the habit of eating toast or mashed potato or wine and cheese for dinner (especially during times when I am living alone) so to inspire me I've decided to do a weekly hosting of dinner recipes. The caveat is that they need to be vegan friendly (the vast majority of my cooking is vegan with dairy free milk and cheese, no meat, honey or animal products ), quick to make (say under 30 minutes) and not rely on any fancy equipment like a Thermomix or pizza oven. I'm listing a range of recipes that I cook fairly often. These can be made for lunch or dinner as part of a meal or a meal in themselves.

Do drop by with your recipe. If you'd like to be included, please link back to my weekly post and encourage people to view the different recipes that people submit :)

Red beans, quinoa and jerk spice soup
Lentil and green vegetable soup
Vegetable, quinoa and adobe soup
Egg free quiche
Quinoa, eggplant and mushroom balls
Kohlrabi coleslaw
Quick quinoa fried rice
Spicy, pumpkin, spinach and almond fetta pasties
Quinoa, barley and pickled vegetable salad

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 6, 2015

In my kitchen this month

Over the last month I have been busy with flat hunting (which requires a four hour round trip to Berlin each time I go to look at rentals) and recipe testing for my new Ebook. We're subletting a big flat in Leipzig right now but as previously mentioned, it has a DIY kitchen in that the renter needs to bring not only their own fridge but also benches, cupboards, sink and stove. Hence we have a sink and stove and a little fridge, but no oven. But it's ok, it forces me to be imaginative when cooking which is great. In general fresh food here lasts a lot less time than in Australia so the trend here to shop for groceries little and often is apt.


I've been busy making a bunch of recipes that either use up leftovers, bits from my pantry or are recipe tests for my next ebook of vegan soups, salads and sides. The book demonstrates that tasty cooking is possible from the smallest kitchen and all recipes are done on the stove you see above without any fancy equipment besides a 20€ stick blender. I've got a few more recipes to go but I'll be putting it out soon! Again a portion of each purchase will go to a charity, I haven't quite decided which one yet for this one.

I made these chocolate quinoa rum balls using leftovers:


Next, an experimental potato bake made in a fry pan. Next time I'll cut the potatoes thinner so they 'stick together' better! 

Loving my new hand painted mug from Leipzig's Oxfam shop. It's the only charity shop in town (to my knowledge) that has household goods and is quite overpriced in general, so I was happy to find this for 1€. Also in the pic are my custard and chocolate wontons, ready to be cooked! 

I made a lovely creamy mushroom pasta with bio cheese and soy milk and mushrooms. The pasta is actually lasagne sheets broken in half, since I've no oven I thought I may as well use them up!

Here's some food I made for our housewarming/farewell party a couple of weekends ago. The last party I had (for Australia Day), I made a load of baked dishes from my last recipe ebook like sausageless rolls and passionfruit vanilla slice. A couple of gluten free people turned up late only to find most of the gf food had already been eaten which was annoying! It was a great party. 

This one by comparison was smaller, just a few friends so I made tofu rice paper rolls, guacamole, fried polenta bites with homemade pesto and of course chips! German people love chips, paprika flavoured ones are the most common here. It's also customary for people to serve lots of sweet things at parties in Deutschland which we tend to forget, solved when one of our friends turned up with a big bag of sweets! 

Here's some photos to show the less than glamourous side of food photography. It includes dried mushrooms (not cheap), tofu which I used to fill dumplings, homemade cheese and other bits and pieces. You can see from the second picture that photography can be less than glamourous! The lack of light here doesn't help, being winter/spring it's still very dark most days. 

Who could resist party gurken! 

And lastly proof Gurken are serious business here, check out the billboard below (not the best pic, it was 10:30 pm at night). 

That's most of the activity in my kitchen this month.  Make sure you pop over to Celia’s at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial to see what is happening in other kitchen’s around the world.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quick quinoa 'fried rice'

Sometimes you just want a really simple dish, and this is where quinoa comes in. It's easy to use, has a lovely nutty flavour and lends itself to a range of sweet and savory cuisines. I had some asian ingredients leftover from making soup and rice paper rolls so I decided to make a quick lunch. It took about 15 minutes max and was a great, tasty filling meal on a cold day. You could certainly add any leftover veggies, tofu or tempeh you have handy. 

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 capsicum diced
  • 1 spring onion diced
  • 1/2 cup hot vegetable stock
  • handful bean shoots

  • 1 garlic clove finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced (optional)
  • 1teaspoon Sriracha (chilli sauce)

  1. Add quinoa to a dry warm fry pan and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. 
  2. Add 1 cup water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add peas and vegetable stock.
  4. Stir and top with a lid and turn off the heat. Leave for 5 minutes whilst you make your dressing
  5. Add dressing ingredients to a jar, pop the lid on and shake. 
  6. Add corn, spring onion and bean shoots to the quinoa and mix through with a fork. 
  7. Stir through dressing and serve.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving to Berlin: Part 1

It's been a busy week for me. As mentioned in my last Food for thought, Chris has started his dream job in Berlin this week. However the last weekend before he started he was asked to work in Austria for the first week so I've been flat chat trying to organise Berlin rental viewings. I went to Berlin yesterday and saw four places.

I thought I would document a little bit about our challenges/experiences moving to Berlin as they happen. It might be of interest of helpful to anyone who is considering the same move. If you read anything about renting in Berlin, all you hear about is how difficult it is, especially for expats. It's worth stressing that we are already living in Leipzig and have our apartment until the end of April though we/I will move as soon as we find a place and have everything finalised, keys in hand. We've been living in furnished rentals up until now, so we will have to buy bed and all the other furniture!

We are looking at Prenzlauer Berg, Neuköln, Tempelhof and Kreuzberg as potential places to live. I have made lots of enquiries yet most vacancies seem to be in P'berg.

Part of moving is making lots of enquiries (in Deutsch). Today I have made one phone call and received two. Doesn't sound like much but it is a big deal when you are learning a language. I've finished A2 and yet to finish B1. I generally understand some of what people are saying, probably less than half to be honest. Of course context helps so you can get the gist. It's worth mentioning this in case other people don't speak much Deutsch. I have been learning for 6 months but we only did half an hour in this time on phone calls so they are still quite difficult for me. It's harder to understand what someone is saying without visual cues, all you can do is pick out the words you know and make an estimated guess.  Ironic, I used to be a crisis counsellor volunteer supervisor so I was quite comfortable talking on the phone!

This is the car wash next to the bus station, I love the logo! 

I always get the bus to Berlin from Leipzig as it's half the price of the train ticket although it takes twice as long (two hours). As an Australian, that kind of travel is nothing! I boarded the bus yesterday at 5:35am and read a bit then fell asleep. We had a rather eccentric bus driver who woke everyone up 15 minutes before our destination by singing on the speaker and saying something about health.  I arrived in Berlin about 7:45 ready to travel to my 9am appointment. I'm not completely au fait with Berlin so I needed a bit of travel time. I was pleased to be able to help a new visitor to Berlin with their train ticket :).

The first place was in Prenzlauer Berg. The second time we stayed in Berlin many years ago we stayed in this suburb. It's a previously East German DDR suburb, but it's pretty much unrecognisable given the plethora of bright cafes, shops and markets. This is a suburb for children, with loads of parks, children's clothing shops and child care centres. I can understand how it makes some people's teeth gnash with cries of gentrification, it really is lefty monied hippie meets hipster. To give a Melbourne (Australia) reference it's more Fitzroy than Coburg. It's monied so you'll sit in a real seat not a milk crate whilst enjoying your craft beer/cafe and vegan cake.

The apartment was a good location, not too far from Mauer Park but sooo dark. All the light fitting had been ripped out (the thought of dealing with a sparky in Deutsch would be another challenge for me). Further, each of the rooms had the old coal heaters still installed (but presumably defunct) which I can't help finding rather creepy. They are certainly nice from a retro view but I found them rather creepy to be honest. Doesn't it make you think of WWII? Notably they were not featured in any of the photos on the real estate site...


As I've mentioned earlier, it is common in Deutschland to rent apartments without fitted kitchens. A kitchen may have anything from nothing except holes in the wall to an oven, sink, benches (if you are lucky). Several places (including this one) I saw had a lid on the stove tops which I thought a great space saving device although I assume it's not meant as a permanent fixture. Some places have no light fittings or floor boards, the renter has to bring their own.

The second apartment was basically my dream apartment. Gorgeously light with brand new floor boards, large rooms and a little courtyard patio which would be perfect for a little kitty to sun itself. I miss Mr P terribly and can't wait to get a fat lady cat from the animal shelter to love. The real estate staff person spoke English and she kindly gave me some advice for getting an apartment in Berlin. It was really appreciated, as i have mentioned previously, I am constantly blessed by the kindness of Deutsch people. (Every day I meet someone in my day to day life who makes me life as an expat better).

The next wohnung was actually a sublet via the Ebay classifieds but wasn't advertised as such which was a bit annoying, so I won't go into it too much. I got lost on the way and was very late which is annoying for all concerned but the tenant was gracious about it.

The fourth was in an up and coming Berlin area. Fifth floor walk up with a rather narrow staircase which would make moving hell.  Nice 3 room place (as in 2 bedrooms and a living room) although you'd struggle to fit a double bed in two of those rooms). Lovely big brand new kitchen.

I've since spoken the woman from the second property and she's advised me to submit our CV's and the last three pay slips (bit hard when you are self employed as they don't exist) with our application. So far we've included:

  • Introduction letter (in Deutsch) detailing a little about us
  • Work contracts (I am doing a little contract editing work but not that much)
  • Bank statements
  • Photocopy of our passports
  • Photocopy of my Aufenthaltskarte (basically a residency card that gives me living and work rights) 
  • Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung (Rent arrears freedom certificate. We've subletted since we came to Deutschland so we have a letter from landlord indicating we caused no damage and owe no money) I still don't understand why Deutsch words are so long! 
We are due to get SCHUFA credit reports (these basically verify that you have no debts). I tried to apply for ours online but have been unable to complete the forms online (keep getting an error notice) so I am visiting a Buro to get one tomorrow.

Chris is back from Zurich tomorrow so we are visiting three-four properties on Saturday before he flies off the Spain. We'll keep you posted. 

 Ping pong tables in one of the public spaces in Prenzlauer Berg. 

Labels: , ,