Svíčková is the queen of Czech cuisine, at least in my heart and mind. It´s one of the trademarks of our culture, so to say. You can find it on the menu of almost any restaurant that serves typical Czech food. Do I need to say that I have many happy memories connected to it? Although normally it is heavy with milk cream, this version tastes almost exactly as the one of my childhood – that´s pure magic!
Credits for the recipe go to Dagmar Lužná – you can find it in her cookbook.
You will need 2 large carrots, 2 large parsley roots, 2 large onions and a smaller piece of celery root, all vegetables should be cut into larger chunks. Spread 3 tbsp of sesame oil on the bottom of a pot, place the veggies inside and cover with water so that they are submerged. Sprinkle with salt, add 2 bay leaves, 3 pieces of allspice, 3 cloves, 3 pieces of juniper and 3 tbsp of ume plum vinegar. Simmer on a low flame until the vegetables are soft. Transfer to a blender and blend everything until smooth. Return to the pot, simmer for a bit longer, add more vinegar if needed, and at the end add some non-dairy cream as desired(I used rice cream).
I served this lovely sauce on top of millet dumplings filled with smoked tofu: First I cooked millet in a 1:2,5 ratio of grain to water, for about half an hour. When the millet cooled down, I added corn flour until I got a stiff dough that didn´t stick to my hands (it´s tricky to get this right!). Meanwhile I sauteed finely chopped onion on oil and then added smoked tofu cut into tiny cubes, which I sauteed for another few minutes, After cooling down I used this tofu mixture to fill the millet dumplings – just chip off a piece of dough, flatten it with your hand into a “cookie shape”, sprinkle a small amount of the mixture on top and wrap, creating a round tightly sealed ball. Cook the dumplings in salted water until they float from the bottom of the pot up to the surface, the exact time depends mostly on how large the dumplings are.
This meal is sure not something you will whip out in 10 minutes, but don ´t let that discourage you, it´s worth it! 😀
what a nice color and creaminess!
with the millet dumplings and some extra dumpling filling
Aaaaah, my favourite soba noodles! I have them so seldom, because they are so expensive! 😀 While I believe that nothing compares to authentic Japanese soba ( buckwheat and wheat or pure 100% buckwheat noodles), here in the Czech Republic I choose to substitute them with the cheaper local buckwheat pasta. I´m actually happy we have such a great buckwheat-product brand, not every country is so lucky! But here I used my long-saved stack of real soba, bought during our stay in Slovenia..
I made a sauce of long cooked cubed hokkaido pumpkin and onions – nearly cover the cubes with water and boil on low flame until soft. I seasoned the sauce with black Indian vulcanic salt and a generous amount of curry powder. I blended the sauce in a blender for a perfectly creamy texture.
On a pan I sauteed on oil a bunch of green beans, cut into tiny pieces, along with crumbled up tempeh and a splash of shoyu soy sauce.
Layer the bean/tempeh mixture and the pumpkin curry sauce over the noodles 🙂
I like to play with different types of pesto, some time ago I had the purple variety of basil which made for a slightly different taste (if you´re a pesto snob you will notice, I guess :-D), but mostly colour. I admit, the colour is not the most appealing colour you could imagine and green basil makes for a prettier pesto, in my opinion 😀
Anyway…first I roasted one cup of sunflower seeds, then I blended them with a bunch of purple basil and enough water and olive oil to make the blender work (you could use oil only, or water only, or a bit of both, depending on your personal preference). I seasoned the pesto with black pepper, black vulcanic salt (from India), ume plum vinegar, lemon juice and garlic.
For a veggie side I sauteed some onion on olive oil with a pinch of salt, until translucent. Then I added bite-sized green beans and as the last item a large bunch of roughly chopped swiss chard (mangold). I cooked the veggies until the green beans were soft and the chard wilted. I served the pesto and vegetables on top of corn pasta.
Being macro I sometimes miss rich creamy white sauces…but there´s no reason to be sad, because you can quite easily make a sauce that comes pretty close, using almond flour and non-dairy milk 🙂
First shortly sautee minced garlic on a tiny bit of olive oil, then add finely diced onion, and when the onion softens, add finely cut leek. Each time accompany the vegetable with a few grains of sea salt to release more liquid and sweetness. Mix in approximately 6 heaping tbsp of almond flour and then gradually pour in one litre of non-dairy milk (I had rice milk). Stir well (preferably with a whisk) to avoid lumps. Mix in a teaspoon (or more) of diluted white miso and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook uncovered on a moderate flame, stirring every now and then, until a substantial part of the liquid evaporates and you get a preferred consistency of the sauce. Season with ume plum vinegar and/or salt as needed (the sauce can be on the sweet side because of the condensed milk, but I actually liked that), you can also add some cracked black pepper. Towards the end mix in chopped fresh dill – I used a lot to get an intense flavour reminding me of the traditional Czech creamy dill sauce 😀
I served the sauce over blanched cauliflower and with red rice and gomasio.
The recipe for this pesto comes from my favourite cookbook by Susan Marque, focused on clearing candida from the body.
The good thing about pesto is that you can make it in just a few minutes – if you have a blender. And since I am a lucky owner….
I just blended 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (first dry roasted on a pan until they pop), blended them on pulse mode with about 1/4 cup olive oil, a big clove of garlic, 1 tsp ume vinegar, 2 tsp shiro (white) miso and a cup (or more) of fresh basil leaves, adding water as needed. The blender requires quite some water to function…If you like smoother pesto (like the one I made), you can also blend on higher speed towards the end of blending.
just blended pesto
I used the pesto in two meals – over corn pasta with blanched carrot, green beans and broccoli (no picture, sorry!) and as a topping of baked fish which I baked in a heat-resistant glass baking pan covered with tin foil, for about half an hour. The fish was served with a rice/sweet rice mixture and a layered stew: onion rings on the bottom, then curly cabbage, white cabbage, dill and lettuce, flavoured with ume plum vinegar and cooked for some 20 minutes on a low flame under a lid, with just about 2 cm of water in the pot.
pesto covered baked fish
This creamy sauce would perhaps even more suit a pasta dish, but I decided to make an ultracreamy dish and pair it with pressure-cooked short-grain rice, along with some blanched veggies (in my case broccoli and green beans).
The sauce needs to be first blended in a blender and then cooked on the stove. Place a small chunk of tofu (you really don´t need very much, maybe quarter of a 200 g block), one clove of garlic, a dash of ground black pepper, 1 tbsp of ume plum vinegar and 3 tsp of brown rice flour into a blender and blend shortly with about half a cup of water. Add a big bunch of fresh dill and blend more until you get a bright green sauce.
In a smaller pot sautee some onion on oil with a pinch of salt, then add the blended sauce, bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes. The sauce should thicken thanks to the rice flour, but feel free to add more. It depends a lot on how much water you used… You might have noticed I am bad with estimating measurements 😀
Pour hot sauce over cooked rice and blanched veggies.
There´s nothing like a good bowl of pasta with a delicious pesto sauce…it´s not a very typical macro dish, but it´s something I appreciate immensely. This pesto is dairy-free and uses almonds instead of the more usual pine nuts or cashews. Almonds are the most alkalizing of nuts, so why not 🙂
I made corn pasta (my favourite glutenfree type of pasta) with some blanched carrots and green beans and a sprinkling of organic corn kernels from a jar.
For the sauce you will need 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (I used 2 for my candida clearing plan :-D), a generous bunch of fresh basil leaves, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 2 tbsp of oil (I used the incredibly fragrant cold-pressed pumpkinseed oil purchased in Slovenia), a dash of black pepper, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup of almonds which I soaked overnight and peeled their skins off the next day. Soaking almonds makes them more digestible and removes the enzyme inhibitors found in all nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.
First place the nuts with oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and garlic into your blender on “pulse” setting and shortly process into a chunky mixture (depending on your preference, of course). When that is done, add basil and pulse again for a more chunky pesto or blend on higher speed for a smooth cream. Serve on top of pasta with veggies.
Another supersimple sauce for your pasta is here, this time starring tofu and carrot!
It has exactly FOUR ingredients: tofu, carrot, ume plum vinegar and barley miso. First steam a chunk of tofu (about 50 g per person should suffice) and a small handful of carrot chunks in a steaming basket, about 20 minutes, or until the carrot gets soft enough to be easily prickled by a fork. Then transfer to blender, adding 1/2 tsp barley miso, about 2 tsp ume plum vinegar and warm water from the steaming (amount depends on desired consistency). Serve over noodles (mine were buckwheat noodles – soba) and garnish with cut up nori strips.
I am lately experimenting a bit with sauces, which are somehow not so commonly used in standard macrobiotic cooking, but I do miss them at times…whether it´s Italian-style pasta sauces or more hearty and thick “dumpling” sauces of the Czech type. This time I decided to make a creamy, but not too heavy vegetable sauce on top of our pasta.
As a protein I marinated and then baked some thinly sliced tempeh, placed in one layer in a baking dish. For the marinade I used (for a chunk of about 100 g tempeh) 1 tsp tamari, 2 tsp water, 1/2 tsp organic mustard and 1/2 tsp of fresh ginger juice which I mixed in a bowl and then poured on top of the slices in the baking dish. I baked the tempeh on about 180°C, for 15 minutes, then flipped over and baked another 10 minutes (but it really depends on how thick you slice your tempeh, mine was very thin, so it came out a bit too dry for my taste, but at least it was very crunchy).
For the sauce I water-sauteed a larger onion with some salt and chopped wild garlic, then added broccoli small florets/stems and water to cover. I simmered the veggies until tender and then mixed in 1 tablespoon of white rice flour diluted in a bit of cold water, watching out for lumps and stirring well. I let the sauce come to boil, added half a tablespoon of shiro miso and half a tablespoon of tamari, and let simmer for a few more minutes. Then I transferred the content into a blender (I split the sauce into two batches – otherwise your sauce will fly out of the blender, so be careful about the amount!) and blended until smooth. I returned the sauce into the pot and brought back to boil, simmering an additional one minute or so.
In the pictures you can see the sauce with tempeh on top of (my boyfriend´s) whole-wheat pasta and also on top of my buckwheat/whole-wheat soba noodles.
It cannot get more Czech than dumplings, really. When I look into Czech macro cookbooks, whether printed or online, there are always several dumpling recipes. And dumplings go in most cases together with sauce, usually a thick creamy one. And sometimes even with some “meat-like” protein 😀 And/or sauerkraut 😀 Well, I had a bit of all of these in this kinda festive meal…
The dumplings were my very first ones so there is room for improvement, most definitely. I struggled a bit… :-p But next time all will be easier and there will probably follow an improved version! But I think they were quite good… I had a cup of leftover rice with sweet rice, which I pureed in a blender with water (just enough to make blending possible) until I got a creamy porridge-like consistency. Then I added a big pinch of salt followed by a couple of spoons of brown rice flour and spelt flour and some fine oat flakes…and kept adding…and adding…until I got a rather tough firm dough which would not anymore stick like crazy to my hands 😀 It took more flour than I thought…I can´t give any exact measurement, sorry, you have to see for yourselves. I formed two big “sausages” of dough and placed them into a pot with boiling water with a pinch of salt. It is important to keep the water at a rolling boil. It takes about 20 minutes for the dumplings to get cooked, depending on size and consistency. Watch that they don´t get stuck to the bottom (I had to lift mine carefully from the bottom with a spoon). They are cooked through once they float on the surface of the water. But check by cutting one of the rolls, the inside should not be too mushy or raw, but should have a spongey texture with some air holes, more like a bread roll. Cut the dumplings into 1 cm thick rounds with a sharp knife (you will need to hold them in place on the cutting board with a fork) or with a thread (traditional Czech method…) or (if you are a better equipped Czech person) with a dumpling cutter 😀
I think that next time I will: not use sweet rice (it gets too sticky in the dough), not blend the grains in the blender (the grains get too liquid and then you need a lot of flour to make a firm dough)… But you learn by experiment.
For the sauce I sauteed small chunks of onion, carrot, parsley root and celery root, on a small amount of water with a pinch of salt, covered by a lid. I blended the veggies into a puree in a blender and returned to the pot. I thickened the sauce with 1 tsp of arrowroot starch dissolved in a tiny amount of cold water (use a whisk to stir it in) and for flavour added 1 tsp of dark miso, 1/2 tsp natural mustard, a pinch of dried thyme and a dash of lemon juice.
As a “meat” I served cubes of smoked tofu “fried” on 1 tbsp of mirin (I don´t use oil at the moment, so mirin does the job quite well :-D). I also made quick sauerkraut by sauteeing shredded white cabbage with a bit of water, 1/2 tbsp of mirin and 1 tbsp of ume plum vinegar, under a lid, for about half an hour.