Today I thought it’s the right day to share this video that I started to record in the first week of the quaranteen and that I finished editing today. I hope this first day back in “freedom” for Tirol will be a rebirth for all of us!
I guess these past weeks have shown us that it is the time to discover new sites, of ourselves, of our behaviours, of our routines, of our surroundings… It’s the time to try out new things, learn new things, be aware of different things.
To bring something fresh to my “quarantine routine” and something new to my culinary repertoire I decided to make a vegan week. I started by thinking about ingredients I never bought before and recipes I would like to try (or some that I have done before but that I would like to cook again). So for a little overview, in case you feel inspired by also trying a vegan week, here comes my “menu”.
I was either eating Porridge (which was just simply oats with oatmilk, cinnamon and grated apple) or Müsli (own mix of oats, nuts, seeds) with fruits and fermented coconut “yoghurt”. Of course for my typical Sunday pancake breakfast I made some Chocolate Pancakes with chocolate sauce and strawberries.
In general I’m always eating Sandwiches so I just needed to get some vegan spreads. I really like to make different types of hummus. My favourite one is with chickpeas and beetroot, but I also like different types with lentils, beans or peas as basis. I always mix it with some kind of herbs of veggies. Apart from this, also avocado, peanut butter, olive oil, or some vegetables like cucumber, tomato, lettuce, or grilled aubergine/ courgette are very nice toppings for sandwiches.
I started with something easy like a Lentil vegetable curry with rice. Just very basic with onion, carrots and celery. Another day I made some homemade Falafel and Naan bread. This was very delicious together with lettuce, cucumber, grated carrots, an avocado-coconut dip and a sweet and sour ginger dip. Coming to an ingredient I never cooked with before: tofu. I decided to buy the smoked one cause I was curious about its taste. After I freezed it for one night to get out the water more easily, I marinated it for 3 hours. After it became part of a Asian style vegetable-noodle pan. I must say it was tasty but I could also eat with pleasure just the vegetable noodles without missing the tofu. I think its more something I would cook with if I would rely on its protein. And a last great meal I had was a Vegetable strudel. I think this is a very easy way to make a kind of more special dinner in a very simple way. You can just take any kind of vegetables you like, spice it up and just roll it into a strudel dough. It’s amazing! This time I filled it with a potato and onion spread, and fried cabbage-turnip, carrots and spring onions. I spiced it with curry and parsley.
All in all it was a great and refreshing experience. But at some point I was really wishing for cheese, so I guess that is the main point why I don’t want to be vegan forever. In general I just like to have this wide range of possibilities, so that I can choose day by day if I want to eat vegan, vegetarian or animal products according to how I feel like. I think its just very important to have a balanced diet with which you feel physically, mentally and ethically good and responsible.
I hope you got some inspiration and if you feel like trying any of these meals, just leave me a comment to get the recipes.
About youth and a greener Europe
«The 11 European Youth Goals summarise the issues that affect young people in Europe and (…) that show in which areas change still has to happen so that young people in Europe can use their full potential.»
10. Sustainable Green Europe
This goal refers to achieving a society in which all young people are environmentally active, educated and able to make a difference in their everyday lives.
I know this is such a big topic and sometimes we feel like that as a single person we can’t do enough. But the truth is that we can. Because if every single one of us takes the action, at the end we can make a big difference all together. I’m going to give you some examples about simple actions that I follow in my everyday life to try to make our planet a bit more sustainable and clean.
Buying local and seasonal products, preferably on a market, at a farmer in your town, from the bakery, butcher or fisherman. For example, talking about fruits and vegetables I really don’t see the point why we need to have strawberries or melons in winter time coming from the other side of the world. The beauty of eating seasonal and local is that throughout the year you have this bunch of variety. And it also makes every single fruit and vegetable more special.
Eating everything but in a moderate way. Have you asked yourself why there are so many vegetarians and vegans nowadays? My answer to this is that when there is one extreme there has also to be the opposite extreme. This means that as there are so many people that eat meat every day, that there has also to be the complete meat avoiders to make sure that there is some balance. In my opinion the right way would be a balanced diet for everyone but I’m not going to dig deep into this topic today. Fact is that the production of meat and other animal products has come to a point where it is neither environmentally nor ethically sustainable…
Avoiding plastic. I know this is a big challenge sometimes, mostly also related to economic possibilities, but try. I’m happy that supermarkets at least got to understand that packing bio fruits and vegetables in plastic packaging to be recognized as such is just contradictory. Nowadays you have everywhere this reusable net-bags for fruits and veggies and they are just great, not only to avoid plastic bags, but also because they let their content breath. I also never saw the point why we need to have plastic in between cheese or ham slices. Also if you live in a country where you can drink tab water, just do so instead of buying plastic bottles. Even if you can’t drink the water directly from the tab, you can cook it first. And if you need a bottle just get one of those aluminium ones. And of course there is much more you can do.
Avoiding palm oil. Since some years I don’t buy any products that contain palm oil to contribute to avoid the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest due to the plantations of palms for the palm oil production. It’s incredible in which products you can find it. It’s basically everywhere. I think it’s a real shame that known brands like Ferrero don’t change the ingredients of their products (like Nutella) to avoid the use of palm oil. A good example is Tuc that some years ago switched to sunflower oil for their salty crackers.
Returning system. I think this should exist in every country: a returning system for bottles and glasses. I don’t understand why such a little amount of countries in Europe has adopted this system. In my eyes it’s perfect to avoid a big part of plastic and other trash. I mean from juice, over water, to tomato sauce, milk, yoghurt, and so on, everything can already be found in glass containers, so why not creating a returning system for all these?
Well I guess there is much more to say, and much more you can do but I guess the most important is that everyone contributes in some way. We all should be interested in making a difference to enhance not only our own quality of life, but as well the one of future generations. We should be aware of the consequences of our actions and make responsible choices in every matter of our life, to empower a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle amongst our society.
Time to cook
I always loved cooking and baking, experimenting new recipes or creating own dishes. It is still one of my favourite times of the day standing in the kitchen and preparing something to eat, taking time for details, surprising others with my creations. This intuitive thinking, this making choices based on your own experience, this feeling confident about every movement, this reunion of all senses, it’s all just something that brings an incredible joy to my life. And it’s not anymore about having a nice and ready meal on your table, it’s about all the process and the anticipation. It’s about every little step from the planning what you want to make, over to the shopping of great ingredients, followed by all the cooking process. It’s about being aware what you are eating, where it comes from, how it is made. It’s about experiencing it with all your senses. And in best case, it’s also about sharing.
Specially in times like these I like to spend hours in the kitchen preparing food. It’s kind of a ritual for happiness. There is nothing like good food to make you smile again. But it’s also in times like these that we need inspiration, that we need inputs to try something new and not run out of ideas ending up always eating the same. Let’s variate, let’s get crazy in the kitchen, let’s make our senses travel all around the world. In this sense I collected some ideas from other volunteers and our coordinators to share with you some recipes, soul foods and inspirations to make your cooking days more adventurous.
Pancakes – my soul food
I think I will never get enough of pancakes in my life. It’s this perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It doesn’t matter which time of the day it is, it always fits perfectly. Either salty with cheese inside the dough or filled with vegetables, or sweet with lingonberry jam, maple syrup, apples and cinnamon, strawberries and vanilla ice cream… there are just so many options that make this dish simply suitable for every taste. Also as vegan variations with banana in the dough. Simply perfect easy good mood food!
150 ml milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar
Wisk the egg with sugar and salt. Add the milk and mix it. Add the flour and baking powder until it has the right consitency (not too creamy and not too liquid). Bake the pancakes in a pan with butter until they are golden-brown. If you like thicker american style pancakes then start by separating the egg and whisk the egg white. After mixing all other ingredients (making the dough a bit thicker) incorporate the egg white.
Rice dishes – different variations
Always a good option if you have some vegetables or legumes and spices at home. There are so many variations that you will never get bored. Try out your favourite combinations.
- Green curry with broccoli and rice
- Vegan rice pan with colourful vegetables
- Narakagni (by Josema)
1 cup of rice
2 cups of water
Chicken/ vegetable broth
1 glas of chickpeas
Curcuma, cayenne, tabasco
Wash the rice and let it dry for 10 min. Boil water in a pot and add chicken/ vegetable broth. Once it is yellow, add the rice, a little bit of curcuma, a pinch of cayenne, chickpeas and a bit of tabasco (be careful about the spiciness). Cook it on low flame until the rice absorbed the liquid. It is recommended to serve it with a plate of goat cheese, white bread or a glass of milk.
Semmelknödel (bread dumplings)
If you are into typical Tirolean cuisine, then you should definitely try to make dumplings. These bread dumplings for example are very tasty and you can eat them in a soup or together with a salad, or a mushrooms cream sauce, and so on. It’s also very good to cut them in thick slices and fry them in a pan with butter.
It is definitely the time to make your soul a bit happier with some sweet treats. So, if you are vegan or not the next recipes will definitely inspire you for more.
- Vegan chocolate mousse
I’m always very surprised what vegan cooking options there are that I still haven’t heard about. It’s a full new world of options to discover. I mean have you ever thought about that you could replace egg white by aquafaba and that you can whip it the same way? I haven’t until today, but I will definitely try this and some other vegan tricks.
- Marshmallow caramel puff rice bars
Now it’s time for you to get inspired by all this different recipes and put hands on. Go to the kitchen and start with whatever you always wanted to try. Get crazy, try out things. The time for it is now!
“There is nothings less time wasting than cooking for the people you love” – Michael Pollan
What kind of person are you at the moment? The one that is calm and happy about having time for personal projects or family life? Or are you the one freaking out? Or maybe a double personality that is changing every two days? But in any case, is there not also that question in your mind how this all is affecting us? And when can we act as normal humans again?
I guess I’m the “double personality” kind. I must say that last week I started to have a kind of stable “quarantine routine” and I felt a new way of being free, of doing my own projects, of caring about myself. I must say that it felt like a break to my previous working routine and I was liking doing “whatever I wanted”. But when you stop for a moment you realise that the difference between your normal routine and your quarantine routine is that in the second one there is nothing unpredictable (in a positive sense) that will break it. There is no friend calling you to go for a coffee. There is no difference between a week day or a weekend. There is no event or trip to be planned. There is no night you go out until late and sleep half of the next day. It’s a steady rhythm of sleeping and waking up at the same times, of doing the same things everyday or every two days. Where is the break? What was actually the usual break? The answer: the people you can’t see at the moment…
I was never really the spontaneous kind of person, I always liked to plan things. But the moment you realise that you are just on your own, that you can decide whatever you want to do (within the restrictions) whenever you want to do it, that you don’t have to rely on anyone and that there is no one that can cross your plans with other proposals, you suddenly feel that you are missing the inconstant of human beings in your “perfect” routine. And you notice that actually it’s the imperfection that gives a natural balance to your life. But now, not much seems very natural anymore, not much seems very human anymore.
Some days ago I’ve heard an older woman talking to a younger one exactly about this. That we are loosing our humanity. In addition to all the “keep distance” restrictions people are slowly freak out. I mean I have been listening to the radio a lot these days and apart from the fact that I’m freaking out because of listening the same “corona-comments” and the same “quarantine-advertisements” every day, I’m also freaking out because of the news I hear lately about peoples behaviour. Why does a young men threaten an old lady by telling her he has the virus and will pass it on to her? Why does a doctor make a legal complaint against a patient for passing him on the virus, but after a test proves that the patient doesn’t even have the virus? Why are tourists now making a common legal complaint against Tirol because they think they got infected during their skiing holidays (or should I rather say “après-skiing” holidays)? What is wrong with people? Is there really nothing better to do and nothing better to think of than making this whole situation worst? Nothing better than to blame others for (maybe) their own mistakes? To blame a region or a country that in my opinion (compared to others) reacted fast to this whole situation? Even with so much time for ourselves at the moment, people seem not even taking a second to think about the consequences of their irrational behaviour…
So please! Whatever kind person you are at the moment and even though you want to blame the whole world for this inhuman situation, take a breath to think. We are somehow all in the same boat, we all have to find ways to lead with this situation, to lead with our angriness, our sadness, our fears, and all our energy. So let’s keep our humanity and let’s be there for each other as much as we can instead of complicating each others life.
“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.”
“What if…?” is probably the biggest question that is out there in our minds. At least in my one. It’s this silly question that we shouldn’t even think of, because we can’t anyway change what is happening at the moment. It’s always a major force. But still the question stays it’s in our heads. It’s a question about what decisions, what restrictions were really necessary, it’s a question about how harmful this virus really is or if we are making it that strong with our fear, with our actions. Might the harm we are causing to ourselves not be bigger than the one this virus is actually causing? Is the virus not going to spread anyway, even if we close boarders and people in their homes? Is it worth it to put people in critical economic situations, in unemployment, in existential crises? Would the people that are dying now due to this virus, not maybe have died anyway? Is life and death not anyway a natural selection? Is it again a way of the human being to intervene in nature? These are question that are causing a lot of debates in our heads, that some of you might find tactless, but that no one can answer… Doctors have different opinions, politicians have different opinions, citizens have different opinions. The fact is that at the end we have to trust and follow those who take the decisions, if we agree or not.
I must admit that my first thought when the quarantine was announced was “I’m not going to let them take away my freedom!” And the more this situation goes on, the more rebellious I feel. It’s taking us away our freedom, it’s separating us from people, and certainly there are some of us in isolation that might not get sick from the virus itself but from loneliness and depression. It feels wrong to me seeing everyday new methods of keeping people apart, it feels wrong to me that families and couples are being separated, it feels wrong to me that people on the street change the side they are walking on just because someone else appears on their way. It’s heartbreaking! My only hope in all this is that, when this is going to end one day, people have realised how much they actually need each other and don’t take it for granted anymore that there is always someone right by their side.
But in all the rebellious thoughts and “what ifs”, as I said we have to follow the decisions that were taken for our society, because at the moment it’s the only right thing to do. I’m not a risk group, I’m most probably not going to die from this if I get it, but I wouldn’t forgive myself if I would put other people in danger, people that are still working for us in this difficult times. So the only thing that we can do at the moment is to find a new definition of freedom within this borders that were made up, to stay positive and healthy in our minds, to support each other from distance as much as we can, to find a reason to wake up every morning, and to always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
«The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you will need for tomorrow» Robert Tew