Thursday, December 1st, 2016
I can’t believe I haven’t been shamelessly self-promoting this huge (HUGE!) thing in my life. I mean, I have photographed a whole cookbook! And it’s available in every bookshop in the Netherlands! But allow me to introduce “Share” more elegantly.
“Share” invites you to gather with your friends and family to cook, eat and enjoy a meal together. Wether it’s a picnic in the first warm late-spring evenings or a warm and cosy dinner next to a fireplace it doesn’t matter, Natascha has dozens of amazing recipes for every season (click here to visit her website)
Unlike most other cookbooks, we actually really photographed these dishes and scenes throughout one year. We wanted the produce to be fresh and seasonal, we wanted to actually have the winter light for the winter dishes and the warm summer light in summer. We spent this year cooking, photographing and getting to know each other. Natascha is an amazingly strong woman, who know what she wants, but she also works very hard to get there, she’s kind and can’t stand unfairness, and I love that about her. “Share” connected us, and we really hope it will bring more people together for a good meal.
All the recipes in the book are vegetarian, most of them are very easily made vegan. These recipes are incredibly flavoursome and often inspired by Natascha’s travels to Mediterranean countries.
I want to give you a little glimpse into this beauty of a book (excuse me if I say so myself, I am just very proud). Let’s see if you can spot Roberto in these pictures!
Sunday, November 27th, 2016
To celebrate that December is almost here, I changed up my morning routine a little. When December is approaching one must remember to incorporate more chocolate into her/his life, right? So I made us this thick and creamy Chocolate and Cinnamon Smoothie.
One month to Christmas, a little over a month until we move to Italy. Fairy lights decorate the trees amongst the town’s canals. We come home later from work than usual: I spend the days wrapping Christmas gifts and Roberto prepares lunches and snacks for them when they take a break from their shopping.
I want to remember the feeling of this moment. We work so close to each other now, we have really nice employers and we love what we do. We see each other every evening at home, and we are able to do fun stuff on the occasional days we are off together. It has been so very different in the past. We would never see each other and even days off together were incredibly rare. But we survived, and our relationship is so incredibly strong now. This makes us ready for new adventures.
December will pass in a heartbeat. Between work, people visiting us from Italy, packing and saying goodbye to everyone, it will soon be time to go. It’s a bittersweet moment: we both love our jobs, but don’t really feel at home in the Netherlands. The time ahead will be full of adventures, we’ll travel across the world, then when we’ll be back, we’ll try to settle in Italy and find a place to call home. It’s all pretty scary to me, but the fact that I get to do this with such a special person next to me makes me feel good about it.
But enough with the feelings and the thoughts. Below you will find the recipe for this festive smoothie, together with a little video I made.
Chocolate & Cinnamon Smoothie
Two ripe bananas
One frozen banana
½ cup of unsweetened oat milk (or other vegetable milk)
One tablespoon of date syrup
One teaspoon of cinnamon
Two teaspoons of cacao powder
¼ cup approx. of flax seeds
One teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Dark chocolate drops (vegan)
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender. Pour in a bowl or glass and decorate.
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
During the past two weeks Roberto and I have been binge-watching documentaries almost every night. Most of them were about environment and plant-based diets, since we both are genuinely interest in these two topics. So I though I would share with you the six documentaries that we enjoyed watching most. It’s kind of a diverse selection, there’s purely informative documentaries, there’s one historical documentary and there’s a photography documentary, but all of them tackle these subjects we have at heart.
Cowspiracy – maybe an obvious one in this list, but also my favourite. A comprehensive documentary which shows us how animal agriculture (the meat and dairy industry) is the number one cause of pollution, deforestation, species extinction, yet no one, not even the environmental organisations, address this as a problem. Well, this documentary surely did get the attention it deserves, but I am guessing not everyone has watched it, so if you haven’t yet, please do so.
Watch the trailer here.
Food Choices – Nowadays we step inside a grocery store and everywhere around us is information thrown towards us. It’s difficult to sieve this information and pick out what really is information and what actually is misinformation. We all are very vulnerable to advertisement campaign that claim they will give you your health back, even though most of the time we don’t even realise it. This is the personal quest of filmmaker Michal Siervierski for the healthiest, most sustainable diet for himself, future generations and our planet.
Watch the trailer here.
Chasing Ice – I love photography, and I love seeing people who are very passionate about what they do. They have that sparkle in their eyes, you know. Well, James Balog has that sparkle. He is a renown environmental photographer who decided to document climate change through photography. He and his team set up dozens of camera across Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland to see if the glaciers would melt over a couple months. He did so to prove something to himself and other people who had been skeptic about climate change. Well, in his beautiful time-lapses you see mountains of ice disappearing within a few months. I think this is all the evidence we need.
Watch the trailer here.
How to Change the World – I always looked up to organisations like Greenpeace. When I was little I was fascinated by Greenpeace’s activist actions to save the planet and I often dreamed of being on one of their boats one day, fighting for our planet. But I had actually never wondered how and where such an organisation was born. Well, this documentary tells the story of this group of very eclectic and diverse people who had one thing in common: they loved the earth and wanted to save it. They were journalists, photographers, film-makers, scientists and they all came together at first to fight against nuclear tests in Alaska, then went on fighting against whale hunting, and finally they founded Greenpeace. Such an interesting documentary, I definitely recommend this.
Watch the trailer here.
Before the Flood – Leonardo DiCaprio, UN Messenger of peace and actor, travels around the world to experience climate change firsthand. He interviews and confronts several political leaders, he asks them, and every person watching the film, to intervene and take action.
I think it’s quite important that personalities like DiCaprio, and other people who the general audience looks up to, speak up, say something about these issues, because people will often emulate them in their lifestyle and even in their actions. I hope this documentary will reach the people who wouldn’t normally be very interested in climate change or documentaries.
Watch the trailer here.
Forks over Knives – One of my all-time favourites. It’s one of those documentaries that I watched for the first time not long after going vegan and after dealing with lots of remarks and doubts about it. So I needed some more information to back up my choice. I needed even more information to make sure I knew what I was doing, but also to challenge people around me to think my way for once. I had started to doubt myself a little shortly after going vegan, but after watching this documentary it was all gone. I know better now. If you are looking for the health related reasons to go vegan look no further, it’s all here, in this fantastic documentary.
Watch trailer here.
Saturday, November 5th, 2016
This blog has always been mostly about food and travels, and I have been thinking about if that’s really all I want to write about. I love making food and eating it, and for Roberto there’s no bigger pleasure in life than coming up with new recipes, test them and see the end result, but writing about food is not what I like most, except for when there’s a real story behind a recipe.
There a topic I really feel like talking about all the time, and I feel like it should get a place in here. Most of the people who know me know that I am vegan, but they don’t know how much passion I carry for veganism. Since I was little I always wanted to save every animal I found, and since I was little I cared about the environment. I had no idea that this idea has been inside of me all along, but now it all resonates. I am so happy that I found this way of life, I feel better, I am more calm, less anxious, and I just feel much more aligned with my thoughts. I feel whole, and I want to help other people to feel the same way.
But that’s not the only thing that makes me passionate about veganism. What makes me passionate is the fact that I want to do everything I can to save this planet. And to do that I need your help, and I want people to get involved, but do that, first I really have to get involved myself, go out there, and that’s the only part that frightens me a little.
You see, I am not very good at showing my face around the Internet (nor am I really good at it in real life) but I figured that’s the only way I can talk with you and connect with people who want to help this world as well.
I was thinking about it this morning while I wrote this Instagram post. Some people in my life repeatedly keep telling me veganism is bad, but I know it’s not. They are simply terribly misinformed and honestly I feel a little sorry for them, because they’re so confident that they are right, that they do not go any further in their thinking process and don’t give a thought about what really is happening and what is really necessary in our modern world.
What I realised as well is that until a couple of years ago, I would have completely crumbled beneath their voices, because all I wanted to be was “normal” and being vegan is everything but (*wink*). Younger generations need help to step up and think for themselves, get informed, read and watch, until they can make an informed choice for themselves. If there’s enough people screaming out loud that no, killing hundreds of thousands of animal is not to be considered normal and nor is e.g. polluting our nature with an unimaginable quantity of plastic, maybe something will change.
I am very hopeful and I want to transmit that to everyone reading this blog and potentially watching my videos in the future.
The Evening Glow will still be about food and travel, with recipes by Roberto and stories by me, but with a little bit more soul, which means a little bit more of exposure from my side. I will write about veganism and environmentalism, share little things we can do to help, show you how I do it and that’s actually really really simple, maybe film a few recipes, show you what we bring on our travels to survive the endless line of fast-food restaurants on the road, and most of all I will who you how I survive day in day out, because honestly, that’s what I get asked most “How do you survive?”. I do not merely survive, I live, and I do so thriving on an amazing abundance of food.
I hope you will follow along anyway, and maybe even more so because I have so many ideas, so much energy stored to write, photograph, and film everything I so deeply love.
Monday, October 24th, 2016
Last week we finally got to hold “Share” in our hands. “Share” is a cookbook I have styled and photographed with author Natascha Boudewijn. We have been working on this book for far over a year and we have been starting to kind of consider it our little jewel by now.
Every week we would meet to cook, style and photograph a few of her vegetarian/vegan recipes. Sometimes we would shoot the photo within a few minutes, other times we would argue about the styling for some time, then we would find a good way to make both of us happy. It has been a great year, and experience I will never forget, that taught me so much about photography, styling, but also about collaborating with someone and trusting someone.
I thought I would share with you one of the recipes from “Share”. However, like I always do, I changed it completely while I was making it. So here you have a new recipe for an autumnal soup crated by me, very much inspired by Natascha’s recipe from the cookbook “Share”.
Dutchies out there, you’ll find the book from next week in all bookshops (click here to see where to order it online)
Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
with coconut cream, thyme and pumpkin seeds
(for four bowls)
800 g pumpkin, diced
250 g carrots, sliced
one onion, sliced
one liter of vegetable stock
one tsp ground cilantro
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 cm fresh ginger, grated
a bunch of thyme
half a cup of coconut cream
2 tbsp olive oil
black pepper, ground
Pour the olive oil in a big pan on medium heat, wait for it to heat up and throw in the sliced onion to caramelise. Add diced pumpkin, sliced carrots and grated ginger. Add ground cumin and cilantro. Stir often until the vegetables softened up a bit. Slowly add the vegetable stock. Tie the bunch of thyme with a piece of cooking twine, put the thyme in the pan keeping the other end on the twine outside the pan, in order to pull it out easily later on. Allow to cook for about half an hour, depending on the size of your diced vegetables. Check if the pumpkin is soft, when it is, turn off the heat, take out the thyme and allow to cool down a little. With a (hand) blender mix everything until smooth. Heat the coup a bit if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in four bowls and top with coconut cream, black pepper and pumpkin seeds.
Monday, October 10th, 2016
A week ago we got back from Italy, where we were climbing, hiking and enjoying the summer leftovers all day long. We somehow were a bit surprised by this cold autumn weather, as if we didn’t know it’s October, as if we didn’t know we live in the Netherlands. I must have been dreaming of a year-round summer, but no, our planet needs the cold, and unknowingly I think we need it too.
So I started eating porridge instead of smoothie bowls for breakfast, and we started making soup for dinner more often, and in between we sometimes need a snack that isn’t just fruit. I looked a bit around and found a recipe for delicious-looking oat bars, so I decided to try them and give them a twist (basically, I changed the whole recipe, as always).
What caught my eye, apart from the photos, honestly was the “No-bake” part of the title. We have, in fact maybe a bit too early, thrown out our tiny oven. We thought “we’re moving soon anyway, and it’s not like it works that well”, but we hand’t thought about the cold, and about the cravings that come with it (*hint* roasted potatoes, veggie lasagne, cake, and everything that’s comfort food).
But now I know how to make these bars, which are filling and satisfying. So I am set for the winter, and actually, after lighting a few candles and making some tea, I don’t mind that it’s coming that much after all.
POWER BARS (makes 8 6x6cm bars)
(inspired by Alternative Baker‘s Oat bars)
90 g unsalted mixed nuts butter*
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
2 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds, natural and unsalted
50 g mixed dried fruit (I used cranberries, bananas and coconut)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup dark cacao nibs, vegan
1 cup dark cacao nibs or dark chocolate
a handful coconut flakes
a handful dried cranberries
*peanut, cashew, hazelnut or almond butter will do the job as well
In a large bowl mix nut butter, agave, vanilla extract and sea sal until well incorporated.
Cut the almonds roughly with a good chef knife and set aside.
Toast oats in a skillet over low heat for a few minutes, stirring often, until you can smell them and feel they’re hot. Pour into the bowl with the mixture of nut butter, agave and vanilla.
Toast the almonds you had previously set aside as well until golden-brown.
Pour the almonds in the mixture as well, add hemp seeds, cacao nibs, and dried fruit, and mix preferably using your (clean) hands.
Line a small baking pan with parchment paper (I used a 15x25cm one, but don’t worry if the measurements are a little different). Spread the mixture evenly in the pan and press down very well.
Melt the cacao nibs for the topping au bain marie. Pour over the mature in the baking pan, spread evenly and top with coconut flakes and cranberries.
Monday, October 3rd, 2016
We drove into town at exactly 12 am last night, squinting our eyes to see the road through the heavy rain. Sixteen hours earlier we had said goodbye to our families, promising them we would stop along the way to rest a bit and maybe stay at a motel overnight. But we didn’t. When a holiday is over there’s no need to keep pretending: it has been fun, but come on, let’s go, we have a lot to do. So we drove and drove, through Italy, France, Luxembourg and Belgium, singing, almost screaming on purpose to keep each other awake, coming up with the craziest questions about the world, nature and its ways, and playing a game consisting in counting hawks (I swear, there were a lot).
Three weeks ago we left for Italy with a fully loaded car, so full I barely fit in it next to Roberto. This time the purpose of the trip was different. We didn’t want to just see our families, relax, see some friends and eat good food, we were there to feel if we still belong there and if the answer was yes, look for a place to call home soon.
The first days I felt unsettled. So much at one point I was crying in the car out of desperation; “If I don’t feel at home here, and I don’t feel at home in the Netherlands, where will I ever feel at home?”, I thought. But then we drove towards the mountains, we spent days in nature, hiking, swimming, climbing, and it all fell in place. I wanted to be there, and Roberto wanted it too.
One day we were walking up the highest mountain we could see, wondering about all it had witnessed last century and silently watching nature do its thing; the other we were dipping our feet in the freezing waters of the river, talking about how it is all so messy, but so beautiful. Italy, nature, and life.
Soon after we were driving around through fields, mountains and along the coastline, asking people if they knew who we could ask to rent a house. Because that’s how it works in Italy, Internet is for the rich, for everyone else there’s word-of-mouth.
Happiness and uncertainty make for great adventures, right? We have no clue wether we’ll find jobs in Italy, the main reason why everyone there asks us why we do it, if it’s a smart move. We don’t have an answer. We just know we both want to live and feel deeply (I’ve been told I am a dreamer and a romantic, but I don’t see that as criticism).
I will be documenting our Italian life here, along with our travels and vegan recipe in between.
Saturday, September 3rd, 2016
A few days ago someone commented on one of my posts “you cannot live without milk, eggs, meat, fish and cake”. And he was damn right, I cannot live without cake. Vegan cake that is.
Aside from this guy’s *fail* moment, which both made me laugh hysterically and cringe because I cannot believe some people criticise without actually even knowing what veganism is, I actually really can’t live without cake.
So to celebrate being alive that day I made cake, a three layered vanilla and chocolate cake that, my dears, will make you dream. It’s creamy, it’s soft and so good I can’t wait to celebrate my next few dozen birthdays by making one.
Three layered vanilla chocolate cake
(makes one 16cm / 6,3 inch springform pan)
150 g almonds, natural
10 medjool dates
250 g raw cashew nuts
150 ml coconut cream
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp cocoa powder
150 g dark vegan chocolate
50 g almonds, natural
Soak cashew nuts overnight or at least for four hours. Rinse well and drain.
To make the crust, mix almonds in a blender (roughly if you want a more crispy crust), add medjool dates and mix until doughy.
Line a 16 cm springform pan with parchment paper (note: you can use a bigger pan, but your cake will be flatter). Press the date and almond mixture into it, press well and flatten it, then set aside.
In the blender mix all the cashew nuts with the coconut cream, agave nectar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and pour in a bowl. Take one third of the mixture and pour over the date and almond layer of the cake.
Pour the mixture back into the blender. Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder. Blend and pour in a bowl. Take half of the mixture and pour over the first white layer of the cake.
Pour left mixture back into the blender and add two more tablespoons of cocoa powder. Blend and pour on top of the second layer.
Put the cake tin in the freezer for at least two hours.
Take out of the freezer one hour before serving. Wait until the cake gets to room temperature (or at least until it’s not frozen anymore) to take our of the pan, otherwise it will break.
To decorate, melt the dark chocolate au bain marie. Chop almonds roughly.Pour the chocolate over the cake and top with almonds.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
Whenever I visit my parents in Italy, my mum always likes to take one afternoon just for the two of us and go to our favourite gelato place. Imagine this place, just near the beach, with a view on the sea, where you can sit outside in the hot summer days; it’s just perfect to spend some time together with mum and talk about the everythings and nothings on our minds.
The past few years I’ve been ordering some sorbet or something not containing dairy or eggs, while she has been ordering these huge, amazing-looking, affogato al cioccolato or affogato al caffé. It looks like she’s just won a prize when this big cup in coffee “drowned” ice cream arrives and honestly, although I don’t feel the urge to have one as well, I feel like it’s a shame they don’t make a vegan version.
But veganism is not very popular in Italy just yet, and since today marks T – 2 weeks to our next trip to the land of pasta and gelato, I decided to make my own affogato al caffé, to celebrate summer and the fact that in a little over two weeks I’ll see my parents again.
I don’t even know if I should call this a recipe, but this is just too good not to be shared.
Affogato al caffè (for two)
One tub of dairy free vanilla ice cream
Freshly made espresso (three shots)
Toppings (pistachios, molten dark chocolate,..)
Make espresso and place aside to cool.
Put two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass.
Pour cooled espresso over it and decorate.
Monday, August 22nd, 2016
Whenever I smell basil or ripe organic tomatoes my thoughts wander to all the hot Italian summers of my youth. Roberto and I come from Liguria, the Italian region where pesto is made, and together with the fresh pesto leaves, August is characterised by ripening tomatoes. The smell fills the evening air, especially when watering the plants after a long sunny day. This is the kind of feeling that made us take the decision to go back and settle down in Italy, despite all the economical and organisational problems of the country.
This year we’ve tried to grow both tomatoes and basil in our apartment in Holland. We don’t have any outside space, not even a balcony, so we’ve used our window sills as a garden. The whole experiment has been a success, as both are still growing and giving us beautiful and delicious tomatoes and bright green basil leaves. We’re kind of proud of our little inside garden.
We add basil to our tomato sauces and to many of our mediterranean vegetable dishes (soups, ratatouille,..). But we had never made pesto with it, so it was high time we did.
The original recipe contains two cheeses, parmigiano reggiano and pecorino, which I substituted with nutritional yeast for the taste (and the B vitamins). And I also substituted the pine nuts with raw cashew nuts. The result was amazing, just as tasting as the original, and even tough some people back at home would hate me if they read this, there’s no need for cheese in pesto, it’s absolutely delicious like this.
I was planning on being the super healthy version of me and use this pesto on zucchini pasta, but then Roberto came home super hungry and I knew he wasn’t going to be very happy about it, so I just made pasta instead. After you boiled your pasta al dente, add one tablespoon of the boiling water to the pesto, then drain the pasta and put it back in the pan. Add the pesto and sauté on high heat for another minute.
Pesto, the vegan version
(makes about 80 ml, enough for two dishes of pasta)
20 g fresh basil leaves
one garlic clove
1/4 cup (20 g) raw cashew nuts
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
a pinch of salt
Traditionally, you should never cut basil with a knife because it could ruin its taste. So, if you have mortar and pestel at home, dust it off and make good use of it at least this time.
Mix the basil leaves and the garlic. Cut the cashew nuts on a cutting board with a cook knife. Then add the cashew nuts to the basil and keep mixing. Add nutritional yeast and then slowly the olive oil. Add salt to taste when everything is well mixed together.
If you have a food processor (and don’t own a mortar and pestle), mix all ingredients together until well blended. I suggest you use the smallest “cup” part to make this pesto, so the blades will manage to mix everything.