This is not one of my typical nice and easy recipes, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t help myself and spend half of my day in the kitchen trying to recreate something I ate a couple of days ago. To be more precise, these should be the famous mini bites with cashew, vegetables and portobello mushrooms as stated on the menu of the Food Forum list. They were part of our free lunch menu, created by the Chefs of Menu magazine and tasted so good that I ignored my natural sense of shame, went back to the table and asked for one more :)
The main problem with preparing the bites at home was that I had absolutely no idea what’s in them except for the obvious part – vegetables and mushrooms. So I decided to trust my palate and cooked them combining most of my favorite vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, aubergines, carrots, garlic, red peppers and baby spinach. A feast for all the senses with the added portobello mushrooms, cashews, ginger and powdered nutmeg.
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die” – a graffiti quote seen in Belgrade from one of the Food Forum lectors, Yana Petkova.
Except for the divine food the Forum was also rich in interesting lectors and visitors, a bunch of raw chefs, vegans, Ayurveda specialists, nutritionists, all kinds of healthy foodists and some misguided adventurers like my paraglider instructor . The best place to meet “one of your kind” and share ideas. Like the girl who offered to sell me earrings made of small jars filled with flaxseeds… really cute. Or a vegan canadian woman working for the bulgarian Cru restaurant. People like “uncle Mitko” who decided to start a biodynamic agriculture farm at the age of 55 and working in it for 15 years now! That man looked better at 70 then most 50 years old you can meet on the street. A marvelous event, which I wish will happen more often from now on, because the 400 seats theater was sold out well in advance and lots of people couldn’t attend. Great job, Gorichka , for the Food forum!
1 small broccoli
2-3 garlic cloves
2 red peppers
a handful of baby spinach
a handful of cashews
1/4 cup olive oil
a dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
a pinch of salt
1 cup marinated portobello mushrooms
Instructions for the bites:
1. Peel and cut into small bites the aubergine, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and the red peppers, add some salt and olive oil and bake for 40 minutes.
2. Peel the peppers and pour the baked veggies in the food processor. Blend using the S knife.
3. Add the baby spinach, cashews, garlic, 1/3 of the mushrooms, the spices, the rest of the olive oil and blend until nice and smooth.
4. Make small bites or balls using your hands and arrange on a baking paper. Here you have 2 options – to eat them as the are now, baked, blended and arranged (see the image below) or bake them again for 10 more minutes with the upper coils on for a crispier look (see the image under the sauce instructions). I liked them both ways :)
Instructions for the marinated portobello mushrooms:
1. Cut the mushrooms and put them in a jar.
2. Add salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
3. Close the jar and leave it in the fridge for a day or two.
Instructions for the sauce:
1. Pour the marinated portobello mushrooms in the blender.
2. Add spring water to cover them.
3. Blend until creamy like texture.
Time for preparation: 1 hour. Makes 15 big bites.
For serving arrange the bites in a plate, pour some mushrooms sauce on each and garnish with sprouts, pomegranates, raw nuts or fresh herbs.