World Vegetarian Day

Today is World Vegetarian Day so I decided to make a three-course meal for this special day. I wanted to go with a French theme and planned the whole thing ahead. Our menu for today looks like this:

Starter:
Baguette with Bruchetta

Main:
Ratatouille with Roasted Potatoes

Dessert:
Riz au Lait

Of course, I wanted to make pretty much everything from scrap. So yesterday, I made the dough for the bread. A while ago, I saw an amazing recipe for French baguette on The Real Deal Cooking Channel. I am super in love with Bruno’s Kitchen. He has the most amazing recipes! So, of course, I decided to go with that recipe (if you are interested, click here for the recipe). I’m going to be honest here because it is really tricky to write an article about the food  you are going to eat that day and eat that meal that day as well. Do I make sense? At the time I’m writing this article (wednesday evening), my dough is in the fridge because it has to rise, my ratatouille just cooked for 3 hours but needs another 45 minutes before serving and my riz au Lait needs the cream folded in as well. Therefor, I cannot know how everything tastes until I have my dinner tomorrow evening (which will be ‘tonight’ when this article is posted). I guess I’ll just have to edit the article tomorrow evening after dinner. Because my husband has to work until 7 or so, I will probably be eating alone (good job on the planning, right). Anyway, I’ll let you know how everything tastes.

So, first course: Baguette with Bruchetta. I made everything the day before and baked the bread today. To get a really nice “enhanced” flavour, I made the bruchetta yesterday evening so the flavours could develop overnight. Because the bread needs to rise, I made it in the morning so it had enough time to do so. Look at this:

Baguette in the making

My mixer had a really hard time getting the dough mixed but it worked out (barely). I would really like a kitchen aid stand mixer so I’m able to do this more frequently. I love making bread and a stand mixer is mighty handy. But would you look at this silky smooth dough:

Silky smooth dough for my baguettes

I’m super happy with how it turned out. I barely had to knead it. It might have taken a long time but I barely had to do anything. The only thing is: I have a wheat intolerance. Yes, that is something. No, that’s not made up. My stomach gets really upset when I eat wheat (same reactions as when I drink milk for example). I therefore used spelt flour. I know that the gluten content is lower in spelt than in wheat. I had the same problem I have had before when baking french baguettes: the rise sideways instead of “up”. The result is that my baguette looks more look a ciabatta than like a baguette. It wasn’t until after I saw that, that I thought “hmm, I should really learn how to prevent this from happening”. I found that it can usually be fixed with simply using less water (about 20% less). This is something I have to remember for  next time.

Dough after the second rise                                      Homemade French Baguette
For the Bruchetta, I just finely chopped 2 Roma tomatoes and 6 basil leaves and just added some salt and pepper to taste and added about 1.5 tablespoons of extra vierge olive oil. Over this, I drizzled some homemade balsamic glaze. This is also easy to make: you just mix balsamic vinegar with some sugar and reduce it (read full recipe by clicking here). The combination is heaven! It’s sweet, salty, tangy: yum! I should serve this when I’m making tapas again. It’s really, really good. Of course, you don’t have to make your own baguette but I just love knowing what goes in my food and knowing I made it from scratch 🙂 It gives me a good feeling. Here’s what my starter looked like:

Homemade Baguette with Bruchetta and Balsamic Glaze                                      Homemade Baguette with simple bruchetta and balsamic glaze

The second course is Ratatouille with Roasted Potatoes. The recipe for the Ratatouille also comes from Bruno’s Kitchen (click here for the recipe). Not only is this a vegetarian dish, it’s also VEGAN! That’s right! I didn’t have Chinese or Japanese Eggplants so went with normal ones instead. The problem with that is the shape. My eggplants were so much thicker/larger than the other ingredients that my dish was far from OCD-proof:

Ratatouille ready for the oven

I decided to go with it anyway because it would probably not have any effect on the flavour. I cooked it for three hours yesterday and finished it off today because it needed another 45 minutes. This is the very first time I have tasted “real” ratatouille so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste but….. I am in LOVE! The vegetables are soft, tender and still have a little bit of a bite and then, there’s the sauce. Oh my, that sauce. It is like an orgasm in my mouth. It has all kinds of flavour: it’s spicy and sweet, it’s bold, it still has that hint of herb de Provence and thyme and oh my, you have got to give this recipe a go. Yes, it takes a long time to cook but you can do whatever you want when it is in the oven! I’m serious, you guys. This is heaven in my mouth. And then those roasted potatoes. I cut them in half (because they were so small, boiled them for 10 minutes, then wacked them into the oven with just some freshly ground salt and pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil. Ok, the presentation sucks but the taste makes up for it. I swear!

Super delicious Ratatouille                                          Roasted Potatoes

The last course was the Riz au Lait (click here for the recipe) from Bruno’s Kitchen. Did I already mention that I love Bruno’s Kitchen? It was super easy to make but mine looks a bit brown because I used brown sugar instead of white. I also used unsweetened soy milk instead of whole milk because both my husband and I are lactose intolerant. It tastes fenominal! It is so rich and creamy. At first I thought it was too sweet but then I folded in the whipped cream and it was just perfect. My husband took one bite, looked at me like he was totally in love with it and asked: ‘Is there more?’ I probably have to make it again tomorrow or the day after. Even my candied orange peel worked out great 😀 So would I recommend this recipe? Oh yeah, I would definitely recommend it!

Riz au Lait with candied Orange Peel - Rice Pudding                                                           Riz au Lait - Rice Pudding

So this is what I did for ‘World Vegetarian Day’. What did you do in honor of this day? Please tell me about it in a comment down below 🙂

 

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