Tag Archives: picnic

Pulled BBQ Seitan – The Best Summer Burger

For a few years now I have experimenting with making seitan. I have to admit that before I met Tiia I didn’t even know what it was but I was intrigued right away. Seitan is made from wheat gluten and then steamed, cooked or baked. I always buy seitan flour online or at the supermarket.

I have tried a few recipes but they were always a bit too bland or the amounts just weren’t working out perfectly. So here is what I have come up with over time. The first recipe is for a basic seitan loaf. That can be used to make the pulled seitan burger (scroll further down for the recipe) or, after baked, just be eaten by itself, on bread or as a steak. If you want to make the burger buns yourself you will find our recipe for those here.

Basic Seitan:

Ingredients

1 cup kidney beans (cooked)
4 sage leaves
3 tsp roasted onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp smoked paprika
3 tsp paprika
3 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp yeast extract
1 1/4 cups water
2 3/4 cups seitan flour

First heat up some water in a steam kettle. If you don’t have one you can just use a big pot and put a colander in it to steam the seitan.

In a food processor blend together the beans, sage, garlic, onion and olive oil until everything is really smooth.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

Add the rest of the spices, mix well and add the water and seitan flour. Depending on the type of gluten you’re using you might have to add more water. The dough is right when everything sticks together nicely.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

Form a loaf and wrap it in aluminium foil.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

Make sure it’s packed tightly and nothing can come out of the sides. When the water is ready, steam the seitan for 60 minutes. Turn it around once after 30 minutes.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

Now it depends on what you want to do with your seitan. If you want to use it as pulled seitan for burgers or sandwiches, steaming it should be enough since it will get fried later. If you want to eat your seitan thinly sliced on bread or as a steak for lunch it should go into the oven after it has steamed for an hour. In this case heat up the oven to 175°C and let the seitan bake in the aluminium foil for another 60 minutes.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger
The seitan loaf after steaming and baking

I also like to use this recipe for other occasions like Christmas and fill the seitan with pesto and crushed nuts!

If you now want to make pulled seitan continue with the following recipe.

Pulled BBQ Seitan:

Ingredients

1 loaf (or less) of the ready steamed seitan
1 small onion
3 cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp olive oil

For the sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 apple vinegar
1/3 cup muscovado (or brown) sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika
3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
3 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

Pull the seitan apart with a fork and fry it in a pan with the oil until it gets a crust.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

Add the onions and the garlic only after 8 minutes or so since the seitan will take a while to fry and you don’t want to burn them. When the seitan looks done and the onion is glossy turn the stove to medium-low heat and add the bbq sauce. Let it simmer for a while until most of the liquid is gone.

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

The bbq seitan will be soft and moist. If you like it to be a bit more firm you can also just bake the loaf in the oven after steaming, like written above in the basic recipe. Afterwards you can cut the loaf into desired pieces for the burgers and start the bbq recipe with frying the onion and garlic instead of the seitan. Add the seitan together with the bbq sauce since it doesn’t need to be fried anymore.

Serve with freshly made burger buns (recipe here) or on sandwiches. We ate our burgers with fresh rucola, avocado and mint. It made a great combination!

Enjoy!

Stef

2women2cats: Pulled BBQ Seitan Burger

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World’s Best Hamburger Buns

Ever since I ate an amazing burger at Streat Helsinki Eats, I have wanted to make some proper hamburger buns. The ones you can buy at grocery stores usually tend to be absolutely disgusting, and it is always a shame to ruin a good hamburger with buns that taste like a mix of cardboard and spit. I guarantee that after you’ve tried these you won’t be buying those ever again.

2women2cats: World's Best Hamburger Buns

The recipe is originally from Heléne Johansson’s book called Leipä (Bröd från Brunkebergs Bageri), and I got it from the blog Pumpkin Jam. The recipe is actually  for hot dogs, but they work as well as hamburger buns.

My goal was to make the buns more interesting taste wise and a lot more funky looking. The spices are an oompf but not in a hot way. If you want plain ones, you can just leave them out (but keep the salt).

Burger buns with an Oriental twist (10-12 buns)

2 1/2 dl milk or vegetarian “milk”
37 g fresh yeast
375 g plain white flour
25 g butter or vegan margarine (room temperature)
10 g sea salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp curry

Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk. Pour the mixture in a kneading machine, add the spices and the butter. Add the flour a third at a time. Knead it for 10 minutes or double the time if you’re doing it by hand. Let the dough rest for half an hour.

2women2cats: World's Best Hamburger Buns

Cut the dough into 10-12 pieces (depending how big you want the buns – mine were quite small). Roll them into buns, put them on a tray lined with parchment paper and let them rise for 1½ hour or until they have doubled in size.

2women2cats: World's Best Hamburger Buns

2women2cats: World's Best Hamburger Buns

Preheat the oven to 225 °C. When the oven is hot, bake the buns for around 10 minutes. If you’re not eating all of them on the same day, you can freeze the rest once they’ve cooled down.

If you want extra awesomeness, enjoy your hamburgers with some pulled seitan! Click here for our recipe.

2women2cats: World's Best Hamburger Buns

Tiia

The Most Awesome Nettle Pesto

Last year Tiia had brought home a small bag of nettles and we decided to make pesto out of them. I have to say that I was a bit apprehensive at first since eating something that stings didn’t seem that appealing to me, but with some prep work nettles can be used in a lot of different dishes. The jar we had was gone in a week because it was so delicious! So this year I wanted to make a bigger batch.

If you want to pick some nettles take some thick rubber gloves with you, a pair of scissors and a plastic bag or basket. The best time to pick them is in spring when the plants are still small. If you go in the summertime and the nettles have grown more, just cut the upper 5-10 cm off. Shake them a bit to get rid of bugs. It doesn’t matter if the leaves a bit dirty, the nettles will be washed and boiled later.

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Depending on where you live you might come across the plant below. The white deadnettle (germ. weiße Taubnessel, finn. valkopeippi) looks similar to common nettles but doesn’t sting and despite the looks and name isn’t related to nettles.  I heard they can also be used in salads or cooked but I don’t have any personal experience with them and they aren’t used in this recipe.

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If you have picked a sufficient amount of the nettles you should wash them at home immediately with lots of cold water. I washed them four times to make sure all dirt and bugs were gone.

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Bring some water to boil at the same time and boil batch after batch for a few minutes before letting the excess water drip out in a big colander. After they’ve cooled down you can use a salad spinner to get rid of the remaining water.

Don’t pour away the water you boiled the nettles in! Cooled down it will make a great fertilizer for your plants.

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Now the nettles are ready to be made into pesto. You can experiment with how much oil and parmesan you like. I found the pesto quite delicious when it’s not dripping with oil and doesn’t have too much parmesan. I picked around a kilo of nettles and it made a bit less than 2 l of pesto. Some will be stored in jars in the fridge or given away as a gift. I also froze a bit of the pesto for later.

Here is the recipe for a smaller amount:

Ingredients

250 g nettles (weigh the pre-washed nettles)
25 g parmesan (or nutritional yeast if you want a vegan pesto)
20 g sunflower seeds (or cashews)
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves depending on size
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Roast the sunflower seeds in a pan without oil until they are lightly coloured and grate the parmesan. Blend the nettles with the garlic and the seeds in a food processor by pouring in olive oil carefully. When everything is really smooth, add the cheese (or yeast flakes) and some salt and pepper. Taste the pesto and add more spices, garlic or oil if needed. If you want a vegan pesto but don’t want to use nutritional yeast I recommend using cashews in the recipe (increase the amount). They give a cheesier flavour to the pesto.

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Store the pesto in jars in the fridge. Make sure it’s always covered with a bit of olive oil to keep it from getting mouldy and always use a clean spoon or knife. This way it will be kept fresh for several weeks. Enjoy with pasta, as a dip or on bread!

Stef

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Lavender Shortbread

I made this a while ago when Tiia and I had an indoor picnic. The shortbread was really easy to make and my first try turned out really well.

2women2cats: Lavender Shortbread

Today, as the sun is shining into the living room, I decided to make another batch so I could post the recipe here. It’s taken from Annie Bells’ “The Picnic Cookbook”, which offers a lot of fresh and easy recipes for picnics, barbecues and parties.

The shortbread is a basic recipe which you can adjust however you like. Add more lemon to make lemon shortcake or orange zest, chocolate…basically whatever you feel like. I’m thinking about making a lime coconut one next time. Enough with the talking, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

150 g butter, softened (I used salted)
75 g sugar
9 drops lavender oil
150 plain flour
75 g rice flour
zest of one lemon
dried lavender flowers

Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease a baking tin. I used a 26 ∅ cm springform. It makes quite thin shortbreads, so if you want them thicker, you should use a smaller tin.

Whisk the butter with the sugar and add the lavender oil. I only used 9 drops (the book recommended 15) because lavender tastes quite strong and I didn’t want to get the feeling of eating soap. I would advise to taste the batter after a few drops to see if it’s not too much for you.

Add the flours, lemon zest and a few dried lavender flowers. Part of my rice flour was self-made since I had made rice milk from roasted rice last week. I let the leftovers dry and then ground them in the food processor. It was still more coarse than the bought one, but it seemed to be really nice for the crumbliness of the shortbread. However, you can of course just use normal rice flour.

When everything is mixed, it should be all crumbly.

2women2cats: Lavender Shortbread

Press it into the tin but be careful not to compress it too much. It should be still crumbly.

2women2cats: Lavender Shortbread

Bake for 30 minutes, then put the oven off and leave the shortbread there for another 5 minutes. Take it out, sprinkle some sugar on top and some more lavender flowers. Let it cool down before removing the tin and cutting the shortbread. Enjoy!

Stef

2women2cats: Lavender Shortbread

2women2cats: Lavender Shortbread

Friday Afternoon Picnic

We love to have picnics in the summertime, hence we got this great book called The Picnic Cookbook  by Annie Bell as a Christmas present. Unfortunately in Finland you can’t really have outdoor picnics in the wintertime, unless you enjoy eating in a meter of snow with -17°C. We decided to be rebels and make some interesting food from the book and have a nice picnic in the middle of our small living room.

Friday Picnic -- 2 Women 2 Cats

Some candles around, a bedspread serving as a picnic blanket  and a makeshift table out of some sofa cushions and the setting was perfect. I can imagine this would be a nice idea for Valentine’s Day for those who want to celebrate it.

Fiday Picnic -- 2 Women 2 Cats

There were some delicious ideas in the book, including gorgeous pictures and general tips. I have a feeling we’re going to read it through many times before the summer is even here.

Tomato Galettes -- 2 Women 2 Cats

The cherry tomato and parmesan galettes were from the book, as was the lavender shortbread and the cheat’s aioli dip. The recipes were easy to follow and turned out really tasty. I recommend the book for other picnic enthusiasts!

Pastéis de Belém -- 2 Women 2 Cats

Stef also made onion jam for crackers with cheese and I made Pastéis de Belém, Spanish puff pastries with pudding. The tarts were delicious and really easy, I have to make them again, at least when I have left over egg yolk from making macarons or meringue.

Lavender Shortbread -- 2 Women 2 Cats

It was amazing to relax like this after a work week, I deeply recommend it. Let me know in the comments if you ever do something like this indoors and what are your favourite picnic recipes!

Tiia

Friday Picnic Prosecco -- 2 Women 2 Cats