shakshuka-recipe-bettina

Here’s a theory: the coolness of a city is equal to, or at the very least, largely determined by, the palpability of its creative set. What they’re doing, what they’re wearing and, particularly, what they’re eating. It seems that urbanite, nouveau tastemakers have deemed plant-based diets the zeitgeist, and the cities they inhabit are taking stock: vegetable stock. With trend diets mirroring a shift in our cities and our communities, it brings into question what type of travellers we are.

Easygoing eaters opting for a “stumble upon” approach versus meticulous planners with specified meal types and allergen lists will recoil or rejoice at a city’s food offering. From Bali to Berlin, these five cities share a passion for food, are eco-aware and have recently become particularly plant-friendly.

1. Marbella, Spain

A coastal town and frequent hen do host, Marbella’s quieter side is also home to a growing yoga community, and where there are yogis there is generally a larder full of wholesome recipes. Offering a good stretch of vegan places ideal for healthy travellers, head to Dezentral for a generously portioned breakfast or lunch at pocket-friendly prices. If you’re partial to raw food, the couple-run Gioia serves beautifully presented fare – pan con tomate is a must over the course of your trip. Make your own with a twist – avocado is a great addition.

Pan Con Tomate with Avocado (serves 1)

Ingredients:

2 slices of gluten-free or good-quality bread
1/2 avocado, sliced

For the tomato topping: 1 large ripe tomato
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Mixed seeds and sprouts

Method: 1. Place all the tomato ingredients into a blender and blitz until well combined; set aside.

2. Pop the bread into a toaster and crisp up.

3. Place the toast on a plate and add a layer of tomato topping and sliced avocado.

4. Top with rocket or watercress and basil and a sprinkling of seeds, hemp hearts or sprouts for added flavour and nutrition.

2. Bali, Indonesia

The home of the health retreat, Bali’s access to incredible produce, along with an influx in tourism, means it has become something of a food destination in recent years. Chef Will Goldfarb (of Netflix notoriety) set up Room 4 Dessert last year, serving sweets and cocktails, plus some great plant-friendly options. For something a little less saccharine, try Locavore. Here, everything is made from scratch; try the tasting menu and indulge in a lengthy lunch created from locally ingredients. For a traditional and healthy Balinese dish, you can’t go wrong for black-rice pudding.

Black Rice Pudding with Caramelised Bananas (serves 4)

Ingredients:

95g black rice
250ml water
250ml  coconut milk
1 vanilla pod (bean)
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 bananas
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup

To serve: A dollop of coconut yoghurt, shop-bought or home-made
Toasted coconut flakes, black sesame seeds or edible flowers (optional)

Method:

1. Start by boiling the rice in a medium pan until all the liquid has completely evaporated.

2. Add the coconut milk, vanilla pod and coconut sugar to the rice and let everything simmer for another 20 minutes until creamy in consistency.

3. While the pudding is simmering, slice the bananas horizontally and fry in a medium pan with the coconut oil until slightly brown. Once cooked, finish with maple syrup and black sesame seeds.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

One of the biggest food cities in the world, Copenhagen defines the experimental food experience. Mette Dahlgaard, head chef at Gemyse, reflects the changing seasons in his menus where organic produce is the focus. For a more dressed-down experience (and the best brunch in town) head to Acacia, a restaurant which prides itself on being one hundred percent organic, gluten-free and plant based. Come hungry and order a minimum of two brunch dishes per person. Nothing conjures the taste of Scandinavian summer more than buckwheat waffles.

Buckwheat waffles (serves 2)

Ingredients:

60ml melted coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon for the waffle iron
375ml almond milk
200g  buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 vanilla pod (bean) scraped

To serve: 230g coconut yoghurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla pod handful of fresh fruit

Method: 1. Start by heating the coconut oil in a pan on medium heat, along with the almond milk.

2. Place all the remaining waffle ingredients, including the melted coconut oil and almond milk, into a bowl and mix well.

3. Heat up the waffle iron and brush with coconut oil.

4. Ladle some of the batter mixture into the iron and cook until crispy.

5. While the waffles are cooking, pimp up your coconut yoghurt with lemon zest, maple syrup and the vanilla, stirring to combine.

4. Berlin, Germany

Effortlessly cool, great value for money and a never-ending supply of hipster food hubs, Berlin’s culinary scene really stands out. Visit Cookies Cream for a fine-dining experience without the price tag; housed in a former nightclub in the back alley of Behrenstrabe, it serves up amazing plant-based fodder. For something just as relaxed, head to NENI, located on the rooftop of the 25hours Bikini Berlin. The vibe on the 10th floor is positively chilled. Take your place in a kind of greenhouse, seated at wooden tables on colourful chairs and eat your way through towers of small plates. Among our favourite mezze is shakshuka to rival that found in Israel.

Baked Shakshuka with Butter Beans (serves 2)

Ingredients:

80ml olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red (bell) pepper, chopped
1/2 aubergine, chopped
400g tin of tomatoes
230g tinned butter beans, drained
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika, pinch of cayenne pepper
Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

To serve: Handful of chopped parsley

Method: 1. In a medium pan, heat the oil and fry the onion, pepper and aubergine with a tiny pinch of salt for 10-15 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, beans and sun-dried tomatoes as well as all the spices and seasoning. Stir and leave on a medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Stir and leave for a further 10 minutes.

4. Serve from the pan with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, avocado slices and homemade bread for dipping.

5. Tokyo, Japan

A few years back, finding gluten-free or plant-based options in Tokyo was near impossible. Fast forward to now and the pulsating heart of the East is surging with vegan eateries. Kitaohji, where they serve the traditional Kaiseki (seven dishes of seasonal Japanese fare) is the only place in the city to serve a full plant-based version. Adaptation, a café where you can create your own salad, also stocks a library’s worth of gluten-free dessert options. Mixing old and new, this aubergine recipe can be eaten as a side dish or the main event.

Miso and Tamari Marinated Aubergines (serves 2)

Ingredients: Two aubergines
Olive oil

For the marinade:

1/4 cup tamari soy
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
1/2 grated garlic clove
1 teaspoon of miso paste (light)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Sesame seeds

Method:

1. Slice aubergines lengthways; dab with olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt.

2. Place in a pan or cook in the oven until nice and soft.

3. In a small bowl, add all your marinade ingredients and mix well.

4. Arrange your cooked or griddled aubergines on a plate and drizzle your marinade on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Happy Food: Fast, Fresh, Simple Vegan by Bettina Campolucci Bordi, is available now. @bettinas_kitchen

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