Workaway 1: Eco-Renovation in Rialto

Sometimes your expectations are exceeded by a special experience and our first workaway in Rialto, Liguria was one of those times.

We chose this particular workaway as a family was rebuilding from the stone shell of their tragically burned down house. The family undertook the renovation with occasional help, but mostly DIY after past experience on renovating the house first time round. We felt this could be a particularly worthy effort, and as it was an eco-renovation, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

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Liguria: First Straw Bale House

After finding out the first straw bale house in Liguria was on our route we knew we had to visit. It turned out to function as an agriturismo so, luckily, we could spend a night there too (an agriturismo is a kind of working farm B&B and there are lots of them all throughout Italy – we prefer them to hotels).

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Event: Organic Food and Green Energy Festival

Our off grid journey has finally begun and in three months time, we will absorb tons of information about building houses with natural materials, growing food without pesticides, and producing our own energy. This summer trip is the first step to our dream of opening a vegan retreat centre in Italy’s beautiful countryside.

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Our Off Grid Journey

Our summer holiday has officially started: Ryan finished work and no classes for me until the beginning of September. This leaves us a lot of time to spend on getting closer to our dream of building a self-sustainable home and growing our own food; a 10-week off grid journey is waiting for us (and we’re not going to spend a lot of money.)

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Event: L’Isola di Veg (27/28/29 May)

One week ago my friend Ludovica asked if I wanted to join her this weekend to “L’Isola di Veg”, a vegan festival at Parco del Turismo in EUR, Rome. Who can say no to that? I went on their website and looked at the program: during the day they host free yoga classes, lectures by well known doctors, and there are dozens of vegan food stalls, at night they screen documentaries or have live music. It just screams awesome.

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Black Olive and Rocket Pesto

It is full on springtime in Rome: the Italians walk around slightly more tanned than usual, the air smells of fresh basil, and rucola (rocket) turns the market stalls green. The atmosphere is amazing and all I’m craving is pasta with a juicy vegan pesto – in this case black olive and rocket pesto.

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Carob Cashew Brownies

In the world of food bloggers, carob powder is a highly debated ingredient. Some people love it, some people hate it. The following vegan recipe is one for carob cashew brownies, which will make both the haters and the lovers melt. If you want to know more about the uses and benefits of carob, a whole blog post will be dedicated to it soon.

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Sugar-Free Homemade Applesauce

In Belgium, applesauce is a big thing for non-vegans. A traditional dish would be sausages with mashed potatoes and applesauce. Kids absolutely love it!

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Artichoke with Roasted Garlic Dip

This recipe for artichoke with roasted garlic dip is very versatile. You can share an artichoke with friends over a bottle of wine for aperitivo, or if you’re hungry… eat a whole one by yourself for lunch or a light dinner.

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No-Bake Orange Cheesecake

I am going to keep it short today, since I don’t want to keep you from scrolling down to drool over the pictures of this amazing dessert I’m about to share with you. A no-bake cheesecake that is easy to prepare, vegan, refined sugar-free, high in healthy fats and delicious.

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DIY: Natural Sweetener

In my last post I promised to share the recipe for a natural sweetener that I use in every dessert. So here it is: date syrup is the answer to all your questions! Dried dates are wonderfully sweet on itself and why not use them instead of all the horrible refined sugars that are out there?

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In Season: Artichoke

The artichoke is in season and we found this beautiful looking purple variation on a market stall in Rome. Obviously, we love them, but how on earth are you meant to prepare them? Or eat them? These are questions I’ve heard more than once and here’s a quick guide to handling this stunning vegetable. It takes some time to prepare, but it is not difficult and totally worth it.

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In Season: Orange

When I moved to Rome in August 2015, I couldn’t be happier to find an orange tree in the back garden of my apartment. Yes, an actual 3-meter tall tree, with real oranges I could pick myself and juice everyday of the year. So when I picked my first one that summer, I wondered why it tasted absolutely disgusting.

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Goji Stuffed Pears

Every article on healthy eating tells you to eat more fruit and vegetables, and less sugar. The first thing is easy for most people, the latter a bit more challenging. A lot more challenging. So what if we could combine the two? What if we could get the sweet taste and natural sugars out of fruit? And what if that fruit happens to be in season too? Genius, don’t you think!

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In Season: Black Kale

Black kale, or the exotic sounding cavolo nero is a variety of kale that is often used in traditional Italian cuisine. Other names are Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale or Lacinato kale. The leaves are dark greenish, almost black in colour sometimes, and their stems tend to be thinner than regular kale. The colour darkens even more once cooked. The taste is rich and a bit peppery and works well with sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or winter squashes.

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Black Kale Rolls with Butternut Squash

When I started eating more healthy three years ago, most of my grocery shopping would be fruits and vegetables rather than bread, cookies, and cheeses. Not just any vegetable though, I’d turn my nose up to anything I’d never seen before (yellow beets, black kale, strange-looking cabbages) and fill up my trolley with tomatoes, carrots, avocados and other standard vegetables.

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Jerusalem Artichoke and Apple Salad

I do not like raw salads and never eat them. There, I said it: I’m a vegan and I basically never eat raw vegetables. I’m all for the steamed or roasted vegetables, or the heavier comfort foods like this pesto quinoa bowl or bean stew. Especially in winter I’d turn my back on anything raw, but this Jerusalem artichoke and apple salad convinced me otherwise.

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In Season: Jerusalem Artichoke

Have you ever heard about topinambour? Jerusalem artichoke? Sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple? They are all one and the same thing. I’d never heard of it until I found this ginger look-a-like on a market stall (and of course, wanted to try it immediately).

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Take the Veganuary Challenge

Happy New Year to all of you! We’re back in Rome after an amazing adventure through the Alps and we’re already seeing some New Year resolutions being broken 😉 So we’ve got a challenge for you that only lasts until the end of January (but maybe, hopefully even longer!)

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Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas is coming up, and some of you will be prepping their menu. For the health-conscious people among you, I’ll be sharing some nutritious Christmas dishes, starting with this Christmas spiced red cabbage. This year I’ll spend the holidays with my family in Belgium and I’ll be cooking a vegan menu for 11 people. Check the blog, because I’ll definitely share my best vegan experiments with you! (For pictures: follow Savouring Seasons on Instagram!)

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In Season: Red Cabbage

Cabbage is available everywhere during these winter months and it is a perfect, nutritious and inexpensive choice for warming, cold-weather meals. You can recognise it by its round shape with layers of overlapping leaves, because the colour can be white, green, and purple. Personally, I like the red one best, because it makes the perfect vegetable for a sweet, christmassy dish. Red cabbage has smooth textured leaves that are purple with white veins running through. It looks beautiful, doesn’t it?

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Pumpkin Peanut Curry

I made a lot of recipes with pumpkin over the last week – not because it’s my favourite thing ever and the cliché autumn blogger thing to do – but one whole pumpkin just gives you so much flesh! Pumpkin’s the superstar in this pumpkin peanut curry, and while people often reach for the convenience of pumpkin in a can, let me tell you this: the taste and texture is much better when you buy it fresh. Now that we’re fully into autumn, you can practically find them in every supermarket or market stall.

Pumpkin Peanut Curry-1

First of all: oh my gosh, how absolutely gorgeous do these lentil sprouts look? I’m used to weird looks when I recommend people to sprout their beans or legumes. Why go through all the trouble to “sprout” them?

Well, legumes contain something called “phytic acid”, an anti-nutrient that is difficult to digest & that stops vitamins and minerals from being absorbed by your body. By soaking them overnight and then leaving them in a bowl for a day or two, the germination process starts which increases the vitamins and minerals of the lentils. To put it simple: it is a lot healthier to eat sprouted foods.

I like my sprouts best when served in a flavourful, warming and spicy curry. And this one happens to check all those boxes! If you’re a bit like me and think that most stewy things taste the same, you must try this one! The peanut sauce gives it an unusual, but oh so delicious flavour (while also adding some extra protein and healthy fats). Served with some lime rice, you’ve got yourself an exotic, filling and healthy dinner.

Pumpkin Peanut Curry-4

pumpkin peanut curry

serves 2 big eaters
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
500g pumpkin, deseeded & cubed
150g (sprouted) lentils
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 dried chili, chopped
a 1cm piece of ginger, chopped
2 tbsp coriander powder
400ml coconut milk
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
juice of 1/2 lime
100 ml hot water

+ 150g of rice to serve with

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a second pan. When hot, add one chopped onion and cook until translucent. Then add the pumpkin cubes and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the lentils to the pan, and also the garlic, chili, ginger and coriander powder. Stir well to make everything absorb the flavours. Add the coconut milk and bring to a soft simmer.
  4. Meanwhile dissolve the peanut butter in a glass with hot water. Mix with the soy sauce, tomato puree, lime juice and add to the pan. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Let simmer until the pumpkin is tender, then serve this warming pumpkin peanut curry in deep bowls. Serve with rice (try adding the juice of the other lime half, yum!) Enjoy!


Pumpkin Peanut Curry-3


In Season: Pumpkin

Each year when I see the first pumpkins on the market stalls, I literally just want to start dancing in the middle of the street and jump from joy. Pumpkin is my all-time favourite and it might have to do with my fascination for Cinderella’s fabulous carriage. Yes, pumpkins look absolutely a-ma-zing, but they taste incredible as well. The sweet taste makes it a very versatile ingredient and helps satisfying my sweet tooth in a healthy way. Pumpkins also have a wonderful nutritious profile, so I love using them in my vegan recipes. In the past I’ve used it in stews, soups, salads and desserts also.

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