It’s summertime and the living is easy- so should be your meal preparation! Vegan food is not just a trend or something only for those on ‘extreme’ diets- it’s good for you (and the environment and animals), delicious, perfect for dinner parties, and appealing to all appetites whether they are vegan or not- and yes, it CAN be satisfying.
Dreed*Tea recruited local blogger friend, Kristóf of White City Boy blog, to teach us how to make a vegan feast that we could share with our readers! We met at the adorable Mitbachi Cooking School on trendy Shenkin Street, who were kind enough to lend us their space for a “Vegan Cooking Crash Course”. Kristof presented us with 4 dishes: Sweet Potato Sashimi, Fig Salad, Curry Daal, and the ever popular Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes! (Recipes at the bottom of the post)
Kristof wearing Roni Bar
Kristóf got down to the preparations right away, while the 3 of us learned the delectable and simple recipes, and impatiently awaited the finished results, while sipping on some wine – of course! But once the everything was ready, the real party began with more drinking, devouring every tasty morsel of those vegan dishes, and a blogger chat on lifestyle, fashion, and veganism.
It was a charming afternoon with great company, and we left inspired to re-create every single dish all summer long! You can Check out White City Boy to see Kristóf’s take on chatting with us.
Q&A with White City Boy
D*T: Where are you from? Tell us about your life there a bit.
WCB: I was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, although my family’s roots are all over the world: I have Gypsy, Jewish, German, and Polish blood, and I’m equally proud of all parts of my heritage. I started off as a child actor and voice artist, and when I was 20 I got a job as a presenter for Hungarian MTV. I had a live talk show for several years, so I had the chance to interview lots of internationally recognized artists, actors and singers.
D*T: Why did you decide to come to Israel?
WCB: Seven years ago I fell in love with a guy who happened to be Israeli – he was a med student in Budapest, and after he finished his studies we moved to Tel Aviv. I always felt a very strong connection to Israel, and when I arrived here I just knew: TLV is the place to be.
D*T: You travel between Hungary and Israel a lot. Do you enjoy that or would prefer to just be in one place?
WCB: I love travelling, and I feel very lucky and fortunate that I have the chance to “run a life” in at least two different cities. I travel to Hungary for hosting events and presenting shows, by now it feels like hopping on an airplane is just like taking a bus – no pressure at all.
I also travel a lot to London for interviews and press conferences, I recently had the chance to interview Sarah Jessica Parker, Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sigourney Weaver, and many other actors. I’d never want to stay in one place when I have so many amazing opportunities.
D*T: How/Why did you decide to start your blog?
WCB: A friend of mine who is a designer, inspired me. She has great vision that people should utilize their best talents: She knew that I had been writing for many magazines and newspapers, including Time Out Israel and Cosmopolitan Hungary, and she just came to me and said: “Why won’t you create your own platform to write and post about what you want?”
D*T: Your blog is more lifestyle than strictly: fashion, or art, or food, or events. Did you intend it to be a “lifestyle blog” or did you start with one area and it evolved into the other ones? Is there one area that you prefer to write about more than the rest?
WCB: At first I thought I was going to do a fashion blog, as I absolutely fell in love with the unique taste and way of expression of Israeli designers. But soon enough I realized that there is so much more to blog about: inspiring charity events, one of a kind industrial design, incredible vegan restaurant culture. I just couldn’t resist writing about anything what served as a muse to me. Also, I realized that my followers loved when I wrote about more personal subjects, so eventually I turned the blog into a place where anyone can feel at home: foodies, fashionistas, arties – united.
D*T: Since we are a fashion blog, we have to ask – Who are your favorite designers?
WCB: I love PiooPioo, I think Mor Bauer is one of the most exciting talents out there, she is playful and professional at the same time. I adore Gal Angel’s Ugly Duckling bathing suit line – and I secretly wish (D*T: not so secret anymore) to collaborate with her on a line of bathing suits for guys for next summer. And I really love the ethnic touch of Tamar Primak and Sister M. There are just so many incredible talents in this city… it’s impossible to pick one!
D*T: You are vegan – does that affect your fashion choices as well?
WCB: For sure. I’m a vegan 5 years now, in the beginning it was only about food – I couldn’t even think about giving up my beloved leather bags and shoes. But as the years passed and I got into it more, I realized that I didn’t feel comfortable wearing leather anymore, and I started to give it away to friends and to charity auctions. I’m not saying it was easy to say goodbye to Cavalli boots and Gucci bags, especially since I had spent months gathering the money to buy them in the first place, but I really felt like I had no other choice. Now-days I can’t even smell leather, it gives me the creeps.
D*T: Can you recommend vegan/environment friendly fashion brands?
WCB: Absolutely, and soon I’m going to post a full entry about the best vegan fashion lines available in Tel Aviv, and all over the world. Stella McCartney never uses any animal products, I love Gioseppe Zanotti’s vegan shoes, and Clae has super cute cruelty free sneakers. However my best piece of advice for vegans is to keep shopping in their favorite stores – if you look close enough, you’ll always find vegan friendly items wherever you shop. And telling the shop assistant that you’re looking for vegan products will always inspire the brands to produce more – they just need to know that there is demand.
D*T: When/Why did you become a vegan?
WCB: About 6 years ago, after I got my beloved Chinese Crested dog, I became increasingly aware of the visual similarities between the meat that I ate and him, and it kinda freaked me out. There was this animal that I loved, whom I protected and spoiled, and others that I ate? It just didn’t make sense, so over the next year I gradually gave up meat and other foods. I never pressure anyone who is a meat eater, because I know that these decisions need time to ripen.
D*T: Do you find it difficult to keep your dietary restrictions (vegan) when eating out? What restaurants would you recommend for good vegan fair?
WCB: Absolutely not. Tel Aviv is a vegan heaven! There are about a dozen vegan restaurants of different types: from dodgy to fancy, from fast food to fine dining. Now-days even non-vegan restaurants have “vegan friendly” stickers on their windows, offering 5-6 vegan dishes, because the demand is huge. Not to mention the incredible hummus restaurants!
I just put together a post about my favorite restaurants here.
Mezze is a lovely little café on the corner of Balfour street, and although it’s not exclusively vegan it offers a to-die-for all vegan breakfast. Zakaim is without a doubt the Queen of vegan restaurants in Israel.
D*T: Are there food stores that have a better selection for vegans than others?
WCB: Teva Castel on Dizengof street, Nizat HaDuvdevan in Carmel market, and Organic Market on Shenkin are my favorite ones – they have just about everything you need in your household: vegan food, cleaning products and beauty products.
D*T: So what should we be looking forward to from you in the future?
WCB: As WhiteCityBoy is becoming more and more popular I decided to put more effort into the blog, and post more frequently, not just once a week. I also decided to get more serious with my one person catering agency – soon I’ll have a bigger, more comfortable kitchen, and I can continue making my vegan lunchbox of three courses for all the vegan and veg-curious people of Tel Aviv. I might even start teaching a cooking class! For more info drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweet Potato Sashimi
- balsamic vinegar
- date syrup
- red onion
- 1-2 sweet potatoes
- 1 mango (or avocado depending what is in season)
- pickled ginger
Prepare a marinade with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and date syrup. Slice thinly a half of red onion and a lemon, soak them in the marinade (if you can plan and prepare ahead of time, soaking for at least 3 hours will be divine). Meanwhile half and cut into finger-sized slices a gigantic sweet potato (or a few smaller sized ones) and then cook (in a saucepan on the stove with water) till tender. While boiling the potato, slice the mango thinly . Once the potato is cooked, top it with the mango slices, the onion & lemon, then let it cool in the fridge for about 10min. Serve with pickled ginger and our jalapeño salsa or any spicy sauce of your choice – like a lemon chili spicy marinade or wasabi and soy sauce.
For the salsa simply throw in a food processor 1/4 cup of pickled jalapeño peppers with the juice of two limes, a handful of coriander leaves, a clove of pealed garlic, and a cup or half a can of pealed chopped tomatoes – yellow ones used here, but red will do just fine as well. Process it until it’s smooth, or if you like your salsa more chunky, take small breaks in mixing until you reach desired results.
- rocket lettuce
- fresh basil leaves
- strawberry or other similar jam
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
Toss a bunch of rockets and fresh basil leaves in a salad bowl. Cut each fig into eight equal pieces, take half a leek and slice it into thin circles, and throw them in the bowl. Grab a piece of tofu, and crumble it on the salad with your fingers – it should look kinda like cottage cheese. For the dressing, mix a tablespoon of strawberry jam, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and mix them well. All you need now is a bit salt and pepper, and you’re done.
- ground coriander seeds
- red lentils
Take a non-sticky pot and fry a thinly sliced onion with a piece of crushed garlic, when it starts to release the wonderful aroma, follow it with half a teaspoon of each: tumeric; cumin; ginger powder; ground coriander seeds; and paprika. Mix it well, and throw 2 cups of red lentils in it, followed by 5 cups of water with some salt. Meanwhile place a big aubergine on the fire, turning it a bit every few minutes. You know it’s ready when it starts to act like an alien from an old movie: it should bubble and leak. When almost all the water is gone from the above lentils, and the aubergine is soft, gently peel the aubergine under running cold water, and place everything in a mixing bowl so you won’t make a mess using your hand mixer, then mix. It’s perfect as a hot meal, or as cold dip as well.
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
- 2 cups of flour (white or wholewheat or any combo of the 2)
- cup of brown sugar
- 12-15gr of baking powder
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 100 grams quality dark chocolate
- vanilla essence (the liquid stuff that comes in a bottle)
- muffin tin or silicon version
- powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup soy milk
- cup cocoa powder (not the sugary kind)
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Mix 2 cups of flour (I used white and wholewheat), a cup of brown sugar, small bag of baking powder(12-15grams), a pinch of salt, and half a cup of dried cherries, and 100 grams of good quality dark chocolate cut up into tiny chips. In a separate bowl mix half a cup of oil with a cup of water, and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and pour it on the flour mix. If it’s too thick, add some more water – it should to look sort of like a floppy hummus. Spoon the dough into your silicone muffin cases, or if you have a metal one, use paper cases so they won’t stick. They need about 21 minutes in the oven – so meanwhile you can prepare the chocolate cream. All you need is two cups of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of vegan butter or margarine (room temperature), the same amount of soy milk, and a cup of real cocoa powder – not the sugary one! Use a hand mixer: start with the sugar and butter, followed by the milk and cocoa. It should be thick enough to hold a fresh cherry on the top of your cupcake.
Mitbachi Cooking school. A very cute space for cooking classes and private events. They even offer lessons in English, contact info on their FB page.
Participants: Kristof Joseph Steiner (White City Boy), Daina Reed, Michell Halpern, Sonya Golod (Dreed*Tea)