UPDATED! SUN-DRIED TOMATO PÂTÉ (V+, P, GF, R, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures were updated in September 2015.

A few weeks ago the lovely Ksenia - the blogger behind At the Immigrant's Table - nominate me for the Liebster Award (remember I mentioned Ksenia last week?). Please, don't get too excited, the Liebsters ain't the Oscars ;), but the award is a superdy duperdy cute way of making the food blogging world feel like a real, caring and tangible community. Consequently I was delighted and rather flattered that I'd been chosen for this award. Thank you soooo much Ksenia :). 

First things first, the Liebster Award Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you by providing a link to their blog 
2. Display the award badge
3. Answer 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you
4. List 11 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 11 bloggers 
6. Pose 11 questions to said nominees
7. Go to each nominee’s blog and notify them of their nomination

YIKES! I got my work cut out!
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1. What person, dead or alive, has had the most influence on your cooking?

This might sounds freakishly strange but the biggest inlfuence on my current cooking style is T. Colin Campbell. Yup, a biochemist, not a cook! I wrote about how he influenced my cooking in this post, so I won't bore you any further here :). 

2. What are your thoughts on the Food Network in particular and TV cooking shows in general?

Ok, another weird fact: I don't really watch any television. Sorry. (Exceptions are the FIFA World Cup (follow the link to see which team I support wholeheartedly) and The Great British Bake-Off which is a 12-week baking series that runs once a year).

3. If you could eat one convenience store junk food for the rest of your life, absconding all others, what would you choose?

Oh gosh, being the rebel that I am I'd refuse to eat any junk food. Thing is, I don't eat junk food now and kinda wish to keep it that way ;).

4. What is your favourite way to prepare eggs (if you’re vegan, what is your favourite way to prepare tofu)?

I'm not a vegan. I think if I have to 'label' my eating habit, I'd say that I predominantly eat a whole food plant based diet, but occasionally eat things that aren't whole or plant-based i.e. sugar (say in some of my baking recipes here, here and here) and EGGS (free-range, organic, I hasten to add:)) for breakfast on a Sunday morning. So, to answer your question, ideally I like my eggs boiled with the egg white hard and the egg yolk still a tiny bit runny. Oh and a sprinkle of salt is a must.  

5. What is your favourite cake?

There are too many to list here, but I am partial to a (vegan) tres leches cake and won't say no to a (vegan) key lime pie if you offered me a slice.

6. Sweet or salty?

Sweet, it's my weakness.

7. Crunchy or chewy?

Crunchy of course!

8. What do you love most about yourself?

The fact that I gave birth to the most amazing human being I have ever met.

9. Which dish of yours would you want your (future?) children to make in perpetuity, and to remember you by?

I don't feel that I have a signature dish that I need my son to cook after I've gone. My only hope and wish is that he cooks healthy, nourishing food that honours the environment he lives him, allows him to connect to his roots and fills him with lots of joy.

10. What has been your favourite blog post of yours?

I truly hope the best is still to come, but I am proud of this post - it's about being brave and feeling empowered. Oh and the dish tasted divine.

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I know I'm supposed to list 11 random facts about myself, but, 11 is such a weird number. I like the number 7 though, so here we go:

1. I have watched Flashdance more often than any other movie in my life.  
2. My favourite yoga posture is adho mukha vrksasana or handstand for short. It makes me feel like a child and always puts a smile on my face.
3. I have lived in 6 different countries, on 3 different continent and I'm not sure where the wind will take me next.
4. I love books and 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood is one of my all time favourites.
5. I've been a vegetarian/pescatarian off and on since I was 10 years old.
6. I don't drink alcohol, never have and am pretty sure never will. I've got no issue whatsoever with other people drinking though. 
7. My favourite artist of all time is Hundertwasser. His art, his mindset, his views on the environment and his architecture... genius.


I'm supposed to nominate 11 bloggers, but as you know I consider 11 a strange number so I'm choosing 6 instead as these are the 6 bloggers I genuinely wish to nominate and feel really positive about linking to on this page.

1. Joscelyn, the blogger behind WifeMamaFoodie has been really supportive of The Little Plantation and always pops by to say hi, which I really appreciate. And though our cooking styles are different, we've got one thing in common - we want to feed our families real, honest food in the best way we know how. Her pictures are beautiful too and hence she's my first nominee.
2. Stephi, the blogger behind Apartment 2504 is my second nominee. Stephi lives in Abu Dhabi, a place I have never visited and can't really picture properly. But like me, Stephi has a thang for vegetarian/vegan food, which is so lovely. Plus she's spreading the plant-based word in Abu Dhabi. Super cool stuff!
3. Anne, whose blog Ayurvedic Lab, is a source of great knowledge when it comes to yoga/food/nutrition/ayurveda. Cool huh?! So, she's my third nominee. 
4. Alana is the baker and blogger behind Fix Feast Flair, a stunning, stunning blog. Alana's blog isn't about healthy, vegan or even vegetarian food. BUT her recipes are GORGEOUS, made with love and you can easily veganise them. PLUS I love her witty writing and photos, so she's my nominee number 4. 
5. Renee, a New York based photographer and the blogger behind Flavors of Light, is my 5th nominee. I really enjoy Renee's photos and always gush over them on instagram. Her recipes are mainly vegetarian and seasonal, which I love too.
6. Last, but certainly not least I'd like to nominate another Renee, though this lovely Renee lives in South Korea, not New York. Like me, Renee thrives on healthy food AND she studies nutrition. We're practically twins ;). She hangs out at Soul Beet. Check it out.

I'm very happy with this list. Now on to the 11 questions...

1. Why do you write a blog?
2. What camera/lens do you use and why?
3. How do you manage the 'social media' element of blogging without it being too overwhelming?
4. Do you listen to music during any part of the food blogging process (cooking, writing, styling, editing)?
5. If so, what do you listen to? If not, why not?
6. Who eats the food you prepare for the blog?
7. What can we expect from your blog in 2015?
8. The best cookbook you ever bought was...
9. Where did you learn to cook?
10. If you had to choose, what would your last meal be (feel free to also include a starter, dessert and a drink if you want)?
11. Sum up your cooking style in 3 words!

That's all folks!

And without further ado, this week's fab, fab fab recipe, which is taken from Green Kitchen Stories' first cookbook (their second cookbook Green Kitchen Travels is on my Christmas wish list BTW. Here's hoping ;)).
Enjoy and thanks for reading.

UPDATED! SUN-DRIED TOMATO PÂTÉ (V+, P, GF, R)

Pre-Preparation Tim:
Soak the nuts for 6-8 hours or overnight
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-8 as a starter

Ingredients:
120g (1/2 cup) sun-dried tomatoes (see tips below for further details)
5 fresh sage leaves
100g (1cup) soaked walnuts
1-2 tbs of water
a pinch of salt (optional, see tips below)
a pinch of oregano (optional, see tips below)

Instructions:
Soak the walnuts in water for 6-8 hours or overnight. 
The next day, drain the water away and give the walnuts a quick wash.
Place the sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, water and sage leaves in a bowl and use a hand held blender to mix everything together until nicely combined and smooth. That's it!

Tip 1: The sun-dried tomatoes I use tend to have quite a strong, slightly salty taste and hence I never use salt or herbs, but please taste test and add a pinch of salt and/or oregano if need be.
Tip 2: If you are using sun-dried tomatoes in oil, please drain the oil away and do not use. For a truly raw version, buy raw, sun-dried tomatoes and soak in water for an hour or so before using it in the recipe. 
Tip 3: This keeps in the fridge in an air tight container for about 1 week. 

Eat with... some home-made pita bread and a Persian herb salad for a plant-based feast. 

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