Dec 30, 2014

Easy eggplant and tomato pocket pies and my 2014 in a nutshell


I love simple recipes like that. For the dough, you only need flour, water and salt. Could it be any easier? For the filling, I made garlicky eggplant and tomato mixture. The pies are a bit crispy and a perfect party snack. You can also try out different vegan fillings. 

And since the year 2014 is coming to an end, I made a little summary of my year. If you are in the mood for some flashbacks with a lot of photos, scroll down a little bit :)

Preparation time: about an hour, (15-20 minutes passive)

Serves: 30 pies

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 cup / 150 g whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups / 270 g all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 1 cup / 240 ml water


For the filling:

  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • ½ - 1 tsp salt
  • about ¼ cup / 50 ml water
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 big garlic cloves


Directions:

Combine the flours. Mix in the water. Knead the dough, until you have an elastic dough ball. Cover the ball with a clean kitchen towel and let it set until you make the filling.

Heat up some oil in a pan. Add cubed eggplant and half of the salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the eggplant has shrunk in size. You can also add some water if needed. Add chopped tomatoes, the rest of the salt and ground black pepper to taste. Stir and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Mix in the chopped garlic and remove the heat.

Preheat the oven to 440 F / 225 C. Start filling pies. It is the same like making pierogi. Just take a little piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Now roll the ball wider, so you will have a small and thin "pancake". Add one teaspoon of filling onto the center of the "pancake" and then crimp the edges with your fingers. Continue, until you are out of the filling. Cover a baking tray with a parchment paper. Put the pies onto the baking tray, spread some oil on them and bake them for 15-20 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown.

Garlicky eggplant and tomato filling

So how was my year 2014 in a nutshell? Eventful, delicious, physically active, physically hard, mentally strengthening, scenically beautiful and a generally joyful year. I turned 25 in February and I must say I have really loved this age. I feel that a whole new era has started for me. Right now, I like to get older. I like to evolve, learn, experience and get mentally and physically stronger. To create goals and reach them.

In the Spring, I was writing my Estonian vegan dessert cookbook. It was a really busy and a really sweet time! 

Photo by Janne Luigla

In May, I went to my first 10 km running race. I had trained hard for this and wanted to celebrate my hard work. It was a really hot summer day (86 F / 30 C!) and there were no shadows to run in. But I made it and I was really pleased with my time. I still love to run. I cannot believe that me, who has despised running all my life, go for a run 3 times a week. Even in the rain or with freezing temperatures. No excuses! I just love the feeling I get after a sweaty run and a hot shower. A really great reason to put on your running shoes!



In late Spring, I received an exciting and interesting e-mail. Kaubamaja, one of the largest and oldest department stores in Estonia, wanted me to be a model in their summer campaign. I just had to take this opportunity and I am glad I did. It was a really awesome day. And even if the weather was super cold, the Kaubamaja team and co-models were just great. 


It was a surreal feeling to see myself on a humongous billboard! 

July wasn't this glamorous. I was rushed to a hospital where I had an emergency appendix removal surgery. It was a terrible and painful experience. All my life I have heard that this is one of the easiest procedures. But it sure was a long and awful time for me! I remember a moment, when I was lying in a hospital bed. There was a noisy construction outside, it was HOT and I was in pain. People, who came to see me, were tanned and in summer clothes. It was really weird to think that there is a life outside of this hospital room. But it was also a liberating process. I had been sick for a pretty long time and I didn't know what caused it. And that feeling when you don't know what's going on with your health is absolutely frightening. So in the end I was relieved. That moment, when I finally packed my things, put on my regular clothes and stepped out of the hospital. Fresh air, super green trees and blue sky. Wow, it was all so vibrant and lucid. In August, I went for my first run after the surgery and I was completely recovered.

Hospital grub. It was OK, but I was too weak to eat anything.

In the end of August, my vegan dessert cookbook was published! I really enjoyed working with my Estonian publisher again and the book is just gorgeous and practical. Päivi Pälts made a great job as a designer. I just love to hold my book, admire the design and bake delicious cookies and muffins following my own recipes :) My book also won a second place in the cookbook of the year competition! YAY!

My vegan dessert cookbook cover

After a new book, comes a book signing. I had so much fun again. There were a lot of people and all the desserts were gone in minutes. I also served a divine vegan sparkling wine!

So many Sandras!


In September, I was honored to play live in a mystical Padise monastery with Neoandertals. It was definitely one of the most amazing venues (after playing at Hard Anger Open Air metal festival in the Norwegian mountains). We also performed our brand new single "Birth of the Enemy of Man" for the first time. Before the show, we were asked to take part of a delicious dinner in the restaurant of Padise manor. They had some really tasty vegan options!

Photo by Evert Palmets

In November, my new cookbook "Vegan Dinner Party" was published! It contains over 60 delicious and comforting vegan recipes for every occasion. I love the book's cover design and all the recipes in it. It is so exciting to think that my book is being sold for example in South-Africa, USA and you can even rent it from a library in Canada. Little animal and food loving Sandra would be happy for me! :)


In December, I launched my very own English cooking show "Sandra Vungi Cooks Vegan". I felt it was the right time and Armin Mitt did a wonderful job filming and editing the videos. Our shooting day lasted 11 hours and thankfully I wore my running shoes. The first episode was a Christmas special and a brand new episode will launch on January 1st!


What else fit into my year? 

Food: sunflower seed sauce with everything! :)
Show: Emperor at Tuska, Finland and Mayhem in Tallinn
Moment: sitting outside of my log cabin and catching the sun on my face
Video game: Civilization 5
Running moment: running in golden Fall leaves or running in a sparkling snow with a bright pink sunset

I definitely forgot something but I hope you liked this little summary. What do I want from a new year? To continue evolving, learning, experiencing and taking action. Because I am thankful to be here and thankful I can do something for the animals.

Thank YOU for trying out my recipes, visiting my blog, buying my cookbooks and watching my cooking show. For a compassionate, healthy and animal friendly world!

Sandra






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