Exactly three weeks ago today, my sissy (Alissa Alekseeva) and I landed in a beautiful ancient oven, called Rome.
My lord it was hot. But we are Russian to the core and Russians do love their saunas. So we of course had the time of our lives!
I just can't believe we only went for three days, they seriously flew by. I completely underestimated the size of the city, not to mention the fact that Vatican City alone could easily take up three days of your time.
The Sistine Chapel brought up some emotions to the surface, as I rekindled the good old school days and my inner geek for Art History. Man that Michelangelo was awesome, I wonder if whilst painting the ceiling he prefered giving high fives or low fives?
The highlight of our 'blink' vacation was hands down St. Peter's Basilica. There was something too special about it. I'm very sensitive to energies within church's, but this one clearly was no ordinary church. The headache I had all day long was gone within minutes upon entering, and both my sister and I agreed, it was as though we were floating.
If you are planning a trip soon, don't miss an opportunity to get up the Dome of St Peter's Basilica. This was another extaordinary experience with insane views. Also make sure you do something random like visiting the Secret Keyhole. I won't tell you anymore, its a secret :) But so worth it. Thanks Britney Brix for the best suggestion ever!
Ok so by now, you are probably wondering about food right? Surely. You may have seen me mention this on Facebook:"What I learned about eating in Italy: being vegetarian is almost inevitable, being vegan is super easy, being raw is totally possible!" So true. I'll be posting pics to the Better Raw Facebook page soon so you get to see it all! I even found green smoothies in a supermarket!
You'd always know how good of a get away I had if it inspires me to create a raw meal like the culture. Here's the result:
|Entre: nut balls, crackers and bites|
|Main: Raw Food Lasagna|
|Dessert: Strawberry Cheesecake|
I've always had this notion that making a raw lasagna should take a massive amount of time and just left it to the full time chefs in raw restaurants. All those layers, all that soaking, all the chopping and the blending and the marinating. Not the kinda talk you expect to hear from a Raw Food Coach hah?
Well I am a busy woman and as much as I love the kitchen and playing with food, I simply don't have the time for gourmet meals every night of the week. So I was determined to make this one a 'fast meal'...
You may not think so seeing all the listed ingredients below, but it really is very simple to make and took me less than an hour! Now can you make a cooked lasagna in less than an hour? Well this one doesn't even compare, so forget I even said that :)
RAW FOOD LASAGNA OF ROME
For the essentials
Deep dish ( I used 26 x 18 x 6 cm)
Mandolin/ good knife
For the mushrooms
3-4 Portabella mushrooms
3 Tbsp Tamari Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
For the lasagna sheets
2 large zucchini
Extra Virgin Olive oil
For the Cheese layer
1 Cup Brazil nuts
1 Cup Cashews
2 Lemons, juiced
1 Cup Fresh Basil
5 Garlic cloves
water to cover
For the Tomato Paste layer
2 Cups Sundried Tomatoes, soaked in warm water
2 Large Fresh tomatoes
5 Pitted Dates
2 Tbsp Herb mix incl. Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley
1 tsp Salt (only in sundried toms haven't been preserved in salt)
For the Extras
1 Red Capsicum
1 Large Tomato
Basil to garnish
-Unless you have given yourself plenty of time for preparation, make sure you start in the order I've listed to get the lasagna done in an hour
-Peel and thinly slice the mushrooms, mix with all mushroom marinade ingredients and set aside
-Use a mandolin on the smallest setting to slice the zucchini very thinly into long flat sheets. Alternatively use a knife. Spread a pile of zucchini slices on a separate plate, brushing each side with olive oil and set aside to penetrate and soften
-Put all the Cheese Layer ingredients (apart from Basil) into a blender and pour only enough water to cover everything. Add the fresh basil and blend until smooth. You may also do this in the food processor, as some may prefer a chunky bite. Set aside
-Roughly chop tomatoes for the Tomato Sauce Layer and put them as well as the remaining ingredients into the blender. Blend.
-For the extras, thinly slice the capsicum and tomato
-Layer as you wish or follow my pattern from the picture below. Either leave at room temperature until guests arrive or serve right away. Slice with a sharp knife while the lasagna is still in the dish and scoop out each slice with a spatula. Sprinkle with pine nuts and a basil leaf garnish
Elliot, Alissa, Jenny, Grant and me below. Team approval of each course :) Strawberry cheesecake recipe is next!