Summer Night Dinner


STUTTGART: As you already know, we are big fans of uncomplicated dinner parties in your garden or on your balcony during this time of the year. Our latest Guest Editor Madeline Lu, who used to work as a banker at Goldman Sachs and when she had her first child became a food blogger and photographer, created this special menu. When you follow her you will start having fantastic breakfasts and more and more light and easy-to-make-food for your dinner parties to come.

Today she shares with us a perfect combination for a hot summer evening when all you need is a chilled rosé, some finger food and an awesome cake which looks like a piece of art and tastes as delicious as it is healthy.

When there are so many fresh vegetables and herbs at the market, I try to come up with ways to enjoy as many of them as possible. In this sense, Vietnamese summer roll is just brilliant! It is easy and quick to make and tastes fresh, crunchy and creamy all at the same time. In addition, you get that nutty flavor from the peanut butter sauce. It is a perfect combination!
(makes about 12 rolls)

What you’ll need:
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 carrot, use a julienne peeler to make matchstick-sized strips.
1 Persian cucumber, use a julienne peeler to make matchstick-sized strips
1 handful of beet sprouting seeds (optional, you can also replace it with thinly sliced purple cabbage)
1 handful of Thai basil or normal basil (leaves only, discard the stems)
1 handful of coriander (leaves only, discard the stems)
1 small romaine lettuce, cut out and discard the root of the lettuce, then separate the leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges
50g glass noodles
12 rice paper wraps

Dipping Sauce
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tbsp Mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp water

How it’s made:
Squeeze some lime juice over avocado slices to avoid browning.
Pour boiling water into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the glass noodles. Soak the noodles for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain thoroughly and rinse under cold water to cool down. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add the peanut butter, Mirin and soy sauce. Then gradually add 2-3 tablespoons of water until the desired consistency for dipping is reached. Set the dipping sauce aside.
Fill a big soup plate or a shallow dish with warm water. Working with one rice paper at a time, completely soak each rice paper wrapper in the water for about 30 seconds, or until soft and pliable. Transfer the moistened wrapper to a clean and dry work surface. Place a few pieces of carrot and cucumber, a slice of avocado, a small handful of glass noodles and 1 lettuce leave, a little bit of beet sprouting seeds, coriander and basil leaves in the middle of the moistened wrapper. Fold bottom of rice paper over filling, then fold in ends and roll like a burrito into a tight cylinder. Transfer roll, seam side down, to a platter. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Garnish the final platter with some coriander and basil leaves, beet sprouting seeds and a wedge of lime.

I can’t tell you how much I love raw vegan cakes and tarts at moment. They are super easy to make, healthy, delicious and cold (especially perfect for the few hot summer days). The only downside of it, well, is that sometimes you have to wait for a long time for them to get ready because many of these cakes require at least four hours to be in the freezer in order to set. But not the one I am going to recommend to you now. This berry tart with lemon cashew cream and almond crust can be served immediately once it is ready. How about that?!
Serves: makes 2 small tarts, double the recipe when making a large tart.

What you’ll need:
1 cup almonds
4-5 Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup cashews
¼ cup almond milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
pinch of salt
1 tbsp of agave syrup
fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or blueberries)
a few fresh basil leaves

How it’s made:
Place almonds and 4 dates in blender or food processor. Pulse to a fine crumb. Check the texture to see if it holds together like a crust when pressed. Pulse in another date if needed.
Divide the dough between 2 small tart pans. Firmly press into the pan to create a crust. Wrap with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator if not using immediately.
Place cashews, almond milk, lemon juice and zest, salt, and agave syrup in food processor. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Take the crust out of the refrigerator and pour the cashew cream in. Spread the cream evenly. Top with berries and garnish with fresh basil and serve. This tart can also be stored in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Enjoy!

Madeline LuMADELINE LU is a freelance food and lifestyle photographer. She was born in China and left there in 2000, living in Canada, UK and Switzerland after that. Since 2012, she has been living in Stuttgart, Germany. Madeline worked for Goldman Sachs in London for several years. After her first child was born, she quit her job and eventually began to work as a photographer. Instagram: @lumadeline