• the missing pinch of salt

    I literally forgot the pinch of salt in my picture of ingredients. Please add one right away. It should not me missing, not in the granola & nowhere else.

    granola wholesome

    This small batch of granola will go with me to Switzerland to sit and study on the mountain. I will truly be stuck on a mountain with a bunch of lovely fellow students and teachers. No cars allowed up there and the cable car is still on winter time so the last ride up is at six in the afternoon.

    I somehow imagine it like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” minus the murders.

    I always feel a little off when I am fed in an hotel for a longer period of time. In general my sugar levels are not too happy and a wholesome breakfast can help me to get through the day even if my diet is not ideal & I can not influence it too much either.

    My little survival breakfast:

    granola wholesome

    1 bowl of oats

    2 tbsp of chia seeds

    2 tbsp of roasted nuts

    1 tbsp of honey

    1 tbsp of unflavored coconut oil

    pinch of salt:)

    vanilla (as much as you like, which for me is A LOT)

    granola wholesome

    Preheat the oven at 180°C and mix everything together in a baking tray. I just wait for the coconut oil to be melted before giving the mix a little stir. Check the granola every ten minutes, stir and take it out of the oven to cool as soon as it’s slightly brown and crisp.

    granola wholesome

    granola wholesome

    Eat well & hope to see you here when I’m off the mountain

  • Yoghurtcake…to bake with kids

    …rather to let them bake. If you can restrain from interfering and are able to let the kids try this on their own, even if it means a bit of a mess and a couple of moments of total self-control;) I’m not telling you to leave the room! Just ‘help’ less & assist with the oven part of baking.

    I’m not just talk, I tried this with larger groups of 4 to 6 year olds, who were first surprised by the lack of adult interference, ultimately happily produced cakes. Some slightly eggier but still a big hit with their fellow kindergarten friends.

    Yoghurtcake children bake

    Yoghurtcake is easy to make, no measuring or weighing involved, a good choice if you want to bake with small children. You can add chocolate chips to the dough or fruit. I sprinkled a handful of frozen blueberries on top just to pimp it a little bit for the picture;)

    I didn’t give the rest of the pictures the same consideration since I originally made them for work. I photographed the recipe step by step so kindergarten children could “read” & make this by themselves. I made little books out of the pictures that they use as a recipe book without words. I also added full or half stars to indicate the amount of refilled yoghurt pots on each picture which is missing from the ones presented here.

    I was debating writing the recipe down but I won’t! Hoping that the pictures will be enough;) Step by step…with a few words to replace the missing indication of quantity that the kids got in form of the star system & numbers.

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    one pot of sugar

    3 pots of flour

    1/2 pot of vegetable oil

    1 & 1/1 tsp of baking powder

    DSC_0261     at 180°C

    yoghurt cake kids baking

    For the healthier option you can use whole grain flour & coconut sugar. The result is obviously different but delicious as well.

    yoghurtcake

    Let them bake!

  • this & that / waffles &…

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    Let me apolagize for being so absent from gigi’s spcae these days! You know the excuse that is to fallow, too much to do, not enough time or time  used unwisely which I am most certainly guilty off. In addition to all of that stuff that I will not bore you with (I might do later though;)) I have not really been creative in the kitchen. When there is little time it tends to be a plate of this and that, always with a thought for health and clever combinations but never an actual foto & post worthy plate.

    The one thing I have been making & combining quiet a bit is waffles. Even with little time & lots of positive stress the therapeutic effect of baking always works for me.

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    For the dough (makes about 6 waffles)…whisk together:

    150g crème fraiche

    50g coconut sugar

    a pinch of salt

    2 free range eggs

    125g whole grain spelt flour

    1 tsp baking powder

    & sometimes a handful of spelt oats to give these waffles a more wholesome texture.

    I pour 1,5 tbsp of dough per waffle into the waffle maker.

    Here are a couple of examples of this & that dishes that I had lately…this reminds me of a restaurant in Paris where you can have soufflé as a starter, main an dessert. That’s not what I did with the waffles although I happily could:) Waffles were made and frozen, popped into the toaster to defreeze & reheat on different days!

    waffle & avocado with salmon

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    waffle & poached egg

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    On poaching eggs, it is so simple and still people ahhh and ohhh when you serve one…Bring the water to a boil then REMOVE FROM THE HEAT, crack the egg and bring it as close as possible to the water before you let the content drop in, not too slowly. Reduce to medium heat and but the water & egg back on. No bubbly water…a nice and even poached free range egg.

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    waffle & coffee;)

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    Eat well

  • Oat & raisins…Spelt & raisins

    Oat & raisin cookie…a classic as it seems in England. Here, less known but welcomed with open arms. oat & raisin cookie Yesterday I sat in my favorite cafe to work. I have a paper to write and will never finish it if I attempt to do it at home.

    I am the queen of procrastination and would find many occupations that would keep me from getting the job done. So here I was, being incredibly productive with an espresso some water and…feeling a little hungry.

    My only choice would have been cake or the oat & raisin cookie. I fancied the cookie but aware that both would be to loaded with refined sugar I didn’t succumb to the temptation.

    Instead, later at home, I made up my own oat & raisin cookie recipe which turns out to be spelt & raisin. Spelt has less gluten and is my favorite baking grain.

    This made about a dozen of small wholesome sweet cookies.

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    1 cup whole grain spelt flour

    3/4 cup spelt flakes

    1/4 tsp baking soda

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 cup coconut sugar

    1/4 cup nuts (crushed)

    1 tsp ground vanilla

    1/2 cup raisins

    1 free range egg

    2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

    Start by mixing the dry ingredients. If you put in the liquids immediately, the spices will end up all clogged together and it will be a tough job to get them to spread evenly into the mixture.

    Add the egg and the cooled off melted coconut oil. I added the oil gradually so I could see if I need less or more judging by the consistency of the dough. It should hold together if you form it into a ball.

    oat & raisin cookie

    Form little spelt & raisins balls and place them on a baking tray. Flatten them a little with a spoon and bake for about 10 minutes at 220°C. Stay close and check on the cookies regularly.

    …my paper is still not finished, but this post had to be written;) ohhh

    Eat well

  • Tortano…filled bread or rolled Pizza?

    Back from an inspiring weekend with the girls in Paris.

    No baking & learning this time, but enjoying the company, the city &… lots of nice food.

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    One of the places I always wanted to go to and somehow never managed to, is Rose Bakery and it was all I hoped for;) I’m in love with that place and as I observed the (totally international) staff, cooking, baking and just generally working their b… off I was imagining what it would be like to work there & live in a small cozy flat nearby…I guess it would be a wonderfully stressful experience;)

    I admire everybody’s welcoming manner considering how packed the place was and how crazy our style of having brunch. Showing up at different times, wanting to share a table, not fitting on one though and ordering our way chaotically up and down that menu! In the unlikely case that you (Rose Bakery elves)  will read this, you made my day;)

    So it has to be a recipe today that is fit for brunch.

    The inspiration comes from Leila Lindholm’s book that I own in dutch since, holding the copy in my hands in a shop in Brussels, I convinced myself that I am perfectly able to read enough dutch to comprehend a recipe…I recently bought a second copy in a language I actually do understand perfectly well;)

    Ingredients:

    15g baker’s yeast

    300 ml warm water (not hot, that would kill the yeast)

    3 tbsp olive oil

    1 tbsp honey

    1 & 1/2 tbsp salt

    170g durum wheat flour (also used in making pasta)

    250g whole grain spelt flour

    Put all the ingredients into a bowl and make sure the salt and yeast do not touch until you actually mix everything together. Salt kills yeast!

    Cover the dough and set it side to rise for about half an hour.

    Then work the dough and roll it out into a long shape that you can fill with the vegetables, cheese …of your choice. I went for courgette, dried & fresh tomatoes and some mozzarella. 

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    Roll the dough with the filling inside and close by using some water like glue on the edges and form into a circle.

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    Let this rise again for half an hour while preheating th oven at 250°C.

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    Just before putting the tortano into the oven reduce the heat to 200°C and bake for 35 minutes (more or less).

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    The perfect side for a wintery soup or a salad!

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    Eat well

  • Paris & gluten free bread…

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    I have been to Paris to study gluten-free baking & cooking at my favourite cooking school where I did my pâtisserie training less than 2 years ago.

    When the train entered the gare de l’est the weather was so nice I toyed with the idea of skipping the course and just enjoy Paris…my conscience and passion for all things kitchen luckily won.

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    I loved the atmosphere, the chef was just amazing, as they all seem to be. All the chefs trained at the most famous places and are eager and passionate to transmit their knowledge. The pace of the learning process….gogogogogogo and don’t ever even think about sitting down;) I love it. An entire day feels like 5 minutes.

    Back to the gluten-free with its ingredients, smells, consistencies and taste…obviously it’s different from the “real thing”. It’s so ingenious how the chef used the different flours, rising agents & the gums and starches that keep the creations together. One lemon cake truly blew my mind and taste buds. Watch out, it will certainly show up here soon!

    I reached my personal conclusion that I will cut down on gluten containing foods but enjoy them from time to time instead of totally replacing them.

    If however you are highly intolerant or worse, allergic to gluten the good news is, bread, pâtisserie, pizza, cake…all can be homemade without that little protein that annoys your body so efficiently and I do plan on passing on to you all the recipes I brought from Paris.

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    Before leaving I did make this gluten free bread that ticks all my boxes. It’s not from Paris, it somehow made it’s way from a private kitchen in Danmark to Sarah Britton’s food blog where I discovered it and took ages before giving it a try. It’s utterly satisfying and extremely easy to make.

    One of my issues with the gluten free baking is that the gums used to keep the dough together might cause constipation (sorry that had to me mentioned). This bread does the opposite, it has tons of fibre & you have to chew it and we know that that’s where the process of digestion starts.

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    What goes into this loaf:

    1 cup sunflower seeds

    1/2 cup flax seeds

    1/2 cup hazelnuts or almonds (I used almonds)

    1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used whole grain spelt oats, if you worry about the oats being gluten contaminated buy the kind that is labelled as gluten free)

    2 Tbsp. chia seeds

    4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks

    1 tsp. fine sea salt

    1 Tbsp. maple syrup

    3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil

    1 1/2 cups water

    First mix the dry ingredients well in a silicone baking dish. Then add the liquids and mix thoroughly. Leave the dough to rest for at least 2 hours before baking it in a preheated oven at 175°C.

    For 20 minutes you bake the bread in the silicon dish, then you take it out and bake it upside down for another 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool off & give it a try.

    It’s equally nice toasted.

    Enjoy

  • divine chocolate cake

    This week I have planned to enter the Nigella cookalong. There is one every month and I have been checking out the recipes for a while.

    Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

    The last two (october & november) are the ones I want to try.

    The october one is this irresistable chocolate cake.

    Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

    The november one will be a pumpkin filled with rice.

    I will not even attempt to describe the recipe since it has been done brilliantly here.

    I am instead offering the visuals which I hope stand a chance to win the cook along. Fingers crossed!

    Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

    I have replaced the white flour with a whole-grain spelt & reduced the sugar content by 50% & no chocolate under 75% cacao content…as usual;)

    Eat well

  • 50% of sugar & not the raw carrot cake…

    …that I planned on making after having lunch at the new vegan place (the only one I think) in Luxemburg town.

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    The plan was to make a raw carrot cake later in the day and tell you all about the process. BUT I find that raw “baking” as much as I admire the originality and produce used, doesn’t agree with me. Too many nuts or coconut oil for me it seems, used to keep the creation together. Reading the recipe that I had for the planned cake confirmed that thought.

    In search for a middle path I settled for a more traditional version and found a recipe from Nigella Lawson. I had to adapt it to the circumstances of my kitchen cupboards & to my aversion for refined flour.

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    More noteworthy, I actually used sugar which I haven’t done in ages. Only 50% of the amount indicated. I always reduce the amount indicated in a recipe by half, even if I substitute the regular sugar with the coconut version. 50% of the sweetness is largely enough in most cases & allows you to actually taste the other ingredients as well. In this case the recipe asked for light muscovado but I used dark muscovado since that’s what I had.

    This makes about 8 cupcake sized cakes

    50g muscovado sugar

    175 ml sunflower oil

    2 free range eggs

    225g whole spelt flour

    3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

    1 teaspoon of cinnamon

    pinch of salt

    zest of 1 lemon

    150g grated carrots (about 2 carrots)

    100 g almond flour

    Whisk all the ingredients together starting with oil & sugar. Fill the dough into your cupcake baking forms or use a big baking dish. Bake at 180° until they smell and look just right and there remains no dough on your cake tester.

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    Eat well

  • autumn abundance & oven inspiration

    It has been worrying really to find that although there is no season as abundant in wonderful produce than autumn it seems to leave me painfully uninspired to cook. I blamed the lack of time to even go food shopping but I just found an excuse that I like! It’s not lack of time, it’s abundance of naturally tasty produce!

    autumn fruit

    The autumn produce just needs very little to be done to it. Pick it or buy it, wash, somehow heat, eat & enjoy. My choice for this season is the oven. I put everything in there.  A big change from the raw food of the summer, but it has gotten cold and windy and a raw veggie salad just doesn’t have the happy effect anymore. Warm & cozy does.

    I recently went apple and prune picking and I enjoyed it so much I started planning on how to get some fruit trees for myself.

    autumn fruit & apple picking

    autumn fruit & prune picking

    Resisting the desire to write down something artificially original, here is one of my seasonal oven “dishes”.

    I wash, pit & cut the fruits of my choice into pieces and gather them in an oven proof dish. I added frozen berries to my mix of reine-claudes and apples just because I love them and they are so delicate when you buy them fresh.

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    sprinkled a generous teaspoon of vanilla powder over the fruit and put the dish in the oven at 200°C until everything is soft and warm. I use this on yoghurt mostly with some quinoa flakes or other. If the mixture is not sweet enough for your taste add some nice local honey;)

    These pommes-grenades  are available again too….what more do we want?

    DSC_0248Eat well & seasonal

  • newly sharpened pencils & prune tart

    Autumn is kicking in…big time. I did spend the end of the summer in Canada where the  temperatures were already half of what they were in little Luxemburg.

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    Traveling seems to be even better when you look back. The same day a couple of weeks ago my face was “burned” by the salty seawater that had been hitting me for three hours straight (I had been warned by the bus driver in charming Canadian french “Aujourd’hui tu vas te faire laver la figure pendant trois heures ;)” while trying to catch a glimpse of a whale…I cought many glimpses & a red face & a little sea sickness;)

    Back home it looks, feels and smells like autumn & every year I think about this “you’ve got mail” movie quote:

    “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

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    Instead of newly sharpened pencils, but filled with the same cosy autumn spirit I send you a newly improvised prune tart. I took the recipe of my “chef pâtissier” from Paris and freely changed it into a coconut oil & coconut sugar version;)

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    180g whole grain spelt flour

    20g cornstarch

    30 g coconut oil (or 100g soft butter)

    30 g coconut sugar (or 100g icing sugar)

    a tsp liquid vanilla

    1 free range egg

    prunes

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    Mix the ingredients together and roll the dough out on a piece of baking paper. I didn’t even use a rolling-pin for this one, I just flattened the dough by hand (when I say improvised….;)) and placed the washed & pitted prunes on top. Bake at 180° until brown & crisp.

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    Eat well