• Mango Lassi…

    …although not really but still delicious.

    mango lassi

    Mango Lassi for me throws me back to my time in Vienna where all we did was practice Yoga, cycle through the city, try every italian ice cream maker we could find & eat amazing meals including Mango Lassi.

    A Buddhist monk from the Himalayas once got me into a chili eating competition. No need to say that I lost. Mango Lassi to the rescue! My version is nothing as sophisticated as the original.

    A ripe mango, some kefir & water blended together to me is perfection.

     

    The perfect drink for the summer & to kill the heat from spicy food.

    Eat well

  • 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    I didn’t give the rest of the pictures the same consideration since I originally made them for work.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

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    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.

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    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

  • Gluten free lemon cake

    I just fell in love with this one! Easily done since lemons are top of my shopping list, always!

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    The creator of this cake is Paris based chef Dounia Silem .

    I did play around with the sugar content a little, making it 25% less and mixing in some coconut sugar. Unavoidable;)

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    For one cake you need:

    120g rice flour (white or whole grain)

    You can of course make this a “normal” cake with gluten by using wheat or spelt…wholegrain is always a good idea but do as you please:)

    70g Polenta

    1 tsp baking powder

    2 untreated lemons (you decide how lemony you want your cake, add one, leave one…)

    100g sugar (of your choice, I used the biological unrefined one)

    50g coconut sugar (you can stick with the same you used before, making that 150g in total OR go for 150g of coconut sugar, my choice!!)

    3 organic eggs

    a pinch of sea salt

    95g almond cream (I had to use another cream & added a tsp of vanilla)

    65g olive oil (a mild one, a strong olive oil will get bitter & I don’t want my lemon cake to actually taste of olives)

    1 tbsp Amaretto (I used Grand Marnier)

    In my recipe the distinct almond flavor got a little lost since I did make do with what I had and didn’t go out to buy a whole bottle of Amaretto just to put a splash into this dough.

    You can totally let the booze aside (I have tried & liked that too), feel free to change and adapt to your kitchen cupboards.

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    Start by zesting the lemons and mixing that zest with the sugar. Add the eggs and beat sugar & eggs together until slightly white. (This depends also on the sugar you’re using, the coconut sugar keeps the mixture from whitening).

    Mix in the cream and Amaretto. Add the flour & baking powder.

    Next is the polenta and finally the olive oil.

    Always mix well after adding a new ingredient.

    Fill the dough into a greased baking dish or a silicon one.

    Preheat the oven at 150° and bake for about an hour. The low temperature will keep the dough from baking on top but staying too moist inside. It’s quiet a laid back approach to cake making.

    Use a cake tester or a knife to check if the inside is done. A clean knife indicates a cake that’s done. Any “liquid” dough left on the knife…wait & add a few minutes to the baking time…

    You could replace the lemon zest by another citrus fruit and maybe choose a matching alcohol to use.

    Eat well!

  • Quick lucuma & a peaceful gift

    I have been in a merry wintertime mood this week, arranging festive decoration, getting a tree (a red robin), decorating it with twinkle lights, going to my nieces Xmas school market and having lunch at the Xmas market in town which is topping last years edition in beauty.

    This time of the year I tend to be more restless, travel and generally not making it the peaceful time my body and mind needs. THIS time I am doing just that! I realized that living according to the season is important to my personal balance.

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    & it’s gift giving season. My family organises a kind of tombola to determine who gives a gift to whom, one person only. We try to keep the spending mood at bay;) I got the one person I really don’t know what to get for of course…

    Do you know the kind of gifts that make you wonder if the well intended friend (or family member) offering, has ever talked to you, noticed what you wear or been around your house…?!

    And then there are the gifts that come as a surprise and are just right! This is one of those, a culinary discovery wrapped in the most lovely, peaceful manner, I was presented with tis week.

    LUCUMA!

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    After googling and looking it up I realized that I had heard of this “super food” before without my brain retaining the information.

    At its origin is a “golden” fruit from Peru. We are most likely to get it in its dried and powdered form and it’s used for sweetening since it has less impact on your body in terms of insulin production, sugar high & lows.

    It contains fiber, antioxidants, beta-carotene, carbohydrates, zinc, iron & calcium.

    In my little research I came across recipes for ice cream & smoothies.

    I am going for the smoothie since it allows me get a taste of this new ingredient quick & easy. The plan is definitely to find out and test multiple recipes for my new sugar replacement.

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    •  1 cup of yoghurt or nut milk
    • 2 frozen bananas
    • 1 tbsp of LUCUMA
    • 1 tsp of vanilla (optional but an absolute must for me)

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    Blend these together & that’s it. I can’t decide if I made a smoothie, a milk shake or an ice cream…but I can tell you it’s delicious!

    Eat well & enjoy the season

  • 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!

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    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

  • cookie monsters wholesome delight

    I am not a cookie person…except when I feel that I lose balance & the time to eat well. I guess this should be the other way around & happened over the last couple of weeks.

    I was tempted into buying a pack of cookies with chocolate in the middle, on the go, from the health shop. FROM THE HEALTH SHOP for my conscience since clearly they do contain refined sugar which makes them nothing else but addictive.

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    In an attempt to avoid being fooled again, I created my wholesome version of the evil cookies.  Whole grain flour & coconut sugar lessens the addictive nature of these & makes them a much healthier treat.

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    They are heart-shaped because my cookie cutter collection gave me the choice between a pig, a moon, a witch, a moose…& many others that would reveal difficult to fill with chocolate in a presentable manner.

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    For the dough:

    250 g whole grain spelt flour

    150 g butter

    80 g coconut sugar

    20 g almond powder

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg yolk (free range)

    a pinch of salt

    Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then add the butter piece by piece. This will make a crumbly mixture. To that add the egg yolk and knead the dough until it sticks together nicely.

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    Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for one hour. (A step that I often skip;))  A “sablé” dough like this one is easiest rolled out between two sheets of cling film.

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    Use the cookie cutter of your choice and bake these in the oven for 12 minutes at 180°C. Keep an eye on them and if your oven works like mine, you want to turn the tray around halfway through the baking process. Those at the back bake quicker.

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    Let the cookies cool off before you fill & assemble them. If that is where you want to stop, these “sablé” cookie are delicious even without any filling.

    For the filling:

    100 g dark chocolate (I used 75%)

    2 tbsp coconut cream (or regular)

    2 tbsp almond powder

    Slowly melt the chocolate. Take it off the heat before you add the cream and almond powder. I added the cream so the chocolate wouldn’t go solid again after cooling off. They won’t keep for long & have to be kept in the fridge. If you want to keep these for longer you should leave the cream.

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    Set the cookies aside for a couple of hours…

    Enjoy