• French fries… slow food

    Oh yes these are slow food indeed. At least 40 minutes to bake and nowhere near the common chip when it comes to fat content & you get to choose the quality of the fat you use.

    my french fries

    The secret lies in cutting the fries the same size. I do use a little machine designed for the purpose but you can just as well do it by hand. Soak the fries in cold water to get rid of some of the starch, since & dry. Coat them in a good quality oil that can be heated (no extra virgin olive oil) so they are just covered, no extra oil needed. I added some thyme and lemon zest to give them a little kick. (Isabella’s in NY is my source of inspiration there). Bake them on a tray at 200°C for 20 minutes on each side. Yes, that means turning them one by one 😉 Make sure they do not touch each other which ensures that they get crispy.

    Eat well

  • veggie burger

     

    I had my last veggie burger in Dublin, in a loud hotel bar filled with football fans.

    I haven’t found a decent veggie burger in Luxemburg so far (that might be down to my lack of effort) I made, or better I assembled these.

    vegetarian burger

    The bread is actually home made pizza dough which consists of flour, yeast, sugar (just a little for the yeast to grow), salt and water. A storebought bun is fine as well of course. I always replace wheat with other flours like spelt and often it is easyer to just make the bread myself.

    The onions are caramellized in a hot pan with some oil an sugar.

    The burger is a storebought mix to which I added some fresh cilantro & water before frying. The only thing left to do was to assemble the whole thing as fallows:

    bread- a little mustard -salad- burger – onions – ketchup – bread

    vegetarian burger

    This one is messy to eat…like a “real” burger;)

    Eat well

     

  • Fermenting stuff / Kimchi

    Recently I started studying again. This meant after a long day at work, kilos of paper were waiting for me to be read. Less time for fun stuff, it felt soul crushing really. So I quit the new studying plan and the weight liftet from my chest was huge. But I do not mind getting the big books out to explain why you should have a go at fermenting stuff. I guess it depends on what I am studying;) .

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    Kimchi

    Small servings of fermented vegetables like “Sauerkraut” or “Kimchi” aid the digestion. They can even be beneficial for restoring the intestinal flora by promoting growth of Lactobacillus acidophilus (this is where you notice I am using the big books, “Healing with Whole Foods”in this case.)

    The first time I made Kimchi I added all the garlic in the recipe and what I created was an unbearable stinky substance that I had to throw away with the jar that I had put it in. I just couldn’t face opening it one more time. I had given some away too and as I have been confessed to later, it had also been disposed off very quickly. Now I leave garlic out completely. I just do not like it although it’s good for me.

    This time it turned ou great and I am ready to make another batch tonight. It is really spicy, so if you want to reduce the amount of chilli, feel free. I am mainly using cabbage here, but you could go for daikon radish, broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, greens, turnips…I will certainy get more adventurous over time as well although cabbage has immune-enhancing properties and tradition has gotten it right once again.

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    cabbage

    I used:

    1 cabbage

    2 carrots

    3 spring onions

    1/2 apple

    30g fresh ginger

    10g Chilli (5g would be good if don’t love really hot food)

    15g good sea salt (you can leave the salt if for health reasons your diet demands this)

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    Kimchi

    Cut eveything up. Mix it together in a bowl and give it a good massage with your hands. I see why this used to be done with the feet. It is a real little workout. This will reduce the volume and you will see some liquid forming. You can leave the mix on the counter for another 30 minutes and give it a little turn now and then.

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    Kimchi

    Now it’s ready for the very clean glass jar. Leave the jar in the kitchen for about four to five days. Throw away the top layer if the cabbage has changed color. Close only loosely or open from time to time to release the gas that will form inside the jar. Taste the Kimchi and if you think it’s done, keep it in the fridge to be enjoyed with your dinner.

    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

  • kick the sugar craving with beetroot & sweet potato

    …from impression you get expression and I’m in desperate need for new impressions. I order books by the dozen, amazing food writers & I fell in love with Stephen Fry, his work and words that is. I am ready to hibernate with all that delicious reading material and since I have lost my voice, it is what I do, lying on the couch with an oven baked apple.

    I graduated as a health coach this week…I learned a LOT and feel like I don’t know what to do with all that information;) My solution for now…writing a recipe!

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    There is a natural remedy against sugar cravings. Once you’re off sugar the cravings are history too which, believe me, boosts your life quality in a way you couldn’t imagine. Having energy a whole day without wanting to take a nap & being free of brain fog are worth the try. Refined sugar makes you sad…they don’t call it sugar blues for nothing. Getting rid of it is the hardest part but there are foods & dishes that positively help you with that. Sneaking sweet vegetables like beetroot and sweet potato into your diet is extremely efficient in satisfying the urge for sweet food without any of the downsides of refined sugar consumption.

    & look at them…they are pretty;)

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    I roasted a tray of yummy sweet veggies, let it cool off and kept it in the fridge for the week ahead to add here and there to my meals.

    Roasted at 200°C until I could poke a knife through, onions, sweet potato, beetroot & lemon.

    DSC_0287The first use of these has been a goat cheese, beetroot & rucola salad. For the dressing I used the juice of 2 of the lemon pieces. The lemons have developed a sweetness in the oven and only a little of the sourness is left.

    I  squeezed 2 onions out of there burned skin. These just turn amazingly sweet in the oven and I am debating roasting a whole tray just to use them whenever, since the raw version doesn’t come close. I used the third one in a risotto the other day. You can do this with garlic too, but since I openly hate that healthy little bulb…

    Add olive oil, pepper & salt to the lemon juice and onion mash and there you are ready to dress this sugar craving kicking salad.

    DSC_0298The sweet potato hasn’t found it’s dish yet…the week is not over!

    Eat well

  • Baby it’s cold outside…

    …and dark.

    I’m talking vitamin D & fish oil.

    Both of these will help our mood to stay bright as we get less light in our days. (You get Vitamin D, through exposing your skin to the sun. Depending on where you live, lying in the sun naked throughout summer would not give you the vitamin D your body needs.) Obviously going outside no matter how cold or disgusting the weather, will do your good but your diet is a big part of your wintertime wellbeing.

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    You can ask your doctor about supplements for both, fish oil & vitamin D.

    Eating oily fish like the salmon from this dish is a step in the right direction.

    Apparently we have taken our decision on what to eat seconds before we consciously try to make that sound and educated choice that we know would be so good for us.

    Our tiredness, pains and emotions (positive & negative) are a little step ahead of our well-informed brain & possibly more so during the darker seasons.

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    Be prepared, stock up your fridge with what’s good for you so even if your well intended brain is running late in the decision-making, the only choices available are good ones;)

    For this dish you need carrots, cucumber (or any other vegetable of your choice that you like raw), smoked salmon, greek yoghurt a capers. I added a slightly crisp wrap.

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    Carrots nourish most systems in our body like the lung, liver & stomach. They stabilise the blood sugar & treat indigestion. (To mention just a few of their superpowers;))

    There are several hundred varieties of carrots. I choose these for the amazing colors.

    The Vitamin A of the carrot is best absorbed in combination with fat which makes salmon a perfect partner for them.

    Fish oil (omega 3) is said to have many positive effects, one of them being the benefit to our mood.

    I recently saw a documentary with Stephen Fry talking about his and other people’s lives with bipolar disease or manic depression. In this documentary, a doctor, herself manic depressive, is going as far as stating that her diet changed her condition for the better and she specifies fish oil.

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    Flake the salmon and mix it with the greek yoghurt, pepper & salt to taste and throw in a teaspoon of capers.

    Wash & cut the veggies of your choice. Heat the wrap in a frying pan with a little olive oil.

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    Eat well

  • pumpkin king with the skeleton grin…

    …or my small & last of two contributions to the Nigella cook along. 

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    I choose a small Hokkaido pumpkin that was filled with a spicy rice mix.

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    The rice is cooked  half through before it becomes the filling for the pumpkin and the whole piece of art is cooked in the oven.

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    In addition to that Nigella prepares a gingerly tomato sauce.

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    Lovely warming & filling seasonal recipe!

    Use the hyperlinks to see Nigellas recipe or enter the cook along:)

    Eat well

  • expectations & lentils


    What is it about having expectations that ruins the day?  Apparently great expectations are followed by great disappointments. Contentment might be the result of no expectations and an open mind.

    I agree that contentment doesn’t sound greatly exciting;) but…

    Do you expect much of lentils? No! We grew up with boring lentil soup. As soon as you pep them up a little you will be a star and most certainly exceed expectations!

    & you will feed your family or guests great veggie protein.

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    I was invited for brunch over the weekend with the request to bring a lentil salad with mint. I love requests like this since they give me a direction but leave me free to come up with whatever I want.

    I used the freedom given to me to go through my favorite cookbooks and I ended up with a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. No surprise…but a guarantee for fulfilled expectations! I faithfully stuck to Ottolenghi’s written word, only adding a handful of raisins. They just belong with lentils in my  opinion.

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    For 4 people:

    60g roasted hazelnuts

    200g lentils

    2 bay leaves

    4 thyme springs

    1 small celeriac

    4 tsp olive oil

    3 tsp red wine vinegar

    3 tsp hazelnut oil (I used pumpkin seed oil, which worked nicely too)

    4 tsp chopped fresh mint

    one handful of raisins

    salt & pepper

    Start by roasting the nuts for 15 minutes at 140°C & leave them to cool off.

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    Cover the lentils with plenty of water and cook with the bay leaves & thyme until al dente. (& with the raisins if you choose to add them…;))

    Cut the celeriac into small pieces and cook these in water until tender.

    After draining and removing the bay & thyme, mix the lentils and celeriac together and make sure to add the dressing while the lentils are hot, to allow them to take in the taste of the dressing. If you serve this the next day like me, add the nuts and mint just before serving.

    I  always put the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a glass jar with a lid and shake it until everything is well mixed together. Pepper & salt to taste.

    Eat well, better than you would expect

  • shamelessly copied chicken sandwich

    I had a “Nigella moment” coming home after my NY & Canada trip. I HAD to roast an entire chicken. Except for free range eggs and Kefir there is no non-veggie food to be found in my kitchen…usually. But it had to be done, so I bought a free range organic chicken and stuffed it with the quarters of a lemon. Between the skin and the breast I poured chestnut honey (a yearly & perfect gift from Rosa from Portugal) with thyme, salt & pepper. On top a little sweet paprika powder and olive oil. In the oven for one hour at 200°C and the result is perfection.

    I didn’t do this with the intention to have chicken with potatoes or anything similar.

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    The plan was…this sandwich, inspired (copied), from one I had in Montréal. THE place to have it is Olive & Gourmando in Vieux-Montréal. I walked down St Paul O., the quiet side of the street in contrast of the tourist filled opposite side. So quiet I was in doubt about having the right address until I reached a seriously crowded & chatty street corner. The crowd was waiting to be seated in Olive & Gourmando. My name was written down, not at the end of the list but on a new page and I waited…until my name was  shouted out and I got a space.

    I returned for afternoon tea & breakfast, both far less crowded than saturday lunch but just as delicious!

    So in memory to a perfect saturday lunch I processed the flesh of 1/2 avocado, seasoned it with a teaspoon of lemon juice, salt & pepper.

    The same happened to 1/2 mango which I seasoned with a pinch of chili flakes.

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    The rest is assembling. Toast, olive oil, avocado, chicken, mango, toast. This is not the recipe for the original but what I can reproduce from taste memory;) I plan to prepare the avocado and mango more often to have with toast even without the “Nigella moment” chicken.

    Eat well

  • Fish dish with tomato sauce & stealing recipes

    I said more fish & here it is!

    An easy oven dish with tomatoes stolen from my mother’s kitchen today. She has been rewriting her recipes for as long as I can remember. The task is never really completed but the really old recipe notebooks are gone, which is a pity. They had traces of food on every page from being used so many times, not the least by me as a kid.

    You need to have the key, the understanding of the logic used to categorise to find what you are looking for.

    The recipe for “Fuesend” (traditional fried dough knots) starting with an F can be found under W like “Wiener Krapfen”.

    The language situation in Luxemburg doesn’t help:)

    recipes

    This feeds 3 to 4 people:

    codfish (swordfish works fine too, that’s what the recipe says;))

    1 shallot

    1 tin of small tomatoes

    white wine or Noilly Prat

    tomato paste

    1/2 handful olives

    1/2 hand full parsley

    a few coriander seeds

    salt & pepper

    olive oil

    canned tomatoes, olives, noilly prat

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    Preheat the oven at 200°C.

    Place the fish in a ovenproof dish and season with salt & pepper. Put aside.

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    Start by peeling & dicing the shallot and heating (sweating not browning) it in a splash of olive oil.

    Wash & cut the parsley, pit and dice the olives. In a little bowl mix a tablespoon of tomato paste with a splash of Noilly Prat.

    Add this and all the other ingredients to the shallot and let it simmer for five minutes on medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

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    Add some crushed coriander seeds if you like.

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    Pour the tomato mixture on the fish and put it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

    Serve with whole grain rice, salads or pasta.

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    & an after lunch jumping competition with a clear winner;)

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    Eat well