• 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

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  • 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

     

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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