• Mango Lassi…

    …although not really but still delicious.

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    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

  • 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.

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    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:

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    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)

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • chocolate & salt popcorn…

    …covers three food cravings.

    This gives you crunch, sweetness & saltiness.

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    Whenever I go food watching in London it seems that there is always something new and over the top to discover. The popcorn variations you can find could be straight out of a movie like Charly & the chocolate factory. Not really an option for a health nut like me, although admittingly tempting, but a great source of inspiration.

    For this mid-week treat you need plain popcorn (no sugar no salt).

    I make it myself using organic corn.

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    Melt some 75% cacao chocolate.  Chocolate does help reduce free radicals and works against artery-clogging plaque and lowers blood pressure. The higher the cacao content the better.

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    Throw a small handful of popcorn at a time into the melted chocolate, since it is  little tricky to cover them with a sufficiant amount of chocolate. Place each one on a piece of baking paper and sprinkle with a high quality sea salt.

    Let them dry and tuck in!

    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