• 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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  • childhood memory

    No other food brings back childhood memories like sweets do. For an end of the school year movie afternoon I bought a lot of pop corn, gummy bears (gelatin free yay) and these flying saucers.

    childhood memories

    I have not touched any of these foods in decades. Personally I am not tempted by the gummies nor the pop corn, but the sour saucers I found out are my sweet. I guess we all have one bringing back childhood memories in no time and mine seems do be dry edible paper with a  sweet sour powder inside. These paper shells were used to actually administer real medicine back in the day, I am tempted to write in Victorian times but a historian might prove me wrong. So I stick with what I know. The kids will love my selection of sweets that will become part of their memories now and I will try to stay away from the saucers (actually I put them in the car to put a stop to the carnage).

    Have a lovely end of the school year, an amazing summer and 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

  • Detox & tea

    Simple but powerful. You can buy ready made tea that has a detoxifying effect and I do have that as well. Although the herb of my choice this week has been sage.

    sage

    sage

    You cook 1 & 1/2 tbsp of sage leaves in 1/2 l water for three minutes. Put it into a flask and drink it over the day. 1/2l is not much for a day so a sip here and there does the job. Sage is has among many others, antimicrobial properties.

    The taste gets quiet strong. I happen to love sage so no problem;)

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    Eat well

  • not about food…

    ..well about less food. I’ve spent some time in Paris again, this time for my other passion…Yoga.

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    I discovered a great yoga teacher whose teachings I want to hear more off  in the future (Dechen Thurman) and had quiet a lot of discussions about food with a friend.

    Looking at the two of us you would say we’re at the opposite end of the diet and body shape spectrum. I am the round food loving thing, she is lean and doesn’t mind skipping a meal. Who does things right? Luckily we both do, respecting our blueprint!

    dfg

    That being said I do have my reduced food intake days which has nothing to do with weight loss but with health.

    Michael Mosley brought a lot of interesting information together about fasting. I have never been drawn to this but his approach IS sensible, no extremes & common sense. His point is that if you provide your body with the normal calorie intake (should be 2000 for a woman, 2500 for a man until science proves that wrong) the cells will happily multiply. That includes those that you don’t want to, those that are damaged or sick.

    sdgf

    If the body gets a reduced amount (& Mosley can tell you how much exactly) of calories a day, it actually starts repairing cells, fixing what is going wrong, instead of multiplying. Does this mean reduced calorie intake every day? NO!!! Please don’t! Two days a week in a first phase and one to maintain the beneficial effects later. According to Mosley this will bring blood sugar, cholesterol and other health indicators under control. He obviously talks about weight loss too, but I want you to focus on your health please, you’re beautiful the way you are;).

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    If you want to read this up: http://thefastdiet.co.uk

    Next time a yummy, easy & healthy recipe…I promise!

    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

  • 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

  • The solution lies in cake

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    I learned that on Crete people say that if you have a question about your life that keeps you up at night, cake is your answer. Not just any cake…but Fanouropita.

    An offering to the greek saint Fanourios and prepared with your life question in mind. There are many recipes to be found and I can’t claim this one to be the original.

    I hope the saint in case is a forgiving one since I tweaked the recipe quiet a lot to make it work and to replace white flour & sugar.

    You know how much I like old believes like this and how cleverly they sell you what’s good for you. The ingredients in this cake include:

    Walnuts: Among other benefits, they reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. More importantly for this recipe, Walnuts are the highest food in Omega 3 just after certain kinds of fish. Our brain needs Omega 3 and it helps preventing depression.

    Cinnamon: Besides a whole list of good effects, cinnamon does calm the nerves.

    These ingredients definitely make Fanouropita a clever cake for distressed times.

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    I used a 1/3 cup as one measure, since I didn’t want to make too much cake. If you want to make a whole big one go for 1 cup as one measure.

    Mix together:

    4 measures whole grain spelt flour

    2 measures coconut sugar

    1 measure honey

    1,5 tsp baking powder

    1 measure olive oil

    1,5 measures orange juice

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 handful of walnuts

    The original recipe included baking soda, which is hard to find in Luxemburg and is therefore missing in my version.

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    Bake at 180°C until ready. Look, smell & use a cake tester!

    Take a deep breath, have a bite and let all the powerful ingredients help you worry less and see the solution to the problem on hand.

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    Eat well

  • combining foods…

    …is a tricky one.

    Let me start with the last 18 years that I happily passed in the yogaworld! This community is very aware of health and non-violence which inevitably leads to giving your food a thought or two. I do think that the leap from my passion for yoga to a new passion for cooking healthy food was a natural development.

    (My favorite ashtanga yoga place for yoga & clever, tasty food on Crete,…can you spot me;))

    Food on yoga retreats seems to consist of pulses (all kinds of beans and lentils), rice, vegetables (often raw) and fruit. After the first couple of days I always looked like a baby elephant. While everybody else seemed to thrive on this food, feeling detoxed and energized I was feeling sluggish and…well… baby elephant. The reason was my sensible belly. I should be aware of food combinations for several reasons.

    The first one is valid for all kinds of tummies, sensible or not. Badly or undigested food stays in your intestines too long. So it has time to ferment, to create bloating, silent inflammation (the key to a lot of modern & common diseases and as the word says silent, unnoticed for a long time). Overeating also has this effect.

    For me apart from silent inflammation I do feel bad with some of the combinations others don’t seem to affect me. Like usual listen to YOUR body & ignore fanatic food rules. Eating is not a cerebral thing. It’s nice to have all the information. I am currently trying to write a book list for you and man do I have information;) But in the moment of choosing and eating your food it’s about how it makes you feel. Like in yoga your body knows all it needs to know you just have to LET IT fallow it’s own wisdom. You don’t want tiredness, brain fog, bloating…. You want energy, alertness, nice skin & hair, …and and and;)

    Food combination “thoughts” (kicking the word rules)

    • Fruit doesn’t do well in combination with other foods and is best eaten half an hour before or after anything else, especially melon!
    • Protein (animal protein, including milk products) is best eaten with vegetables NOT with starches (bread, rice, pasta…).
    • Starches are best eaten with vegetables NOT with protein (animal protein including milk products).
    • Beans or lentils  have to be well cooked (if sensible to bloating you might want to try to cook them a couple of times, or cook and bake…) and are best eaten with a whole grain (whole rice…). More grain less beans on your plate. What works for me is 1/4 beans and 3/4 rice…you will have to play with that and find out what works for you.
    • Vegetable & fruit together can ferment quiet a lot too, this also counts for smoothies and juices. I personally can not mix the two.
    • Milkproducts like yoghurt or kefir with fruit, only works with really sour fruits. That is berries for example.

    Let me know if you have any questions concerning food combinations and keep in mind that like for any food information these can be either useful or of no importance to you. I do fallow the first, third and forth. I seem to have no trouble combining starch and protein.

    Eat well