• 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

  • 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

  • White pizza & It’s not easy being green…

    …not for Kermit the frog, no, but for this pizza yes. I am aware that a pizza without the red tomato sauce is a white pizza, BUT this one having exclusively green vegetables on it, I call it green.

    white pizza green pizza

    I got an organic food box again this week delivered right at my doorstep and I was finally able to get rid of two of my return boxes. In many neighbourhoods the concern would be for somebody to steal a box. I my street these boxes keep coming back to me like boomerangs. Instead of letting them sit outside for the delivery guy to take them away somebody always brings them back to me so that I end up with many cumbersome boxes. The intention is good I know…

    In my box I had 150g spelt flour that was mixed with dried herbs. I added a teaspoon of yeast and enough water to make a dough that is not to liquid and let it proof for an hour. I added flour to work the dough into a non sticky ball and then roll it out.

    white pizza green pizza

    I added green tomatoes, courgette that I had slightly fired in a pan beforehand, some thyme and rosemary and finally mozzarella.

    white pizza green pizza

    Preheat the oven at 250°C and bake your pizza until the crust is as you like it and the cheese has melted and bubbled nicely!

    white pizza green pizza

    white pizza green pizza

    Here comes your green pizza.

    chilli oil spicy

    I do not want to have pizza without spicy oil. To make some yourself, choose a nice bottle, put dried chillies inside and add a good quality olive oil. You can obviously add other spices, I just go for chilli. You leave this for a month and taste if it’s spicy enough for you. If it get’s too spicy over time you can add fresh olive oil to the mix.

    chilli oil spicy

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If you feel like a trip down memory lane with Kermit, here you go:

    Eat well

  • preparing for winter…with jam

    I am not chopping wood or knitting jumpers. Just back from London I stick to my promise of making apricot and strawberry jam for my nieces’ and nephew’s pancakes as well as for the yoga retreat that I will be catering for later in summer.

    making jam London Derren Brown

    I am in London quiet often, this time I went to see Derren Brown. If I could just beam me back and forth between Luxemburg an London…the perfect mix of inspiring big city creativity and the comfort of the familiar as well as the serenity of country side living. Derren’s amazingly clever show is of course a secret and I will stick to that promise just as I do to the jam one;) There is not much to say about making jam, so after a short description I will shut up and spam you with a few pictures…

    making jam London Derren Brown

    For 1 kg of washed and pitted fruit you need 1/2 kg sugar (the special jam kind)

    The test to see if it will turn into jam is to pour some on a plate and see if it “gels”, if not keep cooking.

    The glasses should be as clean as possible, I submerged each one in cooking water although the were already dish washer clean.

    Fill to the brim, put the lid on and turn upside down for a couple of minutes.

    making jam London Derren Brown

    Eat well

  • Slowing down with fish

    Straight away I have to tell you that today this is not the animal protein free space that it is most of the time. Please bare with me even if meat and fish is strictly off limit for you since the dish that is following can be vegetarian even though it’s not new. I tell you what else it is, incredibly easy, time-saving and close to zero effort in washing up.

    oven roasted vegetables with fish

    I am just back from Cologne and am generally getting in the mood for traveling since my summer vacations have just started. But on these first days of freedom it’s hard to slow down and my body is showing me that it needs help to recover from the last months and relax and settle for the summer. One of its ways is to ask me for animal protein which I give into by eating fish. If people ask me on advice about animal protein or generally on what to eat I tell them to listen to their body and use the best produce they can afford. No need to comply to any label, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, flexitarian (although I kind of like that one;))…

    oven roasted vegetables with fish

     

     

    As a kid I used to spend whole summers on the belgian sea-side, eating fresh sea food and I do like it, I just prefer a vegetarian diet most of the time but not exclusively. I try to stay flexible;)

    On that note I have to tell you about the food box that I get regularly. It’s filled with all kinds of organic goodies and clever recipes that tell you how to use them.

    I read the recipes to find inspiration but I managed to stick to them once. I try to use all the ingredients from the box (and for once food that comes in a box is good;)) freestyle and have nothing left before the next box arrives.

    One of the good things about this…I get stuff in there I would NEVER buy, like bell pepper. And then I discover a way of preparing and most of the time loving the shunned produce and that way bring it back into my diet  and with it more variety.

    For those who live in Luxemburg, the boxes come from avocado.lu and are worth a try!

    onion & lemon

    Today I used the root vegetables from the box & onions and lemons. Washed and chopped coarsely I popped all of these on a baking tray with some thyme, olive oil, pepper and salt. In the oven at 220° until roasted nicely and there is you vegetarian dish that you can combine with quinoa, pasta, toast….

    After I took the veggies out I put a piece of frozen fish on that same tray still sizzling with the scented oil and put that back in the oven until the fish was nicely cooked. How easy can it get?

    oven roasted vegetables with fish

    In the final dish I added some olives, salt & pepper for the fish and finally squeezed one of the baked lemon quarters over the fish.

    roasted squeezed lemon

    My next stop is London for yoga, Derren Brown and exciting food.

    Eat well and listen to your body

  • eggplant couscous & cookbooks

    I have spent a few days in Munich, a city I am totally in love with. Before l left I bought a great “wintery” vegetarian cookbook. I ordered the one this recipe is from by Rachel Khoo and it was sitting in my mailbox, happily waiting when I cam back home. In this book she travels through France and collects recipes and it makes you wanna pack your stuff and join. I should also tell you that I bought two more cookbooks in Munich one being the “Luitpold” book which is more like a fun coffee-house history & recipe book, that I enjoy reading sitting underneath my fig tree on the balcony, the other one an italien vegetarian one. I know that’s addictive behaviour but it could be worse.

    eggplant taboulé rachel khoo

    I more or less did as told by Rachel Khoo as I prepared this dish with a couple of exception due to the ingredients in my pantry and the fact that I added raisins. Having a sweet touch in your meal takes away the possible craving for dessert. I left aside the yoghurt dressing & wanted to add mint but I bought the wrong plant just looking at the label not the actual plant at the shop;) & I have no clue what I brought home and planted in a pot with love.

    aubergine couscous rachel khoo

    2 Eggplants

    2 tbsp olive oil

    1tbsp tomato paste

    1 tbsp Espelette pepper (I used chilli since I was out of piment d’Espelette)

    parsley to garnish (also out…)

    2 cloves of garlic (me garlic never, seriously, but I know it’s healthy YES)

    Cut the Aubergine into sticks, omitting the spongiest part in the middle.

    Blend the ingredients for the marinade together and “paint” your Eggplant sticks.

    Put them in the oven at 180°C until they look and smell done.

    eggplant couscous rachel khoo

    For the couscous

    160g couscous

    zest of 1 lemon (organic untreated )

    a pinch of salt

    180 ml boiling water

    1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    a few raisins (if you like) & I did smuggle in some tomatoes as well…

    Mix the dry ingredients together, add water & olive oil, cover and leave for 5 minutes so the couscous can soak up the water.

    A happy vegetarian summer meal and if Rachel is right it has it’s origin in the Basque country.

    Eat well

  • 100 little quiches for the hub.dot

    …divided into 4 sorts, carrot & cumin, peas & cheese, red wine onion, goat cheese & tomato & thyme.

    dough quiche hub.dot

     

    This was an afternoon well spend in the kitchen preparing finger food for the ladies from the hub.dot Luxemburg, which turned out to be a fun evening with A LOT of interesting women to listen and talk to.

    So what would I say in one minute speaking time to resume my view on healthy food? I gave it a try.

    Although I do go the extra mile to eat healthy I am not taking it in the direction that is often expected of raw food & quinoa, even if I like both.

    I give more thought to the fact that many people overeat in general and especially on refined sugar. I feel better if I reduce dairy products.

    I am convinced that health and beauty come in all sizes, that eating should be a source of pleasure not guilt and that we are programmed by the food we grew up with.

    Programmed to digest it well since the bacteria in our gut is the one we need for that food and unfortunately we don’t have the matching digestive aid for new hip food that our bodies have never encountered and a radical switch from the food you grew up with to food from another part of the world can be upsetting for your digestive system even if the food itself is proven to be full of goodies. Including small doses of the new superfood of the week is fine, radical changes…not so much.  Eat well

    And now to the 100 little quiches:

    quiche dough

    For the dough (this makes about 50 mini quiches or a big one for 6 people)

    This dough is best prepared a day in advance and kept in the fridge well covered so it can’t dry out. It is also perfect for sweet fruit tarts.

    500g flour

    220g butter

    10g salt

    4 egg yolks (organic / free range)

    80g-100g water

    First mix the butter and flour together, maybe in a food processor until the mix looks like sand. Then ass the other ingredients.

    mini quiche hub.dot

    For the carrots, I diced them and cooked them lightly in olive oil with salt & pepper and cumin seeds.

    For the onions, I cut and cooked these in olive oil with a pinch of sugar, pepper & salt. I added red wine at the end and let this cook until the smell of alcohol had totally disappeared.

    ingredients mini quiche vegetables

    For the goat cheese & tomato. A little goat cheese and finely dices tomato with some fresh thyme that I actually worked into the dough for this mini quiche.

    For the filling I needed less cream then expected since the vegetables take up so much space that the cream only fills up the little space in between.

    mini quiche hub.dot

    500ml cream (for a big quiche I would do half milk half cream)

    2 eggs

    2 egg yolks

    salt & pepper & nutmeg to taste

    Mix this really well an and fill in just before baking. If you are worried about the dough getting soggy just use the left over egg white and lightly brush it on the dough before filling in the vegetables and cream.

    Bake at 180°C until you see & smell that they are done!

    Eat well

    mini quiche hub.dot

    mini quiche hub.dot

    mini quiches

  • this & that / waffles &…

    DSC_0268

    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