• 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

     

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • south of france & new love

    I am writing this in the middle of the night, since it is a sleepless one. That’s a rare thing for me, I am known to sleep anywhere and under most circumstances.

    Scan 28

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    I made it home from the south of France this evening and am off again tomorrow, no TODAY around 6.30 in the morning for a couple of days. I just visited a friend who had arrived home from India (home being London) and the same day took her VW bus and drove to Lyon.

    uztg

    I should be able to cope with one little sleepless night;)

    We spend our time together at a wine estate close to Nice, belonging to her brother in law and her sister. Lot’s of grapes and 2 vegetable and fruit gardens. Heaven if you enjoy a fresh plant-based diet.

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    & the new love in my life is called Elvis. He woke me early in the mornings, stole my shoes, was full of joy when we came home and drank out of the swimming pool. Just as I had decided against having a dog this pure soul might have changed my mind!

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    He went “zucchini hunting” with me too which is a little more difficult than expected. It’s green underneath green so spotting them is tricky. I also found some shoes…

    I managed to get enough zucchini for a nice late night soup!

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    I’m off again with my head full of recipe ideas , hoping to be able to experiment and write them down soon;)

    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

  • Wholesome cinnamon-bun-cake

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    A good indication if the food you’re having is actually really nourishing you is that you don’t want to overindulge in it. It gives your body what it needs and you’re sure to have enough surprisingly quickly. It energizes you and doesn’t leave you with a craving…job done move on;) I posted my childhood cinnamon-bun-cake as one of my first posts ever quiet at the beginning of my quest for a truly balanced diet. This one is a wholesome alternative. It is packed with good & healthy ingredients. Not to be confused with low-calorie. This is packed with calories too (I have no clue how many;)) but the GOOD kind. Calorie does NOT equal calorie. It does make a big difference to your body where that lovely little energy pack comes from. In this case white sugar and flour versus dates, applesauce, coconut sugar, whole grain flour and nuts.

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    This recipe was posted a couple of days ago on “my new roots” and I just had to give it a try & share!

    It’s much richer then my cinnamon-bun-cake but considering the ingredients that’s a good thing.

    To my surprise it even ticks my very personal nostalgia box which is the main reason to make cinnamon buns…for me at least.

    So I do allow myself to be a copycat and take Sarah Britton’s recipe here. I altered it very little because I couldn’t get the right kind of nuts. I guess that sticking to the original 100% would make it even better. I also left aside the glazing and the topping. Both I am generally not a fan off, always somehow too much for me, although her healthy options for these too look amazing.

    What totally intrigued me reading her post was the use of apple sauce for texture & sweetening. It works really nicely and the sweetness of the unsweetened applesauce is surprisingly strong. It makes you wonder why they came up with refined sugar in the first place…if nature delivers THIS.

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    Applesauce is “compote de pommes”, I had to google that since I am not a native english speaker ;). I made it myself, out of organic apples, since I like to go the whole way, but I’m sure there are nice unsweetened versions to buy.

    For the apple sauce:

    Wash, skin and dice 4 medium-sized apples. Cook them with 1/4 cup of water on a medium heat until soft. Blend & leave to cool.

    For the filing:

    225 g of chopped dates (the fresher the better)

    175 ml water

    2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    pinch of ground cardamom (I used 2 whole pods that I took out again after the cooking was done)

    1/4 tsp. sea salt

    75 g chopped pecans (I used hazelnut)

    Cook the dates with the water on a medium heat with the spices & salt, stir frequently until they dissolve into a paste. I used a mix of fresher and dryer dates which implied cooking this a little longer and using more water to soften the dryer dates as well. Let this cool off too.

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    For the dough:

    300 g whole spelt flour

    1 tsp. dry active yeast

    2 Tbsp. coconut sugar

    1 tsp. sea salt

    3/4 cup & 1 Tbsp apple unsweetened sauce (I used all I got from 4 medium-sized apples)

    3 Tbsp. softened coconut oil (neutral in taste) or butter

    Mix the dry ingredients first then add the applesauce.

    Roll out the dough on a floured surface and spread with the date paste. Add as many of the nuts as seem right to you and roll the buns.

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    You have so many possibilities here. I put the buns into a cake shape. You could make a flatter version or individual buns,… .

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    Bake for 30 minutes at 190°. This stays much more compact as a traditional yeast pastry,  so don’t be alarmed it you don’t see the dough rising in the oven.

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    I will take some over to the family later today for the ultimate test;)

    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