• 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

     

  • 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

  • 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

  • travel bug & rillettes de cabillaud

    I am getting ready for my last trip for this summer, NY, Montreal & Quebec. Not complaining 😉 but I could go on like this forever.

    When I travel I read about…tavelling. Places to go to next;) Right now I have my eye on the french island “Ile de Ré”.

    & I spend the last couple of days on a northern sea side, eating local fresh sea food!

    So inspired the recipe today is “rillettes de cabillaud”. This might be the first non-vegetarian dish I post. I don’t prepare fish at home very often…something to work on.

    rillettes de cabillaud

    I eat fish mostly when I’m invited or in restaurants. One of my friends is a professional chef. Knowing of my mainly vegetarian diet, he always spoils me with a tasty fish dish. Years ago, when we were neighbours, he wanted to surprise me by guessing my favorite food. So he prepared oysters (not raw but baked in the oven). He watched my face as I was politely trying to get them down and removed the plate immediately. So much for guessing someone’s favorite food! Mine is strawberries! He invited me to dinner and strawberry picking in the garden recently…coincidence?

    Back to the fish. I believe that my food should provide all the nutrients that I need and I am not an advocate for supplements since they are not a whole food which again might create imbalance.

    I do take omega 3 though since my fish intake is limited. This fatty acid is extremely important for the brain and in big parts responsible for our mood & well-being. Chocolate is not the only food that makes you happy;)

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    70g fresh goat cheese (or any other fresh/soft cheese)

    1 diced tomato

    1 chopped spring onion

    1 tsp grated ginger

    1/2 tsp of lemon zest

    1/2 a hand full of chopped cilantro (can be replaced with another herb of your choice)

    150g codfish (or any other fish of your choice)

    a splash of olive oil

    salt & pepper to taste

    Cook the codfish in the oven t 160°C for about 15 min. Make sure it’s done and leave it to cool off. Mush it with a fork. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

    And that’s it for this extremely easy fish dish. The tricky part in preparing fish is the cooking time & making it look nice on the plate. It should separate nicely but not fall apart. For rillettes, looks don’t matter!

    I did serve this with carrot sticks. The fat in this dish helps the vitamines from the carrot to be absorbed. Rillettes is generally served with some toast.

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    Eat well

  • vegetarian stuffed tomatoes…

    I bought a dehydrator. I have to admit that as food crazy as I am, until recently I was suspicious of this machine.

    A few years ago on a yoga retreat I met somebody who worked half-time, so she could dehydrate her food the rest of the time. She generally had a very strict, no-nonsense approach to food and I somehow linked the fact of having a dehydrator to that ultra-strict attitude & since I am attracted to extremes I try to avoid them wisely;)

    I am striving towards a more relaxed dehydrating routine hoping at the same time that it will not be one of those kitchen gadgets that ends up in the cave.

    I told my friend about my newest purchase a couple of days ago. “You tell me this before we are going on a trip (Montreal) together….?!” Clearly the dehydrator possessing crowd doesn’t have the best image;) I chose Montreal mostly for food reasons, so nothing to worry about!

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    Before I start experimenting & dehydrating I am off to the south of France, another heavenly spot for foodies and leave you with Maria’s recipe (yes another Cretan one) for the vegetarian version off stuffed tomatoes or peppers.

    10 tomatoes

    olive or coconut oil

    1 eggplant

    1 courgette

    1 onion

    1/2 teaspoon of sugar (replace with agave syrup)

    1/2 hand full of raising (optional)

    3 large potatoes

    mint

    parsley

    1 packet of rice (if you use whole grain here, cook it half through in advance)

    breadcrumbs & sugar (optional)

    water

    Start by scraping the insides out of the tomatoes, blend it to make a tomato sauce and put it aside. Keep the tops!

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    Grate the eggplant, courgette & onion.

    In a large and deep-frying pan lightly heat a generous splash of olive oil.

    If you are not certain about the temperature for the oil, go with unflavored coconut oil. Oils become toxic if overheated and olive oil has a very low tolerance for heat.

    Add 2/3 of the tomato sauce, eggplant, courgette and onion to the oil. Add the sugar (agave syrup) and let simmer.

    Add the rice, stir and let cook for 10 minutes. Add salt & pepper, parsley & mint to taste. I want raisins in at this point too to give it a more oriental touch.

    & the more qualities of taste (sweet, sour, bitter, salty) a dish contains, the more satisfying it is. This keeps you from craving the crazy desert after your meal.

    During this time wash & peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks.

    stuffing tomatoes

    Fill the tomato shells & put them into an oven proof dish. Stuff the chunks of potatoes between and add the rest of the tomato sauce, some water, so that the tomatoes are sitting not swimming in liquid & finally a good splash of olive oil.

    You can put a breadcrumb and sugar mix on top of the tomatoes to give them a crust, for me they are just fine without.

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    Put in the oven at 200°C for 2 hours.

    This is slow food;)

    It’s nice to prepare in advance for dinner so you have time to check the rice and maybe add 30 minutes to the cooking time. You should also check regularly if the tomatoes are still lightly sitting in water and maybe add some. The stuffed tomatoes are perfect eaten at room temperature, so no need to reheat them…of course you can if you prefer.

    Eat well

  • sugo per pasta

    My kitchen is filled with that pasta smell from my childhood & the air is just waiting to explode. I have been in India just before Monsoon and this feels the same. Even the cat is lying flat on the floor and I sometimes check if he is breathing. Start raining please..NOW!

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    Back to the sugo.

    The best way to eat this, is to cook the pasta, add the sauce AND then reheat it in a frying pan with olive oil! I even cook the pasta and mix it with the sugo the day before I actually want to eat it. That way cooking lunch only consists in “reheating”. Trust me & try it. I also like to use whole grain spelt pasta and put a couple of hands full of roquette salad on top.

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    On my shopping list for this family recipe:

    1 big onion

    1 chilli

    4 gloves of garlic

    2 carrots

    1 leek

    olives (optional)

    1kg of peeled tomatoes

    1l of unflavored tomato sauce

    1 small glass of tomato paste

    1/4 l of red wine

    fresh rosemary and sage (if not possible dried will have to do)

    cayenne pepper (1 reaspoon) , salt & pepper (to taste)

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    This makes a good amount and it is destined to be portioned and frozen for instant deliciousness.

    Take a large cooking pot and heat some olive oil on medium heat (you know that heat can turn this lovely oil from healthy to toxic, so if you don’t trust the temperature choose ghee which has a higher smoking point, meaning it can take more heat)

    Start with the diced onions, then add all the other washed and dices vegetables. Let them get some heat without taking any color. We say let them “sweat”. Add the wine & cook until the alcohol smell has completely vanished. This looks and smells amazing. Add all the tomato varieties & the cayenne pepper, sage (this is “blue” sage), rosemary, salt & pepper.

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    It doesn’t matter how big or small you cut your vegetables since you will bring this to a boil, turn the heat down and let it cook on medium to low heat for 2 hours. Your veggies will be cooked;) How chunky you want your tomato sauce is up to you;)

    (There is a brilliant talk about the chunkyness of tomato sauce on TED that comes to mind;)

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    DSC_0358 2Use immediately or portion and freeze.

    It’s the BEST!

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    Remember to cook your pasta al dente, so your body has more work to break it down, starting with the chewing and will release the sugar (from the starch) more slowly into your blood stream. I just love how cooking styles & traditions often have a clever health reason!

    Eat well

  • Lentil breadspread

    I tried a lot of blended foods. Making my own nut butter,  bean butter and so forth. I killed a couple of food processor and never really liked the outcome. Honestly it’s too much fuss for me and often there is a good quality product I can buy, like for nut butter that is finally not more expensive than my homemade version (not counting the dead processor;)). I like my recipes healthy, easy & not overly time-consuming. As a vegetarian I do need to keep an eye on my protein intake. This makes pulses really important especially in combination with a whole grain food where they really become a great source for protein. So this lentil breadspread is one of the very few blended recipes I kept from all my previous experiments.

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    1 cup of yellow lentils

    olive oil or coconut oil

    1 teaspoon of turmeric

    1 red onion

    1 teaspoon agave syrup

    pepper & salt

    1/2 handful of raisins

    spices of your choice (chilli, rosemary…all optional)

    Start with washing the yellow or red lentils. They cook extremely fast, which ticks one of my boxes. 

    Cut the onion and heat it with a little olive oil or neutral coconut oil. Add the agave syrup and slightly caramelize the onions. Add the lentils, 2 cups of water, turmeric (anti-inflamatory), salt & pepper and spices of your choice. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat for five minutes cover with a lid and turn the heat off. 10 minutes later your lentils are done. You should not have a lot of excess water in them since you want to turn this into a spread.

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    Use a blender or a food processor to mix. Season to taste. Since the onions are caramelized & there will be raisins, I like to make it a little spicy to go with the light sweetness. Serve with really nice homemade whole grain bread or as a dip.

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    Eat well

  • Perrine’s kitchens & not unlike couscous

    I love cooking at a friend’s house when I travel. Shopping for the ingredients is a little adventure in itself and you never quiet get everything that you want. Imposed improvisation brings out a new dish, sometimes ok, sometimes really nice. I obviously hope for nice since I am cooking for a dear friend who welcomed me into their home & kitchen.

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    I am just back from London, a city that positively kicks my creativity and seems to absorb all my energy at the same time. It’s a weird mix 😉 That might be a good thing. I admire all those that manage to find balance between being stuck in traffic, confined in public transport, facing a demanding job and/or family life and possibly trying to make healthy life choices. I come home content that I live in the country, 20 minutes away from town (Luxemburg town would feel like the countryside to a Londoner), in a non-hectic environment until I start finding it so boring again that I will complain to anybody who is willing to listen & have to get away for a while. It’s a kind of balance that seems to work fine for me;)

    At Perrine’s place (she shot the pictures of me in her kitchen) I cooked a couscous with quinoa & veggies. I made up the recipe as I went along and the outcome was tasty. Recipe for 2.

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    2 cups of quinoa (rinsed)

    1/2 a handful of raisins

    1l vegetable broth

    1 tablespoon of tomato past

    1/2 teaspoon cumin (seeds or grounded)

    1/2 teaspoon coriander (grounded)

    pepper & salt

    olive oil

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    2 carrots

    1 fennel

    1 courgette

    1 potato

    1/2 brocoli

    4 small onions

    1 piece of ginger that you cook with the broth & take out before you serve

    I used the vegetables that were available to me, feel free to go for anything you like. Wash and cut the veggies, chuncky peaces are best here. The only trick is to add them to the boiling broth in the right order. Those that need the longest cooking time first (carrots, potatoes act…) continuing with those that need less time to cook, like fennel. I added the onions very early since I want them to get sweet and totally loose the strong onion taste. Trust your feeling;)

    Heat the broth with the tomato past, coriander and cumin. Add your vegetables as described above and season to taste.

    Simultaneously cook the quinoa with the raisins (if you don’t like these you obviously don’t use them. I like to satisfy as many qualities of taste in one dish. Salty, sweet, bitter, sour. That way I feel balanced and free of cravings. I don’t include Umami since I have little to no experience with it.)

    Try if your vegetables are done by sticking a knife through them. In this dish I  like them quiet cooked but again it’s up to you if you want them more crunchy.

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    Serve the quinoa with veggies on top and some broth. I also added a little olive oil, to give the fat soluble vitamins a chance to be absorbed. You can add  Harissa (Tunisian hot chill sauce) which really completes the dish, parsley, fresh mint…

    Eat well

  • onion soup & sun

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    I did get one day of sun, a week ago on my favorite nordic seaside. I even got a slight tan;) As children we used to spend the summer here, eating “crevettes” out of the shell and fishing for “moules”, also cruelly poking stranded jellyfish with a stick while safely sitting on my dad’s shoulders. There were lots of them this time but luckily for them I grew up … a little. What did I bring home except a couple of empty shells….a cookbook and more cooking inspiration that I can tell you right now since I always try to keep my posts short. I am impatient to share post by post!

    I start with onion soup.

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    2 tablespoons of olive oil

    salt & pepper (season to your taste)

    4 medium sized onions (I used red, any other kind is fine too)

    2 tablespoons agave syrup

    2 springs of thyme

    1 bay leave (optional)

    Cut the onions (if you have a good trick to fight the crying here, let me know;)) and caramelize them on a medium heat with the olive oil and agave syrup. When they are nicely colored, cover them with water, add the thyme and bay leave & let simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper. I served this onion soup with self-made bread with black olive tapenade & plain olive oil. Any dish that comes with good bread is a winner for me!

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    I was out of home made organic chicken stock. I normally have some frozen in an ice-cube holder. I add a couple of cubes to my vegetarian soups  to do something for the strength of my bones.

    This onion soup is inspired by the founder of “le pain quotidien”, Alain Coumont & his cookbook. This is his shopfront…in Brugge. The second day was obviously rainy again and we lingered over breakfast before making it back to the seaside.

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    Eat well & catch some sun…;)

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