• 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;) .

    DSC_0051

    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.

    DSC_0032

    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)

    DSC_0043

    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.

    DSC_0044

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Tortano…filled bread or rolled Pizza?

    Back from an inspiring weekend with the girls in Paris.

    No baking & learning this time, but enjoying the company, the city &… lots of nice food.

    DSC_0276

    One of the places I always wanted to go to and somehow never managed to, is Rose Bakery and it was all I hoped for;) I’m in love with that place and as I observed the (totally international) staff, cooking, baking and just generally working their b… off I was imagining what it would be like to work there & live in a small cozy flat nearby…I guess it would be a wonderfully stressful experience;)

    I admire everybody’s welcoming manner considering how packed the place was and how crazy our style of having brunch. Showing up at different times, wanting to share a table, not fitting on one though and ordering our way chaotically up and down that menu! In the unlikely case that you (Rose Bakery elves)  will read this, you made my day;)

    So it has to be a recipe today that is fit for brunch.

    The inspiration comes from Leila Lindholm’s book that I own in dutch since, holding the copy in my hands in a shop in Brussels, I convinced myself that I am perfectly able to read enough dutch to comprehend a recipe…I recently bought a second copy in a language I actually do understand perfectly well;)

    Ingredients:

    15g baker’s yeast

    300 ml warm water (not hot, that would kill the yeast)

    3 tbsp olive oil

    1 tbsp honey

    1 & 1/2 tbsp salt

    170g durum wheat flour (also used in making pasta)

    250g whole grain spelt flour

    Put all the ingredients into a bowl and make sure the salt and yeast do not touch until you actually mix everything together. Salt kills yeast!

    Cover the dough and set it side to rise for about half an hour.

    Then work the dough and roll it out into a long shape that you can fill with the vegetables, cheese …of your choice. I went for courgette, dried & fresh tomatoes and some mozzarella. 

    DSC_0263

    Roll the dough with the filling inside and close by using some water like glue on the edges and form into a circle.

    DSC_0271

    Let this rise again for half an hour while preheating th oven at 250°C.

    DSC_0273

    Just before putting the tortano into the oven reduce the heat to 200°C and bake for 35 minutes (more or less).

    DSC_0278

    The perfect side for a wintery soup or a salad!

    DSC_0285

    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!

    noname-4

    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;)

    DSC_0259

    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.

    DSC_0257

    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…

    DSC_0265

    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.

    IMG_0989

    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.

    DSC_0267

    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.

    DSC_0271

    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

  • 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!

    DSC_0426

    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!

    DSC_0428

    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.

    DSC_0449

    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

  • Friday afternoon…popsicle ice cream

    DSC_0431

    I am not the only health nut in the family. I am not sure if I successfully passed the bug on or if it was passed to me by growing up in a home with an always busy kitchen. I like to think that I brought a healthy twist to the food tradition.

    So that’s me, one foot strongly rooted in Luxemburg, the other always checking where to go next.

    DSC_0399

    DSC_0402

    Today was my last family friday afternoon (fun time with nice & nephew) before the summer traveling begins. I am getting ready to meet lovely yogafriends in different parts of the world. A friend wrote to me today that to her we seem to be a little tribe of yoga nomads…

    Yes we are & it’s a real treat!

    I love cooking or assembling food in different kitchens while on the road and this week’s recipe for popsicle ice cream is one I will take with me this summer.

    DSC_0439

    It’s beyond easy and you can choose between strawberries & raspberries or mix both together. Berries are the exception because they combine well with dairy. For other fruits this is not true. Together fruit & dairy are not well digested.

    DSC_0405

    Blend the berries and pass the puree through a sieve (not too fine) to remove the seeds. Add a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt to the mix. I find that this is delicious as it is, if you want more sweetness feel free to add some honey or stevia (any sweetener you feel ok with). Freeze!

    DSC_0437

    Eat well;)