• Mango Lassi…

    …although not really but still delicious.

    mango lassi

    Mango Lassi for me throws me back to my time in Vienna where all we did was practice Yoga, cycle through the city, try every italian ice cream maker we could find & eat amazing meals including Mango Lassi.

    A Buddhist monk from the Himalayas once got me into a chili eating competition. No need to say that I lost. Mango Lassi to the rescue! My version is nothing as sophisticated as the original.

    A ripe mango, some kefir & water blended together to me is perfection.

     

    The perfect drink for the summer & to kill the heat from spicy food.

    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:)

  • 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

  • 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

  • Oat & raisins…Spelt & raisins

    Oat & raisin cookie…a classic as it seems in England. Here, less known but welcomed with open arms. oat & raisin cookie Yesterday I sat in my favorite cafe to work. I have a paper to write and will never finish it if I attempt to do it at home.

    I am the queen of procrastination and would find many occupations that would keep me from getting the job done. So here I was, being incredibly productive with an espresso some water and…feeling a little hungry.

    My only choice would have been cake or the oat & raisin cookie. I fancied the cookie but aware that both would be to loaded with refined sugar I didn’t succumb to the temptation.

    Instead, later at home, I made up my own oat & raisin cookie recipe which turns out to be spelt & raisin. Spelt has less gluten and is my favorite baking grain.

    This made about a dozen of small wholesome sweet cookies.

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    1 cup whole grain spelt flour

    3/4 cup spelt flakes

    1/4 tsp baking soda

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 cup coconut sugar

    1/4 cup nuts (crushed)

    1 tsp ground vanilla

    1/2 cup raisins

    1 free range egg

    2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

    Start by mixing the dry ingredients. If you put in the liquids immediately, the spices will end up all clogged together and it will be a tough job to get them to spread evenly into the mixture.

    Add the egg and the cooled off melted coconut oil. I added the oil gradually so I could see if I need less or more judging by the consistency of the dough. It should hold together if you form it into a ball.

    oat & raisin cookie

    Form little spelt & raisins balls and place them on a baking tray. Flatten them a little with a spoon and bake for about 10 minutes at 220°C. Stay close and check on the cookies regularly.

    …my paper is still not finished, but this post had to be written;) ohhh

    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!

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    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;)

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    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.

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    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!

  • 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

  • divine chocolate cake

    This week I have planned to enter the Nigella cookalong. There is one every month and I have been checking out the recipes for a while.

    Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

    The last two (october & november) are the ones I want to try.

    The october one is this irresistable chocolate cake.

    Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

    The november one will be a pumpkin filled with rice.

    I will not even attempt to describe the recipe since it has been done brilliantly here.

    I am instead offering the visuals which I hope stand a chance to win the cook along. Fingers crossed!

    Nigella cookalong devil's food cake

    I have replaced the white flour with a whole-grain spelt & reduced the sugar content by 50% & no chocolate under 75% cacao content…as usual;)

    Eat well

  • chocolate & salt popcorn…

    …covers three food cravings.

    This gives you crunch, sweetness & saltiness.

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    Whenever I go food watching in London it seems that there is always something new and over the top to discover. The popcorn variations you can find could be straight out of a movie like Charly & the chocolate factory. Not really an option for a health nut like me, although admittingly tempting, but a great source of inspiration.

    For this mid-week treat you need plain popcorn (no sugar no salt).

    I make it myself using organic corn.

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    Melt some 75% cacao chocolate.  Chocolate does help reduce free radicals and works against artery-clogging plaque and lowers blood pressure. The higher the cacao content the better.

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    Throw a small handful of popcorn at a time into the melted chocolate, since it is  little tricky to cover them with a sufficiant amount of chocolate. Place each one on a piece of baking paper and sprinkle with a high quality sea salt.

    Let them dry and tuck in!

    Eat well

  • 50% of sugar & not the raw carrot cake…

    …that I planned on making after having lunch at the new vegan place (the only one I think) in Luxemburg town.

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    The plan was to make a raw carrot cake later in the day and tell you all about the process. BUT I find that raw “baking” as much as I admire the originality and produce used, doesn’t agree with me. Too many nuts or coconut oil for me it seems, used to keep the creation together. Reading the recipe that I had for the planned cake confirmed that thought.

    In search for a middle path I settled for a more traditional version and found a recipe from Nigella Lawson. I had to adapt it to the circumstances of my kitchen cupboards & to my aversion for refined flour.

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    More noteworthy, I actually used sugar which I haven’t done in ages. Only 50% of the amount indicated. I always reduce the amount indicated in a recipe by half, even if I substitute the regular sugar with the coconut version. 50% of the sweetness is largely enough in most cases & allows you to actually taste the other ingredients as well. In this case the recipe asked for light muscovado but I used dark muscovado since that’s what I had.

    This makes about 8 cupcake sized cakes

    50g muscovado sugar

    175 ml sunflower oil

    2 free range eggs

    225g whole spelt flour

    3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

    1 teaspoon of cinnamon

    pinch of salt

    zest of 1 lemon

    150g grated carrots (about 2 carrots)

    100 g almond flour

    Whisk all the ingredients together starting with oil & sugar. Fill the dough into your cupcake baking forms or use a big baking dish. Bake at 180° until they smell and look just right and there remains no dough on your cake tester.

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    Eat well