• 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

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  • how to eat potatoes…

    how to eat potatoes

    Being part of the first after 2nd world war generation in Luxemburg ,my parents’ world has changed a lot from being one of the first families with a washing machine to booking a flight on an iPad. The value of a potato is still very much real for this generation that did not grow up in abundance as we did. It’s a bit of a running joke how many potatoes we were fed as children and for a long time after moving out I didn’t buy or cook any.

    If we go back to the idea that our gut has the right bacteria to digest the food we grew up with I am destined to eat potatoes. But what is the best way to eat them since they have a bad image concerning the glycemic index, the sugar spike they cause in our blood and the effect on insulin production.

    The answer is cold. Eating them when they are cooled off changes a lot. Half of the starch that would normally be considered as a carbohydrate by your body and treated accordingly transforms into fibre once it has cooled off. Fibre that your body can not digest but gives your gut a friendly push from the inside and motivates it to do its job.

    how to eat potatoes

    This way even me, member of a spoilt generation with the luxury of worrying about the glycerine index of my food can enjoy potatoes;)

    In my dressing you will find 1 tbsp mustard, 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple vinegar, pepper & salt and finally chopped pickles.

    Eat well

  • waffle hearts…

    …make these your mid-week treat!

    Baking, a little indulgence and healthy food DO go together perfectly. Passing on the tradition of baking is important to me but I have to “improve” the recipes to actually feel good about passing them on, hopefully creating new healthy traditions.

    Making “hearts” has always been popular around here, although the ancient (ugly orange) and so efficient waffle maker died after I tried to clean it thoroughly. To much water for the old machine and the new one doesn’t live up to it really…but it makes the sound of a chirping bird when the waffle is supposedly ready, which it’s not and it has to stay in a little longer which delays the production of the next waffle but gives you the next chirping much earlier as needed. It’s all very confusing;) I hope you have a better one if you plan to attack this simple but wholesome recipe.

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    Despite my convictions, I did agree on dusting the little waffle hearts with sugar. Exceptions are healthy in their own right if only for our minds;)

    For the dough:

    250g whole grain spelt flour

    250g crème fraîche

    100g coconut sugar

    3 free range eggs

    1 tsp. baking powder

    pinch of salt

    Mix all the ingredients together leaving the eggs for last adding them one at a time.

    Heat your waffle maker and lightly grease (I used a little coconut oil) both sides of it & get started.

    I just love how this fills your entire home with the smell of fresh-baked goods…& the sound of birds.

    If like me the sweet version doesn’t tick the box, try some smoked salmon with your waffle hearts!

    Eat well

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  • 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

  • egg free marble cake & balance

    kuch

    This cake used to be our favorite birthday cake, covered in dark chocolate and well decorated. I started “gigiandfood” one year ago. I’m not singing and I don’t remember the exact date;) but I contemplate the change that happened over that year in my perception of food and nutrition. The pâtisserie fascinated girl (ME) who spend last summer in Paris to immerse herself in the art of making sweet things, soon found out that without letting go of that fascination, she wanted, needed a more healthy version. To keep life sweet;)

    She become a happy health nut and a student at the institute of integrative nutrition, future health coach.

    It’s a quest for balance and as I heard Nigella Lawson say in one of her shows recently the kitchen is one of the easiest places in life to find it. A health nut liking Nigella Lawson? Yes 😉 Using her recipes I do make some  changes to  make it fit my idea of a healthy meal & I applaud her guilt free celebration of ” “gourmandise & roundness”!

    Back to the egg free marble cake.

    I don’t use eggs because they are not creating balance for me right now. It is allergie season and I discovered that without eggs I react less strongly to the grass act… Feel free to use free range eggs, they are nutritious little things.

    DSC_0348Let’s start with chia eggs that you can make by mixing these omega 3 packed seeds with water.

    For this recipe I would need 2,5 eggs which converts into 2,5 tablespoons of seeds mixed with 10 tablespoons of water. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dough. The seeds will change their consistency an become not unlike egg white.

    The rest of the ingredients:

    100g soft or melted coconut oil

    60 g coconut sugar

    1 teaspoon of vanilla

    a pinch of salt

    180g whole grain flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1,5 tablespoons milk of your choice (soy, nut…)

    20 g melted dark chocolate

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    Except the chocolate whisk everything including the chia eggs together and put 2/3 of the dough into your baking dish. To the last third, add the melted chocolate and add the batter into the baking dish. To get the marble effect you turn through the dough with a fork.

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    Bake at 180° and as always look, smell and use a cake tester to see if your cake is done.

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    This measurements make a small cake. If you want to treat 4 people or more, make it double.

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    Eat well

  • artichoke & mayonnaise

    Beautiful thing. My  mother used to prepare artichokes for us and somehow I only recently rediscovered them.

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    After cutting off the stem and the tips of the upper leaves, I cooked the artichoke in a pot with a lot of water and a slice of lemon and a little salt. This is how I learned it from my mother so I don’t have  great explanations why it’s done that way…except for that it has always been done that way;)

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    Then the mayonnaise. This is the easiest thing in the world and there is no reason to buy it, except if you want only a little. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of days and you can not really make less since the starting point is one egg. I use the whole egg, you could also use only the yolk.

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    1 egg

    1 tsp of mustard

    high quality vegetable oil neutral in taste

    lemon juice

    pepper & salt

    Starting with the egg, the mustard & a little oil you start mixing either in your blender or with a dive in mixer. Slowly you add oil and the consistency will start to get thicker. Here you can really play on how you want your mayonnaise to be. More oil = less fluid.

    To season you add a 1 tsp of lemon juice, pepper & salt to taste.

    You can also add tomato concentrate to make it a “sauce cocktail”.

    Back to the artichoke and how to test if it’s done. You should be able to easily step into it’s heart from the backside (that sounds really bad) and pull out a leave easily as well.

    Leave it to drain a little while

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    You eat the bottom, fleshy part of the leave, dipping each one into the mayonnaise. Eventually you are left with the heart which is covered with straw which you have to remove before eating it.

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    I have the feeling we don’t get served a lot of artichoke, at least here we don’t. Give it a go!

    Eat well

  • 20 little fingers

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    Friday afternoon belongs to my niece & nephew.

    Their 20 little fingers made these wholesome cookies. Dinosaurs and easter bunnies! We have no problem mixing things as we please;)

    The work is fairly organized. My niece pours the ingredients into the bowl, my nephew is in charge of the mixing. Both sneak some raw dough out of the bowl and into their mouth every stage of the process…

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    Rolling & cutting the dough hardly requires my help any more. I successfully passed on my passion for baking. That deed is done;) On to the next…

    125g soft butter

    100g coconut sugar

    7g vanilla sugar

    1 free range egg

    250g whole grain spelt flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    a pinch of salt

    Mix everything together in a bowl starting with the sugar and the butter, then the egg, flour, salt and baking powder.

    Flour the surface you are going to roll the dough on and choose your cookie cutters. you can cover the dough with saran wrap, so it can’t stick to the rolling-pin.

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    Bake the cookies at 180°C until nicely brown. We had to take the small bunnies out before the dinosaurs because of their difference in size;)

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    Let them cool off (that is the difficult part) and dig in!

    Eat well

  • Lëtzebuerger Kascht

    Let’s start with “Kniddelen”

    These dumplings are not the most photogenic food there is. I tried my best with the pictures;) Traditionally they are served with bacon that has been cut in little peaces and fried crisp. Bacon & greace from the pan are poured over the “Kniddelen”. I am happy with olive oil and some chili.

    And here is how it’s done.

    500g flour

    250g cream cheese (wäisse Kéis)

    3 to 4 eggs

    250ml milk

    salt & pepper

    if you go for the bacon make it 150g

    Mix all the ingredients for the dough. It should fall heavily from the spoon when it’s done. So don’t add all the milk at once, you might have to experiment a little.

    Pour spoon after spoon of dough into boiling salted water. Not too many at once, they shouldn’t touch. They will sit at the bottom of the pot in he beginning. When they “swim” up to the surface they are supposed to be done, my tip leave them for a couple more minutes. They can be undercooked inside even if they look done.


    This amount of dough feeds 4 people easily. It was a poor man’s dish generally served with a glass of milk (no need to be that traditional about it;)

    For the kids add tomato sauce! That’s how they were sold to me a long long time ago:)

    Enjoy