• 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

     

  • 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:)

  • 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

  • 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

  • the missing pinch of salt

    I literally forgot the pinch of salt in my picture of ingredients. Please add one right away. It should not me missing, not in the granola & nowhere else.

    granola wholesome

    This small batch of granola will go with me to Switzerland to sit and study on the mountain. I will truly be stuck on a mountain with a bunch of lovely fellow students and teachers. No cars allowed up there and the cable car is still on winter time so the last ride up is at six in the afternoon.

    I somehow imagine it like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” minus the murders.

    I always feel a little off when I am fed in an hotel for a longer period of time. In general my sugar levels are not too happy and a wholesome breakfast can help me to get through the day even if my diet is not ideal & I can not influence it too much either.

    My little survival breakfast:

    granola wholesome

    1 bowl of oats

    2 tbsp of chia seeds

    2 tbsp of roasted nuts

    1 tbsp of honey

    1 tbsp of unflavored coconut oil

    pinch of salt:)

    vanilla (as much as you like, which for me is A LOT)

    granola wholesome

    Preheat the oven at 180°C and mix everything together in a baking tray. I just wait for the coconut oil to be melted before giving the mix a little stir. Check the granola every ten minutes, stir and take it out of the oven to cool as soon as it’s slightly brown and crisp.

    granola wholesome

    granola wholesome

    Eat well & hope to see you here when I’m off the mountain

  • 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.

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    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. 

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

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

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

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    The perfect side for a wintery soup or a salad!

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    Eat well

  • Paris & gluten free bread…

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

  • pumpkin king with the skeleton grin…

    …or my small & last of two contributions to the Nigella cook along. 

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    I choose a small Hokkaido pumpkin that was filled with a spicy rice mix.

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    The rice is cooked  half through before it becomes the filling for the pumpkin and the whole piece of art is cooked in the oven.

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    In addition to that Nigella prepares a gingerly tomato sauce.

    nigella cookalong pumpkin rice

    Lovely warming & filling seasonal recipe!

    Use the hyperlinks to see Nigellas recipe or enter the cook along:)

    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