• 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

     

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

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    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).

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    The perfect side for a wintery soup or a salad!

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    Eat well