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.

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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.

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I added green tomatoes, courgette that I had slightly fired in a pan beforehand, some thyme and rosemary and finally mozzarella.

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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.

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If you feel like a trip down memory lane with Kermit, here you go:

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

Yoghurtcake…to bake with kids

…rather to let them bake. If you can restrain from interfering and are able to let the kids try this on their own, even if it means a bit of a mess and a couple of moments of total self-control;) I’m not telling you to leave the room! Just ‘help’ less & assist with the oven part of baking.

I’m not just talk, I tried this with larger groups of 4 to 6 year olds, who were first surprised by the lack of adult interference, ultimately happily produced cakes. Some slightly eggier but still a big hit with their fellow kindergarten friends.

Yoghurtcake children bake

Yoghurtcake is easy to make, no measuring or weighing involved, a good choice if you want to bake with small children. You can add chocolate chips to the dough or fruit. I sprinkled a handful of frozen blueberries on top just to pimp it a little bit for the picture;)

I didn’t give the rest of the pictures the same consideration since I originally made them for work. I photographed the recipe step by step so kindergarten children could “read” & make this by themselves. I made little books out of the pictures that they use as a recipe book without words. I also added full or half stars to indicate the amount of refilled yoghurt pots on each picture which is missing from the ones presented here.

I was debating writing the recipe down but I won’t! Hoping that the pictures will be enough;) Step by step…with a few words to replace the missing indication of quantity that the kids got in form of the star system & numbers.

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one pot of sugar

3 pots of flour

1/2 pot of vegetable oil

1 & 1/1 tsp of baking powder

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yoghurt cake kids baking

For the healthier option you can use whole grain flour & coconut sugar. The result is obviously different but delicious as well.

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Let them bake!

not about food…

..well about less food. I’ve spent some time in Paris again, this time for my other passion…Yoga.

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I discovered a great yoga teacher whose teachings I want to hear more off  in the future (Dechen Thurman) and had quiet a lot of discussions about food with a friend.

Looking at the two of us you would say we’re at the opposite end of the diet and body shape spectrum. I am the round food loving thing, she is lean and doesn’t mind skipping a meal. Who does things right? Luckily we both do, respecting our blueprint!

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That being said I do have my reduced food intake days which has nothing to do with weight loss but with health.

Michael Mosley brought a lot of interesting information together about fasting. I have never been drawn to this but his approach IS sensible, no extremes & common sense. His point is that if you provide your body with the normal calorie intake (should be 2000 for a woman, 2500 for a man until science proves that wrong) the cells will happily multiply. That includes those that you don’t want to, those that are damaged or sick.

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If the body gets a reduced amount (& Mosley can tell you how much exactly) of calories a day, it actually starts repairing cells, fixing what is going wrong, instead of multiplying. Does this mean reduced calorie intake every day? NO!!! Please don’t! Two days a week in a first phase and one to maintain the beneficial effects later. According to Mosley this will bring blood sugar, cholesterol and other health indicators under control. He obviously talks about weight loss too, but I want you to focus on your health please, you’re beautiful the way you are;).

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If you want to read this up: http://thefastdiet.co.uk

Next time a yummy, easy & healthy recipe…I promise!

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

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

Too quiet too long…

…I know that I am committing the worst blogger’s sin of not posting regularly these days! In the hope of being forgiven & of seeing you here again very soon, let me tell you that I will soon spend time in Paris to learn about gluten-free baking and am planning to spam you with all the new recipes and insider tips that I will bring home!

Until then I wish you the very best of holiday seasons, spend under a decorated tree or on the beach and every option in between!

Eat well

Who am I? & Äppeltäsch

…and if yes how many? No I didn’t convert this the blog into a book club…

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I went to my doctor yesterday in the late afternoon and found her eating sweets with the secretary as I entered. They offered me some and I declined which led to an interesting discussion about food and health.

My doctor told me she is nowhere as health conscious as I am when it comes to food and that our genes catch up with us eventually.

My blood test proved just that, my genes are catching up but I am determined to be quicker with a healthy & counteracting diet;)

As synchronicity works, a parallel interest to health and food these days has been my ancestry. For the first time I have seen a picture of my great-grandmother a couple of weeks ago. She was a “seriously round” women, black hair, black eyes…basically she looked like a well fed women from southern Europe.

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In reality she must have lived through second world war as a young mother and hopefully had the chance to travel to Italy or Spain as a tourist later in life.

Maybe the abundance of the after war years were responsible for her roundness or the fact that she worked as a cook.

I certainly didn’t inherit the southern looks but her intolerance for sugar.

So i decided to write down a traditional pastry “Äppeltesch”, which is a “pocket” of dough filled with applesauce, that she will have known and give it the sugar-free twist!

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The dough has to prove so this isn’t the quickest of recipes but well suited for a winter sunday afternoon in the kitchen.

Fot he dough:

500g whole grain spelt flour

pinch of salt

250g melted butter (cooled down or it will literally kill the yeast)

3 eggs

5 tbsp coconut sugar

1/4l milk (I used oat milk, any alternative works)

1 packet of fresh or dried yeast

For the filling:

apple pieces or apple sauce

Cinnamon

raisins

I always start by mixing the yeast with a couple of tablespoons of milk, a little sugar and flour to make a starter dough that I set aside while I prepare and mix the rest of the ingredients. The starter dough that has hopefully risen a bit is added last to the dough. At that stage you should work the dough as little as possible and then let it rest to prove.

I tend to leave it for one hour, less should be fine though. You will see if it has increased in size. You’ll need quiet some flour to work the dough until it’s not sticky anymore so you can roll it out and cut it into squares. One half of each square is decorated with pieces of apple, raisins & cinnamon. I added some lucuma just to experiment and it worked out nicely.

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Close the squares so the filling is nicely tucked inside and bake in a preheated oven 180°C until golden. (Use your nose and eyes and you can’t go wrong;))

 Eat well & know who you are, celebrate the nice bits and counteract the darker ones!