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Grie Sos, La vie en rose, New hat | Photo journal

DE – Zusammenfassung in Bildern seit, äh, der letzten Zusammenfassung in Bildern.

EN – Recap in pictures of what’s happened, well, since I last did a recap in pictures.

Grie Sos

DE – Letzte Woche war es endlich so weit: aus den Samen, die ich aus Frankfurt mitgebracht hatte, sind aller meiner Bemühungen zum trotz etwas geworden. 🙂 Und zwar Petersilie, Schnittlauch, Pimpinelle, Boretsch, Sauerampfer, Kerbel und Kresse. Zusammen mit Quark, Zitrone, Senf, Zucker, Salz und Pfeffer habe ich daraus Grüne Sauce gemacht. Dazu gab’s natürlich Kartoffeln und Ei.

EN – Last week I was finally able to make „green sauce“, a traditional meal from the Frankfort area. I had brought the seeds for the seven herbs you need, and despite all my efforts, they turned out pretty amazing. 🙂 Parsley, chives, burnet, sorrel, borage, chervil and pepperwort. Mixed with sour cream, lemon, mustard, sugar, salt and peppar, they become said green sauce. Traditionally served with potatoes and boiled eggs.

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La vie en rose & new hat

DE – Das vergangene Wochenende stand hier in Ribeauvillé unter dem Motto „La vie en rose“. Die Schwedin in mir suchte nach der dahinter stehenden Marketingstrategie. Sie fand keine (nichtmal ein hashtag!?). Es war einfach alles rosa. Hat trotzdem irgendwie geklappt, ich habe einen Hut gekauft. Den brauchte ich WIRKLICH. Allerdings dann doch nicht unbedingt den für 345€ oder 195€ …

EN – This past weekend the Ribeauvilléans painted the town. Pink. The Swede in me was scanning this shindig for the underlying marketing strategy. Couldn’t find one (not even have a hashtag!?). Everything was just, you know, pink. It worked anyway. I bought a hat. I REALLY needed it. Just not the one for 345€. Or 195€ …

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Recipes | Pesto fest

I am going to skip the part where I comment on the lack of postage around here … and go straight to the wonderful pesto I have made from the herbs we gathered at Törnagården.

I looked up recipes online but I ended up playing it by ear for the most part. Basically, for pesto you just mix the herb of your choice (basil being the classic one) with olive oil, pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese. I used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts this time since pine nuts are pretty expensive here, and I needed a lot.

I made dandelion pesto …

 

… nettle pesto …

… and mint pesto.

I found the recipe for the mint pesto on Martha Stewart’s, the one for the nettle pesto on chiliconkarin (in Swedish), and the dandelion pesto on a German page on healing herbs (so, yeah, this one’s in German, duh).

Some notes:

  • Always rinse whatever herbs you’re using first (I don’t know, maybe I am stating the obvious here but just in case).
  • In the recipe for the nettle pesto it said to boil the nettle leaves for 2 minutes in salt water before processing, which I did, although I can’t say that I have any idea why.
  • I roasted the sunflower seeds after rinsing them (not the raw food way to go, I know!). I don’t know, I just somehow got the idea that it would be better to have as little water as possible in the pesto, so that it wouldn’t go bad so fast. I don’t even know if that’s true or not, I guess I was just acting on some sort of instinct here.
  • Something I do know helps to make pesto last longer: make sure that there is a layer of oil on top.

I think that’s it. I can’t wait for the basil I am growing on my kitchen window sill to be big enough for some classic pesto. The simple things are really the best. I also want to try this cilantro pesto recipe I found on ByzantineFlowers … so I guess the pesto fest isn’t over yet.

Recipe – Fig smoothie

OK, there’s no dancing around this: this one may look healthy but calling it tasty-looking would be a stretch.

It tastes not only better than it looks, it actually tastes good. And it is healthy. Another raw food inspiration I took with me from visiting our friend C.

How to (makes about four servings):

  1. Soak about a cup of figs over night (it’s a raw food thing: soaking everything – to get rid of toxins (seeds and nuts), or in this case just to make it more digestible).
  2. About half an hour or so before you want to prepare the smoothie, soak some powdered nettle, hip and blueberry (of course you can use the real thing, too, but we happen to have tons of this powdered stuff, it’s supposed to be rich in vitamins and stuff – gosh, this sounds like I don’t even know why I am doing half the stuff I am doing … which is completely untrue! … er … well). At Peter’s request, I added some spirulina, too (algi, also … um, healthy)
  3. Put the figs in the blender – with the water they were soaking in! Blend. Duh.
  4. Add the powder that should have turned into a creamy goo by now.
  5. Add a banana (or more, if you like), even some agave syrup if you like it REALLY sweet.
  6. Add water depending on what kind of texture you like

At our friend’s we ate this with berries (picked by her in the woods behind her house, of course). We were out so we had to go without. What I like best about this smoothie/cream is how the fig seeds crackle in my mouth.

Oh yeah: and how it makes it possible to take in all these vitamin supplements that I couldn’t force down before when I tried to just drink the stuff. I guess you can come a long way with sugar.

Recipe – Almond milk

Like I said, this trip inspired me. A lot. Our friend eats raw food and while we were there, so did Peter and I. I found eating raw food surprisingly diversified, digestible and filling. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel like I had to eat a lot to feel full – but for me that’s kind of a mental thing I need to get over. I am probably not going to go Green for Life, although I did find the book very interesting and sensible in a lot of ways. For now, however, I do feel like trying out some of the nutritious deliciousness our friend introduced us to.

My favorite – which I had tried and failed at before – was her almond milk.

Tastes great with the lupine coffee I’ve come to love so much.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Take about two cups of almonds (makes about five cups of almond milk, less if you like it creamier), and let them soak in water over night.
  2. The next day, pour the water out, and pour boiling water over the almonds. Only let them sit for about a minute, this is just so that you can peel them more easily.
  3. Rinse the almonds.
  4. Put the almonds into a blender, add a little bit of water at first, blend.
  5. Gradually add more water until you’re satisfied with the texture.
  6. I added nothing else when I made this this morning. Our friend usually put in a banana (both for sweetness and texture), sometimes some agave syrup.

As for the health benefits and more detailed information, I unsurprisingly found something on my favorite health/food/diy blog.

After they’ve been soaking. You can tell they’re beginning to sprout by those little „tails“.
Easier to peel after you’ve put them in hot water for a minute.
Voilà: plain almond milk.
Lupine coffee + almond milk + cinnamon

Recipe | Hazelnut almond muffins

I deviate from recipes a lot. But this time I went so far (not all on purpose … unforeseen turn of events demanded improvisation!) that I think it’s fair to claim I made this one up. Kind of.

Some are meant to be scones, others are meant to be muffins. That’s just how it is, right?

It started out with wanting to try to make scones but substitute the flour for ground almonds and hazelnuts. Then I thought: why not add some cocoa, and make them chocolate scones? Then I thought: why not use the hemp milk that Peter made instead of regular milk? The first batch sort of melted into one cake on the baking sheet (I later cut them into cookies but it got kind of messy). So for the second batch I poured the batter into muffin forms. Hence, I call them muffins. Gluten-free but not really low-carb (the sugar, I suppose you can exchange it for a low-carb sweetener), and due to the hazelnuts obviously not for those allergic to nuts. Do almond only, I guess.

For 12 muffins you need

  • 2 3/4 cups (6,5 dl) ground almonds and hazelnuts (I went half and half)
  • 1/2 cup (ca. 1dl) sugar
  • 2 tsp baking poweder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups (2 dl) firm butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup hemp milk (just search „hemp milk recipe“ – you’ll get a variation of the same: this, this, or this, … Peter used dried dates as sweetener)
  • add raisins/fruit if desired (I didn’t, maybe next time – I imagine banana would taste great, and make the muffins even more juicy)
  • I also added some psyllium (don’t know how much, though, maybe about a tablespoon), which is used in a lot of gluten-free cake recipes to make whatever you’re baking more fluffy, and keep it from getting so dry and compact

Mix the dry ingredients, cut butter into crumbs, add, stir in milk, knead until the texture is smooth. I let the batter stand for a couple of minutes (I think that it gets a little more „doughy“, less „liquid“ – I suck at speaking bake – my apologies!). Use spoons to fill the batter into muffin shapes, bake at 400°F/200°C for about 30 minutes.

***

Oh yeah: did I mention that they tasted really great? Well, they do.

Recipe – Make your own nutella

The hazelnut chocolate cake deliciousness from earlier reminded me of one of my favorite homemade things. Homemade nutella. I came across this recipe when I got into the low-carb thing. I am not that strict about it anymore as I was then but I still use birch tree sugar.*

Obviously you can use any sweetener you like – and it’s still home-made nutella. In all fairness: it doesn’t taste exactly like nutella. In my opinion, it tastes better. Plus, it’s easy, fast to make, with no exotic ingredients (except the coconut fat), and some might even say: healthy. I don’t know if I would go so far considering that I probably eat way too much of it at once. I would however go so far as to say that – as anything home-made, and thus made with love and care – it is a healthier alternative to the stuff from the store.

You need:

  • 2 cups of ground peeled hazelnuts
  • ca. 4,5 to 5,5 tbs of sweetener (just use how much you like)
  • 3 tbs cocoa (the raw stuff for baking, not the sweetened ready-made stuff for chocolate milk)
  • coconut fat – I start out with 2 tbs, see how the texture turns out, and add till it’s right
  • a dash of vanilla

Just put everything into a blender and, well, blend. Add whatever you feel needs adding according to your preference. Done. It lasts … well, I don’t know, in our household never long enough for me to actually figure out a best before date.

Hazelnutty for you!

* Birch tree sugar is a form of xylitol, which doesn’t up the blood-sugar level so much. I like it best out of all the alternatives because although the sweetness is different from the taste of sugar, I don’t feel „cheated“. Stevia just tastes like licorice to me, so that’s no real alternative if you ask me. I make sure I buy it at a health food store because xylitol can also be made from – guess what – GMO corn.

Junk Food – for real

I am not only a hoarder when it comes to thrift-stores, no, I also hoard books. Library books. I cannot praise Gothenburg’s library enough – free membership, branches in every part of town, a huge selection, and, the best of all (yet also my downfall, as will soon become apparent): you can borrow a lot of items at once. I mean it: A LOT. You’re not supposed to borrow more than five at a time but there is no mechanism in the scanner that prevents you from checking out more.

I try to be reasonable but what does happen to me a lot is, that I go to one of the libraries (they are nice places to hang out in town when it’s cold outside and you’re waiting for someone), and I find something that interests me. Lately mostly cook books, and diy related stuff. Mainly because those are really nice to look at, and inspiring, and also: expensive, so I wouldn’t buy them. What happens next then is me thinking „Oh, I want to borrow this one. But wait, I already have so many books at home. But if I don’t check this one out now, I’ll probably forget the title, and what if it’s not there anymore next time I come here?!“ So… you get the picture.

This past week I borrowed a cook book, which makes me want to cook/bake through every single one of its recipes. It’s called Junk Food – på riktigt. I’d translate that with: Junk Food – for real. It combines two interests of mine – junk food and health. Health is obviously relative, in this case I mean that the food is made from the best ingredients possible (because you’re the one making it, duh), no funny business like preservatives, flavorings, etc. So the book has recipes for how you make all the classic junk food meals from scratch. Get this: there is even a recipe for how you make marshmallows!? I’m in love. Also, the food photography is really appealing – lots of vibrant colors.

I am planning on making hamburgers (including making my own bbq sauce and hamburger dressing) tomorrow but since the dough for the buns is a yeast dough, I prepared that tonight (fresh yeast dough tastes great but it is basically a guarantee for a stomach ache).

The yeast dough is rising under one of my beloved Kate Bingaman Burt kitchen towels. Ok, I admit – I just included this pic to have an excuse to show off one of my beloved Kate Bingaman Burt kitchen towels.
Turmeric is what makes them look so nice and yellow.

So, thank you Gothenburg library. I actually think I will purchase this book.
To be continued …

Recipe – Angie’s Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake

It is as divinely delicious as it sounds – and it’s gluten-free! I’d also like to think that it has to do with Ayurveda in so far as Ayurveda is all about pursuing happiness. This cake definitely made me happy. I am spoiled when it comes to mushy chocolate cakes since I live in Sweden. Swedish kladdkaka (mud cake) is the best, in case you didn’t know. I am very patriotic (or whatever it is called when a foreigner is that) that way. I am just telling you this so you fully comprehend what I am saying when I say the following: Angie’s Flourless Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Cake is the best muddy chocolate cake I have made/eaten. Ever.

Just the way I like my chocolate cake: chewy on the outside …
… and real muddy in the center.
And did I mention that it’s real hazelnutty, too?

 

No poo – tested for you

Well, ok, it wasn’t a completely selfless act, I do dig these kind of diys. I have been meaning to write this post since last Wednesday (that’s when I tried some recipes) but I wanted to wait till I had some pictures. As most of the times, I am not completely happy with them but I am afraid if I wait until I am, I will never share this with you. And that would be sad because trying out these recipes really was a revelation for me. So: do try this at home!

I tried some of the recipes from this ByzantineFlowers post, namely the soap nut shampoo, the green tea conditioner, and the coffee scrub.

Soap nuts

The soap nut shampoo I simply did because I had those nuts (that are berries) at hand. It’s actually what we’ve been using to do the laundry with, I had no idea you could use them as shampoo. Boiling the soap nuts in water for 30 minutes, preparing the shampoo every time you want to use it rather than storing it – the procedure is simple yet somewhat time-consuming, so I am not sure I will stick with this one in the long run. The liquid does have a distinct smell, which I find neither particularly unpleasant nor particularly pleasant. It’s ok. As to whether this shampoo worked or not – I find it hard to say. I mean, my hair did get clean and looked nice but I can’t say for sure that it was the soap nuts, or simply washing my hair (after all, some do use water only), or …

… The green tea conditioner. Now this one I loved. My hair usually is very hard to comb (I don’t even use a brush). I have gotten used to it and don’t even think about the discomfort anymore but those days are over! I was skeptical, and wondered how this was supposed to work, after all, the green tea is water, and won’t that just run down before I even got a chance to rub it in? I have no clue how it worked – but it did. My hair was super-easy to comb, and it did look nice (again, I can’t know for sure what to contribute that part to).

Green tea

The real revelation however was the coffee scrub. It is easy to make, relatively cheap yet it feels really expensive (which is the best, right?), feels nice, and makes you smell so good! I only deviated from the original recipe in so far as I used coconut fat instead of olive oil. Again: because it was at hand – and also because it is supposed to be good for Pitta (yup, I just had to sneak in something Ayurveda). Also I used vanilla sugar instead of regular since I had prepared a jar full a while ago (you just put a vanilla bean in a jar with sugar and let it sit), which we don’t use anymore (the sugar being white). Same goes for the coffee: we haven’t been drinking any lately, so this is the perfect way for me to enjoy its smell anyway.

In the original recipe it says it’s against cellulite but I just went ahead and used it as a full body scrub. Peter was concerned that maybe that way I’ll just end up spreading cellulite. Very good point, so I will keep you posted as to whether I suddenly develop cellulite on my nose or something.

I have been combining using this scrub with the Ayurveda massage technique from the morning routine, so I fancy myself getting the benefits from both. I am no expert though, so I don’t know, I am just going with my gut here. Another thing that’s great about this scrub (yes, there is more!) is that the coconut fat (or whatever fat/oil you’re using) keeps your skin from drying out in the shower. At the same time, you don’t get so sticky that your towel or clothes feel greasy after using them. Your skin just feels really nice and smells like coffee – how cool is that?!

Coffee scrub

FYI: all this coming from someone who normally doesn’t use more than shampoo and soap in the shower – read: I don’t get excited about beauty products very easily. Yesterday I even managed to get Peter excited about this coffee scrub. His only concern was that he was going to a lecture, and that the coffee addicts among the guests might be tempted to start licking his skin. No reports of the sort have been filed, so I guess this delicious scrub is safe for use in public. Well, maybe not the actual use but you know what I mean.

Ginger – my best f(r)iend

After having had the most horrible stomach aches after pretty much every meal for two weeks now, I finally seem to have found the root of all evil: my beloved ginger!?

First off, yes, I am aware of the irony of me being on such a health trip, and at the same time not really taking any time to look into (or have someone look into) this problem. My stomach was burning after seemingly anything I ate, my digestion was a nightmare – yet I kind of didn’t do anything about it. I attributed this to the sudden changes in my lifestyle I’ve been making, and just hoped it would go away once my body would adjust. As the saying goes, it’s easier to see the splinter in other people’s eye than the log in your own. So maybe this was karma.

I just don’t like going to doctors, especially not here where you don’t even have a specific doctor you go to – you go to a so-called health center, and you’re assigned whoever happens to be on duty that day. Plus I get the impression that the medical practice here is very „traditionally western“. It seems to me that antibiotics are subscribed as if they were skittles. I am just not into that.

Yesterday however I started looking up doctors in town with an Ayurvedic background or a homeopathic one, willing to bite the bullet, and pay for a consultation outside the tax-funded mainstream health system. Then Peter and I had a heated discussion about my state, his concerns that I was downplaying it, etc. And somehow, I don’t remember exactly how, we realized that the number one food that I have increased my intake of since I got into Ayurveda was ginger. It suddenly dawned on me that all the times my stomach couldn’t tolerate a meal, I had added ginger, and I had done that with about anything since it’s supposed to be so good in so many respects.

Perfect example of how there really is no universally valid recommendation, that it always depends on the particular case. For now that I’ve come to this conclusion I suddenly have been able to see all the lines where it says in which cases not to eat ginger – and they were all the symptoms that I had, or rather: developed in a chain reaction after continuing to eat ginger (high metabolism/high Pitta, diarrhea, all that good stuff).

So, today I avoided ginger, drank peppermint tea in the morning to soothe the stomach – and I haven’t had problems all day. I guess I did get around consulting an expert this time after all, and became a little more of my own expert (not sure whether that really is the take home message from this ordeal though).

I did discover one quick remedy (or rather: Peter pointed me to it), which is obviously no solution for the actual problem but which helps the immediate symptoms, and sometimes that is needed: baking soda. Just dissolve about a tea spoon or so in a glas of water, and drink – works within minutes. Baking soda seems to be good for a lot of things, so I guess there is a post about it in the future …