A 5 course meal for my amazing grandparents

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Hello lovely people! I need your help. Last year my lovely grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, crazy right? That’s more than twice as many years as I’ve lived so far. But they made it, and we celebrated with the family and had a lovely time. However, I haven’t delivered our (mine and Daniel’s) present yet! Our present was a 5 course meal, but with me being in England practically all of the time, we haven’t come round to actually hosting this dinner yet. I want to make it amazing, like really really good, because they’re the most incredible grandparents anyone could wish for and they’ve supported me throughout my whole life. I also want to make it amazing, because I want everyone to think that I cook good food. More the former reason though, I want to show them my love and appreciation, and Daniel will help me to do this.

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Now, there’s one slight problem, but no real hinderance, my granddad suffers from diabetes, so as far as my understanding of this goes, this means that it shouldn’t involve any sugars and not too many carbs. I’ve got some ideas lined up, but I’m struggling a little bit, especially with dessert, since he can’t even have an awful lot of fruit!

This is where I could do with your help! Not only would it be great if you could recommend diabetic-friendly desserts, but also I’d love to hear your tried and tested dinner party food (i.e. delicious and elegant food), that would you cook to show your love and appreciation?

On healthy eating

ImageI already posted this on my other (new) blog, but because it’s food related, I thought it’d also be relevant here :)

How do you find the right mix between eating things that are good for you and make you feel good and becoming a Hippie or even worse loosing the fun in eating, because you’re obsessing over it so much? I’m really kind of struggling to find the right balance.

Sometimes I wish I’d never started to think about healthy eating, obviously rationally it was a very good thing to do, but I don’t like how it makes it a lot harder to enjoy the occasional pizza or the occasional sugar-syrup filled chai latte, when I really at least want to really enjoy them, when I choose to. It’s like the more you learn and read about nutrition, the more difficult it seems to get it right. Like they said on the joe rogan podcast, pizza used to be a treat, now it’s sweet potato chips, where is this all going?
But, it’s not just that I worry more about putting bad things into my body, it’s also that since starting to eat healthier, my body has started to resent shitty food. I never used to understand people, who would feel like vegetables after living of fast food for a couple of days, I could have lived of pizza! And now? I don’t feel so good after eating it anymore, and once I even got stomach cramps after drinking diet coke again. Of course I don’t know if it might just be hypochondria (to be honest, a rather large proportion of it almost definitely is), but I’m not enjoying it!
I like it both. I love healthy food, but I also love pizza, pasta, icecream and chocolate, sometimes even all in one day, crazy right?

 But even if you choose healthy food all the time, there are so many controversies about what is healthy. There’s even something about kale not actually being all that good for you because of oxalic acid, and eating too much fruit is also bad, because of all the sugar? This makes me sad! Isn’t eating fruit still better than eating crisps? 
 
I guess what I believe in is listening to your body, or if you’ve come of the right (what even is this?) track, to gently guide your body towards craving things that are good for it again, by getting it used to supposedly healthy things. I really like healthy food now, I crave it, I enjoy preparing it, and I’ve decided to start compiling a list of recipes for food that is full of good things, but doesn’t feel like it (if that makes sense? I could for example never get my head round just lettuce without at least a delicious dressing. Nori Rolls filled with delicious goodness however? I’M ON BOARD).
I also believe in moderation (and even that in moderation, as they say). Pizza makes me happy. It’s a fact. I love getting a dominos, probably way too much, and I never want to fully give this up! I try not to have it more than like 2-3 times a month, but I figured that if it makes me happy, it’s somewhat ok. I can eat all the kale (or not?!?!) and coconut oil in the world the next day to get back on track.
 
 I believe in listening questioning why you’re about to eat something? Whether its because of something your body actually needs, boredom or emotional emptiness? By this I don’t mean that emotional emptiness can’t be a reason to eat, but I try to question whether it would actually help me to make me feel better to have that chocolate bar or whether that bag of crisps would actually just make me feel more miserable and fatty. 
 
What I don’t believe in are diets and calorie counting. 
 
For this one, I would genuinely really love to hear your opinions (I always do, but I know that my posts are normally not that discussion friendly). How do you make sure your food keeps you healthy without giving up things that you love? How do you manage to find the right balance, or do you think that you should give up unhealthy things completely? 

 

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#VegBoxChallenge – End of Week 5

Here’s what we had last week

Radish salsa (Abel and Cole cookbook) on Lamb’s Lettuce salad with Green Goddess Dressing (Gwyneth Paltrow book), quinoa and fried egg (VERY TASTY)

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 Coloured Carrots with ginger and sesame seeds (Gywneth Paltrow). Daniel said I was boring for just eating them with some dip (first half of the batch) and that it wasn’t very #VegBoxChallenge, so I thought I’d make something more exiting. I’m very glad I did, they were super tasty this way. I think this might be my new preferred way of eating carrots.

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♔ Sweet Potato – Broccoli – Green Asparagus Salad with Avocado Dressing (recipe here) with quinoa and chargrilled halloumi

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♔ Curried Jerusalem Artichoke Soup. Recipe from here (unfortunately in German). Very delicious!

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♔ Tortilla with roasted potatoes (*), red pepper, mushrooms, red onions and cheddar. This was supposed to be for dinner and lunch the next day, but it turned into dinner and dessert, woops.

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♔ The cucumber just went into juice and onto sandwiches. Not very exiting.

* Unfortunately the potatoes from the box were all really green, which I didn’t notice until I washed them. This is probably because I didn’t store them right, which is upsetting, because it meant I couldn’t use them. We used other potatoes instead, I thought I’d be honest about it.

What delicious things did you make last week?

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A slightly different Things to Try Thursday

IMG_5338So, because of courseworks and exams, I haven’t been able to browse through recipes last week, but I thought I’d still share something with you that I think is very worth trying! This post is about something that really helps me get through stressful uni times, and since I know a lot of you are in the same kind of situation at the moment (with exams etc), I thought I’d let you know about it!

Above, you can see what I’m looking at, day in day out, pretty boring. You can actually see two of my essentials on there (I’m leaving food out for the moment, might write another post about revision food though). Earplugs are absolutely essential, especially when I’m forced to work in the library/a computer lab, but that’s not what I want to talk about, I’m not that sad (I do love them a little too much though, and I think their inventor deserves a Nobel Peace Prize).

The thing on the photo I really want to talk about is tea. I know you English lot are already pretty crazy about tea, but I don’t mean English Breakfast, I don’t like that one very much at all to be honest (I went through a couple of months of trying to persuade myself I absolutely loved it though. I know better now). Making tea is like my little exam survival ritual, so the best thing to get me motivated to start revision, is to pop the kettle on!

IMG_5262I first came across Pukka Tea whilst I was working for The Food Doctor in London. I did food samplings in shops like Planet Organic, revital and Wholefoods and everywhere I went, I was presented with whole walls full of beautifully designed Pukka tea packages. Needless to say, I always left the shops with less money in my purse, even though I hadn’t even gone there with the intention to shop.

IMG_5184It’s been a love story ever since. When I confessed my love for their teas on Twitter, they kindly offered to send me some samples, and when the bag full of different coloured tea sachets arrived it definitely made me a lot happier than tea should ever make anyone. Anyway, can I just note here that I bought many many packages of their tea with my own money before and will do so again. I think they’re more than worth their money. This was a great opportunity to try more of their range though, so I can recommend my favourites to you :) (P.S. It’s a real struggle to pick them, because I liked pretty much all the ones I tried.

So here is my non-exhaustive list of favourites, all of which have become essentials that help me get through exams. What are your essentials?

Cleanse
I talked about this one before, it’s just delightfully mellow and if it actually has cleansing and purifying properties, even better!

♘ Three Mint
– So incredibly refreshing.

♘ Vanilla Chai
Even though I’m a big Chai Tea Latte lover, I don’t really drink much chai tea. I do however like to use this one to flavour cakes! I would have never thought of doing this myself, but one lovely girl in one of the revitals told me about it, and it’s actually really tasty! To do it, I cook the tea in milk instead of water and replace the regular milk with it.

Golden Chamomile
This one is incredibly soothing, really good to calm you down and put things into perspective again.

Night Time
This is my favourite tea of their range (of the ones I’ve tried so far). It’s absolutely amazing! It’s so so calming and really helps me to switch from work  to sleep mode in the evenings (something I otherwise often struggle with). If you’re only going to try one of their teas, try this one!

And now if you’ll excuse me, a big mug of cleanse and a whole mountain of Marketing reading are waiting for me.

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#WorldBaking Day – My little contribution

2013-04-30 14.07.32Yo! So 16 days to go until I finish uni, which means I’m definitely not actually baking today (I’m eating a lot of baked goods though paha), but I thought I’d quickly share a delicious little recipe number with you. It’s not actually a recipe, it’s more a what to throw together, but you know I can’t really think of a nice term for that.
Here is how to make the most amazing chocolate-coconut-white chocolate oreo muffins!

If you’re in Germany, I recommend you use this cake mix (because blogging has to be all honest etc, this is a product from our family business back home, so no personal bias, but seriously, they’re incredibly good!).

♔ Prepare a chocolate muffin cake mix according to package instructions, APART from that you swop the vegetable oil/butter for coconut oil*
♔ Preheat the oven to whatever it says on the packaging
♔ Fill your muffin paper cups with half the batter, then put half a white chocolate covered oreo on the batter in each one and top with the rest of the batter.
♔ Bake as instructed
♔ You’re welcome! 

*That was the first time I ever baked with coconut oil and it was absolutely delicious (and I guess a little healthier). My measurements didn’t work a 100% (I’m guessing this could potentially be, because we don’t have a scale, but who knows hej), and a bit of coconut oil went to the bottom of the paper cups, I’m not sure whether this is what’s supposed to happen. Anyway I had a little read on the internet, and you should be able to substitute vegetable oil 1:1 with coconut oil, see here, and the muffins I made still turned out absolutely delicious (wouldn’t share any recipe with you that I don’t like, would I).

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#VegBoxChallenge – Week 5 The Box

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I find this week quite exiting! I’ve only ever had Jerusalem Artichokes once before and really really liked them. I don’t really know what to do with them though (last time I had them plain), so if anyone’s got any ideas of how I can make the most of them, it’d be very much appreciated  : ) But really I’d love ideas for anything, because I’m struggling to come up with them myself due to just doing uni work all day every day at the moment, so please let me know any interesting recipes you know/have come across recently.

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#VegBoxChallenge – End of Week 4

♧ Amazing black salsify fritters (recipe here) with babyleaf salad and cocktail tomatoes and a fried egg. IMG_5203
These nori rolls. They were amazing. So tasty and so healthy! Did you know that nori sheets are healthy?
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♧ Pan-fried white asparagus as a side to dinner one night. I got a little confused, in Germany we buy these by the kilo and then have an asparagus feast, so I didn’t really know how to make the most out of four sticks.

♧ The pepper, and aubergine are currently waiting to go into some sort of sauce to go with a jacket potato.

It hasn’t been a great week, uni has become the most stressful it’s ever been, and I had to skip cooking dinner a couple of nights, unfortunately the courgette got mouldy in the mean time. There’s only so much planning you can do I guess, I can’t go leaving a coursework meeting because my courgettes are going off haha.

Anyway, the two things I tried out (the two in the photos) were absolutely delicious! The nori rolls were so quick and easy (and healthy!!) and the salsify fritters were really really tasty (totally worth the effort of peeling what looks like the sticks our dogs bring home from walks). If you can get your hand on salsify, you should definitely give that recipe a go.

What have you been eating this week?

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Things to Try Thursday -16/05/13

IMG_5190Hej. I just handed in my (hopefully last ever) individual piece of coursework. It ended up 30 pages long (double spaced and including references, but still) and was quite a pain. First I didn’t know what to write and then I ended up having to cut out 1500 words. Fun times. Now I’ve “only” got a piece of group coursework, a group presentation and three exams left and then I’m done with uni (19 days to go!). As last week, I didn’t have time to actively look for recipes, so here’s just a couple that I came across and thought  were worth sharing. Have you come across anything that you think you have to try out this week? If you have, please share it with me in the comments.

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♚ I  did already try these and they were absolutely scrumptious and sooo healthy (did you know that nori sheets are actually really good for you?) – Nori Rolls 

♚ I love recipe that effortlessly combine healthy and delicious – Chickpea, Spring Onion, Kale and Panzanella Salad

♚ I love roasted any veg soup, so this is definitely my sort of thing – Vegan Roasted Cauliflower Soup

♚ Yummay – Oregano Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad with Pomegranate

♚ I may have told you this before, but I for one am always up for a quesadilla – Crispy Mushroom Spinach and Avocado Quesadillas

♚ A healthy version of an alfredo sauce – Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

♚ A Burrito filled with my favourite vegetable in the whole world? Yes please – Sweet Potato Burrito smothered in Avocado Salsa

♚ Detox seems so much more doable, when it looks this pretty  – Warm Detox Veggie Tower

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RECIPE: Quiche with Chargrilled Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli and Marinated Feta

IMG_4882Hejhej. How’s everyone doing? I thought I’d finally post another recipe for one of the dishes I made in the first week of the #VegBoxChallenge. I’ve always loved Quiches (my mum makes a delicious one) but I don’t feel like I have enough quiche in my life, so I was really happy when I came across a good recipe that was 1) a quiche and 2) would make use of two of the vegetables from my box. Well the original recipe wouldn’t have, but I thought it was a pretty straight forward substitute. Because I made some changes and because I promised to blog more recipes where you can use the marinated feta from this recipe, I thought I’d quickly blog about it.

RECIPE: Quiche with Chargrilled Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli and Marinated Feta

♘ Preheat the oven to 200°

♘ Make the pastry. I used the recipe from here (but it’s in german, so I’ll take you through it).
Mix 130g of flour, 20g of parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 65g of butter (cold), 1 egg and if you like some herbs and knead it into a dough. Then shape it into a ball, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for 30min.

♘ Break off the woody stalks of one bundle of green asparagus, cut the asparagus into 1cm bits and fry the pieces in a griddle pan in a little bit of olive oil. When it’s cooked, sprinke with a tiny bit of salt.

♘ Cut one head of broccoli into little florets. Marinate in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.

♘ Spread the florets on a baking tray (covered in silver foil) and roast until it’s cooked and crispy (around 10 minutes)

♘ Whilst this is happening, roll out the pastry, then put it into a springform pan (you don’t need to grease it). Once the broccoli is cooked, put the springform pan in the oven and bake until slightly browned at 170° (I didn’t put anything on top to keep it down, and probably should have done, but still worked fine)

♘ Make your egg mixture: Separate two eggs. Whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff, and mix your (slightly cooled down) broccoli and asparagus, approximately 150g marinated feta (see this recipe), another tablespoon of grated Parmesan, and 75g soured cream with the egg yolk.

♘ Gently fold in the whisked egg whites

♘ Fill this into your springform pan with the pre-baked pastry and bake for another 20 minutes until lovely golden brown.

♘ Enjoy!

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REVIEW: The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 12.31.21 PMNow, I feel like this needs a bit of an introduction. I’m not on a diet, I don’t intend to go on a diet (even though Facebook seems to think I should, this morning it recommended a diet website to me. They have to learn a lot about advertising, whilst making me aware of a new diet website might help somewhat (although probably not, because it’s still poor targeting) it wouldn’t offend me as much as having it recommended to me. You’re not the new Google, Facebook, deal with it!).
Whenever it comes to weight loss discussions, I’m always a big ambassador of changing your whole diet, rather than going on a fad diet. Yo-yo and all. I don’t think that changing your food intake to a bare minimum for a couple of weeks and then going back to just Pizza and Ice-cream will do you any good. BUT having said this, I actually think this “diet” sounds really good (the concept is explained at the beginning of the book).
The basics are that you eat normally (emphasis on normal, not binge, although you’re supposed to just not think about it much) for 5 days a week, and to fast for the other 2. You’re not supposed to not eat anything, you’re supposed to eat around 500 calories (600 for men), which is where this book comes in (and we will talk about the book in a moment, just bear with me for another second). I think this is great, because when you’re very conscious of your food input on particular days, and eat less, your body will become used to it more and crave less food on the other days. The authors raised this point too, and I’m very sure this is true, because when I started eating healthier, it actually transformed which foods my body would crave (ok ok during weeks of coursework deadlines and exams it’s still cookies a lot of the time, but in general). When I’ve not eaten well for a couple of days, I’ll actually feel like a healthy option, which in my opinion is great, because it makes eating healthy feel less forced.

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Anyway after a very lengthy introduction, here’s the deal with the book:
You might remember the photo of the Shakshuka I featured in one of my #VegBoxChallenge blogposts (the one above). It’s from this book. The author of the initial diet book joined up with Chelsea and Spurs registered nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker to create a recipe book with lots of low-calorie and nutritious recipes to make the two fast days interesting rather than boring. There are also menu planners and lots of encouraging tips – including kitchen, cupboard essentials and the latest nutritional advice, as well as a user-friendly calorie counter and a whole section of speedy meals that can be quickly made for those busier days.

Anyway, I have to stress that I didn’t review it from a 5:2 point of view. I did it from the point of view of someone who likes to eat healthy food, but sometimes struggles for ideas. And I really really like it. There’s lots of easy recipes that you can use as part of a healthy diet. Some are  creative (Spiced Baby Aubergine with Pomegranate Yoghurt and Walnut Rice anyone?) and others just remind you of very simple, yet delicious and healthy meals you could have (like Apple slices with Crème Fraiche, Honey and Cinnamon). I used a couple of recipes from the book and they were all very tasty, I especially loved the Shakshuka (which I made with coriander instead of parsley). Even Daniel liked it, so that’s a good sign that it’s not just healthy but also tasty (I like to fool myself into thinking things are delicious when they’re not, just because they’re healthy sometimes).

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For many recipes there’s little notes at the bottom of the page that tell you for example about the vitamin c content of the dish, which I personally find very motivating, particularly because I’m not a huge calorie counter, but I do care a lot about what I put in my body and ensuring that I get enough vitamins.

Overall I think it’s a great little recipe book for everyone, whether you’re actually following the 5:2 diet or whether you’re just looking out to incorporating more and more healthy dishes into your diet. If you’re interested, you can order the book here for £8.39.

Note: This book was sent to me as a PR sample, so I could review it on my blog. Second of all, it’s still my own opinion, I’m not paid to say anything positive or something.

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