Lovely lentil salad with a twist: Puy lentil salad with roasted beet root & curcuma cinnamon dressing.

Standard

You know what happens to me all the time? I make a lovely meal, let my love P. try it, culinary friends try it – everybody loves it, but when I don’t post it straight away then it’s almost too late and it disappears in the back of our head as a lovely memory and slowly fades away. Not with this one! Thanks to my friend U. who kept on reminding me. So let me dedicate this lovely lentil salad to you and your gorgeous wife and beautiful baby girl in return <3

I made this salad when my friend was still patiently in hospital, waiting for the baby to come and on the day I pre celebrated my 34th birthday with my friends. Just out of curiosity I let my friend U. try it and he was as blown away as P. and me. It’s a surprising mix of flavors, especially due to the roasted beetroots and the gorgeous mix of spices in the dressing. But as usual this dish is not only yummy but also boasting of health benefits! The lentils are little folic acid warriors (yes, just as well as the Chickpea Crêpes my previous blog post) and the beetroots are not only great for boosting stamina and making muscles work harder, they also contain iron, magnesium, potassium, magnesium as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and – again! – folic acid. So, let’s get started!

puy lentil salad with roasted beetroots

What you need….
(Recipe inspired and adapted from one of my favorite blogs MyNewRoots)

1 small pack of puy lentils, washed and cooked tender according to instructions
3-4 beetroots, washed & peeled
3 celery stalks
Best quality salt (I used Himalayan)
Coconut oil (for roasting the veg)
2-3 pinches of ground cumin and coriander
A handful of fresh cilantro

For the dressing:
Best quality olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Dijon mustard
Spices: pinch of cinnamon, pinch of curcuma, tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
Raw Agave sirup
Salt

Optional: goat cheese, crumbled

What to do….
Start with roasting the the beetroots and celery stalks as this step takes the longest. Wash, chop in chunky pieces, spread on a tray, drizzle with coconut oil, salt and the spices and roast them in the oven for about 45min at 190°C.

In the meantime cook puy lentils according to instructions, just watch out that they keep a nice bite. Drain and let them cool off. Now mix the ingredients into a nice dressing. Start with small amounts and keep playing until the mix is perfect to your taste (some like it hotter, so add more cayenne and mustard, others sweeter and so on – trust your taste buds :-)

As soon as the veg is ready, take it out of the oven and let it get cooled off. Chop up cilantro roughly  and finally mix everything together carefully so the lentils don’t get squashed. Also lovely when ingredients are still a bit warm!

For a non vegan version, this salad is also amazing with some crumbled goat cheese on top.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did and once again, tons of love and all the best to baby Sienna and to great friendship <3
Your support means a lot to me…

N xxx

Crazy yummy Chickpea Crêpes. 1x savoury and 1x sweet

Standard

Have you ever tried chickpea crêpes, also called Farinata which is a typical Italian flatbread? Always on the search for new healthy food inspiration I’ve read about it several times and already got the chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan flour) home to be prepared when the next opportunity would come. Today was the day! Having a public holiday here in Malta and running out of eggs is not a good combo in our house. The solution?! Remembering about this easy and tasty sounding recipe we gave it a go and ended up in pure bliss.

To make it a proper brunch P and I decided to make savory and sweet versions which was really fun. You can truly experiment with whatever you feel like and have in the fridge.

And the best thing about the whole thing? This dish is not only easy, healthy and super yummy, but the chickpea flour also contains lots of folate which supports reproducing and maintaining new cells and is therefor great for for future mums and mummies to be. It delivers a boost of iron, magnesium and phosphor (more info here). Also, this dish is gluten free and stands on his own with only a few ingredients!

20140210-154907.jpg

All you need…..
(Inspired and adapted from The Whole Pantry and Kris Carr)

For the batter:
125g chickpea flour
1/4 l water
some salt and olive oil
Optional: If you only use it for savoury Crêpes, you can also add parsley, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili, rosemary, onion or garlic

For the savoury filling:
1 zucchini
1 red & 1 yellow pepper
some olive oil, best quality salt (I always use pink Himalayan) and herbes de provence
Optional: add some crumbled feta cheese in the end. 

For the sweet filling:
1 banana
almond butter or greek yoghurt
cinnamon and some raw honey

What to do…..

Combine all ingredients into a  smooth batter and let it sit for at least 3/4 of an hour, otherwise the Crêpes will get sticky. Until then you can prepare the fillings and set the table :-)

Mix the batter when the time is over, and prepare a pan on medium heat. Use a tiny bit of coconut oil if it isn’t a nonstick pan. Use a ladle to spread the batter in the pan and fry it about a  minute on each side until they are nice and golden. Don’t let the Crêpes in there for too long otherwise they get hard to fold. Hold them warm in the oven or fill them immediately with one of the fillings below or any other filling of your choice.

Savoury Chickpea Crêpes with roasted peppers & zucchini
Put your oven on 200°C, chop up the veg, drizzle with olive oil and herbs de provence. Roast it for about 25/30min. Use as a filling.

Sweet Chickpea Crêpes with banana, cinnamon & honey
Slice the banana. Put some almond butter or greek yoghurt in the Crêpe, add the banana and drizzle with honey and cinnamon.

ENJOOOOOOOOOY!!!

Love,
N xx

Scrumptious Sweet Potato Dhal. To a happy, healthy and blissful New Year.

Standard

Don’t we know it all? The overindulging, the feeling of “too much”, exhaustion due to overactivity, the lack of peace and quietness? Yes, it’s that time of year called Christmas time. And even though it’s the celebration of love, family and friends, it also sometimes brings us on a bit of a wrong track with the result of feeling drained and low energized when the weeks of festivities are finally over.
Well, considering the amount of food, sweets, alcohol and the lack of exercise and time for yourself might explain why. But – it’s a new year and a new start, and there’s no better occasion than that to set some positive intentions, for the year to come and for yourself. Out with the stuff which doesn’t serve you anymore – be it nasty food, bad habits or negative people, and in with the healthy, energetic and positive new. And step by step we’re all gonna feel better again if we look after ourselves better again. Promised <3

To start the New Year on my blog I want to share a super healthy and yummy recipe with you. It’s full of proteins, totally versatile, full of good energy and warmth and will hopefully cause you the same joy and comfort as me after a wonderful yoga class on a cold, windy winter day.

As always I want to encourage you to play with the amounts, check what’s in your fridge, get the mortar out and let’s get started!

scrumptious sweet potato dhal

What you need…. 
(serves 4 or 2 lovable bigmouths)

  • 1 cups of red lentils (washed)
  • 1 big sweet potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • Warming spices like cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coreander seeds and fresh chili, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, best quality salt, some vegetable broth
  • Some fresh parsley
  • Vegan parmesan (optional – if you want a great one, check this out)
  • Other veg like kale, swiss chard, spinach etc. (optional)
  • last but not least some inspiring, heart warming music to give you company (if you like mantras, check those out – they gave me the total bliss ♡☮ ॐ ♡)

What to do….
Start with heating the coconut oil in a pot and sauté onion and garlic gently. Put the spices in a mortar and grind them nicely, add them to the pot. Wash the lentils and add them, top up with water and start letting it simmer. Add the other veg, salt, chili, vegetable broth and add more water. There should be just a bit more than just covered.

Let it slowly absorb and eventually add more water if it gets too thick, but not too much. After 20-25min of simmering on medium heat your wonderful meal is  ready. If you have fresh greens, only add them for the last couple of minutes. Decorate with fresh parsley or cilantro and enjoy.

I wish you all a wonderful, blissful, happy and healthy New Year, full of moments of joy and fun, time for yourself to reflect and grow and that whatever low will happen during the year, you’ll go through it, learn from it and surf it like a wave to come out of it even stronger.

Spread the love ♡♡♡
N xx

Cooking class with Claire Borg in Victoria. A little charming piece of Gozo

Standard

20131128-220049.jpg

I love cooking classes. They are inspiring, you learn new things, share your thoughts and experiences with other foodies and try new things outside of your own box. Claire’s cooking classes in the heart of Victoria are so much fun. It’s all mentioned above and so much more. It’s like a little piece of Gozo. It’s authentic, unpretentious and delicious. It’s casual still professional and foremost charming. For me coming to Gozo always means popping in at Mojo’s (her restaurant/cafe) in Victoria but from now on also attending on of here classes. That’s a promise.

Tonight’s class had a focus on beet root. We made a delicious soup of beet root with green apples, beet root relish, beet root pickles as well as a beet root Valhornona chocolate cake.

Thank you and keep up the great work, Claire!

More info on Claire’s classes, her cooking and her restaurant on her blog Claire Borg

Thai delights!

Standard

One thing I sometimes miss here in Malta is proper ethnic food. Having lived in Vienna before we moved here, we were really spoiled with choice of food from around the world. Vienna’s loveliest food market, the Naschmarkt, was 5min around the corner and you could find anything a foodie’s heart could wish for.. Lebanese, Jamaican, Creole, Indian, Turkish, Japanese of the best quality – you name it.

Malta being quite a small island in the Mediterranean (thus called “the rock”), naturally offers lots of delicious places with Mediterranean dishes but all in all less variety in food. What I miss the most here is a proper, genuine Thai restaurant (yes, Thailand is one of my favorite places in the world. Also, because of it’s kitchen which also led me to attending some courses and trying to cook Thai myself).

Anyways, the search for a cosy, casual place for genuine  Thai food is over! In the middle of Gzira, just next to the road, where you’d never expect it is a small little bar called Times Gone By (for the Maltese readers, it’s just opposite Azzopardi’s fish shop).

Surprisingly you don’t only find a huge variety of over 40 foreign beers and a super friendly host, but also some really amazing Thai food. Don’t expect a fancy, pretty restaurant, it more looks like a bar in an old antique shop, but the atmosphere is great and the owner Ferry welcomes you with a big smile and heart. But the secret lies in the kitchen. Ferry’s wife is from Thailand herself and therefore really nows what she does. Our Tom Yum and Tom Ka Gai soups were like in Thailand: fresh, spicy and super yummy. Also the mains (we had a red curry and Thai noodle salad) were just delicious. All fresh, tasty and only leaving you with the thought when you can make it again next time. The belgium beers to accompany our meal were the perfect match. Also, the prices are really good (32 eur for 4 courses and two beers).

Cut the long story short: whoever in Malta likes genuine Thai food in a relaxed environment, check out Times Gone By.
Ferry, we’ll definitely see you again soon!

Times gone by - Thai food, Gzira, Malta

ราตรีสวัสดิ์ or good night ;)

Love, Nxx

P.S. Please note that Times Gone by will soon move to a new location. So better check their Facebook Page to go to the right place whenever you wish to check it out.

Chez Nico in Innsbruck, Austria. Pure vegetarian bliss!

Standard

Hey everyone and first, a big SORRY for being so blog-lazy the last few weeks. As those of you who also live in the South might confirm, summer is always a bit crazy, full of visitors and travels and if you ever have some time off you rather spend it on the beach than in front of a computer. Anyways, I hope you all had a great summer, too – it’s good to be back!

Today I have to, yes I say HAVE TO on purpose, share my incredible culinary highlight of this week, if not the month with you. My work for SOS Children’s Villages sometimes brings me to my hometown Innsbruck in Austria. Every time I go, my stay is packed with work, meeting family and friends and also one regular date with my old friend A, a food lover himself. A and me have a pact. We promised each other some months ago to, first, always meet when I come to Innsbruck and, second, spoil ourselves with a gorgeous dinner in one of the best restaurants in town. Our choice for the second time in a row was Chez Nico, a restaurant which used to be French but changed it’s direction a while ago to strictly vegetarian due to the beliefs of the owner and chef, Nico himself.

What can I say?? Places like Chez Nico are the reason why I call myself a food lover. I definitely don’t mind to spend some money on food if it’s worth it. Often it’s sadly not the case… but not at Chez Nico. The food offers all which makes a foodie’s heart beat faster… it’s creative, totally unusual, sometimes crazy and is always made with ingredients coming from sustainable sources of best quality.  The different dishes have a twist, combine the normal with the abnormal and offer the wildest experiences through different textures, colors and temperatures.  The restaurant itself is small and cosy, yet cool and simple at the same time. The last key to success of winning my heart is the staff. Nico himself is not only an artist in the kitchen, he’s truly inspiring and ahead of his time (changing from a typical French restaurant to a purely vegetarian restaurant in a city like Innsbruck speaks for itself!). Often he joins you for a chat after finishing in the kitchen and you end up having the most amazing conversations with him and the super friendly main waiter Manni. Also their wines are excellent, served with a carafe of Tyrolean water, what else can you wish for?

There is always one set menu of 7 courses, all light and yummy so better don’t skip courses – it’s definitely worth the price of 60 euros. Chez Nico also offers a lunch menu with two courses at 13 ,50 eur which are a  great way to start the experience or if you work nearby (which I unfortunately don’t).

But enough talk, check out last time’s creations to get a picture yourself….

Chez Nico

Pics from left to right, top to bottom:

Japanese Aubergine with Kombu, Miso, Kuzu and Yuzu

Roasted Beetroots with blackberries, soy sauce, lavendar and horse radish

Ash & Coal with truffles, porcino mushrooms, almonds and hazelnuts

Forest refreshment espuma of Swiss pine, swiss pine & cranberry powder and cranberry granita

Plum & Cabbage with elderberries and tarragon

Tagliatelle of black salsify with lapsang souchong tea, blueberries, nettles and tasmanian pepper

Tobinambour & Honey with beer, bergamot and toffee

To the whole team of Chez Nico: keep up the great work! I hope enough food lovers will find you to show you the appreciation you deserve <3

Love from Malta,
Nadine xx

Some lovely photos and more info on their website http://www.chez-nico.at/fotogalerie/

Herb salad – a flavor explosion

Standard

As many of my beloved ones know, I’m a big fan of three things when it comes to food.

First, I love nice flavors. To me bland food is like an insult. It makes me angry – why should I waste my calorie intake with shit food?!? Don’t people know the magic of herbs and spices?

Second, when I cook myself I like it simple. Everybody can create a fabulous me after spending hours and hours and euros and euros in complex declicaties. But for me personally, it’s the simple dishes that rock! The lovely flavors of a good dark farmer’s bread, a home made pasta in a small italian village or an unusual soup… yes, I’m quite easy to be pleased when it comes to that!

Today’s recipe I wanna share with you combines both of these important attributes perfectly I think… This herbal salad is boasting of flavors, super simple and on top of that – and that’s the third thing I love when it comes to food of my choice – it’s healthy!

Why not have it all and use the chance to cook with healthy ingredients and do something good for you (soul & body)?

So let’s give it a go….

herb salad - flavor explosion

What you need…..

  • Different fresh herbs of the season (I took: basil, mint, coriander)
  • Some rocket
  • toasted seeds (I have a mix of pumpkin, flax and sunflower)
  • Per person: 1 table spoon of capers, 1 table spoon of sun dried tomatoes (chopped), 1 tomato, 1 free range egg
  • Best quality salt (I used pink Himalayan)

For the dressing mix the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Tamari sauce
  • Organic agave sirup
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cloudy apple cider vinegar

Optional: dark farmer’s sourdough bread (which I always take from home or ask my family & friends from Austria & Germany to bring – thanks so much guys!!!)

What to do…

Take the same amount of each kind of herbs/ rocket. Clean all greens thoroughly (I like to soak them in cold water and then spin them in the salad spinner. Bit of extra work, but so worth it.) Slice the tomatoes , chop the sun dried tomatoes. Arrange them and the capers nicely on  pretty plates.

Boil some water, add the eggs and cook them very soft (depending on the size for about 6 min), so the inside will be nice and creamy (almost like a poached egg only easier).  Dip them in cold water and then peel them. Put one egg on top of each salad and only then open it up carefully – give them a bit of extra salt.

Sprinkle with toasted nuts and the dressing.

Hope you’ll like it as much as we did! Once again this is a salad with is so yummy that you’re tempted to lick the plates after – just use the bread for it if you have company haha!

Enjoy & happy summer!!!!!

Love,
Nadine xx

P.S. Btw if somebody is wondering wether eggs are good for you or not, I finally came to a conclusion but ONLY if you use really good quality eggs like free range or organic… – nobody wants antibiotic, hormone stuffed eggs, yuck!! But good quality eggs are actually a super-food, they are packed with nutrients vitamins and health benefits! If you wanna learn more, read on on this page….