Mar 27, 2015

simple, brothy white bean soup

whenever spring is remotely in sight, trust on me to skip the heavy down coats in favor of candy-colored, whisper thin layers. that would be me, rattling with my teeth, as soon as i step outside. the starry blanket and a hot cup of tea our my true best friends in this seemingly - but not quite - early spring season. hugging one cuppa as i speak (read: type).

when i spotted this soup over on the clever carrot a while back, i knew i had to make it (and of course i pinned it right away - for later usage). it sounded so simple but still clever enough. especially with the sage added to the broth. i usually shy away of using too much sage as i think it's overpowering and too intense for most dishes. but here, it just made everything more perfect. so i made this mental note for future soup making: use sage for the broth.

ps: this white bean soup with merguez is another one of my favorite soups to date: simple, forgiving, soothing, unexpected and oh so delicious. 

simple, brothy white bean soup
recipe inspired by the clever carrot
serves two

2 cups white beans, dried
1/2 cup celeriac, diced
1 sellerie stick, diced
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 liter vegetable broth
12 sage leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika flakes
salt, freshly ground black pepper

soak the beans overnight. heat the olive oil in a large pot. sweat the onion, garlic, celeriac and sellerie for a couple of minutes, until they're a little charred. add the vegetable broth, beans and sage and cook on low for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender. only add salt towards the end of the cooking, otherwise the beans might not turn soft. season with salt, paprika flakes and freshly ground black pepper. 

Mar 24, 2015

chocolate dipped almond brittle

i'm officially a short haired (concerning me, anyway) girl! i thought i might as well step out of my comfort zone a little bit and - chop, chop - now i'm a bit blonder and a lot of hair lighter. for what feels like an eternity, i haven't had a proper new 'do on my head. so this feels extra special. even though i might not be totally happy about the outcome (ugh, i am so averse to change... sigsh) i feel new and spring-like and refined. and bit more bold, too. like maybe anything is possible.

join me for a decadent almond brittle treat, because my new me will totally seduce you and make you do stupid things. like eat a whole batch all by yourself.

chocolate dipped almond brittle

250 g sugar
200 g liquid honey
100 g butter, room temperature
300 g almond, shaved
150 g dark lindt chocolate

put the sugar in a saucepan and melt while stirring. add honey and butter and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until you achieve one homogenic mixture. add the almonds. pour into a pan (lined with parchment) and let cool a little. then cut into bite sized squares, triangles or diamond shaped pieces. let cool completely. 

for the chocolate cover, break the chocolate into pieces and melt slowly on very low heat. dip each piece of brittle into the liquid chocolate, shake off excess chocolate and put the pieces on a rack to harden. once hardened, they can be kept in an air-tight container for up to one week. 

Mar 20, 2015

layered salad in a jar with quick flatbread

just in time for spring, trust on me to develop a diffuse kind of spring detox cleaning sensation. i want to throw everything out that's superfluos, polish the candle sticks and silver, paint the walls a crisp, new white, wash every last bit of garment in my house, unfold and fold it anew, rethink everything. in other words: i want to get rid of the old, of dead weight. 

needless to say, i'm lacking time to perfect my whole life. but i mean we're talking ideals here. 

in an ideal world, i'd constantly and consistently eat my greens. and i would have such an amazing beach body. well. nobody is perfect. but this little salad sure helps to have fun while you tick off your excessive to do lists.

layered salad in a jar with quick crispy bread
serves two / makes two jars

1 cup couscous, cooked (with a little vegetable broth)
each 1/2 bunch parsley and mint, very finely chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 pomegranate, aerials
1 beet, raw or cooked, cubed
1 fennel, cubed
1 green apple, cubed
1 handful onion sprouts
1 lemon, juice
salt, pepper, olive oil for the dressing

combine the cooked and cooled down couscous with the herbs, scallions, lemon juice and salt into the glass jars. for the second layer, mix pomegranate, beet and carrot and layer, as well. finish off with the apple and fennel cubes, that you sprinkle with some of the lemon juice and season with black pepper. decorate with some sprouts. make a dressing with salt, pepper and olive oil and the remaining lemon juice and serve separately. 

quick flatbread

500 g spelt ww flour
about 1/2 liter mineral water
1-2 tsp. sea salt
4 tbsp. sunflower seeds

preheat the oven to 220 c / 430 f and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. combine flour, salt and water well and let rest for 10 minutes. with a wet tablespoon, ladle 4 dollops of the dough onto each baking sheet and flatten them into circles. sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and bake for 20 minutes. let cool on a rack. 

Mar 17, 2015

cheese cake filled easter eggs

easter has always been a serious business at our house... especially when i was a kid, my family would plan the easter egg hunt meticulously. most years, we were at my aunt's & uncle's house in the south of france with a huge pine forest as a garden. hunting for chocolate meant we were stuck in that forest for hours on end (it could last up to half a day), screaming and running up and down, the dogs in tow. usually, the dogs would eat half the bounty - that is: what didn't get lost in very vast woods, anyway. i guess the ratio of chocolate we (humans) found to chocolate the parents initially hid was probably 1/4. but we didn't care as long as we were hunting, hunting for easter goodies. it was the thrill of the search and the chase, an activity both, grown-ups and kids alike rejoiced in. without a doubt, chocolate was the best reward for being out of breaths; let alone the bruises and scratches from running through the woods. 

so no wonder for me hunting for easter eggs - still to date - is the biggest fun you could have with your knickers on. so, no wonder chocolate has always had a magic place in my life. 

this easter, i wanted to come up with something a bit more elaborate than your average easter cake (read: in switzerland that would be something like a rice vanilla custard tarte, that's rather "blah-bland" if you ask me). i needed a thrill - if not of the chase or the hunt, then at least of creating something i've never done before. it was a very sweet coincidence that the famous swiss chocolate brand lindt & sprüngli should ask me to create an easter dessert for them (gasp... i knowwww!). needless to say, they had me at "hello". so, insert: chocolate egg making!

to make your own chocolate eggs, you need: a lot of patience, a lot of chocolate (admittedly, some might go to waste... what a shame) and ideally some egg shaped molds. though you can always copy me and use water balloons instead (which, frankly, probably didn't work half as well, but oh well... life is a challenge).

cheese cake filled easter eggs
recipe in german on si style

makes 4-6 eggs
tools: water balloons, parchment paper, hand mixer

150 g dark chocolate - i used lindt crémant noir 49%
150 g cream cheese (full fat) - i used philadelphia
100 ml heavy cream, cold
4-5 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
some (about 4 tsp.) apricot jam

first, blow up the water balloons to an egg like shape and size and seal with a knot. break the lindt chocolate in pieces and melt very slowly on lowest heat, while stirring with a spatula occasionally. remove from the heat and let cool slightly. in the meantime, form about 4-5 little circles of melted chocolate on a parchment paper (to sit the balloons onto, later) and let dry a little. pour the rest of the melted chocolate in a (steep) little bowl. now dip each balloon into the melted chocolate; about 2/3 up the balloon. shake off excess chocolate, then sit the balloon on the prepared chocolate circle. chill and let firm up in a cold place. 

in the meantime, prepare the cheese cake filling. for that, cream together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and lemon in a bowl with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes. whip the heavy cream and fold in. 

remove the chocolate balloons from the fridge and pierce the balloons with a knife so that they burst. remove the balloons carefully from the chocolate molds. cut off the upper parts of the chocolate egg molds with a sharp knife (so that it looks like a boiled egg that's been cut open), creating little zig-zgas and shards as you go to give it a natural look. also cut off the bottom circles - that served as stabilizers for the balloons - so that the egg molds fit into an egg holder. sit each chocolate egg in an egg holder now. 

spoon the cheese cake mixture into the molds, using a tiny spoon. immediately chill the eggs for an hour or so. then make a hole (about 1x1cm) into the middle of the filled egg, removing some of the cheese cake filling. fill the round hole up with a teaspoon full of apricot jam - to create the "yolk". refrigerate for a couple of hours until the cheese cake has set and firmed up. cover with cling film for storage (up to two days). 

Mar 13, 2015

summer rolls with crudités

there was hardly a thing i loved to snack on more than on crudités, or raw vegs. anything raw - from carrots to fennel and kohlrabi - was my friend. for kindergarten and school, i wouldn't take a granola bar or an apple with me, i'd ask mom to give me a whole fennel. nobody would have been surprised if i started to develop furry ears and bigger than average front teeth... 

to date, i still love my raw vegs, but i find it much harder to incorporate them into my everyday life. since i'm always away from home for breakfast and lunch i usually eat what's available (that sounds awful, i know). and for dinner i'm either out, as well, simply too tired to create anything or before or after workouts - and ballet on a full tummy doesn't really work all that well. besides, i'm not a big fan of a raw dinner... i find cooked vegetables just that much easier to digest in the pm, resulting in much better sleep. so any chance i get to chop up a couple good ol' vegs to eat raw on daytime - i embrace it! 

here i made summer rolls (you know, spring rolls' sexy little sister) with different roots (candy beets, yellow and orange carrots), zucchini, sprouts and lots of herbs for flavor. it's a dish i love every time and it sort of kicks off summer for me.

how about you serve this with an extra healthy kick of infused citrus water, hmm? it's my latest obsession. healthier than a smoothie and such a good way to stay hydrated all day.

also, yay for candy beets! they're like fun in a bulb.

summer rolls with crudités
tools: 1 julienne peeler

rice papers for spring rolls, small
1 small pack glass noodles, cooked
1 candy beet, in matchsticks or julienned
1 yellow & 1 orange carrot, in matchsticks or julienned
1/2 zucchini, in matchsticks or julienned
1 handful alfalfa sprouts
1 handful radish sprouts
1 bunch each thai basil, mint and cilantro
salad leaves, if desired

for the dip:
6 tbsp. soy sauce
1 lime, juice
chili sauce 
sweet chili sauce

cook the rice noodles according to directions in hot water and drain, then put aside. prepare the crudités as indicated; either julienning it or cutting it into matchsticks. 
take one rice paper at a time and soak it in a bowl of water briefly. lay on a humid kitchen towel and start to fill: the herbs first, then the veggies, some glass noodles and sprouts. either fold in the sides and then roll up or leave the sides "open" so that the herbs and crudité peak out. arrange on plates and serve immediately, with the pimped soy dressing and/or simply with some sweet chili sauce.

citrus infused water with thyme

1/2 orange, sliced
1/2 blood oragen, sliced
1/2 grapefruit, sliced
1 lemon, juice
1 piece (3 cm) ginger, peeled and grated
3 tbsp. maple syrup
3-4 twigs thyme or other herbs on hand

note: the citrus should be organic, if possible. clean under the hot water before slicing. put everything in a jug and stir and fill up with water. chill and serve. can be filled up several times.  

Mar 10, 2015

matcha popcorn

i have been introduced to matcha green tea by some or other japanese or sushi shop, but never considered getting my own to make a pot of hot green tea at home. pinterest, though, converted me for the good. the amount of hipster-esque food creations you spy there is incredible! vegan toasted matcha whipped coconut milk green juice chai latte, anyone? haha. what can i say... it's ridiculous, but only in theory. in real life, i can't help but love it.

so when the local delicatessen store featured a japanese corner, recently, the (admittedly hot) young shop assistant had a walk-over. easy-peasy! just show the foodie girl, who's obviously interested in anything remotely exotic or exlusive looking in this shop, what a good matcha is! so that guy whipped up a bowl of exquisite, hot and nicely foamy and unexpectedly un-bitter matcha tea. i was hooked for good.

at home, i decided the world needed one more matcha induced hipster food creation. introduction: the matcha popcorn. and a matcha green juice, for good measure.

it tasted surprisingly good, this matcha popcorn, so that i even made it for a hens' weekend again last saturday, as a pre dinner and pre party (or pre alcohol intoxication, more likely) snack. and i'm still pretty convinced that's the source of my energy (because i'm normally in bed by 11pm, max, no kidding). i didn't make it to the sunrise, okay, but i had fun a little past midnight. aren't i impressive. all thanks to matcha.

matcha popcorn

1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. popcorn kernels
1 tbsp. matcha green tea

heat the coconut oil in a large pot on maximum heat. add the sugar and the popcorn, so that it only covers the bottom of the pan. cover the lid, reduce the heat. wait until all the popping sounds have seized. pour the popcorn in a bowl and dust it with matcha. stir to coat evenly. sweeten some more if desired. 

Mar 6, 2015

fennel radish salad (with hemp seeds)

this has been such a wonderful and happy - albeit very intense - week! so many good surprises (like a new project at work), a blog project that we've put the finish touches on (i am sorry i will only be able to reveal what it is later - i.e. next month). 

the only thing that's missing - if i'm being really hard to please here, hehe - is maybe spring? to be honest i'm fed up with winter. my winter skin is the stuff nightmares are made of, really. it's itchy and (to use my friend's words) "as pale as a camembert". and i've been craving spring food; like ramps and asparagus and sweet peas! and colour...! i can't even begin to explain how much i'm craving some serious pops of colour. it's time for some sunshine! and feet that don't need socks, just some light, colourful ballerinas or slip ons. 

so i've whipped up this salad, starring (still) wintery fennel and a shiny bunch of already spring like (at least it feels that way) radishes. add a little lemon to the party for a zesty tang, hemp seeds for extra crunch and dill to shake things up. and voilà, it's ready, your cheeky little spring-dreaming salad. go for it!

fennel radish salad (with hemp seeds)
serves 2

1 fennel, very finely sliced
1 bunch radishes, very finely sliced
1 handful dill, leaves
1 lemon, juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
sea salt & pepper

slice the fennel and radishes very finely. we all know it will work best with a mandolin, alas, mandolins are still the thing my nightmares are made of... i've chopped my fingers off too many times. so i'm doing it by hand with a good knife; careful-careful! immediately sprinkle with lemon juice. dress with olive oil, too and season with salt and pepper. sprinkle with hemp seeds and scatter the dill on top.