Good morning everyone! Yesterday I baked some lovely vegan cinnamon buns adapted from a swedish recipe. It is just ridiculously easy to veganize yeast dough recipes! I replaced the butter and milk with margarine and soy milk and used a mix of wholemeal and regular flour to make them a tad more nourishing. All you need is an hour and a half and a bit of patience.
Yeast is a type of fungi that ferments the sugar in the dough into carbon dioxide. That’s why you activate the yeast in the beginning and let it prove multiple times: the gas forms bubbles and hence the dough expands. Once in the oven, the temperatures are too high for the fungus and the yeast dies. The air pockets remain, though, giving the dough a soft texture.
Kanelbullar are widely popular in Sweden and serve as perfect comfort food in autumn (or all round the year when you’re feeling down). In fact, I just had one for breakfast. You can easily produce large quantities, store them in a tin or a cookie jar and treat your friends to them. Enough said, here’s the recipe:
the original green smoothie
Is it a smoothie? Is it a soup? While Europe is sizzling in a record-breaking heat wave with temperatures soaring past 100° Fahrenheit I rediscovered this lovely recipe: Gazpacho is a cold, raw soup from Andalusia. It’s refreshing, delicious and healthy.
Long before anyone ever ate Paleo or vegan the Spanish came up with this plant-based dish. Or were it the Romans? The Moors? Whoever it was, when I had a plate of chilled Gazpacho for lunch yesterday I was thankful for its existence (man, is it hot in my apartment). Did I mention it only took ten minutes to prepare in a blender? Right.
One of the best little things that have happened lately is that an old friend of mine became a modern fishmonger. Once a week, Baaf and his partner Roel drive to the Dutch North Sea coast to a tiny fisher village near the harbor of Ijmuiden to buy smoked makerels, sole and cod. At Lauwersoog, the local fishermen collective, which is tellingly called “goede vissers” (the “good fishermen”) supplies the boys with wild oysters and unpeeled prawns. These guys don`t even use fishing nets! And if Roel and Baaf can’t sell all the oysters, they throw them back into the sea. The cavity within the shells of the oysters is always filled with water so they can survive almost two weeks outside the ocean.
One of the funniest food phenomena in the last years was, to me, the kale craze. There’s a book called Fifty Shades of Cale. National kale day was founded in the U.S. in 2013. The price of kale, a once dirt cheap vegetable, skyrocketed. And in the realm of the internet: Raw kale, steamed kale, asian-style kale, juiced kale- I’ve seen it all. In Germany, the land of the krauts, it remains hard to imagine glamour that the most common vegetable of the country has to foreign food bloggers.
Last moth I’ve been on vacation in the Netherlands, to visit a couple of old friends and my boyfriend’s family. And there, on the seventh floor of an apartment building, Inga and Pieter had a little balcony vegetable garden with a huge kale plant in it. When I told them that you could make salad of kale they looked at me in disbelief. In Holland, you can buy raw kale anywhere, but it is mostly eaten as kale hash. Curiously, we cut off a few leaves and prepared the salad with red onions, orange and spicy pumpkin seeds. A lemon and thyme vinaigrette rounded off the taste. How should I put it? Kale has never been that glamorous before. Maybe you learn most about your country when abroad.
The best thing about banana bread is that it is actually a cake. But because it is called a bread and has healthy fruit in it, it is totally legitimate to have it for breakfast or as a healthy snack in between. Yes, that is how my brain works.
I’s been seven months since Niels moved from Amsterdam to Berlin. He quit his job in the European parliament – the one everyone else was so thrilled about – and moved to Berlin to move in with his girlfriend and lead a more balanced life. Back in Brussels he used to work until late in the evening every day, so grocery shopping was virtually impossible. His fridge was filled with frozen vegetable patties, canned food and champagne he got from the EP. When he came to Berlin, it struck him: Finally, he was able to spend time in the kitchen again, do go shopping on farmer’s markets and to prepare meals from scratch.
Fine, I admit I baked the shortbread twice last week and me and Frieda ate it all. Time for something a little healthier, right? This blog is called the Healthy & the Tasty for a reason: We never could or would stop eating cake. And why should we? Food has many functions: It connects people, it provides your body with nutrients and it makes you feel good. Being healthy should encompass all these factors.
Baking. Isn’t it just wonderful? Not just for the obvious reason that you produce something sweet and yummy, but also because it means that you’ve created space for a little bit of spare time in your life. A little bit of time just for yourself. It’s like cooking, but utterly unnecessary and thus luxurious. The measuring, the kneading, the waiting: I find it all very meditative. This week I’ve baked lemon and basil shortbread and it’s divine.
Have you ever baked your own bread? I’m telling you: All you need is three ingredients and an oven and you can make Swedish crispbread as we speak/write/read.
„Knäcka“ means crispy in Swedish. And it is crispyness, ideed, that is most characteristic for the Swedish “Knäckabröd”. Invented in Sweden in 500 AD, the thin cracker enjoys popularity in Scandinavia, Germany and among health-conscious people elsewhere. It tastes like crisps, it’s inexpensive, full of fibre and you can store it for ages. All you need is wholemeal rye flour, salt, and water. I’ve added extra seeds and grains for health benefits.
Last week was the final week of my semester, the end of a long stretch of studying, a very intense and stressful period. Isn’t it funny how we tend to skip regular meals and grab a snack somewhere instead when we’re busy? One lessons I learned the hard way when I worked in parliament for a year is:
The more stressful your life gets, the more you need to plan your meals ahead.