Glögg/Glühwein/Mulled Wine

Whether you call it glögg, glühwein, or mulled wine; its warm, delicious and it is the perfect drink for this time of year. I love all of the spices and citrus flavors incorporated in this drink, and luckily it is super easy to make!

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Firstly, use a peeler to remove the zest from two oranges and a lemon, and add the peels to a pan along with 3 star anise pods, 6 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 bay leaves.

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Next, squeeze out the juices from your peeled lemon and oranges into the pan and gently start heating up the pan.

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Add just enough red wine (a full-bodied Malbec will do), to cover the spices and citrus, and add one tablespoon of maple syrup. Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes (or longer) to infuse the flavors, the longer the better!

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After 10 minutes, add the remainder of the two (750 ml) bottles of red wine and 100 ml of crème de cassis, and gently heat up on the stove for another 10 minutes. It is important to not let this boil, or else you’ll boil off all of the alcohol.

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After gentle heating, serve the mulled wine in mugs with a cinnamon stick, an orange wheel, and with some grated nutmeg on top.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 100 ml crème de cassis
  • 2 (750 ml) bottles of red wine (ex. Malbec)
  • 1 piece of nutmeg – for grating

 

Method:

  1. Use a peeler to remove lemon and orange zest, and add to a pan together with the spices (except the nutmeg).
  2. Juice the lemon and oranges and bring pan to a simmer.
  3. Add enough wine to cover the spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add remaining wine and crème de cassis and gently heat (without boiling) for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Serve in a mug with grated nutmeg on top, a cinnamon stick, and an orange wheel.
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Chicken-Avocado Burgers

Its summer, so that means its barbecue season! However, if you live in the Netherlands/Scotland (like I do) this means: lets pretend that the weather is nice and  have a barbecue – but inside. Regardless of how good – or bad – the weather is, these burgers are always tasty and a leaner alternative to regular burgers.

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Get ready, because your hands will be dirty! Grab about 500-600 g  ground chicken (or turkey) and mix this (with your hands) together with 1/3 cup of almond flour (or regular flour), 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/3 tsp pepper. Make sure these ingredients are mixed well, and if the mixture still feels a bit wet, add some more flour to make sure it sticks together.

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Next, chop two avocados into approximately 1 cm cubes, and dice 1/4 cup jalapeño slices.

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Gently mix in these ingredients trying not to squish the avocado. After it is all mixed, create burger patties in whatever size you like. I usually make about 6 good-sized patties from this recipe.

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TIP: I think that raw chicken is like super gross, so if you can, make your boyfriend your sous-chef and make him touch all the meat while you cut and grill. If not, just hope that the raw meat won’t get stuck under your nails….which it probably will tbh.

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Get a large grill pan and grill the burgers until they are fully cooked, approx 4-5 mins on each side. These burgers freeze very well, so if you think 6 burgers is too many, just throw the rest in the freezer and use them on a day you don’t have time to cook.

I usually serve these burgers with sweet potato fries and a greek salad!

 

Ingredients: (Serves 6)

  • 500-600 g ground chicken or turkey meat
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/3 cup (almond) flour – but add more if you feel your mixture is too wet
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 sliced jalapeños, diced
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1 cm cubes

Method:

  1. Combine ground meat, garlic, (almond) flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Chop jalapeños and avocados and gently mix into the mixture, trying not to mush the avocado bits.
  3. Grill (in pan or on barbecue) until fully cooked, approx 4-5 minutes on each side.

Fig Jam

Another great spread for on top of your courgette bread is this fig jam. You can make it from fresh figs when they are in season, but if not you can just as easily make this jam from dried figs.  This recipe is quick, simple, and does not require a lot of ingredients!

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Roughly chop up your dried figs (15-20 dried figs will do). Add them to a sauce pan and add 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of honey, juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon, and 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (you can substitute this for 1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla powder).

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Bring the contents of the pan to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Let the pan cool down to room temperature and then add the contents to a food processor.

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Blend the contents until a smooth jam forms. Taste the jam and adjust by adding more lemon or honey if necessary.

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Store in an old jam jar and keep it in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 15-20 dried figs – roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool, and then add to food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Store in the fridge

Frittata Muffins

Always hangry? On the go? Rushing to the gym, pilates, yoga, work, or uni? Grab one of these frittata muffins to keep you going when you don’t have enough time to cook a proper meal. Even if you aren’t in a rush, they are the perfect snack when that gap between lunch and dinner is just too long! This recipe makes 12 mini frittatas and is entirely made out of eggs, bacon bits, vegetables, and spices; so it is delicious and paleo-friendly.

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You will need to get yourself 9 large eggs, and beat them in a bowl with salt and pepper. Next, add three garlic cloves, and a teaspoon of oregano for flavor. Additionally, fry some bacon bits (approx. 250 g) and drain the excess fat.

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As always, I used the Magimix food processor to cut up my vegetables, but you could also grate them for a similar result.

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This recipe is entirely customisable and you can add any vegetables and spices you want. You could also leave out the bacon bits to make them vegetarian, or substitute the bacon for diced chicken bits. In this recipe, I used one courgette and two carrots. Try to drain as much of the vegetable water as you can in order to make sure the frittata doesn’t get too soggy.

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I also added a chopped red bell pepper and a diced red onion.Then, I combined all the vegetables and bacon in a large bowl and poured over egg mixture. Make sure to mix well and then spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin (or tin with muffin liners).

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Bake at 190 °C for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your muffins. Make sure to check that they are cooked through all the way, as the first time I made the muffins, the centre was still raw and they had to go back into the oven.

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Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 250 g bacon bits, cooked and fat drained
  • 1 large courgette, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced

All of these ingredients can be substituted and can be entirely altered to taste. You could add chopped broccoli, leeks, sweet potato,or fennel. Just try out different variations and decide what you like! You could even add some parmesan or feta cheese on top!

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 °C.
  2. Beat eggs with salt, pepper, and oregano.
  3. Grate or chop all ingredients and combine them in a large bowl. Mix through the beaten eggs.
  4. Spoon into greased muffin tray and bake for 15-20 minutes.

 

Tortilla Española – Spanish Tortilla

…or as my brother calls them: “those Mexican things”, hahaha. I got the base for this recipe from my best friend’s mom, aka my madre número dos. I think the first time I had Spanish tortilla was at my best friend’s house at one of our many sport team dinners, as it is great as a tapa at a potluck-style dinner. A tortilla is very versatile, you can add ingredients to make it taste however you want. I’ve made tortillas with chorizo, chicken, jalapeños or peppers, or you could basically any other ingredient you want. The recipe here is simple and pretty straightforward with potatoes, onions, and eggs, although I also added some red peppers to it.

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The first step is to cut and peel a kilo of potatoes. This is probably most time-consuming part of the process, however making sure that you have thin slices of potatoes is essential. As always, I cheated and instead of manually cutting a billion slices, I used the slicing disc on my Magimix food processor. This thing is literally a lifesaver!

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Next, add the potato slices to a large bowl and coat in approximately a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Now this is where my recipe differs from most conventional recipes: I partially cook the potato slices in the microwave instead of in a frying pan. This can be done by placing the bowl with potato slices in the microwave at the highest setting for approximately 10-12 minutes (with stirring and checking in between) until the potatoes are soft enough to be cut with a fork. While the potatoes are microwaving, you can dice two large onions and two red (or any other color) peppers.

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When the potatoes are done, add them to a large, lightly oiled non-stick pan together with the onions and peppers. Cook these until the onion is translucent.

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Next, beat 8 eggs in a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the contents from the pan to the bowl and cover potato mixture in egg. Transfer the contents of the bowl back into the non-stick pan, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes.

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Now comes the tricky part: flipping the tortilla. I’m sure that very few people actually own a special tortilla-flipping plate (basically an oversized plate with a handle), so what I do is I get a large plate that fits well over the pan. Then while wearing oven gloves, I turn the pan upside down and transfer the tortilla onto the plate and shuffle it back into the pan. I have ruined many a tortilla by flipping it incorrectly, so through through trial and error I’ve figured out this way that works for me….so good luck!

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Once the tortilla is flipped and back in the pan, cook it for another five minutes and flip it onto a plate and serve!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 8 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Cut and peel potatoes and add to a large bowl. Coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Microwave potato slices on high for 10-12 minutes until nearly cooked, with occasional stirring.
  3. Add potatoes to large non-stick frying and add diced onions and peppers. Cook until onion is translucent.
  4. Beat eggs and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer potato mixture into the bowl with eggs and mix well.
  6. Return the potatoes now covered in eggs to non-stick pan and cook on a low heat with a lid for 5 minutes.
  7. Flip tortilla and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is another great low-carb (or paleo) substitute for grains like rice. The way this cauliflower rice is prepared, I think I prefer it to actual rice as it has a lot more flavor (and I can eat a mountain of it without feeling absolutely stuffed). I enjoyed this cauliflower rice last night as an accompaniment to Greek meatballs. If you’re a carb-person you could even substitute the cauliflower for approximately 2 cups of cooked rice and then follow this recipe.

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The first step is to finely chop a carrot, an onion and two cloves of garlic, or you can be lazy (like me) and just make the food processor do it for you.

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Next, add the chopped veggies to a pan and sauté (approx. 4 minutes) in a tablespoon of ghee (aka fancy butter, but I guess you could use regular butter or coconut oil) until the onion becomes translucent and the garlic smells fragrant.

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During this time,  if you’re handy,  you can rice your cauliflower in a food processor by pulsing a large head of cauliflower (cut into florets) in about 10-15 pulses. Just make sure you don’t puree the cauliflower, you will regret it.

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Take note: this is what ricey-cauliflower should look like. It is not pureed. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

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Add the cauliflower to the pan with the carrot mixture and add 125 ml of chicken stock. The chicken stock I used was homemade but you could also use about 1/3 to 1/2 a chicken stock cube and dissolve it in 125 ml of warm water, and then add this to the pan. Steam the rice mixture for about 10-12 minutes on a low heat. You want the resulting texture to still be ricey, but if you steam it for too long it will turn into mush, so keep checking and tasting small bits with a spoon.

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If you want to be fancy, like I was yesterday, you can chop up some coriander (cilantro) as a garnish and put it in a pretty plate. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 125 ml chicken stock
  • coriander, to garnish

 

Method:

  1. Finely chop the carrot, onion and garlic and sauté in a pan with ghee until onion is translucent, approx. 4 minutes.
  2. Rice cauliflower in a food processor (about 10-15 pulses) and add to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken stock and steam, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10-12 minutes.
  4. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Fennel Salad with Red Cabbage and Carrot

Yesterday, I enjoyed the first real barbecue of the summer (minus the two times in Edinburgh where it was still super cold and I didn’t have a real barbecue pit), and all that juicy meat calls for tasty salads! To go along with grass-fed Uruguayan steaks, I whipped up this fennel, red cabbage and carrot salad (almost) without cutting or chopping a thing myself! Below is an image of all the salad ingredients (but I forgot to include the red cabbage, oops).

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The red cabbage (400 g) was purchased from the supermarket already chopped up which made my life a bit easier (although sometimes I feel that spending some time chopping vegetables can be quite therapeutic when I’m stressed out). As I spent my day lounging about the garden and enjoying my summer, I was a bit pushed for time and decided to optimise my use of the new Magimix food processor, featuring a few fantastic rotating chopping discs.

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Firstly, I created carrot “matchsticks” (above) with the fine blades, and then I used the slicing disc to make thin fennel and celery slices (below), which took all of 2.5 seconds to do.

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Next, the two spring onions and coriander (aka cilantro) were cut (manually…ughhhh) and were combined with the rest of the vegetables in a large salad bowl.

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The dressing was made by combing (in a mason jar) three tablespoons of sesame oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, and some salt and pepper to taste. These were then shaken vigorously and mixed into the salad.

DSC_0991The almonds were sprinkled on top.

 

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • approx. 400 g red cabbage
  • 1 hand-full of coriander
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped and roasted almonds

Dressing:

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

  1. Cut the carrot into matchsticks, and finely slice the fennel, celery, and red cabbage.
  2. Mix together in a bowl and add the chopped coriander.
  3. Make the dressing by combining the lemon zest and juice in a mason jar with the sesame oil and salt and pepper, and shake vigorously to mix.
  4. Mix the dressing through the salad and sprinkle the chopped almonds on top.

Avocado and Cucumber sauce with Courgetti

This recipe is such a quick and fresh one to make, which makes it perfect for spring and summer. Courgetti is variable and can be used as a no-carb substitute for any spaghetti, so this recipe is really more about the avocado and cucumber sauce than anything else. Nothing in this recipe requires cooking, as all the ingredients for the sauce are simply blended and thrown together in a large plate. Alternatively, spaghetti can be used instead of courgetti, although I prefer mine with courgetti as a lighter meal.

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The green sauce consists of ripe avocados, cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh basil, with some additional salt and pepper to taste. The addition of lemon juice keeps the sauce nice and green so that you can keep leftovers (if any) in the fridge for a couple of days.

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Once the ingredients are prepped and cut into chunks, they are all blended together in a food processor until a smooth green sauce is formed. I throw the washed basil leaves in without removing the stems, as they will go unnoticed when blended.

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Again, it is very important to taste the sauce at this point so that you can make it to your own taste by adding more salt, pepper, basil, garlic, or lemon juice.

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After the sauce is finished, you should make courgette noodles either by spiralizing them, or by using a julienne peeler, as both methods will give you noodles. The courgetti can be eaten raw, but if you prefer the noodles warm or lightly cooked, then you can toss them in a pan for 1-2 minutes or in a microwave for a minute before serving it on a plate.

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The next step is to combine the courgetti with the sauce and assemble the rest of the ingredients on a plate. I have added leftover roast chicken, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, and a bit of rocket salad on the plate. When I made this last time, I prepared this meal for my whole family and the assembly of all the ingredients on the plate took more time than making the sauce or the noodles, but food has to look pretty, right?

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Enjoy!

 

Ingredients: (serves 4)

Sauce:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 ½ cucumbers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ lemons (juice of)
  • large handful of basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rest:

  • 4 courgettes (1 per person)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • rocket salad
  • 1 jar jalapeños
  • leftover roast chicken

The rest of the ingredients do not have specific amounts as they can be adjusted to how much you want of everything or can even be substituted for other ingredients. For example, you could add baked salmon instead of chicken, or if you are vegetarian or vegan, this meal is still delicious entirely meat free.

Method:

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients (cut in smaller pieces so that it fits) in a blender and blend until a smooth sauce is made. Taste for flavor and adjust if necessary.
  2. Spiralize the courgette and serve raw or lightly toss around in a warm pan for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Spoon sauce onto a plate of courgetti and mix to coat courgette.
  4. Assemble the remaining ingredients on the plate (remember, beautiful food is always better)

 

Nutbutter, with almonds and hazelnuts

Nut butters are another one of my favorite spreads as a topping on basically everything. Not only do they taste great, they are also incredibly easy to make because all you need is a food processor, nuts, and a pinch of salt. You can make many different varieties of nut butters such as peanut, almond, macadamia, cashew, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed butter or even a combination of different nuts and seeds. This time, I decided to combine almonds and hazelnuts, which has a slightly sweet taste despite not having added any sugar.

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Before you add your chosen nuts to the food processor, you should roast them in an oven as this will add more flavor to your nut butter. I managed to buy a mixture of roasted (but unsalted) almonds and hazel nuts, weighing approximately 380 grams. Now all you need to do is combine the roasted nuts and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blend on the highest setting for 7-10 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor. In the interest of full disclosure, the last time I made nut butter, I actually managed to destroy my old food processer by overheating it…oops. After an emergency trip to the department store, I left with a Magimix 3200 XL, which has never let me down! So make sure that your food processor is up to the job and definitely do not attempt this in a regular blender.

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During the blending process, your nut “butter” will go through various different stages, so don’t be shocked if it doesn’t look quite right, it just takes time. The first stage, pictured above, is the breadcrumb stage.

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Next, it will look like the mixture is separating and forming two different layers. Again, this is normal; it will take time for the oils in the nuts to be released and become one mixture, so just keep blending.

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At this point, the nut butter will stick to the sides. Just take a spatula and fold it all back into the food processor.

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You’re almost there, keep going! The contents of your food processer is starting to look a lot softer and is nearly a spreadable nut butter. You may notice that your food processer starts to fog up a bit and the butter is getting warm. Again, this is fine and the oils are being released from the nuts and the nut butter is starting to form.

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Look at that smooth nut butter. It is now done, yum! At this point you should taste it and add some more salt –if necessary.

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The amount I made fit exactly in this mason jar and you can store it at room temperature in a cupboard.

 

Ingredients:

  • 380 g (approx.) roasted, unstalted almonds and hazelnuts (or any other nuts)
  • Salt (to taste)

 

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a good-quality food processor
  2. Blend for 7-10 minutes, or until a smooth nut butter has formed.
  3. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.

Plantains!

Over the past few days I have become absolutely obsessed with plantains! I first tried them a while back in Panama where they are served with almost everything! Plantains are native to tropical climates and are immensely popular in the Caribbean and Central America. In Panama, they were usually served as baked plantain chips, or fried, although they are also used as an ingredient in traditional meals. As a relatively lesser-known fruit, the plantain is essentially a banana but less sweet and generally larger. The key difference being that plantains are used as vegetables and therefore cooked, while bananas are eaten raw as fruits.

So while shopping in the supermarket the other day, I spotted them from afar -next to the yuccas and the other exotic fruits and vegetables- and couldn’t resist buying a couple.

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I cook these for breakfast by lightly frying them in coconut oil. They taste a bit sweet (but less so than bananas) and are more starchy, kinda similar to sweet potatoes.

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To remove the skin, cut the plantain lengthwise and then peel the skin off. Then, slice the plantain in approximately 1 cm thick slices.

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Heat coconut oil in a non-stick pan and fry the plantain slices until browned and then flip them over to the other side and repeat.

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Serve with some cinnamon!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large plantain
  • coconut oil
  • cinnamon

 

Method:

  1. Cut the plantain in slices.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a pan and cook slices until browned and then flip over to brown the other side.
  3. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon.