Κυριακή, 23 Ιουλίου 2017

COCONUT WATER, OAT MILK AND MAPLE SYRUP CHIA PUDDING WITH MELON AND CACAO NIBS


     Having a sleep schedule has always been a challenge. With social life and work going on, there never seems to be a constant pattern. The last two months I started doing my internship, I've been waking up quite early (at 6:30), which seems to have affected my other days of sleeping. I can't seem to sleep more than 6 to 7 hours. Despite being a big creature of habit, this is a habit I don't quite fancy.
     Natural remedies such as Magnesium supplements, calming no caffeine teas and good old warm cup of milk seem to help the situation a bit, but not the level of my satisfaction. However, I don't give up or give into quick fixes. Challenge is accepted!
     On other news, I am as of this Thursday on Greek grounds. I have come for a quick vacation back home, in a desperate need of some vitamin D. I am also planning to do a small roadtrip to the south of Greece and to a small island called, Elafonisos. The beach there is so magical as if you were in the most virgin, untouched place on Earth. Crystal blue waters, white sand and only the ocean ahead. If I manage to go, I will for sure take a lot of photos and show you one of the most magical places in Greece.



     Now that summer is here, I thought of a chia pudding could save me from having to think what to eat every day for breakfast when I am working for my internship and keep me full, but not too full. Coconut water is also full of electrolytes that can save you from all the sweat you've been shedding. Cantaloupe melon is the star in this one, as it contains a lot of Vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, which are crucial for summer glowy skin as well as the protection from harmful sun rays. Prep this pudding on Sunday and enjoy it all week long.

Coconut water, Oat milk and maple syrup chia pudding with cantaloupe melon and cacao nibs

ingredients (for 4 persons)

1 cup coconut water
1 cup oat milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
2 cups cantaloupe melon
4 teaspoons cacao nibs
4 teaspoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons mesquite meal
more melon to serve

how do I make it?

1. In a large mixing bowl add the coconut water, oat milk, chia seeds and maple syrup. Mix roughly all the ingredients together and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. After time has passed, the mixture will have become quite thick. Transfer into individual pots or in one large jar or container you wish. Let them in the fridge for up to 2 hours or overnight.
2. When it's time to serve your chia pudding, put in a food processor 2 cups of cantaloupe melon and the mesquite meal. It has a somewhat cacao and sweet flavour. If you don't have any, you can skip it and just pulse the melon. Pulse on high speed until you have a pulp. 
3. Top the pots or bowls you serve the chia pudding with the melon pulp in the previous step. Continue with a teaspoon of cacao nibs in each one and chopped almonds. If you wish, add more melon chunks  and maple syrup on top. 




Τρίτη, 27 Ιουνίου 2017

CANTALOUPE MELON ICE CREAM


    Hot, hot, hot! And I'm talking about the temperature lately. I mean, of course, if you live in Europe you know what I'm talking about it. No news there. But also, I'm referring to the remake of the very loved 90s drama, Baywatch. Have you seen it? I happened to watch it on Sunday and somewhat enjoyed it. It was nothing like the original series, but that was mostly because David Hasselhoff was not part of it... Other than that, I enjoyed the very simple script, with no big surprises there and of course the girls had amazing bodies as expected. 
     However, it reminded me how much I miss Greece during the summer, the best season to be there. I miss my walks along the beach in my hometown, Glyfada, I miss the drinks with my friends in a bar next to the sea, the chilly breeze that hugs you during the nights and of course the smell of sunscreen mixed with sea salt water. I booked my tickets a few weeks ago for July and I really can't wait. My little trip also involves a Greek wedding, which means a lot of food, dancing and more food. Oh, and drinking!



     Until then, I need to have something that reminds me of a careless summer, eating juicy summer fruit and trying to chase every bee and bug that exists in the house. One of my favourite summer fruit, apart from peaches and nectarines, is melon. Not a big fan of honeydew melon, though, I think cantaloupe is my choice here. I love the colour inside the melon and the sweetness of it. It's something really really special to eat. Sometimes I even pair it with some feta cheese to make it a bit fancier and take some of the sweetness out of it.


     Now, during summer I don't like to do a lot of things in the kitchen. I prefer easy and manageable tasks. And since I don't have an ice cream machine (yet), I had to come up with an easy recipe for a melon ice cream for this summer. You only need a few ingredients and some good freezer. Prepare yourself for some fruity mess with this one!

Cantaloupe melon ice cream

ingredients

one medium cantaloupe melon (gives about 500gr pulp)
1 1/2 cup full fat heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 rectangular pan

to serve 
chopped pistachios
honey

How do I make it?

1. First, prepare your melon by cutting it in half and taking out the seeds. Using a spoon try to carve all of the pulp and pour it into a processor bowl. Once you're done, set your food processor to high speed and pulse for a minute or until you get a nice pulp without any big chuncks. 
2. In a bowl pour in the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer or with the standing mixer, whip your cream very well until you get stiff peaks. 
3. Once the whipping cream is ready, slowly and carefully transfer the melon pulp into the  whipping cream and using a spatula mix in slow motions. Do this until all the pulp is incorporated into the mixture.
4. Fill in the pan with the ice cream mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then transfer into the freezer. 
5. After an hour take it out and mix it slightly with a spoon. Then place it gain into the freezer and let it for 3 more hours or best overnight.
6. When you want to serve, take your ice cream out at least 30 minutes before. Fruity ice creams tend to get very icy and they are harder to serve. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios and drizzle some honey for extra delight!


Παρασκευή, 23 Ιουνίου 2017

RED LENTIL FALAFEL SUMMER BOWL


     Surviving the heatwave is a really tough task. Especially when you are used to having an air/conditioning when the temperature rises in extreme speed. This last week has been 33 C or 34 C in Zurich, with most of the days being windless. One way to make it through is to swim in the local pools here and pray for some rain soon. But the high temperature is not only happening in Switzerland, but the rest of Europe as I heard on the news the other day. Global warming says hello again!
     Anyways, for those of you who follow me on Instagram, I posted a photo the other day of the cheesecake ice cream I made last year and asked you for new ice cream ideas. I got some responses and will be soon making some really creamy and hopefully delicious ice cream. If you have any more ideas you would like to share here, please leave me a comment below.



     During the summer I realised that you cannot leave food for a longer time without eating it, even in the fridge. Cleaning up your pantry and combining leftovers for new recipes is the ideal thing to do in this hot weather.  Which brings me to this recipe I created in the spur of the moment. Red lentil falafels. I love falafels and I recently learned to like red lentils. Red lentils have a nutty flavour and don't need to be cooked for long time, actually only 7 to 10 minutes. For an impatient and hungry person like myself, this is a perfect deal. 
     This is a lighter version of the original falafels, but I can assure you it lacks no taste at all. I chose to bake these falafels, because during summer I cannot stand frying things. Feel free however to fry them if you have experience with falafels before or just wish something less healthy. I feel that this is a recipe I will be making a lot of times. The best thing about it is that you can make a big batch of falafels and then keep them in fridge. That way you can pair them either in salads or any other way you want to. 


Red Lentil Falafel Summer Bowl

ingredients for red lentil falafels (makes about 10-12 balls)

1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons good quality tahini (sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup oat flakes (and more if needed)
salt as needed

for the summer bowl (serves two)

2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2cup chopped Greek feta
1/2 avocado sliced
2 tablespoons flaxseeds 
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon honey

how do I make it?

1. First step is to cook the red lentils according to instructions. Normally, they are cooked with 2 cups of water for 7 to 10 minutes or until soft. make sure you rinse them before cooking them and while cooking them make sure they don't overcook and turn into a mush.
2. Let the lentils cool and drain them letting all the excess water.
3. In a food processor, put all of the ingredients needed for the falafels. Season with salt as much as you want. What I like to do is taste for saltiness after I mix everything together. Set your food processor to high speed and mix very well. You need a quite thick mixture that is a bit moist. Open the lid of the processor and check with clean hands if the mixture is too moist or liquid. If it is, put some more oat flakes inside and mix again. When you feel the mixture is ready, transfer the bowl of the processor in the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Preheat the over to 200 C. Get out your mixture and with clean hands or wearing gloves, start making medium size falafel bowls. I made them in a size between a golf and a tennis ball. Prepare a baking pan and place your falafels with some distance between them.
5. Sprinkle with some extra olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
6. To prepare the salad bowls, rinse the spinach and transfer into two bowls. Place two or three falafels in each bowl. Place the chopped feta and sliced avocado in the bowls. Sprinkle the flaxseeds. Last, prepare your tahini dressing by mixing everything together. Pour into the bowls and enjoy the salad bowls in the next 30 minutes maximum!

Σάββατο, 17 Ιουνίου 2017

TAHINI AND COCONUT GRANOLA BARS


     Hello dear friends. I hope your week was just as wonderful as mine was. I did a lot of things, met with some friends and prepared a lot of food. A lot of friends and people I meet always ask me "how do you find the time and energy to make so many things"? I am known among my friends as the one who always bakes, cooks or makes something in the kitchen. This week I made some chickpea curry (as usual), hummus and tried a new recipe for red lentil fallafel (recipe for this baby soon). And I always say that I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel after I made all those things. I believe in making your own food from scratch and try to avoid as much processed foods as possible.
     This kind of change towards homemade and as much as possible natural food, happened I think about 5 years ago, when I really started paying attention to what I eat and not how much I eat. I don't know about anyone else, but I am concerned about what goes into my body. Of course I won't go crazy, because really you can't control everything,
 although you might think you can. You buy something that says organic or natural, and quite soon you read an article or find out that it's not so organic and natural after all. The only way to achieve that is if you immigrate to a virgin area, where no human presence has ever been...which is impossible.




     What I can suggest you do, if you want to take care of your nutrition, is to make most of your food yourself and when you buy something, look at the ingredients. Like for example there are so many granola bars out there. Some are pure sugar, in which case you better eat a candy bar instead, and other contain very few ingredients that makes them almost homemade. So, if you love the taste of homemade granola bar and have some time in your hands, I have the perfect recipe for you...
    These bars I made on Thursday are pure magic. Very simple to make and they don't require baking them, so actually they are not so heavy on your stomach. For me sometimes raw food is better for my stomach issues. They only thing you need is some good quality tahini or sesame butter, coconut flakes and some other few ingredients. I found that tahini pairs well with coconut, however, some of you might find the taste a bit too strong. You can substitute it for almond butter, which gives the bars a lighter taste.


Tahini and Coconut granola bars

ingredients (for 10 to 12 bars)

1 cup tahini or almond butter
1 cup coconut flakes
1 3/4 cup rolled oat flakes
1 cup roasted and roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup raw honey or good quality honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt


how do I make it?

1. First, in a large bowl put the oats, roasted almonds, cinnamon, coconut flakes and salt and stir a bit.
2. In a small sauce pan, pour in the honey and tahini on medium heat. Stir continuously until the honey melts and is incorporated with the tahini. Be careful to mix it all the time as you don't want the mixture to burn. 
3. Pour into the large bowl and with a big spatula or spoon, mix very well all the ingredients until you get a soft mixture that resembles a dough.
4. Prepare a medium pan with some paper sheet (leaving some paper on the sides) and pour in the granola mixture. Using your hands, press the mixture until it covers all the pan and has a somewhat smooth surface. 
5. Cover the pan with a transparent sheet or a clean towel and refrigerate for two hours or better overnight.
6. Using the sides of the baking paper, pull the mixture out and using a sharp knife, cut into desired shapes of bars.



Σάββατο, 10 Ιουνίου 2017

CHERRY AND RHUBARB CRUMBLE PIE


    Summer is definitely here! Exams are over, internship started and I am going to Geneva Street Food Festival tomorrow. Woohoo, life is good finally. I don't know when was the last time I just sat on my sofa and read a book or did something else that study, obsess about studying or yell at my boyfriend. Oops! Well, yeah, it happens to the best of us. Stress is a weird thing not to cave in, I'm trying my best. But since the weather is warm and everyone is stress-free, one can only dream of more days like this.
     On another note, I went hiking last weekend. It wasn't the first time, but it was the first time I did it with a big group of people who were passionate about it. We hiked uphill and downhill for more than 5 hours. I woke up at 5:00 and got home at 22:00, but it was all worth it. The feeling of accomplishment, the laughs, the amazing view when we reached our final destination. All worth it. During my hiking I was thinking that these will be the memories I will have in mind when I get older and I won't be able to bend my back in front. Or maybe until then I will become a yogi, so who knows?




     What better way to celebrate this summer that with a pie? I was planning to make a rhubarb and strawberry pie, since I've read a lot of amazing recipes with this combination. However, I couldn't find any proper strawberries lately and I had some cherries in the fridge wanting my attention, so inspiration came! I have to say this is not a very sweet pie, which is perfect for me as I don't like very sweet stuff. Also, it was the first time I cooked something with rhubarb and I was very pleased with the result. 

Cherry and Rhubarb Crumble pie

ingredients (for one pie)

1 buttery pie dough of your choice
4 cups of pitted cherries
2 cups rhubarb cut in slices
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter cut in slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice

for the crumble

150 gr butter cold and cut in pieces
100 gr flour
80 gr sugar

to serve: ice cream of your choice

how do I make it?

1. Prepare your fruit and put them in a large bowl. Pour inside the sugar and lemon and stir very well. 
2. Prepare your pie tin with some oil brushing. Carefully place the dough on the tin and then pour in the middle the prepared fruit. 
3. In a food processor mix together the butter with the flour until breadcrumbs are created. Then add in the sugar and mix again.
4. Place the crumbs on top of the fruit of the pie, making sure all of the fruit is covered with the crumbs. Preheat oven to 190 C.
5. Bake your pie in this temperature for 20 minutes and then lower the temperature to 175 C and bake for 30 minutes or until the pie turns golden, while juices come out. 
6. Let it cool for some minutes and then serve with some ice cream.




Σάββατο, 27 Μαΐου 2017

CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL CUPCAKES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING




     Hello everyone! I've been a bit swamped with studying this month, waiting for it to be over. Just a quick update to let you know that I will be back on this site with more delicious and inspirational recipes in June, taking you around Zurich and other charming places. For now... I have this simple yet so yummy recipe for chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting. These are very special!



     It came to me this morning that I didn't have enough eggs or milk to make the usual recipe I would have made for chocolate muffins or cupcakes. After stretching my mind a bit, I came to the conclusion that I could use olive oil and create a recipe that resembles the one I make for an olive oil chocolate cake. The result? Quite impressive, to say the least. The cupcakes turned out to be very moist and perfect in texture, missing nothing in tastiness from typical ones containing eggs and milk. So to say, if you want a light version of muffins without butter, eggs or milk (or you are a vegan), you can skip the frosting and just make the cupcake batter. Enjoy either way!




Chocolate Olive Oil cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache Frosting

ingredients (for 15-20 cupcakes depending on size)

3 cups shifted flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsweetened cacao
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

for white chocolate ganache frosting

250gr white chocolate
150ml heavy cream
50gr softened butter

how do I make it?

1. Prepare your frosting first. Put your chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan heat your heavy cream until it starts getting hot (not boiled). Once it's heated , pour over your white chocolate and start stirring with a spatula until the chocolate has melted completely.
2. Allow the ganache to cool completely (for about an hour). Continue with the cupcakes batter.
3.Mix all of the ingredients for the cupcake batter very well in a standing mixer. Preheat your oven to 180 C.
4.Prepare your muffin/cupcake tins like you do normally. With the help of a spoon, fill up each tin with enough quantity, leaving about 1cm empty from the top. Don't be afraid of the batter spreading when baking. In order to avoid this to happen, have your over well preheated.
5. Bake your cupcakes for 25 to 30 minutes. After 20 minutes check if they are done by inserting a toothpick in the centre of cupcake. If they are done, it should come out without any trace of liquid batter. If they are not ready, continue baking and take a look at them after a couple of minutes.
6. When they are done take them out and let them cool completely.
7. Continue with your ganache by placing the soft butter on the bowl of standing mixer and pour inside the cool ganache. Start mixing on high speed until soft peaks form.
8. When it's ready take a spatula and start covering each cupcake by doing circular moves. If you are fancier than myself, make shapes using a frosting bag with the tip you desire!
9. Enjoy a mouthful of goodness!





Τρίτη, 23 Μαΐου 2017

CHICKPEA CURRY WITH KALE


     As we are heading almost towards the end of the month, I have realised two important things so far. A) I really need some quality time with myself, where I only do things for my body and mind and B) I love peonies. For the love of God, I do adore them. Their existence is not something new to me, as peonies have been worshiped and decorated many houses for many many years, before blogging came to the surface and made them "instragramable" (yeah, that's a word). 
     Since the beginning of May I have noticed their first blooms appearing in local market and admired their fine pastel colours  They are very similar to roses, in structure and smell, but please do not confuse them. They are very fine beauties, that come to colours like a palette of light pink, white, strong fuscia. They are perfect if you are looking for something else than roses and if you like big blooms, because peonies normally when they open their petals they enlarge.



     During this time, other than obsessing over peonies, I haven't been doing much than studying. Also, my food intake has gone up a big and towards the unhealthy kind, which I will not complain about, because it was totally worth the calories. The other day though, I wanted to make something filling, yet not full of saturated fat and empty of nutrients. So, I turned to one of my favourite wellness websites, Goop, and I found this simple, yet delicious recipe for chickpea curry with kale
     I changed the recipe a bit to be honest, because I didn't have any curry spices, but I think it's very versatile as a recipe. I added some freshly grated kurkuma (turmeric), which not only gives colour, but also very important antioxidants. It's very easy to make and what I find very useful is to make a few extra portion and eat it throughout the week. Chickpeas are so good for you, full of protein, which actually helps me stay fuller longer. But this again depends on the person and what type of work/exercise you do throughout the day. Nevertheless, I suggest you give it a try.

Chickpea curry with Kale (adapted from goop)

ingredients (for 4 people)

1 red or yellow onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 tablespoon turmeric, minced
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
3 cups boiled chickpeas
2 cups chopped kale
salt, pepper to season

How do I make it?

1. Heat a medium pan with the olive oil and once it hot add the onion. Sautee until it's soft and caramelised. Then add the minced garlic, ginger and turmeric. Add your paprika and ginger powder and cook some more minutes.
2. Pour in your stock, chickpeas and coconut milk and let them cook for about 10 minutes. Add some salt and mix with a large spoon.
3. Last, add your chopped kale and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the kale has softened.
4. Serve alone in bowls or with some rice.